After establishing successful careers in America’s corporate life and Chicago real estate, and over twenty-five years of marriage, Val and Linda decided to exchange their master’s degrees, in Divinity, Theology, Public Health, and Clinical Social Work, their professional licenses, certifications, their careers, and their Chicago urban lifestyle for village life in the South of France.

Val and Linda had, in addition to full lives as urban professionals, an interest renovating their living spaces; reviving them from drab and dreary to warm, welcoming and gracious spaces.  Their friends noticed this as well as B&B guests they hosted in their restored Victorian home in Chicago. For Val and Linda, their idea of retirement was to  raise-up a village ruin in the south of France to become le petit jardin de l’âme B&B.

Born in 1948, they are among the Baby Boomer generation that has often pushed the cultural envelope, crossing over to living life in new ways. Their early retirement at age 53 put them at the edge of many in that generation who will be living out their own dreams of a good life in “The Third Age”, and the growing trend of international living.

In their “first retirement” in 2001, they offered B&B hospitality at le petit jardin de l’âme.  They discovered that their guests sought more than a place to stay. They came to soothe their soul, refresh their spirits, and reawaken their dreams. The atmosphere of hospitality and serenity at Le petit jardin de l’âme  B&B, was a unique visit to the south of France.

In time, Linda found herself connecting to village women through teaching English as a second language.  Val joined a local international choral group, and a small Episcopal Church community grew up around Val and Linda, to become Grace Church, in the Episcopal Church, Europe. 

                     ABOUT  US

When they moved to France it was for “forever”. In la vie en France, life became full,- sometimes too full, and they realized that “forever” could be another 20+ years.   After twelve years of a very active “retirement” in France, they decided, in 2012, to make a second attempt at retirement, this time in The Republic of Panama. Formed by their past religious life, ministry, teaching, organizational development and psychology, they bring a perceptive, prayerful, carefully considered and often comical view to these years of “retired life”. 

When they first announced their move from Chicago in 1999, after 25 years of their professional careers, people asked "Why France? ".  As they said their goodbyes in France to move to Panama, friends asked "Why Panama?" -   For Val and Linda, life is a journey and the journey is their life.