The perfect gift book…

I received a gift from my Dad and Mom once, and it remains one of my favorites….

If you are looking for a gift for a girl or woman in your life, let me tell you a bit about She….

I have often enjoyed reading She… in the quiet of my own space AND have used it often to share with others their meaning in my life.

Let me share a page or two…

Imagine a very cool page layout…on the left side of the page it says: She woke up one day and threw away all her excuses

And across the page it says…

Celebrate her accountability!

She realized that she was missing a great deal by being sensible

And across the page it says…

Celebrate her Spirit!

There is much to celebrate about the way us women are….the way we are created and designed…the amazingness of how our minds and hearts work! It is captured every so beautifully in She….

Consider gifting this book to someone or buying it for yourself….you won’t regret it!

This can be ordered from a super cool web site:



There are souls in this world who have the gift of finding joy everywhere-and leaving it behind them when they go.

-Frederick William Faber

From oldest to youngest….

I had a wonderful evening with Janneke Ruth. She is my oldest niece and is counting the days (and soon the hours)until she leaves for YWAM (Youth With A Mission)for six months. Three months in London and three months in either The Middle East or Thailand.  We spent a lot of money tonight on the little extra’s she needs for travel and somehow the time with her was priceless….it was nothing special and yet it was very special….I will update from time to time as to how she is doing….I welcome your prayers for her as she explores the world in a big way and learns about her heart, her gifts and her passions in an even bigger way! I am so proud of you Janneke Ruth…..

And then I received an email with a picture from my Tapestry Party of my youngest niece. The picture is stunning and so fun. Johanna is full of life at age two and reminds me of Janneke in many ways.  I wonder what her life will hold when she is 18? I wonder where she will venture and how I will participate in her big adventures. I love how I can love these two amazing girls with everything in me….

And yet fresh in my memory is the days and evenings of the last week on the Oncology floor with Aunt Anita (I also love her with everything in me). I am reminded of the vulnerability of life and all the unknowns it holds. I am struck by the deep ache and reality of emotional and physical pain. I am keenly aware that what we have is today…each of us, Cancer or not…and I want to live it fully, in this moment.

And so, in this moment, I am thankful. Thankful for Janneke, Johanna, and Aunt Anita. Thankful for how each of them lives life fully, with adventure and boldness. Thankful that at age 2, 18 and 76, God knows the path for each of them and has prepared the way. Thankful that I can be a part of each of their lives….from oldest to youngest….life is a wild adventure!



Thoughts for the week…..

In this age, which believes that there is a short cut to everything, the greatest lesson to be learned is that the most difficult way is, in the long run, may be the easiest! –Henry Miller

and then consider this…

Great changes may not happen right away, but with effort even the difficult may become easy.    – Bill Blackma

As I launch into this next week, I am aware that there are places I have diverted from the difficult path to try to reach my goals in an easier fashion. I wonder if you can relate to that at all? I am committing to the more difficult way, in order to stay focused and reach my goals and embrace my success…one day at a time!

I hope you all have a GREAT week….a week where you are able to make movement towards your goals!




Should I be suspicious?

I have been working on being healthy for quite some time, and although there are conflicting reports on Diet Coke, it is more on the bad to neutral stance. Never have I really heard or read that Diet Coke is a good choice. I have learned that it is very difficult to quit all together, although I have done it, but often to return. I find if I have  it in the house I drink it. If I go places without Diet Coke and steer clear, for the most part, I am content with water.

And so, today when I saw this , I was alarmed. I began to wonder if I can trust any advertising? I am smart enough to know this is a stretch and I would guess you would not find this advertised as a smart choice for a healthy lifestyle in many other places. It seems that only Coke is advertising it this way on its fountains. Remember use your smarts and logic when selecting your healthy food options, NOT advertising. I wish I could say that my food and beverage choices have excluded diet coke, but that is not yet the case. Although, declaring Diet Coke as a smart choice for a healthy life style is almost enough to make me quit. Almost….

Once strangers….now friends ~ Burmese Refugees

Tomorrow I am riding a 25k bike ride for Bethany Christian Services refugee program. A refugee is a person who has been pushed away from his home and seeks refuge elsewhere. A refugee is different from an asylum seeker because a refugee brings documentation. I found this article and found it hard to imagine. You see, I have a heart for refugee’s from Burma. My parent’s have been instrumental in sponsoring a family in the last year. They chose to do this because of their own story. My parents are both immigrants from The Netherlands and they remember the blessing of being sponsored. I admire how my Dad and Mom have given much to this wonderful family. I am amazed at the article below and have even more respect today for the Burmese refugee family that we now call friends! Let me share with you a few pictures of the birthday party my parents recently had for a pretty happy ten-year old!

MAE SOT, Thailand — The bus rumbled to life, and Hsar Say took one last look at the only home he’d known for the past 20 years. The lime green rice paddies, the banana trees, the bamboo huts he shared with the other refugees — they were all part of his past.

In a few hours, Say would board a plane to America with his wife and two kids. Whether that was a good thing, he wasn’t sure. “Basically I think (America) will be better than a refugee camp,” he said. “In a refugee camp, you have no rights. You are put in a cage. It’s illegal to travel outside the camp, so it’s very different from being a human.” On the other hand, Say was a very important man — a teacher — among the other Burmese refugees at the Mae La camp in western Thailand. His wife taught adult literacy classes. He confessed to being “a little afraid” that in America, they’d end up like his wife’s cousin, who moved to Kentucky and toils in a clothing store packing boxes. “Maybe in America, I can work at a job to help other people,” he said hopefully. “I like social work.”

 Such are the dilemmas facing Say and the 15,000 other refugees from Burma who have arrived in the USA since 2006, making them the biggest single group of refugees to enter the country during that time, according to the State Department.

Those who have escaped from Burma, also known as Myanmar, are in many respects a special case: They have fled a military regime that the Bush administration had singled out as one of the most brutal in the world. A cyclone in May killed at least 85,000 people and sent even more Burmese streaming across the border into Thailand, where there are about 100,000 refugees packed into nine camps. Former first lady Laura Bush, who had made the plight of Burma’s people one of her main causes, visited the Mae La camp in August and met a group of refugees on their way to South Carolina. “It was very moving for me to see how thrilled they were to be able to leave,” she recalled in a recent interview with USA TODAY. President Obama, in a statement in June, condemned the oppressive Burmese regime, saying the situation there “offends the conscience of the American people.” Adjusting to outside life is a particular challenge for many Burmese refugees. Many, including Say, have spent most of their adult lives in the camps, leaving them unprepared for life on their own. Those who are granted passage to America by U.S. immigration officials must first take part in classes on how to provide for their own basic nutrition, how to change a diaper and how to use the bathroom on an airplane. The fear of the outside world is so strong that about 60% of the refugees refuse to leave the camps, according to the International Organization of Migration (IOM), which is paid by the U.S. government to administer the classes. “They don’t know what’s going on in America,” said Peter Salnikowski, the IOM’s cultural orientation program coordinator. “They ask: ‘What are the camps over there like?’ ” Spread over a dense green range of jagged low mountains, the Mae La camp is one of the largest camps in Thailand. Tall, barbed-wire fences separate the 40,000 residents from the rest of the world. Huts have been built with bamboo and teak hacked out of the jungle. Some residents carry water from a nearby well; others cook curry over wooden fires. Many are members of the Karen ethnic group, whose half-century struggle for independence within Burma has made them particular targets of the military. The Karen Human Rights Group, a local aid agency, says the military attacks Karen villages, burns homes and uses civilians as human minesweepers. In defending its actions, the Burmese regime has said it is in a battle against separatists and terrorists. The Karen make up about 7 million of Burma’s 48 million people, though they are not the only group that suffers. Last month, the United Nations criticized the Burmese regime for its failure to allow aid groups access to victims of Cyclone Nargis, eight months after the storm made landfall. Despite it all, leaving is a difficult decision for Karen who fear their way of life will be lost in a new country. “We’re afraid that if we go (to America) we will lose our culture,” said Naw Janey, 46, a mother of four. She moved her family to Mae La this year after Cyclone Nargis destroyed their bamboo home on the Irrawaddy River delta. Despite her misgivings, she is applying for refugee status. “We don’t want to go to America, but it would be a good chance for my children to study,” she said. The U.S. government had closed its doors to most Karen refugees after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, after which it classified the Karen National Union — a group that includes guerrilla fighters as well as politicians — as a terrorist organization. The ban was lifted by the State Department in 2006, although former guerrillas are still denied entry. To get to the USA, camp residents first must be formally classified as refugees by the United Nations. Then they can apply to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, a process that can take months. The ordeal gets no easier when they arrive in the USA. The Karen speak their own language and only sometimes speak Burmese, which means good translators are hard to find, according to Interfaith Ministries of Greater Houston, an organization that helps Karen settle in the USA. Local resettlement agencies are tasked with teaching the refugees English and helping them find a job once they arrive.Say was lucky: Among the three dozen passengers on the bus leaving the Mae La camp, he was the only one who spoke English. That will ease his transition to life in America. As the refugee camp disappeared from view and the bus approached the Bangkok airport, his thoughts centered on the life he was leaving behind. “One day, if it is OK, or even if it’s not OK, maybe I can come back and visit and help the people who are struggling,” he said. “Peace will take time.”

The mystery of muscle memory…

Today I have been struck by the mystery of muscle memory. I have often been aware of muscle memory as I learn new exercises and work out routines. But, I have rarely taken the time to consider what is my muscle memory in my day-to-day….

Although the precise mechanism of muscle memory is unknown, what is theorized is that anyone learning a new activity, or practicing an old one has significant brain activity during this time. The walking child is gradually building neural pathways that will give the muscles a sense of muscle memory. In other words, even without thinking, the child is soon able to walk, and the muscles are completely accustomed to this process. The child doesn’t have to tell the body to walk; the body just knows how to do it, largely because neurons communicate with the muscles and say, “walk now.”

But in the last weeks as I have gotten used to driving a new car, I find my muscles are having a hard time remembering that I am no longer in my Saturn. I realize now how much I did in my vehicle without thinking (often an indicator of muscle memory) From the wipers to the cruise and from the windows to the lights.  I find it quite interesting how difficult it is to overcome the habits of my muscles….there is a real miracle and mystery to muscle memory….

So, this gets me thinking about what other memories my muscles hold and what memories I want them to hold. I like the challenge of teaching myself some new memories. I like the idea of having this new season be memories of activity and health and well-being. It is fun to think, if my muscles could speak their memories, what words would they use to describe my care of them, my activity with them…

And so, as I wander through the wondering, at the idea of my body telling its story, I think I will end it here. Be curious about your muscle memory and what repetitive motions you complete without even thinking….be amazed at the miracle and the mystery…..

Relationship is a beautiful thing….

In the last week, I have celebrated big and I have marveled at one on one friendships….

In the last week, I have journeyed to the mountain top of my tapestry party and have sat in the valley with my Aunt in her new cancer diagnosis.

In the last week I have read many good words which were offered to me by many in cards.

My heart is full and I am filled with gratitude….

And as I reflect on the many good things my week has held, I wanted to share another Curly Hair design card…i hope this card brings  a smile to your face, and reminds of you of faces of friends who have sat on your right and on your left!