Monday, November 19, 2012

True Love - partnership - friendship - happiness


You know it`s love when all you want is that person to be happy, even if you are not part of their happiness.



Have you ever taken a look at the person beside you? Your partner, Husband/wife, Lover, friend. I mean that one person that combines it all. When I look at my husband I fall in love with him over and over again.

We are together now for 18 years and I still can remember the first kiss gave me on my forehead when walking me home one afternoon. I can actually smell the spring flowers and hear the water flowing past us on that spring day of 1994.
All the little things we did and still do for eachother, make out our connection. But one thing has changed in those years and that is "the knowing - feeling" -  sometimes he finishes a sentence I started and sometimes he feels how I feel and just knows I mean yes to things when i actually say no. We are in a way like one person.........

Being together just became for me that rocksolid moment where you just feel really cemented into the earth once and for all.
You are just so tethered to that guy that means the most in the world to you.
Your marriage should be the cornerstone, your bedrock, that place where all great things grow from. I have found just that and all this in combination with lots of laughter and houmor makes it perfekt.
If you are still searching please take this little note as proof that it is out there. Maybe even closer than you think..

xxx


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Homeschooling mummy “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.” ~ Albert Einstein

 

yes, that is what I am a homschooling mummy of four. And I have been doing it since 2005. Back then when we went on holiday and saw families taking breaks during school, I always asked myself - "How do they do it"? and now I am on that side facing all sorts of questions and comments. 

The other day my daughter drove into town with a friend and her mother. The friend asked if her mother had ever thought about homeschooling her. The mother said " oh dear, I just could not be as kind and patient as N.J. she sure must have the patience of a saint".

Now that comment got me thinking. Do I have more patience  than anybody else? I came to the conclusion that this is a path we have taken and of course at the beginning I wanted to do everything right so I - like any parent - overdid it. I played the teacher.

However, this did not last very long. The kids moslty just wanted me to read to them and sit and have tea. And that is what we still do today. We sit, talk, read, talk again, go for walks and explore things together.  Children pursue life, and in doing so, pursue knowledge. They need adults to trust in the inevitability of this very natural process, and to offer what assistance they can.
 
All our kids read - alot. So, in a way i dont worry too much. Of course even I have my days where I do worry but I have still never regret homeschooling them in the first place. Because the time we spend together is so full of quality and love that I would not want to miss that. 
And that is really all you have to do as a parental control, just love and trust them.

John Holt once said "There is no difference between living and learning... it is impossible and misleading and harmful to think of them as being separate.” 

And now I am off to read to my kids.

xxx xxx 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Ok, I give in.....

 

I received alot of feedback on some of my posts and most of you said, that I should be writing more. Now the Summer has passed and has changed places with wet autumn and so there is no excuse whatsoever. The only thing could be, that I just don't find the time to actually sit down at the computer and write.

I write in my journal every morning. I get up early and have that time to myself and no, it is not the same as writing on the computer. It is actually like meditation. I need it to an extend. The thought of putting on the computer to write something would not occur to me in the morning.
What other excuse could I have for not writing? Well that part of being of mother of four must count. And of course being a homeschooling mother of four gives me extra points, right?
So, here I am again. I will try and write more and be more committed.

The end of this week (I am not going to even say tomorow cause then it will turn out to be the most craziest day ever) I will write about this: "how can she home school all those kids, she must have the patience of a saint".......You have no idea how many times I have to listen to this. So, feel free to email me about your experience.

Till then relax and enjoy your kids.
xxx xxx

Friday, April 13, 2012

Busy enjoying my life





Well, what can I actually say about not writing....????

Well, the weather is great - the garden needs attention - and I have been reading great books lately.

Also, my kids are into all sorts of wonderful things. And I want to be with them.

But if you want to read about our time in France, then go ahead. I will promise to write more soon.

Life is sometimes too lovely to waste on the Internet....xxx N.J.

http://ournewlifeinfrance.blogspot.com/

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Doubt.........

If you're worried about what others think of your
parenting, consider this:

MAYBE they're judging you; maybe not. But *you* are
DEFINITELY judging yourself!

Your emotional reaction (worry) is the tip-off to your
self-judgment. If you were absolutely confident in
your parenting, you might be *aware* of others judging
you, and that would inform your choices, but it
wouldn't get under your skin.

This doesn't mean you should try to eliminate all
doubt. Uncertainty is a necessary part of any
leading-edge path. It makes you a better learner.

When you embrace doubt and practice being "confidently
uncertain," you'll stop needing others' approval.
Better yet, some of them will drop their judgments and
grow to appreciate or even emulate your ways!

Happy 1.12.11 may the christmas feeling start ;-)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Book I am reading at the moment!

Introduction
Chocolat begins with the arrival in a tiny French village of Vianne Rocher, a single mother with a young daughter, on Shrove Tuesday. As the inhabitants of Lansquenet-sous-Tannes clear away the remains of the carnival which heralds the beginning of Lent, Vianne moves with her daughter into a disused bakery facing the church, where Francis Reynaud, the young and opinionated curé of the parish, watches her arrival with disapproval and suspicion.
When he realizes that Vianne intends to open a chocolate shop in place of the old bakery, thereby tempting the churchgoers to over-indulgence, Reynaud's disapproval increases.
As it becomes clear that the villagers of Lansquenet are falling under the spell of Vianne's easy ways and unorthodox opinions, to the detriment of his own authority, he is quick to see her as a danger. Under Vianne's influence an old woman embraces a new life, a battered wife finds the courage to leave her husband, children rebel against authority, outcasts and strays are welcomed... and Reynaud's tight and carefully ordered community is in danger of breaking apart. As Easter approaches, both parties throw themselves whole-heartedly into the preparations; Vianne for the chocolate festival she plans to hold on Easter Sunday, Reynaud into a desperate attempt to win back his straying flock. Both factions have a great deal at stake; the village is bitterly divided; and as the big day looms closer their struggle becomes much more than a conflict between church and chocolate - it becomes an exorcism of the past, a declaration of independence, a showdown between dogma and understanding, pleasure and self-denial.
Background
"My daughter was three when I wrote Chocolat. She is one of the main characters in the story, as is her imaginary rabbit, Pantoufle. I like to think that was what began it; for the first time I felt ready to write like a mother, to try and express some of what it felt like to me. That started me thinking about my own mother and the members of my family, in France and elsewhere, and that's why so many of them are depicted in this book. My great-grandmother, especially, to whom the book is dedicated, is a strong influence, being at the same time a wonderful cook, a powerful matriarchal figure as well as being (as I remember her best) a lively, eccentric and generous Mémée. Denounced from the local pulpit for daring to send her son to a secular school rather than a fee-paying Catholic one, she was the template for both Vianne and Armande, and her picture is on the back cover of the book, just as I remember her, in her garden with her milk-jug in one hand. Armande's red petticoats belong to her, as does the manner of Armande's death, her refusal to conform and her impudent zest for life. Vianne's belief in magic also belongs to her, as do many of her recipes.
I first planned out this story during the Easter holidays, and so it seemed natural to me that I should set it at that time. Easter to me has many memories and associations, all of them French; elaborate carnivals, egg-hunts in my great-grandmother's garden, the story about the flying bells, the exquisite displays in the windows of the confiseries and pâtisseries. The Catholic church, of course, still so influential in French communities. And chocolate. It seems very strange to me that Easter should now be so closely linked with fasting and self-denial. Originally Easter was a time of feasting and celebration and the rebirth of Spring. The pagan traditions which still survive all prove it. And it's ironic, too, that we should have come full circle. The shops are never so full of temptations as they are at Easter. I wanted to write a book about that conflict between indulgence and guilt, with chocolate as the central metaphor.
I also wanted to write about people, and about how the arrival of a single individual can affect the internal politics of a community. My books often focus on small communities and the interaction between their inhabitants. The smaller the group, the more dramatic the consequences when someone introduces change. Lansquenet is not a real place, though it is closely based on a little town I know well and I have tried to make it as authentic as I can. It could be anywhere. The rivalries and jealousies of people are almost the same wherever you go.
Nor is the book set at any particular time. I deliberately wanted to give it an old-fashioned feel, to suggest that this was a place where nothing had changed in many years, whilst retaining some elements of modern life. There are still many rural communities in France - especially in the south - where this remains a true depiction, but Chocolat was never intended to be an accurate representation of "today's France". It is a France seen through a very selective, very personal filter which has as much to do with nostalgia as with present-day realism.
Lastly I wanted to write about magic. Not the popular view, but about the magic of everyday things and the way something quite ordinary can, given the right circumstances, take on extraordinary properties. Vianne's belief in the supernatural seems dangerous, even sinister, to Reynaud. And yet it is her very human qualities - her understanding and her kindness to others - which make her what she is. She does nothing which could not be achieved by purely ordinary means. Her magic, working as it does through simple pleasures, is accessible to everyone. If she is a witch, as Reynaud believes, then so is anyone else with similar values. We live in a world which is becoming increasingly complicated around us; we are bombarded with mixed messages and impossible targets from the media; like Reynaud we have learned to demonize pleasure and to be afraid of our feelings. Chocolat was my reaction against that; a plea for tolerance of others but also of ourselves, a reminder that to be fallible is both natural and allowed; that self-indulgence isn't always bad; that testing people to destruction isn't the way to make them better people.
There are no real heroes or villains in Chocolat. Even Reynaud, with his intransigence and his dark past, is more of a victim than an oppressor. His deep insecurity and his desire for order reflect Vianne's own need to belong, and her fear of being rejected. Nor is the Catholic church the villain of the piece; Reynaud uses his own interpretation of Catholicism to enforce his own agenda of control and self-denial. Vianne does the same in a gentler way, but she too has preconceptions and prejudices, and like Reynaud, she is a victim of her past. I see Vianne and Reynaud as two sides of a single coin; closer in terms of their background, their fears and their struggle for dominance than anyone else in the story. To me the real difference between them is that Vianne is a mother, whereas Reynaud, ironically, is a Father only in name.
For in Chocolat it is love, and not faith, which ultimately holds the key to salvation. Reynaud fears love (and pleasure, which he equates with sin), whereas Vianne embraces it and encourages its free expression. Because of her love for her daughter Vianne must try to exorcize her past; Reynaud is condemned to relive it in sterile isolation. But no-one in this story is beyond redemption; Vianne and Reynaud are both forced to confront their demons in the end, and I like to think that they both learn something about themselves in the process, and are both able at last to rejoin the human race."

Note from me: It gets you into the christmas mode - in a different way - but everything is so yummy and you just want to eat chocolate all the time........Enjoy xxx

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Letter to my Father, who died.

Hi Dad,

The last time I said that, I was about 18 - meeting you at grans house after about a 10 years break from not seeing you at all. I loved to say that word daddy, cause it felt like comfort to me and a kind of sense that you and me had a lot in common - you loved animals just like I do and you loved to be outside just like I do. When I was little, I often bumped into you after school, when you said you were out for a walk, but I know that you were out buying alcohol. You used to stop at these so called kiosks to pick up your little bottles of brandy that fitted quite conveniently in your jacket pocket, so nobody would see. But I always knew, I could smell the sweet scent of that stuff and your particular smile you would have on your face, gave you away. When you got up in the morning you usually went out with the dog in order to get your first little bottle to be able to say good morning and at lease face me and mum. You would come back in a high, never drunk but nearly kind of back to normal, the way we missed you and kind of always wanted you back like that.

I think mum only got drunk to be with you - to be closer to you, because otherwise you were distant. I remember once when you told her you would stop and I caught you buying drink at the shop. You stood there with your long skinny legs in a huge jacket, mum got in a charity shop for you for that winter - you stood there and I hid behind a wall and tears were running down my face, because I could not bear it anymore that you were doing it in secret. You stayed sober for 2 weeks. I was never sure to tell mum or not. That is lot for a 9 year old girl.

When mum got extremely depressed with you, she decided to make the move to separate. But before that you have to understand that she tried everything to keep it together. She tried a job cleaning for other people, I went to Saturday flee markets to sell my toys I did not need anymore, in order for us to buy potatoes in the market.

I remember one day mum had so little money, but she managed to buy potatoes and sweet corn. As we came to the counter I was looking at chocolate and she sensed I wanted it. But I was by then too informed and too good of a girl, that I would never dare to ask. She whispered in my ear, she would get me an ice-cream at the parlour on the way home. I smiled and could fell her scared look about life for the future and all. We went out the market and there you stood waiting for us. You asked mum if she had money and mum said several times no, but you did not believe her. You argued with her and I went to the other corner of the square. You took mums last money and left her standing there with her plastic bag and empty look. She looked to the ground and had her own thoughts - plans that would be soon revealed. She came to me and on the way home past the parlour we went without stopping. I did hesitate a little but knew we were not going to stop, because you took her last penny. She cried silently on the way home and I tried to sing her a song while walking but she did not want that. I was to remain silent. I often wanted to just become invisible, because all around me was sad. At that moment I wished for those Saturday nights, where you were both happy drinking and chatting. For my childhood nearly the only really happy family days when you were both drinking making plans on how to make a better future. I enjoyed playing with my dolls by the side and just felt that chatting between you two so comforting. I know that sometimes, way after my bedtime the mumbling voices would become louder and occasionally fights would occur - sometimes you would hit mummy and say the next morning to me that she had fallen or bumped into the door frame. But I need to tell you that I was always awake under my blanket scared to death about what was happening. I would cry myself to sleep and be glad for another typical Saturday to have ended.

But that moment when I went home alone with mum and you to the next pub, I just felt a Saturday would be just right in that moment. I was a kid. I got used to routine even if it was a shitty one. I could rely on it. It made me feel safe in a strange way.

I have a lot of memory of you like we have of most people good and bad ones. You often took me on your shoulders when I could not walk anymore and you always bought me something sweet. You had a talent of making everything feel normal for me. You used to put on your smile your “lets have fun, pet” - that is what you called me all the time. My whole childhood was a disaster, now I can see much clearer as I am a mother myself. The funny thing is there were times when I felt safe with you - safer than with mummy and other days I was so angry with you I used to cry and on those days I would try and persuade mummy to just pack a little bag and take the bikes and just never come back. It was my idea - my plan. I used to keep a little cotton bag in my room with my favourite things as I thought my plan would be launched any time. When I made these suggestions to mum, she was usually sitting with a black eye or some sort of other injury, and these are the only ones I actually know of. I felt strong telling mum what to do. I felt like a grownup cause mums depression and inability to look after me gave me strength to do something. Somehow time just past by and mum told me one day we are going to visit my auntie with the train. What she did not tell me, is that I would never sleep in my little bed again. She betrayed me for not telling me of her plan after I had shared with her my plan. We left you on a morning and never came back. Mum told you on the phone and all the rest was told to me by others. You took it hard but wanted to keep the dog. You made clear you wanted to see me now and then, but you wanted to keep the dog.



On the day we returned to the house to pick up our things with a friend of mums you put on your best clothes and had prepared little sandwiches. The atmosphere was nice and after all the packing and the fact that everybody was thirsty I was sent to the shop with my bike to get 6 bottle of beer. I by accident broke 3 cause the bottle heads came in my front wheel. My bike flipped and when I returned the concern was more about the broken bottles than my skinned knees.

After packing up all the things I was promised to see you the following weekend. All said goodbye and while we drove off, in the radio the song“it’s all over now, baby blue” was playing. There were tears running down mums eyes and in her own way she let out all her pain she had kept inside for all those years. So many tears were flowing and I held her hand and watched the landscape pass by all this at my all so young life.

I never saw you that weekend and not even the one after that.. Years went by till I finally found you and came in contact. I was 18 and determined to tell you what I think of you. I flew to Scotland and was prepared for confrontation. When I got out the car and walked up those stairs and saw you standing in the doorway at Grans house, I was shocked. You had changed into a much older weaker looking man and all my anger and frustration I collected in those past years just turned into sympathy. You managed to make me think you had stopped drinking and somehow “made it”. I saw straight through you and knew that your visits to the village were the same as there were when I was a child.



We separated saying we would meet the following weekend, you wanted to call. I waited but never heard from you again till another 10 years. This time your sister called not you. This time you had a medical condition and you had undergone several operations. Life led you to London and I was left with one phone call with you and I could just hear that even through the phone you put on that smile and tried to act normal. You had to go for your last operation and I kept thinking of you. After the operation I knew you could not talk but I made sure a nurse would tell you that I, your daughter, called to tell you that she loved you. I think I have never heard you say that, dad. Have you ever said “pet, I love you”? I cannot remember, if so then it maybe for not often enough. 2 weeks after your major operation you died in your armchair. It was a sunny Saturday late evening. Funny for you to die on a Saturday the day when you used to be on top of the world - the day of the week we all loved you.

You had made yourself a coffee and returned to the television. You died with a little picture of my little girl in your hand. A picture I had sent you with a letter a letter to somehow find a new beginning in all this mess. It would have been from parent to parent. But I don’t think from father to daughter. That chance was water under the bridge. I am writing these lines to you today, to tell you that as a little girl I thought you were the salt of the earth. I guess I just got a bit too much disappointed. Always waiting for you, always waiting for those little words that would make me feel special. But do you know what? I forgive you, cause I have my own little family now and I experience the love and I give the love I always wanted as a child. I had so much to give as a little girls, you all just did not want it.

I can live it again with my own kids. You could have been part of this but you decided to go your own way like most of the time, and leave the world. The world that seemed to not treat you right and somehow not have a place for you. I forgive you again, cause I cannot be angry and frustrated at you anymore. I have never had the chance to tell you what I really think but time as passed by, my anger has turned into sympathy again. Just like that day when I say you standing at the door. I am letting it go and looking for the love. I have found the love for sure. My kids give me so much and I am sure there is a part of you in this somehow telling me how much you did love me. I even sometimes see that special glint in the eyes of my little boy. Over and over he tells me how much he loves me - could that be a part of you?

I hope you rest in peace and sometimes like me, think of that afternoon when you and me played ball in the park.

I love you…………