Wondering about the weather…

I have given a lot of time and energy lately to wondering about the weather.

It seems that this season our weather is very unpredictable. In Grand Rapids, we has varied 30 some degrees between days but we have not suffered the destruction and power outages that others have around the nation. And yet, as I think of my friends in Joplin or the people of New Orleans and Tennessee, I recognize the power of weather in a new way this Spring season…

And every day as I wonder about the weather, I remember a poem that really says it like it is…

Whether the weather be fine,
Or whether the weather be not,
Whether the weather be cold,
Or whether the weather be hot,
We’ll weather the weather
Whatever the weather,
Whether we like it or not!

                                  ~author unknown

Happy Birthday Ryan James

I remember the day my nephew Ryan was born. I was recovering from major surgery in the hospital and was thrilled to get the call from London England that my nephew had arrived. I wondered if I would ever really know Ryan. It felt like Nick and Jonna lived so far away (which they did) but they soon left England and moved within driving distance. I love this little guy from a distance, but i learned to know him and love him all the more as he got a little older….

And as Ryan has grown and matured, I have seen so many wonderful attributes unfolding…

Ryan is much-loved by his cousins….

I think what I love best is how Ryan can interact with any one of his cousins (or any of us adults for that matter). He knows how to enter into the world of whomever he is with…and he does it well!  

Ryan also has become more than an athlete, he is a competitor. I have watched Ryan compete in  baseball, football, basketball and wrestling. I have celebrated in his winning and I have watched him struggle in his losing. I will say though, that one thing that rarely leaves Ryan in either winning or losing, is his perspective. Ryan is level-headed, and even in his passion and emotion, he comes back around quickly and has an ability to recognize and discuss the pros and cons of the game or meet. I love that in being Ryan’s aunt, I can see him as an incredible athlete, encouraging teammate and always a winner! And I believe my perspective is right on in that!

And so, happy 13th birthday to my dear Ryan James. I love your heart, your wit, your humor, your creativity, your love for your family and friends, and your perspective on life. I am thankful that God chose our family for you to grow up in and I am honored to be your aunt. I look forward to laughing as you share your humor, celebrating as your share your achievements and delighting in your day-to-day life. I commit to praying for you each and every day and supporting you fully on your good (and even more on your not so good) days!

Enjoy being 13, live life to its fullest and never forget the wonder that is within you!

Love you,

Aunt Trish

Memorial Day…


Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation’s service.

A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.  ~Joseph Campbell

As I researched this day I found many essays, poems, prayers and songs that pay tribute to the many fallen soldiers.

The poems are well written and have many eloquent verses….

The songs have familiar tunes and deep meaning to the words..

The essays appear very thought out and intentional…

The prayers seem to cry out to God mixed with the ache of grief and the deep gratitude for freedom…

There was much to read and remember….

But tonight I just want to say THANK YOU

For those who have lived, fought, and died for my freedom.

My prayers are with the many who grieve today due to loss of life so that we can live freely…..THANK YOU again and again!

Back to the basics…

Do you ever have it when you know your drifting…..

Perhaps your drifting from your intentional way of living…

Perhaps your drifting from your desired outcomes…

Perhaps your drifting to avoid facing something….

I am not sure why you may find yourself drifting, but I know for a fact, that I have been drifting….

I can minimize my drifting by saying that I haven’t been aware of it….

I can minimize my drifting by saying at least I haven’t drifted in exercise…

I can minimize my drifting by remaining silent and ignore what I know to be true…

But, I don’t want to drift….I want to move forward and discover new and exciting aspects to who I am. I want to experience new things when I am alone, when I am in relationships, when I am at work and when I am at play….I want to keep growing and changing…

And so I am heading back to the basics next week in my food choices for the next 90 days….

I am going to say good-bye to white flour, sugar and soda….

I am going to say hello to disciplined eating, wheat and water….

I am going to do my best to give my body the edge on being in the best shape I can be…

And I have a fun competition going with a friend, so I am very aware again, that when invited to compete, I get serious!

I wonder if you’re drifting….

Feel free to comment or email me (trish@vangels.com) if you need a little accountability to stop drifting and start risking!

laughter is good medicine….

A few months back my sister invited my mom, aunt and I to join her and her girls on a venture of second-hand shopping. We have a map to follow and will be hitting second-hand stores throughout Traverse City.

So today was the day we packed up and headed north. We arrived in Manistee about 3pm and are staying the night here since the affordable Traverse hotels were all filled up. We enjoyed a bit of shopping in this small town, a dinner out and lots of laughter as we sat and visited. As a matter of fact, we laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed.

There is something so refreshing when being out with “the girls”. Everyone seems to get along and is happy. We do goofy things that somehow I don’t see us doing when we have our well-rounded male family members.  Time passes slowly in a very pleasant kind of way!

I am happy tonight as I close my eyes to sleep. I biked for an hour first thing this morning and after that got a hard workout in. I am anticipating some big changes in my diet next week and so this weekend am savoring some foods I am going to say good-bye to for a while. I have delighted in conversations and laughter and am looking forward to more of the same tomorrow. God has been good to me and tonight I feel very grateful!

It is my hope that you will take some time to laugh this weekend. Feel the delight of your soul and enjoy the moment of wordless joy!

Midwife for souls…

As some of you know, I used to be a Hospice Social Worker. During this time, I learned about the mystery and the miracles of living and dying. I am not sure that there is anything more sacred than to be in the presence of someone who is leaving this earth and reaching for the hands of Jesus….

It seems lately I am keenly aware of my friends who are sitting with family members or friends who are dying. Recently I went back to my book shelf and reread Midwife for Souls. I would like to encourage you to pick up this book.  I have found that this book helps to address many unknowns and provide a framework to consider a topic that often seems hard to know where to begin…


This classic work on the spirituality of caring for the dying is now expanded with moving stories and lessons gleaned from the author’s experience as a hospice nurse. Caregivers, friends, and family members often feel unsure of what to say or do as they care for the terminally ill. Midwife for Souls provides insight, showing how the support of one’s Catholic faith and the power of prayer can guide one in ministering to a dying person. Written in a style that is poetic and beautiful, practical and credible, this book is essential reading for anyone who accompanies others to the edge of life-and helps in their birthing to eternal life.

There is something very valuable I discovered while I worked for Hospice, and that is that anyone can be a Midwife for a Soul. I did not use much of my professional education while sitting at the bedside of a transitioning soul.

I learned how to sit in the presence of a process that is not controlled by medical professionals nor responsive to medication.

I learned the dying process is unpredictable and can come very quickly or take a very long time.

I learned that there are not many words that fill the space as one takes the journey to the edge of life….but there is a presence that brings comfort when you simply show up and wait expectantly…

I learned that if we can embrace and discuss our own reality, that we all will someday die, and educate ourselves while we are living, we will truly be equipped to birth souls…and that is an amazing journey to share in!

Gifted and Talented…

I have a number of nieces and nephews who are a part of their schools gifted and talented programs. When I was in school we were just all in the same classroom. I am sure there are pros and cons to each model. But I must be honest, whenever any of the kids share something about their gifted and talented program I have a favorite comic that comes to mind….I thought I would share it with you tonight. I hope it brings a smile!

Working side by side…

 Many hands make light work.   

There have been many nights I thought about sweeping off my deck. I have one of those helicopter trees and they quickly accumulate and then get tracked into the house. The day light goes well into the evening and yet I still don’t accomplish this task.

Tonight I had a plan, I invited 7-year-old Peter over to use the blower and to work along side of me. It is just more fun with two and I knew the evening would be a great one to work outdoors. My sister called and said they all would be willing to come. At first I thought, that is not needed, but then was quite touched and started to plan out the evening.

Andy, Suzi, Peter, Isaiah and Johanna came through the door ready to work. Peter and Suzi tackled the deck. Andy set up my outdoor speaker and helped me clean out my garage. Peter and Isaiah walked across the street to place the stepping stone at Aunt Dot’s house and then they helped me clean out my car. Johanna filled up Dutchess’s food dish and blew bubbles.

We spent just over 60 minutes together and my outdoors and garage look great. I realize that tackling these outdoor projects are difficult for me alone. I am thankful for family that is willing to dive in with me.

I wonder where I might offer my hands this week to encourage someone else….may I live every day offering my heart and my hands so that someone else will marvel at how true it really is that  Many hands make light work.   

Wow it is light early….

I remember posting more than once on Facebook this past winter about how dark it was in the morning. I remember wondering if it would ever be light again when I opened my eyes.

Well, this morning I was out biking in the brightness by six thirty am and remembered my question of this past winter….

The sun is rising early these days and setting later….

i am delighted to wake up to daylight and I am going to be grateful every day, because we all know…winter will be here again soon enough….

I hope you are able to enjoy the sun and the daylight.

I hope you are able to marvel at the change of seasons and the beauty of summer…

I hope you are able to hear the birds sing…

I hope you will live fully in the moment….in the daylight and in the darkness!


Sunrise: 6:04am
Sunset: 8:55pm


Sunrise: 6:03am
Sunset: 8:56pm

Sunrise: 6:02am
Sunset: 8:57pm

Sunrise: 6:01am
Sunset: 8:58pm

Sunrise: 6:01am
Sunset: 8:58pm

Sunrise: 6:00am
Sunset: 8:59pm

Sunrise: 6:00am
Sunset: 9:00pm

Sunrise: 5:59am
Sunset: 9:01pm

A great app…

Today I found the fooducate app for my iPhone. 

As many of you know I am on a wellness journey. I continue to learn about good hard workouts and have to say that the workout process is pretty cut and dry. I wire up with my heart rate monitor and I work to get my heart rate into a certain zone. It is pretty logical and doesn’t take a lot of thinking….just alot of doing!

Now, nutrition is another factor. What to eat, when to eat it and how to manage hunger, water and balanced diet is much more confusing to me. I am confident that I am no longer making the worst choices. I know that I am also rarely making the best choices. I continue to navigate the many things to learn. Tonight, I find this Fooducate app quite intriguing.

This is how it works….

The iPhone scans a barcode on any food label and then provides information about that food and gives the food a grade. It also will provide better alternatives.

Before Church this morning, I started to go through my cupboards. I think I have pretty healthy options in my kitchen.

Currently my kitchen report card would consist of the following:

A, B+. D+, C, B, C-. B, B, B-, C, A-, B+, B, B-

Now, again what this shows me is I am not making the worst choices, but I can definitely improve as well.

Some interesting things I learned…

My natural peanut butter is only a B+ because natural is an unregulated term. There are pretty strict regulation for Organic, but don’t be fooled by the term Natural….hmmm, good to know!

My no preservative turkey which I add to salad every day at lunch is a C. The reason for this is artificial flavoring. I feel a bit deceived in this one but Fooducate offers me alternatives that rank much higher and can bring up my GPA…

Now perhaps you are someone who likes Sweet Baby Rays for barbecue  sauce. Well, there are for sure better options than this one…

There is more sugar in each serving than any other ingredient.

Each serving has four tsp of sugar…

Contains high fructose corn syrup…

Contains sodium benzoate and benzoic acid….

And of course the worst grade (D+) in the kitchen is Diet Coke. A good reminder again, that water is the best option. Due to controversial artificial sweeteners and the phosphoric acid. I am committing again to water and not going to even take the time to read up on effects of phosphoric acid. What I know is it isn’t good….And water gets an A which would help my GPA once again!

And so, this is a very interesting app that can help move me from mediocre to optimum. I  know that I thought my Arnold’s sandwich thins would surely be an A, but they are not 100% whole grain and better would be to purchase is Trade Joe’s multi grain fiber bread or weight watchers multi grain bread.

So much to learn….

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