one key to spiritual growth

One helpful thing I’ve observed about growing in a real relationship with God in the last few years is this– well, maybe it’s two things:

First: Take it all personally. Every single detail, the timing of every single detail, every pressure (and don’t they seem to come in clusters?), every annoyance, every joy, everyeveryevery. It’s all God’s desire to communicate Himself to us. They all work together for good, to make us like Christ.

Second: Take other people’s sin towards you as from God– not as if God did the sin, but in the sense that He allowed exactly it in order for you to get to know Him more. Forgiving people, over and over, learning to love them … it can be terribly painful (and I’m not at. all. talking about remaining in abusive situations), but it’s exactly how we understand and experience Christ. For example, there are one or two people in my church who drive me nuts, and whose sin has really hurt me personally. But I’ve learned more about Christ through those relationships than I’ve learned from all the people I get along with comblned.

(Exception: Not all learning is painful! I really enjoy learning about God and experiencing Him through Vitaliy. He teaches me so much about God and growth, and it’s usually nice– over coffee and/or on our long drives.)

Bonus: Those things above, plus truer friendship with God, can only really be accepted by us if we agree with God’s goal for us, which is to make us like Jesus, not to make us comfortable.

And thank you, dear God, for your Comforter in the discomfort.

AND! Long-term, there is a neat type of comfort in having lived a righteous life. The hard is so worth it.

my life as a garden, the next big step

Things are happening in my heart that I need to analyze and record.

(Just pass over this if your not into introspection.)

There are moments of spiritual growth when God just brings together lots of influences to open certain things to me. And it usually starts after years of preparation– years of being bothered by certain things.

So I’ve been bothered the last few years by lack of satisfaction in home schooling, and bothered by my struggle to forgive certain people in our church, well, particularly one person.

Years go by, I live my days, things happen, good things, but still, these two things have, as a pattern, troubled me. And I pray about them, do what I can, as God shows me.

Like the unforgiveness: months back, God showed me to just stop the thoughts, just stop thinking so much about this person/situation and giving it so much “air time” in my brain. Just. Stop. That helped a lot to clear out my mind and be able to not be focused on negativity.

With home schooling, I have been reading, studying, understanding more and more. But I’m still not satisfied by it or enjoying it.

Years ago, I went through this Big Deal with learning about child discipline–the years of preparatory dissatisfaction, then all the influences coming together to bring it all together and teach me something very transformative. And God brought me to this place of joy, where there is a lot of healthy, emotional satisfaction and joy in my relationships with my kids now, as a pattern.

So now, in church relationships and home schooling, I feel like God has done the years of preparatory work, and now He’s going to move into the transformation phase, and I need to write about it. So I can figure things out better, and analyze and enjoy the process.

Phillip Keller, in his book A Gardener Looks at the Fruit of the Spirit,” starts out by talking about types of soil in our hearts. Not just for salvation, but as Christians, the soil of our hearts for bearing the fruit of the Spirit.

And I start to see parts of my heart in the “road” soil he describes, the soil that has been tramped, tramped, tramped down and will not bear.

For example, I started to envision my relationship with this person in my church, and you know, my critical thoughts just tramp, tramp, tramp down the “path” between us. It is impossible for joy to grow in this relationship. It’s impossible for kindness to grow in the path of this connection. It’s impossible for meekness, self-control, goodness, faithfulness, and peace to grow where my critical, suspicious thoughts are tramping, tramping, tramping down the soil.

He talks about our amitions as things that also tramp down the soil. And I’ve been analyzing for a long while now why I am home schooling.  I’m fairly sure it is the will of God for me to be doing this, though we are open to other options. But for these years, this year, right now, it’s pretty clear that home schooling my kids is God’s will for me.

But just doing His will doens’t mean I’m doing it for the right reason–or maybe I could say I could do His will but for wrong or selfish reasons. I have my own little ambitions about home schooling, it seems. Like I have this fuzzy ideal in my head about what our home school should be, and I think that this is my ambition, to achieve this … feeling, or ideal. Where I am the center.

So my ambition is tramping, tramping, and the section of my life’s garden is not bearing peace nor joy.

So that is where I am right now. There are other threads of influence in these realizations:

Love is a major theme because of 1 Corinthains. 13– I spoke about this at a baby shower and from Keller’s book we’re going through how the qualities of Love in 1 Cor 13 match with the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5. And how Love is the life of God, and the fruit of the Spirit come only as the actual presence of God (not like in a package separate from God).

Krasivie veshchi

Красивые Вещи

Одно яйцо, сделано в вафельницы

Букет цветов

Книга пуритансие молитв

Чашка для чая

eda, zavtrak, i romantika

еда, завтрак, и романтика

Последнее время, я ищу разные способы, как “добавить” романтику в моей жизни. Для меня, утром очень романтичное время. Особенно с домашной школы– мы не куда не спишим. Можем наслаждаться в этом медленное время.

Я часто хочу фотографировать свой завтрак! Для меня, завтрак очень романтично. Я люблю это время на кухня, когда маленьких ждет свой завтрак, хотят помочь мне налить, мешать, и т.д. Мы часто делаем 2 завтрака, как хоббити (помните, когда Пиппин хотел свой второй завтрак?).

Первый завтрак– что-то украинский и молочный–манка, гречка, овсяанка. Второй, что-то Американский– обычно ваффли или пэнкейки.

Скайла очень любит готовитьь ваффли. Мне очень нравится, что она все сама делает. 

Бабушка передала нам малиновое варение, поэтому, объязательно сделала ваффли!

Малина из своего сада!!! Какие они красивые! Бог так прикрасно сотворяет фрукти и ягоды!

Я на Второй Фазе диета Кервс, и мой выбор сегодня: 2 яйца с помидорами (кстати, я их сбиваю, потом налю их на сковородке для блинчиков– очень вкусно! И овсянка с малиной.

Вот, немножко романтика

my growth

I’m probably changing the most in these years, in the Lord, and it happens so quickly, that I want to grab a few moments to record some things I’m learning.

This year, God led me to not have any Bible reading goals or plan but to pray for an hour a day. I added in a bit of Bible reading and some Bible studies because I sensed the need to keep that in my heart, but I mostly try to keep really focused on praying. I don’t pray an hour each day, but I’ve prayed an hour most days, and many days something less than that.

I’m pleased and thankful with what God is teaching me through this. And I don’t think it’s any coincidence that other, big-for-me life events are happening during this year. Like having to apply for a Green Card for Vitaliy. Writing a book. And taking on a debt to buy our very own! apartment. (Much more to come on that, if it really happens. It’s all in the works still, and I can’t believe it until it’s a done deal.)

God is changing me through prayer.  Partly, I think because He’s using prayer to raise in me the awareness and understanding of the issues I’m struggling with in my heart. So I can give them over to Him to be transformed.

Like, I realized that I’ve been more focused on how I’m having to give up some life dreams I’ve had. And that I’m not really thankful and grateful to God for how He’s led my life.

This is horrific, because I have a wonderful life that I wouldn’t trade for anything! And I want to be so grateful for this! And I realized that GOD is more interested than I am in me being fruitful for His Kingdom. And He knows better than I how to give me a fruitful life.

And that’s exactly what He’s doing every step of the way.

He is also changing me through Andrew Murray. I’m reading and re-reading the book Humility. I’m glad I’m sowing the seeds of this in my heart. God will make it bear fruit.

I’m also reading Murray’s book “Rasing Your Children for Christ,” and that is so convicting that I need to take motherhood and these Child-Full Years and be more set apart unto that spiritual work. This is a constant battle for moms, probably through all earth’s history.

So today, convicted to be more diligent in the ways God was leading me to be, I started cleaning the kitchen, deep cleaning. And I enrolled Vika to help, then Andre and Una got involved, too, and it was really fun!

There are other things I’m doing with them more, too, like praying with them spontaneously and in planned way. This is something God is leading.

Oh, another thing, God is leading me into greater self-discipline in my eating. Even more than the Curves diet. It’s combined with a desire to put some anti-cancer practices into my daily life. So I’ve been doing things like cutting out dairy, drinking green tea, eating less meat and more vegetables, especially more cabbage family foods. Drinking 2.5 liters of water. Some juicing of carrots with barley grass and wheat grass. Stuff like that. I got most ideas from this book I’m reading:

So that’s an update/journal of my life right now.

weight loss, 2017

So, I’m sharing the good, bad, and the ugly about weight loss.

Back in November, I stopped following Phase 3 of the Curves eating plans–that’s the maintainance-keep-adding-muscle-losing-fat phase.

I figured I’d “take a break” for the holidays–Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year. Then, I’d start back again…. You know.

Ha. It’s March and I’ve never started back again. I keep working out three times a week though.

So they offer a repeat Food School– a four-week group where we are back on the diet together and we work on motivating ourselves to keep at this discipline for life. I love doing this work in a group!

So I’m all re-excited about this. I’m back on Phase 1 for a week (1200 cal), to re-set my metabolism. The dietician who leads the class says if it’s too hard with breastfeeding (it was hard the first time–I was feeling really bad sometimes), then to move to Phase 2 (1500 cals). I’m breastfeeding a lot less now, so maybe it will be fine.

It’s not so much the calories that are important. It’s what kind of calories they are– a healthy combo of proteins, carbs and fats. (I’m not going to argue about what’s the right thing, there are just too many opinions. I’m just going to follow this diet because it’s varied  and I have great results on it and it keeps me pretty healthy.)

I’m feeling all poophead that my fat percent is back up to 36.8 (I started at 38.something, then got it down to 29.6). And my muscle is down from 31.7 to 27.9.

But I don’t stay poophead for long! It’s still a huge improvement. And on we go again.

I’m excited!

a minor miracle: I made whole wheat bread!

I’ve tried making whole wheat bread before…. But I don’t remember that it ever worked.

Well, today … IT WORKED!

We ground the wheat grains through the Green Star juicer. I sifted it, and ground again the pieces too large to sift through. This was important.


For the recipe, I used this lady’s video on youtube:

It includes a 1/2 cup of regular, white flour, which I think was also important to the success of this recipe.



It’s so beautiful there, like a part of the decor.





20170117_12333120170117_123312I’ve been thinking about how God made foods so perfectly for the human body–it’s so amazing to contemplate. And I’m trying to put more natural foods into my body as a way of caring for myself as I age.

God is doing a new thing

The first week of January, God kept putting this thought in my heart and in my mouth, in English and Russian. I said it to 3 or 4 different people during that week talking about things from fundraising to having more kids or not.

I’m doing a new thing.

I want to remember this. Renewal is essential to growth. And now, the work of years is coming into “a new thing” in several spheres of my life:

  • Considering putting the girls into school is a new thing.
  • Moving out of childbearing years is a new thing.
  • Fundraising to 100% is a new thing.
  • Midwifery studying coming back is a new thing.
  • Cleaning out my relationships with some people in our church here is a  new thing.

God is doing a new thing in old things.

I looked up that phrase, a new thing, and it’s from Isaiah 43:

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland… give drink to my people, my chosen, the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise.

Yes, that I may proclaim His praise!

And, Lord willing, I’m at an age of maturity in the Lord when I can wait patiently to see the new things come to life in God’s perfect way and time.

the New Year starts

So, I’ve had an interesting first 12 days of 2017. I want to record some things. I love having these journal-like blogs.

  1. I’ve been praying for an hour a day, and it’s …. so interesting. I combine it with fitness– walking or working out. It’s really becoming more and more transformative.
  2. I calculated that since starting to raise support a few months back, we’ve moved from 40% support level to 46%. God is doing a work in this– and it’s not so much about money as about love and sharing and opening my heart. I’ve been asking God to return to me the heart of my teenage self when it comes to passion for missions and raising ministry funds and relationships.
  3. The girls are moving into more independent homeschooling. This is good for us all. I was slowing them down.
  4. I had a crisis one day, realizing that God is brining midwifery back into my life. I had put it into a tomb. But He’s bringing it back in his way. I’m excited about this. At this point, I’m just looking to follow step-by-step what God wants. I’m interested by this because it was a clear motion from God, that this is HIS will, not just something I love. And He’s making it come in a way that it is the right priority in my life, not some all-consuming thing that it so easily can become….. I have a plan and a time line, subject to God’s intervention, of course. It will not be soon, but that’s OK. If it is to be, it will be in the right time.


my 41st birthday memories

Just want to quickly post some birthday memories.

Vitaliy bought me a fitness bracelet– I love it 🙂


Vitaliy and I at Ocean Plaza for my birthday20161227_141408

Skyla made me this card: 20161230_085110

Skyla and Alla (friend) blew up and taped all these balloons to the ceiling of the kitchen early that morning. And they had a pile of presents waiting!


The church gave me this card: — one of the gals in the church, Vika, cross stitched the Bible section!