do more…

I am not typically an advocate of the idea do more….

I recognize that often the do more idea is a set up to feeling weary and burned out…

I am much more about rest and kindness, doing less and living more….

But tonight I found something that promotes doing more and resonates in my soul as a good way to go….

I hope you will choose to do more in the coming days….and find that it is a very good choice for your soul!

Happy Birthday Ryan James…

Dear Ryan,

I can’t believe your 14 today….

I don’t see you as often as I would like and yet I delight in you often.

You are gifted in sports, music, academics and social interactions…

You are good at being at ease in the quiet spaces and talking about most anything in the conversational spaces….

You are funny, witty, kind, compassionate, gentler, tender….

You are a grand grandson, son, brother, nephew, cousin, and friend….

You have lived 14 years of good living…..

I am eager to see what the next years will hold.

I am eager to see what your favorite hobbies will be….

I am eager to see what you will pursue in academics and sports…

I am eager to know which friends will remain by your side and what new friends will emerge…

I am eager to hear the conversations, to enjoy the laughter, to share in the prayers and to delight in your decisions.

I am very thankful that I am the lucky Aunt who can claim you as my nephew.

You have come a long way Ryan James….and I am proud of you!  Sending you all my love, Aunt Trish

Look at those paws….

When I got a dog, I wanted a dog that was good with kids. Not just any kids, but with my nieces and nephews. I remember thinking how cute Dutch was as a puppy, but the most common phrase spoken to me when I got her, was “look at those paws!” I never thought to ask to see her parents, consider her full-grown size nor do much research on her temperament. I followed my more compulsive quick to love nature and found her, paid for her and scooped her up and took her home!

I wondered how I would ever train this over sized, clumsy, energetic puppy who grew longer, taller and wider before my eyes, to be gentle with children…

A picture is worth 1000 words and so today I am going to share a few of my favorites….I can say my wish was granted and this over sized, clumsy, energetic puppy who grew longer, taller and wider before my eyes, is very very  gentle with children…and I am delighted!



Memorial Day 2012….

It was a beautiful day…

It was a day of cleaning and organizing….

It was a day of preparing to host dinner on my deck…

It was a day of thinking about my freedom and the stories of those who have fought for that…

It was a day of recognizing that it really does take a village and I have a great village…

It was a day of wondering if it would rain, but delighting in sun…

It was a day of reflecting on the grief for those who have lost a family member to war….

It was a day of gratitude that my brothers have served our Country…

It was a day of gathering with family and enjoying the freedom and peace we have….

It was a beautiful day and my heart was full.

Yet somewhere in my heart there was space for those whose Memorial day had much greater meaning…

My heart is with those who grieve every day because they have lost family members….

My heart aches for those who live with changes every day as a result of war and injury, either physical or emotional….

My heart longs for families to be reunited….for their to be peace on earth!

I hope your Memorial day left you tired from good moments and tender to so many whose struggle is greater than we may ever understand!



A boy with a vision….

Jean Marc has amazed us plenty in they seven years since he joined our family. He was just a year when he came to live with my brother and sister-in-law, but he has a keen awareness of Haiti and a very insightful perspective in the day-to-day and a great sense of humor. Today during dinner he asked if we remembered his original last name….

That started a very delightful conversation.

Jean Marc shared that he planned to live in Grand Rapids when he grew up.

He would live on Aunt Trish and Beppe Dot’s street because it was quiet and peaceful.

He would only need a small house for him and his son.

I began to inquire about where his wife would be in that picture. He shared, she would move in a year later after he and his son were used to each other. His son would be adopted from Haiti.

His home will have two bedrooms and the workout room in the basement like Aunt Trish’s home.

He does plan to go to college and then work at Taco Bell, because that is his all time favorite restaurant.

Oh, and when we asked him what his son’s name would be, he said without much hesitation. I think his name will be Bob the builder.

And with that, we see this 8 year old’s awareness of adoption and rescuing children who do not have a home or a family….

We see this 8 year old’s security in wanting to plant his roots in a home which is quiet and peaceful and near family….

We see this 8 year old’s perspective on education and his plans to attend college and pursue his favorite line of work. (I do believe that he will dream beyond Taco Bell in the coming years)

And we see this 8 year old’s innocence and humor as he throws out the name for his adopted son from Haiti….

Jean Marc is a gift to our family and a delight to be with. I am thankful God’s divine intervention in his life led him to us!

Sonta and Jean Marc were adopted by Len and Marcia as a sibling pair. Jean Marc talked today about his birth parents (of whom they have pictures) and his older brother. Jean Marc has shown interest in knowing more about his family in Haiti. An amazing concept for a young mind…

Won’t you join me tonight in saying a prayer of protection and peace for birth parents, at home and afar, who wonder about their birth children. Their sacrifice is a gift….and by the grace of God, we have been blessed!

No vacancies….

I am going to sleep tonight with a full house.

I have a delightful 12-year-old girl sharing my bed….

I have a very handsome 6-year-old on my couch….

I have two adventure filled 8-year-old growing up boys in my guest room….

I have an 80 pound chocolate lab happy to keep an eye out for our guests….

And when I was asking Jean Marc if he needed anything else before I went to bed, he said “Yes, Aunt Trish, one more thing. A hug!”

Breakfast is planned, church clothes were discussed, a visit to the pool, Sunday dinner at Papa and Beppe’s, memory making moments and lost of pictures. I must say, life is good!

It is a different feel to have a full house and it is very sweet!  Sweet dreams to one and all!


My mom said…

I spent a wonderful evening with my two nephews and 3-year-old niece. There is always much conversation and often I am listening to 2 or even 3 conversations at a time….

It is very evident that Johanna, age 3, is very fond of her mother. She was adding a new twist to that tonight. She started many phrases with “my Mom said…”

My Mom said I don’t have to sit sideways on the potty any more….

My Mom said I could go swimming with you….

My Mom said I could leave my bedroom door open so she could find me…..

My Mom said I could have a snack….

My Mom said it was ok if you read me a book…

My Mom said you should walk more quiet on the steps…

My Mom said you can take a nap in her bed…

Now, I can assure you that Suzi did not have conversations about all of these things before I arrived to babysit.

As I was going through the bedtime ritual, Johanna would ask me, Aunt Trish, do you know how to turn on my music…

Aunt Trish, do you know how to turn my fan on….

Aunt Trish, do you know how to turn off my light…

Wow, Aunt Trish, you are almost as smart as my Mom…

And I smiled big and thought of all you Moms…

I know that your child(ren) may not always hold the same respect and awe for you as they get older, but may you always cherish the moments from when they were three and four and clung to your every word!


Lessons learned from Dutch…

Tonight Dutch and I wandered to the park, one of Dutch’s favorite places to be.

The repetitive throw, fetch, return, repeat process is almost constant.

But tonight Dutch stopped dead in her tracks. It was as if she saw a squirrel, the only thing that has the power to interrupt her game of fetch.

She loves to stare down a squirrel and wait and wait and wait and wait till it moves….

And so, I called her and used her favorite words to try to draw her back. Squirrel, ball, treat….

She didn’t move and yet I could not really see what had stopped her dead in her tracks.

I walked closer and noticed the hair on her back was raised…

I walked closer and realized she was in a frozen state, and I was not breaking her concentration at all…

I actually felt some fear rising in me, wondering what it was that she was going to go to battle with…

And with in moments there was a breeze, movement and Dutch pounced….

And just that quickly she wanted to play fetch again. After all she had just won the battle with a paper bag!

Now, I had to chuckle at the whole scene…

And then I got to thinking…..

Raising her hackles is a sign of aggression and/or fear. This doesn’t mean she is about to attack or anything, but shows that she is on the alert.

I know there are times that I stand paralyzed by the same fear….

Fear that is created by what I perceive as opposed to what is real….

I know there are times that I react to a tone or a comment because I am standing with hackles raised…

And there are even times I pounce and find that really what I feared is not what it appeared…and I chuckle to think how “alive” that paper bag must have looked to my dog Dutch!

I wonder if you know when you are standing with your hackles raised….

When you are in a situation when you are on alert, remember Dutch and the paper bag and see if a little humor might help lighten the moment up!

Dinner on the deck….

I love dinner on the deck….

The sun shines on the deck…

All ages gather on the deck…

spills don’t matter on the deck….

happy hour blends into dinner on the deck…

conversation ebbs and flows on the deck….

music plays in the background on the deck…

dutch visits each chair on the deck….

flowers can be seen blooming on the deck…

Life at it’s best is found on the deck, with the people I enjoy….

I hope you have a place like the deck, where you enjoy all that unfolds….

Wherever that place is for you, be sure to spend lots of time there during the beautiful spring and summer evenings!

Live well and enjoy!


The extra mile…

I have heard about the extra mile ever since I was a child. I can honestly say there are times I have chosen that and likely many more that I didn’t even really give thought to the extra mile. I have learned as I have matured and risked, that going the extra mile for or with someone can create unforgettable moments.

I have learned that going the extra mile is sometimes very simple and other times, going the extra mile requires some significant decisions and sacrifice…

I have learned that when someone goes the extra mile for me, deep gratitude bursts in my soul….

And so today I saw this post on Facebook and it got me thinking about the tragedy that exists in these words…

How might life be different if we all went the extra mile in some fashion?

I do know that often the extra mile invites me to sacrifice something, because somehow the invitation has a way of sneaking up, often at a time that feels inconvenient….

And so, I am reminded, through this simple statement, to consider the extra mile in my day-to-day. I would love to find that it is a crowded place where I find many of my friends and family.

I pray we will all find the joy in going above and beyond and delight in others who offer us the same!

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