Tuesday, June 30, 2009

School's out for summer!

This is the moment the children have longed for: the last day of school!!!! With mixed feelings, they look back on the year they spent with their friends. Things will change. The youngest will attend a totally new school, in a new town. The eldest will remain in the same school, but she will change subjects and classes. Meaning she will have new classmates and new teachers.

Mixed feelings, because they will miss school (although I'm sure they will deny that as hard as they can!) on one hand, but on the other hand, they are glad school is out. Two months to relax, to chill with their friends, to have fun, go to the pool, have sleep-overs, hang out, get bored, and in the end, long for the new school year.

Our youngest daughter is already planning for the next school year. She has bought several items to brighten up her boarding room in school. She's so looking forward to meeting new friends, new teachers and the system of high school. I can totally understand her, going back in time. There I was, a 6th grader, getting ready to go to high school in a different town. For the first time in my life, taking the train to go to school, having some private time with friends in school, new classes, new everything. I always enjoyed school time and I never looked forward to summer vacation. I got bored instantly, without my friends and school and the things I liked to do.

I'm looking forward to spending two months with the girls. We will have fun, definitely. Their daddy will have 5 weeks off as well. Sounds like a plan to me!

Your voice will not be the only voice in your child's ear

Whenever you decide to welcome a child into your home, your life changes. A tiny creature will grow up in the environment you provide for it. It will totally depend on the people that take care of it. But remember: your voice will not be the only voice in your child's ear. There are so many people that will come in contact with your child and all of them will make some sort of impression. Try to make sure that your own voice will be loving, caring and open minded. Talk to your child, tell your child that it is loved and welcome. Don't deprive your child from having contact with other people, just because you fear it will no longer see you as the most important person in the world. By no means can you force someone to love you. If you want your child to love you, give it the opportunity to be itself. Your child will love you back, trust me.

Once your child starts to hear other voices, it can start building its own personality. Different people have different opinions. Children need to hear different voices, to broaden their horizon. Otherwise, they will live in a very small world, consisting of only one voice, the voice of its mother. That mother can be very loving and wise, but children are entitled to more loving and caring people in their life. Contact with other people teaches the child good life lessons. They get to know different characteristics, they learn to see differences in people. It's good for their emotional and intellectual growth.

Don't deprive your child from hearing other voices. Don't be selfish. Children are not property, they are a gift.. You don't own them. You get the chance to raise a child and to give it all the chances it deserves. Give it a good and happy life, full of opportunities and chances to grow.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Tongue tied

In High School, once in a while we had a project and we had to stand in front of the class to tell our peers about it. I loved doing so! I loved the preparations, I loved to go to the library (no Internet in those days) to find as much information I could get. And then, the magical moment of speaking in public. I remember getting good grades for those projects and people telling me how well I did.
But nowadays, I'm tongue tied. I no longer like to speak in public, at least not in front of people I hardly know. A couple of years ago, I started to work in the local hospital as a clerk. There were team meetings and the first meeting I attended, the doctor I worked for, asked me to stand in front of the group and introduce myself to the somewhat 40 people present. It was my first week at work and I hardly knew anybody. I was so ashamed and I wanted to fleed. I didn't know what to stay and I started to stumble. My blood sugar dropped and I felt dizzy. I didn't want to tell the group I needed to test my glucose level, so I went on and I thought I was dying.
Many team members asked me questions and I did the best I could to answer them, without making a complete fool of myself. I was so happy when the doctor told me I could go back to my seat.
Colleagues came to congratulate me afterwards, for the good presentation and they said they would have been tongue tied, if they had been asked to do the same. I survived..


The curve of a smile is enough to straighten a life. Smiling is so important, that you need to do it at least once a day. A day without a smile, is a lost day.

I love to laugh! Really! It's great to make people laugh too. Joking around and telling funny stories is part of a happy life. I can't imagine not being able to smile any more.

So keep on smiling guys! It's the best ingredient for a fortunate life!

Sunday, June 28, 2009


Fear is man's greatest enemy. It manifests itself in forms as shame, jealousy, anger, arrogance....

What causes fear? Lack of confidence in oneself. Children need confirmation to build up their self-worth and self-esteem. Some people "motivate" their children by degrading them. Some even think spanking will do the job and make them stronger. Isn't it weird that people still believe negative approaches do the job?

I believe in positive reinforcement. We all like a pat on the shoulder. Don't you like your boss to tell you you did a great job? I'm sure your wife has a grin from ear to ear when you tell her you enjoyed her cooking.

Why is it so hard for people to compliment someone, especially a child? Children that aren't complimented in their childhood, become adults that thrive on fear. They are so afraid to do something wrong, to hurt someone, that they don't live their own lives. They keep living the lives someone else told them to live. Because that is safe.. New things scare them to death.. What if they fail? What if their boss doesn't like them?

Our whole life is based on guilt and fear. Isn't it about time for things to change? We need to comfort our children and praise them and guide them on their way to adulthood, without fear..

It's not my time

Once again, I had this horrible dream. I have had this nightmare for many years now, but it had been a while since I last faced it.

I have a terrible car accident, in a nearby town, where I come on a weekly basis. I can see myself, flat on my back, on the street. My children are beside me. They are still todlers. They sit beside me and they hold my hand. I can hear the otherwhise annoying sound of the ambulance, but this time I love the sound. I can't move. I can't speak. The only thing I can do is think and roll my eyes. Nobody is looking at my face. There are many people around me, telling each other how bad it looks and how young my children are.

The ambulance arrives at the scene. A woman and a man rush out, in their white uniforms. The woman is holding a white sheet. It's my mother. She has this horrible grin on her face. She tells the public it's too late. "Dead..' she says. I want to scream, but my vocal chords can't produce any sound. She grabs my children by the hand and walks away. The male nurse covers my body with the white sheet. I wet my pants.. The last thing I hear, is my mother telling my children that they will be better off now.

Thank goodness it is just a dream. A nightmare alright. My time hasn't come yet. My daughters are teens, not toddlers. I'm not going to die. Not yet. And there's no way my mother is going to take my children away from me. Because I'm a good mother. The best mother my children could wish for. At least, that's what they tell me. And I tend to believe them..

Saturday, June 27, 2009


If you know your own limits and you try to stay within these limits, you are free.

We all seek freedom in some manner. Isn't it strange that one needs limits in order to be free? We raise our children and we set boundaries. Children are deprived of their freedom if no boundaries have been set. They don't know what to hold on to. They don't know what to expect. It terrifies them to have no boundaries.

Setting boundaries is not easy. Sticking to them is even harder. But it pays off in the end, don't forget. Your children will thank you. They need limits in order to grow up to be mature and responsible people. Talk with them. Ask them about your way of setting boundaries. Be sure that there's opening for discussion concerning some limits. Give them the responsibility they can take, so they can set their own boundaries.

If you could only see..

If you could only see how well I am doing.
If you could only see that I'm a good person.
If you could only see that I'm doing just fine.
If you could only see that I'm happy.
If you could only see who I really am.
If you could only see that I did make something of my life.
If you could only see.. me.

Friday, June 26, 2009


Did you actually think I would become a real bookkeeper? No way!!! I think we would go bankrupt in one month time. LOLZ. Honestly, I'm not very good at keeping the books at home. I do know the amount of money coming in, and I love to spend it. I pay the bills in time and we live well. But keeping books? Absolutely not!

I love to read books. I hate to borrow books from the library. Any book I read, I want to keep. I have a nice collection by now and I still buy a couple of books a month. Reading has always been a passion of mine and I enjoy many different genres. Does it surprise you that I also read cook books as novels? Really, once I start reading a cook book, I can't put it down.

Most of the time, I read several books simultaneously. There's one in the bathroom, there's one on my night stand, there's one in the den. The books I prefer, are true life stories. But I also like John Grisham, Stephen King, Sandra Brown, John Gilstrap,..

It would be great to have my own library at home. And it would be even better, if one day I could say: these are the books I have written!

I can't dance

I hate dancing. I love to see other people dance. At least, if they are good at it. Show offs that think they can dance but make a complete fool of themselves are not funny. Some people think it's fun to watch, but I think it's ridiculous. Why would I ridicule myself? I keep my head high and I don't dance. Don't even go there. I don't want to learn it, I will not dance.

Unless it's a slow dance. Unless you hold me tight and you only have your eyes set on me.  Only then I might reconcile.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Be you

Have you ever thought of how many times we act to please others? How many times do we not follow our heart, because we are afraid of what others might think? Why is it so important for us people, to please others and deny our own wishes? We keep on comparing who we are, what we do and mostly what we have, to others. It makes us unhappy, because it's never good enough. Greed is what keeps us going. In the meantime, we forget to enjoy and cherish what we have. There will always be people that do better than you. But don't you think they also compare to others? Do you think they are happy with themselves, or would they also try to do better?

Is happiness about money and wealth? I agree, you need money to make your life more comfortable. But there's more to life than luxury. Friendship and love are so much more important and it is not for sale. It's hard work! In the end, it fulfils you with joy and happiness, that no money can buy.

Do you know who you are? Can you truly say you don't care about other people's opinion when it comes to you? Does it bother you that his car is newer and bigger than yours? Do you mind that his house is a mansion compared to your shed? Does it hurt you, to see that they have nannies to take care of their children and someone to clean their house?

Or maybe it saddens you, to hear that some children don't have a roof over their head. Some people haven't eaten in days and don't get any help when it comes to health issues. Ever thought of that? Is that what the crisis is teaching us? To be content in life and to embrace whatever crosses our path?

If you do not compare yourself with another, you will be what you really are. And being you is not bad after all..

Enjoy the silence

If you know me, you should know that I'm very talkative and that I don't like silence. At least not during the day. But in the evening, when everybody has gone to bed, I truly enjoy the silence. No TV, no music, no talking. Just the sound of my tapping on the notebook. No other sounds but the purring of the cat, laying next to me, its head in my lap. I can even hear the clicking sound of my insulin pump delivering insulin once in a while. So I can enjoy the silence, on my terms..

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Every rose has its thorn

No matter how beautiful you are and what an incredible person you may be, we all have our shortcomings. It's good to take a look at yourself once in a while, and see what you can do to improve yourself. In the past, I tried to change people when they didn't measure up to my standard, but nowadays I tend to accept the people as they are. I can only change the way I look at them. It's good that people are different. It makes the world less boring.

It's not an easy job, but it is satisfying. It helps you to keep your own feet on the ground. It makes you humble. After all, we're not perfect ourselves, are we? Imagine having to live with someone who is absolutely perfect. Scary, isn't it?

Thorns make roses unique. Sometimes you get bruised by the thorns, but if you can keep on seeing the beauty of the flower, things can be solved..

Knock on wood

Can I knock on wood, before I say I'm happy? I like being married and having a family and taking care of all of you. I like having good friends to make fun with, a shoulder to cry on, places to go to. People say you shouldn't dare faith, because it will turn against you.

But I can't help it.. I'm happy and I wanted to share that with you!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Opposites attract

As far as I'm concerned, hubby and I are complete opposites. I guess that's what makes our marriage work so well. He's the more quiet, introvert type. I'm loud and extrovert. I like to go out and meet friends, socialize whenever I feel like it. He prefers to stay at home and watch TV. I don't mind him watching TV and he is not upset when I go see my friends.

He's the sporty type, I'm a total loser when it comes to sports. I even take the car to go fetch bread. He likes snow countries, I like the sun. He likes to lay down around the pool on vacation, I prefer to roam around the country, looking out for new thingamajigs.

He likes stability and a steady workplace. I like flexibility and the challenge of a new job in a new environment.

So what keeps us together??? Love, I guess? We give each other the freedom and the respect we need and deserve. Of course we also do things together and with our family, but apart from that, we also lead our own life. And I believe nothing's wrong with that. After all, we have been together for 15 years now and maybe our strength is the way we live?


A friend of mine introduced me to the Bollywood movies. You like them or you don't. I'm a fan! If you have had the luck to watch one Bollywood right through the end, you will want to see more, I'm telling you!
I have bought several Bollywood movies since. Veer Zaara is still my favorite. Veer Pratap Singh, played by the most romantic Shah Rukh Khan, is an officer and pilot in the Indian Air Force. He meets a beautiful Pakistani heiress, Zaara Hayaat Khan (the gorgeous Preity Zinta), as she travels to a small Indian village to scatter the ashes of one of her family's loyal servants. Veer has family in the village and they are willing to take Zaara in for the night, although most Indians show no affection for Pakistanis. Veer falls madly in love, to find out that Zaara is promised to another man, Raza, who is cruel and humorless. Zaara wants out of her engagement and Veer runs to the rescue. Matters take a turn for the worse though, and Veer winds up in jail... Will they ever meet again?
We like to keep the end of the story to ourselves. In some cultures, you are supposed to tell the story's ending to your friends, because they want to know in advance! Imagine!
I also like the soundtrack of Veer Zara as well. I just bought it on I-Tunes and it brings back memories of some good Bollywood evenings..

Monday, June 22, 2009

Shake your booty

She's growing up and she thinks she's 16. But she's only a sweet 14. It takes her 45 min to get showered and to blow dry her hair. She takes good care of herself and treats every pimple that appears on her pretty face. She manicures her nails, dances to keep in shape, shaves her legs and doesn't overeat. Her feet are way too big for her slender body shape, so she needs high heels, even if they are not that high. She shakes her booty when we go to town. Every shop window has seen her reflection as she takes a glance to check her looks..
A little bird told me she's in love. She's had a boyfriend for a couple of months now and they are very close. But she's also a teenager and she falls in love all the time.
She will date several boys before she finds Mr Right Guy. I hope he will deserve her..

I lost myself

It's not going too well. My weight is going up again, I need more insulin and I crave carbs again. It's so exhausting to go through another episode of bingeing again. I even long for foods I normally despise or never eat. If only I can eat, I'm fine. But the thing is: I want to eat healthy, I want to eat low carb, I want to loose weight, not gain any more. If only things were that easy, there wouldn't be any overweight people around. Because I'm convinced, people honestly do not choose to be big. Many people grow bigger by the years and don't realise it until it's gone too far.

I don't want to go back there. I want to stick to my healthy and nutritious diet. The crisps look at me from the shop shelves. They cry out: eat me! eat me! and I give in. Pretending I'm buying it for hubby, or the kids. Knowing it will be mine. A late evening snack. When everybody else is asleep. Just me and the crisps..

I hate those periods, I really do. I hope I'll be back on track again somewhere soon. I don't like to loose myself and certainly not to food.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Too old too soon

This week, I have read a book that really touched me. It tells the story of Michiel and Amber, both suffering from the rare disease progeria. Worldwide 45 children have this condition and most of them don't grow older than 13, although there are exceptions.

Children with progeria have bold heads, a sharp nose and stiff joints. They don't grow very tall and they don't grow old. But they have sparkling characters, are full of humor and tend to win all people's hearts.

The mother of Michiel and Amber invites the reader in their life, telling us about the birth of both children, the diagnosis, the disbelief when their second child had the disease too, although doctors told them not to be afraid to have another child with progeria. Because there has never been a family with multiple children who had progeria. Unfortunately Amber also got progeria. Michiel doesn't understand why people are so sad that his little sister has the same disease. He has the disease too and he's okay? So why cry over Amber? Can an 11 yo realise death is around the corner..? He knows some of his progeria friends have lost the battle. He knows he doesn't want to be buried. He wants to stay with his family, even after death..

Michiel is so clever and bubbly and he has a vibrant personality. He is much bigger than other people will ever be. It doesn't matter that he's short, his heart and mind are big enough.

Michiel's wants to become a professional soccer player. He's full of dreams. He doesn't wish for progeria to go away, because progeria is part of who he is. He wouldn't be Michiel without progeria... That says it all.

Godelieve and Wim, the parents, will never see their children as adults. They will not have weddings to prepare, no grandchildren to welcome in their loving home. They make the best of the time given with Michiel and Amber. And they do that in the best possible manner. Respect... nothing but respect for this loving family. For the way they keep going and for the love they give these wonderful, unique children.

Michiel has travelled to the US several times now, to visit his progeria friends and to attend a special programme on progeria research. He's quite a celebrity in our little country.

I would like a moment of silence, to think about this family and their lovely kids. Keep them in your prayers.. and wish them the best life they can have.

Parenting is a verb, more than a noun

Once you are a parent, you are always a parent: 24/7. Children are fully entitled to the attention of their parents and the child must be the parent's number one priority. That does not mean you have to spoil your child, buying it every new gadget around. It means you provide safety and security in a loving home.

Children need to make mistakes to grow up. As a parent, you should give it some sort of freedom, to let it experiment and get experienced in life. Sometimes you need to step back as a parent, even if you don't agree with the choices your children make. Because they are entitled to their own choices in life.

It's important that both parents get along well enough to agree over the education of the children. Children need stability and structure in their life. And beware: children mimic their parents! So if you feel your child is not behaving or acting disrespectful, try to look at yourself and try to discover where things went wrong. Happy parents make happy children.

Parenting takes a lot of work, but it can be the best job of a lifetime!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

If today were your last day

If today were your last day, what would you do? Would you want the doctors to tell you, the end is in sight? Or would you prefer not to know?

Imagine you are a healthy person and all of a sudden, doctors tell you that you have this awful disease and you don't have much longer to live. Would you live those months to the fullest? Would you collapse and get depressed and waste the rest of your time? Or would you stick your head in the sand, pretending nothing has changed?

Sometimes I ask myself those questions. Not that I think I'm going to die. But to make sure that I make the best of every day. Wouldn't it be awful to be at the end of your rope, and realise that your life is full of regrets? Imagine that you haven't done whatever you wanted to do and you haven't fulfilled your dreams? Maybe you haven't told your loved ones enough, how much you appreciate them?

I think I live my life to the fullest. I have no regrets. If I were to start all over, I wouldn't change anything. Because I'm pretty happy with the life I'm leading. And I'm grateful for every day I get to spend on this earth. If today were my last day, I could say I lived a good life.

But guess what? I'm still here! And I'm not going anywhere!!

A Right Fighter

I'm a Right Fighter. Always have been. I have noticed though, that it is not necessary to be one. Sometimes it's even better not to be one. Because after all, how can one always be right?

Every now and then, I try to give in. Think about what the other says and consider his thoughts. It's not easy if you come from a Right Fighter's Family. Someone has to break the circle, right? Like Tevye in The Fiddler on the Roof used to say: of course right!! So here we go again.. Am I right about this statement? I think I am. I have thought it over. We are supposed to have purposes in life. We are not only here on this Earth, for fun. Maybe it is my task to make a difference. To teach people that you can't change what you don't acknowledge. Maybe it is my job to stop our family from being Right Fighters. And I am very willing to be the first one to give in. Because it will make me a better person with an open mind.

It doesn't mean I will no longer state my opinion. Because all of us are entitled to an own opinion. I don't have to be right all the time. That's not what it's all about. Some things are not even worth the discussion.

So let's give it a shot. And if you have the feeling that I'm trying to fight my right, poke me, okay?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Knowledge is power

A good education is important. Don't we all want our children to use their talent and be the best at what they are good at? We stimulate our children to do well in school and we tell them knowledge is power. They can achieve their ultimate goals in life, if they work hard for it and believe in their dreams. Studying can be boring, but it can be very interesting at the same time. The more you know, the more interesting it becomes. You get to talk to different people, you learn about different cultures and you get wiser.

I always loved to go to school. Making homework, preparing essays, writing school courses by hand. I liked to fool around in school too. But never to the point where I would get suspended. I knew when to stop. In college, my psychology teacher once told me, that I was the clown of the class, but also the only student that paid attention to whatever was said in class. I never studied that hard, but I sure paid attention in class and that was halve of the job!

I still like to take classes or go to school. I might go back to school in September, to take evening classes. Pretty exciting! Exploring new horizons..! I'm really looking forward to being a student again. Because I have a goal to aim for. The new knowledge will lead me to where I want to be!

Sit and watch the grass grow

Sometimes I envy calm people. They can relax and lay down sunbathing, without anything on their minds. My mind is almost like an emotional roller-coaster. There's never silence in my head. And I fear silence. From the moment I wake up, I turn on the radio and the last thing I do before I head upstairs, is turn the sound of the TV off. I don't know what it feels like to empty your head, and that's exactly what you need to do to calm down and relax. I tried chakra meditation and it was good and interesting, but to me more of an effort than the relaxation it is supposed to be.

Hubby can lay down on the couch, staring at the ceiling. I like to observe him and wonder what he's thinking about. Whenever I ask him, he says he's not thinking of anything, just chilling. He could sit in the back yard and watch the grass grow and the clouds fly by. Amazing..

Silence in conversations scares me. It makes me uncomfortable. I know it shouldn't, but it does. Driving the car without a radio? Unheard of.. just even thinking of it, gives me goose-pimples.. bbrr..

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sugar Babies

Do you realise how many children get diabetes nowadays? It's so painful and devastating that small children, even babies, can get this chronic disease. It's for the rest of their life. Some people say: the sooner they get it, the easier it is for them, because they won't remember their time without diabetes. But believe me: not a single child gets used to having their teeny tiny fingers poked multiple times a day. They never get used to shooting up insulin whenever they have carbs in their meals. Do you think they don't mind to count carbohydrates whenever they feel like having a bite?

A friend of mine has a little girl with diabetes. In our country, there's not much information or help for parents with children diagnosed with diabetes. So she pulled up her sleeves and came up with this great project! She managed to find sponsors, and every diabetic child in Belgium under the age of 12, has received this HIPPO cuddle to comfort them. HIPPO stands for hippopotamus and HIPPO is also short for hypoglycaemia. When your blood sugar is too low, you have a hypo and you feel like crap. You feel shivery, you are hungry, you yawn, your reactions are slower, your legs feel like they are made out of rubber. You can feel real alone when you are going through this episode.

This wonderful lady and mother, didn't stop after this project. She promised to keep fighting for children with diabetes. I'm willing to help her out, together with some other diabetic friends. Feel free to visit the website. The wonderful cuddle HIPPO is for sale and only 15 euros a piece! That's a bargain, knowing that all of the profit will be spent to help children face their diabetes. If you want to support the project, please let us know. It's for a good cause and the children will keep you in their heart..

Expect less, get more

In my teens, I had dreams and goals. Hardly any of those have come true and I ended up being very disappointed. It took me many years, to come to terms with the fact, that maybe I expected too much out of life. So I am trying to settle down and expect less. Not only from others, but mainly from myself. I no longer have to be the best. I'm happy with who I am.

My mentor taught me to expect less and get more. And you know what? She was right again! If you don't expect anything, everything that comes on your way is a gift. Because you don't expect it. And when you expect things the least, the greater it is to be surprised. After all, giving is much more fulfilling than getting. I must admit, I get a lot from friends and family. Love, I mean, and friendship. And that is much more important that any material gift. I could no longer be as happy, if it weren't for my friends and family. Because they are all that really matters...

When one of the little nephews asks me, if he can come over one day, to help me make chocolate chip cookies, a grin appears on my face. I look at his excited face and the red cheeks, the bright blue eyes and the eagerness to come and help me out. It warms my heart that he wants to come over and spend some time with me. And I will never forget what he keeps on saying: what do you need to make good cookies? First of all: Auntie Cathy! Second: a good recipe! Third: me!!!!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

What's cooking?

I don't know how your family works, but in this family I do most of the cooking and I love doing so. I wouldn't like my husband to cook. Every part of the cooking is a joy. It starts figuring out what we are going to have. It's exciting to look into cook books, roam through the supermarket and pick out the fresh vegetables to cook later on. Filling up the fridge with all those goodies is my job. That's probably why we have two fridges. LOL..

The only thing I don't like about cooking, is cleaning up afterwards. Thank goodness hubby is really good at it. He even cleans the stove and the counter top and he makes the taps shine. He's great! And no matter how much time you spend in the kitchen, in 5 minutes the plates are cleared. But then again, it must mean that they liked your food, right? I would feel pretty bad if I had to bring full plates back to the kitchen..

Being a diabetic, I pay more attention to food and what we eat. Our diet is a simple, healthy diet, not any different from the diet of any healthy person. It includes fresh fruit and crisp veggies, some meat or fish (I prefer fish though), carbohydrates as potatoes/rice/pasta/.. and once in a while: dessert! Don't even make me think of it!!! Aaarrgghh!!


Have you ever reflected on how many fears we face and how much guilt we feel towards other people? A lack of self esteem makes one scared and confused. Our whole life is based on guilt and fear. Isn't that awful? Why do we need to feel guilty and scared?

Just think of it. How many times do you attend family reunions, because you feel you are obliged to go. Although you do not feel like going, you go anyway. What would people say if you wouldn't be there? Have you ever considered how many other people attend the same invitation, sharing the same guilt?

The fear of not being liked by others, is something else we face once in a while. When I was younger, I always wanted to please other people. I would have done anything. If only they would like me in return. Over the years, I have learned there's not one single reason to live like that. You can be you! Just you, nothing more. And if people don't like you the way you are: too bad! Bummer!

If only it were that easy. Children grow up with fear and guilt as well. They are afraid to tell their parents they did something wrong. They feel guilty if they don't finish their plates, because their mom spent so much time preparing dinner. It is sad..

I'm trying to accept people the way they are. It's a lot of work and you need to give yourself a wake up call now and then. It's good to think about your own actions, without feeling guilty. You are learning, after all. You cannot get better without making mistakes.

So if I don't answer my phone or don't respond to your mail right away, I will not make up any excuse. Maybe I was in a conversation with someone else and I didn't want to spoil the moment. Or maybe I just didn't feel like answering the door bell. I do not want to make excuses or apologise for not being available all the time. Just like you, I'm entitled to some private time. And in the end, I will return your call or reply your questions by mail. Don't make me feel guilty about it. Because I don't..

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Graré American Food Store

As some of you may already know, I spent 13 months in the US, working as an au pair for 2 different families. I started my career as a nanny in Portland, Oregon, although my luggage ended up in Portland, Maine - how was I supposed to know there are 2 cities by the name of Portland???
My host family gave me my own credit card to go grocery shopping. Know what I mean?? MY OWN CREDIT CARD! I had never owned a credit card before! Maybe that's where my love for shopping found its beginning?
Anyway, the family was used to shop in deli stores and I had the chance to taste many different kinds of food I wasn't used to. Mexican food, for example, was totally new to me. I had never heard of peanut butter & jelly sandwiches before and chocolate chips were a true delight to bake cookies with. And in that one particular deli store, I could buy Nutella, my favorite chocolate spread I was used to have on my sandwiches at home...
My second host family lived in Chelmsford, Massachusetts, just around the corner of Portland, Oregon...not! It took me 4 days on the train to travel to Massachusetts, in the middle of the winter, snow from day 1 till day 4. Food in Mass was different than in Oregon. Less Mexican, more Irish. I remember the dad took me out for lunch in Cambridge one day and we had this humongous burger!
Every now and then, I miss American products. A couple of months ago, I discovered an American food store in Antwerp and I was just as excited as a six year old with a popsicle! Happy Happy Joy Joy!
They even sold Hazelnut splenda, my favorite sweetener, that is not sold in Belgian stores. I did skip on the Fluff, because marshmallow spread is not exactly the best choice for a diabetic.
Graré American Food Store
Prins Boudewijnlaan 175
2610 Antwerp

Butterflies and caterpillars

Which comes first? The butterfly or the caterpillar? The chicken or the egg? Who will tell? Is it important to know which comes first? People have tried to answer this question for so many years, and they still haven't figured it out. Guess what? Maybe it's a question that doesn't ask for an answer?

To me, it means that both the butterfly and the caterpillar, or the chicken and the egg, are equal. They both have their meaning and their qualities and shortcomings. Have you ever taken a good look at a caterpillar? We have quite a few in our back yard and they are pretty fascinating. The way they crawl up on a leaf and munch their way through. It reminds me of the book by Eric Carle: The very hungry caterpillar. I used to read that story to the little girl I looked after in Portland, Oregon. We read that story over and over again.. But I'm drifting off! So the caterpillar, we were talking about. They come in so many different sizes and colors and some are even more beautiful than the actual butterfly. Our local butterflies are pretty common. They are not that colorful, but they are pretty after all. I like the way they flap their wings and the grace they show.

Some people are butterflies, others are caterpillars. Some of those caterpillar people turn into gorgeous butterflies. On a certain time in their life, they come out of their cocoon and flap their wings, to head off to a new world, full of excitement and challenges. Freedom is in sight and they get to discover new sides of themselves and new environments.

Burst your own cocoon and come out as the beautiful butterfly, as the free soul..

I feel like the caterpillar that turned into a butterfly and I'm pretty happy with that!

Monday, June 15, 2009

One step away from hitting rock bottom

There was a time when I worked three jobs to keep my head above water. I was living by myself, had debts to pay off and rent to pay. One of the jobs paid well, but my pay check wouldn't come until 7 months later. The other two jobs paid peanuts, but I needed the money in order to survive and feed myself. I had no extra money to treat myself or buy the pants I desperately needed. But you know what? I made it..! I was one step away from hitting rock bottom, but I survived!

The principal I worked for, called me into her office one day. She asked me why I came to school wearing jeans and sweatshirt one day and a neat skirt and blouse the other. I was too proud to tell her I didn't have the money to take my laundry to the cleaners on a weekly basis. So I had to wear whatever was left in my dresser. The school system made me work full time, but had no money to pay me right away. I had to wait, like any other beginning teacher in this country. The fact that I lived all by myself, was of no interest to them. One day, I asked to see the principal to ask her when she thought I would get my first pay check. I was two months behind paying the rent of the small room I boarded. She said I had to ask my parents for some pocket money.. As if!

Three months later, I had to go to well fare, to collect food stamps. I got a reasonable amount of money, as an advance on my wages from my teaching job, a bag of potatoes, two packs of rice and a couple of cans of soup. I was so humiliated. The officer felt sorry for me. I told him I had three jobs. I told him I was not an underdog. I cried when I told him I would pay them back as soon as my first pay check fell into my mail box. He said it wasn't my fault. He said it was okay and he believed me. He could tell I was prepared to work hard and pay off my debts.

Whenever I run into the well fare officer, I cross the road. After 16 years, I still feel humiliated. But times were different back then. I did better from then on. I got back on track and the money they had given me, was enough to pay back my debts. I didn't have a hot meal on a daily basis. But that was okay. I knew things would get better in the end. And they did. I'm grateful.

Spring has come

Finally Spring has arrived. How I have longed for some sunshine. People automatically feel better when the sun is out to warm our bodies. I remember resenting the sound of the birds on an early morning, when I was a teen, but nowadays it is music to my ears. Can't wait to go outside with my camera, making delicate pictures of the fresh flowers in the garden. Hubby is very good at gardening and he really takes care of his plants and shrubs. We have chosen for whites and greens. On the terrace, we have some purple shades to go with the white and the green. It's very calming.

It's so quiet over here. Especially at night, when the darkness falls. Then you can hear the snails munch on a crispy leaf. Hopefully this year, they will let us eat the lettuce. They can eat the ivy if they wish.

Every once in a while, we have frogs and hedgehogs in our garden. It's fascinating to watch them live their life. Sometimes there are bird nests as well. Our cat Arthur isn't very nice to the little birds, so we prefer them to nest elsewhere.

Spring is my favorite season. What's yours?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Father figure

I don't know how my father is doing. I haven't seen him in 12 years. I know I have a father, but I can't remember doing anything special with him. Just him and me, I mean. I remember he was always working and he never had time for us. He could never remember the grade I was in or which school I attended. He forgot my birthdays and called my friends the wrong name.

I remember one particular story about my childhood. Every summer, we would rent an apartment on the coast. My father would never join us. "Work", remember? But that Sunday, he came to visit us. We were promised to ride go-carts along the beach. I wore my brand new red clogs, white dots and all. My father hated those clogs, because he couldn't stand the tapping sound they made. But I wore them anyway. He told me I was going to lose them while riding the go-cart. I thought he just didn't want me to wear them. But as we took our first turn, one of the clogs slipped from my foot and I lost it. I didn't say anything. I cried in silence. I didn't want to hear the "told you so" line. The other clog never came home again. Too painful. I must have been 6 or 7 at the time. But it's like it happened just yesterday. I wanted him to comfort me, but he didn't notice my grief. 

When my husband asked my father if he could marry me, his answer was: "take her and don't bring her back. She does not come with a warranty certificate." Not exactly the answer you expect from a future father-in-law, is it? I think I laughed over it. What else could I do? My husband thought it was pretty sick though.. and he didn't know what to answer him.

When we finally got married, my father didn't show up. "Work".. again.. it sure didn't make me feel special, that I know. 

Some 5 years ago, I saw him while I secretly visited my sister, that I hadn't seen in 7 years. He came into her house and noticed my presence. He turned on his heels and left. He didn't say a word and didn't even look at me. A little bird told me that he says he has 2 children, not 3.

The last time he saw us, our eldest daughter had just turned 2. He had not even held our newborn. I have sent him letters over the years. Pictures of his granddaughters were sent as well. He never opened the letters. The pictures returned..

I hear he's happy. I hear he and my mother travel once in a while. They go on week-end trips. He reads books. But he still works full-time. He has no intentions to get to know my family. 

It is what it is.. That doesn't make it less painful though.

The way you do the things you do

You have these strange habits, of doing the things the way you do. The way you put your left hand on your hip, when you brush your teeth. Or how your left hand rests on your chest when you shave. The wash cloth you put on your eyes, when you take a relaxing bath. The bottle of water on your night stand, although you don't drink it. Coming down the stairs backwards, like your mother taught you. Rocking back and forth on a chair, whenever you're reflecting on something that is important to you. Rolling over in bed before you fall asleep..

Those habits of yours can really irritate me at times. But I would miss them if you would give up on them. Because you wouldn't be you any more. And I like you, for who you are. You and the way you do the things you do..

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The other world

We cannot live without dying.. There is this man I met, through our diabetes forum. He is an absolute delight to be around. In his early childhood, he was diagnosed with diabetes. In those days, diets were strict and there were no glucose meters around to check your own blood sugars. But he did great. He accepted the diagnosis and moved on. Working in the military, and later on for Philips. He got married to his lovely wife, and they raised a family. Nowadays, they have 2 little rug rats that they pamper and take care of on a daily basis. There's another one on the way! and he's really looking forward to meeting this new baby.

Cancer of the liver hit him in the face. They said he was to go home and prepare his death. What a shock.. nobody wants to hear those words!! He was devastated and so was his family. Why??? What had he done to deserve this? Nothing.. He is a wonderful man, and both him and his wife welcomed many children into their home. Children that needed foster parents. Children from abroad, that were desperately seeking some personal attention and the warmth of a loving home. So they took care of these children for many years. He's also very active in helping young children with diabetes. He knows what it's like, because he's been there. They adore him!

A second opinion was asked in another hospital. He found the courage to move on. For the third time in a row, he's on chemo therapy. It ruins all the good things in his body as well. He doesn't feel sick at all and he looks real good. If you wouldn't know he was dying from cancer, you certainly wouldn't tell from his looks.

How much time is left, to enjoy this friendship? What things need to be said? He's preparing his own funeral and trying to prevent his family from falling apart. His favorite dog is sick too.. I believe the dog is going to join him to the other world. It comforts me in some way, that he won't have to go alone. He has lost many friends because of this horrendous disease. Is it a comfort to him, that they will be reunited?

Whenever I get the chance to visit him, I do. He's a wise man and he can teach me many things about life. I like to listen to him and we can talk about most anything. He's calm and his death doesn't scare me. Of course I would prefer him to remain in this world, but he'll never be totally gone. Because he's in the heart of many people.. It's okay to talk about death. Because there is no life without it. It's part of the cycle.

Dear friend, I think of you quite often. I hope your life in the other world, will be as fulfilling as the life over here. It was an honor to get to know you. I wish you all the best.. but don't go yet. Not just yet..


I'm pretty sure all of you have googled your own name before. Come on, admit it! Sometimes I google other people, because I find them interesting. And the other day, I was googling my own name, when I came across two googlegangers. These women have the same name as mine! Although it is written slightly differently. Only one character is different.

One of them is a teacher. I used to be a teacher too. The other one is a doctor. I'm nowhere near there! LOL

On Facebook, I found another woman, whose name was written exactly like mine! She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. Isn't that weird? Because our last name is very Flemish after all.

It is kinda funny though, to find googlegangers. You should try it!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Hold me now

Could you please hold me? Now? I'm inconsolable. I need your shoulder. I need you to tell me everything is going to be okay. I need those comforting words, in order to feel better. I thought I was over it. I thought I had accepted it a long time ago. But I haven't. And I'm scared, that I will never accept it.
It's been 7 years now. There still is no solution. Every day, more people are diagnosed with Diabetes. Every day, more lives are hustled upside down and torn apart. How many more times need I poke my fingers, to test my blood glucose? How many more catheters need to be shot into my tummy, to feed me insulin? 
Will I ever loose my eye sight? 
Are amputations still done when you don't take good care of your diabetes?
Is kidney failure my future?
Will a heart attack kill me, because I choose not to work out?
Am I doomed to a low carb diet for the rest of my life?
Will the insulin add more weight to my body, until I'm ready to explode?
Will my children inherit my bad diabetes genes?
So many questions and so little answers. For a century, the doctors have said the solution was going to be found within 10 years. Either they didn't attend maths in school, or they are liars.  
Because there is no cure, not yet. Until this day, Diabetes is for life. 
It's the only certainty in life, besides that one day we will die, just like anybody else. 
Diabetes follows me wherever I go. It never turns its back on me. It's always there, in the backseat of my life..

Do you believe in love at first sight?

Well, do you? I don't know if I believe in it. I haven't experienced it yet. I have fallen in love a few times (okay, I admit it, more than just a few times..), but never at first sight. Some men are really attractive, but appearance is no reason for me to fall in love. I need more. There must be a sparkle, some way of attraction. A mysterious look, an honest smile, a contagious laughter. Sometimes it's just a sentence, a couple of words, that may attract my attention. That doesn't mean I fall in love right away. I don't fall in love that easy after all.

As a teen, I always wondered who would break up the relationship first: he or I? I never believed in "they lived happily ever after". I always thought one of them would at least get fed up with the other. On many occasions, that's also reality. I was not the marrying type. I guess I'm not romantic enough. I'm more of a practical person. But you know what? Today is our 15th anniversary and we have been married for 14 years. And I think that is pretty remarkable nowadays.

On some days, I fall in love. With my husband.. and whenever I see those tiny wrinkles around his eyes when he looks at me, I know he's still in love with me too. And that is comforting..

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Personal Services Required

I have worked as a personal assistant for a disabled woman. She's 27, pregnant and single. Living by herself in an adapted apartment and spending all day in a power chair. She has Friedreich's Ataxia, a progressive muscular disease, that disables you in several ways. Your muscles grow weaker and many patients end up in wheel chairs. Some have slurred speech, difficulties to swallow, heart problems, coordination problems and loss of eye sight. It's not the best disease to have and it affects more people than you think.

I believe it's very brave to have this disease and still try to make the most of it. It takes a lot of courage. It's not that obvious to live by yourself, when you depend on other people to do most anything for you. You need nurses to bathe and dress you. Different assistants come in at different hours to cook your meals and help you eat. You need a driver to take you out and someone to do your laundry and clean your house.

Assistants can make phone calls for you, write letters, type your emails. They listen to you and become friendly with you. It's very personal to work as an assistant and it's hard to separate work from home. Because you care. Because you feel for them. Because they become part of your life.

It were 4 hectic months. Tough, both mentally and physically. You can't help but worry when no assistance is provided, that the person you are looking after is okay. It takes its toll.

But in the end, the person you look after, will still have the disease. You go home to your family and you are happy you are independent. But are we as independent as we believe? Don't we rely on other people for many things? Nobody can live a life without the help of others. I'm grateful for the help people offer me. I tell them. I'm not used to people helping me, so if they do, I feel awkward and try to make sure I don't owe them. I don't take advantage of the people helping me, on the contrary.

I did like to work as a personal assistant and I might do it again. I would try to keep more distance though. After all, it's a job and you get paid and the person you take care off is still your boss.

Together with all the people out there with Friedreich's Ataxia, I hope a cure will be found.


I can't believe someone invented this word. I heard it on TV the other day. It was about this girl, that had a beautiful body. People didn't like her for some reason. They said she was gorgeous, "but-her-face", resulting in calling her "butterface". People can be so mean, calling other people names. I'm sure it happens all the time and some people are ridiculed more than others. Because of their appearance, their background, their family, the way they are unique. 
Do bullies ever consider how their actions affect the victim? It can haunt them for the rest of their life. Those bullies think they rock, but deep down, they absolutely have no self esteem. In fact, they are so insecure that they need to find a victim to pick on, to feel better themselves. It is sad and they should know better..
The other day, an 11-year-old schoolgirl threw herself out of the window of her class, because she couldn't take it anymore. What a world we live in..

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The perfect child to brag about

Don't we all think that our own child is perfect? Don't we all want our children to be the best? A child that has the best school results and great friends. A child that can play several music instruments and recite the classic poems. A child you can take anywhere, because it will always behave and be the politest child ever. Of course as a parent, you pick the friends, and the school and the best education it can get. At least, to your knowledge and on your terms.. As long as you can brag about your child.. But is it about the child, or is it about you..?? A parent is supposed to love the child, unconditionally.

Do you, as a parent, ever realise how this controlling behaviour may affect the child? Does this way of raising a child make the child feel better about itself? I don't think so.. It creates children without any form of self esteem. It makes children feel insecure, nervous and never good enough. It's hard for a child if it doesn't get the chance to be who it really is. It has to live the parent's dream, despite it's own dreams and goals in life. They don't get the chance to grow up and make their own mistakes.

One day, those children become rebels. They get fed up with leading someone else's life. The only thing they want from their parents, is to be loved for who they are. No guarantees. No ifs and buts. No conditions and no terms. They only want to live up to their own standards and values. And guess what: they won't do that bad.. It may not be what you had in mind for them, but they'll do just fine..

The perfect child is the child that finds its own skills and abilities, with the love and support from its parents. Without the "told you so" when they screw up.. Let them find their own way. Give your child the credit it deserves. It will love you back, believe me..

Maybe the parents should try and live their own dreams and let their children grow up to be the person they choose to be. But of course, that's only my opinion.

Happy Meals

Do happy meals actually make you happy?

Like most kids, our kids are always in for an outing to McDonald's. They have never been interested in the playground or the games, but just want to enjoy the atmosphere. And of course have a nice meal! They have outgrown the Happy Meal stage and now they are ready for the grown up burgers. Like 12 and 14 yo's would eat a Happy Meal! DUH! No way!

Whenever we visit McDonald's (like twice a year I guess), we see a lot of unhappy children, whining, nagging and fighting in the play corner. Doesn't seem very pleasant to bring those children to a place like that. They are supposed to be happy after all! They don't finish their meals, they drink loads of soda and eat the mayonnaise instead of the fries. They don't like the gherkins and the tomatoes on the burger, they only eat the crust of the nuggets... So what else is left but the bill to pay?

I'm glad our Mac restaurants don't open for breakfast. Just imagine.. I remember being in the States and having breakfast at MacDonald's. Wouldn't even think of doing that over here! I'm sure it's very convenient, but it sure wouldn't make me happy!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Be prepared, not scared

The other day, I saw this programme on TV, about sex offenders and child molesters. Our little country made the news when Dutroux was captured, after abusing and killing several young girls. Those actions make me really sick to my stomach. How can one protect its children against these child molesters? Is there any way to prevent this will ever happen to your child?

Be prepared, not scared is a good motto. But how on earth do you ever prepare a child to prevent it from being abused or taken away from its family? It's not that you can use your own experience. At least I hope none of you had to go through any of this in your childhood! Let's hope not!

I believe people (both men and women! and don't forget women can be abusers too!!) that molest children are absolutely sick and evil. They need to get treatment before they start the actual abuse. Their partner or family (if they have one) should recognize the signs. Think of the Austrian man Fritzl and his family. His wife never knew.. Isn't that awful? How can you not know about your husband abusing your daughters? How can you pretend and look the other way? How can someone hide your child and grandchildren for so many years in a basement in the back of your garden without you knowing it?

I always tell my children not anyone can hit or abuse them! Nobody has the right to hurt them in any way. And they should always tell me or someone they trust if they are being hurt, physically or mentally. Not a single child deserves to be molested, no matter what it has done to upset the other. Because that's not what it's about. It's about power and dominating the other. It's about lust and it's about low self esteem of the perpetrator.

Whenever I see a parent or some other adult hit a child, there's a knot in my stomach. I always want to go up to that person and tell them to stop hurting the child. But how can you indeed help the child? What can you do? You can't take the child home to comfort it and give it the love it needs.

I hear there are so many offenders. In fact, we know there's one in our small town. He has abused several young girls for a couple of years. He and his family still live in the same neighborhood, around the same children he abused. Where's justice...

With a little luck

With a little luck, Todd Willingham would not have been on death row. He got the lethal injection in 2004, for murdering his 3 little girls. He kept spreading the word that he was innocent. The people that could have stopped his death sentence, didn't even look into the new documents and Todd Willingham was sentenced to die.
People believed he had set his own house on fire, leaving his 3 innocent children in the house. Todd claimed he did not set the house on fire. He tried to save his children, but he failed. He heard his 2 yo scream for help and he couldn't help her nor the twins. The man was devastated and tried to go back inside, but the smoke and the fire prohibited him from saving his children.
Professionals believed he had set the house on fire and Todd was thrown behind bars. Nobody could save him. His own lawyers didn't believe he was innocent... Five years later, his innocence is proven. Too late for Todd..

Unfortunately, people are still sentenced to death in the US. Sometimes when they are innocent. It's scary..


I am trying to figure out why I'm so allergic to shouting people. I just can't stand it when people shout at me or at someone else, especially children. What's the use? It's scary, in fact it may be pretty frightening for a child to be yelled at. As a reaction, the child yells back and then the yelling goes back and forth. It's damaging. Absolutely. It comes to a point where the child will no longer respond to the shouting noise. They won't hear it anymore, because they have become so used to it. It makes them numb.

I used to have a co-worker that would shout at me whenever she thought I did something wrong. It made me real small and I felt humiliated to be shouted at in front of my colleagues. She reminded me of my mother. I couldn't stand up for myself, not at work and not at home. It was painful to see, that people with a higher position could call me names and treat me bad. That's when I decided this had to stop. I did not intend to remain the little child that crawled in a corner of the room because it couldn't defend itself.

So I became more assertive. It's hard work and it takes a lot of practise. But it pays off. I haven't been shouted at for quite a while. And if someone tries to call me names, I tell them in a quiet voice I don't appreciate being cursed at. Most of the time that's sufficient.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Mystery Diagnosis

One of the TV shows I like to record, is Mystery Diagnosis. It's pretty fascinating to hear about all those unknown diseases. Most of the times, there's a happy ending. I prefer happy endings. Most episodes of the show make me cry. But that's okay. It's good to cry once in a while. I don't like to cry in public though. I prefer some private time when I need to shed some tears. I'm not used to people comforting me when I'm sad. I haven't had that kind of comfort as a kid and I have become so used to solving my own tears, that it would feel pretty akward to have someone comfort me. Although it would be nice once in a while.

Anyway, Mystery Diagnosis. One of the shows was about a woman who had PCOS or Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome. Her symptoms sounded more than familiar to me. I had it tested after the show and did I have PCOS alright! My ovaries were stuffed with cysts. Since I had my uterus removed in 2003, there is no need to remove these cysts. Because they will be back after some time. It was a revelation to me, to find out that I had PCOS. It's also related to diabetes and I wonder which came first: diabetes or PCOS? I guess I will never know..

I have learned to rely on my instinct. If your body says something is wrong, find a doctor to help you. Ask for a second opinion. Don't let them tell you it's all in the head. Because you know your body. And you know when something is wrong..

Right here, right now

A friend of mine has tought me a very good life lesson. Right here, right now. No more than that. I have tried to live up to that motto. It's not that simple. But it's worth the try.

Living in the past is not healthy. It doesn't lead anywhere, because one cannot change the past. The past has made us the way we are now.

Trying to predict the future, is not the right way either. How would we possibly know what will happen to us in the years to come? Why would we even want to know? That would be like getting a whole bunch of nicely wrapped presents, with cards that say what's in it.
I believe that every action or event in our lives has a reason. People come into our lives for a reason. They visit you to teach you life lessons. And it's up to you to learn from them or not. Even people that weren't that nice to you, have taught you lessons. Life is like a manuscript. It can change along the walk of life. Make the best of it. Live right here, right now. It's so worth it!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

You don't have to lose this battle

My dear friend.. you have walked a rocky road from when you were still a child. You didn't grow up in the most loving environment, and neither did your siblings. There were problems and you got hurt so many times. Your father kept telling you, you weren't good enough. He told you you were fat and huge and worthless and you were a pain in the butt. After hearing that story over and over again, you started to believe it. Because that's what children do. They believe what grown ups keep telling them over and over again. That man hurt you big time. No child should be hurt. Nobody has the right to abuse a child, not physically, not mentally. Children are supposed to be loved. Not a single child deserves to be mistreated.

My dear friend, you are so desperately seeking for love, for acceptance. And not in the least from your father. The man who didn't treat you as a father should. You still hope for his approval. You still hope, one day, he will say he loves you for who you are.

My dear friend, don't give up on yourself. You are worth the fight. You will have to overcome quite some problems, in order to find happiness. Life hasn't been easy on you and it's been a real ordeal. Some of your siblings still live at home. You want to protect them from being hurt and you feel responsible for your baby sister and brother.

Your birthday is coming up. Last year we celebrated it together. I don't know what this year will bring. I hope your new life will give you the opportunities you so much deserve. Remember that there are people out there, that love you for who you are and care about you, although none of us will ever realise what you have been through. I want you to know, that I love you and that you are on my mind. I can't give you a better life and I certainly can't change your past. And I know I don't need to. Because I'm convinced that one day, you will find the strength in yourself to pull yourself together and do what it takes to leave it all behind and live your own life, far away from the people that hurt the little child inside of you.. Whenever you need me, let me know. Because I care..

Let's negotiate

In the past, we have done some travelling as a family and as a couple. Our children love to go overseas and they were only 5 and 7 when they took their first flight and that was to the US. That's quite some time ago, but they still remember a whole lot from that vacation. They have visited Tenerife, Turkey, Corfu and Egypt as well. They are looking forward to our next holiday away from Belgium.
Lana adores the beach and the sun and Eva wants to go somewhere where they have a swimming pool and fun things to do. For quite some years, Lana and Eva have wanted to go to Italy. Hubby would like to rent a house with a pool up there or go to Rome for a couple of days and then travel on to a sunny spot on the beach. 
I still want to go back to the US. It is still my favorite destination and there are so many different states to visit. I have the possibility to go visit a wonderful family in Indiana. That would be absolutely fantastic! The kids would love to go too and so would hubby. But it would be a very expensive trip, air fair is just so much money.
For a while we thought of going to the US without the girls. But that made them so unhappy, that we will have to reconsider.
We will have to look into some more opportunities and make a decision. Because summer holidays are coming up and we want to make sure that we find the perfect spot for us!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Bam Boleo Bam Bolero!

Diabetics have to keep an eye on their sugar intake. I do eat sugar once in a while, but I hate to deliver insulin for fluid carbohydrates. I think it's such a waste. So I am always looking out for new sugar free drinks.

For over at least one year, I have been drinking the sugar free Bolero. It's an absolutely fantastic product. No sugar, hardly any calories. You buy the drink in little sachets. There are 26 different tastes, so even picky people have a variety to choose from. One sachet is to be solved into 2 litres of cold water (soda water or spring water, either will do). Some people only use 1.5 litres of water, but to me, that is too sweet. I prefer it otherwise, and so does our family.

I always hide some sachets of Bolero in my purse. Comes in handy at any time. In some places, they have no diet coke and I'm not a fan of plain water. I like some taste to it! So I order water and then I pour some Bolero in it, to make my own colorful and tasteful drink.

People ask me, what taste I prefer. There are 26 varieties to choose from, but these are my favorites to mix with soda water: apple, lemon, orange, cherry, ginger, coke.
Mandarin, mango (this one is my favorite summerpunch), strawberry-banana, strawberry, raspberry, forest fruit, peach, watermelon, pear, multivitamin, white grape, red grape, pineapple go best with regular spring water.
The 6 different Ice Tea flavored bolero drinks, can be solved into either spring water or soda water. And of course, what keeps you from mixing different tastes and making your own punch?

Bolero works real well if solved in milk or yogurt too. It thickens the dairy product just a little, so you can make your own flavored yogurt drink, starting from milk and bolero. Most of the time I use lemon, cherry, raspberry, pineapple.. Keep the drinks in the fridge at all times, to get the best result and taste.

Our children love to freeze Bolero to result in yummie and sugar free popsicles. Need I say more.. Go get some yourself! You won't regret it!

I order the Bolero drinks in Germany, because they are not available in our wonderful country. The seller (Peter) can answer your mails and orders in Dutch, English, German,.. and he's a very good guy and very reliable. He ships pretty fast and you know what? It's not expensive at all! One sachet costs 30 euro cent and it makes 2 litre of lemonade!
If you have no idea what tastes to pick, go for the beginners box: 2 sachets of every taste. For the total amount of € 13.20 + shipping fee. Let me know what you think of it, and tell Peter I said hi! He loves to hear from me :-)

For my Belgian friends: I order Bolero pretty often, so if you want me to order some extra for you, email me.

Be your own best friend

It took me some time to realise, that you cannot love another person if you don't love yourself. But it is so true.

Women in their 30's start to think things over. They want to know about their childhood, what turned them into the person they have become. That might be a very comforting experience, but for some it's scary and disappointing. One cannot change the past. We cannot predict the future. The only thing we can do is live right here and now. 

When you start to explore yourself, be prepared. It might become a pretty emotional period and you might have many questions. Some questions will never be resolved and some answers you might not like. But it gives you the opportunity to learn more about who you are and where you come from. It's time to accept yourself for who you are, so you can move on.

Be your own best friend. Embrace yourself, with your good qualities and your less good ones. Love yourself for who you are, so you can give other people the chance to do the same..

Friday, June 5, 2009

Acceptance versus rejection

Either you accept your shortcomings, or you reject them. Rejection often means, that your shortcomings will haunt you, because you do not wish to face them. Once you have accepted your less good talents, you have the chance to think them over and see what you can do to improve them. It takes a lot of effort and it may be a very rocky road. You need to do a lot of soul searching, but in the end, it will make you a better person.

Grieving is almost likely to be part of that period in your life, while you are trying to sort yourself out. It's hard, but so worth it. It's not about revenge or badmouthing others. It's not about blaming other people for periods of your life you weren't that happy. It's about moving on with the rest of your life. It's about acknowledging what has happened and learning from those experiences. You can't change what you don't acknowledge. But it takes time to heal. Some things have to be said, so you can see it in the right perspective. Some people just want to forget and bury the things they don't want to talk about. But for me, that doesn't work. I have this erge to solve things in order to move on.

Things are going pretty good right now. I'm feeling a whole lot better about myself and it gives me strength to go on. I have very supportive friends, I have my family and in-laws behind me and of course, there is my husband and our two lovely daughters. I feel blessed..

In the mood for food

I am in the mood for food. Healthy food. I have just done some grocery shopping and I started making my monthly menus again. To make sure we have enough variety in our diet. I love to make those monthly menus, but it's been a while. So now I'm full of energy to start my healthy diet again. Fresh fruit, crisp vegetables, lean meat and crunchy bread. I don't eat bread that often any more, although bread is one of my favorite foods. But once in a while, I treat myself with a delicious crunchy piece of homemade bread :-)

So I assume in a couple of weeks, I will feel less tired and more energetic, because of the healthy way of life. It takes efforts and you need to sacrifice some foods you really like, but it's good for you and it will make you feel better on the long term. And isn't that what we all long for?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

A la carte

What a shame this wonderful artist doesn't have his own website or shop. He's absolutely very creative, clever and full of ideas. He has the talent to turn your house into a unique but affordable place to live in.
We have had the luck to meet this designer. He has become a good friend of ours and I love to spend time with him. I have seen quite some different places he has designed, and I must say: he's very good at what he does! He should move to the States. They would adore him! Just by talking to you, he knows what your preferences are and what decor would suit you. Fabrics and colors are his cup of tea.

Buddy, you rock! Never give up on your dreams. You'll get there!

Vanished without a trace

I don't sit in front of the TV that often, but there are some programmes I just need to see. Vanished without a trace (Spoorloos) is one of them. These types of programmes keep coming back on TV and I tend to record them, so I can watch them on my time.

It intrigues me, that people spend their whole life seeking for that one special person they lost track off. Isn't that magnificent? They must love that special person so much, that they cannot stand the thought of never seeing that person again.. 

And then they finally find that missing loved one, sometimes only a couple of miles away from their home, but mostly the missing person lives abroad in some far away country. It is so emotional to see how these two persons meet again, after so many years of missing out on each others lives. I'm too soft for these TV shows, it always makes my eyes tear up.. But I wouldn't wanna miss it!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Throwing it all away

I have this urge to clear up all the mess we have gathered over the years. We have a small spare room upstairs, that is packed with rubbish and lost items. This room will be transformed into another bathroom, in due time. As long as the mess is still present, there is not going to be an extra bathroom. So I need to clear it.
I would like to have a huge container in front of the house, so I can open the window and throw it all out. My opinion is: if you don't know what's in that room, you don't need it. Unfortunately, no other member in the house shares my opinion. I have no trouble throwing away things or finding another owner for useable items. I think I need to call Niecy Nash's Clean House Team. 
I'm pretty sure the chore could be done in 1 day. Then why don't I get started????

Very old school

Is it very old school, if you do not want your daughters to hang out on the streets without you knowing who they are hanging out with? Am I old fashioned, if I want to know who their friends are? I believe that 12 and 14 yo still need to tell their parents who they will spend their free time with. Not to control them, just so we know that they are safe and sound.

Children grow up so fast and time flies by. Before we will know it, they will have a family of their own. I'm sure they will once say: when I have children, I will not give them a curfew and I will allow them to go on dates at the age of 14!! I know... been there, done that. It's part of growing up I guess..

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Men fall in love..

with their eyes, women with their ears.

Have you ever talked to a man, who was very interested in looking around him to make sure he didn't miss any other females walking by? Very irritating .. That is the type of man that falls in love with his eyes. They fall in love with appearance, preferably blond, tall, petite, long legs, big boobs, small buttocks, long lashes that accompany big eyes. And I know for sure many men will now say: I don't fancy those women!!! Whatever.. Women are not blind either. We see the look in their eyes when those women pass by. They almost start to drool and their eyes can't help but stare. And you know what? I don't blame them. Because after all, those women are very pretty to look at and some are even very interesting.

Women fall in love with their ears. Of course we have a good eye for appearance as well. But humor, charm, entertainment and above all, the ability to LISTEN is what attracts women in men. What a bummer if you go out with a man and all he can talk about is the number of former girlfriends he's had or how many cars he has bought and sold or how much beer he can drink in one night! Or how normal it is that his mother still does his laundry and cooks his dinner every night. Don't even want to think about the men that brag about their talent in bed.. DUH! 
Wanna bet he has no idea what you talked about that evening? It is strange, that it is so hard for some men to use those two items on both sides of their head.. It would give them one step ahead in getting to know women..


I'm a complex and complicated person. Most of the times, I don't understand me. I'm nearly 38 and I still don't have a goal in life. Who am I? What do I want from life? What aims do I have?

I'm not a bad person. I'm complicated. That's all. Not the easiest person to live with, I admit it. But I have many interesting facets and living with me is never boring. Just complicated..

Monday, June 1, 2009

Rag doll

I used to have a rag doll. It was a boy. He had real long legs, too long for its body. He had spiky, yellow hair and big bright eyes. He was stuffed with sawdust. I have had him for a very long time. He always kept me company in bed.
That particular year, I must have been 12 I guess, I went on summer camp. Packing my suitcases, my mom grabbed Rag doll and threw him on my bed. She said I was too big for dolls. My peers would make fun of me. It wasn't done!
I cried over it, in silence, when she had left the room. I couldn't go on summer camp without Rag doll. So I hid him in my back pack. That first evening in the camp house, we were to unpack. The girl next to me saw Rag Doll on the bed and she threw him in the air, yelling: somebody brought a doll to camp!!! How stupid and childish!! Everybody laughed and I was so embarrassed. They asked if Rag doll was mine. I said no.. They didn't believe me. They told me to clip his hair, to show them I didn't care and it wasn't mine. So I did. I cut Rag dolls hair.. He looked appalling. I didn't take him home. Someone must have trashed him.
I still miss Rag doll.. Nowadays, all teens sleep with dolls and stuffed animals. I would never ridicule them over their beloved cuddle. Kids can be harsh

Gotta be somebody

You've got to be somebody, right? I'm nearly 38 now and I still don't know who I am. For many years, I have tried to live the life other people wanted me to live. Until I met my husband. He never told me to be anybody else. I could be me. I could be somebody. But I still haven't figured out what that somebody should be like.. Anyone?