Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Things You Might See in Georgia, part 2

Used to American safety and building requirements, we were a bit startled to find Georgian apartment buildings looking dilapidated and like they should be condemned on the outside, yet furbished beautifully on the inside:

This is because, the apartments are sold, not rented, so the building is owned by lots of different people. So, the stairs get rundown because they belong to no one, the outside paint is horrendous, and the roof may leak. As long as no one is actively encumbered by it (and sometimes even if they are), it is not fixed. It is often fixed on an as-needed basis, as you can see, giving it a mottled look.

Therefore, apartment buildings pay for an (very small, think 2 person) elevator by a small coin box that operates the car. It usually costs around 10 tetri (like their 10 cent piece) to go up, but is free to come down. This pays for maintenence. Other apartment owners pay a fee each month to use the elevator.

Windows are not barred higher than the first or second floor. (They are trying to keep burglars out, but are not worried about keeping toddlers in.)  I was startled to find that Jude could just crawl out the window seven stories off the ground! This is partly because they need access to hang their clothes on the line outside the window. If you look carefully at the above picture, you will see this.

Electric and telephone wires run above ground, and are not particularly minded. I've seen posts overrun with grape vines (those grow like weeds here), yet that is not seen as needing attention. Gas lines also run above the ground, in pipes right next to the road. We think it would be a problem if you hit one? Haven't seen that experience yet. This one is not terribly clear, but there is actually a wire hanging down far enough to hit my face when I walk under it. Fortunately, it's not a hot wire.

Also in the above picture, you see a common construction site, with the metal fencing. Sometimes they put up fencing, but the one down the road from us does not have any kind of barrier. Since they build with cement, they need a crane to bring up the supplies and/or pre-made blocks. Unfortunately, they aren't very cautious. We have seen them drop a load right on the street! Police sometimes will park there to regulate when cars should go by safely, but not always. People do, but I wouldn't advise parking across the street, even if it IS shady.

It seems, as crazy as the Georgians drive, that seat belts would be a necessity. In actuality, taxis don't have seat belts in the back seat, and infant car seats are VERY uncommon. -So is vehicle insurance. Safety is up to the individual and not regulated.

Due to regulation, I cannot take a picture of the metro, but:
To ride the metro, you MUST take the escalator. It goes down about three floors. There isn't anything for a child to hold except your hand. It is very steep and usually crowded. Please, please, don't fall! You could seriously injure yourself/others or be killed.

Stairs are everywhere, especially on sidewalks, and of course, are not even. Hence, most folks walk on the street. A stroller or wheelchair is almost impossible to maneuver around town. Even the nicer, bigger streets that do put in ramps, make it even with the stairs, like the picture below. Perhaps that is why most people who are wheelchair bound here, stay home. We do see lots of strollers. People just are used to lifting them over stairs, and quite commonly, any man standing nearby will help.

That's enough on the safety and regulations here. More to come with random and other interesting culture difference facts later.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Moments of Intention

Sometimes it seems I am simply going through the motions: I read my Bible, but can't concentrate with the many interruptions. Does it really make a difference? I think so. (Matthew 6:23) It is the heart that chooses to read God's Word, despite distractions, that God desires. The moments of prayer throughout the day- they seem to lack intimacy; yet at the same time, they reveal an awareness of the Presence of God in my life.

As a mom of two toddlers, I am busy full time. Some days its seems my time is ruled by the immediate necessities that crop up having babies: picking up toys, cleaning messes, dealing with attitudes, playing cop/umpire, and so forth. Yet, even those days I have moments.

Being a mom makes serving God manifest in different ways. I must still be first and foremost, a daughter of the King. The children may seem to need my constant attention in this physical world, and yet, there are moments at my disposal throughout the day.

A moment when I can choose to sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs and quote verses while swinging the boys.

A moment to read God's Word instead of reaching for my phone when my children lay down to nap or in that rare occasion they play quietly together on the floor.

A moment to pray while rocking Zachary or when sneaking in that trip to the bathroom.

A moment to teach when I read Jude his story Bible, explaining the pictures, and talking about choosing God's way.

A moment to greet my husband when he comes in the door; to teach my children to greet daddy enthusiastically at the door as well.

A moment to choose to show love and grace to my son when he spills crackers all over the floor.

My life is defined by moments, because those moments reveal my heart.  When I only seem have moments at my own disposal, what do I do with those moments? I must be intentional: ever, only, all for my King.

"Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established." Proverbs 16:3