I'm turning my blog into an Instagram account and sharing some moments through photos again. So much has happened over the last two weeks but since back from the UK I've done little else but run around and frantically try to dig trough the ever increasing work load. So the blog has had to wait. (The fact that I came from the airport straight to my office last Monday should illustrate things expressively.)

But here are some of the highlights of my UK trip:

Sometimes running into good friends just happens. I had no idea the Division was holding an important meeting for the Unions' departmental leaders while I was in the UK. So everyone seemed to be in England at the same time. And I could talk S. into driving me to the meeting one evening (thank you ever so much, bruv!) just so that I could crash their party and meet S. and M. That evening was one real treat! God was good to us that evening (not that He's ever not good but you know what I mean.)

More meetings with good friends! J. invited me to join their Bible study group. Why, yes, of course I'm coming! It was a good day spent with these five guys, a good chance to meet people I hadn't seen for too long. And I know it sounds terribly snobbish but it was incredibly inspiring to have a Bible study with everyone around the table having a Master's degree in theology. Probably my favourite moment of the day was when J., our genius Old Testament scholar, started frantically translating the verse we were discussing from the Hebrew Bible. Mercy! I wish I could attend their Bible study again.

 It is a very rare thing for my feet to look like this on a Sabbath morning. 9 times out of 10 there would be high heels and a church carpet on the picture instead. So I enjoyed the day in Windsor Great Park also for all the 9 Sabbaths which I can't spend in the nature.

While walking in Virginia Waters, I kept thinking about gardens. The same thought came to me also last spring when visiting a nice garden in England. I want to come up with a Garden Theology. I don't know if anyone has ever written on it but I am convinced gardens are very special places for people. Because, well, we have come from a garden. And I think there's something in our heart that wants to take us back to a garden. I think a garden is the richest and the best example of cooperation and creativity of both God and man. These two don't meet anywhere the way they meet in a garden. Yes. I really think I'm on to something here.

Unfortunately I don't have any photos from my epic London day with Dr A. N. I just don't dare to ask her if I could take a picture. She's too cool for picture-taking. But seriously speaking, it was another wonderful day-long mentoring session. She keeps investing in me. She keeps guiding me. She keeps empowering me. It makes me very humble when I think of it, humble and grateful. One lunch with Dr A. N. in Soho usually gives me more than an academic module in a uni could possibly give. I really, truly love her.

No-one ever takes pictures when sitting in The Lady's office either. Nope.

But here are two pictures from a seminar I attended right after coming back from England. I spent two days at a seminar meant for the lecturers of Estonian theological colleges. I met some old colleagues and I made some new friends - it's important, this networking thing. I also had the opening devotional there, I almost went into the preaching mode. I really like the picture that was taken of me during the devotional because I think you can see from it how much I like preaching and teaching. It just shows, there's no hiding.

And this is what I've been doing yesterday and today. Sigh. The deadline's tomorrow.


It was my birthday last Friday. And I felt this morning I wanted to count my blessings and tell you about the presents I have received over the past days. There are four presents I want to mention.

First. The long Newbold drama ended last Thursday, meaning that we finally welcomed a long awaited lecturer of Biblical Theology in Tallinn. It wasn't Dr J. B. who isn't fit to travel but fortunately T. L. was able to come. He just submitted his dissertation in Oxford and could find four days in his busy schedule to come and teach our conference's students. And as I had my birthday just when he was lecturing, I thought I'd invite the students over and have some cake and tea with them in the evening. So on Friday, after a busy lecture day some of them were able to come (and also take T. with them) and we had the loveliest couple of hours together at my place. The students had really made an effort and they got me a real present - a small suitcase. So that I didn't have to carry all my books when I went to Tartu to teach them, they said. They are the sweetest guys, them students, they really are!

Then secondly. I got sick on Friday evening which was about the worst thing and the worst timing ever. Because T. had also agreed to teach at our Bible school over the weekend and I was suppose to organise it and be the translator and all. I was so terribly disappointed when I had to wave my students and T. good-bye as they left my place for Haapsalu on Friday evening. I was suppose to go with them! But I couldn't. I had to go to bed instead. So all I did all Saturday was to stay in bed, drink litres of tea and water, and constantly think about how everything was going at the Bible school. But the heart-warming thing was that thoughout the day J. and V. kept me updated about the Bible school doings. J. basically reported everything that was happening, sending me photos and commenting on everything. V. even sent me a short video of one of the worship songs they sang. So although I couldn't be there I realised I had just about the greatest friends in the world, people who knew how much the Bible school initiative really meant to me. It brought a big smile on the face of the sick kid. Friends. Awesome friends. That's two.

Thirdly. I arrived in Newbold yesterday. Oh! This itself is one of the greatest birthday gifts I could wish for. Yesterday the place was as dead as a ghost town so I didn't have anything else to do than to eat ice cream in K.'s office. I didn't mind at all, I love the place all the same. But today is a different story - they have the academic board so everyone's here. I get to see all of the brethren (as Dr A. N. calls the lot), I get to have an important meeting with the leaders of the department of theology, I get to have a catch up appointment with The Lady, and I get to clarify the details of tomorrow's Girls in London Day Tour with Dr A. N. Oh, and I just ran into J. on my way to caf. This is perfection.

And the fourth birthday present arrived, disguised as an email yesterday. It was very short, only a couple of sentences and that's what it said - you have been chosen as one of the plenary speakers for the pan European youth congress in Valencia, Spain next summer. This, my friends, is madness. This is beyond my dreams. This is unbelievable. And this can only be God's doing. The first thing I did this morning was to find my phone and check whether the email was still there or whether I had dreamt it all up last night. The email is still there, and there are still words like 'plenary speaker', 'Valencia', 'you will be contacted' and 'congratulations' in there. Do I need to add that a massive smile has not left my face since last night. How could it?! :D

It has been a happy birthday indeed.


I write this blog for several reasons. One is to keep my faraway friends updated about my life and doings. It is good to know that my friends in the US and UK and elsewhere can still keep an eye on my life if they care to do so. But another reason which is not any less important and why I like this blog thing is that it gives me an opportunity to create my own tiny world. I can choose the events I talk about, I can choose the perspective from which I'm looking at them, I can take pictures and post them, I can create something that wouldn't exist if I didn't write. And it is not just a one way street, my blog has also taught me to notice little things and appreciate them, and to appreciate people and events that come my way. I think I could say that although I created this blog, to some extent it has created me as well. We mutually affect each other.

But there's a danger to all of this 'choosing a perspective' thing. The danger is that I can become very one-sided and end up creating a distorted picture of my reality. I can leave out so many things and so many emotions - pick and choose - that my blog can present a picture that's actually far from reality.

For example. I could say a lot about last week.

On Wednesday morning I went to the Seminary's spring session. I didn't have any classes to teach this time but I wanted to use this time and opportunity to get away from the city and concentrate on my own academic work in a nice resort centre of Estonian Baptist church where they usually hold Seminary's May sessions. I was so ready to get my essay-turned-into-an-article done but when I got there, I realised I was in a desperate need of a break. So all my books and my computer stayed in my suitcase and basically all I did for three days was to sunbathe while the students sat in the classroom. (I must have been a terrible example of academic discipline lol!) I also had long conversations with the Seminary's principal. We have struck up a real friendship, it seems. It comes as a bit of a surprise for me because we are not very similar as to our characters. I'm a softy, she isn't. She's exceptionally sharp and intelligent and opinionated. But despite our differences, over the past months we have become close and have started to speak more and more about things that have nothing to do with our roles (as a principal and a leader of our conference's department of education). So on Wednesday after official and academia-related topics were exhausted (and while the students still sat in the classroom), we went for a ride, bought ice-cream and discussed topics embarrassingly girly. I also went swimming (water's freezing but swimable). I played board games with students late in the evening and kept the score when guys played volleyball during the breaks. I read my Bible. Slept. Ate.

Sounds like a good life.

But there's another side to the coin.

I could leave out the fact that I finally called a doctor last week and made an appointment to have my mental and emotional state checked. I can't cope with grief and loneliness any more and it has become very clear that I need help. At this point I don't know what kind of treatment is needed, whether I need to go and see a psychologist or a phychiatrist, whether I need therapy or medication. I'm hoping that good specialists will figure it out and help me. I could also leave out the fact that I am very scared of our conference's session which will take place in a month's time. As I have no life other than my work, I am overtly sensitive about all possible changes that might take place during that session. Some people see the conference session as a nuisance, some as an opportunity to rock the boat and 'do church politics'. They have no idea whatsoever how much is at stake for me. And I can't make a statement in the beginning of the session and say, 'Dear delegates, my work is my life. If you change things radically, if you vote for a new president and leadership team, if you choose to fill the departmental leaders positions which I have held for the last year with other people, you might actually take away my life from me.' It's as scary as hell. I could leave out the fact that I'm losing weight again. And I could also leave out the little fact that I had to leave the church hall tonight during our Mother's Day service (it's the Mother's Day here tomorrow) when a lady sang the most famous of Estonian Mother's Day songs, Mother's Heart. I rushed out, went downstairs, and wept alone in a dark room. Maybe that one I really should have left out.

One side of the coin in unbearably dark.

Spare a prayer for me.


The Brilliance, May You Find a Light.


I think we are all intentional with our lives, well, more or less. I try to be intentional, at least when it comes to some areas of life or some relationships. One of these areas is children. I'm probably not doing a very good job but at least I try to make an effort to be present in the lives of those children who are important to me and with whom I have spent more time. I remember having some grown-ups in my life I could look up to when I was a kid and although I can't say they changed my life or anything, it was important for me to know they were there. Or, well, I think they didn't change my life but I guess one can never be too sure when it comes to things like that.

Anyway. My good friend M.'s daughter M. turned eight years old two weeks ago. And she was having a birthday party then and kept asking if auntie Mervi could also come to her birthday. Auntie Mervi couldn't because she was preaching and teaching homiletics on the other side of the country that Sabbath. But when I went to Tartu to preach this past Sabbath, I called my friend and told her I'd come by later and spend a day with her daughter to make up for missing her birthday party in mid April. So I did. I spent the Sabbath evening and the whole of Sunday in their farm and liked it very much.

Their place, a vast farm with cats and dogs, chicken and cows, fields and a garden, their private lake and a sauna house next to it, it's all a bit like a wonderland to a city kid like me. But what more - it's my home. I stopped feeling like a guest there many years ago, and I think they stopped seeing me as a guest just as many years back. But they would still make an effort, the most heart-warming kind of effort when I go there. Papa J. would go and catch some salmon from their lake on Sunday morning because he knows how much I like fish, he would also heat the sauna just for my sake so that I could take a first dip in their lake and sweat in sauna. When I leave, M. would always pack me a whole bag of their own products, eggs, homemade cheese, honey, carrots and jam and what not. And all I need to do is to hang out with little M., listen to her fist attempts of playing the violin, read some stories, and take long walks around the lake with her to make her happy (fortunately she has never been keen on playing with dolls - that I can't do). Yesterday, just before I left, she gave me a little chocolate heart and a bracelet she had made herself which I take is her way of showing her affection and appreciation. When would you come back, she kept asking. I told her I didn't know but that I would make an effort.

And I have a feeling deep down that in the end, these kinds of efforts matter the most in life.

Sabbath evening walk with little M.
The cutest birthday gift I've ever seen.