Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Zhen is passionate about God, and about nature....particularly animals.  He started a new trend at school, by finding and catching a garter snake.  So, someone put his snake and his friend's snake in some sort of terrarium in the classroom.  A few weeks ago he suggested that maybe he would need to bring his snake home over the vacation.... "No."  That was my answer....or, perhaps (unfortunately) something less "clear" (at least to him) like "I don't think so!"

Well, you guessed it.  Suddenly, I find out that vacation is well underway and the snake is in a container in my living room!  By some bit of luck, it is in a corner where I don't often look, so I am ignoring this.  But the other day Craig told Zhen that he needed to clean the snake box.  Here he is doing it.  I asked, "Where are the snakes?"  Well, they are hidden in plain sight - can you guess?

Clever boy!  He put them in the mailbox!

Monday, April 18, 2011


Anastasia has a couple of very good girl friends at school - not "good" in that they are "close", but they are good girls and seem to understand, better than I'd ever expect, that Anastasia needs their help to be good herself.  The kids like me fairly well, and are disturbed when she treats me badly, and I expect they give her pep talks.  So, one day I came into the classroom and found this rather heartening display on my desk.  THAT was a few weeks ago. 
This is this week.  Every so often kids will write graffiti on the board.  Someone else wrote, "I love my family."  Well, that was too much for my radlet to ignore. When I saw this, there was (of course) no question in my mind about who wrote the response. 

Sunday, April 10, 2011


I cut down on computer use for Lent, but excepted my blog.  Nevertheless, though I have so much to write, I can't find any time. 

I'm doing too much.  Finally I realize it, too. 

I don't have anything like even a semblance of a neat and tidy home, and though I know the modern woman "pooh-poohs" this - an attractive and organized environment is calming, restful, and an act of love you give your family and yourself.  I don't have time to read, to exercise, to write letters, or to write my blog.  My hair always looks a mess, and I don't have time for shopping despite not having enough clothes suitable for teaching. I don't have time to cook nice things.  I don't have enough time with my children. I don't even have time to keep the wash up - without undue stress over questions such as "Is my uniform clean?"

But, how to make a change?

Obviously, I have the big, money-paying job.  Can't give that up; can't even cut back on what I do.  Trust me, I can't.  I'm to bare bones there.

Then there are the other two jobs.  I teach Koreans English over the phone. Two and a half hours a morning at this point (down from 3 and a half before daylight savings time). Three of my students are almost personal friends at this point.  But the main thing is, that the $300 - $400 dollars  make a month is being put aside for a trip to Russia for Sergei and me.  If I don't have this little way to put money aside, we'll never be able to go.....and any of my regular readers knows how much I want to go to Russia again. 

And, there is also the thought that I wouldn't gain much from quitting this.  Stay up an hour later at night?  The one benefit might be an hour to talk with Craig in the morning....  It would be less stressful, that is for sure.  And, it is the thing I'd most easily give up.  I mean, it would feel like a relief - except for the issue of losing the hope of going to Russia.

Then, there is teaching at Summit.  This is the work I love.  I love the kids, I love the teaching, I love everything about it - apart from the fact that I don't have time to do it.  Now, it does pay for my children's tuition....but one course would do that, and I teach four.  Yet, it is the inter-weaving of the  subects that is so exciting....English...Bible....Social Studies....Art.  I'm just so excited about all the things that I have learned about the Middle Ages!  Teaching keeps me excited.  And, when I teach three classes, it gives me the opportunity to really know the kids, to really have an impact on their day.  I love thinking that I have blessed their lives in some way.  I really love them!  How can I give this up?

But...there's no time for it.  Oh, dear.  That's all I can say. 

Friday, April 1, 2011


The thing that really impressed me with Anastasia's speech, when I relaxed enough to read it carefully, was the deep consideration she gave it. What strikes me is the evidence of her not just blindly aiming at nice thoughts about an issue - world hunger, or animal cruelty....and not even taking a wild shot at child abuse...but really thinking back over her own situation.

* parents being more caring and not losing custody - she was removed from her mother, who did not 
   provide food, education, clothing or nurture

* that children who don't have food will get the love they DESERVE (I see hope in that way of putting it -
   HOW I want her to feel she deserves love!)

* that when parents aren't around someone will keep their child safe.  (She was often left alone to fend for
   herself and her baby brother, with no one there to provide food or even shelter.)

*reference to babies gives me hope that my continually trying to help her see that the lies she tells herself come from when she was a baby...

* a hope that parents will give up their child - shows her ability to compare how she might not have had so many challenges if her mother had given her up earlier......

* And, "if the child has problems"....stick with it; love it. I think she may be reflecting more on our sticking with her. Though I fear that she may consider than the possibility that she had problems that would have made her mom give up.  I know she remembers and ponders her initial host family, wondering why they didn't keep her.

All in all, I'm impressed with my little girl..... 

Craig and I are going to the Parenting in SPACE Conference in Chicago this weekend.  I am very excited!  For a few weeks Anastasia has begged fervently to spend the night with her friend Rebecca from school.  I've put her off, thinking that she might stay at Rebecca's house while we were in Chicago, and that this might help the weekend away go smoothly.  I can leave the boys alone, with neighbor supervision, but not Nastia.  Well....  When I told her about it, I could tell she was disturbed.  Very disturbed.  Finally, in a more mellow moment I brought it up, and she was nearly crying (much more genuine reaction than the anger she usually displays when scared.)  And she said, "I've never been away from my mommy before."  And, almost immediately she realized the absurdity of what she'd said - and I think I could even see on her face the conflicting emotions...she stumbled over some comment about her "Russian mother" to cover up, but I just hugged her and told her how much I'd miss her.   I will, too.  Though for obvious reasons, she won't be far from my mind.