Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Fall Decor for a Special Room

One room of our house is dedicated to ministry, where we have services and sometimes English classes, etc. We dug out the little golden candleholder screws from our wedding back in Indiana to make candleholders around the room. For a while we had hurricane-type glass around the candles, but they got broken. I have put flowers or pine garland around the candles to give a bit more seasonal decoration.

Last year I found a fall swag or garland, (I'm not sure which you would call it) that I wanted to divide to make candle rings. I never got it done.

When we took down the fish decorations from the party, it was only logical to put the fall decorations up. But they still looked totally inadequate. We bought green candles and found a few more artificial veggies. Katrina bought a vase and filler for it. The leftover she gave me to use in our fall decorations. We found some ceramic pumpkins and here is what we came up with. Katrina made new swag.

We added walnuts that fell from our trees to the rings.

The garland and swag. It's not normal church decoration but it does fit the theme of fall and harvest.

Thanksgiving or Harvest Day over here, is primarily a church celebrated holiday, more than a family one. A full and colorful display of samples of the year's harvest is set up in the church. The service has extra poems recited and special songs. The bounty of the display is given away to a needy person. And sometimes the church has a potluck dinner afterwards. One of our teenager's moms has promised to come for our Thanksgiving Sunday. So we need to get things together and have one so we can get her to church!! And no, there is no turkey for their thanksgiving!

Our vining plant in the window with fall additions. I bought this plant as a tiny sprig in the bazaar, not long after we came. This plant won't be had by many Ukrainians in their house because it might cause bad health or fortune.

The last pumpkins came in this crate. The doily was crocheted by Tanya, a good friend and regular attender.


The car lights shining on our neighbors' flowers at night gave a totally different effect. I tried to capture it. The different shadows and colors show up a bit better in the original photo on my computer than it does on the blog. But the reality is still a much prettier moment. I guess I need to study photography.

Monday-from Vova's viewpoint

While we were in Nikolaev (grocery shopping, etc.) I wanted some tools for my bike. I got the tools and could not wait to get home. As soon as we got home, I asked Seth for the keys to the shed (where the bike was). I started working on my bike. I tightened my back brake. Then I started working on Allona's bike.

Sunday--a Busy Day

Sunday was a bit busier than sometimes because there were more than normal to stay for lunch. Then three neighbor girls dropped in to stay until the afternoon children's service. Total people at lunch numbered 21.

When we got everybody delivered back home after children's service, we spent around an hour and fifteen minutes, counseling (if such a word can be applied to us) before Dave left to pick up people for the evening service. Please help us pray for this family caught up in indecision and turmoil.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Waterfall

When we were looking for a site for youth camp, some friends told us that there was a beautiful waterfall not too far away. That was in June. Dave and I looked for it on our anniversary date, asking everywhere but couldn't find it.

Today we set out with Anya who knew where it was. Her children came with us. Her husband had to stay home to get their yard straightened up for their Thanksgiving service tomorrow.

We went straight to the waterfall. Anya was pretty disappointed because much of the water had been dammed off to make a pond above the falls. All of us thoroughly enjoyed it. Here are some of the Kodak moments.

Anya sitting with her baby Kolya.

Andrei holding his baby brother, Kolya

Here's the whole family minus "papa."

Baby Kolya (9 mos) chewing on a cucumber . . . a bit young but it's nourishment!
Seth is living dangerously!!!

Here I am among the reeds.
And groans and misery, everyone posed for a family picture, too.

Something Fishy

We used a fish theme party to reward our Kids' Klub kids this time. The Bible point was that we can be fishers of men.

We had fish-shaped fish sticks and french fries, "seaweed" salad with some crab sticks in it instead of bacon or ham, sea aquarium jello salad with a little dolphin on top of the blue waves and dirt cake with gummy worms for dessert.

One of the games was to eat a candy bar off of a "fishing line."

Another was to tag another person blindfolded, then the two hold hands and tag another until all are tagged.

One team got points by making the other team laugh by making fish faces and actions.

The highlight was probably fishing behind the board for game instructions and a small prize. Katrina handled that. Doesn't she look like a real katfish?


Vova excitedly volunteered to help paint the gate. It's right under the fence that Dave is putting up to keep the German Shepherd in. It hasn't turned out as exciting as it was supposed to be. But what Vova has done is a help.

Allona loves popcorn as much as the rest of us. . . . about 11 years ago someone helped us ship a 50 lb bag of popcorn over here. Now we can get it either in Metro, a Sam's type of store, or in the bazaar in the animal feed section, most of the time. Allona has learned to pop it and we eat it more than any other snack.

Almost NO Flies

Ukraine is very agricultural. In our town of 14000, a neighbor two houses down has two cows. We get milk from her. On the other side are neighbors that have goats, geese and chickens. And windows with screens are newly come to the country.

Last fall flies plagued us no end, especially in the kitchen. We bought several rolls of fly tape and hung them from the kitchen lights. It was more than a little disgusting to bump into one that was a little low and get the sticky, fly gunk in our hair.

Dave built a screen door at the beginning of my blogging adventures. This summer, I found a circle that sticks to the windows and poisons flies. We've also had fly repellent plugged into the electrical outlets. The result is almost NO flies. I am so very, very thankful.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Up and Down and All Around

This story is mainly for my kids--because I didn't get any pictures and they know what the pechka is. Maybe next time I'm there, at Osikova, I can.

In traditional, old Ukrainian cottages, heating was done with wood or coal. Often a special fireplace stands in the wall between two rooms. This is called a "grooba."
Another kind of fireplace was made more for cooking. The black witches' pots that you see in fairy tales are still used in this kind of fireplace. On top of the fireplace is a high, wide, plastered, brick platform. This fireplace is called a pechka. The elderly, the children and the sick would have the privilege of sleeping on a heated bed when they slept on the platform.

When we met our visitors last Monday, there was 1) a pastor from Iowa 2) a guitar player from Indiana, 3) a Ukrainian/American translator--in America for 10 1/2 yrs and 4) the pastor's 13-year-old grandson.

By the time we picked them up, got something to eat and visited Ramon, it was around 9 pm when we got to Osikova and on a chilly, damp evening. We drug out air mattresses. The Ukrainian asked me, "how do you work this thing"--referring to the grooba. We got the grooba going, heating the two rooms on either side of the wall. We gave the guests those two rooms. Dave and I chose to sleep on the pechka but we had no ladder or stool to use to climb up there. It's shoulder height and the air mattress stuck out over the end.

I climbed up on a chair. Dave made another step with his hands and I tried to pull myself/scramble up. It worked halfway!! The other half, Dave gave me a Winnie the Pooh type shove on over to the pechka and then mused . . . "now can I get up?" I'm sure a video clip of the shoving moment would have been pretty funny and embarrassing. Needless to say, we didn't make the effort for any more errands during the night.

After a semi-reasonable night's sleep, we got up to get breakfast for our guests the next morning. Then I discovered that I had left my glasses in a cubbyhole at the far end of the bed. Up went Dave a second time. He says I planned that, "special."

After delivering our visitors to the airport, we rushed home, making one stop in 300 miles. Wednesday we spent the day shopping in Nikolaev, doing this errand and that. Thursday we pushed our way through school and had a service in the village in the afternoon. Friday we had school and I tried to catch up on wash. By Saturday I was exhausted and that was the day we gave the kittens away. AND we ran out of water. AND it had been dreary and rainy all week. AND the kittens' mama has been wandering around the house crying plaintively day and night (from 2 am on). Needless to say, it wasn't a good time.

But now, it came to PASS and the water is on. The mama cat is still crying but not as much. School is going well today. It's cloudy but not raining. There's a beautiful picture I saw last night that I want to capture tonight. Maybe I'll work on finishing my quilt this evening.

PS. In the middle of youth camp Dave took off to help a fellow who had a van full of three boys, a load of produce and four baby pigs. The fellow and his wife just dropped in to get acquainted and to say thanks . . . with a bag of potatoes. Here are Sasha and Lena having tea. Sasha says he's read John Wesley's teachings and thinks they are very good.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Windshield wipers

In the middle of the multi-lane Kyiv traffic, our windshield wipers were being simply "capricious." When it was raining, they wouldn't work. When it stopped raining, they started.

We started the 300 mile trip home, trying to hurry to end our children's wait for us and the wipers continued their craziness. We had stopped a few times. Dave tapped the wiper motor and they started working again. I could picture us stopping every few kilometers to tap that motor.

I prayed that either God would help me to accept the stopping so often or that He would help the wipers to work better. They stopped twice after that. We stopped to tap on the motor once. The other time they started again on their own. That was much, much better than it had been earlier in the day. Thank God!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

No One to Yell at the Kids

Seth noticed that our neighbor's gate was open as he went to get milk this morning. A coffin lid was stood up against the wall of the house. Funeral flowers stood around.

Our elderly neighbor had died. He was a war veteran. When Brother Poe was here, I hoped that they could better relate to each other so we went over to visit. The neighbor was polite and friendly but let it be known that he liked his life with his drinking parties now and then. Today he's gone.

His only son stood, with controlled grief, just like he was supposed to, close to the casket. His daughter sobbed.

The Orthodox priest led the song chant begging God's mercy. Then to quiet and comfort the family his group sang of eternal quietness.

After we were invited to the funeral meal. We went for the sake of the living, even though the traditions of "blessing/praying for the spirit of the dead" continued there. No, we didn't pray for our neighbor; just grieved with the family.

It was the daughter-in-law who lived with this "grandpa" who commented. "Now, there won't be anyone to yell at the kids anymore when they get into things. It'll be so quiet without him."

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Info bits

We bought another van seat in Odessa.

Here's how Dave sleeps in allergy season, a handkerchief on either side!

Almost a year ago, Tanya gave me fabric for my birthday. A few months later, I managed to cut it to size for a table cloth. At that point my sewing machine didn't cooperate, so she sewed the tablecloth up for me. While everyone else went to Odessa, I used the leftover fabric together with some plain canvas, and dish towel fabric to make curtains. It's a pretty big accomplishment because I don't get to things like this very often. I prayed that God would show me how to put the fabrics together so that the windows would not look as if I just barely had enough material. This is the result. I like them much better than the last curtains.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Mis ing!

Friday, Dave started to put all the parts we had fixed on the Mazda so we could use it to pick up children on Sunday. He got the radiator installed. He got the sending unit installed. We didn't want to make an extra trip to order the window. We'll try to do it the next shopping trip.

And then he came in, scratching his head. "Can you believe it? I don't know why anyone would do it! The driver's seat is missing from the Mazda!"

Pray with us, that the "devil's scheme will work for God's glory." It's back to Odessa for us to search the junk yards for a driver's seat.

Handicapped Car

This type of little car is almost a thing of the past. It was given by the government to people on disability so they could get around.

It has two seats, a motorcycle engine, hand controls and tiny wheels.

Sightseeing in Odessa

Since we were there, we took Katrina to see some of the sights of Odessa. We went past the souvenirs. We walked to the steps going down to the port. We copped out and rode the tram car down the hill and back up again. Because it was Thursday, we saw just a few brides. On the weekends there are many, many of them, all dressed in lacy white.

This cow is always interesting to see. It's been repainted. Allona and Vova asked for a picture.

This is a sign made of flowers. It's supposed to tell what's being done behind the construction screen.

I love the beauty of these flowers, fountains and stately buildings. I tried to take a picture of Allona and Vova through the water droplets of the fountain; it didn't turn out.

Repair Time

Dave has been working on the Mazda this week. He took the radiator out and took it to a repair shop. He ordered a temperature sending unit. And we tried to get a used window to replace this cracked one. Before he left for the US, we had checked the two junk yards at Nikolaev for Mazda parts. . . none.

So we went to Odessa, where there's an area with junk yards on every corner, probably twenty-five junk yards or so. We looked at all of them that carried parts for Japanese vehicles and vans. Several had windows that would fit a Mazda van, but not ours.

We gave up on used windows. We'll try to order one.