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The photos on this page were taken in the Île-de-France region
of France, many of them in the city of Paris.  
Where My Steps Have Been
This page's title comes from a poem I wrote several years ago for one of my aunts, Opal Garrett.
She came for a visit one time after she had reached a stage in life where she was having some
significant health problems.  One of those problems was with her legs, causing her to walk very
slowly.  Everywhere we went, she would apologize profusely for holding us up because of her slow
steps.  This sweet lady had spent her life doing things for other people and it was, I believe, an
embarrassment to her to be what she thought of as a burden to anyone.  After the visit ended,
I kept thinking about Aunt Opal's slow steps and apologies and I wrote a poem for her, hoping it
would offer her some encouragement and reassurance.  I'm including it on this page, which is
dedicated to all of the moms whose steps are slower than they once were, a reminder to
them to be proud of where their steps have been.  -- Nancy
Where My Steps Have Been

My steps are not as swift as they once were,
My legs don't always move upon command;
Now, they slowly walk with unsure steps,
Where once, not long ago, they ran.

But I am proud of where my steps have been,
Proud of the story that they tell;
I know I'm simply reaping the result
Of all the miles of seeds I've sown so well.

Miles of sowing seeds of faith:
How many times these legs have knelt in prayer,
Prayer for me and all that I hold dear,
Prayer of hope and prayer of wrenching fear.
How many prayers have dried how many tears?

Miles of sowing seeds of caring:
How many times, with babies in my arms,
These legs have walked the length of this hard floor,
Softly soothing cries of discontent,
Until they slumbered peacefully once more.

Miles of sowing seeds of worry:
And, when finally, one by one,
I had to let the children grow,
How many miles did these legs pace,
Just waiting for the slam of that front door?

Miles of sowing seeds of love:
I've worked so hard to keep the home fires burning,
To keep the light of love that makes a home,
To light a path of love and understanding,
Like a beacon for my daughters and my son.

So now I'm not ashamed of my slow steps,
Because I'm proud of where those steps have been;
And I know that if I only had a chance,
I'd take each single, loving step again.

Nancy Brister
Read more about Aunt Opal:   Breakfast at Aunt Opal's