The Carpenter's Gift: A Christmas Story
Bonne Année! Dependency and what I gave up

A realization + Bon bout d'an in English


TODAY'S FRENCH WORDS: Bon bout d'an!

    : Happy end of the year!

ECOUTEZ/LISTEN to Jean-Marc pronouce these words: Download MP3 or Wav

Bon bout d'an. Il est de tradition, en Provence,  de souhaiter un "bon bout d'an"  à la fin de l'année. Happy end of the year. It is a tradition, in Provence, to wish a "good end of the year" at the end of the year.

Where to rent in FranceMAS DE PERDRIX. A home in France that artists and writers love to rent.  Work on your creative project in this inspiring environment.



    by Kristin Espinasse

The end of the year is quickly approaching and I ask myself the same tormenting question: What to write about? 

Instead of worrying too much about the answer, maybe I can stop and give thanks. Especially thanks to you for taking the time to read my stories. If it weren't for this journal and your readership I would not have the motivation to write. And though I still don't know if I love writing (writing which so often incarnates itself as a living, breathing pest or a mean gym coach always shouting, "One more situp!" I do enjoy the freedom that writing gives, a release from so many fragmented sentences that occupy my mind at the approach of another deadline. The worst is how most of those sentence fragments never pan out. And the story is swept back into the abyss, like a child swept out to sea

Thinking about it--all those unfinished sentences clambering in my mind--they all might go away if I changed careers in the new year! Gone would be the writing deadline, and that would be that

But isn't that the lazy man's attitude? Which brings me to the realization, finally, of why I write: because the discipline is good for me, and because, overall, writing is a positive exercise. 

I didn't mean to talk about writing, in this, the last post of the year. But doing so makes me realize.... (I was going to go on, but, on second thought, that is not a fragmented or unfinished sentence, that last one. It is a full stop answer. To fully appreciate its meaningfulness, I'll pause now and look up the definition....)

    to realize: to understand and to become aware of something.

Oui! C'est ça! 

Wishing each of you a bon bout d'an, as we say in our neck of the Provencal woods. May you realize many things in the new year! And may these awarenesses help you and help others too.



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Barb Friedman

Love your posts and look forward to them. Your skin is gorgeous!! Do you get facials as many French women do? What's your secret?

Kate Dickerson

You are inspiring me to be more disciplined about my own blog, Kristin! The best thing about your blog is that your posts are short and so entertaining. Mine tend to get long & involved, which means two things: I often don't finish and publish them, and also, they are too long to read and enjoy.

You have a wonderful system and style, so keep 'em coming!

Bon bout d'an to you and here's to all those 2016 posts!!

Amicalement, Kate

Adeline Richarson Reunion Island

Thank you for all these 2015 posts! Thank you for everything! Bon bout d'an alors et meilleurs vœux pour une magnifique année à vous tous!

Bonne année depuis La Réunion & grosses grosses bises!
Gros calins à Smokey aussi pour 2016!

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you, Barb! No facials. It was the sunset shining back on us.

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you, Kate. I try to keep them them short, when possible. Happy writing in the new year!

Marie LaSalle

I think "bon bout d' an"is so much better than "bon boudin". Which I could so easily mispronounce it into. I had better stick to Bonne Année.
Blog Suggestion: what happens when you dictate ( or type) in English into an. iPhone set to French or Spanish. On the other hand, dictating into your IPhone in French is a great way to perfect your accent.
Happy New Year Y'all

judi dunn

.. Please keep on writing for all of our sakes! We all look forward to and enjoy your 'adventures' so very much! I will say with Bonne Annee to all of the family! bisous, Judi Dunn, Tallahassee, Fl.

Kristin Espinasse

Merci beaucoup, Adeline!

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you, Judi!


Bon bout d'an Kristin! I like that makes me think back on all the good times I had the past year and to be thankful and look forward to the coming year! Love your writing and looking forward to more of your stories in 2016! All the best to you and your family!!!

Kristin Espinasse

Thanks, Eileen. And I look forward to your photos!

Marti Hinman

À vous aussi Kristi, Bon bout d'an!
Thank you for helping us increase our
vocabulary, specially with idiomatic
expressions not found in text books.
Thank you for sharing your life, your
beautiful garden, pictures and family in that piece
of paradise Mas de Brun. May 2016 be a vintage year for you and
your family.

Kristin Espinasse

De rien,  Marti! Merci à toi!

lou bogue

wishing you and yours the same always, Lou

Cynthia Gillespie-Smith

Bonjour Kristi et Très Bon Bout d'an à toi et ta famille. I echo the sentiments of your other readers today -- thank you for all of your energy, spirit, and willingness to share your life. You bring joy to so many francophiles; you are their link to this beautiful country and culture. Please keep writing your blog (no job is perfect!), offering readers a glimpse into real French family life. Bonne Année! May we continue to learn and grow as we inhabit the planet, and may 2016 offer a brighter light for those who suffered loss and pain in 2015.

Trina from St. Petersburg, FL USA

What a delightful photo of you and Smokey! What splendid wishes you wish for us! Thank you for the wonderful new expression, too. Much appreciated (as are all your posts).

"My friend, I wish that you may prosper and be in good health, even as it is well with your soul."
3 John 1:2 (somewhat a combination of the King James and revised versions, if that is allowed)

Bonne année

Sue Lennox

Et un bon bout d'an a vous aussi, Kristi


Et un bon bout d'an a vous aussi, Kristi! Give Smokey an extra bug from me - hé is so precious. Happy Day!

Kristin Espinasse

Thanks, Lou!


Kristin, at every writers' conference I've ever attended, and most writers with whom I've spoken, this is what I have heard: the greatest commonality between writers is 1) the need to write, and, 2) the satisfaction OF HAVING WRITTEN!

Blessed 2016 to you and yours.


Bon bout d'an, Kristi! The New Year will certainly be different for me and I'm hopeful. Thank you for all your beautiful stories throughout the year, they have brought me a great deal of pleasure and comfort! I hope we can meet again in the New Year. And, thank you for helping me see my way to some light after my husbands untimely passing -very much appreciated!
Gros Bisous, judi

Chris Allin

We thank you, Kristi, for all the French words, the heartfelt stories and the immersion in everything family and French, floral and fauna, and beautiful goldens. For showing commitment to people, to the earth, to a work ethic and to faith and kindness.

And thanks to Jean-Marc (whose English is really good!) for letting us hear those lovely French words as they should be spoken, for his commitment to all of the above and for taking us along on his vineyard journey. He personifies hard work and faith and trust in Mother Nature.

And thanks to Max and Jackie and the rest of your family for giving us a glimpse into French life.

Finally, thanks to Breizh for her sweet life and for giving you Smokey. And to Smokey for just being precious Smokey.

Such a gift you offer to those of us who no longer live in France but love her still.
May the New Year bring back into your lives all that you so willingly give to others...

With great affection,
Chris and George

Kristin Espinasse

Thanks for the encouragement, Cyn, and for the friendship that has blossomed from this blog.

Kristin Espinasse

Chris and George, thank you for remembering Breizh and for your gentle words which exactly match who you are. I am grateful to have met you in person.

Kristin Espinasse

Thanks, Nancy. Will give Smokey that hug!

Kristin Espinasse

So good to hear that, Susie. And thanks for the kind wishes.

Kristin Espinasse

Judi, tender thoughts continue to go out to you, after the loss of your husband. Glad to have spent time with you, in a little tea shop in Paris, and to have put a face to the lovely comments you have left me over the years.

Mary Keates

Thanks for all the morning coffees together.
The best writers for me are those that write what they know. Your words are pure and truthful.Keep telling your story.

Kristin Espinasse

Thanks, Trina! And I enjoyed the scripture you shared.

edie schmidt

Bon bout d'an a vous aussi!
I'm hoping that this new year might bring more peace to this troubled World.
Merci for your posts, both serious and happy. Am looking forward to continuing to receive them.
Loved the photos in this one!

Edie from Savannah


First of all, I must say that you look stunning in those two photos and agree with Barb Friedman that you skin looks beautiful. Next, a comment on gratitude... I always focus on gratitude on these last days of the year, before setting intentions for the year ahead. Gratitude always leads to new intentions, or old edited intentions to which I give a new 'spin.' Writing really is about discipline. I continue to reflect on this aspect. Like so many, I realize (there's that word again) that it's the aspect of discipline that keeps me going, creating, improving. So, I'm grateful for discipline. Finally, a very happy end of the year to you and your family, Kristi! So much gratitude for your beautiful, honest words!


Our dear Kristi,
You have given us another thought provoking,inspiring post,
one that gives us pause to look into our own hearts to find and solve whatever is hiding there and needs to be resolved.
You are a gifted writer,and it is a God given talent.Whenever you start to have doubts,please remember how many lives you touch with your words,and what pleasure it brings to us,your fortunate readers,to be part of your life.
Wishing every blessing to you and your beautiful family,
at the New Year and always.
Natalia. XO

Cynthia Lewis

Dear Kristin,

I must add my sincere thanks for another year of FWAD which touches my heart every time I read it. The lovely photos of you and Smokey send the warm Provençal sunshine to us all. "Bon bout d'an" to you and each member of your wonderful family.

With best wishes,


Thank you,Kristi - I enjoyed our time,too!And, tender thoughts are always appreciated! The same are coming your way, and lots of energy to keep on writing - you do it so beautifully!

Kathleen from Connecticut

Dean and I wish you un Bon bout d'un or in other words Bonne Année. We always wish for Peace on Earth,but we never seem to get there. There is strife wherever we look and it has invaded all parts of the world. If only people could learn to live in harmony.
Therefore, we must find peace and good will towards man wherever we can find it. Reading your post is a pleasure and island of respite for all of us. We laugh, we learn and we enjoy and sometimes we pray for you and your family. We love the pictures, the blogs and learning some more French words.
Thank you for your FWAD and hopefully you'll not get burnt out in the near future, for what would we do thrice weekly?

Kathleen from Connecticut

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you,  Cynthia. I love seeing your comments.

Kristin Espinasse

Thanks,  Katia. You yourself have so many talents! I enjoyed what you said about setting intentions,  too.

Kristin Espinasse

Our dear Natalia,  (I just had to borrow your terms of endearment,  which always feel like a hug to me!)  Thank you for the sweetest words,  always,  and such wonderful encouragement!

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you,  Mary. I am touched by your feedback and encouragement, and I lift my coffee cup to you! ☕

Kristin Espinasse

Thanks for continuing to read,  Edie. I love seeing your name in the comments.  And more peace is the best wish for the new year.

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you,  Kathleen! I have been so lucky to see you and Dean over the years and am grateful for this connection.  I like what you say about appreciating peace and goodwill towards man wherever we can find it.

Diane Young

What a great tale on Year end. After all, we must finish one year before we can start another. You are an old acquaintance for me, since about 2008? and it's been a blessing to receive your WAD. Don't stop - we depend on you to keep life interesting, inspiring, amusing, etc. May the Espinasse family have a bon de l'an (?).


Kirstie, it was such a pleasure to meet you both this year. We sincerely hope that it will happen again next year.
Thank you for another year of wonderful stories

Did the photos arrive??


Karen Cafarella

Thank you for not only sharing your writing but sharing your family as well. At times it may be hard to do but your soul always shines through.

Wishing you and your family a very Happy, Healthy, Loving and Peaceful New Year!


Judy Feldman

I totally relate to this post, Kristi. I experience the same "blocks" before I have to write my blog or start a painting. It's weird, because I like to do both! I admire your tenacity, and your love of writing. It's a wonderful gift!

I look forward to more blogs from you next year.

Bonne annee 2016!


Ruth Degenhardt

I think this is my all-time favorite photo of Smokey (and you too!). Happy friends!

Best wishes to you all for the New Year!

Andrea Hughes

Bon bout d'an a tout le monde et bon debut du nouvel an 2016!!


It's what is under the skin that shines so beautifully :-)
Thank you for supplying endless joy and insights throughout the year, sharing your experiences of your home and family in France.
All the best for 2016 from the Land of Oz :-)

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you,  Diane.  You are a longtime friend to me here, and it always touches me to see you comment.  I appreciate your encouragement very much.

Kristin Espinasse

Ali and Bob, Ive just gone to look in my inbox and found them.  Happy memories from the wine tasting. Thank you both.

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you,  Andrea!

Kristin Espinasse

Karen,  Thank you for your encouragements,  and for your thoughtfulness! Wishing you,  Bob and your family a wonderful new year!

Leslie NYC

A friend just forwarded me Aretha Franklin at the Kennedy Center Honors singing "A Natural Woman". Don't ask me how this relates to your post except that it is also inspiring. It is on YouTube and I am too klutzy to know how to send a link. She picked up my spirits at a hard time. I am grateful to her.
Bon bout d'an to all.


Hello Kristi,
Même si je ne puis écrire un commentaire très souvent, je lis chaque fois vos posts avec délectation.
And I want to let you know how refreshing they are !
One O² bubble !!
Thank you for all your (writing) work which was surely rather hard when your beloved Breizh passed away... and when you faced that struggle for your "stay" in France.
I then realized that you had a strong character.

For you, your family and families, your friends here and overseas and everyone reading and commenting (or not) your posts :
"Bon bout d'An et à l'an qué ven, se sian pas maï que seguen pas men !"

Looking forward to reading you in 2016 (for sure)

Elisabeth (from Marseille, living in Salernes as you know and enjoying a family reunion in the Jura for this end of 2015 !)
And pls, forgive my mistakes...

Julie Farrar

Bon Année Kristin. The best to all of your family in the coming year. And don't feel like you have to apologize for writing about writing. What writer doesn't do that occasionally since it is so dear to his or her heart. We're all lucky that you keep wanting to tell us stories.

That picture of you and Smokey-Dokey is one of my favorite that you've ever posted. So much life in it.


Your pictures of Smokey and his mom through the years have made me smile so many times.
In like the way you often stick one in at the end.
Thank you so much

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