My one day in Paris was interesting. It reminded me of visiting the Memphis zoo with Aunt Dorothy. We dashed from place to place with my bags in tow, stopping only long enough to say, “Wow! How beautiful,” snap a shot, and head off to the next sight. Sheila kept saying, “Have I told you how glad I am that you’re here? And that you speak English?” as we rushed from place to place.We went from the airport (decorated with large spins of the Mona Lisa) . . .

to Notre Dame . . .

walked along the Seine . . .

to the Louvre . . . .

and then to the Arc de Triomphe, where we triumphed over our hunger by eating some homemade cookies from my dad!

After our mad dash through the sights, we used the Paris subway system to go to Sheila’s friend Collette’s house.

Collette is a missionary supported by Sheila’s church. She fed us a wonderful midday meal and we were able to rest a big before we hopped on an overnight train to get to Florence.

Things I learned about Paris:

1. Beautiful, BEAUTIFUL architecture. We saw lots more than what’s listed here . . . it would just take too long to list them all (or post the pictures here.)

2. There is a lot of trash.

3. There are lots of stairs. Not fun when lugging a suitcase.

4. It stinks. You don’t want to know why.

5. Eight hours in Paris gave me a distinct fondness for the US obsession with personal hygiene.

Day 1, Part 2

—- Note: Be sure to read the “Once Upon A Time” post if you haven’t already —-

Time: 5:00 PM

On the plane to Paris now. The plane isn’t completely full and there is an extra seat next to me. HUZZAH for elbow room. And I’m tired enough I doubt sleep will be an issue.

I’m very glad I have my black slinky clothes. They are very comfortable. (An added sidenote: this was a nickname given to Coldwater Creek’s travel knit that I purchased for the trip. I highly recommend it. It feels like you’re wearing pajamas but looks very pulled together. Top it with a denim jacket and you can’t go wrong! OK — back to the travelogue) It would be nice to have a window seat but having leg room is good too. Thankfully, I’ve always been able to sleep pretty much anywhere, any time. I only have one day in Paris and I do not want to spend it sleeping or with a horrid headache.

I’m still gearing myself up for the fact that I will have to use an airplane bathroom. I avoid them on short flights.

We’re about to take off. This is real. I will either see Sheila in Paris in eight hours or I will meet the Losties in person.

Either one would be fantastic.

Note to self: I should probably learn to take life more seriously. Or not.

The guy across from me looks like Randy Discher on Monk and there is a sweet baby boy in front of me. I hope I can get a picture. (I didn’t.)

Time: ????

In-flight meal: chicken and rice, garden salad and roll. Not terrible.

In-flight movie: Becoming Jane. Perfect

iPod: Indispensable due to very unhappy child 2 rows back. Cute boy in front of me is soundly sleeping.

Time: Cell phone says 10:12 but we’re moving across time zones, so who knows???

2nd in-flight movie: National Treasure. However, I’ve been mostly asleep. So has the sweet baby in front of me, but the sad little guy further back switches back and forth between asleep and obviously unhappy.

Poor little guy. Poor mom. I don’t think I could have done that.

I still have no clear expectations of what it will be like to get off the plane and be in France.

FRANCE! My life doesn’t include places like France and Florence. It includes midwives, babies, children, and school.

This is rather amazing.

Oh — and each time I’ve gotten up and walked around the plane, a poor guy behind me has had a laptop up with spreadsheets open. Poor thing. I’m so glad I left mine at home. SO glad.

Time: 7:45 Saturday AM.

We will be landing in less than an hour.

The adventure begins.

Once Upon a Time . . .

in a land far, far away I promised a travelogue of my adventures in Europe and California. On both of my returns, LIFE greeted me by standing up and yelling in my face. It absolutely would not be ignored so it has taken a while for me to find the time to post my writings and pictures from the trips.

But I think I can do it now. So here we go. Oh — and remember that the day before this all the flights I needed were canceled so my trip to the LR airport was actually my second attempt to leave the country.

April 11, 2008


So far, so good. Mama and Daddy got to the house by 7:00 and we left by 7:15. The flights were still on so I am here, checked in, baggage checked, and cleared through security. I guess extremely pale 40-year-old women don’t qualify as any type of security threat.

Now comes the part I don’t like: waiting in an airport, especially this one. The Little Rock airport is great in terms of smallness and manageability, but there’s nothing to do here and it’s traveling population isn’t as interesting to watch as larger places.

Words of wisdom from my mom as we were waiting yesterday: “Don’t take up with strange men.” Not, “Have fun,” or “I’m so glad you get to do this,” or “Tell Sheila hello,” or “What a way to celebrate turning 40!” No — “Don’t take up with strange men.” I think she still lives in mortal fear of my becoming a loose, wanton woman. How funny is that?

I’m already appalled by airport prices. $2.69 for a bottle of water.


In the air, seated on the very back seat of the flight. Very loud. May use my new iPod before the international flight in order to deal with the noise. In the airport I of course wound up talking with someone with Searcy/Harding connections. He goes to church with my parents, his wife is my ultimate boss’s assistant, and his son is in my daughter’s class at Searcy High. Such a small world.

I’m seated next to a quiet cowboy, complete with hat. Two hats in fact. A brand new one is perched on his lap.

Things are a little bouncy so my handwriting is a mess.

I’m very tired. I think that with some Nicolette Larson and Tylenol PM, sleep will be very possible on the next leg of the flight. I need to remember to tell Colby that I bought Three Cups of Tea to read on the plane.

OH! And J is pregnant! She called to tell me last night! It made the whole 24-hour delay worth it! 🙂


I’m in O’Hare — thank goodness — and no thanks to the pilot of the last leg. Bounciest descent EVER. Even the flight attendant commented on the turbulence. I was very thankful I’d decided against the bagel before leaving. Now I’m at Chili’s — same one as my last stop at O’Hare — and have a little over 3 hours before I need to be at my next gate for the flight to Paris. And although I’m very much enjoying not having anyone else to be responsible for, I have to admit that it would be really nice to have another adult to talk with during the waiting time. Sooo — I’m very much looking forward to seeing Sheila.

There is still more from day 1 but I have to get ready for work so I’ll finish later. And once the posts are about my time in Europe, there will be pictures to accompany them. That’s when the read adventure begins!

Lessons from Italy

1. Life is beautiful when God and man work together.

2. Little things — like homemade cookies from my dad — can mean a lot. Sharing with your sister isn’t always a bad thing either.

3. Tradition and innovation can coexist in beautiful ways.

4. Family always adds fun.

5. Family doesn’t always mean blood relatives. And you don’t have to speak the same language to communicate.

6. It helps to look at things closely.

7. And from all angles.

I came home

How do you summarize a six-week time that started in Florence, took a trip through chaos and despair and ended on the beach in Malibu? I don’t know how to do that.

Florence was wonderful but I came home to a heartache that had to be faced. Aslan would say that it was someone else’s story and that I don’t have the right to tell it, so I can’t do that. But I can say that everything in my life was re-evaluated and up for grabs between the time I got home from Italy and my recent return from California. Everything but my desire for my life to please God.

I’ve relearned the importance of Christian friends and family. I’ve relearned the importance of loving God more than anything in this world. I’ve relearned that he uses the beauty of this world to communicate the reality of the next. I’ve relearned the importance of being both honest and honorable. I’ve relearned the difference that one person can make at a crucial time. And I’ve relearned that if you want to experience the joy of life you also have to be willing to experience deep, gut-wrenching pain.

I titled this blog back when there was a song going around that included the words, “Life is hard, but God is good.” Today that feels truer than it has in a long time.

So I’m home but more than ever I’m looking forward to my real home. This one.

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