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Archive for May, 2011

Meet the Hobbit

May 31, 2011 Leave a comment

First things first, the Hobbit is my three year old daughter and she insists that she is not a Hobbit, but a kid elephant.  She tells us this multiple times every day and she has been a kid elephant for almost a year.  But I think she is really a Hobbit.  She loves to eat.  Right after breakfast, she is ready for second breakfast  and then elevenses, luncheon, afternoon tea, dinner and supper.  This girl is ready to eat and would definitely keep up with any Hobbit.  She also loves to be barefoot and has cute ears.

Hobbit is full of energy.  The only time she is not bouncing around doing something is when she is asleep.  And even then, I think she would rather be up doing something (thus the fact that despite her needing a good nap, she never actually falls asleep at nap time).  She also is defective…her volume control knob is broken.  And it is stuck on full volume.  Seriously, this kid yells all the time.

A friend of ours is convinced that Hobbit will grow up to be some sort of game show host, and I can believe it.  She is a ham and loves to have the attention on her.  Except of course when we introduce her to someone and then she turns into the shyest girl ever.  But she comes out of it quickly.

Hobbit is smart and beautiful and just a bit of a space cadet.  Sometimes she can be easily distracted.  Like when she yells out, “I gotta pee!” and then on her way to the bathroom she stops to play with a toy or get a book.   She is the sweetest little cuddle muffin and is a real joy.

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Categories: Meet the family Tags: , ,

Meet the Princess

May 30, 2011 Leave a comment

Ah, my princess.  She was born in Paris, France while Jen and I were living there.  Now, I will admit that I am a proud Papa and maybe just a bit biased, but she is beautiful and smart (smarter than I am).  And yes, I know that when she gets older I will have to beat off the boys with a big stick.

Princess likes the things that most five year old girls like.  But she also likes cars, balls, and dragons.  On any given day, she way want to play tea party or fairies.  We had to ban her from watching Lion King because she always wants to be a lion afterwards and we couldn’t have her continually attacking her sister and brother.  I think maybe she just traded that game for playing dragons.

Princess has been in kindergarten this year and is the youngest in the class.  She amazes me at how quickly she learns.  She is reading now and can add and subtract as well.  I love my Princess and hope to tell some fun stories about her.

Being unemployed

May 29, 2011 2 comments

There have only been a few times in my life where I haven’t had work lined up.  Usually I know my next job before my current job ends.  But in November of 2010, I found out that my position was being cut due to finances.  I would be able to work until March.  So, as disappointed as I was, I didn’t panic.  I figured that I had 5 months and that I would be able to find a job in that time.

Well, it is now the end of May and I am still looking.  I was very close on a great job that would have moved us to the Oregon coast, but I was their second choice.  Knowing that many people applied and only a few were interviewed gave me confidence that I had a good shot at the position.  But instead, my search needed to continue.

It has been an interesting process looking for work.  Most of my experience has been working for churches.  Right now, there aren’t many positions open that fit me.  So, I am looking at jobs that aren’t at a church.  When your degree is in Bible/Theology and Youth Ministry it is hard to meet requirements for many jobs.  I have found many positions that I look at and think that I could do that job and enjoy it.  But I never get a response back from many of my applications.

A friend of mine gave me this comic.    Since I worked for a non-profit, I am not eligible for unemployment benefits so who knows, maybe I will have to resort to this!

Being at home has been an adjustment for me.  I was used to being gone for a good part of the day with many things to get done and people to see.  I don’t do well without things to do. My fantasy baseball team has received more attention than it normally does.   I have been working on turning hubcaps into clocks and now I am writing a blog. Hobbit, my three year old, is under the impression that I am home just to play with her.  I don’t know how many times I can play hide and seek in our small living room without going crazy.  So along with some household chores and playing on the computer, I haven’t been too bored.

I truly feel that God has blessed our family, even through this time without a job.  Friends have given us gifts, our church gave us a nice going away gift, and we have enough money to see us through until I find work.  Jen has been a great support to me.  And, I have two good leads on jobs!

Our first day in France

May 29, 2011 Leave a comment

Traveling from the west coast of the US to France is no short trip.  Jen and I had to be up early for the drive to the airport.  After flying across the US and catching our second flight, we didn’t arrive in Paris until the next morning.  I am always envious of people who can sleep on a plane, but I rarely get anything more than a few fitful minutes of rest.

After being picked up at the airport and taken to our apartment in the western suburbs of Paris, we went with some of the staff from the church for lunch at a local cafe.  At this point, I am pretty tired and my goal is just to stay awake.   But a nice lunch sounds good, so we as we walk through our town I am just happy that I am going to get to eat.

After sitting down at our table, I look down at my menu.  I was fairly confident that I would find something on there that I will recognize and like to eat, even though I didn’t really know any French at this point.  It was mostly sandwiches, so I thought I could figure it out.  Boy was I wrong.  I looked over the menu multiple times to try and figure out something to eat.  But there was not one thing that I could recognize.  There wasn’t a word on there that made any sense to my tired brain.

One thing you should know about Jen is that she loves to take her time poring over a menu to decide what she is going to eat.  So, as much as I needed help, she was concentrating on figuring out what she wanted to eat.  The other people at lunch with us were in a conversation and didn’t notice my plight.  So here I am, tired and hungry, at a cafe, and I think I might starve.

Eventually I pester Jen enough for her to decide to help me out and we find something that I will eat.  As I am sitting there, I come to the realization how much I like to eat, especially at restaurants.   On the walk home, I tell Jen that the French lessons need to start soon and I want to learn every food related term that I can.  I am happy to report that in a short time I could not only figure out a menu, but I could order (in my horribly accented French) for myself.  If nothing else, I wouldn’t starve while we lived in France, which was good for me.

Categories: Paris Tags: , , , , ,

Meet my wife

May 29, 2011 Leave a comment

The first time I saw Jen was at a junior high youth event.  And no, she wasn’t in junior high.  She was a new youth staff member at the church I had just started working for.  We were taking the kids to play mini golf.  When we arrived, the kids and other staff quickly formed groups of four to play.  Since she and I were new, the only person that wanted to play with us was my roommate.  Not the typical way to meet someone, but it was memorable.

I can truly say that I was blown away by this beautiful, smart, funny woman.  And I can say that I am pretty sure that she wasn’t blown away by me.  Over the next few months we became good friends.  It took five months before I wore her down enough to date me.

We were married in 2002 and I love that I get to spend my life with her.  She is a great mom to our three rug rats, speaks French fluently (and isn’t too bad in Spanish either), is very crafty (as in making things), and is a great cook.

Oh, and her picture doesn’t do her justice!

Who am I?

May 29, 2011 1 comment

PabcoHello and welcome to my blog.

Here is a little introduction to who I am, starting with my family.  I have a wonderful wife (Jen), a five year old daughter who was born in Paris (Princess), a three year old daughter (who loves to eat, go barefoot, and is cute…Hobbit), and my year and half old son (Little Man).  We currently live in Tacoma, Wash. where I am looking for a job.

A little background from me. My name is Paul and I was raised in what I refer to as God’s country, Spokane, Wash.  I went to the same small school from first grade through high school. I then went to college at Multnomah School of the Bible in Portland, Ore.  (which then changed to Multnomah Bible College and now is Multnomah University).  After working for the school for a couple years after graduating, I started my first ministry job which only lasted for 5 months (more on that later).  I ended up in Spokane until 2000 when I moved to Olympia, Wash.  It was there that I met Jen and after getting married, we eventually moved to Paris for three years (yes, that Paris in France).  We moved to Tacoma in 2006 and have been here since.

I love my family, God, the Mariners, the Seahawks, and telling stories.  Since I worked with youth since I graduated high school, I had many opportunities to create some great stories and to share great stories.  One of the things which I hope to do through this blog is share some of my experiences and small adventures.

Paris? Really? You really want to move to France now?

May 28, 2011 Leave a comment

It is 2003.  The United States has declared war on Iraq.  France has declined to help.  French Fries?  No way…they are Freedom Fries!  Nobody seems to like the French.  So, when Jen and I tell our friends and family that we are talking with a church in Paris, they think we are crazy.

And yes…maybe we were crazy.  I had been teaching at a Christian school, but was not enjoying the experience.  Most of my students weren’t opening up to me the way that I was used to.  Maybe they were too afraid of getting into trouble with the administration if they shared what they were dealing with me.  I knew that I couldn’t stay.

Jen and I had interviewed at two different churches.  When one said no, we were really down.  It seemed like such a great church and opportunity.  When the second said no, we were relieved.   The interview that we had with them was one of the strangest experiences that I had gone through.  (read the blog here)

Jen had a job as a receptionist and had permission to surf the web during down times.  I asked her to search for any schools, seminaries or other websites that listed ministry positions.  She came across a guy’s website where he listed international youth ministry positions.  She found a position in Paris at a church that had the same name as the church we were attending.  She emailed it to me so we could laugh that there was a church in Paris with the same name as our church.

To her surprise, I said that we should send them my résumé and see what they say.  Now, you must know that my Jen has a French degree, studied in France, and absolutely loves Paris and France.  (A note to all those guys out there…score some major points with your wife and move them to their dream city.  They will love you even more!)  After some emails and calls, we ended up packing up our stuff, storing most of it in our good friends’ garage, and moving to Paris.

Our friends and family did think that we were crazy.  But, it was the best, and hardest, three years of our lives.  Interestingly enough, many of the French people we met wondered why Americans weren’t visiting Paris like they used to.  When we told them that it was because France didn’t support the war, they were confused.  They didn’t see why that would keep people away from Paris.  ”Don’t they still love Paris?”  A definite difference in how Americans and the French approach life.