Sunday, August 28, 2011

Blogging Weirdness

For some reason, I was having trouble publishing posts and I recently figured out how to get the last 2 to publish. Hopefully, I'll be publishing a few more soon. It's been an interesting summer with lots to report, and photos of the kids are filling the camera.
Jolene =)

Story Waters quote

Here is a piece from Story Waters that a friend just posted to our Yahoo group. It feels like a celebration of Life, to me!
Freedom is not superior to limitation;
with this realization I am able to choose freedom.

Happiness is not superior to suffering;
with this realization I am able to let go of suffering.

Abundance is not superior to poverty;
with this realization my abundance flows.

Nothing is superior to anything;
with this knowing I step out from
hierarchy, competition, and struggle.

In this state I do not judge life;
therefore I do not feel separate from it.

I am so glad of the diversity in the world;
in its reflection I see my own freedom
to be whatever I wish to be.

We are not here to be one;
we are here to be many.

Through seeing that beyond this illusion we are all one,
we free ourselves to be the many.

I am not tied to any singular path to be a certain way.
I am diverse.
I am ever changing.
I am an explorer of All as truth.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Inner Work

Sorry I haven't been keeping up on this blog.

For me, parenting is nothing short of a complete inner overhaul. I find that my children give me myriad opportunities to look at each one of my emotions, sometimes daily. In my estimation, the only choice is to stuff them or integrate them. Believing that integration will benefit my children and humanity to the greatest degree, I'm doing my best to let those emotions out of prison.

Been feeling like a little bodhisattva. Will there ever be a day of "enlightenment" in which everything is easy? I'll be dead that day, I guess. :-p

Wishing you delight!
Jolene =)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Why Unschool?

This bit from a 17-year-old unschooling blogger is so sweet that I'm crying over here. To me, it just shows how I can best treat my child like a person, and contrasts with how the acceptable way of treating a child in mainstream culture is like treating them as less than a whole person.

Once, when I was just beginning to garden, a lecturer at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show reminded everyone in the audience that seeds and gardeners have the same goals. As a gardener, we don't have to fret and fuss so much, just make sure there is good soil, water and sunlight, and that seed, by it's own will and knowing, will GROOOOW!!!

We are happiest here in our house when I treat the children in my life the same way. I am real with them, I am thoughtful with them, I provide the basics (roof, food, clothes, love, friendship...) and trust them to succeed by following their hearts.

My children are learning all that they need to know to get where they want to go!

Jolene =)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Only Love

Yummy toes!

Jasmijn makes herself heard...

...and gets results.

We got a trampoline!

Yummy balls!

Jasmijn wears her baby, too.

Saucy face!

Love is life.
All, everything that I understand, I understand only because I love.
Everything is, everything exists, only because I love.

Leo Tolstoy

Can you feel it?

There are SO MANY things that we do not understand! (Are you still trying to?
It's not possible, you might as well give up now.) Or we can trust that THIS IS
A BENEVOLENT UNIVERSE... we are each a seed, and the universe is like the gardener. Both participants in this relationship want the same thing: for the seed to grow.

Just have faith...
Follow your gut...

All of these statements point to the truth. Can you feel it?

Jolene =)

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Checking in with Myself

You know that way that children have of expressing their needs as if each one is an emergency and must be addressed NOW!? It sends me into a panic. My stress level rises immediately, and I've been known to raise my voice at them or shush them angrily just because I know it's not an emergency and I'm peeved that they stressed me so.

In my better moments, what seems to get me through, without having a tantrum of my own, is to plant my feet firmly on the ground and center myself by focusing on my torso (stomach area... but it moves) and ask, "Is there anything I really need to take care of before responding to my child?" Usually the answer is "no" but just asking helps immensely, because I've given myself the space and opportunity to take care of myself and choose.

Jolene =)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Baby Love

We've been having a few warmer days without rain!

Aurora needs to be in my arms constantly, as if the world is going to end in minutes if I am not there... but we managed to get this sweet picture with John. Quick, before she notices what happened!

Jasmijn enjoys her baby sister, is extra clingy to me since Aurora's birth, and is sometimes jealous, but mostly so sweet, hugging and helping.

Joran is such a serious big brother! He loves Aurora so much and loves to hold her. He was soooo proud of himself one day when he carried her around while I was putting on my shoes.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Some Photos


Joran with the box of Legos he picked out from the wall in their store.

Joran admiring his bat Bionicle creation.

Aurora in the sling

Monday, March 14, 2011

Celebrating Candy!

We picked Daddy up from the office and ended up at the mall candy store. Jasmijn let out a gleeful squeal upon arrival, "Caaandy stoooore!" Delightfully unforgettable!

John, Joran and Jasmijn loaded up. I knew I'd get a few tastes here and there, so I didn't choose any. I'm more of a pastry and chocolate person, anyways.

John's candy was gone before we got home, but Jasmijn and Joran ended up spreading theirs out, counting it, sorting it, designing creatures with it.... I'll be reporting this on Joran's homeschool Student Learning Plan. I think it'll qualify for math and art, at least.

Jolene =)

Personal Style

Why does my daughter have a mind of her own?!
I picked out this oh-so-cute outfit for her to wear, but she adamantly refused!

And then she picked out the little number she has on below...
Admittedly also very cute... and she even sort of coordinates with her brother. But... whine, whine, whine... I want to just dress her up the way I want to dress her up.

I need to buy a baby doll of my own!

Friday, March 11, 2011

I love TV!

The title of this post could be deceptive... and a bit strange if you know me. I don't watch much TV. What I do watch is mostly because I happen to be watching with my husband, children or other friends. On top of that, I didn't have a TV during much of my childhood, what I did get to watch was often controlled (adults get priority, sometimes 30 minutes was the limit "because TV's not good for you," etc...), and there was always some background voice telling me what a bad influence TV was. I think the main reason I didn't watch TV into adulthood was because of those background voices. I felt guilty whenever I sat down to watch, because I felt that I was wasting my time.

But thank goodness I got married and had kids! First my husband's passion and then my children's forced me to change my opinion completely. Now, I appreciate the television for being a window to the whole wide world without actually having to go there. Through TV, I also have access to other people's visions, ideas, imaginations, passions, etc... without having to leave my front door, either. How great is that!

I used to only really appreciate "educational" shows, such as you might find on PBS, but now I even appreciate Spongebob! Have you ever really payed attention to that little guy? What a great value system! He's loyal, hard-working, creative, entrepreneurial, friendly, cheerful, not afraid to show his feelings, honest, uplifting, fully authentic... he doesn't let "reality" get in his way, and employs a real get-er-done attitude. Oh, and he's FUNNY!

I've heard some people say that watching TV is a mindless activity. Some people say that it's not good for us, because our brains are usually in Alpha mode rather than in active Beta mode. I've read a bit of research on this and can understand some concern about how advertisers may be able to affect us when our brains are in a "meditative" Alpha state, but I'm still not convinced on that, because the research isn't reflecting our real lives... not the real life we're living in this house, anyways. What I have seen in myself is that I am thinking a lot while I watch TV, analysing the information that's coming in and asking all kinds of questions that I will later use to do further thinking and exploration on my own. As for my children, I see them watch a little TV and then start asking me questions about what they see and playing out what they've seen, reinventing it, adding to it, creating something new based on an idea from TV.

It's not that we have the TV on all the time in this house. There are still some times when I ask John to turn it off or come in the other room with me when I'm wanting company without the background noise and distraction. He honors that need. Honoring everyone's needs is part of a joyful life.

Which leads me to the fact that my time is up here on this blog as Joran has asked me to do something with him, but just one parting statement...

TV is totally tube-ular!


Sunday, February 27, 2011


It just occured to me that having children has really helped me develop a sense of worthiness.

The reason for this is that my children ask for everything and want to follow their hearts' desires, and I want that for them. So, I have a sense that they are worthy. As I see them as worthy, I cannot help but see myself as worthy, because they are no different from me. I also used to be a child, with so many desires, and I deserved to skip along, fulfilling my hearts desires, and I deserve to do so now and throughout my life.

Jolene =)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Winter Break

We're all snowed in and our 6yo neighbor comes over to keep us company. Just in time! Joran's no longer restless and I'm blogging peacefully downstairs with Jasmijn playing nearby and Aurora sleeping in the sling.

Appreciating little boys who trapse through the snow to see a friend!

A little later, they're so excited to go outside that grabbing sleds takes priority over grabbing warm clothes:

And then they throw a Zombie Party in which I attend as a Voodoo Witch...

And everyone has a swingin' time!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


It's been one of those days, peppered with some aggravation with Joran. He torments Jasmijn here and there, he cries and whines about perceived unfairness, he uses mean words against Jasmijn and I.... I work my way through the frustration and anger, trying not to be mean myself. Then, towards the end of the day, he stumbles over something most people would have seen in front of them, and he splats down on the floor. As he cries out in pain, I suddenly remember all of the other little accidents throughout the day. I understand what is going on, and my eyes fill with tears of compassion.

Joran feels "off balance," literally and figuratively. The sensory input he gets is too much or too little: lights are too bright, noises too loud, the curb was closer than he thought, he didn't see the book on the floor.... We all have these moments, but imagine it multiplied into almost every moment in motion! It's no wonder Joran usually wants to stay home in his familiar environment. It's no wonder his behaviors sometimes seem rude, disrespectful, aggressive or even violent. He's trying extra hard to control his life, because there's a little extra that feels out of control for him.

I don't think he's alone. I know a lot of adults who have similar sensitivities, but have adapted to these sensitivities. In fact, we're all a little quirky. As adults, we're free to avoid most situations that make us uncomfortable. For children, this is a different story. Children are at the mercy of adults' decisions, and it is an adult's world. Besides, quirkiness isn't always acceptable (especially in an environment that depends on children behaving and progressing in a more predicable fashion, such as school). Among children, I don't think my son is an anomaly at all. I imagine all children feel small, helpless and out-of-control in a world that is often confusing and overwhelming even for adults.

For these reasons, I don't "punish" my children. The world holds enough natural consequences as it is. Not to mention the punishment of having a frustrated mother. Instead, I try to use the moment as an opportunity to practice unconditional love. I talk to my kids, I try to offer guidance, I reach for creative solutions for everyone's gain, I give in as much as I can, because I am the adult who chose to bring them into the world, which puts me in a position to be responsible for my own needs, and to facilitate the fulfillment of theirs as much as possible. I try to be an example of a person living life the way I think is best... happily.

I don't go for rewards, either. My son has demonstrated more times than I care to admit that he can outsmart any reward system I put in place. Nor would I want to set up a system that supports lies and manipulation in our relationship. In any case, my efforts to manipulate him through punishments or rewards will teach him that using physical or intellectual power to dominate others is okay. Not really the way to a more compassionate, partnership-based world.

This responsibility that I put on myself brings me to the Nuclear Family Dilemma. So far, it feels impossible to get everyone's needs met under this model. The best I can do is try to gather a close-knit community of friends, neighbors, family and other teachers and coaches around me. I can't say I want to live in a tribe, either. I like globalization, at least its many positive aspects. I think humanity is advancing and evolving... I'm just not sure how it's all going to work out. So, I keep stumbling forward.

Maybe I'm like Joran in this way, stumbling about in unfamiliar territory. I want to do things differently from how they were done when I was a child. I want to trust myself through this process rather than following someone else's prescription. I'm always seeking to walk the path according to my own power and confidence. Yes, a lot like Joran.

For me, it's an exercise into a special sort of Awareness. Feeling into all my feelings for the best action in each moment. Sometimes that means continuing to just be with those feelings and accept the situation as it is. I practice appreciation and compassion as much for myself as for my children. I practice squinting my eyes just right to see myself in each of my children and to see the perfection in us all. I practice this everywhere I go, with everyone I meet.

Humbly Yours,
Jolene =)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Joran's Second Set

Joran lost his first 2 teeth within days of eachother. They just fell out of his mouth, no blood. Yet another sign that he's growing up!
Honestly, I'm really seeing big changes in his character and behaviors. Is it because he's now 6? Is it the effect of a new baby sister? Is it just time? We've entered a new phase.

On Positivity

I was commenting to a friend recently about how positive she is, and I loved her response:
"Oh, I tried the other way, and that was crummy!"

These photos turned out pretty well. Jasmijn's just focused on her candy.

Food is Good!

Jasmijn just leaned her head back and sighed a deeply satisfied, "Yummy!" So sweet!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Time Slipping Away

Here is the famous clock of the English Garden in Geneva. Picture taken by my cousin during her 2009 visit. Jasmijn on my back. The bike was a free rental, one of Geneva's many delights (it appears this one was sponsored by McDonalds).

I like that the numbers on this clock are falling off. Gardeners change the clock seasonally, and it's usually about the flowers, but this one was different.

Have you ever played with the notion of creating time? You know how sometimes time seems to fly by and other times just drag, and some days you can get all kinds of things done in so little time and other days you feel overwhelmed by only a few tasks which somehow don't get finished? It seems that when we're in our groove, time doesn't matter. I wonder how much of a part we play in this thing called Time.

Small children have no sense of time. There is only Now. The worlds greatest philosophers and spiritual leaders tell us and have always told us ("throughout all time") that the secret to life is living in the now. Our greatest power lies in this moment. There is really nothing else.

I can grasp that. All truth and reality is now. Once this moment has passed, it is just a story, a figment of our imaginations. Even this moment can be a figment of our imaginations... but somewhere, deep inside, I can feel the reality behind it all.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Loving Yourself

Everything is more beautiful when you love yourself!

What does loving yourself mean to you?
For me, loving myself is knowing that I am worthy of all of the good things in my life, without having to do anything in particular to keep receiving them. There's no question of whether or not I've been good enough to deserve healthy and beautiful children, a loving husband, a good home, caring friends and neighbors, a healthy body, a pretty garden, lovely clothes, and on and on....

I hope you have the life you want!

You deserve it!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy Holidays with a New Baby!

Welcome Aurora Sapphire! December 18, 2010

Aurora was born at home in Woodinville, as planned. With impeccable timing, I started contractions on December 17, the evening my parents arrived at the airport. In fact, I was in the middle of one when I spotted my mother near the baggage claim -- that was a weird moment. Valerie of Puget Sound Midwives and Birth Center, the wonderful midwife who also caught Joran, arrived around midnight, and Aurora arrived at 2:50am, after a well-paced labor. No broken toilets this time! We were able share a few good stories and jokes, though!

Jasmijn and my father slept through the entire night, but Joran was so excited that he stayed up to meet his new sister! My mom stayed up with him -- what a sweet time for them. Joran tried to hide his excitement at first, and this made him even sweeter to watch! John was able to support me all through the labor, which was different from Jasmijn's birth -- he was with Joran then and the labor went so quickly that he barely ran upstairs in time for the birth. Interestingly, I didn't want anyone near me during labor with Jasmijn anyways, so that was perfect, too.

Anyways, at around 3:30am, the midwives told me "the boys are crashed out in the livingroom."

My favorite story of the day will probably always be something Joran told me after everyone was awake again. With 2 big thumbs up, he said with the most loving grin, "Good job, Mom!" (Then he added, "And there wasn't even any blood." Well, he doesn't have to know about that.)


Aurora has the same frown as Jasmijn... we thought it came from Geneva... I guess it's in the genes.

Acrobatics... and Jasmijn looks on from behind.

Jasmijn pushing Joran on the swing.

Jasmijn likes to point out Aurora's eyes, nose, mouth, fingers and toes.

They are both so excited and sweet with their new sister!

Such tenderness.

Oops! Flipped the photo, but here's Jasmijn helping to change Aurora's diaper (she unsnaps the jumper and hands me wipes).

So wise.

"What is this thing on my head?"

Jasmijn's just tickled pink and asks to hold Aurora several times a day.

I knew I'd get requests for photos of me, so here's the best one I could find.

Joran's ready for the snowball fight!

Grandma builds a snowman with Jasmijn.

Sledding behind our house. I stay inside, but I get lots of laughs from watching my family!

Happy New Year!

Everyone loved Joran's long hair, but he didn't like the tangles, and the brushing was too painful, so I cut it off!