Anger Iceberg…

Recently I started working part-time with The Journey Christian Counseling Center (www.journeychristiancounseling.com) and tonight I was impressed again with the courage of those are curiously seeking insight into who they are and why life is unfolding the way it is.

I look forward each week to the time I spend with my clients, and I am often reminding them that the changes they long for will likely not unfold in our weekly time together. I do believe they will grow into the changes as they live honestly and risk in new ways. For some, the risk might be in how they love or let themselves be loved, risk being quiet or perhaps speaking up, risk spending time alone or maybe with other people and almost always risking to consider and embrace new things about God and His love for His children.

I remember that my change process included awareness, courage, repentance, honesty, silence, embrace, celebration, sorrow, tears, reconciliation, forgiveness and so much more. I am grateful for where God has led me to in my own story and how I am now able to journey with others.

I am grateful tonight for the honesty of my 9-year-old client. He is refreshing in how he is able to identify his feelings and put words to his thoughts. We start each week with him coloring his heart with the colors that match feelings. For two weeks he had zero anger, and today I inquired about that.

“I am curious if you ever have any anger in your heart?”

Without missing a beat, he replied, “oh Trish, anger doesn’t live in my heart. Anger is all in my head. If I let anger get to my heart, it turns to sadness and makes me cry.”

I smiled and nodded. You are so right young man. And that led us into a beautiful conversation of his sadness and tears, and I am so grateful for his tender young heart and a mother who is willing to invest in his emotional health as he sorts out some complicated dynamics in his world.

angericebergTonight I found this on a college social work page about Anger Iceberg: Anger is often called a secondary emotion because we tend to resort to anger to protect ourselves from or cover up other vulnerable feelings. I was pretty proud of the brave 9-year-old who said that same thing to me today because he understands what is unfolding in his young heart.

As I wrap up today

I am thankful for The Journey Counseling Center and the invitation for me to be a part of it.

I am thankful for the people I am able to sit with each week and remind them of their strength to move into difficult or complicated spaces in their story.

I am thankful for the dear souls who have journeyed with me into the confusing and complicated spaces in my story.

And

I am thankful that God’s amazing design of His people is to feel a wide array of emotion, inviting each of us to live honestly about all that fills our hearts. I hope you will live out the courage of my 9-year-old friend and be honest about when your anger is protecting you from more vulnerable emotions. Be brave and name those, even if it makes you cry. Cause we agreed today in the session that it really is ok if you cry too, cause God just made us that way!

Preach it, child. You are right on. God did give us tears, and there is nothing shameful about letting them flow.

Love the Moment

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I have a few favorite books I enjoy and flip through quite often. One of them is called Love Life. I do my best to Love Life and commit to this each and every day. Loving Life is not always a bundle of fun or a barrel of laughs. Sometimes it is the sweetness or the kindness, but sometimes it is the justice or the struggle. Sometimes it is the people and activity I love and other times it is the beautiful silence and alone space that is part of loving my life.

Today as I flipped through my book I came to the page that said

LOVE TAKING YOUR TIME           IT IS A GREAT ART TO SAUNTER ~ Henry David Thoreau

saun·ter
ˈsôn(t)ər/
verb
  1. 1.
    walk in a slow, relaxed manner, without hurry or effort.
    “Adam sauntered into the room”

I have learned over many years how to saunter, but it still does not come naturally. As I consider the chaos that can come with the holiday planning, I would like to invite you to join me in this commitment. Are you willing to join me in LOVE TAKING YOUR TIME and learning about the art of sauntering? I believe it includes interrupting the pace in which we live. When I transition into the love of taking my time, I often start with a deep breath. I then ensure I am not multitasking, but give my full attention to one thing at a time. As my breaths get deeper and my body relaxes, the walking in a slow relaxed manner without hurry or effort feels light and invites me to notice different things.

How I wish I could hear your stories of slowing life down and taking your time this holiday season. Believe me, it is so valuable and worth being intentional about. I hope this Christmas season you will have stories to share about how you Loved the Moment and practiced the art of Sauntering.

 

 

 

 

Winter is coming….

Today it was evident that there is a changing of the seasons occurring. I have been around long enough to know that the calendar says it should happen on a given day or within a given span of time, but then we all know that it will happen when it happens.

Last night was very unusual. It was a balmy and warm evening in my corner of the world. The moon has been full and the colors in the sky at sunset full of varied shades of pink and filled with beauty. Dutch and I went out and played ball and went for one more walk last night as it was clear this balmy December could not last much longer. I was struck by how grateful I felt for another day of Sunshine and warmer air as I anticipated that winter was finally about to arrive.

Sometime in the night last night, I could hear the wind was bringing in winter. The window I had left open brought in a chilling breeze, and I could see my Christmas lights shaking in my 60-foot tall evergreen as I opened my eyes to see if I could see the wind roar. I curled up and wondered how long winter would stay.

Today the wind continued, the cold feels bitter and the temperature dropped from the balmy feel of last evening to the striking cold of today. I came into the office and commented how the sky appeared angry to me, gray and thick as if it was carrying snow.

I am aware that winter itself carries a bit of dread to me. The unpredictability of how the weather will affect my staff who are on the road providing much-needed care can feel ominous as we live each day of the long winter months.

The fear that our clients feel as they are anxious about ice and falling and broken hips and wet grocery floors is always on the back of my mind as daily trips are made out and about both on the job and off the job.

I know those who worry about their heating bills due to poverty.

I know those who dread blizzards and storms because of the work of clearing snow when you can’t afford plow service or a snow blower.

I know of those whose cars do not function well in below zero temperatures or tires that slide across the ice and make driving anxiety producing and dangerous.

I know of the struggle I carry about wondering what does it mean to care for and love those in need in those very real spaces.

And sometimes in the winter there just isn’t much sunshine. I miss the brightness and the warmth of the big yellow ball.

And yet, all that being true, my friend Janet Stark took and posted a picture of the sunset on my birthday this year. On December 2, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, God’s incredible creative hand offered us this masterpiece.

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Seasons are a magical and beautiful part of God’s creation in West Michigan, and I am fortunate enough to be able to experience the change that comes in its miraculous way, time and time again.

I will not let my dread of winter rob me of the opportunity to marvel at the miracle that overnight, with the roar of the wind, winter can arrive.

I will choose to embrace and enjoy winter this year!

I will seek out opportunities to support those who struggle when getting out is more difficult or cold weather affects their comfort.

I will snow blow for neighbors and strangers and bring joy to others on cold and miserable days.

I will end each day thanking God for the invitation to see His hand, and I commit to living generously in what I can bring to others every winter day.

And I won’t start the countdown until Spring until the first of February. 🙂

Jean Marc turns 14…

There is just something about this boy. I met him on my first trip to Haiti and fell in love with him that day I saw him on the adoption website. I will never forget my sister in law and I squealing in delight as Marcia and Len felt convicted that Sonta and Jean-Marc were the children they felt convicted to adopt.

I am so grateful that Jean-Marc became a Borgdorff that one day in September 13 years ago. I am so grateful for his smile and his laugh, his compassion and his athletic grace and ability. I love the twinkle in his eye and his amazing ability to engage strangers with a smile and a handshake.

And just like that, he turned 14 years old. I watched him play basketball the other day and we talked about High School next year and he now towers over me.

I would not be honest if I did not tell you that I pray extra hard for him as a black teenager in today’s culture. I ask God to protect him and surround him with people who know him and know his good heart. I pray for men and women in his life who will see his potential and develop his leadership skills so he can bring change and goodness to those he interacts with. I pray he will never lose his smile, his laughter, his vision, his dreams, his passion, his compassion, his brilliance or his love for others…

I love you Jean-Marc and will always be in your corner, have your back and cheer you on in your every endeavor. Happy Birthday and I hope this year will be one of great adventure, high scoring and lots of love and laughter!

Can i really be 48….

Yesterday was my birthday. As I took some time to reflect and look ahead, this seems to say it all and say it well.

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In some areas of my life, I have been intentional and lived this well. But it was clear to me also that there are some areas I would like to bring change to in the coming year. Change requires clarity of where to focus and focusing brings results.

A few years back I committed to blogging every day of the year. I don’t remember what I wrote about every day, but I do remember how good the process was for me. It was an act of discipline that invited me to focus. I think those two words both create a feeling of anxiety and hope. I have often said, discipline and focus are words that do not go with my natural wiring. I am spontaneous, free-spirited and like to roll with what is unfolding. But I believe that I now fully recognize that discipline and focus do not have to squelch the spontaneous, free-spirited and roll with it part of who I am.

As I move into the coming year, I am committed to focusing on areas where I want to see growth and practicing the discipline needed to get there. I have a fuller understanding of what is needed for the wellness of my mind, body, and soul, and am committed to living intentionally in these areas.

I will be working this week on my vision for my 48th year. Some of what I hope for feels clear and obtainable and some of what I hope for I will have to allow it to feel more unknown of how it will come to be. I believe that some of what I long for unfolds in a way that cannot be prescribed or predicted but may unfold in ways that are surprising and delightful. I am committed to managing the things within my control and trusting the unfolding of all that is outside of my ability to influence or control.

I look forward to writing more. I have said it before and then time gets away from me and it is a long while before I return. I am grateful for this space started in 2010, where I document some of The Journey to my Heart and I am grateful for those of you who affirm and encourage me to keep writing.

My brother Len died when he was 48. It was sudden, tragic and changed life in so many ways. This year, on December 23, it will be 5 years ago that we got that call. There are still moments of deep sorrow, but more often I am reminded of what a gift life is. We are not promised tomorrow, and therefore, I want to live well today!

Len cottage 2009Len, you also had a spontaneous, free-spirited and like to roll with what is unfolding kind of spirit. I miss that so much and I commit this year to you. I will live it well, in your honor and your memory, because I know you loved life, amidst all of it’s struggles and hardships, you never lost your spark. I am grateful that there are moments of every day I envision your smile, hear your laughter or grieve your pain. I will always hold you close to my heart. This year is for you!  Shaka!

Hawaiian hand gesture. It has many meanings. Originally it means to “hang loose”, or to chill and be laid back. It can be used as a positive reinforcement. If somebody did something goodcool, or righteous; You can give them a shaka as a sign of approval or praise. It can also be used as a welcome/goodbye sign. Most people would give the shaka as a sign of wassup or hello, use it as a way of saying goodbye, and even use it as a thank you.

To make a shaka:
1. make a fist (not a tight fist)
2. extend both your pinky and your thumb.
3. lightly shake your hand

Buds full of promise

First, let me tell you I do not have a green thumb of any kind. I spend almost no time in my yard and yet I have an odd love and admiration for my Clematis.

There is something wild and beautiful to my Clematis plant. I have 3 different trellises for it to climb and yet it seems to grow bushier every year. I often find myself pondering in the fall if it might be the last year that it blooms so many beautiful flowers. I hardly dare hope for the beauty to surface again come spring.

As the snow melted, I noticed the dead branches and I was somewhat convinced that if life returned to this amazing clematis, I would be shocked and delighted.

Tonight I snapped this picture, and I am shocked and delighted. I find myself wondering when I will trust the process that life returns every year.

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As I spent some time tonight just admiring all the buds that will soon burst into color, I am grateful for the miracle of this crazy, bushy, climbing Clematis.

I am grateful for the lessons this plant teaches me about how the cycle of dying actually allows for life to return. I am grateful for the lesson that even when directed and coached to climb, it still has a way of doing its own thing. I am grateful that somehow this crazy plant reminds me my own life and God’s plan for me.

May I never forget that God’s plan is to restore and bring beauty, hope, and promise through every season of my life.

Going to bed shocked and delighted and eager to check every day for the promise of the beautiful purple flowers.

The power of YES

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I will admit that I went into the day wondering if I was going to be able to accomplish the task at hand. One of the greatest challenges of owning a home care company is balancing the number of new clients compared to our Caregivers availability. Our reputation is only as good as the caregivers we send into the homes.

I know when we receive a call from someone needing care, there is a great relief in their voice when we are quick to say YES, we would welcome the opportunity to assist you! And as soon as we say YES, we are keenly aware that we are now dependent on the YES of others.

When I went into the office today, I was aware that we needed to hear a lot of YES answers today. We have an abundance of new clients with a critical need for care. Sometimes care may be housekeeping and we can tweak and adjust to make things fit, but today the needs were all about 24-hour care, so we must provide care without interruption.

As Laura and I were strategizing about how to make it all come together, we were both very aware that all of our strategies are only effective if each person we call says YES. Laura said to me, you call and I will pray.

There is something about being dependent on another person’s YES answer that reminds me of the goodness of the people I am so very fortunate to employ. It seems like each day we begin calling or texting through our list of caregivers and lead into the conversation with a sense of honest appeal, letting them know we need them.

At about 440 pm today, it came together and we now have caregivers in place for all of tomorrow’s visits. As I consider tomorrow and what it will hold, I know that Thursday has a list of available shifts that we will need to fill. I am aware again that as I move through the day tomorrow, I will be very grateful for those who say YES.

We live in a world of self-protection and boundaries. So often we are talking about the freedom to say no and the importance of self-preservation. Tonight I just want to give a shout out to all of the caregivers at Visiting Angels of West Michigan. Each and every day your YES answers bring us hope and encouragement that we will continue to provide excellent care to the seniors in our community.

I invite you to consider where you might say YES when you’re inclined to say No.

I encourage you to consider how your day turned out for the better because of your willingness to say YES

Remember that each and every day we are invited to make the day the best it can be. I hope your world can be filled with moments when you say YES. YES to an ice cream cone, YES to a trip to the park, YES to meeting a friend for coffee, YES to a generous gift to a good cause, YES to serving at Church or in your community, YES to assist at work, Yes to a family member, friend and enemy. Allow your YES to change your world and the world of others.