S'Emerveiller: Dolphins in The Bay of La Ciotat
The French words are in the story (Some Assembly Required!)

A bilingual message from Jean-Marc + Un Petit Accident while preaching


This morning while out on a walk I took a tumble and slammed into the ground of uneven wooden planks. I gashed my knee (le genou), elbow (le coude), knuckles (les articulations des doigts), and the palm (la paume) of the opposite hand. Jean-Marc reached down to help and, after I recovered, I laughed and said, Pride comes before the fall! That'll teach me to walk and preach to my husband about why we have two ears to listen! 

Pride and falling are themes of The Lost Gardens--the memoir we are writing about our years on 2 vineyards in France. While Jean-Marc opens up and tells the story of what led up to his falling apart, my chapters focus on our relationship and the promise we made that would see us through those rollercoaster years. The most recent installment in our online memoir, Chapter 16, talks about a therapy we stumbled on in the garden. I leave you with a quote that will help any relationship, friendly or intimate, followed by a bilingual message from Jean-Marc. 


The chemist who can extract from his heart's elements, compassion, respect, longing, patience, regret, surprise, and forgiveness and compound them into one can create that atom which is called love. --Khalil Gibran

Audio File: Listen to the French translation, click here

Celui, par quelque alchimie sait extraire de son coeur, pour les refondre ensemble, compassion, respect, besoin, patience, regret, surprise et pardon crée cet atome qu'on appelle l'amour. 

A Bilingual Message from Jean-Marc:

At a time when I am about to reveal what was the most intense moment at the Mas des Brun, I wanted to say how much this effort of writing our memoir helps me to consolidate the delicate scar of the loss of this promised land.

It also allowed me to talk about taboo subjects such as my father's suicide or my bipolar tendencies which I now accept and control much better.

I am aware that the progress of our book is slow but it is a new exercise for us.

I wish you a great summer.

Take care of yourself.

Jean Marc

À l'heure où je suis sur le point de dévoiler ce qui a été le moment le plus intense au Mas des Brun, je voulais dire combien cet effort de mémoire m'aide à consolider la délicate cicatrice de la perte de cette terre promise.

Cela m'aura également permis de parler de sujets tabous tels que le suicide de mon père ou de mes tendances bipolaires que j'accepte et maîtrise maintenant bien mieux.

Je suis conscient que l'avancement de notre livre est lent mais c'est un exercice nouveau pour nous.

Je vous souhaite un bel été.

Prenez soin de vous.


Jean-marc kristi smokey mas des brun
Kristi writes: I'll never forget the day this picture was taken, at the lowest point in Jean-Marc's depression, 2016. You wouldn't know it from the photo, and neither did our overnight guests, who asked for a picture. Everyone smiled for the camera. 

To purchase The Lost Gardens and begin reading right away, click the link below:

Vines mas des brun

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.

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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety


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Bon weekend Kristi and Jean Marc! Heal up quickly Kristi!

Leslie NYC

I so look forward to this book! I want to wait until it is in print, but you know you have my support along this road. Meanwhile, thanks for your blog & photos.
Bonne fin de la semaine!

Elaine Mercier


I’ve read your post for some time now; well done! I just purchased your book and sent a small donation.

I think it’s very courageous to share such a personal story, good for you! Best wishes,


Kristin Espinasse

Elaine, Thank you very much for your note and for all the support! I appreciate it. 

Renee Convers

The two of you, and the life you have built, is an inspiration to others; please always know that!You are a true team!
Thank you for all you do.

Catherine Berry (But you are in France, Madame)

How often does this happen...'Pride cometh before a fall' is the title of my latest blog (published just yesterday). Actually, I love the serendipity - and love your honesty. Take care both of you.


Hope you are recovering from the fall. Thanks for reminding me I need to get back to the memoir. There is not enough time in the day to do everything, but au sure try. They say writing is therapeutic. Sharing it is letting people know they aren’t alone with things that happen in life. It also shows them they too can persevere.

Hugs to you.

Cynthia GS

Kristi, I am sorry to read about your tumble and scrapes ~ wish I’d been there to help you up. You are courageous in so many ways, and we all love hearing about your adventures and mis-adventures.

Kristin Espinasse


Kristin Espinasse

Thank you, Eileen. Bon weekend 🌞.

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you, Leslie!

Kristin Espinasse

Quelle coïncidence ! I am on my way over to read your post, Catherine. 

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you, chère Cynthia. 💕

Kristin Espinasse

Thanks and hugs, Buffy. Happy summertime.

Judi in Lake Balboa

Chere Kristi,
I'm so impressed and so proud of all you have shared with us - tumbles and hurdles. It gives me hope. Thank you! I'm glad Jean-Marc was there for you and that you two have carried on! Blessings!

Elizabeth K Jones

Thank you for working on the memoir. I can not wait to read it. My son is bipolar and it is through sharing that we can all support and learn from one another!! So much love for you both!


Dear Kristi and Jean-Marc, you are strong and courageous! God bless, inspire, and protect you as you write from your hearts. You will encourage others with your testimony of trials and overcoming! ♥ ♥


p.s. I absolutely LOVE the picture of Jean-Marc leaning on you in his darkest hour. What a picture of marriage - we are to be like a wall for each other to lean on and to support us when we are in need. So beautiful ♥


Bonjour, Kristi, Moi aussi, j’ai aussi des souvenirs pleins de peine pour mon beau frère qui s’est suicidé comme son père qui s’est suicidé aussi. Comment nos cœurs ne soient jamais les mêmes. La route hors de ces horreurs est longue et difficile mais il me semble que vous deux avez le courage pour la faire. Je vous jure qu’il vaut la peine parce que chacun mérite le bonheur. Prenez soin de vos blessures et celles de J-M et restez tranquille vous êtes béni d’avoir un bon cœur 💖.


Another reminder that we don't know what a person is feeling when we see him or her, so why not be kind to that person? It can make a difference. God bless!

Natalia Radula

Our dear Kristi,
First of all,please heal quickly and completely!
You and Jean Marc are an inspiration to all of us.A long time,loving marriage,a beautiful family,accomplishing your dreams.....these are all blessings and gifts from God.But you did not sit around,waiting for them to be handed to you on a platter.No!God helps those who help themselves.And you did!
Few of us would be as candid and honest as to write about not only our achievements,but also our difficulties.And to laugh at ourselves.
That is a daily lesson I try to keep in mind(not always successfully).
Thank you.So many times your words are beacons of hope.
Arms around you.
Natalia. Xo

Janine Cortell

Dear Kristi:
I have been readying your bog and have supported you in different ways. I hope the dream catcher I sent has helped clear away all bad dreams and given you hope even in dark tines. I am waiting for your book in print. In the meantime, stay well and stay safe. So sorry for your fall and hope you heal soon.


Chère Kristin,
Always a pleasure to read your & Jean Marc’s entries.
Happy summer to filled days of sunshine, health & hope!

Brad Touchette

Writing can be so cathartic. Bon Chance on your journey of re-living and evaluating your vineyard saga. It sounds like an emotional, yet necessary therapy for you both.

Gail V

I never realized when I began reading your blog how much I would develop such a kinship with you and your family. You have brought me such joy, comfort and wonderful memories of France. So sorry to hear of your tumble, Kristin. Heal quickly. Take good care of yourself. Jean-Marc, I too have been in the depths of depression. No one can fully understand until they have been there. Your courage to share is beyond admirable. Thank you. As we open up about these painful experiences the world gains understanding and compassion. Making it easier for the hurting to get help. Bless you.


How much we don't really know about the lives of each other but having a good husband/wife/partner is not to be undervalued.
You obviously take care of each other. Bon courage.


Kristi and Jean Marc,
The most important thing I want to say to you both is thank you for your brutal honesty and sharing this truthfulness on your blog and in your upcoming book about the vineyards (which I want to buy in the hard cover format). In these days of social media, I feel that everyone is selling some sort of narcissistic perfection "Look at me, look at us!" (perfect parents, perfect workouts, perfect muscles, perfect diet, perfect marriage etc.) I actually don't believe in perfect, I believe in real. I love that you share the bumps, bruises, stitches (Kristi's skin cancer), depression (losing the vineyard), failures, difficult decisions, and of course the love that you both work on with grace and have for your family.

ps SO sorry about your fall Kristi :( and I fell the other day too, not paying attention. You are so refreshingly REAL. THANK YOU!
pss I adore your Mom, too!


Dear Kristi, I somehow missed the opportunity to subscribe to your book chapter updates. If it's not too late, I would love to receive them. Would you please let me know how I can arrange that?

There is so much happening in that beautiful photo of you, JM, and Smokey, with JM almost leaning on you for support. I hope I'm not speaking (or writing) out of turn. I simply wanted to say that I feel that this is very symbolic of any strong marriage. There are sometimes trying periods when even the strongest people need to lean on their partners for support, and you are very fortunate to have each other.

I'm sorry to hear about your fall and hope that you're feeling better. I actually gave the 'two ears and one mouth' lecture to my children the other day. Could it be that you and I were speaking on the same subject at the same time in two different places in the world?

Thank you, as always, for continuing to inspire me.

Laur. Swift

So touched one more time. Thank you both for your honesty. Thank you for your response to my letter. I looked again at my reply draft this morning but it is not ready. Be safe, be well. With love


My love to you both. I'll never forget when my sister Margaret and I planned our first travel to Provence with our mother my priority was being close enough to visit you two at Domaine Rouge Bleu. A long distance friendship punctuated with meetings in France, DC and NYC. Miss having seen you in April.

Jeanine Woods

Beautiful, brave, real and inspiring. Your stories always touch my heart in unexpected ways. Thank you and Jean-Marc for sharing the joys as well as the bumps and bruises of your life stories. I believe your sharing will help others who may struggle. It is a skilled writer who can create a true kinship with her readers. Bravo, you have clearly accomplished this, Kristi. Thank you for this meaningful gift.


Jean-Marc - Sedgefield (ou je demeure) est une lente ville. Nous avons beaucoup des tortues. Ils sont dans les jardins.

Patricia Flynn

Dear Kristi and Jean-Marc,
I continue to be awe-struck by your openness and honesty in detailing your most personal struggles, and yet your posts glow with an inner light. Well-done. Take care.

Thank you for letting us share your life.


You are one courageous man, Jean-Marc!! God's dearest blessings to you and to your family. You are all so very dearly loved! God bless, C-Marie


I love your blogs! Yes, you are charming and I'm learning more French words, but you're also so real!
Aren't we blessed to be living in a time with therapists and biochemistry so advanced that we aren't doomed to repeat genetic predispositions of our ancestors. Plus modern dentistry, medical treatments, etc.
I love your being real about addiction. My husband (100% Irish) broke the long chain of silence (and shame) about alcoholism. A friend says that recent AA meetings seem to be attracting women in their 20s and 30s; obviously that stigma is reduced and with it, years of suffering. Hurray! The truth is liberating. We're all muddling along the best we can.
I much prefer reading paper books and will buy yours when it's out.

K. J. Laramie

Right Speech.
Right Everything.
Right on.
I mean
“Write on!”
Bravo, Brava!

Marianne Rankin

I am looking forward to reading your book when it is complete.

As difficult as times might have been with the vineyards, etc., you have had each other, which no doubt made the situations easier to bear. I wish you a continuing happy marriage.

Jean-Marc, I was so very sorry to read about your father. I had no idea. This is the sort of loss that reverberates throughout one's life. You have been such a hardworking, determined person, and still able to be hopeful and take initiative, try new things, enjoy activities, and so on, in spite of everything.

I am glad I am able to know you through the blog, that I've met Jean-Marc a few times
some years back (hope to again when coronavirus is past), and that someday I can also meet Kristi, Max, and Jackie. We love reading about you, and you are in my prayers.

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