I will eat whatever you make me…

I have had a great day today with Johanna, Isaiah and Peter.


While in the car Isaiah and I were talking about what to make for dinner. It went something like this.

I asked “what would you like for dinner?” Isaiah quickly and cheerfully responded, “homemade pizza.” 

“Hmm,” I responded, “how do you make that?” He walked me through the steps (quite logically) and asked “do you think you can make that?”

 “I think I can,”I responded, “if you have ingredients. What would you like if you can’t have pizza?” He thought and said “Mac and Cheese, but I only likes the elbow kind”

Hmm, I thought, I really am not sure Suzi has mac and cheese. I started to try to think through what else I might be able to get him to consider….

Then he cheerfully looked at me and said, “Aunt Trish, I will just eat whatever you make me.”

I was so touched by his conclusion to the question I asked. I asked a big question to initiate conversation and it was really a bigger question than I could follow through on. I had no idea what was on the shelves at Suzi’s and realized I was hoping he might say something like peanut butter and jelly or something simple. I was fortunate that he did not set his 4 1/2 year old mind on something that I could not produce. He very much enjoyed grilled cheese and some potato chips.

I wonder how often I ask questions that I don’t really consider what might be required of me. I want to be aware of the questions I ask this year, questions that I am willing to follow through on, especially if I initiate the question. And perhaps when I screw up in this area, which I am sure I will, the person I am conversing with will be as gracious as sweet Isaiah was with me.

Making Memories…

I had a great time out to breakfast this morning with my nephews Andrew, Ryan and Noah and my niece Olivia. I have so enjoyed my nieces and nephews at all ages, but am so pleased how pleasant they are as preteen and  teenagers. We had good times over the last few days which included late nights and new years eve middle of the night pizza delivery, good conversations and quiet moments. The time was short, but the moments were good.

Olivia (age 14) and Noah (age 12)  were telling me a story ~ they often share in their story telling ~  finishing each other’s sentences and filling in the detail of the scene they are recreating. They were telling me about a time they were in a small grocery while on a family vacation, and Noah knocked over a display of watermelons. Olivia and Noah were in a bit of a panic, trying to clean up the mess and an older lady walked by and said, “are you kids making memories?”

What a great response to a moment that might have drawn many other thoughts if you or I were walking by it. I loved hearing the story and was struck by their perspective on what a kind response this was from this older woman. This story really has me thinking on this New Years Day of 2011.

I would like to be a person who lives with the motto that life is about making memories. I would also like to nurture and encourage this in others. I don’t want to be someone who just does this on special holidays or scheduled events. I hope that 2011 will be a year where I can make memories in many situations. I hope that I will value memories made with many different people as well as moments that will hold special memories just within my own heart.

I look forward to 2011 and all it might hold. I imagine I will journey to the mountain top and deep into the valley. Living life fully and honestly will bring me to both extremes. Much of the days will be somewhere in-between. It is my hope that in it all, I will remember God’s goodness to me and trust that He has a plan for my life and all it holds, even if I don’t see or understand it right away. And so, I do believe one of the best things I can offer to myself and others, is to create, make and enjoy the memories!

Life is not about learning to survive the storms, but rather learning to dance in the rain!

My wish for each of you….

Amazing to me that we are already at December 22 and Christmas is only 3 days away. So much of life passes quickly and I can’t quite believe we are approaching 2011.

I got to thinking about those of you who I know read my blog and the many I do not have a face for. I began to reflect on what I wish for each of you….even if I am not sure exactly who you are. Let me share some of my wishes for you….

I desire to live fully in the moment…I wish the same for you.

Living in the moment free’s us up to enjoy what we have, right now. I know what can be lost living in the past or worrying about the future. I hope you will choose to live fully in the moment at some point every day.

I desire to live with a sense of adventure and risk but also to be content and at peace…I wish the same for you.

I believe that living with a sense of adventure and risk calls us to live at the edge of our comfort zone. I try to find some space there every day, space where I am thinking, acting, believing something risky or adventurous. But if I live only in this space, I miss the gift I can experience of contentment and peace. Lots of things in life are not right or just and much of what I see (and sometimes experience) is unfair, but I am learning to develop the space in my own heart, mind and soul that is about peace and contentment, even when my circumstances are difficult.

I desire to live with a generous spirit but to hold enough that allows me to provide for myself and those I love…I wish the same for you.

I am learning the balance of giving to others and ensuring I am wise in what I keep for myself. This has to do with my financial and emotional reserves. It is my hope that you will not cling to anything out of fear, but risk giving away what you find yourself clinging to. I pray that if you give so much away, ignoring your own needs, that you will risk saving for yourself and those you love.

I desire to live a healthy and balanced life…I wish the same for you.

I am learning about healthy and balanced. I know that this looks different for everyone and where I need healthy and balanced is likely different from where you need to focus. It is my wish that you will identify a key area or two and start to make changes….changes that will bring you the delight of living in a healthy and balanced lifestyle.

I love the feeling of family, friends and fun, of laughter and understanding. I delight in shared heartache and joint celebration. I enjoy the power of community, the after glow of good connections and the power of solitude. I hope that in 2011, my day-to-day will hold some of all of those….I wish the same for you….

Goodbye to 40…

Hello to 41…

It is my last day of being 40. Better than the last day of my 40’s! I am excited for a new beginning.  I know that when I wake up tomorrow it is not like anything new really begins,  but I am at a point where I believe so much is unfolding in my life. When I started this blog in August, I wrote the following:

I realize that I am journeying through some pretty significant places in my life right now….turning 40, realizing that seeking God does not always mean finding Him and so grateful that finding Him still gives me a sense of amazement. i recognize that God is calling for transformation of my heart and in that process I am shedding extra weight and discovering and uncovering my body….I enjoy the mystery of each day more than the predictability and I love the way life unfolds in the most unexpected of ways.

I would say that today as I look at turning 41, so much of those words still resonate as true. The journey I am on right now is leading me to be more content in my heart. I understand more what it means to trust God with my life and yours. I feel less of a need to rescue and invade other’s lives and more willing to enjoy where I am at.  In that I can wonderfully enjoy the experience of sharing what others  invite me to.

I am more confident that God is everywhere and yet more amazed at where He reveals Himself to me. I love the conversations I have with my nieces and nephews, ages 4 to 17 (since Johanna isn’t talking yet) that reveal to me the freshness of life and all it holds.

I enjoy waking up each morning ready to live the mystery of the day, wondering what I will reflect on at the end of each day that I never expected when I ventured out the door.

But hear me say this, my journey is far from all joy and celebration. I see and experience the depth of the valley and know all to well the cry of my heart and have shared in the tears of others.  Life is not simple and it is not by any means easily understood nor explained. I expect that to remain true all thru my forties, fifties, sixties and beyond.

But this is true as I turn 41….

I am grateful for the journey of my heart, the truth of God’s promises and the faithful example of my parents about how to live in Faith. I am blessed by family and friends who are willing to love me and allow me to share in loving them. I am passionate about my work and so thankful for the relationships I have enjoyed over the years from Sylvan Christian, Holland Christian, Calvin College and Western Michigan University.  Then there was children’s ministry at Sunshine Community Church, my first Social Work job at Three Rivers Area Hospital Hospice,  facilitating children coming home through adoptions with All God’s Children International, serving alongside my soul mates in Open Hearts Ministry, through the blood, sweat and tears of my Fitness North community and in faithful day-to-day service at Visiting Angels of West Michigan. I am a fortunate woman who recognizes every day the goodness of God in my life.

And I will continue to live fully in my 41st year. I have high hopes and a vision for myself and a few other things. I would imagine that life will bring a variety of events, emotions and experiences in the next 365 days…I hope many of you will share in much of that with me.

Every morning as I come down my steps, I see these words…Awake my soul and sing….that is my hope for this coming year!


It isn’t what you have in your pocket that makes you thankful, but what you have in your heart.   – Author Unknown

I love this quote and find it to be so true. Now I don’t want to minimize at all my thankfulness for all that I have in material things, but tonight, I do want to focus on what I have in my heart.

I am thankful for the love and support of family and dear friends. The journey to my heart has been ongoing. During this process I would say that I have learned the joy and delight of living with a full heart. I used to fear having a hollow or empty heart. I can boldly say, of this I am sure, that my heart will never be hollow or empty. For that I am thankful!

I am thankful that I have learned to be content in my own skin. In my relationships, many of you have modeled to me how to live content and at peace. I have grown in my own heart by watching and listening to others. Please remember that your life is an invitation to others to live the same. My heart is full because of the invitations many of you have extended to me to risk living differently…I am forever grateful!

I am thankful for the opportunity to have a passion and a vision for who I desire to be and who I believe others can be. I have a favorite canvas I would like to buy sometime. It includes the following: Let Your Passion Overflow. There are times when the fluffy, feel-good stuff just doesn’t work. I love this artist’s sense of humor! “As much as I try to be an easygoing, stretch your wings and fly type…I just can’t stop trying to burst people into flames with my mind.” I long for people to live with a passion…a passion for something that makes their heart beat. What makes my heart beat? I believe it is the journey to one’s heart…the long and winding path is worth the journey….both in my life and yours…Praise God!

And so tonight, I am thankful for the people in my life who love me and allow me to love them, for my job and the amazing people who offer care every day through Visiting Angels of West Michigan. I am thankful for my home and car and the daily provisions that make my life comfortable. I am thankful for the freedoms I experience and enjoy throughout every day. I am thankful for the community of believers I am a part of in my Church, Visiting Angels, Open Hearts Ministries, Fitness North and other places I enjoy the relationships the Lord has blessed me with. Tonight I am thankful for so many things but also thankful for so many people and experiences.

My life is full, my heart is alive, my joy is deep, my soul is content, my relationships are dear, my vision is big and my passion is burning….what more can I ask for….I am thankful!!


I had to smile today when I heard myself tell a friend that I feel like I am morphing. I am down 20+ pounds in just under four weeks. The journey has been long-awaited and now feels delightful. I feel like my body is changing weekly and today I was keenly aware of something I did not really anticipate.

As I picked out my clothes today I had a bit of a panic moment. Because my body continues to shed weight as a result from my great experience at Fitness North, I realized that I might not be wearing my favorite clothes for very long. I have already set aside many things but today I looked at some of my sweaters and wondered if they will fit in two or three weeks. I realized that part of this process is leaving things behind ~ and some of those things are items I have liked or enjoyed. But it was a fleeting thought and realized I will be enjoying new favorites. So, I unclenched my fists and remembered to live open-handed, ready to release or receive whatever God has for me.

I am growing in the confidence of my new being. I feel healthier and have a deep sense of wonder at the process I am currently living. I am thankful for many things this week (a blog for tomorrow night) but I also find that I am often in a thankful frame of mind….and that brings a wonderful sense of contentment in the day-to-day.

So, if you are home Wednesday evening, please tune in and catch a glimpse (or however much NBC decides to share) of my experience at Fitness North….

Thank you for your love and support in my morphing process….:-)

In late October, we launched our new live-in weight loss and fitness program at Surfside on Lake Superioron Minnesota’s North Shore. Fitness North co-owner and Season 9 Biggest Loser participant, O’Neal Hampton and his daughter SunShine inspired the first ever Fitness North participants and the North Shore community with their more than 290 lb combined weight loss.

NBC TV was on hand to film the Fitness North launch and plans to include co-owner O’Neal Hampton and his daughter SunShine in an NBC Thanksgiving eve special titled “Where are they now?” We invite you to watch the NBC special this Wed., Nov. 24 from 8-10 p.m. to learn more about Fitness North and how you, too, can change your life. We’re excited to see our Fitness North Family from the first program on national TV.




Bob from Biggest Loser….

has a quote on the wall that I saw tonight while watching Biggest Loser that said “stand up and finish what you started….

It was a good reminder to me tonight to stay focused on my food intake, my exercise and so much more. I started to think through how many things I begin and walk away before I am fully finished. It is the simple things like drying and putting away the dishes after I washed them, putting away the folded laundry or putting my clothes away at the end of the day. I am thankful that tonight these words struck my heart and remind me to stay focused on the task and see everything through to completion. I can start to anticipate only positive change if I live this simple concept out….positive change to my body, my home, my routines, my workplace and my relationships!

I am starting to be excited for next Wednesday night. The Biggest Loser is featuring a special on Where are they now. (http://www.tvovermind.com/nbc/the-biggest-loser/biggest-loser-thanksgiving-special-air/34033)  NBC was at Fitness North to film O’Neal and the positive change he is bringing about via Fitness North. It will be great to be taken back to the moments we shared while at Fitness North. Although I am hoping they don’t air my bathing suit interview, what will be will be. I am hoping it will be a clip that will show many that there is a place to go that infuses hope and possibility. With that hope and possibility comes a strategy that only requires you to “stand up and finish what you started….”

And with that I am going to press on to the end and reach my potential!

So thankful for the support of family and friends!