772. I like the Eiffel Tower because it looks like steel and lace. ~Natalie Lloyd

Paris, ooh la la–
I’ve seen your, beauty,
and you belong to me now…
~Last 2 two lines are adapted excerpt
by Ernest Hemingway

Screen shot 2015-06-15 at 5.49.55 PM

La Vie En Rose
I hold you close and oh so fast
because of a magic spell you cast.
Such is “la vie en rose.”

When I think of you heaven sighs,
and though I close my eyes,
I can see again “la vie en rose.”

Then as I hold you in my dreams,
I’m once more in a world apart,
A world where roses forever bloom it seems.

When at last you come into view, angels sing above
and everyday words turn into songs of love.
It is then I feel the rhythm of your “heart and soul”
and life again becomes “la vie en rose.”
~Adapted lyrics of this song as sung
by Louis Armstrong

The top map in the photo is of the area in Paris that encompasses the Eiffel Tower, the Champs Elysees, the Pont Alexandre bridge and a few other landmarks you may recognize.  The photos beneath it are ones I took when we in Paris 2 years ago. (I took the one of James while he was resting on the grounds near the Eiffel Tower.) The bottom map is a blown up section of the upper map and the red sign is the location of our hotel, between the Eiffel Tower and the Pont Alexandre bridge. As you can see it is also only a block and a half from the Seine. I’m so excited: we leave for “home” two weeks from today.

Is not God in the heights of heaven? And see how lofty are the highest stars. ~Job 22:12  ✝

766. Paris is always a good idea! ~Audrey Hepburn

…wherever you go for the rest of your life,
it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.
~Ernest Hemingway

Screen shot 2015-06-09 at 6.00.27 PM

In the summer of 2013 about 6 weeks before our 50th wedding anniversary, James and I, along with our family, did in fact fly over the big pond. We landed first in London, and after three days there we took a train to Edinburgh, Scotland, which was another huge, huge treat for me. (My dad had worked for Southern Pacific Railroad when we were growing up and every summer we traveled to places all over the US by train, and I loved, loved, loved riding and sleeping on trains.) After 3 days in Scotland we flew to Dublin for 2 and a half days. And from Dublin… Are your ready for this?! Could I have a drum roll please!!! We flew to Paris! Regrettably we had booked a hotel in Versailles, instead of Paris proper, and so after being picked up by a prearranged taxi, we went  straight to our hotel to check in our luggage. Since it was quite late when we arrived at the hotel and we had yet to attempt traveling on the RER (Metro in Paris), we spent the evening in the town of Versailles. However, even though all I’d gotten to see of Paris that first day were views from the plane and a speeding taxi, it was enough to start the adrenaline flowing. The next morning when we got off the Metro in Paris and turned to walk onto the Pont Alexandre III bridge, one of the most ornate and extravagant bridges across the Seine, the excitement exploded into breathtaking fullness–so much so that I came to an abrupt halt right where I stood, frozen in place and completely stunned by everything that now lay before my eyes. The dream had at long last come to pass, and what I was seeing was even more dramatic and wondrous than I’d imagined. In that instant that bridge became a part of me and I belonged to it and it to me. Then when I turned to hear what my daughter was saying and the Eiffel Tower came into view, uncontrollable tears began streaming down my time-worn face. The teenage girl, who had fallen in love with the French language and Paris as a senior in high school, was finally witnessing her dream come true. Though, I could barely utter the words to explain the tears to my daughter, she somehow knew to put her arm around me and stand there with me as I took it all in. Then as we turned to walk across the bridge to join the others, I was stung on the side of my face by a bee. But ya know, no matter how bad that sting hurt and it did, there was nothing, simply nothing, that could have kept me from relishing that moment on the Pont Alexandre that glorious morning. I was “home” in a sense, and in less than 2 weeks, we are going “home” to Paris to feast for the second time. This time our hotel is between the Eiffel Tower and the Pont Alexandre. Imagine that?! My, oh my, oh my! How very, very good God is!!! By the way, I was thrilled that James fell in love with Paris from the get go, but it’s probably a very good thing that he didn’t say something silly like, “I wish we’d come here years earlier.”

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. ~Psalm 62:5  ✝

**The Pont Alexandre III, the Beaux-Arts style bridge, with its exuberant Art Nouveau lamps, cherubs, nymphs and winged horses at either end, was built between 1896 and 1900. It is named after Tsar Alexander III, who had concluded the Franco-Russian Alliance in 1892. His son Nicholas II laid the foundation stone in October 1896. (Pictures in collage are mine.)

DSC_0537_4

617. Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy. ~Anne Frank

Life is full of beauty.
Notice it.
Notice the bumble bee, the small child,
and the smiling faces.
Smell the rain, and feel the wind.
~Ashley Smith

DSC_0053

Oh, the green, green, green of fresh growing things; the scent, scent, scent of fragrant flowery things; and the buzz, buzz, buzzing of little, busy bees. But wait, wait, wait! Back that “wagon” up and hold on just a minute! It’s still January and therefore wintertime. So what’s up with the green, the flowers, the aromas, and the buzzes? Ah the joyous blessing of a greenhouse filled with thriving, flowering, sweet smelling things! The only downside to such is that the bees seem to think the greenhouse is solely their domain and so object to a human interloper’s pottering visits. But then again, I seem to be developing a history outside the garden of adverse encounters with the wee buzzing folk. In my recent tale about a trip to Paris two years ago, I neglected to mention that on the very first day of our long-longed for visit to that magical city, we got off the metro, walked to the Pont Alexandre, and as we turned to walk on the gorgeously adorned bridge where I would get my first view of some of the city including the Eiffel Tower, I was stung on my face by a bee. But let me assure you that the subsequent outpouring of tears had absolutely nothing to do with the bee’s assault and everything to do with the legendary marvels that now lay before my very own eyes. And ya know, it didn’t stop me from the joy and the journey then and there nor will it keep me from the same in my greenhouse for both were and are filled with unforgettable beauty, fabulous fragrances, breathtaking spectacles, and beguiling allures.

“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.” ~Numbers 6:24-26   ✝

**I took this photo in my greenhouse.  The bee was nectaring on a gorgeous anemone.