“And the greatest of all is love..”
Reading Shanna’s latest post, which was coincidentally written just before one of the most horrendous school shooting incidents in US history last Friday, felt like a ringing bell, a reminder for us to reflect on our lives and our attitudes towards others.
In Shanna’s words, “this life is not perfect (and not all there is); partly, that all things are complicated (again); and, mostly, that alongside grief there is comfort, and alongside hard things there are good.“
Thank you dear Shanna, for always being a breath of fresh air, and for using your words to enlighten those who chance upon them. And yes, it’s so true, that we’re always in need of a reminder to count the small blessings we have, which are dusted across our days.
There’s a necessity for us to be shaken up once in a while and have the goodness in our lives highlighted blatantly for us to see, and realize that for all the bad in the world, there is still goodness shining like gold in the dirt.
As I wrote in a previous post on the things which make up a contented life, it’s often the small things which bring us joy in small amounts, but are constant reminders of life’s blessings, a reason to celebrate and gather together, toasting to another day, month or year well-lived and loved.
I have written on a pink post-it adrift on my work desk, the following bible verse –
“Love is patient; love is kind and envies no one. Love is never boastful, nor conceited nor rude; never selfish, not quick to take offense. There is nothing love cannot face; there is no limit to its faith, its hope and endurance. Faith, hope and love last forever, but the greatest of them all is love.”
I am constantly grateful to be able to thank god and count the blessings in my life, and right now I’d like to propose a little food for thought.
I believe that while our lives are sprinkled with blessings and good things, we should also strive to be the ones who light up the lives of others, to be that little sparkle for our colleagues on a dull, blue Monday, or be the ringing laughter that lifts the atmosphere through love at home with the family.
How about we all stop for a little while in our tracks, take a breather from our never-ending busy schedules, and see whose lives we can touch and spread a little kindness to? What if we decide to say a simple “thank you” with a smile instead of taking it for granted when someone does a kind deed for us? Wouldn’t it be beautiful for us to be the light and source of inspiration for someone else, even if you might never see him or her again?
Shanna’s response to my comment on her post states simple that “not only can we notice light, we can be it.” It’s so true.
On a lighter, more food-related note, I thought I’d share a lovely new cafe we discovered over the weekend!
By pure coincidence, Juan and I chanced upon Le Pain Quotidien, a newly opened Belgian bakery in the Barrio Norte neighborhood, while we were driving to pick up some Christmas gifts at the Paseo Alcorta shopping center.
We were charmed by its homely, rustic look, and the very humble but lovely name, which translates to be “The Daily Bread”, and like so many other times, decided to see what this new place offered.
Le Pain Quotidien’s beginnings..
According to the Entre Mujeres publication, Le Pain Quotidien’s origins are as simple and inspirational as the products it offers. It started at the end of 1980, when Alain Coumont, the renouned chef of one of Brussels’ best restaurants, realized that he was unable to offer his customers quality bread. Alain ended up launching a bakery to provide bread to his restaurant – bread made from a simple recipe containing flour, and made of a salt and water base, a recipe tested and perfected by Alain. Not long after, the bakery’s potential exceeded the restaurant’s capacity, and Alain decided to take the chance to set up his own business.
In October 1990, the first Le Pain Quotidien opened its doors along rue Antoine Dansaert in Brussels. The name grew from Alain’s desire to give bread the importance it deserved – a food which for centuries was fundamental and primary to survival. The concept was a success from day one – a concept always centered on simple ingredients, planned around wooden furniture and a large communcal table, which would be the centerpiece of any future restaurant.
As of today, this global franchaise has at least 7 restaurants all over the world, scattered in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Australia, Brussels, India and France.
Entering its doors, bright, honey lights and the toast-brown wooden floor welcome you with warmth, as if the baker himself were inviting you to his kitchen table.
We were immediately transported into a large dining hall-like room, with a long communal table the main object of the space.
Seated near the staircase leading to the second floor, an upward peak presented a lovely rug on display.
Since we weren’t really hungry, and were just two hours away from dinner, we ordered the Bread Basket set, which came with an assortment of freshly-baked breads, butter, in-house marmalades and dulce de leche, and some tea to sip along.
Fresh bread, spread with soft butter and rich and thick jams.. ideal for a Sunday afternoon..
I think the reason for its global success is the concept of warmth, gathering together over a communal table, and the philosophy of using simple, organic ingredients, going back to basics.
Juan and I agreed that the bread baked in Le Pain Quotidien had a rich homely taste, but that we will definitely have to return to try a proper meal, such as toasted bread with salmon or some other dish on the menu.
At 35 pesos per person, it was an ok price – not exactly cheap, but not ridiculously expensive either.
For now, Le Pain Quotidien is getting an 8/10. Till we try it again!