Advice for Each Decade of Life & Surrender: A Mother Daughter update
Disco Fever: A Funny Way to View The Flu

Something to Celebrate!

Cat in La Ciotat
If I were a 20-year sober cat, this is what my life would look like. I love this imperfect, slightly crooked picture and hope you do too for a future postcard. Meantime, many thanks for your postcard orders!

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse
“In The Clouds”

I don’t know what it is about my mind but sometimes the most obvious things escape me. I am a dreamer. Blame it on that. But when I quit floating through the moment, and stop to focus, I do see the picture! 

This week, and today specifically, I am pausing to visualize two decades of sobriety. Twenty years ago today I woke up to a new and blessed beginning. I remember it vividly: the decision to stop drinking. It came with tears. These weren’t larmes of regret, they were and remain tears of surrender.

This new beginning happened around the time this blog began, and it--this promise to myself--would become an anchor. No matter how many times we moved homes, or the ups and downs of life, this gift of sobriety would hold me steady through many trials and changes. 

If sobriety is an anchor, faith is the solid ground beneath it. What would I do without my faith? I don’t know, but one thing I would not do is give it up. Because looking over 55 years of life, Faith is the one constant--faith and grace (can the two words be interchanged?)

I was walking home from church yesterday when I overheard a young woman walking toward me. The woman with the Australian accent was saying to her companion: “When I look back over my life...I realize God has always been there....

I thought to myself, Amen. My next thought was, Maybe that was an angel with an Australian accent!

No matter how far along my faith walk, or my sobriety walk, I still need these reminders that I am not alone. God has my back.

Back to the woman’s message...about finding God in retrospect...This is exactly what I say to my grown children or to anyone who struggles with faith: Just look back over your life... then you will see God in action. It is grace that carries us through. Are you ever amazed at how you have survived? But for the grace of God go I.

Last week our son joined us here for lunch. I left the chili to simmer and joined my husband and Max in the garden, where they were enjoying apéritifs. Two bottles of wine were opened for the tasting, and on the table, a bucket of sea urchins the two men had just caught. I picked up a spoon and began savoring les oursins, while carefully tuning into the conversation.

Max was telling his dad about how he had emptied our cellar of more wines, transferring them to his own storage unit at his new condo
”That’s great, Max!” I said, relieved to have more space freed up in our home (I’m hoping the guys will move my washing machine to the cellar, and free up space in our bathroom—which we will hopefully one day renovate.)

Jean-Marc chuckled, "Good thing you took it before Mom drank it!" 

"You two should thank me!" I said, ignoring my husband’s joke. “Think of all the wine and money I have saved you over the years. Just imagine...

...At one-half bottle a day (sounds like a lot but it's = to a glass at lunch and two glasses at dinner...)

...times 4 weeks (let’s say 15 bottles a month...)

...times one year ( 180 bottles)

...times 19 years...

That is almost 3500 bottles!

While Max and I were  busy being very impressed by this calculation, Jean-Marc accidentally redeemed himself from the bad joke he told earlier:

"It has been 20 years, Chérie."

Oh my goodness. He is right! And today, February 6th, marks the day! I may be a little in the clouds...but I am still floating around, amongst family and life, enjoying every precious moment. Had I not made that decision 20 years ago, I don’t know where I would be today. And that is a sobering thought.


IN CELEBRATION: The Lost Gardens Memoir, now $20
In celebration of this milestone, our story "The Lost Gardens" is now a symbolic $20 instead of $29 when you purchase with this link. If you have been meaning to read about our life at two vineyards--following my sobriety--this is the time! Our husband/wife memoir is online, readable in blog format. Upon checkout, you will be given two passwords to enter the website, where you can begin reading right away. Click here to order The Lost Gardens Memoir

Bike in Provence France
Bye for now, and back to dreaming up future postcards. How do you like the two images in today's post? Let me know and thank you for your postcard orders. and for the various ways you help out this journal. I truly appreciate your support.

A Message from KristiFor twenty years now, support from readers like you has been an encouragement and a means to carve out a career in writing. If my work has touched you in any way, please consider a donation. Your gift keeps me going! Thank you very much.

Ways to contribute:
1. Send a check (to this new address)
2. Paypal or credit card
3. 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