Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Mimosa Parade

When I first heard about "Mimosa" I thought it was some kind of food... South African for some reason... then I realized one of my French Soaps was called Mimosa and once I opened it and used it the fragrance was....WOW, nothing like I expected Mimosa to smell like. I couldn't believe a little soap could fill an entire room like that... our bathroom is rather small, but I was just really impressed. Since the end of January I have seen the beautiful Mimosa trees blooming their little yellow suns all over the coast. Everywhere I go I see the bright yellow colour on the fields, in backyards, on the hills... it makes me feel so happy even though yellow has never been one of my favourite colours. I knew people were having Mimosa parades everywhere, but I didn't know they were going to have one right here in our little village. I took a few pictures :)


People waiting at the Plaza


Cool Pink-Red Polka-dotted Horse


I thought this little girl was so cute. Too bad the picture turned was blurry.


Here comes the Turtle! (Picture by Raphaël l)


I liked the Turtle!


Picture Raphael took with his mobile...


Little Princesses and Prince


A lady gave me a little bouquet of Mimosas as she danced by...

Could you spot where there was Mimosa in the pictures?


The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever. Isaiah 40:8

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

"Thank you Mothers!"

I know it's not Mother's day but I have to write a "Thank You" to all the dedicated mothers that read here. Thank you for taking care of your little ones! (including the not so little ones too) And if you have any 2 to 3-year-olds you will be considered heroes in this post.

My husband and I had the privilege of hosting a little three year old for three days last week. His mother is a single working mother and she asked if we could have him for the weekend as schools would be closed. We have had him before, but it was the first time I had him all day while Raphael worked. Let me tell you... I thought I was quite experienced as I have taught for three years in Holland working with 2.5 to 5 year olds... but this was totally different. First off, I wake up to the sound of a little voice telling me that "It's day! It's day!" Then I feel little hands and feet crawling up to our bed and stepping all over us with joy. So ok, he's right, it's day... and yes, we should be glad. Raphael gets ready for work, I sit and have breakfast with our guest and run him through our daily program. We are going to town, then we will be baking a cake because it's Valentine's day and it's a surprise for Raphael, then we are going to take the bus to the Media Library, then we will wait for Raphael who will pick us up to go back home. Sounded like a good clear plan to me, but first of all we'd have to wash up... Now this is where my questions of admiration for all you mothers (and some fathers too!) come in. These are either things I was wondering or arguing with him about.

1. How do you get a child to take a bath to start with?
3. How do you get him out?
2. How long should playing in the shower last?
4. Who should be dried off first? The child or the toys?
0.5 Who should take a bath first, you or the child?
5. Do you take a bath in the morning?
6. If you take a bath do you have time to think about what you will wear and comb your hair?
7. What does the child do while you take a bath, and is it safe?

I'm guessing that it was just kind of harder for me because I don't have children and I don't know him very well... my French is not perfect either, but I'm guessing that even if it is your child and you know him quite well you will still have struggles, right?

Our cake turned out quite well. He got to put in the yogurt, the baking powder, the salt, the raspberries... I think he really enjoyed it, and he was good enough to wait until after dinner to try it. Our bus trip was another adventure. After 5 minutes in the bus he fell asleep; we were all the way in the back of the bus. I picked him up to hold him... he looked so cute....BUT, when we were close to our stop I couldn't get him to wake up. I moved him about, called his name, shook his head a little bit and nothing. I was a bit anxious because I didn't know how I would get him and our things down if he was asleep. Then for a moment he opened his eyes and I asked him if he was ok, and he said "yes" and fell asleep again! We did manage to get down safely and soon enough he was wide awake! We read books at the Media Library until Raphael came over to pick us up. He ran up to Raphael and first thing he said was "We made a cake for you!"

The next day we just stayed home and played. He loves going to church and singing, so we played church and he was so cute. We pretended that our worship leader was sick so he had to go up and lead us in worship. He took a "make believe" guitar (don't remember what it was) and started to sing and from time to time he would stop to pray. :)

Then on Saturday we went to the mountains to play with some snow :)



I think the greatest blessing though was to be able to read to him at night from his little Bible for children and look at examples of "good listening"... something we had to work on. We talked about Peter letting down his net when Jesus told him to (Luke 5:4), (he did good listening), about the storm quieting down because it obeyed Jesus (Luke 8:24), and how the little children came to Jesus and listened to Him... they looked like they were listening from the picture. It really blessed me that we were able to share about the Lord, and I think it blessed him too.

So, well again a THANK YOU to all you mothers who are working hard day after day to bring up your children as best as you can and in the Lord. If there are any single mothers or fathers at your church or anywhere else that you know, be sure to keep them in your prayers and see how you can bless them. I was blessed with a great mother whom I thought a lot about as I was taking care of Yann. My mother is such a great example of love and dedication to me. She is a hard worker and I just hope that if one day the Lord blesses us with a child/ren, I would be a good mother too.

And what did I get for Valentine's Day?

Home-made bread by Raphael with our initials in the heart!

Mmmmm, it was very good!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Valberg

"For he saith to the snow, Be thou on the earth..." Job 37:6

Here are some pictures from Valberg!

This is where we stayed.


This was the view from our balcony. The main ski station (on the picture) was just accros, so that was a blessing!


Here I am with the instructor on day 2. Raphael stayed with us to take pictures and to learn how he could also teach me to ski.


Practicing the "chasse-neige" on day 4.


Later he would stand at a distance and I had to make my way to him and stop in front of him.


On day 5 I was so good I was even able to go up hill very fast :P - Actually I think the photographer was about the fall.
That's it folks!

"Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail" Job 38:22

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Snow: Yes - Break: No broken bones!

We're back again... and as I mentioned in a comment, my break was not what I expected it would be. You know how sometimes we like to predict what is going to happen? That's kind of what I did before leaving. I predicted that I would have a quiet little retreat because everybody I would go with would be busy skiing or doing some snow sport. Because of TM I have very weak legs and just walking is difficult. I also don't have good balance... I just thought I would have a lot of time to be alone and read and pray and just enjoy nature which I love to do.... I also asked my husband if he could get me one of those little sleighs so I could go up and down the hill... just looked like a lot of fun. But... it seems the Lord had other plans for me. On our first day there my husband, in-laws and I went down to one of the ski villages to rent some skis. I went in the store with them and the lady assumed I was going to ski too so she got me some shoes and skis. My husband told her I had never skiied before so she adviced him on what kind of skis would be good for me, and where to ski... right. I just stood there and thought I would go with the flow... even if it's just to pose for a picture. Then we left and went to the place she suggested... I put my very heavy shoes on, walked a little bit (felt like a Transformer) and when I got on the snow they put on my skis and that was the end and the beginning of it. My mother-in-law, who is very optimistic and kind, stayed with me and taught me how to stand on them; move a little bit to the front and side to side... the rest of the day she spent picking me off the floor. There was almost no one around until this group of militaries came to practise a bit. It was really exhausting for me but after a little lunch break they suggested I try the platter pull which is used to pull you up hill. I'm not very good at saying no, and even when I do say no I'm not very effective somehow, so off I went to the "tire-fesses". It was all planned. My father-in-law went up ahead to wait for me at the top of the hill, my husband would take the one after me to make sure I get there... and my mother in law superviced the operation... So I hold on to this thing and when it pulled me I was succesful for, oh about... 3m!!! I fell, was still hooked to this thing that just kept dragging me, and dragging me. I looked back and both my husband and mother-in-law yelled something... either "Let go!" or "Don't let go!".... So I keep dragging for another while and look back again at them, and again they yell something with the military guys now stretching their necks from behind to not miss the action, and I thought "I don't know what they are saying, but I'm going to try to get this thing off". So after much pulling I got hooked off and my husband took one of the pull things to get to me and help me up. I think the first thing he said was "Wow, you did great for the first 10 meters!" Ofcourse I had been dragged for about 100 meter, but ok. Then he went to get my father-in-law who was still waiting for me. I was so tired and still in shock and I told my mother-in-law that I was tired and that I didn't think it was a sport for disabled people. It was something for normal people and I just cried in frustration... but she looked me straight in the eyes and told me that I was not right, that it was difficult for everybody, and that I was doing very well for my first day. We then went to the car and we talked and she comforted me and told me that they still had to get to know me better and I had to teach them all about how I feel and what I can or cannot do. I was really down and tired and I started to miss my family. When we got back home I went straight to bed and just felt sorry for myself and I missed my family because they know me so well. They were with me every step when I got sick and my dad would have known how to help me, my brother would have known how to encourage me.... but then I thought... "No, you must give thanks and praise God. Look where you are!" And then thoughts of being paralyzed ran through my mind, being told I would not ever walk again, remembering what a miracle it was the day I could move my toes and feet just a little bit, and I got up raised my hands and praised God. Thanks to Him I can walk again; never mind the disabilities, I was on SKIS! Thanks to Him I have a loving family that saw me through my illness; thanks to God I have a great new family that also loves me and they all want to learn all about me. May all I do and all that happens to me be to the glory of God.

Since we had to leave kind of early that morning I didn't have a chance to read all my Bible chapters for the day, so afterwards I took the time to finish reading. The Gospel chapter I was to read for that day was about Jesus walking on the water. Then Peter too wanted to walk to Jesus and he walked on the water until he saw the wind and was afraid... and started to sink... but Jesus reached out his hand and caught him! I thought... I too was kind of walking on water... frozen water, and I got all scared when I was being dragged, but the point is that Jesus is there to reach out to us when we fear... we can always remember that. Even when we are sinking or sliding in my case, there is hope.

That was my first day of this quiet peacefull retreat I thought I was going to have... I skiied every single day after that and thanks to my in-laws, husband and two nice teachers that taught me for two days I got better and better at it... and really enjoyed it, praise God.

I took a few pictures and my husband also took some pictures. I will try to post some soon as I'm not home right now. I don't know if sharing any of this can be an encouragement to anyone. All I know is that I can tell you that I once was indeed paralyzed, I could not move or feel my legs, I could not control my back and all that comes with being paralyzed. I was told I would never walk again but today Thanks to God I can plan to share some pictures with you of me on skis. Glory be to Him who makes all things possible.

My husband told me that he couldn't wait to read my next post, to which I said "But I'm here, you can just talk to me!" But no, he wants to read a post. So let me take the opportunity to thank him too because he was SUPER!

Thank you for your patience, love, hugs and kindness... for wanting to help me ski, encouraging me, believing in me when I didn't believe it was possible, for pushing me but not really pushing me... your big smiles, your bêtises... you are the sweetest man I know.

There is no better remedy to a broken spirit than lifting your hands and praising the Lord for all that He has given us.

Pictures to come!