Monday, November 23, 2015

Missing Paris... and some good news

This photo was taken at the Musee Marmottan in Paris
and seemed appropriate as a small tribute to the city 
and its many angels. 

What a week, there and all over the planet.

But little pieces of good news keep popping up in unexpected places.
A friend in Amsterdam came out to her bicycle
to find a hand-knitted scarf wrapped in plastic in her basket with a note: 
"For whoever finds this, open me, I'm a present!
 I'm not lost, but something someone took pleasure making and placing here for you.
 Just doing something nice for someone else." 

And right here at a local grocery,
a friend's husband posted that the gentleman behind him
paid for his family's groceries.

Everywhere angels remind us
that good will persevere
even in the face of so much treacherous hate. 

And in my own backyard,
a little good news on the writing front.
My very first piece of short fiction to be published
 won second prize in Gemini Magazine
which you can find here.

Let's keep spreading more good news... 
and random acts of sparkling sweetness. 

Musee Marmottan
2, rue Louis Boilly
75016 Paris
Open Tues-Sun 10am-6pm

(Photo copyright: Kirsten Steen)

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Teaser Tuesdays~ Liz Gilbert's Big Magic

0923_gilbert-book-cover.jpg (1280×2035)

Hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm.

Here's how to play:

*Grab your current read
*Open to a  page
*Share a few “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
*Please no spoilers!
*Share the title and author.

Have not done one of these in a long time but I have so enjoyed Elizabeth Gilbert's Big Magic, I had to share.
In her latest book, Gilbert talks about fear and creativity, how to relegate one to the back seat and how to seduce the other. There are so many great passages in this book, I couldn't even begin to describe the many ways I love it. But let's just say she has given me a whole new way to look at, invite, talk to and interact with Creativity. And here is one way to deal with Fear. Since Gilbert believes Fear should not necessarily be completely abolished as it does have its place in our lives, whenever starting a new project (or doing anything interesting), she has a talk with Fear...and it goes like this:

"Dearest Fear,
Creativity and I are going on a road trip together. I understand you'll be joining us... because you always do. I acknowledge that you believe you have an important job to do in my life and that you take your job seriously. Apparently your job is to induce complete panic whenever I'm about to do my anything interesting. And may I say you are superb at your job. So by all means, keep doing your job if you feel you must. But I will also be doing my job on this road trip which is to work hard and stay focused. And Creativity will be doing its job which is to remain stimulating and inspiring. There's plenty of room in the vehicle for all of us so make yourself at home but understand this:

Creativity and I are the only ones who will be making any decisions along the way. I recognize and respect that you are a part of this family so I will never exclude you from our activities. But still, your suggestions will never be followed. You're allowed to have a seat and you're allowed to have a voice but you are not allowed to have a vote. You're not allowed to touch the road maps. You're not allowed to suggest detours. You're not allowed to fiddle with the temperature. Dude, you are not even allowed to touch the radio. But above all else, my dear old familiar friend, you are absolutely forbidden to drive." 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Our beautiful Provence accommodations...under storm warning.

This past week the Cote d'Azur has been pummeled by storms.
They've seen massive rainfall and flooding, which included 20 deaths. 
And the Vaucluse Department in Provence was again under warning as of yesterday. 
Last week's storms caused 550 million euros in damage.
Let's hope this week sees no further loss of life.
Hoping everyone is safe and protected.

This is the 17th century house we stayed in this summer with family near Blauvac
in the Vaucluse. 

The lovely writing desk in my room.

And view from my window into the courtyard.

The road into the property held some of the most exquisite views anywhere.

Every morning we walked the road to the monastery next door
where some went to listen to Vespers in the evening.

 Off the kitchen, a lovely patio with pool.

Shaded by a 600 year old tree.

Every night that weather allowed, 
we had dinner out on the patio

And each night, 
a different family took turns creating magnificent cuisine. 

Hoping they've pulled in the hammock,
and battened down the hatches.

Prayers for safe harbor in the storm.

(Photos copyright: Kirsten Steen) 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Old Village of Monteux in Provence

(Porte d'Avignon)

Along the D942  about 20 km northeast of Avignon in Provence
and 5 km from Carpentras,
lies the medieval Old Village of Monteux.
One enters through this ancient doorway,
 the old Avignon Porte  along fortified ramparts 
which was the original entry to the village.

Next to the porte sits this sweet 'dolphin' fountain. 

On my way back to Blauvac in Provence from Mary Magdalene's cave this summer,
but not quite yet ready for my adventure to end,
I stopped in this little town to explore
and found the most exquisite village
of painted canvas on old buildings.

I parked near the porte,
walked through 
and got lost in this surprise maze of medieval streets. 

And here are just a few of what greeted me! 

Basket weaver. 

Everyone wanted to get in on the charming paintings and flowers. 

Barrel maker and repairer.


A very Provencal scene. 

Cabinet maker.


What a delightful surprise this little medieval village turned out to be! 
Something niggled at me each time I drove past the exit sign for Monteux 
on my way to Avignon or Aix-en-Provence,
telling me to take a look. 
I finally had the time, being on my own
and not on a schedule 
(usually of sightseeing with a group 
or picking someone up at the Avignon train station)
and I listened to that little nudge. 
Sometimes beauty and magic happen when we listen and respond. 


I was away at my writing retreat on the northern Oregon Coast this past week
working on my novel
and for those who are interested,
I've also been working on the post about my trip to MM's cave. 
But for now, enjoy these photos from Provence.
And thanks for coming on this little side-trip to Monteux with me!

(All Photos copyright: Kirsten Steen)

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Rest in Eternal Peace, Wayne Dyer

I am still in shock and deep grief ...
at the death of one of my favorite 
inspirational teachers are many.

As I read the words of others,
I only begin to understand the depth
with which he helped to change the universe.

He touched so many people
looking for answers and trying to find their way,
helping them to recognize their own power
to make their own change. 

The above quote that I found from OmTimes
and put over the beauty of Mt. Shasta,
one of my favorite mountains,
I think best describes his mission,
his loving way of helping others. 

A gracious soul,
a transforming beam of love and light 
to all he reached.

May eternity bless you 
for all you have been and shared. 
And may the magnificent shooting star of your life
continue to sprinkle miracle dust over us.
And you...

May you rest in beautiful peace.

(Photo copyright: Kirsten Steen)

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Palais des Papes, Avignon

We're touring a little piece of Provence history today
at the papal palace in Avignon,
the capital of the Vaucluse department in southern France.

This medieval, gothic fortress and palace,
once the seat of Christianity 
and known as one of the greatest examples of Gothic style, 
was begun in 1252.

Clement V made it his home in 1309...

...moving the Papal Court to Avignon
 thus creating a period known as the Avignon Papacy
which lasted not quite 70 years
when the Popes returned to Rome in 1377. 

But the antipopes moved in,
ending the Avignon Papacy
and creating the Papal Schism
when several announced themselves the true Pope.

(Christ carrying the cross with Sainte Catherine of Siena on the left)

I love old snapshots of history...

and these sliding media photos show the walled city
in the 1600's. 

Anyone who knows me 
knows I'm a door and window person
taking shots of them wherever I go. 

All around Avignon are murals like this one...

and on many walks in Europe
you'll find just such an elderly woman staring out her window
watching the world pass by. 

I couldn't pass up this beautiful door
with its gorgeous arch, 
cobblestone walkway
and infinity sign. 

And this one just tickled me!

Also in many European cities
one finds Virgin altars on corners of the Old Towns.

Usually holding something precious.

More photos of Provence next time. 
So much beauty...
and such history.

Happy waning summer to you!

(All Photos copyright: Kirsten Steen)