Christmas Reflections 2013

Thanks to our sweet photographer and photo editor, Christina for this picture and the fun idea to wear winter hats and such!

Thanks to our sweet photographer and photo editor, Christina for this picture and the fun idea to wear winter hats and such!

This year Tony and I both turned 50.  Our daughter, Sarah has comforted me over the years whenever I mentioned being old/too old by saying sweetly, “Mom, you are not old until you are 50!” As 50 crept closer and was finally here, it became apparent that that was not exactly comforting anymore, and what was she going to change it to, 100?

Sarah turned 15 and got her learner’s permit for driving, and another milestone was when our oldest daughter, Christina, turned 20 last week.  She had the first really good birthday in several years as she was able to spend it without being sick at her stomach.  After battling chronic disease for years, she has been treated this fall at a clinic in Florida where they more fully and accurately diagnosed her condition.  Christina had gotten extremely weak and ill prior to this and we are thankful for all God has done and those he has worked through to get her this treatment and cause her to get much, much better.  Many prayers have been said and answered! Check out the site for more information on her illness and treatment from Sponaugle Wellness clinic.

Our oldest son, Jeremy has approximately one more year to finish his degree in Computer and Information Science at Faulkner University and has had some good teaching opportunities while there, as well as having his team’s project come in 4th in the AT&T national competition against some big name universities.  It is great having him going to college so close to home!

Polina continues to progress with her violin but is yet to be convinced to play for an audience.  Dimitry is good at doing tasks around the house.  He and Alexander are getting along much better (sometimes) and are learning to communicate better.  They both learned to ride a bicycle this year, and enjoy riding with Anastasia and Mason from down the street.  Nastya is interested in reading and making things – – from cooking to needlework and sewing.  Actually, we have quite a lot of interest in cooking and crafts around here.  I think Christina set the stage, now the younger children all think it is cool!  (Of course!)  In addition to caring for the hermit crabs all on her own, Polina is making sure the chickens are well taken care of with help from Dima each day.  We miss their eggs while they are molting, but Polina informs me they are about finished. She has been riding Cando some.  Christina is looking forward to being strong enough to ride horses again, too!

While Tony is doing great with his Russian language classes, the rest of us are going slowly.  We are also working on ASL (American Sign Language) to bridge the gap for Alexander’s hearing/speaking abilities.  I think he’s on his 5th processor for his cochlear implant.  Good thing it has a great warranty and a great company that wants to keep their customers hearing.  We are set to meet with the social worker to do his three year post adoption report!  Wow!

A lot has gone on in three short years!  God continues to guide and bless us through each trial!  We continue planning to move to Russia as God directs each step.  It continues to be apparent that it is the right track for us, even as the movement in that direction seems to be at a snail’s pace.  We know that God’s timing is best.  Check out the Dereva Dom website ( or the Facebook page for updates on the ministry and Tony’s upcoming trip to Russia for training in St. Petersburg with The Harbor!

Check back for the next post looking forward to 2014!