Monday, January 19, 2009

Auch, France

I am once again in Toulouse, France for work. When I take time to reflect, it is very odd to me that a foreign city is so familiar to me. I can’t believe that trips to Toulouse are old hat, routine. It can get frustrating living in limbo for when the next trip to happen – as they tend to be last minute. But I don’t want to take this unique for granted. I am thankful for all God has allowed me to do. To still be connected to an incredible group of friends & church family in Wichita and yet still get to travel. It is a unique work situation too – you form different bonds with co-workers when you live in a foreign city together. It reminds me that God’s ways are higher than my ways and renews my trust in Him and His leading.
“Many plans are in a man’s heart, but the Lord’s decree will prevail.” Proverbs 19: 21
Here’s a little of my weekend escapades. I decided to explore Auch. There are signs I pass every day for highway exits in that direction. I couldn’t find much on the internet about Auch. A co-worker and I drove out there on a sunny Saturday afternoon, it’s about an hour northwest of Toulouse. It was a bigger town than I expected. Situated on the River Gers, it has a large hill that the historic city is set on.
The Grand Staircase connects the upper & lower portions of the city. I climbed all 234 steps. On the Grand Staircase is a statue of d’Artagnan, of the Musketeers. He was born in a castle only 30 kilometers from Auch.

Cathedrale Sainte Maire (St. Mary’s) is on the top of the hill. It was started in 1489 and finished two centuries later Next to it is Tour d’Armagnac – a 14th century prison. This is Pousterle de l’Est – and yes, I climbed it too. I forgot how great of a workout you get climbing up towers and hills in France.
I love finding these towns. I didn’t know what to expect, but the city was more than I expected. We took a very scenic drive home too. Unfortunately I didn’t get any pictures of it -amazing countryside.Sunday’s plans to run down to Barcelona were scraped at the last minute because the others were sick. But it gave me the opportunity to go to church. I love Toulouse International Church. It amazes me they remember me from my 3 month stay in 2007. I got to spend the afternoon having lunch with the singles & young couples group at an elders’ house. This is the second lunch I’ve been in town for. I’m told my trip needs to coincide with the next one.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Happy Birthday to me

I turned the big 3-5. Friends threw a big party for me. The decorations were High School Musical. We had a dance party in the basement of Heather & Rob's house. It was a lot of fun. I enjoyed celebrating with my sweet Wichita friends. You can see me, Lindsey, & Rachel posing with the poster.

That was a Friday night. The next morning I flew to France for 2 weeks for work. So I was in France for my actual birthday. On my birthday I went to dinner with a few of my co-workers. It was a nice Italian restaurant in downtown Toulouse. I promise I shared the bottle of chianti. The sticker was in a friend's card - I figured I had to wear it for a picture. It says "It's my birthday and I'm an incredibly smart, exciting and good-looking person!"
I got phone calls from my family too. It was a great birthday.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Christmas and NYE

Happy New Year!
It's been a busier week than I expected. So, I'm just now getting around to posting some Christmas pictures. I don't have a lot of pictures. The boys weren't being real cooperative in taking any posed pictures either. We had a fairly quiet Christmas. I went up to Mom & Dad's on Dec 23. Sharon & David and JT came over on the afternoon of Christmas Day. JT got a train for Christmas "just like Grandpa's!!" (only smaller scale). He had to call Grandpa first thing Christmas Day to tell him. Marshall also got a special train table that he played with for hours. He broke down sobbing when they made him take a nap. Hannah & Jonathan and Marshall drove up on the 26th. We all pretty much just hung out at Mom & Dad's house for the weekend.

I had an impromptu sewing project. Sharon had asked me to make an apron for JT since he likes

to help in the kitchen. They picked out "Rock Chalk Jayhawk KU" fabric (that's JT's description).

It went together so quickly that we decided to make one for Marshall too since he likes to help his mama in the kitchen too. JT went to the store with me to help pick out the John Deere fabric.

My big Christmas present was money - I was saving towards a fancy cooking pot. I went shopping on the 26th at The Legends in KC to the Le Creuset outlet store. I am now the proud owner of a cornflower blue 7.25 quart round French oven. (Le Creuset are French made enamel coated cast iron pots.)

I made the trek back home and spent a few days running errands all over town. I was in charge of the Pathways New Year's Eve party this year. It's a semi-formal dinner & dance. We had about 40 people and everyone had tons of fun. It was in Old Cowtown. Everything went well and once the party started I was able to relax and enjoy it. I wore Mom's dress from my parents' Alaskan cruise this summer.

Happy New Year - may you be blessed in 2009.