Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Holman's Christmas Letter

Here is our annual letter that we sent out to everyone on our email address. I figured that I would take advantage of the blogging followers and send it out to you guys as well. If you did not get this on email, it is because I do not have your email address so send it to me.

Wow! It seems like only yesterday that I sent out our Christmas letter, and now it is time to write another one. It is amazing that another year has gone by and I am still not in jail. So, what has happened in the last year? A lot of stopped up toilets—why our children think that you need 12’ of toilet paper is beyond me (wait, I digress—this is a Christmas letter)

The last year has seen a lot of action in the Holman house. We moved again, this time into an apartment. It has three bedrooms and is about 1100 sq. ft, so it is cozy. We have 5 boys in one room, 5 girls in another room, and then Mom gets the biggest. Dad just passes out on the couch and drools on the carpet. I can’t tell you everything that has happened, this is to be a letter not a book, but that is why we have a website and blogs. If you don’t read them, then your life is empty and meaningless. Change your life! Go by and check them out. The biggest event right now is that we are in the States on our Home Assignment. Because of our family size, immigration laws, and money, we can only come to the States as a family about every three to four years. So we decided to take advantage of being here this year and we took the mama of all vacations. I had received a little money from my dad’s estate when he passed away, and we decided that the wise thing to do would be to put the money in the bank and save it. Since that was the wise thing to do, we did the opposite (we are the Holmans) and went on a never to be forgotten vacation to Disneyworld and on a cruise. Go to my Facebook and check out the photos.

Now to catch you up with us individually:

Joe has almost too many cool attributes to list, but his biggest virtue is his humility, therefore he must depend upon the accolades of the crowds and the discussion in the chat rooms to talk about his marvels.

Denise turned 27 this year, an impressive feat for a woman her age. She is more beautiful than the day I married her, more like Christ than anyone I know, and my best friend. Not only that, she will read this and I will probably get a big smooch for writing such public praise. She is still homeschooling the kiddos, mentoring younger women, and serving Jesus in the world. She also spends a lot of time cleaning and looking for the day that her kids will rise up and call her blessed. I think it is going to happen next Thursday, but she isn’t holding her breath.

Seth turns 22 on January 1. He is living in Alexandria VA and is working as a waiter. We are glad that we are back in the States for a short time and able to see him on a more regular basis. It is so hard being so far from him.

Jacob has temporarily moved back home with us while we are in the States. He is a great young man, loves Jesus and is showing tremendous wisdom with his finances. Any gals interested? He plans on going to college next year and has strong teeth. (if interested, send your dowry description to us)

Caleb is 18 and a senior in High School. We gave him the option of finishing school here while we are in the States or going to Bolivia for another year or two with us. He has chosen….drum roll please……going to Bolivia! He always was my favorite. He says it is because he loves us, but I think it may be that the missionary school is way easier than Mom’s scope and sequence. He can now legally drive (he has been illegally driving for two years in Bolivia, but we cannot mention that) and starts his first ‘real’ job next week.

Ben is 16 years old and 16’ tall. He is in the 10th grade and may have the best attitude of any 16 year old in the world. Or, it may just be that my heart is hardened and I simply ignore him. He still talks about being a pastor, but we are doing what we can to steer him towards professional gambling due to the better pay scale. He loves Bolivia and keeps asking when we are going back. Mom is homeschooling him while in the States, so he will enter the missionary school in the 11th grade.

David is 14 and eating like an elephant. I don’t know where he puts it, but I think he eats at least 10 pounds of food a day. He just got a good pair of glasses, for some reason his North American prescription was 10x different than his South American prescription (this is not an exaggeration). It can’t be the medical care of Bolivia; it must be a Southern Hemisphere thing (that was sarcasm). Anyway, he is so excited to actually see stuff. I think we will call his glasses a Christmas present and save some money.

Josh is 12 and is smooth. That is the best way to describe him. He just flows. Although he is small, he is extremely athletic. He reminds me of the squirrel in the cartoon “Over The Hedge”. He is energetic, always on the move, and loves to work. Seriously, have you ever had a kid that loves to work? It is an anomaly of the universe. We take full advantage of it and have decided in order to truly let him be him, as parents we will let him do all the housework. I mean, wouldn’t it be wrong to do the work ourselves and rob him of his passion?

Faith is 11 and is my first experience with a girl entering puberty. Can someone loan me a gun? She is fashion conscious, always trying to look good, and wears high heels around the house. She is our little mamma and takes such good care of the other girls that we are thinking about signing legal custody to her and calling our parenting over. She can raise them and we write them off our taxes. Works for me.

Hope is 9, almost 20. She is the sweetest thing and loves to just sit by you and talk. And talk. And talk. And talk. And talk. She helps out around the house a lot and talks. She is like Benjamin and misses Bolivia more than the other kids. I think she just wants to talk in Spanish.

Joy is 7 and right now has three broken bones in her arm. This doesn’t surprise anyone that knows her. Joy is active and does not know fear. She is also still maintaining her namesake and always joyful. She was even joyful in the ER when waiting to have her arm put back together. That may have been the morphine drip giggling, but it was still cute.

Patience is six. She has adapted well to being an older sister and loves playing with Mercy. She may be the funniest kid and is always cracking a joke or hiding behind something to jump out and scare you. She is Joy’s best friend and they are always holding hands. It is precious. She has the toughest time with Bolivia and ‘The States’. To her, ‘The States’ simply means where you are not currently living therefore she is talking about when we go to the States of Bolivia.

Mercy is the greatest. She is two and is the most spoiled child in the world. She has 10 older siblings who think she is da bomb and cater to her every whim. They call her “Princess” and she spends most of her day pointing and giving out orders which are promptly obeyed.

On the whole, it has been a great year. God has blessed us and helped us to become more like Him. We have learned more about dependence and walking by faith, and the importance of having fun with each other. I pray that this year you discover more than ever how much He loves you. I mentioned earlier our websites and blogs. If you do not keep up with us that way, and/or through facebook, please do so. It is like getting a Christmas letter every month. 

Joe for The Holmans

Leia Mais…

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Other Side Of The Incarnation

Jesus became a human. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We celebrate this at Christmas, and although we know it is true, it still blows us away when we try to ponder exactly what it means. God became a man, while maintaining His Deity.

We celebrate Jesus coming to us and we should. However, have you ever thought about what it meant for Him to leave His home? I never did until I went to the mission field. We are overwhelmed at His coming, but how did Heaven feel about His leaving?

When we knew we were going to Bolivia, we began the process of saying goodbye. It was a process because it did not just happen. We said good bye to different groups of people, to various layers of relationships, at different times. From coffee and informal meetings, a going away party at our church, to the tear-filled hugging of Denise’s parents at the airport, saying good bye hurt. We knew we were in the plan of the Father. We knew that it was best. We knew that our lives were going to impact others. We knew that through the pain, good would come. It still stunk. It really, seriously stunk.

Think about what we experienced on our human level. We have imperfect relationships. We live in a fallen world full of pain and sorrow. We leave for school, get married, take jobs in other locations, and die. Good bye is a part of the fabric of our lives. We say good bye constantly.

Jesus never did. He was omnipresent. He was fully present. For all of eternity He had been in the perfect world with the relationship of the Trinity. Good bye was not part of His vocabulary nor His experience. He NEVER left the presence of His home. His family, His Father, the angels, and all of creation were always there. Death was not part of His life. He never had to leave to go somewhere else.

Then, that moment before the conception…that immeasurable microsecond of time when the Word said something He had never said before…”Good bye”. Can you imagine what I was like to leave? What Jesus did for us! He left perfection. He left heaven. He left the angels. He left His worship. He left His Father. He left His home. He gave up His throne. He gave up His omnipresence. He gave up His….I cannot even imagine the list. Christmas was not just Jesus coming into the world, it was Him leaving the Heavens.

This Christmas, take a pause in your shopping, spending, driving, eating, and wrapping and try to meditate, not on the first Noel, but on the first Goodbye.

Wow! God loves you so much!

Merry Christmas!

Leia Mais…