Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Apples of Gold

Before we get to the apples...March has flown by, and it is with a bit of disbelief with a trace of denial that I find myself near the end of it. The beginning weeks were consumed with preparations for our state-wide Fine Arts Festival. The day was extremely successful on many fronts. Our students did exceptionally well, placing high in many different categories that allowed Pilgrim to place first overall. I enjoyed competing in this festival myself during high school, but there is a distinct joy that comes when you see your students excel that far outweighs any of my own personal achievement. I was particularly proud of my own brothers, Peter and Mark as they placed well in many different categories, and also of my dad as he prepared and directed numerous musical groups! See pictures below!

I wanted to briefly share with you a verse and a thought that my freshman Bible class discussed this morning. 

"A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver." Proverbs 25:11 

think it is often hard to recognize that in high school one sets precedents and builds habits that are continued later in life. It is much easier to focus on the here and now, making the grade, winning the game, turning in the project or assignment. All of those things are important. However, it is incredibly important to be able to recognize that the thoughts we think daily have a massive impact on our attitudes, words and actions, and ultimately on those around us. Therefore it is particularly important to realize the import and impact of our words on those around us and to chose our words with care. A negative or harmful word or interaction has the power to distort the color of an entire day. Equally, a word of admonition or encouragement is extremely formative, and stands out when spoken into someone's life. A word well-timed, a kind word, words that build up, and even a word held back, are extremely valuable in their time and way, even more so because they bring glory to God our Creator. They are as distinct as a beautiful piece of guilded art or architecture. May our words be as 'apples of gold in pictures of silver today.'

             Mark and Peter celebrating with TPA's Quality Award and overall 1st Place.

                                         Dad and the TPA Festival Orchestra 
                                       TPA group photo to celebrate the win!

Monday, March 3, 2014

My Thankful Month

Since being back in the US, I have been through a whirlwind of moods and emotions. Transition is not an easy thing. However, lately, when reflecting on where God has placed me right now, I am thankful. He has placed me with my own family, during a time of learning, change and growth. They have graciously adapted to my presence with them, listened, talked, listened some more, prayed, and rebuked. Being present with my younger two brothers as they are learning and making decisions is exciting and encouraging. I have also rediscovered the fact that the Holland siblings laugh a lot when we are together, and for that I am also thankful. I am thankful that God has given me a job in a place that is familiar, with familiar people and those who pour into me and mentor me. I am thankful for my students who trust me and teach me so much about life and grade. Most of all, I am thankful for Gods grace to me. Every day as I stand before my classes, I am reminded of the enormity of what Christ has done for me, and what He is accomplishing in my own life. And every day I am compelled by His love to say yes to Him so that my students will desire to as well. He has drawn me close when closeness has not been my deepest desire, and has shown me His unconditional love in very personal ways. When I have felt least desireable, He has manifested His desire for relationship with me with utmost clarity. He is there, and He is not silent. He is always at work, even when I cannot see. So because of this awareness of all that He has given to and done for me, I have decided to honor that by journaling every day this month something for which I am thankful. Many people do this around thanksgiving, but I'm not generally one to go with the flow, so I am doing it in March :) I hope to be able to share with you some of my reflections. Please feel free to inquire how I'm doing. I could use the accountability! And if you would like to join me in this month of thankfulness, I'd love to hear from you as well.