Monday, October 12, 2015

Day Tripping

Yesterday, we made our first trip into France. One of Anna's favorite saints is Joan of Arc. Her birthplace happens to be 2 1/2 hours away. My great grandmother lived and worked in Metz until she saved enough money to come to the US. That happened to be halfway between home and Domremy, Joan's birthplace. So we planned a day excursion to see both places.

The day dawned overcast and cool. We packed accordingly and headed out. Once we left the autobahn (or whatever they call it in France), the drive was so completely breathtakingly beautiful that I could not help saying so out loud every few minutes. At one point, I called out to the kids and asked if they were enjoying the scenery. I turned to see Jack's nose planted firmly against the window. Without turning his head, he gave me a hearty thumb's up.

As we drove through a canopy of trees dressed up in their finest fall foliage, it felt almost magical or sacred. Something not to be disturbed.

I loved Joan's little village. It was so quaint and quiet, with pastures of sheep and cows, just the kind of place I want to eventually settle down in, whenever this army life comes to an end. Metz, on the other hand, made me uneasy. Everything was large, it is a big city. I do not belong in such a place. The cathedral was amazing. I cannot even fathom how they built such a thing so long ago.

Coming out of the cathedral, we walked along the pedestrian area, looking for a place to eat dinner. We found a place that specialized in potato dishes. They opened the doors for you. It was kind of intimidating, walking in there with children, though they did have a kid's menu that consisted of three choices. After finishing off dinner with some chocolate mousse, we headed back to the car, which was parked right at the cathedral. The sun had set and the cathedral was aglow in lights. The green of the roof practically glowed against the golden hue of the building itself.

We all agree that is was a great day.

methinks Tony is a tad taller than most people in the 1400's

Peter picked a flower for me

I said "Act natural"

trying out their souvenirs

in the village of Domremy

Jack passed this note to me as we were driving to Metz

had the kids run up there to give some perspective to the size of those doors

close up of the door

where we ate

Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Narrow Way

I feel like I am a fairly observant person. Looking out the window while we are riding in the car, observing nature, or the beautiful houses, or the little oddities, that is what makes the drive interesting. The kids will call out from the back if they see something exciting. An antique car, a bicycle built for two, some large bird perched on the entrance sign to the autobahn.

So how is it that after living in this village for eighteen months that I never noticed the statue of Our Lady nestled in a little alcove above the door of one of the prettiest houses in the village? I have gazed at that house so many times, yet I just noticed Mary the other day. I have been thinking about her and this morning I thought of her as leading us toward the narrow path to Heaven. There are many ways to enter our village. The main one has recently been blocked off though, to allow for bridge repairs. So we must choose one of the smaller roads into the village. The most narrow one is the street with Our Lady's outstretched hands. "Come this way, my child," she seems to be saying.

Oh, that narrow road. I want to travel it. I know it is the right path, but oh, it is so hard sometimes. Just like that narrow road in our village, it is the most challenging to navigate. You cannot move quickly. You must go slowly. You must practice patience and charity and many other virtues while traveling on this road, or you may just find yourself blocked in with nowhere to turn.  But it is also the most lovely and it leads us home on the straightest path. The paths of life and of Our Lord are not so different if you stop and think about it.

I took all these photos while on a walk to take a picture of the house. We were all grumpy in the classroom, tempers were short, and so I made everyone go with me. Grudgingly is the way I would describe my crew's accompaniment at first. But by the time we had made it down the hill and entered the main square of the village, attitudes had improved and we had a great time observing the little things.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Yarn Along and Stuff

I finished the mouse and gave him some pants. The sweater is on the needles. He really is a cutie and I can't wait for him to have a warm little sweater for the cooler weather we are experiencing.

Today is the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. A friend had posted a link with the idea to make an edible rosary out of chocolate chips. Since I almost never do things like that, I decided to throw caution to the wind and give it a whirl. The little kids loved it, but Anna said at the end that she thought all the chocolate was too distracting. But we prayed our rosary, which is always a good thing.

I am still reading "The Middle Moffat" to the kids at bedtime. I finished the Don Camillo book last night and when we made our weekly trip to the library yesterday, not one, but two of the books I had requested were available. So I now have to decide which one to read first. Such troubles I have!

Joining Ginny, as always.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Apple Orchard Day

Today was a perfect fall day. Cool temperatures, a beautiful cloudless blue sky, and an orchard full of apples. This was our second visit to this orchard with our little home school group and it was such a pleasant, fun, relaxing day. We strolled among the trees. The kids were running hither and thither. We got to eat apples. I bought some honey. I asked whether it was local. The lady gave me a funny smile and replied, "Well, the bees are out there with the apples." So, yes, I would say it is local honey.

Listening intently to how they grow the apples

Hugging the giant apple

No, we did not pick this many. These are waiting to be pressed into fresh juice.

Watching the apple press in action

Juice, being pressed out of the ground up apples.

Proof that is was indeed a perfect fall day.


The moms