Happy Hour

Happy Hour is one of those things that I grew up with and believed everyone else also did. I remember as a child when my Dad would come home from work, my parents took time together to connect. They would pour a beverage and sit in the living room. It happened every day, and I love how together they prioritized the importance of setting time aside to intentionally connect.

I remember it as a time when as younger kids, we knew it was our parent’s time. As we grew older, we joined in on happy hour and now as adults, we all cherish the time when we have happy hour (and now kids are always present as well). Happy Hour in the Borgdorff/Bos/DeKam world is a staple of almost every day and a must when we are together. It is not uncommon to hear the question: “how long until happy hour?”

If you have not been someone who celebrates Happy Hour as part of your regular routine, I invite you to give it a try this summer. Consider setting a time to connect each day, to sit together and reflect, remember and celebrate all that your life holds.

In these last weeks, since my Dad’s death, I have reflected a bit more on the role of happy hour in our lives. These are some of my happy hour takeaways:

  • Happy Hour is cherished because it is when we are together.
  • Happy Hour is cherished because it is when we take time to listen and engage one another.
  • Happy Hour is intergenerational. During happy hour conversations, we hear stories about our parents growing up years and about the plans of the grandchildren and every conversation in between.
  • Happy Hour always has room for more. So many people from around the world and right at home have enjoyed an invitation to join in. A glass of wine, a beer, a diet coke, or some water and crackers and cheese and happy hour begins with whoever is present.
  • Happy Hour is a way of celebrating the goodness of life.
  • Happy Hour is cherished because it is just what we have always done and will always do. It says in some way that everything is going to be ok, even on hard days and in sad times.

And so I was not surprised when the adult grandkids offered to get what we needed for a happy hour in my Dad’s hospital room on Sunday, May 20, 2018. After all, we were together and so they came with crackers and cheese and red and white wine and diet coke and water, and we gathered together and we remembered together and we toasted Papa and celebrated the goodness of life even in our sorrow.

And just a few days later, after we had a private committal service, we had one last toast to Papa. For in all that my parents have taught us, so much of it has been shared during happy hour. We love all that we have learned, and we cherish all we have shared. And we raised our glasses celebrating a life well lived that carries on in each of us! To that, we said, Cheers and Glory be to God!


We knew time was limited, but…

We knew time was limited…

But we thought we had more.

So many of you commented on how surprised you were in the timing of my Dad’s death.

We were also!

I can’t help but replay the events as they unfolded two weeks ago tonight. It caught us all off guard and yet we see God’s hand. As my Dad so faithfully said and so solidly believed, “one day at a time is how we will live, while we also know that our days are in God’s hands.”

It is true that my Dad was diagnosed with a life-ending diagnosis on April 5, 2018. At that time we knew he had a neuroendocrine tumor and that over time it would continue to progress and his abilities would diminish.

Neuroendocrine CarcinomasNeuroendocrine tumors are rare, accounting for less than one percent of all malignant disorders in the United States. It is estimated that fewer than 2,000 new cases occur in the United States each year.

lg6dBy46QwittwpJ1Qw6oQMy parents chose to live life to the fullest without treatment (another blog, another day) and I will say they were living well, even in the unknown and difficult spaces that were very real. My DadIMG_2239 continued to golf, even if the quality of his golf game was affected, he continued to attend the meetings he had the energy for, and he continued to engage all of our family events in his own Papa way. My Mom became my Dad’s chauffeur since he could no longer drive due to a seizure he suffered. My Dad was counting down the 6 months and fully intended to drive again.

He also fully intended to meet his first great grandbaby due at the end of September 2018. My Dad knew his days were numbered, but he did not stop living. He lived at peace with God’s timing and still fully engaged all he longed for until the time God called him home.

The Friday before he died, my folks were told the same consistent message, things will continue to progress but there was no reason to believe that life would be ending soon.  And with that, we all took a deep sigh and continued with the commitment to live one day at a time.

And then Sunday morning my Dad woke up, sent some emails, planned to go to Worship and during breakfast with my Mom had a sudden onset of severe pain. It was clear something wasn’t right and they sought medical treatment. In the Emergency room, we learned he had a gastric ulcer which perforated the stomach lining. Due to his current medical condition, he was not a surgical candidate. It was evident in this conversation that although we had believed we could have months with my Dad with us, this new situation would limit us to weeks. My Dad and Mom opted to have him admitted overnight for pain control, and then we would transition to Hospice at home. He asked us to go home and get his computer, after all, if he was going to be in-patient, he had some things he wanted to get done.

And then within a few hours again, it was clear that my Dad was being released from all that held him here and we would be saying our final goodbye until we see him again. Almost the whole crew made it home to gather and although my Dad was unresponsive our time together was filled with tears, goodness, and love.

We knew our time was limited, but we thought we had more time.

We all wanted more time, just a little, just another month, another week, another day, another hour…

But in the end, we have peace, even in our sorrow, because we know and embrace the same God and the same faith. May we never lose sight that every day holds much more than just our sadness, for we know that God is still on his throne and the birds will sing in the morning.

And now to end with some words my Dad shared in the last few days of his life, just prior to his unexpected death. May we all live in this confidence and truth: “but we wanted you all to know that we are grateful for each day, and rest in the assurance that all of our days are in God’s hands. Blessed be the Name of the Lord.”


Peter Borgdorff: who was he?

I am aware that there are people who read this blog who do not know who my Dad is, what he stood for, or what his influence was in the church, for social justice or around the world?

I have been struck by how much I have learned about my Dad in the last week. There is something so good in hearing the stories of his ministry, his relationships and his passion and calling.  I am soaking up the goodness of his impact worldwide, and I am aware that the man in our lives rarely if ever spoke of his influence.

At home, we lived with a really ordinary guy. He was a husband, father, father in law, Papa, brother, uncle, and friend. Some of these pictures show him in the ways we knew and loved him:

Today I want to share his memorial service video with you. It tells a bit of his story from many different angles and I am so grateful for the faith foundation that my life has been built upon.

You will hear a bit of the story of how my parents became involved with some dear Karen people. I have included the translation to the special music they shared at the service.

It is my hope that by listening/ watching this recording of one week ago today, you will be encouraged.

Thankful for the life of my Dad and his impact in so many spaces.

Forever live with him

 V.1       I believe that it’s God who calls me back to rest

My body and flesh will disappear.

But the soul that he gave me,

Will forever live with him.

All my friends, young and old who are still alive

Carry on the work and continue to serve the Lord

To those, I love, all my family and friends

May you accept the will of God

V.2      Man will think that this is a loss

But for me ‘tis not like that

This is God transforming me, to lead me to heaven

To see his face and live with him eternally

People come and people will go

Keep on Sharing the gospel with talents that he gave you.

While we’re alive and have chances to serve him,

Serve him with strength and faithfulness

Coda.   I will move forward and step into his kingdom

Living a new life as God’s son

The joy and honor I have,

to forever live with him