Friday, June 29, 2012


Jack and Gemma rarely see eye to eye.

However, today they joined together in an effort that I like to call,

"Occupy Jenn's Lap"

It was a peaceful event. All of their demands were met.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


The other day we toured Vouvray cave. Vouvray is a white wine that is produced in the region of France in which we live. It is a wonderful wine, but we've heard that it can be hard to find in the States.

Here are the barrels where the wine is first aged.

This small vintner told us that he had about 200,000 bottles of wine in his cave.

Some have been there longer than others! 

Have you tried Vouvray?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

What I Don't Pray

I saw something on Facebook the other day that I found rather disturbing. All sorts of people post pictures of cheesy Christian-ese sayings, which, though shallow and dorky, I usually find relatively harmless. But sometimes the seemingly spiritual sentiment is totally contradictory to the Christian faith, and when I see that, I am bothered. One I saw the other day said:

"I pray everyday for my children to be happy and safe. *LIKE* if you pray the same thing."

I wish there were a *BARF* button.


It's not that I don't understand the temptation--the pull towards earthly comfort--but I cannot reconcile my fleshly desire for these things with living a sold-out Christian life.

This is the most mealy mouth, pasty-skinned, lukewarm prayer ever! The Bible does not say "Seek ye first your own safety and happiness!" The Bible doesn't even promise safety and happiness to those who "seek first the kingdom of God." "Happiness" and "Safety" are not goals for the Christian.

I felt the undercurrent of this idea much more strongly when I lived in the States. In the US comfort is king, and most Christians are not concerned--nay, they are pleased--if they live comfortable lives. Even those who do not speak these words in prayer live lives that pay homage to the sentiment.

We, (yes I, too, fall prey to such thinking!), we find magnificent ways to rationalize keeping most of what we earn in order to live lives that are happy and safe. We find magnificent ways to rationalize NOT sharing the Gospel, when this should be the first thing on our to-do list each and every day. We find magnificent ways to rationalize our independence, even though God has called us to live in interdependent community. We find magnificent ways to rationalize our use of time, including time on Facebook, when our own neighbors are dying for human contact--a hug, a listening ear, a batch of homemade cookies.

I do not want my kids to fall into this trap--I do not want them to live safe, happy lives. I want them to be in the trenches, losing their lives for the kingdom of God. Here is how I pray for my children:

Father God, thank you for giving your only son to die on the cross so that Graham and Chandler could be saved. You could've chosen a 'safe and happy' life for your son, but instead He became a 'man of sorrows' who died a most painful death. Yet His death was not the end of the story! Thank you for making eternal safety--life with you--a reality. Since you have sealed Graham and Chandler for eternity, please do whatever you see fit with their lives here on earth. Give them challenges that help them to realize how much they need you. Give them opportunities to be patient in the face of trials, to be loving in the face of hatred, to be joyful in the face of difficulty, and to have peace in the face of battles. Let your light shine brightly through them in every circumstance so that people will be drawn to Jesus and give You glory. I pray, Lord, that they would be aware of the needs of those around them and eager to share everything that they have because they know that You are the great Provider. I pray that they would be unsettled by injustice and willing to fight for what is right, no matter what it costs them. I pray that they would be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks them the reason for the hope that they have. I pray that they would continuously speak of your goodness and grace. I pray that in all things--ALL THINGS--they will give thanks. Let their faith be tested, refine them in your holy fire, and when you call them home, Lord Jesus, I pray that they will hear the words, "Well done, good and faithful servants."

I pray every day that my children will be spiritual warriors, not spiritual wimps. *LIKE* if you pray the same thing.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Ten Totally Trivial Tidbits

  1. Gemma was spayed on Friday. She is not sporting one of those silly cones around her neck, but rather a bandage around her middle.We are pampering her during her recovery.
  2. My dear friend has arrived and I am enjoying every minute with her. We have been to a château and we plan to go to the Vouvray caves and even to Paris for a few days, but what I delight in the most are the on-going heart to heart conversations. 
  3. Tis the season of...annual reviews! In the past week we have been asked to do an annual review of our ministry for two supporting churches and for GEM, our mission organization. I actually like doing reviews, as they give us the opportunity to reflect of what God has done and to evaluate  how we are spending our time and money. We feel so blessed to be able to minister in France and we appreciate the gift of accountability!
  4. I bought rhubarb at market yesterday and I made a rhubarb crisp. Locally grown summer produce makes me really happy.
  5. I am planning a retreat for the women from 5 churches in our region. As the average church size is 40 people,  I am expecting to have around 20 women. The retreat will be in November, and I am now in the process of praying about a speaker and a worship leader.We have nailed down the location, it will be at a charming chambre d'hôtes about 40 minutes from Loches.
  6. School is NOT out here yet! Chandler will be finished at the end of June, Graham will finish his classes by the middle of July, and David's term goes until the middle of August.
  7. I've joined a knitting group. The reasons I joined were to make some new friends and to speak French. Bonus: many of the women are expert knitters who can help me with my projects, since I am just a beginner.
  8. We are in the midst of the European Football (soccer) Championships. All of us enjoy watching the games. 
  9. God keeps bringing vision and clarity to our calling in France. We feel privileged to participate in His kingdom work here in Loches!
  10. I planted 8 irises in our garden today. The bulbs were a gift from my friend Marie.

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Eismann Cometh

Every other Monday morning, I get a visit from my frozen food man, Emmanuel. He comes to my house in his refrigerated truck, takes my order right there on the spot, and then hand carries my selections into the house. 

The quality of the food is much better than that which I can get at the local grocery store. Our regular order includes diced onions, several varieties of french fries, and ice cream bars. I also like their Brussels sprouts and green beans. But the real reason I am committed customer is that I just love the salesman! He is so friendly, very knowledgeable about his product, and provides excellent customer service.  

I never had a visit from Schwan's in the States, but I imagine that it works much the same way.

I'm hooked on having a frozen food guy! 

Thursday, June 7, 2012


...went to the beauty parlor for the first time!

Little miss puppy was starting to look like a yak, so today she got her coat stripped! 
What a cute summer hair-do for our Gemma Lou Magoo.

Saturday, June 2, 2012


Each Tuesday, as I walk up the street to her house, I pray the same simple prayer: "Lord, help me not to get in the way of whatever you are doing!"

While we discuss the miracles of John, tears repeatedly fill her eyes. She is being wooed, and I am just a witness. Like an eager spectator, I find myself captivated by the romance that is unfolding before me. Completely separate from it, but unable to turn away.

"I have a hard time believing that God really cares about me, personally," she confesses, apologetically.

I don't know how to respond. I suggest she read Psalm 139. I ask my pastor for advice.

"Just let the scriptures speak to her. Its not your job to convince her, God will do it. He's already doing it."

I know he is right. So I go to her each week, praying, "Lord, help me not to get in they way of whatever you are doing."

And every week the hunger increases. Every week the tears flow.

"I don't know why I always cry!" she says.

Then it hits me. Those tears are the work of the Holy Spirit. He is caressing her heart, and she doesn't even know it. He is giving her evidence of His personal, intimate, passion for her. He is loving her, and the only way she can respond is with holy tears.

I know those tears.

I am struck with an unexpected emotion: jealousy!

I want to feel that passionate love. I want to cry those tears anew. Have God and I become an old married couple? Can the flame be rekindled?

The next morning at prayer, I share these thoughts...this deep desire for my heart to burn again. I feel like one of the stone statues in Narnia, desperate for the breath of Aslan to warm me, to bring me to life.

And I wait.


Thankful for a thirst that can only be quenched by living water.

Friday, June 1, 2012

La Fête des Voisins

Last night our church hosted a Fête des Voisins (block party) for our quartier (neighborhood). 

We served tarte flambées, which, at the risk of sounding gauche, are basically French Alsatian Quesadillas. Except they don't have have quesa. We cook them in a special oven with a wood fire in it.

Tarte Flambées are delicious!

We blockaded the street, put up tables and chairs, and invited everyone who lives in the area. People brought drinks, salads, and desserts to share.

My friend, Floriane, played her accordion.

And Jerôme, a new brother in Christ, taught us a folk dance.

It was a chance for the church to bless the neighborhood. We had great fun, laughter, and some meaningful conversations. We were thrilled with how many people came and delighted by the opportunity to show God's love in such a simple but meaningful way.