Wednesday, June 23, 2010

U-S-A! U-S-A!

USA wins against Algeria in the 91st minute! 1-0
Oh, say, I can see the World Cup on the horizon!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Breakfast and Bunnies

Sausage and eggs at our table, always with toys everywhere -- why are there toys in every room, in every place?

Finally a close-up picture of one of the many bunnies in our garden. They're a bit of a garden hazard, but cuter than the slugs.

Bunny eating fallen rose petals.

A bouquet from our garden: lilacs, roses and sedum.

My mother was wondering why there were not more photos of Trudy (Oma) on the blog, so here are a couple. The reason I have so many photos of Gerard (Opa) is that he is always calling out for attention: "Look at this! Look at that! Take a photo of me!" Trudy is more reserved.

Trudy feeding the hens.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


I'm going to paraphrase an inspiring message from Scott Noelle's "Daily Groove" newsletter. You can get the newsletter, too!

When most people think of "responsibility," they think of an obligation or burden they must fulfill. When acting "responsibly," they might do something they don't really want to do, but they do it because they believe it's "right." In my opinion, this can leave someone in a hole of bitterness, judgement and hierarchy where they are either feeling superior for doing the "right" thing or feeling guilty for not living up to their "responsibilities."

Scott calls this the old, dominator world view. A new-world-view definition of responsibility is using your ability to respond creatively to a situation, each person in partnership with the other. As parents, we often feel a sense of duty and obligation regarding our "responsibilities," but in this new view, everyone can win and have fun! In the new world view, everyone is 100% responsible and enjoying the creative process!

Just wanted to pass it on!

Jolene =)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

To Change One's Life

I copied this delightful quote from a friend today:

"To change one's life; start immediately,
do it flamboyantly, no exceptions, no excuses."
William James

Friday, June 11, 2010


Family excursion, July 2009

I'm counting my blessings today! Apparently, according to Yahoo news, the sun will be storming in the near future, which may affect our technology systems. How amazing that we have created all of this! Then again, there is no reason to be amazed at all. If you believe that we are all one, as I do, then "we" are all God, or whatever you want to call it, and I can't imagine that God would be amazed at any of it. In my mind, God would be smiling, laughing, loving it all, loving us all and having fun, but not amazed.

Yesterday, in the latest Time magazine, I read the Dalai Lama's response to a question about how he remains faithful and optimistic when there is so much hate in the world. He said, "I always look at any event from a wider angle. There's always some problem, some killing, some murder or terrorist act or scandal everywhere, every day. But if you think the whole world is like that, you're wrong. Out of 6 billion humans, the trouble-makers are just a handful." I love that he calls them "trouble-makers" as if they are no more than a few kids acting badly in school. The statement also reminds me of an earlier post of mine in which I described seeing life as just a movie, another form of entertainment. And I always retain the choice to walk out of the theater, go see another movie or even produce my own. There are so many perspectives on life, and I am so happy to have the ability to see this life from many different angles. For me, it makes life more fun, more fulfilling, less serious.

We are here to enjoy life and make the most of it, according to our own desire -- I see no other purpose. Right now, I'm watching the wildlife in the yard, and none of them seem to worry about their "purpose" in life. I think the way humans do it actually takes away from our purpose in life. How can we actually be fulfilling any purpose in life if all we're doing is worrying about whether or not we're fulfilling our purpose? Good. I'm glad that doesn't make any sense to you either.

I have faith in the basic goodness of people. We all want to contribute. Those who commit acts that are hurtful to others must must be living in pain, filled with unmet needs. I have compassion for them in this sense, and I think that they would also choose a more humanitarian path if they were not hurting so much.

I have faith in the basic goodness of myself. When I hurt someone else, it is because I am hurting. I've gotten into the habit of asking myself what needs I can take care of for myself whenever I feel like lashing out at someone else. Sometimes a need can be satisfied by talking to the other person, sometimes it can be satisfied regardless of the other person's involvement. I love that flexibility and the intuition that helps me take the most productive path. And when I don't, I love that I always have new opportunities!

So, rather than feeling amazed at all of the blessings in my life, or instead of feeling overwhelmed with emotion, I am feeling full with happiness that there is so much abundance! I am so very glad for the diversity of gifts shared among us humans!

Finally, I truly appreciate the time to write all of this while my children are sleeping peacefully. I think I'll go take a shower while I have the chance.

Jolene =)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Photos of April-May 2010

We managed to get a dozen garden projects done in April during Gerard and Trudy's visit.

As usual, Joran has his own projects in mind.

White-washing fence, creating gravel paths and new garden beds.

The dirt arrives.

Earl and his tractor helping with excavation for the greenhouse.

And time to enjoy it all.

5 eggs/day and they make delightful pets, too!

John's brother Maurits with girlfriend Mariska visited us for 3 weeks.

Jasmijn loved Snoqualmie Falls as much as our guests, who knew of the falls from the popular TV show, Twin Peaks.

Jasmijn really bonded with Mariska, so happy to have a new "auntie."


We just got back from the LIFE is Good Unschooling Conference in Vancouver, WA, and I have a lot of thoughts. I can break it down to 2 main take-aways from the weekend:

1. My perceptions of what goes on for Joran internally can be wrong. Joran is very introverted around people he does not know well. Even when we go for playdates with friends he knows, he can be pretty quiet, internally focused, playing alone with whatever toy interests him, or just sticking by my side for a while. Yet, he loves playdates and wants to go back to see friends again and again. Likewise, when we go someplace that is fun for him, he spends a lot of time in silent observation. Many times, he is grumpy and disagreeable or just quiet and unhappy-looking, often expressing a desire to leave, and I think he hasn't gotten anything from the experience, I feel upset that he's not more easy-going, communicative and able to show enjoyment for things most kids outwardly enjoy. But then, hours or days later, he will talk about what thoughts he had and what fun it was.

We arrived at the unschooling conference Thursday, but John wasn't able to join us until late Friday, so I had 2 days with the kids, spending a lot of time in the hotel room because of Joran's personality, getting out of the room mainly because Jasmijn and I both enjoy exploring and a couple times because there was an activity Joran and I thought he would enjoy. We walked around through the conference area a lot, and I saw things I thought would be fun for Joran, but he didn't think so. We also saw a couple kids he knows well. Joran was quiet and serious during all the walking around and even the two activities he wanted to go to. He would hardly look at or speak to the friends he knew. Many times, he complained and pushed on me to go back to the room. My assumption was that he was not enjoying anything... until John arrived.

Joran talked all day Friday about seeing Daddy, and as soon as John arrived, to my surprise, Joran babbled on and on about the things he'd done and seen, and he wanted to show Daddy the whole conference. So, in that moment, I did a clear readjustment of my perceptions. It was so obvious to me that Joran experiences life in a very different way from me, and even from most other children I've seen. In Joran's lifetime, I've found many ways in which he is "atypical," and this was one more addition to my list.

I feel a little more relaxed to realize these things. I feel okay that Joran doesn't express enjoyment like I do. I can trust that he's getting what he needs out of an experience and I can still take care of my own needs, even if he seems unhappy in a situation.

The conference experience with Joran also had me thinking about people I know who seem unhappy, negative or pessimistic in some situations. Knowing that Joran probably seems this way because of stimulation overload, not being able to process all of the sensory and mental stimulation in a "typical" way, I am more understanding of others who seem unhappy and uncomfortable in new, unfamiliar situations.

John understands Joran's introversion, being similar himself. John has also learned the benefits of adaptability and communication, which he uses in his career and in personal relationships. As Joran matures, he may see the benefit in developing these skills as well. If he doesn't ever feel the need to do so, it's his life, and my hope is that I just raise him with the sense that he has the power to make the choices and changes in his life that are right for him, for I believe that we are all the makers of our own lives... "no matter how small," in the words of Horton, the elephant.

2. My second key take-away was that no matter where I go, I will always have some sense that I identify with the moment and the people around me... and some sense that I don't fit in at all. Maybe this comes from having grown up in so many different places, exposed to so many types of people. Perhaps it's the influence of having been raised in a multi-racial, multi-faith, multi-politic family. It's probably also a result of the part of my personality that wants to find common ground among all people and avoid conflict.

Wherever it comes from, this aspect of myself, this ability to identify while never really feeling that I fit in, has left me searching for most of my life for that place where I do feel that I fit in. However, it occured to me over the weekend to just accept that I don't "fit in" anywhere despite being able to identify with many stories. Instead of searching for an "answer" to a "problem," I can see it as a gift that has allowed me to feel great compassion, to mediate conflicts, to listen in ways that make others feel understood and accepted. Acceptance of this aspect of myself opens me up to the realization that there is a place where I do feel I fit in completely: that place is right here inside me.

Wishing you your best life!

Jolene =)