Monday, June 30, 2014

The Bend in the Road

I've had a long love-affair with words, and I've always loved having a space to write things down.  I can clearly see my first little space, white with a rainbow across it, a small lock and key, and in large type across the front: D I A R Y.  I can remember sitting very seriously at my desk to write in it.

I've loved having this space to write in and to record the past 4 years of our little lives.  A couple of years ago a few people asked me if I'd share my posts on Facebook so they'd be sure to see them, which I was happy to do, but it periodically causes me great anxiety because..."The introverted are the people who live in the constant tension between the desire to communicate...and the desire to hide."  Oh, wow.  Ann Voskamp wrote that in a blog post a few weeks ago, and I said, "Yes!  That is me!"  I love writing down our family's stories, and I love reading other people's stories.  I love to communicate, but I also don't like drawing attention to myself.  My inner introvert wants to preface every Facebook share with, "Please don't feel obligated to read this.

I enjoy writing in the morning before the kids are awake, but this morning I felt nervous because it felt like a day to let lots of cats out of bags since KJ posted this on Facebook yesterday.


I always feel nervous about sharing big announcements, especially with my family.  Talking about moving to England out loud felt like when I called my mom to tell her KJ had proposed (even though she knew that was coming); it feels like announcing to my brothers stunned faces that I was pregnant for the first time.  In other words, it's pretty big news.  It's life-changing.  It means a lot to me.

I'm really thankful for KJ's succinct announcements with the pertinent information because I would probably want to tell the story from the beginning before ever getting around to an announcement.  And by beginning I mean the story my Gramma told me once of when I was born, and they found out I was a girl and said, "We've got our missionary," as opposed to another preacher.  It is definitely encouraging when the big changes come to look back over your life and see God's providential organizing of it all.  I read again last week, "He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God..." (Acts 17:26-27a)

I'm really excited about my new boundaries for the next year, and if God wills, even more.

There will be lots of stories along the way.  

Though of course, you're not obligated to read them.  ;)

Friday, June 27, 2014

Franco Fridays Forever

With three un-blogged days in last year's France trip and a whole new one to start on (and hopefully more years of partnering with churches in Paris in the future), Franco Fridays may be a permanent fixture around here.

Long live Franco Fridays.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A Week in Paris

Bonjour!  First, I would like to say that I have no idea how I managed to blog throughout the entire mission trip in Paris last year, because it has just not been possible this year.  KJ would say that I stayed up entirely too late last year.  He could very well be right.  

Today is our last full day in Paris, and I wanted to try and post one ministry picture and one pretty Paris picture from Friday-Monday.  Yesterday's pictures are still on the SD card.

This is Parker modelling for us how to talk with the men from India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan who you will often see selling souvenirs around Paris monuments.  We give them a copy of the Jesus Film in their language with contact information for people who speak their language.  You should see how their faces light up when you ask them if they are Bengali or Punjabi.  To be recognized and given something in their language is an encouraging thing.

 I just captured her because it seemed like a very Parisian moment.

Saturday KJ taught through the book of Haggai for adults at Emmanuel International Church, and our team spent the day teaching kids, singing songs, playing games, and our resident artist, Katie, taught them how to draw animals using circles.

When the light hits the trees around 9:15 each night, it is a lovely sight. Yes, this is after 9 p.m.

There have been some days of really  missing my kids, but in moments like Sunday, listening to KJ preach through Anjlo's translation at the Punjabi Church, I'm really thankful to be here with him.  We had such an encouraging time with these dear brothers and sisters.

Eleven o'clock sunsets aren't bad, either.

We can't do it all the time, but we like to try to buy something from the men we stop to talk to since we are taking them away from selling to other customers for a few minutes.  We were always happy when they were selling cold water. They were always so happy when they were told we had Bengali friends in Paris.

Paris is a beautiful city, and it is also a city of many poor, many immigrants, many people who have never heard the gospel, met a real Christian, or experienced God's love through His church.  We've been thinking this week about how Jesus said the harvest was plentiful, but the workers were few.  So pray that the Lord would send out laborers into His harvest.

Monday, June 9, 2014

10 Pictures {Sam + Ashlea}

Does anyone else wake up with the sun during the summer months?  For the past couple of summers I find myself going through a season of waking up at 5:30 and being a bit tired all of the time.  We had a busy weekend so I was hoping to sleep a little later, but I have plenty of work to keep me busy this week as we are getting ready to travel, so maybe an early wake-up call is a good thing. 

Since there is a lot of work to do I told myself I could only pick 10 pictures to tell the story of our Saturday.

We loved getting to spend time with these guys over the weekend.

The Perfect Back-Drop for a Wedding

Watching His Bride




Mr. and Mrs.



We had to leave as they were dancing to make the 4-hour drive home.  It was a beautiful weekend.  Marriage and the story it tells is a beautiful thing.  

Friday, June 6, 2014

Franco Fridays: Chateau de Sarceaux

I may have mentioned before that KJ enjoys planning things, and in the past year he's really enjoyed pouring over Google maps and making plans for trips.  He's especially kind to enjoy planning our route around things he thinks will make me happy, and the third night of our Normandy adventure he hit it out of the park.

He's become quite adept at finding places with ambiance, don't you think?  Over the past few years KJ moved away from finding the cheapest acceptable accommodations to being willing to pay for an experience now and again.  I don't think I'm going to complain.

I couldn't believe my eyes.  We were greeted by the Marquess herself who showed us our private salon and then led us up to our room where she threw open a window, and I really felt like I'd stepped into a novel.

Horror of horrors we had stopped on our drive to grab some McDonald's for dinner because, you know, we'd ate really well the night before.  

Trying to order in a provincial McDonald's in France resulted in a lot of confusion, an overabundance of food, and spending more money at McDonald's than we ever have in our lives.

I think we had about 3 large fries as well.  They didn't speak much English, and we don't speak much French.  There was no way we were going to try to correct the mistakes, so needless to say, we felt like a walk when we arrived at the chateau.

I couldn't say enough lovely things about the Marquess, who while we were walking had graciously made us an apple dessert, which we ate on the gravel sweep in front of the house while throwing tennis balls to their dog, who of course, only understood French. The Marquess was so kind and told us she thought of us like her own children. 

 The feeling of having stepped into the pages of a historical novel persisted the following morning.

Could it have been more perfect?  I wish I had time this morning for pictures of my walk-through the Chateau, but we've got a 4-hour road-trip for a wedding ahead of us today, and they'll have to wait.  Until then, for more pictures of our picture-perfect breakfast, here's the post I wrote from the road in France.

There's only three more days left of our anniversary trip in France to cover.  We have a team heading over with us for another mission trip with Emmanuel Baptist Church in Paris in just 2 weeks, so Franco Fridays might be around for a little while longer.

We'll be doing a teaching conference at the church as well as a lot of evangelistic endeavors, and we are praying God will open up doors for the gospel as He was so gracious to do last year.

See you soon, Paris.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014


Sunday morning my pastor (who also happens to be my father-in-law) used an illustration in his sermon that has stuck with me this week.  [As an aside, I was just thinking that I've had six pastors in my life, three of them have been my father, my husband, and my father-in-law.]  

But back to that illustration, he told of a man who needed to cross the St. Lawrence River in the winter, and he thought the frozen water could hold his weight, but he knew that at any moment the ice could crack, and he would drown in the freezing water.  So he crept, oh-so-slowly, across the river on his hands and knees, afraid.  He crept until he heard a noise behind him of a horse-drawn wagon pulling a load of firewood come rumbling across the ice full-speed ahead, at which point he felt very sheepish about his timidity and stood up and walked across the St. Lawrence River with a lot more confidence.

The image of that man creeping along out on the ice, afraid of the calamity that could come at any moment, while all the while the surface underneath him was rock-solid, impressed itself in my heart.  

How often does my soul act like I'm on thin ice with God?  How often do I wait for His judgment to fall at one out-of-line, presumptuous thought?  I don't always believe from the heart what I know to be true and what I'm reminding myself of this week, that in Christ, I'm not on thin ice, and "the eternal God is a dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms."

Monday, June 2, 2014

Saturday Funday

Our friends and neighbors across the street invited us to go on a fun outing with them on Saturday to celebrate their son's graduation from preschool.  James loves to play with Blake, and we had no idea what a fun place was just 45 minutes up the road from our house.

It was just the right size of having plenty to do and enjoy but not so big that you are terrified of losing a child.  It was really pleasant and fun, a perfect Saturday outing.

All the kids were brave and tried new things, mainly water slides.  We were really proud of Ella for attempting the big ones.  She ended up going down the red one 15 times by her calculations.

The boys really enjoyed the smaller water slide and working on their tans.

We had so much fun, and James has already asked this morning to go back.