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.