Saturday, October 24, 2015

Fifth anniversary of Lost in Arles



Well, there will be no bells and whistles. No marching bands or giveaways. But I am quietly delighted to be celebrating the fifth anniversary of Lost in Arles, most certainly for one reason...you.


We have been through a lot together, n'est-ce pas? And yet time has passed within the blink of an eye.

I have been mulling a post over in my head for the past two months now. Its working title has been "Go Big or Go Home?" and this seemed the right time, a good a day as any, to talk it out. 


Remi, my handsome, smart and funny companion, coaxed me into starting this blog. After a year full of confusion and heartbreak, it was a means to start building a pathway forward. "Be true to yourself," he would remind me, especially when readers other than my immediate friends and family started to appear, much to my complete surprise. "Don't try to please others." 


And so that is what I have tried to do - with the occasional wavering, it happens - in the over 600 posts so far. Slowly, you have arrived - one by one usually - and many of you have stayed. Some amazing bloggers were kind enough to talk about Lost in Arles very early on and that was an enormous help. Recently, I had a big influx of new readers, as two of my friends with very popular blogs were kind enough to mention me. Amazingly, it seems like I have lost most of them. Did that hurt? Kind of but it made me realize that just maybe this is a space that you need to randomly stumble upon and think, "What is this? I kind of like what she is doing...I just might belong here."


As a blogger, there is massive pressure to constantly expand your readership and your presence in social media. "Don't you want sponsors? Don't you want a book deal?" (Um...oui?) At some point in 2013, I could feel the wave of what I was making here rising, that a wave was coming. There were a few people that I have an enormous amount of respect for who gave me concrete advice about what to do next - change platforms, build in SEOs, create a selling space, consider the possibility of controlled advertising, launch and keep updated accounts on Facebook, Twitter and the rest...it was all right there and very clear cut.


Except that I couldn't do it.


I just didn't have it in me to do this blog in my own way plus all of that too and so the wave rolled back out. My friends who have very successful blogs - some of who have built them up in the same or even less time than I have been writing and photographing here - can. They work incredibly, incredibly hard every day of the week. We are talking definitely beyond the realms of a full-time job. I love them precisely because they are so motivated and ambitious but I am not. I wonder if those years of acting auditions just sucked the drive out of me. It's entirely possible.


But a slow pace can be a good thing too. I remember the exact day when I started to pick up my camera with an aim to do something beyond simply illustrating. Remi was in the midst of a long project of photographing the Romanesque churches of Provence, while using a complex technique that would at times require an hour to create each photo. How I would fidget and fuss amidst the pockets of too long until, out of nowhere, came the idea to start exploring on my own through the lens and not just with my always racing mind. And it became pretty clear to me immediately that what I was interested in most was to focus on the world of the little.


When we moved out of Arles over a year ago, Remi told me, "This will be great for your blog." And how wrong I thought he was, for months. I really floundered, stumbling without the constant energy and sparks of city life to inspire me. I didn't know what to say. Until finally, I gave up and let the little win. Because there is so much that is important within the minutiae of everyday.


 Sometimes, the answers really are right there in front of us. Recently, I took an online personality test. It seemed smartly done and I was curious. Little did I know how illuminating it would be (for many aspects of my life). It turns out that my personality is extremely rare, an INFJ, what this site calls "The Advocate." The traits assigned ring true - I have a high sense of idealism and a real need for integrity above all, qualities that I hope to use to help people that I care about. I need to have a purpose. 


And what I have been wondering is, "Do I?" Is this blog with its incessant repetitions and variations on a theme, enough? 


It took me a few weeks to find the answer, which is, "I think so...Maybe I am an Advocate for Beauty." And oh, how I really hope that doesn't sound as pretentious as I fear because guess what? You all are too. 


Of the nearly 3,000 of you that follow along here through various sources, there are about twenty, maybe thirty who leave comments on a regular basis (merci!) and yet I feel like I know all of you and are connected to you somehow. Does that sound crazy? But it is true. And I have even been lucky enough to have met some of you in person or shared walks through Arles together - which only confirmed that suspicion one hundred percent. 


Because we are of like minds and hearts. A little community but a really good one. 

And while our advocating may not be anywhere near as far-reaching as what former INFJ's such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Mother Theresa brought to the world, a-hem, I still think that it is really needed in our demanding world. 


It isn't that I am determined to keep the blog from growing or that things will never change around here either but to answer my original question of "Go Big or Go Home?" Well, Lost in Arles may not be big, even after five years...but I certainly feel right at home.


Thank you, thank you for doing so much to make it so.


I am happy right where I am. I hope you are too.


With much Love and profound Gratitude from Provence,
Heather



81 comments:

  1. Heather I love your personal and authentic viewpoint. I have no interest in blogs that are too commercial and don't share something from the heart and/or mind. I read a lot of publications and don't need others to rehash them for me unless there is a unique and insightful connection. So - congrats - please continue keeping it real! Xx

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  2. Congratulations on this milestone. You are a guide and an advocate in so many ways. You already know how I feel about you and this blog. I'm so glad we met and that while each of our journeys may be different, we are making them together. xxoo
    P.S. Watch my Instagram account -- I have a BIG journey ahead starting next week!

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  3. Keeping it real, staying true to your own voice and expressing it through your beautiful photography is what makes your blog so special Heather. Have enjoyed it for many years and look forward to the journey ahead. Congratulations Heather on five 'original' years. "Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom"...and you do, a blessing for us all. xx

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  4. YOU GO SMALL and WE your FAITHFUL FOLLOWERS will be TRUE to our HEARTS and remain HERE with YOU and BEN and KIPLING......and REMI TOO!!!
    I personally have LOST interest in the BLOGS that advertise..........................I may still be hanging on but they are NOT what they WERE In the beginning.Also, I cannot STAND the PIN that comes over some of the photos that changes the color from light to dark and you canNOT see the PHOTO without moving the MOUSE around!!As odd as it seems that takes too much time!
    Then there is the MUSIC which takes forEVER to load and SLOWS the whole reading process down!!!!!!!!!!
    I'm talking about the music that comes on when you click on the BLOG not the inserts of music YOU do once in awhile.
    3000 FOLLOWERS is A LOT to ME!!!
    I do wish MORE would comment but look at the word COMMENT on MOST blogs.......it is minuscule.HARD TO FIND.Who is the designer here?A MAN in my opinion...............just saying.MAKE PLEASE COMMENT BIG AND BOLD at the END........do not make us go through ADVERTISEMENTS to scroll down to find the COMMENTS!!!I was on a BLOG yesterday a BIG BLOG and she gets so few comments.........like me and one other person cause I think the older ladies who read it think they are at the end!!!!Wouldn't YOU if you hit ADS at the bottom of an article?
    FIVE YEARS..........seems longer to me.I said this last year.I think YOU were the second or Third Blog I FOLLOWED.I LOVED THE RED FORMAT TOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!MAYBE bring that BACK this year???!!!
    You have ALWAYS been TRUE to yourself................and WE LOVE YOU FOR THAT.
    I would say it's a KIR ROYAL night and PUT THAT CAFTAN on and SNAP a PHOTO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    XOXOXOXOXOXO
    HUGS GALORE!

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    1. I hate pinterest! I totally resent that if I want to see something that someone has posted out of their own interest is now a commercial property that I must "register" or "sign in" to view! What an insult! And the music! Yes, I don't like it either. I can make my own music happen, I don't need it on a blog. I do understand why some bloggers have advertisements or things for sale, but it does take away from the personal touch. Thanks, C!

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    2. ANYTIME!
      YOU have a VERY GOOD POINT!!!!!

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  5. Integrity in a deceptive and inauthentic world? The need for purpose beyond oneself in a sea of self-promotion? An ardent advocate for beauty, yet in such an elegant and quiet manner?

    We are grateful for the rare vision and insights you provide through the pen and the lens, Heather. These are not "small" gifts, and nor do they come without a price. Those of us in this odd little (massive) online universe understand that truth.

    The promise of the "big" is elusive. What is tangible -- here and now -- is indeed the beauty, thoughtfulness and perspective you grant us when you share yourself as you do.

    Happy fifth.

    xo

    D

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  6. Ahhh I love this. You are an advocate in so many ways-for beauty, for love, for compassion, for puns--good and bad, for light, for dreams, for your partner, and I think more and more--for yourself. And that is what makes this such a special place. highly programmed and business blogs are a dime a dozen and most make about that much too. You don't need to rely on tropes like how tos and I'm An Authority, You're Not because you write and photograph to remind us nothing or no one is invisible and no detail is too small or insignificant to be appreciated.
    Can you guess my MBTI? I've never agreed with it, but everyone else seems to.

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  7. Hi Heather.

    Congratulations on your blog anniversary.
    Lost in Arles is all yours... You are in control of making it whatever you want it to be.
    I had advertisements on my blog for about a minute... I realized that the amount of money I would receive from advertisers wasn't enough to make up for the changes the ads made to my blog. Not only did I feel obligated to write a blog post even when I didn't feel like I had anything to say, but I also felt that I had commercialized a very personal part of myself.
    I found it helpful to sit down and really think about why I started my blog... I wanted to share what I have learned. I wanted to connect with people who saw the world as I see it...as a place where we can all succeed if we support each other. There are many definitions of success... I believe Lost in Arles is a wonderful and successful blog because of your honesty and your ability to connect with your readers.... all 3,000 of them! Imagine what a large crowd we would be if we were all in one room... Wow! I am honored to be one of your followers.

    xo

    Brooke

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  8. You are SO an advocate for beauty. I have only recently been reading your blog on a consistent basis and there are some days when it just settles me after a crazy day. Keep on with what you are doing.

    Thanks.

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  9. Oh my gosh Heather what a beautiful post in thoughts and photos.

    The line that got to me was this one: "there is so much that is important within the minutiae of everyday."

    You capture so much beauty in the simple things. Coming to your blog is a way to slow down and appreciate so much in life.

    Congrats on your five years, and keep being your sensitive, lovely self. Sharing the beauty that surrounds you.

    FlowerLady

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  10. Happy Anniversary, Heather! I love the way you craft your stories for this blog and create such a peaceful, insightful place to visit. Your photos are a beautiful extension of your delicately and well-chosen words and help to well and truly lift a bit of the curtain for a glimpse into your lovely little corner of the world. I am always happy to find your post pop into my reader list. Thank you for such a lovely, warm and inviting place to visit!

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  11. Happy Anniversary. Thank you.The time I spend reading your posts refreshes me. I look forward to your post, and believe that our world would be a better place if we each took the time to appreciate the beauty in our daily lives.

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  12. Congratulations! What I enjoy about your blog is precisely your personal approach to "the world of the little" in Provence, your insightful words and your beautiful photos. Coming here is like a brief holiday full of simple beauty and tranquility. I can almost smell your little corner of the world because you make it come alive.
    Oh, and you're to blame for a wonderful time in Simiane this year :-)
    This blog is yours to do with whatever you wish. But I can't help feeling that those bloggers who start turning their blogs into a business also turn it into a job like any other without noticing.

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    1. ... and their blogs lose personality and character, which is a real shame.

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  13. "I was interested in most was to focus on the world of the little.”

    Voila. It’s huge. "...there is so much that is important within the minutiae of everyday.”

    To borrow words from A Time of Gifts by Patrick Leigh Fermor

    “…a miniature lifetime.”

    CONGRATULATIONS.

    THANK YOU HEATHER.

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  14. Staying true to yourself is hard. I am tempted to try something different, sometimes, because, like you, I feel like I always talk about the same themes. I mean, how varied can it get on an island this small? But then I realise that this is what I know best and that talking about anything else will probably sound stilted. So I'm with you and I love what you write about
    Oh and happy anniversary :)

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  16. Yay! What a beautiful post for such a big anniversary!!! I can't buh-lieve it has been 5 years - yowza! I would love to go back and read your first post; I know your writing and photography have grown, but I'm certain your voice has stayed the same! I, also, am not very "ambitious"; it might have something to do with rebelling against the "he who dies with the most toys wins" mentality we grew up in. And show business!! Nope, I think I'll just focus on simplicity, on happiness. And spirituality - yours is so special because it is so spiritual; all the greats tell us, "slow down, notice nature, get out of your head". And so with your blog we do! It is full of love, I think, and we feel it. Thank you for five years of such beautiful words and images (love the ones here today, too!) - I look forward to many, many more!

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  17. Congratulations on your blog anniversary. We live in The Netherlands and have a second home near Grignan. A friend of ours lives in St. Remy. I love reading your blog, especially when I am in The Netherlands and longing for that precious place near you. Please keep on writing and making beautiful pictures the way you do. I love it. Merci et bises !

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  18. Heather, congratulations on your fifth anniversary! I always find such comfort and grace here. Yes, you have remained true to your intention from the start. The "big" sponsored blogs leave me cold! Your warmth and spirit shine through with every click and keystroke. I almost feel as if I want to tiptoe through your posts as not to intrude. The intimacy you have created here is so very special and I am sure if I listen closely enough, I can almost hear your heartbeat! I hope you and Remi are toasting this occasion with a glass or two of the bubbly! Thank you so much for all that you share. Chin chin!

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    1. Btw...neglected to add...that last pic of the pups is so pure! Pure love! xx

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  19. Heather .. Congratulations on finding YOU and sharing your findings with us. Perfect !

    Aloha,
    Bill

    www.kauai-to-paris.com

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  20. Heather,
    What is rare is to give what many cannot,
    or will not - this is a true Gift -
    And you have done this for five years.

    You are to be commended for allowing us into
    a world of beauty, sensitivity, kindliness and Peace

    It is refreshing and inspiring to know there are people who
    eschew the commercial and focus on the Essential

    Merci,
    Susan Gabriel

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  21. I can so relate to everything you have just written. That was truly from the heart and I loved reading all of it. Love reading Lost In Arles, five years young - merci mille fois

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  22. Beautifully stated and beautifully expressed in your photos. I truly enjoy your posts.

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  23. I probably don't comment enough but I have been appreciating every word you write, and enjoying every photograph, for some years now. I will be with you always, no matter the changes or lack thereof. You do beautiful work, Heather, and my life is enriched through your blog. I find joy in your words and photos, even when all around is steeped in sadness. I am truly grateful for you. Kisses to all from me and my Rémy.

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  24. Congratulations. I cannot improve on the words of DA Wolfe but I would add, we love you exactly as you are.

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  26. Congratulations...and what a lovely post!

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  27. Heather! That was amazing. Those are absolutely stunning photos, you have found a way to use your craft that reveals the details I would never see on my own. Your blog is authentic and honest, it just shines through. The last photo of the dogs reminds me of the days when I had two goldens, they are such wonderful animals. Don't change, don't stop, you are home.
    bonnie

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  28. I agree with all these comments! I remember Brooke told me when I first started about advertising; what a wonderful analysis it was. I knew it wouldn't work for me. We all look forward to your posts; and the lovely world you show us!
    Stick with your heart! (as I am sure you will!)
    We love love love!!!!

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  29. Heather congratulations for 5 years of commitment and sharing. Keep doing what you're doing, we will be here waiting for every post. Love to the puppies xxx

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  30. This post was so resonant with me, even though I don't have a blog. A fellow INFJ here. I'm "retired" now - lost my job in the Great Recession and never found another, and aged out of the marketplace. I wondered if I was not ambitious enough, thought about starting a blog but decided it was too much work. My husband and I moved to the Appalachian mountains and enjoy being surrounded by the constantly changing beauty of Nature, which just makes us happy. I, too, get caught up in the little things, and love looking through a macro lens. Years ago I tried to nail down my purpose and came close to your "Advocate for Beauty." I can't quite remember it now (LOL), but it was something like 'appreciate and express beauty, create harmony.' I appreciate YOUR capacity for expressing beauty, both in words and pictures, and for sharing your personal perspective and quiet thoughts. Congratulations on your 5th anniversary.

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  31. Thank you, Heather, for 5 beautiful years of blogging. Your site is perfect the way it is, always baring your heart and soul and still finding time to be an advocate for others no matter their situation. Your writing is blissful.

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  32. Heather my friend, your blog is a unique place to visit. We come here for the quality of your writing, your pictures, those dogs and your honesty. An advocate for beauty, yes ... for the little things, yes, but also for listening to the stillness and being brave enough to say things the way they really are.
    I still believe you could write a wonderful book, and that it would sell, but the most important thing is that you are happy and comfortable with what you do here.
    happy birthday, speak soon

    Sharon

    xx

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  33. Ditto from me to what the others are saying. Through your photos and your words I almost feel like I am there with you, like an "armchair traveler" and am very inspired every time. Please don't stop...... what you do for us is truly a gift and a blessing. merci pour tout! xo

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  34. Just in time!

    Today, bear hunt has started in Florida, Washington Post is keeping toddler gun stats and so far this year there has been a shooting a day BY toddlers, 3 and under, in USA, and more.

    Then just in time, you appear on screen. for me you are an advocate for the peace of beauty, for reminding us, or just me?, that small is beautiful, the detail is beautiful.

    Thank you so very much. Joan

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  35. Your blog has both sense and sensibility and makes people dream.

    Angelica

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  36. Heather, I never comment on blogs, but today I want to encourage you to do what you enjoy and especially to advocate beauty as only you can, you have a very artistic way of viewing things and it totally resonates with me. Thank you for speaking from your heart to my heart. Kindly, Barb

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  37. Congratulations on the milestone. I have been a faithful reader for several years. I don't write just read. You, Jeanne, D.A., Elizabeth, Ellie, and Brooke are my favorites. Thank you for being here. You matter to me.
    Vicki

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  38. Happy Blog Anniversary!
    Happy here? Absolutely. You are a fantastic writer, great thinker, beautiful photographs, cute partner, adorable dogs, and a special good heart to name a few. I remember that abandoned town with the super spooky fountain, gorgeous landscapes, the fenced in closed church, a photo of the Rhone River that gave me chills (deep water not my thing), and more. At the blog level I feel you are, ads make sense, a column with ads that you determine the size of.
    I hope you continue to do as you've been doing because your blog is never boring, and always a pleasure to read.

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  39. First of all congratulations! Five years is a long time to have a conversation. Bottom line, I like you just the way you are..If you want to go big I'll stay with you. If you want to go small I'll stay with you. Just keep on writing and taking those marvelous photos. It's sufficient.
    Sandra Sallin www.aprartfrommyart.com

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  40. Happy Anniversary on your beautiful blog- I've been a reader for many years and love your thoughts and pictures. St Gabriel Chapel is such a peaceful place...Always enjoy vacationing in that lovely area - Have a wonderful Sunday!
    Best wishes from Florida's East Coast

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  41. Heather...I'm another who reads and rarely comments. You speak of the Provence that is magic to me... the real..the small...the villages. The Provence that draws me back for the last 5 years....Your 5th anniversary and my 5th year visiting.

    Please keep doing what you do so well. Yours is one of my favorite blogs

    Ali



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  42. Oh! I have to say one more thing!

    Magic. It is all about magic. And that is what you show us. The dogs; the patina, the fountain, the crusty stuff that grows......the peeling paint....the cobblestones with their moss.....

    This is what you show....you call it small.....and it is....however.....it is the total beauty for many of us! It is everything for me!!!

    And THANK YOU!!!!

    Penelope

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  43. to wish you congrats Heather and also my thanks-i really love your blog with its stunning pictures and inspiring thoughts...for me, there's nothing nicer after a hard days work and sitting for an age in city rush hour traffic, to come home and settle down with a coffee, to read and see your latest piece...aahhhhhhhh xxx

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  44. "Lost in Arles" is big to me! And it is wonderful just the way it is. A good decision from my point of view to keep away from advertisment. (Though probably a hard decision when it comes to the need of earning a living) And a good thing to keep your design simple and classical. It goes perfectly together with your photography and story.

    Nearly everytime I think to myself: "Oh, you are so lucky". But it would be injust to say so because I know there are also difficult things about living in the south of France. Its only that you show us the beautiful sides.

    Often, I think to myself I maybe wrong here because I come from a completely different background than it seems most of the community comes from, not being wealthy or an antiques dealer or someone who travels the world. But it's the "little things" that interest me here.

    And isn't it a gift that we can live here in peace that allows us to enjoy those little things, the patina, the peaceful landscape, the olive trees in the sun?

    Thank you Heather for showing us beauty in the little things so steadily and for such a long time. Congratulations!!!

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  45. Dear Heather,
    Congratulations with this fifth anniversary! Your blog is a jewel!!! I just love all your posts! Your personal stories and pictures are so very precious! As you I keep away from advertisements because it wouldn't be our own personal blog anymore! Bisous! xxx

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  46. Hi Heather, congrets on the five year anniversary, more than 350 members is but still a significant number and then all the ones that come, incognito. I really cherish the everyday approach in the your blog, the photos of my beloved Midi, the colours and light. Like a dosis of warmth passing through the eyes, to keep the winter at bay. So more that it is non-commercial. I have chosen the same, in my blog, no adds, no FB, nor Instagram or Twitter. This is a passion, for you, for me , where the soul needs to be in every post.

    Sunny clear skies ahead, of days with the Mistral clearing the entire dome.

    Henrik

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  47. I find your post so gracious, Heather...I don't know you except through your wonderful blog...yet, funnily, I feel I do, you write with such warmth, gentleness and honesty; your inner beauty radiates. I am so happy you are happy right where you are...things evolve don't they? They take their own pace, a pace that is right for us individually. I also wanted to say a very big thank you for your kind words on Jeanne's blog, I was very touched. With love xx

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  48. Congratulations on 600 posts and many, many lovely shots of a place we yearn to visit. Keep on doing what you're doing. It matters.

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  49. Five years of peering through a window at your marvelous world... I love it. Although I think I might be one of your later arrivals — you always make me see things in a different light — and that is your gift. Much love, V

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  50. Congratulations dear Heather on 5 years and 600 posts. Your posts and photographs are wonderful and I have been remiss not to leave comments more often. Best wishes for many more. I still hope we can meet up one of these days.

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  51. Dear Heather, Happy Anniversary!
    Yes, thank you for bringing us such authentic, inspirational beauty from your part of the world. That is to me what makes blogging so special, bringing people together and making the world a smaller place to appreciate. Sharing the talents and uniqueness of others.

    xoxo
    Karena
    The Arts by Karena
    Artist Lesley Schiff!

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  52. I love your blog! I started reading it because I'd had a couple of holidays in Arles and loved the place, but stayed because I really enjoy your writing. (I'm an INFJ too!) You might like to know I shared your recent Camargue post with my French students.

    Congratulations on the last 5 years, and here's to many more!

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  53. I haven't read all the comments yet, I usually do - and I ALWAYS read your blog - I have said before that it speaks to me, that I hear you and see you through your words and pictures.
    I am an INFJ too so when you mentioned The Advocate, I had goosebumps, I know why your blog resonates so soundly with me.
    There are many blogs out there with huge numbers, all the boxes ticked - but so many of them are beginning to lose their essence, I think in the beginning their heart and soul was in it but after a while perhaps the numbers mean more than the content.
    Your content is always captivating and thoughtful, thank you for waiting for the right moment ... I wish there were more like that who spoke when there was something truly meaningful to say, who waited for the spark to light the fire and the words flow freely. I feel right at home here, hope you always will.
    Very best wishes, Vicki Lee x

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  54. SEE..............YOUR PEEPS LOVE YOU!
    LOVED READING these comments the day after the POST!
    XO

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  55. I love watching out for your journal, your thoughts and your beautiful images of little moments in life! Don't change! I may not always be able to comment as life gets in the way sometimes but always read your stories....makes me often think about life! Thank you for your generosity :-) xx

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  56. I just moved to Saltspring Island in BC. Yes, I'm happy, glad you are too. I love your blog and all your beautiful pictures and your gorgeous dogs. Thank you.
    Jo-Anne

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  57. Your blog has been a window into the details of a place that I love. Stories and mystery leap from each photo. An Advocate for Beauty is such a wonderful way to describe yourself. As a fellow INFJ, I applaud your decision to remain true to your own vision of blogging with integrity. Raising a glass (of chilled white) to you, Heather, and Lost in Arles.

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  58. Heather, please don't change your vision, your seeing! I count on you, and your blog, just the way it is and how it moves along as you move along! I'm just about to quit visiting some blogs, as sales, and more 'things' in my life are just not important any more - actually they haven't been for a long time. Views, thoughts, feelings, experiences, visions of life are so much more important!

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  59. It is uncanny how when I need your words of wisdom, I happen to stop by and there is a post that took the thoughts right out of my head and put them in print. I had just been scrolling through the 'stats' part of my blog and wondered to myself, why am I doing this? Then I got caught for a moment in the "I need a new look, I should concentrate on expanding my readers, etc. (you know the mantra of successful bloggers - of which by-the-numbers I am not). You've inspired me again to continue doing what I am doing and if I reach a handful of people then so be it ~ hopefully I will have touched a few along the way. Let me assure you I've been touched by your blog; keep up the good work because people like me look forward to hearing from you.

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  60. Hello Heather
    I would like to say, that given the choice to go big or go home, I have always chosen to stay home.
    I have been reading your blog for about a year. I love your writing, your honesty, and your gentle nature.
    Thanks for being your true self.
    Bernadette

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  61. Everyone said it beautifully.......I sincerely hope you got the message.......LOUD AND CLEAR!!!

    I wish there were a way to make money......WAIT!! There is!

    WRITE A BOOK!!! HELP !! BROOKE!!! YES???? HELP!!!!!

    THIS WOULD MAKE THE BEST BOOK!!! Y

    YOWZERS!
    LET'S MAKE IT HAPPEN!!!

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  62. Congratualations sweet Heather. We have been at it about the same amount of time,. Although I am not a talented photographer or gifted writer like you. Your decision to do things your way is admirable....but it seems your list of followers is getting greater without any change!


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  63. I can't believe it has been five years! I remember when I first found your blog and was struggling with leaving comments because my system would not let me. When I was finally able to figure that out (I think a full 2 years later) I was gobsmacked when you responded. And continued to respond. You made me so welcome. You are a treasure, and I love "my visits with you" Thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving me a place I belong to heart and soul. Here's to many more years of visits!

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  64. Authentic, intelligent & meaningful. That is the way I would describe your blog to anyone, Heather. Always a pleasure to view your amazing photos and to read your posts.
    The so called "small" things in life are actually the most important. You are clearly one who thinks in depth and has a high standard of integrity. So many blogs are all about the author and simply a promotion of self. That is their right and choice, but not something I want to waste my time reading.
    Please, always remember how effective your blog is in bringing joy and insight to it's reader!

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  65. I have/had a blog....it is still out there somewhere. Congratulations on 5 years! Writing a blog on just your own ponderings (word?) takes quite a bit of time. I really don't enjoy the ones with all the advertising you have to click through and over. I have enjoyed reading you for a couple of years and applaud what you are doing as just perfect. I love the little insights into life in France as I sit in Texas. Please keep it up.

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  66. Congratulations Heather, you have achieved so much over the last 5 years, quite an incredible journey.
    xx

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  67. Dear Heather,
    This is just my opinion but I think that your blog IS big. The beauty you capture both in words and photos, the honest, open soul reflection that you offer and the kindness that pours from you are so rare in today's world. It is more than big, it is huge. You offer your very specific way of experiencing the world and all its hurt, magic, craziness and yes beauty. Never doubt that what you offer isn't very special. Numbers of "followers" are just numbers. I am an INFJ as well, maybe that's why I always think you are on my wavelength. I would love to see more posts because I am greedy but then I think about the caliber of posts you create and the "life" that you must have to generate the posts and I realize that the number you create is perfect. Sorry I have rambled on. I'll just close by saying in my book "you've got it going on".

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  68. Hi Heather,
    I've enjoyed your blog for a number of years; read it regularly; don't usually comment; and fall in the category of "stumbling and staying." So, you are an INFJ? I am as well and have never met another one. I'm not alone after all! (probably explains why I so enjoy looking at your life through your lens). I love your photography and the poetry of your words. I, too, blog -- five years as well. I'm more sporadic than I once was and my readership has shrunk. Like you, I am not blogging to create a huge readership (tried that for a year or so, ugh). I have a few loyal "friends" who comment regularly and I blog about what interests me in my small corner of the world. Anway, I really just wanted to say "bravo!" to a fellow INFJ

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  69. YES! YOU'VE got it going on!

    I think you have your answer! We love this just as it is! I wish it could make an in come for you....(perhaps a book!!?) I see one coming!!

    Everyone loves you just as you are......we feel we are seeing and feeling your soul.....and the patina, and the dogs....well.....it is an "embarrassment of riches"!! Brava!!!!!

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  70. Dear Heather - I, too, have become tired of the blogs that subtly (or not so subtly) have something to sell. It changes the mood when every post is a pitch. Don't get me wrong, I like to buy things. But, some of the blogs out there feel like that is the only reason they exist.

    I enjoy Lost in Arles because, somehow you transport us to a place where time seems almost suspended. I read your blog when I want to hear a warm breeze rustle the leaves of a plane tree, or gaze across the rustic countryside in the moonlight.
    Most of us do not exchange letters with friends anymore, but your blog seems to be in the tradition of that type of correspondence from another era. Keep on keepin' on!
    BTW,bless you for helping Ellie find a new home in Provence! May you both continue to share your unique voices for many, many years.

    Smiles from Charlotte Des Fleurs

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  71. INFJ means what dear people?
    Fill me in please!!!
    The comments keep on coming....,,
    A book would be Great!Who out there knows a PUBLISHER??
    Great job done with Madame Eleanor!!😘😘😘💋

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    1. The tool measures where you fall within a continuum -- Introvert (v. extrovert); N=intuitive (v. sensory -- we follow our gut more than scientific evidence); Feeling (v. Thinking); Judging (=organized and orderly). Myers Briggs gives the following definition: Seek meaning and connection in ideas, relationships, and material possessions. Want to understand what motivates people and are insightful about others. Conscientious and committed to their firm values. Develop a clear vision about how best to serve the common good. Organized and decisive in implementing their vision

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  72. This post really touched me. I have been checking in with your blog for years now and absolutely love to immerse myself in your beautiful life. I have never left a comment before .... but, be sure you are truly appreciated!

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  73. Hello Heather,

    I found you through one of your fellow bloggers and kept coming back because of your honesty, authenticity and your love of France and your canine companions as expressed in your writing and your photographs. And now you have discovered MBTI which I worked with for twenty years in personal awareness and leadership seminars. Through proper interpretation it can help understand behaviors and preferences of self and others. My guess is that the well intentioned others who offered advice did so based on their own preferences and experiences. Stay true to yourself and continue in the way which works best for you. You seem to have found a lovely place to be right now. Embrace it!

    Chris Allin (castlebrooke3)

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  74. stay as you are. an advocate of all that moves you to tell beautiful stories to us. je t'embrasse.

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  75. just stay....you are our reprieve....not lost at all....we have found you....

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  76. Your blog is a pleasure to read... please continue...you are so eloquent in thoughts and beautiful photography

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