Sunday, March 30, 2008

Paris Diary - Part Un

I was awaiting pictures of Paris before I blogged-as the stories are so much better with pictures!

It was an awesome time with my sweet mom and super-cool sisters. My BIL was there too and he and I have a great relationship - so that was fun to hang out with him. We watched the entire season six of Family Guy while in Paris. Yes, my BIL is cool.

We got there and our luggage did not. We had to our connecting flight from JFK to CDG (Paris). We got in late due to time issues at JFK and circling the airport for a bit. So, needless to say, our luggage didn't quite make it.

Then we get to our apartment - and it's a five floor walk-up. That was good for the exercise. The one-person elevator was so tiny that it took me a little while to get used to the idea. Then the WC...oh my. I'm not good with measurements but it was tiny...I almost had to open the door in order for my booty to fit inside. Then my knees hit the wall in front of me. Paris is not for chubby chicks!

Thursday was spent just walking around our neighborhood. We were on the same block as a huge Basilica (picture to follow) and the bells tolled for us occasionally. Our luggage arrived that night - at about 11:00 pm. The next day was Good Friday. We walked around our surroundings - found a grocery, bakery, and other necessities. No Starbucks though. We ate lunch at a little brassiere and it was interesting. The French cafes have a simple menu - usually only about five items; duck, chicken, beef, pasta and a special of the day. It was hard to pay $30 (US) for a pasta dish but I did it and it was interesting.

On the way home from our day I popped into the Basilica - as it was Good Friday, they were having the Stations of the Cross all in French. It was interesting to share this experience with those half way across the world. The church was very stark and cold - very traditional. Friday evening, we ate Spaghetti in the apartment. My mom made it and it was really tasty! For dessert: Creme Brulee that you could buy in the dairy section of the grocery store!! What a concept!

Next, I'll blog about the chunnel, London, and falling asleep during The Lion King.

I'm sure you're breathless with anticipation!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Holy Week

I am leaving for Paris tomorrow..but wanted to at least blog about Holy Week in case I don't get the chance in France.

Jesus said several things from the cross on Friday. This culminated with his final statement, said in a loud voice as required by custom...Father into thy hands I commend my spirit."

I've heard lots of explanations on why Jesus said this and what each word means.

In truth, I really like the most simple explanation. It is part of a prayer that all
1st century Jewish mothers taught their children. It is how we think of "now I lay me down to sleep..." although way more eloquent.

Here is the prayer - in full. Jesus could only say the brief second line as he was dying. I can't even type it without crying - knowing that Jesus, dying on a cross, prayed the prayer his mother taught him as a young boy - culminates his full life and mission on earth. I love him SO much - read and memorize...and be reminded of the amazing work in the Garden, on the Cross, and from the Tomb.

"In thy hands are the souls of the living and the dead. Into thy hands I commend my spirit. Thou hast redeemed me, Oh Lord, oh God of truth.

The name of the Lord God of Israel, may Michael be on my right hand, Gabriel at my left hand, before me, Uriel, behind me Raphael, and above my head, the presence of God."

Friday, March 14, 2008

Do you want fries with that senior discount?

Take a close look at my receipt from Carl's Junior yesterday.

So, needless to say I had a heart to heart with the nice lady that rang up my order. Her name was Dora. Once I noticed this, I called her over to my table and asked her what about me made her think I should get the Senior Discount. She shushed me and said "don't tell...I thought you needed a break."

Well, we started talking and she wove a tale of her life (she was 65 and I REALLY wanted to know if she REALLY thought I was close to her age...). She works at Carl's Junior first of all. She was married to a man that beat her up so she got an annulment from him - then she married another guy and had a son. He went to Viet Nam and is currently MIA. So, she can't get any funds for her or her son because technically, he's not "dead."

She lives in Federal Way and her son is a manager at McDonalds and has been since 1994!

You know, my mom said in a comment recently on this blog, that there are daily affirmations of God moving in our lives and sometimes we don't realize it or notice it at all. Today, through a senior discount, I met a woman and was able to affirm her and thank her for working at Carl's and getting me my Western Bacon Cheeseburger.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

My Daily Bread

So most of you know that I work at a Christian School - we charge tuition to attend our school and most people don't even blink an eye about paying 5...6...7...thousand dollars/year to send their kids here. It's a pretty good school, small classes, committed know the drill.

There are some who can't pay. There are some who need their kids to have the stability of the same class, teacher and friends each day because their lives are falling apart at home. There are Isaac's, Helen's, Nai's, Mario's, and a host of others that I get to pray for and love. This is why I'm glad I work here-to minister to these families. Single moms & dads, kids on DSHS, etc.

One family in particular has had their share of troubles this year. Dad is an alcoholic. He has struggled with his addiction for many years and finally sought treatment in a residential facility just this past November. Mom has been the sole bread-winner of the household and Kobe & Caleb continue to come to school everyday...and nobody pays their tuition. I've talked to both mom and dad and asked them to try to come up with a payment plan. I get a lot of promises and hopes, but in the end - no payment. But we all know those boys need our school and its stability. So...we trudge through.

Due to his alcoholism, dad had to undergo double hip-replacement surgery in January. He is 34 years old. They started paying $50.00/month toward their 12,000 bill and today he brought in homemade bread and gave it to me. I was so touched that I almost couldn't hold it together. He used to come in and not ever talk, embarrased by his overwhelming debt. Today, he talked, laughed, donated some time to our upcoming auction and gave me homemade whole wheat bread.

I remember passing judgment on this man for what he was doing to his family. Today, the Lord taught me the power of a loaf of bread and the power of his healing hand on the life of Ken, Katie, Casey and Kory. Thank you for teaching me and may I have eyes to see, ears to hear and mouth to taste homemade bread!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Happy Graduation!

My dad teaches at Edmonds Community College in their DSHS Work First program. He teaches Asset Development and his students are all single parents with children. He teaches them that they are an asset and need to take care of themselves, make good choices and begin to develop monetary assets when they get out of the program. The program is in medical billing and administration and most of the girls get jobs in hospitals or doctor's offices. Their starting salaries have been anywhere from $15.00/hour to $20/hour - so quite a step up!

Last night was their graduation for this group of six women. They all have issues and kids and it's so fun to see them celebrate their success on this graduation night. It is also nice to see their families come and support them.

Margaret - homeless mother of two - received the highest grades (4.0) and won the award for perfect attendance! Pray for her as she is living in a shelter and has only a few more days to find a job and get transitioned before her time is up at the shelter.

Tammy - Mother of 5 - various fathers - all kids were there and very well behaved and kind. She lives with her mom (who has no teeth!) and is still looking for a job.

Debby - 47 years old and has adult onset ADHD. Spent the entire 45 minute graduation fixing her graduation cap - pinning and re-pinning the bobby pins.

Noy - single mother of three and heroin addict. She has been clean for a few months and has to have drug tests every three days. She has a job starting next week at Evergreen Hospital!

There was one girl who had to drop out of this cohort. She was kidnapped by her ex-boyfriend and held for several days. She finally was released and is back home recovering. She can re-start the program in the summer time.

There are others - and my dad has a whole new group of students starting next week. This time he has 17 - and one single dad! My dad is truly in his element! He is proud of his students and is probably the only positive male influence in their lives-you can tell they respond to him and his quirks with love. They all hooted and hollered when he got up to speak and you can tell that they learned a lot from him - mostly about self-esteem and that they are their #1 asset!

I was proud to be there and proud of these women for making this step for their kids and themselves.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Being the daughter of a teacher was a wonderful treat. Growing up, books were very much part of my life. My mom made sure we always had books - and always good ones - and we usually got one or two for each holiday and birthday. Remembering these books is good for me and remembering the love of reading that my mom instilled in me is also something I want to instill in others. I also remember realizing that my mom also had favorite books when she was little and she shared those books with me and my sisters.

I've listed a few of my favorite books here - in hopes that maybe you'll pick one up and read it or you'll remember some favorite books of your childhood and maybe comment on them here.

Swimmy - this is such a fun little book about a little fish that swims against the crowd. It was how my folks taught me that it's ok to be different and that everyone is worth something.

Make Way for Ducklings - I loved this story of a little family of ducklings and the peril of living in the Public Garden. Can you name the ducklings? I'll get you started...Jack, Pack...

Harriet the Spy - Harriet was spunky and fun and a true "tom-boy". I was called a boy more often than I liked when I had a bowl I identified well with Harriet. I also would love to be a spy.

Where the Red Fern Grows - A heart wrenching story about a boy and his hound dogs. I am not sure why I don't like dogs as this was one of my favorite books. Thanks to Mr. Larsen for introducing this book to me during 5th grade outdoor camp!

How the Grinch Stole Christmas - the kid sister got her nickname from this book - because she looked exactly like Cindy Lou Who. This book proves that even a Grinch can have a change of heart - makes me hopeful!

Der Struwwelpeter - (pictured above) My 100 year old Granny is German and her mom came over and was a nurse in Chicago before moving to Seattle...therefore, this was introduced to me by my granny. Now, the German's don't mess around and these are 10 stories of children (also illustrated) who misbehave in some way and then get nailed - some very grotesquely. The moral is pretty clear and I was duly afraid to misbehave! My favorite one was about the little boy who WOULD NOT stop sucking his this scary guy came in and cut off both his thumbs (with pictures!!). I was a finger this moral was not lost on me! You really should read these - they are profound for a book from 1845!

These are just a few of my favorite books - I know you had favorites as a kid...list them here and tell us why!

About Me

I work at a Christian School district only 4 miles from my home. The people there are full of grace and love and I am glad to be a part of this ministry. I have a neice and nephew whom I love dearly. They are 12 and almost 15 respectively. I have two amazing sisters and two amazing brothers-in-law. Of course, I would not be here if it were not for my mother agreeing to marry my dad. Good going mom! My parents are my life and I would literally be NOTHING without their unconditional love, support and care. You rock mom and dad. Then there's Will & Lora...their giggles are like sunshine and their parents crack me up too.

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