Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Tuesday: I Know this Much is True

Today's entry will be short, but since I have missed a few favorite things entries I figured a short post is better than no post at all! The favorite things today is my five favorite blogs/websites I have visited today. I am a website/blog regular, so I manage reading blogs on Google Reader. These are just my favorites TODAY, check back with me tomorrow and it would all be different. Click on the name to follow the link.

1. Paul Matthies' blog: Paul was a former pastor at The Village, and he now lives and works in Korea. He is an amazing man of God, and I was encouraged by his most recent blog entry. Happiness and joy...a good reminder/lesson for me.

2. Kimberly Hughes blog: Kim is married to Beau Hughes who is the campus pastor for The Village in Denton. They love the Lord, love children, and want to reach unreached people. Her blog this morning left me reminded that I am chosen by God, not because of my goodness but because of His love. Christ alone restores me and reconciles me.

3. The Pioneer Woman: I check her blog and use her recipes frequently. If you haven't made her Lasagna, I highly recommend it. However, she recently did a post about Christmas cookie decorating. One of the Christmas traditions that Kent and I have enjoyed for the last 3 years is making and decorating Christmas cookies, decorating our Christmas tree, and watching our favorite Christmas movies. The cookies we make are good, but they are not pretty See picture below for proof. Maybe I will try some of the tips on PW's blog.

4. Project Nursery: I like looking at how people decorate their nursery, and this website allows regular people to upload pictures of their nursery, birthday parties, and showers. It is a lot of fun to look and get ideas.

5. Samaritan's Purse: This is an easy way to give a Christmas gift to someone less fortunate. I created a shoe box in less than 5 minutes, and I was able to even write a personal note to the receiving child. If you have $35 and 5 minutes visit this website and make a gift box for a less fortunate child this Christmas.

I could keep listing blogs/websites for you to check, but I will not overwhelm you today. Enjoy reading...I hope you are either encouraged, inspired, and provoked to deeper thinking/living. Oh, and if you haven't read Matt's blog from last week..you definitely need to read it as well.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Did I mention...

I wasn't blogging this summer, and I wasn't taking a lot of pictures. These two things are being worked on, but it means that several major incredible events were not documented well. So, did I mention that I went to London and Paris this summer? 

Going to Europe was one of my mom's dreams, and she needed a travel partner. I gladly volunteered. I found out 2 weeks before we left that I was expecting Drew. So, at 6 weeks pregnant and with a lot of prayer, some nausea meds (just in case), and my doctor's blessing we flew to Paris. After several days in Paris, we took the Eurostar train to London. It was absolutely incredible.

Just a few pictures

Boat Tour/Dinner down the Seine River in Paris

Mom and Mona Lisa at the Lourve 
The Eiffel Tower behind me

Inside Shakespeare and Company

Notre Dame
Hall of Mirrors in Versailles
Gardens in Versailles

Bike ride from main palace at Versailles to Marie Antoinette's Chateau

The Chateau

Mom in front of Harrods

At Her Majesty's Theatre (we saw Phantom of the Opera!) trying a sip of Pimms

Big Ben

Eating fish and chips and watching a cute old English man stroll by

3 story amazing Anthropologie with a LIVE plant wall!
Paris was everything and more that I thought it would be. My 5 favorite things about Paris: 

1.  Rue de Cler: It's the street where our hotel was located. Rue de Cler is a famous, quaint Parisian street. It was filled with sidewalk cafes, gelato, cheese shops, and boutiques. I loved it. 

2. Museums: The Lourve was great, but crowded and difficult to really see everything we wanted to. My favorite Paris museum was the Orsay. It was created from an old train station and filled with paintings from Monet, Rodin, and Renoir. 

3. Boat Dinner Tour: Mom and I took a romantic boat dinner tour down the Seine, which was incredible food and a great introduction to the city. 

4. Shakespeare and Company bookstore: The bookstore has housed struggling writers in the apartment above since World War II. It is filled with unusual books in a crowded, small atmosphere. It reminded me of something Kent would salivate over, so I tried to take it all in for him so I could describe it when I returned to Dallas. 

5. Palace of Versailles: I watched Marie Antoinette before I left on my trip as well as read a little history about the Palace, so seeing it in person was incredible. The palace, chateau, the gardens were vast and breathtaking, but it also gave me a visual picture of what I think Solomon acquired and said that it was all meaningless. Ecclesiastes 2

"I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself and planted vineyards. 5 I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. 6 I made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees. 7 I bought male and female slaves and had other slaves who were born in my house. I also owned more herds and flocks than anyone in Jerusalem before me. 8 I amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces. I acquired male and female singers, and a harem as well—the delights of a man’s heart. 9 I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me. In all this my wisdom stayed with me.10 I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my labor, and this was the reward for all my toil. 11 Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun."

My 4 favorite things about London (I would do 5, but I need to get dressed to work in the preschool at church):

1. Eurostar: Mom and I splurged and sat in 1st class on the train between Paris and London. It was divine, complete with warm towels, champagne, comfy seats, and delicious food. I think I was meant for first class :).

2. Shopping: We stayed in a hotel just off Oxford street, so every store was just walking distance away. We loved Liberty of London, Anthropologie, Harrods, H&M, and all sorts of small boutiques. 

3. Theatre: We saw Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty's Theatre. I loved it! The story, the music, and the acting was fabulous, and I could have watched 5 more shows in our short time there. 

4. The Underground: After living in a large city that does not have very good public transportation, I was so impressed with The Underground. It was a lot of fun learning the subways and feeling kinda like a local. It was also fun hearing, "Mind the Gap" in a perfect British accent. 

Overall, it was a wonderful trip. Next time I go to Europe I hope not to be pregnant, so I can eat more of the cheese and drink more of the wine. It would also be nice to not feel so tired or nauseous. My mom is an incredible woman. She walked and walked all over Paris and London without a word of complaint (I think I complained more than she did) and was willing to do and try anything. I hope that wasn't our last trip together...maybe next time my sister will be able to join us, and the mother-daughter trio will be complete!