Saturday, November 30, 2013

Faith Wins Prestigious Award

Faith received a well deserved award last night.... a complete surprise to her!! A big thanks to her piano teacher, Janna Olson, to the Contemporary Showcase for providing the opportunity to play Canadian Contemporary Music, and to New Music Edmonton.

Here is a glimpse of Faith playing at the Muttart Hall in downtown Edmonton at the Gala event - a real celebration of musical talent and hard work!

Last week Saturday, Faith had a big day.  First she played in the Contemporary Showcase (which landed her this award) on Saturday afternoon.  Because of a busy semester of school she came very close to not participating this year.  But thanks to her amazing piano teacher, Miss Olson, Faith was encouraged to continue if not only for the enjoyment of the experience and to share her love of music.  Here she is, playing for adjudication at the Alberta College.  This is the same piece she played last night at the Gala Event to celebrate the Festival of Canadian Contemporary Music:

Then came Saturday evening.  Faith had been asked to participate as a Young Emerging Artist in the St. Albert Chamber Music Recital Series.  The evening featured Early Music Alberta a group consisting of harpsichord, viola da gamba, and soprano.  The music is from the early time period of the 1700's.  As an opener to the concert the society was looking for an emerging artist to play the harpsichord.  Now who would that be?  Who even knows what a harpsichord is, or has access to one to be able to practice?  Faith's piano teacher, who has been instrumental in giving Faith so many wonderful opportunities around Edmonton these past 8 years, heard about it and knew instantly that Faith would be a terrific candidate.  She could practise at King's College because they have a harpsichord and since Faith is so flexible and has terrific sight reading abilities and stage performance she would fit the bill.

Here is that performance on a very exciting evening in St. Albert.  Faith was overwhelmed again to receive $100 in thanks for this and more than that she loved the experience and the people who encouraged her so very much. 

These opportunities have given her invaluable life skills and have allowed her to share her love of music, and her heart with so many people.

We are so incredibly blessed.

Monday, November 18, 2013

A Walk in Our Winter Wonderland

I convinced Brian to go for a walk with me yesterday.  It was a beautiful day with the sun shining and the snow sparkling Jesus' Diamonds all over the place.  It was a good work out tramping through the deep unmarked snow, but I always have another work out in mind when walking with Brian.

To show him the awe of beauty.  To really look at the light, the shadows, the way the snow clings to a branch even when gravity says it should fall.  Laugh, converse, enjoy each other.

After about a half an hour of this, Brian's awe eyes finally open.  And he starts to enjoy the full experience of the walk:  "take a picture of this, look at that.  Wow! look at the light shining through the snow!  do you see how the shadows show us where the dips and bumps are?  I wonder how you'd paint that!"  Beautiful!

This to me is blessing.

Holy One of Blessing,
Your presence
Fills creation,
You have kept us alive,
You have sustained us,
You have brought us
To this moment.

    ~Shecheheyanu, Traditional Hebrew Prayer

Monday, November 11, 2013

Practicing Jubilation

                                                                                                                                     Pyramid Mountain, Jasper, Alberta January 9th, 2012

Oh, these vast, calm measureless mountain days in whose light every thing seems equally divine, opening a thousand windows to show us God... These blessed mountains are so compactly filled with God's beauty [that] the whole body seems to feel beauty when exposed to it as it feels the campfire or sunshine, entering not by eye alone, but equally through all one's flesh like radiant heat, making a passionate ecstatic pleasure-glow not explainable... A few minutes ago every tree was excited, bowing to the roaring storm, waving, swirling, tossing their branches in glorious enthusiasm like worship.  But though to the outer ear these trees are now silent, their songs never cease.  Every hidden cell is throbbing with music and life, every fibre thrilling like harp strings, while incense is ever flowing from the balsam bells and leaves.  No wonder the hills and groves were God's first temples, and the more they are cut down and hewn into cathedrals and churches, the farther off and dimmer seems the Lord himself.
                                                                               ADAPTED FROM JOHN MUIR

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Unthinkable on October 26, 2013

Sometimes you just have to do the unthinkable. 

Like wake your husband up early on his day off.  I checked the sunrise time for our area the night before - 8:22 am.  I really wanted him to experience his birthday completely.  It's interesting being a feeling, emotional (right brained) wife married to a calculating, analytical (left brained) husband.  It helps me feel secure knowing he has everything thought out for both of us.  At the same time, once and awhile I try to get him to feel something beyond thinking and this time I scored big!  He agreed to come to the lake front with me and watch the sunrise.  

And it was incredibly beautiful, peaceful, and meaningful.

Brian was really feeling the pinch of his age this time and especially the nearness of the number 50. :)  "What have I done with my life, what can I do with it yet to make a difference, I feel like it won't be long and I won't be able to move anymore, I'm already so stiff and sore everyday!"  So I wanted him to turn on the right side of his brain for a minute and bask.  Bask in creation, bask in God's love for him, bask in the fact that God already knows what's up ahead it's good.  Take a moment and just stop thinking and let it be.

I told him on a birthday card:
  You are the PAINT on God's canvas.
  NOTES in His song.
  WORDS on His page.
  You bring His love to the world in new ways.
  And when you do, it is so again...
  "God saw all that He had made, and it was very good."

On the walk back to our house, Brian remarked that without me in his life
                      he'd be a recluse and miss all the beauty of life.  Ahh.

I'm so thankful that between the two of us, we have a complete functioning left and right sided brain.

Yes, very, very good!

Friday, October 18, 2013


What do you do when you have an Epiphany?  I had one today and I knew it.  Even though I wasn't completely sure what the word meant.  

So I looked it up:
(1)  :  a usually sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning of something (2) :  an intuitive grasp of reality through something (as an event) usually simple and striking (3) :  an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure

Yes, that’s what I had alright. 

It all happened when I looked at Faith’s application status with MacEwan University:

17 plus years went flashing through my brain.  Infertility, conception, birth, baby, toddler, preschooler, grade school, junior and senior high.  For the past 10 years she’s been under my wing pretty much 24-7 as Brian and I prepared her for adulthood.  Dance, Piano, Camp, Europe, Drivers’ Licence…. flashing through my brain.

Lately she’s been hovering more on the edge of the nest; 
                            jumping out once and awhile and then returning to safety and comfort.

My heart is racing with excitement and my stomach is filled with butterflies thinking about the unknown.  I don’t even know what’s ahead for her.  Neither Brian nor I ever went to University.  What am I going to do once she’s not my 100% responsibility anymore?  I have never held her back from anything she really wanted to do and now I have to start really letting go in the next 9 months to Grad 2014.

By Grade 2 I knew without a doubt I could teach her and so in Grade 3 I began.  We had so much fun with the “My Father’s World” Curriculum.  As we approached Jr. High I asked her if she wanted to go to school.  No, she did not, and so I started to blend her curriculum with the Alberta Curriculum and by Grade 9 she was doing a couple of online courses.  Grade 10 was approaching and I was starting to panic.  How would home school high school be?  I contacted the local Christian High School and they said they'd get back to me.  I prayed during that time about this big decision.  They never did get back to me so I moved forward.  Online Academy for Faith.  It’s been awesome – even when I second guessed myself several times through the years, she is now an honour student doing full time online Alberta Curriculum through St. Paul’s Academy.  That’s what worked for us – and I’m so thankful it did. 

So now she stands on the threshold of going to School…. For the first time since Grade 2!  She is ready.  She’s wanted to be a nurse ever since she was 7 years old and  I would find her in bed at night reading through Biology books and taking notes.  Her eyes would be big with wonder and awe.  She wants to head overseas as soon as she is ready - to help those who do not have all the privileges we have.  And after 6 weeks of working at the Royal Alex hospital this summer it’s solidified for her.  She wants to help sick people.

It’s a happy time and a scary time for me.  My firstborn leaving the nest… and my last one too.  Never would I have imagined these years would be over already. 

So my epiphany?  Suddenly I realize my little girl is grown up and looking forward to branching out for herself.  Suddenly I realize she is ready.  Confident, able, with a passion to help others, and a love for Jesus that is evident in her day to day.

Love God, your God, with your whole heart: love Him with all that’s in you, love Him with all you've got!
Write these commandments that I've given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night.” Deuteronomy 6

Friday, September 20, 2013

September Splendor

A quick reminder for all of us to get out there and enjoy the splendiforous sights of the season!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Family Tradition

In truth a family is what you make it. It is made strong, not by number of heads counted at the dinner table, but by the rituals you help family members create, by the memories you share, by the commitment of time, caring, and love you show to one another, and by the hopes for the future you have as individuals and as a unit.

Brian and Faith have built a Sand Castle every time we have gone to 

Writing on Stone Provincial Park 

for our summer holidays through the years. Here is this years' masterpiece.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Faith Turns 17

What would be her favourite way to celebrate?  With the horses, of course!  So we went to Brian and Diane's for an evening ride and then dessert afterwards.  Splendid!  Splendid!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Enjoying the Small Things

I find that sometimes housework and book work can wait.... and should wait.  It never fails to amaze me that when I take the time to really enjoy the small things, big things fall into perspective.  Here are a few beauty shots of small things I saw on my walk this morning.  I'll call this collection:

Waiting To Be Noticed

Thursday, July 18, 2013

My daughter with the big ♥

Today, an 84 year old man came into Diagnostic imaging in a bed. He couldn't really talk and he was very shaky. I took him to our CT scanner and got him set up; he was always watching me... I would take the time and talk to him, telling him what was going on.

When I took him back to our stretcher bay, I asked, "Are you cold?" 

He nodded his head a little bit; the first reaction I had gotten out of him in the whole time I was with him. His eyes were bloodshot. I got him a warm blanket, covering him up with it and talked to him for awhile. I had time. Then he started crying, while looking at me with a little sad smile on his face.

He wiped away his tear, and then he reached up with his shaky hand. He took my hand in his and brought it up against his cheek and held it there. I felt so much compassion for him I nearly started crying then and there.

When the porter came to get him later, I made sure I was there to wave at him as he left. He saw me, and his face lit up a little bit as he recognized me.

These are the moments that makes life worth it ~  Faith Holwerda 16

Monday, June 24, 2013

Faith @ Grandpa and Grandma's June 2013

There are now 3 horses at Grandpa and Grandma's!  
Faith edited a few of the pictures I took and put them in a collage...
Her love for horses is evident!

Friday, June 14, 2013


by Maria Fleming
Ladybugs all dressed in red
Strolling through the flowerbed.
If I were tiny just like you
I'd creep among the flowers too!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Love Unfurled

For some reason seeing these Wild Roses blooming right behind 
my stinking garbage cans reminded me of this song by Robin Mark.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Intelligent Design

Yesterday I was having a great discussion online with one of Faith's friends about Evolution vs. Intelligent Design.  For instance, you would never look at a watch and not know that there was an intelligent designer behind it.  You would never think that somehow all the pieces randomly found each other from the millions of other pieces in the world and somehow got together in exactly the right order to make itself into a watch.  That couldn't happen even if had billions of years - it would never randomly become a watch.  But yet people want to believe that through billions of years, and a gazillion mutations, somehow all the pieces found each other to somehow form life.  Why do they not immediately think of an Intelligent Designer when they look at nature?

I went outside to water my deck plants and saw this.  How could I not worship The Intelligent Designer I know personally?  How else would this all come together so perfectly and just then?  

When he (Jesus) came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:

Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!
“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus,

 “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”

 “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”  
~ Luke 19