Exploring Kiev

The view from our "boat" - the grounded boat we're living on here in Kiev, that is! Those people are not walking in a field, they're walking on the Dnieper River. There are usually ice fishermen too, but this day was too cold for sitting around.

The view from our “boat” – the grounded boat we’re living on here in Kiev, that is! Those people are not walking in a field, they’re walking on the Dnieper River. There are usually ice fishermen too, but this day was too cold for sitting around.

Michael in front of statues of Princess Olga (centre - thought to be the first ruler of Rus' to convert to Christianity), the apostle Andrew (left - traditionally credited with preaching on the southern borders of today's Ukraine), and brothers Cyril and Methodius (right - credited with inventing Cyrillic for the purpose of Bible translation).

Michael in front of statues of Princess Olga (centre – thought to be the first ruler of Rus’ to convert to Christianity), the apostle Andrew (left – traditionally credited with preaching on the southern borders of today’s Ukraine), and brothers Cyril and Methodius (right – credited with inventing Cyrillic for the purpose of Bible translation).

Helen in front of the Golden Gates of Kiev, the main gate of 11th century Kiev fortifications.

Helen in front of the Golden Gates of Kiev, the main gate of 11th century Kiev fortifications.

A warm(ish) January day for exploring downtown Kiev!

A warm(ish) January day for exploring the streets of Kiev!

We’ve been in Kiev two and a half weeks now.

We can say yes, no, please, thank you, fish, grandma, bus, and tea in Russian, and are working up the confidence to say our bus stop name (important as one typically shouts it out when you need to exit the bus!).

Michael has mastered the Metro system, and Helen has learned how to read one Cyrillic word: кофе (coffee).

January Update: The Adventure Begins!

We hope your holidays was a wonderful time of celebrating His birth, reflecting on the year that has passed, and anticipating the year that is to come. As Anne Shirley says, “Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it.” Hopefully the first days of your new year have been a breath of fresh air, with grace for mistakes and joy in the todays and tomorrows.

Michael and I have so enjoyed our time in Ontario, and are certainly anticipating all that is ahead in 2016! Today we’re flying out of Toronto, and will land in Kyiv, Ukraine, tomorrow. From there, we’ll continue our journey east, until we find our way back to Alberta in May. We’re thrilled to report that all our finances are in place! We cannot tell you how encouraged we are. Watching the Canadian dollar fall has been challenging (we’ll be traveling with American dollars) but we have been provided for above and beyond what we anticipate we’ll need for this adventure. We are thankful to the One who provides, and to those whom He has provided through.

Over the next months, we would be so thankful if you would be keeping us in your thoughts, especially with regards to safety, health, and for the people we will meet. We’ll send updates as we can, though our internet access may be limited for several weeks. Our blog posts will likely be few and far between, especially in March. Thank you for understanding, and for your care! We are thankful for you, and for the knowledge that we have a community of friends and family sending us on this journey!

What Makes A Good Life?

Michael and I enjoy TED talks, and here’s one that shows loving your neighbour is good for your neighbour and for you. In this talk, psychiatrist Robert Waldinger, the director of a 75-year-old study on adult development, shares important lessons learned from the study on how to build a life that is both fulfilling, and long. As you evaluate 2015 and set goals for 2016 (it’s not too late!), maybe this TED talk will spur you on to pursue what really comprises “a good life.”

“There isn’t time, so brief is life, for bickerings, apologies, heartburnings, callings to account. There is only time for loving, and but an instant, so to speak, for that” (Mark Twain).

Happy New Year!

Last year I shared this song, written by JJ Heller and her husband on New Year’s Day 2015. So many people loved this impromptu song, the couple produced an official music video to accompany it for this new year. Hope you enjoy the video, and a very happy 2016 to you!

“This year
I plan on thinking less of “I” and “me”
I resolve to think of “us” and “we”
This year
I can’t wait to see what good will come
To feel alive instead of feeling numb
This year”