Tuesday, August 9, 2016

A French Candelabra

I love wandering around a French brocante', a flea market or an antique shop searching for interesting things. I am always hoping I will find something unique that someone else may have overlooked! This happened to me on the day I found the beautiful French candelabra in the picture above. I wasn't really looking for anything in particular when I spotted it shoved back on a shelf. I saw the beauty of the marble base, the gorgeous curves in the upper portion and the price was good.  To date, it is one of my favorite French finds! I am drawn to pieces that show their age. I connect with the time worn objects. Why? I couldn't say. Perhaps it is the appeal of age and of history and thinking someone else treasured it as I will now....... that it is in my keeping! I don't collect a lot of the same things. I like one simple item for a beautiful backdrop! 

Beautifully aged antiques and beautifully aged people have an appeal and a uniqueness to them.  Often, with time, they become more beautiful, not only for their outward appearance, but the strength their beautiful life has given them.....both objects and people.  In France, shop owners look for old worn pieces with patina. This is part of the french decor' as nothing is ever past being used again and again.  So, for today, I will place new candles in my candelabra and mix them with fresh roses of the same hue and be happy that all can be beautiful in life! Everyday is a gift! May we use it wisely and graciously! 

Monday, July 18, 2016


"You hem me in-behind and before you have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain." Psalm 139:5-6

This beautiful carousel is right in the center of town! 

Our hotel had a lovely garden area for guest to enjoy a coffee or a fresh French pastry! 

Our homes are often a reflection of who we are. Hopefully, we feel safe inside our homes.  It is wonderful to step inside someone's home and hear the words....." I am so happy you are here....I have been waiting for you."  We immediately feel a peace and a joy just to be with in the presence of that person and in their home.  Like the scripture above, we feel hemmed in and safe. That peace is something that is healing!  

There is a beautiful town in Provence in southeastern France where the ancient walls still surround the city and when one travels there, I think they might feel safe. It is set on the Rhone River. In the center of town there is the massive Palais des Papes or Palace of the Popes which served as the center for the Catholic Church in ages past, beginning in the 13th century. Today it is still a beautiful thriving town with a culture of art and history and makes a wonderful place for travelers to visit.  A traveler can arrive there by train from Paris in just a few hours.  

In centuries past in Avignon, the walls were built for protection to allow the citizens who lived there a safe haven from the outside world.  The massive walls have been preserved as a part of the beauty of the town.  On my visit, when my daughter and I first arrived, it was rather intimidating..... even though I had read and studied about what to expect.  Seeing the high walls was truly overwhelming.  We drove through a grand entrance and found a parking garage and parked our car inside the town. It was much like any other town with businesses, open air markets and outdoor cafes.  It was a safe haven hemmed in behind and before. 

Today, in our homes we desire to be safe from the outside world.  So, I reflect and ask....has human nature changed?  Our desires are still so similar.... to be safe, to be happy, to be with the ones we love and to live the life we've been given....fully!  "Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain."  God bless your day with a feeling of peace and love than only HE can give. Everyday is a gift! Make the most of it whether you live in France or any other part of the world....LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL!

"passe une bonne journee"

Sunday, July 10, 2016

The Beauty of Seashells


The beauty of a French home is that it is always evolving. A Sunday stroll through a brocante' can bring a change to an entire room with the purchase of one small "find". Have you walked into a home that was completely done? The rooms are completely decorated.....finished. They have a beauty for certain but for me personally, I could never live in a house like that. I am always changing things, even if it's just a picture in a frame 
or a new candle that changes the entire ambiance and mood of the room. I like a relaxed look. The French seem to like the more worn and tattered look.  

I also love natural colors and perhaps this is why I am drawn to the sea and the shells and creatures which can be found digging their way back into the sand once they've been exposed and washed ashore. All this tumbling about can give them their shape and their color. Some are smooth and perfect and others are broken and tattered. Each offers their beauty and when mixed together in a display.....well it is simply stunning. Shades of 
neutrals and imperfections blended make such beauty. A beautiful patina that comes with age has it's advantages both in seashells and furniture and maybe in our lives as people. It's okay to have a few marks of imperfection. Real beauty comes from those rare scars that are uniquely our own. We take the tosses and the tumbles and turn them into growth.....everything can become beautiful in time. I hope your journey [tumbles and all] are making you into a beautiful creation that ultimately brings glory to the Creator!  Have a blessed Sunday!!!! 

Friday, June 24, 2016

Table Manners.....inspired by the French

In France, it is proper etiquette to say, Bonjour when entering a boutique or shop and to say Au revoir when you leave.  Yes, manners are chic always in France. Manners make a difference.  Etiquette is much more than a set of rules, it is polite behavior in society. It is about connecting with others in a positive and polite way! This is SO true at meal time. Good manners are remembered long after the guests have gone.

It's never too early or too late to begin to develop manners.
The French sit long at the table so perhaps, because of this, the rituals of meal time are learned early in life. They enjoy their meal in several courses and are not rushed. The English are similar in this way, which I personally love.  Conversation is cherished especially over dinner! Many happy moments for me, even though I am not French, have been shared with my family around the table discussing what is happening in life! It's polite to listen as much as we talk....always.  I found so much joy in cooking for my family and teaching my children how to "set" the table with napkins, plates, stem ware and silver. So many fun and happy moments of their childhoods!  I see now, these moments we shared when they were young passed on today when I visit in their homes. 

My own French TABLE is a treasure. Once again, found at a flea market for a bargain price.  The table is nice.......but the moments of welcoming others "around the table" into my home is the best part. The enjoyment and the fellowship and encouragement I can offer are the best gifts of any day! I hope your life is filled with generosity of heart and of spirit.....after all, it is the French way!  You don't have to live in a chateau to serve up good manners at the table! I hope your home is always a haven of peace and love!  

Monday, April 18, 2016

Beautiful Words!

"Our words to our children should be like a beautifully wrapped gift tied
with beautiful ribbons on TOP of them!" 

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Perfect French

In my French Room in my home, I have a little painting one of my dear daughters gave to me that says, "She dreams in perfect French!" It is true because to create something beautiful, one first has to dream! Dreamers are interesting people, to me, because the constant thought of beauty usually accompanies the dreams! Of course, the thoughtful dreamer has to put action into his or her dream. 

I am always dreaming about another trip to France, to visit regions I have not explored or to learn more of the language and culture of the country now so a part of who I am.  Humble beginnings seem to do that to people......they gravitate toward always wanting to make life a little better.....but in a good way and to give back. Giving back is filled with blessings whether it be to family, friends or even strangers in need, but giving back is filled with dreams for a better world. My desire is to learn something new everyday I live and then act upon it....fulfill the dream so to speak.  To be open to learning not only from books I enjoy reading but from places I visit and the people of different cultures that I have been blessed to meet in my journey of life. 

This brings me to the French people. The French are so interesting to me! They speak so lovely and so fast for their words have more syllables. The French love their social time. They love their wine and seem to sit for hours in lovely French cafe chairs! The French never throw out a worn chair or a chipped dish, it is loved all the more for its patina and character.  The markets and brocantes are filled with treasures like time worn linens, paintings, furniture, silver, crystal, and unique finds to a particular region of France.  I have stored away a beautiful French hand sewn bonnet for a future grand baby! 

Any dream in decorating has to begin with pieces we are drawn to, older pieces with 
character maybe some interesting history.  I found the two chairs below in the back of a 
junk shop stacked up, with worn out silk fabric. I could just imagine the conversations 
that took place in those chairs. I went back three times before I bought them and 
searched for the perfect fabric and the perfect upholster.  He did an excellent job, he was slow but a perfectionist.  [i have learned the hard way that not all upholsters are 
created equal]. The room takes me to France, time and time again......I always wanted 
just the right natural light in the room and shutters are good for this. They can be 
completely  opened or completely closed or just a tilt and light beams in. 

Books inspire me! It is so pleasurable to read about the French culture, about the language, the food, and the warmth of the love the French have for family.  They seem to have achieved the great balance in life and the meaningful moments of time with those they love. My hope is that you have achieved or are working toward that balance in life where your dreams are coming true! For me personally, I have to laugh because I am a constant work in progress....the dreaming vs. reality but it cost nothing to dream and to hope, yes to always HOPE!  May we always hope to make a difference in the lives of others placed along our journey! So.....YES,  "she dreams in perfect French".......everyday! 

Pouvez -vous etre benis avec une belle journee!
[May you be blessed with a beautiful day]

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Restorative Friendship

Restorative Friendship:  this kind of loving restorative friendship is rare but it is the kind of friend we all should strive to be.  In the beautifully scripted French film, Chocolat, an outsider enters a beautiful French village and opens a shop with her meager funds. In her heart, she was full of adventure and always looking to spread joy and love. The village she entered held tightly to traditions and frowned upon anyone with new ideas. The church was a big part of the village, but instead of providing unconditional love, conditional was the way. The conditions depended upon the way the village had always operated. As she began her little adventure in the village, perhaps because of wounds, she was confronted and confessed she wasn't a religious person.....so she was gossiped about in the little village where church was more of a social event than a place for healing. In life, talk does little to refresh one's spirit. Unconditional love seems to be the answer. Her little shop became a haven for the unloved and wounded in spirit.  She used the resources that she had, though meager, to accept, love, and repair what had been broken in others.  It worked!  The entire little village was changed because of her choice to act instead of just talk.  Oh, how I pray we can leave our own selves for a short while and act on behalf of those who are hurting.  If we could.........the world would be a more wonderful place! Love someone today without any expectations and trust God's power to change the situation!  Everyday is a gift to share love and grace in the lives of others who pass our way!