Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Little Moments

Currently, I am going through 7 years worth of pictures, and cataloguing, writing anecdotes for some of them.

Would love to have them published and binded in book form for our family and friends all over the world. Hopefully before Christmas.

Every year, I tell myself, this is the year I will finally finish and realise this project.

What gives the family much joy are Littlest' snaps and the corresponding stories to them. Often I have the camera to take snap shots of moments I would like to share to mijn liefste P and her sisters, for our after dinner stories.

This image I share was taken yesterday after a long day at school, followed by a play date, right after she was brought home by her playmate's mom.

Dirty, sweating, excited to jump in her bathtub, I had to hurry to get the camera to save a moment of her naughty glee. :)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Thank You!

Thank you for the kindness. A random simple gesture - a warm smile, a nod of acknowledgement, a wave of greeting, a minute of your time, a word of encouragement - means a world to someone else.

Thank you for the understanding
. "It's okay.", "It's all right." Plain words but very liberating for those you give it to.

Thank you for the acceptance. "You are not alone." "I go through the same." "I've been there as well." One never loses one strength in lending it in spirit to another.

Thank you for your generosity. It humbles me time and time again - the circle of giving does not stop with me...promise.

Thank you for giving comfort, faith, hope,
with your positivity and friendship. It's all worth it.

Sometimes life is slow, literally slow it seems for some. Most are slow because they carry a heavy burden. Or feel cloaked with heaviness for different reasons.

It's okay though.  Somehow it does eventually make for stronger character

The slow tempo of life.

When things seems slow to move forward, you are able to recognize what's most important in life. Truly.

Carrying someone over the threshold from where they can strongly believe in themselves again with kindness, understanding and acceptance makes the slow tempo of life for both very rewarding.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Waking up to Monday

There is a strong inclination to sleep through this Monday. But I won't.
Just like I resist on the inclination to give up on this year's Blogathon!
image courtesy of 365 project from 2011

“Never underestimate the pain of a person, because in all honesty, everyone is struggling. Some people are just better at hiding it than others.”
Will Smith

When I begun this blog page, I have vowed to be honest in writing about myself, how I deal with manic-depression, and how I try not to let it rule my life.

I do not ask for pity, nor praise. My purpose is to create an awareness (there can never be enough!), that this mental illness exists and no one should be ashamed of it.

It's not always easy to do both: writing honestly about what I go through, and believing it myself, that I should not be ashamed of what afflicts me.

The weekend has been tough. Well, the past half a year has not been that easy. Oh, while I am at it, I can't remember when it was!  Ignore that last remark; it is my current dark mood talking.

With or without manic-depression, life is never a walk in the park.  Only with manic-depression, your brain convinces you, that you should not even think of walking in the park!

There is no huge revelation with this post. Only another page to pile on heaps of other posts declaring: giving up on life will NEVER EVER be my option.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Moving to a New "FB Home"

I think there is something more important than believing: Action! The world is full of dreamers. There aren’t enough who will move ahead and begin to take concrete steps to actualize their vision. -W. Clement Stone
a web-cam image documenting the evening of our move from Germany to the Netherlands, March 2009

Last Friday, I deactivated my first ever FB account after 4 years of reminiscing how life was before I moved from Germany to the Netherlands, and consequently recording there our early life in a small village here in North Holland.

My last profile and cover photo from my deactivated FB account

Closing the old FB account was not as easy as I thought it would be. But something I truly had to do.

Moving on to another chapter in your life sometimes requires a "symbolic ritual". At least in my case.

Deactivating that account (as originally planned a long time ago) is an attempt to close one chapter and move on to the next with a sharper focus on applying lessons I have learned in life with much vigour.

I am not re-inventing who I am, with the new FB account I created.

Deactivating the old account (not me as a person!) is my way of shedding an old skin (for lack of a better word!) I no longer feel is a part of me, and delaying the inevitable (i.e. holding on too much - once again - to the past) is hindering me from reinforcing the positive changes, we are working on applying in our lives.

There were so much gained through various very open interactions (on various posts & PMs) on that  FB account ; they all helped us a lot adjust to our new life here in the NL. As well, as help me get through over some personal issues.

There is nothing wrong with being a very open person, in my opinion, but I've opened myself too much (by choice) online. Although I profited and learned a lot through this openness, I've also in the process opened myself to a lot of hurt.

My new FB account

What I have learned on my way to strengthening myself : I should focus on continuously and consistenly reinforcing positive learned behaviour, which will help me and my family have a stable, balance life.  A life of quality.

I feel, I can do this by starting afresh, and consciously being more aware of how I interact publicly/online.

“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”

Mahatma Gandhi

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Last Hours in Sofitel Luxembourg!

Little Red Riding Hood!

Littlest was riveted with the story as it unfolded.
Even though she've seen it and was told of the story several times.
She knew exactly at what point of the story to hide behind the door of the hotel room!

We are coming home with more orange bags than when we arrived!

My Little Pink Riding Hood <3 :)

Fooling around to relieve the going away jitters!

What a ham! <3 hahaha

Dada! Family picture! :D

Saturday, June 8, 2013

A Beautiful Day in Luxembourg!

Mijn Liefste P & the Littlest preparing to drive with me to the LUX Marathon Expo
Toasting to our short and sweet weekend in Luxembourg!
A short and sweet post/proost to our very full day in Luxembourg!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Thursday's Travel: Schoolreisje!

As I've mentioned in previous posts of this year's Blogathon 2013, I am using this event to put into action ideas that I've wanted to put in effect for so long here but never quiet managed.

The family and I have travelled a lot together, separately, and yes, a few times each on our own. I've been meaning to record them all here because I was not able to record them right after we made the trip or after we have enjoyed the vacation.

The Month of June ~ in our Lives (left 2009, right 2007)

Today, baby step towards that intention.  Simple and short version to be followed some other time with a longer version.

Littlest was in a schoolreisje (school trip) for the second year in a row in Groep 1 (equivalent of Kindergarden).

It was very heartwarming to see how excited she was about it, and I was very proud of her that like last year, she did not shed a tear but had a huge smile of anticipation.

So proud that she was joyously and excitedly waving her goodbye.
I can cry - second year in a row! - my babies (13, 10, 5 y.o.) are all growing up too fast!

When she came back, she was exhausted!

"No pictures, Mommy!"
I beg her for some to show Dada, who can't be there to pick her up like we did last year.

Littlest's face covered in paint! :)

Aaah, she's relaxed a bit. :)

I took a stolen shot of Middle daughter. :D
She to had an awesome time!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Wednesday's Weeeeeeeee: Our 6th Twogetherness-Anniversary!

Happy Anniversary, mijn liefste P ♡!
This is one of my favourite photo of Piet & I.

We were constantly stressed with what happened at the end of 2012  - losing our home, moving into a new house we have to renovate under time and financial pressure,  that we were not sure if we will be able to make the much awaited trip to Paris (planned months ahead before the fire) in the months that followed.

But we did, and the photo above preserves that celebratory joy, relief and gratefulness, that we have each other. 

It's obvious by now to all of you loyal readers, how much I love blogging. :D

It helps me a lot to cope with daily stress. Plus,  it caters to my obsession of documenting life as it happens.

This year, with so many things going on, I committed myself to 30 days of consecutive blogging -  here, and @Happy Feet in the Netherlands. It is my way of resisting being rushed through life, and holding on to moments longer than reality allows.

How in the world can one write blogs 30 consecutive days?

Well if you genuinely share stories from your life, you have enough materials to last you beyond 30 days!

Most of the blogposts are born out of things I share as an Facebook post, or even as an FB comment.

Here I am sharing an idea that came to me while sorting the pictures of our Marathon de Paris weekend - our first visit together in Paris (P was already previously in Paris in the early 80's).

I call this blogging idea: The Other Side of Romance (writing what maybe considered "unromantic" stories but are reality of relationships; every relationship has many interesting facets, that are not obvious on first sight!) - after sharing the current profile picture of Pieter and I, above I felt I had to share this other picture, which still makes me roll in laughter. It makes the Facebook profile picture, everyone LIKED more real, and not only seem "happily ever after!".

Before I finally got that picture I had to shoot 3 pictures to get that moment, I wanted to preserve; the joy I was feeling, that was bursting out of me.

P, tired after more than 8 hours driving, was just happy to relax his mind by sitting on the hotel bed, and mindlessly checking out the Paris television program.

So, here on this picture, the first shot I made to preserve that moment when I felt, "yay we are in Paris!" he was watching the French version of Extreme Make Over, the family's favourite in the Netherlands (the original USA version). He was as you can see very captivated! hahahahha

It was the same in the second shot! hahahaha (will edit in that other picture later )

Well, P ultimately obliged my obsession to preserve the moment, I wanted to preserve, and voilá that is now my current Facebook profile picture (first picture above).

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Tuesday Time-Out

After the euphoria of running the Drie Dorpenloop, I had to deal with the exhaustion of not sleeping well again.  I had to make a decision, and it lay heavy on my mind.

This time I asked for help, which is not always easy for me.

Omi B is someone I can turn to, when I struggle with myself, and need help. I called her Monday, after Littlest missed school because I was not able to sleep until it was the wee hours of the morning, and as a result was extremely tired, and severe anxiety.

Omi B is an important part of our family. (Collage I made a day after my 39th birthday)
I asked her if she could take Littlest to school the next day, that I could rest, do some proper clearing up at home to give me my mind some peace.

We had a great talk, as always, and I felt very positive afterwards. The next day though, she called that her car broke down.
Her call was just in time for me to still prepare myself and Littlest to be on time before the class has circle time, which is officially the begin of the day for them.

Although I would have wanted to stay at home, and do as I had plan - clear up thoroughly to collect myself and have time to breathe without the stress of biking to and fro for the 'school run', I was happy that it gave me the opportunity to catch some sunlight.

I purposely stopped myself from rushing after I brought Littlest to school, and took time to take pictures of what made smile, even though my mind and heart were heavy with worry.

W, Littlest classmate, playmate and friend waving to me - made my heart warm; he is always very thoughtful

I could not resist this dreamy row of flowers, which I have never seen before. It was in the front garden of Littlest teacher Juf D.

so pretty!

What an idllyic sight! I have countless pictures of the same view but I can't resist taking just one more! The camera does not truly capture what I see but I wanted to save this moment anyway.

Look, Mommy - almost! - no hands! :D I've never ever thought I can bike with only one hand on the handlebars.

Our front garden, still bare and full of possibilities!  Hopefully, I can show all of you what mijn liefste P envision, next year, Spring!

Baby steps to creating another four seasons collage with our new tree.

At home at 11:11 am :) at least this time is balanced, if not the carrier of the time!

Watch out for more Nowacation with me and my bike @ The Lightness of Being on the Bike
After this day, I was able to face a truth, and make a decision I have been procrastinating on. You could read about that, here: Tuesday: Decision Time!

Monday, June 3, 2013

5 Things : My Monday Mood Uplifter! (Flowers)

One of the many reasons I try to join WordCount Blogathon every year, is to execute all blog ideas that were inspired by other bloggers, and ideas I personally have, which I think are fun and would help me blog consistently.

Lists with accompanying pretty pictures are always an easy way of documenting mini-stories, without too much strain on the brain! ;)

So for Monday, I thought I would begin a blog series - list of 5 Things! - , which I hope will outlive beyond the Summer blog challenge, and have it appear regulary on this page.

My list of 5 Things: My Monday Mood Uplifter {Flower Theme}

1. Looking through pictures on the memory card of our camera, and seeing Littlest with the boquet of flowers for Omi B.  It was our belated birthday gift for her (she celebrated her 88th last 29th of May).

Littlest at the parking lot of De Fuik

2.  The flower's name escape me at the moment but I love glancing the whole day at the gerberas (image is not of the actual gerberas I am talking about but the same kind!), which are at the window sill of our new house. 

We have orange gerberas, which mijn liefste P bought for middle daughter, and a light pink gerbera, which she got from a teacher.

Both were gifts for "Avondvierdaagse"

a boquet of flowers in the living room of our old home, at the background the eldest eating ice-cream
image from the blog: Sweet Saturday

3.  Assuring myself, that in Autumn, I will be able to plant our own tulips in our garden, that we can see bloom in Spring 2014! 

Tulips on the window sill of our old home
image from the blog: As Spring Slowly Bids Farewell

Not in our own garden - I wish! - but in Keukenhof
image from the blog: Revisiting Keukenhof

4. Thinking of dandelions because they are everywhere now. I know they are considered  weeds but I like looking at them.

image from the blog: Message of Love & Hope
5.  Planning of buying a boquet of roses tomorrow to replace the wilted ones we have now.

a collage from the blog: Sweet!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Learning to Live Again

My greatest support: mijn liefste P. (from June, 2013)

@ Happy Feet in the Netherlands - I write about running, and my pursuit of a healthier life: physically & mentally
It's good to feel alive! 

Yesterday, I once again felt how far I have come in my pursuit to be a stronger person, after writing about running a race in our village: Driedorpenloop 2013: Running Home. I felt I've finally come home in every sense of the word.

You do not know how much happiness it brings me to be able to do the most normal things, that others take for granted.  As simple as writing what I did, and how I feel about it.

This month, I am making a huge effort to write in my blogs how running and writing helped me learn to live again, a life of quality. After suffering silently from manic-depression, -  undiagnosed until I was 30 years old -  it took blogging to make me confront and deal with it, and reach out to ask others for help and support.

collage from March 2009 - celebrating the month we moved to the Netherlands

When I moved to the Netherlands with the girls to begin a new life with mijn liefste P, I made a pact with myself, that I would do everything to not let my manic-depression beat me. I would do everything I can to live a full life, and make sure that the girls grow up with strong personalities; most of all create strong memories with them of a beautiful childhood.

from January, 2011

Blogathon 2013 is one of my way of documenting in words the struggle and triumphs of the years that passed since I decided to be pro-active in living with manic-depression, and not let it keep me from living a full life.

In this way, I hope to help others like I was generously helped.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Welcome Blogathon 2013!

My motivational poster for this month - I did it before , I can do it again! :)
“I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” ~ Mark Twain
I love the quote above and used it as introductory quote for my Day 2 post of 2011 WordCount Blogathon.  Tonight, I was feeling nostalgic, and thought it appropriate to use this quote to introduce 2013 WordCount Blogathon.

The blogging event that hooked me into "marathon" blogging - A to Z Blogging Challenge brought to life by Arlee Bird

Welcome Blogathoners of WordCount Blogathon 2013! I can't believe I am doing it again - well, more that I am on time to do it again! :)

What's exciting for me is that I have the opportunity to use this event to post all my draft blogs - from months of having blog ideas but not enough time, peace and motivation to write them all out to, 

There were many personal and family milestones, which were all left unrecorded.

But who is to say that they can no longer be shared, nor written out for posterity because they were not written and shared on the day it occured?!

So, for this year's WordCount Blogathon I'll be doing a retrospective of the past months.

 Bearing in mind to keep it short, simple and sweet!

Good luck to all of you, and do say, "Hello!" when you drop by; I would love to get to know you. :)

A busy April with the motto: onward, forward!
Together as a family, we will remain strong.