What does your grin say….

I can feel the ache of wrapping up summer….

The weather is cooler, the evening is shorter, the sunrise a bit later….

But it isn’t over yet and there are many moments that have made this summer a good one….

As I look through pictures, I am captivated by the smiles of my nieces and nephews.

I love smiles…

I want to be someone who smiles often….

I want to be someone who asks about other’s joy…

Somehow when I see these grins, I am keenly aware about just how much a smile says!

I often forget in my day-to-day that my facial expression communicates much….

I invite you to embed in your memory some of your favorite smilers and let them inspire you. My guess is the more you grin, the more you invite  people to be curious about what your grin says…

Henry’s Golden day….

Henry is celebrating his golden birthday today…

I can’t believe 18 years ago today I was in California taking care of Janneke as this new baby entered our lives…

Where does time go…

Whenever we gather as a family, we enjoy Henry….

I think these pictures show you the joy he brings the Borgdorff Bunch….

 

 

Henry enjoys life…

Henry works hard and plays hard….

Henry looks good in a basketball uniform or dressed up in a suit and tie…

Henry likes time with a group and enjoys time alone…

I am a very lucky aunt..

Today Henry is tall, thin, strong, thoughtful, reflective, strategic, leader, athletic, smart, kind, compassionate, resourceful, outdoorsy, adventurous and spiritual…

Henry John, I am proud of you for all you accomplish, I am proud of you for the way you love God and others, I am proud of you for your work ethic and play ethic…

It is my hope that this year will bring good endings and great new beginnings. Continue to live well and you will impact your world in wild and wonderful ways!

Love you,

Aunt Trish

 

 

Censored….

I am just home from cousin camp…

It was memorable in so many ways…

But tonight, I am going to sleep with a grin as I think about my teenage nieces and nephews…

On the way to Canada two of my nieces wanted to switch from Beppe’s (my Mom) car to my car. They mentioned they wanted to listen to music. Beppe had mentioned what nice music they played for her. I learned later, they played every last hymn they have on their Ipod.

They just weren’t sure  their other songs were Beppe appropriate.

Today I had three other nieces riding with me and they kept skipping songs on the Ipod. I asked them why they had songs that they didn’t care for….

They kindly and ever so sweetly shared how they really love their music, but they aren’t sure if it is appropriate for me to hear the words….

I have to smile at the fact that they censor for Beppe but also for their Aunts.  I am somewhat thankful my younger sister (their youngest Aunt) was also “protected” by these kind-hearted children….

As I wrap this up, I want to let you know that I listened to some of the songs and found that the music they were concerned about really wasn’t so inappropriate (for Aunts or Beppe’s)…and we all sang along in the last hours home!

Cousins….

I have realized as I have grown older, how nice it is to have cousins with whom you share childhood memories…

I feel old saying this, but time’s were different when I was younger….

My Dad’s family all lived (and still lives) in Canada and my Mom had 11 siblings so I think there are 40 some cousins on the Kuperus side. Distance prevented close relationships with all of my cousins, but there seemed to be a commitment to connect regularly and so road trips often involved visiting Aunts and Uncles and cousins. And then there were the one’s we saw regularly, vacationed with and enjoyed just hanging out….

Perhaps my good memories of time spent with my cousins is part of my motivation to nurture good friendships with the cousins who are my nieces and nephews. We have some advantages today including closer proximity, a smaller number than the 40+ cousins I had, a great age range of the 14 and technology (phones, texting and Boniface) which has encouraged the development of their friendships with each other.

And so I love that for Cousin Camp this year, we are heading to my cousins pig farm. I still remember holding baby pigs there when we would go to visit. I do realize it is much more than a pig farm. Bert and Michelle have created a wonderful home and have a delightful family. There will be swimming and horse back riding, four wheeling and capture the flag playing, there will be laughing and talking and I am sure a good time by all.

And so I encourage you to nurture the friendships between cousins today so that in their grown up years they will have friendships that continue through thick and through thin in the day-to-day but more importantly in the journey of family!

I am thankful for my parents and their commitment to family….

I am thankful for my cousins and the memories I have with them from back when we were young and still make today…

I am thankful for my siblings and nieces and nephews and their love for one another….

 

 

 

Olympics 2012….

I had planned to enjoy the Olympics in full fashion this summer. I had surgery scheduled for June 14 and my Doc had said my recovery could be up to 12 weeks. It felt like a long time, but with the Olympics on, I can honestly say I looked forward to that part of it….

Well, 8 weeks after my surgery, I am thankful that my recovery was so short and I was back to work before the Olympics even began…

But I did enjoy watching them almost every evening and even more than the competition, my heart is captivated by the stories…

The stories and the faces of each person…..

The smiles and the tears….

The moments alone and the celebration or sorrow with others…

The parents, the siblings, the coaches, the athletes….so many stories!

I think of Gabby and Ellis who are both nicknamed the flying squirrel in their sports…

I think of the relay team that broke a world record and the runner who ran on a broken leg as to not let down his team and the athlete who ran even though he had both his lower legs amputated as an infant…

I think of the many who worked hard, trained hard, gave it their all, spent lots of money to get to London and yet who lost (maybe instead of lost, it is more those who didn’t win)

The one’s whose names were never highlighted, never on the Today show, never on the podium…whose stories were never told!

Did you know that 10,500 athletes competed from 205 nations…

Did you know 4700 medals were made and given out…

Recently I read the following….

In the United States, the odds of making the Olympic team are staggering, let alone winning a medal in the Games themselves. Let’s take the marathon as an example. First, you must qualify to run in the Olympic Trials, held a few months before the actual Olympic Marathon. Of the hundreds of thousands of marathoners in the US, less than 300 runners, male and female, meet the qualifying standard.

Then, these 300 runners must run in the Olympic Trials Marathon. Only the top three finishers make up the US team. Theoretically, a runner could hold the world marathon record, have won every marathon they participated in in the last four years, then unfortunately have a tough day, finish fourth by a mere few seconds and not make the Team. You have to be one of the three best on that specific day. Weigh the odds of all this happening. No one, bar none, is a shoe in.

Now, look at the chances of winning a gold medal or even a silver or bronze. You have to be the best in the entire world and not just on paper but on that designated day. You must beat the best every other country has to offer.

When we look at the numbers, it gives us a more realistic understanding of what it actually takes to earn an Olympic spot. And, to think that these athletes have only one chance every four years. What can be said for those athletes who not only compete in the Olympic Games more than once, but also win medals each time?

In the last few weeks I learned about a handful of athletes and their stories…

But in my day-to-day, admiring their stories does not change my life….

I am going to admire the stories of the everyday people around me who demonstrate commitment, passion, sacrifice and moments of great glory and who share the vulnerability of experiencing disappointment and sorrow. Life may not be the Olympic Games, but a lot of the same attributes are lived out in every day stories….stories of people worth knowing and celebrating!

Vacation….

I have been on vacation this week….

In the past I would have told you I was not very good at vacation…

I wish I was more of a reader…

I wish I was more of a water person….

But for some reason, this year, I feel like I am getting better at being away….

I still am not a big reader, but I do carry my Kindle every where and have started reading…

I still am not a great water person but I have been doing some kayaking and floating in the water and find it quite delightful…

 

 

 

 

I am enjoying the laid back days and the abundance of people to interact with….

 

I am enjoying the sun and the breeze, the blue sky and the cool nights…

I am enjoying being less connected to my phone and my email, my scrabble, words with friends and scramble turns and my overall connectedness…

I am enjoying vacation and am very thankful for the opportunity I have to enjoy my family and the quiet space at Nichols Lake.

I cried during our popcorn prayer of thankfulness….the honesty and quick responses from my family reminded me of our gratitude…

I laughed with my sisters this week and am reminded of the friendship we enjoy….

I exercised with my Mom this week and as we worked out to the crazy voice of the boot camp app and I am reminded of the support I have for my goals….

I received word that my Aunt’s biopsy tested positive for cancer and I am reminded that even on vacation, real life continues…and it is not all sun and cool breezes….

But as a family we hold hands for devotion and together sing Step by Step….I am reminded that God invites us to learn to walk in His ways…on vacation or in my daily routine, in the presence of wonderful family and children or in the face of the reality of illness….

I smile as I consider the growth I have experienced when it comes to enjoying vacation…

But I am delighted for the legacy of faith that we share in small and big ways….which allows me to rest, even when I am not on vacation!