Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Little Earthquake

(Kitty) We had a little earthquake last night. Pretty cool. Apparently the epicenter was only 1-2 miles from our home, so here it felt HUGE but it was only a 3-point-something on the Richter scale. Like our friend Ray said - it felt like a huge dump truck fell from the sky into our yard!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


(Kitty) I am on a writing retreat this week with my friend Shonna, and I AM GETTING SO MUCH DONE!! I am sooo happy!!! I have a fun idea, a solid outline, and pretty soon I'll be seeing the snowball effect of pages piling up! Wooo-hoooo!!!

I hope you're having a great week doing something that gives you joy, too! :)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Finally of Age?

(Kitty) Can't help it, gotta say it - today is the 21st anniversary of the day John and I met! I know, mostly only girls care about this sort of thing, but still, I think it's pretty cool. :) John says he thinks it's weird that I think he's better than ever. But secretly, I think he loves it! ;)
Ignore This Story!

(Kitty) When you're looking at your calendar and monitoring the airfare from the United States to Sydney, and trying to decide when you're going to come visit us, don't go looking for stories like this. You just don't want to know. Come visit us anyway. Really, it's safe. (Maybe consider life insurance and be sure to say your prayers first, but... come visit us anyway.)

Click here if you just can't help yourself. But don't say I didn't warn you!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

It's a Small World

(Kitty) Below is a message I got from my friend Juli in November that I've been meaning to share with you. Juli and her husband Alan and their three sons are missionaries in Russia. The stories they tell are always so interesting, but this one I found interesting because I have a lot of friends who have deaf friends and/or are interested in sign language.

No matter how big or small our family or community or the world, it seems bigger when you feel alone, and smaller when you find ways to communicate and make friends. I hope you are finding yourself in a small world today. :)


Both of the translators did a nice job at the church service this morning. At the church we are attending now everything is translated, but the only language spoken is Russian. Can you guess what the translation is for? Yes, roughly half of the people attending are either deaf or hearing impaired. So everything that is spoken is translated into sign and everything signed is also translated into spoken Russian.

Today two young ladies stood in front of the congregation and signed a duet. Their feet moved slightly to a soundless beat and the joy on their faces reflected a music that no one could hear. A translator read the words into the microphone, but the nonverbal communication seemed much more poetic.

One of the most remarkable things about attending a "deaf church" is the warmth. Eye-to-eye people greet one another. A quick handmotion indicates gladness that you are there. Cheek-to-cheek women embrace. Men and women shake hands. And everywhere you look conversations are bursting out of people's hands. Those who don't speak sign are in the minority. I find myself gesturing and using animated facial expressions to communicate. Several of the deaf people can also read lips, but sometimes I wonder if my accent gets in the way. Still, we communicate.

In Russia, to be deaf is to be practically unemployable. Yet many of the people in the congregation have found work in some form or other. I can only imagine the struggles they have faced. Sunday mornings with them I see their joy. They don't come to the service just because it is Sunday morning. They come because they love God and want to worship Him. They are hungry for the sermons, singing, and prayer times.

At first, our boys weren't too sure about all the hand language. They swung their hands and arms around a bit, especially during singing. But now they are beginning to pick up some of the signs. Eric and Darin are attending Sunday school, which seems to be almost exclusively hearing kids although many know sign because their parents are deaf.

Last summer we met several of the deaf believers at camp. The church operates the camp on Lake Baikal where we held English and Family camps in July. The friendly smiles we saw everyday on the wooded paths, in the open air cafeteria and around the camp fire are there to welcome us on Sundays at the church service.

Perhaps you are wondering why we are attending here? It is where we fit for now. We continue to work with College students through Compass and desire that many of these students will come to know the joy that our deaf "Family", as well as our hearing "Family" has come to know.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Tried Something New

(Kitty) John went to work early this morning and I didn't want to run in the dark alone, so I decided to do work until the afternoon and run then. I've never run in the afternoon, but because it's winter I thought it might be nice to run down the beach around sunset (which is pretty much late afternoon! LOL!) It was a beautiful 5-mile run! But there are two reasons I probably won't run in the afternoon very often. One, Santa Monica Beach and Venice Beach where I was running had too many people in the late afternoon. Seemed I was always dodging around someone. Two, by the time I got home and took a shower it was nearly 6pm, and I was ravenous so I made dinner and watched an hour of taped TV while I ate. (The Mentalist, I love that show!) Now I'm so totally absolutely tired, I don't have the energy to do much of anything else! LOL!!

Sunday morning, I'm supposed to run 10 miles! Woo-hooo!! (Standing during the singing at church is going to tap me out energy-wise after that! LOL!) John has to work the weekend again, so he'll run whatever he has time for before work. Three weeks till the first race!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

(Kitty) Today was a long-run day, so I decided to run 8 miles. That's the most I've run since the Pasadena Marathon was canceled on November 16. What made me so happy about my run today (just me, John was sick) was that I felt sooo good that I ran the whole way. Usually John and I do the Galloway Method - run for 3 minutes, walk for 1 minute - when we do our long runs. But it was so much cooler than it's been since my last long run in early November that I just didn't want to stop. I actually ran the entire 8 miles non-stop except for red lights on the mile to the beach and the mile home. It was absolutely awesome! I practically can't wait till next week - 10 miles on Saturday! Woo-hoo!!

I know a lot of people are thinking about New Year's resolutions right now. Let me just remind you - less than 9 months ago I couldn't run to the end of the block. Make a big resolution and keep working on it, slow and steady. You'll make it!! :)