Easter vacation!The bakeries were selling sugar-dusted lamb cakes and all the shops here were closed Good Friday, Easter Sunday, and Monday. With the streets deserted, it was a very quiet weekend for us village-dwellers, and we tried to take advantage of the time for spiritual and physical renewal. We have discovered that French evangelicals do not share America’s enthusiasm for spectacular Easter services. I have been told that not only is it a knee-jerk reaction in trying to distance themselves from Catholic traditions, but also no one expects a big turn-out, as “spring break” always falls around Easter, and people leave town to visit family. Our church has held a Sat. night service 2 yr. in a row, with focus on worship and communion, and our congregation actually prefers it because that gives them Sunday morning to prepare the big meal, which is the most important part of the holiday here. With the kids getting older and no yard, we’ve started new Easter traditions: At least one of the kid’s Easter baskets contains a family DVD that we’ve waited for ages to come out in France. So we sleep in late, find the baskets, have a pancake breakfast, and then stay in our p.j.s and cocoon in front of the movie while nibbling chocolates all afternoon! Then Rachel and I throw together an easy spring meal at about 4pm while we talk about the movie. This year it was “Because of Winn Dixie,” and I consider it a miracle that I found it here locally, as I never saw it come out in the theaters! What a gem… I need to pass it around to all our French friends who have never heard of it. We were loaned Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and “ate” that one up too! ;^) Then since it was a mild evening and the rain had stopped, we finished off the evening with a family walk to a big parking lot where the kids have lots of smooth space for roller-blading and scootering.
This beats the perfect Easters I tried to create when the kids were young with new matching outfits for all the Kodak moments, a fully decorated house, a beautiful meal, a special Sunday school lesson (if I was teaching), Christ-themed Easter baskets, egg-hunting parties. etc., etc…. I’M FREE! “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a perfectionist like me…”
New kittens!Yes, about the time I was writing about Gumdrop, she had gotten pregnant! She was so petite that we (me…not David) thought she was too young to worry about pregnancy, and then she started getting rounder and rounder. Yesterday she had a sudden change in personality which apparently is a sign of imminent delivery. (Thank God you can “cram” on the internet for the info you need in times like these!) She wanted to be held and petted incessantly and started “talking” to us for the first time. We decided she’d be most comfortable back in the warm laundry room, and she happily took to the box and easily delivered 3 black kittens within the next couple of hours. It was a magical experience that I’d always wanted my kids to have, but we are happy that there are only 3 to find homes for, and we would be blessed to have someone help with the cost of Gumdrop’s sterilization! (This same day we had to spend too much to have Kizzy’s foot sutured!)
A Lego exhibit!Noah has started declaring how much he loves our village – and here’s why: We have a very nice toy museum just around the corner, but up till now, the special exhibits that would merit another visit consisted of archaic European brands of toys that he had never heard of, much less appreciate! Now that Legos have finally arrived, with the added bonus of a building contest, this has become Noah’s Mecca! On a more spiritual level, he really enjoys his youth group for pre-teens and is an eager contributer in worship with a hand drum in our percussion corner.
Courtyard destruction!This view behind our house looks more like the Middle-East than Alsace right now! The owner of the courtyard, whose apt. faces us has decided to do away with an old stable-like structure that stood there. The problem is that the stable loft also sheltered our toilet room, which is an ugly concrete block cell under the blue tarp in the photo. When all the rubble is cleared away, we need to get some manpower in there to build a new structure around it. While we’re at it, we need to paint the back of our house, which we never see and have no free access to, but is an eye-sore that the neighbors have to look at everyday. Happily, a young American studying at a Bible college in England found us on the internet, and he wants to come and do some work for us soon!
Angela’s first “message!”I remember when my mother-in-law asked me when I was going to start fulfilling Titus 2:4, as an older woman “training younger women (to be model wives and mothers) so that no one would malign the word of God.” My reply was, “When someone asks me to!” and I wasn’t holding my breath with my French still in process! But it happened this month, and I discovered that this was THE best way to increase spiritual revelation and French vocabulary at the same time! It was also the first time that I didn’t have a French person look it over first, and I was still able to convey my heart and connect with this group of women for a solid hour! Hallelujah!!I took a lot of ideas from the Eldredges’ (best-selling Christian authors) latest book, “Captivating-Unveiling the Mystery of the Feminine Soul.” Any other fans out there? A must read for every woman! (And it is heart-breaking how few good books like these are translated into French!)