Whats next….

siblings-1I love to hear the stories of the childhood experiences of my parents. beppe birthday pic-1

They experienced huge life changes in their early lives as both of their families immigrated from the Netherlands. From their shared bath water to Uncle Lieuwe coming by for their first car ride. From living with the sounds of war surrounding their home to working in milk delivery at a young age, bringing glass milk bottles into homes and placing them in the fridge when homeowners were not at home. Life was different back then and they have experienced dramatic life changes over their 70+ years. I am sure there were many times where they uttered or wondered, What is next?

Wedding_J&PAnd then these two young adults met and fell in love and married and started a family. A girl from New old family picsJersey and a Canadian fellow who was starting seminary. They began a family and established in Grand Rapids and they lived in the neighborhood where racial tensions were high and they called their parents every Sunday and they had a TV in their living room and over time, times changed. And I am sure there were many times where they (or their parents) uttered or wondered, What is next?

20110824202450919_0001.tifAnd over time their five children grew and became more independent and lived like normal teenagers and were introduced to computers and printers and one day their dad came home with a phone in a bag that could be used while in the car and times were changing and the days of shared bath water seemed long ago and the kids were excited about all the future held and I would guess there were days when the parents may have uttered or wondered, What is next?

RK Big familyAnd time passed and family numbers increased and computers became laptops and tablets and wireless became real, seeing someone on the phone no longer was unheard of and cars had back up cameras and blue tooth and children had cell phones and communication was feasible around the world. And it was hard to imagine what could be next…..

And then yesterday I was watching TV and there was a news clip on the upcoming Auto Show. There was a man from the Netherlands talking about the new cars. You could sit in them and have a demo and the focus of this vehicle was the pull down table where the driver could place the lap top or eat a meal or read a book. Because this car had the new feature of driving itself.

I shuddered and stopped in my tracks. I began to wonder why we would go to this extreme and how could it be beneficial to our world to have self driving cars and drivers who could multitask to that degree. Something in t does not feel right to me. And I began to consider the thoughts of my Oma and Opa and my Pake and Beppe and even the thoughts of my parents perhaps, when they saw the changes of our world and uttered why and what is next. And I am grateful that they are people who embraced change even when they wondered and their resistance did not keep them from pursuing new things. And so I turned off the TV and began to wonder about my own life in the coming 30 to 40 years and wonder what I will see. I can imagine there will be more than one more time when I will utter or wondered, What is next?

It is my hope I will ebb and flow and grow and change with an abundance of grace as I stand in awe and wonder of what is next!


Food for the journey….

communionThis past Sunday in Church we had communion. I often pray that I will experience deeply and powerfully each time I participate. Because I have grown up in the Christian Reformed Church, I have had the privilege of taking communion since I was 16.

And so this Sunday felt similar to many others. I wasn’t feeling much and yet I was eagerly anticipating what I might experience in this communion experience. As our pastor read the words to prepare our hearts, she ended with the words, “food for the journey.”

I felt the words reach deeply to my soul….

It was as if the words resonated in my heart and landed as if they fit….

The journey….

The new year…

All my heart longs for and hopes for…

Food for the journey….

The bread and the cup offered for me…

It is my hope this year that I will continue to grow and nurture my faith so that I can journey the path before me with strength and tenderness, embracing all that God has for me. I am keenly aware that there will be many good and sweet moments and there will likely be days where the valley feels deep or the food for the journey does not feel sufficient. I want to anchor my soul in what I know to be true….

I am grateful that I am offered food for the journey….

I am grateful!

Olivia turns 18….

20110831194018548_0005Happy birthday to you. I Woke up with a party in my heart celebrating you. Delighted with who are and excited to continue to marvel at who you will become. I remember the days of first meeting you and loving everything about you. That has never not changed over 18 years and I continue to enjoy any moments we can spend together.

There is something about Olivia that is magnetic….

It could be her eyes, her smile, her  quick wit, her honesty, her giggle, vulnerability or her strength.

There is something about this girl that lets you know she is the real deal….

When I think about Olivia I think of commitment, tenacity, values, faith, humor, reading, inspiration, love, loyalty and family. IMG_0205

Olivia, I pray for you every day and ask God to continue to hold you close, love you deep and lead you down paths of great adventure. I pray that he will comfort you when your sad and whisper loudly to remind you of your beauty, value and worth. You have learned well in these last years that the storm can be strong but that Hope anchors your soul….

I am proud of who you are and who you are becoming.

I am proud of your ever-growing faith and how you stand for it and creatively share it.

I am proud of your work ethic and your willingness to give something your all!

I love you Livi lou and always remember you hold a special place in my heart!


Ode to Dot…

IMG_3902Today is Aunt Dot’s birthday…

It doesn’t matter how old she is, but we are so very thankful for every year she has been in our lives.

Aunt Dot is my Mom’s youngest sister and has always held a special spot in our family and hearts.

She is my aunt, my neighbor, my travel partner, my friend….

One of our family traditions is to present your Christmas gift each year with a poem. I am not sure what we have come to love more ~ the gifts or the poems.

And so today, on Aunt Dot’s birthday, I want to share the poem that Suzi wrote and presented to her a few weeks ago. It sums up our love and appreciation for Aunt Dot in a wonderful way! Happy Birthday Aunt Dot. I love you very much and look forward to many more years of ordinary moments, great adventures and experiencing all life brings to us!

Ode to Dot

We are a family blessed with so much

in ways most families are not

Many have parents and siblings and cousins

but only we have a Tante Beppe Aunt Sister Dot.


What have we done to deserve such treasure?

How could we earn such a gift?

To have one who quietly takes in our humor

and is always the first a finger to lift.


Who reassured our parents when

their children’s choices were distressing;

and rocked our babies when

their crying was depressing.


I don’t know how families survive without her

We certainly would and could not

We would be the richest family in the world

if we could bottle up the recipe for make your-own-Dot.


So how do you honor a person so special?

What kind of gift would be perfect and true?

This was the monumental challenge before me,

until Beppe Dot herself suggested what to do.


The first gift is for her soul, in the form of books

to be given to Living Stones.

The second for her body in the form of soup

to warm her heart and strengthen her bones.


Merry Christmas, Beppe Dot,

Please know we hold you dear.

And wish you joy and peace and health

today and through the year.