{2012}: Day 86… and a winner!!

Day 86: And we have a winner! Congratulations, Courtney!

Courtney, I believe this is your second win!  You have a great winning streak going on!  Keep an eye on your mail… your book is coming soon!

Also, happy birthday to my Mom!!!  Love you!


{2012}: Days 79-85

Time Flies

I can’t believe that we’ve been back from Paris for over two weeks now.  Actually, I can’t believe we’ve only been home two weeks!  Paris already feels like a lifetime ago.  I’ve been so busy with work lately that I’m already ready for another vacation, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

I’m working on a putting together a photo book of the trip pictures, and I always forget how time consuming these books can be.  I mean, it’s not like I took 700 pictures or anything.  Ha!

My mom’s birthday is this week, and I think that we are going to celebrate by going to see The Hunger Games.  I am so excited to see the movie!!  The books were so good that I’m just not ready for the story to be over yet.

If you haven’t already entered the giveaway, be sure to before midnight tonight!  Good luck!!


Who likes free stuff?  I do!  And I’m about to give something away for free to one of you!

WaterBrook Multnomah sent me an extra copy of Finding Our Way Home by Charlene Baumbich, a book that I reviewed a few months ago and I’d like to share it with one of you.  It’s a book that I enjoyed and hope that you will, too.  Check out my review to learn more about it.  To earn an entry in the giveaway, leave a comment about ballet or bicycles.  Yes, ballet or bicycles.  You’ll figure out why when you read the book 🙂

Contest closes Saturday, March 24 at midnight.  Good luck!!


I just finished reading the third book in the Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins.  It left me breathless.  I can’t believe that I liked this series as much I did, but I really did love it.

I didn’t want to put the books down to go to church, sleep, work, or various other appointments.  All I wanted to do was read, to see how Katniss is able to reconcile her guilt and love.

And now I know.  Read these books.  They are amazing.  I thought that I would hate them, that they would be like Twilight, but they are nothing like that.  These books are so good because they are not fantastical situations, they are plausible.  They are plausible if things like what is happening in Sudan and with child soldiers cease to become a thing of horror and cease to move good people to action.  These are the things that could happen if we check our brains at the door.

Read these books.

{2012}: Day 67

Hanging out with Tracy and getting our $0.40 cup of coffee.

This was our last full day in Paris and we were so sad to see it end!  We started out the day by heading to one of the universities where Tracy spends her time and were able to meet the rest of her team, as well as one of the girls she disciples.  It was so nice to put names with faces and to be able to pray with them for their ministry and the people they come into contact with.  Please keep them in your prayers!  They are really seeing God move among the Parisian students!

Phil, ___, Lucille, and Tracy

Me in front of the Victor Hugo museum. He lived in the second floor apartment in this building.

After we got our 40 cent cup of coffee on campus, we headed out to Victor Hugo‘s house.  He apparently lived several place in Paris, but the apartment that the city has turned into his museum was where he lived the longest.  He lived on the second floor of this building with his wife and four children before being self imposed exile for a time for political reasons.  It was very interesting to learn more about this literary icon; I am a big fan of Les Miserables, but I haven’t really read any of his other works (something that I need to remedy soon).

The stained glass in the stairwell

He was apparently a big fan of Charles Dickens and had an extensive library of his works as well as letters from the English author.  He had a bit of a tumultuous life, with three of his four children dying young, and a mistress who outlived his wife.  It almost seems like having a very difficult and controversial life is a prerequisite to being a successful artist/author.

Ick. This is a replica of Hugo's mistress's parlor. It was ugly.

Light fixtures in the Opera Garnier

Our next stop was at the Palais Garnier, the operahouse where Phantom of the Opera is set.  I’ve only ever seen the movie (which I loved) and I was really excited to see this beautiful building.  And it is absolutely beautiful.  It is a really large building with a surprisingly small auditorium, which we weren’t able to see because ballet rehearsals were going on that day, but we were able to look around the famous staircase and several other rooms and galleries.  Just as most of the other buildings that were built in the same time period, this place is ornate and over the top, but absolutely beautiful.  And around every corner, you almost expect to meet the Phantom.

The Phantom of the Opera is there (inside my mind)!

This hall almost looked like it belonged in Versailles.

Andrew speaking to his people from the balcony of the operahouse.

In the library where all of the scripts are stored.

There are the busts of the great musicians on the exterior of the operahouse.

When we left the Operahouse it was pouring, so we ducked into a nearby Starbucks to wait out the rain and it was decked out like the Opera!  I’ve never seen a Starbucks so pretty!  It’s a shame that I didn’t get any pictures of it.  It was probably also the busiest Starbucks I’ve seen in a while.

The first hint of springtime in Paris.

Once we had our fill of coffee, we headed over to the Eiffel Tower.  Our goal was to get there just before dusk so that we could watch the sun set over the city, but since the day was so gray and dreary, it really wouldn’t have mattered what time we got there.  We did find some beautiful blossoms on some trees nearby that whispered of spring which were really pretty.  It started to rain a little harder and the wind picked up, so we didn’t spend too much time wandering around but headed to the line to ride the elevator up to the summit.  The line was pretty short so it went quickly; everyone was so anxious to get into the elevator where it was warm!

An American in Paris

Just singing in the rain 😉


On the top of the tower. I was almost blown over!

Doesn't he look excited?!

It was really cold and windy at the summit, I honestly thought that I was going to be knocked over, so we just made a quick trip outside to take our pictures, and then ducked back into the enclosed viewing deck to admire the views.  Honestly, the views from the Arc de Triomphe are better, just because you can actually see the Eiffell Tower too, but going up the tower is exciting, just because it’s so iconic.

And once we had taken in the Paris skyline, we headed back down to earth to shop for souvenirs and watch the tower light up.  Watching the tower sparkle is probably one of my favorite memories from the trip; it was so excited because we were in a hurry to get back to the tower after shopping and I was afraid that we were going to miss it.  But we turned the corner and saw the tower again, and just then, it started to sparkle!  It absolutely took my breath away and was the perfect end to this wonderful trip.

This is one of my favorite pictures of our trip. Just amazing.

{2012}: Day 66

This was another full day.  We got a little bit lost at first looking for the D’Orsay museum, but found it after a quick detour where we ran into the Asemblee Nationale and saw a guard in a plastic box.  The D’Orsay Museum was our favorite out of the ones we visited on this trip.  We both enjoy art from the Impressionist period; I especially love Monet.  I would definitely not mind having some of his work in our home.  After the museum, we were really hungry and found a boulangerie on the way to the Rodin museum where we saw some of Rodin’s most famous works.

From the gardens of the museum we could see Napoleon’s tomb.  If I hadn’t known it already, I would have then thought that Napoleon was his own biggest fan.  It is almost obscene how big this monument is.  Next to his tomb is the Hotel de Invalides, which houses the Army Museum.  We didn’t make it through all of the exhibits, only the extensive WWI and WWII exhibits.  They were very well done and exhibits of this kind always put me in a bit of a somber and reflective mood.  So much evil abounded unchecked during those wars.

After we finished our museum tours, we went to the Arc de Triomphe and saw gorgeous panoramic views of Paris and then watched the relighting of the Eternal Flame on the tomb of the unknown soldier.  It reminded me of our changing of the guard at Arlington, but less solemn and reverent.

Once we were done at the Arc, we headed off to a yummy dinner with Tracy, where I forgot to get pictures of people but only got a picture of my dessert.

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