20 March 2015

To Buy a Bit of Sun on an Overcast Day

And just like that the sun is gone and we are all bundled up and skittering about once more. But without fail, les marchés still open and offer up ideas for meals and treats and dreams. I am quite sure this fruit did not come from Normandy, but nevertheless, I bought a kilo of strawberries that were delicious and tasted like sunny days.

18 March 2015

Springtime Arrives in Normandy!

Oh, we have never anticipated spring like this before! It was a long, dark, coooold winter but springtime has arrived and the sun-breaks and roadside daffodils are leaving us rhapsodic. 

Fishing season has just begun, as well, and we must acquire that fishing license for Peter. Turn left out the gate, down past the miniature ponies (affectionately named Hoss and Voss), wave bonjour to Madame Lucienne, and at the creek you arrive. Perfect place for a young man to fish ... and a trailing sister to gather more daffodils ...

16 March 2015

So be truly glad ...

I used to think I wasn't a fan of change. But then, so many of my best decisions have elicited massive life alterations.

Perhaps I actually like change. I do like new perspectives and experiences. What I seem to be realizing is that change isn't really the issue ... it's the uncertainty that precedes it.

I perceive uncertainty as a loss of security. A free-fall of expectations and understanding. A crooked finger beckoning one through a worm-hole of disaster ...

These last months we've been tetering on the edge of more uncertainty. Despite a track-record of God's abundant provision, I found myself swirling in mental firestorm of worst-case scenarios. And to fan the flames, there have been multiple needs that have arisen requiring me to ask for help. As in, I literally cannot do this on my own. It's an uncomfortable sensation, especially when you know that you can't level the scales because you have virtually nothing to offer in return ... but more neediness.

 However. This last week, I received two meaty "you can do it" emails from friends, a care-package in the mail, an extravagant offer for assistance "on the ground," and invitation for dinner that was generous beyond description. People reaching out to meet my needs and serve our family without asking for anything in return.

And I said "yes, please" to all of them.

That dinner? At the home of some friends that we've only known since just before Christmas, but their continual kindness and generosity has put our friendship on the fast-track. They are intelligent, fascinating, curious and exceedingly intuitive about what would bless us.

 After they offered a lovely aperitif, we were introduced to "La Raclette." Using a little grill with a broiler on the underside, you toast up slices of raclette cheese in a little dish and then proceed to accompany it with all measures of coldcuts, dried meats, potatoes, and delights such as an endive salad made with pear, walnuts, and roquefort cheese. 

 Oh. And I haven't a photo, but there was a dish called a pissaladière, which is basically a savory tart on homemade bread dough with a topping of onions sauteed in butter and olive oil and anchovies, and after cutting into squares, topped with a Greek black olive. I so get the culinary use of anchovies now. It took the flavors to a whole new level.

I considered sliding the plateful into my purse.

And then there was dessert. An un-pictured apple crumble to honor our American roots (but was frankly better than a lot of crumble I've had in the States) and also the above snapshot of caneléis.  Just ever-so-slightly-custardy in the center and the exterior, a crown of caramelized delight.

I definitely should have brought a bigger purse.

 Afterwards we enjoyed the sun-breaks for a walk in the nearby park and more conversation. The men discussed all things WWII and global politics with great delight and the ladies and kids delighted in our own version of pleasant conversation and discovery. (My friend laughed when she discovered Jane's braids were "French braids." They call them "African braids." Say what?!)

I am constantly fighting against the rage of uncertainty. And change, even good change, is rarely easy. And it is still so uncomfortable being the "needy people."

But all of these elements are bringing us experiences and challenges ... and people ... that leave me feeling incredibly honored.

Being needy, requires uncertain circumstances ... and opens up skyline of possibilities to be blessed in ways otherwise fully unachievable. And in that, the hope of being used, somehow, in spite of my deficiencies, as a blessing in return.

So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, 
even though you must endure many trials for a little while. 
I Peter 1:6