Counting the days….

I feel like my 40th year has been FULL of adventure. Turning 40 was celebrated on a Cruise to Mexico with my entire family…all 27 of us.

Traveling to South Africa for almost three weeks was a trip of a life time as well….

What more could I ask for?

Well, I am now counting the days until I attend participate in a two-week fitness boot camp in Northern Minnesota on the Lake Superior Shore.

Let me share with you the email I wrote to my siblings when I decided to go for this wild and wonderful opportunity.

I signed up to  today for this adventure in Minnesota. I did not meet my wellness (and weight loss) goals as I had hoped to by the cottage week. I am learning that I am very anemic but it appears it may be nutritional anemia as opposed to a bleed somewhere causing this issue. I have been scanned and scoped and it appears that I am a healthy and happy 40-year-old woman.My primary focus is to learn about the nutritional element my body needs. The unique aspect to this program is that I will be preparing my own food and creating meal plans I can take home and continue with. I have opted for two weeks to learn about my body and it’s needs and I hope to see some response to the nutrition and exercise routine, but if I come back the same weight, I will not be discouraged if I have learned how to plan, prepare and eat well. (although, I do hope and plan to decrease my body numbers!)

Therefore, for two weeks at the end of October, I will participate in the following schedule:

7-8 am Breakfast, 8-10 am Strength and circuit training, work with weights and stability balls, kick boxing, TRX core strength, and KettleBells, 10-10:30 am Snack, 10:30-1:00 pm Arrive at trail and hike 4-6 miles, 1:00 – 2:30 pm Lunch, 2:30 – 4:30 pm Arrive at trail and hike 2-4 miles, 4:30 – 5:00 pm Snack, 5:00 – 6:00 pm Aqua aerobics, Pilates mat, yoga, flexibility, 6:00 – 6:30 pm Prepare for dinner, 6:30 – 7:30 pm Dinner

I share this as a blog entry because it is very much part of the journey to my heart. Continuing to learn about who I am and how I can continue to become the woman I desire to be, is all part of my journey. I would like to be more fit and active and I would like to be healthier….that is my hope, but likely won’t happen just by praying, thinking, reflecting and wondering….time to get up and do in a different fashion…to learn why my regular workouts and past focus has not produced the changes I have so desired…time to venture into new territory that will challenge me to new limits and create a deeper understanding of who I am….


 

 

Stay tuned….

Celebration….

I turned 40 this past December and I shared with many of you….”if I am not married by the time I am 40, I am going to be throwing myself a party.” A party that celebrates life. A type of celebration that is often shared at engagement parties, bridal showers, weddings, receptions, baby showers, the birth of children, kids birthdays, anniversaries….you get my hint…if your married and/or have children, there are marked celebrations throughout the years. They are celebrations of life and somehow when one is single, there are not as many events to be celebrated.

I will say that I am a woman who loves the idea of celebrating. Every day life holds events worth celebrating. I most enjoy the celebration of people and saying, today I am delighting in the you you have become and are becoming. Celebration rarely marks an end…it is usually a stop along the way!

And so I am 40 and single. I have fun dreaming of my celebration party. It will be one I register at Target and Bed Bath and Beyond and send out classy invitations. I have asked my parents for my wedding money (teehee) and if I do marry, it will have to be a back yard wedding with peanut butter and jelly and ice cream cones. I envision Janneke, Henry, Anne, Karolyn, Ellie, Andrew, Ryan, Olivia, Noah, Sonta, Jean Marc, Peter, Isaiah, and Johanna taking part and an afternoon and evening of delight and wonder. I envision people from all the seasons of my life. My adventuresome and crazy family, friends who went to Sylvan Christian, Holland Christian, Calvin, and my fellow MSW graduates. Those who attended First Church Calvinettes, Bethany CRC, Sunshine and Eastern with me. Those faces who worked with me at Nuttin But Puttin, Rest Haven, Paul’s Pharmacy, Saint Mary’s. Sunshine, Three Rivers Hospice, Adoption Associates, All God’s Children and Visiting Angels. Those I have journeyed with in bringing their children home from far away lands and my soul mates who have celebrated transformation of hearts and minds through Grace Groups and the work of Open Hearts Ministry. I envision my worlds colliding in a place of celebration. Celebrating how this myriad of faces has shaped me into the woman I am today!

And yet, I am not where I would like to be, not a reason to deny celebration, but it has caused me to postpone my formal celebration. I am working hard at shedding some pounds. I am learning to be faithful in my exercise even when the scale doesn’t move and I am learning to practice wellness as opposed to weight loss. I will be venturing out on a two-week adventure at the end of this month (likely my next blog) and I hope this will help me to sort out my weight loss journey. I am gearing up for a late spring celebration and hope that in the time between now and then I will have many opportunities to celebrate the many wonderful people in my life!

I have put together a collage of some of the many faces who give me reason to celebrate. Enjoy seeing the eyes and the smiles…the faces and know that each one holds a story!

Go and celebrate today…celebrate the little things but celebrate well. Celebrate others….allow others to celebrate you!

Where the Sidewalk ends…

One of my favorites….

The Little Boy and the Old Man by Shel Silverstein

Said the little boy, “Sometimes I drop my spoon.”
Said the old man, “I do that too.”
The little boy whispered, “I wet my pants.”
“I do that too,” laughed the little old man.
Said the little boy, “I often cry.”
The old man nodded, “So do I.”
“But worst of all,” said the boy, “it seems
Grown-ups don’t pay attention to me.”
And he felt the warmth of a wrinkled old hand.
“I know what you mean,” said the little old man.

So thankful for the opportunity I had to be the Director of Children’s Ministry at Sunshine Community Church and today work with the aging at Visiting Angels of West Michigan. I continue to learn life lessons as I offer myself in relationships which are marked by love, time, understanding and compassion for one another….I am grateful!

The heart of Christianity….

I am reading Take This Bread: A Radical Conversion….

I know I am enjoying a book when I have more underlined than white space and thoughts that I keep returning to throughout the day. Today I kept wondering about the following quote: “But this is my belief: at the heart of Christianity is a power that continues to speak to and transform us.”

I would call that a powerful quote. It is not the words themselves, but a combination of the words and their implication in my thoughts and actions. It is a quote that gets me wondering…

What does it look like for me to grapple with the heart of Christianity? The following words come to mind when I think of  the heart of Christianity: Grace, Truth, Grace, Love, Grace, Community, Grace, Forgiveness, Grace, Celebration and Life….to me, the Heart of Christianity is a place that is truth-speaking, fully embracing, fellowship sharing, life-giving and so much more!

What does the heart of Christianity say to me or to those around me?

I believe that the heart of Christianity speaks conviction, passion, love, commitment and sacrifice. These are words that mark the journey to the Cross and I pray will be words I continue to grow in my understanding of living them out EVERY day.

What does transformation look like and how am I being transformed?

On the journey to my heart, I am daring to have a vision for the person I want to become. I will never fully become that person unless I embrace transformation and all that comes with the transformational process. I used to believe that for my transformation to be real, someone else better be a participant or witness to the transformational event. I am learning that often transformation takes place in the quiet of my heart and in the spaces where I meet God. Most often it is not chaotic whirlwind transformation but a quiet event within my own heart, mind and/or soul. May I never lose sight of where I have come from and what I long to be.  I hope I will always be willing to sing, “He is the potter and I am the clay!”

May I continue to live and invite others to fully experience The Heart of Christianity….

The two day ache…

Today was a day I felt every muscle in my glutes, hip flexors, quads, hamstrings and all the muscles that surround and support those areas on this body of mine. You see on Monday I worked out with Abby and she had me doing these squats and lunges. I was pretty proud of myself an hour after my workout. My thoughts included, “Wow, I did it!”,  “it feels good to work out”, and “maybe those squats weren’t as bad as I thought.” Today my thoughts were different….

I wonder if you can you relate, the ache deep in your muscles, the deep ache you feel as you approach a set of stairs or the feeling that surely the toilet seat wasn’t that low yesterday when you sat on it. I felt like the simple movements of my day were interrupted by the reminder of my body…..

And then I begin to think about how the ache kept my goal of wellness and physical fitness in focus today. The ache reminded me of my journey and my desired destination. The ache motivated me to keep moving (even if it was a bit slower) and the ache was a vivid reminder that if I had worked out alone, I likely would not experience the same ache or the same benefit….

I am relieved to know my muscles will likely feel better tomorrow but the two-day ache experience has challenged me to think about what my heart aches for. The journey to my heart is not all kind words and warm fuzzies. The intense ache in my body is also a familiar feeling of my heart. I have recently ached for the people of Haiti, for tragic stories in our local news. for couples who sit in silence and emptiness in relationship and for children who are being missed by parents who are busy serving their Churches and Communities. I have ached in my own heart over words I have spoken or not spoken or attitudes I have carried in a moment or throughout a day.

I want to be aware of the aches of my heart and tend to the ache with kindness. To seek out a friend or confidant so I can share a bit about what brought the ache to the forefront and what it might need to resolve…sometimes my heart aches need truth, sometimes love, sometimes grace, sometimes understanding and sometimes conversation. Sometimes I need to be alone and wonder about God and His place in the ache and other times it is good to sit with a friend and gain insight and understanding.

I hope today I can listen and learn from the twinges of aching I feel in my heart….I hope you also might learn from what makes your heart ache…for I am learning that often when I take time to be curious, to listen and to share in community, I find God in places I did not even think to look….and that in itself makes aching worthwhile!

Time is a funny thing….age is funnier!

Lately I have been wondering how I should feel at 40. It felt like such a milestone, but somehow I often find myself wondering if this is what 40 is supposed to feel like. I am not as fit or physically playful as I would like to be. Stay tuned for my plans to change that in the coming months! I work less than in my 20’s and 30’s but still get a solid full-time work week in, so that is very forty like. I don’t quite cook like I would think a 40-year-old should, but that is coming along also. I value my family and my friends and delight in my relationships so that feels somewhat right at 40…It is not as fun or exciting to buy a car or computer as in my 20’s and 30’s, but there is also more value in saving or at least in spending less….so that feels somewhat 40ish! The more I think about this being forty, the more I realize that age is a funny thing….

I remember my first job out of Calvin at Sunshine Community Church as Director of Children’s Ministries when there were hundreds of kids every week for children’s Worship, Cadets, Gems, Bible Studies and Rap groups (rap as in conversation not rhythm) Do you know that there are still times I think I see one of “my Sunshine Kids”, but the problem is that they are still the age I remember them between 1991 and 1998. Then I read on Facebook how so many of them are married, having kids and enjoying life in all of its fullness. When I envision the faces of the many kids and families who I loved being with at Sunshine, I realize time is a funny thing….

I read about my HighSchool classmates who have kids going off to college this week and have kids getting married and I am struck by the fact that if I had married and had children, I could be approaching (ok, maybe ten years) a grandmother age. I laugh out loud because that seems so different from what I feel….and I realize that there have been definite moments in my life where I have longed to be married and enjoy a family, but it has not come to be. Today I just smile as I think of the many phases of life a family brings…I wonder if watching children grow and age also in some fashion would make me feel more my age. And then I think, age really is a funny thing…..

I am sometimes surprised the great gang who call me Aunt Trish haven’t made me feel older.My niece Janneke is starting her senior year in high school. It seems like just yesterday we got the call of her birth! I remember when, at two years of age, she would bellow out Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing. Janneke has grown up and matured but still has the same joyful heart, loves to sing and lives life with a spring in her step and a smile on her face. When I think of each of my nieces and nephews, I am grateful time has a way of standing still. That I feel as full of love and delight for them with each passing day….it never grows old to be an Aunt….being an Aunt is a WONDERFUL thing…

And so, on the journey to my heart,  I often feel ageless…living life in the moment, remembering yesterday with crystal clarity and yearning for tomorrow to see what surprises will come my way. I can clearly identify the ways I have changed during my ageless life. Where I have matured, how I see things differently, where life is less about right and wrong and more about respect and understanding. I remember the moments when I understood Grace because it was offered to me and how much kinder of a person I became when I also learned how to offer Grace….I am grateful I am in the process of change and do not feel stuck….

I wonder where you have felt ageless…what marks for you the passing years. Do you feel the age you are….are there moments that seem just like yesterday in your heart but when you process through your head you realize it really was quite some time ago. I am grateful that the journey to my heart is more about people and places and the faces of those we have journeyed with than about the number of days in a year or the number of years we are! I would rather say I live life to the fullest than I act my age! wouldn’t you?

Welcome to my journey….

The haunting thought of blogging has nagged at my head and heart for a few years. I have started a few and never stayed with it. I am not sure why since I love to write. Writing helps me to sort through my thoughts and it is my hope it will also inspire you to think and wonder and dream and imagine.

I knew pretty quickly what I wanted to call my blog. I have really come to believe that everyday is a journey to my heart. I used to think I would find it and then be free to camp there….in the land of heart. I realize now that everyday I encounter people and conversations that lead me closer or lure me away. I make choices everyday to take a step closer to my heart or to stay right where I am….and even at times I pull up camp and move further away.

I believe that if I choose to continue on my journey, living honestly and faithfully on that journey, I don’t have to spend a lot of energy searching for peace and meaning and purpose. When I am journeying to my heart I am amazingly less concerned about myself and more concerned about others, I am at peace in a way that offers true contentment and I am aware of my dignity and depravity.

When I am journeying to my heart in my day-to-day, I am touched by others and conversations and relationships are enhanced. I am not sure I have the words to explain how it feels to be living on the road that leads to my heart….it is more about experiences….experiences that will comprise the content of this blog….after all it is all about the journey and the experiences along the way!

And so the haunting thought of blogging has been transformed into an invitation to share my story, the chapters of my day-to-day and the important characters who join me on this journey. I hope you come back to check in. I just might have a chapter about you!