Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Away again

My parents were here for a visit the past few days leaving no extra time to blog. Time was filled visiting and enjoying the rare treat of having them here. It was truly a glorious visit--good conversations, mostly well-behaved children, just enough stuff to do, and even a Mississippi fall evening by the bonfire roasting marshmallows and star gazing. I treasured each moment with them here, realizing that it will probably be 8 months before I see them again! The boys will be so big then! It was special to have the boys spend time with Mama and Daddy--especially Daddy, since he hasn't really gotten to know them as much yet since we don't get to see him as often. The real test though will be to see if David will let them hold him when they stop back through on their way home.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Grumpy mama

I am so tired, but I don't feel like I really did anything today. The boys were not terrible, but they weren't very obedient either. And I was in a bad mood and short with them all day. I'm just plain grumpy.

It is raining here today and we've been mostly stuck inside. Except for when I let the boys out to ride their bikes during one break in the showers and they came inside a half an hour later sopping wet and sprinkled with mud. They had been riding their bicycles through puddles and the mud kept on splashing up on them. Good clean fun.

I did get a little bit of sewing done today, which was good. I mended a few pairs of pants for the boys and hemmed some new cloths to clean with. I also got the laundry done and vacuumed the house with my old push vacuum cleaner. I have gotten so used to using the whole house vacuum that it was kind of a shock to push around my heavy old one since the whole house unit is broken. I also tried a recipe for making caramel corn. I guess it was a success because I made 8 cups of caramel popcorn this morning and it is already gone.

Joe will be home in a few minutes and I think I'm going to go and get ready for bed. It is 7:50.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

A must read

Usually my Sunday posts are sparse, but tonight I am mentioning a rare gem. Holly from Choosing Home has started a personal blog (Seeking Faithfulness) that is among the best out there. To start her blog, she transferred some of her posts from Choosing Home. There are several that I would rank in my top 10 favorite posts on motherhood. She really speaks to where I am and with such grace and gospel-centeredness. I am thankful to be able to read her wisdom.
Today I wanted to share a snippet from part 1 of a post called "Losing Myself," in which Holly writes about God calling her to die to self in motherhood. The whole thing is so good--go read it! and part 2 here.

“IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT YOU! All that you need to know about yourself, you will find in Me.” Shocking words to someone who thought that she was the important one in this entire family equation. Totally jaw-dropping words to someone who couldn’t wait to bring these children to maturity so that she could get on with life.

God continued….”What if I DO just want you to be a mother? Would you trust me that this would be enough for your life? Could you find contentment in that vocation, in serving your husband and children?”

“What if I have greater plans for your child, or your grandchild – and your main purpose was to give them life, then to pour YOUR life into shaping them into the person that I have planned for them to be?”

“Oh but Lord, that means,….sacrifice. Don’t I already do enough? Who will I become?”

“Dear Child, you will become just exactly who I intended for you to be. Don’t you remember reading my words, ‘He who loses his life for MY sake will find it?’?”

The conversations went on for some time. God prodding, humbling me and me gradually warming to His will.

The dethroning of ME literally transformed my mothering and the priority I placed upon it.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

eBay and good times

My posting here has been sparse the past few days as I have spent the majority of my online time at the 360 blog or on eBay. I've been trying to organize the reunion for next month and have been tracking people down from hoosonline to see if they'll come. Yesterday, Elizabeth White Parsons posted her update on the blog and it just blew me away. It was so good to hear what God has taught her through lots of things but marriage in particular. I am so into the mama phase of life that the difficulties of early marriage have faded with time. She wrote about the dying to self and losing independence that is needed to fully work towards oneness--so good, but painful in the process.
As for eBay, I managed to sell an old bridesmaid's dress, a Boppy, and a set of first season 24 DVDs. I've also listed a used Medela pump which hopefully will sell in the next week. Anyway, it is better than having a yard sale and easier too. Plus, I just can't bear either the waste of throwing good things away or the clutter of keeping things that I don't use.
I've been in a rotten mood all day and my dear husband has taken the boys out so that I can have a few minutes of quiet and make dinner. He is so great about loving me when I am unlovable. I truthfully don't deserve such a steady, caring husband. God blessed me greatly in Joe.
Welll, the dough for the tortillas in done resting now and so I'd better go and make the enchiladas.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

17th century poetry

To My Dear and Loving Husband

If ever two were one then surely we.
If ever man were loved by wife, then thee;
If ever wife were happy in a man,
Compare with me, ye women, if you can.
I prize thy love more than whole mines of gold
Or all the riches that the East doth hold.
My love is such that rivers cannot quench,
Nor aught but love from thee give recompense.
Thy love is such I can no way repay,
The heavens reward thee manifold, I pray.
Then while we live, in love let's so perservere
That when we live no more, we may live ever.

--Anne Bradstreet

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Today was getting back to normal a bit more. Joe worked almost a normal day and came home exhausted. The boys and I did normal things here. We were brought dinner by a very kind lady from church, who then listened with interest to the boys telling about collecting cicada shells in the pine trees behind the house. She even worn one that William gave to her on her shirt on her way home!
We still don't know what was wrong with Joe and the drs. said we probably will never know. They sent away the test for West Nile virus and that will be back in another week or so. It was most likely a recurrence of viral meningitis. Not fun! We are so thankful that God healed Joe so quickly and that he is feeling stronger now.
Whenever God so specifically provides the best answer to my prayers I always wonder what my response would have been had He not been so gracious to me. Would I still be able to count my security in Him when He does not heal my husband?
I remember just over a year ago lying flat on my back in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. I was seven months pregnant and William was in the ambulance with me, but screaming frantically because of the trauma of what we had just been through and because he couldn't see me because of how we were strapped in. I put my hand on my tummy and prayed for the little life inside of me, my baby, who I had not yet met. I prayed that the Lord would give me strength to trust in His goodness even as I lost my baby. I was sure that I would loose him--the wreck was so bad. And I didn't know yet if Joseph was okay either....Head trama, fractures, surgery were words I heard, but they did not yet know the severity of his injuries.
I can remember the peace of that ride. It was the peace that passes understanding that is calm in the midst of pain and fear. It was the trust in a God that is good, even when life is not. That day, I glimpsed for a moment that my anchor was secure in Him. The storms raged and He held firm. He held me safely.
And in the hours and days to follow, He gave us above and beyond what we could have hoped for. A continuing pregnancy and a healthy baby boy. A healed three year old.
I know that He is faithful. But I know that I am not. The memory of that ambulance ride and the peace that He granted help, but I often wonder if I could remain as calm in the midst of longer or stronger storms...death, lingering illness, or pain. I worry that I will not be found faithful (1 Corinthians 4:2). But, I am thankful that I have a God who is faithful (1 Thes. 5:12) and whose faithfulness covers over my lack of faith. Even when I may doubt, He will still be God and still be good.

Revelation 19:11 I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True.

Monday, September 11, 2006


Pray for us, please. We got home last night after Joe being in the hospital with a severe headache, chills, fever, and body aches. The doctor's don't know what it is, but let us come home with some good pain medicine. He had a rough night, but I am so thankful to be at home where I can let him rest (hospitals are so UNrestful) and where we can be together as a family. I'll update you as we know more.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

4 year old, 2 year old, and infant

Lots of fun around here the past couple of days as this mystery virus has slowly worked its way through the whole family. I got it Saturday with the worst being Sunday night while Joe was preaching and I was home alone with the three guys and a 103 degree fever. Joe has felt bad yesterday and today, fortunately without the fever. David is still sporting the remnants of the spots that both he and William got. We have been quite the germ factory around here!

On a better note, Joseph turned 4 today and it has been a rousing day of Holland family fun. We opened presents upon waking this morning and worked outside until about 10:00. Then, it was off to Wal-mart to spend the birthday money on skates and a new puzzle. Cake for dessert at supper (of course), roasted marshmallows by the bonfire in the backyard, and now a night under the stars in a new sleeping bag—what a day! Joseph and Will are currently “sleeping” in a tent in the pine stand. Joe will join them later after the sugar has worn off and they've drifted off to sleep. I'll be cozy inside! :)

This picture is from their first foray into the tent this afternoon at 4:00. They were ready to go!

Weekend update

We had a good weekend here. Rented a tiller on Saturday morning and tilled under the area where the garden will be. We're thinking about planting some fall things, but also just wanted to start to get the grass killed for next year. It has really plagued our small plot this year and so I would like to not have to deal with it as much next year. Still no tomatoes yet (the vines are filled, but none are red), but we got our second cucumber today. It tasted so good--freshness and the fact that we grew it combined! We had also planted only one eggplant, but it is producing well. I think I'll get 4-6 fruits from that one plant. Squash is still coming, but we're eating it as fast as it comes so I haven't frozen any. Same with the figs still at this point. Our sunflowers are growing like gangbusters and are now taller than Joseph. We also have the first 3 pumpkins that are the size of a dime. I planted some of the seeds from the gourds too and those have sprouted, but not grown much yet. I feel like a regular farmer, though I’m still far from it.

From what I can tell, it seems like there is good soil in the garden. Dark brown and rich, and fairly loose with no clay. I'll have more than I'm able to take care of, I'm sure. I'm still working through the canna beds, pulling dead stalks, raking, and weeding. I've done the ones by the garden, under the martin house, and by the bird bath. The next bed to tackle will be the one by the shed and it is the worst so far. I am going to take a “before” picture this time and will post it sometime this week. David was sucking on our USB cord and ever since then the computer has not recognized the camera when I plug it in. Joe has always said that baby spit is a pretty strong corrosive.

Must read

I don't know how to preface this article except to say that you must read it. It is encouraging and convicting and so true. Read it!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Fevers, Spots, Vomitting, and Crying

The other two boys were hit with the virus today which meant that it was a rough day at Homestead Holland. Joseph and David both spiked high fevers and David got the telltale spots that Will had a few days ago. If the virus follows the same course, both boys should be in tip top shape tomorrow--although tonight is going to be a long night.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Psalm 8:2

Out of the mouth of babes and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger.

Friday night

I haven't posted in a while, but mostly just because I haven't had much to say. We had the Palmertrees (our head pastor and his family) over for dinner tonight and had a good time.
This past Tuesday night, I spoke to the women in the church at a "Meet the Pastors' Wives" night that was a lot of fun. I got to meet some new ladies and enjoyed the chance to get to talk without worrying that my little guys were getting into trouble. I spoke too, but could barely say what I had prepapred because I got so teary. I was really speaking from my heart and couldn't get much out without misting up. I really enjoyed what Judy and Camille said though and am so grateful to be serving alongside both of them.
This is one of about 100 pictures of our family from a whole night of posing trying to get an acceptable picture for our Christmas card...None were right!!!

Extreme parenting

SpunkyHomeSchool referenced a good piece from her archives about parenting that said this:

True Christianity doesn't define the extreme by how close to the line we can get while still being a Christian. The extreme is how far from the line we can run and how close we can get to our Savior.

This is going to require extreme parenting. A parent who is willing to deny their pleasures in life for a greater pleasure to come. A parent who is willing to refuse a job or a promotion because of the time away from the family. A parent who is willing to sit next to a child on the computer and work together rather then let them build a virtual family. A parent who is willing to talk with a child and not just at them. A parent who is willing to walk daily with their child and guide them to HIS truth. A parent who is willing to tell their child daily what the real choice is but give them the liberty to make their choice. These and many more require an extreme commitment. A parent willing to die to themselves so that their children will walk with the God.

"God demonstrates his own love for us in this that while we were yet sinners HE died for us." Romans 5:8

I want to become an extreme parent.

Wow. This takes my recent thoughts about dying to my own desires and motherhood and applies it in a totally different way. Earlier in the article, she gives this tactic for working through rules with teenagers:

You hand a child the Bible and say, here is God's Word. Let's figure out what God's word says about this. Give them the liberty to study the scripture and learn truth for themselves. We need to give them the joy of discovering that God's Word does speak to us. That's the way I became convinced of truth. I remember the light bulb going off so many times as I read a passage of scripture and how it applied to my life today. Don't deny your children the same pleasure by "giving them what the Bible says." We must let God speak to our children. Our children want to make us the quarrel. They think they can battle, wear us down, and win. God's Word is able to take down the strongholds and defenses that the child and the word is tempted to build. Let them wrestle with God about this issue. The parent becomes a faciliatator in their search for understanding and truth rather than the enemy. I have found that it is a lot more pleasant walking with my children in truth than constantly pushing them in truth.

It sounds so practical. I’ll have to keep that in my back pocket. The whole article is worth