Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Good Night and Good Luck...

Well, it's done. We came, we saw, we traveled, we saw some more, we met friends, we chased birds, we fed squirrels, we logged more than one million miles on the stroller, we slid, we swung, we dug, we jumped, we laughed, we chilled, we toured, we sang, we painted, we....

We left! We are heading home tomorrow...it is our final night here in London and we had a great time. The BATS family met for dinner and said our fond farewells.

I will be honest and say that something happened here that I didn't quite expect. I made friends, ones that I will take with me back to KC. I have fully enjoyed getting to know the spouses of the employees here. We jokingly call ourselves the Stroller Brigade and I am sure that the BATS Christmas Party will never be the same.

So, to the friends I leave behind, keep your chin up and enjoy your remaining time here without me. Karen and Rob...I look forward to catching up with you when you get stateside. Sara, I wish you and Jeromy and the boys all the best that God has to offer you here. I know the next two years will be life changing. Know that you will all be in my prayers. Take Care...

To the friends and family waiting in KC...we are on our way...we'll be home before you know it! We look forward to getting back to life with you and hearing all about your summer adventures. In the words of Michael Buble, "Another aeroplane, Another sunny place, I’m lucky I know, But I wanna go home. I’ve got to go home, Let me go home, I’m just too far from where you are, I wanna come home."

Peace Out!

Monday, September 15, 2008

St. Vincent...

A long time ago, in a land far, far away was a man named Vincent De Paul. He was born into a peasant family. Vincent studied humanities and he graduated in theology. Vincent de Paul was ordained in 1600, remaining in Toulouse until he went to Marseilles for an inheritance. On his way back from Marseilles, he was taken captive by Turkish pirates and sold into slavery. After converting his owner to Christianity, he was freed in 1607. Vincent returned to France and served as priest in a parish near Paris. He was sad to find that many babies were brought to Notre Dame by parents unable to care for them. So, he established a home for these children. A home...I just love that. The word home brings about such a warm, cozy feeling.

The name St. Vincent has always held a special place in my heart but I never knew the story behind the man. Both of my girls were born in a hospital back in Florida called St. Vincent's.

However, it wasn't until I came to London that I had the full impact of the man behind the myth. There is a Methodist church here that is the host to a place called the St. Vincent's Family Project. This place is a cute little center that is open to families. They have "Drop-In"center twice a week and then "creche" the other three days. When you are living in a city where the weather can change at the drop of a hat...and you have small children that need to let their energy out somewhere...a place like St. Vincent's is a true God send.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, you can go there and play with toys, do art projects, sing songs, have tea, visit with other moms (& dads), read books, play dress up...you get the point. The other three days, there are activities just for parents and you can leave your kids and participate in the activities or run an errand. The amazing thing is that it is all FREE!

I questioned one of the workers as to why and her response was simple. "We want people, just like you, who are away from family to find a place to belong...find a home away from home!" There is that word again, Home.

Although I didn't find it in time to take advantage of the creche program, I did enjoy the Tues/Thurs drop ins and the girls and I loved it. All the BATS families enjoyed it. What a true credit to the name St. Vincent.

That is one thing I will say for the British...they don't seem to be a nations of "what's in it for me?" The majority of the activities in the city are free and people have been so helpful. Even whilst traveling by tube, there is ALWAYS somebody there to help you find your way or carry the buggy (stroller) or offer a seat.

It makes me think of what I will take away from this place..what will I bring HOME with me. Are there new comers to KC that are just looking for a place to belong? How can I impact their life? Will they see Christ in me or will I simply pass them by in my busy life? I hope I have learned something here about what it means to be without a home, away from home...lonely. "Lord, I pray that you will use me to make an impact in some body's life back home. Help me to remember what it is like to be a foreigner and always have an open mind and an open heart but most importantly, an open home. Amen"

Here are some pics of this lovely place and others like it.

Peace Out!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wordless Wednesday...

Need I say more???

Peace Out...

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Rule Breaker...

It is strange to think that I am blogging about Paris. As a teenager, I never imagined myself being here but here I am...again. Other Guy and I spent time in Paris on our honeymoon so coming back with the girls is pretty funny to me.

Our agenda in Paris went something like this...

  • Arrive at lunchtime...go, go, go!
  • Cover as much as you can the first day because tomorrow we leave for Disney.
  • Louvre, check...Eiffel Tower, check...Notre Dame, check...Luxembourg Gardens (sister Statue of Liberty), check, check, check

The next morning we woke up bright and early and boarded a train to Disneyland Paris. We had an AMAZING time. In the words of Other Guy, it exceeded our expectations by like 1000%. By the way, that was no typo, that was thousand not hundred. Here are some pics and video. Just a little tid bit..

Dumbo Ride

We spent Sunday and Monday there and then headed back to the city for one more night. Other Guy had some business stuff to do on Tuesday so we stayed in the city on Monday night.

Tuesday left the girls and I looking for something to do, something kid friendly that is. Thankfully there was a park nearby but there was a slight problem. It was closed off with construction tape and barriers. Oh no...what would we do now? Wait though, there are people playing there...there must be a way in! The girls and I searched and searched with no luck.

So, I did it..I broke the rules. I know, I know, you are appalled right now but a mom has to do what a mom has to do. There are some of you reading this right now (Casi!) who are saying, "Marie, break a rule...what? Never!" So, I took pictures to prove it! I lifted the girls over, then the stroller, then myself. The girls got their play time before a train ride back to London and I got a new badge for my girl scout belt...Rule Breaking!

There was a really pretty statue there that, in my opinion, depicted how those of us in love with singers/musicians feel when our loved ones share their gift with us...I swear this lady was swooning. I also love how there is an angel above them. This is how I feel anyway when Other Guy sings...

More later...

Peace Out!

Monday, September 08, 2008

A Warm Fuzzy Blanket...

If you have read my blog for any amount of time, I am sure you have gathered by now that I am opinionated. That character trait/flaw has extended to all areas of my life including my church life. It is no big secret that I love my church back home, not like, LOVE. The people I have met there have forever changed my life.

That being said, the closer we get to going home, the more homesick I become. When we went to Hillsong this weekend, it was nice to be back in church since we have been traveling so much but it still felt like something was missing. I found myself longing for home. I wanted to see the Gracers leading worship with their talents and their hearts.

Before you say anything, I know that worship is about an audience of One. I know that God is here in London just as He is in Kansas. Please believe me when I say that I in NO WAY worship the singers, musicians, etc. back home. However, there is a connection made when you know people. When you know their heart, know their stories, know the amazing transformation that God has made in their lives. It puts you in a total different place of worship. I find myself not only praising God for who He is and the sacrifice he made for me but also for the wonderful people he has placed in my life. I find comfort and encouragement seeing a person praising God when I know the things that they have overcome through his mighty grace.

Suddenly, the wonderful people at Hillsong broke into a chorus of Hosanna and it was like God reached down and wrapped a warm, fuzzy blanket around me.

"Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna in the highest...heal my heart and make it clean, open up my eyes to the things unseen. Show me how to love like you have loved me. Break my heart for what breaks yours, everything I am for your kingdom's cause..."
When I closed my eyes, it was like I was home and in that exact moment, I have to agree with Dorothy...there is no place like home, there's no place like home...
Peace Out.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Wordless Wednesday
Only On Vacation...

"Oh, you're right, this does draw LESS attention!"

"Somebody told this fella a BIG lie when they told them that these jumpy things would help him meet women!"

"Anybody hungry for some Mac 'n Cheese??"

"Proof that some kids DO start Kindergarten with a paci AND keep it until the 5th grade!!"

"Watch out for weird people in the park...they'll jump out and scare your kids!"

Peace Out!