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I was texting my SIL in Togo last night (amazing, right?), and we got to chatting about our next trip to the U..S. (2017-ish), and I’ve been having strange apprehensions this time around about what is usually a welcome time. So I wrote out my specific apprehensions, and  I want to list them here and figure out ways to work through them.

beautiful image I caught yesterday-- worthy of a calendar!

beautiful image I caught yesterday– worthy of a calendar!

  1. I feel more and more of an outsider when I go back to America. Fourteen to fifteen years of history have been lived without me, and I feel less and less American in my cultural experiences and expectations. … This political season in the U.S. has a certain darkness to it that is …. weird to me. Instead of solidarity or patriotism, it’s feels, from afar, like a long, slow earthquake is creating new fracture lines…. And at the same time, it becomes harder and harder for me to sympathize with certain issues, because … I am just in tears thinking about how glad so many people on earth would be for the chance to live in America. From the outside, from the 2nd- and 3rd-world outside specifically, it’s an amazing place of wealth, freedom, and opportunity … comparatively speaking.
    1. My answer for this, so far, is our home church. They are an amazing place of healing and diverse unity. The oaks of righteousness. The shining stars of my life. They are not perfect, but I think of them, and I am comforted knowing that I am going there. They are so good at loving and making people feel loved.
  2. We are considering putting Skyla and Vika into school.This raises of huge level of stress for me.
    1. So I talked to Vitaliy, and we are both OK with not putting them in school. We’ll delay this decision, and home schooling is a fine option, too.
  3. Fundraising. Period.
    1. We are reading Scott Morton’s book Funding Your Ministry, and … we may start this process while we’re still here, in our comfort zone. Fundraising takes us out of our comfort zone, so maybe it’s better to ease into it while we’re still here in our comfortable place. …. We’ll see.

it’s warm! it’s spring!


Spring is so adventurous, pleasant. Our apartment complex is situated next to a forest, and it’s so nice to walk, ride bikes, dink around. Trying to take advantage of it! The change of season, the outside-ness.

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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 🙂

Spring, 2016


It’s such a lovely spring. Skyla and I have been taking Una out to play on the playground, then on the walking trail through the woods.


20160405_112059Walking trail:


Unusual bird we spotted:


Turban sisters:


Una likes to fall asleep in her high chair (don’t worry, we take her out right away and lay her down):


Spring Days …. !

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 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.

Почему назвали “Юна”


У меня магистр в литература (г. 1999), и в курсе об английской литературе, мы читали известную, длинную, аллегорическую поэму Эдмунда Спенсера, “Королева фей”.

Уна–она прекрасная, совершенная девушка в этой поэме. Символизирует единства. Мы произносили ее имя как “Юна”. Я тогда вела список имен для моих будущих детей, и написала туда “Una”.

Помогает Редкроссу в этой борьбе Уна (Единая), принцесса, посланная отцом к королеве фей просить об избавлении от змея, и возлюбленная героя, с которой он сочетается браком после победы над чудовищем. (вики)

И вспомнила, когда была беременна с четвертым. И мы решили, если девочка, будет “Юна”.

Нашла недавно детскую книгу (на англ.)– краткая версия этой поэмы. Андрей очень ее любит!!! Там ЮНА!!! Там ДРАКОН!!! Больше не нужна 🙂



Юна и ее герой


Юна и … Юна!!!


Ночные стражи


…когда я вспоминаю о Тебе на постели моей, размышляю о Тебе в [ночные] стражи… Пс. 62:7

Сегодня, очень очень рано, я была “на постели моей”, и Бог открыл мое понимание о чем-то.

Думаю иногда о смерти, как его понять и принимать в Боге. И сегодня, я поняла, что день смерти– это будет самый счастливый день в моей жизни. Мы думаем так о дне спасения, о дне свадьбы, о дне рождения ребенка. … А день смерти … лишь печаль. …. ?

Я смотрела на FaceBook фотки моей подруги и ее деток. Ее муж служит в армии, и он не был дома почти год– был в другой стране на службе. И он наконец-то приехал домой. И фотки показывали, как его жена и дети там ждали самолета в аэропорту, как они там сидели, потом стояли, ждали, … и как они первые видели друг друга! И обнялись и поцеловали и смотрели и потрогали ….

И потом, в этих ночных стражах, Бог дал мне такой понимание, что смерть для нас как-то так. Мы наконец-то видим нашего самого лучшего Друга. Долгожданного. Будем ждать, видеть, потрогать, посмотреть, поцеловать, обнять ….

Самый лучший, долгожданный день в жизни.

Истинно, истинно говорю вам: кто соблюдет слово Мое, тот не увидит смерти вовек. Ин.8:51

Да, и мы знаем, что (Кого) мы увидем тогда….

за столом


“Домашний Комфорт” (типа Уют в Доме)

Мое учебе домашнего хозяйства идет!

В этой книге больше 800 страниц! Автор пишет о том, на пример, как это важно кушать вместе, как семья. Я во многих книг читала этот совет. И мое внимание на ежедневным меню (нашего дома) способствует это, я заметала.

Я не очень люблю планировать меню, но я опять приду к этому делу. Решила, что за этот год, завтрак будет простой (йогурт, яйцо, или овсянка)–быстро делается перед школой, и потом мы можем сделать второй завтрак или на обед или на ужин (или как снэк) если мы хотим. Я очень люблю готовить завтрак, и детям тоже нравится таких блюд. И потом одну большую еду на день.

Американский ужин:


Дети не всегда в настроении, но хорошо быть вместе регулярно: Учимся разговаривать, практикуем вежливость, интересуемся друг в друге …


Дети мне помогают на кухню больше последнее время. Раньше, часто раздражали мне вовремя приготовление пищу. Не знаю, или я поменялась или они, но хорошо работать в месте на кухню. …. Андрюша любить взять картошки из шкафа (где лежат), и он даже чистил одну!


Пробуем новый, делаем и старый. Что-то по-американским, что-то по-украинским.




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