Showing posts with label Paris. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Paris. Show all posts

Monday, November 16, 2015

"Innocently Optimistic"

Hello lovely readers,

I had a blog post all ready for today but with the actions happening in Paris, Beirut and really around the world it felt hard to act like nothing had happened. I know changing my Facebook profile picture will not change the world and I know that even writing this post will not change the world. But something has to right?

I have always considered myself a positive person, some people might call me "innocently optimistic" and I am okay with that... I rather be that than thinking the world is a dark and scary place. But sadly sometimes the world sends messages that it is a dark and scary place. Sometimes the world feels like it won't ever make sense. And as I sit here in the comfort of my desk still enjoying the warmth from my cup of coffee I have to believe there is still good and there is still hope in this world.

On Sunday my pastor, gave a really hard message about putting on the "Armor of God". We have been going through the book of Ephesians and for the first four chapters it is all about diversity and unity, then Paul gets into some hard things like "submission" and "obeying our masters" and sometimes we rather not talk about or read about that stuff. This message on putting on the "Armor of God" I have always felt is not about looking for a fight or going out to fight just because you can. But knowing that this world and this life is hard. We are going to fight, argue, hurt each other and destruct other people's lives... its what happens because we live in a world of sin.

The passage we discussed:

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak. Ephesians 6:10-19 (ESV)

And I will admit this is a hard passage to understand because we are called to be peace makers and we are called to submit to one another... so how can we be peace makers and still be in the armor of God? I don't have an answer and I might never have one. 

But I know this world is not what God intended. In his sermon my pastor pointed back to Genesis and the story of creation and how in those passage when it says "God saw that it was good" the word "good" means Shalom- peace, rightness, and completeness . And here "peace" is not the absence of conflict but they way the world should be with a fullness in God. I think rather you are a Christian or not that you can look around and see that this world is not peaceful, right, or complete. If it were we wouldn't hold grudges, we wouldn't kill innocent people, we wouldn't have starving children, or tears of pain, and the feeling of hopelessness. This world is not complete. 

I am not a Lord of the Rings fan but I liked when my pastor pointed out this line:
I think that makes sense. I do not think we should go out fighting with guns, swords or bow and arrows but I do believe there is good in this world and we have to protect it. We have to hold on to it and defend it. To me the only way to do this is to have your focus on God and the salvation, love, and hope we have in His son Jesus Christ. 

I will be the first to admit that I am still figuring all this out and I don't have all the answers but I there is one who does and depend on His control, His peace, His righteousness, and love.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Back from Paris!

Mom and I on my favorite bridge Pont Neuf.
 Hello Lovely Readers,

I am happy to report my mom and I are back from Paris.* It was a wonderful trip and before I begin this post I have to give a special shout out to a few people: my mom who took me to Paris, my step-dad who financially sponsored this trip (I know you wanted to come but thank you for this once in a life time opportunity with my mom), also thank you to my aunt and grandparents who gave so generously for me to buy supplies for my trip and souvenirs on my trip. Thank you!!!

The trip was wonderful... I hardly knew what to expect... minus a few movies set in Paris and pics on Pinterest I don't think I truly comprehended the beauty of Paris. Fortunately for me my mom had been to Paris a few times so she knew the basic lay out of the city, plus she had done a lot of research before the trip and was taken some french lessons, which really helped! We stayed at a Best Western (a simple hotel) but in a great neighborhood in between the Hotel Invalid and the Eiffel Tower. Needless to say we got lots of shots of the Eiffel Tower...

Also I created a Pinterest board for my mom and I to share ideas on things to do in Paris (I highly recommend this as it helped us know what we wanted to do) Link to Pinterest Board. The board has 500 pics so my mom asked me to narrow it down to the top ten things. My #1 thing I wanted to do was see Versailles and my #2 was eat lots of pastries. Happy to say I got to do both.
After our first dinner we split this huge eclair
The stamp inside my book
On the first day full day in Paris we walked on Rue  Germain heading to the Shakespeare and Company bookstore the walk was wonderful. We saw St. Michel's square, it may not be famous but it really awoke me to the beautiful ornateness of Paris (I took so many photos of just the architecture). Also on this walk I got my first glimpse of Notre Dame. At Shakespeare I bought 2 books and got the stamp of purchase (felt so geekily cool... even if my mom made fun of me for buying the hefty book of Mary Queen of Scots). Then after Shakepeare and Company we went to the Morsee D'orsay and had lunch.

Travel tip: Pack cute scarfs because they will end up in all your pics. 
Collage of highlights of day 1.
Mom and I- selfie in Morsee D'orsay with famous clock in background
The next day we went to the Louvre. I am sorry I cannot boast much about the Louvre... I got so overwhelmed about the amount of people and just how big it was, it shook me up a bit. My mom really wanted to see the Napoleon Apartments so we went to see those but then I had to leave. I am not really good at spaces. Travel tips (for Louvre):Plan out what you are going to see then just go see those. Also check days of holidays and try not to go on those days. Travel tips (for museums): Museum Pass (we bought ours at the Hotel Invalid) this way you can avoid long lines and invest in getting the audio guides because all the signs are in French.

The third full day we went to Versailles... my mom had booked us a small tour group to go there for the day. I had wanted to go to Versailles since I saw the Marie Antoinette movie and read her biography of her (I kind of fan-girled over Marie Antoinette). I loved seeing it up close and personal, also our tour guide was very informative.

Highlights from inside Versailles
Me in Marie Antoinette's bed room...probably favorite moment. 
Versailles is too big for one collage and it was all so awesome I took lots of pics. 
Highlights from Versailles grounds
Travel Tip: Take time to rest, you will want to see everything but you will enjoy it more if you are rested. I think we took a nap everyday. 

Then on Saturday and Sunday mom and I were both so exhausted we decided to take a "hop on and hop off" bus tour of Paris. The bus was great, they had English (and various other language guides) and we got to sit and enjoy the sights of Paris. 

 After the relaxing days on the bus and taking it slow mom and I enjoyed a late night and seeing the Eiffel Tower sparkle. Since 2000 the Eiffel tower lights up or sparkles on the hour (after sunset) for 5 minutes.

In May the first hour it sparkles is 10PM... because sun didn't even set till 9:30.

After a relaxing weekend around Paris, mom and I did some shopping to enjoy the "warmest" day we had in Paris. I use air quotes because while the weather said it was suppose to be 70 it didn't feel like 70... I think I broke out my new summer dress a little too soon. (Shout out to friend (you know who you are) who bought me this dress... thank you I look forward to wearing it when its warm enough). Even though it was a little too cold to enjoy window shopping I did enjoy the beautiful room to eat lunch.
Great job to Paris for making your department stores so beautiful

Then on Tuesday (my birthday) mom and I went to see the Palace of Justice, it was originally a palace for the Kings until the Louvre was built and then during the French Revolution it served as a prison... because it is usually every girls dream to spend her birthday at a prison. Well I wanted to see it because it was where Marie Antoinette was imprisoned (like I said.. I kind of Fan-girl over her).
This is from Marie Antoinette's cell, that was turned into a chapel by Louis Phillipe (when the monarchy was briefly restored). I took one French Revolution class in undergrad but it ended at Napoleon so I need to brush up on my French history.

Then on at night my mom surprised me to a dinner river cruise. It was wonderful and a great way to enjoy the city.
In dock awaiting departure
The next day was our last day in Paris ;( we took another bus tour and then we had lunch on the first level of the Eiffel Tower. Though we stayed close to the Eiffel Tower it was awesome to go up. I know some people would have gone all the way up but I felt the first level was good enough... I could see all of Paris and that was Awesome.
Picture of my feet looking down.
Before I wrap up this post I just want to say one thing I was nervous about was that French people would be rude (as I often heard) this was completely untrue. I found when we attempted French by saying "Bonjour" (good day) or "Bonsoir" (good evening) that people were really friendly and understood we didn't speak French and tried to speak to us in English. (Though sometimes my Spanish slipped out when I tried to speak French). So if you go there just try some French and you will notice you get a lot further with people. Also sit back and relax when you are at a cafe, a meal could last an hour to an hour and half (they are not slow it is their culture to enjoy meals)... my mom and I carried books with us to pass the time.

I took so many photos that I didn't even post on Facebook but I felt this post would not be complete without another collage of just special highlights of the trip.
I had a great partner in crime (my mom) on this trip who took lots of pics of me and with me enjoyed the beauty that is Paris. There are so many places I want to see in the world, that I wish I could be a travel blogger. (Mom just a reminder the horse in the background in the picture of me is Henri IV).

*- the pictures are from both my mom and myself.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Monday #Littleloves

 Hello Lovely Readers,

Through my book challenge and the Twitter #26BookswithBringupBurns I found the blog Typically Ted and found the great badge #LittleLoves

And in the blog it talks about the little loves in your life... so here I go.
It is less than a week from going on my first trip with my mom to Paris. 
My mom and I have been planning this trip for years so I am excited but it seems surreal for it to be coming true. 
Every time I say "surreal" I always think of Noting Hill.

 Book 12 in my challenge The Chance fulfills the requirement of reading a book you own but haven't read. My friend gave it to me for my last birthday but I just got around to reading it. It wasn't very long and the story is cute with a good message about hope, forgiveness and second chances. 
Am I the only one who thinks it is odd that books have trailers that are like movie trailers?

Now that both Park and Rec and Parenthood are over I really only have one TV show that I watch on a usual bases and that is Reign. 

However, I just finished watching the show Turn that was on AMC (through Netflix)

{trailer for season1}
And I am not ashamed admit that I watched it mostly because of JJ Fields 
Who yes is a bad guy (well bad if you are rooting for America) but I love him as Mr. Tilney in Northanger Abbey so it was interesting to see him play a bad guy.
Mr Tilney
Also I have started watching Arrested Development for the first time since I did not watch it when it was on TV but I am only a few episodes in and thus far have not felt the need to binge watch it.
 Breaking in new shoes for Paris

Usually I listen to NPR in the morning while at work and then in the afternoon I turn on my Pandora account. I have a 90's Pop Radio station and I love when an N*SYNC songs come on and I still sing every word.

Besides my trip to ParisI am planning a trip to see my sister and meet my newest nephew. 
From my trip meeting my first niece
Still can't believe that picture was taken more than 5 years ago.
Okay those are my #littleloves for the week.