Thursday, August 21, 2014

Back to reality

Howdy?
I am just back from holidays. I was lucky to have a friend who invited us to stay one week in his house on the Atlantic coast. Lucky, right?
As usual, I feel it was short and packed with emotions and errands and discoveries. One of the things I dig most in holidays away from home, is the change of habits, the novelty. Changing home and space sounds like the radical solution to see everything with new eyes.
I even found some little time for myself: long walks on the beach early morning,while toddlers and friends and spouse were sleeping still. :)
It is so easy in these condtions, to find beauty in everything. Yet I am not sure everyone does. I somehow feel like hundreds of treasures are overlooked, here and there. Unseen. Unappreciated. Forgotten.
I just feel I want to lose track of time watching them. Losing track feels nice. It feels like joining the birds in their flight. Like racing with the waves. Like dissolving in the wind. Like tiptoeing on kids' laughs as if they were stepping stones. Like melting in the ocean's colours.
I wasn't treasure hunting. No need to hunt. Just to breathe and walk and sit, eyes open wide.
Did you come across many treasures on your holidays? Did you have time to slow down and watch around you?
I hope you've had the sweetest holidays, no matter near or far.





Sunday, July 6, 2014

Gift swap, anyone?



Dear blog readers,

I wonder sometimes where this blog is going.
My last post dates back to april...seriously!?
To be honest, I've been tempted to let it go. Several times. Too much 'stuff' to deal with in my life. Too much I feel like writing, and too much I want to keep for myself. Two opposite forces that keep attracting and repulsing each other. Too much time to spend on the Web, too many things to do outside the Web. Decisions and directions to take. A mother's life, a worker's life, a wife's life, and a blog that is still somehow looking for its own meaning.
Does that make sense?
My dear friend Sachi, though still a foundation of this blog's soul, has been called to other blogging activities. She may sometimes post something about it here, and will be most welcomed. But she is busy elsewhere, and I wish her the best with the task she has undertaken. :-)
Yet, I keep coming back to blogging. I've met very nice people thanks to blogging. I've learned things. I've entertained myself more than once. I love sharing things. I would like this blog to become a place of exchange. A place to talk, share experiences, and learn, and help each other.
These last months/years, I've been busy. Very busy. I stopped my stay-at-home mum's life to go back to work. I've had to help a dear member of my family facing serious illness. I've had to let go of what my life once used to be, thus welcoming very good things but saying good-bye to awesome things too.
I haven't been gentle enough to myself, because I had to be there for others. Because I wanted to do so much. And I've been coming close to burn-out.
Suddenly the holidays are (almost) upon me. My kids are on holiday. Time is bound to slow on its own. Life opening up to quiet evenings, star gazing, listening to crickets and nightingales, simply watching my kids playing. A true possibility of hurrying less, making new plans, breathing deeply, enjoying the moment.
We all have so many grand plans, I believe. Yet, what do we remember in the end? Most likely those moments spent inhaling the simple happiness of loving and being loved, being alive, soaking in the beauty.
I am considering shifting this blog's focus on 'the moment': sharing tiny snippets of Life's treasures. We'll see..

But for now, with the arrival of the holidays, the huge need to release pressure and indulge in sweet, self-relaxing activities, here is my call: gift swap, anyone? :-)
Very much inspired by Kristel's idea, I'd love to start a gift swap. Feeling interested by an exchange of gift for this summer? Anything that could include handcraft, drawing, playing ideas (toy-making, jewel-making,  vintage - or not! - fabrics), essential oils, reading (books, magazines ..), relaxing, sweets, cooking, sewing, activities and little things for kids too. That is an unfinished list! Well, you get the idea: a little package of fun to receive, a little Xmas bubble in the heart of summer? The gift swap I've done with Kristel was awesome! Not to mention the packages Sachi and I sent each other! That's the added bonus of blogging: giftswap is bound to be entertaining, exotic, fun. It's so great to receive little things from another place, country, region, it is such a great opening of our views and boundaries.
Let's get in touch via email or in the comments section if you are interested! I hope you will! ;-)
Namaste, friends!







Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Going nowhere, doing nothing, planning nothing

Hello, hello...I think I never let this blog down for so long?
And suddenly, Spring was upon us, and suddenly it was holiday time!
I think it is obvious that I am going through a mini crisis,
Questioning our consumers' society, our need to rush and show off,
Our race to get more, prove more, speak louder...
It is something I feel, and life as a working mom adds to the rush.
Well, does it really?
It does, but it's up to us to question what we do, the way we live...
I am personally by Nature torn forever between my contemplating tendencies
And my love for activity and movement...Well, Life is a constantly self-readjusting balance
Between all our aspirations and needs...
This week, I've chosen my balance :) Everything comes to a stop...
No more going here and there, no more activities for the kids...Exit judo, riding lessons,
Exit getting ready for school, exit getting prepped up and cute-looking for work.
This week, it's holiday at home. Spring has finally arrived,
The garden is in full bloom, and my motto is 'no rush'.
Each time I have something to do, I stop and think about how I can do it
Without hurrying...I think of all things, hurrying is one of the most harmful things
I have to face. 
I also have enrolled in an online course, fascinating...and I'd like to present you
Our new family member...I am falling in love with that one, too:


Well, it feels good to be back here!
I know Sachi has plans that may include this blog too,
She has come up with great ideas...
Wishing you all a happy, sunny day
(Like many, I am so fond of Pharrell Williams' song!)

Val

Monday, April 7, 2014

Cherry blossoms





When you visit Japan during this season, you will see so many cherry trees in full bloom.  Whenever you go, you'll hear people talking about the cherry blossoms (and I hope you don't get tired of it), ad see people having parties under the cherry trees.  Well, I guess you could say we have special feelings towards cherry blossoms.

The cherry trees are in full bloom from around the end of March to the beginning of April--the season when we are waiting for the warmth of spring.  Our ancestors set the time of graduation and school enrollment during this time.  It's a time of new beginnings, so cherry blossoms are a symbol of life itself, so to speak.  I think I can say that Japanese people cherish the thysms of nature.  We are always attune with nature in a way.

We cherish the falling cherry blossoms as well.  Seeing those beautiful cherry petals fluttering in the warm sunlight is amazing, but also it is touching to see how they fall to the ground.  I feel a kind of "shining life" there, and many Japanese people probably feel the same.

I wonder if you feel something similar about cherry blossoms?

I believe we share the same feelings about spring.  I hope you enjoy your bright warm spring!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Art of Racing in the Rain



So guilty do I feel for not updating this blog more regularly!
Without further ado, here's a little post I wanted to write dearly:
This one deals with a most amazing book advised and sent by a dear friend,
And I must say, this story made me shed a few tears in the end.

I grew attached to the characters: the man, the woman, and most of all, the dog.
Each time I love a book, I fold a lot of page corners, and I keep it near me.
No need to say, this one is on my favourite shelf, and it won't leave.
The story is both simple, and hard to tell without losing too much of its content.

It is a story of love and hardship. There is a lot of love, and a lot of hardship.
Dreams we follow, the love of our life, illness, birth, death, parenthood, financial troubles...
The main character goes through joy and pain; he also has a passion (car racing), and the will to fight and survive.
And, he has a dog, Enzo, and this is where the book gets fascinating. The whole story is told by a dog, who is highly intelligent, and who loves his master more than the whole world. He gives all the support he can to his master, and later, to his master's wife. The world of humans seen through the eyes of a very smart dog is transcended by devotion and perception. It is beautifully written, with an abundance of all these mundane, little details that give so much meaning to our lives. The dog knows it, the humans around him not always...

Enzo also has a way of considering his animal instincts. Our animal instincts. Our self-destructive nature. Our will to survive and/or to give up. And the narration, together with Enzo, tends to assimilate car racing to life itself. It all depends on where you want to go, and how much you want to go there:

"In racing, they say that your car goes where your eyes go. The driver who cannot tear his eyes from the wall as he spins out of control will meet the wall; the driver who looks down the track as he feels his tires break free will regain control of his vehicle.
Your car goes where your eyes go. Simply another way of saying that which you manifest is before you".

This book is a wonderful philosophical tale and a beautiful love story between a man and his dog. It is full of simplicity and good common sense, full of wisdom and a kind of beautiful serenity, full of pure absolute love. 

In the last pages, Enzo speaks about racing again: "But racing in the rain is also about the mind!  [...] It is about believing that you are not you; you are everything. And everything is you." 

Garth Stein, the author, has wrapped an amazing narration with the themes of a love that goes beyond attachment and of a mind that shows incredible insight. The last pages show a master and a dog who reciprocally free each other through an unvoidable separation that holds in itself the promise of meeting again...

I am so thankful that Sachi brought this book to my knowledge.


Monday, March 3, 2014

Hinamatsuri (Girl's Day)


March 3rd (yesterday) was Hinamatsuri (Girl's day).
We display dolls for praying for young girls' growth and happiness; 
usually we display them about a month before the day
and remove them soon after the day.
It is said that if you don't remove them soon after the festival, 
your daughter's marriage would be delayed.
(well...I have to confess only on here that I often keep them  
about a week after the festival, that's a secret, though:))

My daughter is already grown up, 
but I displayed them as always, praying for her happiness and success.
Yesterday I looked at her photo album feeling nostalgic.
For some reason, I only have one child, but I thank God for having her in my life.
She has made my life an unbelievably rich and beautiful!



She was delighted with her princess dress (made by her mother :))
for a play at kindergarden, and I was delighted with her smile:)

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Quick giftwrapping

A few weeks ago one of my daughters was invited to a birthday party.
I have conflictual feelings about birthday parties for kids, maybe the subject for another post...Anyhoo, giftwrapping is also something conflictual with me: I like doing it, yet I always wait for the last minute to proceed and then, since I'm in a hurry, I mess it up!
This time I made it on time, so I was able to fully enjoy it.
For me, the wrapping is very important, it is a jewel case, and when it is a little customized, it is also a sign of the care that comes with the gift.



One simple way I have found of making an upgraded giftwrapping (apart from making my own wrapping paper, with annotations, or dedication or drawings), is to wrap the gift with some thread and pompom.
I recently picked a link on Kristel's blog to a site explaining how to use a fork to make pompoms (can't find it now...). You simply wrap the yarn around the fork, then tie it with the yarn once the desirable size is achieved. So simple!
It is something my kids can assist me in doing, it is fun, it can be declined in infinite colours, sizes, and it looks cute, doesn't it?