The French word topinambour--it saved French lives during WW2
French for "To go beyond one's limits"

"See you" in French... and I hope you win this prize!

Potimarron seeds
What to focus on? Take your pick! Car, seeds, dirty dishes, compost... Smokey. Ah, there's a comforting place to rest the eyes.

Today's Prize: Desiderata poem, framed
What do you do when bad things happen? Answer here and enter to win today's prize (more info below).

à bientôt (ah-byen-toh)

    : see you soon!

Audio File: listen to Jean-Marc Download MP3 or Wav

Je pars quelques semaines. A bientot!
I'm going away for a few weeks. See you soon!

    => A French Christmas: order this  favorite CD

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE... by Kristin Espinasse

The next two posts have been pre-programed to go out during my 3 week absence. But before I go I want to thank you for sticking around during a turbulent month wherein my mother-in-law began falling, one of our dogs disappeared,  I lost half of French Word-A-Day subscribers, and our neighbor stabbed his parents to death before running head on into the train that passes right below our vineyard.

For the woman who tweeted "Hate chu Kristin Espinasse and your [email protected]%!! perfect French life," please think twice before jumping to conclusions (and learn to spell!).  

I take that parenthetical jab back, because up to this point--122 words into this ramble--my spell-checker has already caught 6 coquilles, or typos, and off I trot, dumbly unaware of the grammar trespasses I'm making as this essay advances....

But to where? Just where are we going, dear Reader? More than this aimless essay, don't the times feel this way--ungrounded? (Unless your name is Rosetta, and you've just made a historical landing on some far off comet.)  

I wasn't going to tell you about the sad and horrific event in our neighborhhood or share the "hate tweet", but the heart is as unpredictable as the times. And though this essay could be better with a good outline, a rough draft, a shot of vodka, and an editor... it will amble forward as the others have before it.

Step after step, word after word, it is a great privilege to continue on this writing path and I thank you for having big enough hearts to listen to whatever I have to say.

I especially enjoy hearing what you have to say. The past few posts have included questions that have enabled me to get to know you better. Reading your answers to the question "Have you ever won anything?" I was unprepared for the heartache and laughter your words unlocked.

Keeping in theme with today's story, here is another question for you:

What do you do when bad things happen? 

Answer it and enter to win one of my favorite things (more info below). Thanks again for reading these missives. See you in a few weeks.



To leave a comment or to answer today's question, click here.

French Vocabulary
une coquille = typo

Happy endings, with Breizh, who is home now, and Smokey.

Provence Dreamin'? Maison des Pelerins, Sablet. A Vacation Rental Dream in the heart of the Côte du Rhone. See photos here


"DESIDERATA". Today's prize is a framed poem that will lighten anyone's heart. Note: Giving away the English version, but you can read--and listen to--the bilingual version here!

To enter to win, click here to answer today's question: "What do you do when bad things happen?"

In addition to entering the contest, you may want to go ahead and order this inspirational poem as a gift, click here.

Catherine topinambour

Thank you, Catherine, for showing me what my topinambours will look like, once planted. So much to look forward to! And a lovely message to end this post:

Pleine de bonnes choses à venir. So much to look forward to. Thanks for sharing these positive words with a friend--who might enjoy receiving this French journal.


"Never air your laundry in public!" my grandmother might say (there's her needlepoint pillow, "Pall Mall", just above). But how else to show real French life? This is, after all, how the majority of the country dries things this time of year. Sure, tumble dryers are catching on, meantime....

Drying rack

If you would like to catch up with the times--the ecological times--you can get your own "French dryer" here!

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.

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


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When bad things happen I do yoga! I find a quiet space, light some candles and some incense, and practice this moving mediation. Once on my mat, nothing can disturb me, I'm safe, warm and purposeful. The gentle stretches and self nurturing slowly make me realise that whatever the problem, the here and now is peaceful and pleasant. Then I try to take those feelings off my mat into my day. The practice of yoga has been a safe haven for me through many ups and downs over my life. I recommend it to everyone!

Karen Mancini

I am so sorry that a "person" wrote such nasty things on your twitter page. Some people are just plain sutpid, even if she doesn´t like your page, so what! to write such things is just plain ignorant....
I want to say I love your page and always look forward to reading about you, your family and your life AND learning some french at the same time (I also live in France and my french leaves much to be desired!) Anyway keep up the good work and that "person" should ...... well let´s keep it civilised :-)

Barb Friedman

I think that this too shall pass and it does.

Adrienne Kinkaid

When bad things happen, I tell myself "This too shall pass" and keep putting one foot in front of the other until I muddle through to the other side.

Jackie Sand

Kristin, wherever you might be spending the next 3 weeks, take it all in, enjoy the brightness of each day and know that if life is difficult or challenging, those moments are temporary. Somehow I always believe that I/we will get through a challenging period and it will transform itself into more positive times, leaving behind a fuzzy and disappearing shadow of the difficult times.
Je te souhaite un bon voyage, plein de joie!


When bad things happen I try to confide in my pets

Adrienne Kinkaid

Kristin, I love you and so do many others. Maybe we can feel sorry for that hate-filled person who has to live with herself and spread her toxic envy and hate into the world.

Susan L.

I try to remember to look up and say a prayer for strength, guidance and wisdom. Afterwards, I get outside, with people and do something active! Nature is a wonderful balm for the soul. Yes, these things do pass after the initial sting.


Hi Kristin,
My perfect French life isn't always so perfect either. When bad things happen (and when they don't) I walk. Long long walks or short walks with my dog as my companion. I walk and remind myself to just breathe.
xo Mer

Judith Harris

I pray for that peace of God that passes all understanding. I remember the example of strength my ancestors have shown. I keep reminding myself that everyone has a burden and is dealing with hurt of some sort. When the pain is long standing, I'm aware of the value of distraction which gives you a brief restorative rest.

Helyn Cornwall

When life is tough [as it is now for me] I practise mindfulness, and spend a lot of time with my dear cats, who are so soothing to my soul. I do tend also to try and nourish myself with good food, and can recommend sliced organic lemons with a good chunk of fresh ginger in a mug of hot water to feel revitalised.

Carole Fitzgerald

Dear Kristin ,I was feeling for you when your Mother in law was having problems , so sad. It was then horrible to read about the triple tragedy at the bottom of your vineyard. No doubt it shook you up .
I love then to see your smiling face on your blog. Its like a ray of sunshine. When I am feeling low I love to sew quilts or embroider or maybe do a watercolour of one of my grandchildren. I am @caroleatthebarn on Instagram .
Being in your garden would be so restorative for you, love from Australia Carole x

Leslie NYC

When bad things happen, I curse, cry, scream, shut down. I look for solace, hold my loved ones close.
It's funny at 6:36 a.m. to read "Hate chu" even though it is horrible for you to have to read that. The gods humiliated her with bad spelling before she could even spit out what she felt! Mean people sometimes trip themselves up, which is perfect!
As for your neighbors, how awful.
We, all of us, want to be loved, protected, respected. If you are feeling lost, maybe reach out to another of your neighbors who may be shaken by this, too.
Sending love to you and your village, Leslie


When we are going through hard times, it is helpful to know it is OK to feel what we feel, to honor where we are in the process. So often others have no clue. I had to do that during a very long stretch of grieving. And I tried every day to do something that made me happy... as small as a cup of tea ... (And I prayed -- almost moment by moment.)


I have never commented before but have been following your post and stories for at least two years with immense enjoyment. I am so sorry for you to read of the hateful comment and hope you can completely erase it from your mind. I expect many readers never before submitting thoughts will now tell you how wonderful your blog is and provide a strong counterpoint to the toxic taste of that message. It takes a lot of courage to expose your thoughts and life to outside scrutiny and your success seems well deserved and hard earned.
One poisonous comment can hurt so much but let it remain in perspective with the many positives allowed to dilute it's effect,

Alyssa Ross Eppich

If things go badly for me, I analyze what went wrong, and then I figure out how it can be fixed. I often change my goals, and without fail, that does the trick! Best wishes to you, Kristin!

Toby Cone

When I'm beside myself, I do yoga or just sit still crossed legged and cry!
I might take a long walk with my dog.....and cry
and look forward to some nice red wine later on....and....
Funny how bad things happen in 3's.
Now you can enjoy your time away and find some peace.
As far as Miss "Chu" is concerned, try and let it go(I know it's difficult, but they are to be pitied - you are far more enlightened and kind!
xo Toby


I am sorry things aren't the greatest right now. My dad has been known to say that's life. I hate that saying. Bad things usually come to me in a row then go back to not so bad things or good things. I had a string of it lately at work. Realizing I was working too much, I am taking the much need vacation that was planned earlier this year with the plan to get back on the right track. During the teen years with my kids and all their trials and tribulations, work was my haven and now that the kids are out of the house, recent phenomenon with the second one moving out of state last Sunday, I do not need work to be my refuge. So to answer the question after my round about way to getting there, I daydream a great deal. I take myself to a place I want to be, to just take a break from the worry. I also have learned to let things go that I can't control. It has done wonders for me. So when those bad things happen in a row, as they always do, I get through it, move on to the good things, and repeat as it happens. Take care and enjoy your hiatus. Don't worry about what others say. You bring good to people through your writing.


Blame someone else !


when bad things happen i try to remember that IT CAN ALWAYS BE WORSE, and THIS, TOO, SHALL PASS. then i reflect on ALL THE GOOD in my life. eventually, the bad passes.

Susan Wardell

I don't have any words of wisdom but just wanted to let you know many people, myself included, admire and care about you... Carry on, let yourself feel your feelings but know all will be well! Consider all you have to be grateful for. As for the nasty person who sent you that message, there had to be pain and jealousy behind it. Try not to take it personally!


Breathe deep and think "this, too, shall pass." Then count my blessings.

Vicky from Athens

My way of handling bad things depends on the nature of what happened. If it was something that made me angry I like to pull weeds all the while uttering expletives. If it was something that made me sad I like to walk - fast and furious. And of course, I talk it over with my dog who is a very good listener and doesn't ask stupid or irrelevant questions.
Desiderata - what wonderful words to live by.

joie in carmel-by-the-sea

I look at what happened very carefully and if it did not directly affect me or my family I breathe easily. I may be saddened by what happened, but am thankful for what I have. If it did directly affect me, I face it head on and most times decide that things could be much worse. Sometimes it is difficult to remain positive, but it is the best way to heal.
How sad a person must be to decide to tweet something negative like that. He/she has no idea who you really are. And for heavens sake we all have bumps in life. How would we learn some things without them.

Jacqueline Satterlee

After many years of waking up and tearing myself up with guilt, I finally figured out that when bad thoughts come I have to distract my mind. So I look through my mail and read your posts. I especially love your pictures. Sometimes I forward your posts to my daughter to share a bit of French info or vocabulary, or I say " see that's where/how I lived". Obviously the lady with the mean posts is unhappy and she is only sharing her own frustration at you. Don't take it personally. She doesn't have your gift of writing or photography to vent her unhappiness. I don't know how you find the time to read everything! :-). A bientôt, or à plus....(ah pleusss)short for à plus tard ( with no "s" sound)
Abe a great time off. Bonnes vacances!! --jackie

Juliette Préjean

Don't mind what rude, un cultured people say about you. I read your post everyday and enjoy it as do many others. There are so many small minded people in this world. I guess we should pray for them!

When bad things happen I pray, (cry if called for) and do something to keep my hands busy - weed, clean, scrub etc. I have to work harder at keeping mean thoughts away.

Thank you for your dedication.

Gary Hoffman

Not exactly on point, but I prefer the "Calvin & Hobbs" DESIDERATA.

"Calvin - Know what I pray for?
Hobbs - What?
C - The strength to change what I can, the inability to accept what I can't, and the incapacity to tell the difference.
H- You should lead an interesting life
C - Oh, I already DO!"

Marie La Salle

I eat. Not inspirational or lofty, but true. While I am thinking of going placidly I have the refrigerator open and am eyeing the leftover chili. Sigh, sometimes I use the positive techniques listed above, but usually, I eat. Bonne chance, bon courage et bon voyage. A bientot.

Anne Fescharek

I like "Smokey" (or is he 'Fumot'?) I love Golden Retrieve--so cuddly. I a 'westie-poo', more westie than poo.

Enter me

Jacqueline Satterlee

Btw: on va manger des topinambour was what grandma used to say when she there was nothing to eat. I think they are Jerusalem artichokes. Very pretty in the fall!

Eileen deCamp

Hi Kristin,

Lately, I tend to pray more than I used to and it seems to help when things aren't going well in my life. I just ask God to help me through whatever is happening. Sometimes we can't change things in our lives but we can ask for help to understand it and get through it.

We have to keep things in perspective in life, don't we? A spacecraft makes an historical landing on a comet and what do we hear about in the news?....Kim Kardashian's a.. Really?

I love your clothes drying racks. My husband goes crazy in the summer because I use those and they fill the guest rooms with drying lavender. If we get visitors, they have to sleep with these racks in their room! haha

Thinking about you and wishing you and your family well. Keeping your mother in law in my prayers!

Tom McCullough

Peter encouraged his readers who were "grieved by various trials" to reflect on and rejoice in the miracle of their salvation. (1 Peter 1:3-7). Bon courage Kristin.

Marc Watson  - Olney, Maryland

Kristen - a simple "thank you" for what you do. Your posts allow me to connect with my 10th grade daughter, now in here second year of French, in a way that grately surpasses my tiny vocabulary. And seeing your email in my inbox always gives me a brief second of peace as I recall my trips to the Dordogn and Provence.
I hope that the challenges of life don't get you down. Ailing parents and neighbors losing their minds happens. Today my wife is divorcing me. But I'm going to take each day one at a time. Do the right thing. And know that this too shall pass. Tommorrow is full of challenges, but also of promise. It is important to keep your head when others are losing theirs. And once a week turn everything off and spend 24 hours with your family as best you can.


I keep putting one foot in front of the other. I had a wild dream in my teenage years to walk around the world and stumbled across the proverb (Chinese I think); put one foot in front of the other-I never did circumnavigate the globe, but that philosophy has stuck with me forever and applies to all of life- just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Sending prayers to your family, Kristin.

Eileen Leahy Preston

When bad things happen I think of all the people who have had much worse, recall how the handled it with great courage, go for a walk, then try to tell someone, somewhere a funny joke or story to make us both laugh. I think it might be the Irish way. Someone once said being Irish is knowing life will break your heart and laughing anyway. Something like that...


First of all... the person who sent that tweet must not pay much attention to what you say on your blog. For I think that you give a true picture of a life as imperfect as everyone else's is. It's just in France, that's all! You tell the good with the bad with a higher degree of honesty than I would ever achieve, and I respect you for that.

As to what I personally do when things go badly, I was drawing a blank till reading others' responses and found myself in a number of them--shut down, distract, eat, give thanks!

Be well these next three weeks.

Vee Arnold

So sorry you had the email from that person who must be ill in some way. Feel sorry for them. When I am down I think of the old song 'Pick yourself up, dust yourself down and start all over again'. With a deep breath and a smile on my face it always works for me. Good luck. Vee

Linda R.

When bad things happen - depends what it is. I pray for wisdom, take a walk, meet it head on. I have a friend who is insightful and encouraging, and I telephone just to hear her cheerful yet matter-of-fact voice.


1. Allow myself to absorb what has happened
2. Allow myself to greive. I know this sounds cliche, but if I am overwhelmed I visualize myself reclining with my head on Jesus' shoulder. Somehow this vision incompasses what I usually need - comfort and knowledge of a higher power all in one. Or if I am scared I visulize myself snugged in close to God under enourmous wings. (beneath my pinions you will find refuge...)
3. Remind myself of the blessings in my life
4. Change what I need to.
5. Live.

Mary Neill

Hi I have followed your adventures for a long time. Its sad how one needs reassurance just to be who they are! You seem to question then just go ahead and follow your emotions. Good luck. It is so enjoyable to see how you deal with situations with your family, friends,dogs, and garden.
Even though I live in Paris I have a garden.
more stories
your follower,
Mary and my dog Maya

Denise Morgan

When bad things happen I place it all in Jesus' hands and know that all things work together for good for those who love the Lord.
Make the most of your time off and recharge your batteries.

à bientôt !

Denise Morgan

I had first come across Desiderata as a young teen and found it to be quite profound. It became and has remained a personal favorite.

Nan Jenkins

I usually don't write comments, but your essay this time provoked me to do so. The person who tweeted that ugly comment obviously hasn't followed your posts over the years, or else she or he would have learned about the many ups and downs you have had in your life over the years. All of us have ups and downs in our lives and whatever life may appear "perfect" to others, may be filled with all kinds of heart aches (both large and small). We are all human and all flawed. Only love and compassion (for friends, family, animals, the earth, strangers, etc.) keep us flying with the angels.


Kristin, I am so sorry for the sadness and such horrible tragedy, but I am relieved and happy happy Breizh came back! When heartache comes I pray to God for needed strength, and then gather my girls around me to feel their love and those precious, comforting hugs. The person who posted such an ugly remark is surely mentally ill (acting out a moment of personal rage and unhappiness.) The internet is an easy outlet for the unstable out there. Stay focused on the beautiful things around you and stay busy...but when aren't you?
Aussi, pour moi, reading your lovely blog is a tremendous help. Takes me to another world and back to a marvelous time. Merci et fait attention à toi mon amie. xoxox de Louisiana.

Nancy Stilwagen

For me, bad things are when others say hurtful things to me. First, of course, I examine my own behavior to see if I somehow warranted such treatment. Then I remember something someone once told me: "What others think of me is none of my business!"

Larry  Mason

Cry for a while, rage for a while, sigh, grit my teeth, and carry on.


What do I do when bad things happen to me? I've learned to be resilient over the years. I lost most of my immediate family when I was a teenager, so I learned early that tragedy happens. It helped to make a family of my own to love and depend on in times of grief. Divorce threw another wrench in the works, but time has passed and my family has become resilient again and peaceful. In the midst of those bad events, take time to take care of yourself and loved ones, reflect and pray until days are better. The wisdom and resilience you gain, you can share with others when their grief is new.


When bad things happen in my life, I pray about them and ask God to show me if there is anything I might be able to do to improve the situation. I ask God to give me the strength and wisdom to trust Him, because He can see the future and knows exactly what will happen.

Crystal Pfeffer

When bad things happen I pray!

Tish Tyler

Hi Kristi, When things are bad, I try to just take things one day at a time and remember that many others have worse trials and tribulations than me.
I was shocked to read about the hateful comment - that person has big problems.
You are a beautiful person and did not deserve that.


I cry...PRAY PRAY PRAY...and move on with my life and take with me the lesson I learned.

Herm in Phoenix, AZ,

Salut Kristin,

Wow! That’s a lot on your plate!

This time of the year many people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder . . . . SAD. I have it even though I’m in Phoenix. You might want to check it out on the internet. Fortunately, light therapy works very well and alleviates the symptoms.

à bientôt

Annette Heath

"When there is nowhere else to go, go down on your knees." When my youngest child was 11 she became critically ill, suddenly, with a cardiac problem. The days were filled with an emergency room, transfer to a Children's Hospital, weeks spent there, days in ICU. Four years of constant anxiety and fear followed, so many doctor visits and tests, repeat hospitalizations,until at age 14 she underwent successful surgery that was fraught w/complications. It was and is the most life-changing time of my life. She is 34 now, beautiful, successful, healthy. No other "bad thing" can even come close. Prayer sustained me.

Lacie E.

When bad things happen (because that's just life) I pray to God. That doesn't mean I'll get my way because I prayed, but I do get peace in the situation! And I try to remember to also pray when things are going great. Always giving thanks.

Laura Isenstein

Kristin, we will miss you over the next 3 weeks and await your return. When bad things happen we question why and often there are no answers. We seek solace with family members and close friends and try to move forward, not back nor get stuck in the moment. Laughter and hugs help get us throught rough times.


When bad things happen I breathe. I focus on the present moment.

Meg Martin

Bon Courage, mon amie.
Meg Martin

Deborah J

Prayer is best -- what I tell myself is found in the Old Testament: "the Eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms." Remembering that always makes me feel better. I haven't thought about "Desiderata" since I lost the poster of it that graced my university residence room wall in 1972! It was very helpful to me then and I'd love to own a copy again.


When everything ganged up on me and went horribly wrong about 14 years ago, I kept trying to deny it and soldiered on, making everything worse. Then one day, I decided to give in to it all - but with a time limit. I let myself feel completely miserable and to wallow in those feelings for a week, without even trying to feel better. To my great surprise, a positive outlook returned by Thursday! It was a great lesson to me in acknowledging reality, instead of trying to spin it. Hang in there!

Robin Wyatt

Dear Kristin,
I wonder if the “hater” was simply an internet troll. These are dysfunctional people who get some kick out of inciting anger in others. Or maybe it is someone who is projecting their own self-hate? Regardless, look beyond their words and say a little prayer for them to heal because obviously they are suffering.
When bad things happen in my world (and I was just robbed!), I allow the feelings to move through me (rather than get stuck and make me sick) as best I can and I pray for recovery. I amp up my focus on doing the things that I know are loving for myself… get more sleep, exercise, eat healthy, and focus on my blessings). I try not to ask much of myself other than to work towards understanding and love.
In the instance of your horrific neighborhood tragedy, pray for the surviving family member’s to reach some point of peace and understanding in their grief and loss. Surround the family/situation with as much love, hope, and peace you can send with your thoughts and prayers and then, surrender it all to God.
Peace to you,


It's not a question of "when" bad things happen. They are, they do, they will, it's ongoing. And I am powerless. But God is able. So I pray and leave it in His hands as much as I am able. (translation ~ I still feel the hurt, the frustration, and the desire to "help" God!)

The incident in your neighborhood is nothing short of a horror. Someone was truly SICK. As for the ugly post ~ I read many of them, and all I see is love, respect, gratitude... Focus on the rest of us.

(Marti and I still talk about having met you a few years ago. It was a highlight of our trip. You were gracious and welcoming. Surely that helps make up for the nasty one!!!)

Sarah LaBelle near Chicago

Talk with others to regain balance, for those bad things. Then the garden, or whatever needs doing.


I try to never react immediately, as that can sometimes make things worse. I breathe deeply, calm down, and then try to look at the situation with as little emotion as possible.
Afterwards, I pick up whatever pieces exist, always try to remember the positive, and tell myself that I will survive and life is good and will get better.


When bad things happen I try to remember to pray first, but sometimes I go through a little pity party first before I remember that. Secondly, I try to be thankful, knowing that my little worries pale in comparison to the problems so many others have in this world. For most of us life doesn't take us where we thought we wanted to go or give us the things we thought we wanted to have but often, if we are patient, we find things might just be better than our original plans. But sometimes, like in the case of your neighbor, we just have to force ourselves to move on and look for good and joy despite the sadness or hurt of an event. I'm so glad I found your site and, personally, while sometimes poor grammar bothers me (I am FAR from perfect!), I never notice any mistakes you make, if indeed you do make any! I read your stories to let my eyes see and my ears hear beautiful French words. Plus I appreciate your photography of things I may never see. I also am sometimes enlightened by lessons in life that you often include in your essays. Keep up the good work. I know you certainly don't have a perfect life....nobody who is living does! But we press on anyway. Thanks for pressing on for us, your readers who appreciate you.

Nyla Witmore

First...I L0VE the photos always because I am transported to my favorite county...(next to ITALY...both are tied for first place.
The woman who wrote that "venting" statement is not reading between the lines...seeing that you share often the sadness and things that do go wrong. She must have been always an envious bitter person for which there is not much hope. Even if she won the lottery, she would be unhappy.

About when things go wrong...if things come in bunches, I might run fast and hard to release the hurt from my body....let it leave my body. If there are things going wrong because I have brought it on myself from too much on my plate, over-commitments in my schedule that leave me vulnerable to accidents or clumsiness (meaning I brought it on myself), I look around to see something I can change in the physical if to remove clutter and make me feel I am not helpless. That might come out as a vigorous scrubbing of a floor....vacuming...sweeping...pulling a drawer. (You can pray while you do all these.) Once I took off all the paintings on the my surroundings would be plain and minimalist. Being pro-active is good medicin.

Linda D.

Kristin, as I read through the comments I kept hearing my father's voice. 'This, too, shall pass' was what he always said when things got tough. He lived through the loss of his own dad when he was a child, lived through the Depression, served in the Pacific during WWII and went on to become a successful manager and civic activist. Dad met every challenge with movement. That's probably the best thing he ever taught me: get out of my head and work with what's in front of me. Have a plan and know what to let go of.

Even so, I am not built exactly like him. So, while I have a plan, when I find myself in moments of high emotion (panic, shame, terror - you name it; I'm talking about the uncomfortable emotions) I give myself permission to FEEL them in a safe place - in my garden, in, with a trusted, non-judgmental friend. I count my breath, I get into my body with some sort of physical release and I embrace the person in me who's trying to do her best, even when it feels like it's not enough. I'M not perfect, and that's fine.

I hope you can keep your heart and your eyes open even when people give you grief. One of the things I love best about your blog is that you share the beauty you see and feel with all of us. Thank you for that. Let the rest fall away.


Keep Calm. Pull myself together and PRAY.


When bad things happen, I must confess that my first reaction is to groan, and say: "Oh no, what am I going to do now?"
Then, providing it isn't the onslaught of a migraine attack, or something that needs immediate action; I head to the kitchen and make myself a mug of sweet tea. Then make myself comfortable on the most comfortable armchair I have, and consider the problem.
I ask myself: what can I do to deal with it; and then I pray to God for help, and thank him for any he sends me. Once I have come up with a course of action, I get to work dealing with it.
Once the problem has been dwelt, I once again sit down with a mug of tea (no prizes for guessing who has a very sweet tooth), and try to figure out why the problem arose in the first place; and what life lesson I'm supposed to learn from it, so that I will never have to have to deal with another one like it.
Done the years I have found this approach to work very well for me, so now it is second nature to do it this way.


It's usually a 3-step process: I breathe, I pray, and I call a friend or family member to ask for support. Blessed be ~
P.S. The photo is beautiful especially the dishes:):):)

Cynthia Crane

So sorry for the unpleasant laundry list. You are such a lovely, darling woman, why would anyone 'dump' on you. You deserve better. When bad things happened to me in 2008, when my family was wiped out financially by MADOFF, I wrote a show about the 'slum-dog-billionaire called "John Denver, Bernie Madoff & Me". Finding funny, a pro pos material got me through the bad times. The Desiderata helped too.


One helpful link for Suicide Loss Survivors is Alliance of Hope for Suicide Survivors. An online community where survivors can find support 24 hours a day.

Faye Stampe in Gleneden Beach, OR

I love your posts and photos ---- They always make me smile. The snarky commenter was just holding up a mirror --- her comments had nothing to do with you.

When bad things happen I always turn to nature, and go on a long walk on the beach. It's amazing how quickly things become clearer. I also do yoga, pray and hang out with my cat Miss Twilla. She is so low key, mellow & comforting. I also feed blue jays, chickadees, crows, mourning doves, squirrels & a chipmunk --- further, there is a rabbit who comes by my yard to visit. I've named him Peter -- he lets me sit near him. Of course I provide peanuts and some carrots. But I get such immense pleasure and peace that my issues seem to be less important.

Take care of yourself and thank you for your lovely posts & photos!


Bad things will always happen. My walk with God helps me weather the bad moments of life. Working in my gardens is also soothing. Then there is always chocolate.

Jackie Mancuso

normalement, I get my feelings out right away: I scream, cry. pout. after that I am able to remind myself of all the good things I feel grateful for and how fortunate I am. Then I may contact to someone who loves me for comfort.


I too have had people say to me, "Oh you are so lucky" - I cringe every time. Lucky to have a son with not one but three kidney transplants to his name, lucky to have my Mother die of cancer, the list goes on. When my mother died I read "Why Bad things Happen to Good People" by Harold Kushner and I loved his sentiments. Bad things just happen, that is life. We make our heaven or hell in how we react to these events. I know others have overcome much worse events in their lives. And yes, life goes on for us "lucky" ones. But we grieve, we cry and we keep living. Sometimes that's the hardest thing to do. Are we really the lucky ones? We work for what our material possessions, they don't just show up. When we loose them, it's not so bad. But when we loose our loved ones, it's always harder and unlucky has nothing to do with it. I read many of the comments and I do agree, we just have to keep on keeping on. Enjoy the life you make as only you can make it.


I usually have a good cry, take a lovely walk and top it off with a delicious mocha latte! After spending some time with myself I am better able to handle the situation. On another note, I hope you do not let others bring you down. We all have the privilege of subscribing to your newsletters, etc. and are not forced to do so. Remember that for every negative comment or thought that comes your way, there are hundreds of positive ones. Best Wishes!

Julia ~ Falling Off Bicycles

I walk and walk and walk during good and bad times. I squeeze my dog, if he is near. Walking with him is pretty much the best there is.

Thinking of you, Kristin. Enjoy your time away. You are appreciated and your stories very much enjoyed.

Mary Qualls

Bon courage contre les "detesteurs"! Ils sont malheureux, je pense.
Alors....j'adore votre blog! Merci!

Devra Long

Praying, warm hugs from my husband, walking with my friends and thinking this too shall pass.

Courtney Grace

I write in my journal.

Tom Williams

Je suis désolé. You are undeserving of any such nasty comments. But, we know what kind of world we live in now. I do firmly believe that when a person hates, they do damage to themselves and not to the object of their hatred.

Cathleen Camann

When bad things happen I suck it up - put on my big girl panties and move on. This too shall pass!

Vivian Langley

Kristin: Each morning it is a joy to check in and see what interesting things you have for us. Thanks. One of bad things was my brother missing in action for 18 months and then his being a prisoner of the Japanese for three and a half years... Prayer, prayer for his safe return. He did, had a fine family, and retired from the US Air Force.

Angie Quantrell

Wow! That was a totally mean and jealous remark. Let it run off your back like suntan oil. And hugs to you and your family for all you have experienced this month. When bad things happen to me, I stress, cry, eat (true, true), pray, and talk to my honey. That best friend really helps. A bientot!

Caro Feely

Great question! When I hit a bad thing I think: this is great material for a book.. who wants to read about plain sailing?

A top sommelier from a London Michelin starred restaurant visited yesterday and we were talking about our conversion to organic in the vineyard and I said it was the 'valley of despair' for the first year cold turkey for the vines and all that... he said 'We have a saying for it in service when you are having a bad one... 'when you go through hell keep going!'' Had a good laugh.

Michael Armstrong

Bonne vacance, Kristen, a vous et a votre famille. Your inclusion of the local tragedy you described reminds us that horrible things happen everywhere. If all we hear from you are the good things (and there are so many good things) we get a distorted impression of the life in France we are privileged to share through your efforts.

Gail Lentz (Gaelle)

As I was scrolling down to leave my comment, my eyes caught Lori's comment which she left at 2:20pm. I was contemplating on how to share those exact thoughts!!! She literally typed out my words. I've never shared exactly what I do when I'm in need of comfort, but she did! I never knew anyone else did the same or even thought the same way I did. So, thank you, Kristi and I'm so sorry you've had a challenging week or so. I will pray that your time away is sweet and unhurried and full of refreshment!!! :-) (coming to AZ by chance?!) Thank you, Lori, for sharing what I hadn't the courage to for some reason.
P.S. I would also just add in a cup of tea and some quiet walks! :-)


I get sad, and before I come to my senses, blame myself.

Janine Cortell

Chere, chere Kristin:
Many years ago someone once said to me"why is it that when bad things happen, people ask 'why me?' But when good things happen, people rarely say 'why me?' When bad things happen. I try to remember all the good things and it helps me to get through the rough moments. Let me finish by saying something my dad used to say:"Those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." Those of us who matter think the world of you and your family. Each day, I enjoy reading about your challenges of living in a foreign culture. You have accomplished so much! Stay focused on all the good things in your life. BONNES VACANCES!!

Pamela Smith

Trust the LORD and pray,pray,pray!

Tracy B. Snyder

So glad your puppy is back! I lost my two old girls, age 13 and 15, this summer and miss them terribly! To ease the pain of that loss, I went to our local animal shelter and adopted a 6+ year old lab mix. She is my Black Angel, I can't believe she waited in that shelter 6 weeks before I got there and nobody showed any interest in her and her previous life is unknown as she was picked up as a stray. Now she has a wonderful home with us and is my definite best friend and confidant. Which brings me to answer your question, what do I do when things go bad? I hug my dog and take up needle and thread and quilt, my passion and my therapy. I am also a quilt teacher so I am a huge advocate of creativity as a go to stress relief when things get to be too much. No abandonment here, love your posts, wish I knew French, but alas one day. My family is English so am trying desperately to make a trip over to jolly ol' England to visit and see all the places my Mom talked of. Would love to win the framed print, it is beautiful and love the verse. I have been a subscriber since the sometime around '04, so you have my loyalty! Chin up! Good times are coming! Sincerely, Tracy B. Snyder

Faye Stelly

Pray, remember the magnificent and abundant universe and everything in it, get in touch with my inner joy and inner peace, remember that this, too, shall pass, try to learn the lesson that is on offer, and remind myself that all of this is life and there will always be the dance of opposites. A plaque in my house reads, "Don't wait for the storm to pass...learn to dance in the rain." And keep on keeping on.
Poem is one of my favorites!

Patricia Ramos

The older I get, the more I find myself chanelling my mother. She was always a happy, jolly person, who appeared never to be sad. She was loved by everyone, and referred to as "the Merry Widow". Her remedy for "when bad things happen...." was, a nice cup of tea, a good walk, a good night's sleep. Consecutively, or separately. It really works for me. The best medicine. !!!


Shame on that person! If she doesn't like to read about your "perfect" life, she should sign off. I, on the other hand, enjoy reading about your escapades immensely. I aspire to live a more gentle, prettier life myself and keep trying to increase my french, word a day by word a day. Nobody has a perfect life, but we work with what comes our way.

Carolyn R Chase

When truly bad things happen, as I look back, I guess I try to center myself, and function. Tomorrow it is two years since my son was killed. A friend brought Jack to me to tell me the news at work, and then brought us home. I called my daughters, and a few close people and our pastor, and then sent emails to people, so they'd hear it from us. From there the focus went to caring for other people.
For most stuff, the Bible passage, "This too shall pass." gives me perspective. Practicing my faith when things are OK helps to me hold it when they get tough. Deep breaths help in the moment. And working on the solution moves me forward.


I cry and I hold Yogi (pet). Had to learn that crying was ok.
Then I remember that most of the hateful things other people say to us have nothing to do with us - we just happen to be in their vicinity when bits of their baggage comes out of them. When I look back, there is always some good thing that happened after the bad thing - not directly but it is like the bad thing set into motion a time line of things leading to the good thing. As others have said "this too shall pass". Learning that I am not in control was a hard lesson. I love your writing, family, Bonnes Vacances!!
Go have fun!


I try to look for the positive even in the most challenging situations. Here is my most recent example. I took the bar exam in July. In Ohio, it is a 3-day exam. The evening after day 2 I woke up at 1AM my entire body covered in sweat - I immediately thought - I don't think this is going to end well... As I sat on the hotel bathroom floor vomiting a lot - I thought to myself - the positive in this situation is...I am one flu away from my perfect weight (a line from a very funny movie) and/or I will have a great story if I am able pass the bar! The good news is that I passed!!

Jana McBride

When bad things happen I do whatever is appropriate for the bad thing that happened. It's different for different bad things. I play the piano, I meditate, I read a good book or I talk to my husband or daughter. All those things help.

Nancy Jane

Hi Kristin,
I was just thinking how marvelous it is that you have what sounds like a wonderful life in France and was a bit taken aback by the envious/hostile writer.... I am wistful to have the experience of living in Paris, but I do not begrudge your happiness. This is easy as you so generously share your life with all your followers.
I don't really understand why you lost half your subscribers but I am sure you will either get them back or new ones will find you.
Events like that with your neighbor is a good reminder of the truly dreadful suffering that there often is in the world ... it is often right under our noses.

During times of dreadful misfortune... I get really depressed and immobilized and then it is almost as if I get stunned by some beauty in my life...the way the sun comes through the window, a young persons smile, a minor but lovely pleasantry from a gentleman as he, unexpectedly, opens my door, the pleasure of getting lost in doing a watercolor, amusement at some French figure of speech, the love of my partner shining out at me waiting for me to snap out of it... Rarely am I able to pull myself out of it by my own bootstraps. It is almost always a gift from the natural world or another human being who is walking the walk just like I am (and all the rest of us too).

Marti Hinman

Obviously the reader with a hateful message
to you, is a very unhappy person, full of
envy of your life in beautiful France and
your triumph overcoming obstacles along
the path. I cherish your writing, I wish
I had your talent. You are beautiful "inside-out".
When bad things happen, we deal with them
in different ways and then, we move on.
Faith is my strength to help me overcome
bad things.
Bon vacance!
À biantôt

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