The gift of memories…

Today I was setting up my new MAC computer. One of the things I have committed to is storing our family photos so that whenever we are creating something to celebrate or remember, they are organized and accessible.

It is a bit overwhelming that there are 27,297 photos and 634 videos. But I find that sorting, deleting, editing, and sharing is such a joy that I am filled with gratitude to have that many photos when I realize that means so many good and sweet moments.

Tonight I was going to sort videos, and the two I came started with were random and touched such a tender place in my heart. The first video flooded my memory with the joy of being together with my family at Thanksgiving in years past.

A body memory goes with this video: the people, the faces, the music, the place. I am so glad to have had my phone, to have recorded the moment, to have held this memory and all it represents.

The second is from my aunt’s funeral. Again, the people, the music, the feelings, the place, the reminder that in all that is unfolding, at any moment, I can sing Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow.  I am reminded of God’s presence.

I wonder what video’s or pictures you have that hold positive body memories for you. Where would you find a picture or video that would cause you to stop and lose yourself for a moment? What would you name the feelings to be? What do you remember about the people you were with, their voices, the warmth…

Tonight I am grateful for my family, music, memories, and faith. I wonder what you are grateful for today?

A divided Nation

So often, an even split is a good thing!

50/50 | NetflixSome of those might be when sharing your favorite sweet treat, splitting your prize money, or when the final score is tied at the end of a game. In those situations, most people walk away with a sense of satisfaction or at least holding one’s own.

Tonight on the news, I was struck again by the poll on how the Nation views impeachment. 52 to 48%. This blog is not about which view was 52 and which was 48. It is more about how often this year our political divide seems pretty much split.

I have a sense of dread every time I see just how divided we are.
It is easy to wonder how the other side could see it differently (often the honest thought is how can the other side see it so wrong?)
It is feeling pretty normal to hear political leaders or individuals of both sides villainized.

I have always liked Ecclesiastes 3.

3 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

But now that “time” doesn’t seem so easy to understand. When one believes now is the time to plant, and another thinks it is a time to uproot, how do we know?

It is hard to know how to live with transparency when you are left wondering if what you share will be received and respected by those you know and love. (or thought you knew and loved)

Politics makes life hard right now.Healing America's Political Divide | HuffPost
Politics causes anxiety to be high right now.
Politics has divided our Nation and brought violence in so many places.

As we go into a weekend where riots and violence are expected, may we guard our tongues and hearts, pray without ceasing, speak the truth with kindness, and cling to hope.

Lord, heal our Nation,
Blessed Be His Name,

Quality of life: In living and dying…

Today one of my favorite clients decided to go on Hospice. I admire the courage it takes to say on any given day, today I am ready to begin the journey of releasing. I loved my work as a Hospice Social Worker, and it shaped me so much for the work I continue to do today as the owner of Visiting Angels of West Michigan.

One of the things that struck me most as a new grad with my MSW, as I met with Hospice clients and their families day in and day out, was that people often came to Hospice tired. They were tired from treatment. Tired of navigating medical systems. Tired from feeling sick, tired of the wondering, the uncertainty, the limitations, the blood draws. So much of the journey of treatment takes everything we have to give it.

And then we say welcome to Hospice where we want to focus on the quality of life. We would talk about how that felt hard to dream that quality could come easily to this tired body and soul.

If Hospice’s philosophy aligns with how someone wants to live life, education needs to continue to happen. We need to encourage individuals to consider hospice as an option earlier. Hospice is very much about how we live and how we die.

Four Simple yet Powerful Affirmations to Live Your Best Life

When I had the opportunity to buy Visiting Angels, I did so because I was deeply convinced that life’s quality needs to be our focus way before we engage a terminal diagnosis. I am committed to living out the quality of life in my living and my dying and facilitate that for others with every chance I am given.

I will write more about quality of life, living and dying, advocacy, Visiting Angels, and Hospice in the coming year. But tonight, I leave you with this. If you were going to commit to quality of life in your living and dying, how would your choices or thoughts change?

Let’s do it, my friends. In honor of my dear client Betty. Let’s commit right now to live our lives with intention and purpose. What a gift to be able to go to bed at the end of every day, knowing that we did our best with what God gave us on that day. I hope we can all say that we commit to creating quality of life in our living and our dying, both for ourselves and those around us!

Buds and Blooms…

There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. - IdleHeartsThis quote has been a meaningful one to me since my early 20’s. It comes to me at certain times when I know deep in my gut that I have been resisting something. As I grow in courage and move into whatever I am resisting or fearing, I start to hear and envision these words. I become aware of my tightness (when I have been a bud too long) and my hiding. I begin to think about the tunnel of risk. This is what I see when I move from hiding to blooming. I can envision an animated scene on Disney where I go from a tight bud through a long tunnel of risk, and I come out the other side as a beautiful blossom. There is angst, movement, darkness, uncertainty, perhaps some pain, anticipation, exhilaration, and beauty in that scene. There is a looking back and a looking ahead. An understanding that the bud was part of the process, but being a bud too long is not how it is meant to be.

I wonder where you have been aware of your journey from being a bud to a blossom? Is there anywhere you now feel that it might be more painful to stay where you are than to risk blooming.

I hope and pray tonight, in my story and each of yours, that you will risk blooming. That we will notice in one another the risk and the beauty of blooming. May we tend to one another with kindness, compassion and invitation.

I received this flower from my Mom for Christmas. I love watching it every day as it grows and changes. It is close to breaking out from a bud to bloom! This beautiful gift has invited reflection in my own life, and I am grateful.

Thank you, Jesus, for buds and blooms!

Blessed Be His Name,



Did i really just do that?

I just placed an Amazon order for stimulating dog toys. I wan’t going to blog about this, but I can’t quite believe i just did that. The descriptions talk about your dogs IQ and the people say the results are amazing.

Now I thought my first lab Dutchess was amazing and pretty smart, but we stuck to peanut butter Kong’s and lots of fetch. I am really working to keep Willa in her healthy weight range, so I am learning that it would be beneficial to find dog toys that use her daily food allowance or toys that are not food focused.

Willa has learned to love frozen carrots in this teething stage she is in. She also is pretty interested in new toys, but can she do puzzles (as in dog puzzles)? Only time will tell!

I don’t really need or want to get into how smart my pup is. She is delightful and agile and clumsy and annoying and brilliant and dumb all in a day’s work. She brings me joy, makes me laugh, is good company and snuggles, what more could I ask for.

Willa is all puppy, and a well behaved one at that, but I would like to see if these kinds of toys can capture her attention. I am excited to see if they occupy her and challenge her or if she will sniff them and walk away.

And so come Friday, Wilhelmina Hope will have new toys to unpack. Toys that will occupy her, develop her, and challenge her. I hope they are long-lasting and delightful. But I will say that I stopped looking on Amazon when I got to the dog Pajamas. Somehow that just seemed like it might be going a little to far!

After the vaccine…

Tomorrow I get my first COVID vaccine. I am eligible because I work with Seniors. I find it interesting that I hold a bit of guilt that I am in line before so many others. I feel grateful that I have access to the vaccine. I feel relief that I have so far managed to get through the pandemic without testing positive.

I found myself on the Air BNB site last night. I began to think about travel and getting away. I have missed the opportunity to travel. I want to first go to New Jersey to see my brother and sister in law, as they moved during COVID.

I want to visit my nephew and his girlfriend in South Carolina and my niece in Colorado. I want to go to Canada and the Netherlands to see my family there. I would like to spend time with my friends in Texas and my cousin in Huntington Beach. There is a perfect spot on Little Gasparilla Island that I would like to return to visit. Yes, I have missed the opportunity to travel.

I am looking forward to seeing my sister and her family, who live close, but we haven’t been together. I miss my friends, and I realize that as I consider some positive changes on the horizon, my heart begins to feel the depth of the ache for all we have missed in the last year. I feel the risk of hoping, wondering if we are moving towards change? Even with a new normal, at least there might be a sense of routine and possibility!

And I am reminded that so many people deal with the long term effects of COVID. There is the physical and mental struggle, financial impact, and loss of life. Yes, I have missed travel, and I am grateful for the vaccination, but so many live with lasting and painful reminders of COVID 19.

I do not think it is wrong to hold gratitude and embrace what becomes possible again. But may I never fail to grieve what some others are left holding. For so many, the reality is that there are ruins as a result of COVID. I do not want to miss the beauty of what lies ahead, but neither do I want to forget the pain that sadly can not always be left behind. I invite you to live in the tension of acknowledging both of these truths. Yes, the vaccine feels hopeful, but it does not remove the pain that many now have embedded in their souls.

May Grace, Mercy and Peace be yours,

Blessed Be His Name,


Hope Anchors My Soul

I have thought often about this saying in the last months. As I watch the news and pandemic numbers climb, as we have lived amid volatile political times, as I have lived out Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years’ Eve 2020 without the gathering of my dear family members, what other options do I have?
Well, I do know that despair is an option. And in full disclosure, I will admit that as good as it sounds, I am not always clinging to hope. Sometimes I have to talk with myself and remind myself that I have an option of how I move into unknown and uncertain times.
I have found it most helpful to have a few tangible and easily visible things to remind me that I can choose hope, even on the worst of days.
A few things that remind me are:

The future generation brings me hope.

Those who have gone before us bring me hope. My parents’ stories remind me how history repeats itself in so many ways, and wisdom, discernment, and action can bring good change.

Courage and peace bring me hope. Sometimes I have to dig deep and find it within my own being. A reminder that God has provided me with a good mind, a compassionate heart, and a deep faith. Often hope is a choice!

And so I wonder what your Hope reminders are.

This song removes despair and invites me to infuse hope!


What or who is it that reminds you that Hope anchors your soul?

Blessed Be His Name,


The power of music…


I have been reminded quite often lately about the power of music.

Recently my dear friend Phil, age 87, underwent major surgery. He went through and picked 50+ of his favorite songs, and we made a playlist. To be alone in the ICU and unable to have visitors, experience difficulty communicating due to extensive jaw surgery, and feeling the mental fog of pain medicine and anesthesia; we decided music was a soul reaching method of bringing peace.

In the absence of Worship during the pandemic, I find that putting on worship music and letting it resonate deep in my soul reminds me of the sweetness of being with my faith community and friends on Sunday mornings.

And this past Christmas, I found a beautiful gift for my mom. I was able to purchase a song written for her by Ken Medema. Ken has a fantastic ability in writing personal songs that rise out from a few facts, a creative mind, a beautiful voice, and I would have to say Holy Inspiration. Oh, and another tidbit about Ken’s incredible journey is that he was born blind. Yes, he is impressive and has been using his gifts to influence generations of people for many years 

I sent Ken the following, and I will leave you with the song he wrote, paired with the pictures my niece and I put together. 

I told Ken:

  • her family immigrated from Friesland
  • she is one of 12 children
  • She paid for her Christian Education because she wanted to attend a Christian school, and her parents could not pay for it.
  • She wrote a High School paper: Conform or Think, and won a competition that led her to present the Young Calvinist Convention. My Dad heard her give it, invited her on a date, and their life began together.
  • My Dad died in 2018 and my brother in 2012,
  • her favorite verse is Micah 6:8
  • she lives by a few key phrases:
    • It matters not (which I think he interpreted as it matters, but she believes that also) 
    • Live into it and 
    • The Birds will sing in the morning

If you are interested in putting a story to a song, see Ken’s information below.

With a song in my heart I share this with you!

Blessed Be His Name,


When you know better….

Somehow my post from January 7, 2021, has disappeared and so I am reposting it. It feels like an important message for all that is unfolding when I reflect back on what 2021 has held.

Tonight I watched Dateline. It was the raw and honest stories of 3 of the many families whose lives have been tragically affected by police brutality.

Everyone has a story and from my perspective, nothing in these stories warranted the outcome that they now have to face every day!

Yesterday was a day of disturbing events…

Tonight’s show was a reminder of horrific pain during more disturbing events.

As I watched, I remembered this quote. May we all commit to living it out. May we each individually make our world a better place. If we commit to this individually, we will be surprised by the change movement that will come about.

Lord Have Mercy, 

Lord Hear our Prayers

Blessed Be His Name,


Make me a channel of your peace….

What a disturbing day in our Country.

So many feelings and emotions are swirling within me and within so many of us.

How did we get here is an important question ?

How do we ensure we are working towards something different, much different, when we are a divided people in so many ways?

I am not often at a loss for words and tonight I feel at a loss.

There is one song that has echoed in my soul since mid afternoon.

Let me leave you with it!

Lord have mercy!

Blessed Be Your Name,