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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Alone During Holidays! What to do?

It's Christmas season and people are buying gifts and getting ready to celebrate. People also celebrate other holidays, including New Year,
Commercials attack our sensors. The eyes gaze at many adds. The ears hear blaring commercials. The seasonal smells engulf us. Everywhere the messages try to convince us that we have to buy gifts in order to make our friends and family happy. Commercials also try to convince us that our happiness depends on things we buy, on car we drive, on the travel destinations, on jobs we have, on groups of people we spend time with, on the way we look, on a car we drive, and on many other things. 
According to commercials, happy people are those whose lives are going great, those who have great jobs/careers, and those who have the latest gadgets. Some commercial say that our meaning of life is happiness of our loved ones. Here is the catch, in order to reach happiness you have to buy things--spend money. If a person gives you an expensive gift it means that the individual cares abut you a lot. But it means that you have to buy an expensive gift in return. Many people get credit from a bank in order to get expensive gifts. Some end up in a debt because of their shopping habits.
We are also bombarded with constant messages--it's horrible to be alone for the holidays, especially Christmas.
Our society puts immense pressure on individuals to avoid loneliness. Sometimes people endanger themselves just to avoid the loneliness.
You can be lonely anytime anywhere, even in a crowd. I had been to social gatherings where I felt lonely. You will be lonely in a group of people when you cannot connect. Honestly, the loneliness was so overwhelming that I felt less lonely in my apartment by myself. Just because you share a faith doesn't mean that you will not feel lonely among the people.
If you find yourself lonely this Christmas or the holiday season in general there are the things you can do.

Friday, December 4, 2015

The Environmental Role

How do we treat things that we don't own: with care and respect. Especially if someone asked us to look after the stuff. When someone asks us to look after a pet or to house sit (to look after the house while the owners are away), we do it with great diligence. Some people wouldn't do it. However, every rule has an exception.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

When the Hate Finds the Gate...

Hate towards other people...

Everyone has a capacity to hate others. But hate can slowly poison your life. Many times it enters our hearts discreetly.  We might even miss the moment.
I used to hate a few people. By God's grace, I don't hate them anymore. A heart free of hatred is one of the best gifts.
The hate came into my life when I was young--around the age of nine, it might have been earlier, but it manifested itself when I was nine years old.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Who Am I?

We all asked that question. The answer depends on the context; a nurse, a student, French, seeker, a personal assistant, and many other responses.
Few months ago I ordered a DNA testing kit. Last week the results were in. According to the test I am 99.6% European. That wasn't surprise. Out of my European lineage 85.3% is Eastern European, Interestingly enough, the test didn't differentiate between Eastern European populations. So I don't know how much Russian, Ukrainian, Polish, or any other Eastern European DNA I have. Also, there is 6.4% Northwestern European, 0.8% Finnish, 1.4% French and German, 4.2% broadly Northwestern European, 4.1% Southern European, 2.8% Balkan, 1.3% broadly Southern European, and 3.9% broadly European. As for the rest of My DNA: 0.1% Yakut, <01% Mongolian, <0.1% Native American, <0.1% South Asian, and 0.2% unassigned.
So here is my genetic mix. Thanks to 23andMe company. I am glad that I did this test. I am more diverse than I expected.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

105 Operation Christmas Child: Shoe Box packing Ideas

Christmas Season is rapidly approaching. Many churches have already started collecting shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child, ran by Samaritan's Purse. The box gives child hope. Many of those children don't have basic necessities: soap, toothbrush, comb...It saddens me just to think about it. 
I have been packing shoe boxes for several years now. Packing those boxes is a very rewarding experience.  Below are 105 ideas for the boxes. Remember those children have very little.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Puzzling Life

So many people are trying to figure out life. Life is a mystery. The more we learn about life the more we become puzzled. We all plan things. All of us make plans. Many plans turn out not the way we would like.

Monday, September 7, 2015

That Parent Figure.

I don't have any children. I am not married. It doesn't mean that I cannot be a motherly figure. A parent is involved in all aspects of child's life: physical development, personal, educational, mental, emotional, spiritual, and so much more. Parents have the greatest responsibility--to raise another human being.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Guest Post

Yesterday my guest post appeared on (in)courage website. I feel so honored and humbled.

You can sign up for free daily encouragement from (in)courage writers here.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

When Key and Lock Just Simply Don't Work

Locks and keys have been around for a long time. There are many kinds of locks. They prevent people from freely getting in and out. Locks define accessible space. They guard space and all that it contains.

Monday, August 3, 2015

And Then God Brought Me To The Other Side...

 The day it all started...

I remember that day well. It was raining. I entered my high school
"Have you looked at the announcement board?" One of my classmates asked me.
I went and looked. The ad was talking about Future Leaders Exchange Program--FLEX. I didn't pay much attention to it. Good English--one of the main requirements. I was in school where English wasn't the strongest subject. My high school focused on math and science subjects. 
My teacher, who taught English, suggested that I will participate. I dismissed her suggestion.
Later during the evening my mom said that if I go and participate, I'll have a chance to skip school. Well... I agreed.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Awry Assumptions

Vision is one of the most important senses. We learn a lot through vision. Our eyes allow us to get information without engaging any other senses. Eyesight is great!
Sometimes our eyes can trick us. I don't mean optical illusions. People are aware of those. But some things look totally different fro what they are. In some cases we cannot recognize their true nature until we examine them. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Trying to Trust

At this point I am just trying to trust God. There are moments where I can say that I trust the Lord. There are times where I openly say, "Lord, I cannot trust you! Look at my life! Where are you God?". I know that many will quote Bible verses that I am already familiar with. Others say "You are looking for attention. You are being too selfish," and here is my 'favorite one', "Just get over it. Seriously, people are facing much more difficulties than you and they are doing so much better. Sweetie, you are being immature!" The worst part--those comments come from fellow Christians.I am not trying to bring down anyone. One of the hardest thing I learned that some of the attack we face as Christians will come from fellow believers.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Important Impact.

Just over a month ago I turned 26. Turning 25 wasn't such a big deal. Twenty-six is the other deal/ I am officially closer to being 30.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Beyond My Own Strength

You know that time when someone tells you are doing way too many things at once. Sometimes there is no choice. We all have different circumstances. In some cases you have to work while pursuing post-secondary education. I have to do that. So many people suggested that I need to take student loans. However that will lead to debt.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Sacred Scars

You look around. What do you see? The world that pushes its perception of beauty on you: unrealistically gorgeous women--often barely dressed-- advertising everything from cars to food. I am not saying that there are no images of men. The world is trying to convince us how we should look; it puts more pressure on women than men. Women have to do their hair. Women have to wear make-up. Women have to do their nails. Women have to wear certain clothes. All over the world we hear the phrase, "it's a tough job to be a woman"--and it sure is.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Just When We Linger Where We Should Avoid

Near the Border

Most of my life I spent on the island--Sakhalin Island. Although I was born on Kamchatka Peninsula. Several years our family lived in Kuril Islands. During my time in the US as an high school exchange student, I lived near Canadian border. Living near border is quite different.
When you live close to an international border you are more likely to meet people from a neighboring country. You encounter checkpoints. Military presence is more prominent, although not always the case. You encounter symbols of the country that's across the border: flag, coat of arms, etc. If you are lingering around border, you most likely to get arrested, in some cases you might get killed.
It's illegal to enter a country without proper identification ( passport, visa). Sneaking to another country may lead to arrest, prison sentence and deportation. It's possible to sneak in through unguarded border section.
What is the most guarded city of the country---its capital.You see capital city is where the
  But once you are inside that country--anything can happen to you. You can get arrested, deported, send to jail, or even executed.
Bible reminds us that we are sojourners. We belong to the Lord. Our home is Heaven, where God is.

And when we are lingering...

I had a great chance to go snowshoeing in February. It was so nice to get away from all hustle and bustle, to pend time with God. The path from woods lead me to a waterfront. I checked the ice. It was solid. Few minutes later I heard cracking noise. And there it was--crack on ice. My heart sank. What's next? I looked, checked the crack. It was only on the surface. It was safe. Nevertheless, I got of the waterfront. The rest of my walk was on land. That night I heard on the news about two people who went under ice on a snowmobile. Both of them died. If I fell under the ice, I would have been dead from hypothermia.
Too often we underestimate or overestimate the situation. Bible tells us to not to worry. At the same time we have to be on guard. It is so easy to fall into traps. Satan is constantly looking for the opportunities to attack us, to destroy our lives,our testimonies,and our bodies. We have to put the whole armor of God. If we don't have it on, we'll be under attack(s) for sure.

Where we are safe

 There is only one safe place for us--God's presence. While we on earth we are not safe anywhere, because we live in a war zone. Some live in places where war-- actual war--is taking place. However, every Christian is in the midst of war--spiritual war. Our bodies are temporary. Souls are forever.
To often we live on earth as if it were our permanent home. It's not--we are passing by.  This life is a journey. Heaven is the only place where we will be free of sorrows and burdens and safe. We never know what next moment brings.


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Past Can Cut Through and It Might Hurt

The other day I was washing dishes--the thing was supposed to be a regular chore. Suddenly I felt a small prick in the sole of my right foot. It didn't bother me at all. You see I had seven surgeries: five on my legs and two on my arms. So pain in my limbs is a frequent guest. Few minutes later I feel my right foot is getting wet-- it felt like sweat--my other foot dry. I looked down and saw a smear of blood on the floor, around my right foot.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Recovering of Head Covering

Head covering--tradition or something that point towards the order of creation, something that angels also witness?

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Spiritual Strife Shock

 We all have moments when we feel down, crushed, desperate; those moments when you hurt so much that you focus on your pain entirely. You scramble, attempting to recall Bible verses, but you are in so much pain that the voice of reason is barely audible. The voice of pain screams, muffling everything else. Fellow Christians  tell you that everything will work out in accordance with the Lord's will. However, pain engulfs you to the point where you don't want to hear any of it anymore. You run  away from God. Sometime later--for some people can be moments for others days., or even longer---you feel ashamed and guilty because of what has happened. All that time God is waiting for you to come back to Him. He waits with arms spread wide.