Archive | April 2016


I think I’m getting close to a resolution for this moment of searching and re-ordering my life. I have enjoyed this process, actually. I’ve learned a lot.


One thing I did was use this site to take a personality test. The test was free, and I purchased the e-book about my particular personality type.

Oh. My. Word.

[enter a moment of speechlessness.]

I won’t get into everything. And I’m not going to tell you everything I wrote in my exploratory writing (you can thank me for that).

I had Vitaliy take the test, too. They actually have it in Russian. It explained him to me a lot.

It really helped me understand. A lot. About myself. About him. The booklet I read even gave tips about how the two of us can be married (it really recommended hiring a housekeeper, imagine that), and how I can have friends.

So, I’m not going to share most of it, but I want to say a few main ideas that helped me. We had a long conversation in the van yesterday, about having vision mostly. I come to vision as someone who is able to 1) see a future that is not in existence but is potential, 2) use my vision as a means to fill my inner need to express my core values through goals, etc., and 3) pretty eloquently talk about what I’m doing, why I’m doing it, my ideas, etc. I really enjoy this process and live in it. It’s about as important as, if not more important than, the actual doing.

Vitaliy … does not really like the idea of vision. Though he has one. It’s hard to … get to it, because he just states it as a phrase, and that’s it. He doesn’t eloquently express or communicate well his vision. He also is put off by projecting his vision as a future plan. His need is fulfilled by what he concretely did in the past (for that vision) and what he sees himself doing concretely today for this vision. Well, maybe it’s not entirely true, because he does have one idea right now about his life vision; he just doesn’t pounce on the idea and mentally grow it to magnanimous proportions, as I tend to do. He’s waiting for the opportunity to perhaps “do” his vision in this way. He doesn’t need to nor enjoy dreaming about it.


From these realizations, I have a few helpful insights for myself:

  1. From this booklet– this thought was very insightful: “The battle for acquiring or maintaining the energy to go forward will be almost entirely decided in an Advocate’s thoughts.” (p.40)

That is a bingo. And hence, all my thinking.

2. In my exploratory writing about this, I wrote this sentence, and it means a lot to me. I think it’s a main thing I need to do right now:

“I would like to start appreciating/valuing that the time and commitment that I’m giving to my family (home school, missionary life) is being true to my core values.”

It helps me to honor that my life now, as it is, with all its seeming smallness and limitations, is me being true to what I value. I don’t have to be doing some big, out there thing in order for me to be true to my core values.

3. I am an idealist. My ideals highly motivate me. So, Vitaliy really urged me that, in home schooling, I need to develop that idealism and conviction. I need to let my idealism, individuality, and conviction grow and express itself. And I need to pray about this, I am praying about it now. … I have put off doing this because I honestly realize that home schooling is not for everyone, and I’m not mentally committed to doing it forever. … But it is for me, right now.  I have to be honest that I have other options, and this is what I’ve chosen, just like in birth. So as an idealist person, as I did home birth and unattended birth from my ideals and convictions, I need to do this with home schooling. I can have and fulfill my idealism without injuring, insulting, or judging others who don’t share those ideals. There. My intense need to be compassionate to others doesn’t need to override my intense need for ideals.

4. OK, in my exploratory journal writing, I realized that my past self-experience is making me nervous about becoming attached to my family life in this idealistic way  … because I feel like I have betrayed myself in the past. I have had ideas and goals that totally didn’t work. I really enjoyed them mentally, and they actually guided my life in good ways. But I don’t see “success” in them in the way I “envisioned” them. And I end up feeling trapped and frustrated by it.

So, in coming to my family, I don’t want to manically latch onto this “idea” and start dreaming up a bunch of stuff and then wreck the good things I have now already. I want to come to this in a wiser way. I’m thinking about this.

5. I want to learn from Vitaliy how to loosely hold a general vision and seize the opportunities to live it out as they come up. Vitaliy is good at doing things. I’m good at imagining and valuing things. But I end up feeling left in the dust because he’s actually doing things while I’m … just imagining things and going along with what he’s doing (and not attaching value to what I am actually doing). On the other hand, I am not Vitaliy, so the way I take up opportunities might look different, more studied or whatever, but I wrote in my journal: “I wish to be more adventurous and spontaneous. But in a planned and methodical way.” Ha! But one example– I want to be taking the girls to the children’s theater house more often. They do ballets and operas and neat-o stuff. But I don’t do it. Why? I need to find some way to do it, either spontaneously or in a planned way. And maybe I need to convince myself more clearly that this is one way I can express my core values– then I will find a way to do it.

OK, this is what I’ve come to so far.


the meaning and value of life

So, I’m working through this, some days more than others.

My thoughts from today and yesterday.

One of my temptations during this time of searching is to try and find an answer too fast. Or to make an answer up through busyness. Example: A couple weeks back, I had this idea to start attending our elder pastor’s wife’s women’s Bible study. It meets on Monday evenings. She has, over the years, brought so many women to the Lord through this, I thought I should attend too and learn from her. The weeks go by– Monday evening is not working for me. Brothers’ Meeting is also right then, that Vitaliy sometimes attends. Then Skyla and Vika go every Mon evening to singing group practice with some other kids from church, to practice for Easter (May 1). There’s a gal from church that likes meeting with me that evening while her husband is also at brothers mtg, and that’s a valuable relationship. …. So, it’s been a bust so far, trying to find new purpose or meaning in attending that group because I can’t get myself there ……

My current idea is to attend the teenager group that meets Sundays at 4pm. Maybe I can be useful there? They are taking a camping trip to the Carpathian Mtns this summer, and Vitaliy thinks we could go, too. Maybe that will be something I can do.

But you see what I’m doing. I’m trying to find value for myself by doing or achieving something. And while it might be true that God wants me involved in some new ministry, if I go into it looking to fulfill my own internal need, then it will not be as free and fruitful and *right* as if I come to it from a place of fullness and overflowing in God.

So, that’s one trap I’m trying to avoid.

A second trap I’m trying to avoid is resentment and selfishness.

Because in analyzing all this, it’s very easy to feel like my life has become the sum total of facilitating and adapting to other people’s lives– namely my husband’s and children’s. First of all, that’s not really true, even though at moments I want to feel like it’s true and get all huffy about it. Second of all, maybe it’s actually a good and healthy way to see those aspects of my life…..

Jesus had specific goals to accomplish in His life; He had meaning and purpose. But from one angle, you could say that His life was the sum total of facilitating others’ lives– He created us. He healed us. He led and taught us. He lived a righteous life to facilitate our salvation. He died for us. He left us so the Spirit would come. He lives interceding for us now.

But I don’t think He feels resentment that His life is the sum total of facilitating and adapting to others’ lives. He is fulfilling the great and eternal purposes of God. He is exalted in all this.

So somehow, I need to learn to see and value my “facilitating and adapting to others’ lives” as Christ did. I’m not there yet– I think it’s an internal comfort and confidence that the Holy Spirit has to teach me and lead me into. I’m not there yet. But, I’m trying to avoid the trap I see before I learn it.

Thirdly, I’m trying to avoid emotionally disconnecting from Vitaliy. When I am searching, I tend to withdraw until I have the answer figured out. It’s hard for me to verbalize my processes. (Now, writing is helping me a lot– it has been my go-to all my life.) But I’m trying to keep it also verbal with Vitaliy and keep myself open to his presence with me during this searching. And he’s good about not forcing his answers, just listening, commenting on something. These things, in themselves, are skills we have both learned and are still learning in our relationship. It wasn’t always so. I’m thankful for this.

Some positive things I have realized during this:

First, I want to be braver in my home schooling. When it came to birth, I was really brave, in a good way, able to do what was good for our family and not just be pressed into the mold that society has created. I am so not  that confident about home schooling. … But, since I personally have been led to home school, I would like to become braver at making it what it should be for our particular family. I want to think through the benefits we personally have to pass along to our children. One is having a tri-lingual environment. I want to think more about how to capitalize on that. Another is our traveling, multi-cultural lifestyle. It’s very educational in its own ways, and I want to build on that. …. More thoughts will come on this.

Second, I am coming more and more into a place of peace about not becoming a midwife. … This has ridden my back for years. … I might still actually come back around to it one day. But at this point, I’m ready to be happy with the role that this desire has played in my life, and I’m not interested in pursuing it more. (A little Konmari Method there, mentally, though I’m not ready to give my books away– I’m still a life not completed!  :))

Thirdly, taking care of myself physically will probably take more priority in my own mental priorities than it has in the past. *Growing older* things are *actually* happening to me 🙂

Ukrainian culture: making kompot

Kompot is said like kohm-POTE. It’s very traditional and common here. It’s served in restaurants, at home, shared as gifts. It’s water with fruits boiled in it. Dried, fresh, or frozen fruits. I’ve mostly seen it with cherries. But I was given a combo of dried pears and apple slices to make some with. As it’s so popular here, I figured I could start getting a handle on making it. So I looked up a recipe and instructions. And made some. Here are photos.

5 liters of water.


Rinsed off the dried pears and apple slices, per instructions.


Add dried fruit to water, bring to a boil. Simmer approximately 15 minutes. Add about 1/4 cup sugar. Let sit 5-6 hours.

20160406_153030Now, I did read another recipe here that involves making a little syrup first, then adding the water and fruits. (Some interesting history in that article, too.) I think this will take me to the next level, but I started with a simpler recipe this time.

Wow. So I got a little deeper into Ukrainian culture.

And I learned a new Ukrainian word. Жменька = handful.

Easter egg collection, spring, witness

So, Skyla is finally at the age when she is wanting to buy nice clothes. I’ve not forced dressing up upon my kids– and the girls are growing into it themselves. They are singing four specials for the church’s Easter service (May 1 here), so Skyla wants to dress up.

There’s a lovely store in the mall that has lots of unique kids things. Like etsy IRL. We found some nice dresses there for the girls and we bought them today. And I saw these lovely handmade felt Easter eggs! So I decided to start my collection. It’s not what I imagined, but it’s lovely! And the middle one that looks like a felt cupcake is the traditional Easter sweet bread they make here.



Here’s the dresses, we bought matching ones.


Here’s some lovely spring – warm-weather moments:


Here’s the small Orthodox church in our neighborhood, and their spring garden:


For the last year or so I’ve been praying for opportunities to witness. Today was one answer to that prayer. We go to the mall a lot, and there’s a lady we’ve gotten to know– she has these three big stuffed animals on wheels for kids to ride, and my kids ride it sometimes. She’s gotten to know us pretty well. Today she stopped to talk to me while Skyla took Una riding for 10 minutes. She hops around on subjects and is pretty chatty. So she was complimenting our family, and asked how we got to be this way. So I told her we were evangelical believers who believe not only that God exists, but that Jesus lived righteously for us and died for us, and when we believe in him for salvation, we also try to live like he lived, with his values.

We invited her to church for Easter, too, and she may come.

assigning emotional value

So, continuing on the lines of my life-analyzation project, I was thinking about the decisions I’ve made in my life that have seemed like they are keeping me from doing “greater” things.

Like having 4 children. Home schooling them. Marrying a Ukrainian man. This particular Ukrainian man.

And … I don’t regret any of those things. They are wonderful, actually….

And when I made each decision, I knew that I was (and am now) doing God’s will. (I haven’t always been the person of God’s will. But I’m in progress, and I want to be focusing on that more in this part of my life. That in my doing, I am being like Christ. It’s probably more important than the doing.)

These decisions (marriage, kids, homeschooling, etc) did and will continue to affect the shape and accomplishments of my life. But I am stating openly and choosing to emotionally value the fact that what I’m doing is … a life that I love (well, mostly– there are moments of madness 😉 ), a life that I have chosen, and a life that is God’s good will for me.

How easy it is to forget those simple and important things.

God created me to want to do these things, and while they preclude me doing other things, I know that these paths of righteousness are the  particular leadings my life. (Yes, I can have chosen other priorities and still be doing God’s good will, but considering the desires He gave me, these are my particular choices.)

So, cultivating emotional value in my heart: Today, Skyla, Una and I went out on the playground, Skyla finished her schoolwork in a tree, then we went on a walk through the neighborhood. And I so enjoyed walking with my daughter, talking, being together in this sweet spring season.



I am also trying to train myself to often ask myself the question internally– am I doing and being God’s will at this time and place? … It’s helping me focus on each time and place, and to give it emotional value.

Also, I give positive value to the fact that I studied midwifery. It gave me four amazing births, tons of contacts and life experiences, and a way to help others. I give positive value to the fact that I am not studying it now– it has had to phase out of my priority list. And that is OK and normal.

I also assign positive value to the fact that I have studied parenting and gentle parenting. It has added a quality to our lives that precious to us. It has been one of the “great”est things of my life, now that I stop to think about it. And I never planned it. But God did.

Another thought that I am sorting through is prayer. That the meaning and quality of my future is directly correlated to prayer. This is something I need to dig into.

when Vitaliy gets a little upset at me

So I was writing yesterday about my life questions, and I want to remember a conversation I had recently with Vitaliy.

Well, a weekend or two ago, we attended a missions conference, and that’s what makes all these questions come to the surface again, but now it’s all after 20 years of living (instead of how I used to deal with issues before having lived 20 years of life, marriage, kids, etc.) So, I’m trying to ask smarter questions of myself and of God, for one thing, as I move through this time.

Anyway … so I was telling Vitaliy about how I don’t understand certain things in my life, things that look like starting and quitting or failing and stupid dreams– for what?. Mostly things from having kids that had to be put away, the constraints of marriage, and stuff like that.

And … he almost got mad at me. He was pretty upset that I cannot see and value my life as it is. He is emphatically sure that all the fruit of whatever life/ministry he has is directly shared by me. And do I not realize all the words I’ve said to him that then come out of his mouth when he’s counseling other people? And do I not realize how much it affected his life to have caught himself his last two babies– and whose idea was all that??

So anyway, how sweet is that.

But I don’t believe it. I mean, on a logical level, I understand and agree with what he’s saying. But at an emotional level, I don’t feel like it’s true. I don’t value it in a way that has meaning for me.

So ….

[life pause]

It’s the issue of my expectations of my life compared against what my life really is. If I can reframe my expectation of my life as simply doing the will of God– then that is something I can connect to emotionally over time. And it’s connecting to God Himself through His Spirit, in order to live it out.

And in analyzing my life looking back, I see that God has valued more His ability to sanctify me through what I’m doing. He doesn’t so much value that my life it looks like I’m doing a big thing in the world.


So how can I guide myself into emotionally valuing doing and being God’s will? (as opposed to my current default of assigning emotional value to some other perceived achievement) …


Need to think about this with God.

when it comes back to Psalm 23

I’m in these weird days of my life, the in-between days, or something like that. Where I don’t have a lot of energy or emotional need to do much outside of my family, yet at the same time, I see my kids growing up and I have more extra spaces in my life.

Times where I’m not sure I’m done with being pregnant, breastfeeding, and sweet little babies. But then the gaping needs of the world also cry out to my ears, and I wonder how to serve them, too.

Little Una and I making blini while the “big” kids are out for their first bike ride of the summer:


And now I’m 40,and I wonder if my life is enough … mostly to satisfy myself that I’ve done and am doing God’s will on earth. It’s a positive question. And it implies willingness to change.

And I think about my mom and how she’s had such an amazing life, really, and can I have that, too?

Getting air in the tires for the first summer ride–he’s one happy boy!



And …

And I’m glad I’ve come to a point in my life when I can just wait with these questions, not rush around searching for something to fill me up. I can just ask God these questions and have an open heart.

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters.

He restores my soul.

He leads me in righteous paths, for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I pass through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil.

My cup overflows.



Goodness and mercy have followed me

all the days of my life,

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord, forever.