All Work and No Play?


workhammerroadNobody said it was easy!

“Never throughout history has a man who lived a life of ease left a name worth remembering.” 
― Theodore Roosevelt

I used to think life was all-play and so easy-peezey. Then I ran into my first thick brick wall called public school. It didn’t help that my English was so poor, having immigrated from the Netherlands and being lost in an onslaught of English words. On top of that I just found it unappealing to stay seated for so long on such a hard chair. I began to understand that perhaps life, mine, might have some uphill battles ahead. Work!

Our family moved a lot, because Dad was in the army and because he wanted to have more space for gardens and hobbies! It was my dear Dad who introduced me to the wheelbarrow and taught me how the vegetables would thrive, by spreading manure and picking weeds of course! My upbringing taught me the value of hours doing good ol’ hard work! Thanks Dad!

That’s not the end, then my army dad had this need to have animals. Not just a dog or cat variety, but farm animals. We always had rabbits around, but gradually we graduated to having rabbits and pigs. Then finally Dad thought 100 acres was needed to accommodate some cows too! Rabbits, pigs, cows and my very own goat! I must admit all these animals taught me a lot about life, death, birth and responsibility. Yes, my dad was no slacker, ever! And since dad still had free time on his hands, he decided to take up butchering as a hobby and opened up his own butcher shop at home. So I learned how to grind hamburger and trim steaks. Yes, I became dad’s favorite slave, woops I meant to write ‘helper!

Sometimes life is work. I’ve heard it said no one ever died of too much work. I’m not sure of that! I have never been afraid of it, whether it was splitting wood for the wood stove, baling hay for the cow’s winter food or digging out potatoes. There are rewards for working hard and none-the-least is a sense of accomplishment. Of course my favorite reward was eating great steaks from the butcher shop. The best reward is that I’ve taken that work ethic and applied it to all areas of my life even till this day.

Yet as I write these words I also need to remind myself how easy it is to be overworked and overwhelmed by a too-much to-do list. Truthfully humans can only handle so much. I don’t want some teenager to read this and believe working your head off is the answer to everything. No! But no one said it would be easy. We all need a little help along the way, some luck and a lot of hard work. School, marriage, transitions, relationships all require a strong stick-to-it-tiveness (commitment) and ongoing work. As the idiom goes, “Anything that comes too easy is probably insignificant.”

Keep at the work you have been tasked with! Dont allow the nay-sayers and eye-rollers to cause you to back away. Work hard and don’t forget to play too! Push through even when you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. And when you are feeling a little weak in the knees, remember, there is strength available from above and it begins by stopping the work for a time.

“They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength!”



A Yellow Light can mean Go!


The year 2013 was my year of “Ruthless trust”! No laughing matter to wake up from brain surgery and spending 17 days and nights in a lonely hospital room. But that was also the year of transition after 22 years from Asia to Europe. It happened so fast even with a yellow light in my spirit!