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Joanna Asmus aka @PaperInEurope, blogger.

ℒiving ℒife ℘assionately! ♋| ☮ | ☯ Blogs about #running @ http://bit.ly/HappyFeetintheNL, #biking http://bit.ly/TheLightnessofBeingontheBike & #ASimpleLife @ http://bit.ly/MyDailyMooosingsNL.  Blog features @ http://bit.ly/PaperInEuropeLaVieMagazine
Marathon finisher: Berlin/Amsterdam/Paris

Europe · http://on.fb.me/PaperInEurope

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Z - Zonnig !

It is 17 minutes past midnight as I write  these lines, and I am still up to do chores (last minute organising for our trip early this morning!) I can only do in total peace  when the entire house fall into deep slumber.

I thought I could also use this time to post the final word/phrase for the final letter of the A to Z Blogging Challenge

Zonnig: Dutch word for sunny.

By choosing this word, I am summarizing the feeling I have now that I am at the end of this project.  More on this on Monday, when I post my blog for the  A to Z Challenge Reflections Mega Post,  where Arlee Bird asks us to share our reflections of the A to Z Blogging experience.

I also chose this word as a chant that the weather today will be just like that - sunny!  Not only because I would love the girls to have a wonderful trip to their Oma H in Germany but also for the people of the Netherland's, who will be celebrating Koninginnedag or Queen's  Day!

When P and I are not too exhausted from our trip back, we will probably go and dive in the festivities in Amsterdam.  Otherwise, as our motto of simplifying life goes: there is always next year!

Many thanks for the comments and new blog subcribers from A to Z , as well as ICLW's! As mentioned in previous post, I will be visiting each and everyone of you, who have left comments, subscribed because you all touch me with your thoughtful gesture.

Have a lovely weekend!  Happy Queen's Day, to all those who celebrate it!

please click image for better view

Friday, April 29, 2011

Y - Yes!

Yes! One day away from completing the A to Z Blogging Challenge April 2011, and feeling jubilant about it!

Yes! The sunny Spring weather is back in Ankeveen, and I am enormously grateful for it!

Yes! Caught beautiful moments of the much awaited Royal Wedding in England online, and looking forward to watching clips of the entire day from the Royal Channel , next week.

Yes! Feeling much better now after a couple of days of tiredness, and now absolutely ready to pack for our day trip for Germany tomorrow.

Speaking of tomorrow...

Yes! We'll go Orange for Queen's Day, thanks to last minute shopping at Kruidvat, and very excited to share a family picture of it with you!

Finally, wore for the first time this Spring, a Summer hat! Yes, I am ready for a lot of sun for the coming season!


What made you  cheer, 'Yes!' today?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

X - Xenophile

Before I went to bed last night, I asked family and friends on my FB page for ideas regarding X-words.  I was delighted to wake up in the morning and see the comments of my long standing favourite blogging friends supplying me with not only great suggestions but their words sparked another idea for a blog series: the X blog series!  More on that later, when the A to Z Blogging Challenge comes to it's final day, and May commences.

Now, to the chosen word for tonight: X- xenophile.  I chose this because I love learning new words, foreign sounding words to be precise!  It is fascinating that I have never known of this word until this morning when I have known of  xenophobia the opposite word of xenophily.

for details about this collage see notes below, and please click on this image for better view

My fascination and eventual love for foreign countries, culture and people started, as I have mentioned from a previous post, through my father's tourist guide profession, my godmother's world travels and my readings as a child of Brother Grimm's & Hans Christian Andersen's Fairytales.

Even when I hardly understood what I read, it excited me to read words that were foreign to me.  I guess, in hindsight, that was the early beginnings of my love affair with foreign languages.

Admittedly, I have not thought much about this love for everything foreign, I did wonder why I never fear living in different countries, no hesitation to make huge transitions such as speaking a new language, adapting to a new culture or adjusting to new food (this I have observed is not very easy for Filipinoes, who does welcome new delicasies and are known for their excellent way to adapting to any thing foreign but tend to want Filipino staple food on a daily basis to be completely satisfied and happy!)  but when it comes to daily routine of life, I am more challenged!

Today's post is an introduction to how I will dig deeper over this passion for everything foreign!  Perhaps another series?! ☺

Do you see yourself as a xenophile?  Is this the first time you come across this word?  What are your thoughts about xenophily?

Blognote 

First of all thank you all ICLW April 2011 friends for the comment you left on my blog and for subscribing to this page! Even though today marks the end of the week long commenting, I have noted those new blogging friends, and will definitely spend time paying you all a visit to get to know each one of you better.  

This same sentiment goes to all my fellow A to Z Blogging Challenge Apri 2011 bloggers!  You have motivated me in days that I simply wanted to give up!  It may have been random but I felt the sincerity of each cheer that the comment left behind.

A special thank you to my long standing blogger friend, who is residing in Japan for giving me the word of the day!  He has always provided me with creative inspiration through our years of friendship with the images he passionately takes, his admirable writing and his unique sense of humour. I miss your blogs, dear friend! But I am grateful to FB because I still get to experience snippets of your wit.  Also you feed my xenophily profusely with tales of life in Japan!

親愛なる友人本当にありがとうございます!

 
Details on the images on the collage:

Upper-left corner : Reichstag, during a visit to Berlin 2009
Upper-left: Brandenburger Gate, Berlin 2009
Lower left corner: De Mole, Windmill Restaurant, Easter 2011
Upper-right corner: London Yuletide Holiday, 1997
Lower-right corner: Trinity College Library Dublin, Yuletide Holiday 2009
Middle: 365~ self-portrait 28. April, 2011 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

W - Winning an Award & WordCount Blogathon 2011 !


Today was one of those days, I was seriously questioning my sanity for starting this project of 365 days of continuous blogging, not to mention adding on top of it blog challenges after  blog challenges, and participation in blogging events  to help keep me motivated each day.

Then I open my email, and discover the comments left for different posts, and the new readers, who took time to click on the "follow blog", and I felt completely (((hugged))) with this wonderful feeling of doing the right thing because I know somewhere in the future the random frustration behind this daily writing will be filled with wonderful stories of friendships formed, wisdom learned, a deeper appreciation of simple actions leading to great changes.


I graciously thank Maria, who writes at MISSION: Fertile Soul, for The Versatile Award, which she bestowed on me today!  Her comment on my previous post, "Veni, Vidi, Vici:" literally saved my day by inspiring my post for today, and lifting my sagging blogging spirit.


Here is the fun part of receiving/bestowing the award - the how to's of spreading the love:

     1. Winners grab the image above and put it on your blog.
     2. Link back to the person who gave it to you.
     3. Tell 10 things about yourself.
     4. Award 15 recently-discovered bloggers.
     5. Contact the bloggers you have awarded to let them know they have won.

I will be writing another separate post about this on Sunday since I would like to dedicate more time and focus on numbers 4 & 5, which I sadly do not have today.

The girls will be in Germany for the May vacation; preparation for our trip over the weekend to bring them there, and attend to last minute school events are keeping me busy.

At this point, I have to sadly admit that  I am totally behind with my commenting for ICLW. My plan of alloting time in the early morning and some more in the evening before I turn in for bed did not work out completely.  In the midst of potty training the littlest and all other daily chores/activities I have to attend to, I spread myself thin, I think.  There is yet another lesson learned towards simplifying life: admit when things get overwhelming because the instant you do, the overwhelming feeling disappears!

Here is hoping the next time I will be jubilant with my personal ICLW goal.  Definitely the event introduced me to wonderful new bloggers, who graciously visited my humble blogging corner, and all generously left wonderful comments,  and that I see as a success in itself!

As A to Z Blogging Challenge April 2011 nears it's end, I await the onset of May with a new blogging challenge and look forward to participating in WordCount Blogathon 2011.  More about it on Sunday as well! I am hoping the challenge will help me improve my writing, move the focus once more to communicating better, rather than obsessing over unimportant details.



Wishing you all a wonderful Wednesday, may you let go of overwhelming feelings if you have them, by simply acknowledging the feeling!

I believe if you cannot celebrate the simple joys of being acknowledged for your efforts, no matter how simple they are, you will never truly know joy in it's pure form once you have reached your ultimate goal. ~ paper

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

V - Veni, vidi, vici


I am feeling triumphant today, and when I do, I often chant: 

Veni, vidi, vici  as if they were magical words in a fairy tale...

When I was a little girl fairytales helped me dream the life I lead today...

I am re-posting one of the image in the collage from yesterday's  post Unforgettable Day.  While I edited it in picasa/picnik, I thought of it, as marking and preserving the pure happiness I feel.

 I love fairytales, and when I read the fairytale books I did when I was a little girl, it helped me dream. Wishful dreams that all (almost all, and then some) came to reality.

Although there were more than enough dark moments in life, I never gave up hope even if there were many times I said out loud, in the midst of almost crying my insides out: I am tired, I had enough, this needs to end! Life continued, as it should.

I am grateful and say a prayer of thanks when I feel this peace, this pure joy, and I feel it even more deeper when I write and share it...

You can write your own life's fairytales, it can come true, and the important magic words that you have to whisper to the pages, when you are finished writing are: believe, patience, unendless hope & love.

Then take a nap because sleep is essential to making fairytales come true. As I will do when I finished writing this line. The end.


 Oh, a question before I do go, what is your favourite fairytale?  I will write mine tomorrow!


Blognote: Usually, I am extremely OCD about projects I do, and it calms me to follow guidelines, which most of the time I set myself.  

For the last quarter of the year I have been continuously taking pictures for two projects: 365~ self-portraits and 365 day of blogging, and I am happy to share that so far I have not missed a day!  But that has the price of me often times staying way past mid-night to create a post with an image I am comfortable to share.

There are days, that I postpone taking a picture until the last minute when I put myself under time pressure, that I simply will have to take a spontaneous image at the last minute to not miss a day.  There is then no time to obsess about the picture shared.

If you have been following this blog a while now, you will know that my posts, all single one of them are all mini-efforts to help me simplify how I lead life, that I may have more quality time, simple cherished moments to experience with my family.

Thus, today, I am breaking a way a bit from my OCD nature, and posting a picture from yesterday to accompany the blog of today (for 365 day of blogging, and IComLeavWe April 2011), later on in the day I will be adding/editing in this blog, the day's (365) self-portrait, which is also participating in the A to Z Blogging Challenge April 2011.

This may all sound confusing for readers! My apologies! But yes, you find yourself in the midst of a person making babysteps towards little personal improvements and changes, and many times the efforts may seem 
too silly to comprehend.


image edited in 7 hours after this blog was posted

Monday, April 25, 2011

U ~ Unforgettable Day!

Please click on collage for better view!

The family and I spent Easter Monday in Efteling!

This was the family's first visit together (P was there previously before we met, once or twice), and after the day of fun we all agreed we will come back for a long weekend the next time around and stay at the theme park's hotel or the holiday appartments in the theme village!

School is back tomorrow and I have to get up very early, this will be another short and sweet post.  I will definitely write in detail next time over our long weekend.  Also a contest and a give away this week, so watch out for that.

Wishing you all a lovely start in the new week!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Vrolijke Paasdagen!

please click on image for better view

A short and what I hope will be a sweet greeting post:

Happy Easter, and greetings from the lovely beach of  Zandvoort, the Netherlands!

Where have you been spending this long Easter weekend? 

Blognote: The final post of the series The ABC of Me will be posted in May, due to the family's busy schedule.



Saturday, April 23, 2011

T - Thoughts of Travel



The weather was once again great today as has been the last few days!

This kind of climate usually send me to thougts of travel! 



The months of May until October are the time that the family does a lot of travelling,.


P and I will be using the girls May break to talk about the details about our travels.


I am pretty happy to share, I have never ever felt balance, as I do this year.

There is simply no time for questions like: why can't it be like this continuously, please?! Or painfully groaning: I am tired of these cycles!!!

I have learned to celebrate the good days and find ways to cope with the bad.  The dread over the days I feel like sinking in the pit of desolation and madness are slowly dissipating.

I had to write those thoughts in this blog because I do not want to forget. I want to read this when I revisit blogs.

There is much to write about how the day was, and why I have been feeling uplifted. 

But I will have to leave you for now with a picture of the sunset the family enjoyed in a wonderful warm Spring evening during our spontaneous picnic by the lake Spiegelplas in Nederhorst den Berg;

I need to catch up with my commenting for IComLeavWe!!!

please click on the image (unedited)  for better view


Have you seen the sunset lately? Please do take time, it truly feeds the soul!

Friday, April 22, 2011

S - Smile!

I missed a day of IComLeavWe, which means I will have to double my comments for tomorrow (15 minutes to midnight is not enough quality time for commenting!)!  But I am trying to smile (thanks to today's A to Z challenge prompt!), not fret over it and and simply moved on.  This sounds simple in a general sense but for me it is still an effort not to obsess with accepting I can only do what I can, be happy over the accomplished and not give myself a hard time over the things I am not able to attend to.


Sleep was the order of the day, resting, rejuvenating, and I spent it with indulgent time under the shower, and turning the bathroom to a spa for some self-pampering.

Today is Good Friday, and I grew up in the Philippines observing it solemnly.  Since I have lived in Europe though, observing the season of Lent has changed.  There were years I did not even feel the solemness I grew up with.  It seemed I only realise it was the Holy Week because of the Easter celebration, which I have observed is highly commercialised in Germany.  Here in the Netherlands, I have not had a keen observation due to being focused with adjusting to the basic needs we had to attend to.

Slowly, I am going back to my roots.  When I was a little girl, I would occasionally spend Holy Week at my aunt's with my cousins.  They had a lovely collection of children's bible, and because we had to be quiet during the observation of the Holy week, and were not allowed to play until Easer, there was not much to do to pass the time but read.  From reading illustrated books, I have come to read the bible.

I am not religious in the tradition of my grandmother, and mother.  Though, I am very grateful that they passed on their beliefs to me because it has helped me in times of great need to have faith to hold onto. I have made their religion my own and incorporated what I have learned in life in practising it.

I did not plan to write what I just wrote  because I never write about politics and religion as a rule.

Mostly, when I have literally a last minute blog, specially for this year where I am combining 365 days of blogging together with 365 of self-portraits, I tend to use "photo-blog", i.e. letting the picture speak for itself when there is no more time to compose text to go along with it.

There was this urge to mark with words my gratefulness for my faith, though.  It made me smile being where I am now in life, knowing with strong conviction, no matter what comes in one's way in different forms of challenges and hurdles to overcome, there is a promise of redemption, and unequivocal hope, no matter what faith we all believe in.

What made you smile today? 

Don't forget: inspire and be inspired!



Thursday, April 21, 2011

R - Ready, Log-in, IComLeavWe(eeeeeeeeee)♡ !



Well, today is the day!  How time flew by, and as with other things in my life, I thought I had planned ahead, I thought I will be completely focused when the day commences for an event I have been looking forward to.

Here it is, and I am completely unprepared, feeling the strong tug of being a blog hermit, welcoming the company that comes my way but too scattered to feel confident and show "my face" around!

Yes, it is the blog commenting week fest for April!!!  I have to be, as I always end up with many endevours,  spontaneous as I go along with my first try at a week long active commenting in the blogosphere.

This wonderful idea was initiated by Melissa Ford, book author & blogger of Stirrup Queens.  You could read more about it by clicking the link IComLeavWe or on the blue badge with an illustration of the cute dog, at the right hand side of this page.  For the list of participants for this month, please click here: IComLeaWe April 2011.

This week, with the help of this event, I will practice to not over-think  and will just go with the flow.

I would love to meet a lot of participants, hopefully make new blogger friends, spread some lurv because as Melissa beautifully put it, "Comments are the new hug!" and those who knows me longer, knows that I love giving (((((((((♡ huggies ♡)))))))))).

Writing this post before or right after lunch time is I hope a habit I can consistenly practice; the stress of leaving it until after the end of the day, I feel will lead to me abandoning the 365 project(s).  Eventually, I might  adopt the idea of Jen Daiker of unedited of having a fix time of publishing blogs.  I saw this feature of sharing the fixed schedule of blogging days at Karen Walker's page author Karen Walker...following the whispers.

I purposely put the links of the three wonderful female bloggers above not only to share my joy in reading them but because it is also my way of bookmarking them, since I would definitely love to comment on their blogs today.

Also, while writing this I am making a mental schedule of the visits to all the lovely bloggers, who have thus far commented on my blogs, whom I have promised to comment to but have not managed yet due to everyday life!  Many thanks to all of you; each one of you have given me the kick I need on days that I would rather skip!

Sending a huge thanks to Arlee Bird of   Tossing It Out, who spearheads the A to Z Blogging Challenge April 2011.  My initial motivation in participating in the blogging event he put to life, was to put a bit of dynamic to my 365 blogging and self-portraits projects (I need all the help I can get to make it through 365 days of blogging! ).

What I did not expect was the positive energy I will be getting from the random visitors, who are also participating in the event, or found this blog page through his page.  It was very heartwarming, and I hope this week, through the IComLeavWe, I could give back the simple joy I have thus received, and pay it forward.

Well, I'll be logging off for now, and when I log back in again, I am hopefully refreshed and have lots of positive thoughts and energy to spread around! :)

Inspire, and be inspired fellow bloggers!


If you are participating in IComLeavWe April 2011, please do say hello and share why you are participating! And if you just happen to know about it, what do you think of the idea?


Postscript to this blog:

I had to remove and put an re-edited version of today's 365~ self-portrait because I failed to acknowledge that littlest  took the photo I present today!!! How could I fail to mention that!?!

If you would like to see more pictures taken of our 3 year old bundle of energy and joy, please see the posts with the tag LittlestLens.



Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Q - Quo Vadis?

Quo Vadis? Where are you going?

This latin phrase came to me today as  I was thinking of an inspiration for the letter Q.  I heard this for the first time  from Mr. P †, my  Journalism  teacher in my Junior year in high school, as he drafted  a speech, which I delivered for a rhetorical competitionI participated in, representing my alma mater.

He was an inspirational mentor, and together with Mr. S † my class advisor and English teacher helped me in cultivating my writing talent.  The latter encouraged me to join the high school newspaper of which Mr. P was the advisor.

Consulting the wikipedia, I learned of the origin of this latin phrase for the very first time.  It seems very apt to use it reflect on it today, very timely for this Holy Week, to ask : where am I going?

My clear answer is, I am going with my family wherever our united endevours takes us.  Yes, that would be my initial answer.

If I think of it from the perspective of being an individual, within the unit of a family, I will reply: where truth, hopes and dreams leads me.

As a writer, my answer would me: where I could connect with minds, soulful spirits,  who wants to inspire and be inspired.

Yes, I have places to go, life's planes to cover,  and excited to be in different soulful journeys.

please click on image for better view


This image was taken Easter 2009, and is currently my desktop image


What about you, where are you going?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

P - Paglalambing: a Polylingual's choice word

please click on image for better view

Today is one of those days that there are simply too many words for the letter of the day, that I want to write about but too little time to focus on writing a coherent post about one particular subject.

Thus, the tag (or as they call it here in Blogger, the label!) preview post was born years ago because this has happened many times to me in the past yeas of blogging, and I am introducing it here for the first time!

I have used this tag previously as I was still blogging anonymously.  If you have been following me from the very beginning, from the other blogging sites, I posted at, you will know about my effort at simplifying my writing.  I aim more for continuous writing versus the aiming for the perfect blog, in an active battle against chronic writer's block and the painful tendency to want to have everythig perfect, that I end up not doing anything at all.

See, as I re-read the paragraph I have written so far, many P words are popping right at you, such as:

Preview
Posting
Perfect blog
Painful

and for me even between the lines I can see so many P words:

Past
Perfectionist
Procrastination
Possibilities

Ultimately, I chose a Filipino word that I introduced to P tonight as we were clearing a misunderstanding.  I felt the word does not actually translate in other languages because of it's cultural meaning.

The word is paglalambing (rough English translation: caress, tenderness) , which when I looked up in Google translate for the Dutch equivalent gave me the word de tederheid as translation.  Automatically, I also look it up in German (Zärtlichkeit) because having lived half of my life in Germany, made me emotionally connected to that language; sometimes knowing the word in German gives me a better way of explaining the emotion behind a certain word I am trying to translate.

I chose this subject to feature tonight because it was the last subject I talked about before the house fell quiet, and I am at peace to sit down and post a blog.  Also, I do love words and languages, and talking about my love for speaking multiple languages.

See yet again, I could have used P for polylingual as a subject for tonight!

Alas, I can't elaborate more on the paglalambing subject because I am passing out even as I write this line!  Therefore, I am naming this a preview post of a subject I will take time to write about when the A to Z Blogging challenge, April 2011 is at it's end!

I can do this...yeah, this is  after all my blog (I have to remind myself of this fact, on more than one occasion!) and I can set the rules and parameters.  Or not have any at all!


Do you speak a foreign language? If you do, why did you learn it, and would you like to learn more?

Monday, April 18, 2011

O - Ode to Spring

All the freshness of life
I feel
In the middle of Spring



A promise within
I sense
In the middle of creation




A bud
A nest
A new born


Nature, truly at it's best.

spontaneous picnic at the 's Graveland Natuurmonument*


There is no woe
Nor sorrow
When your feet lies
On petals akin to snow



There is no fear
Nor distress
When you look up
The ocean seem to have covered the sky



As I ride my bike
Passing an ever changing landscape


I say a solemn prayer:

Let Spring
stay forever more

If only as an ember,
that burns consistently
In the hearts of men
That their hearts will not
freeze in Winter
dry up in Autumn
scorch in Summer

*Postscript to this blog ~

Here is the image from: a month and 2 days ago. Also, please click on images for better view!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The ABC of Me (& My Family)

please click on image for better view
Today's post continues the four Sunday's series of: The ABC of Me (background) (please click on the link for the background of how this idea came to be :) ) And if you would like to read all the blogs in the series, please click on this link - The ABC of Me (blog series).

My family and I attended Palm Sunday mass today. We were also   there for middle daughter, who together with her communion class made Palmpasenstok (cross decorated with candy and bread, made in the form of a rooster - Wiki quote), which they carried in the procession as they entered the church.




It was a lovely start to our family Sunday.

I could also relate this and that mini-meltdowns, and mini-dramas of the day but again, the essense of the day remains lovely!

My family empowers me, and my sole wish is in everything I do, I empower each one of them, too.

So today, I thought of doing the The ABC of me, writing down about our family; what I love doing for them, or what we love doing for each other and simply the random but what we consider  good things in our lives.

In the future, I will be revisiting each one of what I listed below, and write more extensively about it.

A -angels ~ P and I consider our girls our angels.

B - breakfast ~ we love eating this meal together, but what is worth mentioning: we love preparing it for each other the most! Eldest have countless of times served P and I breakfast in bed.

C - chillax ~ chill and relaxing, which is what we enjoy doing most together on our chillax couch!

D - dog ~ the girls would love to have a pet, and we promised them a dog (cat, etc!) when we have a larger home of our own.

E - English ~ we love to speak this with each other the most! For those who does not know us until this post, we speak a total of four languages all together: Filipino (I), English (all of us), German (the older girls, P & I, the little is still passively learning) and Dutch (everyone, with the littlest and I still lagging a bit behind)

F - films ~  there is a huge collection of films in DVD, that the family now owns together, and is still ever increasing! We love sharing this liesure with each other.

G - goosebumps ~ I have this a lot, when I look at my family together, feeling so grateful I have them to love, and be love by them...

H - Hawaii ~ the family dreams of living in Hawaii, a wishful dream.

I - I love you ~ is a phrase most uttered amongst us.

J - January ~ we are hoping to skate on natural ice one beautiful January day!

K - Keukenhof ~ visiting this park is something I would like our family to have as a tradition long after they have all grown up and moved out of home...

L - Loosdrecht lake ~ one more wish that each one in the family shares - to sail on the Loosdrecht lake

M - Mooosings ~ without my family, I would not have started this blog page, be motivated to keep it up or be inspired everday to celebrate the best of the day

N - nostalgia ~ we love reminiscing together about life before we became a family and the years we have thus far shared together

O -out of town, out of the country ~ we hope to do more again, in the future!

P - pirate ~ we enjoy quoting the lines from The Pirates of the Caribbean to each other!

Q - quiet moments are rare when the family are together!

R - restaurant ~ going to one is a luxury we spoil ourselves with to celebrate not only milestones in our lives but when we have overcome a challenge either individually or collectively as a family

S - Sound of Music ~ is the only film that I am a bit sad to say, we all do not unitedly like!

T - together ~ doing things together is what we enjoy the most, whatever it may be.

ALSO the word I used the most while writing the words for each letter of tonight's ABC because I am in a hurry to make the deadline. lol

U - undo ~ although it was a long journey before we became a family and we still have a long journey towards our collective goals and dreams, we would not want to undo anything in our lives because we recognize each detail contributes to the specialness that we are thankful that we have...

V - victorious feeling ~ is what we collectively feel, specially this year that we see the fruits of our labour of love....

W - water ~ swimming, sailing, boating, walking along the water is something we enjoy doing together.

X - eXtreme Home Make-over (sorry a bit of cheating, since I need to go to bed!) we all are teary-eyed when we watch episodes of this series.  Although, we have not watched lately due to busy and what seems to be shorter and shorter Sundays together!

Y -youtubing ~ is something we all like and share from P to the littlest, whose favourite is asking for and watching Pingu episodes.

Z - Zoo ~ we have not been to a zoo together as a family here in the Netherlands!  The girls have visited zoos through the school excursion of course, but we have not managed yet to do it as a family.  We plan to change that this year!  Hopefully Sundays will be long enough, again!


What random thing can you share about you and your family, that you hold dear?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

N - Naps & Noodles!

“Think what a better world it would be if we all, the whole world, had cookies and milk about three o'clock every afternoon and then lay down on our blankets for a nap.”

quoting Robert Fulghum in 1987 at Middlebury College
 Barbara Jordan quotes (US attorney, b.1936)


I had a long afternoon nap today.

It was very refreshing; I felt literally like a different person  after I woke up!

Late nights have been greatly affecting my disposition of late, and there is no denying that the lack of sleep is the reason why my energy level is never consistent.

Well with this post, I am making an agreement with myself to sleep better. This means, wake up early and have at least half an hour nap in the afternoon (not more!) and  - this is the difficult part of this agreement! - go to bed before midnight!

My Saturday simple pleasure, after the wonderful nap was the eldest' Pasta Carbonara!

Eldest enjoys cooking, and photographing dishes she prepared


It was simply divine!

How about you, what made your Saturday divine? Nap much lately ?

Friday, April 15, 2011

M - Message of Love & Hope


If instead of a gem, or even a flower, we should cast the gift of a loving thought into the heart of a friend, that would be giving as the angels give.
~ George MacDonald
Today's post is dedicated to my Soulfairygodmommie!

We are at letter M, and I did not wake up with a word like I usually do but Soulfairygodmommie indirectly gave me my word for today via mail.

When I opened the mailbox on the way to picking up middle daughter from school, I s
aw a huge flat envelope lying in it, and although the littlest and I were running late, I was too excited to just leave it behind unopened!
The mail was from my long standing dearest online/blogging friend, my source of inspiration through the years, specially at the most crucial turning point in my life.  
One amongst those small special circle of positive influence in bringing me to photographing nature the seasons; instrumental in animating me to appreciate the beauty surrounding life; the inspiration for the pictures family and friends often have told me has had a calming effect on them.
My heart was glowing as I wore the bracelet around my wrist, and bike along the country, on my way to pick um middle child with littlest, feeling so very  loved.
As I wore the bracelet, I felt as if my friend was giving me that encouraging, reassuring squeeze of her hand, like how she touched my life with her simple but empowering words  of taking baby steps towards life again, four years ago.


When the girls and I finally reach home again, after spending a carefree afternoon -  so relieved that is finally Friday (!!!), I read aloud to them the note that came with the bracelet.



Perhaps they would not understand completely what it meant to me, but I am very sure they felt the joy I had over the message of love and hope I received this afternoon, like the liberating joy I felt over the message of love and hope four years ago.


Online friendships means as much to me as the friendship I have offline.  I never differentiate it as online life versus, real life friendship. The former is as tangible for me as the latter.

It is a long story to tell but my connections in the internet has helped me reach out in my personal life when I could have easily disappeared and sink in the daily existence of unhappiness, just flowing along the ebb of life - lifeless.

Friendship across the ocean, I can say with much conviction could be more powerful than the one in one's close proximity.


Again,  my heartfelt thanks to a treasured friend, my fairygodmommie, who has  with simple words made a huge impact to my well being.  May you continue to inspire and touch lives, as simple and as powerful as you have mine. 


Do you have friendship(s) across the ocean?  Have they made a huge impact in your life?


Blognote :
Please click on images for better view

Thursday, April 14, 2011

L - Listen

Do you ever find yourself  having a difficult time to listen to your own voice, to your instinct, through the sound, the noise of life around you?  How do you know that you are dancing to the tune you are listening to and not only going through the motion, mimicking the movement that you see with our easily deceived eyes?


I often have these thoughts, a sort of daily check-up with myself, and most of the time I could answer confidently that I am in tune, and listening intently to that sound from within me. Always striving to improve, to be keener.

Sometimes when the static that every day life can produce overwhelms me, I have to shut myself in and sift through those dissosant sounds that are nestling in my head,  by sitting down, just like now, and writing words that races through my mind.

It is then I find myself soundproofing my consciousness.

Some define it as meditation.  Clearing your head, and creating a pleasant dialogue, or calming images in the  mind for one's well being.

Now, what if during meditation you simply listen without creating a dialogue, or a flow of chant, will the sound you hear from your inner being be purer, be the essence of who you are?

I honestly do not have a clear answer to all these thoughts for tonight.  I am simply sifting through thoughts, soundproofing my consciousness.

All I can say with conviction is that I am prepared, and willing to listen.

How do you listen?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

K - Kermis, Kerk & Kindness

Today we went spontaneously to the Kermis (Dutch word for the fair)!


The littlest and I brought middle daughter to St. Antonius Kerk (Dutch word for church) late in the afternoon, where the first communion class gathered to go to a bakery in Loosdrecht for some preparations for Palm Sunday.

It was not very practical to go home and so we passed the time to look through the fair.  Of course, living in the village, it was much simpler than the one I am used to when we lived in one of the biggest city in Germany.   Still it was fun to be surrounded by so many excited children, kids, parents and grandparents.  The weather was fantastic as well - cool but sunny, and dry!

this is not the littlest first cotton candy. but the first was such a long time ago!


When we returned to the church to wait for the arrival of the communion class, littlest enjoyed the time we had to wait for her older sister because she could ran around the courtyard, and play creative games with the pebbles that blanketed the yard surrounding the church.

hard to catch a snap at this ever moving child


off she goes again to create her own adventures!


Finally, the mom that drove one of the car pool for the communion class, where middle daughter rode, strode happily towards us, with middle daughter running ahead of her.  I had to agree with her when she said, as you can see from middle girl's face"(powdered with flour) she has been very hard at work!

on the way home, and so excited to tell what she experienced


After thanking the mom, we went our way to go shopping for groceries before we set off for home.  Middle girl, could not contain her excitement from her experience in the bakery, but it has been also such a long day for her , that as she pedaled with her bike on the gravel, she fell over.  Luckily, a thoughtful mother helped her up, and then offered to hold my bike that I could console her properly myself.  What  a lovely gesture, such kindness flowing from her made me feel warm in my heart.

before her fall

We were all lighthearted when we finally finished doing our groceries, and set off home with our bikes rolling us safely on our way.  I managed to take a quick awkward snap of the middle girl under the sign of the kermis for posterity.

the fall forgotten, and simply declaring: this is such a wonderful day, Mommy!

Wow, a lot of K's weren't they?!



And to think I woke up for the first time this morning completely blank what to do with the letter K!  Sometimes you simply got to live the day, and inspiration will just greet you from every corner.

standing behind the bush, watching the littlest play with pebbles, all the K words came to me!


What inspiration  greeted you unexpectedly today?

Blognote :
Please click on images for better view

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

J - Just Me


Just Me. Just being me.

One of those days, that I would have simply wanted to skip "showing my face" and sharing my thoughts.  Not because I am unhappy or going through a difficult time.  I simply wanted to keep to myself.

But because of this commitment, this experiment, this self-theraphy of a blog - I am here.

2-3 years ago, I found a site through typing the keywords "writing is healing" on Google search.  What came up on the top of the list was: One Year of Writing and Healing.  Ever since then, I have been attempting to start the exercises that are on the site.  Alas, I have not been successful yet.

What I took with me though is a single exercise that has keep me going through the past years: write everyday, even if it is writing only that you cannot write.  What a liberating exercise!

Just Me.  Here I am simply writing, that I am showing up to do my part for the day. Just being me.

What do you do to just be you? Not to lose the essence of yourself in the process of creativity?

Monday, April 11, 2011

I - In Anticipation of...

P came home tonight with narcissus in what looks to be a half-egg shell vase
The entire family is in anticipation of very busy weeks ahead!

Middle daughter is in the midst of preparing herself for her first communion.  Oldest is busy with prepping herself for her bicycle test at school.  P and I are at this very moment organizing, and coordinating our schedules that he may have free days for the coming April/May holidays.

There is of course Easter, Queen's Day, the girls May school break to be spent in Germany, the Liberation day, etc!


In the blogging part of my life, I am in high anticipation of the IComLeavWe April 2011 (see badge on the right side column of this blog page), it will be the first time I will be participating!

BTW, speaking of blogging life, I have not mentioned it like I planned two days ago, but I would  like to thank Deidra Eden-Coppel, writer of the blog A Storybook World, for bestowing this page with the Creative Blog Award, the image of which you can also now see on the upper right corner of this page.


She herself has created this artwork.  If you would like to check out her site dedicated to her work, you can click on this link: Knightess

I truly appreciated the kind gesture and recognition. It brought me feelings of being in gleeful anticipation of what lies ahead for this blog - who might stumble on it, and who it will be able to help without me completely ever being aware of it.  Just like I was helped by my random clicks.

So, what about you friendly folks out there, what are you all in high anticipation of?