Monday, July 25, 2011

Any of you runners out there will find this entertaining! My IWA group supported Georgia's Run For the Cure. So on Saturday E. Reese & I met with our group at Turtle Lake at 12:30. Yes, it was the hottest time of the day! Here are the racers lining up (we were in the 'walkers' group that went a little later!) Here is where they are suppose to run! They tried to explain to the camera people that they had to move so the runners could go - they did not want to move - but did so begrudgingly!

There was no finish line - eventually everyone got done running and they had the walkers line up. There were not many of us - but our group was right in front. Just before we started some men in black suits showed up and stood in front - then 2 women joined them - hmmm... it was Georgia's Presidents wife! We walked right behind a celebrity! Unfortunately she was just strolling and no one could pass her - so - it was a leisurely walk!

This was our group and me with my free T-shirt! It was an adventure!

After we Raced for the Cure - we walked down the hill and came to this great view of the city! We stopped at an outdoor museum where they had homes found in Georgia over the centuries. It started with this fun statue!

Here's a fun home with branches woven through poles to make the wall. The ladder is a big log with notches in it.

This is the home where they made their wine - very important here!

This was my favorite - reminded me of the Flintstone home - only a little smaller.

We read in the Ensign how we are suppose to plant a garden. Well, living in an apartment makes that difficult. I do love tomatoes - so we decided to do some bucket gardening. We asked our interpretur, Mzia, where to get the plants and she happened to have a neighbor who grew them and graciously gave us 3. We found some dirt outside our complex and a sunny spot on our balcony.

They seem to be happy! I water them almost every morning and talk to them - hopefully we'll be eating home grown tomatoes in a couple of weeks!
For the 4th of July, we were invited to go on another adventure with the Parrin Family and we were joined by Marisa, another American in our ward working at the US Embassy. Lucky for us, Marisa has a Toyota highlander that held everyone! (Unlucky for her 'cause she had to drive and couldn't watch the fantastic views!) We headed north into the Caucasus Mountain Range - almost to the Russian boarder - to the little village of Kazbegi. It was about a 3 hour drive through some beautiful country. We made a stop along the way at this brown hill - turned out to be a thin covering of water coming over the entire area and leaving a mineral deposit that turned the hill this orange/brown color. The boys loved running and playing in it. E. Reese and Paul had to hike to the top to see where the water came from. They found a spring at the top - but could not investigate to closely because it was guarded by 3 mean dogs!

We drove as close as we dared on the rutted road that lead up to the Tsminda Samebo Church on the top of the hill (7241 feet elevation). We parked in a little meadow covered in wild flowers where we had a picnic lunch. The hike up to the church took about an hour.

This is a fun picture up closer. There was a small fountain in front that had spring water coming out that everyone stopped to drink.

The weather had been great all day - except for some clouds that covered the taller mountains. As we turned to look again - the clouds had moved and there stood Mt. Kazbek, 16514 feet high, majestic and beautiful!

It was so nice to get away for the day - to hike and laugh and enjoy nature! We breathed in the good clean air and felt the strength of the mountains. I think we're good for a few more weeks!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Our good friends, the Parrins, invited us on a hiking adventure. They are here for 5 months from Arizona (yes, she knows Connie! - small world) On our way we stopped at Ananuri which is right next to the Zhinvali resevoir. There is a great fortress here with 2 churches built on the inside. The really great thing is that we can just go and explore - there was no one else here - except locals selling their wares.

Women must wear skirts in the church - so for 1 lari I rented this lovely skirt - I think it matches well! This is Stephanie, Jude and me in front of the church.

Looking up through a round tower.

A square tower was built on each cornor. At times of war everyone came into the fortress. There were rooms in this tower to live - this was the top - also a great place to fight from! They would also live here during the winter when the snow was too deep to stay in their homes.

This is a great shot from the tower - looking over the tops of the churches to the resevoir.
Fun shot looking through one of the slits in the tower to a neat picture of a 'tree of life' on the church wall.

This is my favorite picture of a doorway into a room, then another doorway with another room and then the window. This was a fun place to play with the camera!

Now we are headed to Khada Gorge for our hike. We have a slight slow down on the road - but we're happy to share! This is the main route through the Caucasus Mountain Range to the Russian border. This is where we are headed - beautiful just isn't enough! Awesome - majestic -

We've had lots of rain and the weather here is very humid, so everything is a lovely shade of green and there are lots of beautiful flowers. This blue columbine was E. Reese's favorite.

We hiked along the road with a small river dancing on our right. Built into one of the giant cliffs is a small prison originally for north Caucasian Invaders - it's that lighter spot in the middle of the picture.

Luke, Jude, Stephanie and I enjoying the wildlife!

We stopped for lunch/snack - salami, cheese, tomatoes and cucumbers on Georgian bread!

This is where we were headed - but we ran out of time - on our next trip here we'll go further in the car!

This is the view headed back home. What a great day to just breath and enjoy God's land!

Friday, July 15, 2011

On a hill here in Tbilisi, there is a monument called 'History of Georgia', but we all call it Stonehenge. You can see it from all around the city. We finally made our way to go see it in July.

We climbed up LOTS of steps to get to the monument! It was amazing! These pillars are about 65 feet tall. On the bottom portion are excerts from the life of Christ and on the top they have important historical figures. It was overwhelming to wander through the pillers.

Here is the scene with Peter walking on the water towards Christ. (I'm helping!)

My favorite was the taking down of Christ's body after he died. The love and care that the desciples used was so evident. It was very touching.

Elder Reese's favorite was the depiction of Hell! There is Satan and the serpents in the fire and brimstone!

While Dr. Mayberry and his wife were here, they did a fireside on health and cleaning your fruits and veggies before you eat them. Sis. Mayberry brought lots of fruit and we cleaned it and made a yummy fruit salad - this shot was taken after the demo! This is a sweet family in our branch - 2 of my favorite primary kids! They are working towards going to the temple this October as a family. The mom speaks fairly good english!

This is Alex our door greeter on Sunday - he always comes early!

Friday, July 8, 2011

In the middle of June, Dr. Mayberry and his wife came to visit us. They are serving their mission in Ukraine (he is the doc that helped me with my nose cancer) and he is our mission doctor. We spent the first day checking out several clinics, hospitals and doctors in Tbilisi so that he would know where to send any of our missionaries that might have a medical problem - we were all pleased with how nice some of the clinics were! The next two days we spent sight-seeing with them and the Mission Pres. and his wife. Our first stop was the town of Mstkheta. We went up the mountain to the Jvari Monestary. On the way we saw a tree covered with ribbons and cloth. Mzia told us that as people journeyed to the monestary they would stop to tie something on the tree and make a wish. In the parking lot was a man dressed in costume with a music box. He let us turn the handle (I hope to be able to add that to the blog!) We had fun taking turns and it turned out to be the best shot of the monestary. We gave him a few lari - I'm thinking this would be a good job for one of our members - I wonder where I can get a big music box?

My favorite picture - taken on the walk to the monestary.

This is the view from the top - it shows the convergence of the 2 rivers and the town of Mstkheta.

E. Reese found a friend - he stayed with him for quite awhile.

Even after he tried to eat him! (kids - remind you of the spiders on camping trips?)

On the way down the hill there were lots of bushes with these beautiful yellow flowers - so we picked some! E/S Mayberry in 1st seat with Mzia, S. Carter and I in the back seat.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

About every 6 weeks I get to inspect our 10 missionaries apartments. I usually call and let them know I am coming so that the apartment gets cleaned really good at least that often! These are our Saburtelo missionaries - they were with us in the MTC! Our Avlabari Elders live on the 9th floor - as we were walking towards the building we heard them hollaring at us and saw them waving. They had been waiting on their balcony for us to come!