Levain: Giving bread its spark of life...in France or in The Wild West
Cheese, Wine, and etiquette: is it bad manners to ask for seconds in France?

Les Proches: loved ones in French + what brings satisfaction

Books make great gifts and this one is for anyone who loves France and the French way of life. Click here to order Words in a French Life. Et merci d'avance!

Today's Word: les proches (m/f pl)

    : loved ones, close family, close friends

Click here to listen to the following sentence in French
Qui n'est pas utile à soi-même ne peut être utile à ses amis et ses proches.
Who is not useful to oneself can not be useful to his friends and relatives.
(He who cannot help himself cannot help his friends or loved ones.)

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse

The year is not over but now is a good and quiet time to think about 2019.  By the way this exercise was inspired by a letter to Jean-Marc, from Cousin Fred, who wrote:

I was excited to hear what an amazing year it has been for you - making pinot in Oregon, buying a beautiful boat, opening the shop and competing in an Ironman!  Oh, and co-writing a book with your wife....

Fred's letter made me realize what an eventful year it has been for my family: our daughter moved to Miami...our son was offered a sales internship in wine...my Mom came out of her grief and picked up her paintbrush again. 

I began to wonder about my own accomplishments in 2019? Well, I learned to make bread...and...(borrowed from Fred's list): I began a book. While these two things are good, maybe it's best to forget accomplishments and to reflect, instead, on what brought satisfaction this year? Here are some of those things:

First and foremost: hanging on: Hanging on brought satisfaction. This past year, just like every other year, brought with it the temptation to flee, to head for the hills as we say back home. Each year that goes by wherein I don't decamp (from relationships, from work, from sobriety) is a good year!

Next, bread. Learning to make something so basic, so essential, and so practical--and demystifying the process in the process of it all--is deeply satisfying!

Walking. An exercise began in 2017, after my sister, Heidi, suggested it as an antidote to the blahs--or le cafard. Walking every single day--and these days with my Mom--c'est très très satisfaisante.

Regular phone calls from loved ones--mes proches--are pure satisfaction.

Morning meditation (for the soul). Three or so years ago, we literally turned the page: to help cope with the bouleversement, I opened a devotional book, and Jean-Marc and I began reading a page every morning, followed by a prayer. This ritual, lasting under ten minutes, is often the most satisfying part of the day.

Our Dog. Smokey, our golden retriever, now lives with Mom in her studio (just below my bedroom) with no rules. He can jump on the bed, eat hot dogs, and nap beside the kitchen comptoir (in case any crumbs should fall). We share a garden and I am happy to see him all throughout the day, when he is not watching over and protecting the doyenne of our family.  

Gardening. The satisfaction is in all of the discoveries...the caper plant I thought had died, the strawberry bush that multiplied, the Morning Glory that materialized--d'ou viens-tu ma chere ipomée?  Where have you come from my dear Morning Glory? I don't remember planting you.

Diary. This past year I began journalling again. To sit with a blank book and jot down the gist of the day or a quote or a goal, a gratitude, a dare or a doodle... is worth the effort. It is so satisfying to read what we wrote years ago. 

I could go on (les poules! Collecting wild greens--mallow, mustard, dandelion--in the fields for my hens = satisfaction)...instead, here's to reflecting on what brought you satisfaction in 2019. I would love to know one or two things that come to mind. Write them in the comments below.

In culinary books: Let's Eat France!: 1,250 specialty foods, 375 iconic recipes, 350 topics, 260 personalities, plus hundreds of maps, charts, tricks, tips, and ... you want to know about the food of France. Order here.
Also,  pick up this year's French Country Diary -- a Francophile favorite!

tenir bon = hang in there
le pain = bread
la marche = walking
le cafard = the blahs, the blues
le coup de fil = telephone call
les proches = loved ones
l'âme = the soul
le bouleversement = upheaval
le toutou = doggy
le comptoir = counter
le doyen/la doyenne = elder
jardiner = to garden
journal intime = diary
la poule = hen, chicken

In How-to books:
Mastering French Vocabulary

Les proches
Les proches--that is one way to say loved ones. A loved one is also un être chèr and un bien-aimé, What do you call a loved one? More importantly: have you called a loved one lately?

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

Ways to contribute:
1.Zelle®, The best way to donate and there are no transaction fees. Zelle to [email protected]

2.Paypal or credit card
Or purchase my book for a friend and so help them discover this free weekly journal.
For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety


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


La vie c'est bon.

Audrey Wilson

The gift of another gorgeous great grand son
Reaching our 90 th & 86 th birthdays with no major health problems
Visits from our American & UK based proches
Enjoying our Vie en France !

Kristin Espinasse

Wonderful, Audrey. Thanks for sharing. 💕😘

Geraldine Ventura

Similarly to you and Jean Marc starting your day with together prayer, we end our day with prayer. Our last thing to do before falling asleep is to pray out loud together. 2019 brought this idea to us, and it has brought us even closer!


Learning to “taste” .... as the French do from childhood.... and being in Switzerland and knowing that I had just tasted the “best ever” fondue. It is amazing how one can train very old tastebuds!


This year I discovered Wed morning chapel services at the church where I went to caregiver support meetings before my mom's passing. It's small, informal, a half hour early in the day. At the end we all stand in a circle, hold hands and pray before leaving. Then some of us go for coffee or breakfast before going to work or the rest of our day. It's been a blessing. PS I recently read Anxiety: The Missing Stage of Grief by Claire Bidwell Smith. I found it helpful. PPS I don't think I see replies, if any, as we don't get notifications of them. At least I never have, on this blog.

Eileen deCamp

Hi Kristi,

There is so much to be thankful for and so many things that brought me satisfaction this year:

GRANDCHILDREN: A second granddaughter, Harper Leigh born on October 31st joining her 2 year old sister Olivia

TRAVEL: I enjoyed a trip to France and my dream of visiting the lavender fields came true! We are also looking forward to our upcoming trip to Germany next week to see my son, his wife and those sweet grand babies!

MEDITATION AND YOGA: I took time to really focus on meditation and a consistent yoga practice and it has made a world of difference

NOTRE TOUTOU: We have a new puppy who is adorable!

I love the photo of you and your loved ones! You all look so joyful and Smokey too!

Nina Tasi

Highlight of 2019 for me was spending an afternoon with you 😌 along with visiting Jean Marc at his new store, wishing Jackie “bon chance “as she left for Miami , meeting Jules , Max and your sister-in-law and introducing you to ‘my mom and sister!
Thank you dear Kristie for making 2019 a special year for me !


Hi Kristin,
Thanks for sharing... I am heading to the beach for a 2 night stay today and hope to do some reflecting, reading, and writing where the sea brings a sense of wonder...
Also, I'm heading to Miami in December... could you share where your daughter is working? I had asked this on a different thread so you may have already answered...I'd love to stop by and have a drink made by the newly minted bartender. I understand if she would live privacy. Also, you could send to my email address.
Be well!


"like" not "live" !

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you, Nina. This picture is a wonderful souvenir of that day. A treasure. 💕😘

Gail Accuardi

This may sound off kilter, but when we bought six chicks and raised them under light in a small unheated green house then put them out in a coop where they can roam in the orchard, we waited with anticipation for their first eggs. Yesterday we found two small baige eggs waiting for us in one nest where two identical hens snuggled together. We felt great satisfaction and I think theyt did too.

Angie Quantrell

Lovely post. What a great exercise to reflect back on what brings satisfaction! Or brought. Seeing my 5 grands grow is always satisfying. Spending one entire week (YAY) at a writing retreat all by myself was very satisfying. I recommend it! Spending time in nature and exploring always satisfies me. This looked different for us in 2019. Usually we are able to go on several hikes in the mountains. But this summer was odd for that. No hikes at all in the mountains, but I spend time around Hood Canal and Whidbey Island and the Columbia River. Oh, and Pt. Defiance near Tacoma. Gardening always gives me satisfaction, eating what we grow. Winning against the slugs and aphids...Best wishes to you and your family for 2020!

Gwyn Ganjeau

Kristin, here in the U.S., we are going into Thanksgiving week in a few days, and this was a perfect tee-up for so many. it is indeed easy to let anxiety and fear hijack our frame of mind, but remembering the things that bring us delight and real value in our lives -- that's powerful stuff. Thank you!

Herm in Phoenix, AZ

Salut Krsti,

Thanks for sharing the positive things in your life style. You should add your blog. ....Think of the many people in the four corners of the world whose life you touch in a positive way with your words.. . . It is a good thing!

For my part, I find myself saying thanks many times during the day for my friends, my health and the my great life experiences. I enjoy meeting new people and am always amazed at the uniqueness of each individual.

With Thanksgiving day coming up here's a wish..........

May your stuffing be tasty
May your turkey be plump
May your potatoes and gravy
have nary a lump!

May your yams be delicious
And your pies take the prize
And may your Thanksgiving dinner
Stay off your thighs!



My 2019 highlights include international travel and a sentimental journey to Seattle and Bainbridge Island where I indulged in some happy childhood memories. My tenir bon has been to live in peace and harmony with my adult son, to visit and celebrate birthdays with my great nieces and nephew, ages 4, 5, and 6, with whom I dance and sing, and who amaze me with their developmental accomplishments. My younger sister and my neighbor are literally my blessed “proches” as we are geographically close and can share in the problem-solving demands of life. I make it a daily habit to count my blessings, and to occasionally make my blessings count. I’m looking forward to reading more of Kristi’s contes in 2020. Thank you, Herm, for the Thanksgiving poem!

Janine Cortell

My husband died this year. I am grateful for all the wonderful years we had together. Like you I began a journal and each day I write to my husband telling him what I did each day to remind me of how much I love him.
On Thanksgiving I will give thanks for my wonderful family and friends("les proches")who have supportd me during this difficult year.

Kristin Espinasse

Janine, I am so sorry to learn that your husband passed away. Sending you much love and may your family and friends surround you with warmth this Thanksgiving. Keep on journaling. 💕

Franca Bollo

So, so happy for you and your loved ones.

Janine Cortell

Thank you Kristi.


Our dear Kristi
You have written so many wonderfully inspiring posts but truly,this one is at the top of the list.
You give us such beautiful food for thought,especially realizing how blessed our own lives are.
Giving thanks to God at the beginning and ending of the day--not only when things are good,but even more,finding reason to praise Him when things are not--be it just for a cloud,a flower,or whatever touches you at the moment.
Thanksgiving is a perfect time for this;for our loved ones here with us and those who are waiting for us.For the gift of happiness and hope.
For each other,and of course dear Kristi,being part of your lives as you are in ours.
Blessings now and always to all of you.
Natalia. Xo
PS Such a beautiful photo!!

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you, chère Natalia. 💕💕

Kathy Kanika

What makes me the most thankful and proud is to have published three books about my family in the last three years. En about, mon copin et moi faisons bon vacances en le Sud de France, sur un "Viking cruise" à Arles, Avignon, Tournon, Viviers, Vienne, Lyon, Perouges, et Dijon. C'était magnifique!

Dawn Johnson

Love this post, it’s good to reflect on our blessings and focus on the things that renew our spirit. Prayer and bible reading are always first in that line. Since my dogs count on it, I always walk them and it does me as much good as them. I took up cycling this spring and find myself addicted. Im fortunate to have quiet country roads to ride on and it does my mind and body good to get out and ride as far and fast as I’m able which isn’t all that much yet but I can feel myself getting stronger and more fit each day. I am so energized after a ride that I get so much more done in the day. I love reading about your life and hope to visit you again in the near future. I pray for blessings for your family through the year.

Leslie NYC

I am grateful not to feel pain, to be lithe enough most of the time to feel good.
I am grateful to be emerging from grief enough to relish the beauty and humor all around once more.
I am glad to be reminded that we can be smart about how we live our lives and pursue what is best, not just what is easy or popular.


I have gotten great satisfaction from my garden which seems to thrive mostly on its own. I am always surprised when a plant which I had forgotten about springs to life. Then there are the birds which flock to my yard and bird feeders. I guess that they know that our attached apartment is called Birdsong, because they sing to us every.

Peace, Kathleen

Anne Woodyard (@MusicandMarkets)

Sitting here in Aix, looking out at the blue sky against the golden stones of the town, the first thought of what brought satisfaction in 2019 is our decision, in January, to move here full time upon retirement - we're counting the months until then!

Kristin Espinasse

That is wonderful news, Anne! So happy for you and Kirk.

cindy domasky

Writing with 916 Ink - a children's writing program - tutoring students who need help reading with the Experience Corps through AARP and Reading Partners - all here in Sacramento, CAlifornia. Wonderful programs that bring me joy in my retirement. Lunch with friends. did I say retirement? Having so much fun and thankful to be helping children learn to read and write.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)