Mom: Surprise Xena! We are in Paris for Valentine’s Day!
Xena: Oh. My. Dog. So that’s why you gave me this scarf that says Paris all over it. Quick, take my picture in front of that pointy thing, or nobody is going to believe this.
Mom: Don’t you want to get closer?
Xena: Nope. This is close enough. It’s big and pointy and I’m not sure if it would hurt me. *click*
Mom: How about this, Xena? It’s not as big and it sure isn’t pointy.
Xena: But what is it?
Mom: It’s a national monument, and it’s called the Arc de Triomphe. Napoleon, the French Emperor, had the Arc built over 200 years ago . He wanted to honor the Grande Armee, the name of the French army at that time. The Grande Armee had conquered most of Europe and was then considered invincible. In other words, no one could beat them at war.
Xena: That’s nice. Now can we go somewhere more interesting?
Mom: Sure, honey. Let’s walk around Paris for a while.
Xena: Look Mommy! It’s a pet store like the Smart Pet place back home, but it’s got my name, “Moustaches.” Let’s go in here!!
Mom: Yes, we can go in, but what do you mean? Your name is Xena, not Moustache.
Xena: My name is Xena the Schnauzer, and schnauzer means both snout and mustache in German. That’s how my breed got that name.
Mom: Huh? How do you know that, Xe Xe?
Xena: Sometimes, when I’m working on my new puter – you know, the one I got for Christmas – I talk to Mr. Google and he told me. *whispers* But I only do that on my official breaks and at home.
Mom: If you are done browsing in Moustaches, let’s go get something to eat.
Xena: How about here? It’s real pretty and it smells good, too.
Xena: Oh goodness, my chicken salad was good. I thought le garçon was going to faint when I asked for the chicken livers raw. Et la steak tartare, oo la la! C’est magnifique!
Mom: Xena! You’re speaking French!
Xena: Really? The words just sort of came out. Did it sound ok? Could you understand me?
Mom: Certainement! How about if we go up to montmartre. Are you ready for lots of outside stair steps, like over 300?
Xena: Race you!
Mom: *pant pant* Here is one of the most famous cathedrals in all the world. It is called *pant pant* Sacré-Cœur, or *pant pant* Sacred Heart.
Xena: Ohhhh, let’s go inside.
Mom: Well, if they’ll let us.
Xena: I’m the church puppy. Of course they will let us!
See, I told you they would let us in. My, this is so, so big! Does God live in here?
Mom: No, sweetie. God lives in you and me and all of his creatures. People come to places like this to worship God together, and to feel his love and his presence within themselves. God is the goodness glue that holds all of the universe together.
Xena: Do you mean the Methodists, Mommy? Cause that’s the only church I’ve been to.
Mom: Not just the Methodists, Xe Xe. God loves everyone: all Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, people of all faiths, and even people who don’t have their own faith. We are all his Valentines and he loves us all.
Xena: Happy Valentine’s Day, God!!
Mom: *smile* Let’s look around, precious girl. Do you see all the little alcoves off of the nave?
Xena: What’s a nave, Mommy?
Mom: It’s another word for a sanctuary, like we have at work at St. Luke. Anyhow, two hundred years ago when France had kings and queens and other aristocracy, those families paid the Catholic Church to have their own little chapels to worship in, right there off of the main cathedral. They could also pay to have a crypt where they would be buried after they died.
Xena: Ewwww. Do you mean someone dead is in that box? Ewwww.
Mom: Uh, maybe we should look around outside some more in montemartre…
Xena: Mommy, I’m really tired. Can we go home now? Will you carry me?
Mom: Sure, Xena. I love you, my little Valentine. ❤
Xena: Happy Valentines Day, Mommy. I love you to Paris and back!
Mom’s note: Please click Xena’s postcard to find everyone else who celebrated in Paris.