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Wednesday, November 14, 2012


I love Mitford. In my mind, it's the village of LeRoy, with an even lovelier main street.

Anyway, the main character is an Episcopal priest- Father Tim (I picture Saint Marks church in LeRoy, LOL). I love him! Seriously, I have to remind myself that the characters in the books are not real, and I don't need to pray for them during their struggles. LOL. You think that's a joke. It's not. I'm like, "Whoops! Sorry God, now I'll pray for real people."

I just finished the last book in the series, Out to Caanan. In it, I read about a prayer service where the congregation prayed the Prayer of Confession from the Common Book of Prayer. The author gave glimpses into how the prayer was ministering to a number of characters in the book, how it drew them closer to God, from whatever their starting point. And, I started to pray it along with them (I KNOW THEY ARE NOT REAL) and was reminded of the power of intentional confession. The United Methodist church I attended when very small had a time of silent confession every week. I remember actually calling to mind some specific sins and asking to be forgiven. Most churches do not bother with that anymore. I think it is a mistake. Let us confess our sins!

Here's the prayer from the book:

Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent, for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen.
Episcopal Book of Common Prayer
I think I am going to memorize this. Sometimes it's hard to concentrate and remember every sin, but this just about covers it, and helps me call to mind the specific ways I have not loved God with my whole heart, and how I have not loved my neighbor as myself.
Join me?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Strength for today...

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thy own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

“A man must completely despair of himself in order to become fit to obtain the grace of Christ.” -Martin Luther (1483-1546)

If I believe in Christmas, I can believe that God has a good plan for today.
If I believe that God could take the mess of human sin- spiritual death and darkness, and cure it with the birth of a precious baby, I can cling to the idea that He can take my mess and failure and make something beautiful.

I can believe that God has a good plan, even when my troubles are my own fault. I can pray with David, “And now, Lord, what do I wait for?
My hope is in You.
8 Deliver me from all my transgressions;
Do not make me the reproach of the foolish."
Psalm 39

God knows the frailty of my frame.

Psalm 103
Let all that I am praise the Lord;
with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.
2 Let all that I am praise the Lord;
may I never forget the good things he does for me.
3 He forgives all my sins
and heals all my diseases.
4 He redeems me from death
and crowns me with love and tender mercies.
5 He fills my life with good things.
My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!

6 The Lord gives righteousness
and justice to all who are treated unfairly.

7 He revealed his character to Moses
and his deeds to the people of Israel.
8 The Lord is compassionate and merciful,
slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.
9 He will not constantly accuse us,
nor remain angry forever.
10 He does not punish us for all our sins;
he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve.
11 For his unfailing love toward those who fear him
is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.
12 He has removed our sins as far from us
as the east is from the west.
13 The Lord is like a father to his children,
tender and compassionate to those who fear him.
14 For he knows how weak we are;
he remembers we are only dust.
15 Our days on earth are like grass;
like wildflowers, we bloom and die.
16 The wind blows, and we are gone—
as though we had never been here.
17 But the love of the Lord remains forever
with those who fear him.
His salvation extends to the children’s children
18 of those who are faithful to his covenant,
of those who obey his commandments!

19 The Lord has made the heavens his throne;
from there he rules over everything.

20 Praise the Lord, you angels,
you mighty ones who carry out his plans,
listening for each of his commands.
21 Yes, praise the Lord, you armies of angels
who serve him and do his will!
22 Praise the Lord, everything he has created,
everything in all his kingdom.
Let all that I am praise the Lord.
God has a good plan!

Friday, November 09, 2012

Riga city

Last night in Daugavpils!

Joe finished his 1,000 piece puzzle

I made soup
Angry babushkas out for a walk
Hotel Guttenbergs, Old Riga
Bathroom, complete w/bidet


Random Ceiling Pot

Ana's bed and office area

Door to our room

View upon entering room

Wall art

View from window that open right into street-
I stuck my hand out this window to see if it was raining.
A walk in Riga
I actually took this picture myself. I am proud.
"House of the Blackheads"

Street in Riga

In Latvia, in an Irish Pub. LOL

Church Tower

Little Stone Duckies

Sparkly thing

Stone Dragon
Yeah, I took this pic. I can't help posting it twice. LOL.
Tomorrow, it's back to the theme song, "Up, up and away we go! Into the great beyond. Wherever we go and whatever we do, we're trusting God all along. We will fly, we will soar! Nothing is impossible. We will rise through the storm, trusting God and leaving our fears behind. We will fly!"
Pray for our 20 hours of travel!

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Sightseeing in Latgola

Genovefa (Anastasija's foster mom for the last 3 years) took us on an adventure yesterday!
First we went to Plater Castle in Kraslava. We were almost in Russia!
As you can see, it was extremely lovely weather. HA!
In case your eyes aren't all that sharp, that black thing flying behind me is our umbrella. It's 3 in the afternoon, not midnight as it may appear.
The baker and owner

Nice wave

Sintia, Genovefa, Anastasija, Arwyn

A lovely table
So, let me tell you about bread. RYE bread, to be exact.
Don't hand bread out the window, it will steal your strength. Invite the person in to eat the bread.
Don't eat it hot. It must rest.
But, on the other hand, some say hot bread is good for your health.
Don't be picky, take the piece that is looking at you.
Don't put anything on your first piece, let the bread speak for itself.
Eat the whole piece, because if someone comes along after you and eats your bread, they will steal your health.
And then, the meal.
First, cabbage soup. With sour cream. Then, apple and pumkin slaw, stewed rabbit (that she raised {and probably bonked on the head} herself), sliced pork fat with onions, honey pot, fried dough pockets with cheese curd inside and sugar glaze outside, cheese curd, buttery potatoes,  homemade vodka with honey-ade chaser....
Amazing. And then dancing to traditional Latvian folkmusic.
From there, we went to the Aglona Basilica.
The priests said a special mass for Anastasija and her new American family. We received a blessing from her priest, Father Andzejs. He's a 6'5'' Polish guy. I've met one of those before. And, he is the youngest priest in Latvia (24). And, he drove us home to our apartment in Daugavpils, his hometown. We had some great conversations on that car ride.
Overall, an amazing day. Genovefa told us again that she loves us as her own children. And Anastasija is to call her grandma. Anastasija's godmother (Liga) gave us her blessing as well. I was overwhelmed at the feeling of their wholehearted support of Anastasija becoming part of our family. Lots of tears, definitely the feel of the passing of the baton.
God places the lonely in families.


Sunday, November 04, 2012

Crochet a hat day

Whilst daddy and Ana play their endless games of Go Fish! I put my hook to work.

Day of rest in Latvia!

We went to St. Peter's church today. Standing room only. Hundreds of babushkas. During the sign of peace, all they gave each other were curt little head nods. No one cracked a smile. LOL. I did! I was all like "Peace be with you! Peace be with YOU! PEACE be with you." Grabbing hands, air kissing, generally making an American nuisance of myself. :)

Anyway, we are well. Anastasija is very happy. Still processing her change in circumstances. For example, all the other kids were on vacation from school this week, but go back to school tomorrow. Ana said, half jokingly, "I go to school tomorrow, too, to see my teacher."

Pray for her heart to say it's goodbyes as we hang out in Daugavpils for 3 more days.

Thanks for your prayers! Joe and I were just talking about how smoothly everything has gone so far. Keep up the good work of praying us through this adventure!


Saturday, November 03, 2012

The View from Here


View from bedroom balcony


View from bathroom
 Living Room

View from Living Room
Alley where we come into apartment

Friday, November 02, 2012

Not being from Latvia

Funny stories abound at the moment. For example, we were just trying to explain to Anastasija why Arwyn is chewing on the coffee table. Anastasija says, "baby hungry?" And we say no. So she asks, "Then what?" And then watch us try to mime and use simple phrases to explain that Arwyn is teething. People on the outside looking in would think we are some sort of weird vampire people.

Also, Joe is NOT Latvian. At all. Everyone wears black coats, black pants, and black shoes. Joe is all Carhart coat, jeans, and brown boots. All men shave here. We've seen two other men total with facial hair. And, he's a little tall. And he needs a hair cut. Let's just say, he gets some looks.

I, on the other hand, must look like a native because people speak to me in Latvian all the time, and when I tell them, "No Latvia, just English" they look me up and down and shrug.
However, I am getting good with the language.
I can say: Please, thank you, ice skating, ice rink, hello, good-bye (oos-RAY- ZAY-sha-new-us; no small task learning that one, and then, come to find out, for friends you just say ciao), I'm doing fine, you're welcome, pizza, no, yes...

One of the hard parts is figuring out who is Latvian and who is Russian. We are only 15 minutes from Russia and about half of the people in Daugavpils (DOW-go-peels) are Russian and don't even pretend to speak Latvian. They are very haughty and very offended when I speak Latvian to them.

Another interesting thing is that no one looks around. Walking down the street, people run into each other, do not look at anyone, do not say excuse me, smash their bags into our stroller and never seem to notice that there is anyone else on the sidewalk.

There is a little old lady, (babushka, yes?) who sells apples that look like they were picked out of my front yard. I plan to buy some tomorrow, see how they compare. And, to clarify, by little old lady I mean elderly woman who could kick your butt. Just saying.

Anastasija is doing better. We have been playing Go Fish! all day every day. Today we bought Toy Story UNO. Gotta mix it up, you know? It's rainy today. About 33 degrees. Lovely, really. haha. Warmer than it has been, though. It has been in the 20's since we got here. We have been working on a Thomas Kinkade puzzle and coloring in our big Brave! coloring book.

Yesterday we went to the ice rink. Joe and I were like, "Ana, why so many kids here? Why not in school?" She said "I don't know." Which we are beginning to realize can mean any of these three: "I don't know," "I don't understand your question," or "I don't know enough English to answer your question." So, we asked the social worker who is handling our case and she let us know that this is fall break week. And Ana said, "Yes, this I not tell you." Which, we think would put her response in the thrid category- I don't know enough English to answer this question.

Anastasija took a bath for over an hour yesterday, she was cold by the time she got out. She yelled to me, "Mommy! Look I am swimming!"
 LOL Poor kid, she's from the country, and so are we, so none of us really know what to do all day in a city.
Like....put random things on our heads and walk around.

Joe got pizza today, "Ham and Sausage" LOL- ham and hot dog, I think. Hot dog pizza and fishy water. LOL.

Keep praying for us! Anastasija is making a big adjustment here!

Okay, Skype call coming in from Bergen!


About Me

About Me
I love Jesus, my hubby, my 6 kiddos, my farm, good books and good food.