Saturday, June 30, 2012

New Camera!

I was going to title this post New Baby but that would seem really strange given the most recent post here. 
I thought that I should introduce you to the best gift I've ever received - a new camera! 
This was a graduation present from my parents... this is why graduating is worth it. Forget the diploma ;) 


These are a few of the gems I took after it came in the mail:
A mirror picture (note the pile of boxes on the left of the picture - we're packing slowly but surely)

I happened to have cookies in the oven when the box came, so they became photography subjects too.

You can tell that this isn't genuine... but he humored me because I was so excited to take pictures.

I was also making dinner when the box came... this is what we had: world's best mac and cheese

With the world's best (but ugliest) avocado chicken salad. YUM.

I can't get over the focused foreground, blurry background thing. I love it.
 Dinner. I try so hard. Looks like I was feeding a 5 year old - nope, just my 25 year old husband... 

I have some other really exciting pictures of various pieces of furniture, things on the wall... but I decided to spare you and just do these :) 
Loving it and can't wait to learn how to use the manual settings - there are all automatic.

Monday, June 25, 2012

We Will Rejoice

Recently, I have been reflecting on the goodness and faithfulness of God. 

You see, at the end of May, I had a sneaking suspicion that I was pregnant. My parents and Carson's were in town for a visit, so I wasn't able to go to the store for a test without raising suspicion. So I told Carson and we were both very excited, but also quiet. After they left, right before I left for Ukraine, I discovered that I was pregnant.

We hadn't planned for this child, but we wanted him or her. We prayed for our baby, and thanked God for the blessing that He had given to us. The timing was sort of funny to us, since we discovered right before a six-week trip to Ukraine. We'd planned to start a family after that trip, but we were okay with that.

I was nauseated during my first week in Ukraine. My appetite was gone, and though I didn't throw up, I was tired and felt miserable. I slept a lot. I ate often but very little at a time. I wanted strange things at strange times (but couldn't have them because after all, I wasn't at home). But all of these things were signs that there was a little life, growing inside me. I wanted to tell the whole world, but we thought it best to remain quiet until after I returned, simply because we didn't want all the worries and "what ifs" people might have over being pregnant in a foreign country.

During that week, Carson and I Skyped a little bit, talking about the baby and how I was feeling and such things. Excitement filled our conversations. There was, yes, a little planning and discussion over "the baby".

I didn't feel well on Sunday. Well, I felt fine, but different. I didn't feel sick. I felt almost normal, and that was strange. Most of my symptoms had gone away. I thought that perhaps the hormones were taking a break or letting me off easy. We were in Kiev that day, touring the city. On Monday, Chloe and I saw the team off, and then headed back to Vinnitsa. In a gas station bathroom on the way back, I started to worry and wonder if everything was alright. Things weren't okay. I was concerned.

The next two hours of our drive seemed very long. I prayed for our little baby, the size of a blueberry at the time (according to the internet) almost the whole way back. I was uneasy all night, but knew there was nothing that I could do. I emailed Carson and asked him to pray.

Later in the evening, it became very obvious that I had lost the baby. I sobbed as Chloe hugged and prayed for me. I emailed Carson, since he wasn't online. I think that was the hardest... emailing my husband to tell him that we would never meet our child on this earth. It felt like an injustice, somehow. I hated email and just wanted the real Carson. I had him tell our parents. I couldn't do it. I'd already thought about how we would tell them our happy news and just could not bring myself to tell them not only of the presence of our baby but also of its absence.

I didn't sleep well that night. I cried and slept on and off all the next day. I didn't eat much. This has been hard. Much harder than I would have expected, if I'm being honest. For knowing someone so short of a time, for never seeing their face, for knowing that our baby was almost microscopic in size, I loved that little life.

Never have I been touched by something like this before. I'm not sure what to do, to think or to say. I have no idea how to react to this kind of emotion. So I have been asking God what I should do, think and say. In our uncertainty, He is certain. He remains faithful, even when life seems to be unfair.

When I first found out that I was pregnant, I prayed that the Lord would use our child's life for His service. Through the short time we have known about our baby, we have seen that prayer answered. I feel as if Carson and I have grown closer to one another in our time apart, which surprised me. And in the loss of this baby, we have found that we are still able to praise God. We are still thankful that He chose to bless us for that very short time. Carson's dad told him that there is a person in heaven that is the result of us, which of course made me cry (I told someone, hours before all this happened, that I'm not much of a crier which just seems hilarious to me now). Our baby is with his or her Maker in heaven.

Of course, the baby was wanted. Of course I would love to be wrong and have a baby after all. I would love to wake up tomorrow and find that I'd dreamed the whole thing. But overall, I know that this has a purpose. God gives and He takes away. Blessed is His name (paraphrased from Job 1:21).
One day, we will see that child in heaven.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, Rejoice... do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 
Philippians 4:4,6-7

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Jillian's Birthday

A very happy 21st birthday to the lovely Jillian!
Hope your day is lovely and that this proves to be an amazing year for you. 
Love you so much!

Friday, June 15, 2012


Last Sunday morning, the team left Vinnitsa. We drove five hours to Kiev. A good portion of the team is new this year and hadn't toured the city, so we spent the afternoon in the city, exploring and souvenir shopping. 

We celebrated Kristine's 25th birthday on the bus. Yes, candles on a bus! Masha and Eunice were so thoughtful and also brought the things to make Kristine's favorite coffee drink while on the bus. 

Rainy Kiev. It rained the whole drive there, but stopped almost as soon as the bus parked. After that the day was sunny, hot and humid!

This is a public bathroom in a mall in Kiev. I had to pay 2 grievna to use this and it smells worse than it looks.

Euro Cup things are EVERYWHERE. Ukraine and Poland are hosting right now.

Russian Orthodox Church

 We went to a famine museum, there in memory of three forced famines during Ukraine's history during the 1930s-40s. 

We lit candles in honor of those who died in the famine (25% of Ukraine's population during one of the famines!)

All around the museum, names of people who had died scrolled on the walls. There were little platforms all around the room with huge books on them that listed every person who died and their cause of death (they had about 900 pages of names)

 A view of Kiev from the steps of the museum

My very first Ukraine roommate, Kristine, seven years later.

We arrived at our hotel after the famine museum, hot and tired. Everyone changed and cooled off and then we met for a worship service. 

After our service, we had a Georgian meal. We mistakenly thought that the food on the tables when we arrived was the meal in its entirety, so we consumed meats, cheeses, fruits and bread before realizing that it was the appetizer. Oops. I think there were four courses after that. 

On Monday, we saw the team off to Paris. It was SO strange hugging them goodbye, leaving them at the airport, and riding in the huge coach bus with only four of us as passengers.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Where Am I?

I thought that it might be helpful to see where in the world I am staying. Kiev is near the top, centered on the Dnipro River that runs through the country. Vinnytsya, where I'm staying, is to the SouthWest of Kiev (just to the left of the word "UKRAINE" on the map). The spellings vary, which is why you'll see me spell it differently in posts than it is on the map. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Ukraine, Week One

Hard to believe that we landed in Kiev just over a week ago, and we're already to the end of the Beaufort team's stay in Ukraine. Today, they'll fly off to Paris and leave Chloe and I here alone.
Here are a few pictures taken during this incredibly busy week.

Maxamovicha Church, our home base.

Where I'm staying (it reminds me of a house from Lord of the Rings)

My room (I'll be moving in with Chloe now that the team has left)

Dental clinic - they put in SO much work this week! 11 hour days with virtually no breaks. They got all the kids' teeth cleaned, checked and fixed. It would have cost thousands of dollars and it was about a month's worth of work. Wow, God is good!

I got my teeth cleaned too...

Two friends at the orphanage

Dental team with the completed list of kids

My roomies, Ale and Chloe

The team, both American and Ukrainian, at a barbecue we had Saturday night (plus kids from orphanage)

The light/fountain show we went to at the Roshen candy factory on Saturday - impressive! 

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