Listening to:: French commentary on the Olympic women's judo competition. I do kind of like the fact that I can justify TV watching by the fact that it is all in French, and therefore "homework". =)
Giving Thanks:: For improved communication in our family ever since Dan and I decided we needed to do whatever it took to ensure we got a weekly 'date night' (generally a date night at home for us, but whatever works!) ~ For encouraging signs of progress in the French language - most recently a French lady at church telling me that I spoke really well and didn't make very many errors, after a conversation lasting around 15 minutes. ~ Sparks of spiritual interest in the kids.
Pondering:: We said goodbye to some friends around 2 weeks ago as they left France for their assignment in Africa. And in about a month we'll say goodbye to another missionary family that we've gotten to know really well. Neither of these families will be serving in the same part of Africa as we are, so it's not terribly likely we'll cross paths with them again soon. One of the really hard parts of missionary life for me is the constant goodbyes. Sometimes it makes it really hard for me to want to invest in relationships at all...especially right now since we are in a sort of temporary/transitional place this year. I asked a friend from the missions committee of one of our supporting churches back in the States to pray for me about this, and she shared some really helpful and encouraging thoughts with me:
Yes, my life is richer for the time we've spent here, for the relationships - however 'short-term' - we've been able to form. I am also reminded of the necessity of "staying in today" and making the most of the opportunities the Lord brings across my path each day. And perhaps most importantly that I serve a God who promises to go with me wherever I go (Joshua 1:9, Psalm 139) - something I can always count on no matter what else happens."I learned something from one of the leaders at a youth retreat years ago. He reminded me to enjoy the moments I’m with people because sometimes our paths cross ever so briefly. I’m reminded of that by your email and by our recent trip to Michigan. We met many friends of our “adopted” daughter and her husband. We were blessed by the time we spent with them. We will probably never see them again, yet our lives are richer for the brief time we spent together."
Living the Educational Life:: You can check out what the kids have been up to here in the new "What We've Learned" category. Finally, I think I've found a method of school record-keeping I can keep up with! =) My French studies are plugging along as well, although with the summer 'vacances', most of my outside-of-school speaking/practice opportunties have dried up for the moment. Hoping in the fall these will pick up again, and in the meantime I'm trying to make time to read French books, watch French TV, and occasionally study up on French grammar. Slowly, it's getting easier.
Preparing in the Kitchen:: Not much. Even our friend Mr Sourdough is laying dormant in the back of the fridge right now. Needed to scale back to the very basics for awhile. That all said, however, I am considering a grain-free experiment in the near future. On verra. (French for "we will see!")
Following These Links:: I finally broke down and got a Pinterest account. I avoided this for a long time because I felt like I didn't need anymore online distractions. However, all my bookmarked articles were getting out of control, so I got on Pinterest as means of keeping them organized. And it's working. And it really hasn't been a distraction. So, win-win. All that to say that I think I will retire this category and encourage you to follow me over there if you are interested in the following my links. =)
Finding Rhythm:: Making the point to have a weekly date night is helping a lot, if for no other reason that we have now a specific point every week to ensure that communication is happening. Otherwise, last month was struggle. Here's hoping our new schedule for August better facilitates rhythm!!
Kiddos this Week:: Michelle wrote her own story in the style of Aesop's Fables this afternoon, which she wanted me to narrate to her. Unfortunately she erased it before I had a chance to read it, which therefore made it difficult to tell her about it.... James asked me this week when he "could have a big Bible like Michelle's". The motivation to read is mounting... Elizabeth? Oh my, where to begin with her. Let's just say she keeps us on our toes. =)
Praying:: For daily strength to stay motivated in this task of language learning. For wisdom to respond to the needs of my family, and to know how to encourage my husband, for whom French study is proving much more challenging than it has been for me. That I would know my Savior more intimately every day.
Planning the Week Ahead:: Ask me again in 24 hours. We'll have our new schedule then, so then I might be able to figure out just what the plan for the week might be!!
Capturing a Moment:: The kids and I actually managed to pull off taking Dan's birthday cake to school as a surprise! He really had no idea we were coming until we showed up. =)