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….

What I have learned from Dutchess….

I am not one who has always wanted a dog. I really never considered it much. But on the  journey to my heart, I started to realize that I needed to set some goals for myself. Being single, carefree and on my own, it was getting too easy to live without a routine on the weekends. I figured a dog was a perfect answer to aid my desire for structure and routine.  I had three primary goals…to pick up after myself more, to get out of bed at a decent hour on weekends and to go for walks regularly. So with that in mind, I stopped to see these puppies, named one Dutchess, wrote a check and brought her home when she was six weeks old. That was in April of 2009….

I have learned that my dog has far expanded my vision of what she could do for me. I recently said how I long for the days when it was clear in my mind that beds were for people and kennels for dogs. Dutchess has moved into my world with a gentle persistence  and I wouldn’t change it for anything.

Dutchess makes coming home more fun. She is ALWAYS” happy to see me.

Dutchess calls out the playful side of me when she ALWAYS brings her ball to my feet and gives me a true crazy grin when we come in from playing fetch!

Dutchess makes cleaning up a food spill so much easier. she is ALWAYS happy to assist.

Dutchess makes walking a mile so much quicker, she pulls me most of the way.

Dutchess knows how to read my moods and adjusts hers accordingly.

Dutchess has shown me that Pavlov really knew what he was talking about.

Dutchess demonstrates she only exposes herself when she is in her safest space!

So, as far as my original goals. Dutchess loves to sleep and will stay in bed until I get up. If I leave her home alone, I come home to any piece of clothing recently worn, gathered on the couch to provide her my scent while she snoozes. (meaning she contributes to my need to pick up more) But, Dutchess has been used to tenderize my heart.She comes to work with me every day and is in training to be a therapy dog.  All I can think as this dog lays at the base of my bed, snoring away, is that my heart is tenderized in way more creative ways than I ever dreamed possible!

I didn’t know you weighed 550 pounds…

is what I heard from the scale area at the gym locker room today. I glanced over to two young girls, maybe eight years old, one standing on the scale and the other announcing her friends weight. And then the other stood on the scale. “Oh” she declared, “I am only 540 pounds.” And in that moment I realized the value of knowing about decimal points.

I wonder what age the scale numbers begin to take up more space in our thoughts and shape the beliefs we hold about ourselves or others. It was really fun to hear the kids talk about the numbers they saw on the scale, without any sense that the number defined them.

I have been working on growing my own understanding of wellness, not just weight. I find it requires me to focus on kindness towards myself, not just critique and requires me to live proactively with a plan and not reactively with regret. It takes energy, a lot of energy, but I am confident, at the core of my being, it is definitely a part of the journey to my heart!

See you at the window….

What a beautiful Summer Saturday and tomorrow sounds like it will be much of the same. The days until I leave for South Africa are now in single digits and life feels full of opportunity. I experienced something tonight that was fun….

I am a person who really likes WORDS. My house has words spattered all over the place. I read and reread the blogs before I post to see if my word selection is the best it can be. Ask anyone who works with me, I love to critique word choice on any printed document and I have learned, at times, I have to leave well enough alone and say it doesn’t really matter….

I also like to listen to words…so tonight when I was picking up KFC for dinner on my parent’s patio, I smiled big when after I ordered at the first speaker, the man’s voice said…”see you at the window!” It was fun to hear something different, to hear words that held anticipation and words that were about seeing me…somehow it was not just and “your total is….”

I am not sure why the words were significant to me in the moment. I did not tell the guy how fun his words sounded when I was on the other side of the speaker. I think he may have thought I was a bit off if I would have launched into how his “see you at the window” impacted me. But I do wonder, did I say anything today that someone else remembers. Did I choose my words in such a fashion that if someone was listening, they might be able to share a story of an exchange they had with me?

I hope you have some words from a conversation today that you are tucking away because they brought you a smile, inspired your heart in some fashion or challenged you to think or act in a new and exciting way. I hope you spoke some words today that someone else has tucked away because they brought a smile, held sparks of inspiration or challenged them to think or act in a new and exciting way. There is power in words, especially when words overflow from a heart that loves deeply and lives passionately…

“Words are the voice of the heart.”

Checking in….

I am a person who enjoys checking-in….a quick hello, a conversation about nothing or something, a shared giggle or laughter till tears flow, a moment of shared pain that leads to tears and a hug, a wave while driving past, an instant message chat or a phone conversation between visits in a day…there are many ways I check-in throughout the week and I enjoy almost every encounter I have.

Now, I have to admit  that I have had to learn the value of not always moving onto the next checking-in moment. I have learned the value of putting my phone down, leaving my keys on the counter, kicking off my shoes and staying a while. I am grateful that in the journey to my heart I have had good friends who have invited me to stay awhile and to learn that checking-in can lead to great conversations and shared moments that don’t happen on the run. I hope you have moments like this…moments that feel life-giving and refreshing…moments that are sometimes planned but at times they just unfold….when your checking-in!

With that little bit of context, you can imagine I was excited to see that some of my Facebook friends were using a new FB feature that allowed them to check-in. I learned how to do it and started to check-in. Trish Borgdorff is now at Visiting Angels. Trish Borgdorff is now home. Trish Borgdorff is now at MVP Sportsplex….I took time each place I went to check-in….and you know, today, I thought, has this gone to far? Really, is it necessary for me to tell my FB world where I am at all times….and maybe the underlying questions are does anyone care or does it make a bit of difference to anyone?

I enjoy the world of Face Book, but some of what I read makes my heart ache…things are posted that I hope are being shared with a friend, in a home, with face-to-face contact as opposed to posted via Face Book. That is likely a topic for another day, but for today, it has become clear that I don’t need to share where I am at all times. Now, you might see me check-in somewhere in South Africa but as to my day-to-day comings and goings….if you want to hear about those…let’s go to coffee!

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!