Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Clubhouse Creation

  It's been many months since our little backyard had any attention so I made it today's project.  I swept and tidied the tiny patio.

I trimmed the grapevines.  I carried 3 loads of grass-cuttings, Christmas tree clippings, and grapevine trimmings to the garbage dumpsters down the road.  Then I tackled the cellar.  I swept out the spider webs and reorganized nearly everything to make room for the kids to play down there.  In the past we've never allowed the kids down in the cellar but with the new arrangement, the paint, tree saw, lighter fluid and other dangerous things are hopefully out of reach behind chain link. 

And now there's even room on the shelves for a few of their toys.  The kids promptly renamed the cellar "The Clubhouse" and set to making it inhabitable.

Then I finished off the job by mowing the lawn.

Ahhh...that's much better.  We don't have much backyard space but we have made the best of what we have.  Now the cellar...I mean, clubhouse... gives the kids a little more room to play and pretend.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Longing for a New Heaven and New Earth

Abigail nearly cried herself to sleep tonight.  We have been following the story of a micro-preemie, Gracie Lou, born a little over a week ago.  She was born at 26 weeks gestation but developmentally was 22 weeks.  Today the doctors removed her from the incubator and gave her to her mother to hold as she died.  She's fought hard to live.  I don't know this baby or this family but I cry openly. 

At bedtime Abigail asks, "Why? Why does God let this baby die?"  Don't we all ask this question!  In a brave attempt to calm Abigail's fierce and righteous anger at this tragedy, I told her, "God is going to hold Gracie now.  She is going into his arms."  I turned the conversation to what it will be like when Jesus returns and we live in a New Heaven and New Earth.  "No more crying, no more dying.  We will run and play as princesses and princes with the King Himself!"  Abigail's eyes lit up, "Really?  Will I really be a princess?"  And Matthew asked, "Can I be a knight?"  Abigail added, "-with a noble steed." 

"YES! YES! And we will play and build robots and ride horses...."  The kids continued to add details to this beautiful scene.  Then the inevitable question, "When???  When will Jesus return?" 

"Maybe tomorrow, my children, maybe tomorrow....  Sweet dreams."

Traffic in Pedestrian Zone

Like most European cities, the center of our town is also a pedestrian zone.  However, many aspects of Ukrainian society do not function as they should.  The pedestrian zone in Mukachevo is over-run by automobiles.  Many of the young thugs seem to race their Mercedes down the walking streets without any regard for the moms pushing a stroller or the two-year old running happily along.  Once a car honked at me for being in his way.  I wasn't in any hurry to be pushed off to the side.  In principle, children should be able to run carefree and lovers walk hand-in-hand without fear of being hit by a car.  We are only a block from the pedestrian zone and it would be ideal if the children could ride their bikes there.  Unfortunately, in order to find a safe and flat place for them to ride, we have to drive them to a park on the other side of town.

Family Update

Abigail is finishing the last few weeks of first grade and is reading very well.  In just the past month her reading ability just skyrocketed and she’s willing to tackle lots of new words.  She does very well in math this year since we switched to Math-U-See.  We love the Sonlight curriculum and can’t get enough of the great books we get to ready together every day.  Abigail loves to draw and color.  Every day there are at least two or three more masterpieces to add to the overflowing box of artwork.  

Matthew is completely obsessed with Wall-E (If you aren’t familiar with Wall-E, he’s a Disney/Pixar robot.)  Matthew eats, sleeps, draws, watches, dreams, Wall-E.  On the same day that he learned to write his name, he learned to write “Wall-E”.  Nearly every day he tells us which of the Wall-E robots he still needs for his collection.   Matthew is very eager to join Abigail in home school.  It will be a bit challenging for me to figure out how to balance time with both of them but so many other homeschooling moms do it that I know it can be done!  

Elizabeth is now 2 ½ and can say anything she wants to. She isn’t one to wait around for mom or dad to help and will figure out a way to accomplish almost any task that she puts her mind to. This often leaves us picking up the pieces but it’s hard to tie down a “go-getter”. Her sweet displays of affection enrapture us and we never tire of her enthusiasm for life (although we are relieved when bedtime finally comes). We really enjoy seeing the differences in personality between the kids and discovering their individual strengths.

George has been way too busy.  We thought that the intern pastor would relieve more of the load, which he has, but there are other responsibilities and challenges that all too quickly fill up that space.  There have been many challenges at church.  One person in particular has done some things that are in stark opposition to the church’s values and principles.  Trying to address these problems has taken lots of valuable time and added a lot of stress.  On a positive note, George has been recently approached by a couple of people (one of them a Roman Catholic priest) and asked to mentor them.  George is also providing some pre-marriage counseling to a young couple planning to marry in May.  George has been very encouraged by the Timothy Leadership Training that he just hosted and he’s eager to see this program grow and develop here in Ukraine.

I spend most of time with the kids but really enjoy leading an English Bible study and participating in a book club.  I spend my free time reading blogs and Facebook and sometimes get the opportunity to make a video of the kids or work on their photo albums.   

New to Blogging

I have recently starting reading and following other blogs and for some time have been considering starting my own blog as a way of recording some of the events of our lives.  Maybe there are some people out there who would be interested in following along.