zondag 24 februari 2013

Saar & me (1)

Monday 4 February 2013. I was able to go to Saartje who's suffering from neuro borreliose Lyme with my camera!! Thanks to you guys!!!!

I was able to visit her for a day, we were both so very happy I could do so. How many people supported our case, OMG overwhelming. We can still use much more donations, as Saar is very ill and had to go through a lot of (even worse) stuff then I photographed in this day when being with her.

She warned me numerous times, don't be scared, I look like a wreck etc. My dear, I will be fine. when looking at life from the heart, you don't get scared easily. On my way to Nijmegen, where Saar was in Radboud hospital.
I found her room very quickly, and there she was, hidden in a very large bed. Two Bami-eyes looked at me, happy to see me in person. (we App a lot ;) To me she was Saar still, but I can image that when people haven't seen her for a while they're starteled. She's only a ghost of her former self.

But her eyes speak, and her sweet smile... O, how I love this woman!

Unfortunately you can also see the pain in her eyes...

This photo was right after the lady from physical exercise came to see her. I had just arrived, when this lady turned up for some exercises. Sure, go ahead, but OMG what's going on in hospitals?!? The first question she asked Saar was why she was having the white cloth in her mouth... Woman! She can't swallow! Why does she have to tell this again, and again, to each medical person that arrives at her bed?? "Yes, sorry, but we already need to read so much" (when I suggested this is all in her medical file, right??)

Dutch healthcare...with all the cut downs...the government is more to blame than this lady really. She only tries to do her job properly, in less and less time, with less and less money...
Sarhea was upset, being forced to act so fast, al of a sudden. She needs more time to grasp what's going on, but... there isn't any...

Saar exercising, in the foreground her vanilla pudding

Then a nurse came to measure her blood sugar. She arrives, immedeately grabs her hand and wants to poke her finger with a needle. She did say something about 'testing her sugar' but she didn't explain how or what. So when she takes Saar's hand, Saar wants to take it back, startled with the sudden movement and what's that in the nurse hand?
Ofcourse when the nurse explains it's just a little needle in her finger it's ok, but there is, again, no time to explain her properly what's going on or what needs to be done.

When you see her bruises you know why Saar hates needles.

Blood sugar testing
More physio

Her sugar was ok, finally. But on she went, more physio. Saar had to sit up, Oh, do you need your collar for that, yes! What good is is when she does get up right in the bed, but her neck cracks?!? OMG the lack of respect, it seems like lack of. It's mainly lack of time (money) ...
So sad.

Saar was very, very tired after all this. First photo shows her being stone cold after physio and hiding under the covers. I just sat with her, holding her hand.

She feels so alone. When your admitted in hospital it's worst I reck, the feeling that the world goes on without you. Even though there were plenty of the medical staff and docters visiting her. She's also in a ward with nothing but old patients, so she can't really connect with them. It was good to notice she could relax a little when I held her hand. I was just chattering away, like she wanted me to.

And then Bianca and Dimitri came! "Party" time! What a dolls!! They were determined to take Saar outside for some fresh air and a smoke. Now don't you judge Saar for that, she barely smokes and also she hadn't left the room for four days. As she can't do ANYTHING herself anymore. So this one and only sin should be ok.

We had to drag her out the bed (she can't walk) she needs to be carried everywhere. Her sweet husband Michael does this quite some time now, to get her in the tub, to the toilet...geeee, man, RESPECT to you buddy! The things he'll do for Saar...and has done so far...that is REAL love for sure ♥

Saar really misses her kids. She being grumpy because of that and also, imagine how her family has to fill in the gap now she's being hospitalised. They are also about to move house (was already planned, before she got this ill) and the new house will need a lot of extra adaptions to get her by.

Sarhea is devestated to be this helpless. She thought having to go to Germany was already a sad thing, but being admitted in this hospital in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, is even worse. It means again more time away from her home and family...

Fun & smoking with Bianca!!

You can see her muscle tense is zero. Look how weird her hand holds the sigaret.

Though it's nice to see her smile, and see her getting a bit more relaxed. We didn't mind accompanying her into the cold fresh air, right Dimitri?? ;)

Back in bed she was supposed to be eating her vanilla pudding. The speach teacher was trying to teach her tricks to be able to swallow some food, they practised the day before and now Saar was going to do so when we were there (to keep an eye on her).

It was so sad to see her try to eat one tea spoon of pudding...my hear broke. All of the pudding just came back... What a sh** disease Lyme is!!!

Two bites of pudding: exhausted...
She fell asleep in Bianca's arms.

Then when she woke up again we worked on getting her nails done. Dimitri being a true nail stylist ;) and now she's got bright red nails again.

Imagine being in a bed the whole day. Nothing but a boring ceiling to look at. (She e.g. can't watch tv, she gets nauseous) Check out this post, with the new nail polish :)

She just can't stay awake...
We took her outside for a second time, and then I had to get back to Breda...Oh, how I wish I could see her again soon! She's not doing well at all, will fill you in on what happened so far asap. But please,

Dear readers: 
if you like to support Saar and her family, so I can follow her and work with her... please make a donation via Paypal to info@mery.nl or send a cheque to
Speelhuislaan 173
4815 CD Breda
the Netherlands

If 300 people would donate 10 euro each, I can be with her for over 2 weeks!


*God Bless You*

donderdag 21 februari 2013

Living with a Creative Mind

"Why is creativity often linked to “madness” and why do creative people cause so much frustration to everyone around them? Why do they keep going to extremes? Why can’t they just be like normal people?

Highly creative people have unique vulnerabilities and sensitivities - ways of thinking and temperament that need to be understood and managed – for them to not only stay creative and productive but also stay healthy." >>
More: TheSchoolOfLife.com

Perfect image, showing...me!
Wrote a blog about it end of 2012 :)

maandag 11 februari 2013

Saar 3

6 February 2013: Saar is going through a rough time at the moment... an EMG and MRI yesterday, today a lumbar puncture...she's done, over and out. She just sent me this, which nearly broke my heart:

Sarhea, via Whatsapp:
Missing my kids.
Two hearts for my children, each heart for 1, 1 heart for each.
Daughter Lissy, 6 years old: 'If you miss your babies, hold the hearts'...
I miss them so much...

Saar's hand, holding the hearts

Sarhea a few days before via Facebook:

Hi there. Time for an update. I finally can typ again, so here's my story so far. I was rushed to the hospital in Nijmegen due to complications (paralised diafragma and throat muscles) as I was already in Germany to be cured for neuroborreliose Lyme.

I suffered from an unknown infection, making it harder to breath than ever. I have 3 drips left, and was vomitting the whole time, but now I am fed intravenously for two days already. My oxygen levels are better and I lost the oxygen mask. The speech threapist wants to teach me how to drink again without reflexes.

But because of the 3 diffrent types of antibiotics my bowls started again...no details necessary what the consequences are I reck. This is a big blow to my feeble body, it looses energy and fluids. I wasn't fit enough to have that EMG either.

I keep getting a step forward, and two back etc. I really hate the sonde. It feels like a piece of glass in my throat, it hurts. But I am happy that some of the fluids and nutrition finally stayed put. ;) We are not there yet, but I don't care. All I want is to stay ALIVE.

Our new house will be needing the necessary changes too, but I want to go home and be with my kids again. Our kids slept in our new homw for the first time yesterday. I really hate it I couldn't be there with them at this special moment...

I want to thank all of you for your donations, and I am very happy that Melanie will be able to come at least for one day! She's here tomorrow, bringing her camera! It really means a lot to me that strangers donate money, just to help me and my family. There's also people writing about me, like http://lavida.punt.nl/category/view/blog. THANK YOU ALL so much.

Thanks for all support, sharing these posts, lighting candles etc.

p.s. it took me some time to typ all this, but... I got it done!

x, Saar

Holding what's the most dearest to her...

Call for help:
If we can collect 10 euro from 300 contributors, I can be with her for over 3 weeks.

If there's anyone who'd like to support Saar and her family, so I can go over to her and work with her... please donate via Paypal to info@mery.nl or send a cheque to
Speelhuislaan 173
4815 CD Breda
the Netherlands

*God bless you all*

Thank you

 (and some more blogging about Sarhea)

San Francisco - RT

I will be in  14-20 Feb, any Californian  officials or patients who want to meet me?  

plz text or app me via +31650578414 or mail to info@mery.nl will be staying in Nob Hill area


zondag 10 februari 2013

Saar 2

30-01-13 Sarhea mail:

I am admitted in Radboud hospital in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. Internal infections ward, room 1-26. A lot of doctors came to see, worried about this 'really' ill patient. Trying to cure Lyme by a ceftriaxon drip, I also need extra fluids and glucose as I haven't been able to eat for a week, and before that only very little bits and pieces. I've lost 20 pounds in one week.

Tomorrow again a lot of specialist doctors will see me, more examinations will follow. A speech therapist together with doctors will decide whether I need a sonde or a PEG. I do hope the drip will cure my paralyses so I can swallow again. 
I am thirsty and hungry, very hungry. My opposite neighbour here drinks fruit juice, and oh, watching her makes me want it so badly. I want a drink! But I still have the piece of cloth in my mouth to absorb my saliva.

They keep checking me, all the time. They give me medicins, a lot of medicins. I had to cry when I heard I will be in here for quite some time. I cried for my babies. It really hurts not to be together. Angelika, Maik, Jaap, Marietta and my baby Elijah are with me at the moment. I hope to get a good night's sleep. The staff keeps an close eye on me and let's hope for the best, as I am doing so badly I can barely breath, let alone use my iPhone to app... and when Saar can't app...

The drip's also put in in a horrible place, I can't bend my arm. I feel week, sour, dehydrated, starved, out of breath, tired and am in more pain than ever before. I see the world in triple images at the moment. I need my rest more than ever. I will go with the flow and don't want to cry, but I want to sleep...

I hope I can sleep. Thank you all for your support.
p.s. visiting hours are 3-8PM.

xSaar and co.

31-01-13: Sarhea via Whatsapp: Had to vomit. Very scary, I nearly choked. 

Sarhea and baby

Melanie: dear readers, I wrote the text below via info@mery.nl to all my friends:
My dearest Saar had neuro borreliose Lyme... (next to EDS!) and had to be hospitalised.

"When I need to go to Germany, I was thinking, it would be so special to have you here for a photo documentary, LOL not a studio photoshoot no (like we planned), and yes, I can take pictures myself, but yours are...always so valuable"....

She wrote me this January 21st, 2013. Now she's not in Germany, where this Lyme-specialist was going to treat her, but in the Radboud hospital in Nijmegen. She can't swallow anymore, and her breathing is only shallow. If she hadn't been taken to the hospital, she could've died.

She has a very strong will (mother of two small childres) but a very, very weak body.
O, how I'd love to give her that photo documentary....

I send you this mail to collect money for her personal photography. Next to Sarhea, there's more people who need a photoshoot, we will look into that later too. But: Greed is out, empathy is in! (Bredaphoto 2012)
 We don't know if Saar will survive this, and if she does, how she'll end up.

If we collect 10 euro from 300 contributors, I can be with her for over 3 weeks.

If there's anyone who'd like to support Saar and her family, so I can go over to her and work with her... please donate via Paypal to info@mery.nl or send a cheque to
Speelhuislaan 173
4815 CD Breda
the Netherlands

*God bless you all*

Thank you

donderdag 7 februari 2013

Saar 1

Neuro Borreliose Lyme, Saar's story

01-30-'13: Today Sarhea had to be admitted in the hospital in Nijmegen. She had just arrived in Germany a day before, to start treatment by a specialist Doctor in Rheinbach...but as her swallowing reflexes weaken, she won't be able to handle her own saliva and she had to be admitted. She needs a white piece of cloth in her mouth to get rid of her saliva...

On her way to the Radboud hospital

Sarhea apped me: I knew when I'd need to go to the hospital I'd be parted from my family. But to know it is different then feeling it. Feeling it hurt.

My dearest Angelika arrived around 10 PM last night with Jaap and Marietta. We laughed a bit, smoked a sigaret, spend time together. But then there was the night. And I was all alone in the silent darkness. Even though Angelika was there, I was alone.

Even with my husband Maikel present, who rubbed my aching muscles. 
I was alone.
There and then, in silence, knowing became hurting.

I will leave for Nijmegen in a few hours, then what?? I was scared. Annoyed. I am aching. It hurts so bad. That stupid piece of cloth, I can't breathe. I am in physical pain, but also I feel severe mental pain at the moment. Nijmegen! Wait a minute! Do I really want to go? Will I be able to go?? And what about my kids?? My dearest children!

In the silence of the darkness, I felt it, I knew it. And it hurt.

I shouldn't be so worried. That's not good for my body. But telling yourself not to worry makes you worry even more. Now it's dawn. We will leave soon. I am fairly calm. I don't even remember what I said last night. Sorry dear Maikel and Angelika. Sorry for what I said.

woensdag 6 februari 2013

Photography = therapy

Very, very ill Sarhea
Message on Facebook: Hey, my name's Angelika and I am writing this for Sarhea (Saar), her husband Maikel and family. We've came a long way and we've decided to share Saar's story with you all. Saar needs to go to Germany for treatment, she's got a very bad case of Lyme disease. 
We'll be in Germany for at least 3 months. The kids are alright, we are all coming along with Saar. I hope she gets well soon and can come back to her new home in the Netherlands. Gr, Angelika.

Saar is one of my sweetest models - it's about time for another word for people who pose for me - I've known Saar since her first pregnancy, which she shared with me in a maternity shoot for PUUR. Trotse tienermoeders. 'PURE. Proud teenmoms' are proud young mothers age 16-22, who are a minority in the Netherlands, but not in terms of loving and caring. They've all told me their story and I think they are very special, including Saar.
I also feel that these mothers came to me with a higher purpose. E.g. Saar became pregnant 6 years ago, when she was trying to get back on her feet in a facility that treats people with anorexia. "Because of the baby I started eating again" she told me. Her baby saved her life.

She was recently diagnosed with EDS...
She already needs a wheel chair, even travels with it, as I ran into them on their way to London, when we were on the same plane. No worries, chair: check, Saar: check and off they went. RESPECT! What a spirit she and her husband have.

The whole family posed for me a number of times. 10 Months ago they have also become the proud parents of a lovely baby boy.

But...a few weeks ago she was diagnosed with Neuro Borreliose Lyme, she was bitten by a tic when she was pregnant and also because of her previous conditions, it wasn't diagnosed properly untill... it was nearly too late.

With Christmas she couldn't walk at all anymore, and needed a neck brace to support her head. This is so unfair!! The latest news is that a Lyme specialist will and can treat her in Germany. So now she has to leave her kids behind and has to have herself commited again...

Sarhea via Whatsapp 21 January 2013: "If I need to go to Germany...I was thinking, it would be so special if I had you coming over for a photoshoot LOL. Not in your studio no, [we were planning a photoshoot with her and her sister] and yes, I can take some photos myself but... 
yours are...so very valuable, always"

O, how I'd love to go with her, and do some more work with her. She's one of the people who keeps coming back, my camera and I just love her! We Whatsapp a lot. My Bali trip is interwoven with her, with her texts and her photos. She often lays in bed awake, feeling alone, and is very happy with me apping back. This was always a special moment of the day.

I shared my day with her, my new, spiritual knowledge and adventures. Saar needed to get a lot of stuff out of her way, as not many people knew how ill she already was. [The top text is from her caretaker, who put it on Saar's Facebookpage.] OMG how I feel for her.

She stays very positive, though she's really going through a rough time at the moment. She's getting worse, so her family and Saar decided to share her story. She is frustrated that there's a lot of stuff she can't do anymore. She e.g. wants to breastfeed her baby, but people keep the baby from her because she's too weak. But Saar says 'This is the only thing I CAN still do, so please let me'.
But she also knows when she needs heavy drug treatment in Germany she probably will need to stop feeding...I feel so sorry for her. She didn't deserve this. Enough is enough.

I would like to make that documentary with her, I really would like to do this, but...I don't have the meanings to do so. It's quite a long trip to Germany and being a fine art photographer, I only have a small income.

So...I've decided to go for it and ask the big question:

If there's anyone who'd like to support Saar and her family, so I can go over to her and work with her... please donate via Paypal to info@mery.nl or send a cheque to
Speelhuislaan 173
4815 CD  Breda
the Netherlands

If 300 people would donate 10 euro each, I can be with her for over 2 weeks!

Saar and Angelika
Saar's story needs to be told, as in the Netherlands often Lyme is not diagnosed properly untill it's too late. This strong, lovely but very sick young woman needs our support... will you please help us?

Spirit of the Moment

One of the many things we've worked on in Bali was to find out what your personal brand is. Who am I? What is my brand? Mynoo & Gina guided us through a whole lot of exercises (like a rampage of appreciation) and this is what I discovered:
I am (the) 'Spirit of the Moment'.

Impression of Bali 

Being Dutch I've done some research on the word spirit. Spirit is also:
* thoroughness
* strength
* soul
* psyche
* drive

Wow, these words mean energy & power. Oh yeah, I've got these. I feel happy, and very strong. Mentally and physicly. And soul to me is the mostly the connection to earth and nature. I always valued pure relegions such as the Indian and Aboriginese over all others. It's the RESPECT to nature that I prefer.

Energy, power, nature, earth + the inner self.
Yes, I have a busy mind, but that feels so good. I enjoy all my thinking and creativity.
And drive... I hate driving a car in the Netherlands (too narrow roads with too many cars) but I do like to drive people, to push limits. Drive as in travel: yes please! I am a traveler. Always have been. I am on my way to... (the end, hopefully that is 70 years from now ;)
And untill that, I'd like to see the rest of the world!

I love life.
I love to share that feeling.
I love the fact that this empowers, not just me, but also the people who are involved in my work, like models, commissioners, both, and also the crowd, the spectators. 

Mel @ work -Trash The Dress 2012- ShotbyRobin.nl

Spirit +s
*spirits - booze/life spirit/mental state
* being in high or low spirits, out of spirits 
* the poor in spirit 
* spirit (away, off) - secretly make it dissapear

O, how I wish I could make pain go away! (Secretly dissapear...)
Then in Dutch the word Life Spirit is Levensgeest, which I also like a lot. But for now I'd like to see myself as a ZIENER! (prophet) The word ZIEN means to see in Dutch, making it SEE-er, which doesn't exist ;) But yes, I SEE.

And I'd like to SEE for you.
x Melanie - Spirit of the Moment - info@artstudio23.com

dinsdag 5 februari 2013

25 Photography Quotes

"You don't take a photograph, you make it."
- Ansel Adams

"If your photographs aren't good enough, you're not close enough."
- Robert Capa

"Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary."
Peter Lindbergh

"The important thing is not the camera but the eye."
Alfred Eisenstaed

"There are two people in every photograph: the photographer and the viewer"
– Ansel Adams

"To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as of a precise organization of forms that give that event its proper expression."
Henri Cartier-Bresson

"All photos are accurate. None of them is the truth."
Richard Avedon

"A lot of photographers think that if they buy a better camera they'll be able to take better photographs. A better camera won't do a thing for you if you don't have anything in your head or in your heart."
- Arnold Newman

My idea of a good picture is one that's in focus and of a famous person."
- Andy Warhol

"If I knew how to take a good photograph, I'd do it every time."
- Robert Doisneau

"People say photographs don't lie, mine do."
- David LaChapelle

"The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it."
– Ansel Adams

"It can be a trap of the photographer to think that his or her best pictures were the ones that were hardest to get."
Timothy Allen

"Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop."
– Ansel Adams

"I always thought good photos were like good jokes. If you have to explain it, it just isn't that good."
– Anonymous

"If I saw something in my viewfinder that looked familiar to me, I would do something to shake it up."
Garry Winogrand

"A portrait is not made in the camera but on either side of it."
Edward Steichen

"Which of my photographs is my favorite? The one I'm going to take tomorrow."
Imogen Cunningham

"Nothing happens when you sit at home. I always make it a point to carry a camera with me at all times…I just shoot at what interests me at that moment."
Elliott Erwitt

"Beauty can be seen in all things, seeing and composing the beauty is what separates the snapshot from the photograph."
– Matt Hardy

"Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst."
– Henri Cartier-Bresson

"I am not interested in rules or conventions. Photography is not a sport."
- Bill Brandt

"Consulting the rules of composition before taking a photograph, is like consulting the laws of gravity before going for a walk."
- Edward Weston

"The best camera is the one that's with you."
- Chase Jarvis

"If I could tell the story in words, I wouldn't need to lug around a camera."
- Lewis Hine

 - ginger twins - Redheadday 2011, Breda - photographer: Melanie Rijkers

zondag 3 februari 2013

Bali - Women's Gathering

Traces of Silence: Dukun's practice...

Gina Lazenby & Mynoo Blackbyrn guided us through some amazing insights... Gina wrote a very nice blog about our 9 Days of transformation Women's Gathering in Bali.

...Will share mine soon!

The Dukun working on me

"All good" - YES :)
Ricefields in Ubud
Temple painting
Nightly Ceremony @ the Elefant Cave Temple