Friday, November 13, 2015

Tragedy in Paris

Paris is in the news right now and it is not good.  Three hours ago terrorists attacked in 7 locations.  They set off two explosions at the largest stadium in the city during a friendly soccer match between France and Germany.  About the same time, other terrorists entered several well-known restaurants and opened fire on the occupants in the restaurants and outside on the terraces.  Not far away, a popular band was playing at a concert hall when terrorists entered, fired shots around, killing many, and are still holding approximately 100 people hostage.  Reports on the TV say that at least 41 people are dead and over 60 seriously wounded and in hospitals in the capital city.

Public transportation is closed down, as are the French borders.  Some of the terrorists are still at large and the police are out "en masse", alert and searching for them.

Thankfully, all of our personnel are accounted for. We appreciate everyone's concern and their prayers us, our personnel, and for all the inhabitants of Paris. Please pray for the families of those who were killed and those who are still being held as hostages.  It is such a horrible thing to happen in such a beautiful city.

Monday, November 02, 2015

A little deviation in our plans

Dear Friends,
This will be one of my last, if not THE last of my blog updates. (I know, I know.  It's been months since my last update!)   Glenn and I will be moving back to the U.S. mid- to late January.  The organization for which we work is in a severe financial crisis and needs to pull 600-800 of our personnel off the field within the next 6 months.  Those who are 50+ years of age and with 5+ years of service were asked to pray about whether God could use them in ministry somewhere else outside the organization.  Glenn and I are 50+ years old with 19+ years of service.

After much prayer, Glenn and I sensed God leading us to raise our hands, to voluntarily accept early retirement incentives offered by the company, and to leave the field by January 31, 2016.  We will relocate to Marietta, Georgia where we will stay in the missionary home of the First Baptist Church of Marietta for the next couple of months or up to a year while our plans develop.  We do not know where God is leading us beyond this; only that He is.   We are confident in the faithfulness of the God who called us to provide member care in Europe in 2006, and we have that same confidence in God as He calls us stateside in 2016.  To God be the glory!

As Glenn and I walk to a nearby neighborhood, we pass this sign that indicates a detour ahead.  Each time I pass it, I just grin at the truth of it in our situation!!!  We are taking quite a detour from our original plan!!!

Thank you for having taken the time to read my blog through the years.  I hope you will pray for Glenn and me as we resettle back into life in the U.S., or at least hang out there for the next couple of months before He moves us somewhere else in the world!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Shopping for a wedding dress!

This week I did something I haven't done in over 10 years, and that is to go wedding dress shopping! My friend, Amanda (that I wrote about May 24th) and I went shopping for her wedding dress.  It was so much fun!  Amanda described what she was looking for in a bridal dress, so I kept my eyes open for one that she might like, and I found one on the way to my French class.  Wow!  She tried on the model and it was beautiful, fit her perfectly, and cost 1850 euros, which is close to $2000!  It was silk and every dress is custom made to fit the particular bride, hence why it was so expensive.

Needless to say, we passed on it and looked some more.  At the next shop, she tried on one of their two short dresses, and it was gorgeous!  So, after only trying on two dresses, she found the perfect one, and at a much more reasonable price!  She is beautiful in it and though I am invited to the wedding, I will be in the U.S. when she gets married!  I am soooo disappointed but they couldn't change the date so I'll just have to see all the pictures!  I'll also miss getting to spend time with her mom, who is also a friend of mine, when she comes for the wedding!  

(Excuse the poofy hair.  Must have been a windy day and I did't notice my hair was messy. Nor did Amanda mention it.)

The other big thing that happened this week was receiving a gift from Amanda's mom!  When Linda sent Amanda a care package, she included Fritos for me!  Yea!  My absolute favorite snack food!  We had company over for dinner on Saturday night and shared our treasured gift with them, and then I had Fritos with my chicken salad wrap on Sunday evening!  I hope Amanda tells her mom how much I enjoyed her gift!

3 days a week Glenn and I pass through the Luxembourg Garden on our way to and from language class but it has usually been overcast each time.  This past week the sun was finally shining as we walked through so I took advantage of the bright sunshine to take a picture of the beautiful gardens!  It is a huge place, loved by joggers, strollers, lovers and senior adults alike.  There are also some really interesting playgrounds for my grandkids!  Glenn and I are making mental notes about where all the cool playgrounds are!  (I heard that groan, Kiwi! I'll start writing them down too!)

One day as Glenn and I were walking through downtown, we came across this gas station!!!  It is truly a drive-thru!  There are no air pumps, no repairs done on site, no car wash, just gas.  :-)

Love the sushi delivery moto with the sign on it that asks what we think of his driving!

And Glenn's favorite is the Speed Rabbit Pizza place.  Is the rabbit on speed, or is the rabbit on pizza?
Or did they mean Speedy Rabbit pizza???

Today is Father's Day. While officially celebrated in both the U.S. and France on the third Sunday in June, Father's Day here in France is basically ignored for the most part, and another holiday is celebrated in it's place.  Fete de la Musique is BIG here!  It is celebrated on June 21, the summer solstice, and goes until midnight.  It is a celebration of music, performed all day and night by professional musicians and amateurs alike, in the streets, on the sidewalks, in parks, in concert halls, EVERYWHERE!

I was invited by our pastor's wife to go to a concert in a park today on the other side of Paris to hear one of the young men from our church.  (He's in black, on the far right end on the row above the director.  He's playing a violin.)

As it turned out, it was MORE than a concert!  There was a play using human marionettes, with 4 opera singers singing as the characters acted out the story, and the orchestra played the music written by Mozart.

The character on the left is a person with a huge mask, but the bird on the right is a puppet attached to the front of a person's body.  I didn't recognize it, though Lydi said EVERYONE has heard the story of ....  (everyone except me, evidently.)

Anyway, it was 2 hours long (and I mean LONG; come on, it was orchestra music, with opera singers, in French, and strange characters.  Oh, and we were in a concrete amphitheater.  Believe me, it was long.)  It was interesting though and I'm glad I went, even though it took a 4 hour chunk out of Glenn's Father's Day celebration!

Did you call your Dad to wish him a happy Father's Day?  I hope so!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Nice and quiet ...

It's been a quiet week around the Borders' apartment, which has been nice.  

Glenn and I are taking a French refresher course at Alliance Française that meets 3 mornings a week (lundi, mardi et jeudi) from 9 am to noon.  On Tuesday (mardi) after class, we met up with a couple from our organization for lunch in town, and then went back to Alliance Française to study in the library for a couple of hours.  (We saw on the library shelves a copy of Bien Dire, the french magazine that our daughter used to edit when she lived in Lyon!  How cool is that!)

After a couple of hours of studying in the library, we met up with the 28 other people who signed up for a field trip to the famous kitchen of Le Cordon Bleu!

Founded in 1895, Le Cordon Bleu in Paris is world renowned for it's educational program, dedicated to teaching the highest level of culinary and hospitality instruction to students who come from all over the world.  "Le Cordon Bleu is considered to be the guardian of French culinary technique that continues to preserve and pass on to future generations the mastery and appreciation of the culinary arts."  :-)

But before we could learn all their special secrets, we learned about the many French wines that are produced throughout the various regions of the country.  Not being a connoisseur nor even a fan of wine (about the only time I've had wine has been during the Lord's Supper in churches here in Europe),  I had a lot to learn.  It was interesting, even if the knowledge won't be particularly useful to me in the future. 

 I learned that the best wines produced in France are exported (because they can make more money selling them elsewhere) and therefore it is difficult, if not impossible, to buy the best quality French wine here in France.  I also learned that the residue that sticks to the side of a wine glass when it is swirled has nothing to do with the quality of the wine, but everything to do with the cleanliness of the glass.  The wine sticks to particles on the glass!  The purpose of swirling the wine is to oxygenate it to bring out the flavor. Also, it is a technique called "playing with your drink".  :-)

Then the chef prepared a colorful meal of meat that was basically lightly boiled for a few minutes and a side dish of green beans with beets, carrots, shallots, peas and snow peas all boiled in different pots of water, added together at the end and with a  large dollop of butter.  No French bread.  No dessert.  An incomplete meal, if you ask me!

While his "assistants" were slicing the pieces of meat and spooning the veggies on small plastic plates, the chef was creating his masterpiece for our aesthetic pleasure.  :-)  We watched him WITH HIS FINGERS painstakingly arrange the green beans, carrots and beets in a colorful "pile" (I don't know the technical culinary term for piling food) and then strategically placed 4 peas in a line on the plate to fan out from the pile of veggies.  

I'm sure to him it was a work of art, but to those of us who had not eaten dinner and had been sitting there for 2 1/2 hours, we were starving to death and just wanted to eat!

The finished culinary delight!  I guess the 4 peas in a line were on the back side of the meat, but do you see the drops of beet juice that he has dribbled across the plate???

The cooking demonstration was VERY interesting (it should be ...  at the cost of 40 euros that came out of our registration fee to Alliance Française) and the chef was quite entertaining as he bantered back and forth with his audience and shared cooking tips with us.  How was the meal?  The meat was tender and cooked to perfection and the veggies were very flavorful but by time all of us were served, the food was cold.  It was 9:00 pm when we finally got to eat so we were starving and would have been happy with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches!

As I mentioned, it was a quiet week around our place.  Saturday, we did odd jobs around the apartment.  I was taking care of things that had been covering the dining room table (my office) and Glenn was digging out from under the pile on his desk.  Glenn must have finished his pile first and was bored because I found him in the kitchen with a duster!!!

I've often said there is nothing sexier to a wife than to see her husband pushing a vacuum cleaner or  dusting the house!  Look at that fine specimen of a man!  He's got the moves that make my heart flutter!!!

We're here for two more weeks before we hit the road again ...

Saturday, June 06, 2015

A little of Paris

This has been a busy week, and the week of my birthday!  Before I share with you some pictures I took on my birthday present, I want to show you a picture of some of our dear friends from Cote d'Ivoire.  

We've been in touch with Martine and Ambroise ever since we left Africa, over 20 years ago.  Ambroise used to work at the student center with Glenn, and Martine worked with Childhood Evangelism Fellowship.  Now Ambroise is the national director of Childhood Evangelism Fellowship in Cote d'Ivoire.  Skype is a wonderful thing since it allows us to keep in touch through the years and across the miles!

We had language class this past week on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday mornings.  I would show you a picture of Alliance Francaise where we take our course but they have security folks at the front gate who might fuss at us taking pictures of the building.

For my birthday (which was Friday), Glenn and I joined two other ladies who also celebrated their birthdays this past week and another couple on Saturday morning to go sightseeing in Paris on the Big Bus, one of the hop on-hop off bus companies.  

It was a lot of fun as we rode the large loop around the major tourist sites.  It was a great overview of the city.  :-)

Rather than show you one of the many, many huge, ornate and famous buildings, I'm showing you some things that are a little more unusual.  These were some really old cars that were on display.  I thought of my son and how much he would have loved seeing this.  Not quite as large as the Cruise Nights that we used to go to in Marietta with 30-50 cars!

In 1895, two men opened a fashion store in a small haberdashers shop at the corner of rue La Fayette and the Chaussee d'Antin in Paris.  The endeavor was so successful that the next year their company purchased the entire building.  Galeries Lafayette  is currently housed on 10 floors, and has expanded to 6 other countries around the world, with more expansion planned for the future.

On the left bank of the Seine River are some vendors with all kinds of souvenirs from France.  My favorites are the oil and watercolor prints of sights from around Paris.  I could spend hours thumbing my way through the stacks of them!

Saw this street sign for one of our former Presidents.  :-)

Having wedding pictures taken in public places at famous sights is something that is very European that, as far as I know, has not made it to America yet.  We've seen this in many countries in central and eastern Europe.

The Big Bus tour lasted 2 hours if you stayed on the bus and rode the route straight through, so we finished just in time for lunch.  We were close to the Latin Quarter where there were lots of interesting places to eat, but we settled on a 1950's diner that sells hamburgers and serves A & W root beer!

The rest of the group stayed longer to go back on the bus and get off at particular places that they wanted to visit up close, but Glenn and I had to get back to Gentilly by 3:00 pm.  Our church planned a work day in the yard to spruce it up so, as good honorary church members, we cut our Big Bus ride short and headed home to get our work gloves.  Unfortunately, we were the only ones to show up!  We worked for 1 hour 45 minutes, and then after washing up in the kitchen sink, Glenn and I headed back into town to a huge used bookstore that we discovered a couple of weeks ago.  So much fun!

Well, back to language school again this week.  We've got an exciting field trip on Tuesday afternoon so come back next week to find out where!

Have a good week!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

My Town: Gentilly

This has been a busy week, like they all seem to be, but this one was special because I got to visit with a friend of mine from America who now lives in Paris, not too far from me.

I met Amanda when she was a student at the Christian school where I worked before coming overseas.  We have a long history and a strong friendship that goes way back.  She is marrying a French guy that she met in America, and so we will be able to see each other often!  How cool is that!?!

Okay, I've wanted to take you on a tour of our little suburb called Gentilly.  The tan building is my apartment complex, and so as I come out my gate, we're going to turn right and go into the "city" center.  (Centre Ville)  I say "city" in parentheses because it isn't very big and it is more like a village. 

But it's my village and I love it.  This is my Boulangerie and Patisserie, and unfortunately it is just across the street from our apartment.  They have the best pains aux raisins (pastry with a creme filling and raisins) and baguette tradition graine.

Just down from our apartment building is some scaffolding under which we have to walk to get into the middle of town.  This scaffolding backs up to our apartment and the workmen must only work from 7:30 -8:30 am.  Glenn and I aren't sure what they are doing because we never see any workmen when we pass by (we only hear them banging early in the morning!) and we aren't seeing the scaffolding move.  

Further down the street is a small store that carries African food.    Yippee!

On Tuesday, Glenn and I went to the local open-air market and besides buying two huge bags of fresh fruit and vegetables, we bought a couple of take-ways of Poulet Yassa, Poulet Columbo and Thieb (flavored rice), all dishes from Senegal.  How fortuitous!

Now, we don't buy ALL our food at the market; some we buy at the local grocery store about 8 minutes away by foot.  We can buy everything we NEED, but not everything I wish ... like cheddar cheese or Trappista cheese from Hungary.  I'm not complaining, but in a perfect world ...

This is the Mayor's office, called the Mairie here in France.  The Mairie is usually the most beautiful building in the city/town.

I hate seeing graffiti on any building but I do appreciate good, colorful art!

Glenn has a goal of walking every street in Gentilly and keeps track of them.  Right now he's about 2/3rds of the way through!  This is just one of the many beautiful views we saw as we were walking through our little burg.

Not too far from our house is a sports complex with a walking track.  It's a small track; I think I'll have to walk 15 loops for a kilometer.  :-)

I don't know if you noticed the style of the buildings in Gentilly.  For the most part, they are "new" (relatively speaking), square and plain.   I miss the intricate, old buildings and their beauty, but this is my new town.

Well, that's the overview of Gentilly, my new home.  If you'd like to see more, please come for a visit.   Love to have you!

Okay, this last photo is on a totally different subject.  One of our new friends here has practically wallpapered a room or two of her apartment with colorful Bible verses.  It is quite impressive.  

This upcoming week Glenn and I start our French language classes at Alliance Francaise to help us get up to snuff on our French.  Three mornings a week, 9 am to 12 noon.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

We went to Congress!

Much of this past week was spent in the northern part of France, 10 minutes from the Belgium border as Glenn and I attended Le Congrès de la FEEBF, or the Federation of Evangelical Baptist Churches of France as we would say in English.  Basically, the French Baptist Convention.  

There were some other folks with our organization at the meeting, along with the pastor from our local church and a woman from the congregation.  

It was a GREAT experience because we were able to get a good picture of the evangelical work among our 120 or so (I forgot the exact number ...) Baptist churches here in France and it was 3 days of hearing and speaking French all day long!  Glenn and I both were surprised at how much we could understand; not everything, but certainly more than we expected!!!  My vocabulary is still pretty rusty so talking to people I met was very difficult.  (I'll only speak for myself here) Once I heard the words, I recognized them and could then use them myself, but to pull words from my memory bank was quite difficult!  I need to immerse myself in watching French news and reading books in French to increase my usable vocabulary.  :-)

Each morning we were led in worship by a music group from Africa!  Oh, how I enjoyed that!!

All day long we heard reports from various churches, departments and ministries.  We even had a short presentation by two Sisters from a PROTESTANT Evangelical ORDER!   One of the Sisters was Baptist and the other from a Reformed church.  I never knew there was such a thing as a Protestant Order! 

For me, the highlight was at the end (no, not because it was over!) when they introduced three young families that have been sent from Brazil and Togo (via the U.S.) to work in France alongside the French Federation churches.  A secondary highlight was from a man in the church growth department when he said that each Baptist church should be working toward planting a church!  Oh!  May we be a part of seeing a revival in France as God's Spirit moves in the hearts of His people!

Okay, since my blog update was short this week and it's been a while since I've shown you pictures of my kids and grandkids, I thought I would add them today.  

We just finished talking with Chris and Kate's family in Tennessee.  I also read 3 books to Jazmine over Skype, which I really enjoy.  However, I've got to start reading the books to myself before I read them to her to make sure the story is good and ends well!

Kari and Jonathan's family in Senegal is doing well.  They will be spending a couple of months in Tennessee this summer (around the corner from Chris's family) and Glenn and I will be there for part of the time.  We'll get to see both our kids and all the grandchildren together and although I don't want to "wish my life away" (as my mother once said), I am looking forward to us all being together once again, even if for a very short time!

See you next week with pictures of either our apartment or our little city.  (It depends on whether I get the bedroom painted or not.)

Bonne semaine!  (Have a good week!)

Monday, May 11, 2015


Glenn and I have spent the better part of the month getting settled into our apartment in Gentilly, learning our way around our neighborhood, opening bank accounts, trying to get cell phones, meeting folks over meals and catching up (not yet succeeding) on emails and phone calls.

We've been into town on public transportation 3 times to meet folks so we're slowly learning how to navigate the bus, tram, metro and train system in Paris.  

I'm finding my way around the various grocery stores and enjoying discovering some things we couldn't get in Hungary.  These pre-made cookies break apart just like the Tollhouse dairy case cookies!

Amazing!  The French version of Pillsbury Poppin' Fresh Cresent Rolls!  They also have this for rolls with chocolate strips called Pains au Chocolat!  Can't wait to try them!  By the way, pain is the French word for bread.

I learned that if a bakery shop calls itself a boulangerie, they make their bread "sur place".  Here, at the Depot de Pain they just sell bread that is made elsewhere.  Good thing ... because they don't look very sanitary!

We've got similar cereals here in Paris as we had in Budapest with the exception of Kellogg's Rice Krispies and these chocolate and cappuccino crunchy granola!!  I think my son-in-law would like this cereal!

Oh, we can also buy Golden Grahams cereal here, which is one of the few cereals I enjoy.  In addition to the cereal, they also have G.G. cereal bars.  How nice for that breakfast on the go!

This is not something we had in Hungary, mustard and pickle flavored potato chips.  Don't think I want to try them.  :-)

I was planning to post pictures of things in our neighborhood but we took a trip and I decided to show you pictures from the U.K..  However, I did have 2 pictures I wanted to share with you.

This is a sign for a handicap parking spot.  It says, "If you take my place, take also my handicap."  Well said.

Last week we were politely informed by our downstairs neighbor that we were making too much noise outside the prescribed time for making noise.  He brought a copy of the rules of the apartment complex for us.  :-)  After asking us to respect the noise hours, he (slightly embarrassingly) told us he was going to be having some work done in his apartment last week, but he assured us the workers would not work during the lunch hours (12:30-3:00 pm) or after 7:30 pm.

We had the entire conversation in French.  The next day he posted a sign on the wall of the elevator apologizing to the residents for the noise from the work being done in his apartment, all written in French EXCEPT for the last sentence that says: For our American neighbors: We do apologize for the noise caused by the works.  He (it) will just last a few days.

Did he think we didn't understand what he said, even though we talked with him for 5-10 minutes?

Okay, we just got back from a trip to London to visit with 3 Member Care couples and our boss.

We thought they spoke English there but we didn't understand one of the first words we saw as we got off the plane!  Do YOU know what a travelator is???  (It's an escalator without steps.)

We spent one rainy afternoon walking around the tourist area.  This is the street that leads to Buckingham Palace.

We walked through a couple of parks and admired the gorgeous flowers.

A photo op in Trafalgar's Square.  Do yo see the point down at the base of the monument?  That's the Big Ben clock tower in the distance.

The London Eye.  No, we didn't ride it.  I don't like heights. (Glenn doesn't like things that go 'round and 'round so we don't ride anything at carnivals!)

A view across a pond with a name that I forgot.  :-(

One day we spent some time with Jerry and Kathy.  They asked what we wanted to do besides just be together.  

I told them what I'd always wanted to see .... , so we drove 1 1/2 to 2 hours outside the city to see it.


... was awesome!  As you crest a hill out in the country, all of a sudden it is just THERE!  

How on earth do they get those stones on top of the others??

Temperatures were mild but it was very, very windy.  

I didn't find out how they put those stones on top of another but I did find out how they move them from one place to another!  Really ingenious!

I'll be back soon.  I hope.  I'll try, anyway.