Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Today I just want to count my blessings

Today is my eldest son and his wife's wedding anniversary. I congratulate them and wish them many many more years of togetherness, love and sharing. A loving couple not spared sheer heartache but were magnificent in their battles. Generous, loving, open and honest. I am a grateful and thankful mum (+in-law). Being married isn't the end of a search for a partner but the start of an adventurous life journey together. I wish them a great continuation on the road they travel.

Last night I received a message from my eldest - a daughter. She and her family have returned safely home after their summer holidays. From the photos she sent during their stay and the looks on the children's faces, I am confident this holiday was a healing and restful one. After such a hectic year it was definitely time to take a step back for them as a family and spend time focussed on themselves. Oh how that warms my mother heart and fills me with gratitude. A new school year dawns- new challenges and experiences. Have a great year.

Three wee ones all wanting attention. A busy household, a working dad (my youngest son) and a totally focussed mum. I am also grateful for this beautiful family. Plenty of challenges, sleepless nights, runny noses and stubbed toes. Tear smudged faces and sparkly eyes. Impish, carefree, bubbly, entertaining and tiring. How wonderful to see these wee children be so loved and nurtured. My mother heart swells in pride and admiration.

I have a wonderful husband, a comfortable home, enough food in my cupboard, clothes in the wardrobe, car to get me from A to B, a bike to keep me fit, shoes on my feet, a full address book, an income that is sufficient, dreams to fulfill, health and energy, dreams and aspirations, golden friendships in abundance and many many more joys too many to mention.

Wow, what a richness, what a wealth, what a privilege. My joy knows no bounds.

What a wonderful world
( click on the link for some musical joy)

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Today I was inspired by...

Marja Verschoor Meijers - Marja, a writer of Christian books and sharing her faith with others in a practical way with a Foundation called Travel Light, Blogging in two languages and offering practical help to those who cross her path. A woman whose lifestyle is to admire.

I am not affiliated with a church community at present, not having yet found my niche. None the less I do uphold strong connections and enjoy the company of those like minded and supportive people who have become my 'community in faith'.

Marja and her husband Jan are very actively involved in churches and are frequently asked to either speak at functions, weekend meets and church services. Some of their talks/sermons are online- ( dutch spoken) and on a Sunday I listen to those sermons. Today I listened to words of wisdom from Marja (may 2013) when she covered the subject - Do unto others. We all know the way we ought to live, but do we uphold that God given and by Jesus taught and lived by rule? It made me think and assess.

Of course I can do better..... and I aim to polish up my resolve. Never wrong to take a look in my mirror and take a good long honest look at one's lifestyle and habits.

Being bi-lingual I am privileged to have been able to hear these wise words and aim to implement them into my life. I am sure the message is clear though to all when I say, in a nutshell,  before you speak or act, ask yourselves- would I like to be on the receiving end of what I am about to say or do?

The second inspiration comes through an article posted on Facebook by Katrina entitled: ' What should a 4 years old know?'.

An absolute truth. What a gem. Not only does this article warm my heart it gave me access to another great Blog site.

It is Sunday, I am sharing my energy with a friend. It is her birthday today and she has to work- on a small pleasure/cruise boot in the Biesbosch. A 1 1/2 hour trip through this beautiful nature reserve and park. The trip is scarcely booked so my husband and I are going to join the cruise taking with us the fruity berry muffins I just baked. We are going to share this day with her. and those very few who are on board.  She deserves to be spoilt and her life celebrated. Am looking forward to seeing her face when we arrive.

Love Sundays!

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Double BLOG today!!!! Happy Birthday son!

I may have the odd identity crisis every now and then, but today I know who I am.

I am mother - three times over. A proud mother I may add.

I have raised three children- now adults and parents themselves.

Funnily enough I still see them as children, but do acknowledge their adulthood at the same time.

Thirty-nine years ago I gave birth to number two child- a son.

What a darling baby he was too. So easy to care for. A gentle natured baby who's babyhood went like a dream. If it had been possible I would have ordered 4 more just like him - I thought at the time! Don't get me wrong, I am totally satisfied and thrilled with the children I had and wouldn't swap them for anything- just something mothers say sometimes, isn't it?

Not that we didn't have the odd worry. Adenoids a problem right from the word go, Rheumatic fever, accidents galore. He was quite the stitched up teddy bear. Somehow always managing to be in that 'wrong place' at the 'right?' time.

As far as his nature is concerned, he carries my dad's gene. Gentle and fair but firm, loving, generous and cares for others in an unselfish way. That's how I see him.

As a child he didn't have many wants or demands. His birthday list would contain things like, colour pencils, marbles, a comic. On the whole a contented child. Not a saint, he did have his moments but he quickly re-found his balance.

Today I am totally immersed in memories of my son- his birth, childhood and growing up. He lives a world away- but is present in my heart. I experienced the odd ache because of the distance, I smile at the memories and I swell with pride at having had the privilege of raising him.

We chatted this morning, I have a cake in the oven for tonight when my discussion group friends come over for our weekly gathering. He deserves my time and attention- especially today, Mother and Son day!

Martha or Mary, or both

Who am I? What role or description describes me to a T? About 15-20 years ago I struggled with this identity issue and it has reared it's head again. I thought I was clear about who I was and what my life's 'mission'  was.

I have onze again come to a crossroad. Onze again I am faced with mixed feelings about ' who I am'.

I know what I am as far as my faith is concerned - I believe in God. Unequivocally and without hesitation or reservation.

Do I have all the answers? NO, I am a learner, a beginner a junior member of this wonderful community of believers.

How do I fill my time, or more to the point, how do I want to spend my time- and that's where the Martha and Mary dilemma rears it's head.

I am a do-er! I tend to be in places, with people or situations where it is possible to be helpful or offer help in some form or another. And feel comfortable and privileged to be able to do so.

When I find myself taking part in a discussion- on religious topics, biblical wisdom or 'who said what when' I am lacking. Lacking in the sense that I can't quote bible and verse but do know about content in a broader sense.

So then I want to spend time learning, reading, listening, gathering, growing in knowledge. And as soon as I think to have space to do that, I am 'called'  to someone, somewhere, somehow to assist, give my time and energy to, instead of sitting at the foot of Jesus, the teacher.

Generally I am happy to be both, right now I feel the balance is missing. Too much of one and not enough of the other. Yet I don't want to 'sell anyone short'  by choosing to be Mary when I need to be Martha.

Somewhere there is an unrest in me. I know it will subside, I am confident I will re-find my stability and be comfortable onze again. Right now, I am praying for wisdom.

At the Home of Martha and Mary

Luke 10: 38-42. As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better ( for her??) , and it will not be taken away from her.”

         Do I need to be both?

Do you know who you are? Are you being who you need to be?

Does this dilemma I am in sound familiar?

Is it about being Martha and Mary 50/50?

Monday, 20 January 2014

Oma, you've got mail

There are sad things and there are happy things in life! And I write about both- as they happen or affect me! And last Friday I had two happy happenings which pleased me no end. A smile stayed on my face ALL day.

Another Friday dawned- dreary weather conditions which did not really invite one to spring gleefully up and down, but none the less I was grateful to be able to be active and do the chores that begged doing. On sunny dry days I tend to think- oh let's do outside stuff. Subsequently the cupboards and other necessary ( and often unappealing) chores get left for a rainy day. So this rainy Friday was just for that purpose. A clean up day. What a gift!

It occurred to me recently that it might just be important, certainly helpful, if I keep my 'household'  in an orderly state. Ship shape, so to speak. Untimely happenings could cause others to have to sort my stuff out and that could be quite stressful let alone unnecessary. So, hi ho hi ho it's cleaning up I go.

After the necessary household chores and timely extras, you never know when someone pops in unexpectedly, I chose to also do a clean up of files on the computer. Not unimportant. A time gobbling activity, just like cleaning cupboards and as rewarding. I just LOVE ditching re-read emails, unwanted advertisements and out of date invites. Just as I love emptying my paper bin, desktop and reading basket. It is almost as if I can breath easier when done.

I heard the doorbell- wonder who that might be. I heard my husband say " thank you"  and the front door shut. "You've got a couple of parcels" he called out to me. I rushed downstairs- and low and behold, my two Blog2Print books. I have committed my two dutch BLOGS - travel and 2013 blog to print and here they were. As published works. Amazing. That looked so cool. Yes, I was distracted. Yes, I spent time leafing through 'my' books. I felt a sense of pride. Oh and yes, I did find some type errors. Oh well, never mind!

And, as if that wasn't enough joy for one day, the
postie didn't just walk by, he posted a large envelope through the mail slot in the door ( we don't have a mailbox but a mailslot. Our mail falls onto the mat). I picked up the envelope en recognised the handwriting. It was from my daughter in law Kylie. Upon opening it onto the salon table I jumped for joy- truly. I know, we Skype, we txt we are in touch, but their is nothing so wonderful as receiving mail the 'old fashioned' way. The contents warmed my heart.

The two youngest grandchildren, Summah and Indi had done their best at kindy to send me lovely  works of art. Also enclosed a photo of wee Bax in a huge bath full of bubble foam, with a huge grin on his face.

My message board now proudly displays these treasures. I couldn't have had a better Friday. The dreariness of the weather didn't touch me, my inner sun shone so bright.

What a great way to spend Friday.

One good turn deserved another. I printed three photos, one for each grandchild- each with me. I selected three cards, wrote a personal message and enclosed the photo. Three envelopes, three kisses and off to the mailbox I went.

Hee kids, watch out for mail in YOUR mailbox.

Love and hugs from your grateful oma!

Friday, 17 January 2014

Facing the end - alone!

"Things aren't going to well for Wim at the moment". With this statement my husband came inside after his morning walk. One of our elderly neighbours a few doors down is dying. He lives alone since his wife died about 6 years ago. Daily he is assisted by visits from nursing staff to administer medication, helping hands to shower and dress, meals on wheels and a nephew who calls in each day to 'check' on him. Weekly a stepdaughter cleans the house, does his laundry and also provides some meals and snacks. Shopping is done for him in that he does need some household titbits, as the man himself is no longer capable of these tasks.

If you add a select few people who pop in from time to time one would say, 'well he certainly has a group of people around him, he doesn't fall into the category lonely elderly'. And on the surface you may be right. But in reality this man is as lonely as if he was alone on the planet.

His nature, his manner, his look on life has not made him loved amongst those who know him. It pains me, thinking about him alone in that house. Despite the 'pop ins'  this man is alone. And I know it and all those that pop in know it! To get a bit of a picture- think how Scrooge is portrayed. Not a pretty picture is it? And I am SO struggling with this. I find it hard to feel compassion- yet I do feel a sense of sadness.

My faith, my up bringing, my 'care gene' which I find almost impossible to switch off struggles with my lack of compassion for this man- feeling sorry just doesn't cut it! Why am I finding it so hard? Why can't I put all that aside?

When I did visit with an elderly neighbour, all we got for a full 15 minutes was - " well about time you came to see me. I thought more of you" - etc etc! I almost got up and left. He had been housebound for all of 3 days at that point.

Those around him were surprised he saw the dawn of 2014. We never thought he would 'last'  this long. Someone even uttered that ' he is even too mean to die'. I am ashamed, saddened and upset.

"What do you mean, things aren't going well?" I asked my husband. "Well, he fell twice this morning, he can't hardly walk anymore, he can't keep his food down, even sitting hurts, he has severely bruised his ribs so breathing hurts. I was a bit hard on him and told him that it was really time he thought about going into care- maybe a hospice. The situation can't go on like this. I even told him it wasn't fair to those few who tried to make life a little easier for him. Those that do come aren't capable of the kind of care you need Wim".

My heart ached for this man- I think he is scared- not to mean to die but scared of letting go of life. He isn't a believer- when he dies - everything stops, it is all over. How sad- how totally and miserably sad. Please pray for Wim.

Friday, 10 January 2014

...and before you know it, it is Friday!

I can still hear my mum's voice as she says " how the time has flown, where has it gone?" ( and finally enough I just realise I have never heard my dad utter this sentence - not to me anyway). Als child this statement worried me. Unnerved me. Like it (the lost time) might be hiding in the closet somewhere, in a drawer or behind the curtains. Yes, truly.

You have to admit, it does sounds a bit weird- losing time. When we lost something we had to look for it. Now my mother said to have 'lost' time and didn't know where it had gone. Yes, you can laugh. I am a visual person, always have been. Things I hear or read conjure up images. Sometimes very explicit or hilarious images. That I sometimes burst into laughter can be quite inappropriate.

This morning, upon waking I realised Friday dawned 'already. Felt like the week had just begun. Hence the memory and hearing mum say " where has time gone ?" And I still don't know the answer. What I do know is that each day the sun rises, the sky clears and brings with it new challenges. At the end of each day the moon and stars watch over us- allowing a time to rest. each day a gift to unravel, to meet new challenges, to go for gold. To appreciate the gift of time.

My day starts on a positive note and I strive to end it the same. The less successes of the day do not hold the limelight as they did in my past. It was an unhealthy and negative habit to focus on what I had not achieved, had not shared or that I hadn't given enough of myself to others around me. My resolve to stop beating on myself has helpt me focus on the other side of the coin. On the successes, on the achievements on the joys and prospects of more to come. I no longer dwell on what I DIDN'T do but on what I HAVE done. Oh happy days!

"You are getting older " someone said " so it is normal that the days pass quicker than when you were young". Oh, how come, don't I get 24 hours anymore? Do older people get less hours? How old- how many less? I do admit that I take a bit longer to vacuum. But then i am more secure, less rushed. Don't have children to take to school. Yes, I drink a coffee between chores or pauze to look outside. Like I did yesterday. We live surrounded by beautiful nature. Suddenly the Kingfisher appeared out of nowhere, swooped low past my window, around the corner and over the water. He then perched himself on a branch- and I, I perched in the windowsill allowing myself that moment of joy. A golden moment.

Anyway, as I mentioned, it is Friday morning. 'Looking forward to the weekend' a friend wrote. Well, I aim first to enjoy this Fri- day and all it offers. There are challenges and opportunities out there waiting for me to go get them.

A day full of blessings and enjoyment, fun and laughter.

Oh by the way- laughter is good medicine I a told. Here a giggle to fill your day.

What, turn the lights off? Not on your Nellie.
Now the customers think we work for them day AND night!

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Yea! It is Monday....

It is Monday- the first working day after the festive holidays for many ( here in de northern hemisphere anyway). I felt it this morning when I got up- the air was filled with a new energy. A new working week in the offing after days of festivities, family time, renewal and more than likely plenty of good food to go with all that.

I don't have to clock in anywhere in particular for work, but my day did start more structured this morning. I am working on a new project and utilise my time to gather information, exchange ideas and write up the facts. I don't have to venture far to do this sort of work- all one needs is a desk, computer, internet and comfortable chair. Quite stress free working from home.

My aim this week is to re-organise my website ( A-plus Products), polish up  my administration for tax purposes and go to and hold scheduled meetings. So my diary is pretty full over the next few days. And that makes me happy. Happy because I am energised, capable and raring to go, tackling new things and thankful that I am surrounded by people who also enjoy my company as well as I do theirs.

My intention to face each day with enthousiasm, to experience a 'New Year" each morning - comes naturally. I wake up rested, keen and full of ideas and energy. More importantly I smile at my day as soon as I wake. I am grateful to be alive, fit and well. That is part of my night time prayer- 'Lord keep me safe, give me rest and renew my energy'. And He does!

I fully realise that it isn't easy for everyone to be as enthousiastic or energised each morning. That is my prayer, my wish for all. I ask myself constantly " how can I help contribute to help make that happen?"

It is a trend to seek answers via internet- on Social Media many post wisdom messages- either for themselves or for others. In support, to give advice or a shoulder to lean on. I too find it difficult sometimes to find the right words to encourage someone, offer hope or at least compassionate utterances when and where needed. I pray for guidance and wisdom. I read my bible. I am inspired by different means. Yes, I also sometimes look up Wisdom online - like this one,

"Worrying doesn't remove the uncertainty of your tomorrow, but it consumes the power of the HERE and NOW!" ( author unknown)

or-  most powerfully the statement from Nelson Mandela (1994 Inaugural speech)

"We were born to make manifest the glory of GOD that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. As we let our own Light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others".

Every day is a gift. Each day a new beginning. My day starts after my prayer of thanksgiving. That I am grateful for my day, my health, my possibilities and probabilities. I ask for wisdom and for a clear mind so as to make the right decisions, meet the right people and be at the right place(s) at the right time.  That's when my day starts- time to get cracking.

I wish you all the peace and joy of today- in all that you do and in everyone you meet!

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Welcome to 2014

Here it is - 2014 - welcome everyone
According to the media our population here in the Netherlands spent €67 million in fireworks on the New Year celebrations . I find that incredible and almost impossible to comprehend.- Yes I did watch the spectacular display all around us. I did oooh and aaah at the huge starlike bell like bubbles exploding high in the sky, the colours and array of explosions. It was spectacular to say the least and it went on for quite some time.

The saying - start as you mean to go on - comes to mind. Is this how 'we' want to go on? Doing spectacular things, making stuff 'happen'?

Each morning when we awaken, we start a new day. New beginnings, new chances. Our lives start anew. We don't need a party for that. It happens every day- all by itself. So why is it so special to celebrate this event - the change over from one year to the next- just because we need a new calendar to mark the dates? Is this event tied to the 31st December and 1st January or can it be celebrated on 30th June and 1st July? Or between seasons?

Everyday is a new day, the date changes and the yesterday is history- forever and not to return. I am not trying to be a party pooper, not wanting to put a damper on the celebrations. I am serious. Why do we have New Year celebrations when in fact we start a new year each day when we wake. My fingers are rapidly racing over the keys- this is my text for today- has anyone an answer, can anyone shed light on my question?

Is it maybe, that for one day we stand still by the enormity of our lives, of the changing times? Is it so we do make an effort to connect with those we love and share a special moment? Is it so we take time to send messages of support, love and well wishes- just once a year for many. I have been celebrating New Year for 60 years now and quite unintentionally I am faced with this question, " What is so special about yesterday and today that wasn't so special the day before yesterday or last week- except for the new calendar?"

I do not know how long I will keep it up, but my aim is to be as excited, as enthusiastic and as full of promise to enjoy my new day, my chance at a new start. To lunge at it with gusto and excitement- similar to the feelings and emotions of the 1st of January. And I am not negating the effect of importance of the New Year's celebrations, nor am I advocating we do away with this feast. Heavens no! I just ask myself - are we just as happy this day as all those other days of the year?

My previous BLOG and the last for 2013 was full of well wishes for all- and I stand behind that gesture. I want to re-iterate that wish!

It is the 1st of January 2014 and I do wish you all wellbeing, health, happiness and prosperity- for today and all days to come.