Tuesday, August 23, 2016

A Flower Story and Guests from the North!


Bonjour mes amis!

Greetings to you on another hot August day!  We'll get through this month...

I'm still thinking back on our awesome year in France, and once my Dad's visit with us concluded, we had guests again within two days...just enough time to wash sheets and get groceries!  It seems like we live like this in the U.S. also!  When we first moved to Texas from Illinois, I was worried that no one would visit us, but you know what?  Texas has some pretty awesome weather for quite a few months of the year, and we definitely have gotten visitors!

Our next Summer guests in France were distant relatives of Dr. J from The Netherlands.  Typically, we went to visit them up North, but this time, they wanted to see us in Orléans for a few days!

So, we started off their visit with a picnic lunch, and a day trip to one of my favorite places on earth!
Château de Chenonceau!

I've been there many, many times, and have taken you there many, many times on my blog!

I never get tired of returning.  All the flowers, all the cherubs and stonework!  Such beauty!

Oh to be the florist of this Château!  Every time I visit, there are beautiful bouquets all over the Castle!

Most of the flowers are grown right on the grounds in the Gardens!

Hey, Dr. J's cousin got a pretty nice shot of us!

I was especially enchanted by this basket of hydrangeas!  Who wouldn't love this in their home?

I'm not too picky.  I love plants and greenery as well!

Now this is a centerpiece!

Usually I pick beauty over function, so it's just really too bad that no one could actually eat at that table, unless they hold their plate on their lap!

This Château has so many beautiful things.  I'll just let you look around while I tell you a Flower Story!

While we lived in France, we attended a little Protestant Church.  The people there were so dear and friendly, and we felt at home immediately.  As we got to know people, somehow it came up that not only did I like to decorate houses, but I also liked to arrange flowers and had taken classes for this.

One week in the Spring, one of the ladies asked me if I would like to get together with her and another friend and create a new floral arrangement for up near the pulpit at Church.  Valerie spoke some English, but the other lady did not. Somehow, we would get by.

We went to the Church and the ladies showed me the tall vase we would be filling.  Then, Valerie suggested we go to her house to look at flowers she was storing that we might use.

First of all, might I mention that I was totally impressed with Valerie's beautiful garden, and huge stone house!  When we got inside, Valerie told me that the structure had been a barn that they converted into a five bedroom home.  It was filled with typical wood ceiling beams, antique furniture and things I love, but Valerie had an updated twist on things and I was thrilled just to see the place.

Valerie led us upstairs, and I thought perhaps we were getting a tour, but no...she was taking us to see the artificial flowers we might use...stored up in the attic!  What an attic it was.  Full standing room everywhere, running the full length of the house, and there were even wooden beams in the attic.  It was a treasure trove of stored items from baby things and furniture and boxes, right down to those stored flowers.

We picked out what we thought we could use, and headed over to the Church to create!

As we stood there in front of the floor height vase, the ladies handed me the flowers and told me to make the arrangement.  What?  I thought we would do this together!  They wanted to see what I would do.  So, I began arranging, and re-arranging, and doing what any person would do under pressure.  I kept second guessing the whole arrangement.  Finally I stopped and stepped back, and the ladies were snapping pictures with their phones.  I saw every hole in the arrangement, and every way I thought it could be better, but they were happy.

But I thought of something that quickly became what I was really excited about...

We had some artificial Easter Lily stems that weren't being used.  I asked them to let me try something, and I wired three Easter Lily stems onto the wooden Cross that hung on the wall.  It looked beautiful, and so perfect for Easter Sunday...

But I got nervous that the Pastor might not approve this, so I told them about my reservation...

And just like that, those two ladies left the room and went next door to the parsonage where the Pastor and his wife live, and soon the Pastor's wife was right there, beaming from ear-to-ear that she liked the lilies on the Cross, and she was sure her husband would approve. And, he did!

From that time on, I helped with more arrangements, and even helped decorate a whole stage for a big France-wide Church meeting, where we incorporated live cuttings of greenery from outdoors.

It was so much fun for me, and it was a nice way for me to share my gifts in that Church that we came to love.

And do you know what?

One of the last Sundays before we left France to move back to Texas, that congregation honored me with a beautiful bouquet of flowers to thank me for making floral arrangements for the Church!

That was such a touching gesture!  It really meant a lot!

And that's my France Flower Story!

Enjoy the rest of the views at Chenonceau!

I love going back to Chenonceau, even if only in my dreams now, and I'm so glad we got to share it with relatives!

Hope you enjoy some flowers in your life this week!
Until next time...

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