Monthly Archives: February 2012

Day 40 – Cashews

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I am grateful for cashews.  I don’t just like them, I absolutely love them!  They are probably the closest thing to any kind of addiction I would have or would want to have.  Really, it might sound funny, but it is so hard for me to stop eating them once I started.  I really have to tell myself in advance:  “Okay Pieter, we’re gonna eat some cashews.  This is how much you take and then we put them away.”  Sometimes I even count them.  It’s ridiculous.  Anyway, I love eating them, whether it’s in a dish, in a cashew loaf, in a muffin, in granola or just pure raw as a snack.  They are a great source of protein for us vegans and they are just incredibly delicious!  Hurray for cashews!

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Day 39 – Belgium

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I am grateful for Belgium.  That little country of mine, it has done more for me than I realized.  I am lucky to have grown up here.  We have a great system – except for maybe when it takes a break for like, let’s say, 451 days – that takes good care of it people.  I feel fortunate to have had the education I’ve gotten and to have gotten it mostly for free.  I am glad that when my mom got cancer and her second husband left her, so she ended up being a single mom with three children while fighting for her life, we still had a chance at survival.  I am happy and proud to be able to speak six languages now, without having to have tried too hard, because it simply gets offered to us.  I am grateful for the abundance of different cultures within one tiny county and I still enjoy learning about them.  Yes, different languages and cultures tend to cause tension here, but they are also an immense beauty and richness, something I highly value.  I never grew up feeling proud to be Belgian and I don’t think it is something that could come to me all of a sudden, but at least I realize now that I am fortunate and so grateful to have been born here.  So, thank you, Belgium. Let’s give ourselves – at least – another 182 years!

Day 38 – Inspirational Artwork

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I am grateful for Inspirational Artwork.  I am grateful for all artwork of course.  Also, I’m not saying that I am more grateful for inspirational artwork than non inspirational artwork.  I am just really grateful for Inspirational Artwork.  Like the one I chose as an example here.  I love this one.  Try putting it as your desktop background for just a few weeks.  It makes you feel good and makes you want to live life.  Not just exist.  Live!  It’s something I keep on telling people: don’t just exist, live!  Live life!  Strangely, it’s something we sometimes forget to do.  I know I do.  I have to remind myself to fully live.  And I love reminding other people to do so too.  Not because I want them too for me, because it just makes to much sense to live while you’re alive.  Live for yourself.  Live!  I know I am going to!  And for now, before I get back to life, let me end this post by a quote of one of my very favorite authors, i.e. Oscar Wilde:

To live is the rarest thing in the world.  Most people exist, that is all.

Day 37 – Personalized Presents

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I am grateful for Personalized Presents.  This beautiful sweatshirt is a great example of one.  My mom and sister came to the airport to welcome me back to Belgium and they had brought this with them.  When I opened the wrapping I was so surprised to see she had actually found a hoodie with one of my very favorite mantras on it.  It took me a while to realize that she hadn’t just found it somewhere, but had actually designed it herself as a present for me.  I love it!  The fact that is nice, soft and warm is great.  The fact that it is designed in my two favorite colors is even better.  But the fact that it’s personalized makes it awesome!  Love the hoodie and love the mantra.  I wouldn’t want to live life any other way!  Thank you, mom.  Now let’s enjoy life to its fullest together!

Day 36 – Children’s Drawings

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I am grateful for Children’s Drawings.  They are the most pure works of art.  I am amazed by them over and over again.  It’s fascinating to me how radiating they are.  However, I only like the real stuff, the actual children’s drawings made by children.  Sometimes companies or art projects like to use that style, but it just doesn’t work.  You can tell the difference.  We have also seen entire movements emerge like Cubism or Fauvism, of which some paintings sometimes seem as if they could’ve been from the hand of a child.  Anyway, I am clearly not the only fan of this art.  This picture was actually made by my lovely godchild Lara.  She’s a real artist.  And for some reason, looking at this picture again, being grateful for her and the work of art itself, I started thinking of all of this.  Before I knew my mind brought me back to this text, which I had once recited in one of my drama classes.  It’s a wonderful story written by Josse De Pauw, which he writes about his daughter and was published in his selection called ‘Werk’.  I thought of translating it, but it’s just too beautiful how it is.  My apologies for people who don’t know Dutch, but I’m sure there’s a translation tool of your liking that could give you some idea of what the text is about.  I think it is precious.  Yet another thing to be grateful for.  Thank you, Josse De Pauw, for delighting us with your art.  Thank you, children of the world, for bringing smiles to our faces and for inspiring us to be more creative, more impulsive, more honest and more happy.  Finally, thank you, my dearest sweetest Lara, for being the joy, light and love of my life.

Ze kleurt buiten de lijnen. Ik hoop dat ze later met dezelfde vrolijke baldadigheid het leven te lijf gaat. Als ze me vraagt haar te helpen, heb ik een probleem. Ik kan het niet meer. Het is duwen en trekken. Ik kan niet meer moeiteloos buiten de lijnen kleuren. Ik probeer het wel, want ik vind mijn eigen gepriegel er zo laffig uitzien naast die forse uithalen van haar, maar het resultaat is krampachtig, mist onbezonnenheid. Het, in een schijf berkenhout gekerfde, ,,Bezint Eer Gij Begint”, dat zovele Vlaamse schouwen siert, heeft waarschijnlijk al veel onheil voorkomen in de bouwsector, maar in de kunsten, meneer, is onbezonnenheid een deel van het talent. Ze spreekt mij bestraffend toe: ik moet wél in de goeie ,,richting” kleuren. Dat is het woordje van de week. De trap naar boven is bijvoorbeeld de ,,richting” om te gaan slapen. De keukendeur is de ,,richting” van de koelkast en dus de ,,richting” van de Ice Tea, haar allereerste verslaving. ,,Papa, gaan we nu in de richting van de luchtavond?” vraagt ze als we haar moeder gaan ophalen in Zaventem. De enige juiste ,,richting” om te kleuren is diagonaal begrijp ik. Niet van boven naar onder of van links naar rechts, want dat is niet mooi. De netjes-binnen-de-lijntjes-gekleurde voorbeelden vindt ze een beetje ziek. ,,Waarom?” vraag ik. ,,Ze bewegen niet,” zegt ze, ,,ze gaan dood.” En toegegeven, er is een groot verschil. Waar zij met haar kleurendoos is langs geweest, spat het leven van de bladzijden. Ze zingt en kwebbelt aan één stuk door tijdens het werk, maar als we aan een slapende Donald Duck willen beginnen, fluistert ze: ,,Ssst…! Voorzichtig kleuren, anders wordt hij wakker.” Onbezonnenheid en inlevingsvermogen. Een mens verliest onderweg zijn grootste kwaliteiten.

Day 35 – Fair Trade Puur Quinoa Chocolate

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I am grateful for Fair Trade Puur Quinoa Chocolate.  It sounds complex, but it’s extremely simple.  Let’s start from the back of the phrase:  Chocolate.  Yum!  Quinoa.  Heaven!  Even more because it is puffed quinoa.  The person who came up with this should get an award!  Puur, which means “pure” and so refers to the fact that it’s pure dark chocolate.  Not only delicious, but also healthy!  Huzzah!  And then Fair Trade.  Love it!  Everything should be Fair Trade.  In this case it was from Max Havelaar.  Thank you, Max Havelaar!  Also, I found this chocolate in the Oxfam store and I am grateful for that store and everything the organization stands for.  Thank you so much, Oxfam.  Again, why isn’t every store like that?  When did Fair Trade become the exception?  So grateful that some people keep on fighting for it.  I believe that we are making a difference.  Happiness!