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!

May I never lose the wonder…

May I never lose the wonder….

Of the Church and the invitation extended to me to worship. The “older” Church building carries such an invitation to worship and wonder. I am grateful for our visit to this place and the deep meaning of the words posted at the door….

Pause as thou enter, Traveller, and bethink thee. How Holy yet how homelike is this place: Time that thou spendest humbly here shall link thee: With men unknown who once were of thy race

This is thy Father’s House. To Him address thee:Whom here His children worship face to face: He, at thy coming in, Himself shall bless thee: Thy going out, make joyful with His Grace

May I never lose the wonder….

Of the beauty of the land. The colors and the vastness, the rock and the dirt, the dry and the fertile land.

May I never lose the wonder….

Of the mighty waters of the Ocean or the amazing stillness of the same waters…

May I never lose the wonder of God’s Creation….both in Africa and here at home!

Lessons learned in the wild….

I learned many things while cruising around in a safari vehicle in Africa. I learned things from the animals of the wild that I never would have imagined. I will write about them over time, but today, I am struck by the acceptance the animals had for one another.

This picture is one of my favorites. It was as if these two were soul mates. They were comfortable with one another and were not affected at all by us onlookers.

They are so different their size, in their modes of transport, in what they eat and how they eat it. They have every reason to not enjoy one another, and yet, something about this picture communicates to me that they are doing exactly that, enjoying one another.

As I journey to my heart, I strive to live with a stance of curiosity. Curiosity about all I am experiencing. Sometimes there are questions that feel life challenging or changing. Sometimes I tuck away an experience and wonder if or how it will come back to shape my heart or mind?

As I delighted in the moment of the bird and the giraffe, I was curious if I live with the same invitation and acceptance as these two animals of God’s creation. Where do I mingle and rest with those who are very different and yet still so full of God’s design and beauty? I just may find myself defining where I am a giraffe who invites one of smaller stature but magnificence of a different kind, to rest and get a new view and where am I a bird who settles into a place of rest and enjoyment of seeing things from a perspective I can not achieve on my own…

I love the gifts God gave me in the wild of Africa….

There is no place like home!

I traveled through out South Africa the last 17 days. It was wonderful, full of adventure, amazing in beauty and held moments of delight, wonder, awe and laughter. I traveled with my Dad and Mom, Aunt and Uncle, and my Aunt Dot who is also my neighbor and friend. We spent one week on a Safari, spent a wonderful afternoon at the Indian Ocean, went to Table Mountain, Robbins Island, an Elephant Park and many other locations. We traveled by plane, train and automobiles and each of those held adventures of their own.

In the days ahead I will be writing about my travels through South Africa. But tonight, I want to say, “There is no place like home!”

Travel was great and accommodations were above average. I slept well, was up early and enjoyed cards till late into the night, food was good and the company was delightful and easy to be with. And yet, without hesitation, I can say,  “There is no place like home!”

And yet, as we traveled through South Africa, we saw a common scene. We drove by many communities, more commonly known as Townships. During the Apartheid Era blacks were evicted from properties that were in areas designated as “white only” and forced to move into Townships. There is much to say, but what strikes me is that almost every Township we passed, I noticed: clothes hanging out to dry, small gatherings of people, indicating to me that people were living in relationship, the presence of children, and in some very odd way, a feeling of community…life giving community, amidst circumstances many of us will never ever fully understand. I was struck often by my wondering how can someone live in these circumstances….and then I am struck, this is home for someone else. To learn a bit more about the townships, search Township (South Africa) on or search South Africa Townships on You Tube and be amazed at the power of community in the midst of many hardships.

It took me a number of years to love being home. During my early years of home ownership I was not comfortable with who I was and found that I ran in and out of my home, more than I enjoyed being home. As I have journeyed to my heart, I have come to know, understand and accept myself and therefore, have embraced the beauty of being home. I am thankful for the journey and for the people who have journeyed with me. I am grateful, especially after traveling the world, that home is a wonderful place to return to!

Living the unexpected…

It was an unexpected kind of day.

I had planned to sleep well and wake up early today.

The unexpected was I did not sleep hardly at all and was awake almost every 30 minutes.

I had planned to go to breakfast with Cathy and Caili.

The unexpected was I went to the Emergency Room instead thinking I had a bladder infection.

I had planned on them telling me in ER that I had a bladder infection.

The unexpected was they told me I had a kidney stone.

I had planned to feel better with medication within 24 to 48 hours.

The unexpected was they  asked me if I had international medical coverage and that the worst is likely yet to come. (Although many people have survived just fine passing a stone, and I plan to be in those statistics soon as well!)

I had planned to just take malaria pills ~or is that anti malaria pills to Africa

The unexpected is I am taking my own mini pharmacy.

I had planned to feel fully ready to depart by the end of the day today.

The unexpected is I feel a little uneasy.

And so, today I am living the unexpected. And in my mind I keep hearing my Dad’s voice as he is known to say: “the Lord is still on His Throne.” Funny how that foundational truth offers me hope…especially in days where the unexpected seems to find me in almost every circumstance.

What did happen today as planned: I enjoyed hosting 21 people at my home for a wonderful evening of good conversation, wonderful mixing of many ages and a tasty summer dinner of Brats, onions and green peppers, potato salad, pork and beans and ice cream cones to top it off. I am glad that is the one thing today that went as planned.  It is always good to be with family before a big trip!

And so, in the day of travel tomorrow, I hope for more of the expected…but in the event, the unexpected rises to greet me again, may I welcome the changes in my plan and remember the Lord is still on His Throne!