6 Little-known tips to successfully learn French

fils + book giveaway + your own personal talent


Happy Birthday Max. We watered you. You watered the vines. And everything just grew.


 MAS DE LA PERDRIX. Lovely months to rent this home France: July, for fields of sunflowers & lavender. September, for the grape harvest! October: fall leaves. The exchange rate is great. It's a wonderful time to rent this dreamhouse.


fils (feece) noun, masculine

    : son

C'est bien le fils de son père = he is very much his father's son
être le fils de ses oeuvres = to be a self-made man
le Fils de l'homme/de Dieu = the Son of man/of God
le fils âiné, cadet = the older/younger brother
tel père, tel fils = like father, like son

AUDIO FILE: in today's sound file, we hear a 10-year-old Max read a moving poem in French. Listen to it here Download MP3  and then check the words here, in this post.

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE... by Kristin Espinasse

Carry a child and one day he'll carry you

In the geography of child-rearing, there are sacred endroits, or turning points, before which a parent stops, shakes her head, and wipes her teary mirettes. Much as a cartographer does, she will, there on the map of her rugged heart, carefully pencil in these notable landmarks. 

Before our first child was born, I was given one of those "baby memory books". It was sealed with a ribbon and, inside, apart from the journal lines, it had a place in which one could paste the baby photos. Though I had the best intentions, I have always felt terribly guilty for not keeping up with the record books, by noting down every "first" in the life of my children. 

Çela dit, I did have the time to note a few pre-birth impressions, before all that "journaling momentum" that I'd built up flew out the door the moment our fils was born. After that earth-stopping event, it was all I could do to keep track of feedings, diaper changings, and hormones raging (my own; baby blues?).

But a recent "first step" of our son's is something I hope never to forget. Unlike a first tooth, the experience has been a near mystical moment. Indulge me now, will you, as I take up space in this public journal to sketch in an uplifting instant.

June 26, 2011 :  Max, 16 years and 41 days old. On this otherwise ordinary summer evening... our son reached down, picked up his mother and carried her off!

As go mystical moments, everything around the event is either dulled (in comparison) and forgotten, or--quite the opposite--everything around the event is crystal clear! My experience was twofold:

Forgotten were all those "unimportants". I remember walking into Max's room that night. In robot mode, I had been going down my bedtime list: "Max, don't forget to pick up these clothes off the floor. Open your window for some fresh air! Remember to take your asthma and allergy meds. And I know school's out - but don't stay up too late!" With that, I set down my laundry basket, threw out my arms and waited for my favorite moment: le câlin, or hug. It was the only natural, non-automated part of the "tuck-in" schedule.

I still don't know what bit him, but I noticed a magical smile on my son's face as he turned away from his computer. Max's sourire grew and grew until he seemed possessed...  possessed by happiness! In his holey socks, he slid across the wooden floor, over to the door, pulled me into the room.... and swept me off the floor!

Crystal clear now, were the events I'd mourned (having never noted them down): first tooth, first step, first chagrin! The first time he ran away... his first girlfriend!

There stood my son and, with one strong arm beneath my back and the other beneath my dangling legs, I was suspended in midair, held secure in the arms of my firstborn. 

I shrieked as Max began to turn... and spin with me! We twirled round and round, stopping to gasp for air after so much laughter. I could not believe my own son could now carry me! As if sensing my doubt, Max tightened his hold, swooping me up higher and higher! How to describe the experience of that moment when the one you once held up... is now holding you! I felt like a child in my own son's arms, there was that warmth and security, there was that sacred glimpse of eternity!

As we spun round the room, breathless and laughing, all those moments I had failed to record in the baby memory book came back to me. Our son's first swim... his first solo bike ride... his first time behind the wheel, as driver! The privilege was now mine--to review these events, in my son's arms, whirling, literally, with the moment! 

I know it was indulgent, this sudden role reversal, but I enjoyed every second. And, looking up into my boy's starry eyes, more than his weary mother, I was a newborn, cherished and adored. Witnessing the reflection in my son's dazzling eyes, I might have even been his prize.

To leave a comment or to read the comments, click here

French Vocabulary

un endroit = place

les mirettes (f,pl) = eyes, peepers

Çela dit = that being said

le fils = son

le câlin = cuddle, hug

le sourire = smile


That photo again, because...

The photo above this one was taken when Max was 12 years old. He turned 20 yesterday, and helped plant this vineyard a few weeks ago.

SABLET HOME for high quality vacation rentals in the heart of Provence. Particularly suited to groups of up to four discerning travelers.


 Smokey's favorite reads

Enter to win a copy of Jackie Mancuso's latest books, Paris-Chien and her newly-released Hudson in Provence, in which this lovable pooch quits trying to imitate the other dogs around him, in time to discover what his own talent is.

To enter today's drawing simply tell us what your talent is.  Did you ever try to imitate somebody, only to discover your own knack for something? What is that something? Click here to comment. 

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:
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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


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Audrey Wilson

What a delightful post , Kristin ! It made me feel guilty too, that I didn't keep records of my childrens' development over the years (They are all now grown & parents themselves !) Memories do come back of course & I have been going through old photos & found quite a few of their childhood.
I suppose my'knack' would be Art .

Delia Bourne

Beautiful post. I loved it. It bought tears to my eyes.xx

Heather in Arles

Just to say that this is now my favorite of your posts, Kristen although my heart is tugging at the photo of lovely Smokey. You writing never stops to sweep me off my feet, just as Max did to you. Merci.


This beautiful post made me teary... my 9 year old had me buy gel for his hair yesterday for a girl he seems to like (sigh). I love the photos of Max at 12 and 20, and what a delightful story of him sweeping you off your feet! :)


First, what a wonderful post! I make artwork from guitar strings and donate them for auction by nonprofits. The most made so far was $750 for a double set of dobro strings from Jerry Douglas. There is a story in how this started with my father's strings. Have a lovely day!


Devoir in the imperfect

Mon fils avait eu un accident; je devais rentrer tout de suit mais j'etais trop bouleverse pour conduire.

Mon son had had an accident; I had to get home right away but I was too upset to drive.


I had to wait for my eyes to dry before I could comment on this beautiful post. Kristin, I, too, have felt guilty about not keeping up with the journaling, the scrapbooking. In fact, I don't know one mom who was able to actually complete one of those projects! I think this is quite telling. ;) I love the 'then' and 'now' photos of max watering the vines. I hope he had a great birthday, as did you. I see my sons' birthdays as two of my favourite days of the year. There are so many memories that those days conjure for me.

As for talents, I think it would be crafting with my hands. I love to knit and cross stitch.


Similarly to the others, this post brought tears to my eyes and made me fully realize how deeply we love them--even when they live far away. Mon fils is a second child and I clearly did not record as much as with the first. However, your writing reminded me that the memories, although not on paper, are still in my mind forever.

As for talents, I suppose teaching English to our international students and new immigrants, along with marathon running. I use the marathon running and training as a metaphor for life and the hard and long road it can be for those folks.


My talent would be speaking French. I imitated it so well, or should I say I 'faked' the accent so well in grade 8 class that I went on to study it in high school and then university and guess what, now I teach it! In fact, I teach French Kindergarten and I never thought it would become my career. But as they say, 'Do what you love and the money will follow' - hey, that's kind of what happened to you, too, non?

Thank you for sharing your corner of the world!

Linda Frank

My talent,mid you call it that, is that I am a hand spinner. I started this hobby when I was pregnant with my first son and met a person who spun in my pregnancy exercise class 29 years ago! With my hand made yarn I knit, crochet and weave.
Your post made me smile! Thanks!

Geraldine Ventura

Beautiful story, Kristin! You are so blessed to have such a wonderful family and obviously your talent is telling us all about them in these delightful stories. My talent is cooking. I especially like recipes from France.


As a short p.s. to my previous post, I forgot to mention that I have taught our adopted dog to sing three songs with me. Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star being his best. I conduct him through the high and low notes. ;)

Jane Cohn

I make things. You need a sweater, a skirt, an apple pie? I am your go-to girl. If I don't know how to make " whatever" today, I will have directions tomorrow.
Maybe my talent is reading the directions and following them. I love the process of constructing objects that make daily life more individual and fun.

Josephine G.

So many best wishes sent to your dear 20 year old! My son turns 30 today!....HOW can that be?

Sounds funny but it seems my talent, most in use today, is advocating for others. I was a teacher all my life.....makes sense. Now I'm retired and still helping others in need.

Meilleurs voeux Max!

Nancy Mulloy-Bonn

Best article ever, Kristin. Pure magic, pure love.

Vicky from Athens

Don't we all have regrets at what we didn't take the time to do? Thank heavens for photos to remind us of those precious moments!
Do I have a talent? I love to create - whether it be knitting or needlepoint or some form of art, I just love to make things. I especially love working with mixed media - there are no mistakes.
It looks as if reading affects Smokey as it does me when I read at night!


My talent started slowly by helping a friend with a party that turned out great. Now I plan all types of parties for clients and friends. It is very rewarding to see the happiness that these parties bring to the recipients.


Kristen, I have been painting for 50 years mostly in that fascinating and frustrating medium of watercolor and later in oils. I have been able to paint in France three different times and have promised to take my granddaughter with me next time! Thanks for sharing your talent with us!


oh, how we love our sons! I don't have any real talents, but people tell me that I am a good listener.


I have a few talents but the one I want to tell you about is my gift to train animals. No lemon juice, no choker collars, no yelling, no "no's". I've had animals walk into my house, found animals and nurtured them and I was a "whisperer" sixty years ago. I've treated them like my boys, with a lot of words, a lot of attention and both my boys and my pets, my "finds" are smart (which can make other pet owners very mad). Would love the books for my favorite friends!

Tina Wilson

I am a writer. And I hope to write screenplays for TV (Hallmark Channel style). I'm also a book collector and have a 9 year old grandson who would love the books.

Sara Somers

Kristin--what an eloguent sharing of such a special moment, it felt almost as if we were with you.

It turns out that I have a talent for enjoying myself. For so many years, I was afraid to stick my nose out, I would watch others carefully so that I wouldn't make a mistake, I would do and say what I thought was correct or what I assumed others wanted to hear. And I could not figure out why I wasn't happy. Somewhere along the line of my life, maybe 15 years ago, I stopped all that. It was a strange time as I wasn't sure what I wanted. I have always been very talented at many things but rarely followed thru to become expert at anything. So I had to jump off the cliff sometime. And I did. It seems that I'm good at writing---if I don't have any expectations of "being famous" or producing anything--and just enjoy one word following another. It seems that at the age of 66, I decided I wanted to move to Paris and learn french (which I flunked repeatedly in HS!!). I packed my house up, rented it and now live in a lovely apartment in Paris--me and one cat who came with me and one petite chatonne who came into my life a week ago.
I go to school with 20 year olds who learn quickly. I accept it will be slower for me. The classes are fun and I chatter bad french like a magpie.
I say "it seems" so much because it is still a bit amazing to me: that I blossomed from a fearful unhappy child and young adult into a woman who has a knack for happiness and enjoyment.
My love affair with Paris is giving me the time of my life.

And I love reading about your life!!!


A sweet and beautiful post today...thank you for sharing.

I have a talent for listening to other people. And I like to drawn and observe nature.

Melissa R. Strait

Tu m'as fait pleurer à 08:30 du matin!! C'est telle une belle déplacer mémoire!
I remembered a somewhat similar event with my youngest son, but instead of picking me up in his arms, he threw me over his shoulder, and spinmeisters upside down! Mind you, I'm short (5'3") and he's 6'5"!
Sons are sooooo very special! 😍😜

bj tuininga

Kristin, what awonderful post. Our children do seem to grow up all to fast. Those memories of firsts captured in our mind and photos are oh so precious. my daughter is 38 and my son is 40. He and his wife are about to present me with fourth a grandchild, and yet it seems like it was just yesterday that he was building tree houses and falling out of trees, playing little league, and taking flute lessons...Now it is his turn times three. Thank goodness for those precious memories.

it was when my children were small that I began my passion for Celtic knitting and herbalism, something that I have turned into a home business since my accident. I also am an artist which I do for pleasure and sanity!

I do so love hearing about your lovely family and France.
Hugs, bj


Thank you for your lovely tribute to Max. My 17 year old daughter is about to move across the country to start college. It's a wonderful, but difficult time. Your post was a timely reminder that our relationships with our children continue to grow through all the inevitable changes.

Courtney wells

What a great post!!! As a mom of 5, I too have struggled to keep up with the memory books. This was a beautifully written and sweet family post. What exactly in the picture is Max pouring over the plants? Just wondering?? As for a talent... I'm just a mom. A homeschooling mom of five wearing many caps and that in itself to me is a talent.

Sandra R Lewis

I took a silk painting class on a lark. Don't know if I have true talent, but everyone who has been gifted one of my creations has said it is a talent. My favorite is, of course, my first scarf which has shaded ginko leaves tumbling down the oblong on a gold watercolor background!

Every time I take a class and paint a silk, I find myself so immersed that I loose track of time and place. When I stop, it is as if I have just woken from a lovely dream. Fun, expressive certainly. Talent, hopefully!

edie schmidt


I admired my older sister so when she went off to art school I decided I wanted to go to art school too. I ended up studying graphic design then became a greeting card designer. After that I got a teaching certificate,taught art to children and adults for some years and then took a position as an artist and educator at a university marine biology education center and aquarium. Before retiring I spent about 5 years as the director of that center. Now that I'm retired I can enjoy photography (like you!) and create art as well. In my retirement I'm a docent at 2 local art museums and exhibit my photos from time to time. Once a week I go to an informal French conversation group and we attempt to parle! I want to be able to keep up with my French daughter-in-law and her family. Speaking of family, I loved your story about your son and can remember trying to keep up with the baby book myself.

Edie from Savannah


I enjoy the pictures of Smokey so much. I hope he is doing well. My talent is trying. I try.

Sue Lennox

K, these words have to be some of your best. For those of us who have children, and as I pictured you and Max twirling, the lump in my throat grew. So moving!


My talent is that I'm able to connect with kids and make learning fun. I do a lot of volunteer work at schools and I love seeing that spark in the kids as they understand and appreciate what they're learning. It's wonderful for them, and for me.

BTW, I loved this post about your son. With two sons of my own, I can totally relate. There's something about the bonds between moms and their sons. =)

Devra Long

Loved this post; perfect way to start the week.
My talent is giving warm hugs!

Trina, St. Petersburg, Florida, USA

Happy Birthday, Max! Love the two photos. Time stands still while time marches on.

Smokey's photo with his paw on the books is precious. I love the idea behind Hudson in Provence. Both books sound wonderful!

I grew up with a talent for riding horses, for art and photography, for writing. Over time the area I grew up in Florida became the most densely populated county in the state and, consequently, keeping a horse became too expensive. I miss having them in my life.

I love writing letters and still send the occasional snail mail - always well received. However, I was discouraged from art and writing in high school "You don't want to be a starving artist or writer." Though I did study communications in college, that sentiment stuck with me hard, so I, sadly, left art and writing behind for different means to support myself.

But, at 59 I completed an interdisciplinary Master of Liberal Arts and focused on my love of writing, along with ethics. Now, returning to work at 60 after a few years off caring for my mother, I hope to incorporate writing in my work. In the future, I hope to own a digital SLR at least of the quality of my old film SLR.

Heather said it perfectly; your writing sweeps us off our feet. And yes, that does make one feel cherished and adored, doesn't it?


Dear Kristin,

Bless you and votre fils! What a sweet, tender story. Thanks for sharing that! I can relate to so much of it!

My special talent is to love people. From family to friends to strangers to the homeless to the unlovable. Of course, this is a gift from God - apart from Him I can do nothing (noteworthy)! I have moments when I forget to love, but for the most part, it comes easy to me! I really do love people from different walks of life!

Bonne journée!

Sherry in Kentucky

I remember this post. It brought tears to my eyes then and still does today. You have the heart and soul of a writer and the ability to describe and create such very strong emotion.

A beautiful boy and a beautiful story.


I make things. I see potential in almost everything. I don't read the instructions.

Leslie NYC

My talent is gleaning: finding money on the street, rescuing unwanted, broken(or perfect but abandoned) chairs, picking wild foods, taking home books and cats and flowers, making meals out of things leftover from my cooking jobs.


Such a sweet post about your son! Like many I'm sure, I tried many things my parents enjoy, I failed often, but it helped me rid fear to try which I believe ultimately led me to my true talent. It wasn't until I was a mother myself that I began painting in oils (like your lovely mom) so I thank my kids and husband as they have been the greatest support!

Cynthia P. Lewis

Today's story is one of your most touching and beautiful. Happy Birthday to Max! He is a wonderful son. Best wishes for all.


A really lovely post Kristi. I think, your best do far.


What a special post. I love it! I, too, have not done well at keeping up with all the baby-book record-keeping. And now my babies are young adults! Perhaps my talent is being a good student. In my 50s, I've gone back to grad school for my master's. And I've surprised myself by doing really well.

Judith Dunn

...Kristin... a son is a unique and wonderful gift to us mothers, so very different from our daughters. Your story about Max and the photos brought tears of joy to many of us! My son always takes my hand across the table at home or out and says, without embarrassment,
'Mom, I love you so much'. He is 42 now and still does it! I have always been an artist, however, my special talent came 10 years ago at the age of 62! I got my first 3.2 Megapixel camera and began taking pix 24/7... then taught myself on a library computer to Photoshop and I have never looked back. I have taught myself so many techniques dor graphics and made zillions of slide shows of our trips back to France for the past ten years. I enjoy giving them at Senior Homes and assisted living places. I am a 'Pro' in the sense that I 'work for wine'! Never taken one penny but do enjoy receiving a good bottle of wine as payment for a shoot. I have been published and belong to several prestigious camera clubs which is great fun. I am now 74 and still love going out each day with my cameras and 'seeing what I can see'! I believe having a purpose like this that you love helps to keep you young! Judi Dunn, Tallahassee, Fl.|

Michelle Charette

I guess I should not have read this while at work. I had to swallow the lump in my throat and blink back my tears. I have an only "child": My 26 year old son is my reason for living. It is so amazing how once you have children, your own life becomes secondary to theirs, and that no matter how old they become, they are always your babies; even though they can sweep you off your feet!

Lauren Golden

I have always seen my talents in concrete ways, like flute playing, sewing or the ability to understand emotions. But only in looking back do I realize my main talent is perseverance in the face of obstacles.
Your post today describes YOUR talent as a loving mother!


At the age of eight, my Auntie Grace taught me how to knit. All these many years later, I discovered that the reason I learned to knit was to make sweaters for my two granddaughters.
What a joy!

Karen Cafarella

Such a beautiful story. They grow so fast and trying to keep up with all the milestones by recording them can be hard. Enjoying them while they are happening I think is more important. I too had baby books and tried to catch them up every few months or more.

I love to create, sketch, paint, knit and even write a bit.


Linda Lopez

Such a beautiful story. Suddenly, I have sand in my eyes.


I don't have a creative knack, unfortunately, but I have a real talent with animals, caring for them and taking care of their needs, whatever they may be, whether it be everyday needs or tending to them when they are ill. I believe I missed my calling, I wish I had become a veteranarian. Such a wonderful photo of dear Smoky, Kristen, such beautiful words, today, too.


Our dear Kristi,
THANK YOU for this truly wonderful post and pictures!
Your gifted writing reminds us of how privileged we are to share in your life.Most of all,you remind us to appreciate every moment with those we love.The best memories don't need to be set to paper,but just cherished in our hearts.
Natalia. xo

Jackie Clark Mancuso

Happy Birthday Max!
And bonne lecture, Smokey!


I can totally relate to your story, as the other day I watched in amazement as my son drove a tractor around the yard like a professional, looking so grown up that I nearly cried. It is truly a beautiful thing, but they grow up so fast! As for talents, I grow rosemary- without even trying- I have a hedge out back, rosemary everywhere in the yard and have given so much away.


Another wonderful post! Thank you, as always, for sharing your heart with us all.


Goodness, you are so good at reducing us to tears I think you must own stock in Kleenex! ;) Another lovely and touching post, Kristin!

I hope you are your mother are having a great time!

Those books look lovely and as if they have sent Smokey to a beautiful dreamland!

I like to think my talent is in art. I, too, was another who was strongly discouraged by college counselors from pursuing that course of study. And, like many others, wish I hadn't listened to them.

Gail Accuardi

Wow Kristi you have a lotto read and any touching stories. Mine is about my desire to be an interior designer ever sine I was quite young. My parents wold leave for dinner and I would tke that opportunity to redo the living room or dinning room or my bedroom. They were usually amused.
When I started to redo houses for others, i was very successful but often heard of people taking walls out or remodeling ipossible basements and it finally dawned on me that I could copy them, that is iagine a project without the llimits of destroying what is already there. My first example was a home with a small room bot a large bank of windows. It was more short than small. What to do? It ws useless as is. I walked outside and looked at the roof line and there was my answer. The roof was pitched and there was plenty of room above that low, low ceiling.. so off came the ceiling and a new, darling room was added to the upstairs. I coppied the idea of daring to take down existing structure in order to add beauty and practical value to a home.
P.s. Your posts are always so open and dear. Thank you for all of them. G


This clearly is a wonderful, cherished moment/memory for you. It is now a cherished retelling of that moment, for me! Thank you for this, Kristin...


How extraordinarily beautiful these moments must have been - they were something very special for us all to read. I can only imagine what joy it brought to you! My talent is I can raise one eyebrow at a time! :-) And while I'm here in Paris for a month with my beautiful husband, about to celebrate our 46th wedding anniversary, I have taken 100+ photos each day - we are now on day 14! Is that a talent or just an obsession! I love my 'babies' - and all the memories my photos bring to us so we are able to relive our trips, over and over! P.S. I wasn't very good about our daughter's baby book, either. If we are lucky, she may get a chance to do better - verdict is still out, but we're hopeful. Reading your story of Max brought tears to my eyes just thinking there might some, someday, be a new baby in our family! Thank you for sharing your wonderful 'spin.'!!!! Happy Birthday, Max!


Like many others, I teared up while reading this post. Very touching and yes magical. Thank you for sharing a sweet cherished moment.


As I'm preparing to leave California, after 28 years on the Left Coast, in the Land of Breakfast Cereal (fruits, nuts, & flakes !), returning to where people understand that "barbecue" is a NOUN, not a verb ;-) (Charlotte, North Carolina), I'm clearing out storage and playing "keep or bye-bye". (So far, more than 25 pounds for the shredder, and much more to the recycling - lots of books to my grand-children & the local library.) I'm finding birthday cards from my children, pictures of the family over the years (cute grand-children !), and remembering the good times, and the not-so-pleasant times. Life has been an adventure (defined by me, for myself, as a situation in which I don't know what's going to happen !), and I'm looking forward to the next chapter - close enough to my family (except for the grand-daughter in Australia !) to visit much more frequently, participate more in their lives, and have them more in mine. Thanks, Kristin, for the opportunity / suggestion to put a few words here.

Ruthanne Martin

D'abord, I have to say how much I loved this post, I was twirling with you and your son, tears in my eyes. I love everything you write, but this time I was swept off my feet by Max AND YOU! So, for a talent, it's odd - I would call it a gift and I had it since i was a child, everyone has some tucked away, second sight, psychic flashes, but since I came to France (from CA) now I've been doing it for real and for a livng, registered as a Voyante in France, Cartomancy, tarot, Clairvoyance. I see you will always have a bright future...Voila!

Stacy - Sweet Life Farm

I am typing through tears. How precious your photos, your memories, your stories...you have all that a heart holds dear. Such a fine young man Max has grown to be. You watered him well with love!

Both of Smokey’s favorite reads look adorable to me. I am in search of a new talent. I might follow Hudson’s lead in time to discover just what that is.

Wishing another lovely day to you, Jules and your family!


Caught up in reminiscing about my family, I completely forgot to mention my talent ! It's singing, discovered a couple of years ago at a conference (Order of St. Luke, North American Conference in Fort Worth - Memphis-style pork barbecue at the Woodshed !), when, not having a clue about my purpose in life, I heard one of the speakers say that to find your true self, find your passion, that is, what makes you cry. Immediately, I recalled the beautiful music of the Russian Orthodox liturgy that I've sung with for many years (mnoga l'eta) with the Slavyanka Chorus and San Francisco (and the other music, as well), and realized that my purpose is to sing ! That was confirmed the next day in the conference in an amazing way when I heard God speak to me - "I made you to sing." So that's what I'm about; consulting (software quality assurance with medical device companies) is just a means to that end, providing $$ to keep the bills paid, food on the table, etc., but the opportunities to sing have continued to increase as I've taken this to heart. It's a bit late in life to have found this, but better late than never (and I've realized that it would have been "never" if I hadn't suffered through a painful divorce from a wonderful lady who just didn't like that music). And so I intend, with God's help & blessing, to make the most of what's left for me. I've discovered that I have a young tenor voice, and hope / trust / expect that I'll be able to glorify God through this gift that He's given me.

Andrea Hughes

I'm still drying my tears after reading your memories of you and Max spinning round his room! What a beautiful moment for both of you!
I am in the middle of developing my talent as an artist. As a child I had always watched my father create these stunning works of art in his studio without thinking that I too could give it a try. Now that I'm retired, I decided that I had the time to pursue drawing and painting, so I enrolled in some classes. I discovered that this was such an enjoyable pastime which actually enables you to focus on a creative endeavor while at the same time keeping your worries at bay. It has been extremely cathartic for me, especially when my daughter was diagnosed with cancer. I even create my own greeting cards now, which my friends enjoy receiving. Self-expression is vital to the human spirit!

Kathleen from Connecticut


What a great memory and it was one which you did not have to write down, even though you did. You and JM brought up 2 great children. You should be proud.
For what do I have a talent...art, photography are my passions. There are others but somehow they all tie together...the art of......

GwenEllyn Anderson

Love the before and 'after' photos! How sweet!


Sewing, cooking, baking, home décor, and so many other things were my fortes.
I am now old and did all those things for so long, I am now bored of some of them. (Not the baking, but I'm too fat to be baking! Uggh.)
Sheila from Port Townsend

Chris Allin

Dear Kristi,

A touching and heartfelt mother~son story. These memories become even more significant as we watch our children grow into adults.
This time your story dissolved me into a heap of tears~
Such a gift your life is, and our gift is that you share it with us in such a beautifully written and magical way...

karen wilson

That is a very powerful piece of writing Kristin, and so moving too. Your children must love you so much and be very proud of you. You have a great talent for sharing those fleeing moments and making them eternal. I am not sure what my talent is, but it may be life drawing, as I love the human form, it can tell so many stories.

Julianna B.

Thank you for these inspiring and joyful posts! I would say I have a talent for imitating my nieces and nephews...and a few friends :)

Gordon Lyman

Thank you.You outdid yourself today, Kristin. A touching post.

Gwyneth Perrier

Wow, what a touching story! I have lump in my throat and tears in my eyes, as I think of my own 6-year-old girl and how quickly they grow up.

I love the young photo of Max and his current photo - je veux souhaiter un très joyeux anniversaire à Max !

Eileen deCamp

Hi Kristin and Max!

I love this post today....so full of joy, happiness and love! I can't help but smile listening to little 10 year old Max's voice reading the poem. So sweet! All our sweet memories of our children are kept in our hearts!

Susan Dautel

I loved the post today, and the wonderful time-gap photos of Max, but kept scrolling down to see if there was news of Smokey. Am hoping against hope for him, and still am so touched that you sent an email when my pup was fighting a battle recently lost. Sending wishes for as much time as you can have with your furry friend.


What a wonderful post!

Baking was always the province of my mother, so I felt so grownup the day I made my first batch of cookies by myself! Now, baking is a major part of who I am.


We were just recalling how our younger son (now 28) would run across the room and attack when he was small and you never knew when the ninja would show up. He also doesn't have a baby book but son #1 does:(

My talent is difficult to define, loving my boys unconditionally is one, my hobby is photography and cooking but I still have a way to go.

Totally enjoyed your post and all the comments as well.

The books look awesome.

Happy Birthday to Max.


Diane Heinecke

Kristin, I loved reading today's journal. I have found that a child's memory of the good times with his family far supersedes"firsts" written in a baby book. Our children love relating funny or touching moments. I have never heard them rave about the date of their first haircut. Enjoy the moment. It's so good to hear about the time you spend with your children. I know you're proud of them both! Bon anniversaire a Max! Il est vraiment beau.


Well, I can't converse with cats.

Angie Quantrell

Lovely! My talent, for now, is caring for my grands. They keep me running. When they are not here and I have a few moments, I love to create rubber stamped greeting cards. I use them for all sorts of gifts, donations, ministries...I actually send them out as greetings, too. Have a fabulous day!

Karen Purpura

Great question and very emotional post! I think my talent is teaching. I taught high school French, Spanish, and a little English for 34 years. Besides teaching at a public high school, I was able to teach my own children (5 of them) about cultures and languages. My kids are now 18-28 years old and love to travel and learn about people, places, and history.


My talent is baking! Flourless chocolate torte particularly.

Amy Jo

Hi Kristin! My talents are writing and learning languages. Since I was a little girl, my mom has said that I was a writer. I tried so many other things, but I have come back to what my mom (and dad) have been telling me for all those years. Why didn't I listen to them sooner?! Thank you for your fantastic blog...
Amy Jo : )

Marianne Rankin

Bon anniversaire, Max!

Kristin, I was so happy to read this story. It brought to mind a similar situation with my son, who will soon be 24.

When he was four or five, we went to the swimming pool. I had given him rides before, but this time he said he wanted to give me a ride - and he did! Of course he was able to do it because the water supported most of my weight. But it was so special, being carried by my little lad - I've never forgotten that.

Yes, they grow up so fast. William Blake said we should "kiss the joy as it flies." May you have many such joys to come.

Christie Moreno Trejo

What a heartwarming post! I too have a son that I love and he also picked me up at about that same age when I was scolding him and reminding him of what he needed to do...he too twirled me around and we laughed, then he threw me into the pool...cela dit, it was funny. Your post prompted my fun memory, merci.

catharine ewart-touzot

Kristin, of all your posts that I have read over the years this is without a doubt your best!


Beautiful post! Et merci pour les phrases au debut!

My talent is winking. Left eye. Right eye. Sultry. Playful. Isolated eye movement. Paired with a lip pout. I've get em all! ;)

Christina Hill

My talent . . . I dwell on it, I pray over it . . . what will I be when I grow up, what is my talent?? I'm grown up . . . and I'm still asking that question! I have artistic hobbies, I have outdoor hobbies . . . but my talent?? The Lord tells us to use our talents well . . . sigh . . . Lord what is my talent? So, until I'm hit with a blaze of glory and a resounding "Oh now I get it" moment . . . my talent - my family. That alone takes a lot of practice, perseverance, skill . . . and revised canvases or changed mediums! ' -)


Thank you for your best and Bon Anniversaire pour Max. My talent is music - I grew up listening music thanks to my parents and started playing the piano at age 9. At one point I wanted to do this
as my occupation so I played in a wedding band plus other accompanying. Then I decided it was best to play for fun and to share my music with family, friends, etc. For 13 years I played every Saturday at the nursing home where my dad and grandma lived until they passed. I currently play piano at my church and in a group for a homeless shelter. "Without music life would be a mistake."


Kristin, I commented above and meant to write thank you for your post (not best). The correct quote at the end is "Life without music would be a mistake".



What a charming post, full of tendresse et nostalgie. I came over from Heather of Lost in Arles' blog. But I used to read your blog years ago and have one of your French Word A Day books that I've thoroughly enjoyed. I will be adding your blog to my Feedly so I don't miss another post.


Oh, and my talent - I am adept at many things, sewing, cooking, gardening, but I like to think that I have a talent for seeing the beauty in life and sharing it with others.


Merci bien! My youngest graduated from h.s. last night, and yes, it was just yesterday that I held her hand heading into kindergarten. So much has happened since then... I wouldn't change a thing - unless I could live it all over again. Time marches on, dragging some of us along kicking and screaming!

Jan  Hersh

C'est le meilleur poste Que Jamais!

Jo Ann Gryder

My talent is making people feel comfortable whenever they are around me. I am a natural hostess who tries to draw people in wherever I go.

Diane Young

I dont know which is better - hearing that precious 10 year old reading a poem or thinking about him being 20 and able to swing his mom over his head. Thanks for sharing these wonderful moments. If I have any talent, I guess it would be writing - at least that's what others say. Hello to Smokey, who always looks so sweet.

Lisa Smith

This post brought tears to my eyes and joy to my heart. Beautifully captured moments..... xx

Julie Farrar

I'm late to the party but just had to say what a lovely piece of writing this is.

Julia ~ Falling Off Bicycles

Wow! Just getting to all these open tabs on my computer - so glad I didn't miss this one. Beautiful story and writing, Kristi.

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