11.21.2015

Thankful!!!

I love pumpkin pie.  I love Fall, because I love pumpkin pie.  My favorite thing about Thanksgiving…pumpkin pie…and family…and being thankful…for the pie!  I love Wal-Mart, because I can buy already made pumpkin pie!

Since it is November…the month of being thankful…and since I told my kids to never hate…and I am such a great mom…and example…OK stop laughing!!!  I would never say the h-word…but making pumpkin pie is not on my list of things I love to do…it is even farther down my list when in Russia!!! 

I am not a hoarder.  My kids make something…I say I love it…take a picture of it…then 99% of the time…put it in the trash.  If I don’t love it, use it, need it to survive…it is destined for the trash.  I, however, have one can of pumpkin that makes me feel safe, happy and confident.  If ever faced with a pie crisis…I have pumpkin.  Year after year, I managed to avoid any major pie crisis…until now.

This year, Starbucks had no pumpkin pie spiced lattes.  The only thing pumpkin in all of this huge city of millions of people is…soup!  I tried to not think about pie…how much I love it…how thankful it would make me. 

Finally…I could not stand it one more second.  I found my emergency can of pumpkin…dusted it off…and discovered it had expired…in 2013!!!  Filled with such sadness…I was determined to kick off my Thankgiving feasting with pie!!!

I found a gorgeous pumpkin, lugged it to the cashier, paid for it, carried it home, cut it, baked it, skinned it, pureed it, strained it {such a smart and important step}.  However, was to tired to even think about turning the huge mess into a pie.  Days later, I regain strength and motivation, found a recipe, searched for my pumpkin spice…never found it, go to the store in my building to find the necessary spices…which they did not have, bought a mulled wine spice mix…because it has ginger, cloves and nutmeg…at least I think it is what the package says. 

Once I am finally back home, I contemplate making a pie crust…remember the last time I attempted a pie crust…in 1996.  I find a bag of already made dough that Keith bought for pigs-in-a-blanket…decide that the pigs can be cold...tried to roll out the totally resilient dough and end up just smashing it into the pan…mix up the yummy filling substituting mulled wine spices for the missing nutmeg, all spice and ginger.  I return back to the store to buy whip cream in a can…there was none…settled for 35% cream…which was so thick…it pretty much whipped itself!!!

20151121_11201420151121_11224120151121_112408

The crust was sooooo gross, but the pie was…amazing…even if I did…just a tad…burn it!!!  I am officially thankful!!!

11.15.2015

A Refugee That Changed My Life

Lately, life seems more scary than I ever remember.  A month ago, a bomb detonated right next to our house.  Last week, as we were contemplating Christmas vacation plans to Egypt, a flight from Egypt to St Pete crashed and everyone died.  Today, I woke-up to the horrible tragedy in Paris.  It is hard to not live in fear.  It is hard to not be angry….place blame….refuse help to strangers. 

For days, I did not want to leave my apartment after the bomb blew-up.  We are not traveling this Christmas, but spending our first Christmas in St Pete. 

I was afraid…until I saw this reply to one of Keith’s Facebook post.  Meeting this sweet refugee family changed my life, gave me so much joy and in them I found dear friends.  We have been friends for more than 15 years.  I know that times are scary, but the Bible says to not be afraid 365 times…a reminder for every day of the year!

“In October of 1998 . Sitting in our apartment we just moved in. Everything seemed so strange for us . We where sad and scared at same time.  Me my husband and our 3&half year old son. Alone! Far away from our home and our family. All we could do sit and think. What next??? Now we had plenty of time to think and cry . We lost our homes we l lost our loved ones. We left our families in country that was still in war. I cried to my husband! I wanna go back home. I don't care if we die, at least we gonna be with our family .Here if anything happens to us there will be no one who care. Shortly after we heard knocking on the door . All three of us jumped to see trough window who could it be?? Two people standing at front of our doors! Male and Female. We got confused and scared!..We didn't know ti is people. And we been told not to go out of the apartment, and not to let strangers in. I told my husband. They seem ok to me we should open the door. My husband said NO!! Who knows what they want??? I looked again trough window. She spotted me!!And she start waiving at me! "Hey! Helooooo!!! Open the door please! They send us to visit you from World Relief (refugee office)....She waived again with plate full of Halloween cookies ..Look! She said! I got you some delicious cookies. (well who could resist those cookies) They where so!? So!? Orange!!! We opened the door! For the two most loving and caring people we ever met in our life's.! God was watching over us. He knew we need help! He knew we need guide! Most of all! He knew we need family and friends. The day we opened that door for you guys, it was the day our life's changed for ever. You give us hope. You helped us with anything we need. We experience our first outside food with you guys! We get to see the whole city for the first time ,with you guys! Our first 4 of July was with you guys,our first Thanksgiving . First furniture we bought you helped us. I think pretty much everything we saw,and everywhere we went was with you guys. And we will NEVER forget that!! Thank you Keith and Kristie for coming to our home. Thank you for all days you spend with us! Thank you for being light to our darkness! Thank you for everything! You guys are missionaries and God makes no mistake choosing you two for this kind of job,you are more than qualified!! We lost a lot! But we gain more. True friends are hard to find! And you where there for us day and night....As we where for you. We are Muslim family ,who run away from war seeking better life and future in this country. We just want to live normal life as family,away from killing ,bombs,hunger,injustice ......We are true Muslims ,who believe doing good is all we should do,helping other no matter what faith,race they are. Love your neighbor like your self. Pray to God! Give charity, help what ever you want, where ever you can. Never hurt anyone even if they hurt you, respond with smile and move along. I have no doubt in my mind that this refugees who are running form Syria are the same we used to be once. Just people looking for better life and better future for their family. I hope this answers your questions Keith. If you feel helping that's what God wants you to do! He assigns you! So do what you know the best! Be in service of God Almighty and help those in need. Much love from my family to yours ....Sorry for long post ,you must know it came from heart.”  ~Sadeta Jelovac

Acts 18:9-10 “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.”

Sadeta 2SadetaSadeta 3

11.02.2015

Fall English Camp

20151030_175718Camp 3

Emme’s idea of playing outside!!!

20151031_08283920151030_144241Camp 2

Team Yellow!!!

20151031_12145420151031_17064920151101_105434Camp 5

Emme made it to the final round of Ninja!!!

20151101_10425720151101_10441920151101_121739

Costume Party!!!

_MG_9253_MG_9272_MG_9261_MG_9285_MG_9333_MG_9359_MG_9353

Such a fun weekend!!!

20151101_110315_MG_9408_MG_9404_MG_9410_MG_938020151031_145943IMG_9419