Robert Frost

The best way out is always through.

Monday, June 6, 2011

And We're Off...

...on a family ROAD TRIP! (pretend like I shouted it out ala Oprah). 

I have been out of bloggie commission because my computer was, oh, what is that technical term....oh, yeah, KAPUT.   I couldn't blog, catch up on blogs or do trip research on the borrowed time of my hubby's computer so blog posting fell by the wayside.

I have confessed before, that I am a trip planning fool.  And this has been some kinda of fun as this Road Trippin' crew includes our cozy family of five,  my mom, and my mother-in-law, and our niece Rachel.  It only struck me last week, "Zowie, David is gonna have quite a van load of ladies"....but I know he can handle it...he is mellow that way.  But if y'all do shout out a prayer for our safety include his and our sanity. 

So, I look forward to blogging about our trip as we get our...

Tennessee on...(I say this ala Andy Bernard from The Office)

our North Carolina on...

our Blue Ridge Parkway on...

and our New Orleans on...

and then after, I'll have to get some "rest" on from all that road tripping. 

Thanks dear readers for stopping by, checking in, and your kind comments.  Let's catch up when I get back.

In Christ,

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Paris afternoon (June 8th, still, 2008) Day 10 (yes, still) Part II, yikes!

**May 28, 2011**Yes, do not adjust your monitors...this is a repeat post...but it is all about our family of five's first Paris afternoon (way back in '08).  Hello and Welcome to anyone stopping over from Castles, Crowns, and Cottages for the Paris Party!

Thank y'all for visiting and your kind comments.**

We left the apartment about 5ish, extremely hungry, and gladly lighter (sans mucho luggage) in order to track down a restaurant in the Latin Quarter. Paris, just in case anyone wonders, is divided into 20 arrondissments (neighborhoods) with the lower numbering in the center spiraling higher outwards. The Latin Quarter is found in the 6th arrondissment and called such because in the olden times (very technical term) the students of the Sorbonne near by frequented the cheap eateries and cafes in this area speaking in their educated language--Latin. Or so I have been told. Well inexpensive eateries, cafes, food stalls and tourist trap places still abound but it is still to me a distinctive and lively area to visit as a part of the Parisian experience.

Again, I was nostalgic because, having been blessed to have stayed in Paris two separate times before, this area of Paris was very familiar. I guess, being me, I have to regress and explain that I was in Paris 1993, and 1997 with Campus Crusade for Christ. During those mission trips (lasts about two months in the summer) we were busy amongst the students of the Cite Universitaire (14th arrondissement). In those times I definitely got an everyday feel of Paris, student life, but actually had only small opportunities to explore the grand city of Paris. While doing ministry and friendship building with the international students we met, we explored some the the notable sights of Paris, quite a few times: Notre Dame (near the Latin Quarter), the Louvre, and of course the Eiffel Tower. But I just barely scratched the surface of getting the distinctive feel of the neighborhoods. Now it is apparently an itch I've got to scratch. Poor David.
Well, back to our dinner. The Latin Quarter was in full swing with tourist crowds in mass movement, but being it was a somewhat early European dining hour, the restaurants were uncrowded . Goody for us. I expected my family wanted something a bit familiar and I knew I wanted pizza. Then I saw what I hoped to see. The restaurant our mission group defaulted to each time we wanted a real pizza was still in the same spot and open. The hosts were attentive in seating us, helpful with our slow ordering (in France at times your run the risk of indecision causing you to have to wait a long while before you see your waiter again). We waited on our sidewalk table quietly (yes, Sophia was snoozing away in her tucked under the table stroller, again) and each of us was absorbed in unabashed people watching. And Paris is the place to do it.
A street musical troop started up nearby and entertained us while we oohed and ahhed over our meal.
After being refreshed by our sit down meal we headed out for our walk. We crossed the Seine River (the strong lovely river that splits the fair city in two (Left bank, right blank, I guess that is obvious?) and Notre Dame came into full view as just as reverent choral singing echoed around us. It reminded me of Versailles musical gardens and the background symphonies that created a surreal atmosphere. But the origins of the singing was revealed as we approached the square in front of the majestic hundreds years old Catholic Church. The square was crammed with seats and people taking in a mass outdoors of the capacity filled church via big screen.

What a sight. What sounds. I took a picture and then a tap at my shoulder brought me face to face with another kind stranger. An American mom (family in tow) offered to take a picture of me with my crew with Notre Dame in the background, remarking that "the picture taker rarely gets in any pictures". I thanked her and, ridiculously, I think I teared up in appreciation of this kind gesture in a day filled with them.
We walked past the crowds, over bridge with its solo street musicians, handful of street performers and sprinkling of easels with busy painters capturing the early evening sun on the busy Seine, towards the small elegant island in Paris called Ile Saint-Louis. I was navigating my crowd towards the palette pleasing Berthillon ice cream stand on the Ile. Actually my opinion is that its flavors are definitely delectable but I notice I enjoy most the ice cream/sorbet stands throughout Paris equally. I am thinking, because, well, their flavors are usually more than 31 and heck, I am in Paris eating an ice cream cone--delicious.
Here I had another pinch myself moment (yeah, I am fairly bruised by now). We got our Boules (scoops) and ate our cones (Sophia too) as we leaned on the bridge overlooking the Seine, with a street musician on accordion playing songs from Amelie (movie from 2002 that oozes Parisian charm). Ahh. L-O-V-E-L-Y.

As we slowly left the bridge we crossed back over the bridge in no certain direction, but got drawn in by the peace and small rose garden behind Notre Dame. Sophia bounded around freely and we noticed there was an area for children to play. I had never noticed this small garden before but in as tightly a laid out large city as Paris it is notable that there are always open green patches for the Parisians to take in the natural beauty in the midst of their bustling city. Sophia was certainly appreciative!

At this point I pushed us one bit further. We found our closest Metro stop and got off at the Trocadero. My family knew we were headed to the Eiffel Tower but their response was a lackluster "Okay." Okay? We were climbing the steps up to the street level outside the Trocadero plaza and a chattering group of identically sundress clad American sorority girls huddled near us over a map. I could hear them "I don't see it, Tiff." "the map says is it near here, I know" "Where do we go, do we ask someone?" So I leaned over to them and offered directions to the place it was obvious they were looking for. They ran just ahead of us and made a moment for us out of their own. They passed the sight blocking building we were in front of, looked to the left and caught sight of THE TOWER and squealed for joy, jumping up and down. Our girls giggled as they watched the "old/older" girls overcome with the experience. Now it was their turn. And here is my picture of my crew caught by surprise.

No, no jumping up and down (not their style). David remarked that he hadn't expected this familiar world renowned sight to give him pause but it did. We posed and posed, and posed. Then we rode the nearby carousel---dreamy.
Anna got a crispy sweet Belgian waffle and Sara had her Nutella Banana crepe--messy, yummy goodness, right by the Tower.
And then the Tower lit up for us--de-LIGHT-ful!

I should have known not to push further but at 8:30ish I made my dear family get on a Bateau Mouches (Seine River Cruise) in order to get an idea of the city's layout and unique view of the sights. I loved it. The whole crowded, windy, loud (tour groups partying around us) ride, but David and Anna slipped drowsily in and out of sleep while Sara, Sophia, and I took it all in. My crew was tired but Paris was in full swing as we even passed a quay filled with people dancing tango to Latin rhythms--my oh my.
The walk was surely long to the Metro and to our apartment. But in retrospect it was our most full day. The last day I would be able to check every box off on my itinerary. My fearless crew was hitting a travel wall. Paris was wonderful but no match for a tinge of homesickness, 10 days of go-go-go, new experiences, different languages, and a lack of everyday comforts. I was the energizer bunny trying hard to push my worn out loved ones. Sleep, and a slow morning was the order for our next day, Day 11.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter...a bit late...

...but I just couldn't resist sharing this funny, cute, yet true telling of  "A Very Special Sunday"...They shared it in church this morning and got my 4 year old's attention,...and, yes, mine too.  Pausing my music will keep it from competing with the video. 


In Christ,

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Oh, how I miss blogging....

Yes, I miss you guys....hello?  Is anyone out there?   It is a bad thing to have an infrequent blog and be absent from the blogosphere.  I don't have my pics loaded on this computer....and for whatever reason this computer lets me type a few keystrokes and then it changes its mind and skips a few letters....okay it just happened, I typed a whole sentence and then in a flash it was gone....what does Charlie Brown say when things conspire against him?...oh yeah, AARRGGHH!

So in this sweet Easter season, when we give thanks and glory to God, all I dare to share--or else the computer may sweep it away, are once again some quotes....and Thanks.  For hanging in there with me and, as always, your encouragement.

~~...the world can forgive practically anything except people who mind their own business.~~
                                     ~~Margret Mitchell

~~Friendship is forgetting what you give and remembering what you receive.~~

~~The best way out is always through.~~
                                     ~~ Robert Frost

~~You must plough with such oxen as you have.~~
                                     ~~ English Proverb

~~When upon life's billows you are tempest tossed,
     when you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
     count your many blessings,
     name them one by one,
     And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.
                                      ~~Johnson Oatman, old hymn

Happy Easter...He is Risen!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thoughtful Thursday

Computer troubles.  I'm on a borrowed computer and even tho' I had some blogging inspiration lately, with my pictures stored on a to be repaired computer, I am now image-less.  Oh, my...that sounds bad.  But I have some words to share that have cheered, and encouraged me.....

I need this one:
     Use what talents you possess--the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.    ~~Henry Van Dyke

     A ship in a harbor is safe--but that is not what ships are made for.  ~~John A. Shedd

     The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you; He will quiet you with His love; He will rejoice over you with singing.  ~~Zephaniah 3:17

     In our daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.  ~~Unknown

     You and I are here to do good to others.  What the others are here for, I don't know.  ~~W.H. Auden

And as a funny:   You can observe a lot just by watching.  ~~Yogi Berra

Love to you and yours,

In Christ,


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Stepping Outside...

Quotes for cheering you through the weekend:

~We are not cisterns made for hoarding; we are channels made for giving.~~Billy Graham

~It is wonderful what may be done if we are always doing.~~Thomas Jefferson

~When you cannot pray as you would, pray as you can~~Dean Goulburn

~....the cheerful heart has a continual feast.~~Proverbs 15:15 NIV

This seems a bit of a cheat but with the quotes I wanted to share, I also wanted to post something that moved me today.  I love reading Corey's Tongue in Cheek blog

Ahh, Provence!
where she writes primarily about her expat life (she's American) with her French husband of twenty-some years in Provence.  Her photos, her love of brocante, and travel has drawn together quite a nice community of bloggers, but today she shared an amazing part of her travels and I feel compelled to post.
Her visit with a long-time friend in Thailand to the Vieng Ping Children's home

precious, happy faces and a heart stirring visit
Blogging is such an amazing forum to me.  And I thank y'all that stop by and those that I read for all you share and how wonderfully you help me step outside my everyday and inspire. 

In Christ,

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Ahh, Paris

I thankfully and wholeheartedly agree with the Jane Austen quote above (yeah, she's my girl).  But when I think of Paris, I sigh. 
Even now, I have to confess, that if I ever get the chance to see dear Pah-ree again,
I would still be giddy with delight. 

I have no doubt of how Paris romanced me and won me over....

and for those of you who have visited the City of Lights or have simply dreamed of her from afar you may understand. 

The other night was a slow quiet night so my hubby and I indulged in two movies on TV, while we pattered about with work and home cares.  Now, we had seen these movies before and even own them: Julie & Julia

and Amelie

Oh, boy...this was not what I needed.  Seeing Paris dance before my eyes in the way it won over Julia Child and the whimsy and magic of Amelie, brought back sweet, sweet memories. 

Montmatre photo courtesy of Centrury 21, naw, it's mine, just a bad angle

When I first went to Paris (also my first trip "abroad"...sounds so fancy-schmancy said that way) in 1993, I was college-age and stayed there for 9 weeks in the summer (my heart flutters to remember it) with a missions group.  I was the perfect picture of a fish out of water....small town Texas born and raised, just a year of High School French under my belt, and all I knew of Paris went like this: Eiffel Tower,

Hunchback of Notre Dame,

Phantom of the Opera,



and Monet.  

But boy, the experience changed me.  No, not as a whole new person but it awoke my wonder with new tastes, cultures (as we met people from so many different places) and history.  I came away from that summer wanting to know Paris more and with an understanding of Gertrude Stein's quote: "America is my country but Paris is my hometown."  I surprisingly felt at home.

My very first experience in Paris knocked my senses silly.  You see, in order to help keep jet lag at bay and orient us to our new surroundings, our group gathered together for a briefing picnic in the local park (the elegant, green and underrated Parc Montsouris). 

And as I felt the soft grass beneath me, I found I could barely concentrate of the info.  My taste buds were being barraged by the best bread ever (baguettes), REAL butter, flavorful jams, wonderful chocolates, crisp tasty market bought veggies, and creamy cheeses. 

I remember hearing my teammates "yumming" themselves silly too, with each new bite.  Then the cooling breezes wafting about us, on the sunny summer day, the hum of the visitors in the park chatting, children playing, the distant din of the traffic in the busy city around us....DING DONG! my senses told me, you are truly in PARIS. 

So, here is an eclectic assortment of Paris moments from me to you, should you choose to enjoy, reminisce, and daydream. ......there are only 5, 6, okay, 7 things to picture:

1. Carry a Baguette: 
If I could, I would add smell-o-vision to this photo
Though the "idea" of fast food is looked down on by the French (cuz, see it is an American invention), it is a common sight to see Parisians carrying along a "snack" baguette freshly purchased from a boulangerie (bread makers) or patisserie (pastry shop) found on almost every block in Paris.  I remember carrying an armload of early morning, warm, tender crisp, and deliciously fragrant baguette loaves in my arms for our mission group's jam and butter breakfast at our dorm (Cite Universitaire).  Now that sense memory most decidedly walloped me, and screams "Paris!" to me.

2.  Have a picnic:     as often as possible, take your food to a spot, make it your spot.  Grab a suitable grocery/market collection of cheese, sausage, fruit, bread, and juice/water and don't forget a pastry treat. 

Feast in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, enjoy your Gyros along the banks of the Seine,

devour an ice cream in the leisure of one of Paris's famous Jardins (gardens/parks),
indulge in a sweet or savory crepe from a street stall (I never had a bad one) whilst sitting on one of Paris pedestrian bridges overlooking the Seine...take it in. My favorite spots: Jardin du Luxembourg, Parc des Buttes Charmont, and Parc Montsouris....my goodness almost anywhere will do, you're in Paris! 

3. Enjoy Paris from a rooftop/view:   Of course the Eiffel Tower is a must,

the top of L'Arc de Triomphe, the steps of Sacre Coeur cathedral, from the roof of Notre Dame, or even the Cafe top of the dazzling Galleries Lafayette. 
Go ahead pinch yourself, you're really there. I pinched myself silly and would do it all over again, aahhh:

4. Wander....here is where the magic is.  My first true wandering in a neighborhood was through La Marais, along the narrow cobblestone rues, with artisan shops and quiet cafes, to the lovely and well known Place des Vosges...with its neatly situated open square with trickling fountain. 

5.  Sit at a cafe...yeah, I did it; even ordered a coffee (uh, 'scuse me, cafe viennoise) and I didn't even like coffee at the time..It was of course somehow better in Paris, and I did the "Sabrina"-thing and wrote in my journal....it was lovely. 

6.  Shop....I never had the nerve or proper attire ("money") to saunter into any high end shop, but each time I have been to Paris I have purchased either a scarf, inexpensive accessory,
Cheesey, cute, cheap and all mine, and yep, I got them in Paris
or print and keep it on display as a cheering reminder of my visit.  No matter where you go, to say that you went "shopping in Paris" has a sophisticated ring to it, N'est-ce pas.

7. Ahh, museums galore...just sit and ponder a work of art:  The first time I visited the Musee D'Orsay I was taken aback by the elegant interior...the former train station turned museum, all grand and wowza,

is bathed in the proper natural light to gaze dreamily at world renowned impressionist art, and I recall that the main entrance hall of sculptures, though stone-still (heehee) seemed to have movement when I first caught sight of them.   Paris is stuffed silly with museums and though time in Paris should be enjoyed out of doors as much as possible, she has so much to offer within.

::sigh:: There are so many more....but I have got to stop now, for your sake and mine......thanks for joining me....Any special moments you would like to share? Please do!

I am linked over at Les Chateau des Fleurs by Frenchy for her monthy French Obsession link party and giveaway in case you want to have more of a taste of France...

Au Revoir mes amies,

In Christ,


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