There have been times, every now and again, where I’ve missed a week, perhaps two, but as I sit down to write this morning, I realize that it’s been a full month since I’ve touched base via the blog.
Oh, it’s not as though I’ve really ‘touched base’ though other means either though, at the expense of the blog. Sometimes, there’s just not enough ‘umption to gumption’ as my grandma used to say.
Sure, things have been a bit busy – but that’s never really stopped me from fitting in some blog time in the past. Hmmm… Not quite sure how to diagnose the patient other than to say I guess I just haven’t been feeling it.
Want to play ‘catch-up’, the March version?
On one hand, it felt good to be on the road again. On another hand though, I was a bit apprehensive. Covid case loads were again beginning to rise in the Paris region and the teaching by video option had been tested and worked. It obviously wasn’t ideal, but it had filled in a gap quite well. I didn’t understand why we weren’t still opting for it.
Nonetheless, once on-site, everything went well. I take a local road, as opposed to the highway, once I get about a 45-min out as this saves me facing Friday night traffic in Greater Paris which can be very unpredictable.
On the way home I hit one of the highway stops where they have an automated Starbucks machine … such a treat for the road!
A couple of days after Bible School, we celebrated Liz’s birthday. The kids got her some chocolate and a waffle maker like the ones we had back home (nice deep, round ones). They had to order it off of Amazon because we’ve never seen them in stores locally. It was wonderful to have nice thick waffles again – up until now we’d only had one of the shallow, square waffle makers.
NOT the same thing!
I stitched her up this combination Stylized E surrounded by blackwork embroidery – something I’d been wanting to try for a number of years but hadn’t. I love the regularity of the pattern. Once you get going, there’s no need to count stitches or change colours, making the whole stitching process much more fluid. I started one for myself on a honeybee theme.
After a couple of years, working with Liane Grant and the King’s Translators in Quebec, they have now completed translating the reading list for ministerial licensing, into French. What a huge accomplishment. Proud of this gal and her accomplishments. She’s glad for a little break.
Signs of Spring
One of the things I love about Spring here is that it’s not uncommon to drive past wooded areas completely awash with naturalized daffodils. The lack of a leafy canopy during winter and early Spring means that the sun’s rays warm the forest floor and coax these yellow beauties to life. Back home, they were strictly a garden flower.
The other thing that I love to see each Spring are purple violets.
This little ground-level blossom is the provincial flower back in New Brunswick, where I grew up, so from the first year we were here, I saw them as a little wink and a nod from the Lord. He took us from Eastern Canada, but put a little bit of Eastern Canada in our backyard… literally (as well as in the church yard). In fact they’re quite prolific!
Our kids are becoming travellers!
Timo recently spent a weekend down with the youth in Bordeaux. Took the train down and back by himself and had an excellent time with friends in the church there. I did him well to get away by himself. As it turns out, it was a good thing he went when he did, because we’re now moving into another lockdown where it will not be possible to travel such distances without a work or urgency-related reason.
Dominic’s news will take him further afield. In less than a month, he will head to Madrid, Spain for a 2-month work internship, related to his studies. Fortunately we have missionaries there, with whom he’s already been in contact, so we know he’ll be part of a great church with some great young people. He’s going to do a lot of growing up, living alone for two months… in a foreign country… during a global pandemic. As parents, it’ll be the first major flight from the proverbial nest, so we entrust him to the Lord’s care where we will be less present in his day-to-day.
Sophie, for her part, just found out this week that she was accepted into an Erasmus, study-abroad program which will see her spend 4-5 months living and studying elsewhere in Europe, beginning in January 2022. I haven’t specified the location just yet because I want her to be able to share the news with her friends first. This will be the second flight from the nest (it’s all starting to come fast & furious). Lord give us strength. In this photo, she’s in the middle of an online class, because sometimes, when you’ve been stuck at home for a while… you just need to do class in a tiara!
As for me….
Year 50 continues to be year 50, which I suspect has had something to do with the 1-month delay since my last post.
Teaching continues to be a bit more labour-intensive, with less of the in-person contact which allows you to see whether or not students are ‘getting it’. I normally know just about all of my students’ names by week 3 or 4 of the fall semester. This year, it was in my final class at ESSCA (2 weeks ago) that I felt confident about knowing all the students names. #MaskProblems
I also picked up another 5 weeks (total of 20hrs) teaching at the nursing school. They found themselves in a pinch so I was glad to help them out.
As far as the bees are concerned, there are now male bees present in the hives which means that the time for splitting hives and starting new, baby colonies has begun. I did the first two on Thursday. It was good to dive back into a hive.
Friends in Saint John will recognize the birds in the bottom photo. I had a bout of nostalgia a couple of weeks ago and set my sights on getting a few white homing pigeons. I had some in Saint John and only got rid of them because we were coming here (supposedly temporarily 🙂). Last Saturday I picked up two pairs and this week, refurbished our old chicken coop to house them.
Liz asked if I was trying to recreate our old life in Saint John. I suppose to some degree I am. As exotic as it is to live in France, it has come with more than it’s fair share of challenges. Life in Saint John seemed so much more stable. It wasn’t without its challenges, but there was a greater support network there. So yes, I clearly am trying to bring a little bit of that old life into this new one.
As for church, we had something neat happen two weeks ago. During the confinement last year, we got to know another set of neighbours a little bit better. As it turns out, I teach their grand-daughter at the university and two weeks ago, ‘out of the blue’ this girl’s mom (and our neighbours’ daughter) showed up at church for the first time. This was the first time that I’ve seen a direct connection between my involvement in the community and someone coming to church. That was a good feeling.
As of tonight we’re going into lockdown #3. Our part of France it generally OK (it pays to live in a quiet area), but nationally, things are not good.
While we’re still going to be able to hold in-person services (under the right to religious assembly – following all the safety protocols) there is a 10km limit to travel for the next 4 weeks, meaning that, while we can have the church open, most of our people won’t be able to attend because they live more than 10km (4 miles) away.
Ugh…. so ready for this to all be behind us. Covid just seems to add 10 layers of complication to everything.
The good thing is that while those measures technically go into effect tonight, the government realizes that many people had plans to be with family over Easter, so things will not really be enforced until Monday. Meaning that everyone will be able to be in church for Easter tomorrow.
Fortunately, the same Spirit that loosed a risen Jesus from the confinement of a sealed tomb, is the same that we serve today. God is not bound by the confinement and is able to move freely to and in the hearts of those who love and serve him.
Happy Easter !
We’ve been empty nesters for 17 years. It requires adjustment, yes, but also provides perks! Love that “E” you made for your wife–and the fact that you do needlework. Your closing remark touched my heart, Mike: God is not bound by confinement; he’s able to move freely. Hallelujah–and Easter Blessings to you and your family!
Welcome back! Happy late birthday wishes to Liz! Congratulations to your fine children on all things-and fifty is a wonderful age. Go well my friend. Happy Easter!