Tuesday, November 28, 2006


photo by grassrootsmsw
Amsterdam, NL

“It was a good place for getting lost in, a city no one ever knew, a city explored from the neutral heart outward, until after many years, it defined itself into a jumble of clearings separated by stretches of the unknown...”
Andre Deutsch

I will be on a blog and personal holiday through mid December. While I will be returning to the safe cocoon of my roots, I will also be stepping into the freedom of anonymity.

A blank slate lies before me, waiting to be filled with fresh experiences and insight. I look forward to sharing upon my return...

Monday, November 27, 2006

Between the Crevices

photo by E.F.D.J.

Remember, the mind likes to assume it "know what it knows" but often its perceptions are just not accurate. Yet strong judgments are made all the time based on limited information...When we judge someone and then adopt an attitude toward them, that shuts down other possibilities and locks us away from the insight of our hearts.”

Doc Childre and Howard Martin

I was reminded today, by a wise and practicing Buddhist, about the art of observing and seeing others with the heart, rather than knee jerking to assessments based in personal opinion.

As a social worker, there are very fine lines between our learned/practiced skills and our personal and professional intuitive skills. We are trained to be open and non-judgmental to all those we meet. We are also trained to assess people and their situations, with the goal of empowerment and healing. With our ingrained “assessor” hat always on, the process of receiving and interpreting information is so swift, we often miss how that process and conclusion actually occurs within us.

Time and experience in the field may develop our knowledge, but it can also unexpectedly prompt us to produce a slip-in judgment. While we may be trained to be free of judgment, we are also human, bringing our own fallible human experiences to our work. Certain behaviors cue our memories or intuition. If we can acknowledge, separate, and understand our assessment process, we can build on the opportunity to view a greater and deeper view.

The detail in the crevices can only be seen and understood with patience and tolerance to oneself and those we serve. It is the details that make each and every story unique and exquisite. It is only in the details, that we can learn new lessons.

Friday, November 24, 2006


photo by grassrootsmsw
Amsterdam, NL

“It is then that you will hear a voice within yourself. It was there all the time, but you never listened before.
Faintly it will speak to you at first, but it will grow louder and clearer the more you take heed of its message
until one day it thunders inside you and you will have come home.”
Rusty Berkus

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Seeing the view...

phpto by J.A.S.
NYC- West Village

“To live in this world you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go.”

-Mary Oliver-

Friday, November 17, 2006

Sunset on the 16th

Photo by grassrootsmsw

“The arms of love encompass you with your present, your past, your future, the arms of love gather you together.”

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

A deep crimson and burnt orange
by the beach in November.
The shaggy Santa Barbara cliffs
are highlighted by the dramatic and vivid colors.

I sit amongst old and new friends
toasting, sharing and laughing.
I feel full with tenderness,
as I absorb the authenticity and beauty
of each individual present.

While my friends
celebrate my birthday,
I celebrate my fortune
for their presence in my life.

Life is good,
and I move forward
into another year...
believing I am a lucky woman
for the beautiful and loving souls
surrounding me.

They inspire me to 'hold my own song.'
They unknowingly arouse hope,
and remind me to dream...
Outrageously and without reserve.

Cheers and love to all of you...
thank you for all that you have gifted me with.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


photo by J.A.S.
Bergen Bos, Apeldoorn, NL

“Actually, we have no problems -
We have opportunities for which we should give thanks…
An error we refuse to correct has many lives.
It takes courage to face one's own shortcomings
and wisdom to do something about them.”

Edgar Cacye

Sunday, November 12, 2006


photo by L.E.D.
Hanalei, HI

“One doesn’t discover new lands

Without consenting to lose sight of the shore

For a very long time.”

Andre Gide

Thursday, November 09, 2006


Remembering 11.16.1969 on 11.16.1999

“I know for certain that we never lose the people we love, even to death. They continue to participate in every act, thought and decision we make. Their love leaves an indelible imprint in our memories. We find comfort in knowing that our lives have been enriched by having shared their love.”

Leo Buscaglia

Your noble and dignified
Earthly exit,
occured on this day
two years ago.

Your presence
remains with me...
in a secret and treasured
space, deep inside.

I can still hear your
dry New York chuckle,
and can easily anticipate
what words you would have for me
in many given moments.

I lipsynched to your beloved
Ella Fitzgerald today,
and imagined you right there...
laughing and teasing my
modest interpretation.

Who would have known
of the lifetime gifts
I would receive
as a result of meeting
and sharing with you?

Thank you, my dearest B.
I am a fuller and better person
for having known you.
Your gifts and lessons
still whisper to me,
and push me forth,
with laughter, honor, and integrity.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Life Testaments

photo by Johannes F d J
Fiesch, Switzerland 1981

I hope that my achievements in life shall be these: that I will have fought for what was right and fair; that I will have risked for that which mattered; and that I will have given help to those who were in need… that I will have left the Earth a better place for what I've done and who I've been.”

C. Hoppe

Saturday, November 04, 2006


photo by J.A.S.
NL, 1968

“Aging is not 'lost youth' but a new stage of opportunity and strength.”

Betty Friedan

In my early social work career, my primary concentration was in geriatrics. My field work varied from working in continuing care retirement communities and Alzheimer's Day Care Centers, to working with non-profit care mangement agencies who cared for the homebound elderly. A rich tapestry of experience which cemented my aspirations and ambition to make social work my lifetime career.

My comfort level with seniors probably stemmed from my fortune in having two sets of incredible grandparents...one set American; the other set Dutch. Both were very different, but each set contributed to the fullness of my life through their lessons, stories, and reliable and consistent loving presence.

While my true nature, is fast paced and swift, my alternate side displays itself when being in the company of seniors. My ears perk as I await to hear the golden nuggets in their narratives. My fascination is peaked, as their reminiscing brings me to other eras and places in history. Their words mesmerize me and captivate my curious mind.

It has been my greatest privilege and honor to hear and learn their stories...their chronicles and recollections. It has made my outlook on life broader and more humble. Through them, I have learned that the delicacy of listening and empathy opens doors, that may have never been imagined.

Friday, November 03, 2006

The Anonymous Course

photo by L.E.D.
Hanalei, Hawaii

Alice came to a fork in the road.
"Which road do I take?" she asked.
"Where do you want to go?" responded the Cheshire cat.
"I don't know," Alice answered.
"Then," said the cat, "it doesn't matter."

Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Thursday, November 02, 2006


F.B. den Boer
Zeeland, NL

“Do not depend on the hope of results. You may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no result at all, if not perhaps results opposite to what you expect. As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results, but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself. You gradually struggle less and less for an idea and more and more for specific people. In the end, it is the reality of personal relationship that saves everything.”

Thomas Merton

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Sin City

photo by grassrootsmsw

“New York City, the incomparable, the brilliant star city of cities, the forty-ninth state, a law unto itself, the Cyclopean Paradox, the inferno with no-out-of bounds, the supreme expression of both the miseries and the splendors of contemporary civilization, the Macedonia of the United States. It meets the most severe test that may be applied to definition of a metropolis ¾ it stays up all night. But also it becomes a small town when it rains.”

John Gunther