Our Schedule:

Teaching English and Art together, putting on the GospelCafé concerts, prayer, meeting with our new French friends. It's a good life!

A complete listing of very specific requests for prayer can be found under "Prayer Requests."

For those just getting to know us, please visit the special sections to the right.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

BARRPottery From the Past

Carol and I have shared how we wish to offer art & pottery lessons in Chevreuse when we return to France. While this will not be a full time job, we want to start an association and this will be a way to meet our neighbors and hopefully become an accepted part of the community. When we closed down the BARRPottery site we left very little evidence of our pottery on line, so to rectify that, here are a few images from our days back in Olathe, KS.…

Manning our award winning booth at a local art fair.
Custom glazes, "Yellow Green Matte" and "Nutmeg"
became our signature look.

Bottles are a difficult shape to throw on the wheel.

More bottles.

Functional ware, like bowls sold well.

Original card holder… and vintage BARRPottery cards.
I'm sure there a few hiding in a drawer somewhere.

This large pot was designed to be difficult to glaze.
It was a test pot for the Yellow Green Matte glaze.
When this pot came out of the kiln, we knew
the glaze formula was a success.

During our family art show in Olathe held in the
lobby of the Comfort Inn.

Some of the pots thrown for the crowd actually survived. 

Our entry in the "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner?" show at the
artist's guild of Kansas City.

Table top grouping at the Family show in Olathe. 
Moonshine Jug
Fluted Jug 
It gives us great pleasure to know several churches in the Kansas CIty
area serve communion with our pieces.

Carol's hand built pitcher and mugs.

This bottle measures 18 inches tall
Another of Carol's hand built vases.

Russell's first teapot.

"Nightscape"  You see something different
every time you look at it

The beginnings of the dragonfly as a constant
 motif in our pottery.

Wheel thrown and then altered. This large planter
was a special order.

Another classic glaze combination.

These were made using slabs of clay and real leaves
rolled into the surface.

Another classic BARRPottery vase.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

"These Shoes are Made for Walking"

A letter arrived from our friends of New Zealand who will rent their building to us in France. 
One of our teammates will rent the place for a while until we get there. We will be working alongside him once we are settled. 

Here's an excerpt of what our future landlord said:
"We have a strong sense that the "Cordonnerie du Progrès" as the house is called, is supposed to be used for God's work. This old shop sign on the front of the building says in French: The Progressive Shoemaker. Pauline started looking for passages in the Bible that she could pray over regarding the whole theme of "shoes" since this is an old shoe and leather store. In their village in the old times they had tanning works along the river, so this was a shop for making leather goods. 

Ephesians 6:15 says,  "Your desire to tell the good news about peace should be like shoes on your feet" (Contemporary English Version) The Good News version says,  So stand ready, with truth as a belt tight around your waist, with righteousness as your breastplate, and as your shoes the readiness to announce the Good News of peace."

Russell also mentioned in Romans 10:15 says, "And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written (Isaiah 52:7) - "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who proclaims peace, who brings glad tidings of good things, who proclaims salvation, who says to Zion, "Your God reigns!" 

One more reason Russell got his boots shod in France the last time we were there. He wore the soles off. :0) I had to get bigger soled shoes with more cushions. Thank you Pauline for the "shoe" analogy which is perfect on so many levels. 

We are excited about the time when we will leave for France. Those of you who are on our HEART team, our children, and the many others who have come alongside are wholeheartedly cheering us along with your words, and your sacrificial giving plus your deep felt prayers and sharing of verses have been felt from the bottom of our hearts. We are indebted to you. You encourage us so much! Thank you Pauline.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Excellence in Chocolatiering

It wasn't that long ago hubby and I were out looking for a place to buy chocolate because it was a holiday. Trying to be on a low carb diet we were opting for the sugar-free kind. It's really not possible to have sugar-free in the same sentence as chocolate. The FDA requires that this confection cannot be called chocolate if it's sugar-free.

Driving around we came to a fine looking Chocolatier's house (which will remain unnamed) and went inside but there were no sugar-free chocolates to be had. Hard to believe, really. We bought a few wonderful looking coconut pieces. Our server lazily plopped the beauties in a small brown unmarked boring lunch sack and barely talked to us much less say thank you. I say! What happened to wrapping them up very prettily and delicately with a smile and hand them over as if they were a precious gift? We paid a high enough price for them and were so excited for this treat. She didn't seem to care. The chocolate tasted fine although I prefer the toasted coconut haystacks which I thought I was getting. You'd think I was such an expert on these delights.

As we left the store I commented to hubby dearest how things at this Chocolate house are so different compared to our French experience. The patisseries have the most beautiful displays and the chocolate confections are not only a delight to taste but the chocolatier takes her time to wrap this tasty with tissue, shining clear celophane and lovely ribbon. Many even put them in a gorgeous box. They are something to behold. Doing things with excellence seems to be par for the course in Paris.

Going back to our recent holiday, we decided to try a different location for sugar-free chocolate and found gold when we went to Sees Candies. I have been partial to RussellStovers since we're from the Kansas City area where this delectable chocolate is produced but Sees in California is right up there with other forms of delicious dark wonderfulness. And they had sugar-free, but as I said before they couldn't call it chocolate because chocolate has to have sugar in it.

We decided to take some home anyway (which by the way was very yummy and didn't taste like sugar-free). The store was packed with customers lined up in two lines and cutely decorated. The employees were decked out in their See's corporate finery. Everyone matched. They handed out free samples to us and I was delighted that they cared, truly cared about the customer. It gave me some hope that there are still some in America who also strive for excellence.

It didn't help my diet though.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

A place to roost in la Vallée de Chevreuse

Russell and I have developed a fun fascination with roosters—never dreaming that so did France. The rooster is France's national bird. The name comes from the Latin term 'gallus' loosely relating also to the Gauls in Ancient Roman times. Here's an excerpt from Wikipedia on the history of their national bird: "The association between the rooster and the Gauls/French was developed by the kings of France for the strong Christian symbol that the rooster represents : prior to being arrested, Jesus predicted that Peter would deny him three times before the rooster crowed on the following morning. At the rooster's crowing, Peter remembered Jesus's words. Its crowing at the dawning of each new morning made it a symbol of the daily victory of light over darkness and the triumph of good over evil. It is also an emblem of the Christian's attitude of watchfulness and readiness for the sudden return of Christ, the resurrection of the dead, and the final judgment of humankind. That is why, during the Renaissance, the rooster became a symbol of France as a Catholic state and became a popular Christian image on weathervanes, also known as weathercocks." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gallic_rooster) 
     The Gallic rooster's popularity faded away until the French Revolution in 1789. It's used as a mascot in sports and in the corporate world. Most only see the rooster now as a secular symbol and probably don't even know from whence it came. One sees the rooster on top of many very old buildings, gates or fences in France—especially on Catholic buildings. We have a special collection of roosters going with us to France. I found a magnificent one during my traveling days selling wall coverings to the interior design industry. My sister-in-law really wants that bird but I told her it's going with me to France. We have to represent.
     Our exciting news relates to this roosting creature as we look forward to our new roost in Chevreuse. Roosting is perching aloft to sleep at night. Russell and I will be perched aloft in our rented 3 story building upon our return to France. The ground floor is a small storefront, with a storage cellar below and a small but beautifully restored 2 floor apartment above. This is a huge gift from God, and from our friends who own this building. They attended the church plant we've been working with in Magny les Hameaux. They are "Kiwi's" from New Zealand who bought this 16th century building a few years ago in downtown (population 6,000) Chevreuse. They thought they would use the upper part for a vacation rental and rent the storefront for commercial usage. But when they decided not to return to France and considered what we were going to do when we returned to France they thought, "Let's allow the Barr's to live there." They told us it was their way of continuing to bring the good news and hope to the community they've been a part of for decades.
     The building is located in the outer SW suburbs of Paris with the forests of Versailles around this ancient 11th century village - 20 min. from Versailles. The town is a 5 min. drive to the last train stop to downtown and 10 min. to the France Vie office and 17 min. to the church plant's worship place in Magny. We are being offered this building for the same price we would get for a 2 bedroom apartment. Thank you Pauline and Simon! This moves our ministry efforts at least a year ahead. 
     Our desire is to form an association under the umbrella of France Vie to have meetups/events/classes with the community. Join us in saying, "Cock-a-doodledoo!"

I will remember Your works, O Lord;
Surely, I will remember Your wonders of long ago.
I will meditate on all your works
And consider all Your mighty deeds.
Your way, O God, is holy.
What god is so great as You?
You are the God who works wonders;
You have revealed Your strength among the peoples.
You redeemed Your people with Your power,
The descendants of Jacob and Joseph. 
Psalm 77:11-15