la goutte
bien fringué

Bonne fete des meres

Smokey says: Bonne Fête des Mères - Happy Mother's Day, a little in advance! And please excuse my floppy collar, which serves to balance my floppy tongue! P.S. Check out Pronounce it Perfectly in French - now with more pronunciation exercises!

Bonne Fête des Mères (bun* feht day mair) 

    : Happy Mother's Day

*do I hear giggling out there for the "bun" pronunciation (in parenthesis, above)? Well, bonne sure sounded that way when when I recorded my husband voicing bun feht day mair); better rely on his accent, just below, and not my half-baked parenthetical sound guide!

Audio File: listen to Jean-Marc pronounce today's wish:
Download MP3 or Wav file

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

An Unusual Friendship

Yesterday I watched an emotionally-moving témoignage, or testimony, on video. In it, two mothers stand before a stone-faced audience. Hand in hand, fueled by courage, the women tell the story of a remarkable friendship born of tragedy.

Phyllis speaks first. Her son was killed in the September 11th attacks...
Aicha listens. Her son is accused in the World Trade Center killings.

And yet...

Where they would be enemies, hearts filled with vengeance—
Where they would be in opposition, minds filled with distrust—
Peace has overcome. 

Tears rolling down her cheeks, Aicha (pictured, right) understands her dear friend's words only with the help of  a French translator, who is standing beside the women.

Capture plein écran 06052011 095438 Phyllis says: "When people heard that my son was a victim, I got immediate sympathy. But when people learned what her son was accused of... she didn't get that sympathy. But her suffering is equal to mine.

When it is Aicha's turn to speak, the mother of the accused tells of how she approached the victim's mother:
Dans son regard j'ai compris que c'était une mère comme moi...
I saw in her eyes that she was a mother like me...

Aicha's story pours out over the audience, as stone faces dissolve into cathartic tears. Instead of hate, we learn about how these mothers found another way....

Capture plein écran 06052011 093909
Aicha's story ends with these thoughts on humanity: "We must be hand in hand and do something together..."

Il faut essayer de connaitre "l'autre"...
Il faut être genereux, genereux de coeur, et d'esprit...
Et de la tolerance...
Il faut lutter contre la violence!
Et j'espère qu'un jour on va vivre ensemble dans la paix et dans le respect des uns et des autres

We have to try to know people who are different from us...
We have to be generous in our hearts and minds...
We have to be tolerant....
We have to fight against violence!
And I hope one day we will live together in peace and in respect of one another. 


Take a moment to watch the short video (click here, if reading this edition by email) in English and in French and please come back to share your thoughts, in the comments box.


Le Coin Commentaires

Capture plein écran 06052011 093735 In one of her many compassionate reactions, Phyllis embraces Aicha, empathising, "I had never met someone with such a hard life, from such a totally different culture and environment than my own...

Thank you for sharing your response to this video. Click here to leave a comment

 *photos taken from the video at



We are bound only by our own bigotry. Put aside intolerance and prejudice. Quit assuming. Take a stand to step out and get to know the seemingly exotic humans all around you. Photo taken in Madrid.



A Feast at the BeachA Feast at the Beach. Travel back in time and immerse yourself in the Provence of the late 60s. Sensitively told, filled with humor, tenderness and a beautifully descriptive narrative regaling the reader with the tastes and smells of Southern France, A Feast at the Beach deftly blends the foods of Provence with stories that will touch your heart - and just may inspire you to rediscover your own joie de vivre. See the reviews, here.


Check out the latest prices for Kindle, click here and consider ordering today! Your purchase helps support this free language journal. Merci beaucoup!

P.S. To my wonderful Mom: Happy Mother's Day! See, I didn't forget that photo you asked me for, of one of the flowers in my garden. (Picture taken with this handy pocket camera.)

A Message from KristiOngoing support from readers like you keeps me writing and publishing this free language journal week after week. If you find value in this website and would like to keep it going strong, I kindly ask for your support by making a donation today. Thank you very much 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


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


What a powerful story! Thank you for sharing this video. And sending lots of love to you, your adorable mère and belle-mère, and Braise! Four wonderful mothers in your family -- wow!

Mike Hardcastle

Hi Kristin,

Bun beats bong which is how I've seen the anglicization of the nasal pronunciation of this word previously.

The story of two mothers moved me to tears and contrasts so beautifully with the anti Muslim propaganda which comes to me almost every day via ex servicemen in U.S.A. and Canada. Ex colleagues in N.A.T.O. most of them. I understand the hatred of terrorists although hatred never solved any dispute and religious intolerance is at the heart of much that I receive. I've even had email from people who believe that Muslims do not believe in God.

Religious difference can fuel seemingly endless disputes. Ireland is a good example where Catholic/Protestant intolerance has caused problems for 300+ years. Lets hope that the current Christian/Jewish/Muslim problems do not last as long. After all we all pray to the same God.

Off my high horse at last Thanks for such a moving story which will hopefully help everyone's understanding of the fact that below (NO ABOVE) the terror there are ordinary people of all faiths trying to live decent lives.

Thank you again for today's piece,


Sandra E Chubb

An very emotional video. The words spoken by the mother of the accused at the end are true. Just as similar words spoken by mothers in N.Ireland were true. No-one should have to bury their loved ones because of terrorism.


I think this video is more emotional for women than men since this discusses the perspective of mothers. I think that both were victims although I question the truth of the american mother who implies that immediately after the bombing, she and her husband did were not angry or did not seek vengeance. Anger and vengeance is a natural reaction and to say that they did not have that emotion/feeling immediately after the death of their son is questionable. Also, the comment from another commentator re: we all pray to the same God is absolutely incorrect...but I will leave that alone. This interview is similar to those that have been presented by German mothers after WWII. I agree that regardless of the reason for murder, the victims include the mothers whose dreams have been destroyed.


Very moving. Thank you for sharing

Ophelia in Nashville

Thank you so much, Kristin. A truly remarkable and very moving story.


Hi Kristin,

Not quite "La Fête des Mères" in France yet, but I do understand the reason why you got this emotional video today, bearing in mind the recent world 'event' (!) and the fact that the 8th April is Mothers' Day in the US. Perfect timing!

The story of that friendship between Phyllis and Aicha seems remarkably poignant. I do wonder whether Phyllis's feeling of 'no anger' at the time (nearly 10 years ago) is quite genuine.
It would be ideal if Aicha's message could be spread EQUALLY among both 'sides', and so, shared by ALL mothers, beyond cultural and religious differences - a stage difficult to reach if on one side, suicide bombers are honoured as martyrs (not something I want to discuss here)

From the 'united' mothers, one can only hope the message would have a chance to pass through sons and fathers too.

Yes Aicha, 'living together in peace and in respect of one another" is indeed the true answer, "THE" answer... blowing in the wind of the "Spirit", not in the wind of hatred turning into violence and smashing everything and everyone to pieces.

thinking of Bob Dylan's answer 'Blowing in the wind'
imagining Lennon's dream of 'all the people living life in peace'...

Sharon - Montague, Michigan

People are basically the same all around the world. Most of us get up each day and live our lives in harmony with one another and with nature. It's a tragedy that these two women had to come together under such a tragic situation. Let their coming together remind us that hatred and destruction does not solve anything; it only hurts all of us.
Happy Mother's Day to Jules, Kristin and all the Mother's of the Espinasse family and to all of you who read Kristin's blog.


Such strong women.....especially Aicha, going into the lion's den (the US) and facing the hatred born of ignorance and prejudice. Chapeau! And Phyllis - to forgive and learn to love the mother of the "murderer" of her son.........sans mots! I'm ashamed to say I gave no thought to those mothers of the "culprits" involved in 9/11....Pure anguish...


I was away from my laptop for several weeks, so, I have a lot to catch up!

By the way, Kristin,
I didn't know the exact date of the 2011 " Fête des Mères (la Fête 'DES' Mères) in France.
This is where I got the answer (and I found more than just a date)
Here in England, Mothering Sunday is the 4th Sunday of Lent, so, usually in March. Easter being late this year, Mother's Day was celebrated on the 3rd April.

The petals of your flowers to Jules look like the petals of Peruvian lilies -Alstroemerias-
Here, I can get hold of such flowers via... the flower shop! I guess they would be happy in a well protected sunny area of my garden. If planted "en masse", they would look stunning! but.... I've always thought the soil in my garden isn't light and sandy enough for these little beauties...

Heather Donaldson

I can't imagine a better Mothers Day message. My dream is that all women unite to do war no more. We have such power. Why aren't we using it. Thank you for this, Kristen. All anti war acts are brave. I strongly believe that fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity.

Joelle Andree Mandica Ramsey

Bonjour Kristin,
Merci mille fois pour cette belle video.
Love is so easy...
Why is the world so full of hatry?
Thank you for all your beautiful stories.
PS French Lady leaving in Texas.


thank you for posting this. we all need hope, and that is what you have brought us.

Julie Schorr

Beautiful story and video, today Kristin! It will be a very interesting and thought provoking story to read with my students today in class. Merci mille fois!! Happy Mother's Day to you and to Jules! (Braise too)

Pat Cargill

Kristin, thank you for this moving and very important post. I will share it widely. Hatred and prejudice are monumental stumbling blocks between people. It is good and hopeful to see two women who could not be further apart on the scale of experiencing the devastation of 9/11 find the Common Ground of Love and Understanding. It speaks volumes about the power of love, and inspires me to continue to look beyond the obvious in this world for underlying truths And they are always found under a rock of ignorance. I do not doubt a word of either woman's testimony; I may not have been able to conduct myself in such a way, but to cast doubt upon their feelings which they have shared before the world, is not even near the point here.

Mike Hardcastle, thank you for your insightful and helpful post. May the One God of all, and those who know a bit of history understand this, be generous and loving even as we earthlings flounder and fall and try to get up again and go on. God bless us all (w/a nod to Tiny Tim!).

Blessings to all Moms, especially to our dear Kristin. Thanks to Jules for the gift of your daughter who has meant so much to so many, and who through her work has brought people together here in her French Word a Day world.

Julie F in St. Louis, MO

Merci beaucoup pour le video. What a shame that in the 21st century we still have to make an argument that peace will not come unless we take time to see the perspective of "the other." You'd think we would have learned that lesson by now.

As for those who doubted that the US mother did not feel anger and a sense of revenge, we shouldn't superimpose our own reaction on someone else. I remember in more recent years the graceful, God-filled reaction of the Amish families when some madman murdered their children in a schoolhouse. Wanting justice and wanting revenge are different.

Bonne Fete de meres, Kristin and Jules and all mothers reading FWAD. And Kristin, I hope you blow up the photo into an 8x10 and frame it.

Jimm Hughey

Dear Kristin,

THANK YOU for publishing this story. Your timing is impeccable.
My wife and I have friends of many different backgrounds and nationalities. It breaks our hearts to see people demeaned and denied because they are different, especially when no one makes an effort to know their world neighbors.

We have witnessed that since 9/11, some of our friends who happen to be Muslim, (who are medical professionals), have been singled out as part of the 'minority to be persecuted' in America right now.

Perhaps with the death of Osama Bin Laden, some of this will be put to rest.

At the University of California in Irvine, CA, there are 11 Muslim students on trial for interrupting a speech given by the Israeli Ambassador last year. Was this the best way for these young college students to express their fears and frustrations, perhaps not? But when did that ever stop a college student? Not in my day. The challenge for the people of Orange County is to address student behavior, not the race or religion of the students or their rights of expression.

We must continue to find ways to come together. Humans are humans and none of us enjoy being judged...especially when others don't even know us. So this is perfect and thank you again for all that you do.

You have become a voice for love and appreciation. We love you for that.

Jimm & Susan

Herm in Phoenix, Az

Salut tout le monde,

Great theme today Kristin and Happy Mother's Day to you and to all the gracious ladies that post those interesting comments on FWAD.

Jules – how was your Cinco de Mayo yesterday? My mouth is watering as I think of that Mexican food. . . . A chimichanga, or an enchilada, with refried beans and Spanish fried rice; all covered with green chili salsa and glops of sour cream and served with a margarita in a salt rimmed glass. Yum!

À bientôt

Paula Behnken

Merci pour cette video.

Candy in SW KS

Thank you, Kristin, for sharing this poignant video. I am reminded of a quote from Martin Luther King, Jr: "Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hatred cannot drive out hatred, only love can do that." And to quote Bob Dylan (mentioned above by Newforest) "when will we ever learn? when will we ever learn?" If the world could see itself through the eyes of mothers so much would be different. Happy Mother's Day to all of you beautiful women who make a difference every moment of every day.

Lisa Nolan

A truly beautiful and universal Mother's Day message.

Thank you.

Jennifer in OR

Bonne Fête des Mères, Kristin & Jules!!


What an incredible story! My heart was waiting for it. Thank you.


just back from a little walk round the garden and noticed our Cistus shrub (Cistus ...'Maculatus') proudly displaying its first flower. Dozens and dozens of flowers will follow right through the Summer. What a joy! Happy Mothers'Day Kristin! Have a look in your Inbox!

To you Jules, I'd like to offer you some flowers from another of our evergreen shrubs -> Choisya 'Aztec Pearl' (the Mexican orange blossom). This scented shrub has been in full bloom for many weeks and still looks amazingly stunning!

"Bonne Fête des Mères" to all the Mums reading Kristin's newsletter! (and to all the Mums in the world)


Hi Kristin:
Happy Mothers day.
As for the story, It is amazing. I hope one day, we come to realize that we are, as humans, one.With all the hatred and fighting in the world, such a story gives us hope that one day the human race will come together.
Thank you for sharing your knowledge, wisdom and personal life with us.


Gwyn Ganjeau

Thank you for that story, Kristin. That will be my favorite Mothers Day gift.

Although this day of observation has ancient roots, last year I read this interesting snippet of information: The idea of official celebration of Mothers day in US was first suggested by Julia Ward Howe in 1872. An activist, writer and poet Julia shot to fame with her famous Civil War song, "Battle Hymn of the Republic". Julia Ward Howe suggested that June 2 be annually celebrated as Mothers Day and should be dedicated to peace. She wrote a passionate appeal to women and urged them to rise against war in her famous Mothers Day Proclamation, written in Boston in 1870. She also initiated a Mothers' Peace Day observance on the second Sunday in June in Boston and held the meeting for a number of years. Julia tirelessly championed the cause of official celebration of Mothers Day and declaration of official holiday on the day. Her idea spread but was later replaced by the Mothers' Day holiday now celebrated in May.

I love, Love, LOVE the idea of Mother's Day being a dedication plea to peace. No more loss.

Happy Mother's Day to all!!


Kristin, What a poignant story, we can all learn from these mothers, and I love the flower for your mother, I posted one too!
Happy Mother's Day.
P.S. I see there's another Claudia here!


Thanks for this and all your posts. I look forward to reading each and every one and enjoy them all (even the ones you beat yourself up about!!)

Lisa A., CA

Bonjour Kristin,

Bonne Fête des Mères!
Merci beaucoup pour le video. Aboslument parfait pour le week-end des mères!
Je faut metter le video sur ma page de Facebook, donc mes amis peuvent voir aussi.

Amy Kortuem

Beautiful. A perfect Mother's Day - and ANY day - message!

I love your blog though I don't post often. And I still fondly remember hearing you speak and meeting you at the American Library in Octobe 2009!

Judith Solanki

Thank you so much for posting this. What brave and wonderful mothers.

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you for your honest reactions to this story and for your passionate and compassionate thoughts about peace!

Gwyn, extra thanks for the history of Mother's Day: how fitting that it has it' origins in peace!

Amy, I have been looking for your lovely CD, wanting to play your harp music in my car this springtime. Guess I'll need to do some spring cleaning (I'll be Jules snapped it up last time she was here--she LOVES the harp!).

Newforest, you've been on my mind since your latest posting (several weeks ago)! I spent the afternoon in the town of Tulette, at an iris farm! I thought: Newforest should be here with us (I was with Malou and Doreen. And now for a guilty avowel: the ladies would very much like to be called "The Dirt Divas". I have to say that my one reservation was how you might feel about it. So I hope you'll understand (after the helpful lessons on "la terre" you shared) and, rest assured, this UK/Française duo shares the love & respect of flowers and earth right along with you :-)

Jules Greer

My Darling Kristi,

I am always humbled when I am in your presence,
whether in real-time or via your blog. I constantly revel in the identity of Mother and thank God that He had the wisdom to send you into my arms 43 years ago. You have enlarged my life, my thoughts, my dreams and my spirit.

Most of all I adore all the ways you tend to surprise and delight me with your intelligence and wisdom and insight.

You did it again today with your post - I always shake my head when I realize that you are two steps ahead of me. What a treasure you have been for me.



Gayle Markow

Thank you Kristin for sharing this very moving story of generosity of spirit and compassion. A very deep teaching and mothers' day gift to the world.

dorothy dufour



There were many different reactions to the attacks on 9/11 here in NYC. One strong thread was summarized by the phrase "Our grief is not a call to war." This sentiment was ignored when we went to war three weeks later, but was felt from the very beginning by many of us. The desire for revenge is human and understandable, but it isn't the only desire. The yearning for peace can be as strong. With bin Ladin's killing, I have to say that I understand the momentum that led to the manhunt, but it is a very poor strategic move. We are escalating, rather than taming, violence in the world. Who benefits from that? I stand with these two mothers who want to slow way down, look each other in the eye, and acknowledge their own humanity and that of the "Other".


Thank you Kristin for your kind thoughts expressed a few posts above this one. Indeed, I would have loved to join in and share the beauty and delights of the iris farm!
If Malou and Doreen feel they are / behave like "divas", associated with 'dirt', fine with them! The fuss about "dirt"? After all, it is a matter of understanding and appreciating ideas and words. I am entitled to think differently - and explain why - without assuming other people will understand and agree, so, don't worry Kristin. I can be wise enough and not be offended. Feel totally reassured.
In fact, putting everything into perspective, one must realise it isn't a big deal after all (there are so many more important issues in the world!)
"Dorénavant" ('from now on'), in my own mind, this association of 2 words to describe these passionate and generous gardeners, will stay in the world of words and juxtaposition - no point adding any deeper thought into the association. I will be happy enough with the smiling "double D" effect, so, that's it.

Re-Happy "Fête des Mères"!
and re-"mille mercis" for sharing the vital message of this very special video.

jim Kachik

I'm so moved I can find nothing to add. Thank you for sharing/broadcasting this to us.Now if we, each of your readers, send this to a couple of others we might network the concept and maybe, just maybe, the weight of our collective action will steer someone away from violence, hatred, fear and revenge, and toward the world of tolerance and acceptance we'd like to have. It won't happen without action. Mother's Day blessings to you, Kristin.


Wishing you ALL (2 & 4-legged) a joyful Mother's Day in peace.
Such a fitting blog.........thank you once again Kristin.

Karen from Phoenix, AZ

I was sent that video by an amazing artist friend a few days ago. The understanding and hope for peace is conveyed by those two women so eloquently.

Happy Mothers Day Kristin. Jules Happy Mothers Day as well.

Happy Mothers Day to all the women on FWAD. xoxo

Ron Cann

If only this mother had been able to instill a compassion for others in her own son. It is easy to dismiss the hurt and anger felt by a victim if one has not been victimized themselves. It is a little late to "understand the other" after they have chosen to kill you. Anger towards islamic extremists is not born of ignorance and bigotry. There are bad people in this world and it is naive to pretend otherwise. Similarly, one can't escape the hatred of extremists by behaving nicely - they can always find an excuse for their hatred.


I believe Mark Twain once commented something to the effect that travel often leads to the end of bigotry, prejudice, distrust and narrow-mindedness. Your site supports and encourages travel and therefore serves to combat the baser side of human nature. Keep it up!!!

Eileen deCamp

Thanks for this post and video Kristin. Very moving.


Dear Kristi,
Thank you for your post.
Only a mother could know the pain of another mother who has lost a child. Both of these women lost a child. One to death, one to a horrific choice to take lives...Both mother's hearts were broken. A friend of mine recently said,"I choose not to hate another, because that hate will only corrode my heart."
I agree with the post above by Candy in SW KS.
Mother's are more able to empathize with mother's I think. And you know...the older I get the wiser mine was! I thank God she taught me to love unconditionally :)
Happy Mothers Day to you and to Jules!!!

Joy Eballar

Dear Kristen,
Thank you forsharing this beautiful story and video. It did bring me to tears and shows how deep our (mothers) love is for our children and can be for each other too.
I would like to share the video with some of my friends here if it is OK with you. This is a beautful message.
Happy Mothers Day to you and your family and also to Jules, whom i LOVE reading about. She is beautiful just like YOU! xoxo JOY


Hello Kristin:
Many people in different countries hate Americans. But my observation, as a non American, is that most Americans are more compassionate than them. I wonder if it was a reverse situation, whether the American mother would have been admired and embraced.
Juste un petit mot pour vous dire, Jules et Kristin...
Bonne Fete des Meres!

oops, le clavier de mon portable n'a pas d'accents.

Mlle Chenonceau

Just a note on deciding whether to travel or not due to the constant threat of terrorism. My mother and I had a discussion long ago about it. We found out we both felt it is more important to get out there and see the world, than to stay at home, afraid to leave our doorsteps. We can just as easily be killed in a car accident on a street near our home. Everyone has a time to "go", and I do not believe that death is the "end". So that mom who lost her child in 9/11 may have our same practical outlook, and has chosen not to lay blame anywhere other than fate. I know not everyone believes this, but I feel that if you spend your remaining years choosing to think hateful thoughts and you choose to NOT forgive it can literally eat you up alive... also, i had to sign a release that my daughter could ride horses over high fences when she was little and that I would NOT sue the stable-owner if she ended up like Christoper Reeve, for example. My feeling was she was doing what she loved and if she did get hurt, it would be no one's fault. She is 27 and still rides horses, and she travels. I look forward to visiting all those places I never knew about in France that Kristin shows us. I lost a cousin to a shooting in a Virginia University 4 or 5 years ago--she was in French class...I have not forgotten this tragedy, but I have chosen not to hate the person who went postal that day at the school. I have chosen to forgive. I think my cousin would be glad.


I did a quick search online, and found that this story has not made it to any commercial news outlet (as far as I can tell). It's clearly very popular with sites involved with empowering women, social conscience groups, etc, however the target audience of these gorups are people who are already open-minded and considerate of the issues Phyllis and Aicha promote. If this story is to have any impact at all on the horrendous ignorance and prejudice which exists, it needs to make it to mainstream media.
Media connections anyone?

Marshall Brass

Is the holiday....fete de meres OR fete des meres...grammatically, it can't be both. Kristin shows it both ways......Commenters have used each....even though "des" is most frequently used.

Please advise which is correct. Thank you.

Kristin Espinasse

Hi Marshall,

Thanks for the note. It should be Fête DES Mères. Sorry about this.

Gayle Newhouse

We are witnessing a Humanitarian opportunity to grow into an Evolutionary Human.
God bless those that sacrificed their dear ones to assist The Truth of Love. Let us embrace this Rights of Passage together; together as as a Whole.
Peace will come through women and children for Love is what they are. We have all been the victims grown and growing into men and women. Let us evolve out of power and greed, calm this long season of the dark winter, and allow the Spring to bring us back into the Light as planetery citizens of Love, Tolerance and Compassion. This is a humane opportunity we can all make together for positive choice.
Tapping the Source invites the All Knowing understanding of Eternal Power for the Right Here and Right Now co-creating with Creator mirrored in the Perfection of a world of Right Thinkers!
We can do this!


What a moving video. Thanks for sharing, Kristin.

A fitting way to celebrate Mother's Day. Interesting that in French it's plural--which makes more sense, I think--and in English it's singular. A celebration of one's own mother (which is of course a worthy thing to do), as opposed to honoring the contributions of ALL mothers.

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