What are you guys up to these days?

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We know that you work part-time for the Salvation Army…tell us more!

This picture has a few important elements. You see us, hosts at Workspace Wageningen. You see two teapots that represent the hospitality we have in this place, as we provide workspace for students and entrepreneurs. In the wooden box is a Bible, which is the foundation of our work. On the wall is a photograph taken by a local entrepreneur, as we support them. Finally, you see the watch that I have around my neck. That helps with daily rhythm and routine as we work with day rhythm and four blocks of silence. We’re pioneering, starting something, trying out something else, but overall, it is a beautiful and humbling process.

Fun fact: Do you see the canopy awnings curtains further in the street? That is Hotel de Wereld, one of the most famous Dutch hotels as the capitulation of German troops in the Netherlands was signed there on the May 5th 1945. Next to us, not visible in this picture, is a large Catholic Church. It is good to know that we pray together for the flourishing of the city.

But that’s a part-time job, so what about the rest of your time?

We have to say, although it is a part-time job, lots of our time is spent here in Wageningen. Jelle and I both have half a job here. The rest is filled with mothering, fathering, raising our kids, and—

What about Jelle?

Jelle is part-time working on his Ph.D. in Translation Studies at the University of Leuven. His research is about the interpretation of the Bible and Bible translation theory. How does what we think about the explanation of scripture influence the choices of translators?

It is nice that we finally have some time to work with focus, because moving around takes a lot of energy, which can be used now in making content.

What about Janneke?

I detest the phrase “Retreat Company”. It sounds rather corporate to me. However, I am registered with the Chamber of Commerce under such a name as of 19 June 2022. June 19 is a nice date on which to sign things and make them official. After all, we did that before on our wedding day in 2001!

“Why are you registering then?” you may ask. Well, because it gives me peace of mind when I have my financial affairs in order. Until now, it was just too informal. “I can’t find your account number anywhere!” wrote a retreat guest recently. That must be over now. And yes, if I book a nice location, it involves somewhat larger amounts than a few euros. I host three weekend retreats a year, a few day-long silent writing retreats a year, and One-to-One #me time personal retreats where I help guests find rest in a hectic time. Working with a Rule of Life, that I have personally used for a few years now, has helped me immensely, and I am so happy to share it with others.

I don’t have that much profit motive, but I want to cover the costs and have a little bit left over for a trip here or there so that I can pay for my own recharge retreat, which is nice. And so it is official. Other than that, not much has changed.

For number lovers: The years overseas allowed me to write frequently: (367 blog posts in Dutch and 219 in English). Take a look at the archive if you like.

I hope to continue with these things: Mothering, writing, and practising hospitality at our workspace and at the retreats.

There is also something unseen: Ora et Labora. We always start the day together with a prayer for the flourishing of the city. Do you see the word Ora et … on the lower right side of the window?

And of course, on the left, you see my beloved bike. We’re Dutch, and we’re biking! The big basket in front of my bike and the bags at the back are holding all sorts of things: usually a combination of my laptop, laundry from the workspace—clean or dirty—papers, and lunchboxes. These bags may be empty or filled, depending on whether it’s early morning or the end of the day.

How are your children doing these days?

The kids prefer that I don’t say too much here. But as you see, they are all bright and shining—having their own lives, challenges and precious moments.

Femke (left) is starting a new school in September. Laurens is in primary school, and Marijke (middle) is studying in Austria and only home for Christmas and the Summer holidays. Judith (right) just finished her studies in social work and is starting a new job! She also has a nice boyfriend whose name is also Jelle! He is a nice guy from the local village church that we attend. Not only is Judith happy, but Laurens is also very happy to have another young man around the house, finally! His frequent presence was quite a change in the Huisman household, but a good one for sure!

Jelle and Judith making music in the church at the wedding of Jelle’s brother.

Any more questions?

Just ask! 

We have to say: multi-tasking is doing us well. But it is time for a good break now! We love to combine Jelle’s studies and my writing and retreat organizing as we host this place. The guests who work here see that we are also finding our way in the world: failing, trying again, and always discovering each day and what is the best next step, even though it may be a small one.

What’s your first tiny next step down the path you are on here on earth?

We’d love to hear from you, so please do send us an update.

Kind regards from the Huisman family,

wishing you all a very happy summer break filled with joy, peace and rest.

Jelle, Janneke, Marijke, Judith and Jelle, Femke and Laurens.

 

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