Gigot: a surprise from our neighbor
Before We Move... The Story of How We Came to Live at Mas des Brun

To be in limbo

It is raining this morning, here in St. Cyr-sur-Mer. Visibility is fuzzy--just like today's word (and our situation).

TODAY'S WORD: être dans le flou

        :  to be in limbo


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Depuis quelques temps, ne sachant pas là ou nous allons déménagés, nous sommes dans le flou.
For a while now, not knowing where we will move, we are in limbo.

Improve your spoken French. Try Pronounce it Perfectly in French or  Exercises in French Phonetics


    by Kristi Espinasse

We are in limbo. This state of  "which way will we go and when--next month? Next year?" began when my husband said he needed to turn the page. This vineyard and his passionate pursuit of the grape was fini! Fatigue, discouragement, and bad decisions (according to Jean-Marc) had brought him to his knees.

The revelation came as a complete surprise to me. Having put down my anchor in this "land of milk and honey," I had lofty plans of my own: grow a Garden of Eden (if that was OK, i.e. non-offensive, to God),  move Mom into her dream home (tree-house with wood stove and hammock), and one day see my grand kids run wild through the hills of grapes and avocados.

I know, I know, "Man plans. God laughs". Which reminds me....

Early on in what would become this Season of Limbo, I attempted to nail down the foggy ends of uncertainty (were there ends?). "Plan A" (if I remember correctly) was to move to the States ... "Plan B" involved renting out our farmhouse. Plan C was a combination of A and B - and involved hitting the road in an RV.

After "C "I gave all the ideas a rest and we let ourselves flounder in the valleys and hills of Limboland. Do you know that place? That neither here nor there Waiting Zone? A never-land (you never touch ground!) where all your dreams and fears draw swords and taunt each other. Apart from watching Hope and Despair spar casually with your future, you can do very little when in limbo. Best to go forward with your duties.

One of my duties is to bring the French language to you. So this morning I looked up the French word for limbo (être dans le flou) and was intrigued by the definitions. Did you now "limbo" is that holding place we go to after we die, before we are assigned our forever resting places in heaven or hell? (That would describe the two forces still sparing, oh-so-casually, two  paragraphs up!).

And, on the light side, limbo is a Caribbean dance in which people shimmy while passing beneath a low stick. The stick gets lower and lower as the dance wears on....

This morning Jean-Marc and I woke up under a stick so low one of us asked ourselves whether we should just lie in bed all day, being, as we were, pinned to the floor of incertitude. (Will our house sell this week?) Meantime the other one of us shimmied to the kitchen to make a second cup of coffee.

By the time I delivered that coffee to Jean-Marc we were both sitting up, ready to face another day. As my husband recorded the sound file for this post, using his smartphone, I fired up my computer, determined to set my energies on a constructive path. I am superstitious that way. I believe that if all forces are to come together for the good (the sale of our home), the good must start here--with good thoughts, good intentions--at the very least a good effort!

All this brings me back to Man Plans. God laughs. When will I ever learn the lesson? It is not solely by our efforts that we are rewarded. Good deeds don't guarantee reciprocity. We move on to a better place only by God's grace.

By the end of this week we may have received an offer on our home. I leave you with a picture I took on Friday, when we visited a possible "next place." I love how "place" rhymes with "grace"....


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Carving the gigot de sanglier our neighbor gave us. It was marinated in red wine, herbs, mustard and honey, then roasted in the oven for two hours, basted every half hour. As for the delicious apple tart, with orange peel confetti, you'll have to ask my mother-in-law how she made that.

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Romans15:13. I, too, am in limbo. Fortunately, there is God's grace for TODAY. 😘

Bruce in Northwest Connecticut

Holy Toledo! The house is sold? So how long do have before you have to choose among Plans A–C, or come up with a D, and maybe an E?

John Hawke

Aren't we all a bit in Limbo land?
Love today's post.
Good Luck

Kim Arnold

In a way, isn't all of life a state of limbo?

We exist in a constant state of uncertainty, longing for eternity.

C. S. Lewis says it best:

“The settled happiness and security which we all desire, God withholds from us by the very nature of the world: but joy, pleasure, and merriment, He has scattered broadcast. We are never safe, but we have plenty of fun, and some ecstasy. It is not hard to see why. The security we crave would teach us to rest our hearts in this world and oppose an obstacle to our return to God: a few moments of happy love, a landscape, a symphony, a merry meeting with out friends, a bathe or a football match, have no such tendency. Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns, but will not encourage us to mistake them for home.”

He will provide you with a pleasant inn at just the right time.

Prayers for courage and patience... please pray those for me as well! We are also in a horrifying state of limbo.

Que Dieu vous bénisse!


... and very near that French farmhouse in Lake Oswego is
St. Honoré Boulangerie

Alice Halliday

We're also in limbo land. Our lovely (but very large) Edwardian house near Goodwood race course bordering the South Downs on the Sussex coast in UK will be up for sale next year and we have no idea where we should go.
I only know that I would like to have a house with a view, land enough to grow veggies, to have the wind in my hair and smell of the country, but practically one needs to be near transport, urban life with access to friends and a medical practice, non reliance on a car, etc but I feel the wild side should take precedence and live according to one's basic roots in life.


11400 Washington Plz W, #301


Beautifully written!
I HATE limboland!


Fingers crossed that all you hope for comes true this week. You and J-M have been through tough times and deserve some good fortune to come your way. Fingers crossed and prayers said, ma petite.❤️️

Heather in Arles

On this time of Limbo, I am so glad that you two have turned towards each other and not away.
Thinking of you often and sending Love and Strength,


I've been there, Kristi, my heart goes out to you, and I keep you and JM in my prayers. Hold on to each other, honor and love each other as you go through the process, and trust that the universe will help with what you are manifesting, what are your intentions? what do you want most in life? Live with integrity and Trust. My life is richer than I ever thought possible. Jackie

Dear Kristi,

I have spent more time living on the roundabout than I would have liked to ...... But if you are not sure which road to take, why not park up on the roundabout and wait until you can make a decision which way to go?

It has taken me a long, long time to learn that I can't push the Universe .......

It will all work out in time. Try and enjoy your lovely surroundings as long as you can ..... One day at a time.



I was a realtor for almost 30 years..apart from people who were trasferred or people who were building a dream house or knew where they are going..I have seen limbo..and lived it..a poster above sais Life is a limbo..
it is so different stages ..we are faced with limbos..I find it makes us stronger in the long run..but rest assured I get your middle name is "what if""..?
It's normal to feel down at times..nervous at times..take care..


Hi Kristi. Prayers are with you and your family.

ruthanne martin

Wonderful post - all grace and good nature -
fingers crossed for your sale. Gather your resources,
limbo-land can be a good resting place before the deluge
of moving and re-settling.

P.s. the links don't seem to be working?


The charming door with the lovely vines looks intriguing. I just know that there is a wonderful house waiting to be discovered ( if not already) where you can live happily with family and garden - and in the area you already know and love in France. That would not be as big a change, would solve many issues.....and work out very well...

colette malik

Don't stop. It is hard, but keep on living and writing. We all look forward to reading about your life there and
Best of Luck, always.


I remember being taught about that cruel land called limbo by nuns who thought scaring young children was good sport. If I recall correctly, limbo was a place that unbaptised souls of babies went - and stayed forever. Ugh.

Being in limbo can be both freeing and anxiety-inducing. I trust that you and Jean-Marc won't spend too much time there, before beginning your next adventure. Best wishes....

Mary Ann Boysen

For months now, I have been reading about your plight and feeling very sad for all that you are going through. Limbo is a hard place to be. The "not knowing" makes one fearful and tired. I just want you to know that when one door closes, another opens, and hopefully there will be a bright light shining through that open door. God bless both of you. You will be in my prayers during this time of transition.

Beth Fiacco

Dear Kristi - you and Jean-Marc will find your way. Maybe it will take one move or more before you are settled again. Pray it in! God knows what he has in store for you. Jeremiah 29:11 ♥

Eileen deCamp

Hi Kristi,

Thinking about you and Jean Marc and the decisions you have to make. We have all been there at one time or another. Keep the faith, keep loving each other and all will work out!

Do you celebrate Thanksgiving with your family? By the way....thank you for all your lovely writing, photos and sharing with us your life in France! I know I enjoy it so much and look forward to it!

Merci beaucoup!!!

Judi Dunn

.... Kristi.. 'Man plans, and God laughs'.... is my all time favorite saying! After 18 moves in 55 years of marriage, mercifully all them were upward, it became my mantra. I have found that for some unknown reason, most of the time we are in the 'place' were were meant to be! In the sense that nothing in our lives is ever static... if you think about it. We would never venture forth, expand, explore if we simply stayed put in one place forever. That does not mean one cannot be happy in life staying in one home somewhere for 85 years and it may be a great comfort to those who do. I guess happiness in life is what you make of where you are. My mother told me when we started moving around, 'bloom where you are planted'. I never forgot that and tried to do it everywhere we went, including around the world. Once that first decision has been made, you two will go forward to a new and wonderful phase and challenge in your lives! Best wishes and via con Dios! Judi.

Robert Wildau

Hi Kristi and JM,
My heart goes out to you; even your sadness is so eloquent and beautifully illustrated. You both have so much going for you I am certain the right paths will open to you.


Kristi, I'm starting to accept the idea that we are always in a state of flux, in limbo. Life likes to roll challenges our way, but it does provide us with opportunities to rest and relax sometimes. I have dealing with a few such challenges but did enjoy a few moments of relaxation yesterday, and I'm grateful for those. Those are my moments of Grace amidst chaos. I think the key to getting out of limbo is to keep breathing deeply and setting one foot in front of the other. Before we know it, we will have crossed to the other side.

How exciting about the potential sale of your home! And the phone of the possible next place is charming. I'm looking forward to additional updates, whatever they may be.

Sue J.

is that your reflection on that lovely door?


Thank you for expressing what I'm feeling. We're also in limbo land, having sold our house, moved to another state, and now we're unable to find a house we want and can afford. Nous sommes en flou aussi! When I face big obstacles, I always think that God wants me to go a different way...he just won't tell me which way:)

Kristin Espinasse

Yes. A happy accident, as the painter Bob Ross used to say.

Nan Morrissette

I know exactly what your mean. But there is something to be said for NOT knowing the future, yet continuing to go Right Foot Left Foot and waiting. Sometimes it takes silence to hear what our hearts hope we will do. All the best to you and Jean-Marc. Whatever you end up doing, you will both do it beautifully, with love and among friends.

Gretchen Dawson

I was so happy to hear that perhaps there is a plan D: moving to another place in France. Being near your children and enjoying their personal successes as they make their own lives away from your nest would bring you such joy. I hope the path to your next chapter becomes clear soon. Bonne chance!

Kindred spirit

Dear Sweet Kristi and Jean-Marc,
Here's my take on your exciting new opportunities.
First, I read that the French Mediterranean wine industry has been hit hard by weather this year.
Vous n'y etes pour rien!
Next, the unsettled feelings of empty nesters is normal. Trust me!
So what I'm seeing is two wonderful people en transition, not etre dans le flou. Viva la difference!
En transition means moving or changing from one stage to another versus a black or white, hell or heaven situation. Adaptations are challenging, but full of opportunity for the new while saluting the wonderful parts of the past.
So sleep on it, listen to the voice within and go forward in hope, creativity and love. Tout la bien!
Wishing a lovely joi de vivre couple many Thanksgiving Blessings,
Kindred Spirit

Diane Covington-Carter

So lovely. One of my teachers, John O'Donohue, who wrote the book Anam Cara, said "Do not be afraid recurrs 366 times in the bible." So you are not to be afraid of this unknown place. You are doing great. Hugs from rainy California,
PS and even though so many people have told me it isn't good French, "Croyez-en-soi." I did see the words in a window in a bookstore in Paris so someone thought it was correct French!

Aleta Thomas

Dear Kristin and Jean-Marc

I know everything will work out, sometimes we wait for the right answers. But it sucks being in limbo land when it's about such big decisions : where will we move, where will we live...

I've been following your emails for about 8 years now, it could be more :) I moved to France 13 years ago, Grenoble, I moved here sort of on the spur of the moment. I took a deep breath, sold everything I owned (practically) - except for the piano and the cat.

I love the stories of your family, the kids, Jean-Marc, the dogs, your mom, your neighbors..I think you put into words what most of us have in our minds.

I won't wish you good luck, because you have that. It just takes time for everything to align to give you the nudge in the right direction.

All my best - Aleta Thomas

Aleta Thomas

Of course I wish you good luck :) but so many people say it so off-handedly. All the stars and planets will align for you :)


Trina from St. Petersburg, FL USA

"Where all your dreams and fears draw swords and taunt each other" is such an exquisite description, even if not a great way to feel.

So many beautiful comments.

We can't help you decide, but we will be here waiting to stand beside you wherever you go.

marjorie cannon

Having just turned 90, I've found, in retrospect, that the changes in my life, the big moves, have brought me new friends and adventures. You make a decision in life to be "happy".
Best of luck, and prayers for the correct one now. Also, without health, you have nothing!


The picture of the house with vines....did you notice how rosy it looked ?? May your next step on your journey out of LimboLand be
a rosy future for you both...& we all believe it will be.

Tim Yocum

I recommend 'Sitting in Limbo' by the Neville Brothers (YouTube) for a pick-me-up.

Patty N.

Dear Kristi and Jean-Marc, I know the need to feel settled, yet maybe you should also live in the moment and smell the roses without anguishing over the future. Appreciate Smokey's funny ways and hug his furriness, be proud of your amazing kids, go for walks along the sea, taste and savor the wonderful French food that surrounds you, praise each other's talents, and bask in the love from all your readers (and each other). Once decisions have been made and you become crazy-busy again, you'll long for the times you had to be slow and deliberate. Meanwhile, your readers all wish for your happiness, wherever you are.

Karen Cafarella

May your new journey be smooth. Sending lots of love your way.

Frederick Caswell

We have not changed chez nous but Nancy has emerged from being dans le flou. Fred has not. With changes being adjusted to and more unavoidable on the horizon, his concerns have grown as his body and memory are slowly betraying his abilities. Regrets and despair are facing a determined spirit that refuses to surrender feelings of happiness and joy found with Nancy and other people that Fred sees daily. I can't recall how much I have told you and yearn to speak with you. Tried to phone but cell and land line efforts failed. I understand that you are also dans le flou, but if you wish to converse. Facebook and Linked in scare me as I usually mess up badly.You and Jean-Marc are two amazing people. Affectueusement

Amanda Frost

Kristi: I thought you might like to know how my husband cooked his gigot de sanglier: ca. 5 hours at ca. 120°C. He also marinated it overnight the same way you did. He made a great gravy with the juices and some stock, etc. I was surprised that I liked it; it was mild and tender, delicious. I had expected it to be gamey. On another subject, I've been wanting to say for some time that perhaps J-M's depression is influencing his decision to sell. I hope he is getting some help before you make this momentous change.

Sara P

Dear Kristi,
my husband and I are also in limbo trying to decide where to live and what to do as we approach retirement. We bought a beautiful little arts & crafts cottage in Savannah to be closer to our grandsons in Atlanta and Philly - well, closer than our other house which is in Northern California and closer than the apt we temporarily rent in Arizona while we wait to age out of our jobs! Neither house nor their locations are exactly what we want but at least we're able to rent out the Savannah house for short term executive rentals. We just know that we won't be able to afford two mortgages once we truly retire so we don't know what to do or where to go. Our strategy this month is to wait. (for what? a sign? the voice of God? 'not sure!) But, it's hard to not KNOW where we'll end up and to be sure we're making the right decision. Sometimes I think of just running away to France and fulfilling THAT fantasy but talk about not being close to family! sigh. My thoughts are with you!!

Joanne Ablan

Soyez content, Kristin. It's the best means to a happy life.
We have a local small theater here which presents a comedy
improv night with a talented group called the Mirth-O-Matics.
They interact with the audience and there are plenty of humorous
surprises during the course of the evening. They serve birthday
cake during the intermission. It's a wonderful way to "être dans
le flou." Wishing you and yours all the best, Joanne


Buckle up Buttercup, your not driving God is.He will take you where you need to go. Take a deep breath and Enjoy the journey. It just may surprise you in its wonderfulness! All cliche's I know. (but true) xoxo


I like to tell myself "Do the next right thing". It goes along with moving forward, trust and positive thinking.

Patty Johnson

I think the advice you're giving yourself, to move on with what needs to be done today, is the best possible. Doing something worthwhile always makes me feel better. Keep finding things to do (and interesting new French words and phrases!). And we're your fans, so this is a soft place to land when things are tough. Hugs!

Robbie Lane Jackson

My heRt is there with you. You have lived what so many of us have wished to do. You have had years there in France. You have to celebrate what you''ve had and loved. I agree with another lady's comment; you cannot allow this momentous decision to be made in total by someone suffering with a real disease, an affliction. It's like alcoholism: that clouds and distorts every decision, everything you do and say. I grew up with it running thru our family. I hope you don't have to sell, but there's no shame in it, just perhaps sorrow, because you have carved out such a beautiful life there. That can be done anywhere. I had hoped to do it on St. Thomas, but we are faced with selling the dream house I spent my entire life savings on, after selling our small B&B. I've spent a total of 4 nts there, and my husband refuses to spend even part of the year there because he is no longer interested in living on St Thomas. I can't budge him. My fault for following the life's dream. I sure never saw that coming. Having just retired, it puts us into a real bind. I'd not expected to put out a small fortune each month to buy forced or required insurance. And it's pitiful, junky insurance. Don't forget about that, if you decide to come back to the states. Please keep your blog going. We depend on it. I personally look forward to each column, like a child awaiting the ice cream truck which rarely comes out to the country! Travel safely and well. Don't quit writing. Your writing is very special, and please keep us informed. If you ever want to stop for a few days to recoup on a nice island, it would be my pleasure to get you a key. We're never here. But the door is always open.

Linda in California

I've been reading this blog for over 10 years now, but never commented before. I so appreciate your sharing of your struggles and emotions(along with the French words). This has been my favorite of all your issues. Thank you, and please keep writing.

What can I say...... I love your words!! Thank you!!!

Ron Cann

Perhaps identifying what you need will open up the possibilities. Do you have enough income to meet your needs, to survive? If not, how do you intend to get the income? Where do you have to be to obtain it? If you need to be in a certain situation/location, that will determine your options. If not, then what would feel like an engaging, grand adventure? Voila!

Chris Allin

Dear Kristi and Jean-Marc,

Sometimes the hardest part of change is making the decision to do so...and you have done that! As long as there are options in carrying the change forward, you can determine what will work best for you.

The sale of your mas is probably key right now as that will give you freedom to move on. Pass the baton and start anew! A new location and a different house can bring a new vitality. (That house on your IG page with the balcony and gorgeous, captivating view was intriguing!)

What Kindred Spirit had to say about transition rather than limbo was very uplifting. Have faith, listen to your head and your heart and trust yourselves...

Robert Handloff

K and J-M, be circumspect as you contemplate moving to the states. We've elected a lunatic to be president and although you may think that Trump as president will have little direct impact on your respective lives, in fact that won't be the case. J-M will be a foreigner, an alien. And a Frog to boot. He'll endure more than the occasional insult. Trump want's to disrupt the federal work force here. That'll mean delays and bad service. It'll mean a sharply polarized citizenry that'll make life unpleasant. So, as you run through plans A, B, and C, be circumspect.

One other thing: I live on 55 rural, mostly wooded acres in northeastern PA (where we had a foot of blowing, drifting snow last night). I've had gardens all 9 years I've lived here. It's an exceedingly lovely place. ANd it's only 3.5 hours from NYC to which there is bus service from Scrnaton, PA, which is 50 minutes away. And it's 18 minutes to Elk Mtn. Ski Area, which is why we moved here in 2007. But we is now just me, and I'm a cancer survivor for whom cold--it's 13 farenheit outside now--is less appealing. And I have choices. Wanna buy my house?

Cynthia Lewis

Dear Kristi,

You and Jean-Marc already have the most important "elements" of life: a loving healthy family; many,many friends; intelligence along with talents and a sense of humor. You could truly lie in bed with that second cup of coffee and "count your blessings" 'til noontime! For these reasons, I know that the two of you with your family will soon be happily settled in a new place.

My very best wishes and encouragement.

Kathleen from Connecticut

A new venture. How intriguing. You are in a position as empty nesters to do something else, maybe with less stress, which can help MJ's mental state. Bon chance.



Our dear Kristi,
Our arms are around you both,sending comfort and courage,and of course(!) prayers to ask God to help you stay strong till your path is revealed to you.
Thanksgiving is Thursday,and please know that we give constant thanks for your always beautiful words,inspiration, and presence in our lives.
Natalia XO


Kristi, many of us have been in "purgatory" at one point or another in our lives. It is not easy and it is stressful. But I believe new seeds will sow themselves and a new life for you and your family will grow from the fruitful soil of your experiences. Take heart.


Dear Kristi, I am heartened, reading your missives, and seeing that others among your readers are also dans le flou. My retirement plans were moved up a year by a large layoff, and I must make changes.

I am trying to decide what to do- sell my home and move to a smaller one, sell, store my possessions and move to Europe (hmmm...), or sit tight.

Arr! I am feeling similar pain to many! Now I see I am definitely not alone in having this! Thanks to you and to your other readers.

And I wish you and Jean-Marc all possible happiness.

Ellen A.

You will never regret doing all you can to make Jean-Marc happy. Wishing you both a glorious Thanksgiving and many more loving years together, wherever that may be.

Eileen Burns

Oh Sweetheart, Je suis dans le flou aussi......It's good to know that we are in good company in the Land of Limbo....How I wish I could find a pearl of wisdom (or two) to send your way! Love to you both....Keep on keepin' on! Eileen XO


Can you please post a link to real estate listing for your property?

Russ W.

How about a plan D? Rent out your land/grapevines and keep the house. The vines will be worked and you can rent out parts of your house as a Gite. You get to keep your "garden of Eden", Jean Marc stays close to his vines and you make a living at it....As you two move forward I wish you the best of luck!

Sharon in N.C.

Last week on the news they said France had it's worst grape harvest ever. My heart goes out to you and everyone else who is facing uncertainty. It is hard to keep the faith, but it is important to keep going. I would love to share my story with you, but it would sound so "feeling sorry for myself" so I will tell you that I look for joy in the best things in my life and they help me ignore the rest.


Oh Kristi your post came like a bolt from the blue. From your blogs I thought Chief Grape was happy and content; now you must uproot yourselves again. I am so sorry for the anxiety this is causing you two. Male mid-life crisis, perhaps?
I hope, hope, hope the house sells soon, if that is your wish, and by that I mean you have decided on Plan A, B, or C and on a way to make a living.
I await your next blog with some anxiety myself!
Wishing you all the best, dear e-friend.



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