Sunday, 15 March 2020

I'm done with negativity.

Faith Hope and Love

The greatest of these is love

Am I really the only person absolutely DONE with all the negativity around this virus which is not only causing physical illness but mass hysteria as well?

There isn’t a tv channel, news or current affairs programme that isn’t promoting, yes promoting DOOM AND GLOOM and the ‘end is neigh’ visions. It is helping making people sick.

Yes, I understand there is a huge ugly virus out there. I also know that people have died, as people do. I know we need to be vigilant and more secure with our cleanliness and personal hygiene. Should have always been. This a wake-up call to those who need a lesson in personal hygiene.

Common sense seems to have left the building. Did you, in the past, really visit sick in hospital or the elderly if you had a cold or are unwell? REALLY? Well silly you. Isn’t that a thoughtless act on your part? Virus or not. That is just NOT DONE! EVER!

OK, let’s get back to my heading.

Faith: call it what suits you best. I believe in my God and you probably have a belief in whom or whatever is your Mainstay in this world. This belief gives me a sense of wellbeing and positive energy. It gives me confidence that whatever unsettling thing is happening that there will be a solution. Call me naïve if you must. I receive a large amount of peace from this belief. Rather than the panic which seems to have so many in it’s vice like grip. Of-course I am being sensible, cautious and protective- to a point where it doesn’t overrule my common sense.

I have FAITH and HOPE in and LOVE for the scientists and researchers who are working round the clock to find a tool to fight this viral yuk invader of our system. Each day more information about treatment, prevention, precautions are made known. I firmly believe they will beat this virus and it’s deadly sting. As they will the next virus that may appear in the future.

I have FAITH and HOPE in the medical world to assist in healing, nursing, protecting and caring for our sick. What a LOVE they must have in their hearts for those who suffer. And this includes also the very professional, protective and knowledgeable people in government, whose task I do not envy, in making decisions to protect their country and its inhabitants. Every step they take has been well thought out, tested and weighed up against the information to hand AT THAT POINT IN TIME. I am HOPEFUL that their decisions will benefit us in this current situation.

I have FAITH, HOPE and LOVE in and for the people who adhere to the warnings, walk the required walk of sensibility and common sense. Those who support others in whatever way possible to also be a tool in helping to restore our world to some form of normality. Especially those who spread the good cheer, positiveness and calm we all need so much at the moment.


Where there is life there is HOPE. And let’s not forget that. Hope for a future, hope for a return to health, hope to have learnt and be more knowledgeable in future moments of uncertainty.

Hope that people will retain their sense of caring for one and other. Hope for compassion and understanding.

Hope that those bringing information to the wider community realise they have power to bring people together. To bring that HOPE to the world by not only reporting on negative aspects but highlighting the victories, every step to finding a solution, a return to health buy those affected.

LOVE, the greatest of these is LOVE. Like the song says: “What the word needs now, is LOVE SWEET LOVE”. It will make us better people.

Love for each other, love to conquer, to unite, to bind, to assist, to bring joy. Love to share.

I want to read about those who are healed, who have survived and won the battle. Those who have helped in whatever way necessary. I want to celebrate LIFE, even when things get tough.

Monday, 11 February 2019

The light of the candle burns ever so brightly.

Candles, I like them for a number of reasons. What's not to like?

I have a fresh odor candle in the WC, I have 3 candles on the table in beautiful crystal holders. I have candles outside on the deck on a wee shelf for a cosy feeling while sitting outside. I have special candles for different seasons. Most important though, I have blessed candles I use in times of need and joy!

During my childhood I can't even begin to count the number of candles that were spent after being lit due to a stressful event. When we heard about someone in need, whether ill, in dire straights or hoping for a job, out would come the matches and the flame would light up the wall behind it. Didn't matter what time of day it was. Seeing the flame, one would immediately have the person in mind for who the candle had been lit. Positive thoughts and prayers therefor were constantly zapped to the needy.

My mum was a fervent believer that that flame would somehow be part of the solution. That the prayerful messages to the Heavens would be loud and clear. Not so much her 'wish' be granted, but that the person needing strength, courage, hope or energy would get whatever they needed. A job, good health, a child, a house. For the thankful moments the candle was also lit. The good results of an exam, the desired wish, car, home, child, job etc.

And I've always done the same. It brings comfort - also to me! Makes me feel that I am contributing in some way to the need that has arisen or reminding me that thankfulness is an important facet of and in our existence.

For the past few weeks my special candle has been doing overtime. For a number of people who are listed in my 'special people in my life book'. All of them ill. Some of them terminal, others hopeful for recovery in the not too distant a future. I'm praying their prayers will be answered. The lighting of the candle is a tangible and practical way I can be involved. Funny thing is, that the person of family thereof is comforted by just that gesture of mine! So maybe lighting a candle isn't such an empty action after all.

I looked at my candle today, felt humbled and concerned, and wondered, 'How any people to one candle?'

Friday, 1 February 2019

Change is happening.

Heading: Oxygen is more important than Education

Good morning, it's February the 1st 2019.

I'm not a pessimist. I like think myself as an optimistic realist. I believe the best of everyone and everything till the opposite reveals itself. Right now, I am Optimistic that somehow we will 'handle' and survive the changes - and Realistic in understanding WE NEED TO CHANGE TOO!

After writing 'my piece' on the changing world - I stopped to have breakfast and read the paper. Lo and behold. An article over exactly that subject, AND the participation of the younger generation. Chapeau to them.

For our youth, the new generation and the ones to follow. I am glad they are raising their voices. We 'oldies' should join them.
My optimism is not misplaced at all!

The newspapers and on internet the message is clear. Our weather pattern is being re-written. Our world is entering a stage of renewal.

Here in the Netherlands, my country of birth, we are having an 'On again- off again' winter to date.

Prior to Christmas a wee sprinkling of powder which you could even catch the flakes as the melted down before hitting the ground. Then as the New Year took shape a lovely, pristine white landscape to behold for a few days. Finally my body received that much desired signal. WINTER has arrived. I need that to allow my body that 'cool down' period. To be fair, I don't have to don my coat, hat, gloves, boots and shawl and get to my work in the early morning - but when that still was the case I reveled in it all the same.

After 3 mornings of happiness opening the curtains- the white had turned green and the lawn was visible once again.

A few days ago, while my husband and I were on our return journey home after a few days away- we had a light snowfall. It lasted till we got home. No sign of it in the morning- the temperature was just too warm.

Lo and behold, my winter smile returned this morning. It was white once again. But how confusing. Birds are already gathering their nesting material, buds are appearing on tree branches with the promise of new life in the shape of leaves. The spring bulbs have already shown their hiding places as their green sheaths point towards the heavens. Our winter is extreme in it's absence!

Then, elsewhere, heatwaves so hot they are scorching the earth, annihilating wild- and plant life in it's wake. Roads of asphalt are turning into watery, oily slides and pets are at a loss as to where to hide from the burning sun. Framers of all branches are struggling to do what farmers do best- provide food and nourishment for hungry mouths. Sparks cause damage to forests, homes and parks, of untold and drastic proportions.

The weather patterns are changing at a rather rapid rate. We are aware but not ready for this change. Mother Nature has never stood still, only we haven't travelled at her pace. Our world is changing. Not only in the attitudes in people,  'the Me=Me so let ME be' society where 'only the strong and fittest will survive', but also Nature and all that entails is up for renewal. The balance in the world I grew up in has disappeared.

I am optimistic. We, as a race, will survive. It is the 'shape' of this new society that keeps me guessing as to 'how' this will manifest itself. I am glad I do not have a crystal ball to look into. I may not like what I see. For now, let's stop denying, crying and saying "What can I do? My contribution would be so small it won't make a difference"! Every drop of water helps fill the bucket. Help fill the bucket.

Friday, 25 January 2019

Growing old-staying young

Link to my first blog
In 2012 I started blogging. It was just prior to my 60th birthday. My idea was, to write a wee something each day in my 60th year. Logging 356 days to look back on.  The opportunity to look back on 'a year well done.' A milestone reached.

It was a too big a task. I managed 81 'stories' in that first year. It would be my highest contributions ever on this blog. I was keen to learn. What works for me may not work for others. Do I care whether 80 or 801 people read my blog? My highest reader count is 1469, I was honoured, my least read is 22. The topic wasn't interesting enough I gather. But for me, something I can look back on and recall those moments I found important enough to write about. I'm happy if someone has gained anything at all by reading about my thoughts. I write to empty my head, to discover more about myself and to have this as a record of 'who I was' at the time of writing. In all honesty I can say that I've learnt as I went along. My 'opinions' or beliefs have continued to develop, adjusted themselves due to new insights and some have been confirmed over the years.

I maintain- that one is never to old to learn. And not just new things but also new thinking.

I started sorting my subjects into categories. I am bilingual, my children wouldn't be able to read my dutch blog which I started on the 17th July 2012. Writing, or blogging to be exact, kept me sharp in both languages. Being bi-lingual does mean one has to use both languages to practice the grammer. It is important to me that I keep up my English to be able to communicate with ease with my children, grandchildren and other family and friends. My native tongue, Dutch, is part of who I am, so being more than just capable of expressing myself is also imperative. It keep the cogs spinning.

As I said, one is never too old to learn.

My status as 'oma' provided another soapbox. Since 2015 I also write bi-lingually, about my life as oma. It keeps me on my toes, separates the topics I write about and also explains the reason why my annual contributions to each blog is limited. If I was to add them up, I'd be quite surprised. I don't write for the numbers, but to jot down events, thoughts and opinions that roam in my head. Some manage to end up being processed on my keyboard.

Juggling writing session in my daily and weekly schedule is a challenge- one is never too old to learn.

So I felt ready for another challenge. I've always loved photography on a amateur level. My computer groans under the weight of shots- many which are 'delete-able' and it's a job I've started tackling because I need to make space for my next learning curve.

In February last year ( 2018) I posted my first video on YouTube. Oooooh, was a nerve racking thing that was too. But I perservered and have learnt heaps since that day. Another challenge, another growth spurt and at 65+ glad I am able to challenge my grey matter into a new way of thinking. Not only am I able to express myself in word- I can now leave behind something more adventurous for my children and grandchildren. I'm still discovering new things, scared to try some others, apprehensive about tackling big projects- and enjoying the comments, images and adventures I've now committed visually to 'film' and embarked on this new adventure.

It is 2019 - I recall the moment our calendar changed from 1999 to 2000. It seems like only months ago. Life is 'Like an Hour Glass' with the sands of time spilling away so quickly. I want to make sure I fill the time I have with discovering new challenges and precious experiences.

One is never too old to learn. My opa used to say, "when my time is up I'll be able to sleep for as long as I like, for now, I'll keep busy doing whatever I can".

Great outlook, it obviously made an impression on me, as I was only very young when he died. I too will 'soldier on' and hopefully be inspired to keep challenging myself and continue to believe- one is never too old to learn.

Friday, 28 December 2018


Time to empty my cache of thoughts that surfaced today. Love the opportunity this blog gives me to clear my head.

Good morning.

I've just finished my breakfast and have also read the paper. These past days the papers have been full of  'warnings' from coaches and psychology experts about how to 'cope with Christmas arguments' at dinner tables and the 'mean mother in law' scary stories. So depressing really. Warnings about which topics to avoid at all cost. Thoughts on how to handle the 'politically incorrect' uncles ( and aunts) who drag nieces and nephews onto their laps etc etc.

Then on the other side of the coin. The 'things' that will make you super happy. What you needed to purchase for gifts, food items etc. Not to mention the advertisements for a 'Seasonal' holiday away'. This morning an article caught my eye. The internet sales site ( Marktplaats) is now reportedly crammed full of those 'much needed for you to be happy' Christmas gifts.

Now the Christmas part of this festive season has passed, the pages are now filled and focussed on 'Flash backs'. How well or how large the succeses and failures were these past 12 months. The people who achieved greatness but with extra verver on those who fell from grace.

It is round this time of year I feel like cancelling the newspaper. Don't get me wrong, the subjects I mentioned don't get a lot of my time, in fact more at a glance, but I cannot imagine why reporters want to infuse the readers with all this drab and negative stuff in a season when we as humans try to re-focus on the goodwill in people, of life in general, in gratitude and love for one and other. Or else why celebrate Christmas at all?

It appears that there was a newspaper, some time back, which would only print and proclaim good news. Positive articles about progress, new initiatives and succes stories. The idea behind it was to bring a balance to the negativity in the Daily paper 'we' the people devoured before or with our breakfast allowing it to influence our day. Generally with negative results. I believe it had to stop due to low distribution numbers and high costs. How come we shun Good News?

So that's my paper reflection this morning. Now I'll do a bout of 'reporting' myself.

Pre-Christmas time. Having invited our single neighbour to join my husband, my brother in law and me at the dinner table. Devouring recipe books and YouTube videos for that which may end up on our table. Managing in the nick of time to get some Christmas cards in the postbox. The tree decorated. I struggled this year more than most years. I miss my children with much more intensity at these special times. It took a dosis of down to earth thinking and encouragement to shed those sad thoughts. I decided too that I didn't NEED that new dress or sparkly top for that one special day. Went grocery shopping during the quieter hours. This didn't go quite as planned as we had a 'car breakdown' situation and it took 7 days to get a lease car, according to the garage proprietor  due to the 'Mad Season'.

Now this isn't a recipe for everyone's Christmas routine. I am just reflecting on how I managed to 'cope' with all this Christmas stress which the 'experts' tell us we are going to experience. Such a pity. I am not blind to the darker side of humanity. I DO know that there are tensions, disasters, great sadness and tragedies and they seem to escalate at certain times of the year. A wee tiny voice in my head does say however, that there maybe is a connection between all that negative reporting almost giving off a signal saying, " if you are going to be unhappy, derail or cause mayhem, now is the time because we expect you to not cope." People with the depth of problems need help ALL YEAR round, not just at the end of a, for them possibly, hardest year ever.

So, that's my bit for today. We need not stress anymore till next Christmas Season. Well that's a relief. I'm looking forward to the newness of each day whether it is 29 December or 4th January or even 19 April. For me, each day is the first day of a New Year. I'll no doubt toast right on 00:01 2019, as that moment too is worth highlighting. Bring it on.


Sunday, 23 December 2018

New challenges - another adventurous year about to start.

Well, for one thing, my blog writing will take an upward trend. I've promised myself more private time. Time to do 'my own' stuff. One of my challenges this coming year is to learn to keep my 'to do' list manageable. I'm quite flexible which also means impulsive at times. When I hear of a task or know someone is in need- and I have a free calendar, I offer my time. Gladly and willingly- for sure, but it definitely encroaches on 'my' time. BALANCE - my favourite word for 2019.

The first step was to become a member of the AMAC ( Apple) club. A computer component offered through the AMAC store. Every week this year I have the opportunity to have 30 minutes one on one training. There is so much I don't know. So many shortcuts, privileges and innovative assets to the computer system I am not familiar with. My first appointment is on the 3rd of January. Good start.

In February 2018 I started my YouTube channel. Now, don't get all excited, it doesn't have a HUGE following/subscribers, but fun all the same. I did manage to reach 49 subscribers when YouTube analytics decided two of the subscribers were 'fake'. So my goal ( if I ever had one) to reach 50 before the end of the year hasn't been achieved.

So far I've managed to post 61 posts to date. It has been one heck of a learning curve, daring to watch myself on screen and look into the lens. Quite scary. Even at 65 one has to overcome the stage- fright/nerves to cross that threshold. I'm no expert, but aim to improve my skills as time goes on. The reason initially was, to share my Australian grandson's activities while he was here with me in Nederland. A nice way to share the moments in motion. I carried on to capture the essence of my holiday in Wales with my girlfriend Annette from New Zealand. It occurred to me, my grandchildren are getting older, as am I, and as they live half a world away, maybe it was a good medium to use to allow them to get an insight into my life. So, this 'OmaFarAway' is taking up the continuing challenge- to improve on her videoing skills.

As I wrote previously, this has been a funny year. The first half with amazingly wonderful stuff, and the second half not to be repeated please. I'm still having therapy for my hand. I've been 'hit' by Post Operative Dystrophy ( it has a new name apparently)   and my left hand is not what it should be. Onward I say, onward and upward to better things in 2019. I won't let it get me down ( it did for a while I must say) and will conquer this beastie thing.

My biggest event in my diary for 2019 is my trip Down Under to visit my children, grandchildren, family and friends. I've allowed myself 2 months for this, hoping I'll not shortchange anyone. It's always a gamble trying to get the planning and timing right.

So, 2018 will go down in my history as having posted the least amount of blogs this year. It won't get worse than this. Time to reset my planner and claim what I need. In writing and cooking ( my next biggest hobby) I find rest and peace within myself Not to mention gratification.

Wishing everyone Peace and Joy both now and in the future.

~ Live ~

 ~~ Love ~~

~~~ Laugh ~~~

~~~~ L O T S ! ! ~~~~

Monday, 29 October 2018

Life's ups and downs

As exciting and uplifting as the first part of 2018 has been- so eventful and worrying it continues.

I do however have good news about my hand - I can drive the car again. I'm not out the woods yet, but at a snail's pace, I have had some improvements happen.

For others near and dear to me, there were however some more unfortunate occurrences which have also impacted on me and my activities.

My adopted mother in law had a nasty fall. At 88 any fall is nasty and this one was no exception. The bone high up just below the hip joint broke in a most nasty fashion. All jagged and deep. Ambulance, hospital and surgery was necessary for her to be able to now work on rehabilitation and hopefully a return to the independent lifestyle she is accustomed to living. Thankfully my left hand is not a deterrent to being helpful in her time of need. Lovingly I take care of some of the needs she has, along with her son. He lives quite a distance away- so the on the spot stuff I take care of as soon as the needs arise.

Meanwhile I am also working hard on the rehab of my hand. Slowly but surely things are looking more positive. I'm wearing a pressure 'sleeve' and that has helped enormously to reduce the 'burning stinging nettle' feeling I was experiencing. I can bend my fingers a wee bit more- making an arch. All looking promising I have to say.

Last Wednesday was another shocker. My brother in law had a heart attack at work. I'm still trying to get my head round it. Due to the immediate and most effective actions of one of his colleagues, he received the right treatment and was whisked of to hospital with flashing lights and screaming sirens. Straight to surgery and an immediate placing of a shunt saved his life. Such a dramatic event cause lots of emotional backlash...! We are ever sooooooo thankful at the outcome. He is now home and recuperating. It'll be months before he can return to work- but thankfully he lived to tell the tale.

It has been a rollercoaster year all in all. Hoping our last few months of 2018 are a wee bit more relaxing and stress free.

Each and every day is a gift- the unexpected is always around the corner. I'm thankful for every sunrise - and try to live life to the full. The experiences shape me and always will. The thing is to learn from everything that comes on my path. And as long as I keep my experiences in perspective - and know when to laugh and when to cry- I'll be just fine.

Signing off now as I am due at the physiotherapist shortly.

If you want to know how I got on at physiotherapy- Click on this link

Monday, 8 October 2018

Friendships and an energy boost

I am going to boast, again, about our weather. It's October, in the northern hemisphere that means Autumn. Our temperatures range from 16 to 25 degrees and loads of sunshine with little wind. Some of my friends had already banned their summery cloths to the back of the wardrobe, with the idee that they wouldn't be needed again for 6 months.

Last Friday we, a group of 8 friends, embarked on our annual weekend away. We have been doing this for 12 years now, with a turn about couple arranging the place and activities to keep us occupied from Friday afternoon to Sunday evening. This year we strayed from our usual timeframe of early July to early October. Keeping our fingers crossed for good weather. Well, mother nature obliged. We had sun all weekend and temperatures of 24 and 22 respectively with Sunday being slightly cooler at 18. No complaints here I can tell you.

We travel in pairs. As friends Harry and Hinriette wanted to take their bikes, we traveled with them. All 4 of us had no work commitments for the Friday so off we went after coffee and a relaxed start to the day. Our destination was Nunspeet in the province Gelderland. Very green, slightly undulating due to the ever present sandy underground, which for century has altered it's shape after heavy storms and windy weather patterns. You can read more about it on Chris Booth's Website. Chris, a New Zealand sculptor is responsible for a beautiful creation depicting the area's identity.

On our way we stopped off at a lovely wee 'Inn' called 't Hilletje in Kootwijk, where we enjoyed lunch while sitting outside reveling in the sunshine. As we went on our merry way we also took in the sights at a Sculpture Park. Items of wood, stone, bronze and sand in numerous shapes and forms greeted us there. We were most impressed and pleasantly surprised. Had no idea such a beautiful park was relatively close to home ( about an hour's drive).

Towards the end of the afternoon we arrived at the hotel. We walked, biked ( well I stayed back at the hotel as I still can't use my hand so couldn't steer the bike), ate, drank, laughed, chatted, discussed, agreed and disagreed, slept, and enjoyed just being together. On the Sunday we left the hotel and spent a short time in Apeldoorn, this to kill some time before our organised tasting and tour of the local beer brewery, De Schavuit.

We love playing tourist in our own country. One doesn't have to go far to have a great break away and learn more about one's homeland. And how wonderful to do that with friends.

After the recent 10 weeks of laying low and being hampered after my hand surgery, this boost to my morale and the effects of the laughter was an energising tonic much needed and gratefully received.

Click here for the link to my videos
I'm going to work on the video of this great weekend adventure. This is a very appropriate activity as I recall and relive some of these precious moments. By committing this weekend to video I am also able to share my fun time with family and friends highlighting Nederland and it's scenery to boot. The next couple of days wil see me splicing, editing and adding sound to my still somewhat amateur skills as a movie maker. Never too old to learn.

Saturday, 29 September 2018

My Autumn leaves

Officially, it's autumn. And if I look at the barometer, it confirms this seasonal turnaround. The sun is out, quite bright too, though the temperature won't reach more than 15 today. I'm protected from any chills by the double glazing. Not venturing outside today, except for Wednesday this of week. The furtherest I stepped outside was our balcony. I have a heavy cold. Most unusual and unexpected. Wednesday was a 'had to' step out as I had a physio appointment followed by a new coating on my nails. They have also taken on a more autumn look.

Funny really, I don't get colds much at all. I recall having one when I was in New Zealand last in april/may 2017 - again in an autumn season. Messed up my intended Easter activities there. Was more a bronchial attack. My daughter looked after me extremely well and pampered me which made my recovery all the more pleasant. This episode totally took me by surprise. Never mind, it's only temporary so no big deal. Just limiting in what I can and want do. Like today. It is 13:23 on a Saturday afternoon and I am still as snug as a bug in a rug wearing my warm comfy dressing gown. When I've posted this I'll jump under the shower and wrap myself up warm in comfy 'indoor' regalia. I would have preferred to have gone to the local market for some fresh fish and the enjoyable hustle and bustle.

We have a most enthralling view from our apartment. Looking down a river on which pleasure craft glide past, the local rowing club practice their skills and the bridge in a distance which allows the traffic to cross the watery divide. On both sides plenty of trees which house numerous birdlife, a path for pedestrians to enjoy the ambiance of the river and a setting sun presenting us with breathtaking view most evenings. A delight to live on this lovely spot.

With the falling temperatures, and the results of a long hot summer, most trees are in the process of shedding their leaves. The deep colour green has now faded to a paler version. There isn't much orange or yellow yet but that won't be long in coming. Each morning a new palet of colour greets me as I step outside for my early morning breath of fresh air. Invigorating!

Sometimes I too feel like those leaves. I try to make the most of what the day brings. As a person I am very optimistic with the added dosage of realism. Lately though, I have let my negativeness get the better of me. The struggle to regain the use of my hand after surgery got me down. My body didn't change to autumn but dropped into the unfathomable darkness of winter.

Now that I have reset my button, re-gained my composure and will to improve... I've arrived back into colourful and vibrant Autumn where the leaves ( = my disappointments),  which have had their moment of sadness, are being shed, falling off me in a breeze of renewal. I have literally turned over a new leaf.

When I look out my windows during the winter months, I visualise the leaves back on the trees in all their glory. I imagine the sun's rays on the raindrops and the return of the birdlife in spring. My turn around has me imagining the re-use of my hand, the new strength I'm given after the surgery and am making plans for the stacked up chores I've been 'saving' till I am 100% fit again.

Seasons are wonderful for giving new perspectives on life, bringing other experiences, challenges and possibilities. And in my lifetime I've experienced many seasons and gained lots of experiences and triumphs. I'm up for the challenges, looking forward to new experiences and will revel in my triumph.

Carpe Diem! Not just today but every day!

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Life's timeline.

It is September. Time for me to hand in the articles for our quarterly newsletter for our Nature Guide Organisation. My husband and I are members of the VvHB ( Vereniging Vrijwiligers Hollands Biesbosch). A volunteer organisation which supplies the wo/man power to accompany school groups or other interested people who come visit our National Park. Every 3 months we publish a newsletter for members to keep them updated with happenings and events. I have been a contributor for about 15 years now taking responsibility for 'our' wee groep of fanatics in a special part of the park. This issue was a bit harder to write as I had to add an extra item, that of a memoriam of one of our members.

I have just sent the mailings to the editors. Feel a bit drained - but also quite honoured that this task was mine to fulfill. It was also my privilege to speak at his farewell. We lost a friend and the loss is still raw.

While writing this I received a phone call from another member of the club. He was due to attend a small gathering here at our home to evaluate an outing we went on to celebrate 25 years of our organisation. He apologised he can't make it. His 50 year old son has been diagnosed terminally ill. Appears the illness has been present long before it was discovered. TRAGIC!

The past hour or so has made me aware once again of the preciousness of time. Time we cannot fathom or measure.

R I P Frans
If I look back on the past 18 months, the time when our friend informed us of his ill health, I can but only be in awe of his endeavour to enjoy every last breath he had left to take. The practical as well as the emotional issues he addressed. The intense enjoyment of the daily chores, visits of friends, the attention he gave to those near and dear. Impressive. Not mushy and over the top, but with love, respect and sincerity.

Do I make the most of my moments in time? There is no guarantee I'll have another 25 years of good health. I don't think I am being maudlin or depressive. Just REAL. The reality is, none of us have an exact timeline. None of us have a set number of years in which we can 'do' all that we wish or need to do.

Friday just past saw a tragic accident happen here in the Netherlands. Four children between the ages of 4 and 11 were killed in a most tragic accident involving a train and a transport vehicle carrying these children to their school. The person in control of the vehicle and another child are in hospital fighting for their lives. Now there are many tragic things happening in the world I know. This one, so close to home, just highlights again, how many people are plummeted into grief, pain and despair when they loose someone they love. Such short lived lives. So 'unfinished' one thinks.

Autumn has hit the country. It is wet, dreary and bit chilly. Our summer clothes can be tucked far away deep into the closet. We are entering another change in seasons. Today my husband, his brother and two friends have 'escaped' from home and are on their way to Newcastle for a short stopover. Two dear Scottish sisters spent a week here in Nederland and are winging their way back to Edinburgh as I type. We had such a lovely time together. My grand/ children are asleep Down Under. All is well in my world right now. I'm grateful for this like you wouldn't believe.

Today I just want to revel in the thankfulness of my blessings. Having completed my obligations I am now going to reflect on my next adventure in life- and enjoy it with all my being. My new commitment to making short videos to leave to my grand/children and others on YouTube need updating.  I'm going to celebrate life to the fullest- even when the going gets tough. I won't get to do a re-run! This is my only chance and I'm giving it my best shot.

Friday, 14 September 2018

Live, love laugh!

I see this saying, or collection of words on many coasters, wall plaques and even on bed linnen. Many many year sago I had it on my mirror in the bathroom. In the period I was a single woman, starting my new life alone, back in the country of my birth after a 30 year absence.

I had been advised to surround myself with positive messages, images and people to help me pick up my life and feel good about myself. Something I had a lot of trouble with. After 28 years of marriage and raising 3 children, in my mind, I had failed. Failed at motherhood, at marriage at being a daughter. It took some doing to pick myself up and be active in creating a new life, finding my feet and enjoying all life has to offer. The road bent to the left and right, had highs and lows, challenges and successes. The journey isn't over yet, but my word have I come along way. I have to pay tribute to those who stood by me, held my hand, cuddled, advised and comforted me. I certainly didn't do this on my own. And yes, it may sound blasé, but my stronghold was and is my faith.

Why write about this today? Well, maybe as I look out my window, as I read the paper, message with friends and see photos of my lovely grandchildren, I realise once again how lucky, blessed, fortunate and extremely loved I actually am. Everyday there is more than just 'something' to be grateful for.

My life now is such a contrast to 18 years ago when I returned 'home' to Nederland. I spent 11 years teaching, I've met wonderful people, made life long friends, found a new love, am comforted to know my children and grandchildren are doing well, am on good terms with their father, can smile, laugh and enjoy the challenges and blessings which litter my path. And sometimes, it is just important to stop and realise that.

I have  habit of writing down my thoughts to clear my mind, get a better picture maybe of things I ponder on or just generally 'get the off my chest'. Today I felt the need to be thankful - verbally. To publicly say, I do LIVE LOVE AND LAUGH - lots and when ever I can!

Just like in other people' lives, I have highs and lows, gratitude and disappointments. Sadness and joys. All the more reason to embrace life and not waste the time I'm given and make the most of it.

The sun is shining, the sky a pale 'approaching autumn' blue, the trees are sighing a sigh of relief after a blistering dry summer. The grass is slowly turning green again having felt the restoring splashes of raindrops. Schools have resumed after the summer break and we are gearing up to the busy season of autumn and the festivities that lay ahead. It is halfway through September and 2018 has trundled as a high speed train bringing great adventures and memorable moments. I believe there are many people are already planning Christmas dinners, holidays and looking forward to the parcels under the tree. There is nothing wrong with looking ahead - as long a one keeps an eye on the path there, so as not to trip over or miss out on what's happening right now.

Enjoy each and every challenge, be proud, be hopeful and have faith, If not in a God, then definitely in one's self. Life is worth living.

Sunday, 2 September 2018

Time flies.....

Oh My Goodness, Really, MARCH?? I had no idea it was that long ago that I made a contribution to this blog. Admittedly, I have been pre-occupied. I also spent a lot of time and energy gaining new skills. I've started a YouTube channel , and am pretty proud how that's going.

Here a timeline of months gone past.

April: Grandson Max arrived from Australia to stay for 2 months.
- we visited my dad's place of birth Leeuwarden, Went to Edinburgh for a week and did lots of in betweens.
Mei: On 30th May I waved Max out on his way home after our city trips including Berlin, Paris, Amsterdam, Rotterdam and much more
June: After catching up with friends, taking a short 'break' I welcomed my dear friend Annette from New Zealand. We spent a fun and touristy 8 days in Nederland.
July: Arrived in Dover on the 30th June to spend the next 12 days in Wales. After arriving back home- a surprise early call up for hand surgery.
August: All in the throws of re-couperating and also two mini trips away. One to France ( Givet) and a 4-dayer to Sauerland, Germany.

It is now 2nd September. My hand hasn't yet healed ( sigh sob sigh sob) and Autumn is slowly creeping closer. I cannot believe I've neglected this spot but seeing what I have been up to...well, not surprising I have been 'away'. Check out the YouTube channel though if you want to catch a glimpse of all those wonderful experiences I was privileged to share with my grandson and my dear friend Annette. What a beautiful world we live in. Must admit to have fallen in love with Wales. Can't wait to get another opportunity to visit there.

My hubby and his brother are away at the moment. An annual thing. I'm enjoying just being home. As I mentioned, my hand is causing some concern. The swelling after the operation just won't leave the building. My (left)  hand is virtually not participating in my daily activities- including now while I try to type. Thankfully I am right handed. Ever tried decapitating an egg with one hand? Believe me, not a pretty sight. It would make a tough grown man cry!

Yesterday I took to the footpath- and tread my way into town. Saturday market was my goal. On my way home ( I decided if I could walk into town I could also walk home) I met a lovely kiwi traveling couple Sara and Jason. I recognised the accent as I passed their camper and Jason spoke to his traveling and life's companion Sarah. Well, that's like red rag to a bull. I was drawn, like a moth to a lamp, to connect. Such a warm bath feeling speaking to others 'from home Down Under'.

My day was absolutely one to list in the top 10. What a lovely people one meets on the most unexpected moments in life. Travel safe you two. I'll be following your travels from now.

Anyway, as I said, if you want to do a catch up- lots to see: OmaFarAway. I'll be posting more videos there as we do tend to travel around  a fair bit playing tourist in own country. My new home town: Dordrecht also features. I started it as I thought it would be a gem for my grandchildren later- to have instead of the black and white photos I have of my grandparents. Precious as they are mind you. My memory of them is definitely in colour!

I did blog but on my other blog which is bi-lingual ( Dutch/English) Also called OmaFarAway. Mainly bi-lingual because the children and grandchildren don't read or speak Dutch.

Well, that's me for now. Time to rest my overworked right hand. Coffee calling!! Enjoy your day.