Monday, December 7, 2015

What's That Noise?

What’s that noise?



               
Off-the-wall encounters are the norm for my dad.
It seems like every time you turn around, he has another crazy story, improbable injury, unexpected people encounter or just flat wild experience.
So it should come as no surprise that God often speaks to my dad through dreams.
My dad was a pastor and I have many fond memories of him telling us about the dreams that God would give him. My brothers and I would frequently sit with him in the living room; ears wide open, waiting to hear what God had revealed to him. 
In one particular dream, my dad was sitting in a dark room reclining in his easy chair, reading a magazine, and watching TV. He heard something, a noise that he could not discern. He kept hearing the sound over and over again. Dad was determined to identify the noise.
He put the magazine down, got up and looked around the room. He still heard the sound. It was a little clearer, but he still could not identify it, or where it originated. Bewildered, he finally turned off the TV, and suddenly clearly heard the sound.
It was the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit, speaking to him and leading him in the way he should live.
Life has always been filled with distractions.
Noises, visual stimulation, activities and achievements often blare at us like loudspeakers, drowning out the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit — the voice that wants to lead us to communion with our Father.
My dad had that dream more than 20 years ago. Today, in the Digital Age, we have even more distractions.
Social media, the Internet, and a bevy of entertainment options compete with Holy Spirit, filling our minds with an overwhelming amount of “white noise” that we let cover the voice of God.
Our legitimate spiritual questions can get jumbled with this noise.
“Should I do this? Was that’s God’s voice? Was that person right? Wow, that article was interesting. I wonder if what they said was right. Did you watch the news today? It’s crazy what is going on in the world. You know I can learn to sew scarfs online now? I can also learn to play the guitar. Do you know what so-and-so was doing today? OMG, that pic was so cute! I was sent 10 snap chats in the last 10 minutes.”
Today, if you were to have a dream similar to my dad’s, you might be sitting in a chair, iPhone in hand, laptop nearby, and the TV blaring.
But distractions are not limited to electronics themselves. In this age, the information carried by these devices is king, and more is better.
Without even trying, just by default, we can drown out the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit. But God promises in His Word that He will use this voice to lead us in our daily lives, direct us in all righteousness, and lead us into sweet communion with Him.

John 10:4-5 — “When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”

In these verses, Jesus was taking the Pharisees to task because they were trying to scatter, distract, deceive and carry away God’s sheep. We might not recognize the distractions of today as the voice of the Pharisees, but think of the things of this world that are scattering the Body of Christ, not gathering.
They are distracting us from our call, our first love, and His will. This is like a wolf calling us away from the flock and beckoning us away from the safety of the Shepherd.  
The Bible promises the sheep will follow the Shepherd’s voice and they will not follow another. We can confidently know that we can recognize His voice, and follow after him.
The question is: Can you hear the voice of God among all the noises in your life?










Saturday, November 28, 2015

Lord, Why the Tree?




In the Holland home, Christmas is the king of all holidays.
We celebrate the birth of our Savior with great fervor, relishing every moment of togetherness that the holiday brings. Great effort is taken to don the house with Christmas lights and to pick out the most beautiful Christmas tree.
Homemade hot chocolate is artfully crafted and Christmas music blares as we decorate our home.
My husband’s brother, known to our kids as Uncle Jon, or AKA “Mr. Christmas,” keeps the mood merry and bright by pretending to be characters from various Christmas movies.
As a family, we carefully unpack each ornament that commemorates a time in Holland family history. As we hang the ornaments, our hearts are warmed, fondly recalling special memories of Christmas past.
You can hear me reminding our kids, “Dad bought this one for me the year you were born.”
Or, “We bought this one the year we were married.”
Also, “Remember, Isaac? You made this one in Kindergarten!”
And, “Dad bought this pepper ornament for me because I like hot food.”
The lights are hung carefully on the tree and ribbon is affectionately draped from top to bottom. Then we snuggle up around our Holland tree and admire our work. Each night we read books or watch shows on an iPad in the same room as the Holland tree, just to be near it.
One year, however, we had what has now been dubbed the, “really weird Christmas.”
For starters, my husband, Andrew, spent the first ten days of December in Ethiopia. Not realizing the logistical repercussions of his extended absence, stress began to mount.
One day after my husband’s return from Africa, we had a specialist appointment for my youngest son, Ryan, to deal with his diabetes. But on the way out the door, Andrew’s back went out and he had to struggle with excruciating pain during the visit.
The specialist gave us a heartbreaking diagnosis and, after leaving the appointment, we headed to yet another doctor’s office to have my husband seen for his back pain. 
After hours spent at the doctor, I spent hours at the pharmacy attempting to work out difficulties with prescriptions for my husband and son. Each time I returned to my car to run another errand for them, I would cry over the disheartening news about my son.
Andrew was bedridden for a few days, and we had limited time to shop for Christmas presents. Also, both of us were scheduled to leave town in a few days for a speaking engagement in California. The pressure was on. We had only one good night left to shop for Christmas. 
We headed out to the stores and malls only to have our trip shortened by Andrew’s back pain. 
That night I went home frustrated at this “really weird Christmas.”
I sat down in front of our lovely Holland Christmas tree, hoping it would radiate some holiday magic. But I noticed something was wrong.  
Due to the chaotic Christmas season, the tree had not been watered properly. The Christmas cookie had finally crumbled.
Our beautiful tree, robust and full of Christmas memories past, was now withered and brown. 
The precious ornaments were falling off the drooping limbs and the lovely ribbon billowed to the floor. The tree could not sustain our decorations any longer. It could no longer hold the history of the Hollands or our dancing ribbon.
The tree had become a symbol of joy and hope, and it was dying.
I cried, “Lord, why the tree? Couldn’t you just let it live?”
John 1:4-5 (NIV) — In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
In the midst of disappointment, as our poor little tree withered, I was reminded of the true symbol of light and hope.
The darkness cannot overcome or Savior.
His Word speaks of the memories of His faithfulness. He lights up any room filled with darkness.  He, in and of himself, is full of life and sees my needs.
At times we hold onto and put our hope in the things of this world. When that symbol of hope slips through our hands, we might be tempted to say, “Lord, why the tree?”
Whatever your “tree” is, we all have something (or several things) that we look to in this world to give us hope and a sense of security. These symbols are ultimately temporal and inevitably they will slip away from us and die.
In that moment, we need to remember that we serve a God who sees, hears, moves and listens. 
He is eternal. He is light. He is our hope for tomorrow.

He shines brightest in the darkness.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Command Center


I am now the mother of four children under 10. I have one that is special needs and one newly  adoptive child. My hands are truly full! In my desire to maintain our family priorities (families priorities are printed in bold below) I created the command center.
Family priorities:
1. Family schedule and peace.
2.Church
3. Healthy eating and exercise
4. All other events
If any of the lower priorities disrupt the higher priorities. We will cut down or say "no" to the lower priority.
We created the command center so that we can always have a quick glance at our lives, schedule and expectations. Hoping to keep our families priorities in order.

I



The Holland Command Center has a:
      Basic daily schedule 
 Monthly Calendar
                                      Files for each child's papers from school 
     and for chore cards.


Basic Schedule



Wall files for school papers and chore cards


Chore cards and check list



                      Chore Cards and Check list:
                        Each day child will has a wall file chores they are responsible for are
                                placed in file each day.

                                Child also has morning and evening checklist as pictured above.
                                They must complete each item and return them for parent signature at 
                                completion.

                       Reward Cards:

   I purchased chore checklist, reward 
    cards and much more at for only 
    $9.99 printable.tipjunkie.com. They system suggested a point system 
    to receive rewards, but we decided 
    not to use that system. In our home 
    chores are just a part of working together as a family and is a responsibility. Our children will
    complete chores as required and at random we will choose to reward them.
                   
   Lunch and Snack Prep:

containers are created each week with lunch items  for school


Mom, dad and Aunt Rose are not the only ones responsible for lunch prep. The children help prep snacks and lunch.

We have high hopes for the Command Center!! I'll let you know later in the year if all goes well and we maintain it!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

I Like Storms, 22 Stories of Faith

Preface

I Like Storms is a story of faith, mostly recounting snippets of my family’s life over the last three years. We have taken many journeys down numerous paths of life: despair, joy, laughter, sorrow, uncertainty, loss, belief, hope, peace, and mostly faith.  
My name, Angela, means, “messenger from heaven.” My middle name is Faye, which means, “faith.” So I believe, most of all, God has called me to be a messenger of faith.
He wants me to speak into the darkness of this world and turn others’ hearts to faith, no matter the circumstances.



This book is meant to be a daily devotional. Each story depicts a moment in my family’s life and draws a central focus to a scripture and spiritual truth.
Everyone’s life reads as a story.
We live out years, months, days, hours and moments, but in those times, we have a split second to choose faith and, ultimately, faith in Christ.
This book is real and raw about life, and its purpose is to direct us to faith in our one true Savior.

Angela Nesbit Holland
January 2014
Fort Worth, Texas