Thursday, May 9, 2013

Women's Retreat

Last month, I was able to go to my church's Women's Retreat  that was held in Blowing Rock, NC. It was such a good time studying God's Word and developing relationships and deepening friendships. This is my second year going to the women's retreat and it was such a blessing! We stayed at the Blowing Rock Conference Center. We were also able to spend some time shopping in downtown Blowing Rock. (and eating crazy GOOD ice cream!)

I'm so thankful for good friends who speak truth into my life - so thankful for the spirit of the women at North Wake and the desire to nurture their relationships with Christ.

I enjoy the mountains so very much and look forward to going again next year!

I am surrounded by wonderful women who help me to focus on what is true and right.

While I was gone ... Rich spoiled the kiddos and had good quality father/children time!
He took them out to eat and out for ICE CREAM!

I am so thankful that Rich held the fort down, so that I could get away for a short time. I missed them all like crazy, but it was good for my spirit and my heart to spend some focused time in God's Word!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Martin is 11!!

Somehow, my newborn baby turned ...

11 years old. NOT POSSIBLE!
His birthday was super special!

We have a strict NO SCHOOL on birthday policy at the Holland Homeschool.  I made a GLUTEN FREE Chocolate cake and chocolate icing with a peanut butter filling. He went out to Applebees with Rich for lunch...and ordered a MAN burger! He came home and went to his band practice. Later that night we had cake and ice cream.
It was a great day! He's super excited that his age now surpasses the number of fingers on his hand. He's in the big leagues now!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Baseball with a Lesson

I love how much Aaron is enjoying playing baseball!

His coach is a CLASS ACT! He challenges the children to become better players, teaches them the skills they need to improve, and is their biggest cheerleader. I'm so thankful that Aaron has been able to work with this coach.

Once he teaches the children a skill, he expects them to perform that skill properly, and when they miss a ball 3 times in a row, he makes them run a lap! He teaches them to have excellent sportsmanship, to be disciplined ball players, to have good attitudes, to cheer their other teammates on, and to LOVE the game of baseball. We have been incredibly blessed to be on this team this Spring.

Last week during one of their games, the children on this team had to witness a terrible act of selfishness, pride, and loss of self control from an opposing team's coach and the umpire. My child was exposed to words that he'd never heard before(yes, the word that is culturally accepted to be the worst one) and the worst kind of poor sportsmanship that you can imagine. Unfortunately that display of poor sportsmanship by two grown adults ended in calling "GAME OVER", and the children were left wondering what in the world had happened ... and if it was something that they had done wrong!

I'm so sad that pride over an umpire's call became the most important thing on that ball field. I'm sad that my child had to witness the ugliness between those two people. Unfortunately, he had a front row seat since he was playing catcher when it all went down. However, I'm thankful that Aaron's coach is a man of integrity.

He pretty quickly pulled the children off of the field and put them in a huddle. He waited for the argument to be over and then put his team back on the field and ran a practice with them, so that they were able to keep playing baseball. After all, that's what they came to do. When he was done with practice, he put the boys back in a huddle and told them that he was going to explain what happened the best that he could. He told them that some adults made some bad decisions today. He told them that they(the children) did nothing wrong and that they played a great game and did well! He said that when bad things like this happen we can learn from it. We can learn that what the children saw today was poor sportsmanship and that we ought to never be poor sports. We should never act like that. He encouraged their confused little hearts and got them excited about their upcoming game.

I wish that Aaron had gotten to finish playing that game. (especially considering all the guests that came to see him play that day - special friends Brent, Amy, and Hannah - my Mom, Dad, and two nieces came all the way from VA) I wish that he didn't have to see two grown adults lose their self control and shout obscenities at one another. I wish that he didn't have to experience the disappointment of not being able to finish the game.
However, we live in a world full of imperfect people. So, we prayed together that night for the two men who lost it at the baseball game. We prayed for their hearts. Just as I am praying that my own heart be guarded from pride that can so easily overtake me, I pray that these men will come to care more about the little people on the field than themselves.
Isn't that just how it is with pride? We are all affected by it. We are all overcome by it at one time or another.
How can we guard ourselves from it?

Ironically, that very morning I was at a worship leader's summit at my church where my pastor was speaking on the topic of pride. It resounded with me on so many levels because pride is something that can so easily and stealthily sweep me off my feet.
These are some of the bullet points from Pastor Larry:
1. Meditate on Scripture that will cause us to walk in humility
2. Have a shepherd's heart - care more about the people we are leading than ourselves.
3.  Pray for the glory to be all God's and to be free from the fear of man.
4.  Pray that the Word would be exalted
5. Pray for the person of Christ to be exalted
6. Thank God for his unspeakable kindness

Those words of wisdom are a great start to humility in Christ. I will continually pray for this to be my own heart and attitude, and I will teach it to my children because they do and will continue to struggle with pride.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Ministry Opportunity

Last week we were invited to come and do a hymn sing at a local Nursing and Rehabilitation home.
A friend from church invited us and I immediately said that I would love to do it!
Most of the Holland children were excited for the new adventure. Martin didn't want to have anything to do with it. 
In his ever so blunt and abrasive way, he told me that he didn't want to go and that he didn't even want to have a right heart about it.
I thanked him for his honesty and told him that he had to do it anyway. I quietly began to pray that God would move in his heart and change Martin's thinking about it. 
Once we got there, most of the residents who were going to be there were already waiting on us. There were a few of them we needed to go and get, so my friend, Kelly took us through the home searching out some more folks to join us. We gathered a few more and pushed them down the room where were would be singing. Martin carefully pushed one of the residents himself. I was cautiously optimistic that his heart was opening up to these wonderful people at this home.

We sang dozens of beautiful old hymns and encouraged the men and women to sing along with us. It was a pure joy and encouragement to my heart. The children sang along as much as they could. They didn't know all of the hymns that we sang.

Rosalie and Aaron (and Jonathan...sort of) sang a song at the end by themselves. They sang Christ is Risen He is Risen Indeed. I played (and sang) as well. If you look closely in the video you can see Jonathan sitting in a chair behind Aaron hiding - but singing along!

As we drove away, Martin said that it wasn't at all what he thought it would be and that he really enjoyed it and hopes that we can go back again soon!
Praise God for working a little miracle in Martin's heart!