Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Harvest potluck and pumpkin carving 401

Four homeschooling families on a Sunday night, lots of great homemade food, many pumpkins of all sizes and colors and good carving tools: the perfect recipe for a really good time and incredible creations!

Some fairy houses, of course...
 A police station with a balcony...
 And many more unique creations!
Steph inspired the girls with her beautiful pumpkin house and helped them create what they had in mind...
 ...topped with curtains on the windows!
Some of the dads playing music...
 I love that one-eyed pumpkin!
 And that little squash bus!

Monday, October 28, 2013


And just a few more quotes from Katrina Kenison because they resonate so much with what I feel these days...

"How ironic, to realize that maturity brings not more conviction, but less. At twenty-two, I still believed I could make a life plan and then set about executing it; that there were answers to all my questions, and if I just worked hard enough, I would find them. What I feel now is both a greater sense of fragility, knowing that life is both unpredictable and finite, and at the same time, an awareness that, no matter how long I live, I'll never get things all figured out. Uncertainty is part of the human condition; perhaps contentment comes as we learn to get comfortable with it."

"Life, as I'm finally coming to see, isn't all onward and upward after all; it's also wide-open plateaus and shadowy thresholds, the lonely liminal spaces between what's ended and what has yet to begin. It is here that the darkness can feel most acute, our anxiety most intolerable. But perhaps it is also here, in the wild borderlands of our soul journeys, that we begin to trust our own inner compass to guide un onward. I wonder if I have the stamina to endure this silence, to allow what's next to reveal itself, rather than to grasp too quickly at some new thing just because it's there."

 "There is restlessness and fear, impatience to get a move on, and doubt about where to go, a sense of urgency and, at the same time, confusion about just what it is that's so important."

"Going away taught me something about what it means to stay."

Thursday, October 24, 2013

An apprenticeship in contentment

Today, as we were hiking together, I pondered the beautiful words of Katrina Kenison in Magical Journey: An Apprenticeship in Contentment. "All I know for sure is that I don't want to spend any more of my days filling them up. (...) but the answer to "What's next?" isn't to be found in more movement, but less."

"Why do you want to keep on traveling?, asks my friend." "Why not?", I answer with a smile. It's easy to convince myself that I want to travel because it's fun, educational and simply because we have a job that allows us to do so. But I know way too well, just like Katrina Kenison writes: "that in order to go, I first need to learn how to stay. If I'm to step out of my comfort zone and challenge myself in new ways, I have to be willing to be fully present right where I am. Before I can move forward in my life, I must take the time to go down into it, to deepen it."

The Buddhist nun Pema Chödrön suggests that we try exchanging our intense desire to be comfortable for a willingness to be curious instead, opening ourselves to both the bitter and the sweet experiences in life, the light and the shadow. "If we're committed to comfort at any cost, Pema says, as soon as we come up against the least edge of pain, we're going to run; we'll never know what's beyond that particular barrier or wall or fearful thing."
It's a common theme to hear travellers say they travelled to find themselves. Others do so to try to escape something, but soon find out that they cannot run from themselves. Katrina Kenison says: “Now I see that the journey was never meant to lead to some new and improved version of me; that it has always been about coming home to who I already am.”

And here I am, very different from the young adult that made decisions quickly to escape the ache in her belly, a feeling deeply rooted in anxiety. Once anxiety was under control, I could for once in my life make a decision that was not simply a reaction to the fact that the current situation felt intolerable. I was truly free.

I am making peace with my impatience and intensity, trying to sit still with my non clarity, my desire to make a decision about what is around the corner. It's a first. And in times like these, I notice that less movement is better than more.

**All the photos were taken with a Nikon 105mm f/2.8 Macro lens, borrowed from a friend. I always do my post-editing in Lightroom 4, mostly with the VSCO film products.

Saturday, October 19, 2013


My fiery little girl turned 8 this week. She revelled in all the love and attention she received and was glowing with joy and excitement. 

Mathilde is by far the child that makes me work on myself the most. She is demanding, impatient, very sensitive and very intense. She knows want she wants. Yep, she is a lot like me.

She struggles with being the little sister of twins, with not having that unique soul connexion Mara and Aisha share. And who can blame her for that?

She is very strong-willed, extremely social and outgoing and starts 10 projects and finishes none. She loves taking care of little ones, she is very generous and so full of love.

After a particularly hard day a few weeks ago, JF and I had a good laugh impersonating her as a young adult with her partner, door slamming, foot stamping and all... When I look into her dark deep eyes, I see the woman she is slowly becoming. Not to be tamed in the least. Air and fire in their truest expression. And I keep walking this beautiful path alongside her, even when the smoke of her fire is burning my eyes...

Aisha created many games for her.
Mara made her a felt pony.
Papa gave her a woodworking set (only one tiny injury to report so far...).
 I offered her two more beautiful kits from Heidi Boyd.
A beautiful raw snack she prepared for herself.
A gorgeous handmade apron our friend Stephanie offered her. Perfect to go with the great vegetarian cookbook she received from her Mamie (we haven't found any vegan cookbook for children in French on the market... Let me know if you know of any.).

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Joy in the simple things

They always find great joy in the simplest things. 
A leaf pile. A forgotten book. An improvised concert.
I wish they will never lose their ability to do so.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Grape harvest 2013

It's this time of year again! Those of you who have been reading the blog for a long time probably remember our friends who have a biodynamic vineyard and how we were there to plant the first vines in 2009, when the girls were still tiny. We were there in 2010 and then in 2011 for the first grape harvest (it was a very small harvest, we were done in 2 hours!). We missed them in 2012 since we were doing our roadtrip across the States. This year they did 6 days of harvesting. True to the tradition, Mamie Marie made a delicious meal for all the grape pickers!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

A 24 hour getaway

Chatting till 1 o'clock sipping herbal tea by the fire, waking up to a room filled with sunlight and the smiliest baby ever, hours of imaginative play in the sandpit and lots of giggles on the trampoline, a beautiful hike through boulders and fallen leaves. Stepping out of my routine was just what I needed it seems.