Friday, May 30, 2014

White Furnishings and Serenity......

While in London two weeks ago, I stopped in the antique shop of one of my favorite designers, Josephine Ryan.  I have enjoyed gleaning from her design knowledge from two of her wonderful and beautiful books.  She was kind enough to autograph one of the books for someone I love!  I really enjoyed meeting her and loved her shop for its clean and simple display of true French antiques.  She has a classic style which is similar to my taste and design.  She talks about the thrill of getting up early and hunting for antiques and enjoying it as a way of life.  She has a chapter in one of her books called ALL SERENE and it is about the home of Appley Hoare and her daughter Zoe whose home is in a tiny picturesque village in southern France. I also visited Appley's store just a couple of doors down from Josephine's.  What a delight to meet both these icon's in French interior design in the same afternoon!   Both shops were loaded with neutrals which I happen to love.  The mirrors, the linens, the accent pieces, the doors, the framed religious art, all would be at home in my house! 

 Home should be a place we can relax, be ourself, and restore and refresh!  It's the let's do just that!  I hope your weekend is filled with blessings of family and friends!  The photos are from last weekend when my son visited us.  He and his beautiful wife, Sara met us in New Orleans and the first photo is from the hotel lobby......all serene in white!  We laughed that the bench in front is a fertility bench from Africa.  It was beautiful.  The second photo is the layers of white in my home that are becoming more and more serene.  A White House is not what I aimed for but with white you can let your imagination run wild!  You can add pieces that tell a story and soon the mood is set!  This, my friend, is what a designer should always help you do.  Here's to a happy weekend mood!  Enjoy everyday.......each one is a gift, just waiting to be unwrapped!  

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Caron de Beaumarchais Hotel.....In the Marais

A visit to Paris should be something always remembered.  There are numerous hotels to choose from and it can become quiet overwhelming for first time visitors!  I found this quaint hotel in a magazine a few years ago and I knew it was a hotel that I would love!  I have stayed in this hotel twice and both times the rooms were wonderful and the service was like being in a small Parisian home. This is perhaps because it is a nineteen room treasure right in the Marais district.  It's such a friendly hotel with history and the price is good also.

It is located just a few blocks from the Seine!  This area is extremely popular with locals and with tourists. It is near museums and shopping and the cobbled streets take you back to a time gone by in Paris. Every little street is like a postcard!  You are far removed from the modern day Paris in the quaint place.  The rooms are not large, but adequate and the delicate brocades, gilded mirrors and sconces and antiques greet you like an old friend! Truly beautiful! 

 Breakfast is served in your room or in the beautiful and quaint breakfast room which is on the bottom floor down a winding stairway.  You will find fresh juice, wonderful coffee, and delicious croissants, jams and jellies, a soft boiled egg in a cup, fresh yogurt, fruit, cheese and the morning paper.  Fresh flowers fill all the rooms in small bouquets!  The staff's main goal seems to make you happy!  It's a beautiful place to stay! 

 You can visit their website:

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

More of Paris and Montmarte......

Paris had never looked more beautiful to me than on our last full day together with my friends! Our day began as we walked from our hotel, the quaint Caron de Beaumarchais, in the lively old Marais. It's such a pretty little hotel with history, pretty rooms, and antiques. [more on the hotel tomorrow] we walked along the Seine past Notre Dame and into the long line for tickets to The Louvre. If you are planning to be in Paris several days, I would advise purchasing your museum ticket pass in advance. We purchased the private museum passes in advance but arrived early for the Louvre, so the line moved quickly and we were in! My friends thoroughly enjoyed their time in the museum and were not disappointed! A great time and very relaxed! But then.....could the Louvre ever disappoint? I don't think so!

 We met my daughter outside when we were finished and headed to Montmarte in the 18th district of Paris! What a glorious day to be in Montmarte. The sky was a beautiful blue which was a perfect backdrop for the domed Basilica of the Sacre Coeur. Our taxi driver had taken us up the scenic route past the famous Coco Chanel shop and the Ritz Carlton where she lived. A beautiful high end shopping district where you can find the most beautiful silk scarves in all of Paris [which my daughter gave me as a gift, so sweet of her]! We climbed the steps to the Basilica and once again, I was awed by the beauty inside. No photographs are allowed inside [I had already snapped one when I was nicely told photographs were not allowed] but the image in ones mind remains forever. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are beautifully painted on the dome and the art is magnificent! A must see in my opinion! Once outside, our afternoon was spent in this fun district having lunch at a sidewalk cafe, interacting with the amazing artists selling their artistic talents to the tourists and just having lots of fun and more laughs than we deserved! This district of Paris was home for a while to artist such as Salvador Dali, Claude Monet, Palbo Picasso, and Vincent Van Gogh. Today it's bohemian feel attracts artist of all ages and two of my artistic daughters especially love it. I understand very well why they do.

 Once we finished there, we were back to the Marais district for some final shopping for gifts and dinner near our hotel. This area of cobbled streets and very fashionable boutiques is my favorite. It's a mixture of quaint shops, caf├ęs, people just relaxing and taking in all the culture of a Parisian evening. Paris is simply beautiful. It is charming in a way all it's own and each person who visits or lives there falls in love for life. There is nothing ordinary about Paris! Life should never be ordinary, in my opinion. If you can't travel to Paris or somewhere you may want to go, you can dream and create an environment when life is anything but ordinary. This begins by looking for the beautiful in life. Our Creator has given us a beautiful pallet of colors found in nature. HE wants us to find fulfillment deep inside. HE wants our lives to have purpose and meaning and in The Bible, we find answers and direction for a full and beautiful life! Such travel is fun and being with friends and family is the best but in the end, what matters most is our relationship with God and living a life where others are blessed, served, and loved because we took the time to care for and about them. This was truly my heart as I planned the trip for my dear friends and the steps we would take. I think God gave us His blessings and the beautiful blue sky in a beautiful place on the last day of a Parisian holiday was one I will always cherish! Giving thanks to The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit! xoxo

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Summer Time and The Skin.......

I love being outdoors!  It has to be my favorite place just to be!  My daily routine involves a long walk, sometimes a jog, and sometimes paddle boarding.  I love also gardening and making my gardens as lovely as possible.  Summertime is my season! All of this can take a toll on my skin unless I am careful to prepare ahead of time.  Extra exposure to sun can damage our skin and it is hard to turn the clock back once there has been damage. I have learned this the hard way.  Two summers ago, I had a scare with a small basal cell carcinoma!  I was shocked this happened to me because I thought I was being careful.  I have learned sun screen is so very important.  It is very important to even wear sun screen when we drive daily in our cars. warning to everyone is:  take care NOW by limiting your exposure and use products that cover for protection.  I use Obagi skin care products and have found these to help in both cleansing and nourishing my skin.  Drinking lots of water also helps keep that glow we all desire! Over the past three years, I have tried to wear less makeup to cover my flaws and enhance the good qualities by using just a little blush and lipstick!   I just cannot  forget my lipstick!!!  Enjoy your summer by the pool, at the beach, or outdoors but be sooooo careful to cover your beautiful skin!!!!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Paris.....The City of Light

Paris....What can be added to these wonderful pictures except to say~perfection!  Paris is known as the city of light for a reason.  I love everything about Paris and do not think I could ever get enough of her!!!!

My grandmother inspired all her grandchildren to see the world!  She did herself.  She traveled and planned and planned for others to travel with her.  This was my mindset when I began planning over a year ago a trip of a lifetime for three of my friends who live in Jackson, Mississippi.  We had a wonderful time together touring England and then passing easily into France via the Eurostar and our destination of course was Paris!  I think the girls had a blast and the walking, the talking, the cafes, the wines, the laughs over words we tried to say in French, the stress (a little bit), the art district, the boat ride on the Seine, the prayers in the great cathedrals, and the taxi rides.....the list goes on.

If you've ever thought of traveling, you should go!  As I said, my grandmother's love for people and her giving spirit of seeing others happy continues to touch my life every single day even though she has been in Heaven three years now.  I would be most happy to help you plan a trip!  You can message me at and I will gladly share any knowledge about planning a trip abroad.  I can give you tips on how the manage the trains, the museums, the best areas to book your hotels, and the best places to dine!!!
Our journey through life is truly very short. We are given only a select number of years then it's gone. I feel enormously blessed to have found my purpose in life early. Oh there have been times when I have asked The Lord to take me a different direction but He has ordered my steps as he has seen fit. My spiritual ear hums no matter where God allows me to go. You see, early in life I was taught that a relationship with God was a personal one in which He speaks to His children. This speaking comes when we read The Bible and His love and His ways are imprinted on my heart and He has full control in changing my heart from mine to His. The journey of life is so much lighter and so much more beautiful when it is shared each day with HIM! I thank Him for giving me this season in life where I have experienced so much joy in sharing the journey and trip with others! Take time to be with the people you love and care about. It doesn't have to be can be your own backyard filled with the pleasures of being with the people you care about! Everyday is a GIFT!!! Have a blessed one my friend!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Real Beauty...and Real Joy!

When a woman has real JOY, it just bubbles out!  JOY has an essence all it's own!!! There is nothing quite like the essence of a woman who is truly filled with this joy, also healthy and next comes what we call......beautiful!  In my many, many years of mothering my daughter's, their overall health and filling their spirits with God's ways was my greatest concern.  We kept them outdoors  a great deal of time. Weather was rarely a factor, because we just changed what we had to wear in order to be outdoors. They all loved sports, well, maybe one a little less but she was really into fitness. There was no striving for perfection but just a desire to be healthy inside and out.  Real beauty emerges from a soul filled with the right fresh air and nature and a selfless desire to see oneself as a contributing part of the beautiful world God created.  Desiring to give rather than take.....this is what makes one beautiful.  Sometimes this has to be learned through the circumstances one is placed in.  Today good health is closely connected to the quality of our lives and the beauty of  a life well lived. 

Most women desire to be as healthy and lovely and as beautiful as possible.  Poise, grace, goodness, and modesty in dress and style keep a woman looking beautiful and elegant, even when no one else is looking. It seems what we place inside and outside (covering our body) is truly important.  Fashion changes daily or so it seems to me!  The hour glass figure does not last forever (no matter how hard we try) but the beautiful feminine nature IS God-given and it is meant to last the entire duration of ones life.  God, by design, made woman a beautiful creature!

Over the past few days, my readings have taken me to the life of a beautiful woman, Esther.  Esther was an orphaned Jewess who became the Queen of the Persian King, Ahasuerus.  Her life was not always full of joy and honor but she was used by God to preserve His people from ruin.  Yes, God used Esther to save her people, the Jews.  Her story is found in the Old Testamant and during this period in history, palaces and courtyards were used for lavish entertaining.  The references speak of "white and blue linen curtains fastened with cords of fine linen and purple on silver rods and marble pillars; and the couches were of gold and silver on a mosaic pavement of alabaster, turoquise, and white and black marble."  Esther 1:6  Any designer would enjoy this description of beauty.  It was just at this palace where Esther first found favor in the sight of all who saw her.
  "The young woman was lovely and beautiful."  Esther 2:7

God opened her destiny for a purpose, perhaps she did not fully understand but her spiritual commitment and her sense of perspective reflected the heart of true inward and outward beauty.  I find it interesting that she was also given beauty preparations and personal care. (We think of cosmetics of something as a current product line)  She was attended by a woman who was the custodian of women. (you know the counter expert at your favorite line of cosmetics :)  Perhaps this person attended her lovingly like a mother would in caring for a daughter.

I like to think that investments in our daughters and even our grandaughters contribute to their inward beauty.....this my friend is what makes a beautiful woman. Outside products can only go so far and then......... the fragance of a beautiful woman fills the room LONG AFTER SHE IS GONE.

There is a purpose for each life, your life!  A beautiful strong and lasting purpose will hopefully touch the ones who come behind you.....something to think about beautiful one!

"Who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this."

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


Listening is an attribute that seems to be developed. I admit, I have not always been the best listener but over the years of my life, I am finding this really is one of the cream of the crops of attributes. To hear, to listen, consider, pay attention, to listen carefully and intelligently, to obey. The word conveys a sense of intensity. In the Bible, God commanded Moses to listen attentively and very carefully with a mind to obey what God would say. This listening Moses did brought not only him blessings but an entire nation of people as well. A person who needs one to listen, usually has words or thoughts that are intense and needful in expressing what is in the heart. We all need people who will listen to what we have to say and how we feel. I hope to always be a sensitive listener. You might ask, how does one develop this skill? You might say, my life is so busy and full, there is no time for being in a quiet place where I can hear. We have to get away, even if it's a few minutes in our own home or at the end of a day to listen and hear and restore and refresh. Two weeks ago, I traveled with three friends on a holiday that I had been honored to plan for them over a year. We traveled to some beautiful places and I tried to wisely choose accommodations that would be affordable to all. We shared rooms along the way, which also helped in the cost. We began in London and on day four traveled to Bath, England. I had been to Bath twice before so I knew they would love it also! I researched a beautiful small hotel there and a spa and even asked my daughter, Kara, who lives in London, to go and check it out! She assured me we would love it! So, as our journey began, we traveled by train and arrived about check in time. We were greeted warmly and I was told we had been upgraded to much nicer rooms than I had booked. I was listening, but I could not believe our good blessings to follow. They treated us like we were honored guest in their home. They arranged a driver to take us to Stourhead Landscape Gardens and Home, and he picked us up in a nicer vehicle than any of us owned! He was gracious and kind and shared with us his amazing faith of coming to know The Lord. What a beautiful holiday we had in Bath. A quiet place to restore, refresh, and renew in order to listen again to the sounds and voices around us. You can bet, there was plenty of talking with four women! You see, I prayed for this trip for months, I asked for God's blessings ad favor and His guiding hands. I am humbled and still in awe that HE listened to my prayer and THAT is most humbling in so many ways. His desire to care about the smallest details of life. I Corinthians 2:9 "Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man, what God has prepared for those who love Him". Amen and Amen! So thankful for our beautiful journey! P.S. This describes THE PRIORY HOTEL: The Priory is a country house hotel and spa. The rooms are all individually designed and beautifully decorated. The gardens are maintained by a full time Gardner.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Mother Love and Mother's Day......

In the sweet little children's book, THE LITTLE LAMB, the story begins with a little girl, Emmy, visiting some newborn lambs. As the story begins Emmy becomes an adoptive mother! "Mother sheep usually keep their babies close to them. But one little lamb wandered away from the flock. He seemed to be lost. Baa-baa-baa, he cried. Mrs. Wetherbee asked Emmy if she would like to take care of the lamb until he was big enough to come back to the flock. He had a twin brother and his mother did not have enough milk for two babies. Emmy was so happy she bent over and kissed the little lamb. Then she carried him home". This my friend is precious. The meaning is even more precious behind the words because we do not all come to be mothers in the same way. Emmy was the adoptive mother of this little lamb, but the mother lamb who gave him away was just as much a mother. She trusted another with a most precious gift. These women are priceless, the mothers who give AND the mothers who receive. In the Bible, in the old testament, there is a beautiful and loving story of sacrifice of a Godly woman, Hannah. Her story is found in I Samuel 1-2. The culture of this time in Biblical history allowed Elkanah, her husband, to have two wives. The other wife provoked Hannah cruelly because The Lord had closed Hannah's womb. Year after year this continued to the point of Hannah not eating and weeping to the point of bitterness of soul and weeping in anguish over being barren. In all of this, she continued trusting God through prayer and poured out her heart before the Lord for a child. At long last, she did conceive and receive a child and made a vow that she would give him up to the Lord as a minister, even as a child to be reared in the temple. Because of her faith and trust, this child grew in statue and favor both with men and the Lord. God used him mightily as a prophet during that period of world history. Hannah did have other children whom she mothered later, but her release of her child was to allow her child to live his destiny and purpose. I believe that birth mothers and adoptive mothers are very special before God. Children ARE the fruit of the womb and to be loved and to be treasured......this is what Moms do EVERDAY all around the children! If you are one of these special people God bless you and keep you and may His grace and His goodness give you everything you need to succeed in this most magnificent profession! Enjoy Mother's Day assured that your little lamb was chosen for you and is precious in God's sight no matter how he or she arrived in your arms. Bless you!!!