This complex day is full of mystery…

Today’s political outcome will be written about in history books. This political season has been complex. We all know that. Emotions are running high and insults fly freely. The conversations that surround our future provoke fear for many. It is hard to listen to and the implications of how our world will change under new presidential leadership are yet unknown.

When I consider what the next hours will be like as we watch the votes unfold, I will say that this complex day is full of mystery.

I love my work with Visiting Angels of West Michigan and am passionate about providing excellent care to our clients. I am blessed with the greatest multitude of angels ever who go into homes and care well for others. Navigating the needs of others is not a simple task, but it is so very rewarding. For 13 years I have fully believed that I am so grateful to be able to work every day in my area of passion.

In the last year, we have not been able to hire enough good people to meet the needs that come to us every day. We continue to provide excellent care but our current group can not continue to work the number of hours they do. The challenge of where to find the people who desire to work in the area of home care fill my thoughts. The tension of hiring people who we believe have excellent potential only to have them quit 48 hours later with a full schedule because…

Serving others, being an excellent employer, balancing the costs of a small business in West Michigan make me realize that this complex day is full of mystery.

Today my friend lost her daughter to cancer. I can not imagine the loss of a child. And my dear friend, at age 70 has had to bury her husband at a young age, her two sons and now her last surviving child. My dear friend has confronted every day with amazing faith and trust in a God that she loves with her whole being, even when the events she must hold are gut wrenching and unfathomable.

When I consider what this day has held for Jeanine and I wonder why one woman would face so much grief and loss I will say that this complex day feels full of mystery.

Politics is not the only thing that makes today complex and full of mystery. It is on the forefront but there is so much more. I want to walk into the complexity and mystery of every situation with courage, confidence and a willingness to say the unknown can provoke many different things in my heart.

And so in the mystery and complexity that will prevail in this day and every day forward. In the grief and the loss and the sorrows. In the decisions I face day in and day out as I navigate living my life with purpose and passion, I continue to return to a verse that I will hold close to my heart.      Forever grateful!

Isaiah4110.png

 

 

Dare to be….

I find these words to be full of invitation…

I find these words speak to my longings  and what I long for for others….

I find these words to be about giving and receiving….

I find these words to be about courage and kindness…

I find these words to be true for all ages, all cultures, all faiths and all people.

daretobe

“Dare to Be

When a new day begins,

dare to smile gratefully.

When there is darkness,

dare to be the first to shine a light.

When there is injustice,

dare to be the first to condemn it.

When something seems difficult,

dare to do it anyway.

When life seems to beat you down,

dare to fight back.

When there seems to be no hope,

dare to find some.

When you’re feeling tired,

dare to keep going.

When times are tough,

dare to be tougher.

When love hurts you,

dare to love again.

When someone is hurting,

dare to help them heal.

When another is lost,

dare to help them find the way.

When a friend falls,

dare to be the first to extend a hand.

When you cross paths with another,

dare to make them smile.

When you feel great,

dare to help someone else feel great too.

When the day has ended,

dare to feel as you’ve done your best.

Dare to be the best you can –

At all times, Dare to be!”

— Steve Maraboli

Love that entrepreneurial spirit….

I have been posting a fair bit on FB lately about the difficulty we have in getting applicants in the door in this past 6 months. It is a new challenge in my 13 years of owning a business. I often find myself wondering how this employment stuff will all shake out for my growing nieces and nephews.

I am so very thankful for the bunch of kids that I have been blessed to be an aunt to. I love them individually and I love them as a group. They are best of friends, thoughtful, goofy, loud, prayerful, thoughtful….

me and my kiddo's

But now back to the job thing….

Today Jean Marc detailed my car. At almost 13 that boy is amazing. He went about it systematically in clearing it out, wiping it down, vacuuming, sudsy water, drying it, dusting it…. I was proud of the way he went about the task. I was proud of the way he completed the task.I was proud of how he enjoyed the task. We talked about how he could do this for a source of income and he was eager to engage that.

Johanna was talking on the way home tonight, not having been with Jean Marc and I at all when discussing the car detailing, and she asked what I thought of a hot chocolate stand. She pontificated for quite some time about how in the summer she has a way to make money but she is trying to think of a way in the winter. The big kids joined in and they discussed a thermos system or other means of ensuring the product you are selling is warm. I was struck again by the entrepreneurial spirit….

And then tonight I got an alert on Facebook and this is what it said….

From the page Liv, with love (https://www.facebook.com/groups/1217034871705363/)

liv, with love.jpgdear people I love,

I’ve decided to try my hand (literally) at making cards. I’ve made an assortment of everyday cards, and plan on transitioning into ones to celebrate the upcoming holidays also! Birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas cards, bad puns, off color humor, or just because cards can be personalized by request. I will be selling the cards at $3.50 per card (envelope included) or bundles of 5 for $15.

Contact me on Facebook with questions, inquiries and orders!

With love, Liv

And so the conversations today were with my 7 year old niece, my almost 13 year old nephew and my 20 year old niece. In normal every day happenings, they all are exploring their entrepreneurial spirit. I am proud of them and love how they are risking and living into spaces that they feel led to be.

If you are inclined to order a pack of cards, I invite you to support Olivia and check out her page. She will be posting her many styles of creativity in the coming days and I am sure you will find a card style that suits you well.

I find that as I went into the day with the thought of employment and the struggles that surround that in our community, I must say that I am ending the day believing that my nieces and nephews will be just fine. That is a good feeling to end the day with!

So much of our story…

I love this picture….

It represents so much of our family story.

There is the Friesian flag that represents the roots of my Mom. It is the land in which she was born into and the land shIMG_8898e left as a 10 year old girl when her parents immigrated to Sussex New Jersey. For those of you who know a Friesian you understand that there is something about those Friesians. This land will always have a piece of my Mom’s heart. We loved being there together in the spring of 2016.

These two boys are awesome. They are the sons of my oldest brother and my youngest sister. They are a reminder to me of the goodness of God’s gift of family.

Jean Marc and Sonta joined our family 11 years ago and this picture is evident of God’s plan to in intertwine our hearts with Haiti. We find our hearts grateful to a Haitian couple we do not know. Adoption has changed us, shaped us and enlarged our family in wonderful ways.

Isaiah is wearing his Navy sweatshirt. A sweatshirt that speaks to the legacy of Navy in the service of Len, Nick and now Andrew who is at Annapolis Naval Academy. As Isaiah proudly dons his Navy Sweatshirt and as Jean Marc reminds me of God’s provision for our family, they both remind me of Len and how our lives have changed since the car accident that took his life in 2012.

This picture invites me to many places in my heart.

This picture represents the past, present and future.

This picture speaks to God’s plan, presence and provision for us in so many ways.

I wonder if you went and sifted through some of your pictures what picture might be the one that reminds you of elements of your story. I wish I could come over and see and hear your remembering. Give it a try, it is fun and good for your soul.

It is well with my soul….

Last night I was struck by the sound of silence.

I haven’t had much silence in my life these past weeks and so when I got home and turned off all noise, I was struck by the sweetness of the space I created in my soul. I was able to journal, to think, to reflect and to feel. I envisioned scenes and faces of the last weeks that I have held but not had time to be grateful for. I considered the spaces that feel difficult and was able to sort out a bit more clearly where I stand and why.

My time of silence was a gift…..

The sound of silence left me with space in my soul and hope in my heart.

I believe everyone’s sound of silence tells a different story for it comes from within each person’s heart and all it holds.

For some the sound of silence will be difficult to sit with.

For some the sound  of silence awakens deep sorrow and grieving.

For some the sound of silence awakens life changing reflection.

For others the sound of silence brings deep peace and/or uncontainable joy!

For me the sound of silence was able to remind me of what is true in my life, of who God is and who I am. The echo I heard in the silence was that He has created me to be in relationship with people, on the good days and on the hard days.

I was invited to embrace His gift of forgiveness.

I was invited  to embrace redeeming love

I was invited  to reclaim it is well with my soul.

 

fullsizeoutput_72d3This morning I listened to my nieces sing the solid truth in the lyrics below. I have included it for your encouragement today. If you need to seek the song of your soul, consider the sound of
jannekeruthsilence so you can hear.

If you need to be reminded about who God is and what is true and the peace He offers….listen to Janneke and Karolyn sing about it.

I am thankful for silence, song and truth.

There is a fountain filled with blood
Drawn from Emmanuel’s veins;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood
Lose all their guilty stains.
Lose all their guilty stains,
Lose all their guilty stains;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood
Lose all their guilty stains.
The dying thief rejoiced to see
That fountain in his day;
And there have I, though vile as he,
Washed all my sins away.
Washed all my sins away,
Washed all my sins away;
And there have I, though vile as he,
Washed all my sins away.
E’er since, by faith, I saw the stream
Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be till I die.
And shall be till I die,
And shall be till I die;
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be till I die.
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
when sorrows like sea billows roll;
whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
Refrain:
It is well with my soul,
it is well, it is well with my soul.
(Refrain)
My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
(Refrain)
And, Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
the clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
the trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
even so, it is well with my soul.
(Refrain)

,

 

 

Verzet means resistance…

We have learned much about the costs of WWII both to this country and have heard stories as well of how it affected those in our own family. One of the places we stopped while on our travels was Exloo Drenthe.

In Exloo, we hiked into a wooded area. This wooded area presents like any park. Smaller parking areas throughout the park with trails going in at all different points. We were following coordinates and knew we needed to be on the white trail. We were on a mission to find a certain spot. At this spot, N 52° 53.547 E 006° 51.053, on the white trail in this park in Exloo, Drenthe is a resistance monument.

IMG_8941

From our time together at this place, my oldest niece says this:

Today we were able to see the memorial that stands in memory of my grandfather’s uncle Chris and four other members of the Dutch Resistance. On September 19, 1944 they were forced to dig their own graves before they were shot and killed by Nazi soldiers. So, so grateful for their courage and sacrifice.

The internet says the following about this monument:

This monument can be found at the beginning of the Burg. J.v.Rooijenpad in the ‘boswachterij Exloo’ at the Hondsrug between Emmen and Borger. (boswachterij is best described as a forestry, a protected area).
A simple wooden cross is the monument with the names of five victims, members of the resistance movement. These resistance fighters were unknown to each other, they were arrested independent from each other in the course of the month of September and imprisoned in the Scholtenhuis in Groningen.
A sixth resistance fighter survived the execution on 19 September, 1944, and was released.

The text on the monument can be translated as follows:
Resistance
1940 – 1945.

Executed
19 – 9 – 1944.

J.C. Borgdorff dob: 15-12-1908
D.N. Breukelaar dob: 11- 2-1896
R.G. Radersma dob: 14- 5-1902
J.Wagenaar dob: 11- 6-1906
A. Wedzinga dob: 20- 6-1905
All from the city of Groningen

And so it is part of our family story.

Grateful for the opportunity to learn more about our story and stand in the spaces that honor and remember those who chose to stand for their Country.

Friesland is part of her being…

#Kupborgdebostakeseurope

Day 4

This morning in our chapel time we read Psalm 121. It is the Psalm that was read as my Mom’s family prepared to leave the land they called home and head to  America. I heard it with new ears this morning. I envisioned the scenes where this Psalm was read as a Psalm of farewell and blessing. My Mom shared there were always some tears shed whenever this was read. It was read often as many people were leaving their community to seek new opportunity in a new land.

IMG_0089.JPGAs I read more of Beppe’s story as we prepared for today, I was aware of how this Psalm impacted all that was unfolding.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord watches over you— the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm—  he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.

IMG_8974Today was different than yesterday as my Mom grew up in the country. It was not a walking tour but more of a drive through different spots in Friesland. We visited the church where my Pake and Beppe IMG_8990had their children baptized, the land where their home once stood, but today has
been lost to fire, and the church where some of their family is buried in the cemetery.

Their home was one where the barn was attached and two of my uncles slept above the cows in a loft type of space. It was a different time in a different land, but my Mom shared stories of her friend next door and how they would braid the weeds from the river. The land is beautiful and feels life giving. I can’t imagine all a fourth grade girls heart held as her family left all they knew and sailed to start a new life in New Jersey. In all of the goodness that came from my Pake’s brave decision, today I could envision that young girl my Mom was and the beauty of what Friesland holds in her memory.

My Mom is a beautiful and vibrant woman. As I reflect on her journey I am thankful for her tenacious spirit and gentle heart. I know for all of us here she represents a wife, mom, sister and Beppe who lives her life fully, embraces her story and longs to bring goodness to others, sharing openly and honestly about what she has learned on life’s beautiful path. My Mom is many things, but I will always include Frisian as one of the many things she is. After all being Friesian is just part of her being.

I am keenly aware of the deep faith that was needed in these days. It feels unreal sometimes to think of this as a story of my own parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles. And so as we travel together through this week I am grateful for the words of Psalm 121 that promise the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.