Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy Birthday to Our Sweet Daughter!!

It is past midnight and has just become December 31, 2010
in Skopje.

35 years ago today - my "tiny" baby girl was born.
She was a New Year's Eve baby!!
She was a bit early and weighed only 5 lbs. 2 ozs.
She was born in the middle of a snowstorm and icy roads, but she certainly warmed our hearts --
and continues to do so!!

We love you, Amy, and wish that we could be with you today
on your birthday!!

Have a blast at your "80s Birthday Party Celebration"!!

Happy Birthday Greetings -- all the way from Skopje--
Mom & Dad

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas 2010

 December 2010

Reflected Light
by Shelia

In several of the photography courses I have taken during the past year, LIGHT and how it behaves has been a major part of the discussion. LIGHT is probably the most important element that determines how a photograph is developed or created.

The lack of natural light leads the photographer to search for an alternative source to correctly illuminate the photograph. Flash or strobe lighting will help to increase the effect of ambient light or act as daylight to supply the sole light source for a well-exposed photograph. Both the natural light and flash/strobe light are forms of LIGHT.

If the natural light or the strobe lighting is too strong and/or direct, the photo will have a very harsh look that is often offensive to the eye. That strong light can be diffused by a thin panel of cloth or other material to make the photo more pleasing and show off the details of the photo in a more productive manner. Or better yet, the light can be reflected. This option can help the photographer when the light is too dim or when the light is too strong. A reflector can be a simple piece of white foam board, a white or light colored building, or a white/gold/silver purchased reflector.

The purpose of the reflector is to bounce what light is available (whether it is natural light that is too weak to expose the photo correctly or so strong as to make the photo unacceptable). The reflector can be placed so that light can be directed from the light source back onto the subject. . The reflector reveals and correctly exposes the parts of the photo that would be hidden without it or redirects the light at an angle so that it is softer and more dispersed than the too bright sunlight.

As applied to our witness of God’s love to the people with whom we live and work, this concept of reflected LIGHT takes on a new meaning for us. In Matthew 5:16 (The Message, Eugene Peterson) these words hold relevance to this concept: “Let me tell you why you are here. You are here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We are going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I am going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I am going to put you on a light stand. Now that I have put you on a hilltop, on a light stand --- SHINE!”

Our hope is that we will SHINE/REFLECT the LIGHT that we know to be truth in such a way that those we come in contact with here in Macedonia (or wherever we might be) will see God’s reflection with their own eyes (experiences). Our desire is that the reflection of our lives will not be too harsh and unpleasing as to cause others to not want to know the truth, but instead, that the reflection will represent God in such a way as to lighten the dark corners and circumstances they face daily.

Shelia: Several years ago, Mary Anne Womack, gave me a copy of her book, “Reflected Light”. I have thought about this little book many times over the years, but most often during these photography courses. This the introductory poem to her book:
Reflected Light

Stars of the universe shine
remind me of the Light that shines within
my soul

                                                 The Light of one who shines and calls me
to a life of light

A life that draws to Him those
In the dark of night who see the
Of the Star of the Universe

Thank you for all you do for us and our ministry throughout the year.

Through your contributions to the CBF Offering for Global Missions you help to build Christ-centered, collaborative, and holistic ministries around the world and make it possible for us to be in Macedonia. 
You may send donations to P.O. Box 101699, Atlanta, Georgia 30392.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,
Arville and Shelia

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Christingle Candle

In Germany in 1747, Bishop Johanns de Watteville was searching for a way
that he could illustrate God's love
to the younger members of his congregation. 
Taking his lead from the Moravian Church,
the Bishop created the first Christingle service by giving
the children candles wrapped in a red ribbon
with the prayer
"Lord Jesus, kindle a flame in these dear children's hearts".

The orange represents the world, the toothpicks are the
four corners of the world and the four seasons,
the red ribbon is the gift of peace from God through Christ,
and the Light represents our witness to
the Love of God.

Closer to the present day, John Pensom
of the Children's Society (a British charity that aids young people
who face danger or discrimination) introduced the
Christingle service to the Anglican Church
in 1968.
The custom spread quickly, and it is now
a valuable fundraising event during

The Hustle and Bustle of Skopje: A Journalistic Poem with Pictures

The hustle and bustle of the ever-increasing traffic in Skopje
has become more the norm than just the sign of a busy season.

The road that goes from our apartment into town is
a four-lane road,
but due to the increase in the number of
cars, buses, trucks and motorcycles,
as well as
the cars parked & the dumpsters lining
the outside lanes,
this four-lane street is, in actuality, two lanes.

At any given time there may be three cars abreast
in each of these two lanes.

A scenario that happens on a daily basis:
A bus gives a signal as it pulls out of the safety of
the designated bus stop and almost collides with
two taxis as they both try to pass the bus;
thus, three vehicles of varying sizes
in one lane.

A car behind the second taxi passes
on the wrong side of the road and barely avoids
running over the pedestrians in the "makeshift" crosswalk -
the actual crosswalk that theoretically protects pedestrians-
 is half a block up the street.

This same taxi speeds ahead (there are no speed limits)
to get to the intersection first so that
he can make a left-hand turn from the right lane,
thus beating all the other cars that are waiting
in the left-hand turn lane.

Two motorcycles use the "invisible" white line
that divides the two lanes as an improvised racetrack.
In the midst of this confusion, a Mac truck makes a
U-turn across both lanes to deliver merchandise to a
"dyqan" (store) while a student driver in an
"Auto-Skolla" car looks bewildered as to which way to go.

The student driver decides to make a right turn
in order to park on the sidewalk,
but fails to give a signal.
She goes unnoticed.

Just another driver who is learning to traverse
the streets of Skopje!


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happy Holidays from Skopje

We wish you a very Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year,

We decided to start with the youngest in our family -- so Nathan is first this year.  Amy took pictures of her family and sent them to me so that I could make cards for our Christmas greeting this year.  Then Layla had sent me several pictures and I used them in a collage card, too.  So thank you all for helping to make our Christmas greeting special this year.  

 Nathan Mussie

Sophia Rose

 Anna Grace

Elijah James

Look how much the children have grown from summer until now:



Arville & Shelia

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

What's For Dinner?

Is it cold where you are tonight?
It is cold here in Skopje, but we just
bought a new heater and I am making dinner so
our little apartment is beginning to warm up somewhat.

We are having Pumpkin Soup, Green Salad and Cornbread.
My kitchen may be small (6 ft. x 7 ft. including the cabinets), but
I have found that you use all the space you have anyway --
so I just have less to clean up. HA!

The pumpkin soup is prepared in the pumpkin shell so there isn't
a soup pot that has to be cleaned up at least.
This is a recipe that my daughter, Amy, gave me about
a month ago -- our pumpkins have been so good
this year that I have made this soup
several times over the past month.