Reverse culture shock & feeling dumb

Seventeen days ago we made the 10 hour direct flight from Paris to Orlando. Our kids did great and the low-cost airline Norwegian was actually a positive experience. (No, they don’t provide water, so we brought 8 liters, just in case.) Since then my adjustment to American culture has been a bit… um, rough. Continue reading

Thinking of others helps me think less about myself

Seeing others in need gives me a desire to rise above myself, my “day” and my issues and help. I like being apart of a community where this is true. I’ve been on the receiving end of a of help this past year between loosing Anna Louise and now moving. A very special band of women have helped carry me through, and I am deeply moved by their open and loving arms.

Our extended family has also rallied around us during this move to get all the essentials (and then some!) for our future apartment in Orlando. My mom took joy in purging her kitchen and packing “everything I would need” to cook and serve. My mother and father in-law are making sure we have sheets, laundry hampers and everything else in-between and are meeting us in Florida to help us settle in. Really?! What a gift. I’ve moved in and out of 5 apartments in the past 14 years and only once was I (we) close to family for it. This is move #6 and I’m just overwhelmed by what it feels like to have family by our side.

We aren’t the only ones moving- there will be 15 families and a handful of singles who are relocating for a year. My hope is that we can be blessing to the other folks who are moving and not just be on the receiving end. But it will be tempting to let jet lag, administrative details, nesting and life in a new city crowd me into thinking I don’t have time to reach out to those around me. Drop off fixings for sandwiches, invite folks for frozen pizza, explain what I’ve learned about vaccinations or be the first to be vulnerable and honestly answer the question, “how are you?”  I can do that.  I want to do that.

You know, as I think about it, my own kids could benefit from that sort of simple presence and service during this great time of transition. Yesterday it was boiling hot and the kids wanted me to play doctor with them. I told myself, “they are playing well together, they don’t need me.” But they lured me in with, “you lay here mama and we will check you.” They proceeded to spray me with water, give me fake shots and check my blood pressure. We giggled, I stayed cool and I noticed things about their personalities that I hadn’t see before. I liked that.

You know one reason I haven’t wanted to stop is because then I have to look at and acknowledge the crazy waves of emotions surging through my heart and soul. Stopping is scary. I feel vulnerable and not in control. I’m going to miss this place and it hurts to leave. I’ll miss my dear sweet friends, the walking, living in a rich and gorgeous city like Paris, and I’ll miss being close to where the memories that have been so dear to me from the last decade and a half were made.

There are a lot of unsettled questions that I hope the Lord will help me sort through this next year but I’ll be required to stop to hear Him. Well, He could yell it through a bullhorn or write it in the sky but I’m hoping I’ve matured past that.  Ha ha. Nervous laugh. But one think that I think will help me slow down is looking to the needs of others instead of mine. Lord, help our family see and respond to the needs You want us to respond to today, this week, this next month, this year.

What are meaningful ways people have served you when you’ve been in need? What are ways you make yourself stop/slow down?


Saying Good-bye to the Eiffel Tower today

We are moving from Paris to Orlando, FL for this upcoming school year. During the next year we’ll reflect on whether or not we’ll be returning to Paris. So, we are saying a lot of good-byes. I’m a firm believer that how you leave one situation will greatly affect how you enter into the next. Meaning, if you have unresolve in your heart about something, it doesn’t just go away because you change geographical locations, or because someone else moves away. Continue reading

Friday night in Paris: wine & a garage sale @ the hardware store!

It’s a bit hard to imagine- a hardware store open late on Friday night, serving wine, beer, crêpes and hotdogs– and having a garage sale at the same time. Yep, good job Leroy Merlin (that’s the name of the hardware store). I’m forever a loyal customer. Managed to not only make 57 euros off my goods BUT scored this gorgeous shelf made by the DIY blogger Clem from . Funny story, Clem lives around the corner from me. Seriously. Continue reading

Street find (almost) Friday

I found this globe on the street in front of our house and tucked it away for the perfect project. This week it finally found a home in the hidden corner by my kitchen sink. Mind you, I didn’t hook up the electrical on it- that’s a bit too much to squeeze in while Chloe is napping and Jack is playing cars. This is such a happy corner. Continue reading

Living in a glass bowl

After a long week of tension with people in our apartment building, my feelings of living in a glass bowl have only magnified. I hate feeling like I’m walking  on egg shells and it is even more despairing to know that I am teaching my kids to do the same. “Shhhh…. stop yelling. You guys, did you hear me?.. Put your indoor feet on. Don’t let that drop on the floor. Can you say hello? Walk on this side of the sidewalk…” I’m not sure how to break this cycle. Continue reading