Friday, January 04, 2013
Photo taken last summer in Alsace. Maybe you, too, need more peaceful thoughts today? Read on, in today's story. First, here's a calming wish from a reader, who wrote to another reader in response to the latest post:
Happy Birthday from England Gus. Deep peace of the running wave to you. Deep peace of the flowing air to you. Deep peace of the quiet earth to you. Deep peace of the shining stars to you. Deep peace of the gentle night to you. —Hank Sweet
Thank you Hank, and everyone who wrote in wishing Gus a happy 88th. Gus must be away celebrating, for he hasn't seen his messages yet... which means there is still time to leave one here, in Gus's message box! (Gus has received 237 messages so far. If you've left a message but do not see it, scroll to the last message and look for the link to "more comments")
la panne (pan)
être en panne = to be stopped, broken down; penniless
la panne d'inspiration = lack of inspiration
tomber en panne = to break down (car, machine)
le coup de la panne = the broken down car trick (or how to pretend you are stranded, to get a date to kiss you!)
Audio File: Listen to Jean-Marc pronounce some of the expressions above, as well as the following example sentence: Download MP3 or Wav file
Avec ma première fiancée, je lui ai fait le coup de la panne.
With my first girlfriend, I played the "stalled car trick".
A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE... by Kristin Espinasse
The Year of Positive Thinking
My son is transferring fritters from his plate to mine, as we sit at the table picking at dinner. "Je ne les aime pas trop," he admits. "Désolé, Maman."
"That's okay. They're not very good," I agree. I must have put too much water into the mix, and that is why the fritters flopped.
"The problem with your mom is that she is not consistent," I say, more to myself than to Max, as he gets up to empty his plate, back into the frying pan. Maybe the dogs will eat them?
"Do you want some chocolate pudding?" Max asks, holding the fridge door ajar.
"Yes..." Yes... that's my problem. Inconsistency! One day I'm making this, another other day I'm making that, from lettuce smoothies to deep fried panisses. I made an extra effort this time, after Max returned from his friend's house, full of praise for the cook....
"Putain. Ed's grandma can cook!"
"Don't say putain!" I complain, taking another stab at a cardboard fritter.
"Désolé." Max glides by, stopping to kiss me on the forehead, before disappearing to his room with his dessert.
Putain. I look around the house. The stove top is glopped with chickpea batter. I'm not a good cook!
I stare at bare walls. And I need to learn to decorate!
My mind begins to reel until, still after still, the negativity gains momentum...
I'm not making progress.... I still haven't gotten anything done... Cobwebs on the ceiling... I can't see a thing... am no good at dusting... JUST LOOK AT THE TOILET RINGS!
For someone who has experienced a degree of success in her work life... it's pathetic how she fails at her thought life!
I am spared another round in the thought arena when the telephone rings. It is my daughter, who is spending the week at her friend Manu's.
"And what are you up to?" Jackie asks, when it is my turn to update.
"Well, I was thinking of going for a walk... but I need some motivation to get moving!"
Silence on the other end of the line tells me my girl is thoughtfully considering my dilemma.
"You could go out and collect wildflowers..." she suggests.
Wildflowers. What a beautiful thought! Just the idea of wildflowers is enough change my train of thinking. I follow Jackie's suggestion and before long, I'm on a dirt path surrounded by mauve-colored fleurs sauvages. Mediterranean heather is carpeting the forest floor in January! I gather a modest bouquet, to put in a small vase. I set the flowers on my nightstand. The next time I find my thoughts wandering, I might bring them back to this exquisite focal point, a point of departure for a more positive thought journey.
Do you consider yourself a positive person, only to catch yourself thinking self-defeating thoughts? Any tips on keeping the mind in line?
My mom has a wonderful technique to keep the negative thoughts out before they even enter in: she puts a "watchman" at the gate of her mind. She ended up firing the first watchman (who she decided was a wimp), exchanging him for two big burly bouncers! Now when a self-defeating thought saunters up like the devil, the burly bouncers at the door to her beautiful mind take care of the unwanted guest!
Between my mother and my daughter, there are enough ideas to make this, finally, The Year of Positive Thinking!
What about you? You coming along too?
Comments welcome here, in the comments box.
je ne les aime pas trop = I don't like them that much
désolé, Maman = sorry, Mom
la panisse = traditional southern French (or Ligurian?) fritter made of chickpea flour, water, salt and a little oil, fried in more oil.
putain = caution, offensive word! (suffice it to say it's much stronger than "damn"!) Though it is true you will hear this word, spoken by young and old, as a language learner like me, and a non-native, you might want to avoid practicing it!
la fleur sauvage = wildflower
Santons and cards beside the Provençal Christmas tree.
I had such a happy visit with the Dawson-Taylor's, who bought our village house in St. Maximin 15 years ago... Kate, David, and daughter Amanda have kept in touch and we enjoy a treasured friendship, despite the years that pass between visits. I made the super easy fool proof yogurt cake, taking some of your suggestions (I stole a lemon from the lemon tree and grated it into the sugar this time. So good!) I used a Bundt pan, for a change, and filled in the center with candy. Click here to see the recipe and video.
I hope to upload a short home movie taken in Italy. Sign up to our YouTube channel to be alerted to the lastest video.
Did you enjoy this post? Thanks for sharing French Word-A-Day with a friend, classmate, teacher or anyone who loves France!
A Message from Kristi: Ongoing 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.
Ways to contribute:
1. Paypal or credit card
2. A bank transfer via Zelle, a great way to send your donation as there are no transaction fees.
Or purchase my book for a friend, and so help spread the French word.
For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety
It is easy sometimes to let negative thinking into our minds. I like your Mom's idea of the two burly bouncers!
Happy New Year!
Posted by: Eileen - Charlottesville, VA | Friday, January 04, 2013 at 01:54 PM
Good one! What a great idea to make this the year of positive thinking. I will try hard to practice this very admirable goal! Thanks,Kristin, and Happy New Year! B-T-W, my lovely d-i-l's name is Kristin. Beautiful.
Posted by: Cathi Burgoyne | Friday, January 04, 2013 at 01:58 PM
great post -- I think I can actually see those guys at your Mom's gate :)
Posted by: Sue J. | Friday, January 04, 2013 at 02:03 PM
I’m going out to clean the pasture spring;
I’ll only stop to rake the leaves away
(And wait to watch the water clear, I may):
I sha’n’t be gone long.—You come too.
I’m going out to fetch the little calf
That’s standing by the mother. It’s so young,
It totters when she licks it with her tongue.
I sha’n’t be gone long.—You come too.
...oh how I know the murky waters of a "monkey mind," and relate to what you say. Robert Frosts poem popped into my mind after your invitation. In 2013, we are, indeed, coming along with you dear Kristin! And yes! And yes AGAIN, we will stop and "watch the water clear" with the blessings of friendship, prayer/meditation, walking in nature's wonder ground, my yoga practice, plus all the myriad ways that this good, rich life holds for us. Mille mercis for today's post, I needed it.
Posted by: Pat Cargill | Friday, January 04, 2013 at 02:14 PM
Positive thinking is a habit which I actively worked on as part of a teacher training course 25 years ago. When confronted with a dilemma, I learned to say, "This is easy. I can do this!" My habit served me well in 2010 when riding a train to Collioure, FR, at dusk. I was the only person on board and when I had to exit, I could not open the door! Trapped! I pushed, pulled and lifted -- and could not allow myself to panic, even though the next stop was Spain.
Well, the door did open and I jumped off the train, bouncing my suitcase as the conductor blew her whistle. Positive Thinking -- your best travel companion!
Posted by: Gail in New Hampshire | Friday, January 04, 2013 at 02:37 PM
Happy New Year and Belated Birthday, Kristin!
We are in the same boat! Here it is the 4th of January and I seem to already be behind! Just yesterday I, too, was comparing my professional and home lives and had a lightbulb moment: that the issue lies in control. In our paid professions, we have ultimate control, and so long as we work hard; put in the effort & time, we are successful. This is so not the case with home life, which seems to only run in chaotic circles no matter how hard we try or what we envision the end result to be.
Is this a fact of life? Do we just need to learn to let things be? Can we find it within ourselves to shift the priorities? Oprah makes it all sound so easy!! But then she doesn't REALLY do it all, now does she?
But perhaps you can put those positive outcomes and good happenings (clean house & properly risen cakes included!) on a piece of paper, slip them into a jar for review on New Year's Eve 2013. You'll be astounded by your successes and be filled with positivity for the days ahead....
Posted by: Angela Robak | Friday, January 04, 2013 at 02:44 PM
My husband, daughter and myself were having a discussion about this very subject. I told them about a cartoon I'd seen ages ago of The Far Side. In the frames, it showed a barking dog, and then a spray can with the words STOP IT on the label. It quickly put the dog and the other incidents that followed to a halt. We went around the rest of the day 'ssssting' each other while pretending to hold a can if anyone of us said a negative thing. We did one better and replaced it with a new set of positive words as well. It was a great day.
Love Jules take on it as well. Brilliant! Hugs Kristin.
Posted by: Barbara | Friday, January 04, 2013 at 03:07 PM
To my way of thinking, negativity is actually faulty perception. If we observe carefully, honestly and without negative blinders, we'll notice that most of the time, things turn out well. Most drives do not end in accidents, most days are full of, at the least, small beautiful moments such as you experienced with the wildflowers. Negativity is a kind of "magical thinking" that maintains that the universe has somehow singled us out for punishment. In fact, the world is also constantly offering us lovely things to see and do, if we are only able to learn to perceive them. I applaud your willingness to do so.
Posted by: Paul M. in Toledo, Ohio | Friday, January 04, 2013 at 03:16 PM
I am awaiting the results of some medical testing. It's a vulnerable time. Worry and doubt seems to creep in when I least expect it. This morning when I woke I realized that those first few moments of wakefulness are the most peaceful. Lounging under the warm covers, listening to morning sounds is my favorite part of the day. The added joy today was my husband's announcement that it had snowed during the night. (a rare occuracne here in south Texas-any precipitation is rare for that matter!) It's a double blessing -beauty and much needed water from heaven. I'll have to keep this picture as a reminder to freeze out the negativity today. Peace to you, Kristen.
Posted by: Janet smajstrla | Friday, January 04, 2013 at 03:31 PM
Merci! I will put an ad in Craig's List for a bouncer or two to help me through.
Doing for others is a tried and true remedy as well :)
Posted by: Martha | Friday, January 04, 2013 at 03:58 PM
I like that expression, "monkey mind". Mine must be a full grown ape! :) I know this dilemma only too well. A few days ago my sweet Siamese kitty had to be put to sleep. He was only two years old. It was sudden and shocking, though his brief life was often filled with health dramas. I gave him two years, he gave me much, much more in return. But what do I constantly find myself dwelling upon? The fact that when they put him down I couldn't stay with him to the end. I fled, overcome with tears. So I tend to dwell on the negative, too, and cannot stop accusing myself.
P.S. To Janet Smajstria who commented, I hope your medical tests come back with good news. :)
Posted by: April Lane | Friday, January 04, 2013 at 04:05 PM
I've posted to you before about the powers of positive thinking as I do believe this would be of immense benefit to you. The best way to train your brain to stick to the positive side of the balance sheet, is to stop yourself IMMEDIATELY when you start running down the negative road and COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS!! Go over every single thing that you have in your life to be grateful for, every night before you go to sleep, run back down this list and every morning before you set a foot out of bed. Do this for 6 months faithfully and I guarantee your life will be better!
Happiness is not random chance, it is a CHOICE!! When you make that positive choice every day for several months on end, you will find yourself in a better place!
Negative thinking has a feedback loop and only gets worse. The truth is that only YOU can stop that loop, or encourage it. So you see, you have a choice to make... Choose, but choose wisely!!
Good Luck Kristin, I know you'll succeed!!
Posted by: Holly K | Friday, January 04, 2013 at 04:18 PM
Thank God there is always chocolate pudding!
Posted by: Bill Facker | Friday, January 04, 2013 at 04:23 PM
Kristin--Here's the answer to your kitchen decorating problem. You are a very talented photographer and I'm sure you have photos of food,etc.So
Have one of your photos blown up big or use 3 to5 smaller ones, frame and
Hang.nYou can add dried flowers from the area to make more of a statement on the wall. if you can find frames at a brocante or in a store
That sells cheap prints already framed you can frame them yourself. It's
Chic and personal. Love your blog.
Posted by: Shari Reed | Friday, January 04, 2013 at 05:04 PM
I can also feel that I am not making progress, or getting things done efficiently enough, etc...To help gain perspective I like to think of the words of Desiderata....my father used to read this to me when I was a little girl. I especially like the words - 'no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should...' and 'be gentle with your self'.
Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Strive to be happy.
Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, Copyright 1952.
Posted by: edie | Friday, January 04, 2013 at 05:10 PM
You can't be the worst housekeeper because I am. I have just started a new idea. I spend only 1/2 to 1 hr wiping down all the kitchen cupboards inside and outside and throwing out what is not needed or is outdated. This short time is not a hardship, yet I can see such progress which helps my Jan. mood.
I love the idea of the guardsmen at the gate of my negative mind and will definitely use it. Thanks for the idea.
Posted by: Lin Powell | Friday, January 04, 2013 at 05:20 PM
I know how it is to get in the doldrums (a funny word!). I'm about to take a walk to the mail box and hope to be inspired along the way. My husband gave me a new little Sony camera for Christmas and I should try it outdoors.
When I look around and see the mental and physical clutter I need to deal with I know I need to leave la panne d' inspiration behind!
Edie from Savannah
Posted by: Edie Schmidt | Friday, January 04, 2013 at 05:21 PM
Recently, going through a episode that devasted me, I recognized the signs of despair creeping in yet again, and I prayed. I asked God to be the doorkeeper of my mind. He did. The peace was amazing. He's never failed me through all my 72 years. If only I'd remember to call upon Him first!
Posted by: Jean Creighton | Friday, January 04, 2013 at 05:49 PM
Hey, Flour and water never taste good. You need to put some fritter in the fritter. Corn, broccoli, bits of salmon or any other fish and really any vegetable you like or leftover. Happy New Year and keep going.
Posted by: carole Hayden | Friday, January 04, 2013 at 06:01 PM
I certainly agree with Jean's comment above. That is truly the best which brings the wildflowers and the burly watchman to help us too. I love today's blog, probably because I can see myself in it.
Posted by: Debbie Ambrous - www.AFrenchOpportunity.com | Friday, January 04, 2013 at 06:11 PM
Mais oui, I am coming along with you on your year of positive thinking! I do think of myself as a positive person, and then find myself allowing all this negative self-talk. I like your mom's idea of burly bouncers. Thanks, Kristin, for the wonderful post, as usual.
Posted by: Karene | Friday, January 04, 2013 at 06:24 PM
Kristin I find you absolutely adorable and truly enjoy your stories. I sometimes have those negative thoughts and love that you reminded me to make 2013 a year of positive actions.
Blessings for the New Year ,
Posted by: Jan Preston | Friday, January 04, 2013 at 06:29 PM
Kristin, can you believe what your challenge to a year of positive thinking inspires! You're building a rich bank of suggestions from Jackie, your mother, and your commenting friends (men/women) of various ages, places.
When you have 365, you can make a "day-at-a-time" (un jour à la fois) calendar with your stunning photography. Perhaps, Jackie, Jules and Max can publish it.
Yes, please sign me up to come along (and for some of your calendars!) Smiles.
Posted by: julie camp | Friday, January 04, 2013 at 06:34 PM
Bonjour, Kristin. I used to go to sleep reviewing a long list of everything I did NOT accomplish or do well that day. Then, one evening I sat bolt upright and decided, "No more." Where did this deficiency approach come from? So I decided to celebrate EVERYTHING I did accomplish that day. This was a much better lullaby before bed. I picked my children up from school ... I went grocery shopping ... I wrote a poem ... I put the toilet paper on the holder instead of leaving it on the back of the toilet ... I took a walk. Et cetera. This celebratory stance was much more realistic and it energized me to accomplish more and tackle those tasks that I don't like to do. All said, we do so much more right than wrong. American society, in particular, is fixated with focusing on weaknesses, rather than strengths. Backwards thinking, though. It's nearly impossible to move forward that way. And it's certainly not a joyful approach. I am quite certain that you truly are 'Une femme triomphante!'
Posted by: Jennifer Gordon | Friday, January 04, 2013 at 07:43 PM
Janet, best wishes on positive results of your tests, you are
in our thoughts.
Janet, I am so sorry you lost your Siamese at such a young age, it is always heartbreaking. I hope you will find another furry friend to love.
Posted by: Pat Cargill | Friday, January 04, 2013 at 08:21 PM
I am a positive person in general but negativity, mostly self-critique sets in once or twice a month. I do have to chase it out, usually with work. getting busy, ignoring the inner voice. I like your mom's suggestion. I need a watchman. I hate to think what I am if you are not a good cook...at least you are trying! Wishing you a beautiful weekend. Enjoy the flowers pour moi aussi! xx
Posted by: Mona | Friday, January 04, 2013 at 08:22 PM
Positive thinking.. A very nice topic, Kristin! Thank you!
"So be it" Buddhist meditation technique comes to my mind in response to your today's posting.
First we accept HOW we are, then TRANSFORMATiON and, therefore, purification follows. And then – voila! A new, positive habit has been formed. Easier said than done of course, but with some time (rather A LOT, to be honest) and consistency it worked for me. There is no such thing as perfection, of course, especially in matters like this. But I could definiltely see now how much I have improved the issue of being always positive, and how much my life has been reshaped since I started working on my own ways of thinking and on my own ways of viewing things.
I am sure everyone could do the same.. with some time and effort applied.
So, best habits to all of us! :-)
Starting with this new year, of course!
Why wait?! :-)
Posted by: Francesca | Friday, January 04, 2013 at 08:34 PM
Our dear Kristi,
Thank you for such a wonderful invitation!
I am definitely coming along and joining you on The Year of Positive Thinking!
There could NOT be a better way to begin 2013!
I love Jules' idea of the burly bouncers guarding the entry to her mind!
My safeguard is St. Michael; I call out to him and ask him to spread his protective wings around my family and me--please defend us from the Evil One.
Once again,dear Kristi,you have given us not only incentive but determination to turn food for thought into reality.
What a gift! THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!
Love, Natalia XO
Posted by: Natalia | Friday, January 04, 2013 at 08:46 PM
Thank you, dearest Kristi, for this positively timely post! Yes, I too need to quiet the “unkind” mind that has been ordering me about these past few weeks. Ugh, I have felt near la panne myself.
I stopped at the grocer’s yesterday for a simple, blue bouquet of freesia to brighten my mood. I smile to picture you amongst the lovely January Heather. This too shall pass and in the meantime, let’s stop and smell the flowers! Joyous New Year, Joyous New Day!
Posted by: Stacy ~ Sweet Life Farm ~ Applegate, Oregon | Friday, January 04, 2013 at 09:28 PM
I hear you Kristin! I find if I acknowlege the thought then let it pass right on by as I replace it with a matching positive message, this helps. It's just like changing a pattern, I have to keep at it. Also, you are great, just as you are, remember that, it sounds like you are too hard on yourself. Happy New Year and take care. xx
Posted by: Christine Dashper | Friday, January 04, 2013 at 09:29 PM
Count me in. Most the time I am positive, but sometimes that negativity just creeps on in. Usually I just stop and say "things could certainly be a lot worse." And my house has to be far worse than yours. I have clutter and a few cob webs. So for the new year I have decided to take one room a week and deal with it. Easier said than done since I am one of these who when transfering something to another room sees something to be done there. You know, take out the garbage, set it down because the plant in the LR needs watering. Water the plant and go to put the glass in the dishwasher, but it is full, so you have to empty it.....and let's face it, it is now 6pm and you find the garbage right where you left it 4 hours ago!
And no resolutions this year. I am making a list (because I can't find last years)of all the things I want to do this year. Things like watch the sunset over the ocean at least once a week. And maybe about every 5th item will be something that should be attended to. So, make your list starting with picking wildflowers and watching the sunset. It is amazing what a positive state of mind things like that create. And remember.....smile!
Posted by: joie | Friday, January 04, 2013 at 10:27 PM
dear kristin-- i love your blog-- i've become addicted to it, in a good way. and i've made the yogurt cake(from the video) twice. I have a blog too-- poetry and occasional photography. I'll try to post the link here:Dear friends,
I'd love to share my blog with you-- mostly poetry and some photography. For me, it's a new start in the new year, and I'm very excited to show you what I've been working on. If you have comments, please drop me a line-- I'd love to hear from you. Also, please do share the blog with your friends. If you do have friends who may have interest in receiving this blog, please drop me their email address so they can be included.
Much health, happiness, contentment, and peace in the new year.
All the best,
Karen Mandell [email protected]
Posted by: Karen Mandell | Friday, January 04, 2013 at 10:29 PM
Dear Kristin - I love your blog too! It makes my day every time I read it. I am definitely guilty of this very topic. I feel that I am a positive person, but I have WAY too many self-defeating thoughts! It is weird because I feel competent and confident most of the time, but I can so easily become insecure, unsure of myself, and intimidated! I have daily pep talks in front of the mirror each morning! I think that is why I love your blog so much is because you wrestle with so many thoughts and emotions in your stories, but they always end positive, triumphant, and on a good note and I come away feeling that I can be like you and just keep plugging away at life's challenges with a more positive attitude and more fully enjoying all the beautiful things life has to offer. Yes, I will join you on the Year of Positive Thinking! Hugs!
Posted by: Sandra | Friday, January 04, 2013 at 11:16 PM
I'm in! Every new year I bolster my resolve to think as positive as possible. I realized I was really getting down in the dumps Recently. This year I bought a Loius Hay I Can Do It calendar, I signed up to follow inspirational tweeters and I follow positive thinking people on instagram. To all that I added some vitamin D. Now I will add some gaurdians. I have always been partial to Chamuel so maybe he would take the task. Jules always has some great ideas.
Anyhow, fingers crossed that I can spend some time thinking happy thoughts and begin to get over the doldrums. Your blog and pictures certainly help, so I will mention you in my gratitude journal. Happy New Year!
PS. ( for your Dad who likes the weather reports) We had a whopper of a white Christmas here in Texas. It was amazing! There is still snow on the ground in places and we are expecting flurries tonight. Brrrrrrrr
Posted by: Dina from North Texas | Friday, January 04, 2013 at 11:37 PM
It is great to read all these positive thoughts today. I especially enjoyed the poem. Every year I think a new year is a new beginning. A chance for things that need repair to change for the good. Then a couple days into it, once again, I realize it is just another day. That isn't very positive, I know. You post today will help me remember change is possible, that there are good parts to everyday, and that all of us just need to keep moving forward.
Posted by: Buffy | Friday, January 04, 2013 at 11:48 PM
Dearest Kristen - keep in mind that we are unique, with our own palette of capabilities. Your friend who cooks probably envies your magic with words and pictures. I never compare myself with the average person I know for everything - just the excellent cook for my cooking, the housekeeper for mine, the decorator for that, the sportif for exercise, etc. And I always fall short. It's good to want to do well but best if we strive where our talents might lie, and settle for OK in the rest. For example, your house is beautiful to start out. Leave it bare till you've an inspiration for something to add, something that speaks to you, and says its spot. Your vase of flowers, for example. You were drawn to them, by your daughter's loving suggestion, and their own appeal. In Dijon, I used Orangina bottles for vases, only adding a real one when I fell in love with a hand potted one in a marché. Families need to be fed, but save the energies for "special" and unfamiliar for when you feel called to make something, not driven to do it because someone else does. I know by the age of your kids that you have a number of OK recipes that keep them fed, and I know also that your kids are bright enough to value for your own qualities, not for how you rate relative to someone else.
The hard part is to find a trigger to tell you that you're being negative. I know that you can take yourself out of it, once you've acknowledged what's going on.
Posted by: Carolyn | Saturday, January 05, 2013 at 12:27 AM
Thanks for a lovely post. Your mom's idea is super. I've taken the suggestion and hired my own "two burly bad thoughts bouncers" and they are standing guard in my mind as we speak. Peace and Love, Lee Mears, Bradenton, FL
Posted by: William and Lee Mears | Saturday, January 05, 2013 at 12:38 AM
I can't believe you just went through that. I did also. My cat was in distress New Year's Eve(4 days ago) and I had to rush him to the hospital and decide within seconds to euthanize him. He was 6 1/2 and had an embolism and left congestive heart failure.
I feel horrible because I don't know what he went through before I got home, around 6:00. By 7:15, he was gone. I can tell you that the euthanasia was such a peaceful process. It's wonderful to have that option and it was a gift you gave your cat. This week, to help myself, I am not drinking, so that I really feel everything and am clear. I am also not taking care of other people. And I walk down to the garden where I buried my sweet pussycat every afternoon and offer him my heart. I literally put my hands over my own heart to feel it, and to feel it open.
As someone said, "The way forward is with a broken heart." Be extra kind to yourself. It's excruciating to go through. You may feel entirely alone, but you aren't at all--that's definitely an illusion.
Posted by: Leslie NYC | Saturday, January 05, 2013 at 06:37 AM
Tous nos bons voeux de notre Californie ensoleillée mais glaciale !
Que cette nouvelle année vous apporte chaque jour l'inspiration et la joie de vivre nécessaires à votre total épanouissement.
Vous apportez chaque jour beaucoup de bonheur à tant de vos fidèles lecteurs et visiteurs. Une fois connectés, personne ne peut vous oublier. Mais quel admirable exploit !!!
Très bonne continuation, positive bien sûr... nadine
If any of your readers might wish to learn/practice French Conversation we offer several sessions in the Napa, CA area.
Posted by: nadine goodban | Saturday, January 05, 2013 at 08:48 AM
I'm on board Kristi--I am working on getting into bed and worrying about mistakes in the past--definitely not positive thinking--replacing that with a daily gratitude list--I'm coming along for the year of positive thinking.
Posted by: Robyn France | Saturday, January 05, 2013 at 01:42 PM
Leslie and April, Joining other here, with heartfelt compassion for you after the loss of your beloved kitties. While holding Smokey this morning, I thought of you (he is not very old either) and it is hard to imagine life without him! Take time out for yourself, look after your hearts.
Janet, thinking of you during this hard-to-wait period. Keep on enjoying the peaceful morning time... stretch it as much as you can... through the day. Let us know how you are, soon.
Thanks to everyone who took the time to write in. I have enjoyed your suggestions and have begun trying them out, too! As well reviewing the positive events of the day at night, today I took a mid-day moment to review the positive events of the morning. Julies idea about the calendar is right on -- each nugget of wisdom here, on how to maintain a positive outlook throughout the day, is worth rereading!
A positive weekend to everyone! Enjoy it
Posted by: Kristin Espinasse | Saturday, January 05, 2013 at 05:19 PM
In the deep mid winter , there is a silence that can be depressive.....yet winter has a place .....of reflection....permission to be sad for the hard things the past year has brought but also celebration for the year that one has survived.......its all up and down....eventually more up than down...and the sweet moments of that feeling of well being returns.......each day is more important than ever.....susan, a cancer survivor this past year
Posted by: susan standke | Saturday, January 05, 2013 at 07:05 PM
Thank you for your inspiration! Postive thinking and attitude going full force. I always get so down on myself. I feel like I cant do anything. I am going to start cutting myself some slack. I love your blog!
Posted by: Paula | Saturday, January 05, 2013 at 07:43 PM
Love the idea of PRINTED French-Word-a-Day calendar! A picture a day.. (Kristi's eye is wonderful for details and camera positioning).. then a phrase, or a proverb.. or maybe two (for each day).. Perhaps with the translation into English of course.. and then -- let me dream! ..
German ?.. All are in the same daily calendar box.
Would that be possible?
Would it be too many words to fit to a page? (maybe with a smaller font one may achieve it?)
Would it be too many to pull out a quality translation, especially if it is for a proverb?
All that would be up to Kristi to decide. But I would definitely buy such calendar in a heartbeat! Maybe even a few, for my friends and family. Maybe even a few for a few years in the row. I am always learning languages.. or two.
:-) Then, perhaps, there's no time left for any sadness to creep in?
Sadness, depression and other such in the same "negative" family -- the signs of some unresolved issues I guess. As soon as those are identified and resolved -- there is a WAY to unconditional JOY opens up! And the life is rather simple after that! Oh, at least, I think so! :-)
Posted by: Francesca | Saturday, January 05, 2013 at 08:50 PM
Mille merci's Kristin for inspiring us all to reflect on positive thinking for the new year.As always your readers offer wonderful insights and suggestions as well.
Jules image of two burly bouncers a clear and powerful visualization, to keep those negative thoughts and the internal inner critic at bay! I hope to continue to focus on living in the moment, the present with gratitude and appreciation. Still...there are days, hours when silencing the busy mind and vanishing the self critical thoughts is a challenge, bien sur. TM (meditation, positive visualizations, walking in nature, chocolate, a chat with a good friend) seem to be helpful to me, in restoring a sense of balance, regaining a positive mind set and perspective and sense of inner peace. You are so gifted in so many ways...enriching your family and readers lives through countless loving gestures, your writing and creativity. We are all grateful that you share your stories and heartfelt thoughts and experiences with us. Carpe diem.
The few cobwebs will eventually be swept away, your art and bright, generous, loving spirit and treasures from nature, will brighten your new home.
If it helps, try writing down just a few tasks for the day/week. Joyfully check off each and savor the moment with a small (or Big) reward for yourself...quiet time, a walk in nature, time for you! Bonne annee et bon weekend.
Posted by: Sandy Vann | Sunday, January 06, 2013 at 12:04 AM
Talk to Self.
Posted by: [email protected] | Sunday, January 06, 2013 at 01:34 AM
Lazy days and a pique-nique are also essential for staying happy and positive!
Thick Nhat Hanh gives a dharma talk on a five-day meditation retreat at Plum Village meditation center in France...
Yep! Just sit back and do absolutely nothing!
And then, the next day, maybe, just look at these pictures. The cloud in a shape of an angel is particularly amazing!
Posted by: Francesca | Sunday, January 06, 2013 at 08:22 AM
Absence of the voice-recognition tools and gadgets also often contributes to the world peace in general and to the peaceful mind occasionally. Especially for those with one or another type of an accent. Peaceful mind and a positive approach apparently was not the case for these guys in this video :-)..
Burnistoun S1E1 - Voice Recognition Elevator - ELEVEN!
Posted by: Francesca | Monday, January 07, 2013 at 03:33 AM
Plenty of food for thought today!
First Deep Peace sent me into the web vortex! Settled on a beautiful version of the poem with music by Bill Douglas Beautiful.
Then your fougères brought me back to the hills of my childhood week-ends in Couture-St-Germain (Belgium)... I so missed those flowers when I first lived in Australia... but then they brought me right to my dining table today.... with a small vase of frangipani flowers whose frangrance gladden my nose and spirit!
I also enjoyed the contributions on positive thinking, with each individual approache.
I'm currently reading an interesting book on the subject which takes a different approach The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking by Oliver Burkeman. Don't be put off by this title please. It's got some very interesting chapters and talks about Meditation (was very helpful to me), Buddhism and Stoicism.... It's not a negative book (!) but an interesting way to approach our quest to happiness/serenity...
The hardest (for me) was to "accept myself". Then I learnt to be less judgemental. That helps when you start berating yourself about the bare walls, the cobwebs, the not-quite-right fritter.
Jackie's a clever girl; she too chose her mother well!
Power to the flower!
Posted by: JacqBrisbane | Monday, January 07, 2013 at 05:23 AM
Next time you are condemning your toilet ring cleaning skills, borrow your Mom's bouncers, and then remember that you make hundred's of people so happy so often. Your blog is such a lovely thing to read, and you share the intimacy of your life with your readers in a way that makes us feel like we are a part of it. When you do something, anything, that well, you get a major pass on all the far less interesting things like housework!
Posted by: Colleen | Monday, January 07, 2013 at 06:24 AM