Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas Times

Let me catch you up on a few highlights from the last few weeks.  Let's see...

Friday the 13th, I went with our french class to have lunch together in Carcassonne and also tour the War museum there.  They were having an exposition about the time between the two world wars.  I had a great time visiting over lunch and touring the museum.  The exposition was real good and I learned a lot of History as well as insights to that generation.
 The 7th, we were invitied to attend a Pantomine in English.  This is a play with interaction with the crowd (a british thing).  We had a good time, the kids really enjoyed it.  Above they went up on the stage to help the crowd learn a song.

Friday the 14th, we had a Christmas dinner with the church in Carcassonne.  We invited a family from Limoux to come.  We had a great time of food and fellowship.  And some heard the Christmas story for the first time. Pictured above is the kids singing a Christmas special. The following Sunday afternoon we attended the kids basketball tournament.  That evening for our English worship service we had guests, a British couple visited in our English services, as they had in our French services the Monday before.
 The following Tuesday, the 17th, was Caleb's 11th birthday.  He had a small party Wednesday with two of his friends.

By this time, Christmas was in full swing.  I was busy helping a friend move out of a house he just sold.  It was a lot of work because the house was an hour away up in the moutnains and we were working in snow and ice.  He really appreciated the help and I was also able to give him spiritual counsel.  The kids last day was Friday, but I had an all weekend training sessions for Coaches.  It was long, but I enjoyed it, and was able to renew some contacts made with the basketball outreach last June.

The Sunday night before Christmas we got together at Laurens for a special English Christmas service and pizza.  Lauren shared a book about the Christmas story, and we also made some crafts that Lauren's parents had sent for the kids. 

Monday before Christmas, everyone was occupied for the adult Bible study, but Lauren had a lesson with our kids, they decorated cookies as well. 

 Tuesday, Christmas Eve, Lauren came over for a Christmas Eve dinner of chicken and dressing. 
For Christmas day, the kids made it to 7:00 before Christmas started.  They opened the first wave of toys with just us.  Then Lauren came over and brought the second wave of toys that she had brought for them..Then came the third wave of toys that Lauren's parents, and some members of their church had sent.  The kids were spoiled as usual.  Arianna is sporting her Princess outfit.

 Just woke up and ready to go.
The annual in front of the tree picture.  God bless, JASON

Monday, December 9, 2013


Let me try and summarize the last two weeks.  Thanksgiving! One of my favorite times of the year.  We were going all out this year with 40 people invited to our Thanksgiving meal.  Monday morning, I prepared the Bible Study, and the quiz that I would be handing out for Thanksgiving.  Monday afternoon we had our weekly meeting with Lauren to plan things out for the future.  We finallized athe plans for Thanksgiving, discussed the English services Sunday night to see how we could improve them, and planned for a group coming in June.  Monday night, after running Angie to her palates class, Lilia to swimming, Bible study went well.  Lauren is continuing to teach the kids on Monday night and it is going well.  Tuesday morning, I met with out French class, Angie did some shopping.  Tuesday afternoon, I had my computer class which went well.  There were a few new students and we talked about connections (VGA, HDMI, USB, WIFI, Bluetooth, 4G, etc.).  Pictured below is the class from Friday evening.
 Tuesday evening at Basketball practice,while confirming the presence of my teammates, I realized that everyone had planned on bringing their children (surprise), meaning in a room for 40 people we would have about 60.  Thus began the scrammble to add the those we already had avlaible to watch our kids so that we could provide babysitters for those who did not have any and wanted some. Wednesday, the cooking began.  Thankfully we had Lauren to help divide the workload with.We were responsable for the rolls, sweet potatos (just the baking), String bean casserole, devilled eggs, cheesecake, cranberry sauce, ice tea, and wassail.   I do not think I have ever seen such large pots so full. . .

 Wednesday afternoon's basketball practice went well.  Getting the kids ready for another tournament mid-december.   Wednesday night, Angie and Lilia had practice.  We took team pictures at practice because the club is planning to have calenders printed to sell.  That seems to be a popular thing to do. Several times a week we have people knocking on the door selling calenders.  Thursday morning I met with my language helper as usual, we went over the Bible study text and also the quiz to make sure everything was well written.  I usually make errors when writting with the grammaire still, and occasionnally I write a word how it sounds orally but not how it should be written.  Thursday morning and afternoon, I continued to help Angie cook, we took a break the afternoon to go pick up the keys for the room we have rented.  This room is provided by the mayors office for 100 euros.  It was nice and clean.  Someone had reserved it on Friday night and it was ours all day saturday (foreshadow).  Thursday evening, Lauren invited us to have a more personnal, relaxed thanksgiving meal with her.  Pictured below.  Very nice and appreciated.

 Friday Morning, Angie and I had a meeting to renew our visa's.  The process goes well, we have the routine down.  Thankfully next year we will be able to apply for a ten year visa, and stop having to go every year ( and pay every year) to renew.  We also pickud up a few things from the store and borrowed some tables and chairs from the church in Carcassonne.  Friday afternoon, cooking again.  Friday evening I had my other computer class.  Lilia went with me because right afterwards we had a Trophy ceremonie for all the sports clubs.  Our basketball team was awarded for getting second place and Lilia was awarded for getting third with her school swimming team (pictured below).
 Saturday was the big day. Caleb and I went first thing in the morning to get the heat turned on in the room, only to find out that the place was covered with red mud and dirt. We spent the better part of an hour sweeping and mopping.  I took plenty of pictures to show later and complain.  After we stopped by the store, we took Angie's place so they could go set up the decorations. Lauren planned out the decorations and did a good job.  

 We got everything cooked up.  Our friends who do the turkey for us every year brought it over, cooked, sliced and ready to serve (what a blessing!). We made our way over, several trips in both cars, and around 7 started welcoming our guests.  We sat and started eating around 8:30.  It went wonderfully.  Inbetween courses I would go over teh quiz, or talk about the history of Thanksgiving, or lead in a prayer.  Everyone enjoyed most of the food.  We had more that enough.  There ended up being right at 40 and only 7 kids.  Before the dessert, I had everyone change places to get to know more people.  Everything was finished up around 11.  We made it back to the babysitters around 11:30.  Stayed and visited with them and other parents until about midnight. Angie crashed on the couch right away.  I stayed up until 1:30 putting things away and getting ready for Sunday. 
  Sunday we had a meal after church services, which helped to get rid of leftovers.  The English services went well Sunday night.  Monday morning I worked on the Bible study.  Monday afternoon we met with Lauren and worked a lot on details for the trip in June, and sharing about how Thanksgiving went and how we could improve it next year.  Monday night, Bible study was semi-cancelled. Lauren still did the kids lesson, but everyone cancelled except a young British lady who called a quarter after and wanted to come.  We had a good visit with her.  She teaches English at the High School in Limoux three days a week.  Tuesday we had our French class in the morning, and computer class in the afternoon.  Wednesday was basketball day.  Thursday, met with Eric.  Friday, went to the market, had some good contacts, in spite of the cold.  Friday nights computer class went well, we talked about word processors.  Saturday we had a christmas lunch with the AVF.  We had a good visit with those seated at our table.  We had to leave a little early because Angie had youth meeting. Lilia was gone attending her regional swim competition.  She did well finishing 38th out of fifty.  She knocked another second off her best time.  Not bad considering those who finished inthe top spots were several years older than her.  AFter the youth group, we went to a Pantomime in English that our friends from Carcassonne invited us to.  It was real nice.  The kids really enjoyed it, even Arianna.  We got home late, but had a lot of fun.  Sunday after church we were invited to eat with a teammate of mine.  We had a real good visit with them about our work and what we believe. Sunday night services went well again, Arianna fell asleep before the songs we over.  Below is the basketball calender.  God bless, JASON