Ukraine is never far from my heart. I spent several summers there in my early 20s, and have been back to visit at least a dozen times since. I lived there on my own once for several months and I dream of the day I can return and see my friends who are still there.
You can imagine then, why Ukraine is heavy on my heart this week. If you've watched or read the news in the last 24 hours, you'll have seen the unrest, the protests, and the shocking deaths of so many. It breaks my heart, because the Ukrainians I know are the kindest and most generous people I can think of.
No matter what the public opinion is on what Ukraine's next steps should be, it is indeed a tremendously tragic situation -- and one that I hope can be resolved soon, and especially, peacefully.
And while matryoshka dolls are typically thought of as Russian souvenirs, I got mine in Ukraine in 1995, during my first summer there. The four of us gals traveling together each received a doll from a Ukrainian lady the night before we left the country. Each outer doll actually resembled us in some way with hair and eye color. It is one of the few keepsakes that has followed me around the globe and it continues to remind me of my friends still there.
Pray for them... and pray for Ukraine.