Henri Nouwen…

is one of my favorite authors to read and reflect on….

Today this quote is really speaking to my soul…

“So I am praying while not knowing how to pray.
I am resting while feeling restless,
at peace while tempted,
safe while still anxious,
surrounded by a cloud of light
while still in darkness,
in love while still doubting.”
-Henri Nouwen

There is something about embracing a life that is not structured in black and white thoughts…

There is something about embracing a heart that is full of  what you might consider conflicting thoughts…

There is something about embracing honesty and sharing that my life is simply a complex mystery….

I wonder if you read Henri Nouwen’s words and feel them resonate in your heart…

I am choosing to believe I am not alone…..

Superman memories…

This story was shared by my brother-in-law at my brother’s funeral….

Through our tears we smiled and laughed….

The memory was a vivid picture of Len in all of his personality…

Shortly after 9/11 Arlene and I went to visit Marcia and Len at the Bremerton, Washington Naval base.  When we arrived, Len had been playing with Noah, complete with Super Man shirt and small-sized cape.  After some small talk, Len asked if I would like to see more of the base.  Within a few minutes, we found ourselves in the situation of having to ignore some “do not enter” signs in order to see what was interesting.  It was at this point that we saw the military police vehicles that had quickly swooped in behind us, blocking our exit.  Len was able to confidently exit our vehicle and clear up the mis-understanding with the stern looking military police.  However, I am  still unsure if it was the navy credentials that won the argument, or the snug fitting superman t-shirt and cape that was the most convincing.  I believe it was Superman.

And so, this past weekend my Dad, brother, and brother-in-laws went on the annual golf trip. Len loved this trip and I am sure his absence was felt in many ways. But I am sure that Len would have been delighted with how he was remembered….

You are missed….

superman

Unpacking my bags…

Tonight I arrived at The Journey, a week-long experiential seminar where we facilitate training for journey groups…

Journey groups invite participants to unpack their bags and be curious about why we act the way we do…

Often the critical conversations surround the questions of what we believe about God, ourselves and others….

And how do those beliefs shape our behavior…

I have been involved with Journey Groups for almost 20 years….

unpackingAnd so tonight as I was unpacking my bags,

I was reflecting on how much easier it is to unpack my clothes than my heart…

My heart feels full….

Full of sorrow….

Full of questions…

 

Full of ache….

Full of wonder…

Full of gratitude…

Full of emotion…

Full…..

And so during leaders weekend, my small group will invite me to unpack the bags of my heart…

I will explore new places of my story this weekend with friends who love me…

I will explore what I am believing about God, myself and others in my grief and in my gratitude…

I will unpack my heart and likely keep what I want to hold near and decide some of what I am holding can be let go…

I am thankful for the invitation to unpack….

I invite you to spend some time in journaling or conversation this weekend to unpack a thing or two of your own….

Marvel at all your heart holds….

Journey well my friends….

 

Selling subs…

I have been remembering fun times with my brothers growing up….

They were avid baseball fans, sure Detroit Tigers some day in the eyes of this sister..

Len and Nick both played for Grand Rapids Christian Eagles and I loved being around them and their teammates…

ham and cheese subEach year they would come home with the announcement that they were selling subs for a fundraiser….

Arlene and I got right down to business and started calling through the church directory.

We were determined to help Len and Nick be high sellers….

Each year we were known and razzed for selling so many subs….

It was an invitation to engage in our big brother’s world….

Today I am committed to raise money for my big brother’s memorial fund…

We are all walking in The Grand Rapids River Bank Run on May 11 in Len’s memory….

I am not going through a directory or eagerly making calls…

But I am extending an invitation to participate in keeping Len’s memory alive by sponsoring us on our walk (or run)

If you are willing to contribute, please follow the link below and learn how your gift will be used to bless the children at God’s Littlest Angels in Haiti….

Len Borgdorff Memorial Fund

I would rather be selling subs…..

Turn off the TV….

I enjoy having the TV on…

I often watch the news a couple different times in a day….

But tonight I felt compelled to turn off the TV and to pray….

The tragedy at the Boston Marathon feels intense….

The idea that there may be more bombs feels haunting….

The warning to stay inside and away from crowds feels full of uncertainty….

I can feel my anxiety rising as I think about all that unfolded today…

The images, the sound, the sirens….

I can’t imagine being there or knowing it was happening in my own city….

I am reminded that things like this happen every day…

I heard them reference often how the scene resembled a war zone….

And so I am reminded how easy it is to get lost in the media reports, the updates, the anxiety and the fear…

I found tonight it was better for me to turn off the TV…..

And to pray….

 

 

 

 

 

Time keeps passing….

clock17 weeks….

119 days ago….

Sometimes it feels like not that long ago….

Other times it feels like a life time ago…..

And yet time keeps passing….

First there was the call from Marcia saying he was gone…

Then the first few hours….

Then the first few days….

Then the first week before the funeral….

And time keeps passing….

There was Olivia’s 16th birthday, Noah’s hospitalization, Sonta’s new glasses and hair style and Jean Marc’s basketball season….

There is Marcia’s 40th birthday coming up….and oh, how he loved to celebrate his wife….

There have been so many things to tell him, so many moments of wanting to call or to text…..

But time keeps passing….

It is not that life is always dismal when you are grieving….

You are just aware in a very different way of presence and absence….

Time keeps passing…it does not matter if we are counting the days of our own life or the days since we have lost someone we love….

Time keeps passing, that is a fact, an odd reality….

Make the most of the time you are given….

Say what needs to be said…

Live intentionally, love generously, and communicate often!

National Siblings Day….

I do wonder who creates these days but I kind of like this one….

I have always enjoyed my siblings (well, most of the time), and thought we would all grow old together….

I often have tried to envision how we would connect when we are all retired and what our visits would be like…

2012-08-06As many of you know, my oldest brother died December 23, 2012. I came to realize that all I dreamed of would not unfold the way I hoped….

Life is different now and I am more aware of my love for Nick, Arlene, and Suzi in the here and now….

We have journeyed a difficult road together and I am thankful for each of them…

For the way we grew up together and the way we live as adults together….

For the ways we laugh and cry together, for what we share when we live honestly together and for the fun we share when we just enjoy a very funny moment together. I love how we write poems, tell jokes, play pool or enjoy a happy hour…

I want to encourage anyone reading this to take the time each day to be in relationship with those you love and hold dear to your heart. Don’t let technology replace the phone, don’t let busy lives keep you from visiting. We have learned that life can change very quickly and so love deeply today….

Thankful for Len, Nick, Arlene and Suzi….I am thankful God picked them to be my siblings!

Remembering…

Last night some very dear friends called to see if I was home….

They came by with a beautiful small gift to honor Len’s life…

Their attached note read:

Please accept this small gift in remembrance of Len. Sunshine

We knew Len all of his life and enjoyed his company often.

We shared your love for Len and admired his unique personality.

He clearly had a gift to make all around him feel accepted and at ease.

Much Love,

Sue and Bill

I was reminded how tender my heart is and how kind it feels to remember Len together…..

I am thankful for people in my life who remember with me….

I want to encourage you to remember those who have died when speaking to their friends or family….

Remember them by name and speak of the shared laughter, the joy, fun, the memories…

Remember that tears shed while remembering are often good and don’t let them stop the remembering…

Remembering is a very kind thing to offer….

 

Flowers…

My friend came to see my house the other day and she brought me tulips….

I was surprised how special I felt to receive flowers. As a single woman, I don’t get them often. Although I know many married women that could say the same! 🙂

tulipsAnd so I trimmed the stems and set them in the vase….they are beautiful tulips!

But what has surprised me even more is how nice it is to come home to fresh flowers…

Their is something about them that just make my heart feel full….

And so today, I encourage you to either bring some flowers to someone or go and pick out some of your favorites….

Treat yourself to something full of beauty and life…

Thank you Susan for bringing me such a beautiful gift….

 

A good day….

Today was a good day….

I often find myself wondering at the start of the day if at the end of a day, I will say it was a good day…

Most days are, but often for many different reasons….

So what made today a good day?

I had two sleep over guests last night so I awoke to young voices and smiling faces. That was a sweet moment….

My kitchen island was full at breakfast since three more came by for cinnamon rolls. Feeding a 21, 19, 9, 6 and 3-year-old breakfast makes for a delightful breakfast….

We headed out to go bowling and I am not sure when my nieces and nephews got good, but I smiled in disbelief that two of the three beat me. Not being beat by my 3-year-old niece bowlingreally is a funny thing to be grateful for….

Tax season is almost over, and my brother-in-law owns Eastown Financial, so to celebrate today with their kids, I suggested we make our annual trip to Chuck E Cheese after bowling. It is fun to see the kids run from game to game and enjoy an hour of play time on crazy games for goofy tickets. Hearing my 9-year-old nephew declare that although he had fun, he does realize now that all the prizes are really just junk. It made me smile at how he is growing up…..

I then came home and enjoyed some quiet time, cleaned up my kitchen and played fetch with Dutch. It is always fun to have people in my home and I love the peace of being home alone as well. Quiet moments add goodness to my good day….

Just before I was headed out to a wine tasting fundraiser, I learned of my niece’s new forearm tattoo. I have posted a picture of it…..on this one, I am pretty confident my brother  is smiling down on his girl! ♥ It is his writing, his words and his desire for her to be and become her own person….the tears that came with the text and picture allowed for my heart to remember and ache, and that is ok and feels honoring on a good day….liv tattoo

And then some wine tasting and fun connecting, some sorting and organizing at home, two more trips to the park with Dutch, and then my aunt joining me in the continued adventure of finding a new space for everything in my home….

And at the end of this day, I have my windows open and I marvel at the smell of spring in the rain that is lightly falling….

It was a good day because it included joy, sorrow, laughter, tears, encouragement, diversity, productivity, friends and family….

It was a good day because of all it held….