lundi 30 juillet 2012

Letter from God

I have to post this one message I have been thinking about lately. It was an email I received from my parents, who received it from a friend who received it from someone etc. You know those kinds of emails people just like to share with no particular purpose or message. Some are funny, or silly, some are just pretty, other inspirational or motivational. And I rarely share them.
This one must have come to the right moment, I felt I needed it. It is a translation from Romanian.
So here it is, a message written from God's point of view.

There are changes you need to make in your life, changes which need to occur in order for me to be able to keep my promisses of assuring your peace, joy and happiness. What I ask of you will not require much time.

1. Stop worrying.
Life taught you to worry. Did you forget I am  here to take over your burdens and carry them in your place? Or do you take pleasure in bringing yourself down over every little thing that comes your way?

2. Make a list.
Something needs to be done or taken care of - make a list. Not your list, but My list. Let Me be the one in charge of your problems. I can't help you until you turn to me. Even if my list gets long...I am still God.

3. Trust me.
Once you handed over your burdens don't try to take them back. Trust Me. Trust that I can take care of everything you need - your problems, your trials. Have issues with your kids? Put them on my list. Issues with money, emotional problems? Put them on my list. For my sake, put them on my list. I want to help you. All you need to do is ask. (how well do we know this one?)

4. Leave them alone.
Don't wake up one morning to say :" I feel much stronger now, I think I can take over." Why do you think you feel stronger now? It's simple: because you gave me your troubles, and I am taking care of them. Don't you know that if I were to give your your problems back you will return to where you left from?

5. Talk to me.
Do not forget to talk to me. Often. I love you. I want to be included in the happennings in your life. I want to hear you speak about your friends and family. The prayer is simply your conversation with me. I want to be your dearest friend.

6. Have faith.
From up here a lot of things can be seen which you can't see from where you are. I know what I am doing. Trust me for you wouldn't want to see with my eyes. I will continue to watch over you, take care of you and cover your needs. You just need to trust me. How hard can it be, just to have faith? (really, I can tell you it can be so much harder than it should...)

7. Share.
You were taught to share your things with others since you were 2 years old. When did you forget that? The rule still applies. Share with the ones less fortunate then you. Share your joy with those who need encouragement. Share your change, your leftovers with those who have not heard about me for a while. Share your tears with those who forgot to cry. Share your faith with those who do not have any.

8. Be patient.
I leaded the things so that, in one life alone you'd have various experiences. You grow from child to adult, you have kids of your own, you change many jobs, learn lots of things, travel places, meet thousands of people and experience so much. How can you be so impatient when it takes me longer than you expected to fulfill your list? Have faith in my timing because it's perfect.

9. Be kind.
Be kind with others because I love them as much as I love you. They might dress like you or talk like you, but I still love all of you. Understand that for my sake. I created each and every one of you so that you are different. It would be much too boring if you were all to be identical. Please understand I love every aspect that differentiates you.

10. Love yourself.
When I love you so much, how can you not love yourself? You were created by me for one purpose only - to love and be loved. I am the God of love. Love me. Love your neighbours. But also love yourself. Do not forget that.

There it is, another set of 10 "commandements".

When I said I needed this article it was point 9 that I needed. I was/am often thinking about how there are kids out there so unfortunate because they don't have everything our kids do. If you see the sights of Unicef or other organizations you, or I in fact, just want to cry. Children dying from dirty drinking water and malnutrition. I just bought 5 T-shirts for my daughter, and even if they were on sale for 10 euros all 5, I still feel bad thinking about the kids who have nothing. But does she really need a closet full of clothes? Of course not. So I was questioning this aspect of life from a religious point of view. And then apparently God loves all different aspects in one's makes it easier to cope with.

If you can, think about sponsoring a child.
It is almost entirely tax deductible anywhere in the world.

There is Worldvision in States, 
Visiondumonde in France, or Compassion International
 in States and in England, both Christian organizations.

Worldvision I experienced myself while still in Chicago. You get regular pictures and letters from the child you sponsor, it is so uplifting to know you can help, a child!
About Compassion I learnt through the blog of the amazing Ann Voskamp

A Holy Experience
A different kind of blog worth reading.

I am into psichology books for children before the age of 6 at the moment and I can not tell you how shocked I am to discover the tremendous impact attention, affection, or just the mother's presence can have on the entire life of a child and later adult! Highly recommend to anyone having kids, or planning to have, to read about them. There are things I wish I knew, before.

I was lucky enough to have been able to dedicate a lot of time to my girl from the moment she was born, but what I wish I knew was about the life starting at 3 months as a fetus, and the whole labour and giving birth process. The first contact with the mother once outside...Mine was not the best, I had a painful 8 hr labour and when she finally came out and the sage femme put her on my chest I could not take her and hold her, I told her to take her away. I regret that. All up to our first night together I questioned my being able to assume my new role as a mother. Until a few hours later when I knew I was attached to her for life.

My favorite book is Laissez les faire des betises, meaning Let them do stupid things, by Helene De Leersnyder. Get it if you can.

And have a great one!

mardi 24 juillet 2012

Fontainbleau & Barbizon

As I told you last week, I took my parents to Barbizon, and Fontainbleau. I actually wanted to have them visit Le Chateau de Courrances, but since it is a private domain they only take visitors on weekends. So I remembered my man took me to Fontainbleau once, there where I ate my first crepe with chestnut puree and whipped cream. I didn't even know something like that existed!
Since, chestnut puree is a must whenever I make crepes at home. And I do make pretty good crepes. I have been told so too:) A friend of mine in Chicago taught me the crepe recipe, simplest ever:

-for every egg add 4 spoons of flour, and milk until it gets fluid enough for the crepe to cover the bottom of the pan with the minimum quantity, meaning you want to get them as thin as possible. A pinch of salt and sugar and a good pan, and you're good to go. I use about an egg per person, meaning about 3 (large) crepes per person. We love them with nutella and raspberries/strawberries/bananas, with caramel sauce and with chestnut puree and lots of whipped cream!

So we started with Fontainbleau, a beautiful city about 60km from Paris and with one of the most wonderful maneges I ever saw. Meaning this:

And here is Chateau de Fontainbleau,
a huge domaine with huge parcs (gardens). A pretty site indeed.

Diana's garden

The English garden:
The French garden:

If you get too tired of walking, like this doggy...get a carriage.

And Barbizon, a painters' village, my favorite so far.
Mozaic paintings like this one behind are practically on every corner, on the walls.

A little boutique in a courtyard,

A visit at the Aerodrome of Cerny next.

Have a great one :)

mardi 17 juillet 2012

How to be...French

I have to tell you a wonderful blog I came across lately, named Comme une Francaise,

 While I can see around the answers noted below, I had a question on why French do not hug.
When I first came to France I had the tendency to offer my hand, as in for a handshake when meeting someone, but everyone was kind'a leaning over for 2 (or 4!!!) kisses on the cheeks. Honestly I much rather prefer handshakes when I see someone for the first time, but I started playing by the rules.
But just 2 kisses please!
Geraldine from Comme une Francaise says the French take hugs intimately, but don't you find kisses more intimate than hugs?? That one left me speechless.

The hug matter was also addressed in the comic play I just told you about last week. French don't hug, period. Apparetly you save the hugs for when somene dies. grin.

Oh, also, did not realize asking for a doggy bag was rude! My man told me "you don't do that here", I insisted there was nothing wrong about it, did go to a restaurant and asked for a doggy bag at the end (I had not eaten more than 15% of the dish, so I thought why not later), the waiter said ok and he never came back!! So apparently this concept is not well seen here....

So here is an excerpt from the awesome blog of Geraldine.
Will likely be posting more of her stuff later.

The list of 11 questions you must stop asking (yourself and the others)

As a reader of Comme une Française, you are interested in France and its locals. You are willing to integrate. This is awesome. I’m so proud of you.
So, in order to live “Comme une Française”, please, stop asking the questions below. Or I will come and slap you, as a reminder of the article.
Why? Just accept the facts and move on. Don’t try to change a whole country at once. Others have tried. :)
This might be a bit harsh to read. But stopping to ask this will show that you really are absorbing the culture.

Is it true that French people don’t wash?

This is a funny one. As a reader of Comme une Française, I doubt that you can ask yourself this. However, let’s answer.
No, it’s not. We wash everyday. We also use deodorant, perfume and we shave. Louis XIV did not wash, he’s been dead for 300 years. American GIs found French people did not : they had no food, no water, no soap. WWII ended 70 years ago.

If there were less taxes, maybe people would have more money (to start businesses/to feed their children/to buy stuff…)?

The French system is about helping each other. Like a 60 million people community. The tax money is for building roads, organizing free events, paying the police, educating our children for free, going to the hospital without selling your house… It also comes back to you when you are unemployed, handicaped, very poor… Maybe the money could be used more efficiently, but the tax level is not going to lower.

If unemployed people did not have help from the government, they would be more motivated to find jobs?

What would I have to pay for lazy people?

For us, it’s the whole society’s responsibility to take care of the ones in difficulty. And being in sh*t can happen to anyone of us: accident, economical crisis, sickness… Being unemployed is hard enough for their self-esteem and future, we don’t want them to starve as well.

The client is king. How can I not find any good customer service in France?

Maybe one day, we’ll reach the anglo-saxon level of customer service. Fingers crossed. But keep in mind that in France, the spirit is not “the client is king”. It is more a “the client enjoys what is offered”. So, in a restaurant, you pay to enjoy the meal proposed, to have a good time. It wouldn’t come to our mind to ask for anything that would not be on the menu. It’s not even about the money, it something that would not come to a French mind. And asking for it would be highly disrespectful.
However, if you have a complaint to make, about after sales service in particular, resist! There are ways to make them listen.

Can I have a doggy bag?

No. Going to the restaurant is not about “buying food”. I know it’s your right to do it but don’t.

It’s 4 PM, what about lunch?

No. Food is served between 11h30 and 14h. And between 19h and 22h. Not before, not after. This is our respect for food. And the cooks.

If shops were open on Sunday and later at night, businesses would make more money?

We respect the time the business owner needs to spend with his family. And to rest. Family is more important than money.

And what if I need to buy milk at 10 PM?

You wait until tomorrow. Next time, think ahead and buy it earlier.

Should I wear this tracksuit? Should I wear these good old trainers to visit Paris? Should I keep this old tee-shirt?


Can I speak to French people even if I only know 3 words of French?

Yes. We highly value foreigners trying to learn our language.

Should I take French classes?

Yes. :)
Amusez-vous bien !
Have fun

Similar Posts:

 End of Geraldine's post.
Have a great one, the sun finally showed up around here this morning too!

lundi 16 juillet 2012

How to become Parisian in one hour, the show

So last week we went to Paris to see an awesome awesome awesome play, named
How to become parisian in one hour.

I laughed with tears. HIGHLY recommend it to anyone in Paris at the moment. Here is the (cute) comedian author - much better looking in person :)

There is this site called where you can get discounted tickets to (almost)anything going on the Paris scene.
Here is the link

To summarize, parisians are apparently rude, unhappy, depressed, nationalists and suck at customer service! No comment for the first few adjectives, but thanks Mr French for giving me this last one!

samedi 14 juillet 2012

Normandy Part III

So on our way back we stopped into a few villages, one of which - Beauvron - we were told was "one of the most beautiful villages in France". While it was cute, I would not label it as such. My most favorite to this day (although I have a lot of France yet to see) is Barbizon, which I will post about next. I intend to take my parents for a visit there next week.

We started with Touques.

The night before we had eaten at a small restaurant where there was a business card on the table, of an artist which does very unique sketches on life, a metaforic, caricatural view on chapters in life we all go through. I have a book with similar stuff I found in an old book shop in Chicago and I thought it might be the same artist, since I couldn't remember his name. His studio was in this little village and I was excited to come out with a few of his artworks. To my grand dissapointment, it was closed.

The village was very interesting though, it looked like noone lived there - like the greenery was invading the homes and their windows and yet it was filled with artists' studios and quite upkept.

And here we are in Beauvron, the French village with a high name.

They have the best confiture de lait ever! This is actually a caramel topping,  and the guy told me the recipe is very simple:
-they would boil the milk until it reduces ...a lot, along with 24% sugar and 2% salted butter.
On crepes, with homemade whipped cream, I tell you it's amazing. 
They also sell homemade cheese, a special kind made here that stinks a lot, foie gras, cider, wine, etc - all home made in there.

Here is their shop:

 Yes, this is the cemetery and the church, a very warm feeling actually, not the creepy kind you get around cemeteries sometimes.

And the prettiest little town in the city, with mostly wodden toys.

Have a great week :)

Thoughtful Mind

                 A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs. It's jolted by every pebble on the road.

― Henry Ward Beecher

lundi 9 juillet 2012

Deauville, Trouville and...other small ville in Normandy

Part II

Deauville is a beautiful town by water, the golf that separates England from France - the Atlantic ocean. Being so close that one can get to the other side by boat in a few hours, there are lots of English speaking visitors, people, habitants etc. I will show you the city but I must start with a painting studio we came across while strolling the streets of Deauville. I was completely blown away by this guy's work and I am pretty sure we will go back to have one of those portaits done for us.

This wonderful painter is called Bill Leyshon,
you will see his contact below in case you want a custom portrait done. I DO!!

I fell in love with this painting, the mother with 5 daughters just after waking up.
It's huge and I almost started convincing my man of buying it!! expensive, but negociable :)

So I am planning on a mother daughter portrait, but, I really want one with more people inside...
how cool with it be to have a best friend portrait with, like, all your girlfriends in it!
Love my girlfriends, wherever you are :)

Continuing our visit through Deauville,

Thr French stapler Louis de Funes :)

and Trouville, I liked it more:

More to come...