Weekly Photo Challenge:Fun, New Experiences

Fun!

Fun is to experience the world anew through the eyes of a child. To a young child everything is new. My grandson is 18 months old and every new experience is in his words “wow wow wow!”

Here he is having fun on a slide for the first time.
Nico

This gentleman provided much fun to bystanders during the Paris Marathon.

I am sure he had fun too.

Parys 3 fun

A new experience for me in Marseille.

Provence 7

Why Swallows Build in the Eaves of Houses.

“Do you know”  Peter asked, “why swallows build in the eaves of houses? It is to listen to the stories”  – Peter Pan.

Bedtime  stories told by a loving parent or grandparent while children listen and become sleepy eyed. That is why swallows build nests in the eaves of houses.

Poor swallows they must be very disappointed for in most houses today the I-pad, the TV or even the smart phone is the story teller.

Storytelling is one of the earliest ways of communication used by mankind. People are essentially social creatures, created to live in communication and emotional contact with others. Listening to a character driven story together with others  creates an emotional bond due to the fact that the brain produces oxytocin under these circumstances. On the other hand if a story is told by a technological device, less oxytocin is produced and the brain is less active in the interpretation of the story.

Paul J. Zak    https://hbr.org/2014/10/why-your-brain-loves-good-storytelling

So let me tell you a story,going back about 50 years.

In a small town called Lyttelton lived  a family. A father, mother and two girls. The father was a busy man running a business, the mother was a stay at home mom, but also the father’s righthand. They worked very hard to make the business work and to provide for their two little girls aged 3 and 6 years old.

They lived just outside the town on a small farm bordered by a river. Everyday the children played in and around the garden while the mother and father worked.As they were living on a farm, nature and its creatures were part of their lives.The girls learnt to love and respect nature as their father was passionate about caring for the world around them.

Night time found the little girls tucked into bed, waiting with anticipation for their favourite time of the day………storytime.

Each night the father told them a story. He created the most wonderful characters from their environment of whom the favorites were Kiekie and Wiekie. Kiekie and Wiekie were two plovers. Their names are derived from the Afrikaans word Kiewiet, (afrikaans for plover).These little birds lived and nested in the veld right next to the garden and their sometimes comical habits, provided the material for a series of stories involving daily activities and life lessons.

Whenever the family experienced a particular event of importance, Kiekie and Wiekie also experienced such an event. Kiekie and Wiekie became part of the family. Their stories transported the girls into a wonderland where anything was possible, where problems could be solved and fun could be had, where life’s lessons could be learnt.

Needless to say, the swallows returned each year to build their nests and raise chicks in the eaves of the family home.

By now you might have guessed that I was one of the two girls. Yes I grew up with a story telling father, one who could bring to life the animals and creatures around us giving them the ability to be almost human.

Later when I married and had children of my own, I continued with the  tradition of storytelling and so my children grew up with Kiekie and Wiekie. Now I am a grandmother and I would love my grandchildren to know Kiekie and Wiekie too.So I started writing the stories down. After many editions and help from an editor, the book is almost ready for printing. By writing the story of Kiekie and Wiekie I came to love them even more and when I saw the illustrations created by Alex van Houwelingen they looked just as I had imagined them.

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Today I saw a the final manuscript of the book. It filled me with joy and good childhood memories. I am sure my brain became overactive producing loads of oxytocin.!

Although I wrote the book  mainly to preserve the stories for children in our family, I trust that other children  will also  be enchanted by Kiekie and Wiekie.

Do the swallows return to build in the eaves of your house?

If not,  become a storyteller and help the next generation to learn the art of communicating and connection.

Another sneak peak.

Kiekie and Wiekie as chicks

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One of their many adventures. 22

 

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Morning People at Work

Morning . For most of us morning is a time to wake up, get  ready and go to work or do our daily chores. Therefore for this challenge I chose pictures about people starting their day.

Venetian lady watering her plants in the early morning.

IMG_9506 venster crop ed

He was  on a waterbus on the way to work.

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A fisherman on his bicycle in the early sunshine on Zanzibar

K K Bike

Launching a boat to start the day’s fishing on Zanzibar.

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Am I Merely Aging or Am I Living and Growing Up

Growing old is inevitable, growing up is a matter of choice – Rose 

Rose was almost eighty years old when she went back to college in America to study for a degree. On graduation day she was asked to say a few words.

This was what she said.

“We stop playing because we grow up. We grow up because we stop playing. There are only four secrets of lasting youth, happiness and success. You have to smile every day and not take life too seriously. You need to have a dream. When you stop dreaming, you die. There are so many people around us who are already dead, but they don’t even realise it! There’s a huge difference between ageing and growing up. If you’re 19 years old and you have a whole year to lie on the couch and do nothing, you’ll reach 20. If I lie on the couch for a year and do nothing, I’ll eventually turn 88. It’s easy enough to get older. We don’t need any talent or gift to get old. You have a gift when you know how to discover new opportunities offering you the chance to change yourself. Never regret anything! Old people don’t regret what they did — they regret what they didn’t do. The only people who are afraid of dying are the ones who have too many regrets.”

Read more here http://www.gsfindia.com/blog/joy-of-rose-we-make-a-living-with-what-we-get-we-make-a-life-with-what-we-give/

As I am 62 years old, a retired widow, living alone with my cat,this made me ask myself the question.

Am I merely aging or am I living and growing up ?

Sometimes I feel like lying on the couch and do nothing. It seems to be the easier thing to do. Give up on life,  just be and let time take its course. As Rose said its easy enough to get older, it takes no effort from my side, it just happens.

But….. She also said it is a gift to discover new opportunities to change and grow up.Then I force myself to get up, to search deep within for a long lost dream to pursue, to ask my heavenly Father to reveal the dream, to show me new paths, new laughter, new playgrounds to visit.

I find a dream, a long lost one. A dream to be able to speak another language fluently.

French….. yes french. I must be crazy, because the french language is crazy, 11 tenses with more exceptions to the rule than verbs adhering to the rule. When asked why so many exceptions the french teacher shrugs her shoulders with typical french superiority and answers.

Parce que. ( just because)

So I labour on, battling with the mysteries of french logic and the conjunctions of french verbs. I listen to french conversations, watch TV5  without comprehension while enjoying the sound and lilt of the language. Gradually it starts to make more sense and the dream doesn’t seem so far away anymore.

Part 2 of the dream is beginning to take form out of the mist of not knowing

Continue studying french in France.

“What?” people say. “You are to old to do something like that”.

To old? Not me. I will not be one of the old people who regret that which they didn’t do.

Scared by the thought of going to a foreign country to study on my own?

Yes I am scared , very much so, but I also don’t want to wonder what it would have been like for the rest of my life. So planning is under way to go to France in 2017 for a short course in language, combined with a cooking course.

Dream no 2.

Dance.

Find the playground of dancing.

At the beginning of this year I joined the Dancing Divas Golden Girls class together with a friend. What a joy this has been. To experience the freedom and joy of movement and music, even if it is sometimes at a rather sedate pace brought much upliftment and killed the idea of lying an a couch and do nothing.Some days I seem to have more feet than necessary and stumble through the paces, on others it feels as if my feet have wings and i can fly with the music.Some days I see myself in the mirror in the studio and think: You look ridiculous.But then I remember the words of the dance teacher on the first day.

” The sooner you make peace with yourself in the mirror the better, for you are not going to get any younger or thinner soon. Just forget about the mirror and enjoy the dancing.”

Through dancing, I met many new friends, each with her own story of pain and heart sore, but each one a special person still growing up despite  the passing of time.

Dream no 3

Write a book.

To write a children’s storybook containing the wonderfully entertaining stories that my father used to tell me and my sister at bedtime. We lived in the countryside surrounded by nature. He used a small and rather comical, cheeky bird, the crested plover of whom there were many nesting in the veld near the house as characters. They had names and their adventures co-incided with our life experiences as children. I dream of leaving this little book as  a tribute to the man who was my father, mentor and friend for my children and grandchildren.

If I knew the magnitude of such an undertaking, I probably wouldn’t even have started this project.Now I am half way there and just have to keep keeping on.

Dream no 4

Develop my painting skills.

I have always been an admirer of any form of art. I marvel at the skill, the ability to transform a blank piece of paper into a thing of beauty, to shape a piece of marble or a blob of clay into something meaningful. I envy people who are able to express  feelings and observations in an art form. I will never be a famous artist, but I can try to put what I see on paper. I often paint and enjoy the process only to throw it into the dustbin together with  any frustrations I experienced. After all it is only a piece of paper and some paint. If somewhere along the way I produce a thing of beauty I will rejoice, but the satisfaction and joy lies in the creative process, in the passing of time.

Once I started searching within for lost dreams, I  found so many I now wonder if I will be granted enough time to pursue  each one of them. This searching leaves me with no time to lie on the couch and do nothing. It compels me to get up and to grow up.

Whether you are 17 or 70, 30 or 60 years old ask yourself the question:

Am I merely aging or am I living and growing up?