Sunday, April 26, 2009

Grumpy




No matter what they say about social networking sites being too impersonal and taking away the “real” communication, I find out a great deal about my friends and acquaintances through their Facebook or Twitter status updates. In some cases, much more than I ever knew, and quite frequently, more than I want to know.

If it is raining outside I can pretty much predict which of my 150 Facebook friends will express their displeasure. If it is sunny outside, it is also not difficult to guess who will write grumpy messages about “how much it sucks” to be at school/work/being sick/having stuff to do/and so on, when it is "so gorgeous outside".

To be quite frank, I catch myself grumping as well (even though I am trying not to). I have definitely improved, but if you knew me 5 years ago, you would not like me at all.

When five plus years ago I moved to the United States, I hated it here. I was complaining about the food, the mentality, the fashion, the necessity to drive everywhere, fake smiles, small talk, the language… To give myself a credit, it was not easy, because within a few months my life changed completely. I left my wild life in the dorm, my numerous friends, my family, my culture, my university, my language. I always lived in relatively big cities, so moving to a town the size of a sneeze was quite an experience. I didn’t drive, I barely had any people to talk to. My husband was at work and I spent most of my days pitying myself and writing heartbreaking poems in my journal. Then we got pregnant and even though it was something we both really wanted, the crazy hormones didn’t help my crankiness.

Poor hubby had to put up with all these and now looking back I admire him for his patience, love and grace. Time passed and physically I am still at the same place. I do drive, but everything else is still the same: town size of a sneeze, lack of interaction with friends, house in a suburb, fake smiles and fake food. However, something else is different. My mood. My spirit. I feel incredibly blessed having (and not having) everything that was making me mad 5 years ago. I am in a happy and a peaceful place. I am happier than I have ever been.

I knew from the beginning that it was God’s plan for me to move to this country. But I didn’t trust Him enough. I didn’t accept the challenges as gifts. I preferred to grump.


When we are grumpy, this is disrespectful to God. When we complain, we doubt Him and, whether willingly or unwillingly, disapprove that whatever happens in our lives happens for a reason. A reason that might make sense only to God, but the reason that He and only He came up with.

Every single circumstance and obstacle we face is because God either created it or allowed it to happen. One or the other, it was done “to prosper you and not to harm you, …to give you hope and a future.” God said it in Jeremiah 29:11. He never gave promises he didn’t keep, so why do we keep doubting?

Being positive is not about psychological affirmations or power of positive thinking. (Even though I really like the Indian proverb about a man who was complaining for not having shoes until he met a men who didn’t have feet.)

Being positive means trusting God and thanking Him for taking care of you. It means worshiping God during hard (or what you think are hard) circumstances; after them and before them. Studying scriptures with God’s promises is helpful as well, but worshiping is really the key. If you praise and worship the Lord with all your heart, you should have no doubts that He is greater than this world, greater than these circumstances, greater than you. You may think you know what you need in this life and when you need it, but it is God (and not you) who really knows it. He is faithful. He knows what He is doing.

Complaining about your broken microwave, about “crappy” weather, an irresponsible friend, naughty kid, sick cat, and your life in general means diminishing God and His works. Everything happens for a reason.

When I look back and reread my journals it was a sequence of small and seemingly irrelevant events which led me to where I am right now. A failed test, small quarrel, a random acquaintance, slow internet connection… Was I complaining about these things? You bet. Would I end up in the United States and meet the love of my life without them? No, I would not.

Complaining is harmful. It is the evidence of unbelief. It is important for us Christians to guard the words of our mouths.

PHIL.2:14-15

In everything you do, stay away from complaining and arguing, so that no one can speak a word of blame against you. You are to live clean, innocent lives as children of God in a dark world full of crooked and perverse people. Let your lives shine brightly before them. Hold tightly to the word of life, so that when Christ returns, I will be proud that I did not lose the race and that my work was not useless.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

My Confession or ...But the Seventh Day is a Sabbath of the LORD

My dear readers,

Originally I was just going to write about how busy I have been lately and how overwhelmed I feel trying to combine motherhood, "wifehood", school and now work. For the last month and a half I haven't relaxed with a good book, haven't watched a movie and haven't slept for more than 5 hours straight.

To be honest I didn't mind being busy and productive. I love what I do and I enjoy going to sleep knowing that I accomplished a lot. However, today I realized that rest was not the only thing I've been missing.

This morning at church our pastor was talking about fear of the Lord. When he started, my husband smiled and looked at me, because fear of the Lord is one of few things we don't quite agree on. The Russian Orthodox church influenced my beliefs quite a bit and I always thought that in order to be obedient we should be afraid of God; afraid to sin and mess up. It worked for me in the past and I have a hard time adjusting to a new concept that God will forgive me no matter how bad I screw up. I know He will, but I personally need to fear God. Otherwise, I relax and don't listen to Him as much as I should.

Actually, during today's service I realized that I haven't been listening to Him at all for the last 6 weeks. Why? I was too busy. I did pray every night before going to bed, but it was more of a monologue of how thankful I am for the day and how desperate I am for God to protect my family. I didn't ask Him for directions or for plans He had for me. And I didn't listen to Him.

Today when our pastor was talking about the fear of the Lord and disobedience, God spoke to me. This was not the first time He tried doing this, but previously I didn't want to listen. Actually, I didn't want to listen this time, because what He was asking me to do was very inconvenient. He asked me to devote the 7th day to Him. Imagine that!

But God, - I tried arguing. - I have 3 major projects at school and 30+ articles to write for my blogs and websites and I have only a month to accomplish all of these. And remember, I have a house, a husband and two wild little children to take care of.

God didn't reply to me directly, but while I was still trying to prove my point to Him, our pastor started giving us vivid examples of how people find excuses to disobey God and ignore God's voice. It was so timely, that it gave me chills.

I got really afraid, so I said:

-OK, I promise that I will take a Sunday off. I made a mental note that I'll just work harder during the week But I will start next Sunday, because I already planned to write a beat-report for my Journalism class today and write 3 articles for the Ezine article directory.

At this very moment the pastor gave an example on how he got stuck in traffic, because he didn't listen to God's voice.

"Even in small things we need to listen to Him," - he said.

And then it finally hit me. I realized how awful my attitude was and how prideful I became. I was arguing with God?!!!?!!!!!????????? I don't know if it was due to the lack of sleep lately, but somehow I started thinking that I knew better than Him. I somehow forgot that only He, my loving Father, knows what is the best for me. I was not fearing Him lately, I was not listening to Him. This revelation shocked me so much that I wanted to slap myself in the face.

Dear Father, please forgive me my pride, my cockiness and my disobedience. Help me not to get deceived again and help me listen when You speak to me. I know I shouldn't worry, because you said so. I know You will guide me and You will provide. All I need to do is listen. And obey.

PS. It is 9.15 pm here, Sunday. I didn't work, I didn't study(It was hard and I realized that I was very addicted to being busy). Today I just went to church, I made a nice dinner for my family, spent time with them and I wrote this post.

I realize that I shouldn't devote only Sundays to God. I should devote every day of my life to Him and try to glorify Him in everything I do.

How do you, my Christian brothers and sisters do it? What are your tips on how not to get distracted by the world and focus on the Lord? I need some advice.




Orthodox churches in Vologda, RussiaImage via Wikipedia

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Kreative Blogger Award




Whoa! I've bee nominated for Kreative Blogger Award by these wonderful people at Club Coupon Blog Page http://clubcoupon.blogspot.com/

I am flattered and honored. :-) Now I am supposed to:

1. Write 7 things that I love.
2. Nominate 7 other blogs for this award.

So here you go. I LOVE:

1. God and my relationship with Him. He is too good to me.
2. My wonderful husband
3. My naughty, but incredibly sweet children
4. My family who are overseas
5. Writing
6. Reading
7. Being home with my family

Blogs I recommend. (Screw the rules. I recommend more than 7.)

1. Little People Wealth
2. Suburb Sanity
3. 2nd Cup of Coffee
4. Has Anyone Seen My Cape?
5. The Inept Aspirant


6.Becoming Me
7. The Only Thing Worth Walking
Toward

8.Rocking Chair Reflections
9. Rumblings of One Stuck in the Middle of Inbetween
10. Just a Southern Girl
11. Where laughter Lives: the Riggs Family
12. Club Coupon Blog Page
13. Living My Life Outside the Box
14. The Page is Set the Ink Is Wet
15. A View From the Mountaintop
16. FawnDear

Congratulations!!!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Bloggers, I have a Technical Question

Hello technology gurus,

I have no idea what happened to my blog settings, but for some reason I don't see myself as a follower on the blogs I follow. I didn't delete anything and I still see everything on the dashboard.

Can somebody help me with this?

I did have a terrible flu for 10 days and my brains were melting, so maybe I did something stupid and just don't remember.

I don't even know where to look and what to change.

Any thoughts?

OK, NEVER MIND, I FIGURED IT OUT!;-)

It Is Almost Women’s Day

I don’t know who came up with the idea that spring should start on March 21st. To me, spring starts today. March 1st. And one of the coolest Russian holidays, Women’s Day, is only a week away.

March 8th is probably the most important holiday as far as women are concerned. On this day men of all ages are basically supposed to worship women (not that they shouldn’t do it everyday). They shower women with compliments, gifts and flowers. They take women out for dinner and worship their unimpeachable beauty.

March 8th is an official day off, but it is common to have corporate parties dedicated to women a day before.

Ah, it is a beautiful day. I told you before that Russians are not as friendly as Americans and they wouldn’t smile to you on the street. On March 8th everything is possible. Even the most shy and unsociable men often say “Happy 8th of March” or something like that (in Russian, of course) to women they don’t know.

This holiday brings me so many memories and just like pretty much every holiday, it brings me sadness. I miss my family who are thousands kilometers away; I miss my friends who celebrate these holidays without me now. I miss compliments, cards and flowers (even though I don’t like flowers). I miss spirit of the holiday in the air and I feel that every Russian holiday that I don’t celebrate takes away my cultural identity.

I am not fussy and not very high-maintenance, but holidays are tough for me. And you know what my American hubby does? He forgets about them.

I mean I can understand that Russian holidays don’t mean anything for him; and he has a hundred of other things on his mind. He is a great guy and I know he loves me, but for some reason he refuses to remember this day. (and yes, I hint for months in advance)

This and some other cultural differences inspired me to create another blog, called Russian Wife. I just started it and it doesn’t have many posts yet, but I am getting there. The idea is to help guys who are either looking for a Russian wife or are married to one, overcome problems associated with cultural differences. I don’t mind sharing our personal stories with people as far as it will help them. My husband agrees.

This post(link) was supposed to be about Russian holidays in general, but I couldn’t help myself and wrote mostly about the 8th of March. Sigh.

I guess I should just suck it up and buy flowers and a gift myself, because I have a strange feeling that this year’s Women’s day will be forgotten as well.

Sorry if I sounded too grumpy. When I sat down to write this I just wanted to wish Happy 8th of March to all the ladies who read my blog, and to suggest that every guy who reads this does something special for their women on March 8th. Because firstly, this holiday is actually called “INTERNATIONAL Women’s Day”, and secondly, don’t you think your women deserves this?





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