Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A Letter from Nadiya

It has been months since we have heard any news about Nadiya Savchenko, the Ukrainian fighter pilot that has been falsely imprisoned in Russia for over a year. At Planting Flowers of Freedom and Peace, we have done several posts on Nadiya, like this one.

Today, I would like to share the first update I have found on Nadiya, from Maidan Translations. It is a letter written by Nadiya and translated.

Nadiya Savchenko: “You will hear from me yet!” #FreeSavchenko


Embedded image permalink

Image from Twitter: ВО Батьківщина

By Nadiya Savchenko, via Vira Savchenko (sister)
Translated by Maria Stanislav and edited by Voices of Ukraine

To the people.
You write to me a lot. I’m sorry I cannot reply to all letters, but I am endlessly thankful to you for them, and for hearing what you think.
You would like to hear more from me, but in Russian prisons, not only are my hands tied, my lifeline is cut off, and also my mouth is taped shut…
I know and understand everything about Ukraine, inside and out, and this all pains me very much!..
But I want to offer you more than just words. I would rather act! In every way I can! And you will hear from me yet!…

Yours, Nadiya

Nadiya Savchenko

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Happily Ever After in the Midst of War

I have a happy post to leave with you tonight.
May these photos show you that even in the midst of tragedy and sorrow, there can be joy.

Courtesy of 1,000,000 People United Around the World in Support of Ukraine's Fight for Freedom(S.V.):

A and S wanted are a young couple that wanted to be married for the past year. However, it has been prevented by the war in Ukraine, as A is a soldier. He has already been in the hospital twice, treated for injuries. So, the couple planned to simply go into a registry office and sign. However, friends and volunteers put together a beautiful wedding for them, on very short notice.

Congratulations A and S! Many blessings to you in this new chapter of your life together.

"But buried deep beneath
All our broken dreams
we have this hope:

Out of these ashes... beauty will rise
and we will dance among the ruins
We will see Him with our own eyes
Out of these ashes... beauty will rise
For we know, joy is coming in the morning...
in the morning, beauty will rise"

Steven Curtis Chapman, "Beauty Will Rise"

Isaiah 61:3

Monday, June 22, 2015

The Million Dollar Smile

Look at this girl's precious smile!

This is Julia. She and Isolde are possibly in the same region.


Julia is thirteen years old, which means she is only three years away from becoming unadoptable. Julia is now the same age Isolde was, when I began advocating for Isolde. Both sweet girls are still available for adoption, waiting for their forever families to welcome them home.

Information/Pictures from Reece's Rainbow:

Girl, born 2002
FAS (fetal alcohol syndrome), probable secondary Cerebral Palsy
Julia has such happy, giant brown eyes and a smile that lights up a room!

From a volunteer who visited with her in July 2014:  “I know Julia as a big Drama Queen. She loves attention and she’ll do anything to draw your attention. But not this year[...]The only thing she’d do was take my hand as I walked by. Normally she’d wheel after me and try to climb on me, but it seemed like there was no strength left. I missed my Julia as I know her, my little monkey. I want her to find back her energy to get out of life what’s in there. She’s an amazing girl and she deserves a loving family. She always has a big smile on her face and she’s really caring. She takes care of dolls as if they are real babies. She feeds them, changes their diapers. She loves to play with my hair and she actually tries to put the band in it. She is amazing! She would be such a good daughter! ”

From a family who met her in December 2013:  “I have to shout for this precious girl for a moment…we are here now and we see her everyday at the orphanage. The pictures don’t do this dear one justice at all; she is gorgeous and so very sweet!!! She can’t walk on her own (she can if she is assisted!) but she is still quick! She comes over to me everyday and wants in my lap, to shake my hand, or give me a hug. She has SO much potential and I can just see the hunger for love and a Mothers touch in her eyes. She has been overlooked long enough!!! She is darling….truly!! ”

From someone who met her:   Julia is a girl that I know as the girl with the big smile.  Somehow she just seems to smile almost always. She’s a little monkey. Whenever somebody enters her group she would crawl up to that person and just start to climb on him/her. She doesn’t even need you to give her a hand, she’ll just climb up without any help and then she hangs on your neck, looking around, proud, as if she wants to say ‘Did you see that? Do you see where I am?’
Her favorite toy is a doll. She plays with it as if it is a baby. Keeping the doll up straight, putting her down carefully. She feeds and clothes the doll. One of the nurses showed her how she should put a cotton diaper on the doll, she totally loved it. She even sings lullabies for the doll and she’ll ask visitors to do the same. She also loves to play with long hair. She really tries to make ponytails or braids.
Julia is able to walk, but her legs are really crooked, and she needs help to keep standing or to walk. 

Julia is described as curious and enthusiastic.

Please, if you feel drawn to Julia and can see her million dollar smile brightening your home, contact Reece's Rainbow right away! Thank you. ~Sasha


What a Delicious Monday!

Get ready for...Kyiv Cake!

Today I have a new recipe to share. I came across this one on Euromaidan Press, and found the recipe at Natasha's Kitchen.

Click here to get the full recipe with step-by-step photos from Natasha. 

About Kyiv Cake, from Euromaidan Press: In 2015, Kyiv Cake will celebrate its 59th anniversary. The factory Roshen remains the leader in producing Kyiv Cake - making around 15 toms of the cake per night!

It is known for its crunchy meringue layer hidden inside and is a classic Ukrainian recipe!

 Courtesy of Euromaidan Press

Courtesy of Natasha's Kitchen

We'd love to hear from you! Drop us a line if you have made this dessert!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Are You Her Father?

On this Father's Day, for all of the fathers and daughters, I would like to share Veronica's information with you. (This is NOT the same Veronica as in Veronika's Prom). Are you meant to be her father?

About Veronica:
A family would need to have their I600A completed before her birthday, to be able to adopt her. I believe she was put on the list fairly recently, but inquires would need to be made to Reece's Rainbow as to how much time she has left before her birthday.

Isn't she precious? My heart melts for her; as an adopted child from Russia, with mild Cerebral Palsy myself, I know the dire reality that waits for her. Most likely, she will be transferred to an institution, where she will receive very little care.

However, I also know what great things her future holds if she finds her forever family! Doctors said that I would not be able to get around without a wheelchair and I would always need special classes. Now, I can run a mile with my friends and am heading off to Bucknell University after graduating with honors from high school.

I do not take credit for any of these accomplishments; all my abilities are given by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Yet I share this with you, so that you may see a glimpse of the potential that awaits Veronica, if she is only given the chance!

Please keep sweet Veronica in your prayers! Thank you.
Info/Pictures From: Reece's Rainbow at:

Girl, born 2000
Mild Cerebral palsy, can walk very well.

Veronica is a lovely young lady.  She is able to walk, stand on her own.


Help Find Hope for Isolde


Hi Everyone. Today, I'd like to introduce you to Isolde.
Photos and Info shared by Reece's Rainbow:

About Isolde:

Girl, born November 1999
Cerebral palsy
Additional information coming soon

#AGINGOUT November 2015

Isolde is described as creative and eager.

From a volunteer who visited with her in July 2014:  “Isolde is really hitting puberty, it’s cute to see how her face starts to change and how tall she has grown this last year. Isolde is becoming a young lady, a wonderful young lady with a very strong but sweet character. Isolde is a good friend as well... She kept holding on to the bars of the playpen to keep herself on her feet. I had to tell her very strongly that she had to sit down and that she had to go back to her own group. She cried a little bit when I had to leave her again. Seeing her cry made me cry. She just wants to be loved and to give love. She has so much love to give. I wish someone would see what an amazing young woman she is. She is verbal, potty trained and very sweet. She is able to walk short paces, but to be honest, they wouldn’t let us this summer, so I hope she can still do it, because nobody has trained with her. They don’t have PT in her facility anymore, which she received a couple years ago. She needs to get PT. I stretched her legs a couple times those days and I could already see improvement in flexibility. It is amazing what a bit of stretching can do for her, imagine what PT can do for her. She can blossom in a family and I don’t have a doubt about the fact that she will be able to walk if she is given the chance.”

From someone who met her:  Isolde is lovely. First I thought she couldn’t speak when I was there in the summer, ’cause it took her about 3 weeks before she would even say ‘thank you.’ But then she started to talk more and more. I started to do walking exercises with her. She could hardly stand on her legs by then. I practiced with her everyday and what I noticed is that she is a fighter. She worked so hard. She worked until she was bathing in sweat and totally tired. She wouldn’t stop before her legs couldn’t hold her anymore. Everyday we could walk further. First just one side of the building and in the end we could easily walk 2 rounds around the building. Though she needs quite some support. After the summer they gave her PT and she was walking way better when I was there in November again. She could walk with one hand then, which was totally impossible for her in the summer. And again she was fighting to learn more, but being inside the building all day would limit her. She is pretty smart too, I played games with her. One of the games was creating a ‘picture’ with little pins, just copying the example. The physical part of the game was the hardest. So we trained to pick up the pins, put them in and get them out. She is so wonderful! She smiles so sweet. She just stole my heart. In the beginning of the summer she had hardly any muscles in her leg and she was extremely skinny, but during the summer she got more muscles from exercising and in November she was doing even better. I’m so proud of this girl. If she will get the chance, she will reach so much, because she will fight for it. She would do so well in a family, because a family can give her the chance that she deserves and I know she will make the most of it.

Isolde Ages Out in November! I first heard about her two years ago and have been advocating for her since. I started a blog in her name (which has now been moved to this address). All a family needs to have done to move forward for her, before her 16th birthday, is their completed I600A. (This is the US government side of things).

If you feel called to Isolde, please contact Reece's Rainbow at the link above, or Ting Ministries at We would love to share our adoption experiences with you and answer any questions.

Thank you!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Vitayoo Lisa!

"Disability does not mean no ability." ~ London 2012 Olympic Swimmer Jessica Long, a double amputee adopted from Russia

Lisa Halâvčenko-Babich, a 13-year-old Ukrainian pianist with Downs Syndrome has won at the International Music Festival in Bulgaria.

Photos Courtesy of

Congratulations Lisa! We are proud of you!
 ~Your friends in America, united for Ukraine

For more information about help for Special Needs children in Ukraine (especially orphan care), please visit Ting Ministries at

New Photos from "Night Serenades"

If you remember, I did a post a few days ago, on a group of Kyiv Soloists who were doing a concert on Friday night, called Night Serenades. Today I have some new pictures to share for the event that raised support and awareness for the political prisoners that are being falsely detained in Russia.

Here at Flowers of Freedom and Peace, we would like to extend our warmest thanks and support to the musicians, audience and everyone who made Friday night possible. Though we could not join you in person, you were in our thoughts.

Photos by:

Friday, June 19, 2015

Океаны (Oceans) Hillsong United

Recently I came across this beautiful praise song, by Hillsong United, in Russian. To every brother and sister in Christ in Russia and Ukraine...Please remember in the deepest waters of turmoil, our Lord has never failed us. Where our feet fail, His grace abounds.

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and You won't start now

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

 I will call upon Your name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours and You are mine

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Selfie Soldiers

*Viewer Warning: Some graphic violence included*

For months, President Vladimir Putin has been denying the presence of Russian soldiers in the country of Ukraine. VICE News challenges this, tracking a Russian soldier moving into Ukraine by using social media.


This blog celebrates all things Ukrainian, and what better way to know and love a culture than through it's food? So, without further ado, I give you the first Ukrainian recipe:

Verenyky with Sour Cherries~ Courtesy of



  • 3 eggs
  • 5-6 glasses milk
  • 0.5 glass milk
  • 0.5 glass water
  • 800 g cherries
  • 0.5 glass sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp semolina
  • salt – to taste

Divide yolks and whites. Whip the whites stiffly. Add milk, water, flour, and salt. Knead stiff dough. Leave it for 30 minutes.


 Remove the seeds from the sour cherries. Mix them with sugar and semolina. Leave the ingredients for half of an hour. The semolina is used in order to prevent the runout of the cherry juice and the adhesion of varenyky during the boiling. The semolina does not influence the taste.

Then roll the dough, cut off the rounds. Place filling on each round, join the edges and paste them up.

Boil varenyky in salty water. Serve hot with sour cream.

Mmm! What are your thoughts? Leave a comment below to share your ideas or experiences with any other recipes! We'd love to have your feedback!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Songs for Ukraine:

"Night Serenades: MFA Concert for Ukraine’s political prisoners in Russia"

Sasha's Words: On May 23, Ting Ministries Presented "Songs for Ukraine," a night of fellowship and music from local artists, to celebrate the people and culture of Ukraine. Now, a group of Ukrainian musicians are doing the same thing, in Kyiv, this Friday. While our two groups are very different in language and culture, we are both united in purpose and spirit. We extend our best wishes to each of the performers as they spread messages of freedom and peace through the beauty of music.

National Chamber Ensemble, Kyiv Soloists
National Chamber Ensemble, Kyiv Soloists 

Article by: Paula Chertok
June 16, 2015

Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced today that the National Chamber Ensemble “Kyiv Soloists” will hold a classical music open air concert “Night Serenades” dedicated to all the Ukrainian prisoners illegally detained by the Russian Federation.  This concert aims to raise awareness in Ukraine as well as in the international community that Russia is violating these individuals’ human rights as well as disregarding the rule of law by continuing to hold them as prisoners.
Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 2.15.49 PM

The outdoor event will be held on Friday, June 19, 2015 at 21.00 Kyiv time on Mykhailivska Square located in front of the Foreign Ministry between the columns and the facade of the building, a location with uniquely beautiful acoustics. This project is an important step in the process of developing the Foreign Ministry not only as a governmental office but also as an art venue. Join the fb event here.

The National Chamber Ensemble “Kyiv Soloists” will perform its program entitled “Night Serenades,” consisting of musical compositions dedicated to lyrical hymns of love and tenderness, including works by Peter Tchaikovsky, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Antonin Dvorak, Edvard Grieg, Felix Mendelssohn, Edward Elgar, Fritz Kreisler, Johann Strauss, and Astor Piazzolla.

“Serenades,” from the Italian word for “calm” and “serene,” “serenada,” harken back to musical concerts performed in the warm air of Italy and Spain. Now they will be played under the night sky in Kyiv’s historic Mykhailivska Square.

Partners of the event are: Ukrainian Human Rights Group EuromaidanSOS, Amnesty International, Українська правда. Життя, Ukraine Today, EuromaidanPress, Kyiv Post,, Zinteco Design & Engineering, LoraShen, and Camellia.

The National Chamber Ensemble “Kyiv Soloists” is unique in both diversity and sound. As each of the musicians has an impressive history as solo performers, the resulting ensemble has an extraordinarily beautiful sound. The musicians of “Kyiv Soloists” are all from the conservatory founded by the “Ukrainian Paganini,” conductor and teacher Bohodar Kotorovych. The Chamber Ensemble has held the title of “Ambassador of Ukrainian culture in the world” for more than 10 years. The Ensemble’s current musical director is world renown cellist and conductor Dmitry Yablonsky (USA/Israel). Its artistic director is Honored Artist of Ukraine Oles Yasko. You can find more information on Kyiv Soloists here and here.
Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 2.19.02 PM

Dmitry Yablonsky has performed on such famous stages as Carnegie Hall, La Scala, Moscow Great Hall, St. Petersburg Philharmonic Hall, Taiwan National Hal, Théâtre Mogador, Cite de la musique and the Louvre. His chamber music partners have included Victor Tretyakov, Leif Ove Andsnes, Yuri Bashmet, Vadim Repin, Boris Berezovsky and many more. In 2007, the cellist was nominated for a Grammy Award. Dmitry Yablonsky has organized many international festivals all over the world, including the Qabala (Gabala) Festival in Azerbaijan, the festival of “Wandering Stars” which is held by young performers in Europe, Russia, the U.S. and Israel.
Concert organizers and partners invite everyone to this unique concert (please note that while seating is limited, there will be plenty of standing room to enjoy the music). Let’s spread our hopes and good wishes that our compatriots will return home to their loved ones soon.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Seventeen and Exiled

Not only does this blog seek to celebrate Ukrainian culture, it also seeks to unite those working together to plant flowers of freedom and peace, no matter what country they are from. Hopefully, this article about a 17 year old Muscovite demonstrates this.

Courtesy of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Aleksandr Herzen, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Andrei Sakharov. Now, a 17-year-old from a Moscow suburb is joining such notables in the long-standing Russian tradition of being exiled for his political views.
"All the democrats in Russia were sent into exile," teenager Vlad Kolesnikov says, "and I feel like I have been sent into exile."

For some weeks now, Kolesnikov has been leading a quixotic and lonely campaign to protest Russia's annexation of the Ukrainian region of Crimea and Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Most recently, he wore a T-shirt with a Ukrainian flag and the words "Return Crimea" on it to his school in the Moscow suburb of Podolsk. He tells how a school official met him outside the classroom.

"You know, I will never forget how he looked," Kolesnikov tells RFE/RL's Russian Service. "At first he looked at me like a normal, sane person. But when he saw my shirt, he looked into my face and I saw such hatred!"

In class a few minutes later, Kolesnikov says, the student sitting in front of him turned around and said, "Kolesnikov, do you want me to smash in your face now or later?"

A few days later -- after Kolesnikov published a couple of Facebook posts about the incident -- he was jumped by some classmates. He insists that he wasn't beaten up. "It was just a split lip, a few bruises, some bumps on the head, and three drops of blood," he says.

Last Straw
That was the last straw for Kolesnikov's grandfather, a former KGB officer in whose apartment the youth was living in Podolsk. He packed Kolesnikov off on a train to his father in the Samara Oblast town of Zhigulyovsk.

[...] When he called to tell his grandfather he had arrived safely, he was told a couple of police officers had stopped by asking where he got a Ukrainian flag and what had become of the infamous T-shirt.

He has been unenrolled from his school -- officially, "at his own request," he has been informed.

The blue-and-yellow T-shirt, though, was not the beginning. Kolesnikov's life as an outcast began a few weeks earlier when he showed up at the local military commission for his medical examination and his conscription registration.
Kolesnikov says he had no intention of serving in the military or fighting in Ukraine. 

"As I was going in, I decided to turn on the Ukrainian national anthem [on his cellphone] because I do not support the Russian Army and consider it shameful to serve in it. So I turned on the Ukrainian hymn and said, 'Guys, I will not fight in the Russian Army. I will not go.'"

Stunned silence was quickly followed by outraged shouting. In the end, the registration commission handed Kolesnikov a form in which it said he had "a personality disorder."

Social Media Solidarity
Kolesnikov admits that very few people in Podolsk share his views. But, [he says] "I am already planning to leave Zhigulyovsk, go to Moscow, and stage a couple of protests," he tells RFE/RL. "If anyone thinks I am going to get a passport and leave for Ukraine and that will be the end of this, they are mistaken."

Lest We Forget What We are Fighting For

Life has been busy here! Banquets, ceremonies, final exams, graduation, gymnastics...the list continues! I have also been busy advocating for more Ukrainian orphans through Veronika's Prom. Now that the advocating has slowed down, I wanted to get the blog updated!

Here is a beautiful photo post, courtesy of Euromaidan Press: