29 September 2008

The girls--birthday shout out to my nieces

Today is my nieces' birthday. I love saying that. It is pretty unusual. Often people will respond, "both of them have a birthday today? Are they twins?"
And I shake my head and say that they were born three years apart. Georgia Grace was a unexpected "gift" for Katrina Joanne on Kate's third birthday.

I wish you could get to know them in this simple post. They are beautiful girls. Kate turns 10, Georgia 7. And they are growing up into such lovely young ladies.
If only you could sense what happens in Kate when I've sat next to her in her room at bedtime and prayed with her. There is something so spiritually sensitive within her. And you may recall her trip to Chicago to receive her surprise American Girl doll. She doesn't demand a toy at every turn. She is developing a lovely sweet spirit.

And then there is Georgia who even at an early age could tell jokes and make a person laugh. Her strong will may have caused more grey hair in my sister, but since starting school it seems, Georgia has come into her own. She is also a delightful young girl. When Kate brought back something for her from the American Girl doll store, Georgia said, "This is for me?" with so little expectation and complete gratitude.

It is a gift to celebrate them. It is a gift to experience (even from a far) how God continues to nurture and develop their hearts, souls and spirits.

Happy Birthday dear Katrina!
Happy Birthday beloved Georgia!

27 September 2008


Please know that in the category of important things, this post subject would not qualify for the top ten. But, it's on my mind thus, you're stuck with it.

Here's what went down. A person in my spiritual formation program, a few semesters behind me, posted a comment in her facebook status about her current class. I replied to her post.
And then she responded to me:
Hi Diana! Which class are you in now? And...is that a grandchild in your picture?????
The picture is of my friend's baby. He is adorable. And if I did the math, if I had a child at 18ish and my child had a child at 18ish, mathematically speaking, I could have a grandchild. But..well, listen in on my response:

I'm in Spirituality and Leadership. It is also a class to look forward to! And um, no, not a grandchild. I'm not yet a parent. :-)

This comes ironically after my friend, the very mother of the baby I'm holding, blogged about her experience when someone thought she was the grandma of the same child.

I confess, I'm not too stressed out about age. I turn 39 this very week and I'm grateful for another birthday. I love life. I am delighted for the opportunity to love God and love others for another year.

But, this whole thinking I'm a grandma thing, it's kinda bugged me. Given that the mother of this child is six years younger than me, and SHE was confused as a grandma doesn't console me. Goodness, at least she is a parent, even though she looks and acts nothing like a grandparent.

To complete the comments, here is the response to me:
Oops - sorry! I hope I didn't offend you girlfriend! I AM a grandma - so I just made an assumption...we grandmas get younger all the time! :-)

She wrote that a day or so ago. And since i'm clearly NOT over it, it's no surprise to say I was offended. I was whining about it to Barkley, and he said, "perhaps your blond hair in the photo looked grey?"
To which I quickly quipped, "but, I don't have wrinkles by my eyes, or lines by my mouth." Yes, clearly, this isn't sitting well. But why? I hear grandparenting is a fabulous time of life. Some people comment that they wish they'd become grandparents sooner. Most people really really really like their grandmas (I'm one of them).

Even so, I'd rather not be thought as one.
Gentle reader (tee hee, who says that?), here's an opportunity to input should you care to respond:
should I tell her I was offended?
or is it time to let this whole thing go?
Any thoughts out there?

25 September 2008

cyber wave

In gmail's chat and facebook's chat features, when a person is online (if they enable chat) they show up as a green dot. So the other day, I saw the green dot of my classmate from Tanzania.

As I tried figure out what time it was in her world, I sent her a chat saying, "I see you. I don't want to bother you if you're doing homework. Consider this a cyber wave or something."

She responded, "come sit by me for awhile."

I loved it.
The invitation to sit with her and be present.


19 September 2008

funfact friday

A couple of my bloggin friends inspired me with their reoccurring features...like Confession Tuesdays and
Netherlands Neusdays
and Interview Tuesdays (ha, just realized they're all on Tuesdays). I'm not going to copy them completely, because I can't commit to such regularity. But occasionally I tho't I might offer tasty or otherwise tedious tidbits of well, perhaps pure silliness or random information.

Today I offer this:
Jordan and I walk nearly every weekday morning. We see wildlife (today as an example, four adult deer, three fawns, and several, maybe ten wild turkeys) and sunrises and fog, besides people and all weather related sights. Today I noted again that when I walk on sidewalks, especially, I subconsciously avoid cracks.

The whole, "step on a crack, break your Mother's back" rhyme, well, it is ingrained in me to not step on them. I change my stride, I pull up or lengthen it all to strain beyond or step short of the sidewalk crack. In fact, I try to make myself NOT pay attention to it, and the very next stretch of sidewalk I realized I was doing it all over again. It's the little bit of OCD in all of us perhaps. Or, at least, in me.

Does anyone else do this? or anything like it? I'm hoping someone can identify with me.

Pic credit: Hildred, 0907.

16 September 2008

seasons and gifts

If you've been "a regular" here for awhile, you know I discuss much of my life on this blog. I don't usually hold back. You may also know I've been dating this great guy, Barkley, and I don't talk about him a lot.

I remember returning to Seattle during my college years and sensing that saying "no," when I answered the "do you have a boyfriend" question was somehow the wrong answer as well as the abrupt end to the questioner's interest in my life and experiences. That may seem a bit harsh, but it was often my experience. As if my love life or potential partner was the only thing of interest to talk about. I often felt disgusted imagining that my worth was measured based on whether or not I was "linked" to another person romantically.

People don't intend this, of course. Our culture is in love with love, or at least overly interested in romance. (Have you noted all the "reality" tv shows about love, romance, & dating, for starters?) People want to hear stories of dating and romance. Especially if they are happily married, they want that for other people as well. But somehow, the conversation communicates that value exists if you are married, engaged, or otherwise dating.

(You may appreciate that at this very moment, my Itunes playlist landed on Barlow Girl's song, Average girl, with the lyrics, "no more dating, I'm just waiting...")

And I'll own that I am sensitive to this area. When I was giving leadership to small groups in a church setting, someone asked me why I didn't lead a group for singles. My response communicated that I wanted to know people from all aspects of life. I needed married people, families, singles, old, young, divorced, dating, etc. in my circle of community. They pondered what I would have in common with married people, and families. Perhaps overlooking the fact that I was born into a family and had married friends. But I digress.

It is a great honor to be single. This is not just a single girl trying to talk herself into contentment. I mean that the opportunities one has as a single person are great. Although all the responsibility is on one's shoulder as a single person, the freedoms are on offer as well. It is something I consider as a complete God gift, this single life. It is rich with community and opportunity and diversity. As much as marriage provides definition, singleness shapes and defines me.
Which brings me back to Barkley...although, be assured, this is no announcement. But some people wonder why I don't post about him more. I don't in part because he is more private than I am. As open as I might be about "my" life and adventures, it does not give me the right to be as open about "his" life and adventures, even if some of those adventures include me.

But he and I did talk about this blog. And he encouraged me to write more about him as appropriate. And so, as part of something else that is defining and shaping me, I give you, my Barkley. Tee hee. Okay, not really. But, I expect you'll see more of him on these pages. As he becomes more and more part of my heart and life, you may read more of that journey here, too. It is also a rich gift.

15 September 2008


I started this posts days ago, actually, on September 3. I wanted to add this particularly photo but found difficulty scanning it until this weekend. It was taken the last time I was with Grandma, celebrating Easter, 2003.
And so the post began...

Today would have been my Grandma's birthday, a mere 104 years old.
It's strange that she has been gone already five years.
Her life was full of love and vitality, even near the end.
I certainly loved knowing her and being loved by her. I know we all miss her warmth and richness, not to mention her sparkling brown eyes and quick laugh.

I was reminded of her and reminded of this post, actually, as I read homework this weekend. We're reading The Congruent Life by c. Michael Thompson.
He outlines this view,
"In this culture, we have no concept whatsoever
of this interesting concept we call the 'present'...
We are constantly living in the future,
and everything we do is designed to get it here more quickly.
It's as if we are constantly
pulling the fabric of time toward ourselves,
ill-content to let it flow towards us at its own pace,
and thus unable to appreciate,
much less fully enjoy, the richness of the fabric
that might at this moment be in our hands."

As I drove home yesterday reflecting on that reading, I remembered how Grandma used to wonder aloud why she was still living. Her mind was sharp even though, as she quickly acknowledged, her body was failing. But there she was, nearly 100 years old, wondering at times why God held her here.

So I wonder if it was because she learned how to be present? She was such an encouragement to people who worked at the nursing home where she lived. She was a joy to all who visited her, or visited her roommates, for that matter. It was not only her eyes that sparkled. Grandma sparkled. Of course she had her moments, what 98 year old woman wouldn't? But for the most part, Jennie Hubers Van Roekel blessed those who were in her presence. I think because she could offer her presence, be fully present, as it were, to those around her. Sure, she walked the pathway of past moments and experiences, too. But when you sat with her, her focus was you. It was such a gift.

11 September 2008


Dear reader,
There is some language in the following post that is not typical of my blog. (Although, sadly, sometimes typical of my speech. Sorry, Mom.) I could remove certain letters, but you're smarter than that. So, please forgive the vulgarity for this little tale.

It all started when I needed to be at work early today.
(And by early, I mean 9:30, which doesn't seem early to some, but since I work until 8 or 9 p, 9:30 a is definitely early.)

I like to start the work day right (for me) with a glass of water.
You who know me well, know I drink a lot of water.
It is my beverage of choice at most, if not all occasions.

But to do so, or really, for the next person to enjoy water, I needed to replace the water cooler container. (This sounds so altruistic, doesn't it?)
I automatically remove the seal and get ready to flip the jug over into the unit. But somehow, in the flipping, it slips.

Water starts spurting everywhere like an out of control fire hose.
And then the jug drops completely out of my hands.
I see water escaping wildly from both ends and realize in the drop, the bottom of the jug has cracked.

I sputter something in the process, likely, "Shit, Shit. Shit!" to which my co-worker comes running.
He surveys the situation and exclaims, "Crap!"
as I'm muttering, "what do I do?"
He says, "put it in the sink,"
which we both realize is in a locked classroom across the hall.

So he grabs the garbage can and we fling the leaking jug in there.
He begins carrying it across to the aforementioned locked classroom and we notice the garbage can is leaking. (Mind u, it had a bag in it, but, okay, it's leaking.)

I fumble with the keys and finally unlock the classroom.
He dashes toward the sink only to have the "bucket" burst.

Yep, guess we can't afford to have a trash can without a hole in it either.

The redeeming part of the day is that Absopure happened to deliver NEW bottles today. And when I told them the story, they communicated that when a bottle breaks, they refund the bottle. And even more generous, he refunded TWO bottles.

Perhaps it was the four fans spinning overtime to soak up the water that evoked his mercy? Or, they're just a great company.

I know I highly recommend them.
And I highly recommend the laughter that spontaneously bursts forth after an incident like this.
It has amused me, us, and now hopefully you, in random moments all day long.
Probably a chuckle will escape tomorrow, too.
Maybe over the weekend...

10 September 2008

More Grace

It may be about once a year.
Grace comes to town. (As Jordan and I pose with her in this photo op--thankfully so she could diffuse a bit of our patterned fabric overload!)

It is a sweet treat.
I love this lady.
Oh, and incidentally, I love her daugher, too. Hi Aeri!
I am really grateful for the experiences and persons that God has placed in my life over the years, and particularly those I connected with at my last job.

His timing and planning moved me elsewhere. And for this I also rejoice. But for those in the midst of that urgent work, and for those who are called to that place and space, I pray God's deep abiding love, grace, and peace. Certainly the enemy does not want the work of building God's people to succeed. May God's Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven!

09 September 2008

Bread and Jam

At church Sunday we exchanged sack lunches for a potluck. Some might call it a mystery lunch!
It reminded me of a book my family had, accompanied with an audio recording-- a record (LP anyone?) that I could read and listen to for hours. It is the story of Frances, a sweet bear who compares her lunch to her classmates' lunches. She begins wishing she could have lunches like other people in her class. She explores her discontent even by trading her lunch.
At the end, she resolves that she likes her familiar bread and jam after all.
It's sweet.
Does any one remember this classic children's book?

Our church hosts potlucks rather regularly. This particular sack lunch exchange is a fun twist. I actually don't know who packed my lunch. But it was perfect. A turkey and cheese sandwich (with optional condiments if desired), a fabulous apple (a braeburn, my favorite), a rice krispy bar (also a fav) and another candy type/fiber bar. I loved it.
Perhaps an unknown twist to this exchange is that there are those who HIDE the lunches they packed to ensure that they get one they like. Where is your sense of adventure people? You're still fun, just not the risk taker I took you for. :-) (A few of you, to remain nameless of course.)

Perhaps they, like Frances, are most content with their own "bread and jam" or whatever it is they packed.

08 September 2008

Please see update

Many of you have asked and inquired about what is happening. Thanks for your care and concern. There really has not been much to report. But, now there is news. Please see the updates I added the post about Hilmer (from a few posts ago).

Thanks for your continued prayer and support for this family.

02 September 2008


This Labor Day weekend was an experience I will never forget. Years ago I read Joe Meyers' book called A Search to Belong. It challenges readers to understand community and intimacy in a different ways by opening one's eyes to the idea of community in terms of spaces. One of those spaces is the connection one feels with a group of strangers at say a large sporting event. People you may have nothing in common with, or know nothing about, suddenly are your closest and most favorite people as you together rally and scream for a shared interest, a sports team.

So at nearly my first ever live college football event (I do mean event, as it clearly is more than a mere game), as I traveled to Atlanta over Labor Day weekend, I experienced connection with people in amazing ways. It's a bit unnerving, honestly, as I reflect on the experience. Part of it relates directly to the clothing.
People wearing similar clothing, or at very least, clothing with the same color and logo, exchange things like inside jokes and secret handshakes, except that they don't appear to be exclusive about it, or want to keep it a secret. The more people involved the better.

Hours before the game, if someone saw you and the associated ball cap with logo (or whatever branded clothing, etc.), they share a greeting. I soon discovered that this particular greeting, "Roll tide!" is something akin to "hello!" "goodbye" "how are you?" "good luck" and everything in between.

And then on the subway, on the way to the game, it's not only a greeting, it's a battle cry. (Imagine the rumble as one person begins the slow and then becoming thundering--say like a rush of elephants or something-rrrrrrrooooolllltttttiiiiIIIIIIIDDDDDDEEEEEEE!)

Now, should any of the opposing team choose to ride this same subway, well, let's just say, it's probably safer for them to have their own car, or really, entire train if pressed. In this jungle, an elephant can easily crush a tiger you see.
As one who donned the shirt, and rushed with the crowd for the first time, I must say,
it was quite an honor to participate in the tradition
and feel so much like, well,
like I belonged.
Roll Tide Roll!