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.

Monday, July 29, 2013

This Old House

Stairs going upward
Carefully treading,
Ancient days of walking 
The grain is so lovely 
But footsteps are heavy

Roof tiles are grimy
And thousand year chimneys
Views from our windows
Green forests rise simple
Mairie's from the kitchen 
Flags stand at attention
I look.

Church bells are tolling
Cars whooshing and
Humming, motorcycles whizzing
People need bread,
Talking and moving,
Shutters flapping,
Flies buzzing
At laundry in windows.
Silent angels on guard.
It's France.


Friday, July 12, 2013

Back Home in France!

Amazement and overflowing with love is what we have for all that has been accomplished through God's work in the lives of his people as He orchestrated our trip back to France. "They're here!" we heard, once the visas arrived at our permanent address where our daughter Emily and son-in-law Joe live in Manhattan, Kansas.  Our move managers were immediately put to work trying to get a container for port to arrive so we could load the furniture and household goods in Atlanta, MO and try to leave the following day for Paris. We now are trying to get a month in summer to French language school starting July 15th!

Dad Barr's pole barn in Atlanta, MO and his house in Macon have been the places where all our "stuff" has been stored since late 2009 when we sold our house in Olathe. Carefully taken care of all this time, our furniture was sitting padded and wrapped to leave for it's final destination. We waited and waited on the assigned day for the container to show up - it didn't, and the trucking company couldn't find an available 8 ft x 20 ft container.

Next day, a new crew arrived ready to load in very hot and humid weather and finally at 3:30pm it arrived. Hubby Russell, had everything carefully staged in the warehouse and it all happened in less than 2 hrs. That may have been a record. Our move manager said it usually happens in about 3. We didn't want to have to pay any extra after the 2 hrs. given.

As I share this, the container is traveling by rail to New York harbor where it will sit for a week to get picked up by a ship, travel 2 weeks over sea to head to the port in La Havre, France. It may take a week or 2 to get to our house in beautiful Chevreuse an outer suburb of Paris.

Friends from Macon First Baptist, the Bear's, said they had just returned from a trip to Scotland and a cruise in Copenhagen. One day while sitting at a table having a drink they watched as the ship take huge containers out of its belly with large cranes and sit them on the harbor. As they worked with us that day in the hot warehouse and cool apartment out back loading our container they realized back on the ship that those crates held families belongings from probably many years that they got to see the process from beginning to end with our goods.

Thirty-three years of marriage have given us memories that we wanted to bring with us to France so we could hold on to them while our family was away from us. Some people said, "why don't you just buy garage sale finds or from IKEA instead of hauling all that? That's a great question and each family has to decide what is important to them. At a cost of $5,000.00 for shipping and $42,000. worth of insurance to replace the items we brought we felt it was worth it to us. The value of the dollar is worth 30% less than the euro and it is nice to have some items that are made of good quality or have sentimental value that you don't have to replace. We also have lots of artwork and art supplies/books for our business that are expensive to replace or "one-of-a-kind" It takes time to show the world who you are by your things. Being artists we love to express ourselves and make the house cozy. It will be fun to show that to our new French neighbors.  It also saves a lot of time to replace what is needed and we can get to work faster.

The very next day after the first attempt to get a container, another one arrived and our goods were loaded. We contacted our dear friends who allowed us to take a Buddy Pass to fly on "standby" to Paris from Kansas City! That was 2 days ago. We didn't make the 1:50 pm flight. One of us could have gone on to Chicago but we didn't want to separate our luggage. The 3:15 pm flight was successful and off we went. The flight itself arrived in Chicago fine but we had to stand in line with a bunch of other airplanes to find a gate. By the time we could de-plane we had only 30 minutes to catch our Paris flight! First we had to take a shuttle (did I say stairs with heavy carry-ons?) Then we rushed to the gate from Gate 1 to Gate 19 at O'Hare airport. Out of breath we gave the attendant our passports. Another one said, "Are you the Barrs?" YES! we screamed. She said, "Great!" 3 minutes to spare. Oh...my...word.

6:30pm the plane took off. Russell was down about 13 rows from me. That was very fine! He wanted to have some quiet. I sat next to an adorable 3 year old named Emily and her cute mommy Emma. She reminded me of our little Harmony, big smiles and the normal squirmy toddler taking in all that was around her. It was an enjoyable flight and we all tried to sleep with an arrival French time of 9:25am.

We passed through customs just fine with a stamp and a nod. All 4 large 50 - 70 lb. bags arrived just fine and very quickly. Manu was waiting for us to take us home. He is so sweet and asked if we were huggers. "Yes!" I said and I got a great big one. Thank you Manu!

Our next entry will be about Chevreuse and getting settled in. Staying up a while to sleep.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Plans set in motion

French Visas arrived this morning in Manhattan, KS where our daughter and son-in-law live and our permanent address is. Emily will carry them to the airport on Tuesday and deliver them to us. Nothing like personal airport service.

Pieces of styrofoam, cut cardboard and stretch wrap are being placed around more precious furniture to keep them from getting damaged. A forklift was delivered today and our father, Sherman, is gearing up to be the forklift driver. Pray for his energy level and clear mind. 3 pallets are lying around and will be filled with items for him to pick up. The scaffoldings will also be a staging area. Our shipping manager informed us that the delivery truck does not have a ramp. After much searching, calling and talking availed NO ramp that can go 4.5 ft up in the air or to be found anywhere in our neck of the woods (within 50 miles). But, hey, we found someone with a Bobcat and forklift attachment!

Pray for helpers. 11 am on Monday the 8 x 20 x 8 container will be arriving on a Steamship Port truck. That's not the best time for working men. Did I say, another prayer request? I like that it's in the morning while we are not dragging to the ground like we are most afternoons.

The port truck is smaller than a semi, our shipping manager said, whatever that means. Hopefully the driver will find our out-of-the-way place where the pole barn is with our furniture. Let's hope the truck isn't too big that it can't get down into the garage.

Yes, we are crazy and to prove it once again we will attempt to fly standby to Paris from Kansas City. A friend and supporter of our work is employed by United and giving us Buddy Passes. It is our wish to arrive in Paris on the 10th leaving Kansas City to O'Hare on the 9th. There is one flight from Chicago to Paris that leaves at 6 pm. We want to be on it. There are 13 seats available from KC and 30 available in Chicago on the Paris flight. You know what to do.

We aim to get there, Lord willing, and the creek don't rise. (I'm starting to sound more country since living in these here parts.)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Visas Issued!

Our Visas were mailed this morning! We now have the green light to ship our goods July 8th. Then off to Chicago for flight to Paris. More later when the shock wears off. Praise to God for His faithful guidance.