As I wrap up today (Tuesday night)
I am filled with a deep sense of gratitude for all this day has held. I am writing from a retreat center in Castricum Netherlands. That in itself is delightful but to be surrounded by almost my complete family is even better.
As I have written about before, my parents both immigrated and had a strong desire to share their story with their grandchildren. As a high schooler me and my siblings returned with my parents and we still have such good memories of that trip. I am so grateful to be back again to hear the stories again, to understand even more and to share in the experience more fully.
Suzi found a great place for us all to stay. It is a beautiful retreat center and has such comfortable spaces. I will write more about the rooms and spaces in the coming days, but as we all gathered for dinner around the table, it just felt so right.
My Dad suggested we all meet each morning in the Chapel for morning devotions. I love how the kids are all so comfortable with that. I am looking forward to that time each morning. It will be simple and it will include a song and a few words, but it will honor the Faith that we share and God’s faithfulness in all of our journeys.
My Dad and Mom and Aunt Dot have spent much time creating options for our days. We will travel to a variety of places and the week will move quickly. The kids are eager to hear the stories and experience this new land together. Suzi and Andy, Peter, Isaiah and Johanna and I spent a few days in Germany before we arrived today and Suzi and i spoke a bit about the European influence that shaped us. I love how things feel familiar and comfortable here. I can say the same about my life with my Canadian family. I am so aware and grateful for my Dutch – Canadian – American life and all it has taught me.
So tonight as we all gathered I was aware that there is so much joy when everyone is together. It is not a giddy type of joy but a deep sense of gratitude. The kids all enjoy being together and are quickly at home with one another. Their is no age separation for any of us. From 7 to 76, everyone spends time sharing with each other. There was a comfortableness in the room that I was very aware of and it was lovely to all have traveled from different places today and spend the evening enjoying one another.
I hope to write often while I am here. There will be stories to tell and document for our family story ~ and that is clearly my purpose for blogging. Our family is living our story and I am committed to documenting it in consistent and creative fashion so it will be able to be shared for many years to come.
Stay tuned for more Netherlands adventures.