Where have the years gone….

As I journey to wellness, I have to say I am feeling younger. I know I am 41, but it has been fun to feel younger as my activity levels and endurance increases.

But when I look at my post college life, and the rich experiences I have had, I often feel older than 41. My work at Sunshine Community Church, Three Rivers Area Hospital Hospice, Adoption Associates and All God’s Children International and currently Visiting Angels, time seems to have allotted me a memory bank of faces and experiences that often feel as if I have had a whole life time of work opportunity and experience.

And so I feel younger in many good ways and I feel full and enriched through my work opportunities, I am fortunate and blessed. And so tonight, when I came across this picture, I was struck by the thoughts that filled my thinking. I don’t specifically remember this age, but I would guess I was in Kdg or first grade. I think of the innocence, the simple life I lived as a young child and the delight I remember feeling when I was playing.

It is fun to see this picture and to reflect on me. As I do that I am thankful for God’s protection and provision in my life. I am thankful for the community of people who have surrounded me over many years. As I get older, the time since I was this young child will continue to increase, and yet, it is my hope that I never lose the connection I have in my heart when I look at this picture.

I would like to invite you to find a picture of yourself as a child. Take some time to reflect and remember and leave this picture in a prominent place for a while. Be aware of what surfaces for you and use this time to marvel at the journey God has brought you on…..

Journey well,

 

Celebrating 48 years….

Today’s celebration was not a big gathering of people….

Today’s celebration was not marked by a party…..

Today’s event was noted most prominently on Facebook in the following messages:

Happy Anniversary to my parents, Janet Borgdorff and Peter Borgdorff! Perhaps one of the biggest gifts you have given us is your willingness to stick together through all of the twists and turns of life – and you’re still laughing (mostly with, not at, each other). Thank you, thank you, thank you. I love you both!

Happy 48th Anniversary to my Dad (Peter Borgdorff) and Mom (Janet Borgdorff). It was big news way back when a Canadian fellow married a Sussex New Jersey girl. Thankful for parents who have remained committed to one another through thick and through thin. I ♥ you Dad and Mom!

Happy anniversary mom and dad (Janet Borgdorff and Peter Borgdorff). You both deserve medals 🙂

It is a day that comes and goes quickly, but a day that is marked by love and commitment. A day where we, the children, feel deep gratitude for how our parent’s have remained committed to one another, even during difficult seasons. A day when we recognize that our family unit enjoys much because two people fell in love and honored the commitment of marriage.

Happy 48th Anniversary Dad and Mom. Thank you for loving each other well and modeling to us the truth of I Corinthians 13: 7….Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

 

So many choices….

I used to be an adoption social worker, and I would discuss with families how kids who come from other countries can find the grocery store to be a painful experience. For kids who grow up with limited stimulation, the lights, the sounds, the temperatures and the choices can actually cause a child physical pain.

I was often curious about this and wonder what it would be like to walk down the cereal aisle for a first time. I remember being keenly aware of our excessive amounts of choices in our grocery store, clothing stores, shoe stores and almost every other place as well.

And so as I consider the excessive amount of choices we have in our every day living and I look at the word on my wall that says SIMPLIFY, I realize that I want to spend some time considering how I can carry my commitment to simplify into my thoughts when I encounter the abundance of choice we have every day. Somehow tonight, I am struck by how all these choices are a blessing and a curse.  

Hurricane Irene….

May not have been as bad as they projected and for that I say Thank you God. Although the loss of life was minimal, there are still some families who have had to face that their lives are radically different today….

May not have been as bad as they projected and for that I say Thank you God. Although there are millions without power and it is projected it may take 5 to 7 days to get power restored. Please pray for the many who now deal with the impact of this reality….

May not have been as bad as they projected, but the damage is still significant as power lines are down, trees are uprooted and roads and bridges are washed out. Please pray for those who must travel the roads. Pray for safety and wisdom about what must be done in the days when travel is not simple.

Today was an almost perfect day and yet I had a nagging thought all day about those dealing with the effects of hurricane Irene. Thank you God for the beautiful sunshine and light breeze we were able to enjoy today AND please continue to bring peace and quick resolve to the East Coast. May everything we encounter, sunshine or rain, remind us of your power and your plan for our lives. It is my hope your week will be filled with delightful moments and wonderful things!

 

Welcome to our family….

Tonight Arlene and Dan, my Dad and Mom and Aunt Dot and I went to the airport to welcome Zhenhua Ji to our extended family for the next ten months. Zhenhua joins the DeKam household. She comes from a home in China where she is an only child to a home with four sisters and one brother. I know very little about her but I can feel my heart already embracing her. She looked a bit lost and weary when she came down the corrider, but the smile she beamed when she saw Arlene with her name on a piece of paper and the hugs she offered and the way she held her flowers near to her heart….I think she will fit right in.

We all smile when we think about the crazy life that already unfolds at the DeKams on a daily basis. A family with an 18-year-old, 17-year-old, 15-year-old, 13-year-old and 11-year-old is already busy. Between work and school and sports and friends and two working parents, where will one more child fit in….

What I admire so much in Arlene and Dan is that they don’t worry about that. Life is full and their home is full of life. They look forward to all they can offer Zhenhua and are ready to grow and learn through what Zhenhua will bring to their home and family.

Welcome to our family Zhenhua.

We are delighted you are here!

The Lord God made them all….

Today this song has been playing in the background of my thoughts…

It started this morning when I opened the door to let Dutch out, in the dark, and I hoped and prayed she would not encounter a skunk…she did once and the smell that came into the house after she had been sprayed was enough to burn the inside of my nose. Every dark morning since then that I let Dutch out, I feel a sense of relief when she smells normal entering the house….

And yet, when I think of the skunk, the truth is “the Lord God made them all….”

Last week my sister Suzi encountered bats in their home. The story was thrilling and a bit entertaining as I listened. I was grateful not to have a big ol house. Then Sunday night I brought my niece home to tuck her in bed and flying in the living room was a bat. I scooped Johanna up and headed out the door. Tonight I learned my friends had a bat in Alger Heights. So much for the big ol house theory. I hope I never encounter a bat in my house…

And yet, when I think of the bat, the truth is “the Lord God made them all….”

And tonight I was bringing some trash to the dumpster at the office. I saw something moving in the corner of my eye. I turned and looking at me was a rat. I had flashes of memory that Suzi and Andy used to have a rat that lived OUTSIDE their home and the kids named him Nathan. Once they had named him, I was less intimidated by the idea of a rat. I wondered if this was Nathan? As he stared at me, the song came back…

And yet, when I think of the rat, the truth is “the Lord God made them all….”

And so tonight, I am hoping my dreams are filled with fairies and sugar plums….

But rest assured, of this I am confident:

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.

 

 

Everyday Courage…

I have a favorite little series of books that are called elf help books. I have used them on and off throughout my work with adoption and Hospice.

Tonight I was reading a few of the nuggets from Every day courage therapy.  I thought I would share a few:

Courage means taking risks even when doing so plunges you into the anxiety of the unknown. Act with faith!

Often people fall short, not because they’ve tried and failed, but because the fear of failure kept them from trying at all. Courage means daring to make mistakes and learning from them. Dare to err.

Your courage can be an inspiration to others, maybe even the inspiration needed to change lives. Don’t underestimate the power of your example!

Let little people teach you the way of courage. They know innately that too much thought can sometimes get in the way.

And with those thoughts, I invite you to be courageous in a new way tomorrow. I wonder what would be different in your life each day if you chose courage when confronted with something that you shrink away from?

Remember, Courage doesn’t always roar, sometimes it is the quite voice that says, “i will try again tomorrow!”

Give me Jesus…

I had a day today that was filled with mystery and wondering…

I found myself humming this song and repeating the words as I wondered what God might be up to….

It is a simple song…

It has powerful words…

It brings me comfort…(click on the link and listen to the clear and simple words)

Give me Jesus

In the morning, when I rise
In the morning, when I rise
In the morning, when I rise, give me Jesus

Give me Jesus,
Give me Jesus,
You can have all this world,
But give me Jesus

When I am alone
When I am alone
When I am alone, give me Jesus

Give me Jesus,
Give me Jesus,
You can have all this world,
But give me Jesus

When I come to die
When I come to die
When I come to die, give me Jesus

Give me Jesus,
Give me Jesus,
You can have all this world,
You can have all this world,
You can have all this world,
But give me Jesus

I have been a Christian for many years, and yet when I sing this song, I often find myself asking if I believe that all I need is Jesus…

I believe we are created for community….

I believe Jesus gives us much on this earth, inviting us to experience Him in very tangible ways…

AND

I believe that the words to this song offer us an invitation….an invitation to know that it really is this simple…and I want to continue to believe, live and embrace the words…you can have all this world…give me Jesus!

Happy Birthday Nick….(and Henry)

Today is my big brother’s 46th birthday.

We have this competition in our family to see which sibling can call first to say happy birthday. Let me share with you a bit of Nick’s humor…

Arlene Ann Borgdorff DeKamHappy birthday, Nick! I win

Nicholas Borgdorff Congratulations. You have won the 47th annual “Who can say Happy Birthday First Award, Facebook Division”. Prizes may include a trip to Hawaii, a Caribbean Island, or a hat made of plain white paper (some assembly required). It will probably be the hat.

Ryan Borgdorff but we said it yesterday…

Nicholas Borgdorff Yes. You win the 47th annual “Who can say Happy Birthday First Award, Home Division”. You also win a hat.

Now, maybe you need to know Nick, but I am laughing again as I type this. Nick has always maintained a great sense of humor, even when life hasn’t always been easy. I remember when I was really struggling and trying to sort out a real messy time of my life. I was talking about getting counseling and digging into my stuff and Nick said, “maybe you should take a photography class. ” That has really stuck with me. Nick has taught me to have balance in my life and to not always carry the shovel that keeps digging and searching. He has taught me to laugh and enjoy the moment. To savor what is good….

Happy Happy Birthday Nick. I love watching you interact with your growing boys and how you teach them in so many ways about life and living!

And when I realized it was the 23rd of August already I was hit with the realization that I missed Henry’s birthday blog on the 18th. Henry John, I love that you are already 17. In the last year I have seen you go from a timid driver to a safe and confident driver, a kind and sensitive boy to a fun loving boyfriend (lucky Courtne), and an even more admired favorite cousin. I watched you struggle through the decision of whether to play High School baseball because you were feeling  busy after a successful high school basketball season. I was proud that you chose to take a season of down time as opposed to choosing to please other people.

It has been fun to have you drive to Grand Rapids this summer. You made great memories at cousin camp, you have enjoyed some golfing with Papa and you are a great hired hand at my house. You’re not even scared when you have to dispose of a dead mouse! And so Henry John….I love you and love watching you grow up. You are growing up good! I hope this 17th year of your life will hold many delightful moments with family and friends and an abundance of recognizing God’s presence, goodness and grace! I am so glad God chose me to be your Aunt…..

Losing our filters…

I started my day on the elevator at Holland Home. It made me smile big and got me thinking…

You see, I was on the elevator for a very short time with three older ladies. I wasn’t even fully off the elevator and I hear one say….”WHO IS THAT?”

To which another replies she see’s me there every day. (not accurate, but she was sure of it!)

And another who thinks my voice was to loud, but she really liked my pink shirt.

I don’t believe it occurred to any of them that I was able to hear their immediate reflections. I was grateful that was all they had to say!

I often share with family members, that as we age, we seem to lose our filters. Thoughts are spoken more boldly with less awareness of the impact. 

I often smile at comments made when filters are lost.

They often it seems as if  the statements shared are quite truthful.

They often offer a bit of refreshing humor.

They often stop us mid sentence and draw us into conversation.

I wonder where we have filters inserted that limit us from being who we really are?

I wonder what it would be like for us to remove a filter or two and speak more boldly and honestly (with compassion and curiosity.)

I can think of some places I am filtering…

Maybe I will try to live more like the three woman on the elevator…willing to speak up and share what is really on my mind!