THE WALLPAPER MURMURS

French Vintage wallpaper

A Short Story.  The drive from Paris to the countryside was very long but worth it to spend summer with the sweetest grandmother waiting, the teenager thought to herself.  Along the way she admired different landscapes changing from the big cities to the towns and villages.  Like leaving her life in America to crossing the Atlantic Ocean to France.  She hoped she would remember everything in French to express to her Mame Jeanne.  She counted the kilometers achieved and as night began to fall, her anticipation grew stronger.  Upon arrival that night she would sleep in the white framed feather bed next to her.  They couldn’t stop chatting but soon enough morning came for café au lait and croissant.  The best adventure of her life was surely beginning!

To this day, my grandmother’s wallpaper is framed in my kitchen continually murmuring my best memories with her.  And if you believe in heaven like I do, our mansions will be close by to visit each other for all eternity.

If you wish to learn more about what heaven is like, let me  recommend that you get acquainted with KatKerr.com.  She will fill your mind with marvelous truth about heaven.

CHINESE PLANTATION

Chinese Tea Plantation by Welcome Collection

Today pours a drizzling rain, postponing my walk, so to cut the chill over me, I steep French vanilla Chai tea.  The cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and ginger tickle my senses and begin writing…

No one really knows who first put a tea leaf into hot water to create such an aromatic and restorative drink.  Legends about this abound starting with the Chinese Emperor Shennong, Confucius and Buddha.  As tea plantations grew, the Chinese planters trained monkeys to shake the leaves from the trees.  The process was dirty:  Leaves were picked, dried, stir-fried and rolled into leaves.  That began the Chinese tradition that “the first cup of tea is for your enemies.”  The recipe was a guarded secret.

According to the classic work Cha Ching, Lu Yu defines the art of tea:

The best quality tea must have

The creases like the leather boots of Tartar horsemen,

Curl like the dewlap of a mighty bullock,

Unfold like a mist rising out of a ravine,

Gleam like a lake touched by a zephyr,

And be wet and soft like

Earth newly swept by rain. 

No wonder ceremonial tea houses continue this ancient tradition.  We are fortunate that there is an abundance of refreshingly flavored and therapeutic teas from around the world to enjoy.

“While there is tea, there is hope.”  –Arthur Wing Pinero

“We are like tea, we don’t know our own strength until we’re in hot water.”  –Eleanor Roosevelt

“If you are cold, tea will warm you; If you are too heated, it will cheer you; If you are excited, it will calm you,”  –William Ewart Gladstone

“Tea tempers the spirit, harmonizes the mind, dispels lassitude and relieves fatigue, awakens the thought and prevents drowsiness.”   –Lu Yu, The Classic Art of Tea

Care to have a nice cup of tea now?

The drizzle has stopped and off I go walking!

THE ‘BATTLE STATION’ OF HEAVEN

Image by Easy Canvas Painting

Allelulia!  Spring is here.

Brown Winter ground has shifted to shamrock grass and tulips are waving hello.  Mid-day sunshine erases morning chills – it’s time to envision the garden at its hottest peak with geraniums bursting claret blooms and setting out the patio furnishings for outdoor dining.

I’m waiting patiently for warmer days to open my windows and dry out the freshly painted silver shadow tint on the stone fireplace wall.  It’s time to embrace the power of nature’s colors to ignite more life and beauty into our surroundings.  It’s necessary to rebuild our society from the destruction caused by the virus.  Every one of us has the power to re-establish righteousness from the insipid spread of cancel culture and social communism.  A return to God and fervent prayer will regain the avenues of freedom, the halls of justice and the pursuit of happiness, not only in America but throughout the world.  We are the ‘battle station’ of heaven.  Let us keep the celebration of freedom in our hearts.

A BRAVE CONQUEROR

Painting of Saint Patrick by Frederick Cayley Robinson

I find this dreamy and misty painting of Saint Patrick landing in Ireland in A.D. 430 compliments Patrick’s heroic ministry to foreign pagans.  A lad, kidnapped by English marauders sold him as slave to an Irish tribe where he tended their flock for six years until he managed to escape.  Upon his return home he prepared for the priesthood vowing to return to evangelize those pagans.  These Irish warriors seem agitated at his coming presence, but Patrick is now a wise old man prepared to encounter them with prayer to complete his mission.

I am very fond of Saint Patrick because he is my patron saint who has protected me very well on my life’s journey, especially those dangerous ones.  My memories of March 17th include corned beef dinner and receiving something ‘green’ to prevent me from getting pinched and so I continue the tradition today.

Thank you dear Patrick for spreading your gentle faith to Ireland which eventually illumined the world with the Gospel truth.

May pleasure walk with you.

May luck smile upon you,

And may joy be at home in your heart.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

A RE-BLOG POST ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN

Our Lady of Lourdes and Bernadette

I love retelling this story true to my heart – One of the many treasures my mother has given me is an original French Paris Match book on Bernadette Soubirous, better known as Saint Bernadette of Lourdes, whose feast day is  remembered today.  Each page holds historic photographs of her life and recounts the 18 apparitions of Our Lady to Bernadette at Lourdes in southern France in 1858.  Below are some rare photos and anecdotes translated from the French book.

068_BernadetteSoubirous

My name is Bernadette Soubirous, 14 years old, from Lourdes, neither able to read or write and have not yet made my first communion.”

Bernadette was accustomed to tending to the sheep herd in the nearby prairie, when once she said:

I’m bored here; please tell my parents to come fetch me, I want to return to Lourdes to attend school.”

That famous day, February 11, 1858 was extremely cold. Her mother exclaimed “go gather some dry lavender twigs”  as there was no more firewood.  As Bernadette meandered to the river,  she noticed a golden glow coming from a rocky hollow, saying:  “A lady smiled at me.”  This is what Bernadette reported to the village priest and police:

I cannot explain this  occurrence, but I can confirm that this Lady is real, she moves and speaks like us — she was so beautiful!  I told the Lady “if you are from God, come again.  The Lady responded, “I am the Immaculate Conception.”

lourdes-grotto-in-1858

Despite the village mocking her, Bernadette returned to this spot to meet the Lady 18 times.  The ‘Lady’ instructed her to eat the grass and scratch the ground, where water sprung.  She charged Bernadette to request that the local priest build a chapel at the source.  Later in April 1864, a stone statue was erected as the Lady of the Grotto of Lourdes.  Bernadette commented:

Ah! this statue is beautiful, but it isn’t her!   The difference is:  as earth as it is in heaven.”

lourdes_grotte_apparitions_0

Drawn by faith, pilgrims began to flock at the grotto receiving healings from drinking and bathing in the holy spring.  Millions visit this miraculous site yearly…I was 8 when my grandmother took me there… a voyage I still behold.

france-hautes-pyrenees-lourdes-crowned-statue-and-rosary-square-castle-ecj616

We took the train from Avignon to the Pyrenees region and walked this promenade.  Holding my hand tightly, we visited the tourist shops, one I remember well with creaky wooden plank floors flanked by glass cased counters full of souvenirs.  I still wear the silver-etched roses bangle and the fluorescent blue pinkie ring she bought for me at that store!  That was the best summer ever I spent with Mame Jane!

1200px-France-002009_-_Our_Lady_of_Lourdes_(15774765182)

Many years later while praying to our Lady of Lourdes, I received an inkling that Mame Jane had consecrated me to Her when I remembered dipping my feet into the pool of miraculous water.  From that encounter, praying with her purple rosary, I can always return to our precious pilgrimage with grateful contemplation.

In 2018 a miraculous cure was confirmed for a French nun who had been disabled and wheelchaired for almost 30 years.  Lourdes will always attest scientifically that miracles still occur.

Sweet Lady of Lourdes and Saint Bernadette, Pray for us.