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French la Vie
Provence, France
Recent Activity
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"Faith is unseen but felt Faith is strength when we feel we have none faith is hope when all seems lost." Catherine Pulsifer ... My brother Marty who has had a rugged journey with stage four pancreatic cancer that metastasized to his liver, who in the last two months endured four rounds of Chemotherapy Folfox (with more to follow), a stroke, a blood infection which turned sepsis, a stint that dislodged and pancreatitis... Having cancer is not only a physical upheaval it also rattles the spirit and plays games in one's head. Having cancer takes every ounce of courage and grace to keep one's head above water. Finally, my brother had encouraging news his tumors are shrinking. Thank you for your prayers said and please keep them coming as his journey continues. We are grateful for all the love and support we have been given xxx Continue reading
Posted yesterday at French la Vie
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Whew, I am glad I started to let my hair go white back in August I feel I had a head start. One less thing I do not need to think about. Artwork found on Facebook Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at French la Vie
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Sacha lives in Seattle where he is freelancing in cinema photography, and his Italian Girlfriend lives in Italy with her family as she studies art in the university. Due to the coronavirus, they do not know when they will see each other again... When Seattle went into Safe Shelter Sacha got in his jeep and drove to California to be with my family. Though he is in self-quarantine out at a ranch with miles of rice fields surrounding him. When Sacha and his Italian Girlfriend are not together they write in their journals daily and when they see each other they pass each other their journals. Here is the entry for the day Sacha arrived in WIllows from Seattle: Dear Elena, Driving through the mountains in Oregon, I can't help admiring the landscape. After some rain, the clouds and fog create some amazing patterns of light and shadows on the hills and in the valleys. Surrounded by giant evergreens lightly coated with snow, I drive the winding road with you on my mind and your photo on my dashboard. I imagine you next to me, holding your hand alternating between deep conversations and pointing out old barns, blossoming trees, and splendid views. As I pass over to the other side of the mountain, the landscape drastically changes. I am in California. All of a sudden it's desert-like. The greens and blues have traded their hues for tans and yellows. Hills covered in trees have turned into rocky landscapes. I stop at a viewpoint and enjoy an early picnic dinner while watching the sunset transform the Sacramento valley ahead of me. A feeling of home overcomes me. I drive on into the night when suddenly the freeway points right at the Californian giant: Mt Shasta. A tall volcano similar to Mt Rainier. Its massive dark silhouette cut out from the sky with its snowy hillsides giving it dramatic texture. The roads then become the typical Californian highways: Long and straight. I hold back the urge to drive faster. It's the final stretch, I see the end of this long day. When I finally pull into Willows, I get an eerie feeling. Not the excitement I felt like a kid but a certain sadness. It's late and the town is empty. I drive through it as many memories pop into mind left and right. At the end of town, my grandmother's house.... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at French la Vie
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Soon without a season we will sit here again our stories will unravel and some will go unsaid as hearts can share without words and where time has no meaning Gabriel will crawl around our legs, maybe he will be walking. Will we be kissing cheeks twice with our friends? Floating from one moment to another, sticking my fork into your lunch for a bite, leaning my glass towards you to say salut, and eating olives from the same bowl. Soon but I do not know when. Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at French la Vie
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I don't want to be the kind to hesitate Be too shy, wait too late I don't care what they say other lovers do I just wanna dance with you I gotta feeling that you have a heart like mine So let it show, let it shine If we have a chance to make one heart of two I just wanna dance with you I wanna dance with you, twirl you all around the floor That's what they intended dancin' for I just wanna dance with you I wanna dance with you, hold you in my arms once more... Singer George Strait Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at French la Vie
Standing still for a moment feeling the hands of time rushing over me Aware of the moment when the clock strikes and when the moon is like a halo above, gracefully leading me to this day and the next. Singular moments of time marking me creating me. The sun rises ah the dreams a mixture of yesterdays, today and tomorrows. The hands of time reach out even when I do not want to follow the dance it leads It takes my hands, I might step on its toes and yet we go. Continue reading
Posted Mar 24, 2020 at French la Vie
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Sacha’s Sunset from his Deck in Seattle. Continue reading
Posted Mar 23, 2020 at French la Vie
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The yoke hung on the wooden peg in the barn boots kicked off not far behind I walked out with the sweet smell of hay behind me and an endless blue sky Mustard greens with bright yellow hats waving matching the sun Continue reading
Posted Mar 22, 2020 at French la Vie
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As I walk I carry your kindness with me. Each of you who read my blog, who give so much of yourself to me, who are angels on earth... Thank you. I am grateful for every one of you every day! As soon as I can organize the letter writing I will get back to you. Thank you for the wonderful response. And to Isabel for giving me the idea. Continue reading
Posted Mar 21, 2020 at French la Vie
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After reading Isabel's comment on yesterday's blog post I knew what I could do to help in this situation of self sheltering. Reaching out to those of you who need a friend, if you would like to join me here is how we can reach out together. If you live alone or is a rest home please send me your address to coreyamaro @aol. I will write to you. If you would like to help write to others let me know and I will send you an address to write to. Continue reading
Posted Mar 20, 2020 at French la Vie
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Because you have asked... Yann is in France lock-downed at our home alone, fifteen minutes away by car Chelsea, Martin and Baby Gabriel are with Martin's parents locked down too. Martin's parents have a big garden and Baby Gabriel is loving discovering Spring. Unfortunately, because of the lock-down Yann cannot see them. They are fine, and that is music to my ears, even if I am too far away to dance with them. Sacha is in Seattle. His freelance work has dwindled down enormously, but he still has some work. He will most likely come to California if a lockdown is imposed in the States. Sacha's Italian Girlfriend lives in Verona and has been under lock-down for nearly three weeks. Her father has four colleagues who have the Coronavirus 19 and a neighbor (55) died recently. They are sad and bothered and do not see an end in sight. But they remain courageous, faithful and strong. My Mother is safe. I have imposed self shelter for her about to weeks ago and about a week for myself. We are not visiting my brother as we want him safe. It is not easy as you can imagine. He has had four sessions of chemotherapy and more to follow, thank you for your prayers. My airline ticket has been canceled. Yann and I have decided that it is best for me to stay here because I can help my family and be of service. Yes, I miss my family, very much so, that is the part of living abroad that has never been easy. Divided. But for now, this is where I need to be. I will see as it unfolds. We are fortunate in an unfortunate situation... though we have a roof over our heads, water, no bombs, food, love and much more. Nevertheless, it is scary this uncertainty, this unknown path ahead of us. I hope you and yours are safe too. Continue reading
Posted Mar 19, 2020 at French la Vie
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My mother sees blackberries on the dry winter branches, she feels the sweetness in her hand and smells the pie baking in the oven knowing soon her grandchildren will gather around her table laughing with blackberry pie in their mouths. My mother sees goodness in things that are invisible to most of us she believes in love and God and puts her faith there, she sees the goodness of any moment no matter how dark the day can be. I see the dried blackberry bush that grows along the dry dirt path. I see the promising clouds that did not give rain and I wonder if there will be blackberries to make pies and worry that they have been sprayed. I question, doubt, turn things over, and I am far too curious I see both sides and bite my lip, while my mother believes in the berries. My mother's faith leads me back to our lovely home she takes the fear, doubts, and uncertainty and puts them in a safe place called undying faith then she reaches out bringings others to it by saying we’re gonna have a delicious blackberry pie this summer will you help me pick them? By her faith, her example, her courage to focus on the goodness we smell the pie and see the path leading us to happier times. My mother lives her life following faith holding on to a golden light of summer. Continue reading
Posted Mar 18, 2020 at French la Vie
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“A little different perspective someone just posted. Just a few positive thoughts to contemplate.... There is so much fear, and rightfully so, about COVID-19. And, what if...” via Elizabeth Gardner Gray If we subscribe to the philosophy that life is always working out for us, that there is an intelligence far greater than humans at work... That all is interconnected. What if... the virus is here to help us? To reset. To remember. What is truly important. Reconnecting with family and community. Reducing travel so that the environment, the skies, the air, our lungs all get a break. Parts of China are seeing blue sky and clouds for the first time in forever with the factories being shut down. Working from home rather than commuting to work (less pollution, more personal time). Reconnecting with family as there is more time at home. An invitation to turn inwards -- a deep meditation -- rather than the usual extroverted going out to self-soothe. To reconnect with self -- what is really important to me? A reset economically. The working poor. The lack of healthcare access for over 30 million in the US. The need for paid sick leave. How hard does one need to work to be able to live, to have a life outside of work? And, washing our hands -- how did that become a "new" thing that we needed to remember. But, yes, we did. The presence of Grace for all. There is a shift underway in our society -- what if it is one that is favorable for us? What if this virus is an ally in our evolution? In our remembrance of what it means to be connected, humane, living a simpler life, to be less impactful/ more kind to our environment. An offering from my heart this morning. Offered as another perspective. Another way of relating to this virus, this unfolding, this evolution. It was time for a change, we all knew that. And, change has arrived. What if... - Gutpreet Gill Continue reading
Posted Mar 17, 2020 at French la Vie
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Back in November Chelsea, Baby Gabriel and I came to Willows to visit our family it was as it always is a wonderful time spent with everyone. We went out to lunch with my brother Marty and my sister in law Suzy. Marty loves children, you know how some people just have that special spark with children, well my brother Marty has that spark. Never did I think I would be coming back because my brother has cancer... I thought it might be to come to celebrate his 60th. And now here I am and to say Happy Birthday doesn't seem right. Yet it does. I can imagine every one of those 60 candles to be blown out would be for one wish: To celebrate life for years and years to come. And that is what we all wish for, pray for and hold up to celebrate life for years to come. Healing now. Unfortunately, we cannot celebrate with my brother with the coronavirus 19. It is a double-edged sword. Courage Brother! May your Birthday bring you everything you deserve, desire and a dose of happiness. Continue reading
Posted Mar 16, 2020 at French la Vie
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”The very last thing we need right now is a mindset of mutual distancing,” the rabbi wrote. “We actually need to be thinking in the exact opposite way. Every hand that we don’t shake must become a phone call that we place. Every embrace that we avoid must become a verbal expression of warmth and concern. Every inch and every foot that we physically place between ourselves and another must become a thought as to how we might help that other, should the need arise.” -Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky Continue reading
Posted Mar 15, 2020 at French la Vie
Posted Mar 14, 2020 at French la Vie
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My mother had a dream about Marty and it went like this: Marty was swimming in the canal against the currents which are continuous, strong and unseen, Though without delay he made his way to the slippery embankment and climbed up to the path. I told my mom to hold on to that image, that strength that she saw in her son, he made it out and he was on the path, the solid ground. Continue reading
Posted Mar 12, 2020 at French la Vie
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Due to the coronavirus and the message from President Trump regarding flights from Europe to the USA the French la Vie groups in April will be postponed until further notice. If you were planning to stay in our apartment(s) in April I will return your deposits. Please contact me if you have any questions and or concerns. Presently, I am in California hoping to return to France by the end of the month. Continue reading
Posted Mar 11, 2020 at French la Vie
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Dry branch Delicate pink blooming Blue sky Tears that don’t dry Continue reading
Posted Mar 10, 2020 at French la Vie
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There is a bond of compassion that goes between people when they share something that you have experienced. When you share something that has carved a path within you, there is a silent understanding of knowing that unites one to the other. Some people who write to me want to know what I did to beat the odds, how did I survive, how did I heal, what miracle was I given? I am not certain I did anything different than anyone else who has this disease. I cried. I prayed and I wanted to live. Whenever I am asked I recall that time of panic, of fear, of everything becoming precious and dear having cancer makes life, the small and mundane, that which we take for granted and every moment breathing, appear in technicolor. Life suddenly becomes richer when you are branded with the reality of death on your doorstep. I remember the joy of washing dishes, the wondrous hot water, the suds looking like diamonds... I remember thinking that washing dishes was such a gift! Yes, having cancer made each step of living richer, beautiful, holy. In retrospect, cancer made me wake up, made me "see" life. What did I do to survive cancer? If I had an answer I would be a very rich woman and so would many many others. I wish I had the answer so others could be healed but I don't. What I didn't do is this: I never gave up believing that the only moment I had was the one right where I stood. I was alive and living, cancer did not rob my soul. I also did not say or like to hear the words Battling Cancer, or Put up a good fight... those words made me feel I was in the battle against myself. I couldn't stand that idea. So instead I changed the vocabulary. That is not a cure for cancer. Nor is it the only thing I did to try to heal myself. Most of all I felt I was lucky and it took years to accept that without feeling guilty. The words fight and battle just did not sit well with me. I did not like the meaning of those words. It felt like I was in a war zone with myself. I knew cancer was not good, that I had to think positively but "Fight" and "Battle"... Continue reading
Posted Mar 9, 2020 at French la Vie
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Take time to be with your thoughts, sit hand in hand with your feelings. Being available to others. Embrace family and friends as often as you can. Smile. Feel yourself breathing. Be happy in your shoes. The baptism of my nephew Warren 13 years ago Look at your hands, what can you offer today? Thank your heart for beating. An old photo of My dad and my brothers: Marty, Mark, Mat, and Zane Say the name of those you love and ... the name of those you need to forgive. Put the way of loving first and foremost. Continue reading
Posted Mar 7, 2020 at French la Vie