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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Our Family Tree

Here is our family tree for all of you inquiring minds who have asked.
Fasten your seat belts and get ready for a ride...

This is me and my husband.
Nick and Stephanie
@nickholden and @honeyholden on instagram.

We have three daughters.
Elizabeth, Lydia  and Lauren.
 @babylady3 @lydialovesmarcus and @laurenalexis19

 This was the original 5 Holdens..

Then our girls began to meet their guys.
I'm gonna go from RIGHT to left to keep it all chronological and stuff.

Elizabeth married Chris (@chrissirven) and they became the Sirven family.
They have three children who call me Honey.  Rosalyn, Julia Rose and Nate.

Next we have Mr. and Mrs. Linton...Lydia and Marcus (@mlinton1215)
You've been reading quite a bit about these two lately ;)

And last but not least is Lauren. She's still a Holden.  (Woo Hoo!!)
But the really tall guy on the left is crazy about her so we will  probably have another wedding in the near future.  His name is Blake.
He's not on instagram but you can call him Blakey-Poo like the rest of us.

 Ok. That was easy to follow.
Now let me kick it up a bit.

A lot of y'all have put two and two together and have figured out the other "Holden girl" in blog land and instagram is indeed related to me.  In fact we are sister-in-laws.  Our hubs are brothers.
She is @heatherholden and she's got a really amazing blog called wearetheholdens.
If you aren't following her, you should.  She has the skills of Martha Stewart and Paula Deen and dresses like she stepped out of an Anthro catalog  all while buying just about every cute thing she wears and owns from the thrift store.. the girls got skillz I tell ya.

This is her good looking mister
(sorry heather...i had to.)

No..really they are an amazing looking bunch.

There are 3 Holden brothers.
This pic is totally out of chronological order. 
Nick is the oldest (on right)
Jeremy is the middle. (on left)
Jode is the youngest (in the middle)

They are married to us...
Joice belongs to Jeremy.
I belong to Nick.
Heather belongs to Jode.

This is Jeremy's clan.
Joicey-Poo (yes she's the other "poo" in the family) has some serious skills too.
She can homeschool a house full of kids, whip up supper for her and two other families, then go visit  those families, gather eggs from their yard full of chickens, put together anything you give her without the directions, teach a bible study and rub Jeremy's feet all in a days work... and never complain. I wish she had a blog.  I'd learn so much from her.
She and Jeremy's bunch are as cute as they come.

Ok...So all that is pretty normal right?
Well here is where it gets fun...
Here are the Holden boys and their dad, Mr. Bubby.
Handsome bunch huh!

 Now this sweet lady is their momma.... My mother-in-law.
And this guy in the pic is her husband. 
Who also happens to be my brother. 
Yeah... you read that right.
My brother is married to my mother-in-law.
So my mother-in law is also my sister-in-law!

This is my big bother, my mom and me.
He is also my father-in-law and my mom is my grandma.
Have I lost you yet?

Before you start thinking we are some crazy family from the south who marrys their cousins...
I promise this is all legit.  No blood relations at all.

Funny thing though.. My mom is my mother-in-law's mother-in-law.
Yeah go ahead and re-read that again.  I know you need to.
This also makes my mom my girl's grand maw and great grandma at the same time.
Oh and this makes my girls my great nieces.

This also makes Nick my nephew and 
his mom is technically his sister in law.
My brother is his step-dad... 
I could go on and on.

I know by now I have totally lost you.

So here is a very brief bio to explain it some.
Nick and I got married at a very young age.
His parents divorced that same year.
She then met my brother ( who is quite older than me for the record).
They began to date, fell in love,  and eventually got married.
And in case you're wondering, no... the entire family was not exactly thrilled.
All of this was before any of us knew Jesus.
It was quite a turbulent season for all of us.
My brother at the time had an addiction to drugs and alcohol and was not exactly great "husband material".  Our family was dysfunctional in every essence of the word.

Well y'all.  God showed up and interrupted our lives and began to sweep through our family like a wildfire.  Two words that stand out during this time is
1. Grace
2. Change

You see until this time...the only ones who knew the Lord in our family were my mom and my step-dad. (my dad passed away when I was 13, my mom eventually remarried and he's a pastor) I have no doubt it was their intercession and prayers for us that were instrumental in us coming to a place of saving grace. (That's a whole post right there!)  We look back at old videos and see all the drinking and cussing and carrying on and I'm SO ashamed we acted like that around them.  I asked her years later why they never fussed at us and told us how offensive we were and disrespectful to their position of being the parents.. the "head" our family...  In her wisdom of knowing the Lord for 41 years now, she said, "Stephanie, there was no need to fight with y'all..  I knew the battle was a spiritual one. So we just prayed for y'all."
 She loved us and prayed us right into the Kingdom.

Well, Ms Dianne (my mom-in-law) was the first to get intterputed by Jesus.

And wow let me tell you it not only interrupted her life but all of ours.
I can remember that first Thanksiving after she had first gotten saved. (by saved I mean when she realized she was born a sinner and yielded her life to Jesus and He then redeemed her and saved her from a self-centered life and eternity apart from Him).  Well, that Thanksgiving she was so different!
And it made me so uncomfortable!  All she wanted to talk about was Jesus and tell us about her church and she kept smiling and stuff.  It was a total interruption to our family get togethers....All the drinking and cutting up seemed to stand out that year and for me it was the first time I was confronted with my life full of religion.  I had been brought up in the church all my life and professed to know Jesus but it was at that Thanksgiving that I realized I didn't have what she had.  At this point, I wasn't even sure I wanted what she had...maybe a little bit of it but definitely not as much of Jesus as her!
 I mean she had become a little "finatical"  in my book. lol  Little did I know back then.

You see, now my Mom and Mr. Roy had a partner to join forces with them in battle for our family spiritually in prayer.  And God honored it y'all.  Within a month... My brother (the one married to Nick's mom) got saved and set free from all of his addictions!  Then a few months later, I got saved.  Then Nick got saved and right around that time.. both of his brothers, Jode and Jeremy got saved.  It was crazy y'all in an incredible unbelievable kind of way.

And God was SOOO not finished doing His thing in our family....

We all began to grow in the Lord and love His word and then the Lord went and shook things up even more.  He began dealing with the men in our family....As in calling them to preach.
Now anytime He does this it's a miracle and incredible.  But y'all.  If you only knew my family before, you would know this is like "part the Red Sea" kind of incredible.

  • He called my brother first.  A high school drop-out drug addict to preach His glorious gospel. Pretty awesome huh!  
  • Then he called my husband. At the time he was one of the shyest people you could ever meet.  I had never even heard him pray out loud and he's telling me he feels "called" to preach.  This is a man who had never even read an entire book and now he is eating up his bible every second of the day.
  • Somewhere along the lines...he called Nick's youngest brother, Jode, into ministry and gifted him with crazy talents to lead worship and lead students. 
  • And Nick's other brother, Jeremy is one of the most gifted teachers of the word I know.  He serves faithfully in many different capacities at his church. He's one of greatest servants I know.
None of these men were brought up in church.
None of them had a godly heritage or foundation.
Their lives are just an example of what God does when He saves a person. 
 Change takes place.
And y' my, how our family has changed.
 Everything about our family has changed.

This was my brother back in the day when drugs was what he lived for.

Now he lives to help others be set free!
(Well he lives for deer season too but that's another story, lol)
This picture was taken when he graduated from New Orleans Theological Seminarry.  God did that!!

This was taken a few years back at Marvin's church when they were celebrating a new family life center that they had just built and had begun worshipping in.
These are all the men in our family (minus Marcus who we didn't know at the time BUT his family actually played bluegrass at this very celebration!! Lydia now tells us she was scoping him out all day!)
All these men serve the Lord with their lives and lead our families within our homes.
Good googily woogily!!  God did that!

Here's me and Heather back in the day.
(just felt like throwing that in...we call that lagniappe back home...a little something extra)

And here is our entire crew today!
Just one big intertwined- crazy- Jesus loving-family.

Remember...y'all did ask for our family tree!
Don't hold all the craziness against me....
I'm just along for the ride but I do admit..
I'm loving every second of it!!
Stephanie :)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Dear Monday,

I've been meaning to tell you how much I like you. I know you get a lot of flack from people and you aren't liked very much.  But for me you're one of my favorite days of the week.
When you roll around it means a fresh much potential.

Dear Monday, you're  like getting a brand new notebook, or a fresh pack of crayons.

When you arrive each week... I feel like I have SO much time and I can conquer it all. 
Like time for crafting...

And for cleaning and rearranging...

Thanks so much for that.

And Dear Monday, 
I've been thinking how sad I thought I would be today because I wouldn't be able to wake up to this like I've been doing all last week...

But waking up this morning right next to my man was pretty awesome too. :)

And Dear Monday,
Another thing that makes you so great in my book is you're the day after Sunday.  I always have lots to think about in the morning meditating on all the things I soaked up while in worship with my church family. And on this Monday, I'm especially liking that when I pray for my crew up in North Carolina,  I can picture them now in their new home and surroundings.

And Dear Monday,
What makes you the BEST in my book is that it means it's Porterville Night! 
And that means I get to see these two....

And on this particular Monday it happens to be their one month anniversary!! 

 Wow.  How did that happen?

So thank you Dear Monday for being so great. The only request I have is that you ask the rest of the days of the week to take their time coming around. Cuz y'all seem to really be in a hurry lately coming and going so quickly. That would be really sweet of you.  Ok. Thanks.

Your biggest fan,
Stephanie :)

miscellany monday at lowercase letters

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Family Affair

I want to say a BIG thank you for all of the kind comments about Lydia and Marcus's wedding day. It really did turn out beautiful and we couldn't be more pleased.
We give God all the glory for His provision.
 Y'all know the saying it takes a village to raise a child?
Well let me say it took my entire family to pull off Lydia's wedding.
This was no way,  in any shape or form,  a one man's game.
Me and Lydia may have dreamed it all up and got everything in place leading up to the day but our family and friends stepped up and went waaay above and beyond to make Lydia's dream a reality.

There are sooo many to thank and I am in the process of doing that...the old fashioned way.
As in personal thank you cards.  I'm slow but they are coming.

But I just want to take a moment to brag on my family for a bit.
When it comes to families mine is one of the best. 
And I mean this in a "God look what You did in our family" kind of best.
Cuz I can assure you, we haven't always been anything that could be bragged on.   for reals.

It's hard to single any ONE person out cuz everyone worked their butts off.
Our family did the entire thing...from the wedding cake, to most of the cooking, to all the decorating, to the videoing, to the reception music, to the bride's hair  and yes..even the marrying. 
It was truly a family affair.
And we wouldn't have it any other way.

These are the Holden Brothers.
Jeremy, Jode and Nick (or as folks know him from back home...Nickie)

These guys here were responsible for all the big projects... Mostly Jeremy. 
Anything that was built or put together they were the ones behind it.  I had the visions  but they executed them waaaay better than what was in my mind.

Now they worked hard no doubt... but truth be known, 
I think they had a ball hanging out together like old times.  

They looked straight out of an episode of Duck Dynasty.

And from what I've been told, I owe them big time for the little wallpapering project.

My brother even got in on the action when it came to cutting up all the wood that was used.

I truly don't know what I would have done without them.

Heck... they even got the chandelier hooked up so the lights would come on.
But our reception coordinator, ( momma) quickly let us know, without hesitating that she didn't like the look!  lol. Thought it looked better without being lit up...poor Jode and Jeremy didn't even have a chance to blink before she was shooting it down....but hey.  That's what we pay her the big bucks for right? ....To keep it real and to keep us laughing.  lol  (love you momma)

Ms Dianne, my mom-n-law is a wonder woman.
She pretty much headed up the cooking and the food part.  She made the wedding cake, jambalaya and chicken salad all while having a house full of family everywhere.   She can get it done though.  She gathered up a team to help serve at the reception and I am indebted to EVERYONE who had a part in the food and serving.  I had ladies making everything from cheese balls, sweet tea, cameo cupcake toppers, sugared nuts, and meatballs to having to run around the day before the wedding to find cupcake wrappers last minute.   From way out in Porterville to over in Whynot to all the way in to Louisiana where Nick's cousin hooked us up with shrimp pasta and her famous creole cheesecakes.  Our family and friends overwhelmed us with their generosity of their resources and their time.  
I'm choked up with gratitude as I write this.  So humbling.

Chris and Blake were willing and available to do anything that was asked of them.
Like bam!  And they were on it.
This fabric wall just about got me and Christopher but we prevailed.

My amazing momma was there at every turn ready and willing to do anything that was asked of her. We love to tease her about "keeping it real".  But really that's what  family should do.  And she is the most efficient woman I know.  The stuff she gets accomplished in such a short amount of time...I forget she is 69...her energy amazes me.
She's got on her game face in this pic. Focused.  

It was such a group effort y'all.
We did the flowers ourselves too and when we were finishing up at the church and about to head to the reception venue, my brother was about to throw away some sad wilted roses leftover from a wedding at the church from the week before.
 My sis in law had the foresight to grab them and I'm soo glad she did....

I was able to use them in this design...
It totally wouldn't have been the same without them.

And it was that kind of stuff that happened the entire three days of all us being together leading up to the wedding.  The little things that meant so much. 
 We shared so much fun.  So many giggles.
I hear about families having knock down drag outs at the rehearsal and stuff cuz everyone was "on edge".  It was the opposite for me.  My family brought out the best in me.  
Everyone respected each others opinions and welcomed suggestions.... like how a family should be. And y'all we are no different than any other family... our feelings get hurt.  We've hurt each others feelings.... we've even been angry with each other before and we haven't always got along. 

But  the one thing we do have going for us is that over the past 15 years we've all come to know Jesus. And I've noticed that with each family event that we gather together for, 
 I can see more and more of Him and less and less of us.

These are my sister-in-laws...
Joice and Heather.
Two of the greatest blessings of being a Holden.

I worked Heather's booty off for sure the week of the wedding. 
She was my "right hand man" when it came to helping me make decisions about some of the final touches.  The morning of the wedding, there were still some major things to be finished and I was so torn because I knew I needed to be with Lydia at that point. But I left the reception venue with her in charge of whatever may come up and I didn't worry about it for one second. 
And she never wavered for one second...just jumped in and did whatever was needed.
Now the fact that her hair still looks this amazing at the the end of the reception while mine was a limp stringy mess...well that's another story.

Joicey-Poo is the quiet servant who never gets any recognition cuz she does all of her serving behind the scenes.... which is exactly  how she likes it.   I've never met a harder worker than her and she never complains. I have very little pics of Joice during all this cuz she was never in the same place as me.  And why is that?   Because she was the one who took care of all the kids the entire time.  Between she and Heather they have 7.  When you throw in my three grandchildren that makes 10 kids.   And y'all... she is in. charge. and she rarely ever raises her voice in the process.  On Friday night, she had them all bathed and in their pajamas like it was nothing.  I've always told her she was my hero.  
And  I ain't even kidding.

Speaking of family and blessings and servants, I can't  go without sharing something that humbled me to no end.  I cry each time I ponder it.  We had family arrive on Wednesday to start preparing for the wedding.  From South Louisiana, North Louisiana, South Carolina and North Carolina.  About 30 of us total. 
The ladies of the church where Marcus is on staff and where my brother is pastor went above and beyond.  These precious ladies took it upon themselves to provide food for our entire family from Wednesday through Saturday.  I can't even begin to tell y'all what a blessing that was!
 Financially and the convenience of it.  
This was the body of Christ at work in such a tangible way.

And when it was all said and done and Lydia and Marcus were well on their honeymoon..
When it's a DIY wedding... that also means it's a DIY clean up too.
Well before I could blink an eye, the reception hall was clean...dishes washed, tables stripped and the kitchen clean.  Then I head over to the church to take down the flowers in the sanctuary and clean up there and guess what?   It was already done.  I mean DONE!...carpet vacuumed and all the wedding paraphernalia  delivered to  Marcus and Lydia's carport.  Humbling y'all.
THEN.. the next day Jode and Heather and Jeremy and Joicey-Poo along with our newest family....
Marcus's parents...  finished up every last detail at the the reception venue.  Every. last. detail.
Only thing me and Nick had to do was pick up two ginormous ferns off the porch.

This is what it is all about y'all. 
It's about the day in day out stuff,  you know?  
Praying for each other.   
And protecting each other.  Cutting up with each other. Teasing each other. Forgiving each other.
Laughing with each other. And crying with each other.
Being there for each other.

I love them like crazy.

It's a shame everyone couldn't have a family like mine.
I mean....
just look at us.

Stephanie :)

ps. I have a "family tree" post coming in the next few days for all of you who have asked how to keep all of us Holdens and Lintons and Sirvens straight.  But be's a doozy!
Our family tree is complicated...but awesome in a "God only you can make this work" kind of way. 
Stay tuned :)

linking up with my friend Carina today.
a punk, a pumpkin and a peanut

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