Droguerie, painted shop sign, Vaucluse, France, street lamp (c) Kristin Espinasse,
"Droguerie... et Lumière" from the Cinéma Vérité photo archives.

In Upcoming Events: Jean-Marc will be hosting a Domaine Rouge Bleu Winemaker's dinner on Monday 23rd November in Copenhagen. Menu and price will be fixed. There are only 40 seats. Booking has to be made directly to The Wine Company by e-mail: [email protected], phone +45 22 24 68 82 or fax +45 38 80 74 82

la lumière (loo-myer) noun, feminine

    : light

Advertise your business, blog, B&B or language program here! Contact Kristin.

Audio File & Example phrase: Download Wav or Download Lumière

Et la lumière fut...
And then there was light...

Book: And There Was Light: Autobiography of Jacques Lusseyran, Blind Hero of the French Resistance

A Day in a French Life...
by Kristin Espinasse

This week marks the seventh anniversary of French Word-A-Day -- and what better way to celebrate than with a bouncy, jouncy, full-of-beans puppy king!

Smokey is back! I woke up this morning to the puppy we had lost one week ago. Back was his bark-or-bust attitude of gratitude (okay, he's got the attitude... and we've got the gratitude) which brings me to my next point: remerciements.*

golden retriever puppy (c)

Thank you for the encouraging messages, for the helpful tips and information, for your empathy and for your ever warm hearts and smarts.  We are, my family and I, in awe and amazed by so much generosity of spirit. Speaking of "spirits" tchin-tchin!* and cheers to you!

Back now to today's 7-year-celebration (French Word-A-Day's birthday!):
Mille mercis
* for joining me on this French word and writing journey. It began in my soul, some time ago. Effectivement* the seed of skreeb* was first sewn in a child's heart... and has, by fits and starts, continued right up to this bright, shiny, most luminous road mark: SEPT. Sept années!* 


Oh, what a voyage this has been! I'll never forget seeing those words, back in my saguaro-studded stomping grounds: the Arizona desert. I didn't know then that I was about to embark on the voyage of an expat ecrivain.*

This breakthrough happened at the car wash... (in retrospect, what better place for transformation to take place?). After my car reappeared from behind a giant, swirling, automated mop, I took the cue and headed over to the cash register, to pay for the cleaning. I was handing over my money to the cashier when, in the time it took the caissière* to search for la monnaie* I caught sight of the poster on the wall behind her. Three simple words would rewind and restart my heart.

Live Your Dream.

It was the second time I had seen this message... Live Your Dream. I remember thinking, Yes, but how? HOW?

My dream was two-fold: to live in France ... and to write in France. But back then, as a receptionist-turned-car salesman (mine were the scale-model variety, sold via mail order catalog), I could not figure out how to further my career. Therein lies the problem. Often, it is not a matter of furthering something -- not when it is foremost to end it!

We Need to End Before We Can Begin
Since moving to France, my life has been a series of endings and beginnings. I am learning to be grateful for those endings and for the trail-blazing beginnings without which we would cease to grow and become that which we were designed to be (and only God knows that mystery).

Our task today is to chance to live our dreams. If I am to be a writer then I must live the writing life....

Your turn to fill in the blanks of the following sentence:

If I am to be a(n) ______, then I must live the _____ life.

Maybe, at this point, you are doubting (as I did, back at the car wash "Yes, but how... to live that life? The answer is simple: by a bold beginning... or even a shaky first step.

Would you like to share some of your affirmations with us in the comments box? I would love to know what you dream to be!

I leave you with a photo of my dear mom, living her dream of painting. I can just hear her saying "If I am to be a painter, then I must live the painter's life!"

Comments welcome. Thanks in advance!

bike with basket, stone fireplace, old floor tiles, painting , france, candelabra (c) Kristin Espinasse,

French Vocabulary

Tchin-tchin = cheers!; mille mercis = a thousand thanks; effectivement = actually; skreeb (French pronunciation for "scribe": writer); sept années = seven years; un écrivain = writer; la caissière = cashier; la monnaie (f) = change

Exercises in French Phonics  Exercises in French Phonics, bestseller by Francis W. Nachtman, on French pronunciation and how to pronouce French words correctly!

Mille Bornes (Card Game).
First published in 1962, Mille Bornes (pronounced "meel born," French for "milestones") is an auto racing card game whose object, for each team of two players, is to be the first to complete a series of 1,000-mile trips.

Caudalie Lip Conditioner
hydrates and repairs dry, damaged lips with a powerful blend of antioxidants and nutrients.

The Conscious Cook: Delicious Meatless Recipes That Will Change the Way You Eat
A former steak lover himself, Chef Tal struggled for years on a vegan diet that left him hungry and filled with cravings for butter and meat. By applying traditional French culinary techniques to meatless cuisine, he found that he could gratify his cravings for rich flavor and fat.

golden retriever puppy, ancient champagne rack (c) Kristin Espinasse,
"Boys will be boys."
A healing jaw and a traveling paw: Smokey is on the mend. (photo by Jackie Espinasse)

A Message from KristiOngoing support from readers like you keeps me writing and publishing this free language journal each week. If you find joy or value in these stories and would like to keep this site going, donating today will help so much. Thank you for being a part of this community and helping me to maintain this site and its newsletter.

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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety


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Dear Kristi,

Love the picture of you and the little boy with the wandering paw... Happy to read that he's back, alive'n'kicking.

Looking forward to seeing Jean-Marc in November here in Copenhagen.


FELICITATIONS !!! What a happy post today! I am so thrilled to hear that Smokey is feeling better! I know that news will lift many spirits today! And congratulations on having the will and courgage to make your dreams come true. . . and the courage to share your inner self with all of us francophiles around the globe! I had never heard of French Word-a-Day until I came across your book in my favorite bookstore in Asheville, North Carolina, a year or two ago. I subscribed when I got home, and I have enjoyed hearing about your journey and getting inspiration from your thoughts and experiences ever since. Merci beaucoup, Kristin !


Good Morning
I'm brasilian, restorator art wood sculptur, canvas,and furniture.
I want to say thanks for your beautiful site.Here I can learn more about France, france culture, because some day I will be there.
Sorry my english mistakes.
Maria Amélia

Christine Dashper

Dear Kristin,

I am so happy to see Smokey looking so good! Congratulations to you too for sept ans, that is a wonderful achievment.

Thanks too for the inspiring words, so true that you sometimes have to live the life an (whatever that may be), and take the steps big and little, until you truly believe it.

warmest wishes

ali ferdinand

Congratulations on your 7th Anniversary. This is a delightful, helpful website.

What a gift that your puppy is recovering!

My best to you,

Diana Taylor, Pug At The Beach

Bravo to you for chasing your dreams!
The first step is always the hardest. Sometimes we need a little encouragement from someone who has gone before us.
My dream was to live at the beach.
In July 2008, I made that dream come true.
I now encourage others to follow their dreams through my writing at Pug At The Beach.

Diana Taylor
Pug At The Beach
Where mindful living meets artful play through the adventures of an island dog philosopher whose name is Pug. He's part Dalai Lama, part Jimmy Buffett, and a whole lotta fun!


Dear Kristin,

I couldn't help thinking (and the image of Jules at work didn't hurt any!) that today's "words to live by" (words by which to live - sorry . . . can't help myself!) would be life changing, if applied.

I'm looking for new applications today!


Jill Brackstone - France

Delighted to know - and see, Smokey well on the mend.

Live your dream to the hilt! You have a supportive husband, two great sounding children - now you need to find time for YOUR dream.
I'm living mine - in France!! I'm over 70, but it did not stop me. Friends throught I was crazy ("aren't you a bit old to be doing this sort of thing?")My son, however, was totally supportive. I found a Pigeonnier to rent, packed my bag and headed off to SW France in the middle of Winter, where I did not know a soul. Everyone was kind, helpful and just so good to me that I settled almost immediately. Not quite two years later I've a large circle of friends. I will buy a house in the next few months and then I will embark on writing too:-)
I have lived all over the world in many different circumstances, but France was always my dream-----so, better late than never!!
Go for it Kristen.
Hug for Smokey.
Jill. France


Your video was great! You didn't seem nervous at all. It brought back very fond memories (some frustrating) of my 2 years near Grenoble as an expat when my husband and I were newlyweds! We're still looking for ways to move back especially now that we have 2 small children. The lifestyle can't be beat! Keep up the bloggin'!

Shannon, Alexandria, VA

Congratulations on seven years, Kristin!! Bonne continuation!! :)

I'm so happy to know Smokey is doing well.

KT Curran

I absolutely adore you and your writing. Thanks for the inspiration.

KT Curran


Thank you for sharing your life with us. Felicitations on your anniversary, and hooray to Smokey for his resilience.

Karen - Maryland, USA

Tchin-tchin et mille felicitations, Kristin !!! Wow - SEPT années?? We are all so happy that you were in touch with your soul at a young age and that you followed that "seed of the skreeb" (love that!). You are my favorite "expat ecrivain" (you are so clever).

The advice of starting to LIVE the life of your dreams is the best. I wish I had heard it more at a younger age. You have reminded me to dole it out often to my children. I think that it's OK if the dream changes through life, too - "matures" or "refines" might be better words.

I've always wanted to live in France and I applaud Jill for following her dream. I must pick her brain someday. My age now (53) makes it "seem" unreachable. Neither my husband or my teenagers would do it with me. They say, "Mom, you can't ever BE french, you'd have to be born French." While I know they are right technically - I also know much of what you are is what you believe and if I believe that i can be French, I WILL BE!!! How's THAT for determination. Who knows - maybe if I just DID IT - just moved there - they would follow??

So - in the meantime, instead of following that major highway towards my dream, I am meandering down a shorter lane (until the children are grown) by being more active in Alliance Francaise, and continuing on with French classes at the university with the intent on tutoring.

I was a little frightened as I read your post today - afraid that it would end with you saying that you had decided to lock yourself away in a cabin in the woods to write another book. While I would celebrate that decision should it ever come about - I would miss our thrice weekly (and Saturdays, too!) interactions. For me, personally, you are living "my" dream. Reading your wonderful words about everyday life in France is enough for me right now. Your site really "takes me away" and I send mille mercis to you for that.

P.S. I am so relieved to see a perky Smokey. Wonderful!!

Marianne Giordano

Inspiring video. It was wonderfully done. Kristin, I loved hearing about your journey towards living your dream, and I can't wait to get your book.
Congratulations on your 7th year anniversary and a job well done. I look forward to learning a "french word a day" and hearing all your great stories.

Smokey is one-in-a-million....what adorable pictures pictures posted of him. He definitely is back!!!!

By the way, I learned how to say "come here my little girl (sweetheart) and use it every day. But, How do you say "come here my little sweetheart (little boy). LOL...I have 4 dogs...2 girls and 2 boys....don't want to leave my little boys out....

Again, could not be better for you all!!!!

Warmest regards,
Marianne Giordano

Ryan Catherine

Dear Kristin,

Loved all the puppy pics and especially the ones of Smokey on the mend. Was absolutely heartbroken for you guys when I read that he was attacked. I am so happy that he and you are both smiling in the last pic!
Thanks for a beautiful site which I have read over the years and recommended to many friends. Congrats on your anniversary and may you have many more years of happy posting and success!
My dreams are forever changing. I started out in Ontario, Canada, and now live in Quebec, Canada where I am able to use my French everyday. Montreal is a beautiful and dynamic place to live! I would love to come to France though someday.
Thanks again for your inspiring site.
All the best,
Ryan Catherine from Montreal!

Barbara Andolsek Paintings

I am overjoyed to see 'our' Smokey looking so words. I am living my dream as an artist, an oil painter still learning to the end what my favored medium can do and loving it. As a matter of fact, this weekend I am participating in yet another annual open studio sponsored by our local cuteness museum. After all, if not now, when? I also noticed the photo of the artist in the background painting away. As we know, Jules (aka Mom), is a very talented artist as well. We are truly blessed. Thanks for being such a wonderful wordsmith.

Eileen deCamp

Hi Kristin,
Congratulations on your Sept années! I am so glad Smokey is doing well. He looks so cute!

Pat Cargill

Congratulations! Seven years and more of living your dream. You are a marvelous inspiration, Kristin, and the admonition to let our light shine is truly realized by following our dreams. J-M is testimony to another heart seeking its light... to all, including Jules and other readers, mille mercis for your inspiration. This place is deep, deep, deep! in love and open arms. I have remained tentative and almost downright stubborn in my refusal to follow my dream with art...what is the fear that holds us back? Yes, I know, one must just jump in and go for it.

Bravo, little Smokey! You brave and beautiful lumiere! Beaucoups de hugs and sweet-nothings I am whispering in your fluffy ears!

Karen - Maryland, USA

I must say thanks again, Kristin, for this topic today. I am always inspired by you and am now, also, through your FWD site, been made aware of two other very inspiring women - Jill and also Diane Taylor, who provides us with another superbly written, insightful website (and inspirational life story) with "Pug at the Beach". You ladies are fabulous!


I have been living my dream for 3 three years in St. Pierre et Miquelon (French territorial collectivity in North America). I left the USA in search of my French roots and came here because I had studied French here many summers ago when I was 17.

Now I find that I am caught between two worlds and what's worse - my French has not improved that much in the 3 years that I have been here - because of Canadian TV, the internet and because I have been teaching English.

I do however learn something new every day and am not quite ready to start living the next dream. One thing that I have learned is that it is OK to stretch and get out your comfort zone. Staying in a place of comfort is OK but a Mac & Cheese life needs some spice once in awhile.



Congratulations on seven years of French-Word-A-Day! Thank you for living your dream so that we may live it also through your wonderful words. You are truly an inspiration.

Tami (Austin, TX)

Mille congrats on your seventh anniversary! It's wonderful to do what you love and know that others appreciate it. :) Praising our Great Lord for continuing to heal little Smokey. I gave a little cheer of joy when reading today's post. Many continued blessings to you, Kristin!


Ms. Espinasse,

I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy French-Word-A-Day. Your most recent addition (following your dreams) has hit particularly close to home. My name is Krista. I am 30-years old and am in the final stages of opening Sugarplum Cake Shop - an American bakery - in the 5th in Paris. My two partners are also North American women, and you can imagine the red tape involved in three young étrangerèrs trying to decorate cakes in Paris! A friend sent me your link a year ago, when I first moved to Paris as a student, and it has been inspirational to me. Thank you for taking the time to share your experiences. It's not easy being the new kid in town!

Jules Greer

My Darling Kristi,

I must say I remember the first time I heard the phrase "LIVE YOUR DREAM'" it was
placed in your head by one of your amour's
at the time when he wisked you off to Italy.
We used to talk about it all the time and repeat the phrase like a mantra. Anyway, that is the way I remember - one of my favorite photo's of all time is of you wearing a captain's hat with two Italian policemen standing beside you...of course this is all depending on if my memory is correct, you know I lost my mind many years ago.

I also want to comment on this issues photo of you holding Smokey in your lap wearing Marsha's beautiful cashmere robe (her gift to you years ago). That robe has been around, you let me wear it when I would go to the hospital in Marseille for my cancer treatment..... I wore it as a long coat. Marsha is Kristi's Dad's beautiful wife. Back to my thought on the photo of you and Smokey.... I don't think anyone (even you) realize that Smokey is really YOUR FIRST DOG...!!!! It is so obvious in these two photo's - Braise was actually the kid's dog and you just tolerated her in the beginning - before she showed you the magic of a dog's love.

So CHEERS to you and your FIRST DOG SMOKEY -




Leslie in view of Olympic Mountains

Kristin, Krista, Diane and all of us people trying to get spark in our life (I love the Mac n Cheese reference- because I REFUSE to give my kids that meal, but I live in a very all-american town),I too feel like Karen, that my husband and kids will have to follow me because I'm feeling that urge that I must follow my french dreams. However, having visited and lived all over this small planet, I've recently figured out that our brain will tell us, we have to move on, try new things, experience new people, yada yada...but the peace and quiet of our dreams really begins in our hearts, and if that's where it stays its ok. Living through others dreams (like Kristin's dream, mille mercis) is just as beautiful and satisfying. To another SEPT annees! p.s. Et la lumiere fut is one of my ALLTIME fav livre. p.s.s. Women out there that want to read a blog about cooking and being a pioneer in this new age, try ....Kristin, I would love to see a mash-up of you and this skreeb's writing!

Karen - Maryland, USA

Krista - Congratulations! There's a story to tell there!! I live in the town of the TV show Ace of Cakes. Next time I'm in Paris I will stop in. Best of luck to you all.

(This is my 3rd post today. I am addicted, Jules!!)

Sandy Wilson

Thank you for living your dream while showing us how to live our own. Artists need to have others light candles and keep them burning to illuminate the path for others.

God bless you as you continue on and may he shower blessings upon your beautiful family and healing puppy!!


I loved you video, Kristin. Wish I could have been there to laugh and cry with you. It brought tears to my eyes, because I share with you so many emotions and feelings. And of course you remind me so much of my daughter, so when you threw me a kiss and said I love you, Mom, it was a kiss from my daughter! Thank you.


Dear Kristin,

First off-thanks for the puppy news. I always print your daily blog but could not do the one on the puppy injury, just broke my heart, and I still insist the violent dogs have to be reported.

Second, I love your video, I cannot imagine why you should be nervous. Thanks JeanMarc for taking the video.

Third, I think I have a lot of affirmations, daily or otherwise, but nothing as big as this comes to mind. I do sometimes sit and think and then go naah, it's too late. It becomes more and more difficult as one has to do so many things when one is grown up.

Lovely photo of Mom, and HEY, my sisters and I lived in a trailer house when we were going to college, we thought it was so cool, but strangers that we were we never realized that living in a trailer park was not really classy in the states. Ha Ha...It was great.

Love to you and big hugs to the pup



Kristin, Congrats on 7 years. My husband, golden retriever Crosby, and I are coming to live in Paris for 6 months the end of November. It's our early retirement "dream," and we can't wait. Finding your blog has provided much-needed review of our French.

I am so glad Smokey is back. When Crosby was 6 months, I accidentally closed his tail in the car door. They had to remove 4 inches, and it took another 6 months for the hair to grow back in. Many tears and self-recrimination on my part. Now it is not noticeable, but to me it will always be. Be grateful you were not the direct reason for Smokey's injury. I am grateful that dogs don't hold grudges!

Smokey is so darling. Is there anything more precious than a golden puppy?

Christine Jackson

Awww... such good news and great pictures just in time for the weekend! And congrats on 7 years of French Word a Day!

All the best from Salt Lake City where it's 55 and sunny


What a great video. I've been reading your blog for many years, but it is so wonderful to actually hear you speak. You often wonder if people sound like their words, and you do. You are very congenial and lovely to listen to.
I to would like to follow some dreams. First, my husband always said that I would retire in France, but he is still working (I'm working part time) and I wouldn't go without him, although I NEED to travel to France at least once a year. Right now I'm in withdrawal - I haven't been in 1 & 1/2 years!
The other dream is to really find myself as a artist. I have worked in many different media, but I have finally found my nitch in pastels and photography, but I never feel that I am good enough and I never spend enough time being "the artist". I have many excuses. (I'd also like to learn to do watercolor.)
I seem to get more inspiration in France than here in Connecticut. I guess that the distractions are less there and the inspiration is greater. Who knows.
Lastly, so good to see Smokey and you enjoying each other. As your mother said - he is your first dog and it is easy to see the love between both of you.


Hello Kristin, from a cybercafe in downtown Montreal. Poor Smokey the puppers! I've just briefly read his story and he's a real Sir Andrew Barton!

"Fight on, my men," says Sir Andrew Barton,
"I am hurt, but I am not slain;
I'll lay me down and bleed a while,
And then I'll rise and fight again."

Congrats on 7 years. When friends ask me how I've managed to improve my french, I talk about your website. Thanks for all of the help.

PS, we had some snow and hail yesterday. Yikes. But it's nice today.

Lee Isbell

Hi Kristin...Sunny news from your side of the ocean and a sunny day in Groveland, California. I'm awed by Jill. I'm in my 70s and thought it was too late to follow such a mammoth dream. I'm wondering whether a pre-existing condition precludes medical insurance coverage for expats in France? That would be a big deterrent.


Hooray for Smokey! My dog offered to eat another treat in his honor. I suspect somewhat selfish motives...

Lots of love from NYC--

Karen from Phoenix, AZ

So glad Smokey is a playful puppy again. Congrats on 7 years, I have enjoyed my few years of reading about your life and have
cherished the times I have "talked" with you via e-mail. Love to all.


Dreams often come from a vulnerable part of us and it often takes courage to spring into the unknown and reveal a brand new and easily bruised layer of ourselves to the outside world. Support and encouragement from those who love and care for us nourish those dreams and help us find our way through the "fits and starts". Congratulations on following your dreams and continuing to expand your horizons. From the sounds of it you have a wonderful family cheering you on... as you also do for them! Thank you also for letting us share in your journey!

Also, absolutely lovely to see the mischievous but adoring spark in your puppy's eyes...don't you love it when they go all "curly" with their legs :-)



I'm a recent subscriber to French-word-a-day, and have already received so much more from your blog than I anticipated. Besides being a light and fun way to learn more of the language, your posts are inspirational and heart-warming.

Your message today was exactly what I needed to hear to move forward in my circumstances.

I'm reminded of a verse in Proverbs that states that the one who waters others will themselves be refreshed.

I pray that the blessings you give will return to you in abundance.

Mille mercis.

Kate in California


Hola Kristin!
I'm very happy to hear that Smokey is back!
I'm sure with all the care and love of your family he will be just fine.

Loved the video... thanks for sharing! I laughed a lot because I feel the same way... sometimes for opposite reasons: who can have dinner at 6:00pm?! Not me! Didn't I just have lunch at 2:00pm?! LOL
Still for me the hardest part is to leave your family and friends.
But after more than 3 years and a half living in the US, I'm happy because I am with the most amazing person: my French husband... and now here, trying to fulfill my dream of becoming a better person and help others (on the first one I know is a never ending job, and on the second one I do it everyday in and outside my job).
That doesn't means I don't have plans and want to travel or do other things I like or learn new things... but I guess that comes included in truly being yourself, be present in the here and now and also let life surprise you, let it present its opportunities to you and for you to have the consciousness and courage to take them.
We have said that we won't stay in the US forever... maybe moving to France or Mexico... but who knows?... so far I decided, after also complaining a lot, that I would enjoy my life here for as long as I am here.

Felicidades for the 7th anniversary of FWAD!
Hope we have you for many many years to come.

Andrea - Austin, TX

Valerie M

You inspire, Kristin. You are "la lumiere". And with that, a confession = I copied today's inspiring words on to my i-phone where it will always serve as a reminder = that France is waiting, and (turning)60 is my magic number.
Happy 7 and more.
Thank you so much for starting the journey for us.


I'm so glad to hear Smokey's doing better!I've got to say, everyone in my 9th grade French class was so concerned when we found out what happened.It's amazing how animals can bring the unlikeliest of people together. Feel better soon, Smokey!

Happy Anniversary, French-Word-A-Day! Kristen, I absolutely adore your blog. You are so intelligent and articulate, and it is so refreshing. As a freshman just stepping into the realm of French, your blog is an amazing learning tool for my teacher. Thanks!

Amanda in California


Thank you for sharing this video! Happy 7 years...I love reading your inspiring posts!


joyeux anniversaire! Thank you for your dedication to your french language mission. Every time I read it I vow to work harder at my speaking (I'm up to the syntax of a 2-year old now). It also makes me long to return to France more often than I do. So glad to see Smokey on the mend. Soon he will be on the prowl for puppy trouble again (although, j'espère, closer to home).

Kip Ingham

Great picture of you and your recovering Smokey. How come you have an "American" dog, and Marsha and I have a "French" dog(a papillon)? Congratulations on seven years of FWAD and thanks for providing us all with your lovely video. We are thrilled you are coming for Christmas.

Dad in Palm Springs, Ca

Marcia from Iowa, USA


We were so glad to hear that Smokey is doing so much better! Congratulations on seven years and your willingness to risk going for your dreams. You are an inspiration. We look forward with expectation to each new word-a day posting!


Congratulations, Kristin!!! Amazing.... I cannot believe it's been seven years.... As many have said already and I have told you too many times, your blog is pure delight. It makes me too feel connected/transported to France and to a life I dreamed about when I was much younger. Life has kept me rooted in the hills of Tennessee, also beautiful in their own way, and I do not regret it -- at least as long as I can touch my second country every year or so. Was it Gertrude Stein who said that everyone has two countries?

Now that our boys are grown (It will happen, Karen. I promise.), my husband and I (He indulges me.)try to go to France, cheaply, almost every year. The beauty and indescribable colors of the countryside, shopping at outdoor markets, spending hours over lunch and a bottle of wine in the company of friends, and touching those old, old stones is a joyful part of my life.

I feel as if I have some new friends today. Jill, you are a total inspiration!!
And Krista, I will try to visit your Cake Shop next May when we will be, fingers crossed, in Paris for a day or so.

And Kristin, finally, I am so glad that Smokey is healing so nicely. He is adorable. Are you planning to keep him -- your first dog?

Please don't stop this wonderful blog. Look what a great community you have built!

All the best to all Les Espinasse!

Sandy Tampa tonight.....


Let me just add my 2 cents along with all the other well wishers....Happy 7th FWAD! I know that your writing is a true gift and a labor of love. I'm continually touched by the power of your words and the grace with which you share your life with your long distance friends. We should all be so lucky as to recognize our dream and pursue it with such perseverance, desire and joy. Thanks for being "you" and for helping to make life so much more enjoyable, three times a week!


I have been through several stages of my life, each with goals and desires. Some might call them dreams. I refer to them as God-given opportunities. God has blessed beyond my expectations. I married a wonderful man and have really great children, most of whom are adults. I was a public school educator for a good number of years. My husband and I decided to take a chance and I resigned before all of those juicy retirement benefits. I focused on my newest challenge, music. I had started as a older adult several years earlier, with little to no music background. God blessed abundantly. It has been a lot of hard work, but worth the effort. I am continuing to study and make progress. Today I play with some nice orchestras. I am also working on a body of artwork, focusing mainly on portraits of family, although, upon occasion, I do commissions. I am 58.

Patty Beynet

Congratulations Kristin on your 7th anniversary. I wish I had found you earlier! I have been reading you for about a year after I found your website on your book. (which came up on Amazon as I was searching French reading material). Due to travelling and surgery I wasn't able to keep up with your posts and just started with August posts a couple of weeks ago. Since I read all of the comments also, it took me until today to finish. I was so shocked and sad about Smokey's horrible encounter. I am thrilled that he is well on the mend. I saw him and the other puppies when they were only a few days old when we visited your winery. They were (and still are) so adorable. I loved meeting you (and your wine!) and you are just as adorable and charming on your video as you are in person. You have so much wisdom and kindness and a true talent for story-telling. I know there is much more in store for you. You have a beautiful family. God Bless Patty B

Jan Leishman

I could spend all day reading your inspirational blog Kristin - and the comments from other readers!! I feel as if I am in a wonderful nurturing worldwide French-loving community . . . and here I am in (almost outback) Australia.
I started to live one of my dreams last year when we bought a house in France. It is beautiful, and we will try to visit each year. Eventually, post retirement I suppose, we hope to live there.
It was the scariest thing I have done because negotiations happened in the middle of the financial crisis when out exchange rate was at its worst. We gritted out teeth and remembered our dream, and despite having a bigger mortgage that we anticipated, we have our house.
I also weave tapestries - on a loom and am so inspired by the Lady and the Unicorn series in Paris. So 'If I am to be a tapestry weaver, then I must live the tapestry artist/weaver's life'.
And Kristin, I have been following, first with sorrow, then with joy, the trials and triumphs of Smokey. What a brave little fellow and isn't he lucky to have you.
Bonne chance a tous!

JacquelineBrisbane (Oz)

Hi Kristin, this post was really a "Son et Lumière".... :)
A little typo: cashier is Caissière.

Candy Witt

First, I'm sooooo heureuse that your precious little Smokey is back! What a terrible ordeal for all of you. How blessed we are when we have vets that we trust with our most beloved family members. I just picked mine up from the vet who also runs a boarding kennel. This leads into your request to share dreams. I, too, wish you live in France someday and finish writing the 4 novels that I've started! But along the way to that destination I have moved from my beautiful home of 55 years in Colorado Springs to a small rental house in Liberal, KS. This is where my sweet 86 yo mother lives and because of failing health she needs my help. I have many many years to see my dream come to fruition. For now, this is where I need to be. So while I made a 5 day trip back to see my loved ones in CO, my dogs were at the vets. All was well when I returned. Beginnings and endings and beginnings again happen with all of us - our furry friends included. Thank God for both beginnings and endings for you can't have one without the other. God bless you, Kristen, as you continue to share your life with all of us who adore your blog - and your family.

Jennifer in OR

Kristin, I just watched your video and loved it!


Bonjour Kristin,

Here I am at last catching up with you again from sunny Queensland in Australia.
I have been prompted to write again after viewing the picture of your mother at her easel.

Perhaps you may wish to encourage her with my story of beginning to paint in my mid sixties and here I am turned 80 this year. It has been with the passion to go to France
to paint that has kept me inspired, and each year everyone tells me of how much more lovely my paintings are.

I also would love to be able to live in France permanently but at the moment the possibility hasn't been been presented to me. If I am not painting I am always dreaming of the places I have visited and enjoyed and pray I keep fit enough to look forward to many more years of return visits.
I do so enjoy your joggings and they are the quite a highlight for me to enter my computor to see what you have to say.

I send your mother fond wishes and convey my hearfelt encouragement for her to find her muse and enjoy the pleasure of the art.
thank you once again for the happy emails.

kind regards,


Dear Kristin

Congratulations on reaching 7th anniversary with AFWAD ! Do keep going and inspiring all of us !



Dear Kristin
I am new to french word a day and was introduced to it by a fellow student studying French through the Open University. I just adore opening up your messages and finding not only your inspiring thoughts beautiful pictures but how generous you are to share your wonderful family with others. I am sooooo glad your beautiful puppy is healing both in body and mind. My husband and I bought a small house in the southwest of France and spend as often as we can there - which is not often enough for me. Hopefully we will retire there next year and I will be able to follow my dream of taking my paints on my bike and heading for the hills.
Thank you for your wonderful blog I wish I had found it sooner. You might want to listen to the song by Randy Crawford "It starts with one hello" very inspiring and kept me going over the years. Julie from Edinburgh Scotland


I love the video!

Montimarie Horton

Chere Kristin,

J'ai beaucoup des reves, mais la chose qui m'aide beacoup est de "stay true to myself" d'etre patiente avec moi-meme et d'aller a l'eglise. I am happily married (finally!) and have a MA in French, which is a dream accomplished. Next is publishing a book ( I would love some advice here) of children's fairy stories in English and in French, while substitute teaching and cooking for my husband. I'd love to spend Christmas in Switzerland, but that will have to wait. My dream job is to teach French as a special in an elementary school and to teach French part-time at a junior college. Then, I also would love to have a family and a big house, but that might have to wait too! Currently, we are living in central Minnesota, the cold country where people go hunting and ice-fishing, which confuses me because I'm from Portland, Oregon, where we went down-hill skiing in the snow. Living here is almost like a cross-cultural experience, but writing about it makes me feel better! Anyway, you can't accomplish anything if you don't dream and it makes life much more interesting. I'm also convinced that people have different dreams and are ment to do different things and that makes life less borring. Thanks for the blog and the fun words every week. Hope to meet you soon.
Great pictures!


LOVED the video! Thank you for sharing it. You are a gem!

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