Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Weary World Rejoices

My Dad loves watching the news. It's his thing! But lately watching the news has been more than a little depressing. At least I find it difficult to listen to it for long periods of time especially the financial news. Just this week we heard a story about a man in New York, working in the area of finances who committed suicide because of a loss of a billion dollars. It's heartbreaking to think that some have lost all hope to the point that they've given up on life.

Tonight I went to the Christmas Eve service at my brother's church. We were in the middle of singing "O Holy Night" and the words just hit me...

the weary world

We are weary aren't we? Weary of things that don't satisfy. Weary of broken down relationships. Weary of trying to mend them. Weary of waking up to face our troubles again. Weary of hurt and bitterness and anger. Weary from all the effects of sin.

the weary world rejoices

Why does the weary world rejoice? Because God looked down on this world full of weary sinners and had compassion on us. He loved us and He sent Jesus to lift the burden of sin from our backs, to restore hope and give us a reason to live and a reason to rejoice.

"Thank You" doesn't seem adequate enough for this gift of hope we've been given. God, you are so worthy of our praise! Reach down into our weary lives and restore hope this Christmas. We need you.

This is one of my favorite versions of "Oh Holy Night".

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wacky Weather

The weather's been a little strange the last 24 hours. Last night I went to bed and the world around was covered in white but clearly starting to melt. Sometime in the night it must have begun raining. By the time I woke up all the snow was gone. I was actually kind of sad. However, within about 4 hours the world around was covered in a blanket of snow again. Unfortunately, the blanket of snow covered some crazy patches of ice. Glad I didn't have to go anywhere today! Had a little fun writing in the fresh snow! I love the dusting of snow covering the branches.

There is truly something so peaceful and quiet about a world covered in a fresh blanket of snow!

Friday, November 28, 2008

This Sounds Like Fun!

I've never read The Elf on the Shelf before but I just read about it on someone's blog and it sounds like so much fun that I want to try it myself. Apparently, it's about an elf named "Scout" that Santa sends to make sure that kids are behaving well and you can get a little elf to go along with the book. Then every day leading up to Christmas, Scout takes up a different position in the house to "spy" on the goings on and report back to Santa. As a teacher, I always have a hard time making up my mind whether I really want to promote Santa or I really don't say much about it but wow, I can only imagine the power of this elf to improve classroom behaviour if he were to suddenly appear in the days leading up to Christmas.'ve got to love!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What Would You Do If....?

Here's an interesting picture from the world of aviation missions...head on over to this blog to get the scoop.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

After an Afternoon in the Sous-sol

So this is me after one afternoon in the "sous-sol" (basement) of the girl's dorm/cafeteria on campus...and you are not even seeing the bottom half where I've wrapped my legs in a blanket, put on two pairs of socks and my slippers but my feet are still cold. It was cold down there! Thankfully it's not my usual place for studying but we were having an internet access problem in our building so I thought maybe I could pick up wireless down there and perhaps get some help from Google translate. No such luck. So it was me, my dictionary and my verb conjugation book writing my testimony in French in the sous-sol. I guess I could have gone home where it was warmer but sometimes home is distracting and besides I thought if I stayed in the cold, I might get it done faster.
Now some random thoughts on Winter...somebody should write an extremely happy song about walking in a "Static Wonderland." Static everywhere...this morning my pants were clinging to my legs so I decided to put on some static guard and accidentally reached for my bottle of mousse in the dark...yep, I pressed the button, listened to the juicy, bubbling sound and thought, "That is not what static guard sounds like!"
I can't believe it but there is actually iced up parts on the river that runs through the middle of Sherbrooke. Yikes! And supposedly the hardest part of winter is January. Here's to remaining just warm enough not to become a human popsicle this year!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Kissing Culture

I just thought you all might like to know that I had my first real true round of "kissing" goodbye! I went to a little storytelling night with my friends Katye and Sheila and some how a round of goodbye kisses got started and I felt obligated to participate. It's weird for me! Definitely take some time to get used to.

How's that for an exciting post?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Love Letter

Someone I know got a love letter today....One of the joys of being here in Quebec has been the opportunity that I have had to get to know my friend Katye. She's a Georgia girl and God has gifted her with a wonderful ability to tell stories. At the beginning of the summer, she felt that God was leading her to come and study French for a semester here at Parole de Vie Bethel. She didn't have all the financial resources she needed but she proceeded on faith that God was going to provide.

One evening in September, Katye and I went with our friend Sheila to listen to a French storyteller. Before her presentation, the French storyteller, Petronella, came and greeted us. She found out that we were students of the French language and we told her that Katye was a storyteller. Petronella was excited about Katye's ability to tell stories and by the time the evening ended she had actually extended an invitation to Katye to participate in a storytelling festival in the city of Sherbrooke in October. Mind you this invitation was extended without Petronella even hearing Katye tell a story! We've marveled over this quite a bit.

At the beginning of the festival, we participated in an opening evening and another storyteller mentioned to Katye that they were the only two storytellers who would get paid. Katye hadn't heard anything about that up until that point and she was just happy to be able to have an opportunity to participate. Several weeks ago she got to tell her stories which she tells in a mixture of French and English. I didn't get to see her performance but according to our professor it was "Incroyable!" She told in two different locations, God provided rides to and from both locations and it sounds like she really had her audience hooked. When she summed up the experience for me, she essentially told me that God had brought about all these events just because He loved her.

Well, Katye received a love letter today and I was there when it happened! She got a letter from the organizers of the event with a check. We both were in shock when we looked at it. It was a check for $400! I don't think either one of us could believe it. We had to get it checked out by our professor. Unbelievable, God wrote Katye another love letter in the form of that check! Her school bill has been cut in half. He has provided for her just because He loves her!

What kind of love letter has God written to you lately?

Marvelling in wonder over His love!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A New Fall Favorite

I love kids books! I salivate over the scholastic book club orders and all the delightful children's books. I've been missing children's books and just books in general but this past week I spent about 45 minutes in a Barnes and Noble in Buffalo. It was delightful! Where did I hang out? The children's section, of course. I discovered the most wonderful book about fall. It's called, "Fletcher and the Falling Leaves."Fletcher is a little fox who becomes concerned about his favorite tree when he sees all of its leaves falling off. His mother tells him not to worry that it's just autumn but he doesn't really understand that. He does everything that he can to help the tree keep its leaves on. The illustrations in this book are absolutely gorgeous and I have to say it's sweet to see a fox portrayed in a manner other than tricky. I think this is going to become a new fall favorite of mine.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Niger Weather

Just a week or two ago, we were talking about weather in our French class. My professor brought up sandstorms. Since he was just in Niger this summer he experienced them first hand. Anyway, I thought it would be interesting to post this video because it's taken from the window of a hotel right across the river from our school and it gives a really good idea of how extensive the dust is and how quickly it moves in on you. But check out the little drops of rain on the window...this is why we get excited about storms like that because they bring cool and refreshing rain. Unfortunately, it will probably be May or April before they see another one of these storms in Niger.

Friday, October 17, 2008

A Wee Little Update

Just wanted to post a wee little update about my mom. The morning after her fall, she woke up and her wrist was feeling much better. She and Dad went home and she even wrote out Dad's testimony for him with her hand so that was a pretty good sign that there wasn't any lasting damage. I guess it was pretty much just brusises. I'm so thankful for God's protection. Thank you for praying!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Visitors From Afar

It wasn't the Magi but I did have visitors from afar this Canadian Thanksgiving weekend. My Mom and Dad came from Toronto to make sure I was still alive! Saturday, we took a day trip up to Quebec City and soaked in the beauty of the last changing leaves. I think Fall is my Mom's favorite season so she just loved the drive. We ate a picnic lunch and then walked all over the city. It was a beautiful day but I think the city was even more packed than the last time. It must have been a good day for sailing because there were lots of sailboats out on the water. Mom and Dad got to see and enjoy some of the same street performers that I saw the first time including the awesome golden statue guy! We were all tired but enjoyed our day. Sunday was a lazy day but Mom and Dad went to French church with me. I had invited my neighbors and my friend Katye to come for Thanksgiving dinner since we were cooking a big turkey. About 10 am things were at a good stopping point and Mom wanted to go for a walk. So we headed up the big hill behind my house. It leads back to "West Virginia" or a farm that reminds me a lot of the area where my mom grew up. Anyway, we were on our way home and my Mom was just slightly behind my Dad and I and she took a tumble. She landed flat on her face. It really scared me because it looked and felt a lot like watching myself fall off the retaining wall back in 11th grade when I busted my teeth. She thought, at first, that it was just her nose bleeding but there was quite a bit of blood. I took off running to go get my car and left Dad to take care of her. In true African style, they used leaves to wipe the blood away because there just wasn't anything else. We got her home and after sitting awhile with ice she was able to get her nose to stop bleeding. It's really quite swollen and she has a nasty bump above one eye and on her chin. This afternoon her wrist started to hurt quite a bit...I think she may have broken her fall with her hands. Anyway, this was a not so pleasant end to the visit. Please pray for her as they head home tomorrow that she won't be too uncomfortable, that she'll have the wisdom to know if she needs to see a doctor and that her bumps and bruises will heal quickly!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

What is God doing in the world right now?

Have you ever wondered what God is doing in another part of the world right now? I read this amazing story from the blog of a friend in Liberia and I thought I would share it with you. It's the story of the village of Malawo, a mecca for witchcraft, and what God has been doing there in the last several months. The story begins with a felt need in the post Malawo and the committment of Samaritan's Purse to meet that need. But it only gets better in the post There is a Celebration Going On because the door has been opened for the gospel and for these precious people to know Jesus. Check it out! You'll be encouraged!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Death is Beautiful

Death is beautiful.

Someone used this phrase recently and it caught my attention. I guess I had never thought about death in that way before. It's very easy to agree with the statement when put in terms of the death and shedding of leaves from their respective trees. Death is beautiful!

Friday, September 26, 2008

An Apple a Day....

Field trip day at the language school. We all went to "un verger des pommes" or an apple orchard. It was actually my very first time in an apple orchard. What did I expect before going? The apple orchard that Anne of Green Gables was picking in when Gilbert wandered down the lane to ask her to walk with him for the rest of his life, of course! But it wasn't at all like that. The trees were very short which I guess makes it much easier to pick. I helped my neighbors David, Brenda and Tabitha pick a couple of apples for their bags. Then I actually ate TWO apples...more than I've eaten in two years at least! And I asked myself why don't I eat apples? They taste pretty good....but after working the skin out of my teeth for the next couple of hours I had at least one reason why I'm not particularly fond of apples. But I digress, I had fun taking pictures with my language school buddies.
Sheila and I

Georgia Girls - Katye and I
We had a good time singing the apple song, eating crepes and apple sauce and apple juice and then a piece of apple pie...after all that I'm appled out. Who's up for the pumpkin patch?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Plus des photos

the gang minus two mounting the canons outside of the Chateau Frontenac
lots of interesting street performers and musicians everywhere
thousands of people out enjoying the beautiful day
notice the bikes attached to the side of the building...part of the decorations for the 400th birthday celebration
taking a break
cobblestone streets
an old church
love these roofs
30 dolls that fit into each other...the smallest one was very tiny
the city is filled with beautiful spots just like this one
a look back into Vieux Quebec just before leaving

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Vieux Quebec...Celebrating 400 Years

On Saturday I got the chance to go to Quebec City. It was a perfectly gorgeous day! A crisp autumn breeze to cool us, as all eleven of us explored the old city. We started on the Plains of Abraham and walked our way down into the old city stopping to watch street performers along the way. What a lovely day!

Celebrating 400 Years of History
Standing on the Plains of Abraham where the British and French fought for Quebec
Chateau Frontenac...a hotel that costs about $500/night I've heard
Standing in an archaeological dig directly in front of the Chateau Frontenac. Right behind me was the kitchen and huge fireplace
Looking out the window of the dig area to the St. Lawrence River beyond
More pictures tomorrow....

Monday, September 8, 2008

I Wish I Had the Words

The hill I climbed just minutes ago led me by the girls dorm. There was a girl sitting on the porch and I'm pretty sure she was wiping away tears. Immediately, I identified with her not even really knowing the cause of the tears. Its just a guess but they were probably tears of girl missing her family. I've cried those tears so many times before I know exactly how she feels and I just wish I had the words to comfort her. Perhaps its not words that I need but just the courage to offer comfort without words.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Regular little Betty Crocker...

It is so easy to get into the habit of eating out when you have the resources and there are lots of places to go. My teacher salary allowed for this kind of lifestyle but I'm tightening up the purse strings a bit here so its back to being a regular little Betty Crocker for me. The week started off with a spaghetti surprise! I definitely won't be revisiting that dish as I had all I want in leftovers...another thing I'm going to have to be better about...eating leftovers. Then there were tuna melts...mmm. Roasted chicken with salad....very yummy. The leftover chicken got turned into Chicken Noodle soup which was delicious. Today more left over chicken got turned into a chicken salad with grapes sandwich...highly recommended if you have never experienced such a sandwich. Finally, today, I made some homemade pizza. It was great but I did burn the roof of my mouth quite badly! So there you have it, I can cook when forced.

Friday, September 5, 2008

A Great Quote

For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.
For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.
For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.
For beautiful hair, let a child run his or her fingers through it once a day.
For poise, walk with the knowledge you’ll never walk alone.

– Audrey Hepburn

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Phrases you don't want to use in French...

Today we had some good laughs at our own expense...

First there was me and you'll have to excuse the lack of accents. I said, "Il cherche son mari." (He's looking for his husband.) Not exactly what I was going for. The word "mari" sounds so much like a woman, I have a hard time associating it with a man. I'm pretty sure I was beet red by the time that was over. :)

Then there was someone else who talked about his "plusiers des femmes." (His many wives)

And somebody else who said, "Je suis facile!" (I'm easy.) Might not want to use that one very often either.

By the time it was all over, Michel, our teacher was questioning what mission we belonged to that would allow such scandalous activities. :)

There is just nothing like language blunders, to keep you humble and laughing.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

So what language do you speak anyway?

After being here for a couple of days, it's my general impression that although French would be the main language used out and about, most Quebecois are quite skilled in the use of English and so if you show any sign of not having a clue in French, they will quickly switch to English.

Case in point, this morning after church, I was talking to a young girl in church. She was curious about the girl standing beside me because she had part of her arm amputated. Imagine that conversation as one of your first in a language you will be attempting to learn! Anyway, as I struggled to comprehend her quick speech, she picked up on the fact that I didn't have much of a clue. After attempting that first conversation, I then introduced myself and asked her name. Easy enough...let's move on to a tougher question. I asked her how old she was. She told me "J'ai onze ans." (I am eleven. I totally understood her.) She followed this sentence with another heavily accented one. After asking her to repeat it several times, I finally told her that I didn't understand. Turns out she was speaking in English, saying "Eeeleevenn." Sheesh, can't even understand my own language these days. :) She thought it quite funny that I didn't understand her when she was speaking in English. I had a good laugh, too.

Priorities Revealed

And now, here it is. My number one priority revealed. When moving into a new home one of the very first tasks to be accomplished must be .....
the filling of the ice trays.
See all the stuff lying around. That ice tray is filled and hitting the freezer. Can't go long without some "cubes." So there it is. Now you know something random about me.

Parole de Vie Bethel

Welcome to Parole de Vie home for a year and where I will be working hard to learn to speak proper French! :)

This is the outside of my new home. I live in a one bedroom apartment on the bottom right.

And now for the inside of my home...the grand tour begins in the living room where you see me relaxing in one of my pink chairs. There are two of them so feel free to drop in on me anytime. I will have a comfortable seat available for you.

Here is a wider view of the living room/dining room area.
This is the kitchen which is quite roomy.

And finally, the bedroom. Don't worry. I also have a bathroom which is not pictured here so there will not be any midnight runs to the outhouse in the middle of winter.

Saturday, August 30, 2008


Well, it's official! I am finally in Quebec. The sign proves it. It was quite a long drive from Toronto. It actually didn't feel that long until I reached Quebec and then there was a lot of traffic so it felt congested as though I wasn't getting very far very fast. It was interesting because I think for me this felt like more of a "fish out of water" cultural experience than being in Niger. Just have to get that French flowing out of my mouth instead of just floating around in my head.
So what's Quebec like? Well, once I got on the road from Montreal to Sherbrooke it began to seem a little like Georgia. There were lots of trees along the side of the road and some of them are even beginning to turn color! Can't believe that! I guess that would be the major difference between Georgia and here, most of the trees are ones that turn colors rather than the Georgia pine. Perhaps my car will not be turning green in the spring this year. :) Anyway, there are also some fair size hills or small mountains. I'm not sure what they are considered to be. In fact, the town of Sherbrooke has some considerably steep streets. Makes me think of a place in Gatlinburg that I detest...some of you may know of which I speak! Well, more about my "apartement" tomorrow and some pictures, too.

Friday, August 29, 2008


When moving into a new home what is your very first priority? Can you guess what mine is? This will be a test of how well you know me. :) Leave your guess in the comments and I'll post the answer tomorrow or the next day.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A beautiful thing

Friendship is a beautiful thing!

Friday, August 8, 2008

In Keeping with Tradition

Tuesday morning at around 2 am my brother and I were busy packing my trunks and washing machine onto his truck. I went in grabbed about six hours of sleep and then hit the road for Sebring, Florida where I would deliver my loads to be shipped on a container to Niger.

In keeping with my friend Amy's tradition, I stopped at the first rest area in Florida to enjoy a cuppa' freshly squeezed Florida Orange Juice. Here's to you Amy, for a mighty fine tradition! (I had great fun setting my camera on self-timer and taking this picture so that I could share the moment with you.)

God provided a beautiful day on Wednesday. No rain in sight which was kind of important because the plastic around my washer ripped right away. I made it to Sebring late on Wednesday night. Thursday morning I had breakfast with some friends who just came from Niamey so it was fun hearing the latest news. We unloaded and I took time to visit a 93 year old SIM retiree that worked with my mom and dad and in Sokoto and is praying for me now. Then it was off to town to buy a mattress and make sure it was delivered to SIM and put on the container. All that complete at 2 pm and I hit the road to return to Charlotte. It rained most of the way back and it didn't matter a lick! God is good!

Anyway, it was a whirlwind trip but I enjoyed the sights along the way. Here are some of them...

entering Daytona Beach

an electric pole in the shape of Mickey's fun is that?

entering Orlando
passing Seaworld

the latest gas saving version of the Mary Kay pink cadillac???

giant pineapples or are they palm trees?
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