Monday, August 17, 2009


Today I realized that what I thought was irritation towards Joran in the face of his demands is actually panic : panic that I will not be able to get it done/hold it all together/give him everything he needs and wants/control him. How unrealistic those expectations are! But in the moment that I recognized this feeling, I also knew that it had begun early in my life and had nothing to do with Joran. I took a deep breath into the panic and imagined it bursting away like a confetti explosion. For a while, I just noticed anytime it started to come up, took a deep breath to expand that constricted feeling, and pretty soon, it didn't seem to come up at all. I suppose that as long as I continue being aware of it, it will eventually go away. Because it doesn't serve me in the normal functioning of my life today.

Awareness is something I've been bringing to my life this summer. Rather than being reactive or trying to figure everything out or fix anything, I am just trying to be more and more aware. It's amazing how the simple act of noticing can make such a huge difference.

Live well!
Jolene =)

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Lesson of the Day

I have to share this with all of my friends: today I had a bright moment of realization where an important thought occured to me and it registered in my body where I could just feel the truth of it. Get ready for a warm bath of positive energy!

This morning, I experienced two negative incidents in which I started to think and feel "why do these things happen to me?!" Very victimy. I vascilated between blame (including self-blame) and anger.

With the first incident, I was not looking forward to the process of resolving it. Then it occured to me that these things don't usually happen to me and I have faith in the general reasonability and good naturedness of other humans. I knew in that moment that I would just have to take a few extra steps, maybe make a couple of extra phone calls and with my open, friendly attitude, I will get what I need. Instead of dreading the extra time I'd have to spend, I looked forward to connecting with these people and the feeling of accomplishment afterward. No need to let a little misunderstanding stand in the way of my overall well-being!

With the second incident, it involved a person who lashed out at me for perceived wrong-doing. The incident was over in less than a minute, but I was left shakey and feeling horrible as if I had done something wrong. Like I said, I both blamed myself and her and I was angry at her, but those thoughts just fed the negative feeling. Well, the anger felt a little empowering at first. I did end up venting to John soon after, but then as I was talking to him, I realized that the way I was feeling about the incident was no longer about her, but about me, my thoughts and what I was holding onto. With that, I decided to find better thoughts. For example, "She was just trying to find joy. She was trying to make herself feel better. She was only acting habitually, and what she did had nothing to do with my inherent rightness or wrongness. We all act habitually. She was probably not feeling good for other reasons and took it out on me. I'm glad I'm strong enough to take it, let it go, and move on." No need to let a little hic-up affect my total happiness!

I accept that I somehow allowed the negative situations to occur in my environment. I may only be able to guess at how I created them or I may not understand how at all, but I know that they are just "oops" moments and I can get right back on track.

Anyways, this afternoon, I got on the phone and with one more step, I will have the first issue resolved. All is well!

I appreciate my life and all of the people in it!

Love, Jolene =)

Friday, August 7, 2009

Kids' Activities

Joran has been making up stories for at least 2 years. They are elaborate stories with a plot and several characters. They take around 30 minutes to tell, and subjects vary with each story. Below, Joran is a magician with sidekicks, Spiderman and Batman. I am sitting in the bleachers, so it was like watching a live theatrical performance.

Jasmijn can pull herself up to almost anything and it's one of her new most favorite activities. She even climbed 2 steps the other day.

Here, she rearranges the kitchen cabinets.

Joran's tangram creation before we cleared the table for dinner: "Robot shooting target."

Joran's marble run. Created by Joran with some assistance with assembly by Jolene. Sorry for the semi-nudity. Should I have rated this one for parental guidance?
Love, Jolene =)

The Days Go By

Putting together this blog is a great reminder for me as to how lovely our lives really are. Honestly, while this move to Geneva has been a brilliant experiene, I have not enjoyed living in the city. Even though we have great experiences, I do sometimes get down about daily life. Sometimes I feel that I am just waiting for the weekend, when we'll all be able to hang out as a family. We work so well together.

During the week, I go to parks a lot, but even that can be a disaster. The parks are not so clean. For example, today I went to one that is fairly small and there are always kids there, often large groups of kids. I would think adults would keep the children's area a bit sacred. However, the adults there are usually smoking, and then they throw their cigarette butts on the ground. Today, I found a nook that was filled with various refuse, most likely from a homeless person. I found myself feeling a mix of sadness and compassion that someone was using the park in that way, because he or she had no home available, but then also feeling sick to my stomach that any children at the park would be running into that. It's not the first time I've seen such things here. Before moving here, I had the idea that Geneva, being in Switzerland, known for its wealth and cleanliness, would be a sparkling city.

In any case, even though I like to share all areas of my life here, I don't like to dwell on things I find hard to appreciate, just like in my real life. So, now that I've gotten the above off my chest, I'll turn focus to the fun we are having...

Joran plays his guitar -- collecting money on the street?

Working on staying young at heart.

UN fountains

Picnic at La Perle du Lac, a beautiful, expansive, lakeside park, also connected to the Botanical Gardens. Makes for a wonderful day. These parks and the UN are close together, so we visited all, had schwarma for lunch and ice cream, too.

When I met John, I had a car colored "Champagne Beige." I was always insistant about adding the "Champagne," not just beige. John started talking about me adding champagne sparkle to everything. He spoke of it like it was our measure of quality -- if there was no champagne sparkle, it wasn't good enough for us. I love this sparkly photo! Our life together is brilliant!
Live well!

Sibling Love

Joran is so funny with Jasmijn. He just loves to get involved with her. Sometimes he entertains her, sometimes cares for her, sometimes terrorizes her. She usually laughs about it all, but sometimes she lets out the biggest yells of frustration, "Injustice!"

Of course, Jasmijn adores Joran and all things related to him. Joran's bedroom is at the end of the hall and you can see it from the livingroom, where Jasmijn usually plays. When she notices his door open, she lets out a squeal of delight and a "ha, ha, ha!" Thump, thump, thump she combat crawls down the hall to her brother's room.

In the first photo, Joran was attempting to get Jasmijn to take a nap with him. In the second photo, Jasmijn is eating for the first time. She's 8 months and has refused every other offering of food. Here, she's chewing on baby cookies. She has since enjoyed lentils, but I had also offered her 2 kinds of baby cereal, bananas, peaches, rice, yams, and baby cookies with no success.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Enjoying My Birthday

It's a relaxed birthday at home. Yesterday was warm and sunny and we were out enjoying Geneva, but my birthday is blustery, so we've ended us staying in, and I am enjoying blogging, looking around online, cleaning up a little, playing with Joran, snuggling with John and dancing with Jasmijn. Here we are swinging to Louis Armstrong. In the background, you can see Joran's creations below and my dream boards above.
Live well!
Jolene =)

The Lovely List

I just found this new blog, which is in it's very first week!

Lucky me and talk about Law of Attraction! I think the woman who created this blog, Brandy, is a real winner! She's a self-described lover-of-life "in search of more goodness." Here's part of her description for why she created the blog:

"I wanted to find more women who shared their love for life. I needed to find more creators, designers, wishers and dreamers. I wanted to learn more about different lifestyles and peak at their journeys to gain knowledge from their experiences."

It's a great place to find other lovely blogs, and I'm loving some of the creative and romantic photos so far.

Live well, my friends!

Jolene =)

Happy Birthday!

It's my birthday today! I'm 34. It's raining. That's okay, we had lots of fun in the hot sun yesterday, which was a Swiss holiday. I had a great night's sleep and now I am a bit sore, so I think we'll take it easy.
Joran doesn't want me to grow old. No problem, I say to him. I remember a time when John and I went on a cruise from Seattle to Alaska. We were out hiking at one of the stops, and suddenly this couple who looked like they were at least in their 60's overtook us. Well, then! We plan to be so active well into our 100's! We'll just keep having fun!

Off we go, into the wild blue yonder!
Jolene =)