"In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps."

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Our Story - Part 2

Ok, so I will get these out eventually!!! Yesterday was our 6 year anniversary, and I have also been working on a little road map of our marriage, and I went to publish it last night, but it just didn’t feel right.  So I am taking a break from the madness in my home, and writing this up.

Nick surprised me (and I mean really surprised me since I didn’t get him anything… which he said was perfect… I’m so thankful I have such an easy, thrifty hubby Smile) with a little tea set and some delicious fancy chocolates from Dubai as well as some beautiful, simple earrings that I can wear everyday!  I almost never wear any jewelry other than my wedding and engagement rings and my Aggie ring (A-WHOOP!), so it will be nice to have something pretty to wear on days when I am in full housewife/mom attire!

So, when last we left off during Part 1, I had just ended a relationship with someone who thought that I would date Nick, which I thought was crazy! 

Now that I have had more time to think about it, I also said to Emily “Why would I date Nick?  If I were going to date anyone, it would be Mister T (the names have been changed to protect the innocent although certain people will know exactly who I am talking about, plus Mister T makes the story a little more funny).”  Mister T was a very close friend of mine.  As I mentioned before, Nick and I were in the same circle of friends and knew each other quite well, although we were not close friends, but Mister T and I had been very close for a long time and he was also someone that I admired.  I had a feeling that something might eventually blossom there, and right around the time that I was single, he also became single, which I thought was maybe a sign.

Mister T and I started to hang out more, just as friends, but then strange things started happening.  We would make plans to get together, and then his ex-girlfriend would show up… which Mister T knew about and hadn’t bothered to inform me!  I realized that Mister T was using me to make his ex-girlfriend, who he still had feelings for, jealous!  He was definitely orchestrating some weird little game, and I am nobody’s pawn.  Its amazing how all feelings can be turned off instantly, and I knew that nothing more would ever come of that relationship.  We were still friends, but my respect for him was considerably diminished (and only continued to diminish when he turned into a total sleezeball… I have rarely been so wrong about a person).  I think God made that happen so that I would never wonder what might have been.

So now onward to “liking” Nick!  It happened on a Saturday, the day of the Big Event.  A&M’s big service day.  I had been out cleaning up a house or something like that, and I had gotten back to my house and was trying to nap on the couch.  The “trying” part must have been God, because normally I am an expert napper.

Anyway, my dear friend Henry called, Henry was Nick’s roommate and also classmate from High School.  I can’t remember if we had already made plans or if this was super spontaneous (Henry can you fill me in on the details? Thanks!), but he wanted to know if I wanted to go with him, our friend Kristen Wells nee Champagne, and Nick to Nick’s grandparent’s house in Temple, TX.  I was seriously about to back out.  Reason 1 – I was super lazy (now I am less lazy) back then, and he interrupted my nap. Reason 2 – I am not very spontaneous… but for some reason, I surprised myself and said yes! 

Its weird how you can surprise yourself isn’t it?  Why should anything YOU do surprise you?  Its YOU doing something after all, but its like the Holy Spirit just takes over your body and you cannot believe that it is your lips forming those words!  I remember that moment vividly.

So we all headed up to Temple in Nick’s white Toyota pick up truck (we just sold that truck right before we moved!  It had a lot of history for us… maybe I should try to get it back? JK).  The drive was pretty uneventful.

Mema and Papaw’s house was pretty uneventful too.  We were all good friends, and we just sat and talked.  Then we went out to the pasture and built a bonfire (we Aggies love our bonfires!) and sat around talking.  Again, the details are fuzzy… but we sort of paired off, Henry with Kristen, me with Nick and we talked for hours.  Not about anything in particular.

Then the four of us headed back to the house, and we talked some more. There was a lot of talking going on.  And I think Kristen went to bed first.  And then Henry went to bed.  And there was just Nick and I… just talking.  And like the proverbial bolt of lightning, it hit me! I liked Nick Wann.  Nick Wann.  Whoa.  Whoa! WHOA!  I didn’t want to go to sleep.  I wanted to keep talking to him.  I wanted the night to go on forever because tomorrow he might not be so interested in me and wouldn’t want to have anything to do with me!  There’s no way he would even return my feelings because he was so smart, and handsome, and athletic, and nice, and… (There will be several iterations of the above statement before we get to the part where we are happily wed).

Eventually we had to go to bed Sad smile, but I was smitten, and I thought that it was utterly hopeless that Nick would ever return my feelings.

The story of how we started dating will continue in Part 3!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

What we’ve been doing…

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Its starting to look a little more presentable, but we certainly have our hands full!  I can’t wait to show the after pictures (because that means the work will be done).

Friday, May 27, 2011

M-M-M-My Matryoska

We got back from St Pete last night and the movers on our their way with all of things… this means that we will have a busy, busy day ahead of us.  We had a wonderful time in St Petersburg, and I just can’t wait to blog about it, but first I have to sort through the 500+ pictures we took!

But I don’t want to leave any of you without a sneak peek at my Mom and mines new obsession… matryoshka dolls!  It is probably not a genetic thing though because our Isla, who was otherwise an angel our entire trip, screamed like a banshee whenever we tried to get near the market next to Church on Spill Blood!  She cut our shopping short each time… sigh, in the words of my mother “My only regret from our trip is that I did not buy more matryoshka dolls.” Smile

Our spoils… I think we bought even more on a later day, most of these are presents:

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When we were in Moscow we went to a street called Starry Arbot, which was supposed to be a great place to find matryoshkas, and I was kind of disappointed because they were either very ornate or novelty types.  I didn’t see anything that I would want to keep in my home.  In St Petersburg, they had such an amazing selection of different styles, and almost all of them were hand painted and crafted there in St Pete.  They had the cheap ones of course, but so many of them were original and one of a kind.  This is the one I brought home for my personal keepsake.  I love it.

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For Isla’s birthday, Nick wanted to buy Isla a special keepsake matryoshka, but we didn’t find anything in Moscow.  In the meantime, we bought her this Cinderella doll, and made certain to get an inexpensive one so that she could play with it.

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In St Pete, we found this one, and I think that it is just beautiful.  The dolls are each holding a children’s toy and it is perfect for a nursery.  If the vendor had had more than one, I would have bought one for ever pregnant friend I have!  Hopefully Isla will grow to love this as she gets older and want to put it in her own baby’s nursery one day. I love the colors!  My mom has threatened to sneak both of mine home, but I am hiding them until she leaves.

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The two that my mom bought for herself:

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I almost bought this one from right out underneath my mom’s nose!  The lady gave the price, and my mom hesitated, and I blurted out “I’ll take it!”  My mom panicked after that, and managed to negotiate it away from me Smile.

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I am so happy that I found such beautiful little keepsakes that will hopefully follow me wherever I go!  Beautiful little keepsakes of beautiful BIG Russia.  What a blessing that I get to live here!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Splendor in the Grass

On Tuesday my Mom, Isla and I were invited to picnic out on the property of our friends Anya and Alexey.  It is absolutely beautiful there, it is on a hillside with a view of the mountains and a vineyard just across the road.

The guest of honor was their friend, Julie, who was visiting from our church’s sponsor church in Spokane, Washington. They have known each other for years, and it was Julie’s birthday.  Julie travels to Russia at least twice a year, more if she can afford it!  She has a passion for sharing the Good News, and specifically sharing the Good News in Russia Smile.  She loves everything about this country!  She is also the way that Nick and I learned about our church, Calvary Chapel Novorossiysk. 

Nick and I had just found out that he had been selected for the position in Russia, and we had been praying about it.  One thing we knew for certain was that we had to find a church in Russia!  We didn’t want just any church or an English speaking church inside Russia or a home church with only other expats.  We felt so strongly that if God wanted us IN Russia, than we were here to SERVE Russia in some way.  We wanted a place where we could have fellowship with other members of His church, we wanted a community, and we wanted to be able to directly impact unchurched Russians. It would have been very easy to get here and say “Oh well, there is no English church here… I guess we cannot attend church for the next X number of years! We have an extra day to sleep in, hooray.” But most importantly… how could we move to a country where so few people know Jesus and not try to help spread his Good News among the lost in some small way?  Obviously, staying at home with our noses in our Bibles was not the the purpose that God had for us here.

And then I clicked on the Facebook Novorossiysk page and saw a tag “Headed off to Calvary Chapel Novorossiysk, please pray for me!”  Nick and I were so excited!!! There was a protestant church in Novo!!!  It was an answer to our prayer. Even better… Americans visited there!

And the lady who posted that little message… here she is folks! The birthday girl. Smile

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I guess Facebook is good for some things!

It is just so amazing to look back on how God works.  Nick and I took the Perspectives class back in 2007, and if you are a Christian (any denomination) and you have not taken it, then you absolutely MUST.  It is the most life changing class that I have ever had.  Let me tell you if I have to sit in on another Bible Study on how to be a better (wife, mother, friend, person, fill in the blank) then I just might scream (although I cannot seem to tear myself away from books on the same subjects)!  This class is NOT about looking inward (me, me, me), this class is about  the Heart of God, about knowing His heart, and learning what breaks His heart, and learning what His passion is… which is drawing all people back to Him!

So I set out to write a straight forward picnic post, and instead I got off on a tangent, oh well, that happens some times!  The truth is that Nick and I have wanted to help out with His passion for a long time, and we have even alluded to it a couple of times.  I don’t fully know what purpose God has for us here, and I have a tendency to focus on BIG things, but it might be something very small and simple.  I don’t know… and sometimes I am worried that a girl whose happiness seems to be directly correlated to the availability and speed of her internet and who is also hard hearted and hot headed will be totally unusable to Him here… I don’t know.  I guess I will just have to wait and see.

Ok, ok, this post was about a PICNIC… so without further ado… our picnic!

Almost Everyone

Everyone singing the Birthday song!

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Isla and little Liosha… I could just eat him up!  He is such a cutie pie.

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More Liosha! Seriously… can I take him home with me?

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This is Masha.  She is a missionary who helps out at the church.  We have not had much chance to get to know one another, but hopefully we will once my Russian gets better!

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Matthew! He is four and is such a sweet heart.

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The mighty hunters, Liosha and his mommy, Anya!  She is just about the nicest person I have ever met.

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My mom and I.

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Ugh! Pick me up, pick me up!

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I love both of these pictures of Isla and my mom!

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Our pastor, Ilya.  He speaks English like a native speaker with only a slight accent.  6 months in the states, and I bet he would have no accent at all.

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Umm… I think he would fit in at a Texas church… don’t you?

Texas Pastor

Alexey and his older son, Vanya.

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Isla is such a wriggle worm these days.  She is always on the move! I am not looking forward to our St. Petersburg flight tomorrow.

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The pint sized explosion herself… Ira, holding Matthew! She is so wonderful. I wish that I had a better picture of her too.

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Busy Timothy! I did not get a good picture of him, but he is just about the sweetest little boy in the world… he has my permission to court Isla one day… when she is 25!

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Some more random pictures from that day!

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Anyway, I have to go and pack now!  Blogging takes forever sometimes.  I don’t know how people who get out a post a day do it!

Tomorrow we leave for St. Petersburg… I am super excited!!!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

What we’ve been up to…

Yay!  We finally have internet. Smile

Its hard to believe that my mom has already been here for a WEEK!  And even harder to believe that she is leaving in less than TWO WEEKS!!!  We are going to miss her so, so much, but I know that others are missing her a lot too.  I have to give a special thanks to my dad for giving her up for so long!

Now at least I know that my mom is probably the only person in the world who can travel for over 20 hours to get somewhere and be almost completely unaffected by jet lag.  No kidding.  It was like she lives on Novo time in Houston!

I had such big plans for her trip, but so far we have only done a tiny fraction of what I thought we would accomplish.  Mostly I have been showing what there is to do around town and visiting our regular haunts. Sadly we probably lost at least a day just taking care of her registration! Here is her hotel room that she is “staying” in so that she can be registered.

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And the bathroom she shares with three other rooms Smile.

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Don’t worry… she doesn’t actually stay there.  We just stop by every day for a few minutes to make an appearance.

We took Cookies shopping to our local mall and market.  We also spent a very long day in Krasnodar at IKEA.  I thought I was DONE visiting IKEA for a while… that trip wore me out, but I am already learned about a few things I forgot to get.  We have also been rearranging and reorganizing my house.

Here is Tabris; it is the nicest supermarket in our city, and lucky for us, it is only about 100 yards or so from our apartment building.

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Here are my three favorite people in the world standing on the mini promenade that leads to our big promenade.

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This is our favorite restaurant, if it being the restaurant we visit the most makes it our favorite!  It is close to our house and so kid friendly.  There is even a little play area for kids, and the waitresses always bring Isla toys to play with… however, kid friendly as it is, note the lack of stroller ramp.  I am so glad my Toro is light enough for Nick to carry it up the stairs (I owe a final review on that).

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Isla at dinner Smile.

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I got to take my Mom to our church here!  Here are some pictures of it.

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Of course Stage Cookie has been taking a lot of pictures of Isla and spoiling our girl rotten. I am going to do a post on all of my favorites once she leaves.

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We have been doing a few other things that will get posts of their own and Saturday we leave for St. Petersburg!  We are going to have a blast!!!!!

Pure and Undefiled Religion

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