The Simple Sophisticate - Intelligent Living Paired with Signature Style
~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #219
~Subscribe to The Simple SophisticateiTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube | Spotify

"Your environment, where you live and how you shape your surroundings, is the biggest, most important and most impactful thing you can do to favor your own happiness." —Dan Buettner, The Blue Zones of Happiness

Have you ever said to yourself - if only I lived [insert your dream destination], I would be happier? First of all, that is perfectly human, and partially correct. Author and researcher Dan Buettner shares in his books and website Blue Zones, which dial into the blue zones of happiness, that while indeed where we live does make a difference to our levels of happiness as we adapt or become conditioned to the habits and way of life around us, so too do the following (as shared on his website - read more here):

  1. Trust. Can I trust my neighbor?
  2. Tolerance. Can I live out my values?
  3. Community. Do I have strong social connections?
  4. Healthy life expectancy. 
  5. GDP. Money does matter…up to a certain point.
  6. Freedom. Do I have the freedom to do the work that is right for me?

As I look around my surroundings in Bend, I am examining, asking and then answering these questions for myself. As well, I am doing the same thing with the English countryside and French countryside as both excursions to these countries saw my happiness pique for a variety of reasons, some that were similar and some that were not. But we cannot always pack up and move simply because we aren't feeling as content or as happy as we want. Making such a decision isn't something done lightly or swiftly for most people, but what we can do no matter where we live is tend to what surrounds us right now. Keeping in mind the list above, I'd like to break those down in more detail, paying special attention to specific areas in our lives that we can look at more closely and discover that indeed we can make some improvements to elevate the overall quality of our everyday lives no matter where we call home.

1. Understand how to cultivate healthy relationships

The only person we have control over is ourselves. But it is imperative that we find a community in which we are accepted and supported as we are able to be ourselves. Within this community that you cultivate, honor this ability for others as well. I have written a detailed post sharing seven ways to build healthy relationship here.

2. Invest in your social well-being

3. Keep tribalism to a minimum

Looking at point #2 above, if we only spend time, live, and congregate with people who think just like us, look just like us and do not engage in healthy disagreements, we are not practicing tolerance of other ideas, cultures and people that live differently than we do. While there is a limit to what each of us can tolerate, understand what is most important as we get to know others outside of our tribe - kindness, respect of others rights and boundaries, and the abillity for individuals to become self-actualized to name a few that come to my mind. If we catch ourselves being judgmental, controlling and stereotyping someone based on something they have no control over, we need to take a step back and ask ourselves if we are contributing to the problem of a healthy society.

4. Examine your health and finesse your diet and fitness routines

~The Six Pillars of Good Health, episode #212 ~Design an At-Home Strength Training Program That Works, episode #201 ~Why Not . . . Take a Walk? Part Deux ~Why Not . . . Feed Your Body Well?

5. Build and then strengthen your income and financial future

~Why Not . . . Build a Strong Financial Foundations? 7 Tips to Try Now

6. Cultivate a sanctuary that feels like home

One of the aspects of my recent trip to France was that I chose rentals that would enable me to feel as at home as possible since I was so far away from my own home and would be for some time. Details matter, less but better matters, and choosing details and furniture that enable us to live the life within our homes that is not only functional but comfortable when we do what we love. Some takeaways for me that I will be looking to add to my current living space:

  • adding more framed photographs from my travels, with my dogs, etc.
  • adding more warmth to my rental with linen curtains that I can take with me to my next home that will be purchased as the size is not pre-determined.
  • making sure my kitchen is stocked with the utensils I need to cook the meals I love.
  • furnishing my deck with comfortable furniture for quiet pursuits (reading) and summer dinners with friends and family.

Below is a list of other detailed posts to offer more ideas and inspiration for making your home a sanctuary. As well, be sure to check out my first book Choosing The Simply Luxurious Life: A Modern Woman's Guide as an entire chapter is dedicated to cultivating a sanctuary. 22 Tips for Creating a Grown-Up's Living Space Why Not . . . Make Simple Home Touch-Ups? ~many more archived Decor posts here

7. Spend time regularly enjoying hobbies that enable you to be fully present

When we engage in hobbies that allow separation from our work world, even our social world as much as we personally need, we actually are giving our mind and being a rest. And when we let our minds rest, we reduce our stress, thereby increasing potential ideas and problem solving to happen naturally.

8. Be conscious of the media that you expose to your mind

We may not be able to control the world around us, but we can control whether or not we put ourselves in a situation to consume information that isn't what we know will increase the quality of our lives. Check out this post about giving your brain a chance to calm down.

9. Come up with daily, weekly, seasonal and annual rituals you enjoy and will look forward to 

10. Take time to explore what you are truly capable of and can offer the world

The easiest way I have found to grow is to follow my curiosity. After all, when we follow what catches our attention and we wish to learn more, it doesn't feel like effort. In fact, such efforts may actually fuel us. And when we find what we love, what we enjoy doing, our contentment rises. Fred Rogers once shared about people who were successful, “The thing I remember best about successful people I've met all through the years is their obvious delight in what they're doing and it seems to have very little to do with worldly success.” And if we can find a place in this world, whether it is in the town we currently call home, or if we have to move to make such a career possible, our happiness will soar. It doesn't mean we won't face obstacles, but we will be able to work through them because we sincerely care and enjoy what we are doing. Today, consider what surrounds you - structurally - the home you live in, the physical work space; socially - the people you spend time with; concepts and ideas that are heard, seen, read - the media, ideas shared by others and the culture you call home; and what you have accepted as out of your control. Often much of what is in our control can be improved simply by being conscious of what influences our environment. Often it is in the stepping away from our everyday environment, whether because of a weekend getaway or a trip to another country, because when we return we see that life goes on in a myriad of different ways. We have the ability to construct the ways our world unfolds on a daily basis in more ways than we may realize. But when we do realize, more contentment can be ours. ~SIMILAR POSTS FROM THE ARCHIVES YOU MIGHT ENJOY:

~What Surrounds You?

~7 Ways to Become What You Were Truly Meant to Be, episode #193

~Learn How to Truly Savor Everyday Moments & Watch It Elevate Your Life, episode #163

Petit Plaisir:

Won't You Be My Neighbor? documentary film of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood and Fred Rogers

~View the conversation on TSLL's Instagram post about the film here.   https://youtu.be/FhwktRDG_aQ  

Image: TSLL's Instagram

Direct download: 219Surroundings.mp3
Category:lifestyle -- posted at: 9:00pm PDT

~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #218
~Subscribe to The Simple SophisticateiTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube | Spotify

“A nail is driven out by another nail; habit is overcome by habit.” ― Erasmus

While traveling during the past four weeks in France, I found that I was finally able to default in conversation to a handful of expressions to, on the most basic level, demonstrate I comprehended what was being said - bien sur, absolutement, parfait, ouai, je comprends, merci, de rein, à demain. Again, as you can see, a very basic level. But, there was no longer a pause before I spoke whenever any of these words or phrases was warranted. My mind no longer had to think, I just spoke.  In this instance, I was tickled. Finally, an aspect of the French language, after many years of sporadic studying, was becoming a default in my brain. A muscle had been strengthened to the point of habit. But, again, my responses were basic, simple, surface. "Doubt the default." When I heard Adam Grant utter this simple, concise, alliterative statement in his TED Talk about original thinkers, my attention was captured. It happened three years ago upon arriving in Bend and moving into my new home that I ran into a new neighbor. The circumstances were we didn't know each other, simply put, and I uttered in conversation with this perfect stranger, "trust me, I understand what you mean." At the time, I didn't think about that phrase before I said it, I didn't really consider the weight of such words - "trust me", I just said it out of habit. Default. And I wouldn't have even reflected upon this fact had the woman engaging me in conversation not said, "I don't know you to trust you." The topic of our conversation was about our dogs, but the truth was, she didn't know me, and she was fully present in the conversation. While I thought I was, the words I chose said otherwise. Ever since this conversation, I have thought carefully about what I say in conversations out of habit, filler, silence-enders, space holders. I have done my best to eliminate words such as "like" from my informal speech after I recognized how many times I would say it when, had you asked me, I would have guessed the word never entered into my syntax. Aside from the words I chose,  I began to dive into my living habits, my thinking patterns, and it was with my trip to France that I recognized many cultural defaults as well that I had not even considered addressing. Quickly, another word for "default" is a habit. By definition, a habit is something that frees our mind up to focus on other tasks. So as long as the habit is helpful and contributes to the quality of the life we desire, a habit is a very good thing. Selecting water as your drink of choice, looking for the positive, smiling instead of frowning, wearing the same uniform to work to eliminate wasting time in the morning - all very helpful habits. But habits, defaults, can also be hindering our ability to live a better life, a more thoughtful life, a more engaging life, especially when we don't even realize we have these unhelpful defaults. Below I'd like to share with you a list of potential defaults already in your life inspired by what I saw, experienced as well as caught myself doing without thinking.

1. Not taking a grocery tote into the market

In France, when you go to a supermarket, they will not provide you for free with a plastic or paper bag to place your groceries. If you, as I did on my first occasion, do not bring in your canvas tote, market tote, or anything to carry your groceries, you will have to pay for their grocery bags (ones you can use on your next visit). The price was quite small - ten centimes - but it caught my attention immediately. A good habit could easily become ingrained in my memory of bringing a grocery tote to the store if I knew I would have to pay for a new bag each time I shopped throughout the week. (In one instance, I simply placed all of my groceries into my tote - handbag; and I also saw many people bringing their market baskets to the brick and mortar stores as well - multi-purpose.)

2. Expressing a negative energy during first impressions

When I travel, I love to listen. When I listen, I am better able to observe, and it also enables me to see more clearly, and more accurately, someone's true nature. What do I mean by this? Having had the opportunity to meet many people from all different walks of life, it was often the first impression that upon reflection was the most accurate to their true disposition. When we don't know someone, and the environment is safe, what is your first reaction when you meet them? Most of the people I met expressed warmth which made those few who did not stick out like a sore thumb. Because it is the first impression, their negative or positive energy has little or nothing to do with me, and much more to do with where they are in their life at that moment.

3. Driving faster than necessary

Driving on the roads in France, the country roads, the autoroutes and everywhere in between, it became quickly apparent that most French drivers drove the speed limit. I later had a conversation with Sharon Santoni about the laws of the road and my observation, and once she explained the drivers' point system (each Euro driver begins with 12 points and they can be lost for speeding (automatic surveillance along the roads), using a cell phone, etc.), it became clear as to why the pace of the roadways felt very civilized. No matter where in the world you drive, it would be interesting to consider the defaults you adhere to when you are behind the wheel. What is deemed acceptable, what is not? Buckling up - good. Glancing at your cell phone - bad. Driving a manual car during my entire trip which was something I am accustomed to, but my current car for the past four years here in the states is not a stick, upon arriving home, my left foot automatically began looking for the clutch without success. My brain had defaulted in four short weeks to expecting to use a clutch. This is good news. Not only can we change the defaults that are not helping us, but they can be  "reprogrammed" quite quickly with frequent, repeated practice.

4. Not greeting the shop keeper, artisan, taxi driver, etc.

The many travel writers and travelers of the world, have done a magnificent job of sharing the importance of saying "bonjour" if one is in France, but in nearly every other country in the world as well, upon entering any business, vendor, etc. in order to begin to set a cordial tone. From time to time, I would notice a traveler, in my case, I zoomed in on Americans, but that's not to say other world citizens don't make the same mistake as well, immediately begin making an inquiry of the proprietor without extending a salutation. And while often, the staff would attempt to help them, an opportunity to build a better rapport was missed. I began thinking about this simple habit of focusing first on the human connection before homing in on the task which brought us to the store, market, etc. The difference is there are feelings and emotions involved that must be considered when we choose to first focus on making a human connection. And when we do this, we are being present. No, we do not know how the interaction will go, but the chances that it will go well are greatly increased.

5. Assuming a market will always be open

I quickly learned that I needed to plan my grocery shopping well before my stomach became hungry. While this detail was something I remembered from my previous trips, staying in vacation rentals, I usually wanted to cook my own meals, so making sure a market of some sort was open (restaurants are usually opened each day of the week for at least lunch and dinner) was a shift from my approach in the states. In the states, if I have forgotten an ingredient for dinner on a Sunday, I don't think twice about heading to the market for a quick pick up. Having to know in some capacity that I had what I needed for my meals in advance also enabled me to just relax and enjoy a leisurely Sunday or any afternoon during the week as the outdoor markets wrapped up around 1pm and most restaurants in the small towns shut down between lunch and dinner.

6. Eating the same food year round

In Provence, the melons were nearing their peak ripeness, but green asparagus season was all but over. White beans were a treasure to be purchased and savored during these months strawberries were to indulge upon like candy. However, if I were to return in November, as most of the markets are opened year-round, I would see completely different selections. Now, we know the seasons offer different fruits and vegetables, even seafood, but it can sometimes become easy to forget when we shop in a supermarket and only stick to the same food each trip. The appreciation for the food that only comes once a year is something we can celebrate in our cooking as we dine on the rich flavors. In so doing, we actually do help our waistline as we become satiated more quickly and do not overeat as we are eating real food with natural, wonderful flavor.

7. Perfect and impersonal

The idea of a perfect home, a perfect outfit, perfect hair, a perfect life, as we know is a futile pursuit. And to this point, most intensely, it was the decor that woke me up throughout this trip as I appreciated the signature touches made available by the treasures one can find at the many brocante markets. Now this is not to say, one cannot decorate a home outside of France without the access to brocantes. Absolutely not, but what I think is tempting is to make everything look ideal immediately in our homes - paintings, furniture, tabletop vignettes, etc. And as Sharon Santoni and I were talking, a beautiful home that is the sanctuary for the inhabitants is one that has layers of unique and thoughtful decor choices, and these layers take time. When I stepped foot onto Sharon's property, enjoyed meals with her family, and stayed in her guest cottage, it was immediately clear that they lived there. I couldn't purchase her decor details", but I could be inspired by them because it was more than the things, it was the stories that came with them.

8. Speedy and surface conversations

As I shared at the beginning of my post, it can be easy to say certain catch phrases without really thinking about what the words themselves mean. While idioms exist in every culture, sayings that mean more than what they are literally saying, it's not the idioms I am talking about here. When we are in a different culture that asks of us to reach beyond the language we are most comfortable with, often the conversation can be slow. While this may be frustrating as we want to talk quickly like locals, it shows thoughtful care. We want to make sure what we wish to say is said and not something that will offend or confuse.  I find that sometimes in conversations we say more words than our necessary. Just as in every other arena of our lives, quality over quantity. When we choose our words carefully, we can say so much more. Excessive use of superlatives (best, largest, toughest, most amazing, prettiest) waters down the actual compliment if all you use are superlatives for something you either love or loathe. Precise words and thoughtful timing of when we engage in conversation, demonstrates we are listening, we care and we are trying to understand.

9. Drama is necessary and thus inevitable

Initially, it was my lack of access to the regular news sources I look to or listen to on a typical day when I am in the states that made me realize that I had been accepting the noise of problems, clashes and pain as normal. But even with the shows and books we read, we can come to expect, even look for, the clash, the conflict, the drama, that must be there somewhere. The truth is, often things to work out. In fact, it is human nature biologically to remember the instances that didn't work out more readily than the times that did for survival. But when we accept this biology, we ignore that when we are aware of why this happens, we can shift our expectations, our reactions and instead rest more easy, enjoy the steady, even balance of our lives that go well quite often. Why look for the drama when it truly doesn't need to be there?

10. Assuming an incapability

I can't travel alone. I can't drive in another country. I can't live without [insert something that you cannot travel with]. Often when we travel we discover something, if not many, things about ourselves we were not consciously aware of. Many of these discoveries are awesome, exciting bits of information that awakens us to our best selves, but sometimes we discover that we have been limiting ourselves unnecessarily. If our default in our minds is "I can't" instead of even just "I'll give it a shot" when a new task or new experience is placed in front of us, we may miss out on the most beautiful London plane trees lined country roads in France (see below), or meeting Walter Wells (I ended up after attempting to walk to class at Patricia Wells' cooking class the first night, getting lost, and ended up calling Walter who came and found me and picked me up in his car to take me to their property for dinner - we had a lovely conversation). We often sell ourselves short regarding what we are truly capable of doing, and we especially do so when our default setting is immediately "I can't". Yes, you can. You may have to do a bit more homework, save a bit more money, or have some patience, but "I can't" is often more an expression of hoping that we could so badly but we just don't know how.

"Default choices often remain unchanged for no reason other than being the default, either because of this lack of information or humans' status quo bias." —Marvin Ammori

Adam Grant was right, we should doubt our defaults because when we don't we are either living unconsciously or not living as full of a life as we could if only we had more information to make different choices and take different actions. Kristin Armstrong states it frankly, "We either live with intention or exist by default." When we live with intention, we are living well. We may not have success on our first attempts at speaking differently, acting differently or engaging differently, but we are doing it out of a conscious choice to live more authentically, thoughtfully and more engaged with the world we are living. While traveling to France made this concept of living with defaults quite glaring to me, we don't have to travel outside of even our own town to know that we may have defaults that are not serving us or defaults that are limiting our full potential whether it be in our appreciation of life, our relationships, even our success at work. All it takes is a choice to reflect and ponder, why do I greet people the way I do? Is that the energy I want to extend? If so, that's awesome, but if you recognize you want to make a change, you can do that too. When we doubt the default, we are choosing to be selective about the habits we allow to be habits in our lives. It's when we do not know we have these habits that we step on our own toes, so to speak, and trip ourselves up without realizing we are the ones slowing our progress down. And that is great news, we each have the skills and the opportunity to stop tripping and start striding into the life we love living. ~SIMILAR POSTS/EPISODES YOU MIGHT ENJOY:

~20 Ways to Live Like a Parisian, episode #127

~15 Everyday Habits to Live a Life of Contentment, episode #93

~Why Not . . . Live a Life of Quality?

~Listen/Read more French-Inspired podcast episodes here. ~Learn more and subscribe to TSLL's weekly newsletter here.

Petit Plaisir:

~Filt shopping bags (made in Normandy, France)
  • more colors here and here
  • A net and rope company based in Caen, France, since 1855 with a goal of creating environmentally-friendly products.

 

~Sponsor of today's episode:

  • Lola 
    • Use promo code SOPHISTICATE to save 40% off all subscriptions
Direct download: 218Default.mp3
Category:lifestyle -- posted at: 9:00pm PDT

The final episode taped in France during my travels shares a few memorable moments I had the opportunity experience, and as I had the opportunity to stay at author, blogger and photographer Sharon Santoni's home in France, I wanted to share a few images from the cottage I called home for a few days in northern France.

~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #217
~Subscribe to The Simple SophisticateiTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube | Spotify

~Dining at La Couronne (the location where Julia Child enjoyed her first French meal in 1949). Check out more images in my IG Highlights - FranceTripP2 I look forward to writing detailed posts on all that I experienced during my month long trip in France this summer. Look for a majority of the posts to be shared during TSLL's annual French Week which begins on Sunday August 12th; however, a few will be posted prior to this date as I have an abundance of content. TSLL will be taking a week off to settle back into my life in Bend beginning today and resuming with a brand new episode of the podcast and the regular weekly post schedule on Monday July 23rd. ~Catch up on all of my #TSLLFrance2018 moments on Instagram (and be sure to check the Highlights as well). ~Listen to the previous episodes from France below:

~episode #216, French Trip Travel Musings, Part Deux

~episode #215, French Trip Travel Musings, Part Une - Why Not . . . Make the Effort?

Petit Plaisir:

~Fresh goat cheese drizzled lightly with fresh, high quality olive oil, paired with a fresh baguette to be enjoyed after the entrée course of a meal. Below enjoy a few images from Sharon Santoni's cottage where I stayed over the past weekend. Sharon will be sharing tips about her approach to decor as well as details about the many tours she gives throughout France when TSLL's annual French Week takes place beginning August 12th.

Direct download: 217FrenchTrip3.mp3
Category:French-inspired -- posted at: 10:00pm PDT

As my travels continue in France, Part Deux of the travel musings-themed episodes is shared today as I recorded the episode while walking in the country amongst vineyards, olive trees and under the brilliant blue sky of Gordes, Provence. Be sure to tune in as I talk about topics that have been on my mind these past few weeks. Some have to do with travel and some have to do with everyday life and how to elevate it. I also share a few upcoming posts that I will be sharing in the coming weeks and months inspired by the trip. Below are specific topics and links to deepen the discussion. Thank you for tuning in and have a great week. Bonne journée! ~Follow TSLL on Instagram (@thesimplyluxuriouslife)

~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #216
~Subscribe to The Simple SophisticateiTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube | Spotify

~Traveling Alone

~3rd Annual TSLL French Week - Sunday August 12-19, 2018

~How to Create a Healthy Approach to Staying Abreast of the News, episode #187 ~How to Create an All-Around Healthy Life, episode #208 ~Daily Simple Luxuries (to enjoy while traveling or at home in our everyday lives)

~Listen and Catch Up! French Trip Travel Musings, Part One, episode #215 BELOW: images captured like walking and talking (taping episode #216 on July 7, 2018) just outside of Gordes, France.

~the sandals I have been wearing constantly during this trip - les tropiezennes. Recommended to me by author M.L. Longworth (who I had the opportunity of meeting in Aix-en-Provence this week - a detailed post will be coming soon on my excursion to this fantastic French city), these sandals are made in the south of France and can be ordered from the states - which is what I did prior to traveling.

 

~Tour the vacation rental I have enjoyed this week while staying in the Luberon region. You too can rent it as well! Click here for the entire tour as well as expert decor tips from the owner.

~Sign up for TSLL's Weekly Newsletter (delivered every Friday)

Petit Plaisir:

~Enjoy an aperitif and nibbles before a meal or with friends for a casual gathering.
  • Aperitif definition - a drink enjoyed before a meal to stimulate the appetite
  • Keep it simple: Do make complicated appetizers, but instead serve fougasse or slim breadsticks, hummus, olives, nuts, and/or slices of meat.
  • Fougasse bread - typically associated with Provence, but found in many other places. It is a type of flatbread made with flour, yeast, salt and water.
    • infused with herbs and in Provence olive fougasse is quite popular.
    • Check out Paul Hollywood's recipe of his version of fougasse
  • No cheese (save the cheese course until after the entrée)

~SPONSOR of Today’s Episode:

Direct download: 216FINALFinal.mp3
Category:travel -- posted at: 10:00pm PDT

~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #215
~Subscribe to The Simple SophisticateiTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube | Spotify

"It's worth the effort." —Patricia Wells

(The following episode was taped while traveling in Provence, France, using a handrecorder. Please excuse indulations in volume.) The legions of birds and their signature melodies, the playful butterflies that promenade amongst our meals, the clock tower reminding us that indeed we are not dreaming and the vintner on his tractor tending to his vines. The sounds of Provence. More specifically, the sounds of Vaison-la-Romaine. As my fellow classmates and myself sat down for our final lunch together with Patricia and Walter Wells concluding a week long experiential cooking class, the words above were shared with the group. Speaking not only of the effort to plan, prepare, and shop at the market, but also to have the patience with our lives to curate them carefully so to provide the fertility for a beautiful life to grow, the Wells demonstrated that a good life can be simple, slow and yes, thus absolutely luxurious. In this particular moment the effort made by the Wells was to welcome a group of people that would appreciate in their own way the gathering as well as the food (which was exquisite and seasonal). Traveling abroad to a country which doesn't speak a language we know well can be intimidating, and for some seemingly dream crushing. But it need not be. In fact, as a language teacher, when the words are removed or pared down to the essentials of living an everyday life (thank you, please, how much, where is, I love, etc.), we are invited to see the world through a different lens. We begin to observe actions far more carefully, to value the importance of kindness and thoughtfulness. When we rely only on our words to navigate in this world we forget how influencial our body language, our facial expression, our tone can be on any given situation. Yes, even a smile can be sinister or sincere, and if we are studied in the skill of physical observation, we can ascertain the slight and subtle difference. Yes, undoubtedly, words are powerful, and to live well in a civilized society such as ours and much of the modern world, knowing how to communicate well in the language of the country and community in which we live is fundamental, but it isn't the only skill we should practice and improve regularly to build the relationships we want and need in our lives. So if there is another world (country) you long to see, to experience, to taste, but the language barrier is currently the dilemma, fear not. Ironically, I have found that the best way to pick up a language, for it to stick in my long-term memory, is to be amongst as it is used in the world. It has been with each trip, moreso with each subsequent trip, to France that while I do not understand 60-70% of what is said, I understand more and more and feel less of someone on the outside. What we fear is not knowing French, but what we long is to be amongst the French culture. What better teacher than a Francophone country? When you step into your fear, the language will gradually come. Not an immense amount, but in spurts and stalls. Give yourself the gift of one more language, even if you speak it poorly (which I do when it comes to French) because as the Chinese proverb reminds "To learn a language is to have one more window from which to look at the world" and as the Czech proverb teaches, "You live a new life for every new language you speak. If you know only one language, you live only once." And so if we each have one more window to broaden our perspective and provide a deeper understanding of the world and then one more life, how rich and wise are we? What does making an effort look like when it comes to our dreams? For the Wells it was purchasing a farm in the hills of Provence, remodeling for decades, little by little and choosing, taking the risk, to share their lives, a glimpse, but an intimate glimpse, eight weeks a year (one week at a time) with strangers from around the world. Effort. Let's take a look at other examples of effort: 1.Waking up early to begin the day with more time than needed so you do not have to rush 2. Saving each month money for retirement 3. Choosing to get to know yourself 4. Recognizing you can grow and becoming a student of the skills you can learn 5. Not doing as others do, traveling every weekend or every summer and instead, saving, planning or living where you love calling home. 6. Being thoughtful in your relationship building 7. Taking the time to understand someone who is good, but communicates or lives differently, in order to strengthen and express love 8. Giving yourself permission to feel what you feel, but also recognizing emotions are like the weather, not the climate - temporary. 9. Taking care of your health and body 10. Strengthening the muscle that is your mind

"It is astonishing how much enjoyment one can get out of a language that one understands imperfectly." — Basil Lanneau Gildersleeve

As much as we are advised and even tell ourselves to live in the moment (heck, TSLL talks regularly about being present), we are given the gift of perspective as human beings. And it is through effort that dreams can be realized that are worth savoring upon not only attaining them, but making the journey towards them. My trip to France as I mentioned a few weeks ago has been years in the making. I might even suggest it began the moment I made my first month long journey in 2000. In some ways my trip to France is part of a larger journey toward other visions I have for my life, so in many ways our lives contain dreams within dreams that we pursue. Which when you contemplate this composition creates a beautiful life quilt consisting of many dreams that bolster and provide foundation for one another. Effort is worth being given, and your dreams are worth being pursued. Have the patience to let them fertilize, mature and grow when they have the strength to emerge. This requires of each of us careful awareness, a flexibility, but also a courageousness. All of these are skills; therefore, we all can learn them and use them. Bonne journée from Vaison-la-Romaine, Provence, France. ~SIMILAR POSTS FROM THE ARCHIVES YOU MIGHT ENJOY:

~Everyday Life in Paris: A Fashion Show in the Palais-Royale (I was not invited)

~Back to Paris (summer 2018)

~9 Life Lessons From French Women about Women

~View allFrench-themed podcast episodes of The Simple Sophisticatehere. ~View allTSLL French-themed blog postshere. ~Follow TSLL on Instagramto see all of the pics from my France trip. ~Sign-up forTSLL's weekly newsletterand never miss a post or exclusive news (delivered each Friday to your inbox)!

Petit Plaisir:

~My Twenty-Five Years in Provence: Reflections on Then and Now by Peter Mayle (his final book)
If you are just beginning to read Peter Mayle's work (he has published 14 books, 7 of which were novels), begin with the memoir that caught the world's attention A Year in Provence, and if you love cozy mysteries set in France, begin with The Vintage Caper (2009) Sam Levitt detective series, there are four in the series. ~Visit Peter Mayle's website ~Read my full review here - Peter Mayle's Love Letter to Provence

~Sponsor of today's episode:

Download the Episode
Direct download: 215FrenchMusingP1.mp3
Category:French-inspired -- posted at: 4:00pm PDT

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