Mourning Notre Dame de Paris: A Brief Liturgical Perspective

Holy Week, la semaine sainte, began Sunday; yesterday evening Notre Dame de Paris lost her roof and spire to flames. The footage of her spire toppling left me hollow, ready to retch. I wonder that this has occurred in our lifetime, to gaze at the height of the landmark cathedral that has endured since the Middle Ages and watch her soaring roofline burned to ash.

The flames were doused as night fell; we appreciate the hundreds of pompiers who worked to stop the destruction. Ave Maria was sung in the twilight by some who looked on, though few knew the words. Even the morning after, it is evident that the spirit of mourning will linger long after the smoke and ashes drift away. Notre Dame's spire was a lenten candle snuffed out. Most of the world recognizes that an enduring symbol and cultural heritage has been stricken; we ultimately grieve the fracture of an enduring testament to faith.

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Bilingual Homeschooling: A Day in the Life (with 4 Kids)

We have mostly homeschooled since my daughter was born (almost ten years ago), but this season marks a return to homeschooling after worldschooling in Lyon, France, last fall. The previous year was also quite a different experience as our children attended a private school three days a week while I taught French. It's refreshing to be homeschooling again after more than a year of formal schooling. Here's what bilingual homeschooling is like for us this year with my four children (from 11 months to almost ten years old):

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My Reading List: Must-Read Books for 2019

Bonjour! Did you make crêpes for la Chandeleur over the weekend? Much of the French population did! The Christian holiday of la Chandeleur (Candlemas) always falls on Groundhog Day here in the U.S., so it's easy for me to remember to make crêpes for dinner each February 2nd, even though crêpes have nothing to do with marmottes. I like the thought of so many people eating crêpes for dinner on the same night each year. It's a more heartwarming picture than everyone watching the Super Bowl together, don't you think? But to each (country) their own habits!

That said, the Super Bowl was a good excuse for us to invite family and friends over. Once the game was done and the kitchen was tidied, though, I continued reading Circe by Madeline Miller. Her first book, Song of Achilles, was the first book I finished this year, and it was riveting. Miller's gifted writing and her intimate knowledge of the flawed characters of Greek mythology make her novels utterly fascinating. These are not stories of moral virtue; instead, they show why we can still respect the broken heroes of the classical world.

I'll happily finish Circe soon since I have a number of fascinating titles waiting on my bookshelves, both in French and English. Here are the books on my list for 2019:

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Streamlining my Hopes for this Year: What I'm Loving

Bonjour mes amis,

How did the month of January go for you? Are you still feeling hopeful about 2019? There are a few simple things that have given me a burst of optimism about this year and the future, so I'd like to share what I've found:

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Simple Advent and A Few Favorite Gifts for Children

Happy Advent and Joyeux Noël! We're excited for this lovely month, in spite of some family health concerns and the turmult in Paris. My dad, a self-taught pianist, once pointed out to me that Christmas carols have a lot of minor chords. This seems fitting to me—not only because of the longing that many people have for a Redeemer, but also because peace on Earth is such a profound need.

In the darkness of winter, light is so meaningful. Earlier this week I told my children about la Fête des Lumières that will take place in Lyon, France, now and this coming weekend (always around le 8 décembre).

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On Worldschooling and our Weekday Rhythms in Lyon, France

My children and I have been back in Oregon for three weeks now, but we're still savoring the seven weeks of school when we lived in Lyon this past fall. On our last worldschooling trip there three years ago, my daughter attended first grade at a private Catholic school and my oldest son attended a public preschool part-time. On this visit, all three of my oldest children attended a public school and like last time, they had great experiences. Here's what it was like:

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Automne à Lyon: Learning to Live Like a Local

My four children and I have been living in Lyon for roughly six weeks now, but it feels longer in the best way. We just love it here. I’m so grateful that God has blessed our stay, and yet at the same time I’m grieving that we’ll have to leave in two weeks. However, my husband has been waiting patiently for us in Oregon, so being with him again will truly make it feel like coming home.

What do we love about Lyon right now? Here are four aspects that are making us happy:

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