"We are going to focus on LIFE for Katya. I believe, one day, she will amaze the world."

Dr. Ben Carson on Katya Dueck

Saturday, March 21, 2015

First Place

When the Lego competition was announced by our local library this winter, Kristina looked at the announced theme--"Every Hero Has a Story"--and quickly decided that she would love to illustrate Doctor Carson's life in Legos.

She presented the idea to her friends and they decided to go with it.

After weeks of planning, discussion, research and hard work, they met together at the library for the competition.

The library provides the boxes ahead of time, and you have to bring in your own Legos, broken down into individual pieces and they must all fit into the box.

They had 45 minutes by the clock to build their set. The weeks of hard work they put into the project paid off! The girls not only completed the set on time, but actually got it done with 10 minutes to spare!

The competition was stiff. There were so many good sets! How would the Judges choose? They went around the room and interviewed the teams, asking questions about how they came up with the ideas, and other questions. Kristina and her friends were well prepared, having spent extensive time making sure they understood well what they were portraying. The girls were full of enthusiasm about their chosen subject. In addition, they had provided copies of the cover of the kid's version and the adult version of the book, "Gifted Hands" which is Doctor Carson's story about his life, AND they had typed up information about Doctor Carson and the events of his life they were portraying.
Personally, I'm guessing that their dedication to details and the fact that they were plugging his books were what helped tip the tide in their favor!
YES! Those are FIRST PLACE RIBBONS! And gift cards!!
Needless to say, we were THRILLED and so, so proud of the girls! They worked hard, put in lots of effort, and really deserved the reward of earning 1st place!
Their set is currently on display at our library for the next two weeks. Then the girls will get together to break it down and sort out their own pieces as they combined Legos from each girl's collection in order to make this project work. It's provided them a lot of fantastic fun, good memories and good life experiences. I am sure Doctor Carson would be quite pleased with their "can do" spirit!

Friday, March 20, 2015

A Story From Ukraine

Day after day, while Paul and I were in Ukraine for Katya's adoption, we walked from our apartment up the street, past a McDonald's and went down the steps into the Metro. As we would go down the steps, we would walk past various people selling their wares. A few potatoes still coated lightly with black Ukraine soil, a handful of carrots, with the tops starting to slightly whither in the heat, a sprig of flowers plucked from the road side and tucked into a canning jar.

One lady always caught our attention. Dressed each day in the same impeccably clean clothing with a snowy white apron, her wares were home made breads and pastries spread out on an absolutely snow-white cloth, and a few flowers plucked from her garden. I always smiled because it was obvious she took a healthy pride in herself and her products, and I could imagine her bustling around early in her kitchen in order to get things ready and be to the Metro in time to catch the early morning commuters! After all, we were there around 8:00 AM most days and she had the appearance of someone who had already settled in for the day for awhile!

After observing her for the first two weeks, I told Paul, "I want to try some of her breads!" And so we did. They were every bit as tasty as they looked, and we only regretted we had not started purchasing them sooner during our stay there. After our first purchase, the lady was definitely happy to see us coming along! She was happy when I let her know through gestures and my limited Russian that we really liked her baked goods! Her round face would beam and her eyes twinkle!

The memory of  sitting at the tiny table in our apartment, eating her bread with butter and cheese, and then the chocolate filled pastry, while looking out the window at the linden trees,  lingers in my heart.

I still think about that lady, and wonder how the war and the stresses of life in Ukraine right now have affected her. I would give a lot if I could walk down that street, head down the steps into the Metro and see if I could find her again.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Between 2 Gods

For some time now, I have been awaiting the release of "Between 2 Gods--A Memoir of Abuse in the Mennonite Community" by Trudy Harder Metzger.

Yesterday, I was finally able to download it to my Kindle App and read the book.  Having heard bits and pieces of Trudy's story before, I still found it helpful to follow the story in chronological order, and there were parts of her story that were new to me.

I found much I could relate to, since not only did I move in some of the same circles that Trudy had, but I also knew some of the specific people she mentions. There was much food for thought, but I think one of the things that stuck out the most to me was when Trudy wrote about how after moving to the "conservative" Mennonite church that there was an effort to change and mold her personality. I could certainly relate to that from my own experience as a child whose parents changed churches too! It was a painful, soul-draining experience to have gone through, and the nasty after-math lingered with me well into adulthood until I was able to sort out that I was who I was because GOD made me to be that way, and I did not need to be remade "in their image" into some "ideal Mennonite woman" that I was not created by God to be.

Trudy writes honestly about the abuses she experienced or witnessed but she remains sensitive and discreet throughout the book. She speaks truth, but does not try to be sensational.

I felt that the conclusion of the book was a bit abrupt. It would have been good I think to have more of her story of healing shared, but am hopeful that this signals a possible sequel in the works!

Recommending this book to anyone who wants to read truth, or anyone who wants to see the loving pursuit of a faithful God who cares!

This post is my own opinion entirely, and I did not, nor will I receive anything at all for writing this--not even a free book! However, the link given is my affiliate link, and I will receive a small percentage of the cost of almost anything ordered from Amazon though that link.