For the past few months my life has been run at a constant, frantic pace. Each day I struggled to make my way through lengthy to do lists. Even when the school semester ended I somehow still found myself always in a hurry. There was SO much to do before I left my family alone for two and a half weeks. Spring cleaning of the house needed to be done, bills paid, laundry finished, and of course the pantry, refrigerator and freezer required filling of wholesome foods and meals so I could rest easy that my family was well cared for during my absence.
There were also three weeks of blog posts to be written ahead of time that would run while I was away. In trying to get all this done I found myself packing on the night before I was scheduled to leave. How did this happen? A trip over two years in the making and I was still doing things at the last minute!
I knew for my health that this wildly frantic pace should not, could not continue.
As I packed my laptop into my carry on bag I made a promise to myself that there would not be a flurry of constant tweets, instagrams and FB updates.
I would live in the moment and appreciate the beauty around me.
I kept that promise and shared only three images on the DTA Facebook page the entire trip. I also did not answer ANY calls (save for my family) or return any messages for 2 1/2 weeks.
The time I spent in France was in one word: heavenly.
So where did I find the strength and willpower to avoid social media?
In a small village church.
France is home to thousands of churches. Some are large, well known and receive 1000’ s of visitors a day. Some are so small they are not even listed on a map and simply passed by the many who are in hurry, never stopping to discover the little jewels tucked inside such humble and simple treasure troves.
I had actually stopped by a cemetery, seeking out a famous resident, when I decided to venture into the simple and small church attached next to it.
As I entered this was the first thing I saw and in all honesty the simple blue beauty took my breath away.
I stood before this window for several minutes thanking God for letting me stop inside. I could have easily missed it.
You see one does not go to Giverny, France to visit the Église Sainte-Radegonde (Church of St. Radegund). Instead millions of people a year go to Giverny and pay to see a lovely pink farmhouse with green shutters and a garden that was laid out by a famous impressionist painter. Many never realize that just a short 10 minute walk could provide them with another dazzling gift, completely free, and save for my cousin L., was empty when I toured it.
The altar, compared to other churches in France, was simple but stunning.
Hand carved Saints were found in every corner.
I wondered if a long ago parishioner had made this statue or perhaps saved for several years to purchase such a gift.
Statue of St. Roch
Lovely art abounded unguarded.
Each religious themed piece appeared lovelier than the last.
As I stepped back out into the sunshine it was as if my initial intention for arriving at this place was now a mere afterthought. Still, I paid my respects and truly appreciated why Monsieur Monet had chosen this simple location as his final resting place.
I captured over 7000 images on my camera while in France. Not all of them are gems, but each a gift nonetheless. I find myself wanting to sift slowly through the pictures and share the very best with you, my friends. By my calculations it will take a month to do so. A month of meals, museums, happy adventures and lovely memories .
There is no need to rush beauty. I invite you on this journey.
“ God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.” ~ Psalm 62:5
“But let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious.” 1 Peter 3:4
“And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever.” ~ Isaiah 32:17
More information on Église Sainte-Radegonde can be found HERE.