Finding God in Chocolate Éclairs and Other Unlikely Places

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My husband looked at me quizzically after I burst out laughing not five minutes into Rebecca Ramsey’s new book, The Holy Éclair: Signs and Wonders from an Accidental Pilgrimage. She was relaying a tale of one of her first times to a French pharmacy to grab something to soothe her baby’s toothache and it did not go as planned. I can’t give it away here, though. Gotta grab the book for that.

Becky Ramsey is a Greenville native who spent a few years in France with her young family when her husband was working for Michelin. As a church-going lady whose identity was wrapped up in her activities at her Greenville church, Becky had to come to grips that maybe God was pulling her in a different direction in the hills of France.

Ramsey uses a good amount of honest humor in The Holy Éclair as she brings the reader along on the unexpected journey to find God in France, to establish that personal link to her faith that seemed evasive in the one place it should have been – in the centuries-old church in her small village in France.

Using the Catholic tradition of prayer cards (small cards – like those in a card deck – that consist of a picture of a saint on one side and a prayer on the other side), she reimagines what her own deck of saints may be in her journey of shedding her church lady identity and finding God in truly unexpected places – a decadent chocolate éclair, the owners of a middle-of-nowhere cookware shop, a woman in an impeccable pink suit on a moped.

Even though The Holy Éclair is centered around faith, it’s not pushy or overt at all. It’s relatable and funny and Ramsey makes herself vulnerable to the reader, not fearing to be honest about her own faults. I found myself chuckling or nodding in silent agreement with much of what she wrote, recognizing my own unfair limitations I put on others even though it was never my intention.

In particular, as a mother, Ramsey writes in an especially relatable way as she explains how she felt trying to wrangle a small child at church or in a trip to a store full of breakable objects, or in her quest to answer tough questions from her kids. She writes about feeling judged by fellow mothers at school and church – feelings that most of us moms have felt at some point.

Writing from the heart, which Ramsey most certainly does, typically can draw a reader more easily the story. I felt that connection, which made me want to keep reading the book.

One of the points Ramsey weaves throughout The Holy Éclair is that God is not just in church. He’s everywhere if we just take a second and look. He’s in everyday, ordinary life, in places we visit daily, in our neighbors, along the streets we walk and in the coffee shops we visit, at yard sales and flea markets, in construction zones and the laundromat. Limiting Him to a building or to a strict set of rules only limits our ability to find peace and experience the love of God. And who doesn’t need more love?

Ramsey has since moved back to Greenville after her adventure in France and got back to church. She’s a minister to children at the First Baptist Church downtown. Her children are grown and she is a happy grandmother of one (so far).

You can find The Holy Éclair: Signs and Wonders from an Accidental Pilgrimage here.

About the Author
Kristina Hernandez is a mom of two girls, freelance writer and photographer. Originally from New Jersey, she is in love with the Upstate and could not imagine raising her kids anywhere else. She enjoys hiking to waterfalls, kayaking, camping, cooking, and exploring all that Greenville has to offer. And she really loves baby goats. Follow her on Instagram at @scadventurer.

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