Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The day we stopped "pretending in Paris": Normandy

It was hard to balance the excitement of being in France on such a beautiful day with some of my favorite people in the world, with the heartache that grabbed me the minute my eyes scrolled over the rows and rows of graves at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial.

I'm Mary, Amy's paparazzi sister, and the day we spent here gave me a much needed reminder that I am proud to be an American. The amazing historical tale of what happened on June 6, 1944 is so complex and unbelievable that I will have to leave that up to my veteran husband for another time, as I would not do it justice. But I will share with you that as we walked through the 9,387 headstones I found the crosses for the unknown solider most thought provoking. What would that be like...if it were my father or husband or son or brother whose remains were never clearly identified and their sacrifice was marked with a cross like the one above? I wonder if it is less consoling or if it provides less closure for the families who mourn these kind of losses. I certainly have no answer for that, but here is what I hope.

I hope that the mothers and wives and children and sisters to these fallen "comrades in arms" see the last line on the cross as the one that matters. We may not know the exact path they took that day toward the beach, the horrific sights that unfolded around them or the friend they saw die next to them. But God knows. He watched as they unloaded out of the boats and courageously stormed not only the beach but also their fate. He watched as their families were at home thousands of miles away-safe, but scared. He watched as they paved a path with their bodies that others might follow behind them and succeed in restoring freedom to a foreign nation. He knows. I hope the families of these heroes find peace and victory in the truth of those crosses..."known but to God."

I am proud to be counted among a people of such merit; to be a citizen of a nation that was founded on the freedom to worship the God Who Knows. I am grateful that I live in a country where there are still soldiers who believe so strongly in freedom that they lay down their lives on foreign soil to ensure it. I am humbled by their devotion to protect and defend a stranger's life and I am grateful to serve a God who knows that every sacrifice is significant, whether their names are engraved on a tombstone or not. I am proud to be an American.



Monday, September 28, 2009

Pretending in Paris...and other places too

Arriving at the Chateau De Villiers-Le-Mahieu, a little overwhelmed, about to cry, Mary and I almost had to hit our knees in thanks, getting ready to start pretending...

Pretending on our way to Notre Dame...

Mary and Geof pretending on the grounds of the Chateau...

Pretending on the streets of Montmartre...

Pretending that I am not about to fall asleep at Musee d'Orsay...

Pretending that this is our Chateau...

Overwhelmed and pretending some more at dinner at the Chateau (no one appreciated our picture taking...we did not care)...

Loving the moment God had given us on a breath-taking evening in the French countryside...

So much more to come....


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Coming Home

I loved France, but I am so happy to be home. Caroline cried at the airport when she saw us. She said "my eyes won't stop leaking". Your children tell you their limits without even having to say them, and as a parent you hear them loud and clear! The girls said the same things on the phone each day that we called from France, but after day 4 it started to sound different. We could hear the tremble in Ella's voice and we knew she was ready for her parents to come home.

Though I am tired, I am going to make an effort to devote some time blogging about our trip for at least a few entries because I do not want to forget! For now, I am going to sleep since I have been awake for well over 24 hours. What will I do tomorrow morning without my 3 ounce shot of cappuccino that costs 6 Euro? Oh I know, I will love my grande serving of Starbucks for $2....yes Dad, I know, that is still ridiculously over priced!

Au revoir,


Monday, September 14, 2009


Bonjour! There you have it. The extent to which I know the French language. How far do you think this will get me? Probably not any further than a few people rolling their eyes or maybe if I am lucky a reluctant smile.

It is 5 am and I cannot sleep. My husband is taking me to France today....Paris to be exact. I laugh as though words roll off my finger tips. It seems like a dream, a fantasy. Something that though the bags are packed, the tickets bought, the grandparents in position for babysitting, that I still do not believe. To fully grasp the ridiculousness of this, you should know that I have never been anywhere like this before. I only recently went to New York City for the first time as a 30 year old woman. I was a fish out of water and certainly the same will hold true for this experience. Only now, I do not speak the language...not that I really spoke the language of the New Yorkers.

I slipped on over to the world of chatting at the sky this morning and she got me thinking. My new normal has been normal for 7 years now. My "fuzzy remember whens" are time alone with my husband. It doesn't happen often with three kids around the house and we both like it that way. They are our normal, and that is as it should be. But those "remember whens" were sweet times too, and I am having to tell myself over and over again that it is okay to be leaving. It is okay to be taking a vacation with just my husband that does not involve 6 days of pre-packing for 5 people and a dog. It is okay to remember when, to spend time alone, to jump back in time and pretend it is just the two of us for a few days. The icing on the cake is that we get to do it strolling the streets in Paris.

So now that I have convinced myself of this, I intend to continue pretending until I return home. I intend on pretending that I am much more fashionable than I really am, and wear clothes that I would never wear while in the United States. I intend on wearing my lipstick a little brighter. I plan on eating meals intended for people much classier than me. My idea of sophisticated food is buying the Hebrew National hot dogs rather than the Ballpark; seriously, I do not do fancy food...but on this occasion I will pretend. I intend on walking through museums and pretending that I know the artists whose work is hanging on the wall. I intend on getting dressed up and having dinner on the champs de elysees and pretending as if I know what that is. My sister the photographer will be there too, and I intend on treating her like my own paparazzi.

So until I return, how about leaving me a comment that will make me feel better about abandoning my children, but more importantly, bless me by hearing your story of romance away from the kids. I am desperate for someone to relate!


Caroline, Did you know...

Dear Caroline,

We have been searching for your CD for over a year now. By now, you really cannot even remember what the songs were on the CD, but you do know that you had a CD that has been lost. The CD is special because it sings your name in the songs. Every time we listen to Ella's CD, you ask where your CD is.

A little grace was poured out of the sky as we drove to your first day of preschool. We found the CD! Not only did we find it, but it was right in the center console of our car. This is impossible! We have looked there...many times! But behold, there it was, your "Caroline CD", just waiting to be played as I drove you to your first day. I believe with great certainty that God hid it from us until the perfect time, the time He knew we both would need it most.

And so we sang....

"Caroline, you're special, God wants you to know.
He will be with you, wherever you go.
When you get worried, or when you get sad,
He will cheer you up, and make you glad.

Caroline do you know, Jesus loves you?
24 hours a day, He's thinkin' of you.
Jesus is your friend, His love will never end.
Caroline do you know, Jesus loves you?"

I cried, you beamed, life was as it should be. God's specialty is blessing us when you least expect it. He is so good Caroline!



Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Some kind of wonderful

Finally... quiet. I've been waiting for this. The girls are back in school. The eldest has been back for several weeks now, and our second born has been asking daily when she gets to go to big girl school. Well now it is here, she gets her wish, and I get mine. Right? I have been saying for weeks now that I was ready. Ready for the girls to be back in school and for a routine to begin again. Not because I do not want them around of course, but there is just so much to do and so little time. It's hard doing all of that "to do stuff" with three children.

And so the routine is back, just like I wanted. So why is everyone happy and content but me? Why am I standing in the doorway of the playroom wishing I were watching the girls put on their princess crowns and shoes? Why am I sad to be cleaning up the mess they left in the playroom? All I am doing is wishing it were still messy. Who cares if it clean? It is not supposed to be clean! It is supposed to have two little girls in it, and it doesn't. Just me.

Life with these two is precious. It's glittery and sparkly. It's full of drama and play. It's lovely and promising and hopeful and innocent...all the kinds of things that life should be with two little girls in the house. They are some kind of wonderful, and now they are spending their days somewhere else. What a treasure box our homes are as mothers, and now my treasure box is a little quieter. I wish is wasn't. The chairs in the playroom are empty, and I wish they weren't. So for now, Thomas and I intend to sit expectantly in them until their rightful owners come home.


Monday, September 7, 2009

Damask for Dummies

I love finding easy and affordable ways to dress up a room. Don't you? My new love is stenciling. Now don't roll your eyes, I am not talking about your grandma's old stencil collection. I am talking about large, gorgeous stencils in a variety of motifs...my favorite of course being the damask pattern found at Royal Designs. Click on over to https://www.royaldesignstudio.com/ to be totally inspired by the possibilities. About $50 will get you one large stencil and it will hold up all the way around your room.

Once you have ordered your pattern, you will need to invest in a trowel and some kind of plaster (they are going to recommend plasters by Faux Effects, but I am convinced you can somehow make plain old Home Depot plaster work). And please, whatever you do, do not fret about applying a raised pattern to your walls! A little sandpaper will take care of that if you have later regrets. These walls are very elegant and beautiful, you will not want to get rid of them! Royal Designs offers instructions on how to use their stencils, but generally, they are pretty self explanatory. Anybody can do this! Be brave, have fun, create something beautiful!


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Measuring Up

Dear Caroline,

Today, a kind woman we met in a store asked you if you liked being a big sister. You shook your head yes. The she said, "I bet you are a good big sister to your little brother". I have been having a hard time knowing how to process your answer. You said, "I have a big sister too, she is the bestest big sister". You might say that you were giving Ella a compliment. You always think of her...you always think of everyone else! If you are getting an ice cream cone, you ask for two...one for you and one for Ella. If you are receiving a compliment, it would hold true to your character that you would find a way to weave Ella into the niceties. On the other hand, I fear that you might have been saying Ella is a better sister than you are. How to know? I regret to report that you often measure yourself up to your big sister. I know that in many ways, that is okay. Ella is a really neat kid that I wouldn't change for one minute! But you my sweet Caroline are divinely precious and I could not imagine you being any different than you are!

I know what it's like to try to measure up to a big sister. Why do we do that? Why do we look outward searching for someone to measure ourselves against, rather than looking upward? It is not that our sisters are not admirable, goodness knows they are! But what makes us sometimes want to be more like them, and less like us? I see so much of myself in you Caroline. I remember trying to do what my big sister did, trying to make decisions like she would make, liking the people that she would like. It is a hard role to try to play...because you were never intended to play it! It is a trap really, a lie. I want so much more for you Caroline. I want you to know that unique you is exactly what God had in mind when He created you. That you were made in His likeness and you don't have to try to be like anyone else. Your identity can be found in a gift that is freely given. You don't have to try to measure up, you don't have to pretend to be someone else, you are free to just be...because He just is who He is! He measures up Caroline! I wonder how long this truth will take to sink in for you, for you to really own it? I was slow to learn. I wonder how many other mothers out there ponder the same thing? I will pray a different path for you Caroline, and I'll start believing God to make it happen!

I adore you!



Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Fighting Another Fight

Allow me to introduce myself. I am the Sassy Seamstress, also a good friend of Amy, and I have given myself permission to do a guest post. You see I have been helping Amy enter into this blogging world and little does she know, this is how she is going to repay me! :)

You may have noticed that Amy hasn't posted in a while. Well that is because she is injured. You see, we had a playdate the other day at none other than Chick-Fil-A and something happened to Amy. It was something that truly would ONLY happen to Amy. I see her walking out of the play area with this little girl. My first thought was, "oh, that poor little girl. she must have gotten hurt. Amy is sweet to help her find her mommy." Then I hear this:

Amy: "Is this your daughter?"

Father (of sad child) "Yes."

Amy (with extremely sweet voice): "Oh, well, she has on my daughter's shoes and she won't take them off."

You would think that this man, like most parents, would've jumped up and said, "oh, i am so sorry." Nope! He just sat there. Then he finally utters these words:

Father: "Come on, sweetie. Let's sit down and eat something."

Amy (still smiling and being sweet): " Um, she has on my daughter's shoes."

Father: "Oh, I understand."

Ummm...apparently he didn't. If he had, he would've taken the shoes off, right? This is the part that gets even funnier. He then picks his daughter up (all the while kicking and screaming), and proceeds to point her feet at Amy as if to say "here, you take em off. I'm not getting kicked in the face". So, for the sake of some pretty pink glittery shoes, Amy then removes the shoes from the kicking feet...she may have even gotten the wind kicked out of her! I truly wish you could've seen my face. My chin was on the floor. All I can say is this oblivious dad is in for a real treat when his "little darling" (I use the term loosely) becomes a teenager.

It was fun guest posting on your blog. Love you, Amy. Oh, and I promise to never enter your blog without permission again!

The Sassy Seamstress as...