Thunderstorm in Kyiv. I stand at the window, making sure it is just thunder I hear rumbling, and not Russia invading.
To the choirmaster: according to The Sheminith. A Psalm of David.
Save, O Lord, for the godly one is gone;
for the faithful have vanished from among the children of man.
Everyone utters lies to his neighbor;
with flattering lips and a double heart they speak.
May the Lord cut off all flattering lips,
the tongue that makes great boasts,
those who say, “With our tongue we will prevail,
our lips are with us; who is master over us?”
“Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan,
I will now arise,” says the Lord;
“I will place him in the safety for which he longs.”
The words of the Lord are pure words,
like silver refined in a furnace on the ground,
purified seven times.
You, O Lord, will keep them;
you will guard us from this generation forever.
On every side the wicked prowl,
as vileness is exalted among the children of man.
Lately it seems that all I want to read are Psalms. Certain seasons of life drive me to the cries of the Psalmist, the prayers of God’s people.
“With our tongue we will prevail,
our lips are with us; who is master over us?”
I am mad at how forces are manipulating the citizens of Russian and people in eastern Ukraine. I am frustrated that this out of my control, far beyond my reach. I am even more angry when I hear falsehoods echoed by those in the West, people who don’t know what is really going on, but are buying into the lies.
I feel like people who are dissatisfied with the post-Maidan interim government are being fed Russian propaganda. If they weren’t hearing those falsehoods, they would have been patient. The interim government is in place just until full elections are held — elections that the previous administration and the Maidaners negotiated, agreed upon by the Rada which represents all of Ukraine. Yet, within weeks of the interim government being put in place, there were protests and a lot of anger, anger fueled by false claims and propaganda.
I read the words of this Psalm and I see men trusting in words and clever speech. I see me trusting in words, and wanting to be on my soapbox, and counter false claims. I see my own anger and my own false hope placed in clever words.
“The words of the Lord are pure words…”
God’s words are pure words. His Word is true.
God protects His people.
Once again, I repent for my anger. I repent for my anger at other people’s speech, for trusting in my own words.
“The Joy of Relationship Homeschooling” by Karen Campbell!
For years I’ve gotten my mommy-encouragement from Karen, who blogs at Thatmom.Com. The “ThatMom” podcasts are great for when I’m doing dishes and folding clothes. I appreciate her emphasis on “one-anothering” in our families.
I have been reading through on my kindle… slowly… But wanted the paperback copy to lend out. Plus, some books are just better when holding them in your hands. I’ll have a review up. . . eventually.
(Ooooh! Looks like Anne received her copy, too!)
Spring in Ukraine is probably my favorite season anywhere.
Even though this winter was relatively mild, weather-wise, it was not an easy winter. Our evacuation to Poland seemed like a vacation, even with the uncertainty associated with it!
But now it is spring… overnight, leaves are budding and flowers are blooming. The sun is shining and I want to be outside every moment, soaking up the warmth and light.
I am filling my home with flowers. A little babushka was selling lilacs for 7 grivnia a bunch outside the metro, and at the current exchange rate that meant I spent under two dollars for lilacs in the living room and entry. I think I’ll make some lilac sugar and lilac simple syrup before this bounty is gone.
Our home church in Kyiv is the English service of Church of the Holy Trinity. We meet in the afternoon, so Easter Sunday morning was free. We had a special breakfast, and then went to visit Babushka Katya, who is a lay nun with the Moscow Patriarchate.
Babushka helped us take care of the boys when we lived in Kyiv before. C13 was barely a year old when we first arrived. She was always her special one, though she adored all of the boys. Babushka sang Russian lullabyes to C13, took the boys exploring through the parks in Kyiv, and even brought them to her dacha in Crimea.
When we returned to Kyiv, we thought that Babushka would help us with A2 often. But the reality is that she is in a different season in life and is dedicated to her service at the church and the hospital. Babushka is a nurse by training. She was among the early responders to Chernobyl, and was the head of the radiation department at a hospital in Kyiv.
I made pascha bread for the first time this year, rich in eggs and butter. We brought Babushka pascha and eggs that C13 and I dyed. We were able to visit for about an hour and had some special time together. We watched the lay nuns all get ice cream bars after the priest left, and Baby A chased pigeons.
Христос Воскрес! Воістину Воскрес!
Make new friends, but keep the old
One is silver and the other’s gold.
I remember this little ditty from Pixie Scouts, first grade – Adak, Alaska. I was a Navy Brat. Not a full-fledged Third-Culture Kid, but with enough similarities that when I’m going through resources about helping my kids adjust, I recognize myself.
I have friends, old and new, in the US and spread around world. I feel like Facebook was designed for people like me. I have friends tagged by where we lived when we met – California, Texas, Florida, Gtmo. . .
The web adds another dimension. Shared interests bring people together online, acquaintances become friends, online exchanges become real-life relationships.
I remember the first time I got together for coffee with a friend I had previously only known online. Our husbands and kids came along, too. We met in a coffee shop. It was a little tentative. This was the early/mid- 90s and people still raised their eyebrows when you mentioned friends online.
Coming to Kyiv meant that I finally got to meet, in person, a friend I’ve known for years. Anne and her husband Vitaliy live in Kyiv, working with a church, running a rehab center, advocating for safe birth, encouraging mothers, nurturing their own three children, and basically ministering to whomever God brings into their lives. Including me.
Anne is one of those rare friends, an old-new friend, silver and gold.
We have been in Kyiv just over a week. It is an interesting experience to return to a place one once lived, once loved.
So much feels familiar, like home. The mix of old beautiful architecture, post-Soviet utilitarian structures and new construction feels familiar. Though I’ve heard Ukraine is technically in recession (like most of the world), the businesses and construction and improvements since 2005 indicate that the last 8 years have been good to the city.
It probably helps that we’ve arrived in the springtime. Green is everywhere. When I walk down the neighborhood sidewalk (some places paved, some places bricked, some places potholed), everything is blooming. I recognize some of the flowering, fragrant trees and bushes.
The parks seem cleaner than last time – some have broken glass, but the other moms here haven’t warned me yet to do a check for used needles, as was the norm when we were here before. New playgrounds have been constructed. The new urbanism seems to be reflected in the art and design of the parks, like Mosaic Park.
Our new flat is in a region of the city in which I never spent much time. I don’t know how the streets connect over here, we aren’t near a metro station, and we’re learning the public transportation lines around here. We’ve ridden the tram more times in the past week than we did in four years before.
The boys have had so much more freedom here than in Kenya. They’ve explored the neighborhood on their own, walked to the park, gone to the corner market for me, gotten lost on the way home.
I know that our neighborhood is right where God has us for now. The apartment we were assigned is about a ten minute walk from Church of the Holy Trinity, the “big sister” church of the church we were helping to plant. They’ve always had simultaneous English translation during the service, but just recently they began an English language service. While there is something just so sweet in the Spirit in worshiping cross-culturally, reflecting the united Body of Christ, we really so appreciate being able to worship in English. This has become even more important to us as the kids have gotten older. And, It really is amazing to know the pastor and trust there will be sound teaching at a new church.
Everything is new. So much is familiar. It is good.