Tallinn

Forest Beast SoupForest Beast Soup. We had our first bowl yesterday. Made with Elk and Boar meat (and perhaps a few other things) it was quite filling and had a bit of a kick.

We’re in Estonia for few days with Olga’s mother and grandmother. We had our Forest Beast Soup in Tallinn (above) in the medieval Town Hall, c. 1403. The restaurant definitely saves on expenses: lit by candles, serving soup, pickles and pastries with no utensils (just drink the soup).

There were some special events in Town Square, and Valerie got to speak with Father Frost (on stage!) whereupon she recited an impromptu composition on the theme of Grandfather Frost giving gifts, and he promptly gave her some candy.

with Father FrostI (Mike) had a very touching moment with Valerie the day her adoption was finalized. I had the honor of telling her her new name. As she sat in my lap I said, ‘do you know what your last name is?’. She didn’t know she had a last name. So I told her. She was happy to learn that she shares that name with not only her mother and her father, but also with her grandparents and many other people. “That’s a lot of Cantrells!”, she said. Then I told her her middle name, Evelyn, and that she is named after my mother. She lit up. It’s been a joy to watch her receive and embrace her new name.

I’ve reflected on how this informs our relationship with God. The Bible says that we love the Lord because He first loved us and that we did not chose Him but He chose us. He gives us a new name and adopts us into His family. Valerie would not love us, would not be in our family, if we had not chosen her (by God’s guidance) and first loved her. She would be a stranger to us if we had not taken the initiative. She would not have our name, not be in our family. So it is with God. He seeks us out.

Many people know John 3:16: God loves us so much that He gave his Son so that we would have eternal life. John 3:17 says that Jesus did not come to condemn the world. His heart towards us is one of love, acceptance, forgiveness and adoption. We’ll grow to love Him and embrace our new name, being in His family, as we believe, trust and live with Him.

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