French for 'Emptiness': Il y a dans le coeur de l' homme un vide....
Rendre l'Ame: My Laptop Died + Christmas lights in the Old Port of La Ciotat

Tout va bien se passer (French for Everything's Gonna be OK!)

La ciotat beach franceWelcome to the antépénultième post of the year. Read on for less obscure and more meaningful words! (This photo was taken this morning. Do not miss the end photo of a horse in the sea also taken here in La Ciotat.)

Today's Phrase: Tout va bien se passer

  : everything will be alright (it'll all work out!)

Click here for the sound file

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse
Round three of trying to compose a story for this last (second-to-last? or antépénultième) post of the year--in which I'd planned to share what's on my mind and, in so doing... en agissant ainsi ... cobble together an offering in the midst of les fêtes (au fait... BONNES FETES! By the way, happy holidays!).

Like so many of you, I have a lot on my mind, which is just the Devil's way of distracting us from our goals and dreams, and my goal and dream is to keep writing. Not because I enjoy writing (I don't. It can be torturous...), but because writing is an effective way to focus, to calm down, and, best of all, to find meaning in seemingly meaningless things. (The word manger is a timely example!)

I may not have a 'real' story to tell today, but I can write for writing's sake! And so as not to waste your precious time, I will add as many French words--autant que possible--for édification. That, after all, is why you and I are here: to improve or s'améliorer. You came here to improve your French, and I'm here to improve tout court!

At this point in our messy essay (this, the antépénultième paragraph? on verra!) I am doubtful as to just what these words are adding up to... except freedom (au moins pour moi -- at least for me). I hope this billet will free you, too, from whatever might be torturing you!

Back to writing... It is not my style to plug this many French words and phrases into a post. I would rather things happen naturally, and not forcibly.  Mais, on fait comme on peut, we do as we can... on days when we feel we can't. Otherwise said, if we do what we can on days we feel we can't...we are a little freer, less tortured, and enjoy more meaning in life.

I'd better end here while I still have your attention. Have I? Good, then please remember this: It is okay if you are stuck today. You won't fall terribly behind. You are not a failure or a loser or an imposter. Most importantly, You are not alone. And one more message for those who need it most: It will all work out. Tout va bien se passer.

Tout va bien se passer = everything's gonna be OK
antépénultième = third to last
en agissant ainsi = in so doing
les fêtes = the holiday season
au fait = by the way
bonnes fêtes = happy holidays
autant que possible = as many as possible
améliorer, s'améliorer = to improve, to improve oneself
le billet = column, blog post
tout court = period, full stop
on verra = we will see
au moins pour moi = at least for me
on fait comme on peut = we do what we can

Horse and trainer in La Ciotat photo Kristi Espinasse
I'll end with Mom's favorite picture, taken a few years ago here on the shores of La Ciotat.

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.


Kristin, I remember some time back, at a writers' conference, one speaker said (in agreement with you) that writing can be torturous. What writers love is TO HAVE WRITTEN!

And a comment about things working out ~ they say (whoever "they" are), "It will all work out in the end. If it hasn't worked out, it isn't the end."

A blessed Christmas to you and your family, as well as a healthy, meaningful New Year.


antépénultième = third to last

Very good. Once received directions to a friend’s house which was the penultimate on the left side of the road. As I had never been on the street before, I had to go to the end to come back to the second last! The road sort of dwindled out afterward...

But I would be further challenged mathematically to have to start looking for the third, last....

I suppose in the Nutella wars of a couple of years ago, one could get the antépénultième jar for your dessert crèpe!

Joyeux Noël.


Kristin - Joyeux Noel to you and your family. I have studied French on and off for nearly 60 years, but it was only about three years ago I realized something. When singing "Away in a Manger", I knew that the word "Manger" was a trough where animals would eat. But I never put "deux et deux" together (is there a French phrase for that?) and realized that it was the same word as the French verb "manger"!!

Eileen deCamp

Hi Kristi,
Thanks for always showing up for us even during the holidays when we are all so busy with busyness! :-)
I love your early morning photo and the phrase "Tout va bien se passer" .... we really need to know that everything will be ok and that God has us in the palm of his hand!
Wishing you and your family a very lovely and peaceful Christmas and all the best for 2021!

Hannah Martin

The link at the the end to "It will all work out" did not work.

Sally Smyth

Merry Christmas to you and your family and thank you for all of the years of French Word a Day.
You are my only conduit to France where I lived from 1954 too 1956, in Villefrançhe s/m.
Much, much love for now and BISOUS,

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you, Hannah. That was not meant to be a hyperlink, just a regular underline for emphasis. 

Denise Givens

Joyeux Noel to you and your family, Kristin! It has been quite a trying year for so many. Thanks for always having words to brighten my day!

Claudine MGV

Joyeux Noel to you and your wrote the phrase for me today, and I read your readers comments...I must remember, if it has not worked out yet, it is not the end!

Merci beaucoup for your tutelage.



Kristi, Thanks for always being a light in my day, and for being a conduit for us to either fond memories of visits/adventures in France or years of trying to get a handle on a language that is beautiful (though full of vowels!). Your lovely photography is a bonus I look forward to in each post. Best wishes for a Merry Christmas and an undeniably better New Year. Thanks for putting yourself out there. So many of us are listening. love, Linda


I woke up with a terrible cold, with all my presents needing wrapping and decided they can wait, I just need to try to sleep it off, knowing that all will be good in the end (& as my favorite saying goes) if it’s not yet all good, then it’s just not yet the end! And who doesn’t mind getting their Christmas presents in an Amazon box - I may splurge and tie a bow around them!! Joyeaux Noel to you and all your family!!

Judith Dunn

............ Merci mille fois for taking the time to write for us! I wish for you and your family, bonne sante and good fortune for 2021 and beyond! So.... Bonnes Fetes, Joyeux Noel and Bonne Annee! We all look forward to your adventures in life next year! Cheers, Judi Dunn, Tallahassee

Geraldine Ventura

Over the years, the first email I read is yours. Love all your stories and thoughts, Kristi. Thank you for your kind words regarding my nephew’s death. May God continue to bless you with the gift of writing. A blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and your family.


Thank you for your faithfulness to your writing and to us as your readers. Your encouragement to not give up when feeling stuck was just what I needed. I’ve been taking French classes through Alliance Francaise in Portland OR. I have most recently felt frozen - stuck - when trying to respond in French. So humiliating and demoralizing. But your encouragement today is just what I needed to hear. Equally encouraging are the other readers’ responses.



Merci Kristi pour tes gentils mots. I needed this today! Feeling un peu triste.

J'adore les mots en Français et plus il y en a, mieux c'est:) ~ had to look that up, therefore stretching my French peu a peu. And, getting me out of my funk!!

Huge hugs from Oregon:) Joyeuses fetes!


Our dear Kristi,
What an inspiring post today!!And!Gorgeous pictures and wonderful vocabulary(LOVE learning new words and phrases!)
Thank you for all the years you have gifted us with honesty and hope.You truly give us the desire to look into our own lives and pull out the best.As you so eloquently expressed , the devil thrives on our fear.
May I tell you?
Kristi,you are incapable of writing anything but talented , beautiful words.
For 25 years (till I retired in 2015),I was senior staff writer for The Yorkshire Terrier Magazine.For the very most part it was a labor of love and I adored it.But when the ideas and words didn't come,it was, well(as you again said),torture.And yet I am ever so glad I didn't give up.
And you won't either!!!
Joyeux Noel to you and your family.
Arms around you.

Jane Hoppe

Oh, how I needed your encouragement today. Thank you!

Joyeux Noel a vous et votre famille.

Elaine Barnett

Thank you so much for everything you said today!


Thank you for all your posts this past year. I send you and your family my best wishes for a lovely holiday season and health and joy in the year ahead.

Kathi Koegle

Dear Kristi,
Happy Winter Solstice! May you continue to shine brightly.

Joyeux Noël et bonne fin d'année !

Kitty Wilson-Pote

Today's glorious photo of the sea is perfect for Winter Solstice's arising light, Kristi!
It's a scatty sort of week here in my niche in Canada too, as we're in Lockdown again as of Christmas Eve, for a month.

"As we welcome the returning light with Joy this day, may the Winter Solstice at the turning of The Wheel bring us Love, Peace and Good Fortune in the year to come."

I wish all the VERY topmost best to you and everyone for your Seasonal Celebrations. May blessings be plentiful, and may you continue to grace our lives with your wonderful writings!


Dear Kristi: This will be a bittersweet Noel for my family & myself as my brother just died of the dreaded virus; but, memories abound & he was quite a man!

That being said, I wish you a joyeux Noel & bonne annee. I so enjoy reading your "billet" & receiving your photos. Thank you for sharing your life with us; you are surely an inspiration to us all. Amicalmente, Ann

Suzanne Dennis

Bonne Fetes and a wonderful winter solstice. Hoping your see the star created by Saturn and Jupiter tonight. Hoping the clouds stay away in New Jersey so we can see it also. A wonderful way to celebrate the solstice. And I agree, tout va bien se passer.

Kristin Espinasse

Ann, I am so sorry about your brother. Take care, and bon courage. 

Cynthia Lewis

Apparently Jupiter and Saturn haven't appeared in the sky as close as they will tonight since the Middle Ages. Now there's something to ponder.

I want to add my heartfelt thanks and appreciation for FRENCH WORD-A-DAY ... even the French government knows how valuable you are! My best wishes for you, your family and your many readers.


So glad you wrote this week. I needed to hear what you said. I am a painter and I have been stuck lately but just today am back at it. Your words were isync with me. Thank you. And Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Tout va bien se passer!

Joanne Fischer

Merry Christmas to the entire Espinasse family! Sending love from New Mexico and hope for a much, much, much better new year!

Erin Ross

Feliz Navidad from Boquete , Panama. We have a beautiful star on the mountain that shines over our pueblo, here in Central America. Thank you for your stories. I have followed you for 6 years. My dream was always to live in France... but the wonderful commersion of living Here and hearing about living There, has been a Joy.
Thank you, merci.


Mes meilleurs souhaits pour un Joyeux Noël, Kristi. Commes les autres ont dit, merci beaucoup pour tes mots sages et pour
tes efforts inspirés. Tous tes liseurs en profitent. I je sais que tu es maitresse des mots, mais tes photos parlent d'un autre don.

Laurence S

Merry Christmas Kristi and Family,
Bravo for your courage to take the « taureau par les cornes » (take the bull by the horns?) and always send out your weekly gift of writing and stories. You have built a huge community around your charming newsletter and I sincerely think you are unique and beyond gifted at telling and writing stories!
I hope you will also gift yourself a little break. Everybody deserves a vacation!
Happy Holidays and Happy 2021 to your lovely family and all your wonderful readers 🌟

Jeanine Woods

Joyeux Noel Kristi à vous et votre famille, Kristi. Merci pour ces mots encouragant. Tout va bien se passer. C'est vrai- ceci aussi devrait passer (this too shall pass!).

Andrea Hughes

Joyeux Noel et Bonne Annee a tout le monde!
Que l'annee 2021 arrive tout doucement et nous offre de l'espoir!

Charlotte West

Merry Christmas to you Kristi, and your family. Thank you for your words today. I understood that finding myself out of ideas and words is part of the human expereince and we are all in good company.

Best wishes for 2021.


Kathleen Bidney

Joyeux Noël et Bonne Année. Je prie que 2021 soit la paix et santé dans le monde.

Joan  L.

Merci pour tout!

K. J. Laramie

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
May you and your beautiful family continue to be blessed unceasingly. Thank you again for writing from the heart.

Howard Tepper

Kristi, I just wanted to let you know how much your words "tout va se passer" helped me today. I read them as I lay in a hospital bed waiting on a procedure. I was very worried and nervous. Those words gave me comfort at the time I needed it. Just wanted you to know how powerful your words can be. Thank you. Stay well and safe and continue to keep writing. Howie T.

Marti Hinman

Chère Kristi,

Que la paix et la joie de cette fête soient avec vous, que 2021 balaie le travers de 2020, préserve la santé et nous restitue un souffle de liberté et de confiance.

Nous avons l'espoir de pouvoir voyager en France dans la nouvelle année. Mille mercis pour continuer à écrier
French Word A Day.



Nadine goodban

David : en français on dirait :” un plus un “... Bonne chance !
N’hésitez pas à poser des questions si vous le désirez...
nadine ([email protected])

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.)