Monday, July 13, 2015

7/12/2015 Shiryeavo

After our visa trip, we stayed for a senior couples conference in Samara at the mission home.  On Saturday we took a boat up the Volga to Shiryeavo, the village mentioned in last week's blog.  It was very fun and very interesting. Grab some snacks -- there are lots of pictures in this week's blog.
Waites, Yorgesens, Sister Schwab, Dunns, Rowleys
Because for most we don't know the exact names or places of the scenery, we're not giving explanations for all, just want you to see what we saw. There are always fishermen on the river in different kinds of boats, usually only for one or two people. You can see the fisherman in the small inflatable raft boat at the bottom right.
 They have two kinds of barges, one is all one piece; then, like this one where the boat pushes the flat barge.  Sometimes they are heaped way over the top usually with what looks like scrap metal.
 We planned on a cruise at first, this is the ship we would have taken.  It was an overnight trip to Kazan which is said to be the most beautiful city in our part of Russia.  We will be able to go there for CES in September.  But the short trip we took couldn't have been better.
 These are pictures as we went up the river.
And this is Shiryeavo - no buses - we walked from the dock to the museum, probably about a mile and a half.

Not sure what this building once was, but is all rock with a big arched opening on the left and the square one on the right.
 Sister Schwab and the sign directing us to the museum

 Lots of interesting windows
 Beautiful raspberries, we bought some on the way back to the boat, ate some and made yummy raspberry shortcake for dinner the next day
 The locks are huge and strong - doesn't look like these have been opened for a long time
  Some of the houses on the way to the museum.  All we passed were occupied.
 Really cool weather vane
Hoe with very narrow blade and she was carefully going around each plant.
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Museum, you can see the fancy outhouse out back, for looks, not use.  You can't take pictures in a lot of the areas, but here is what we have.
 The dog was there from start to finish - never moved.

 the horse is made out of twisted branches

 It is a lot like going through the old pioneer homes with ovens and furnishings - but restricted picture taking - so we took all we could.                  

 This is for heating the water for their chai -tea - important then and important now.  The missionaries often carry herbal tea with them because they are almost always offered it when they visit.  We have some  members who make their own herbal tea which is very good; Mike even thinks it is OK.

 The loom above and the spinning wheel below
 One of Repin's brush/paint boxes
 This is the artist - sent pictures of paintings last week - Ilya Yefimovich Repin was a Russian realist painter. He was the most renowned Russian artist of the 19th century, when his position in the world of art was comparable to that of Leo Tolstoy in literature.

The cradle above
 and the mobile 
 Some of the cupboards almost look Scandanavian
This was tucked in a corner, has Christ and other religious items on it.
Lots of dried arrangements and pictures and artifacts - really pretty - just a nice feeling everywhere.
 We saw a couple of these very sturdy sleds.  (also, forgot to mention a feature in a couple of the homes that looked pretty good to me - a loft bed right over the oven.)
You can see Mike and I at the back.  Just something fun they added for people to take pictures in.
On the way back to the boat we ate at a small local  restaurant overlooking the Volga and there were local people there.  Their specialty is chicken shishkabobs but not on a stick, and plove, a rice dish both of us like,  flavored rice with a little bit of meat that they cook in  a big wok and serve with fresh tomatoes and cucumbers.
Elder Yorgesen and the Dunns
The Waites and Sister Yorgesen
 The Rowleys

 The pictures below are on the way back to Samara.  Even the boats have seamen on them.

Loaded barge.

 Buildings along the river

That is probably enough fun for you all for now.  We do have the train trip to report but will save that for next week.  It is an amazingly beautiful area, but we also agree with Grandma Waite who said she couldn't imagine the celestial kingdom not including the beautiful Nevada desert she loved.

Closing with these thoughts from President Uchtdorf's 2012 conference talk
"Of Regrets & Resolutions"

I Wish I Had Let Myself Be Happier

Another regret of those who knew they were dying may be somewhat surprising. They wished they had let themselves be happier.
So often we get caught up in the illusion that there is something just beyond our reach that would bring us happiness: a better family situation, a better financial situation,
or the end of a challenging trial.
The older we get, the more we look back and realize that external circumstances don’t really matter or determine our happiness.
We do matter. We determine our happiness.
You and I are ultimately in charge of our own happiness.
My wife, Harriet, and I love riding our bicycles. It is wonderful to get out and enjoy the beauties of nature. We have certain routes we like to bike, but we don’t pay too much attention to how far we go or how fast we travel in comparison with other riders.
However, occasionally I think we should be a bit more competitive. I even think we could get a better time or ride at a higher speed if only we pushed ourselves a little more. And then sometimes I even make the big mistake of mentioning this idea to my wonderful wife.
Her typical reaction to my suggestions of this nature is always very kind, very clear, and very direct. She smiles and says, “Dieter, it’s not a race; it’s a journey. Enjoy the moment.”
How right she is!
Sometimes in life we become so focused on the finish line that we fail to find joy in the journey. I don’t go cycling with my wife because I’m excited about finishing. I go because the experience of being with her is sweet and enjoyable.
Doesn’t it seem foolish to spoil sweet and joyful experiences because we are constantly anticipating the moment when they will end?
Do we listen to beautiful music waiting for the final note to fade before we allow ourselves to truly enjoy it? No. We listen and connect to the variations of melody, rhythm, and harmony throughout the composition.
Do we say our prayers with only the “amen” or the end in mind? Of course not. We pray to be close to our Heavenly Father, to receive His Spirit and feel His love.
We shouldn’t wait to be happy until we reach some future point, only to discover that happiness was already available—all the time! Life is not meant to be appreciated only in retrospect. “This is the day which the Lord hath made … ,” the Psalmist wrote. “Rejoice and be glad in it.”6
Brothers and sisters, no matter our circumstances, no matter our challenges or trials, there is something in each day to embrace and cherish. There is something in each day that can bring gratitude and joy if only we will see and appreciate it.
Perhaps we should be looking less with our eyes and more with our hearts. I love the quote: “One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes.”7
We are commanded “to give thanks in all things.”  So isn’t it better to see with our eyes and hearts even the small things we can be thankful for, rather than magnifying the negative in our current condition?
The Lord has promised, “He who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold.” 
Brothers and sisters, with the bountiful blessings of our Heavenly Father, His generous plan of salvation, the supernal truths of the restored gospel, and the many beauties of this mortal journey, “have we not reason to rejoice?”
Let us resolve to be happy, regardless of our circumstances.

It is so worth it to be here, the line upon line, precept upon precept continues.
We are grateful always for all of you and your love and prayers and support.

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