My Winter Adventures in France – Part 2

Bon jour mes amis – (Hello my friends!)

My adventures in Paris continue in today’s blog post of my winter trip to France this past January 2018. It was my dream trip of a month abroad, starting with a transatlantic crossing on the Queen Mary 2 from New York to England, complete with a hurricane! As an artist and writer, I wanted to see all the famous spots artists and writers of past generations had lived and worked. (Read up on it on my previous post on this blog site.)

January 13 – Third day in Paris

Today my dream came true to visit the Cafe Deux Magot (two chinamen) in German de Pres where Hemingway wrote his early books over a cognac, and write some of my next book. I could not bring my laptop for security reasons so my iPhone had to suffice. I ordered a capuchino (yes, they are better here) from a quirky waiter with sunken cheeks and a twitch, or was it a wink?! who grunted at me. How appropriate for Paris. I had wanted to write Becoming Miriam in Paris, and in a way, I have! You wait and wait on the Lord, then voila, the day arrives. Feeling happy today.

Later that day:

Shabbath Peace! Today on Shabbat I went to the Jewish part of the Marais and had the best falafel ever, with shnitzel (pounded fried chicken) and eggplant. The place, with a star of David over the door, was loud, crowded, with a swarma (lamb) spit, and played Israeli music in Hebrew, which made me cry again, to be celebrating my Jewishness openly in anti-semitic France. I met an Israeli, Allan, who lives in Paris and got to speak some Hebrew. There are only two blocks left of the Jewish quarter, most Jews have made aliyah (immigration) to Israel. There was a Yiddish/Russian place, a deli, a social service place, and a store that sold Menorahs and such. Alas, they were closed because foolish me forgot it was Saturday!

I then stopped at a bakery and tried my first macaroons, one caramel, one pistachio, divine! I also visited Luxembourg Gardens with the naked trees all lined up in precision and the large pond children sail toy boats in.

I had a long and rough day in the Metro getting around, you really go into the bowels of the earth to find your right platform. You must know the color, number and name of the end of the line you are on, and the lines all mix crazily.

I booked my train ticket to Nice today, I leave on Tuesday for a 6 hour trip there, then on to Antibes. You have to print your ticket at the station, all this is so new to me, which adds stress because what if it doesn’t print and I spent 92euros? lol Travel days are hard too. Tomorrow I must do laundry at the Lavaganic five minutes walk away. And yes, my shower is working again! Enjoy the pics!

January 14 – Fourth day in Paris

Sunday. A day of rest. Sunshine for first time! I did laundry for 5 euros a wash (!) which was computerized and a nice Parisian helped me. A Saudi Arabian man spoke with me as we waited on our laundry, which you must watch or it is stolen. He told me their new King Mohammad du Suleman is liberating the country: women don’t have to cover or wear burqas, they can now drive, have equality. They now have movie theaters and can steam Netflix. This is good news to hear. But gays are abandoned and thrown out of country. Some things do not change in a Muslim country.

I stumbled upon Sunday Market and boy what a feast. You have to que up to buy. Fish, escargot, chickens with their heads on, free samples of duck pate, nougut with pistachios and figs (yum, I bought), belts, clothes, computer gadgets, and my favorite brie with truffles slathered in middle for 49 euros a pound. I kept asking the man to repeat the price because I wanted some and finally had to say I could not afford that. They laughed when I asked for samples of cheese. A faux pas!

A nice Madame helped me do the ATM machine to get euros for Nice. I keep them locked in my room safe. Now or a nap, these old bones are tired!
I am so grateful to the Lord for this time here as I love traveling internationally and can’t wait to live abroad, him willing. And I love sharing with you, it gives me a chance to write and keep a journal of my trip. A Beintot!

Stay tuned for the next section, with me traveling to the South of France and the Riviera!

My Winter Adventures in France – Part 1

Bon Jour mes amis- (Good day my friends)

Yes, it happened. I finally went to France for three weeks and fell in love with it! God opened the door for me at the last minute to take the Queen Mary 2 from New York to Southhampton, England on a transalanttic crossing. It was like Downton Abbey at sea. High tea every day with delicious gluten free scones, canapés and petit fours. Dressing for dinner, royal balls and walks around the deck after our two day hurricane adventure where I was seasick, but recovered nicely. We passed the point where the Titanic went down and it gave new meaning to the tragedy, as I could imagine what they felt, now being on a ship.

I arrived in Southhampton, where I took a shuttle to London, and then the Eurostar to Paris, arriving in early evening. My first look at Paris from the taxi was bigger than I imagined and somehow different. I cried when I saw the Arc du Triumph, the Louve and Seine. My room had a view of the muddy-brown Seine and the very next morning I got up before the sun rose at 8:30am and walked along it, counting the bridges till I reached Notre Dame, an hour later. That was what I wanted to do most, as if you recall, my desire to go to Paris and be like Sabrina in the movie of said name, was to write my book Becoming Miriam there.

Well, six years later, I arrived, and did get to sit in the booth Hemingway wrote his classics at Cafe Duex Magots and write some on my second book which highlights my journey to move to France. God fulfilled my dream and I ended up staying one month with me taking the train down to the South of France, to Antibes, where I fell in love with the blue blue sea and snow covered French Alps. More on that later…

I will be posting my journal I wrote every day and posted to my friends on Facebook for you to enjoy in a part of a series of my travels in France. I hope you enjoy them and my pictures of all the wonderful memories and friends I made along the way.

First day in Paris
Oovercast weather, walked all along Seine counting the bridges doing my Sabrina thing 5 Kilometers to Notre Dame, with stunning sculpture. Visited the Deportation Mermorial where 200,000 resistance fighters and jews were deported to death camps, along with the Memorial du Shoah, that has the 67,000 names of French jews deported engraved on walls. Very moving for me as these were the first authentic sites I have seen. Some nice British ladies helped me on my first harrowing ride on the Metro. The French do like Americans and practicing their English. Fun lunch with my waiters of French meatballs, frites and salad. No one tips here even taxis.

Day 2 in Paris
Today I ventured out on metro to Musee de Orsay, featuring the impressionists and a special exhibit of Degas. Tears have come to me in many unexpected places while here and looking at the beauty of brush stroke and color of Monet was one of them. I have been praying about a new vision for my art, and given I saw a modern impressionist exhibit in the art gallery on Queen Mary, (famous British artist Sheree Valenine-Dianes), I believe I will try leaning this style. Grabbed an apricot crepe and walked through Garden du Tulliniers, past the big Farris wheel, and danced down the Champs Elysess with Jesus to the tune of Ten Minutes Ago I Saw You, from 1960s Cinderella TVspecial. He had promised me we would, and boy did we. Yes, I got a few funny looks from the French, but I didn’t care! At the end is the Arc du Triomphe, such impressive sculpture, it blows my mind! Now a pro, I hopped back on Metro back to hotel for a break, then off to Eiffel Tower at night tour. I am depressed how expensive things are here, it really is ridiculous and a bit dark and gloomy, but hey, it is winter and it is Paris!

Stay tuned for Part 2, coming soon!

Do you love a great Zoo?

Bon Jour! Zoos are some of my favorite things, visiting them wherever I travel. How about you? Today, I will take you on a tour of famous zoos, including one in Paris!

I remember as a teenager visiting my older sister Kathy in San Diego and spending the day wandering the huge San Diego Zoo, happy to see the animals in natural habitats. My favorite animal is the seal or otter, and I love to see them swimming around while barking. And of course, I often travelled to the San Francisco Zoo, taking my students when I was teaching elementary school.

Then one day while staying in Jerusalem during my missionary days there, I took the bus to the The Jerusalem Biblical Zoo to explore. It was November, and warm with a cool breeze, like the Fall gets there. Colorful leaves blew around my feet as I debarked the bus. I paid my 10 shekels to enter and was so surprised to see the native animals of the Bible, one after another. Each habitat had a sign posted with the Scripture from the Jewish Bible that mentions the animal, and where it came from, which was fascinating to see! God’s Word at the Zoo! King Solomon brought many of the animals on his great ships into the port at the tip of the Red Sea, now know as Eilat.

The zoo sees its primary goal as the conservation of endangered species. These include animals mentioned in the Bible which are now extinct in Israel, such as the Asian lion, the Syrian brown bear, the Asiatic cheetah, the Nile crocodile, and the Persian fallow deer.

Finally, I reached a large open reserve where animals roamed freely together. I rested on a bench overlooking the reserve nearby an Orthodox woman, in her long sleeves and skirt and wig, nursing her baby. I was shocked as I had never seen an Orthodox woman breastfeeding. She smiled at me, and I smiled back. Such peace and tranquility until an Israeli fighter jet flew overhead, breaking the silence and scattering the animals. A spark of fear settled in my heart, wondering if an attack was imminent. Just a typical day in Israel, I reminded myself.

And in the spirit of keeping everything French and highlighting some fun things to do if you get to Paris, may I recommend the Melagerie du Jardin des Plantes (Zoo & Gardens), the oldest zoo in France, right in the heart of Paris. In 1793 the Jardin des Plantes, which was originally a botanical garden, became the first public zoo in France. The compact 16 acre area, with formal 18th-century landscaping, was retained when the Jardin was renovated between 1918 and 1939. It holds some 1,100 specimens, including the rare Przewalski’s horse. It was the personal zoo of the aristocracy, who selected many animals to reside there from all of Europe and beyond.

I plan on visiting when I take my trip to Paris in the near future while enjoying the beautiful botanical gardens. I hope to paint some of the flowers there with my pastels and include them in my art greeting card collection. I wonder what animal and flower will be my favorite? Restez à l’écoute – stay turned! Au revoir mes amis. – Goodbye my friends!

Check out my book/memoirs: Becoming Miriam: A life transformed by God – click above
or for sale at

To see my art greeting cards, click here

Paris: The Inspirational Story Behind My Book:

Don’t you love to find out how an author chooses to write their story or memoir? I was inspired to write my pre-published book, Becoming Miriam: A Life Transformed by God from a Hollywood movie. Yes, it’s true! I share below how my desire to go to Paris, France, came into being along with my first book. Enjoy!

Writing my story – January 23, 2012, San Carlos, California.

Do not remember the former things nor consider the things of old, Behold I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth, Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:18-19

th-3I had just returned from a one night retreat down near Carmel, which sits on the ocean in Central California. I came away from the retreat feeling renewed in my spirit. While there, the Lord whispered to my heart that when I came home there would be a blessing waiting for me that would make me cry. I eagerly opened the mail and found the movie Sabrina, waiting in my mailbox from a mail order movie service.

th The next day, I watched the modern story of Sabrina with Julia Ormond and Harrison Ford (not the Audrey Hepburn version). As Sabrina ran off to Paris to find herself, I told the Lord i wanted my freedom to do this too, not always waiting on His perfect will do do whatever He asked of me.

Deep down I was miserable, living an oppressive life of financial disability, spiritual oppression and feelings of futility. How I wanted to run off to Paris and do the Paris artist thing. To paint and draw and hang out at the cafe. To walk the Seine th-4and all its 23 bridges, finding my favorite to journal on just like Sabrina did.

Deep inside, I felt the Lord say, “Do you really want to run away from me and my will for your life? For there in the center of my will you will find safety.” I realized this was the answer to my feelings of insecurity all the time. “No, Lord, I don’t want to run away from you,” I said with tears in my eyes. He tenderly replied, “I want to give you the desires of your heart, all of them, as your Heavenly Father who loves and adores you, I know you want to travel the world and i will bring a large provision for you to do so.”

Excited now, I realized my deepest desire was to write, but what? I implored of the Lord what to write. “Write your life story; speak the truth and many others will find hope in your story of redemption and healing from abuse, mental illness, and ministry.”

With the Lord’s permission now, I excitedly jumped on the bed like a child, praising Him for His goodness and loving me enough to give my my heart’s desire. I would trust the Holy Spirit to show me how to write my story, and what to include in the chapters. I promised to use this gift of writing He had imparted in me to bring Him glory. I felt a new freedom to do what my heart desired and take a break from ministry.

th-6The next day, I sat at Peets Care with my morning coffee and began to write my story. I found an application called “Ulysses” to organize my book. As I sat down to write, I felt an anointing from the Holy Spirit.The story just flowed from my fingers. I wrote the forward, inspiration, and the highlights of what my story would tell. It just flowed out in perfect order from my heart. Bowing my head in gratitude, I prayed, “Lord, I will wait for the money to go to Paris and will be faithful to write every day as it rains here in January.

I faithfully awoke each morning, happy to have a project to work on that brought me such joy. The sense of futility I had suffered lifted. I realized God’s financial provision through my disability that allowed me stay home and write my book. The bigger picture came into light and I felt the Lord’s hand on my life.

One morning, He reminded me of a Parisian cafe around the corner that had just opened. Taking my laptop with me, I visited the cafe to find the French owner, th-1Geoffrey, welcome me with a loud. “Bon Jour Madame”. The menu was full of french comfort food and French music played in the background, I sat and ordered a french cafe, or coffee, and felt as if I had stepped into Parisian cafe. If I couldn’t go to Paris, the Lord would bring Paris to me! I vowed to come every day to write as I sipped the french campaigned the owner blessed me with! Oh La La!

Within two months, my entire story had poured out of my soul and I had my first draft of ten chapters with an intriguing title, “Running from the Witches: How the Redemptive Love and Power of Jesus Christ Healed my Life”. (Later to be changed!)

I found it healing to write all parts of my story; the trauma I experienced on the mission field when I was a missionary to the Jewish people, both here and in Israel,th-5 and the trauma I incurred as a child. While writing through the trauma, tears would fall from my eyes and wet my hands on the keyboard as I relived the evil abuse I suffered. I knew I was writing this book to give Glory to the Lord for healing my life and redeeming me from the pit I had been in.

Hope and love flowed through my heart as I realized one day this book would be published and my life restored. It encouraged me to know I would bring hope and healing to others. I knew now my life with all its valleys and mountain top experiences, had been for a reason. My life was a tapestry the Lord was weaving together; on the back it looked like a bunch of twisted strings, but on the front side a beautiful painting of a whole and full life was appearing.

th-2Today (July, 2015), my book is finished, except for the afterword. I plan to write it in Paris at a cafe where Ernest Hemingway wrote. I’ll then be able to say, I did indeed write my book in Paris! I continue to await his financial provision to go.

I have experienced the struggles of a writer; the ups and downs, the set backs and victories, the blogs and tweets. I remind myself every day how blessed I am to fulfill my lifetime dream of writing a book. Thank you Jesus.

To see my Christian art and greeting cards, go to ‘my art’ above or

My Book is Completed, and so I wait….

Celebrate with me the completion of my book: Becoming Miriam: A Life Transformed by God. After two and one-half years of hard work, tears, laughter and editing…and rewrites…and editing…and rewrites, I have completed my manuscript. Now the fun part starts…waiting.

Waiting to hear from the Lord how I am to publish it. Waiting to hear back from the agent I just mailed my manuscript to, to see if he wants to represent me and if my book is marketable to the Christian Booksellers Association (CBS) Is it too dark a subject? Do I have more than one book within my book?  Is it well-written enough? All these questions form in my mind, knowing it will take 6-8 weeks to hear back. If I hear back.

I am blessed with a wonderful mentor, Kay Marshall Strom, a well-known Christian author of fiction and non-fiction, who has guided me and critiqued my book along the way. At this year’s Mt. Hermon Writers Conference, she gave me the thumbs up on my book, as did another writer friend, Joseph Bentz. With this encouragement, I sent my manuscript with sample devotions and greeting cards I had written, off to the agent I met my first conference. He kindly gave me permission to send my book proposal to him when I was done. So I did that this week.

And now, I am taking a rest. The Lord whispered to my heart yesterday to take a break from my art and writing ministry and enjoy the summer. After all, it is His book, and He will publish it when He is ready, whether by a traditional publishing house or self published by me.

Same with the art. I am seeking to license my art and recently got back my first rejection letter from a well known art publishing company.  Tears and disappointment filled my heart. They said they had an artist already with my style.  With my style? Really?  Is that possible someone else paints the same prophetic paintings I do?  I think it was a form letter, and it just wasn’t the right fit. I saved it in my rejection letter file.  Yes, I have one of those. Every writer/artist does. Just to wallpaper the bathroom with when we do finally get published.

So you ask, what will I do with my summer? First read. I have a stack of my favorite John Grisham novels to devour.  Then I will read some of my author friend’s books. Next go to the Pleasanton County Fair, which I go to each year, as they have incredible art. Then I will paint a picture of something different, not just my Scripture art. Go to a Giants game, by train, with my bestie Anne. Buy wine and cheese and listen to the Friday night concerts in the park nearby my home. Write fun and whimsical blog posts that don’t have anything to do with my creative talents! Go on bike rides all over the Bay Area.

And hopefully, go to Paris, and write my final chapter, my afterword. It has been my dream to sit in a Parisian cafe and write. To see all the beautiful art and architecture of the city for writers and artists (and lover’s too!)  Wouldn’t that be a dream come true? So I wait…

What are you doing this summer? Any great ideas for me?  Thank you for supporting my blog and I hope you will enjoy my blog posts this summer….as I wait 🙂