molting

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I feel exactly like I’ve molted.

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1. to cast or shed the feathers, skin, or the like, that will be replaced by a new growth.
2. to cast or shed (feathers, skin, etc.) in the process of renewal.

Today, in all this long process of analyzing my life, I feel like a new person is starting to come out.

First, a few days ago, I started thinking that I’m probably dealing with disappointment rather than depression. So I read a bunch of stuff about the difference between those two things and how to resolve disappointment.

Second, I am willing at this point to resolve disappointment, rather than live in bitterness or disillusionment. This is important. I’m not sure I always would have been ready for this. It’s been a years’ long process of getting ready for this.

Third, working through to humility and acceptance is giving me a renewed sense of hope and excitement about life.

I’m able to take with me (further into life) the good things I’ve learned and experienced in these “disappointment years,” like becoming a doula, having home and unattended births, and learning about gentle parenting. And now I can leave behind the things that are causing me disappointment, frustration, and feelings of unfulfillment– not becoming a midwife, why did I attend BJ? and XX?  … And I can see and appreciate the connection between the frustrating things having led me into the good things I have now. My desire to be a midwife led me to great births and better parenting. Attending BJ and XX is exactly what led me to Vitaliy. 

Accepting my life as I am now (rather than living in frustration of who I am not and what I am not doing) gives me joy. I prayed today, just excited that I am adult, that I have four kids, live in Ukraine, we home school.

I’m able to feel emotional value of those things in my heart! It’s so joyful!

I’m very thankful for all this, and I’m trying to hold on to these moments and not rush out of this. Next steps begin to crystallize.

Home schooling: I need to become my well-researched, non-conformist, confident self. So I’m in the process of becoming this. I’m reading, researching, being open to God’s leading.

This might sound stupid, but it’s important to me. I want to get my weight to a good place. I’ve regained 14 lbs, and it irritates me to death. So, this is one of the priorities of this next half of my life. Get those 14 lbs back off and keep them off…. Doing that.

Enjoying the moments. With little kids. Not all of them, but more of them. And to be an enjoyable person, not one weighted down by the past.

Another thing I realized was that the dreams I feel frustrated about– like not doing birth work and not doing certain ministries that I love– God gave me a sense of hope. That hey, my life is not lived yet. Anything can happen! But living this period well is essential to moving into a good future.

fundraising

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For me, fundraising is definitely a journey. I’ve come into this with a lot of baggage. However, I also am thankful for this journey. It has given me rich experiences, especially as a missionary, which have taught me a lot.

Fundraising has been a matter of prayer for years, and I’ve gone through periods of intense questioning and learning. I don’t remember now what brought up this current period. … Oh, yes. Now I remember some of it … and I’m not going to tell you about it.

:)~

Let me just share the current progress.

Vitaliy and I are reading and re-reading Scott Morton’s book, Funding Your Ministry. He answers every question of conscience I’ve ever had, and even some I haven’t had–imagine that.  He has a whole chapter on the subject of conscience, so hey, I am not alone.

Insert thankfulness here: Thankful for Vitaliy and I going through this together. For our shared concerns about fundraising and our shared answers.

We worked through the budget in the back of the book and made up a budget that’s been approved by our mission agency. Our mission agency is also going through a phase of growth about this topic, so we are all growing together, and that’s another good thing. God is matching us up.

Thankfulness insert: We are currently at approximately 32% support…. That’s a good thing ,too!  We’re not starting this cycle from zero.

Vitaliy’s swamped with ministry stuff right now–let me just write that out– you can pray for him! 2 upcoming days of Easter evangelism (May 1-2), a week of counseling classes (May 3-5), homework for that course (ongoing), and getting ready for the church training in May 6-8. But we’re slowly going through Morton’s book and working through incorporating his suggestions.

Thankfulness insert: Our faithful supporters and supporting churches. They are generous and good to us, and we are just amazed by the Lord living in them.

We recently firmed up dates for our next trip to the States, August 2017. And our mission agency wants us to be at full support before we return, so we will be busy planning our time there even now.

This is all terribly exciting.

some pretty photos

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I was dinking around with the “magic focus” feature on my phone camera, and these photos were interesting:

A spring bud:

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Our tea (I think it’s thyme): 20160410_155553

 

Our mulberry jellly:
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My salad (named “Armenia”)

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Another spring bud:

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2-language kid

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I want to remember a couple of words that Andre makes up that mix English and Russian.

Two examples: “Я хочу сидеть на lap-е.” He is saying, “I want to sit on [your] lap. So he says, “I want to sit on” in Russian, then says “lap” in English, and adds the Russian prepositional ending -e (said like yeh).

Yesterday, we were eating blinchiki with babushka’s yummy strawberry varenya/jelly, and he poured on too much, then asked, “Можно от-lick-ать?” He’s asking, “Can I lick it off?” (He likes eating like a dog sometimes.)

от-lick-ать:

от is a Russian verb prefix which has kind of the meaning of taking something away.

lick– English, to lick

ать– the Russian infinitive ending of most verbs.

He does a lot of funny things like this. It’s fun to watch. I don’t remember it so much with Skyla and Vika, but with Andre it’s very noticeable. He’s very verbal and exact generally.

apprehensions

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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.

progress

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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.

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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.

🙂

it’s warm! it’s spring!

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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

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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

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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.

Playground:

20160405_112059Walking trail:

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Unusual bird we spotted:

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Turban sisters:

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

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Spring Days …. !

Ukrainian culture: making kompot

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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.

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

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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.

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