Saturday, March 31, 2007


I have been inspired by some great meal pictures that I have seen online recently. Maggie posts daily pictures of her daughter's lunch and it looks so yummy! And, of course, you had pictures, dinner on a budget, and even recipes in the Iron Chef Mom Challenge that Meredith and Amy hosted. Lastly, there is Tammy's whole site! I have tried several of her recipes (Spinach Manicotti, Challah, Herb Bread, and Cinnamon Granola) and they have all been delicious.

So, tonight I give you our dinner, the best part of which was the salad made of arugula and red and green romaine from OUR GARDEN! (The chicken was from a sticky chicken recipe that calls for cooking the chicken at 250 degrees for 5 hours and produces a rotisserie style chicken. It was the first time that I tried it and it was very good.) Scan down to the bottom of the page for the recipe.

We worked very hard outside all day and one of the last things that I did was thin out the salad vegetables, which produced salad for tonight's supper and tomorrow's lunch. I can not even explain how ridiculously excited I am about our garden. It is like Christmas for me, only better (no shopping or traveling). I plant these little seeds and then get to watch as they grow and eventually they might even feed us!

Today, Joe hoed the entire garden into plantable rows (he had already tilled it), while I mowed the lawn. (I make a pretty comical picture with my 7 months pregnant self squeezed on to a riding lawn mower. And we'll not even mention the feat of getting on and off the mower without needing either a large shoehorn or small bulldozer to wedge me in.) We planted the roma beans and squash and the first planting of corn. We also transplanted my tomatoes from the starter trays into the garden. We still have one row left (not counting the space we're saving for future corn plantings), and I want to plant lima beans or peas. Joe is rooting for peanuts, cotton, or tobacco. :) We'll see who wins that one.

Now I realize that for you garden experts out there, this sounds quite commonplace. Not so for this city girl! This is our first big garden (we've had patches of garden before, but nothing like this) and I am just thrilled. We had a good steady rain throughout dinner time and so everything is nicely watered in.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

The past few days, I have been doing some math and making some phone calls to determine if we should try to refinance our mortgage. Our main financial goal right now is to pay off this house and if we keep up our current pace we should do so in 2-4 years. I have been trying to see if there is a low enough rate available out there to make it even faster after factoring in closing costs. This afternoon, I spoke to John Lavender at Churchill Mortgage—the company that Dave Ramsey recommends so highly. After determining that rates aren't really low enough to help us right now (i.e. we already have a pretty good mortgage), John encouraged me to not get so focused on the mortgage that we skip family vacation. I laughed and told him that family vacation this summer was the addition of baby number 4 to our family!

After hanging up as I thought more about what he was saying, I dismissed it at first as merely a mortgage “salesman” trying to not make me be so down on mortgages because they pay his salary. (Which I do believe is partly true.) But then I considered if Joe and I are somehow missing something by being so frugal and doing things like skipping vacations (and cable TV, call waiting, caller ID, dinners out, new cars, nice furniture, nice clothes...and in general having more disposable income.) Are we silly for living very simply and piling money onto our mortgage to get rid of it? It all came down to this: Is our family missing out because we aren't going on a vacation this year or really any year in the near future except for visiting family?

I remembered something that my sister Laura says, “Vacation with small children is not vacation, it is simply relocation.” So true! I have greatly altered my expectations for our 4 days at the beach with Joe's mom as we've added more children to the trip each year. It is a lot of work to pack for a family of 5, drive 8 hours to the beach, and try to live under one small roof with extended family—even if it is “vacation!” The boys still need a mama and a daddy and the added audience and drama of extended family make it...well...let's just say...not very relaxing! :)

This same “relocation” issue would apply if it was just our little family too. We'd still have the packing, traveling, and work of daily life—even if we were somewhere else. So, after all of these ponderings, I've decided that we aren't missing out. Vacations are hard work and the Holland family is not deprived by foregoing them. We'd enjoy being together, but the boys are just as happy (if not more so) to camp in the back woods with their Daddy as they would be at a cottage by a lake. And with backyard camping, the pregnant mama can enjoy the comfort of her own bed, AND avoid packing!

And as for the other things that we are “missing,” perhaps there will be a season later in life when God will provide some of them. In the meantime, we are learning frugality and paying off the mortgage! Sorry John!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Free furniture!

We actually have a craigslist for Northern Mississippi that I check from time to time and about a week ago, I spotted an ad for a dresser, night stand, and headboard for $50. It sounded nice and we need another dresser as the boys already fill theirs and soon David's clothes will have to be stored in the boys' room too. The furniture was in Starkville though (which is about 45 minutes from here) and we just couldn't work out a time to get it. The boys were all sick and we didn't need the extra stress of a road trip.

Imagine my surprise when I saw yesterday that the set was now listed for free! Well, that was just too good to pass up and so Joe drove last night and got the furniture. He had one of his favorite kids from the Jackson youth group (who goes to State in Starkville) meet him there and help him carry the heavy pieces and afterwards they got a chance to catch up. He got home late last night and so I didn't get a clear look at everything until this morning.

I really like it! It is old (the college-aged girl said it was her grandmother's furniture) and the finish is worn, but the basic structure is beautiful. And I love the old fashioned pulls. I am going to ask my dad what to do to fix the finish the best way because I think with a little work it could be beautiful. In the meantime, it is old and that is fine too.

I am so thankful for the provision of free, pretty furniture.

Here it the dresser (in my living rooom--we haven't put it away yet)

And an up close shot of one of the pulls--isn't that pretty?

Monday, March 26, 2007

Sunday Hymn

Jesus, with Thy Church Abide
words by Thomas B. Polluck

--We sang this hymn in our service last night to the RUF tune. It is a prayer for the church and serves also as a reminder of what we as the local church should be striving for. In each verse there is a new request for the church:

1.) that Christ would be her Lord,
2.) that she would speak the Gospel and warn of the judgment to come,
3.)that she would have right doctrine,
4.) that she would avoid strife and have peace,
5.) that she would be one,
6.) that she would serve those in need,
7.) that ministers of the gospel would feed the flock,
8.) that God would be gracious in seeing her sin,
9.) that her zeal would be restored,
10.) that she would commit again to her calling to preach to the nations,
11.) that the Gospel would go forth in all nations,
12.) that sin would be beaten as the Gospel goes forth to the nations, and lastly
13.) that she would be spotless and pure, perfected for her Bridegroom, Christ.

What a timeless reminder!

Jesus, with Thy Church abide,
Be her Savior, Lord, and Guide,
While on earth her faith is tried:
We beseech Thee, hear us.

May her voice be ever clear,
Warning of a judgment near,
Telling of a Savior dear:
We beseech Thee, hear us.

Keep her life and doctrine pure,
Help her, patient, to endure,
Trusting in Thy promise sure:
We beseech Thee, hear us.

All her fettered powers release
Bid our strife and envy cease,
Grant the heav’nly gift of peace:
We beseech Thee, hear us.

May she one in doctrine be,
One in truth and charity,
Winning all to faith in Thee:
We beseech Thee, hear us.

May she guide the poor and blind,
Seek the lost until she find,
And the broken hearted bind:
We beseech Thee, hear us.

May her priests Thy people feed,
Shepherds of the flock indeed,
Ready, where Thou call’st, to lead:
We beseech Thee, hear us.

Judge her not for work undone,
Judge her not for fields unwon,
Bless her works in Thee begun:
We beseech Thee, hear us.

All that she has lost, restore,
May her strength and zeal be more
Than in brightest days of yore:
We beseech Thee, hear us.

Raise her to her calling high,
Let the nations far and nigh
Hear Thy heralds’ warning cry:
We beseech Thee, hear us.

May her lamp of truth be bright,
Bid hear bear aloft its light
Through the realms of heathen night:
We beseech Thee, hear us.

May she holy triumphs win,
Overthrow the hosts of sin,
Gather all the nations in,
We beseech Thee, hear us.

May she thus all glorious be,
Spotless and from wrinkle free,
Pure and bright, and worthy Thee:
We beseech Thee, hear us.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Spring sickness

Well, I have been stuck at home for just over a week now keeping the germs of my three little ones from spreading far and wide. Joseph is on the mend as he got an antibiotic last Friday for his ear infection, and his cough seems to be dissipating too. William still had a nasty cough, but hasn't run a fever in a few days. He still has a busted front lip and scratches on his face from falling face first off of his bike yesterday. Poor David is the worst. We went back to the dr. for him again today and after 2 and 1/2 hours(!) of waiting and 10 minutes with the dr., we left with a diagnosis of double ear infections and some unidentifiable stomach bug. As for the long wait, I got to be that mom in the waiting room holding the screaming toddler while everyone else looks on. I had brought snacks, toys, books, and even our portable DVD player, but none of it worked on David after that first hour.

ANYWAY, that is my life right now. Sick boys and learning patience and peace in the middle of long days and fussy sick children. God is giving me rest in Him in these days and I am thankful for the discipline of hard times. I have been convicted that my Sovereign Lord has ordained each inconvenience and hindrance as part of His plan for my good and His glory. This has been fresh and real to me as I have served my little ones in these days of illness.

Let me challenge you to remember that anything that happens to you comes from His hand. Some of you have already learned this in bigger and harder ways, but we can always use a reminder, can't we? I have faced the petty difficulties of this past week with a busy husband and 3 sick children (and being almost 7 months preggers too :) ) with such a different perspective since being convicted of the realness of what believing in a sovereign God means. However, I'd better stop waxing eloquent about it now lest my tongue get ahead of my heart. I haven't learned the lesson completely (as I still react so often with anger or fighting for my "rights"), but I have a Gracious Teacher.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Sunday Hymn

O for a thousand tongues by Charles Wesley O for a thousand tongues to sing
My great Redeemer’s praise,
The glories of my God and King,
The triumphs of His grace!

My gracious Master and my God,
Assist me to proclaim,
To spread through all the earth abroad
The honors of Thy name.

Jesus! the name that charms our fears,
That bids our sorrows cease;
’Tis music in the sinner’s ears,
’Tis life, and health, and peace.

He breaks the power of canceled sin,
He sets the prisoner free;
His blood can make the foulest clean,
His blood availed for me.

He speaks, and, listening to His voice,
New life the dead receive,
The mournful, broken hearts rejoice,
The humble poor believe.

Hear Him, ye deaf; His praise, ye dumb,
Your loosened tongues employ;
Ye blind, behold your Savior come,
And leap, ye lame, for joy.

In Christ your Head, you then shall know,
Shall feel your sins forgiven;
Anticipate your heaven below,
And own that love is heaven.

Glory to God, and praise and love
Be ever, ever given,
By saints below and saints above,
The church in earth and heaven.

On this glad day the glorious Sun
Of Righteousness arose;
On my benighted soul He shone
And filled it with repose.

Sudden expired the legal strife,
’Twas then I ceased to grieve;
My second, real, living life
I then began to live.

Then with my heart I first believed,
Believed with faith divine,
Power with the Holy Ghost received
To call the Savior mine.

I felt my Lord’s atoning blood
Close to my soul applied;
Me, me He loved, the Son of God,
For me, for me He died!

I found and owned His promise true,
Ascertained of my part,
My pardon passed in heaven I knew
When written on my heart.

Look unto Him, ye nations, own
Your God, ye fallen race;
Look, and be saved through faith alone,
Be justified by grace.

See all your sins on Jesus laid:
The Lamb of God was slain,
His soul was once an offering made
For every soul of man.

Awake from guilty nature’s sleep,
And Christ shall give you light,
Cast all your sins into the deep,
And wash the Æthiop white.

Harlots and publicans and thieves
In holy triumph join!
Saved is the sinner that believes
From crimes as great as mine.

Murderers and all ye hellish crew
In holy triumph join!
Believe the Savior died for you;
For me the Savior died.

With me, your chief, ye then shall know,
Shall feel your sins forgiven;
Anticipate your heaven below,
And own that love is heaven.

Thursday, March 08, 2007


I just had to post a quick link to Holly's blog tonight and an excellent piece she wrote today entitled "Communion Admist Chaos." I have been re-reading a book that I got just after I had Joseph-- Tender Mercy for a Mother's Soul, and have found that I disagree with the author. The thesis of the book is that women need to make space in their busy lives for time with Christ by slipping away from family duties and that we also should be pursuing outside "passions." I remember questioning this advice even as a very new mom, but now I see it even more clearly. While I am still encouraged by her drive to seek intimacy with Christ, I think her methods are too me-focused.

Which brings me to why I love Holly's post. Holly captures the need to commune with the Lord in the midst of daily life, not by shutting it out or resenting it. Her words are exactly what I need to hear and remind me to rejoice in the busyness of this season of life because it was ordained by God.