Bonne Fête: Celebrating Moms Twice!
LA PIQURE: A Mystery That is Really Bugging Me

La Belle Dormant: Jules Returns Home & A Reason to Be Proud of France!

Mom and Sofiane Ambulance driver
Mom had a few rides in the ambulance these past few weeks. She loved every one of the drivers! Here she is with Sofiane, who stopped for a magnificent view of the Mediterranean. Merci!

Here in France, I just completed and filed my US Tax Return electronically. I highly recommend Expatfile. Give it a try and be done, finally, with your 2023 tax return.  Click here for more info. 


    : Sleeping Beauty

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse

I had a dream last night that Mom was driving us in our jeep. We were going up a dirt road, and when we reached le sommet and came over the other side, the path dropped unexpectedly into a swamp, along with our bagnole!

I remembered, with relief, that our vehicle had 4-wheel drive, that is, until our tires lost contact with the ground and we began to sink.

Just when all hope seemed lost, Mom looked over at me with confidence, revved the engine, and the Jeep swam forward enough for the wheels to catch on the rocks below. Alléluia! We climbed right out of the mire! On the other side of the water, there was a farm, and the couple living there had a family of hedgehogs. They kindly gifted us the baby hérisson. Not only had we survived, but we surfaced from the mire with a gift--a newborn!

If dreams were premonitions, what a hopeful sign this would be! As it is, we are still bogged down in this mire of medical testing and administrative imbroglio. Meanwhile, we had a momentary reprieve from the situation when, on Thursday, Mom’s internist released her from the hospital for the weekend.

During her three days at home in her cozy studio, Jules read each and every comment readers have left on my blog following her hospitalization. Mom was filled with energy from your thoughts and prayers and amazed by my extended family of readers, whose affection and care were palpable. I assured Mom I appreciate all of you so much and hope you feel this gratitude in these weekly updates.

Tucked into her own bed, Ricci cuddled beside her, Mom told me all about the care and attention she’s receiving at the hospital. Les infirmières have even given Mom un nom d’affection: Jules is called “Sleeping Beauty” or “La Belle Dormante” for the way she sleeps around the clock. This is one reason she went into the hospital—to find out why she is so tired.

For her first PET scan, La Belle Dormante was transported via stretcher to a tiny room, where she received a catheter in her arm. To take her mind off the needle, I promised Mom that when this was all over, we’d go off on an adventure somewhere.

“Oh, Kristi,” Mom began.

I turned to focus on what she was saying, quieting the chatter in my mind that droned on: I need to pick up Mom’s medication…It’s close to 2pm! I’ve got to get the car back to Jackie who’ll need it for work!

“Kristi, this is an adventure!” Mom smiled. “Aren’t you proud of France?!”

Me? Proud of France? But I’m not even French. Can you be proud of something that is not your own? Mom’s expectant look had me reflecting. Just what did she mean?

“I cannot believe how dedicated and professional everyone working here is. They all know they have an important job. They are saving lives!

I took my mom’s precious hand into my own. “To this adventure,” I said, kissing Mom before they wheeled her into the next room. When the door shut behind her, I saw the number 7. Mais bien sûr, of course she would have room number 7. It’s her favorite number—le numéro sacré. Not only is Mom lucky, but she is truly blessed!

Just before Mom disappeared into the PET scan, she tried to calm my doubts and fears. “How else would we witness God’s miracles if it wasn’t for these uncertainties?”

For her daughters and those who know her, Jules is proof that faith, like our trusty Jeep, can move us out of the deepest mire. And in this medical care adventure, the gift we surface with is the unwavering love and support from those around us, a reminder that even in challenging times, we are never alone. Not even as a stranger in a foreign land. Oui, Maman! Je suis fière de la France!


With Mom and Ricci in Mom’s studio

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Jean-Marc Ricci triathalon
Congratulations to Jean-Marc for completing the "Triathlon des Lumières" here in La Ciotat last weekend!


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Click here to listen to the French read aloud by Jean-Marc

le sommet = the summit
la bagnole = car 

Alléluia! = Hallelujah!
le hérisson = hedgehog
l’imbroglio = mess
au fait = by the way
les infirmières = the nurses
le nom d’affection = a term of endearment
La Belle au Bois Dormante = Sleeping Beauty
le numéro sacré = the holy number
jamais tout seul = (we are) never alone
Oui, Maman = Yes, Mom
Je suis fière de la France! = I am proud of France
Jean-Marc Jules hospital
June 5th. Last day for Jules in the hospital. We picked up Mom and brought her home last night, to her delight! The next few visits to Hôpital Europeen will be day visits only. In a few weeks, we'll meet with Mom's internist for a summary of all the exams--and hopefully a course of treatment for what the doctors think is sarcoidose (sarcoidosis)

Mom has been a trooper throughout this experience, including two weeks in the hospital and over 11 tests! Tuesday she went  under anesthesia for a lung biopsy. She also had a lip biopsy which left a mark below her lip. She also came home with a black eye! I'm wondering if it is from the breathing mask she wore during the intervention?

Jules collage

I did not get a picture of the other ambulance drivers, who Mom adored. When her shoe fell off on the way into the hospital, they called her "Cendrillon" (Cinderella). What with two storybook names given to her by the medical team, you might say Mom's life in France is a fairytale. I think La Belle Dormante would agree!

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Good luck and best wishes to Jules. She sounds like a real “ trooper”!

She’s surrounded by a kind and loving family.

Very impressive — Jean Marc on the triathalon.., WOW!….


Deborah Auclair

Dear Friends in France,

I have subscrided for awhile now but don't always have the time to read this each week. However, something guides me to the ones maybe that are meant to be read by me.
Jules, you are an inspiration. As a woman of 67 years this is certainly a lovely message of hope when and if the day comes for me to experience a hospital stay.
Lovely lovely France was a healing remedy in itself as I visited it on the one year anniversary last October of the passing of my husband. I have vowed to visit France each year for the next ten years God-willing. I teach French part-time to 270 students. Each of the 12 classes from age 3 to age 13 see me once a week. My goal is to give them the love of this beautiful language that has filled my soul for many years. May God bless you.
Mme Auclair


What a lovely photo of the three of you. I hope all threat is helping you, Jules.


This verse came to mind while reading today's post:
"give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:18
This is such a hard verse to live, but Jules is living proof it can be done. Thank you, Jules, for your witness and Kristi, for sharing your Mom's adventure with us.
Thank you, God, for this amazing family and the wonderful care You are providing to Jules. Please give wisdom to the doctors to find the cause of these symptoms and let there be some medicine to give Jules relief. I ask it in Jesus's name, Amen.


Welcome home, Jules! Best of luck with your treatments. I hope they will provide relief of your symptoms and allow you to return to a more active life with your beloved family.
Bravo Jean-Marc ! Tres bien fait

Susan Newell

Bonjour Kristi,
Just brainstorming here....mold can cause sarcoidosis. Is it possible that her charming studio has mold or some other issue? Mold can be a sneaky visitor sometimes. I am sure you have checked everything and I don't mean to be an alarmist!
I am happy Jules is receiving such splendid care and I hope her issues will be resolved.


Hello Kristi,
Thanks for the update on Jules and I think her positive attitude and faith is an important part of her recovery! Glad she is home with you now!
Congrats to JM for completing a triathlon! That is impressive!
Keeping Jules in my prayers!


Jules, you inspire me with your optimism and you remind me of my own mother (who left us just over two years ago) with your faith.
Jean-Marc, congratulations on completing a triathlon! That takes dedication and support from family.
Kristi, thank you for sharing your family and France with us. Your writing is beautiful!



My prayers for your Mom. She is just a beautiful person. I love her outlook on life.
Thank you for sharing. Much love to you and your family .


Glad to hear she got to come home for the weekend. Getting out of the hospital is always a good thing and you got to eat really good food plus get sugar from Ricci. The process of elimination of potential problems takes a while but then you will understand the issue and plan a treatment/offensive. Hugs and prayers for all of you.

Trina in St. Petersburg, FL, USA

Hello Kristi & Jules,

Jules, orange is a very becoming color on you; it accentuates your brightness! I have a friend who had pulmonary sarcoidosis and, even though there is technically no cure, after treatment, her lungs are now clear! Saying prayers the same goes for you.

And congrats to J-M! What an accomplishment!


Kristi - your mamman ♥ Jules - you are a delight! What perspective and faith. My own mom has had many ambulance rides in her golden years, and by the end of the ride, the medics know all about her grand children, and have a least one recipe to make at home! ♥ Our mothers both choose joy in all things. Wonderful examples and reminders and blessings.


Krisiti, so glad you have your sweet maman back at home with you ❤️ you two are such an inspiration! Sending big hugs and saying lots of prayers for healing, and peace throughout this ordeal.


Jules has been through so many tests, prodding and poking and remains joyful. What an example to all of us. You are blessed to have her with you to lift spirits and hearts. Her attitude will make a difference in her treatment and healing. My prayers to all of you- patience, strength and hope.

K. J. Laramie

There’s no keeping any of you down… not for long anyway. Congrats to you all! What an inspirational family.
Something of an environmental nature could be causing Jules’ condition, even a spray they use on carpeting or clothing made in other countries! PVC piping, formaldehyde in particle board when it gets wet, black mold, lead from old plumbing, all troubling to your immune system.
It’s uplifting reading the goodness emanating from this blog as opposed to the division and self-centeredness we see in the world today.
Much Love and Light 💖

Stacy Lund

Delighted for this update and the news that Jules is home! I admire your mom’s perspective and wisdom. Prayers for her continued healing!

I’m sending hugs and love your way. xoxo


Our dear Kristi,our dear Jules,and your beautiful family!
Today's post so reaffirms that our prayers are thankfully answered --and ! without saying! always! still continuing!
Such wonderful pictures--your faith,love,courage and strength shining brightly through.What an inspiration you are!
All blessings,mes chere! As my dearest(and oldest!From 5th grade!) friend tells me daily: onward and upward!
Arms tight around all of you

Karen in Northport, NY

Sounds like some good progress there. Smiles like the sunrise! Much of the same going on here. Back surgery, carpal tunnel surgery, lymphadema treatment, questionable mammo, and assorted edemas. Med people truly are angels. We always called it The Rollercoaster. You check in, jaws clenched. Med folk are: hmm, let's see here... Oh, it's this. Here's the treatment. I guess a hilly jeep ride describes the feelings just as well. BTW back surgery (successful) was my runner beau frere. At least triathalons let you vary the stress. Says couch potato me.


Dear Kristi,

Your Mom has the most beautiful hair!! I am so glad that she is home for a while now. Being home with loved ones helps bring healing, even Ricci's affections, too!!
Her trust and faith in God is so upbuilding for others. So glad that she is your Mom!
Praying daily for healing and for the insurance to come through.

God bless, C-Marie

Laurie Kinghorn

Amazing women and family!
Blessings to you all…..

barbara michels

Jules is always a lovely inspiration no matter the circumstances.

Judy Feldman

So glad Jules has received such excellent care (I wonder if she would get the same in the US?), and that she’s now home with her family. We are all sending her our very best wishes, and hope for a successful treatment. What a wonderful community of blog readers you have created, Kristi!

Kristin Espinasse

Oh, Karen, that is a lot to go through! Wishing you speedy recovery and the right treatments. Sending love.

Ellen A

Echo to Barbara michels’ comment that Jules is a “lovely inspiration.” She has been Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, so we will look forward to a photo of her snuggling with Rocco as “Beauty and the Beast.”
Well done to you all for supporting her in this health marathon, and kudos to Jean-Marc for completing a triathlon! That must take so much discipline - wow!

Olga Brown

It was a wonderful dream! A hedgehog is a symbol of a good luck, friendliness, security and joy.
It means that you guys will overcome all of your difficulties and everything will be just fine with La Belle Dormante.

Jules, I wish you all the best! You are such a remarkable person!

Karen in Northport, NY

Yikes. Kristi, all the ailments I listed aren't mine. I've only got the puffy foot and eyelid. Others are galpals who need driving, errands, chores done, hands held. We do for each other. And as long as I'm posting... if the insurance is balky, in my experience the med folk are Very flexible with payment plans. Even mean old NY US med.

Kristin Espinasse

Thanks, Karen, for sharing your experience with the med folk and insurance. It seems to be the same here. Still wading through this swamp, grateful for the angels along the way. (There are a few devils, too! Met some today!)

Chris Allin

Dear Kristi,

Such an heartening account of Jules coming home. On a journey such as hers, it is reassuring to engage with professionals who are so caring, kind and compassionate. It may be their job, but many do it with grace…truly angels in disguise. Jules’ faith seems to shine through in her ever-present joie de vivre. I am always touched by the uplifting thoughts she shares with you. She is truly an inspiration. No wonder people seem to connect with her so quickly and so easily. And now how comforting to be home in her own bed, cuddling with Ricci.

Congratulations to Jean-Marc on completing the triathalon. And for his Ephemera. He is truly multi-talented!

Jennie Jordan

I am so moved by your grace, Kristi, in the face of great uncertainty. Your mother Jules is a warrior. She is nourished by spontaneous love and connection. She inspires us and we are lit up by her radiance. Thank you for sharing Jules with us.

Karen in Northport, NY

11+ hospital days without insurance here would be a breathtaking bill. But it sounds like being admitted was not exactly elective. I know nothing about the med system in France but crisis hospital admittance here is it's own category of liability. I would talk to the hospital billing folk and maybe a lawyer if you're getting The Bill. Basically, as I understand it, you don't deny people badly needed med care based on ability to pay. Here hospitals write it off. So very sorry you're having to deal with the devils on top of everything else. The rollercoaster goes on.....❤

Susan Carter

Congratulations to Jean Marc and continued prayers for Jules. I put her on my prayer list when this started and will keep her there until it's resolved.

ann sorocki

good morning, Kristi: So happy that your maman is home! She is as beautiful as you are. May you & the family stay well, safe & strong. Congratulations as well to Jean-Marc for completing his race! I love reading your blog; love hearing about the family & certainly love your photos! merci beaucoup. Sincerely, Ann

Alice Shupe

I am among many who have followed your dear mother's health journey as you've invited us into it. I love her positive spirit and her faith that reminds her that God's light shines most brightly in the darkness. She inspires me to remember that too! May His light and presence continue to encourage you all and the light the way forward.


Jules, you are such an inspiration! I've enjoyed reading about you and seeing photos of you since I started reading Kristin's blog. (many years, now) You are lovely inside and out ~ even from a hospital bed! God bless you!

Kristin, you, too, are inspiring. Every time you write about deep waters that you must cross, or find your way out of, you do it with grace and aplomb. When Marti and I met you ten years ago or so, we saw these qualities in you in our brief visit. You are your mother's daughter!!! But that's not all. From what we read about your dad, you are also a reflection of him.

I have a petite request ~ would you mind, once again, including your yogurt cake recipe in one of your blogs in the near future? Thanks so much, in advance.

Happy French summer. Sigh...

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