I have great house mates and tomorrow starts the exercise. Heather, one of my house mates had a one on one session tonight and came back sharing about her experience, reminding me that we are here to battle for our hearts, minds, body and souls. We will be pushed to our limits and likely see our limits expand over the next two weeks. I am still excited, but eager to get the experience started.

My Dad and Mom gave me a book one year for Christmas. It is called She… and I find I read it often….during times I need to be inspired about what is true…about who I am and what I am capable of. I enjoy the inspiration it provides and it helps to shape my attitudes.

And so tonight I leave you with the words of inspiration I am taking into tomorrow…

SHE….woke up one day and threw away all her excuses….Celebrate her accountability!

I hope to toss away a whole bunch of excuses tomorrow and live accountable in a whole new way!

My Journey Alone….

Today I boarded a plane alone and headed to Minneapolis. I have to say, that even though I am single, I live so much of my life in the community of family and friends. Today when I left, I realized that I was journeying this trip ALONE. I have great support, love and encouragement, but I boarded the plane and navigated the way to the hotel alone. I felt so grown up. I have to say…it felt different, but a good different! (although I really don’t want to travel alone again for a whlie!)

I was thankful not to have anyone sitting next to me on the plane and enjoyed a continued sense of aloneness….

I took the escalator to the tram and there was no one around. It was so quiet and I enjoyed being alone on the escalator…(now remember, this is a GOOD SIZE AIRPORT)

I took the tram to the baggage claim and was alone in the tram-car….

I waited for my luggage at carousal 13 and my two pink bags were the first one’s down and I was alone at the carousal.

I called for the hotel shuttle and boarded the shuttle….once again, I was the only one on the shuttle and came up to my hotel room where I moved my bags in and sat on my bed and realized for the next two weeks, this journey is my unique  journey.

This realization and reinforcement of being alone is amazingly odd to me. I think God is reminding me that these next weeks I need to focus on me. I have prayed that He will help me to remove the distractions of my mind and give me energy to focus on what I have come to learn and practice. I believe today God showed me that He cares about my prayers and is with me in this.

The verse that came to me often, as I stood alone in my travels…Never will I leave you, Never will I forsake you! Hebrews 13:5b

I am excited, I am a bit uncertain, I am curious and I am hopeful….

And I want you to know that when I got to the desk to check in there was a note from Mike, who is on this journey as well, asking me to call him to see if I wanted to head to Mall of America. We did, met up with Karen, who is also journeying to Fitness North and together we enjoyed dinner and casual conversation.

It was a good day and for that I am thankful!

Standing in the need of prayer….

Dear Friends,

Today I embark on a journey that felt a long ways a way when I signed up. I will be traveling to a structured, results-oriented, comprehensive health and fitness experience at a live-in weight loss program.

I know that I won’t lose all the weight I desire in two weeks time. I do believe that living in a controlled environment, and under the direction of trainers and nutrition experts, can only help me to learn about changed behaviors that will bring about results. My hope is to lose twenty pounds five times over.

Please pray for me in the coming two weeks. I welcome however you feel led to pray, but let me also offer you what is on my heart.

Pray that I will have stamina and endurance to complete the many hours of exercise we will participate in each day.

Pray that I will keep a tender heart to learn about what God wants me to see and experience.

Pray that I will be an encourager to those around me, cheering them on and being encouraged by them as well

Pray that I will be free of injury and aches and pains that could distract me from working hard every moment of every day.

Pray that I rest deeply each night and awaken refreshed each morning.

Pray for my family, co-workers and friends at home. I am very thankful how they step up in order to make this all very possible fro me to be gone for       two weeks.

I wake up this morning thinking about one of my favorite verses….Psalm 19 vs 14

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart

be pleasing to you,O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.


Thank you for praying for me and with me…


starting to pack…

Next Saturday I am leaving for Fitness North, a two-week live-in boot camp experience. I signed up without thinking twice and have felt good about the decision ever since. But now, in all honesty, I have to say I am feeling some of my anxiety grow. I am not doubting IF I should be going. I believe it is right for me in this season of my life, but I am wondering what the two weeks will hold.

I am bringing my suitcase up today and starting to pack. I have hiking shoes and tennis shoes, i have a walking stick and head bands to catch the sweat that will drip from my brow, i have anti wicking shirts to layer and replace my all time favorite cotton t-shirts, i have workout socks, water proof layers, bathing suit, anti blister hiking socks and I have a brand new state of the art sports bra. I have a two-week stock of sugar-free bubble yum and I have rolls of quarters to wash anything I need to at the end of a sweaty day!

I keep wondering if I have all I will need. I am looking forward to spending all day everyday in workout clothes and at some level am looking forward to learning about my stamina and fitness level during the days I will live in my workout clothes.  I am thinking the week before is the week you wish it was just time to go…enough thinking about it, let’s just do it!

But I need to take time to think this week about a few other things to take along. I need to remind myself that I will need to fill up on my courage to try new things, my patience  that I undoubtedly will need for myself and others. I want to always ensure I have an abundance of grace and understanding so that I can go at it again and again and be an encourager to those I journey with.  I can pretty much guarantee that I will need to face some difficult lies I have believed about myself…and I want to obliterate those and come home embracing what is true.

I want to work hard, sweat more than I have ever known, sleep deeply and feel every muscle I work during the day. But more importantly, I want to understand and love myself more. I want to uncover my beauty and feel the beat of my heart when I am pushed to my limits and when I am resting in the quiet of my room. I want to see and experience God in the struggle of the ache of my body and in the beauty that will surround me as I hike on the shores of Lake Superior. I want to do more than endure and survive. I want to live a life that has meaning and purpose and live it fully!

And so, with that I am off to pack, picking up and folding what I can and reflecting on what I will need to take within my heart. I covet your thoughts and prayers.  One thing I know without a doubt, I will come back a changed woman. In what ways, now that is yet to be determined!

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….

The Watering Hole….

The watering hole was an interesting place in South Africa. For a land that is in a water shortage, even the watering holes were somewhat dry, but none the less, it drew much wildlife. There were times we had cruised the land for hours and had not found much wildlife, but we always had hope that we would see something at the watering hole. The watering hole is a place that reminded me of hope and life.

As you can see in this photo, the watering hole is a place where many different kinds of animals gather. It was a place that carried a sense of peace and anticipation.It was a place of delight and enjoyment…

As I drove around in the safari vehicle observing amazing aspects of God’s creation, I kept asking myself, where is my watering hole? Where do I go to refresh…where do I go to find others, where do I go when I feel dry and thirsty…..

I am thankful to be able to identify a few watering holes in different places. Sometimes my watering hole is in the quiet of my home where I can dig into  God’s truth and delight in Who He is and who He calls me to be. Sometimes my watering hole is a family gathering or Sunday dinner, where I can marvel at the story of my life and how in family relationships I have learned to love and be loved, speak and listen to honest feedback, share in sorrow and joys, celebrate life in all ages and know that we will journey life together till the end…cause God placed us together as FAMILY. I have also been so blessed to discover a watering hole in dear friendships, many uncovered through the ministry of Grace Groups and Open Hearts Ministries. It is in relationship with others that I often  feel the depth of God’s love for me and am able to delight in feeling refreshed and renewed…kind of like what I imagine the animals feel like when they leave the watering hole!


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!