Priceless photos

Every year when we gather for Christmas, we have a memory dinner since Len died on the 23rd of December. This year we watched these two videos. We were crowded in a room with a big screen, and we laughed, and we cried, and we remembered, and we were sad, and we were grateful….cause that really is how life is when you have loved and lost.

As we watched these videos, our sweet 9-year-old family member said, “Aunt Trish, is that why you take so many pictures of us, so you can make our funeral video?” We all laughed as her question was honest and yet light in the midst of a room full of emotion.

And yet tonight, as I remember Len’s funeral on New Years Eve Day 2012, I am thankful for pictures. I remember my cousin saying to me as they drove home from my Dad’s funeral, we need to take more pictures. I want to invite you to take more pictures in 2019. Capture the moments and celebrate the life that surrounds you! It is no longer about film reels and developing and free double print days. Photography is easier with phones and digital and technology.

Take pictures to remember the moments, to create movies that tell your family story and to recall the goodness.

IMG_2869As I journey through grief and remember the day we had Lens funeral 6 years ago, I am so grateful for pictures. Pictures that remind me of the sorrow, the comfort, the love and remind us how God’s provision for all of us has continued.

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Take the pictures for the living, but also remember, when those you love are no longer with you, the pictures are a priceless gift that will bring such goodness!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cup of courage…

Last night I received this beautiful gift, and it was presented with this fantastic poem in song, by my 10-year-old niece.

Roses are Red

Violets are blue

dutch is sure sweet, and Trish so are you

I got you a mug that will keep you brave

I hope it becomes your Fav

Love Johanna


courage

Today I took some time to reflect on what might look different in 2019 if I really do practice my brave in new spaces this year.

I found a few boxes of my favorite tea, and I plan to use my cup of courage as a tangible reminder to live brave each day.

Will my brave invite me to speak up or remain silent?

Will my brave invite me to show up in new spaces or give my heart permission to say no and stay home to reflect and grow in my own space?

Will my brave invite me to laugh more, cry more, struggle differently or celebrate differently?

Will my brave give me the confidence to move into new spaces or will my brave invite me to name my fear and move into it anyway?

What will my brave and courage grow in me in the coming days, weeks and months? Joahnna’s sweet gift and delightful presentation remind me how not so long ago, this child was timid and self-conscious. She has practiced some significant courage in the past months, and she is exercising some of her new found discoveries.

I am looking forward to drinking my tea, finding my courage, practicing my brave and letting this cup become my fav…

I am ready to discover some new things in my 50th year. I am grateful for the assurance that no matter our age or circumstances, the choice to grow is always within reach.

Maybe it isn’t brave and courage that resonates with your soul in this season of your life. There is also a Cup of Love, Cup of Peace, or Cup of Gratitude. I am pretty sure that one of the four might invite you to new spaces in the new year. Give it some thought and choose one that might become your fav.

How I wish we could visit together and I could hear all you hope for in the coming year. Stay tuned, and I will share with you as I discover just how this cup of courage will invite me to new adventures!

 

The gift of family

The other day someone said to me, why are you still single?

I was not sure how to answer that question. I replied with some version of my reasonably standard answer. I am open to a relationship and even willing to pursue something that comes my way. That being said, I do not feel the need to be married, and so I would consider a relationship a bonus to the vibrant life I already have.

I often wonder why is my heart mostly content as a single woman when I know others who long for nothing more than to be in a relationship? Occasionally I  take inventory of my heart and ensure that I am remaining open to new relationships, opportunities, lessons and struggles and friendships. I know for some of my single friends, the holidays can be very lonely.

Whenever I am seeking out the answer to my contentedness, I often land on the gift of my very supportive family. We are by no means perfect in how we interact or love one another, but we have figured some things out and do them well.

Christmas, Eve I was invited to celebrate Christmas with my sister’s family. For 18 years my Aunt Dot, my Mom and Dad and I have celebrated with Arlene and Dan and their kids. It is always a good time and each year I am amazed at how they have all grown up so good. There is something so sweet about the feeling of belonging.

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Tonight I gathered with Suzi and Andy and family to celebrate Christmas. This also brings me such joy. It is always a sweet evening of laughter, conversation, generous giving, and gratitude. It was again a night where I left with a full heart, grateful that my sister and her family embrace me in ways that enhance my life and include me in spaces that as a single woman, I do not have on my own.

As this Christmas season comes to a close, I am very grateful for the spaces I share in the closeness of those family spaces. I am thankful for parents and sisters and brothers and nieces and nephews and aunts who embrace my single life and invite me in.

As I think about the bold person who asked me why I am still single, I would just add this, yes I am willing to consider a relationship, but I can confidently assure you, my heart is not lacking. I am beautifully loved by many, and perhaps best by those, I call my family!

2018 in review

How can it be the end of 2018 already?

In my line of work, we are always scheduling a month ahead, and today I began to sort the February schedules. I am aware that the days sometimes seem slow but the weeks and months seem to move quickly. We are often looking ahead, planning for the future and running at a rapid pace to complete the day and all it holds.

Before New Year’s Eve, I plan to take some time and reflect back on my year.

What have been the themes of 2018 for me?

Where did I experience God’s provision, protection, invitation…

Who has my community been in 2018?

What faces come to my mind when I think of my people in 2018 and have I, or how have I, let them know the importance of their presence in my life?

Where have I grown, why have I grown, where have I resisted growth?

Last year at the end of the year I had no idea what this year would hold for me. In March my Dad had a seizure, and 7 weeks later we held his hands as we said goodbye. I want to remember the good, cherish the moments, marvel at the journey and acknowledge the honest struggle, sadness, and pain.

I believe one of the greatest things I learned this year is how my heart can truly hold deep sorrow and sadness while at the time holding deep gratitude for all that is good. If you are a person who has not yet discovered the depth and width and breadth of all your heart holds, I hope you will begin to explore the amazing capacity God has given us to deeply feel all that we experience.

Will you join me in the coming days to look back before we move into 2019?

Will you allow all that has shaped you in 2018 to direct you in 2019?

a year ago

 

 

 

 

 

My Social Book

I spent some time tonight looking through one of my collections. I have a stack of 9 MyIMG_4468 Social Books. Each one is a print out of my FB from every year. When my brother died in December of 2012, I became aware of how many people wrote such comforting thoughts on my Facebook. It was no longer about the cards you could read in the months ahead. I did not want to lose the words of so many that I IMG_7783.JPGknew and many I did not know but who knew Len.

Over the years I have taken time to look back and be comforted, to feel the embrace, to smile and weep and remember. The words of friends bring comfort and love, and it is all in My Social Book.

And there is always the delight of the birthday messages, the events in our family that are more precious when some are no longer with us. I have used Facebook as a space to remind my family and me of all we enjoy, when we laugh, when we cry, and what is important to us. So many many people interact with my FB in comments or thoughts, and I am able to enjoy and envision the faces of so many.

My Social Book is a collection of such goodness. It is a photo album, a journal, a gathering of goofy sayings that make me smile and so much fun to look at with the kids to remember what was important to them at different seasons of their life.

I just ordered this year, and I find myself waiting with anticipation, to sit by the fire and read the memories of the day of and the days after my Dad died. To read the words of those who knew him and shared stories of him. To feel the embrace of so many who offered comfort and kindness. When I think back, those days seem a bit like a blur of activity. I am a person who places deep value in community, and I cherish when others speak to my heart. I am grateful for the gift of Facebook and My Social Book and the ways that I can record the happenings of the Borgdorff Bunch.

Thank you to all who interact with my world via this blog or FB. (I also do print my blogs every year) Reviewing, cherishing and sharing all that is contained on these pages allows me some very sweet spaces of reflection.

Now, I will let you know that when ordering you can pick and choose what you print. I don’t publish every day that I worked out, and I don’t publish all the things that other people post. I do print my posts, and your comments, the photos, and your comments on the images. I choose a book that reflects real life and the journey of faith and hope that we walk each and every day, although undoubtedly as noticed when perusing, some days more fully than others!

I am thankful for Facebook and Word Press and the ways that technology has developed to bring about true treasures of documenting our family story in this small way. Thank you, friends and family, for your kind words, love, comfort and compassion offered via Facebook 6 years ago when Len died and more recently in the passing of my dear Dad. Those are two significant events that I cherish in My Social Book, but many other exchanges bring deep gratitude for your friendships as well. And as an added perk, I will always have the fun stories of everything my dear dog Dutch has eaten from my kitchen.

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Christmas Continued…

For those of you who know me, or have begun reading, you know that this year my Christmas season is marked by navigating a grief journey of a new kind. For the last number of weeks, I kind of just wanted Christmas to be over.

I will be honest, I am glad that today is over. It wasn’t awful. There were many spaces where people were very kind and invited us in. I enjoyed Church with my Mom, Aunt, Sister and brother in law and two nephews and my niece. We were invited in for a Christmas brunch and enjoyed the kindness of dear friends. We went to a movie, had lasagna soup and did some puzzling. There is really nothing to say about it being a bad day, but it was a hard day. A day I am glad is over this year.

But as I am about to call it a day, I smiled because I read something that led me to title this blog Christmas continued. When I read this tonight, I can say, I am ready to wake up tomorrow and continue with Christmas.

Will you join me in living out Christmas all year long?

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Traditions…

There is something so comforting to the traditions that have always been. We have enjoyed certain traditions over many years at Christmas and our traditions have in some way set our rhythm, routine and expectations for when we all gather.

I have learned that in the midst of grief, traditions don’t feel as simple as years past. There is a sense of comfort but there is also almost a greater sense of disruption. This year, we opted to hang onto some and let some go.

Change is hard and as we are coming off from our family Christmas weekend, I am so grateful for a family bunch that is willing to try new things.

We did not have Christmas at Papa and Beppe’s house this year. (yes, we agreed we can all still call it Papa and Beppe’s house though). We packed up a whole bunch of stuff and went to a cottage all together on Lake Michigan from Friday midday to Sunday midday.

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All the kids who enjoy being together and bring us such kindness and joy!

We didn’t have a tree there and we gave up our long-time tradition of clues when gift giving. We changed some things up and we kept some things the same. None of the changes removed the reality that my Dad wasn’t there and yet some of the changes eased the depth of our grief. It was good to be able to identify what we would hang onto and what we would let go of.

We did keep our tradition of presenting your gift with a poem. I will share more of this over time, but tonight I leave you with the amazing poem written and presented with my beautiful gift.

Trixie Lynn, my sister dear,
what can I say, it’s been a hard year

We’ve suffered some pain we didn’t expect
We’ve lost some things we would’ve rather kept.

One version of the story we’re living
could be full of self-pity and void of thanksgiving.

After all, we are sad and our grief is so new
And the days without tender spots are rare and are few

But that’s not the only true version to tell
For as we look back there are sweet spots as well.

As one of your nephews taught us (not one of the Boses)
There are precious things we can gain from our losses.

As we’ve learned before from our acquaintance with grief
Some bonds grow stronger and bring sweet relief

As we stood on the patio that warm May morn
And toasted to Dad, led by Mom’s second born

Toast to Papa
Following the Committal Service, we did a toast to a Husband, Father, Papa, Brother, and Friend who will be deeply missed!

We felt such a mixture of sadness and grace
For the goodness that continues to grow in hard space

For the gift of the Dad, we miss because he was good
And knowing that many would choose one like him if they could.

So this Christmas let’s choose joy for all that is right and true
And on my list of gratitude, way up on top, my sweet sister is you.
Written by Suzi Bos (December 2018)

And the gift was a beautiful wall hanging of the toast that my brother Nick offered on the patio after a very meaningful committal service.

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The toast Nick offered on the day we laid my Dad to rest.