40 Little things that (really) matters

“It’s the Little Things that make Life Big … “

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Cherry Blossoms from Keukenhof Gardens, Lisse, The Netherlands

Today I wanted to make a “Gratitude post”.  I want to share with you the 40  Little things that really matters to me personally and to everyday life, and that I am forever grateful for. Many times, my mind is cluttered with worries as a mother, nuisances as a woman and grievances of a normal human being. I’m sure I am not the only one who feels like this, but our responses to situations could be different.

Sometimes I felt like Life can be so big and I become  so overwhelmed by it. Maybe I am overreacting but  would you believe that I am constantly worrying about the weather, on my future, of the health of my love ones, or would I pass the exams after I finished the course I registered, or  would I really be fluent in German? Everyday, I’m plagued with questions on what to feed my tiny human ( or does she eats enough?), or when will she completely potty-trained?, on how to  improve my painting skills, and what have I accomplished in my life? etc.. etc…

Just the other day, I asked myself after I put my daughter to bed : “Am I being a good mother to her? Is this the best that I can give…? and my mind drifts far away…

Social media can be  superficial. Our real lives is not as perfect as the perfect Instagram feeds, or the flawless Blog posts. Sometimes, or rather unsolicited and unwanted, my feed is  full of materialistic things that make me feel so little, giving me pressure to follow the trend and desire to get appreciation from others. The way we see things affect so much on how we respond to it. I decided to change my perspective and shift into being optimistic. Rather than focusing on my worries, why not list down things that REALLY matters to me. I realized that through this, I felt thankful, I felt even more grateful to be able to realize this.

Have you ever thought of “What really matters to you?”

 

 

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Dramatic beauty of cherry blossoms in the Netherlands

“Never get tired of doing Little things for others, sometimes those Little Things occupy the biggest parts of their Hearts…”

During our first legit Bike tour last Sunday, I learned a big lesson.

When cycling, especially on tour, it is so easy to focus on speed and missed out. The thing is,it is  very vital to enjoy the journey.  I took time to notice the fields, the glistening lake against the sunshine, the only red Poppies flower among the vast green fields, the yellow rapeseed farm with the ICE train passing by behind it, the heavily ornamented spire of the church, the clouds and its formations & so on…At the end of the tour, I felt so grateful that I had experience all of these, sweat, aching muscles & everything!

I have tried to find beauty in everything. I took notice of the LITTLE THINGS!

Here are my 40 personal “Little Things”that makes a BIG part in my life:

1.Our little garden. It’s a haven for us.

2.Warm Coffee before the toddler wakes up!

3.Making hand made cards for my friends and love-ones.

4. Tulips! having a vase full of Tulips in our home really makes my day. Anytime.

5.Peanut butter and blueberry jam sandwich.

6.Reading my mother’s offline messages to me, facts of living in different time-zones!

7.Watching the  sunrise and clouds every morning in my kitchen while I prepare breakfast.

8.German Brötchen, and warm bread straight from the oven for breakfast.

9.Lazy sunday walks.

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Glory days for the Cherry Blossoms | Keukenhof, the Netherlands

“YES, Small things, matter..”

10.My husband. For his love , support, tolerance and when He comes home in time!

11. Dutch Gevuldekoek and receiving surprise goodies from my parents in law !

12.Running along the woods, nature parks , river, and a lake all within 30 minutes!

13.The smell of fresh laundry.

14.Eating German pretzels ( Brezen)!

15.Beach walks.

16.Complimentary buffet  breakfast in hotels.

17.The muscle ache after I run, it means I got active.

18.Living 10 minutes away from beautiful nature and river.

19.Painting sessions in my kitchen counter top.

20.Smelling my favorite perfume.

21.Shopping in IKEA .

22.My Father-in-Law subscribe and reads my Blog!

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Pure beauty…No filter needed.

“Each morning, we are born again.What we do TODAY,is what really matters most… ~Buddha

23.Playgrounds in Bavaria. They are heaven’s gift.

24.Listening to  my real soundtrack music ( a break from the nursery rhymes!)

25.My daughter’s hug every time she wakes up.

26. My  very kind neighbors.

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“Enjoy and be grateful for the little things in life,for one day you will look back and realize they were the BIG Things…”

27.Eating ice cream in Spring.

28.A great comment on my Blog.

29.Roses in our garden that blooms wildly and taking photos of it!

30.Making and receiving hand written letters, Snail mails!

31.BBQ’s in our garden in Spring and Summer.

32.Watching sunsets.

33.Cooking home-made meals for my friends.

34.Cards from the mailbox ! Especially from someone unexpected.

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It all starts from a bud. | Keukenhof Gardens, The Netherlands

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter…~ Martin Luther King Jr.

35.When my new German friends invited me to their homes just after they’ve met me. I feel flattered.

36.A good running shoes.

37.Cycling  on a sunny day.

38.When people  want to buy ( & actually bought) my paintings!

39. A jeans that perfectly fit on me .

40.A smiling stranger that I come across the street and say  “Morgen“!

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Don’t miss out the little things, they can be really Great!

“We can not do great things. We can only do little things with great love…” ~ Mother Theresa

 

 

What about you, what are the ‘Little Things’ that matters to you?

 

The law of reversed effort

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The Law of Reversed Effort 

A personal post about what I’m experiencing for the past days.There were days where my mind is like a muddy puddle, unclear and chaotic, and desperately in need of clarity.

The truth is, a struggle  creates struggle and  my life as an expat  is not all  bed of roses.Let’s face it, everyday, more often, it’s bleak and grey ,you are  faced with the hard realities, instead of the fairy-tale fantasies of living in a world of different culture and language. I don’t know, maybe I need to blame the weather, the cold, the situations or my attitude and the way that I reacted to events.

I needed clarity but it is so elusive, the harder I tried to figure it out, the less output I get,  it only gives me all the blurry ones.I’ve felt like I’m in a rat hole that I couldn’t get out.I can’t say what I wanted to say in exact words that I wanted to say. I feel helpless.

I wanted to do things but it doesn’t work the way I wanted it to be.It felt awkward.I felt like my effort were all wasted.I even tried to paint my emotions but I ended up making a mess.

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C’mon Spring, do your thing!

I heard you, I know you might say; isn’t it should be “Try and try until you succeed? ”

So I decided to take a walk in the park one day and just sit there and wait for clarity. At best, I am hoping to just stop fighting myself. As usual, the sun is elusive, hiding behind the clouds.I gazed upon the buds in the branches and the sprouting leaves in the bushes. The grounds start to get greener once again. I saw signs of new beginnings, new chances. A rebirth.Spring is definitely on the way.

How odd but sometimes I felt like I am a plant who wants to grow in the middle of cold winter. I realized that my negative thoughts are apt to be more effective than the positive because the negative usually has more feeling with it.

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A budding signaling a rebirth

“Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone”. – Alan Watts

Like a muddy puddle, it’s best to leave it alone to clear.I let my mind rest and my body to just do nothing. Literally nothing. Like my daughter in tantrums, I let her sort her own emotions by staying calm, just watching how things naturally sort themselves out without my constant “interventions “.

Today,the clarity that I needed came.Along the way,and out of my stubbornness, I discovered something beautiful about the law of reversed effort.This came like a wake up call. Many times, things in life only sort themselves out only when we don’t do anything, taking the concept of the Law of Reversed Effort a bit further, it sometimes refers instead to a state of mind, a state of  mind of ‘not doing’, perhaps this is akin to a flow state of automatic action, a mindset of effortless concentration that only resides when we are present and ‘in the now’, because if we try to mentally push things too far in this mindset we just get the opposite result.

Isn’t this also the truth when writing a blog post? Or finishing a project? Our deep need for a clear slate to write down our thoughts? A state of mental relaxation is the only way for clarity to be achieved. Easier said than done but yes, it’s the only way to get things done, naturally, without causing stress in my mind.

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The Law of reversed effort

Like these buds which reminds me that nature has its own course to follow. It’s an autopilot that only nature comprehends.Nobody can intervene. I can’t hurry up the seasons or mold the people around me the way I wanted them to be.Nature has its own way, and it’s definitely not My way.

Here is the original quote from Huxley about the Law of Reversed effort.

“The harder we try with the conscious will to do something, the less we shall succeed. Proficiency and the results of proficiency come only to those who have learned the paradoxical art of doing and not doing, or combining relaxation with activity, of letting go as a person in order that the immanent and transcendent unknown quantity may take hold. We cannot make ourselves understand; the most we can do is to foster a state of mind, in which understanding may come to us”. Aldous Huxley (The Law of Reversed Effort).

Any thoughts ?

Have you ever felt like this? How did you overcome it?

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October thoughts and Autumn spells

Chilly winds, foggy mornings, kids going crazy about Horse Chestnuts, pumpkins all over, Bavarians in wool sweaters, hot chocolate drinks, dried crispy leaves, edgy boots on sale,warm leggings and wool socks, the smell of freshly baked pies, and of course, Halloween mania. Halloween here might be unique since Frankenstein was ‘born’ and created here in Bavaria.

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Drenched in October rains…
When Sharon of Sunshine and Celandines brag about her Wildlife snaps in October, I thought it might be a great idea to document a post about how Fall looks like here in my side of the world and putting into writing my thoughts on it. After all, I live here now, and I’m trying to integrate as much as possible, living like a local. Seeing things like a local does.

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Thoughts on October : One of the hardest things to do in life is letting go of what you thought was real…and moving on.
I have been looking forward  to my first Autumn here in Bavaria. As I walked around, I could  see that most trees are still green but starting to fade away. Now that it is only  mid-October, temps could go as low as 2 deg C and definitely not a leggings weather for me anymore. Almost everyday , foggy mornings greeted us in our doorsteps, making it so hard to wake up.

Sometimes I think that it’s so strange to find everything so beautiful during Autumn, where in fact, everything is actually dying. Don’t you think so?

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Autumn leaves I have collected from our walks.I am planning to make a wreath out of these or just let the Toddler crush it.

Autumn, the season that teaches us that change can be beautiful. Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the Fall.  I still couldn’t believe that it’s been a quarter of the year already that I’m living here. Would I still feel the same after 3 years? Would I still be amazed by Autumn? Maybe still too early to say, but then I’m starting to get a hang of the changes.Living here is actually not that bad.

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The only leaf and budding flower leaf on this tree.

There is something beautiful and revitalizing about October. I have done some leaf-watching and I observed that when the leaves fall the world is surrendering, letting go of the pieces and parts that can no longer serve in a positive way.

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The season where molds shows its best colors too!
While wandering on my weekly Wandertags, I noticed that trees hold strong to their core and survive the storms; but every good tree knows that as time goes by, the leaves will come back and we all get to start again.I still need to be more like the trees, and let the dead leaves drop. The good thing about wandering, you get so close to nature and you witness how beautiful they are despite what changes in season they are in.

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The colors of Fall in Bavaria
Of course, Autumn won’t be complete without comfort food, and home made baking. Recently,I got inspired by one of my dear friend, Ann of GrubbsnCritters for doing some Fall baking. You’ve got to love her crazy spooky Casper’s  Pannakoek (Pancakes)  and so I decided to go hunt some new ingredients to make something yummy as we snuggled up in this sweater season.I started it by making some German Chocolate Almond Pudding. I was invited by my German friend on her birthday last week and she made one so I grab her recipe and make one for my family. I’ve learned that during birthdays, they are making their own cakes here. Not like in Kuwait that there’s so many bakeshop where you can buy cakes for any occassion. I’m planning to make some more, maybe the Orange Vanilla next time, or yet, the Pumpkin Spice.Thanks to google translate that helps me shopping for baking ingredients.

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My German Chocolate Almond Pudding 
You see,October here in Bavaria is turning out to be a beautiful month, and I wanna see it all in full bloom.

How’s Fall in your area look like? Do you also have a Fall Bucket list?

 

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Look up like a child

Life has loveliness to sell,
      All beautiful and splendid things,
Blue waves whitened on a cliff,
      Soaring fire that sways and sings,
And children’s faces looking up
Holding wonder like a cup.”
{ Barter , lines from the poem by Sara Teasdale }
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Life has loveliness to sell .
 I got inspired by these lines from the poem “Barter “by Sara Teasdale.The message is absolute genius. There is no better simile I could relate for today’s photo challenge -Look Up than such as a child gazing  up into the blue sky  in pure amazement holding like a cup.
The innocence in their eyes and gleam in their small faces exudes pure joy. If I could freeze all thee moments that my child looks up in wondrous gaze then I could have a beautiful slideshow to show to her when she grows up.They are seeing all the loveliness in this world like a dream, always as if its their first time.The blue sky is like a giant azure of blue painting , the tall greens are like sea of wilderness of forest that they want to explore. The airplane that passes by, the birds that flew in circus and the beautiful cloud patterns, each one is like a tasty cotton candy, truly a child’s eyes holding them all in .Inhaling them and soaking up its beauty.
I reflect on this and asked, When was the last time you really  look up in amazement?
Or have you been stooping down more often to gaze down on your phone?

I am not trying to be sentimental here, I am just saying that many times, we tend to “barter”or take for granted the beauty of nature and life itself for more materialistic pursuits that oftentimes leaves a empty heart in us.We forget that before, we had the amazement & innocence like a child,eager to look up & learn.Nature is beautiful. It is so varied that you can learn from it everyday .There are so many beautiful things to appreciate.

I know that all of us have weights in our hearts, things that wearies us.These things hinder us from looking up.We rather stoop down.I learned from personal experience that the more we enjoy the simple joys in life, even if might look silly  and underrated, eventually, the sorrows will be outweighed and finally overcome.

 

I challenge you to look up like a child, and hold the wonder from Nature and joys of life like a child.

Take a minute and learn to look up.

This post is in response to today’s photo challenge  Daily Post – Look Up

While the leaves are gone…

With their leaves gone, the trees are ready to take on winter’s slings and arrows, then after another season prompt it for a change, it stoop down to evolve again and continue its course. While the leaves are gone, this tree armed itself with strength to take on the upcoming heat, another season which it cannot compel.

“Nature now, like an athlete, begins to strip herself in earnest for her contest with her great antagonist ,Winter. In the bare trees and twigs what a display of muscle.”

{Naturalist-Henry David Thoreau,1858 }

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Getting ready for the big changes coming on the way.

I caught this photo of this tree that stood just in front of the Mosque in our neighborhood.It stood so proud, so resilient against the arid climate here. It withstand the harsh changes. It always evolves,always ready for a change. I reflect on this tree as I embrace myself for seasonal changes..for embracing the natural drift in my life for I know that all these are vital for me to grow.

While the leaves are gone, I knew that it will bud soon.It just take time.

This is my Day- 3 humble take on the challenge posed to me by Stella of the Blog SimpleDimple in response to her 7-Days Nature photo challenge. Stella  is writing from her heart, spreading warm love in the great community here in WP. If you have time, please do pass by her page & get to know her through her soulful posts.

Stella, Thank you once again for thinking about me & mentioning me in your post and giving this challenge.

*The rule of this challenge is quite simple: Post a nature photo and nominate someone else per day for 7 days.

For today, I wanted to pass on this Nature photo challenge to one of my inspiring friend, Debra of CultivatingTime. She is one of the few people here that I can totally relate to and have given enough encouragement in my posts. She has been posting powerful content that really comes from deep insight.She is very passionate about well-being, enjoying nature & embracing the changes. This is exactly what I want too in my life.  Even without this challenge, I would always look up to her page and would recommend for you to give time to check her Blog.

To Debra, I know time is precious in our world, but if you would take on this challenge, I would appreciate it so much.If not, I still want you to know how much I appreciate you.

Thank you and I hope you have fun & enjoy the next 7-days writing about nature.

My Love affair with the Beach

If you would ask me, I prefer a trip to the beach than a tour in the city.

The tropical island place always feels like a home to me. The trees, the mountains, the crystal clear blue waters, the powdery sands,the sun, the simplicity of it ,& the carefree spirit, all working in a perfect harmony. This explains why my favorite season is Summer. Summer in other parts of the world, not in Kuwait, please.

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Feeling at home in the islands.

The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.

`~Jacques Yves Cousteau

One of the things I look forward on a beach trip is the Island hopping where I could have all the time in the world to listen to nature’s sounds. The  sounds of the waters splashing, the rythmic sound of  paddling against the boat, and the waves  are a great way to help me meditate deeper . Ocean waves provide healing nature sounds for relaxation and sleep. Here in Kuwait where we lived 10 minutes away from the beach, It’s one of the best reason to get up , be grateful and admire its beauty. I have written so many lessons I have learned from the beach in my Beach Chronicles. When I bring my daughter in the beach, eventually it leads for her to take a nap. Ocean sounds & breeze are great for babies. One time she was just mesmerized by the sound waves and her eyes was glued to the beach. Also, for wellness of our mind, the ocean sounds are perfect for calming activities such as reading, meditation or yoga. The sounds of the ocean are also a great sleep aid that can help you fall asleep and stay asleep.

“The three great elemental sounds in nature are the sound of rain, the sound of wind in a primeval wood, and the sound of outer ocean on a beach.”

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Harmony in Nature

Why do people immediately enamored by  pictures of Blue waters  and white sand beaches?

Imagine seeing a greyish or greenish water in the ocean,how is your reaction?

Its like love at first sight.The reflection of a cloudless blue sky creates a heavenly sight against the crystal clear beach waters that makes a carpet of azure blue beauty. Blue color  emanates  sincerity,being  reserved and quiet, and something that doesn’t like to make a fuss or draw attention.This color  hates confrontation, and likes to do things in its own way. Blue waters are an enigma. I love looking through the beach waters because it invokes peace and tranquility above everything else, which promotes both physical and mental relaxation.

When I’m at the sea, my  stress is reduced, creating a sense of calmness, relaxation and order . I certainly feel a sense of calm if I lie on my back and look into a bright blue cloudless sky. It slows down my the metabolism and yet makes my heart sing. The paler the blue the more freedom we feel.

This is a glorious feeling . I feel at home. I feel in love. Always.

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Love affair with your phone  (Photo credit to Rob Timms via Pinterest)

But just like in any love affair, there comes a time when we become short sighted that we failed to see the real beauty  & deaf to hear its calling. I always remind myself to engrossed myself in nature and making my presence known to it,as much as possible instead of just being a busybody capturing photos that I failed to appreciate its beauty.

What about you, do you have a love affair with the beach or love affair with your phone?

Footprints

T h e  L i t t l e s t  f e e t   m a k e s  t h e   b i g g e s t  f o o t p r i n t s  i n  o u r  h e a r t s.

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Little one’s footprints in the sand

Last week we had an awesome weekend spent in the beach with our friends. The place is quiet, with mostly with Kuwaiti chalets nearby. It was perfect getaway away from the crowds and the hustle in the Gulf street. My daughter is a beachbummer. She love the beach,the scent of it, the wind & the blue waters. She had a delightful time as always when she is outside playing .One fascinating I look forward is seeing her basking in the sand, without a care in the world, eating, licking & playing the sand with her hands, stomping in the waters with her feet, and shrieking every time the tides came by. She run all over the place, stomp and made holes in the sand (with a little help of course ! ) and eventually rolling over the white-powder beach sands . She’s enjoying this and letting her steam out until she became so exhausted to collapse in her afternoon nap.Yes, she loves napping in the beach too.

She made memories there.She made footprints.

Footprints are the marks we leave in any path we go by walking or running barefoot.There is such a nostalgic charm seeing these little footprints in the sand.

So tiny, yet so special.

When was the last time you have walked barefoot in the sand and made footprints? When was the time that you have let the ground be aware of your presence? Was it a good mark?

Have you notice which direction have you taken?

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Footprints on the sands of time are not made by sitting down.

Footprints are like the random acts we leave on other people’s lives. The footprints symbolizes our acts of kindness, acts of service, or maybe a not- so- pleasant action that leaves a mark on the lives of people that we encounter on a daily basis. The sand of the beach may refer to the soft, fragile emotions & feelings of a person. One act of kindness can leave a print in their hearts that time can never erased.Our actions are like the prints & marks we leave on every interaction. Unlike the footprints in the sand that are easily washed away by the tides,then its just a memory.Never to be seen again.

How well aware are you of the marks that you leave on others? How does your words made others feel?

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Your actions are leaving footprints in the lives of others.

My daughter may not be able to make another footprints on the same beach,same place or the same time as this,but when she grows up, I will show to her these photos of her tiny sweet footprints. It’s a great memory to remember.

Do you personally leave a lasting memory that others cherished & look back ?

I personally reflect on this and evaluate my  random actions. I asked myself, Am I leaving good set of “footprints “in the hearts of the people in my life?in my circle? to my friends, to my neighbors,  to the taxi driver, to the strangers I saw in the street, or even to the cashier in the grocery shop ? What kind of impression I leave on them?

We can make lots of footprints, It is very easy. But It is also very easy to leave a foul mark. We can have a choice to either be polite & courteous , to smile or to frown or we can be harsh & arrogant. It’s all depending on our choices. I have learned this ; The random acts of kindness is always contagious. It is always good. It always heals. Always the right thing to do.

I hope to leave you with a cheerful and grateful heart with this post . For the last 2 months that I have been blogging here in WP, I have met wonderful people. With every comment I made, I impart myself. With every post I shared, I shared my life.Thank you for all the kindness that you have given as a “footprint “in my heart as well. I am grateful and cherished it all.

I am going to continue making footprints..good ones , the kind ones.

How does this post made you feel? What is the random act of kindness you have done lately?