Saturday, February 15, 2014

Valentine's Day on Red Square

Living in a different country always has its advantages. The night before Valentine's day my husband said he had a surprise for me in the morning. We woke up early, dressed warm and headed to downtown Moscow. When we got off at the Teatralnya metro stop, I knew it probably had something to do with Red Square. The walk is so lovely, and we had perfect weather. I love the cobblestone streets and all the old buildings. Many are even older than the country of America. As we came around the corner past Gum Mall onto Red Square, I realized we were headed to a temporary ice skating rink. I was so thrilled!! This is one of my favorite things to do together! Gum mall is celebrating 120 years, so they have set up this beautiful skating rink as part of that celebration.

So here we are ice skating on Valentine's Day on Red Square! Seriously, I've lived here two years now and it still gets me that I'm looking at some of the world's most incredible history. It was beyond amazing skating around the rink surrounded by St. Basil's Cathedral, Gum, The Kremlin and other beautiful buildings!! They even had Russian classical music playing in the background. It was a perfectly romantic setting! What can I say? It's just another blessed day as a missionary in Moscow!

I just have to add how incredibly thankful and blessed I am for the man that the Lord gave me! I love him so much!!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Sock Snowmen Craft

Hello! Today I wanted to share a craft with you that we did at a ladies' meeting this winter. 

I found this craft on pinterest of course. How did we ever live without this fantastic tool? 

The ladies did an incredible job, and each one was unique!

Some even had eyelashes!

If you'd like to give sock snowmen at try, here's a quick how to.

What you need:
White sock
Colored sock
Glue gun 
Orange marker or paint
Accessories such as yarn, ribbon, buttons, brads etc.

First you cut the top off your white sock. Fill the bottom with rice and tie it off.

I used black brads for my eyes. Some of the ladies use googly eyes. You can use what you want, but if you use brads, they are easier to get in before adding the rice to the top part. I got camera cord in that picture...again I'm no photographer!

I cut apart the sock like this. The heel and toe are missing here because I took these pictures after I threw away the scraps. I hope you can understand by the picture.

The smaller "ankle" part of the sock goes around the middle as a shirt. I added some brads, but buttons would be adorable. 

I colored a toothpick with an orange marker. Orange paint would be fine too. I just poked it into the sock. If you really want it stay in place you might glue it, but I didn't find it necessary. 

The larger "foot" part of the sock goes on top for the hat. This is the part you will really want to glue. It doesn't stay in place well at all. 

Here is the finished product. I used some really cute knitting yarn to tie off the hat and make a scarf. The possibilities are really endless! :) This is a very simple and fun craft. Let me know if you try this! 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Peace of God

The past several months I've had the incredible opportunity to disciple a young lady about my age. She was recently saved after 2 years of being part of the ministry here. Before she was saved, she would come over to the house each week. We would sip tea and work on English and Russian by talking and reading together. Now we start with discipleship and then move into just talking and getting to know each other while we work on language learning. I have thoroughly enjoyed this!

For part of our discipleship we each read the same passages of Scripture and write down how the Lord spoke to us. This past week I decided on Philippians. This book has always been one of my favorites, especially chapter 4. One of my favorite verses is verse 7. "And the peace of God which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." 

This time as I was reading, I was particularly drawn to this verse and decided to do a bit of word study. This is always a great way to understand God's Word better. The English is an older English and some words have really changed over the years. Verse 7 is pretty simple and straight forward I thought, but as I looked up these words the verse came to life for me. I understood it in a way I hadn't in the past.

 Oh the peace of God! The quiet rest that we find as we trust Him. Life around us is often so loud and confusing. We try to understand. We read books. We talk to people around us. We google. Of course these things aren't wrong. God has given us a mind to stretch our intellect and understanding. He has also given us a heart - the inner man, the will, the conscience, the seat of emotions and passions - the heart that we are instructed in Proverbs 4:23 to keep or guard with diligence.

The word "passeth" is what really got my attention. I have always understood this to mean God's peace is more than I can understand.  Indeed, especially in difficult times, we experience this special peace that only the children of God can experience...and understand. Let me explain. The word "passeth" here has a completely different meaning than I anticipated. It means to stand out, to rise above, to be superior in rank, better than, higher. The peace of God exceeds and surpasses all the understanding that we might have. To have the peace of God is better than what we are able to determine, judge or perceive. When circumstances in life come, we don't need to understand because we have something greater than understanding, peace...the peace of God!

Proverbs 4:23 reads, "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are issues of life." The word "keep" here is to watch, guard or preserve. Our heart is the source of our life. It is what makes I know we can all agree that there are many things, people, noises that are trying to break through the barrier to our hearts and minds. We are commanded to guard against it, and Philippians 4:7 tells us how. The peace of God, that is greater than our own understanding, guards our minds and hearts. How? Through Jesus Christ!

Yes, the peace of God is hard to explain or understand. As is His love, His forgiveness, His grace, His mercy, His comfort. How can we really grasp that God, in all of His majesty, would send Jesus Christ to be the payment for the debt of sin we could not pay? Now as children of God the Holy Spirit lives in us. Can I explain how He comforts, teaches and convicts? No, but I am amazed as He works in my heart and it flows out into my life. We are just vessels to be filled. We are just branches to bear fruit. We are just pieces of clay in the Master's hands.

As we go through life, we can enjoy this incredible peace that only God can give. It exceeds all of our intellect and understanding. Understanding something can bring a form of peace, but not like the peace of God. This peace offers protection against fear, worry and pain. This peace comes through trusting God, our Heavenly Father.

"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." Proverbs 3:5,6

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Pumpkin Scones

I love fall... the colors, the pumpkins, the dropping temperatures...It all makes me smile! :) Here in Russia, the feeling of fall starts in late August. Officially though, it began September 1st. I have embraced the new season sooner than I would in the states. My reasoning is that I want to enjoy it before it's freezing outside and doesn't feel like fall anymore, but honestly, why wait? This season brings out the best in my love of baking! Bring on the pumpkins! As far as cooking those pumpkins, ours are a bit different here, but I've had good success so far. You might have already guessed we can't run down to our local grocery store and pick up a can of pumpkin, but it's really OK. Cooking them is not difficult. The consistency of our pumpkins takes some getting used to, but with a little cinnamon and nutmeg it turns out well every time. In my searching for new pumpkin recipes to try I came across an incredible pumpkin scone recipe that, at the urging of my mom, I decided to post on my blog. I hope you try it and enjoy it!

For the Pumpkin Scones:

  • 2 cups  all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup  brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter (1 stick of butter)
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tablespoon molasses (we don't have molasses so I used syrup)
  • 3 tablespoons half and half
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

  • For the Frosting:

    • 1/4 Cup butter
    • 1 (3 oz) pkg of cream cheese
    • 2 Cups powered sugar
    • 1/2 t vanilla
    • 1/8 t salt
    The fun part:

    Heat your oven to 400*F or 200*C (if you have a metric oven like me). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. You can spray or grease your pan if you would like, but the parchment paper is SO nice!

    In a large bowl, whisk the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and all the spices together (cinnamon, ginger, clove and nutmeg). Then, cut the cold butter into small cubes (it is very important that the butter is cold for this). Add butter to flour mixture then use a fork or a pastry cutter to “cut” the butter into the flour mixture – yes it does require some elbow grease, as my mom would say. By the end, the mixture should look like coarse crumbs. 

    Now, in another medium bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, molasses, half and half, vanilla extract and egg until blended. Stir pumpkin mixture into flour and butter mixture with a spoon just until a soft dough forms. Transfer the dough to a floured surface then knead it three to four times until it comes together. It can be a bit sticky.

    Next, pat or roll dough into about a 10" x 7" rectangle. If you have a pizza cutter, it is the tool of choice for cutting the scones. It is easier to cut your rectangle lengthwise first. Then cut it into 3 sections giving you 6 small rectangles. Then proceed to make your triangles. If that makes absolutely no sense, hopefully the picture will help! :)

    Spiced Pumpkin Scones Recipe

    Transfer the scones to your cooking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes. If you aren't sure, just grab a toothpick and poke it into one your scones. If it's clean, you should be good to go! Make sure the scones cool completely before frosting if you don't want your frosting to melt and run. I usually can't wait to dig into the scones with melting, dripping frosting...I'm smiling right now just thinking about it! 

    Speaking of frosting, you'll want your beaters for this. It's a pretty basic put the ingredients in a bowl and blend situation. I will add though that I don't like to put all my powdered sugar in at once because I tend to be covered in it by the time I'm done. If you want to get fancy with your frosting, you might consider a zigzag pattern. :)

     Happy fall, ya'll!

    Monday, September 2, 2013

    How many winters, how many summers?

    We have a saying in Russia when you haven't seen someone in a while. Сколько зим, сколько лет? It means, "How many winters, how many summers?" Maybe it hasn't been that long, but it has been about two months since I posted last. We have had a really great, really busy summer! We took a trip south to Kolmykia with Micah (Joel's brother) and his wife Sarah.

    We had junior camp here in Domodedovo.

    And we had a group come from America and built a new roof for the house we live in with Joel's parents, sister and a few others. It's a big house! :)

    For this post I wanted to share some pictures of some of our improved living areas, thanks to some wonderful men from America! My in-laws have tried five times to get a roof on this house that wouldn't leak, and every time it was a fail. This time they decided to go for an American style roof instead of a Russian style roof. We won't know for sure until spring when several feet of snow melt at once, but right now we're nice and dry...and hopeful to stay that way!

    Joel and his brother Micah, with the help of a builder, fixed our gazebo.

    We had about 20 hornet nests in the old roof. Joel and Micah suited up and fixed the problem! :)

    Here are the four men that risked and endured much for us to have a roof that doesn't leak! :)

    We got a really horrible storm one afternoon that blew off the unattached roof and flooded the upstairs where we sleep. The men were desperately trying to fix the roof since they knew it was going to leak severely, but it wasn't safe for them to remain up there in such a severe thunderstorm. We still have some more repair work to fix that damage, but floors and walls are much easier to repair than people! We are so thankful the guys made it down safe!!

    We have had a hard time heating some of the areas in our house so they decided it was time time for some serious insulation in our new roof...and this is only half of the insulation!

    We could never thank the men enough for their incredibly hard work and the enormous blessing they were and will continue to be to us! We are excited for a cozy winter and a dry spring...on the inside of coarse! ;)

    Thursday, June 6, 2013

    Dealing with culture shock

    Culture shock is a very real thing. When life changes dramatically, it can sneak up on you. Soon, without even realizing it sometimes, symptoms begin to appear. Many people talk about culture shock when moving to a new country, but it doesn't have to be a new country. Sometimes within a country cultural differences can vary to the point of someone getting frustrated with something or someone for something that is fine and perfectly normal for that area. Different does not mean wrong! I have most definitely had my moments, and I'm so thankful for God's grace and daily wisdom and comfort. I know rough days will still come. It is important to constantly maintain a good attitude as much as possible. I decided to share an article with you that a fellow missionary friend shared with me. Some of you may relate, while others can learn how to better pray for their missionaries. You can find this excellent article by clicking here. I hope you enjoy this article and have a delightful day! :)

    Saturday, June 1, 2013

    The Reasoner Family

    Hello! I'm so happy to be home! We just finished making a very fast, very crazy trip to the states for the wedding of Joel's youngest brother Jeremiah and his new wife Kayla. It was a lovely wedding and we enjoyed having a few days with the whole family.Well it was almost the whole family. Keturah's (front row left) husband was not able to come.


    Our family is growing quickly! We are blessed indeed! I'm so thankful we were able to go even though it was a tiring trip! Micah and Sarah and their two girls (on the far right) came back with us to Russia. They will be spending the summer here before going back to the states to begin deputation.