• Extensions,  Faith

    12 Small Joys of COVIDtide

    There are so many resources and disciplines available to feed the soul while connecting our deep gladness with the world’s deepest hunger. One tool I have used is a weekly Ignatian examen on Sunday evenings. I pause to review the previous week and look forward to the week ahead across all areas of life. After squeezing my heart and mind into various tools for awhile, I now use a template I created that works best for me. This process of reflection comes easy to my personality. Identifying all the big picture pieces of life as they relate to future possibilities is what most occupies my brain space. (Inside baseball: If…

  • Church Calendar,  Faith

    Liturgical Living Playlists

    “If the church doesn’t tell us what time it is, the surrounding culture surely will, and we usually end up the worse for it.” W. David O. Taylor :: Songs for Advent :: Songs for Christmastide :: Songs for Epiphany :: Songs for Lent, Holy Week, and Eastertide :: Songs for Pentecost :: Songs for Ordinary Time :: Songs for Feast of St Augustine :: Songs for All Saints’ Day :: Songs for the Feast of Christ the King “In celebrating the traditions of the church year, we annually retell the gospel story.” Snell // Songs for Morning Prayer // Songs for Compline // Songs for Evening Prayer // Songs for…

  • Church Calendar,  Faith

    The Great Three Days

    The Paschal Triduum “The three days from Maundy Thursday through the Great Paschal Vigil of Saturday night is the source of our spirituality. Our spiritual journey throughout the year springs from this week, the great paschal mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection, and it returns to this week to die with Christ and to be born anew in him.” Robert Webber Maundy Thursday “In [washing the disciples’ feet], Jesus reverses every assumption that might have been held about the rights and privileges of power as well as the very nature of love.” “Have we caught the smallest glimpse of what it means for the Christ of creation to wash the…

  • Church Calendar,  Faith

    Lenten Fasting

    Do you fast? Give me proof of it by your works. If you see a poor man, take a pity on him. If you see a friend being honored, do not envy him. Do not let only your mouth fast, but also the eye and the ear and the feet and the hands and all the members of our bodies. Let the hands fast, by being free of avarice. Let the feet fast, by ceasing to run after sin. Let the eyes fast, by disciplining them not to glare that which is sinful. Let the ear fast, by not listening to evil talk and gossip. Let the mouth fast from…

  • Faith,  Guatemala

    (Extra)Ordinary Obedience

      This blog post was originally published on the Lemonade International blog. It is a reflection of my time working with the incredible founder of the ministry, Vidas Plenas, in Guatemala. For the last three years, I have had the incredible privilege of skyping regularly with Tita Evertsz, the founder of our partner organization, Vidas Plenas. While the purpose of our calls is to make sure Lemonade’s fundraising and communication efforts align with the greatest needs of Vidas Plenas and to walk closely together in partnership, prayer, and love, I have personally been impacted by the faith and life of this dear friend. A woman often compared to Mother Teresa,…

  • Annual Top 10,  Books,  Extensions,  Faith

    My Top 10 Books of 2016

    Books and reading continued to be a major priority in the Hoiland casa throughout 2017. Tim and I spent a ridiculous amount of time discussing what we wanted to read, what we were currently reading, what we’d read in the past, what we planned to read on vacation or on a retreat day, what bookstores we’ve visited, what bookstores we hoped to visit, what bookstores we should return to soon, what bookstores are the best… you get the idea. This year, of the 50 books I read, I attempted to narrow my favorites to a list of ten, as has been my practice over the last five years. This year…

  • Faith,  Guatemala,  Justice

    6 Challenges in La Limonada

    Our friends in La Limonada face many challenges each and every day. Some may be clearly visible, but others are less obvious at first glance. Here are six challenges faced by children and families in the community, along with six ways child sponsorship is sowing seeds of hope. Challenge #1: Children in La Limonada attend overcrowded and underfunded public schools for only half a day. According to USAID, only three in ten children in Guatemala graduate from sixth grade. What Sponsorship Does: Sponsorship ushers the children into academies with teachers who love them, who will embody the love of Jesus, help with their homework, supplement what they are not learning…

  • Faith,  Justice

    What Can Heal the Deep Racial Wounds?

    Ours is not a story of bitterness – it is a story of love and the triumphs of the God of love. But it is a story carved out of the realities of violence and poverty, ending not in some sugarcoated sense of brotherly love but the deep conviction that only the power of Christ’s crucifixion on the cross and the glory of His resurrection can heal the deep racial wounds in both black and white people in America. Dr. John M Perkins, Let Justice Roll Down

  • Extensions,  Faith,  Guatemala

    Tackling Urgent Needs in La Limonada

    During our visits to the slum community of La Limonada, Tim and I have been warmly invited into seven different homes – homes filled with stories of pain, struggle, survival, and deep faith. Marginalized individuals and families who have worked hard to meet their basic needs, but have come against unexpected difficulties and emergencies. When you are working hard to survive today, how can you plan or prepare for unexpected health emergencies that may arise? If your home is damaged from a fire or by rainy season, how do you repair or rebuild? If your son is diagnosed with Leukemia, how can you pay for medical care when you can’t…

  • Church Calendar,  Faith

    And He Will Be Called

    Isaiah 9:6 “And he will be called .. Mighty God.” “Mighty God is the name of this child.  The child in the manager is none other than God himself. Nothing greater can be said: God became a child. Here he is, poor like us, miserable and helpless like us, a person of flesh and blood like us, our brother. And yet he is God: he is might. Where is the divinity, where is the might of the child? In the divine love in which he became like us. His poverty in the manager is his might. In the might of love he overcomes the chasm between God and humankind, he…

  • Church Calendar,  Ethiopia,  Extensions,  Faith,  Mozambique

    Lenten Reflections: Isaiah 58

    “Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for a man to humble himself? Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying on sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord? Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?”  During this Lenten time of self-examination, we pause to consider our brokenness and great need—our vulnerability and inability to do enough fasting or law-keeping to earn even an ounce of righteousness. One of my first encounters with…

  • Extensions,  Faith,  Fun Times

    2013 Year In Review

    In light of the (cyber) age-old tradition of using a blog to journal key events from the previous year, I endeavor to remember 2013. In no particular order:   1.  In April, we visited Guatemala. It was my first time to Central America, to Tim’s home country, to the community of La Limonada, and to meet our sponsored child. Having already blogged about these experiences, I won’t go into detail. This was the absolute highlight of my year and I feel overjoyed to now get to work for Lemonade International in a small way to advocate and tell the stories of what God is doing there.   2. We purchased…

  • Faith

    Witness

    Wise and challenging words from Craig Bartholomew and Michael Goheen in “The Drama of Scripture”. Does my life witness to the restoring power of God? When we grasp that the salvation of the kingdom restores the creation, and all of it, we see that witness to God’s kingdom is as wide as creation. Witness will mean embodying God’s renewing power in politics and citizenship, economics and business, education and scholarship, family and neighborhood, media and art, leisure and play. It is not just that we carry out evangelism in these areas of life. Again, that is important but not enough. It means that the way we live as citizens, consumers,…

  • Bloggers Trip,  Extensions,  Faith,  Guatemala

    Lessons on Faith from Guatemala

    We’ve been back from Guatemala for almost two months now. Tim and I are still so grateful to Lemonade International for welcoming us in to such a special place. We continue to process what God had for us there, but these lessons on faith keep rising like sediment in my thoughts. The Lord used my ignorance. This was Tita’s response to how she first came to this violent place. The Lord led her in to find a gang member who had been at the hospital where she volunteered. She didn’t realize it was ‘The’ La Limonada – an infamous Guatemalan slum synonymous with danger and fear. This has filled my…

  • Faith,  Guatemala

    For Those Not Standing

    Tomorrow we celebrate Mother’s Day. Many of us, filled with gratitude, honor the love, sacrifices and prayers of our moms. For many others this day brings grief, longing and inescapable reminder of what they do not have. I think about my friends who have lost their moms far too early, others who have faced miscarriages if they were able to get pregnant at all and those who have painful memories of a mom who was not there for them. We rejoice with those who rejoice. And we mourn with those who mourn. (Romans 12:15) For those whose hearts rip as their newsfeeds fill with pictures of Mother’s Day bouquets and…