Friday, August 30, 2013

Franco Fridays: From Lounging to the Polyglot

After leaving Notre Dame Tuesday afternoon Parker arranged for us to see a beautiful landmark and simultaneously have a place to rest our feet.  But first we met up at the Fontaine Saint-Michel, or I guess, St. Michael's Fountain for we Americans.  It depicts the Archangel Michael battling the devil.

It was fun walking down this road since one of the questions on my learning French CD was to ask, "Where is Boulevard Saint-Michel?"  As we continued on to our destination we passed this place that KJ and I obviously deemed worthy of a picture, but now we can't remember what it is.  An old palace?

Luxembourg Garden was beautiful, but I'm afraid instead of walking around and seeing all of its beauties, most of us joined the French students in the spot of grass designated for sitting and enjoyed a rest.  It was so peaceful.

 Those flowers made me feel happy when
I came across this picture.

 This is how they do it.

After sitting for a little bit I decided the occasion called for ice cream.  While I went to fetch some KJ snapped lots of pictures of our group lounging and napping.
We stopped in at McDonald's for a quick bite to eat before our first Polyglot.  I had forgotten how superior European McDonald's are.  Why can't we have these chicken wraps in America?  I was expecting the snack size...and I would also lobby for La Petite Salade, which is not that petite and uses way better lettuce than American McDonald's do.  If I seem to be too focused on how the food at American McDonald's could be better, it's because with my husband and children, I've been forced to eat there a lot.  A lot more than I ever did in my previous life before husband and children.

I feel like I should say that's KJ's sundae and not mine.  

Neither KJ nor I have any pictures from Polyglot that night.  We really were too busy talking and engaging with people from the moment we got there.  It was amazing to see the opportunities God opened up to talk about Him and the gospel.  We were able to share with people from France, China, Tunisia, and many other places.  It was a really blessed night.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

A Sewing Lesson

If you're familiar with Samantha's story from The American Girl books, you know she sews a sampler.  I was trying to come up with party activities that would reflect the time period (1904) and thought it might be fun to have the girls embroider something.  I settled on their initials, and Ella worked on hers today.  

We're both newbies at embroidery, but it was fun, and I could see it becoming an addiction.  Ella had so much fun she wrote a blog post about it, grandmothers.  I hope her blogging will become a little more regular.  She did it for her Language Arts lesson today.

Read about Ella's Adventures HERE.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Fare thee well, Summer

The crickets sang in the grasses.  They sang the song
of summer's ending, a sad, monotonous song.
"Summer is over and gone," they sang.  "Over and gone,
over and gone.  Summer is dying, dying."

The crickets felt it was their duty to warn everybody
that summertime cannot last forever.  Even on the most
beautiful days in the whole year--the days when summer
is changing into fall--the crickets spread the rumor of
sadness and change.

- Charlotte's Web, E.B. White -

A couple of weeks ago I took a quick trip to Wal-Mart one evening right before sunset.  There was the coolest breeze in the air, a reminder that fall was coming.  But it was so strange and out of place because we don't usually feel brisk fall air until something like October.  Though there have definitely been some 95 degree heat days, it has overall been an extremely cool summer with buckets of rain.  My grass is still alive and green, and in the five years we've lived here it's usually dead by late June.

  Late June 2012
Dead Patches of Grass

Maybe it's been our atypically cool summer that made the breeze blowing across the Wal-Mart parking lot that night bring a wistful sadness to my heart.  It made the summer feel really short; it made 2013 feel really short.  The year seems to gather speed and hasten to an end from this point on when I start measuring time in birthdays and holidays.

Now, don't get me wrong.  I love fall.  Who doesn't?  I love cool breezes and the changing of the leaves and gaining an extra hour of sleep.  But for a moment, I mourned the passing of summer.

 Green, Green, Green
A Very Lush Summer

Monday, August 26, 2013

All About Ella

The countdown begins today.  We're one week out from Ella's birthday and her birthday party (since they're both conveniently falling on Labor Day this year).  We have a busy week of party-planning ahead of us, as well as the normal round of work, school, and a few other things.  A busy week indeed. 

Here are a few links to Ella's past birthday memories to get us in the party spirit.

Last year our theme had KJ donning a kilt.  This year, it will be a tuxedo as he takes on the role of butler at our Samantha tea party.  I'm not sure how our party-planning spiraled into dressing up, but I'm afraid it's going to be a tradition from now on.  I like KJ in a tux so I won't be complaining.

My costume as cook won't be nearly as elegant, but next Monday is sure to be a lot of fun. It was also a lot of fun trying to recreate the old book cover emblem by taking a picture of Ella's silhouette.  Look like Samantha?

Friday, August 23, 2013

Franco Fridays: Notre Dame

After passing out gospel literature that morning our team headed toward one of the most famous cathedrals in the world, but we had a few stops to make first.

It was past time for lunch by the time we made it to a little Greek restaurant where we stopped for kebabs...but not what we call kebabs.  We watched them shave off nearly a pound of meat for each sandwich or wrap, and it was not lady-like to eat, but it was good.  I have KJ's iPhone photos to prove it.

The stop at this restaurant was one of those times on the trip where we saw God's guiding hand of providence opening up doors to share the gospel, to just be Christians in Paris.  We were the only people eating upstairs in this little restaurant when a young woman came up by herself to eat.  We were laughing and talking, and KJ, wondering how much she was understanding, leaned his chair back and said, "Parlez-vous l'anglais?"  She smiled and said she spoke a little, but when her English was exhausted Parker was able to share the gospel with her in French.  They had a long conversation, and when we left, she had an Old and New Testament given to her.  It just goes to show you never know where a conversation may lead.

After lunch we made it to Notre Dame, where the line wasn't too long to get inside.  It was really beautiful without being overdone.  Just lovely.  

I loved those doors.  They were so beautiful.

I don't think you can beat the beauty or grandeur of a stone cathedral.  Pictures were allowed but no flash, so it was hard to get good shots in the dim lighting, yet still, I ended up with a lot of pictures...

That chandelier?  Gorgeous.

KJ and I had one of those annoying bits of marital miscommunication inside Notre Dame.  Most of the group walked through at a quicker pace and headed to do a little shopping.  I was taking my sweet time taking pictures, and KJ said he'd go ahead and wait at the back of the church, and we could go out together.  Well...

 Maybe it's just me, but I thought the blue fabric on the 
ceiling with gold stars in this alcove looked like it belonged
in Dumbledore's office.

By the time I made it around to the exit and started looking for KJ, he was nowhere in sight.  He was nowhere around the line going out the door; I even walked through the back row of chairs, thinking he may have sat down, and I didn't see him.  Finally, I didn't know what else to do but walk out to see if he was standing by the exit.

  This boys' choir was singing hymns in English,
and it was gorgeous.

I waited by the exit minute after excruciating minute.  There were crowds of people around but no sign of anyone in our group.  Entrance into Notre Dame is free, so I finally made the decision to get back in line and go inside again, even though I greatly feared that as soon as I did KJ would come out.  I stood in line keeping my eyes trained on the exit.  Once I made it back inside I found KJ sitting in the back on a chair.  The one time he got up to see if he could find me was the time I walked through the chairs looking for him.  It was so aggravating because we'd probably lost at least 30 minutes of the time we intended to spend walking around to the back of Notre Dame, but it was time to find our meeting place.  We tried not to be aggravated with one another, and this was probably the first time we started being really thankful we'd decided to hang around Paris during our anniversary trip the following week.  We're coming back, we're coming back, we're coming back...  

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

On Taking "too many" Pictures

It's that time of year where I make birthday videos.  With the kids birthdays only one month a part, I'm delving through pictures and video from the past year from now until October 1, and it's making me so thankful for pictures.  They memorialize moments in time that would otherwise get lost in the shuffle.  

I remember that I took a road trip with the kids without KJ up to North Carolina last October, but seeing this picture this morning brought back so many more details and all the feelings of that autumn morning.

This picture made me remember the way the mist was rising and the canopy of leaves we drove under and my thankfulness for getting to be in one of my favorite places even just for one night.  

And this night of hanging out with cousins would probably be completely forgotten if it weren't for pictures.  I don't think I would have remembered this fun little night of pizza and sword fights.  John David was totally getting ganged up on, but I don't think he minded.

The one million pictures you leave behind for your grandchildren may be overwhelming, but they won't be sorry to have them.  Not one bit.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Quotes by Wodehouse, Tony Blair, and the Triumph of Christ

Have you ever read P.G. Wodehouse?  I first heard his name a couple of years ago from a girl in our church (Hi, Kim!), but it took me a while to pick up something of his and read it since I like to read books in order, and there are so many of his to choose from I didn't know where to start.  Finally, I just started randomly, and oh, my goodness.  He was such a comic genius.  His use of the English language and metaphor and simile, and the outrageous characters he creates are one of a kind.  

This past week the same thing occurred as the first time I picked up a book by Wodehouse.  "I'm just gonna read this book...Oh, my goodness, KJ, this is hilarious.  Let me just read you a few pages...Never mind, now I'm stuck reading this whole book aloud to you."

Most of my quotes from last week's reading come from Wodehouse, and now you know why.  Though I'm not sure how funny they are out of context of the story and characters.  These are all from Galahad at Blandings.

"Lady Hermione did not strike her brother with a bludgeon, but this was simply because she had no bludgeon."  

"He was amiable and on the whole fond of his fellow men, but he preferred them when they remained aloof.  It disturbed him when they came surging into his demesne, especially when their unions had been blessed and they brought their children with them."

" 'You had better begin practising being the ideal hostess without delay, for both Sam and I have high standards and you mustn't fall short of them,' said Gally, and feeling that this was about as telling an exit line as could be found on the spur of the moment he replaced his cue in the rack and left the room.' "

I found this quote by former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, this week:

"...I envy those who've never read him before - the prospect of reams of unread Wodehouse stretching out in front of you is, to long-standing admirers and readers like me and millions of others, something which is enticing to contemplate."

We studied this passage at church Wednesday night, and I was reminded of what an encouragement it was to KJ and I when we were in the early stages of our relationship:
"But thanks be to God, who always leads 
us in triumph in Christ, and manifests 
through us the sweet aroma of the 
knowledge of Him in 
every place.  
- 2 Corinthians 2:14 -

When I was in college and working as a cashier at Wal-Mart, I would always think of Scripture references when I saw certain combinations of numbers come up on the screen as people's change.  Whenever I saw $6.33 for instance, I always thought of Matthew 6:33, "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."  And whenever anyone got $2.14 back, I always thought of 2 Corinthians 2:14, and it made me feel confident and glad.  God is leading me in triumph in Christ.  Always.  That is good news as you walk through your day. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Franco Fridays: Gospel Distribution and the Belleville Market

Tuesday morning of our trip we made our way into the city to pass out Gospels and other literature.  We saw a few movie signs along the way that just seemed better in French.  Le Hobbit!  It's epique!
We split into two groups and took turns distributing and prayer-walking through an absolutely huge market filled with people from North Africa, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.

These are pictures from some of our group's interactions distributing, with a bonus picture in the top left corner of a pigeon taking a bath in the flowing water of the curb.  I just thought he was really funny, sitting right in the flow with his feathers all puffed out, enjoying himself.

I was really glad that my first trip to Paris was on a mission trip.  There were parts of the city I would never have seen or known existed if I'd come just as a tourist, and I wouldn't have spent nearly as much time there walking her streets apart from being there on a mission trip.  

I think Parker wanted us to walk through the market and see and feel the need for Christ in his city.  We heard the calls of workers in the competing stands, felt the pushing and shoving of people fighting for their place, tasted the sweetness of fruit samples given to entice us into buying.

Please pray for the many different nations living in Belleville and for those working to shine the light of the gospel there in this community.

My prayer as we distributed gospels was that God's Word would not return to Him void, that the gospel would take root in people's hearts.

I'm not sure why we were so segregated at this point, but all of us girls were sitting opposite on a bench.  That's a good group of men, though.