Seasons of change…

I wrote the title with confidence and knew I wanted to write about Change as this last day of 2017 comes to a close. And yet, I have stared at a blank page for quite some time. What is it that I want to say…

I think I want to put words to what has become clear to me in 2017.

In 2017 I began to realize that friendships change.

Good friendships where stories have been shared and held, where the journey has felt sweet and secure and in some space of my heart, where I believed that the friendships would last until we were all old, well, those bonds, they change.

seaonsofchange.jpgIn 2017 I began to embrace the reality of seasons of friendships.

Really good and sweet friendships may only be for a season.

There was a ministry that had been a big part of my life since my mid 20’s. During those 20+ years, I came to know many beautiful friends. As the ministry has changed, the friendships have changed. It has been a challenging and difficult part of my 2017. There may not be an apparent reason, a misunderstanding or an argument that ends a season of friendship, but I began to embrace that relationships shift over time.

When I began to embrace that friendships shift, at no fault of one or the other, I freed myself from wondering where I failed or where I have been failed. Sometimes the season ends and it is good to hold all that was shared with deep love and respect and bless the season that was.

I believe the idea of holding all that was shared with deep love and respect and bless the season that was extends beyond my experiences with changing friendships in 2017. Is there something you have also experienced as changing or fleeting in 2017? Does some change in your life feel odd or mysterious? I invite you to consider blessing the transition and free yourself from trying to figure it out. Create space for something new in your heart.

I am aware that some relationships require conversation and reconciliation and those things are a priority for sure. But this change of which I am experiencing feels different than conflict. It feels like the ebb and flow of life and the willingness to allow change to happen. I invite you to trust that as the season changes, what you have experienced and shared (and lost in some sense)can remain as good and what is to come can be anticipated with hope.

I am looking forward to a year that will invite me to grow, love, forgive, laugh, weep, celebrate, rest, stretch, work, serve, worship and change with the seasons that are sure to unfold. I hope that your year will also hold much goodness and invitation to the same. I hope you too will find God to be in the spaces of change that feel mysterious and difficult, and in the struggle, you will choose to bless all that is good!

Happy New Year!

Capturing sweet moments…

FullSizeRender-1Tonight I celebrated Christmas with my sister and brother in law and their family. It is a tradition and always a lovely time. This year this celebration is at the end of the list, and there are no more gifts under the tree. There is a twinge of sadness for me that Christmas 2017 has come to a close, and there is also a wave of relief. IMG_2338

This Christmas has been a good year of sweet moments. We have traditions that have continued including poem writing with our gifts, Christmas clues (see earlier blog) and an abundance of photos. We had our last family picture taken

RK Big family2 months before Len died in a car accident. Since then, I must say, I value photos and capturing the joy and relationships we share. Are you remembering to capture your sweet moments every once in a while? Are you cherishing the chaos of the holidays and the quiet moments you have with those you love?

IMG_2279As this Christmas season comes to a close and we move into a new year, remember to hold those you love close and keep short accounts. Live honestly and share your joys, your delight, your laughter, your struggles, heartache, and tears with one another.

May the days after Christmas and each day in 2018, hold as much joy and goodness as Christmas Day itself. Let us carry the kindness, generosity, and goodness of the season into every day forward.



A Sacred Ache…

I am really enjoying writing again, and I so appreciate the feedback I receive from those of you who take time to read. I believe that the week between Christmas and New Years may always lean towards grief, loss, and life as a way to honor Len and his story.

Tonight, I read a comment that settled deep into the peaceful place in my heart.

Thoughts of you all during this time of remembering Len. No matter how life goes on after the death of someone you dearly love, there always remains a “sacred ache” in your heart, and that is a good thing-remember with love!!

lovenadlossI know that my friend Rosemary shares those words because she also has a sacred ache. And as I read her words, I nodded in agreement, yes, a sacred ache is a good thing!

Do you also have a sacred ache?

The reason the ache is present could be due to the death of someone or others things as well. There may be death by illness, accident, miscarriage, old age, or so many other causes. Perhaps it is not death, but a loss of a different kind. Maybe it is unmet longings or a broken relationship or the impact of dementia in someone you love.

There is something about a sacred ache that feels honoring and honest. I like that combination, naming what is true in a way that does not provoke despair.

I invite you to consider your sacred ache and give yourself space to honor the loss and the love!



to be certain of the dawn…

December 27, 2012, I posted this on Facebook:

“This is the task: In the darkest night to be certain of the dawn, certain of the power to turn a curse into a blessing, agony into a song.” (Rabbi Heschel)

The-Break-of-Dawn.jpegI am sure that I read it very differently today than when I posted it 5 years ago. Five years ago we were a few days past learning my brother had died in a car accident and awaiting his visitation and funeral on December 29, 30 and 31. I am sure in those days I wondered about the dawn, the blessing and the song.

I wonder where your heart is as you read this today, December 27, 2017.

What words resonate in your heart: is it the darkest night that feels greater than life or perhaps the certainty of the Dawn? Do you believe deep within you of the power to turn that curse into a blessing? I wonder if you can tell a story about the deep pain of agony that was transformed in some mysterious way and made room for a song?

I am acutely aware of death and loss, especially during the holidays. This is not only because of Len’s passing but also because this time of year a deep ache of loss feels oddly prevalent in many people’s lives.

Tonight, as I reflect on this quote, I want you to know if you are experiencing a dark night, you are not alone. It is my hope you will feel a presence in the darkness. Presence of those who love you, support you and the presence of a loving God who cares.

If you are most aware of the certainty of the Dawn during these days, I am grateful for the light and the promise that comes with the fresh start in the dawn of each new day. I hope that you will breathe deeply and inhale the goodness of the Dawn.

If the curse feels larger or the blessing is budding, if the agony is rooted in your gut or if the song is being composed…cling to hope my friends. I am grateful for dawn, blessing, and song today!

Love your neighbor…

I couldn’t wait to get home and stay home tonight. It is bitter cold, and it feels like the best place to be. As I sit down by the fireplace, my thoughts keep wandering to those who have no place to call home. I know the shelters are full and there are people still sleeping under bridges. I know some people have housing but don’t have money to get their heat turned on. I know there are kids without proper winter clothing in this bitter cold, and not just kids but adults without hats and mittens and a warm winter coat. I find myself disrupted in my spirit tonight about how I am able to enjoy an abundance of warmth and someone else shivers through the night tonight.

I was with a friend the other night, and we had just dropped off some Christmas gifts for a family. We were discussing why we would help someone only at Christmas if their needs are year round? We began to consider all the resources that are in our community and dreaming about what it would look like for cities to have a sponsor a family program. Through that program, we could share the wealth we are blessed with and bring relationship, care, kindness, warmth, and food along with a wide array of other things. I was energized by the moments in the car on Christmas Eve, as the snow fell gently around us, dreaming of how we can all step up and love our neighbor in new and consistent ways in 2018.

lovethyneighbor.jpgI invite you to consider how your life would be different if you committed to loving your neighbor in the coming year. I am not sure who your neighbor would be, but I would guess there might be someone who comes to mind.

Consider committing to one individual or family and offering to walk alongside them in the coming year, supporting and encouraging, praying for them and sharing in friendship, experiences, and resources. Learn from one another, laugh with each other, and journey together during hard seasons and good seasons.

I believe that if we dare to risk, we can bring love, laughter, and hope to places we never imagined, and deep within our own hearts, we will also feel love, laughter, and hope multiply!

Hope Anchors my Soul…

I often say this throughout the year…

When I face difficult spaces in my heart, in my family, in my Church, in my community, and in my world. I will often cling to this truth. That Hope anchors my soul.

As I sat in church this morning,

mangerI was reminded that Hope was born in a manger.

I was reminded that Hope came to us in the form of a baby.

I was reminded that Hope came through a young girl and her new husband.

I was reminded that Hope came for me, for us, for our world.

Today I celebrate Hope.

Hope often comes to me in a song, a prayer, a word from a friend, in kindness from a stranger, inhopeanchorsmysoul.jpg moments where I see God’s incredible provision, in my time spent with my parents and Aunt Dot, my siblings, my co-workers, the clients we serve, my nieces and nephews or even in time spent with my dear dog Dutch. I am aware that Hope surrounds me when I choose to see it. Jesus was born to offer me hope, and that is why Hope anchors my soul!

Merry Christmas friends. May we never forget the gift of Hope, born into a broken world for broken people.


Does time heal…


5 years ago tonight at this time we were arriving at the home of my brother and sister in law. The ride from Grand Rapids to Bellville was excruciatingly painful as we had just learned that Len had been killed in a car accident. I remember posting on Facebook the next morning:

Our hearts are shattered

Leonard Hugh Borgdorff

1964 — 2012

It was hard to see beyond those first hours, days, weeks, even months…

And to think we are now at years!

Five years! Life has changed and we still miss Len so. There are Len voids in our hearts and lives that will never be filled in the same way again. And God is present in those tender spaces in kind and gentle ways.

There are spaces we never could have imagined finding joy again, and I can assure you joy has returned. Joy does not cancel out sorrow, but joy does live in the midst of sorrow. We are a family that can testify to that.

We have shared a memory dinner this weekend and we have celebrated Christmas. We have shared tender moments and gentle tears and we have laughed together. We have come to understand that grief comes in different ways for each of us and we have learned to stand with one another and embrace whenever possible so we can ensure that when together, no one grieves alone.

I am not sure I like the word heal when I think of grief. It is true that our hearts were shattered that night five years ago, but there were not sick. I believe that time has allowed us, individually and as a family, to adjust to life in the absence of a man we adored, in different ways and for a variety of reasons. Time is a gift and we as a family remain grateful for the presence Len had in our lives. For his humor, his work ethic, his sense of adventure and risk-taking, and his deep love and loyalty to family. Len’s life enriched ours as a son and brother and expanded our family in his role as a husband and father. We have come to embrace that even in Len’s death, in every day we are given, Len is close to our hearts and never forgotten. As written in his obituary: Len was deeply loved, sincerely liked, truly unique and will never be forgotten

itiswellwithmysoulWriting a poem with your gift presentation has been a tradition in our family over the years. Len loved poem writing and it was rare (if ever) was he able to present his poem without endless laughter.

I will never forget my last conversations with Len. He was driving home from North Carolina to Bellville and I spoke with him 2  times that Sunday afternoon. He was working on his poem and couldn’t write it because he was driving. He was preparing for Christmas together and it was fun to anticipate the upcoming holidays. I was on my way to the Kroc Centr and I said I would call him after my workout. Len always ended the conversations with Love you, Bye. And my response on that Sunday afternoon was Love you too bye. I left him a message after my workout without giving it a second thought.

Oh, how life changed 5 years ago today and we can fully claim Psalm 100:5, For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Till we meet again brother…




The beating of a tender heart

This morning i am aware of the beating of my tender heart. I am home from my early morning workout on a day off and am so grateful that even when I do not have to go to work, I choose to get up and be intentional. Some of it is motivated by my commitment to live this year, in honor of my brother Len’s life. He died 5 years ago tomorrow at age 48 and I am now 48. I want to live with intention and purpose. Some of that is what motivates me to get up at 4 am this morning. While I worked out i could feel the beating of my tender heart.

Last night and this morning I drove past accident scenes that looked bad. The amount of strobe lights in the darkness felt jarring to my tender heart. I can’t help but wonder what the scene was like at Len’s accident and yet, i am grateful that I do not have a picture of that memory. With his accident happening out of state, none of us were at the scene. And as Iearned that there had been fatalities in both of these local accidents last night and this morning, I was grateful for the five years of time which has allowed our hearts to go from broken to tender. I am aware that my senses feel hyper aware of those people, the ones i do not even know, who were alerted to a loss of a loved one, as they were anticipating such joy during the coming days and just like that, it has turned to incomprehensible grief.

And so as we gather tonight for our memory dinner. It is not a time of rehashing grief, but a time of being together and laughing and remembering, sorrowing and celebrating, During the week following Len’s death, between the 23rd of December and New Years Eve day, the day of the funeral, we had time to sort through Len’s files and papers and we found this in his funeral file: The funeral of an “old man”is not a time for sorrow. Instead rejoice in the varied color of my life and in the tremendous variety and texture of my family. Tonight we will do that, we will choose to rejoice in the brilliant colors of his life and the beautiful color and rich textures of his family. My heart is tender!

And so, in our faith we are aware that God’s protection and provision are assured, even when it is in ways we may never fully understand or embrace. This weekend, for everyone who is aware of their tender heart, I want to send you some extra love, grace and peace. Be kind to yourself and to each other and share and receive an abundance of goodness, kindness comfort and love!

Christmas Clues…

2014-06-07 22.53.36When the kids were young, there always was an abundance of energy, noise, conversation, laughter, and excitement, especially at Christmas.

I don’t recall precisely when I started writing clues, but it continues today. What used to bring order to an energized group of excited children, continues as a tradition still today.

I wonder what Christmas traditions were birthed in your homes? Do you have something that started out of a necessity to bring order to a rambunctious group of young ones that auntrishandkidscontinues still today as the young ones grow into young adults?

Here is how the clues work. Gifts are organized to coordinate with the clues.  I hand over a gift, and my Dad then reads the coordinating clue. When the kids were younger, they all stood up, and with each clue, more kids sat down. As it got to the third clue, the excitement built as to who would be left standing. As they all got older, it is now more of a verbal I am in or I am out process. The lucky kid then comes to the gift chair and opens the gift with everyone watching. It takes time, allows everyone to focus on the receiver, and makes for great photos of each person as they open their gifts. Here are some examples from 2011.

This gift is for you if…


You play or have played an insturment You have your own FB account Your Facebook Info reads: I am funky and outgoing and love to wear really bright clothing.
This gift is for you if…


You were born in an even year You are a grandaughter Your the fifth youngest grandchild
This gift is for you if…


You have a spring or summer birthday If you total the digits of your age, they equal Isaiah’s age – 1 Janneke is living in your birth country

If you are looking for something fun to do this year for gift giving, give this a try. I promise it is a fun way to bring order, anticipation and a way to highlight and celebrate all those little things that make each child unique in the midst of a loving and supportive family.

And now I am off to work on Christmas 2017 Clues.

Comfort and Joy

This morning I got home about 6 am from my workout, and I was blogging about my rough day yesterday. It is always good to see how any situation can diffuse so much with some rest and time. As I recounted my repairman experience, I was aware that it had lost some of the energy and I was grateful.

As I wrote I had my music playing.

I began to sing along with Welcome To Our World. This song has deep meaning as it is one that was sung at Len’s funeral. It always kind of stops me in my tracks as I can feel the memory in my heart and I can hear the promise-filled words. And then two songs later was Amazing Grace. I sang along and teared up. Yes, another song from Len’s funeral. And as I was getting ready to head to the office In Christ Alone came on. Can it be? Three songs that we sang in our grief five years ago now play within 30 minutes time on my Pandora.

I had to smile. Comfort and Joy. These words have marked my Christmas season and this year I prayed that I would be very aware of God’s provision of both. This morning felt like the perfect gift of both the comfort and the Joy of the promises brought in each of these songs. The Joy of God’s gift to me in my home as I prepared for the day. The timing of having Len’s son Noah overnight and feeling how Len’s life continues through this handsome, funny, spontaneous, caring, loving, extravagant college-age kid. It was a sweet perfect moment where God met me and reminded me how much He cares. I will carry that close in the coming days!

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