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Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Key to Your Heart

Tonight and yesterday, I've been downloading Taylor Swift's albums. I love her style and how honest and open she is in her music. But one thing struck me tonight as I was watching the music videos and listening to the songs, and I mean really listening to her songs, she's been "in love" many times over these past few years. She must go from guy to guy. Most of her songs tell tales of heartache and heartbreaks. A lot of them are of her real experiences in life. She must have one chaotic drama filled life- anybody would that goes from guy to guy, or girl to girl. I just can't help but think of all the pieces of her heart that she's given away. I have to wonder, does she have anything left? I'm not picking on Taylor. I think she is a beautiful girl and is incredibly talented and has some fun and catchy songs, but her life must be one continuous soap opera.

I think we need to guard our hearts. I know several people that have been hurt in love several times. They continually opened their hearts and committed themselves to various people and they were devastated each time the relationships ended.

Everyone outside their little relationship circle could see that they were on a sinking ship, yet they never saw it coming. Was that because of blind stupidity-probably so. Now wait and listen to me, don't get upset, please finish reading this. There were signs in each relationship-very obvious signs that even people like me, a distant casual observer could see. So, why couldn't these people see the train wreck that was fast approaching? It's because they were too consumed with love and trying to make the relationship work. Take a step back every now and again, and evaluate the relationship.

Don't just give your heart away. Don't just let any old somebody take it and then use it and then stomp on it and put in through a meat grinder and then give it back to you in a way that it can never be fully repaired.

Guard it. Value it. Be smart.

Don't be in love with the idea of being in love. Don't date someone because you're lonely. I'd rather be lonely and have a few nights having a single girl pity party than months, oh who am I kidding, some times even years, of recovering from a break up.

Now I've said all of this to say one last thing. Guard your heart and be careful who you give the key of it to. Don't have several copies. Have one. Give it to your Heavenly Father. Embrace the old fashioned match making and let God pick the one for you. Ask Him to guard that key and to keep it until the right person comes along. Wait for the Heavenly Match Maker to do His job. Trust the Father to have your very best interests at heart. And the best thing with having God as our match maker is that He knows both of you intimately and that means that He will pick the absolute best match for you.

So what are you waiting for?? Give up that key. Ask God to keep it safe for you-and trust in His timing and choice. Pray that when God gives the keys of your heart away to that perfect guy that you will know. That it will be abundantly clear and that you will have no doubts and that God will bless the relationship in only the way He can.

"Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life."
Proverbs 4:23

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Life

Wow! It has been awhile since I've last posted! I have been going non-stop and life has gotten in the way of me taking care of the little things, like this blog, and sending out my newsletter. Sorry, that I've been electronically absent for awhile.

Anyway, something that God has done over the past few months, since August, is that He has given me a way to come back here next Fall. I will be coming back to this amazing city to teach English at an international school. I am so excited about it, and ready to teach some kiddos, but I think the thing that I am most excited about, is that my little brother will be coming over here with me! He is also going to be teaching English at the same school, and I think it will be an experience for both of us!

I'm not quite sure about our living arrangements yet, but I know that the Father already has it all planned out!

So, what's new with you? What has the Father been doing in your life? Has He shown you a new ministry opportunity? Has He taught you something new?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Like King David

Tonight as I sit here and am completely weighed down by Satan and the ways that he is at work in my life, I claim these verses and I ask that God will protect me like He protected King David. I ask for the Father's loving kindness, His peace, for His healing and for His comfort.

"Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart have multiplied; free me from my anguish. Look upon my affliction and my distress and take away all my sins. See how my enemies have increased and how fiercely they hate me! Guard my life and rescue me; let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you. May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope is in you."
-Psalm 25: 16-21

Leaning on the Everlasting

I'm going to lean on the Everlasting...

This past week was an interesting week, and I got to meet many amazing people and made several new friends. But I learned a lot this week about people. It made me reflect back on all the times I've traveled and gone on trips. It made me wonder if I've ever had my priorities in mind, and not the ones of the Father.

I know that in the future, when I travel, I will always look to you, Father, and for Your will. I will not "lean on my own understanding", but I will seek and listen to Him. Please let me never forget the lessons You taught me this week.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Vacationing at Vityaz contd.



Here's another journal entry from my vacation…
Day 2
I ache in so many places! We hiked around 12 km (7 and a half miles) today. It felt like it was all uphill too! I'm so tired. Okay, more about that later, I'm going to finish up about yesterday.

So after helping making borscht, I took a walk with Julie and found really cool glass on the beach. It's been made smooth by the water and sand and I had to pick up about ten pieces, they are coming back with me to Texas. I also found half of a starfish. It was awesome! I've never found a real one on the beach, the ones I see are at the souvenir stores.

After that we came back, and I slept for several hours. Then, I woke up and had fish (fresh fish caught that day but Kolya I and Kolya II). It was wrapped in foil and cooked in the fire, yes in the fire. It was pretty good, considering that I do not really like fish.

So, back to today. We were promised a shower, which was good because it had been about 2 or 3 days without one(not even joking). Thankfully we weren't smelly yet, because it's been in the 60s and rainy each day. We were able to shower today, but not in the campground showers, those were broken, so the campground owner asked his neighbors if we could shower at their house. I was thankful for the shower, but a little weirded out going into some strangers house to shower! So after our showers we ate some lapshaw (which is like ramen) and then we were told that we were going on a stroll. In Russian, there is actually a verb "to stroll", and people often go on strolls around their parks and in the city. It's very common to use this word, more so than in English. So when I heard we were going on a stroll, I got excited. I asked Yana what to bring and she said maybe some water.

We started off walking and within about 5 minutes it became clear that this stroll wasn't a stroll, but a HIKE. I don't know about you, but when I go on a hike, I bring different items than what I bring on a stroll! We hiked all day long and it felt like it was uphill the entire way. When we got to the bay, it was beautiful! It was just our group and one other family about half a mile up the beach, we had the entire place to ourselves! I found an entire starfish and I planned on bringing it home, but it didn't make the hike back to the campground. There were huge shells, intact and unbroken, it was awesome!

After relaxing for a few minutes at that bay, our group decided to go to another bay that was up and over a few hills. While hiking, I felt like in was in Hawaii where they filmed Lost. It was so gorgeous! I've been on beaches in several various places, including Cancun, California, Greece, and Ireland, and I've never seen anything so beautiful! It was worth all the hiking!

The other bay had several little islands that you could walk through the water to get to. So Julie and I explored the two islands! It was awesome! I loved every minute! I wish that we could have stayed longer!

Standing there on top of one of the little islands and taking in God's creation made me wonder how any man can say "there is no God".

Well, now I am extremely exhausted and sunburned after our "stroll", but I say it was worth it! Tonight we're eating shashlik and I can't wait! What a great way to end the day!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Vacationing at Vityaz

So, I went on vacation to Vityaz, it's about 30 miles or so by water from the border of Russia and NK. I had a great time, but was a little cold. I made several journal entries about my time there. Here is day one...

July 7th, 2010

My life is an adventure! Yesterday, Julie and I went with some friends of ours, and some of their friends on vacation. So the names of the married couples are, Yana and Kolya, and Olya and Kolya.

It took about five hours to get here and the road were horrible! We thought that the firs two hours had bad roads, but that was nothing!!! the last two hours, I was bouncing around in the back seat. I had no idea that I could fly around like that! I've never been so rattled like this before. Sitting here now, thinking about the drive, I imagine it's how the settlers were when riding in wagons over the untamed land. Man, I feel sorry for them! This road was not a road, it was more like a mudding trail.

When we finally arrived, the weather was horrible! It was so wet and rainy. Probably in the low 60s and misty rain. After walking and then sitting in the rain, I felt extremely cold and went to bed with FOUR layers on and about SIX blankets on top of me. When I slept, I dreamed of warm gloves and hats. Haha! Thankfully, Yana gave us a heater for our room so we shouldn't be as cold tonight!

Now it's time to learn how to make borscht!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

SPAM

Hi Everyone!!

I was spammed! If you're wondering if I got held up at gun point in London, please be assured, that I have never been to London and that I am perfectly fine out here in the Far East! Don't worry, I've already started working on taking care of the situation.

Thank you everyone for your concern and prayers!!

Alexa :)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Seeds, Deeds, Weeds

This past week, the Father revealed a lot of me. Some things I'd heard before, and I needed to hear again for the first time with open ears. Something that stood out was something Dr. Thom Wolf said, and this is me paraphrasing, "Sometimes we need to pull the weeds, so that the soil will be able to be good, so we can sow the seeds."

Wow! How true is that? Think about weeds, what do they do? They ruin the harvest.

We do need to sometimes get the junk out of our lives in order to get to the good fertile soil that lies beneath. It kind of makes me wonder, what weeds need to be pulled in my part of the world? Is there fertile soil that surrounds me, yet I can't see it because of all the weeds covering it up?

If people represent the fertile soil, what represents the weeds? Bad habits? Alcohol? Drugs? Or maybe, could it even be, dare I say, people?

What people, in the world that surrounds you, are weeds?

Get rid of the weeds, and I think you may be surprised at what lies beneath.

"Sow the seeds. Do the deeds. Pull the weeds."
-Dr. Thom Wolf

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Dreaming

The other night I had this dream that I was back home and every time someone would ask me about Russia, I would start crying. Everyone thought it was because I was so happy to be home, but it was because I missed it so much. It hurts to think about leaving this place. It's now so much a part of me. Don't get me wrong, I cannot wait to see my family and friends and be back in Texas, but a part of me will always be here in Russia.

This dream made me realize that I have to continue living each day to it's fullest. I have to remember the reason I'm here and to do my best to not waste anytime. Life is so short and I've been given a huge task!

Father, I'm leaning on you and trusting you to help me do your will!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

I'm still a plow.

I've said many times that I feel like I'm a plow here in Vlad and that the Father is using me to dig up the hard soil, after chipping away the concrete, to turn it and to get to the nutrients underneath. Well, I'm starting to realize that isn't always the most comfortable thing to be, I'm not sure that I want to be a plow anymore. It's not always comfortable to have to speak the truth to old beliefs. I've been put in an awkward situation, and I don't like it, but that's where I am. It's what I've been called to do and I know that Father will help me through it. But just for the record, it's not the most comfortable place to be when dealing with friends.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Tale of Two Brothers

Cain and Abel, we've all heard the story of one brother killing the other brother. But why, why did he do it? The Bible mentions that Cain didn't place God first in his life. You can see that in the way that he didn't bring God the first and best of his crops, "in the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord" (Gen. 4:3) Where Abel brought the Lord part of his firstborn, well how did it make Cain look? Abel immediately thought of God and of thanking him, where Cain eventually came around to thanking him. So what happens, Cain became jealous of Abel because the Lord looked on Abel's offering with favor.

It's amazing that even though God warned Cain of Satan seeking him out and trying to make him sin, he still didn't pause and take a look at his actions. Instead, he invited his brother out to the field and killed him. He killed him! God told him, "But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it." -Genesis 4:7

Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding...there it is for you Cain! God laid it out for you! Plan and simple. God straight up warned him, and he didn't even stop and listen. Wow. It makes me wonder when God Himself has said the same words to me, and I've ignored them? Why didn't I listen to His still small voice?

For Cain, he didn't listen because he was angry and had a bad attitude and was jealous of his brother.

Why didn't I listen?

Of course, I haven't killed one of my brothers, but what sin could've been avoided and mastered if only I'd listen to the Father?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Ruth

I want to be like Ruth, I want to believe so strongly in my beliefs and convictions that I would be willing to walk away from not only my family and friends but from my way of life, from everything familiar, and leave my culture behind. I've already done that to some extent, but not fully, not like Ruth. I have modern conveniences that help me, and I can always hop on a plane and be home the next day. She didn't have that. When Ruth left Naomi, she didn't say goodbye for a year or two, she said goodbye. All she had was Naomi and a future of working hard and struggling each day to provide for the two of them. It wasn't the brightest future, yet she went willingly.

I want to be like Ruth, I want to have that much faith, enough faith to leave it all behind and to even embrace a life of hardships and hard work, to serve Him.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

I am a plow.

I hate it when I can’t sleep. I’ve always been a night owl, so I love to stay up late, but occasionally, when I’m lying there in bed and I’m trying to go to sleep and idea pops into my mind. Most of the time it’s about the day or it’s some feeling that I had and that I need to think and pray through. Well, tonight it’s two stories. These two stories tell about how God is working in little ways, ways that I don’t always see. Ways that I don’t really think of as big or gigantic, but then I’m reminded that more than likely my job is the job as the plow, not the harvester. I’m not working in countries where you barely mention the Fathers name and the harvest is ready. Nope, that’s not Europe.

-----------------------------------------------
I had the opportunity to meet a new friend this last week, his name is George. Throughout the day and through our conversations I had the feeling that he was spiritually searching. When it came time to go home, I found myself alone with him in the taxi. He asked me if the reason I couldn’t hang out on Sunday was because of church, and I said yes. I had to change our plans because I would’ve had to miss church. I explained to him that I do not attend an Orthodox church and he said, “Oh I know”. I wasn’t really sure if I should take the conversation a little deeper, but I could feel the spirit nudging me so I asked him, “Do you go to church?” He told me that he used to go to church and his dad used to be a pastor. I pressed a little deeper and asked him why his dad wasn’t a pastor anymore. He told me that his dad had died of a heart attack. I gathered from the conversation that he doesn’t go anymore since his father’s death, but I also learned that his brother is still active in church and is even a minister. I wasn’t able to take the conversation too much farther because we arrived at my house, but I did make sure that he knew he was invited to church and that it is an awesome church with tons of college students.

Please pray for my new friend. Pray that he starts to seek the Father and that he will know Him intimately. Pray that he will be bold and show up at church while I’m here so I can introduce him to the people our age. Pray that the Father will use him to reach his lost friends.

Another friend, Stefan (name has been changed), called me the other night and wanted to hang out one day this week. We were busy making plans and out of nowhere he asks me if I was going to church on Sunday. I told him yes, and then came that debate in my head, should I invite him, or should I just let him bring it up if he wants to go. But I felt that little nudge again, and I said, "Well, why do you want to know? Do you want to come with me?" He said, "Yes, of course."

Okay so at this point I'm just a little shocked. That wasn't the answer I was expecting. I told him about my church and the times we meet and he was sad to hear that we only had church on Sunday mornings. He works on Sunday and only has the evenings free. He asked me, "You only go to church on Sundays? That's it?" I wanted so bad to be back home so I could've said well no, I actually go on Wednesdays as well, but churches are a little different here. I could tell that he really wanted to come with me.

Please pray for Stefan and that his work schedule will change so he can start attending church. Pray that the Father will continue to work in his life and soften him and place questions in his heart. Pray that he will feel comfortable attending and that if he's not able to go with me that he will still be brave and go by himself.

So from these past two instances, I've come to fully realize, I am a plow.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Women vs Men

American women have fought so hard for independence and equality with men, and I think in doing so they have hurt themselves. After visiting several countries, I’ve noticed that we don’t have it so good as American women. I think that we have fought so hard to be equal that it’s affecting our relationships with men. In Russia, women are revered and they are valued, not just for their beauty, but also because they are more fragile and need protection from the evil of this world. Women are treasured.

Julie and I attended a women’s conference a few months ago and we got the biggest kick out of our friends. Most of these ladies are young married women, and when it came time to setup the room and move some pews around, and setup two tables, the women immediately started going through a list of men to call to help them move the pews and setup tables. I know of several women’s organizations in America that when something needs to be setup for a women’s event, the ladies themselves pull out the tables from storage and set them up, and they move around the pews or chairs all by themselves. Julie and I started laughing because we were used to moving things and we could have easily lifted the pews, moved them around, and setup the two tables. In America, we would have done so without stopping to think of what man to call to come move them. Our friends ended up not having to call anyone because two men from the church were dropping off their wives and we asked them to help. As Julie and I watched the men move the pews and setup the tables and I realized that they appreciated being helpful and useful to us. They liked solving our problems and being the man, being whom God made them to be, the helper and provider.

That night got me to thinking about how in America we miss out on so many opportunities as women to validate men and to appreciate them. It doesn’t have to be to call them up and ask them to setup a room for a women’s event, it’s the little things. We don’t appreciate them enough when they hold open doors for us and or give up a chair for us. It’s not often in America that this happens and yes it doesn’t always happen here in Russia, but I see it more, and I like it. I like being valued as a woman, just because I’m a woman. I like having someone offer their seat for me, or hold open a door for me. I like it when they offer to open that five-gallon bottle of water and I let them, even though I could have done it myself.

I can’t help but think of how much this would help marriages, let the man be the man and the woman be the woman. No more demanding for equality, they are stronger than us, let them be. Ladies sit back, enjoy being a woman, and appreciate the men you have in your life.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Walkin' On Water..okay technically it’s ice






Life in the Far East isn’t really hard, but it is harder to live out here. Often we have to go to two stores and a market to buy food or ingredients for daily life. Then what you buy you have to carry home. I’ve gotten used to the whole, how heavy is this now, and will I be able to walk home with it? Oh and with the ice it just makes things even lovelier! In a few places, the ice is very very thick.

In November, one day it got right around 33 degrees F and the ice started to melt and it was wonderful because I thought the ice would go away, oh boy was I wrong. Within a few hours, the temperature dropped and everything started freezing again. So what was slowly melting and was sorta a mushy/slushy material all of a sudden became hard frozen ice. In many places, I would say the ice is about 6 inches deep.

I’ve gotten pretty good with walking on ice, and I’ve slipped twice, once I did this little half fall and the second time I took someone down with me. It was my Russian friend Inna, and we both laughed, but after standing up and walking a distance we realized our legs hurt. But not because they were bruised from the fall, but because they were cold. It was New Years, I was being very Russian, and I decided to wear boots, black tights, a dress, and then a long sleeve black shirt underneath. All I had over the dress was my long Russian coat, scarf, hat, and gloves. Inna had on a very similar outfit and when we fell on the early New Years day morning, our poor barely covered legs got the worst of the fall. We got up and started inching our way to the car and all of a sudden, our legs felt like razors were slicing our legs, all over. You see, when our legs came into such close contact with the ice, that thin little layer of tights didn’t really do a good job of keeping our legs warm. But I did warm up soon when I finally made it to the car,but even when I got home twenty minutes later, my legs were still cold!

(these photos are from New Years)

Friday, January 8, 2010

Ice, Ice, and More Ice



It’s been awhile since I’ve posted on here and that’s because I’ve not had the internet in my apartment! However, I now have internet, and I’ve had it now for like two weeks but I’ve been busy catching up to facebook messages, and thanking everyone for their nice wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and also I’ve just been lazy!

I had a friend of mine who is American but studying in Tallinn, Estonia come stay with us for about two weeks during Christmas, and it was good to have her here , but we didn’t really get out and do much. I’ll bet your wondering “Why?”. Well, the answer is that it was freezing cold and when the wind blew it felt like it was cutting into our skin. It was cold when the wind wasn’t blowing, but then it got worse when the wind was! The wind chill was often in the negative teens with gusts about twenty miles per hour. On two various days, Shera and I got out of the apartment to venture into the cold to do a little sightseeing and we got no further than our bus stop and after waiting 15 minutes for a bus gave up and came inside. It was miserably cold and not typical days for a sightseeing trip. Now things are a little better outside, and we are not having such cold weather, but it’s still a lot colder than what this Texas girl is used to! I do not believe it has been over 32 degrees F for the past month. The other day it was around 27 degrees F and I thought it was a beautiful warm day. Crazy huh?

(This video is from one night when our friend Shera was in town and we were playing Zilch with some friends)


video
 

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