Thursday, February 2, 2012

A Balancing Act {with video}

One thing that we have always rejoiced about is the fact that we live in southern Ukraine.  Even if you are living in a northern country, if you are living in the south of that northern country, you are bound to have the warmest weather that is possible there!

Since we are on a peninsula, we have always referred to our area as the "Florida" of Ukraine.  Okay, so our weather is definitely not Florida weather, but it does have a nice sound to it.  Our village has also been jokingly named "The Bahamas."  With those names tagged to us, it sounds like we are living in the tropics, don't ya think?
Nonetheless, we are still pretty north in this world, which means we get cold winters.  (See the comparison between Ukraine and the US/Canada in the map above?  Hopefully this will give you a clearer picture of how north we are.)  And yesterday, our high temperatures were still below zero fahrenheit!  

{Below}  See the snow/ice around the inside of our front door?!

It has been a balancing act for hubby to keep our home warm.  In a village with low electricity, no gas, and the prices to fill a gas butane tank being very high, he has had to get smart.  So, what do we do?  We use a little of each of our resources!

{Below}  These butane tanks are filled with gas and used to heat our bedrooms.  Because this is the most expensive route for heating, we keep these on very, very low.
{Below}  Water heater under the window.  We have one of these in each of our three bedrooms.
{Below}  Hubby keeps our wood-burning stove going at all times of the day.  He keeps a pile of cut wood in our garage and brings it in as he needs it, allowing time for the moisture to dry out of the wood.  He gets up throughout the night to make sure the fire does not die out, and we are ever so grateful for his hard work!
{Below}  The floors in our main room are heated by water pipes running underneath the tiles.  The heat in them is produced by electricity.  We have learned that our home gets/stays the warmest when these tiles are working on high energy.  Since our electricity in this village is quite low, we allot as much electricity as possible to keep the floors running on high.  This means that we are only able to run one appliance other than the refrigerator.  So, we make choices throughout the day... either the washing machine, the stove, the boiler (to heat water for showers), the microwave, vacuum cleaner, etc...  Yes, it is a balancing act and if someone forgets to turn something off before turning something else on, all of the electricity shuts down.  But, if we balance it all just right, we are able to keep our house cozy warm!
Normally, the heat from the tiles is sufficient for keeping our main areas warm, but in extremely cold weather like we are having now, we have to burn wood for warmth as well.

We are ever so grateful for a warm home.  I am truly thankful for a husband who works all day and even through the night to make sure we are comfortable.  And, so far, not one of us even has a cold!  How's that for a miracle?!

Speaking of balancing acts, guess who started walking yesterday?  Since I am so proud of my just-turned-one-year-old, I wanted to share his first, sweet, tottering steps with you, my friends!

If you are reading this through e-mail or through a reader, click here to see the video.


  1. I have picked up reading your blog from Arctic Adventures, and I have been BLESSED. Thank you for sharing about how COLD you are, how THANKFUL you are (the praise for your husband), and how CONTENT you are (emanates all through your writing).

    May God bless you as you serve our Risen Lord to see souls be saved.

    Loretta Smith
    Hebrews 10:24
    Alliance, Nebraska

  2. Praise the Lord he moved me from Canada to the Dominican Republic! I don't miss the COLD! I will pray that you stay warm. I am sending a package of warmth your way! ;)

  3. Wow! That's cold! We live just a touch farther north than you, in Canada, but here in BC we aren't nearly as cold as you are. Farther east in Canada . . . they are just as cold in some places! We do live in the best province in Canada - best weather by far! It's a blessing to read of your contentment and how you make do in your home. Stay warm!

    P.S. I enjoyed the video of your baby's first steps. I know your family back home did too! :)

  4. I love reading how you all are trying to stay warm and we're trying to stay cool! Won't Heaven be great! The weather will be perfect everyday!

  5. I know it is cold in Ukraine - all my team mates and other friends are commenting about it.

    I love seeing how you are equipped for the cold weather! A little creativity and alot of work, but thankfully it should warm up soon!

    Back in 2009 we had a similar cold snap in Ukraine. Our apartment is usually warm enough, though the kitchen stays cooler because on the ground floor underneath the kitchen is a storage area. We do not have the benefit of a heated floor. We also close the doors to the kitchen because of the cat. One morning there was frost in the corners, and it froze our water line from the sink to the washing machine!
    Then later that year in December - two blizzards that brought almost 2 feet of snow! Pretty much everything stopped and bread and eggs were in short supply. We were warm and snug in our little apartment, praise the Lord!

  6. Something that is making me laugh: the school here are closed because of the cold... so all the children are outside, sledding.

    (And thank you for sharing details like this. As much as I have dreamed of houses, these are the kinds of things that make me thankful that we live in an apartment. :-)

  7. Thank the Lord for your sweet family. It takes a lot to move to such extreme weather! God bless you.

    P. s. you have a beautiful home. :)

  8. OK. I liked the video way better than I liked that picture of ice around the door! haha! BRRRR!!! I hope you have a good supply of fuzzy socks. :o) And that little boy is cute cute cute! Now he can really keep up, I guess.

  9. Wow, ice around the inside of the door! That video was so cute, walking already! - Jessi

  10. Glad Micah is walking.... can't wait to see him walking around church on Sunday.

  11. Thanks for sharing! Love the video!

  12. Jolene, the video of Micah walking is so cute.

  13. OkAY, this made me laugh because right now we are also doing a bit of a balancing act since our power needs to be redone at the pole so that we can run our electric heater and other appliances at the same time. I can run several things at a time just not too many. I understand first hand what you are going through. Unfortunately we live in a bit of a colder climate!! :( I should come to visit you! Little Micah is just adorable!

  14. Again,,, and again... you both are such a blessing... you have experienced something that even with pictures it is hard to believe.. Just want you to know we are praying for you all... keep those toes warm...
    Love, Prayers,,,

  15. Wow, I had no idea it was so cold there. It's cold here but it's {{{{COLD}}}}.there. I loved the video, he's so big and walking so well. Thank you Jolene for having such a sweet blog, I always have such a sweet visit here.

  16. Awesome first steps. We love you and thanks for all the great updates. God bless you all and keep you warm in body and soul. Love ya, the Benefields

  17. Yay!!! Micah is so adorable;))
    Wow -- I can't believe how it is with the cold where you guys are at and what ya'll have to do to keep warm!!! wow. I'm so thankful that God has made a way for ya'll to be kept safe and warm:)) That's crazy!!! <3

  18. aww he is so cute.


Thank you for your encouraging comments! "As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country." Proverbs 25:25