Saturday, February 22, 2014

Plan of Action in the USA!!

If you haven't read our latest post as to why we are going back to the States you can read it here

What's been going on since our last update?

Well the day after we posted we were heading to the States- we found an apartment! A huge blessing and weight lifted. Thank You, Lord! And I have a tutor lined up for when we come back--hooray! We are still praying and looking for someone to take over the ministry here in the village; but we are trusting the Lord to send the right person. In the mean time…

I am counting down the days until we leave for the States! Home sweet home! 

One day, Russia will be like home for me, and I look forward to that day. But America will always be home. My country, the land that I love! I'm a proud American, and am very thankful for the many men and women who sacrifice (or have sacrificed) to keep our country free and great! Corrupt government and all, I love America!

Okay sentimental part over. 

What am I looking forward to most?

Being able to speak and understand those I am speaking to! 

What is the next most exciting thing?

I can't wait to walk into Starbucks, breathe in the aroma of fresh beans, reminisce of my ole' barista days, walk up to the counter, order my favorite drink, with a high chance of not get the "Starbucks Experience", and enjoy every minute of being in a familiar place! 

What's the next next most exciting thing?

Running and Racing!! Running in the Cleveland Metro Parks in warmer temps. Even if the temps are suppose to be 2F when we land.  I look forward to signing up for a couple of races while we are in town and I can't wait!! I'm a running nerd. :D

And of course, shopping! I can't wait to go to Target, hop on the shopping cart, and ride it down the aisles with my iced coffee in hand. Weeeeeee!!!! 

Okay I'm back to reality. There's so many little things I'm looking forward to being back in America. Most of all it will be so great to be around family and friends! Especially family! I know it will go by so quickly, but I will enjoy every minute of it and praise the Lord all the day long! He's been spoiling us lately. And I know He will provide for us. What a great God we serve!

Don't take anything or anyone for granted! Every good thing, every good friend, is  a gift from the Lord. Maybe this could be a little glimpse into a "new missionary's world." We are just normal people trying to do our best to serve our Lord and Savior the way He planned. And it's hard at times to adjust to a new life in a new country. It's not the easiest , nothing is! We didn't sign up for easy, we gladly give our lives to serve the Lord. And the blessings far outweigh any struggle. And the best part of all? God is with us each step of the way. We couldn't do what we do if His power wasn't in our lives. And we couldn't be here if it wasn't for the many of you who give, pray, and encourage us. Thank you for encouraging missionaries through prayer and sending a short message or email. We can't tell you how it lifts our spirits!

Have a great weekend!

And to all my Ohio family,  
see you soon!!!!

Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men! Psalms 31:19

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentines Day Expectations

This year I totally forgot about Valentines Day! I knew it was coming up but didn't realize it was today until my friend Katie mentioned making a cheesecake for Valentines Day. It was only Thursday, so I still had time!

I always enjoy any excuse to show James just how much I love him! And I do so stinkin' much. I knew he had also forgotten so I wasn't expecting anything this year.

Now in our defense, we were hosting our sweet friends, dealing with all our paperwork and visa issues (plus James has been making furniture for us) and Valentines Day fell to the bottom of our priorities.  Usually, James would make dinner for us. We like to stay in rather than going out because it is too crazy on Valentines Day in the States. We just enjoy the simple things and being together. Now don't get me wrong, I love a nice romantic night out but we don't get too caught up in the hustle and bustle of this holiday.

Now I had two choices.

1) Feel sad and depressed James forgot and didn't get me anything


2) Make the day about him and what he wants expecting nothing in return.

I chose choice two. I'm not a saint and there have been many times I let my mind think things that aren't true and feel sad about situations. But I wanted to enjoy the day. I know my husband loves me so very much and he spoils me. Life has just been crazy for us since we landed here in Russia. The last thing I wanted to do was make him feel bad about not doing anything. In all fairness, I wouldn't have been able to get him a card and chocolate if I wasn't out on a girls shopping day on Thursday. Anyway… I got to thinking…

That's how I should love James every day. Unconditional love expecting nothing in return. (Sheesh the hurt feelings that could be avoided if I abided by this everyday!) 

Now I'm a female with emotions - so sometimes I do expect things.  It's hard not to expect to be treated a certain way. But honestly, it's not right. The Bible says if you speak without charity you are like sounding brass. Yikes! That has been me many times-- I blame hormones. :)

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 
I Corinthians 13:1

The Bible says: Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:3

Jesus was the ultimate example of selfless unconditional love. Knowing that there would be millions of people who would reject His free gift of salvation, he willingly gave His life for us. He performed miracles expecting nothing in return.
Unconditional love without expectation.

We had such a great Valentines Day but it could have been an awful one. It's all about perspective and having your heart right with the Lord. I'm so thankful for my wonderful husband and that he is my Valentines and always will be! Hope you all have a great Valentines Day today. You don't have to go all out to have a great day with the ones you love! Enjoy being together.

And remember the simple truth to love unconditionally without expectation!

And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these [is] charity.
I Corinthians 13:13
Mmm Chocolate Covered Strawberries- I must admit I may have made these
for James but they were really for me. :)

My Cute Little Valentine! :) 

Playing on his new guitar just like Daddy.

So he didn't like the box idea.

He liked it after I gave him candy! :)

Monday, February 3, 2014

Something Bad is Going to Happen...

I know the title sounds very encouraging, but read my short post on getting my fortune told for the first time! :)

As I was out visiting our neighbor, Babavara, with Jacob I noticed she had company.
Me with Babavara and Jacob with
his chocolate.
I usually feel a little intimidated when there are others there, but after all the work it took to bundle Jacob up and get out the door there was no turning back. I was greeted by Babavara and noticed there were two men and her daughter. They insisted I come in and sit, and Jacob was handed his piece of chocolate.

One of the Russian men kept talking to me, but I told him I only understand a little Russian. He was so enthusiastic that he scared Jacob and made him cry. Which was really funny, he was just so excited about something. Anyway, the two men kept trying to ask me questions, thinking if they talked louder and repeated themselves I would understand. So I just replied back in English with my sweet voice and said, I don't understand a word you're saying and just smiled. I called James to come over to help me out. Prince Charming to the rescue! 

We didn't stay too long since dinner was being served. On the way home, James told me the one man said he wanted to read my palms. He said I had something bad that was going to happen in my future.

Who would say that to someone?! I'm a very optimistic person and this was depressing news!

                          Definition of Optimistic: Hopeful and Confident about the future.

This was neither hopeful nor made me feel very confident! Now do I believe fortune tellers and all that jazz? Not for a second. In fact, I have a sweet friend who used to be one and she told me they just make up things and read the people they are reading their palms. If the person isn't buying what they are saying, they change what they were saying until they do buy it. But I have to be honest, this bothered me! I kept thinking, "What bad thing could happen?" I know ridiculous but I couldn't shake it for a while. Until I got to thinking…

Will bad things happen in my future? I'm sure they will. 
Will good things happen in my future? I believe so! 

Everyone goes through valleys and storms. That's life. This guy might as well told me the sky gets dark at night or the sun is yellow. The only person who knows the future is the Lord God Almighty. God is omniscient, all knowing. 

Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!For who hath known the mind of the Lord? Romans 11:33-34a
And this is one of my favorite verses. 
 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.Romans 8:28
Just a simple thought today. 
Don't worry about the future. Trust the Lord. And remember, all things work together for good to them that love God. 
If we all sat around in our recliners sipping our lattes, and worrying about the future and things out of our control (or even within our control), we would be miserable and make everyone around us miserable. So save yourself the wrinkles and your family the unneeded stress, and don't worry about it. (And don't watch the news! Quickest way to get depressed!!) Cast your burdens at the feet of Christ and leave them there. Difficult times may come, but God knows and He will be with you each step of the way. 
Have a great week!