I love pronouns…

I had a great day yesterday being an Aunt. I love the conversations I have with Peter (age 7 1/2) and Isaiah (age 4 3/4).  I am amazed at all there is to learn in life and some of the most fun conversations center around the boys increasing knowledge. It is so fun to hear and interact with their growing awareness that the world is a big place and there is always something to learn.

Peter has been learning about parts of speech in second grade and as he shares, I have flashbacks to diagramming sentences. I try to engage with intellectual conversation when he asks, “Aunt Trish, do you know what an Adverb is?” I begin to search my memory bank and am pleased I can at least fool him to believing I have retained all my second grade knowledge and can easily recall all I learned.

I do have to say though that I was a bit surprised when he blurted out from the back bench in the van, “I just love pronouns!” I glanced back through the mirror and asked  why he found pronouns so wonderful? Peter confidently replied, “They simplify our sentences and save us from having to say so many words.” I had to smile at his understanding and definition….

Tonight I looked up the definition of a pronoun….A pronoun can replace a noun or another pronoun. You use pronouns like “he,” “which,” “none,” and “you” to make your sentences less cumbersome and less repetitive. It is fun to see that he really does get it….and he is only 7 1/2!

And so tonight I am amazed at the English language and all that comprises it. Language is the key to our relationships, work, and day-to-day living. I am thankful for the structure our language has and for the teachers who wake up every morning to teach the basics to the children. I am not sure I would have ever said it as a kid with the enthusiasm Peter has, but I do have to admit, even at 41, pronouns are pretty cool!

Better than a Hallelujah sometimes….

I love how when I am leading a Grace Group, I feel more tender and alive in my own daily walk. I hear words to songs differently and I hear the words of my friends and family differently. I have more compassion and a greater awareness of my need for grace, both God’s Grace and the grace offered to me by those who I interact with every day.

I remember when I realized that living an honest life did not consist of pretending that I lived a pure and trouble-free life. I remember when I realized that living an honest life meant that I had to be honest about my pain, my heartache, my longings and so much more.

I remember when that concept felt foreign and even more foreign was that God really deeply cared about my heartache and pain, my longings and so much more. I believed without a doubt that God cared for others, but I had trouble embracing that He cared equally about me.

Perhaps that is why this song resonates so beautifully in my heart and why I find myself playing it over and over and over again. It is the words of this song that I find to be such a wonderful invitation for us to live honestly. An invitation by God our Father to share with Him our brokenness. To read and absorb the words to the chorus:

We pour out our miseries
God just hears a melody
Beautiful, the mess we are
The honest cries of breaking hearts

To think that God just hears a melody when I pour out my miseries. To think He believes, beautiful the mess we are, the honest cries of breaking hearts. To embrace that all of this is at times is better than a Hallelujah.

It is refreshing to remember that Church and Worship as we know it have a very real place in our spiritual walk, but sometimes it looks very different ~ and to honor God, the creator of our souls, is sometimes best done in our honest cry of a breaking heart as opposed to a church bell ringing or a choir singing out.

And to that, I can say nothing more than Amen and Hallelujah!

Take a listen: Better than a Hallelujah by Amy Grant

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0nMvvoXa9Yk

God loves a lullaby

In a mother’s tears in the dead of night
Better than a Hallelujah sometimes

God loves the drunkard’s cry
The soldier’s plea not to let him die
Better than a Hallelujah sometimes

We pour out our miseries
God just hears a melody
Beautiful, the mess we are
The honest cries of breaking hearts
Are better than a Hallelujah

The woman holding on for life
The dying man giving up the fight
Are better than a Hallelujah sometimes

The tears of shame for what’s been done
The silence when the words won’t come
Are better than a Hallelujah sometimes

We pour out our miseries
God just hears a melody
Beautiful, the mess we are
The honest cries of breaking hearts
Are better than a Hallelujah

Better than a church bell ringing
Better than a choir singing out, singing out

We pour out our miseries
God just hears a melody
Beautiful, the mess we are
The honest cries of breaking hearts
Are better than a Hallelujah

We pour out our miseries
God just hears a melody
Beautiful, the mess we are
The honest cries of breaking hearts
Are better than a Hallelujah

(Better than a Hallelujah sometimes)
Better than a Hallelujah
(Better than a Hallelujah sometimes)

Celebrating Dutchess…

I have decided to repost a blog I wrote early on when I started blogging. It is lessons learned from Dutchess. As I watch her sleep on the couch next to me, it seems crazy that she and I have spent almost every day together for almost two years. Dutch comes to the office with me and spends more time with me than away from me each day. And so as we celebrated Dutch’s second birthday with pup cakes at the office, I thought this would be a good blog for today…honoring my dog Dutch for the fun animal she is in my life!

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 our Visiting Angel’s caregivers look for her often before greeting us!  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!

 

 

 

Turning 15…

Happy Happy Day to my niece Anneliese Joyce.  When I think of you Anne, I smile. I love how you are so witty and easy-going. As you continue to grow and mature, you are passionate about what is important to you. We all know your first love is animals and you have proven to be responsible and quite gifted in the realm of horses and their care. But I also think of you as a favorite and best bud to Olivia Grace….

we all know that where ever Olivia is, Anne is and wherever Anne is, Olivia is…you are both delightful  and so much fun!

Not far behind in cousin time is your good ol cousin Andrew. You are as comfortable with yourself   hanging out with the guys or the girls and I love how you know and believe in yourself as you enter into     your 15th year. You are a good friend and cousin. You are equally as kind to your peers as the younger children who also hang out around you. And I must say that Dutch loves sharing her birthday with you, or is it that you share your birthday with her?

You are also a daughter, sister and friend. Anneliese, I love you and am grateful to know you so well. I look forward to celebrating you for many days and years to come. You are a good friend, sister, cousin, granddaughter, niece and so much more. Your smile lights up a room and your presence rarely goes unnoticed, even when your words are few! Continue to be the young woman you are and always remember that you have a gift to offer each person you interact with….a gift that can be offered with your words or your heart. I love you my dear and wonderful niece.

t.

 

Blizzard 2011….

I like how happy everyone is during a blizzard. I felt as if the pause button had been hit on the pace of life. Parent’s were playing with children, children were having fun shoveling, neighbors were conversing and it was as if everyone has a sense of grace for one another. When Mayor Hartwell addressed the city he reminded us that today was a good day to shovel for your neighbor, check in on them and help one another out.

I wonder how life would be different if we lived like we were in a blizzard every day. I wonder what it will take to slow life down enough that we value our family, friends and neighbors enough that we choose to support them every day in ways that address their real needs and entrust that others are willing to enter into where we have need…

Tonight my Dad got stuck at the end of my drive. Four of us were rocking his car and in no time a car stopped and a spirited woman came to assist. Within a few moments, a red pick up stops and a strong and kind guy came to our aid. He ended up running home to get some ashes and with some extra traction, digging and pushing, my Dad was able to back out. But the experience allowed me to meet two wonderful people who live on my street and in a short time we had made a connection. I had to wonder how quickly I would have stopped if I was alone, and I was touched by their quick decision to join in and assist us!

And so as life returns to normal tomorrow after the Blizzard of 2011, may we carry some of the slower pace, kind heartedness and desire to ensure all are safe, warm and well into tomorrow and the next day and the day after and the day after…

Angels abound…

Day in and day out I am aware that I have excellent caregivers, but on certain days, I am amazed beyond belief. I spent most of today making calls to clients who have visits tomorrow and discussing plan A and plan B. We have some clients who MUST have a visit, so we started making a list and calling their caregivers first. The first call to Ellie and she assured us she would walk the 3/4 of a mile to her client’s home twice tomorrow if need be. Two caregivers are spending the night at my home so they don’t get stuck at home in Greenville and White Hall tomorrow. Another caregiver said she also will walk to her client’s home, because she reminded me, “he just can’t stay in bed all day.” I ran the mapquest and that walk is 2.4 miles…

I am grateful for the men and women who will go to serve the needs of others during the Blizzard of 2011.

I am grateful for those who are keenly aware of the needs of others, and set their own needs (and comforts) aside to enter into another’s world.

I am grateful for those who admit to their need for assistance. Although it is not always easy, what a blessing to know your caregiver will travel like a postman to come see you.

I am grateful….just plain grateful…for God’s provision at Visiting Angels of West Michigan. Provision of excellent Angels who love people well.

Stay safe and warm during The Blizzard of 2011. (and don’t forget to check on the elderly to ensure they are safe and warm)

There are often people nearby who want to pull you up when you reach out. These are your angels-in-waiting.
— Author Unknown

My talking shoe…

Tonight I wore my new funky tennis shoes. They seem a bit bold to me, but I opted to not think about it too much and just purchase them. The reason I was drawn to these shoes is because they are the kind that have the Nike – Ipod chip and I was ready for something new to work with while working out. I need to take some time to learn all the features, but tonight I had to smile while working out.

I have been doing interval training and tonight I had a new energy for these bursts of running. The energy came once my shoe started to talk to me. Now, the shoe itself isn’t talking, but via the chip to my ipod and into my headphones, I am told how many calories I have burned, how many miles I have traveled and how long I have been running. I was so inspired that my interval run burned 50 calories, that I thought. I am doing that again, and then again, and again and again…

I realize that I am a person who craves feedback. It comes in simple and funny ways through my shoes and it comes through sacred moments in Grace Groups. I am blessed with friends and family who provide me honest and supportive feedback. I have to say that during the journey to my heart, I have learned to value what others think and feel. I did not always have the desire to receive feedback.

I wonder if you have people who speak honestly into your life? I hope that I am always willing to hear what others have to say and use the feedback offered to me to propel me to be more of the woman God has created me to be. (or to burn more calories in the event my shoe is talking to me!)