Royal wedding bound…

Well, almost. Granted, much like the Obamas, our official invite to the wedding has yet to arrive. At any rate, we’re making do (and plans) without it. Having never been to an English “street party” to commemorate an event such as this, I’m looking for advice.

Anyone out there know the ins and outs of where to go/how to get there/what to where? Could someone describe what a proper street party is?

I understand the parks are supposed to have the wedding broadcast. Any recommendations for the best park that could combine watching the wedding with a glimpse of the procession back to Buckingham Palace?

We’re excited…

LSS: A living saint?

Immaculée Ilibagiza may be a living saint.
Miraculously, she survived the Rwandan genocide that took the lives of her entire family and the vast majority of her fellow Tutsis in Rwanda during the horrors of 1994 — a reminder that no one should be lulled into complacency believing previous generations cornered the market on genocide.
Less than 20 years ago, the Hutu people of Rwanda killed up to 800,000 of their fellow countrymen, women and children.
Ilibagiza survived by hiding 91 days in a 3’ by 4’ bathroom with seven other women.
In case you don’t remember the Rwandan genocide or those terrors, Hutus killed Tutsis during the tribal genocide. Neighbors killed neighbors. Students killed teachers. Teachers killed students and on into the horrible on. Death was everywhere in Rwanda. Now many of the killers acknowledge that they had no beef with the people they murdered. They were just following orders. They thought the powers that ordered the killing might reward them with a banana plantation or something more or less valuable.
With wild abandon, the Hutus killed Tutsis. No gas chambers necessary. Just machetes and sticks and daily calls for killing on the radio. The leaders of this chilling call especially wanted Tutsi children dead. They wanted to kill the people off entirely. They almost succeeded.
Yet, a few are left to tell the story.
Ilibagiza is the only one of her family who survived — villagers killed her father, her brothers and her mother.
These days, the theme of the story Ilibagiza tells is not the one most of us would expect.
The story she tells is one of forgiveness.
“People do evil things and hurt themselves and others, but during that time I was in the bathroom, I was praying. When I got to the part, ‘forgive those who trespass against me,’ I realized I was lying to God,” she said.
So she prayed for her heart to be changed. She didn’t want to lie to God anymore.
And there in the bathroom, Ilibagiza says she went from a person in a rage who wanted to become a soldier and avenge her family to a person who realized that people had the capacity to choose good or evil — and that people could change.
She began to incorporate a new part in her prayers.
“Please let me live to tell my story,” she said.
And now, “I don’t hate anymore,” she said.
Instead she laughs. She dances — and she encourages others to do the same as she spreads a message of forgiveness.
“I can smile. I can live in peace — no matter all the hundreds of people I have lost in my life. It is a journey. If I can forgive, others can too,” she said.
Ilibagiza’s New York Times best-selling book, Left to Tell, which chronicles her experience hiding in the bathroom and surviving her country’s genocide, was released in 2006. She said she hopes her time in Lafayette will lead to more peace and love between neighbors and any people who don’t understand each other or believe they are different from others — much like the Hutus and Tutsis of Rwanda, who now live side-by-side again.
Ilibagiza will be in Lafayette April 15-16 to lead a retreat at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church. The cost is between $60 and $75. For details, go to www.immaculee.com or call 337-278-9257. Ilibagiza stresses that though she is Catholic and the retreat will take place in a Catholic church, that this retreat is open to people of all or no faith.
“We are all living the human experience,” she said.

LSS: Spectrum of possibilities

As it turns out, Piper, our family’s resident 9 year old, picks a new favorite color each year.
For her, this decision seems as logical as the Pythagorean Theorem did for Mrs. Beasley, my ninth-grade geometry teacher.
Last year her favorite color was purple. The year before that, it was pink. This year, she has picked Tiffany blue.
I won’t lie; the choice caught me off-guard.
As does so much about this child.
And so many other children out there. She just happens to be the one I hang with the most these days.
For us, this girl is full to the brim with love, dappled and flecked with something almost otherworldly wonderful.
Her love of color is one of the ways we get to peek into that regenerative joy.
“Just having one favorite color gets too old for me,” she said. “And, I believe that change is also good.”
She explains her deep thoughts on the subject, as though she’s announcing a major plank in her platform in a campaign for office.
I’d vote for her.
Like a good diplomat, she quickly assures me that having one favorite color is fine for some people, just not for her.
At least once a week, she asks each member of our family, “What’s your favorite color?”
Much to her initial dismay, my answer has remained the same.
“For some people, their personalities go with one color, but for me personally, I think my personality is to change,” she said, trying to assure me and my evergreen color love of blue, that I’m OK.
Just in case though, she asks regularly to check.
This week, I learned that she had a method to her madness.
“When I get older, I will remember all my colors, and I can remember how I changed. I can go back through my memories,” she said. “When I get 20, I can have a rainbow.”
Please, my love, please. Have a rainbow.
She was on a roll.
“As I get older, I feel like I need a more mature color,” she said.
I hope not. I thought. Have whatever color you feel like having, sister.
“The year before purple, it was hot pink. You know, that’s a different generation?” she said with brown eyes wide. “I picked purple cause it’s a good color for being eight — when you’re younger, the more silly colors you can have.”
At the wise old age of 9, her take on silly being associated with young makes me know that the world is chipping in, even on Piper’s palette. She’s taking notice of what’s out there. Nothing has flattened her spirit yet — and I’ll do everything I can to prevent that from ever happening — but that time will come.
For now, she and I giddily spend at least 20 minutes a week talking about our favorite colors and why one or the other works for us — or what color would be our favorite color if there was a law that we couldn’t have the one we wanted.
The conversations are little treasures that parents the world over recognize — those moments when a child’s wonder and innocence come into full view. I listen to my multihued wonder child and wish I could bottle up what this kid gives off.
Surely, that spectrum of thinking could solve a lot of issues in this world that tries so hard to view things in the simplicity of black or white.