My Family’s story….

Why do I blog….

I blog because my family has a story.

I have a story…

Each of us have our own story…

And together we have a story….

Each year I print my blogs and I save them in a hard cover book…

I enjoy looking back and remembering the places we have been.

When I take time to reflect I see God’s grace and goodness and I see the heartache and sorrow. But through it all I see how our story unfolds down twisted paths and deep valleys and into beautiful spaces where we share life.

Our story is unique to us as yours is unique to your family. I want to be a writer and lover of story. I want to document the journey of our family so that in years ahead, when I am much older and my nieces and nephews are parents and grandparents, there will be a place to look back and remember, a space to reflect on all our family story holds.

And so today I share the following that Olivia wrote because I want to document this in our family story. It speaks of honesty, grief, sorrow and healing. It speaks about how life does go on and yet hearts ache. It speaks of love, laughter, family, courage and life.

Len camping“Perhaps, as those who do not turn to God in petty trials will have no habit or such to resort to help them when they great trials come, so those who have not learned to ask Him for childish things will have less readiness to ask Him for great ones. We must not be too high-minded. I fancy we may sometimes be deterred from small prayers by a sense of our own dignity rather than of God’s.” C.S. Lewis

Today marks two years without ya and wow.. since you’ve been gone, I have experienced by far the lowest days I’ve ever lived through, sometimes I never even knew I was capable of being so impossibly broken. There were a lot of bad days, days where I was a bitch, and a lot of bad nights, nights when I felt alone. There was a lot of stuff that went on, you missed my junior year of basketball then soccer but looks like youre gonna miss my senior year too (lol duh) but it’s not all bad because now I have someone’s name to write on my cleats, someone to play for, someone to keep in mind when the ref makes a bad call and I want to talk back. I don’t actually really think about you that often during the game, I don’t think about anyone really, but I always think of you during the national anthem. You were the man and I miss you. I miss you today and tomorrow and yesterday. I miss your dad jokes and your regularly bad breath. I miss your presence in the house, just having a male around. But I’m happy, dad. God has had our family’s back through the whole lot of this. It hasn’t been an easy two years but realistically, we have a house full of hormones, high school and homework- it could have gone wrong had you been here or not. I’m really glad you introduced me to a Father who would take care of me even once you left. I hope they throw you a “you’ve been here for 2 years!!!” party in Heaven and they serve lasagna and some soup with 18 different spices in it. We’ll probably just have pizza tonight. But dad, I’m happy with pizza.

Comfort and Joy….

I wonder if you have ever experienced a life changing event?

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December 23, 2012 my oldest brother was killed in a car accident.
I remember posting that night that our hearts were shattered….
It was sudden, it was shocking, it came without warning. I can remember that night with vivid memory.

We are approaching the two year anniversary of Len’s death. and I am grateful that I do not live in the vivid memory of that night anymore. I do live with a daily awareness of his absence and a subtle ache in my gut when I stop to remember. During the last two years, I stand in awe that my heart can hold so many feelings. Len’s absence is always with me in small ways. And as I hold the ache and the sorrow, my heart can also hold deep peace, contentedness, empathy and the amazing gifts of comfort and joy.

There is joy in the life that surrounds me in my family. Each of my nieces and nephews brings joy to my heart. In all I share with my siblings and their spouses, in time spent with my parents and Aunt Dot. In the poems we write with the gifts and in the gathering of a family that has journeyed through deep sadness and enjoys time together with great joy. It is definitely a season of comfort and joy.

842898-1My friend came to visit this week and brought me a tea cup. It says comfort and joy. I knew as soon as i read the words, that she was aware that in my heart I long for both this Christmas season. I believe this is a mug that will sit out all year long. For my heart not only longs for comfort and ioy at Christmas, but every day of the year.

Perhaps my niece Olivia says it best in her entry to our family newsletter, Treasured Ties. Such a good reminder that our need for comfort is real, but the life that is before us is full. And Len would want us to live it to the fullest.

Christmas is coming and I know some people reading this want to forget the memory ofLBorgdorff family my dad’s death, the memory that’s always in the back of their minds when they think of our family. He will be missed December 23rd and December 25th and also a random day in July. But we are not defined by what we are missing, we are not the family without a dad on Christmas, we are the Borgdorffs, we are together, we are loud, we are a team. We are one team, honoring the Captain we lost at sea, but never fearing the waters ahead of us because our Captain left the best maps behind to guide us. A team is not about being whole, or about never losing a game. Being a team is about being together and together is what we are. And if we are together, the game has already been won.

Signing off, in place of the notorious Leonard Hugh,
~ Olivia Borgdorff

The purpose of life….

I am often drawn to quotes like this one. When something starts with “the purpose of life is….”, I can’t help but be curious about what follows.

I believe Mr Emerson is right on here. I don’t believe life should be void of happiness, but often when i feel as if my life is having purpose, I wouldn’t say that happiness fills my soul.

But the next part of this quote is loaded with invitation. If it isn’t to be happy, “….it is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”

I want to carry this with me….

to be useful

to be honorable

to be compassionate

to have it make a difference

to live and live well…..

I know I have spaces every day to carry this out….

It is a choice and often will require more energy than the simple pursuit of happiness…..

It is my hope, prayer and bold intention to live a life with purpose.

Will you join me?

The joy of learning….

I hope everyone can recall a time when you have enjoyed the company of a Kindergartner. IMG_4320

I am a very lucky aunt who is enjoying many hours with my niece Johanna. Johanna has always been a curious and thoughtful child, but in the last few months, her world is taking off with all she is learning in school. IMG_3486

Tonight as we drove she asked me if I knew what empathy meant. With great curiosity I played dumb and said I did not know that word. She went on to tell me that if I was feeling sad then she would have empathy and feel sad with me, even if she wasn’t really sad. I am fascinated at how young this can be taught and understood. She told me about Mr Bultsema and Mrs Farrar-Perkins teaching them about empathy. I said a prayer of thanks for Living Stones academy  and how they nurture the minds AND hearts of my niece and nephews.

A very common game we play when we are together is spelling. She asks me to give her words and she sounds them out and spells them. I sometimes wish she would stay five forever as I hear her sound out each letter. mmmm–oooo—ooooo–nnnnnnnn. Then we count by 5’s and then practice math. There is something incredible about a child’s ability to learn and absorb concepts that will lay a foundation for their continued learning with every year ahead.

IMG_4274Spending time with Johanna has inspired me to be more aware of what I am learning. I want to be a life long learner. I want to be aware of the spaces in any given day when I recognize there is learning opportunities at hand. I recognize at 45 it may not be the same exciting academic learning that comes with spelling and understanding of words and their meanings. But perhaps there are more opportunities than I recognize and embrace. I also recognize that Johanna has capacity to learn because she is nurtured, loved, fed, watered, rested and lives in a world where she is delighted in, cherished and able to be exactly what she is, a five year old girl. And I recognize that there are learningchildren who are well cared for and struggle to learn. My delight in Johanna and all she is learning is not in any way implying that learning is easy for everyone.

I hope that you care for yourself in your adult world in a similar fashion. I hope you (and I) will tend to our basic needs for nutrition, hydration, rest, play, stress management, exercise, laughter and learning in a way that offers us a healthy life balance. And so, be curious and remember that perhaps one of the greatest tragedies in life is if we believe there is nothing more to learn.

Make yourself at home….

whati lovemostI do not consider myself an entertainer nor do I consider myself a fancy cook….

But I have learned that my heart feels happy and my soul feels satisfied when I open my home up.

It doesn’t matter much to me if the bodies that fill my home are nieces and nephews, siblings, parents, friends or even strangers, I love to share my space.

After my remodel I had to consider what it would look like to open up my space and be hospitable.

I grocery shop a bit differently. I have beverage options that appeal to a wide range of ages and preferences.

I am not a coffee drinker but I ensure I keep good coffee options in my house.

I am not a wine drinker, but my cupboard offers many varieties…

I used to be a diet coke drinker but I have learned that Isaiah prefers Pepsi, Sonta likes red pop, Anne likes Orange Juice and Liv likes bagels with strawberry cream cheese. I have crackers and cheese, a meat stick, popcorn, Oreos’s cashews and peanuts, ice cream and sweet treats ready to serve…..

I have found that good deck chairs lend to lengthy visits in the summer and am working on designing some fun pub tables for construction this coming Spring.

rubberduckiesAnd I have learned that a good smelling candle can make space feel so inviting and a variety of bubble bath and bath salts are a great option for overnight guests. I must also admit that I have seen more smiles since these guys joined my bathroom decor.

And this winter I have thought of a new and fun idea. I love my mud room with the big hooks that invites my guests to leave their coats and boots before entering into the kitchen. And so, this now greets my guests.. It just seems that on a winter day it is nice to have a pair of slippers to choose. I have a variety of sizes and slippers for men and women, boys and girls. IMG_0437

And so, in the quiet of this night, as I consider my week and the fun that was experienced in my home this week, I am grateful for they many who share my space. I want you to know how much I enjoy your presence in my home. I want you to know how the little things have been considered with you in mind.

I wonder what are the special touches in your home that make your home a comfortable space to share with others? Be creative and have fun creating space to share.

 

 

 

 

And it was perfect….

I bought my house in August of 2003 and it was perfect…..till it wasn’t.

I remember the first days noticing that I could see my neighbors get their milk from their fridge. There was so little privacy, so I added a fence.

And it was perfect….till it wasn’t

I remember the first winter and the heat bills and the drafts, so I started to replaced windows

And it was perfect….till it wasn’t

I remember the very hot summer and realizing that soon the furnace would surely go out as well. So I upgraded to a new furnace with air.

And it was perfect till it wasn’t

And I began to dream of counter space replacing my pedestal sink and the remodel project became significant and changed the layout of my main floor

And it was perfect till it wasn’t

And then my wood wall was so dark and I knew white would give the living room a cozy feel….

And it was perfect till it wasn’t

I love creating home space that is warm and cozy when I am home alone and functional and comfortable for family dinners, when I have a crowd over or host a work party or open house.

I long to be creative and create changes that enhance the space I call home and I strive to be content. I don’t want to continue finding more to change and I love the process of creating change. And so I live in the tension and reality of and it was perfect till it wasn’t….

I wonder where you find this theme in your life. Is it in your relationships, your home, your wardrobe?

Where do you long for change and desire to be settled….

I am not sure this will ever change in me, but I do find it helpful to name it and claim it and understand this within myself. I want to continue to strive for a deep sense of peace and contentment, recognizing that change can be good and bring growth.

I have a hunch I am not alone and somehow that is comforting.

 

 

 

Celebration….

IMG_4762 I have learned over the years the value of celebration. I believe there are reasons to celebrate often and have learned that to celebrate takes some willingness to plan, prepare, risk, think outside the box and communicate appreciation in creative and fun ways.

cel·e·brateIMG_0024_2

verb \ˈse-lə-ˌbrāt\

: to do something special or enjoyable for an important event, occasion, holiday, etc.

: to praise (someone or something) : to say that (someone or something) is great or important

I am grateful to have created an office environment where celebration is common. We have been known to celebrate birthdays, half way parties at 20 weeks of pregnancy, engagements and weddings, births and significant milestones. We celebrate caregivers who are faithful and sunny days. We celebrate the excitement of the first snow and delight in the melting of the last snow. We IMG_4747celebrate routine and adventure, we celebrate those who say YES to work shifts and we celebrate those who let their yes be yes and their no be no, we celebrate people of all ages!

Downton Abbey partyWhat i have learned is that sometimes just bringing a Bigby coffee (one a cold day) or a McDonald Mc Flurry (on a warm day) or choosing to close the office a bit early celebrating extra time with family or deciding to conduct business at a friends wonderful pool (celebrating the beauty of Michigan summer days) or celebrating birthdays with fun themes (Downton Abbey) or spelling out happy birthday on tennis balls makes a person feel loved and celebrated.

I used to think celebration felt like it was a lot of work but as I have practiced I have learned that celebration can be created when someone feels seen, heard, loved and delighted in.. We recently chose to write letters of love and affirmation instead of gifts for Janet. I believe this celebrated her better than any gift would have. Words written or spoken can be such a beautiful mark of celebration.

I wonder how you celebrate.

I wonder when you have been celebrated.

I hope that you will be a trailblazer in your world of celebration. Think about how you can risk, practice and model to others that celebration is a value you hold. Celebrating doesn’t always cost money or need to be a big deal. Maybe it is a shared cup of tea because you know someone studied hard for a test. Celebrate their commitment to do well. Maybe you know someone who is working hard to live a healthy life style. Celebrate their commitment by sharing words of support. Maybe you know someone who works long hours to provide for the needs around them, invite them to lunch at your house and serve them as they put their feet up and rest, celebrating their strength.

I love celebration…..FullSizeRender-1

I love that I have people in my day-to-day to celebrate with….

I love that I have received the gift of being celebrated and offered the gift of celebrating someone else.

Celebration is a beautiful life-giving thing!