Monday, January 04, 2010

Never Perfect, Never Finished

While I'm on windmills....

There are only two windmills (out of the original 17) still standing within the citadel walls of our city Gorinchem here in Holland. The one I've shown thus far (last post) is De Hoop (= Hope), about 15 minutes walk from our apartment.

This windmill here is almost in our backyard and is called Nooit Volmaakt (= Never Perfect). Every time Astrid tells me what it means, she uses two words...never perfect OR finished.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE the fact that windmills have names here in the Netherlands. Maybe most windmills everywhere do, I don't know. Many cities here have a windmill named De Hoop. Makes sense to me. Hope seems so crucial for a country that is 27% below sea level, needing mills to keep pumping the water off the land. But Nooit Volmaakt? Never Perfect? Not a run-of-the-mill name, trust me.

This particular mill was built in 1718 as a gristmill for grinding grain for bakers. It still operates today on a random/voluntary basis to keep up its running hours for remaining "official." You can read more about its turbulent history here, which may explain how it got its name after a devastating fire in 1889!

This past weekend I celebrated my first month here in Gorinchem! Throughout the month I have seen many faces of this mill through all kinds of weather, with each face having its own Soul....

After the first snow before Christmas, 12/22/09.

After the Christmas meltdown, 12/28/09.

The waxing Blue Moon before December 31, 12/28/09.

This was the face of Nooit Volmaakt yesterday, Sunday, 01/03/10, on a gloriously sunshiny but bitterly cold day. It's the same image I have posted on my Shutterchance blog today. Does anything about that not look perfect to you??

My mantra for 2009 was the verse from Isaiah 30:15: "In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength." This year, as I learn what it means to be in relationship again, making a marriage work, I think my mantra will be Nooit Volmaakt. Astrid often says to me, after a disagreement or spat and I'm feeling terrible, "But Ginnie, that's only natural that we'll have these times. We're only human!"

I'm such a damn perfectionist; I hate making mistakes. But if a windmill that looks this perfect can be named NEVER PERFECT, why can't I, who am imperfect...and never finished. "God's not finished with me yet" would be the loose translation, right? It's only natural to be Nooit Volmaakt!

Thus is my mantra for 2010: Nooit Volmaakt: Never Perfect, Never Finished. Happy New Year to you, too!


  1. A month already!

    Never Perfect is quite a good way to think about ourselves and the world. If we and it couldn't change, think what a mess we'd be in!

    Hope you don't mind, I posted one of your photos today, dear sister. :) You'll see your gathering woman live and in the bronze soon I hope.

  2. Ginnie, we are not pefect, for what is perfect??
    To whom is it perfect?
    Why does it need to be perfect?
    If we can life together as two human beings, with our mistakes and faults and failures and still not beat the brains in of the other and still love each other, I would say we are 'perfect'.
    I tried to be perfect too, the more I tried, the little it worked, so now I am just trying to be human and knowing I have mistakes, I learn from my mistakes.
    To ME this windmill is Volmaakt, your pictures are perfect and I know for sure these are NOT the last pictures I have seen from you of this wonderful windmill.
    Deze foto's en jij zijn volmaakt en perfect voor mij, PUNT UIT.......

  3. Was that a month already? Why does time accelerate when we get to become adults?

    Anyway, I have adopted a mantra last year too, my first, and it's the Serenity Prayer. It was my go-to prayer whenever a "situation" good or bad arose. This year, I have adopted another one too. Since 2009 turned out so great for me, maybe another mantra will help me navigate the seas of 2010.


  4. Ruth: Coming from the same parents, but the youngest of the lot, I wonder if you grew up with my same issues about thinking I need to be perfect?! Being Preacher's Kids did not fact, I'm guessing that was the "problem." We weren't allowed to be human! (sigh)

    Thank you for posting my Gathering Wisdom bronze. I'm honored. We're still jumping through hoops to get her. Soon, I hope. Soon.

    Astrid: This is why I love you...the way you think and the way you say things! I learn from you every day and am a better person because of you. Ontzettend bedankt, mijn liefste.

    PC: Yes, a month already. How time has flown! Now we're working hard to get the TruckPacks released and delivered, after which my work will be cut out for me. But I'm ready for the challenge.

    I'm not one for resolutions each year, Maria, but the idea of a mantra seems to work for me. I think I found a good one for this year! I hope you did, too. :)

  5. Ginnie, I have come here from your sister Ruth's blog, quite intrigued by what she said about you, and because you've just moved a long, long way away from your home. It takes a lot of courage to take a step like that, and from what I see on your blog, you are looking straight forward with happy anticipation. My hat is off to you.

  6. Deborah: I'm honored that you have stopped by after Ruth's post and am thankful for your kind words. I'm guessing most of us find out how strong we are after putting one foot in front of the other day after day. Eventually the dreams come to pass and there's indeed a light at the end of the tunnel. At least that has been my experience. I feel very lucky!

  7. Boots, we had an interesting conversation at the cottage. I know that Jim, Nancy, and Wilma were there, but I don't remember who else. Jim, Nancy and I all expressed what you're saying, that somewhere, somehow, in our home, we felt that we should never fail. When that is ingrained in you as a child growing into adulthood, I wonder if you can ever completely shed it. If someone asked me specifically what made us feel this way, I don't know if I would have a ready answer. Have to think about that.

    How nice to see Deborah here. Her writing is fantabulous.

  8. Hmmmm. Never perfect, never finished. I like that! We can always improve ourselves (never perfect), and we should aways be open to learn through new experiences and views (never finished).

    May 2010 bring you and Astrid everything you wish for!

  9. Happy one month Anniversary - and many more to come - really :-)

    I love the story you share about the mills and like I've said before: one of the thing I combine with Holland (the other is speed skating you know :lol:)

    The photos is great too - as always - you've captured your point so well!

    If I have not said it before: Happy New Year to both of you!

  10. One month already - sheesh time flies.. I could just imagine a month long holiday passing..

    But those photos are just perfect enough for meeeeeeeeeeeee!!!! hehe..

    They are so beautiful. I did enjoy walking and seeing the sites of Vancouver every morning like you do now with the windmills.

    There is so much to see and so much beauty in this world. So if it's not perfect, it can at least be so beautiful and make people smile... Doesn't that mean the most anyhow?


  11. I can't believe a month has gone, and I can't believe how much I love the windmills. The photos are just stunning - my favorite is the third, with the waxing Blue Moon, but each photo shows a different face of the wonderful structures.

    Do the people who live there call the country Holland or The Netherlands? I suspect history has a role to play in the two names. I'll have to look. I grew up calling it Holland - and it's Holland that brings up all the associations such as tulips and wooden shoes ;-)

    As for perfection... ah, yes. I know a bit about growing up in a household where perfection was seen as desirable. Of course, sometimes a drive for perfection is nothing more than thinly disguised obsessive-compulsive tendencies! I watch mom - sometimes she knits the same sweather ten times. That's the number of times she unravels it and starts over because it wasn't "perfect".

    And don't forget - sometimes something can be flawed, and still be perfect, if perfection is understood as something being true to its nature. The simplest example I can think of is wood. Sometimes my customers go nuts because a piece of wood has a knot, or irregular grain. They want it to be "perfect".

    I explain, as patiently as I can, that if they want that kind of perfection, they need to choose plastic. Real wood will have irregularities, color differences, whorls and knots.

    Maybe, in the end, imperfections are in the eye of the beholder!

  12. Striving for perfection is a complete waste of time, in my opinion. Little flaws and differences are what make things (or people) unique. The windmills are lovely, and I assume they still work? There are no windmills in the part of England where I grew up, but quite a few on the east coast. The Dutch influence I suppose.

  13. What to do... what to do... Went looking for your usual Monday post today and found that I'd missed an earlier post (of your marvelous summing up Holiday greeting letter for summing up 2010)... that I could not comment on it (oh darn)!

    So here I am... looking to the past to see where you were LAST year at roughly this same time! It seems fitting for me to have picked this post to read (subliminal, I'm sure, because of the title) because I'm feeling unfinished and definitely not perfect! (I also read, earlier today, Marcie's first post at V&V on a similar topic... wanting to be perfect.) I hope all is well with you and that your usual Monday post is missing only because you are off somewhere having fun that I'll get to read about later!