The pace is picking up

I wonder if you are also feeling the start-up of activities and meetings in your schedule? This week I was busy every night, and it was all out of home meetings. The benefit of vaccinated groups is allowing for more options than a stay-at-home zoom meeting.

I will admit at one point; I found myself longing for the stay t home evenings. I found myself wishing for what was…

I stopped quickly, realizing that I would never wish a pandemic back into play. And I realize how I began to appreciate some of what a year of a slower pace brought me.

As we reenter into a freed-up society, it is an important season to establish a life-giving rhythm. I do not need a pandemic to establish limits on how many nights a week I am committed to things outside my home.

I write this tonight after having this conversation with others this week. May we all create space in our world that will allow us to be our best selves. May we own our boundaries and be kind and clear about what we can commit to and what we can not. As we say at Visiting Angels: let your yes be yes, and your no be no. And rest in that!

Wishing a week of balance for each o you!

Blessed be His name!

Are you lanquishing?

What is languishing you may ask?

“languishing” — a state of joylessness and aimlessness that is not quite depression, but it’s not quite happiness either.

I am a person who deeply appreciates words and feelings. This idea of languishing feels like a word that has come alive to people post-pandemic.

Kate Kooyman writes powerfully. She describes herself on her blog in the following manner:

I’m Rev. Kate Kooyman, a writer, and speaker.

My passion is to help equip Christians to raise their voices as advocates, to speak out and influence the policy decisions that shape people’s real lives.

I love thrifting, public schools, national parks, Honduras, grocery shopping alone, my dog, and brave conversations about politics.

I share with you tonight her words because they resonated with my heart:

“A Psalm for those who languish”

Oh God.
Our brains are so tired of being on high alert.
We’re so exhausted by constant, changing math-problem of threat.
So flummoxed by the difference between our own panic and our neighbors.
We’re exhausted with our own judgments,
Irate at the fogging of our glasses.
Puzzled by the shifting norms,
the endless lack of consensus for how to do this well.
We’re so grieved by the profoundly broken trust
that distances us from the ones we’re called to love,
the ones called to love us.

God. We’re so tired.

It makes it hard to focus. 
We’re sick of cooking, 
sick of Netflix,
sick of walking the same dog down the same streets.
We’re getting sick of our lives.

It’s hard to remember what it felt like 
to have ideas, to put in an effort, to rise to an occasion.
We just don’t care like we used to,
Don’t find much delight anymore. 
Can’t remember how to grab hold of things that matter.

De-fog our vision, God. 
Help us to see with clarity again. 
Help us to look around us and notice the others
Who are in this moment with us.
Help us to name this languishing,
This dogged powerlessness.
And help us to feel less alone.

May our participation in the community of the honest
Restore in us some joy.
Beauty in this bleakness.
Hope in this ongoing unknown.

Call us forward.
We forgot which direction that is.
Help us onto our feet, and summon us toddle toward your beckoning voice
Like children, learning to walk.
Help us to trust.
Help us to laugh.

You are a bounteous God.
And we can sort of remember bounty.
We remember laughter, hugs, events.
We remember wearing eyeliner
And eating food that we did not prepare.
We remember meeting new people.
We remember the feeling of possibility.

So draw near to us, O bounteous God. 
In this unexpected, interminable moment.
Gift us with what we admit we fail to summon for ourselves:
a grateful heart,
a trusting spirit,
a peace-filled mind.

Surprise us once again with your daily graces:
Birdsong, a sprouted seed, a laughing child, a cup of coffee.
Remind us of your cosmic care,
Of the largeness of your world,
your timeless purpose,
the goodness of your promise.

You love us, you see us, you keep us.

Thanks be to you, O God.

Blessed be His name!

Spend time with those you love…

We drove to Detroit today for a track meet. It is always good to show up at events where my nieces and nephews are participating. It was fun to cheer Jean-Marc on, and it was worth the drive to support him in what he commits to.

What I always enjoy is the time we spend together after the event. It might be a sporting event, a theater event, or a 4H event, but over the years, we have always made a practice of sharing a meal when we gather for something.

Tonight it was Buffalo Wild Wings strewn all over the dining room table. The conversation was abundant about virtual school, nannying, Noah and Lauren’s upcoming wedding, and a variety of other topics.

I can’t help but envision how my brother would delight in these times if he were still living. He would be funny, emotional, reflective, and profoundly grateful.

In this season, I am feeling tender to the loss of my brother and Dad. As we approach the wedding of Len and Marcia’s son, we will feel the absence of these two guys in our family. We miss them so often, but in special gatherings, their absence is felt deeply.

And so tonight, I marvel at the joy and laughter we still share. I am grateful that even though grief is within us, it has not overtaken us. That even in the ache of saying goodbye, we cherish family time and being together.

At the end of this day, I will say it was a good and memorable day because we spent time with those we love! Sometimes we let life get in the way of gathering. Make the time today to ensure you are spending time with those you love!

National Widow/Widower’s Day

I read this tonight on my friends page. I did not know about this day.

I share it because the facts are staggering.

I share it because I have witnessed my Mom’s journey for the last 3 years. She is courageous and she is not alone in the journey. I wonder how often we remember those we know who have lost a spouse, or loved one, after the intial response of sympathy.

As you read this, think of those you know and consider how to offer support and care as the journey a path they have likely never walked before.

💫 Today is National Widow’s and Widower’s Day. It is not for celebration but for awareness. This is why National Widow’s Day matters:

National Widow’s Day is May 3
Did you know… 800,000 people are widowed each year?

Did you know… 700,000 of those are women?

Did you know… most widows live in poverty? (Over 115 million world wide)

Did you know… “death of a spouse” is listed as the #1 stressor on the stress index scale and is considered one of life’s most devastating events?

Did you know… 60% of those who lose a spouse or significant other will experience a serious illness within 12 months?

Did you know… insomnia is one of the most common symptoms for a grieving spouse?

Did you know… most widow(er)s lose 75% of their support base when their spouse dies?

Did you know… after 3 – 4 months most of the remaining support fades for a widow(er)?

Did you know… most widow(er)s lose touch with their in-laws within a year of a loss?

Did you know… it really is possible to die of a broken heart? Widow(er)s have a 30% elevated risk of death in the first 6 months after their spouse death.

Be nice to a widow today, you have no idea what they deal with privately.
💫

The beauty of the wind….

A while back, I wrote about how I longed for sunshine. If I am going to write on the gray days about the gray, I better also write on the sunny days about how beautiful they are.

And as I laid in my hammock and took this video, this song came on. It felt about perfect. I have become fascinated by the wind: the sound, the movement, the danger, and the invitation to stillness. The wind really does speak!

And then there are so many questions in this world. I wonder what questions you have? Take time and listen to these lyrics and trust that somehow, in some way, our deepest questions will settle. Either with the gift of some clarity, or they will remain in our soul until the day Jesus comes again!

Blessed be His name!

Obituaries

I am a daily obit reader.

Some of it is because for the last almost 20 years, I have owned a business that serves seniors primarily. But that is only part of the reason.

Another thing that draws me to the obits daily is that I believe that every life has a story. Some obituaries share more of that story than others. When I meet with new clients, they often struggle to tell me what is interesting about them or their journey. But almost every time, if I am reading their obituary sometime after, it is filled with so many fascinating tidbits that we would have loved to know when providing care. I wonder why we share our most exciting information often after we are gone.

I wonder what your obituary would tell others about you? Are there experiences or stories you would want to share with someone while you are living? I believe that my brother’s and my Dad’s obits share about what was important to both of them. I reread these often because even after they are gone, their story matters!

Peter Borgdorff Obit

Len Borgdorff Obit

I find it fascinating to discuss what our obituaries would say about each of us. Talk with those who love you. Share with them today what is unique and memorable that you wish to have recorded. And share your stories freely, long before your last breath!

Your story matters,

Blessed be His name!

Creating space in springtime

I remember when my backyard was just the grass in the back of my house. I was busy figuring out how to create space inside my home, and I didn’t even have a vision for the backyard space yet.

Then I added a deck, and my backyard came to life. I bought a hanging pot or two, filled my deck with people, and so many sweet moments unfolded. I felt deeply grateful for my deck.

I was content for years with life on my deck. A few years ago, my nephew Henry and his dog Oso came to live with me for a season. Oso liked to play with Dutch and my sister’s family dog Bella, and soon my backyard looked like a muddy horse track. I realized it was time to do something to my backyard to repair it from all the fun the dogs had during the rainy wet season they shared in my backyard!

I consulted with Liz from Sumac Landscaping. She has become a dear friend and a trusted resource. Liz has vision and a way of listening and creating. We ventured into creating some space in my backyard. I had no idea how much my soul would connect with this space.

My deck is still a lovely gathering space. But now, my backyard has genuinely become my haven. Liz has created color that pops in Spring, Summer, and Fall. She has shown me how lovely designed spaces can be.

I know many people who have gifts in creating their own spaces. I marvel at that gift and am so grateful for how they make this world a more colorful place. I have learned to acknowledge where my talents lie (and where they do not lie) and surround myself with good people. If you need a hand in creating a lovely space to enjoy, I hope you will find someone like Liz. Not only is my backyard beautiful to look at and share with others, but it is also a peaceful space to unwind and decompress and an inspired space to create and dream in areas where my gifts can be used to make a difference in this world.

I am ever so grateful for the many people who have assisted me in the years it takes to make a house a home. There are many. But when I drive in and out of my driveway and marvel at the color and beauty, I say an extra prayer of thanksgiving for Liz!

Whose cheering you on….

I received a video today of my nephew’s track meet.

I am not sure what I love more…

Seeing Jean-Marc out ahead and taking first place

OR

Hearing his older brother Noah cheer him on!

There is something so inspiring about hearing Noah’s cheering. Noah is uninhibited in his cheering on of his brother. He is undoubtedly all about encouraging Jean-Marc to do his best and be his best!

I wonder who cheers you on, or maybe even more importantly, who do you cheer on? Is there someone who would say, yes, that person is the voice I know that will cheer me on to do my best and be my best!

I hope you are that voice for someone. Be like Noah and be someone uninhibited in your cheering on of others. It may not be with the same volume, and it will have your own touch, but you will bring encouragement, joy, and inspiration to others!

Blessed be His name!

A year of mask wearing

There is a lot of controversy around masks. This post is not about that. I read this today on a friend’s Facebook page, and I found myself nodding. This resonated in my spirit. This isn’t about the mask; this is about the prayer of our hearts as we press on…

Prayer as I put on my mask:
Creator,
as I prepare to go into the world,
help me to see the sacrament
in the wearing of this cloth—
let it be “an outward sign
of an inward grace”—
a tangible and visible way of living
love for my neighbors,
as I love myself.
Christ,
since my lips will be covered,
uncover my heart,
that people would see my smile
in the crinkles around my eyes.
Since my voice may be muffled,
help me to speak clearly,
not only with my words,
but with my actions.
Holy Spirit,
As the elastic touches my ears,
remind me to listen carefully—
and full of care—
to all those I meet.
May this simple piece of cloth be
shield and banner,
and each breath that it holds,
be filled with your love.
In your Name and
in that love,
I pray.
Amen
— Rev. Dr. Richard Bott, Moderator of the United Church of Canada via Thomas Hoeksema Sr.