serenely secluded in france

by Sharon Santoni

magnolia in flower in front of house with daffodils

So here we are on the eve of our first day of being secluded, and honestly I have to say that it feels surprisingly peaceful.

I don’t mean I love it, why would I?  This is a dreadful situation for the world to find itself in.  We are all worried or scared about the implications of the virus for our health and the health of those we love, and we are all aware of and worried about a potential economic crisis.  But when it comes down to each of us, as individuals, the most we can do is to slow down, follow the New Rules, and try to be mindful of those around us.

So I thought you may like to know how this is playing out here.

magnolia in flower

As you know, if you read me, I live in the countryside with my husband and two extremely scruffy dogs.   Being secluded in the country is a very different game to being in the city, it is quiet on a busy day but today it has been Qu-i-et.

We’re empty nesters and our children each live in big cities, but we keep in close daily contact.

The President Macron addressed France yesterday evening, and let us know that we had until midday today to work out where we want to be confined.      As from midday today and for the next two weeks at least,  we are requested to only go to work if we can’t work remotely; go to buy food or go to a health appointment.   If we need to leave home and drive around, we have to go alone and fill in an official paper stating why we are travelling and where.

The only stores to remain open are food outlets and pharmacies, and we are meant to keep one meter away from anyone else, which means no standing in a tight queue for a baguette.

Ideally, besides our family members we are advised not to meet more than five people in a day.   Today I met my postman, at a distance.  This all sounds draconian, and feels rather weird, but everyone seems to accept that it is the price to pay to avoid the worst, and to protect the more fragile ones around us.

magnolia in flower in front of house with daffodils

It so happens that along with the other members of the MFCH team we all work remotely anyway.   This means that it is work as normal for us all.

We are still producing the magazine, and still curating the collection  for the next box.  All of our boxes will be delivered normally, via DHL Express whose services continue to function.   With the launch of our new on-line MFCH Boutique, there are shipments to be packed, and of course any packing areas are fully sanitised.  The magazine will still be printed and posted to our subscribers, and also for sale in outlets like Barnes& Noble and Books A Million.

(Incidentally if you are a client to the box or the magazine, and you have temporarily changed address because of the virus, then please drop us an email and we’ll be sure to update our records.)

And when we come to the end of the working day, we will find different ways to keep ourselves busy.   I’m planning to do a lot of work in the garden, in preparation for the spring and summer ahead.  I’ve planted waaaay too many seeds, and had waaaay too much mulch delivered, so I really have my work cut out there.

Around me I have heard people say they are going to spring clean their home from top to bottom; or catch up on old films; or learn how to bake spectacular cakes.   And I see that on Instagram there is a hashtag called #isolationcreation, where people are sharing their creativity while staying home.

For the dogs it is business as usual.  I tried to teach Gibson and Ghetto some new ‘seclusion-day’ tricks this afternoon but they were not at all interested in the concept.   Such weird pups.

I hope that wherever you are today, you are not feeling too worried.   Let’s be confident together that this is an uncomfortable moment to get through, and that there are silver linings to be enjoyed.    Taking more time to appreciate each other’s company;  to observe everyday beauty around us and to be more creative.  Or simply taking a rest.  I’d love to hear what you are up to, if you’re spending time secluded at home.

And a special thought for people in the medical world, who are taking care of the sick.  They also have families to care for, and I’m sure that it’s not easy to head out to work each day.

Keep an eye on your older neighbours; slow down and let’s not give in to fear or panic.   We can all emerge from this stronger and wiser.  Take care my friends.

magnolia in flower



Franki Parde March 18, 2020 - 12:52 am

We are part of “that elderly” and are now keeping up with our children by text. Groceries are impossible to plan with empty shelves. This is day two…franki

Christina I Bruns March 18, 2020 - 12:55 am

I am gathering books, puzzles, and games to bring to my grandchildren and searching online for activities and lessons for them from educators and museums. We are greater than the pandemic!!!

Deneale Hodges March 18, 2020 - 1:48 am

Checking in from Dallas, TX. We are trying to self quarantine as much as possible since my husband is on the front lines in the ER. I stocked up on movies, games and Lego sets for my nine year old daughter hoping to help entertain her (without constant screens). Tomorrow I have to find a way to be a successful employee working remotely along with being a teacher as schools are closed indefinitely. We pick up our distance learning packets at 9:00 am. It will be a steep learning curve for mama and daughter. Blessings to everyone…..stay safe and healthy!

Jan March 18, 2020 - 3:43 am

SoCal is in quarantine for at least 2 weeks. It has been insane with hoarders grabbing much more than necessary & leaving nothing behind. My hubby works from home, so nothing too different for him. I’ve done my spring planting, starting spring cleaning, have cleaned out my closet. Going to start a new quilt, & reading a book on Paris, my very favorite place. Our daughter is here,we are planning her wedding for next year. No hustle/bustle…that part is nice. Many prayers for our world
LOVE YOUR MAGAZINE, save them, & reread❤️

Virginia Scanlan March 18, 2020 - 7:40 pm

Deneale: My husband is a physician as well. What are you doing to protect your family from the virus? I asked my husband to take off his clothes and drop them in the washing machine and to shower as soon as he gets home. The virus is spread thru droplets so he could have some on his clothes. Any thing else?

Jenny March 18, 2020 - 7:42 am

We live in Provence, just outside a usually bustling village. Before the quarantine deadline, we walked around a village with closed doors and shutters, in compliance with the shutdown of restaurants, bars, etc – so strange to see. Our house is on a hill, with a fantastic view of our own and other villages, and it was truly eerie – no traffic sounds, no agricultural noises, no human voices – perfect for our own isolation but oh, so strange. Am I alone in feeling this is a moment in history which will change everyone’s future? I feel we will have to find a new normal when the virus at last begins to decrease its numbers…….

Jan March 18, 2020 - 7:46 am

Hi Sharon,
I also live in France down near the Spanish border in the countryside not far from Perpignan. My partner and I are both in the ´elderly bracket’ with grown up families . I have 3 daughters,one in LA with her family,one in England with hers and my youngest leaves nearby with her boyfriend.
We are planning to move next month,or should I say were planning to move next month,and have been renovating a beautiful Mas( farmhouse) nearby. That of course has come to a haunt for awhile.
So I have a lot to do,packing,sorting ,reading and looking after my beautiful Havanais Paddy and my rescue cat Millie.
I need to Shop today and mustn’t forget the official paper I must have with me at all times when leaving the house. My local supermarket is waiting a delivery of all the essentials as like everywhere else there has been a mass panic buying,so silly.
Like you said Sharon here in the countryside there is a quietness,a stillness that is almost soothing but I know we are a part of the lucky ones. My heart goes out to those that are ill and all the wonderful Dr’s, Nurses And support teams.
We will get through this and I am convinced that life is going to, has to change , it can’t go on the way it has been for too long now.
I wish you all health , be safe and let’s all help others when we can.

Christine March 18, 2020 - 4:27 pm

Hello all from Goshen, Kentucky. We are in horse country, about 10 miles as the crow flys to Louisville. Quiet here in the hills and valleys. Everyone is home in our area, but strangely quiet.
I recently arranged to have my cancer treatment drug administered in my home rather venture to the public for monthly visits. Hoping this works out, I am awaiting approval.
Lucky to have my husband working from home. He is also my personal shopper. We worked out a plan for him to go out on low risk days for our area. It is hard to plan with food and supplies, especially with so many stores with depleted stock and low staff. We just must lead simpler lives, I kind of welcome it. Seems if things slow down a little, maybe we can all be around a little longer
We are empty nesters, so our abode is very quiet. Snuggling up with out cat family is a joy everyday, they appreciate the extra time we are spending with them.
This will be a rough patch for us all, but we have each other no matter where you live on our beautiful Earth.
Thank you so much Sharon for this opportunity to share our lives. Let’s love one another more, help others in need and take precautions to ensure the best possible outcome during this world crisis.

Diane March 18, 2020 - 12:59 am

I am in Southern California staying in as much as possible. The market I went to on Friday was well stocked; on Monday empty shelves, little meat. Even the $40 a pound Wagu beef was gone. Today I cooked meals for my 94 year old neighbor. People hoarding toilet paper and hand sanitizer! Today the Orioles have found my feeder; fun to watch them and fly back to their nests in a nearby palm tree.

Leslie Lord March 18, 2020 - 1:17 am

We have been advised to stay in our homes as much as possible keep our distance to others when our walking or a the grocery store. Our schools are closed for the foreseeable future and most small businesses are shut. People are asked to work from home if possible and avoid crowds. It’s quite eerie. I am cleaning my house. Culling and sorting stuff in drawers, closets and cupboards. Trying new recipes, reading and working in my knitting project.
I hope we get a handle on this virus as it is having a huge impact on the medical System and the global economy.
Fortunately our garden is a haven of peace and calm…birds, squirrels and flowers to cheer us on.
Take care Sharon.

Shelly March 18, 2020 - 7:36 am

We live in the country. I am working from home, will be teaching remotely soon. My husband is a heart and lung patient so he is not working to avoid people. We are well stocked with food, there are just two of us. I have been cleaning, reading and cooking. Hopefully can get our large clothes closet sorted through as well as get our wood trim painted white. Lots to do, so no boredom yet. We have woods with plenty of areas to walk. Will be raining here for the next three days, so inside it will be!
Take care

Christine Clarkson March 18, 2020 - 8:57 am

So comforting to read all your stories. Such a hard & sad time for many. I am in Australia . So far no self isolation but manic buying in the food stores. I feel for those who cannot afford to hoard or stock up. I love the idea that the French food stores & pharmacies remain open. I have total confidence in our Prime Minister for making wise decisions . But I pray for a way for the isolated & less fortunate to get through this. Bless you all & thank you Sharon for your posts that are so comforting.

Janet March 18, 2020 - 1:00 am

Hi Sharon,
I’m in Toronto Canada and work for a catering company and we’re in the middle of creating dozens of casseroles, chicken pot pie, lasagna, shepherds pie…etc. These are for our clients, many who are elderly. Our clients call us up, we make what ever casserole they require and deliver to there doorstep. Many shops are closing except for grocery stores, drug stores and the city essential services. Take care and stay safe.

Jennifer March 18, 2020 - 1:01 am

Thank you for sharing.

My family and I live in New Jersey in the USA. My husband is a school teacher and my adult-but-still-at-home daughters work at a local food establishment. The schools have been shut down and the teachers and students must work remotely and check in every day to do their studies on Google Classroom. My daughters were informed today their work hours are being cut, and the restaurant may close next week.

There is a “voluntary” curfew, 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. Bars, gyms and casinos are closed. Grocery stores may remain open regular hours. Restaurants may only provide carry out or drive-thru orders until 8 p.m. daily. Parks remain open but any buildings in those parks are closed. All of this is in effect until further notice.

We are allowed to drive wherever we need to, but government officials have asked us to not go out if we don’t have to.

There are less than 200 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Jersey right now. Three confirmed deaths in the state.

Lisa March 18, 2020 - 1:04 am

I only wish I had your garden to play in. This is a time to reflect and appreciate what we have and whom!

Mary Anne Komar March 18, 2020 - 1:06 am

Your home looks lovely with the Spring gardens. My family and I live about an hour north of Seattle. Schools and some large department stores-even Nordstrom’s a large upscale chain are closing. Malls are cutting hours and no church services, beauty salons,barbers, gyms, bars, restaurants except takeaways, and los more are closed temporarily. My husband has a medical condition so he can be off work with pay for at least 2weeks. It’s strangely peaceful, we live in the country too. We catch up with family, friends and those who are vulnerable. There’s a drive in movie open, isn’t that neat? It can be a time of reflection and I realize we are truly blessed in our circumstance. On the other hand I feel so powerless to really be a source of help though. Well God bless everyone ❣️❣️

Bronwyn Lee-Coward March 18, 2020 - 1:06 am

Hi Sharon, lovely post and great suggestions for us all and of course yourself. I think that you will be hard pressed to make your garden any more beautiful than it already is. I too am heading out into the garden here in the Blue Mountains where the weather is starting to cool down and renew after bush fires and drought. I dug a lot of Gladioli from the front to move to the back garden, I will get crafty and make a sign to say “Gladys’s Garden” in honour of our wonderful Premier Gladys Berejiklian. When this pandemic is over and it is safe to travel again I will be setting my sights on your neck of the woods and over indulge in one of your tours, drink lots of wine and eat as much cake as I can find. Merci to you and your wonderful team, stay safe.

Sharon Santoni March 19, 2020 - 9:38 am

Bronwyn that sounds like a plan! And it would be great to finally meet you after all these years of exchanging messages 🙂

I have never grown Gladioli, but maybe that would be a good idea in my new extended potage, filling up some space and for cutting

take care, stay safe


Linda Cobb March 18, 2020 - 1:11 am

The garden, mine and yours, continues to lift my spirits during this crazy time here in America. Spring has a way of helping to erase the crazy times. I am blessed to have my husband of 52 years in this with me. So I am good. Definitely appreciating spring !

Robert March 18, 2020 - 1:17 am

You are so kind for sharing!! Your house is magic in te dusky evening light with the warm glow of amber light. Love your garden and especially “the saucer magnolia” in full glory. Gibson and Ghetto are their normal charming selves and oblivious to the crisis in the
world. Love seeing their smiling faces. Thank you!!

jackie March 18, 2020 - 1:29 am

I am in rural Australia and used to be not far from Bronwyn Lee-Coward… but now on acres in QLD we are a long way from shops and in fact as I suffer from hypothroidism for a very very long time I have always been advised by doctors to limit contact with others in winter periods for colds and viruses etc. In fact I was about to book your tour last year and my specialist said I do not like long distance plane travel so I did not book.. Still work from home consulting….. Great time to read and potter in the garden and of course de clutter if you need to fill in time…. I do hope you and your readers all remain well and would love to see more of your lovely garden as it is coming into full bloom I would think. Stay safe every one.

Bronwyn Lee-Coward March 18, 2020 - 3:43 am

Hi Jackie, I thought that you may like to know that the bush and gardens in the Blue Mountains are regenerating very quickly due to the wonderful amount of rain that we have had. We are aware that our farmers in rural areas are doing it tough and do hope that you and the area where you live are ok.
Regards, Bronwyn.

Lulu March 18, 2020 - 1:45 am

I am on Long Island, NY. I work as an independent contractor – I walk, drop in on, board and housesit dogs, and my business is completely dead. With everyone working from home, kids home from school, and vacations canceled, no one needs me to mind their pooches. I have two other jobs that I already do from home, so will keep on with those, and otherwise finish knitting projects, read more books, organize my house so I can put it on the market, and try not to worry about money.

Beryl March 18, 2020 - 1:46 am

I’m in that 60+ group, but not elderly, so I am staying in and working from home. I live in So Calif. and today the rain took a break but is coming back, we need rain so its hard to complain. The sun was out, but windy and cool for us at 60 degrees. It was nice to take a walk around the property and eat satsuma tangerines right off the tree and smell the grapefruit, blood orange and lemon blossoms and let the sun hit my face for a bit. I checked on the avocado’s ( not ready yet for picking, but this years harvest is bountiful and I forecast at least 5 tons.) Because I have a weird gut instinct, I filled up the freezers at the house and guest house 4 weeks ago. I told my empty nesters it would bring me great joy if they came home for a bit, we shall see. I spend the majority of time in my mind, praying. I pray for everyone in our world. It was nice to breath fresh air, feel the warm sun on my face, smell the fragrant blossoms and pretend all is right in our world while I am isolated in my little world.

Turna March 18, 2020 - 5:32 pm

Dear Sharon –
I thoroughly enjoy your blog and beautiful IG posts and stories! I’ve never been to France, but dream of seeing it one of these days! I live in Chicago but I’m a Georgia country girl, at heart, and the pictures you post of the beautiful French countryside remind me of living a much slower paced life! These stories from your readers about how they are handling this crisis has really touched my heart today. It’s amazing how the internet has enabled us to feel so close, even though we are in all parts of this great big world! So thankful that we can visit virtually with our oldest son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter currently living in South Korea, especially during this time. My husband and I are also empty nesters. Having been out of the corporate world for a while, I’m learning a new skill and beginning to work from home. My darling husband is a Paramedic Chief and working a lot of hours, especially now, so making our home cozy and comforting for when he is home is one of my focuses… and a lot of homemade chocolate chip cookies! Chicago is still gray and cold most days. Unfortunately, no gardening yet, but hearing from you and your readers about working in your beautiful gardens and picking delicious fruit makes me eager to get out in my garden as soon as the weather breaks. And thank you, Beryl, in Southern California, for your prayers for ALL of us! I will be praying, as well. Much love and good health to EVERYONE!

Whitney Lutz March 18, 2020 - 2:09 am

We live in Minnesota. No spring here for another month. Its gray, dreary and and the forced shut down is a terrible mistake. The state has shutdown all of the day centers for the disabled. Who will take care of all of the disabled? How many disabled will die due to this massive shutdown?

Wilma Austin March 18, 2020 - 2:20 am

Dear Sharon,
We love reading your emails about France. We live in Indiana USA. So far our weather is not letting us outside to do the winter cleanup. Since we lived through the infamous Blizzards of 1977 & 1978 and live in the country as well, I am prepared for this type of situation year round.
We are retired and are enjoying this hibernation so far. I am sure it will get old if it lasts very long.
We are fine and hope others learn to relax and enjoy.
Blessing to all.

Teresa March 18, 2020 - 4:02 am

Groups in our small Canadian community forming to help those who need it. We’ve been self isolated for a week, but can still move around if social distancing. We’re a week or so behind you in France so things will look much different for us 7 days from now.

A Spot of Green . . . » First Light Designs March 18, 2020 - 2:21 am

[…] read a lot today about how people are coping and I deeply appreciate the perspective that Sharon Santoni of My French Country Home brings to the situation. She is in France some 5,000 miles way from my home in Portland, Oregon but […]

Brenda March 18, 2020 - 2:35 am

I live in the great lakes area of the US. I live in a wooded country setting and have trails I can walk on when I choose. The robins are back and the birds are singing. The daffodils have just started to come up….no green grass yet. How I loved your photos of your garden. I long for green grass and flowers…but they will not be here until April. I have plenty to keep myself busy at home during this unusual time: I am cleaning my home from top to bottom, I am reading, emailing friends and family, baking and enjoying my time here at home. I just had to cancel a trip to Egypt and Jordon for which I was really looking forward to. Hopefully I will be able to rebook at another time. Keeping all in my prayers.

Sue Malizia March 18, 2020 - 2:54 am

After a few days of much needed rain and cold weather again, I am so looking forward to just getting outside to work in my garden areas. Like you, I’m seeding a lot this year and awaiting their growth so I can get them planted! Countdown to Spring!

Melanie March 18, 2020 - 3:01 am

I am in the SF Bay Area and today was the first day of the Shelter in Place order where everything must be closed except essential business. However, our police will not be checking people driving. I have only been out to pick up groceries in last few days, and then I ran out of printer ink. Good thing our office stores such as Staples are considered essential for us working at home. A store clerk said they had a lot of sales of office chairs. Anyway, I feel for Europeans in that you have more of a tradition of going to small market stores several times a week or even daily. So it is more of a revision to your lifestyle.

Teresa Person March 18, 2020 - 4:31 am

Dear Sharon, I’m in Dallas,Texas and things are just today feeling strange… so many things closed… I walk the dog and have many things to catch up on so I will stay busy… we have had lots of rain so I haven’t been able to work in the garden.. but as an artist I am about to paint flowers… Lenten Rose to be exact… praying for all the world and thankful for having a lovely and comfortable home to live… thank you for sharing your Garden… peace, Teresa Person

Kathryn March 18, 2020 - 4:32 am

I am in New Zealand. There are a few signs that Autumn is on its way. My dahlias are beautiful and I am collecting seeds from plants now in anticipation of planting for Spring. I keep in faith and love rather than fear. We are not as shut down as many other places are but that will probably happen. I shall be reading, gardening, quilting, writing to my grandchildren, painting and spending time listening to God.

Diana March 19, 2020 - 4:46 pm

I like your comment “I keep in faith and love rather than fear.”

And Sharon I always appreciate your blog and your beautiful photos on Instagram. I live in the mid Willamette Valley in Oregon and we have been having beautiful cool days of sunshine. My husband and I are choosing to stay home in our lovely neighborhood and have ordered some supplies to get started with our spring yard clean up. Also planning what to plant in our back yard this year.

Ida Duplechin March 18, 2020 - 4:44 am

Hello to Sharon and everyone. My construction project of rebuilding my house from the recent(last few years) disasters is moving into its most complex phase. COVID-19 has finally penetrated the consciousness of the local politicians; some recommendations/social restrictions have been put into place. Supplies are limited; the most disturbing news on local social media is that people are arming themselves. I have retained someone for errands, if necessary. Thank goodness for Amazon deliveries.
I have been preparing for #hurricaneSeason since last year. Plus, my pet food is on automatic reorder & the truck deliveries are still on-schedule. This is another uncomfortable experience. I plan to expand my personal meditation practice while updating my meditation journal and republish. It’s all part of reclaiming my life and living in light, love, peace and joy again.

charles spada March 18, 2020 - 4:49 am

My young next door neighbors in Milton Massachusetts texted me the other evening to ask if I needed groceries, they were having theirs delivered the next day, in addition, if I need help in anyway during this our self imposed confinement not to hesitate to let them know. Lovely folk as I know them to be I was taken aback for a second by their kindness, for their concern, their offer to help. Terrible times are known to bring out the best, the decent in us, an experience I just experienced first hand. I am baking them an apple pie.

Kathy March 18, 2020 - 6:17 am

Dear Sharon…greetings from ground zero, Washington state, USA. Our state has been severely impacted by this virus. Life has changed drastically in a very short time. We are staying home and only venturing out to the grocery store. God has blessed with gorgeous weather so I’m spending as much time as possible in my garden. Too much time in the house leads to baking and then eating! So grateful that we can stay in touch with our children and grandchildren each day; a comfort to hear their voices. Thank you for your heartfelt post and the lovely photos; certainly a bright spot in our day. We need to remember we’re in this together, check on our neighbors and do what we can as individuals to put this behind us. Grateful for our many blessings and praying for our world. Take good care of yourself…looking forward to my next trip back to France!

Deborah McMillan March 18, 2020 - 7:25 am

You have such a lovely garden to hang out in. I remember when you were putting the plans together for the new flower beds.
I love hearing about how some younger people are helping out older people. In Australia though, its the negative stories we are hearing about, like people snatching toilet paper from the elderly at the supermarket and older people being scolded for buying some extra items they might need if they follow advice to stay home as they have been told they are the most vulnerable.
It’s insane that some young people continue to live their carefree lifestyles without a second thought to the consequences. Right now they think they are super heroes and are not concerned if they are spreaders of covid 19. I did hear though that in some countries cases of the virus have increased and more severe than earlier in people in their 20’s and 30’s.
I am staying home, reading more and talking on the phone more.
Stay safe and enjoy your garden

Taste of France March 18, 2020 - 7:54 am

We live on a departementale road that usually bustles during rush hours. These days, we awake to birdsong instead of cars. It’s like a holiday or a snow day.
Yesterday was spent deep-cleaning, and it might continue today. Or, since the sun is sparkling, today might be a garden day. Plenty to do.
I was impressed by how polite and patient the very long lines were at the supermarket on Monday. An hour’s wait, and nobody pushed or lost their tempers. And the shopping carts were not piled high–people bought what they needed but I didn’t get a sense of hoarding.

Marie Batson March 18, 2020 - 8:36 am

I am Marie in S.E. Washington state where our little town below the Blue Mountains has also become strangely quiet as many including myself are sheltering in place according to those in higher places. It really isn’t much different to me than last year this time when I was snowed in for six weeks. I have learned in my elderly years to always be prepared with necessities on hand either for myself or to help others in difficult situations. We will all make it through, God willing, and hopefully be changed in good ways for the experience. We are being slowed down to have time to realize the true meaning and blessings in life, taking time to communicate with friends, family, neighbors and most importantly our heavenly Father who controls everything. May all hate, violence, and selfish ways perish with the virus. I love your beautiful photos and sharing of caring words, Sharon. It sounds like there will many very clean homes after this recess to organize and spruce up all the closets, drawers etc. Ha! God Bless All.

Mirabeau March 18, 2020 - 12:07 pm

Saty safe, sending lots of love xx

Bev Lambert March 18, 2020 - 12:48 pm

Hi Sharon
We are in the South West of France near Carcassonne and obviously are in lock down too. We live on the edge of a small town and are lucky we can walk our dogs by the river.
I have a shop which is non essential so closed last week, I visited it yesterdsy morning before the lock down stsrted at midday to grab some sewing and painting things so do can work st home making things for when we reopen. It was so hard leaving the shop, I cried. My business partner was there after me and felt the same, it us our baby and we love our customers and cant go there now for at least 2 weeks 🙁 I have no income now and we think the postal service will be closing so we cant even do mail orders.
I am so blessed I have sewing and furniture painting I can do plys I’m working on samples if junk journals for classes which were supposed to start this month, I will keep doing them and hope we can offer our classes in the not too distant future 🙂
My husband works from home but it is affecting his business. We are planning to do some decorating in the house which we haven’t had time for plus I might even get my huge china cabinet painted and bring all my vintage china in from the garage 🙂
Stay safe everyone wherever you are in the world. We have family and friends in UK, Australia (where we lived before moving to France) and the U.S., some who are in the very high risk category and we are so worried for them all.
Bonne chance et bonne santé
Bev xxx

Tricia March 18, 2020 - 12:53 pm

Bon Jour From Ireland

Thank you for your article and connecting all of us to your beautiful country. I was there at the beginning of March for a final look before making an offer on a house I have been longing for. The owners of the Manoir where I stayed near Beauville were amazing and invited me out with their friends on the Saturday night, so inclusive I felt I was already part of the community and have made friends already as we all had so much in common.
And now my business has gone to zero. There seems to be a rescue package for small businesses here coming into place but I feel it will take a while to get things sorted and who knows if and when people will have the confidence to treat themselves to one to one healing practices such as Lomi Lomi Massage and Energy Healing Practices, but there is one thing that may help people get through this if they feel anxious and stressed- meditation, soothing breathwork and deep diaphramatic breathing.

It was so good to see so many positive stories and that you are all connected to nature but if any of you know someone who is suffering from anxiety the deep breathing techniques I teach will soothe and calm and ground those nerves with calming earth energy. Maybe through our shared love of nature and France we can keep this positivity flowing as this moment will pass and we will all feel safe again in the company of friends and loved ones. At this time peace and love and the knowledge of eventual reconnection are the most important human qualities.

I’m going to offer my soothing practices for free to those who need them and are financially uncertain as there is no greater gift than emotional calmness.

I know I’ll get my Healing Retreat in France one day, it will take a while longer now, just a small place where people can come to meditate in the lush garden, find spiritual peace and harmony with others and feast on pure nourishing organic food from the garden.

Sending you all peace and love, and safe place in your heart.

A Bientot


Jeannine Eitel March 18, 2020 - 2:41 pm

We live in southern Ontario Canada. Spring is trying to come about. The robins have returned! Your beautiful pictures of your house give us hope of what is to come. We are isolating ourselves as well only to go to get essentials if needed. Our son teaches school in Shanghai. He has been isolated in his hotel size apartment since January 23rd. His temperature taken before entering a grocery store to get food and again when he entered back into his apartment complex. He has been teaching his class online as directed by the school which is still closed. He puts in a normal work day. We keep in contact by Skype which is a blessing. It was the social isolation that was difficult for him. Not being able to see friends and go out for dinner. I have been messaging him telling him things are getting like China. He responded this morning things are much better now. He is able to go out for a walk. Shops and malls are starting to open again. This gives us hope.
There are still doubters out there about the seriousness of this virus. I pray they see the light so it will be contained.
Thank you Sharon for your beautiful posts they truly help us in these times.

Faith Boggio March 18, 2020 - 2:43 pm

Reading your blog has brought comfort to me! I am panicked about this virus as I am 77 years old with underling health problems. Sending you all much love and peace! I feel a lot better after reading the comments. Please all stay safe!

Ellen March 18, 2020 - 2:44 pm

Hello, Sharon and all, from Atlanta. Even though our governor has not instituted a formal lockdown, so to speak, this is the home of the CDC, and entities are falling in line on their own. School systems have closed; businesses have sent people home to work; restaurants are closing dining rooms and offering take out; the initial panicked run on groceries is over, and stores are closing early to clean and restock. There’s a strong sense of encouragement and support.

I normally telecommute, so it is business as usual for me. I do have to say that I am a bit envious (albeit gently) of you who are using this time to begin new projects, slow the pace of life, and perhaps reconnect to things, pursuits, and people. But I’m also happy for you, too! My two college daughters are now moved back home and will be taking online courses for the rest of the year. As you may imagine, they are grieving the loss of a life they’ve come to love, their relative freedom, activities, and friends. They haven’t enough life experience yet to recognize what is inescapable and what we must deal with as gracefully and beneficially as possible. And the care home near me where my sweet Mama, who lives with Alzheimer’s, closed its doors to visitors last week. The residents are the most vulnerable population, and we are grateful that the utmost precautions to keep them safe are in place. I miss seeing her, of course., but it’s important to stay positive and be grateful for what we have and what we can share. Blessings to you all!

Melissa March 18, 2020 - 4:02 pm

We are home on our farm my older children came home from college my youngest is now home schooled, we are a risky bunch as I am a Nurse, still going in to work and my husband is an airline pilot probably soon to be out of a job. What can you do, I have been watching this come since January, I am well stocked I always am and I am being careful, taking my clothes off at the front door spraying with alcohol washing clothe immediately and shoes and showering before contact with my kids. I think that we need to follow the rules or people will die. I’m praying for the world.

Nancy Cauble March 18, 2020 - 4:27 pm

My husband, 16 year old son, and I live across the Puget Sound from Seattle. Our school system is still trying to decide what online schooling will look like until the end of April. But I have homeschooled my children before and will do it again if necessary. I’m not a teacher but I work in a high school so my job and my pay seem uncertain. My husbands job is to be at sea and he may have to be quarantined on the ship and leave for sea sooner than we expected.

We have 3 other children who we are keeping in contact with a few thousand miles away. Our oldest son is working in Japan and hunkered down for now. Our 2 daughters are finishing their college semester online.

Life is uncertain, sometimes crazy in this new normal. But I’m actually enjoying some time at home. I read more, meditate on Scripture more, pray more, talk to family a friends more. I buy flowers when I go out to buy groceries. And I’m getting ready to reupholster my sofa. (I painted 5 pieces of furniture within the last year to give our home a makeover.) I’m trying to make the best of a difficult situation.

Susan Gabriel March 18, 2020 - 4:33 pm

Greetings from New England to Sharon and her Faithful Readers,
We live in the woods so it’s normally quiet here but it is now SUPER still. But, we are reading more poetry, listening to more music and generally doing things that bring Beauty, Joy and Optimism into our lives during this period. Spring is coming early in the garden and we still plan to have our annual Vernal Equinox celebration…but just the two of us this year. My son is an infectious disease physician so he has urged us to stay home and checks daily on us. We miss the grandchildren, but we FaceTime with them more instead of visiting in person. We say daily Gratitude prayers for those healthcare providers, first responders and volunteers who are putting themselves at risk for the good of us all.

We are thankful for places like this blog where we meet kindred spirits that uplift and inspire. Thank you Sharon for this gift!


Susan Gabriel

Phyliss Brassey March 18, 2020 - 6:59 pm

Thank you for the beautiful pictures! Beauty helps when one is confined. Unusual times to say the least but at some point this too shall pass. So glad you are in a beautiful place and with your husband and darling dogs.

Emm March 18, 2020 - 7:56 pm

Here in Western North Carolina, I’ve noticed that the environment seems less jangley, fewer cars and planes means the air is cleaner. And it seems that things are slowing down a bit, there’s not the sense of people rushing hither and yon all the time. So perhaps some good will come of all this.
i am dog-walking, writing, all the usual things. And trying to remember to breathe. Because I can’t go to France now, as I had been considering, I am consoling myself by re-reading your Girlfriends book, sampling a few lovely pictures each time. They remind me that there is beauty and calm in a frenzied world.

Joy March 24, 2020 - 9:47 pm

I’m in western NC, too. And grateful for a cozy home and plenty to eat and that I can go outside without encountering anything more dangerous than a squirrel! Everything’s abloom (daffodils, hellebores, the small ephemerals) and today I saw cardinals, robins and a bluebird. I’ve always been a home body, so this is no hardship for me, but I fear for all the doctors and nurses and health care workers and pray they stay safe and strong. They are the true heroes of the hour!

Dianne March 18, 2020 - 8:26 pm

Hi Sharon

With this enforced slow down I at least have a moment to respond to one of your blogs. I returned from a wonderful trip to India & Kathmandu just before all the madness started, so thankfully didn’t have to deal with the stress/chaos that all returning Americans did. I immediately dove into the big project of getting the exterior of my home painted and the collapsing lattice shade structure rebuilt on one side of the house, again lucking out with regard to timing as all was completed just before all our March rain started. Whew!! So, the virus. Indeed, like something out of a movie. As we know, everything happens for a reason, something good comes out of every challenge and in time we’ll know what this was all about. Your house looks lovely. Safe and healthy wishes to you & yours, the team and all my fellow travelers I’ve met on your tours. Hugs

Sandra K Sinicrope April 14, 2020 - 3:14 am

I accidently stumbled across your site and was enjoying (such an interesting word for this) all the comments, I am a culinary business owner in the U S (Las Vegas, Nevada) the chefs that I manager are all over the globe, including France. after this is all over I would like to invite you all to visit our Chef in France she is actually Scottish/ English and runs a retreat property as well as provides cooking lessons. stay well new friends..Sandra from

Emm March 18, 2020 - 8:51 pm

On another topic, would it be possible for you to use a slightly darker color pink in your descriptions? I was looking at your boutique items, and that pale pink does not show up well on all monitors. Very hard to read.

candace ford March 18, 2020 - 9:09 pm

Hello to all,
I just finished reading through all the comments. It’s good to hear so much optimism. As a woman who grew up in the US shortly after WW2 parented by a couple of wonderful people who didn’t have much money in those days I know how to “make do” and cope with a wide variety of life’s hardships. My husband and I are on the vulnerable side of the pandemic age spectrum and have some health issues (nothing contagious). We are quite rural here but have many good friends and neighbors (all of whom are being very mindful of the need to stay safe and well while being available to help each other if needed). Our place is on a small river and we see Canada geese nibbling grass on a small island, today there was a pair of Mergansers – the geese were challenging the ducks right to be in what they obviously consider their own space. Free entertainment watching them. We drive close to an hour to get to where we shop. The farm store was packed with folks taking advantage of a big sale, as we did. There was plenty of food in the grocery store, the only things completely out that we had wanted were, of all things, bags of russet potatoes and cans of black beans. Being country we are usually prepared with food and needed paper products – but as my husband said – there are always wash cloths and I have lots of old towels that could be cut up and used. Most of my income these days comes from rental houses, some of which are handled by a management company. I contacted them today to see what the plan was if any of the tenants might be at risk of not being able to pay the rent. I have known the management people for years and was relieved to hear that they would not be evicting people with problems paying – at least for the foreseeable future. The places I manage myself are safe from that as well. This world wide situation is a reminder to stay focused on what is important in life. I will continue to watch the wildlife and the daffodils and to do no harm.

Donna Sinclair March 18, 2020 - 11:25 pm

I’m in Northwest Arkansas and we’ve just had our first known case here. Shelves are empty in a lot of the stores like elsewhere people hoarding. It stormed last night, but sunny enough today to get outside and walk. We are all checking on neighbors who are elderly – and helping where we can. You garden is lovely and the dogs so sweet. I’m happy my daffodils have begun to bloom and my lilies are sprouting so looking forward to lovely shades of yellow in the garden. I hope everyone keeps safe and stays well. I so enjoy your posts.

Sylvia March 21, 2020 - 11:58 pm

How sweet and reassuring your words are and the words of others. This horrid virus has somehow brought us all together to care for and bond with each other. I now appreciate the simple beauty of flowers (especially in your photographs) the sweetness of animals and the simple joy they can bring to ones life during these dreary times. But, maybe the quarantine is a way of helping us appreciate our families and persons we love. Thank you for your lovely words and beautiful words. Maybe a new story of your making?

Diane E Steiner March 27, 2020 - 9:34 pm

My husband and I are isolating in our home in Florida, and it’s a change from our regular routine, but perfectly agreeable. He is working from home, and since I am a retired teacher who was substituting, but our schools are closed for now so that has to wait. In the meantime, I’m creating a new painting that I’m excited about, continuing to watch my beloved French movies, and cooking up a storm. It’s also been a lovely time to catch up with family and friends by phone or text. So while some of our freedoms have been temporarily taken away, we can be grateful for all that we have and can enjoy during this dreadful time. In the meantime, I pray for the people of the world that this too shall pass and we will all return to some kind of normalcy.


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