• Heart Undressed Blog


I am a purebred…100% Dutch. My great-grandparents were Jan & Geesje Prins, Lammert & Dina Vande Berg, Klaas & Neeltje Ver Steeg, and George & Johanna Brolsma. Names tell a lot, don’t they? My ancestors were farmers who immigrated to America, in the mid-late 1880’s, settling in Iowa. My Dutch roots were clearly evident in my upbringing. We had a strong sense of family, faith & a diligent work ethic. Stewardship of possessions was not only seen as practical & necessary, but wise. Sundays dinners were spent with grandparents, taking turns between the 2, as we all lived within a 10 mile radius. A common experience was hearing my parents & grandparents speaking Dutch whenever they didn’t want us kids privy to the conversation. To this day, I have some favorite expressions that just speak for themselves. No English translation quite says it.

A tradition carried forward in our family was the “koffie klatch.” Simply put, it was informal conversation over coffee. My Grandma Grace started training me with tea times when I was 5. She taught me that when the tea was too hot to sip, I was allowed to slurp – pouring tea into the saucer so it could cool a bit, then picking up the saucer & “slurping.” Along with homemade cookies or cinnamon rolls, well, it didn’t get much better than that! I can still see us sitting at her kitchen table. Even as a child, I enjoyed sips of coffee (always with permission) from my Dad’s cup at the Sunday breakfast table. Sunday evening after church was a social time. We regularly had folks over for coffee & dessert or we went to someone else’s house. It was my initial training for serving others. Everything was set on individual trays & carried to the living room. (No buffet style or kitchen setting) At Mom’s signal, we would come around with refills of coffee, & cream and sugar. When folks were finished, we picked up the trays. The underlying message of “koffie klatch” gatherings was to demonstrate to guests that they were special.

Today, I’d like to have a “koffie klatch” with you. If you’re so inclined, go grab a cup now! Either coffee or tea will serve our purposes for fellowship. I’ll try not to let our time together turn into a coffee “clutch,” meaning talking too much or too long. Ready??...Here we go. I wanted to bring you up-to-date on a few things. First of all, tomorrow, the 28th, is my last radiation treatment. So far so good. I have some minor skin irritations & color changes, and a little soreness from my arm positioning. I’m at the point where fatigue usually sets in so, time will tell if that side effect hits full force. As is, I’ve taken naps as needed throughout this process anyway. (With my handmade anchor quilt from my sister-in-law, that’s been very delightful!) I’ve gotten somewhat attached to the folks at the cancer center. We’ve spent some concentrated time together & I’ve felt understood. On Sept 14, I do more lab work, see the oncologist, & start a follow-up medication.

You may remember that, in my July 21st entry, I mentioned giving anchor jewelry to other gals who have cancer or who have survived cancer. I’m thankful to report that the “Living Hope” outreach is in operation! I have put jewelry in my surgeon’s office and now in the cancer center. Gals will be reached, with a reminder of hope, either before surgery or at the time of extended treatment. 2 specific nurses are my eyes & arms. We’ll keep in touch as to the need. Through situations known by some of our ministry supporters, I’ve been in contact with gals out of state & have sent jewelry to CA, AZ, MO, & FL. Last week I was able to give earrings away, in Chick-Fil-A, to a gal who had just gotten her biopsy results. (I carry jewelry with me.) I have given this encouragement opportunity to the Lord & am content to have Him lead, direct, & reveal who needs the jewelry. I have no personal agenda or expectations. But I’m always blessed at watching hearts connect - however God has that happen. If you know a woman with cancer, who you think would be uplifted by the jewelry, feel free to contact me via email.

It seems to me that God’s message to all of us is “WAIT.” There are a myriad of regular life situations and/or extenuating circumstances that challenge us with that Biblical admonition. Be it physical, financial, parental, marital, spiritual, or social – God wants to be intimately involved in our lives. Nothing is off limits to Him. I’ve had to relearn this repeatedly. The other day I was reading a short devotional based on Lamentations 3:25. “The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person (soul) who seeks Him.” My heart resonated with the commentary by F.B. Meyer: “ When we are in doubt, or difficulty, when many voices urge this course, or the other…be still, hushing each intruder, calming ourselves in the sacred hush of God’s presence…those who have had many dealings with God know well the value of secret fellowship with Him, to ascertain His will…Go to God with your question…get alone, where the lights & shadows of earth cannot interfere, where the disturbance of self-will does not intrude, where human opinions fail to reach…if you dare to wait (emphasis mine), silent & expectant – the will of God will be made clear.” I can so identify with the pull of the world, my strong self-will, & the many voices clamoring in my head during decision-making! After I was finished reading, I scribbled across the top of the page, “God’s will in God’s presence.” So be it unto me, Lord!

I’ve enjoyed catching up with you. Whether you sipped or slurped, I hope you at least sat! And now, I think I’ll get a refill.<3

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