Has it been that long???

Dear readers,

I again find myself asking your forgiveness for my lapse in posting. Life has been a whirlwind since I returned from New Zealand at the end of March. When I left, I had no job and was unsure exactly where the Lord was calling me. One of the most incredible realizations I had while there was that, during my initial two year mission to the country, God had made me a new wineskin and poured new wine into me, expanding the capacity to which I believed I could stretch. He demolished the boundary walls of what I thought I was capable of giving or accomplishing and showed me how much more I was capable of when trusting in him. I came home knowing full well that I was, now, only living out of a small portion of that capacity. Thus, I was filled with a desire to know the fulness of abundant life that I once did. God quickly brought these desires to fulfillment, providing two jobs in my field; the courage to pursue Nova Vita Designs, my furniture refinishing business; volunteer work that I love; a renewed vigor for my studies as I near the end of my Masters program; and a new found drive for some of my favorite hobbies, guitar, singing, dancing, and writing. He also shed light on the unhealthy relationships and habits that were preventing me from fully living, and supplied me with grace as I began clearing them away. All in all, it’s been a “full on” three months. I may be busier than I’ve ever been, but I am also happier and more fully alive than I have ever been. Because the more I allow myself to be transformed by God, trusting that his vision is bigger and better than mine, the more it seems I end up experiencing my favorite moments, forming my truest friendships, and enjoying the best wild adventures of my life.

So, here’s to being transformed, to crushing the limitations we, or others, place on ourselves and on our lives, and to LIVING life out of the fullness of our capacity!

So while I hope it will not be another three months before I write you again, know that if it is, it’s just because I’m living. 😉

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Up and Coming Kiwi Catholic Music Artist

I love this girl’s voice! When thinking about what to write this week, I could think of nothing better than to feature her music. I had the pleasure of getting to know Monique during my two years as a missionary in her parish in Mount Maunganui, New Zealand. She has a gorgeous heart and it radiates through her music. Her song, Temporary Warfare, is one of my favorites! You should check it out! Her music is not available for purchase, YET, but I can’t wait for the day it is! For now, I’ve asked her to share a bit about the inspiration behind her music. You can also follow her on Facebook on her page, Monique Holden Music. I encourage you to like and share this, if you feel so inclined! Hopefully, this is only the beginning of her story….
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My name is Monique Holden, I am an eighteen year old musician living in Tauranga, New Zealand, where I am currently studying music performance and production at my local Polytechnic. I have grown up in the faith and teachings of the Catholic Church all my life and to this day I am deeply in love with the Eucharist and treasures of Catholicism. Growing up as the only girl among four brothers life could, and still can be very interesting at times as you can imagine. However, I cherish poetry, flowers and love all things that sparkle so you could say I definitely never lost my sense of femininity, much to my mother’s delight!

I discovered my passion for singing and music around the age of eleven, where I would practice for hours on end to CD’s of musicians such as Taylor Swift, Hilary Duff and Brooke Fraser. After recording myself on tape cassettes, I would listen back to them critiquing myself and, as a perfectionist, I would try to perfect every out of tune note. After a year of singing with backing tracks and silence, I decided it was time to challenge myself further and find an accompaniment for my vocals. I dedicated my time to teaching myself the guitar and since then have discovered my love for the strikingly full sound of the 12 string and most recently the Mandolin, however my wishful list of instrument possibilities could go on forever. Within four months of playing the guitar I was offered the opportunity to be praise and worship leader at our Parish prayer group. This involvement in the Church lead me to becoming a part of the youth band and leading worship at youth groups, festivals and Masses. This time was a period of real growth and challenges for me. Through this I began to discover that music ministry is a true gift from God and it was in that discovery that I found my desire to use it wisely and for the glory of God.

My musical journey has also included a range of incredible opportunities such as, professional gigs at festivals and shows, the thrilling experience of busking and performing in cafes and giving lessons to passionate children on music and guitar. Aside from singing and playing instruments the one thing I find myself most passionate about is song writing and how the use of words can create lyrics that are powerful and that have the ability to mesmerise, causing and allowing the imagination to run wild. One of the many reasons why I love song writing is because of the way it enables me to express emotions and experiences in such a creative and enthralling way. Like most songwriters my songs are inspired and constructed from personal experiences and to some extent slightly exaggerated. I aim to write in a way where the messages of my songs are disguised by the use of metaphors and other elements of figurative writing. I write in hope that people will be able to relate in their own way to my lyrics.

I acknowledge my music as a total gift from God, and I am excited to discover where and how He will use it to work according to His plan. We are told countless times throughout the Bible to praise the Lord with song, to sing and make music to Him. There is nothing more rewarding to me than making music for His glory. I hope to encourage aspiring musicians through my gift just as I have been inspired by those who use theirs to their fullness. Please keep me in your prayers as I further my study and development as a musician.

“Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord.”

-Ephesians 5:19

Life on a Tiny Island

I’ve crossed the path of so many lately who have inquired about my time in New Zealand. While there is much that could be said and these blog entries don’t even begin to encompass all that it was to call Aotearoa (New Zealand) home for two years, they can do what they were intended to do, which is to give you a glimpse into my life overseas.  I no longer use the blog I have attached the link to. I switched to this blog upon my return from down under, but until I can figure out how to transfer the entries to this blog…I thought this would be the easiest way to go.

My New Zealand Blog

So forgive the less than updated home page, sort of homely background, and enjoy diving into the sights, the feelings and the people that were my life for two blessed years!

Bread Crumbs

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Oh to have my one suitcase, my guitar and ceaseless possibility. Nothing to rely on, save to trust in the Lord. This is essentially what quickly approaches me in June. June 13, I will be leaving the vineyard that the Lord sent me into two years ago (New Zealand). It is time for new workers to come and tend to these incredibly ripe fields. Where to next? That is the question. I never seem to have the answer people want to hear when they ask me. This, however, is not what troubles me. The Lord has never left me hanging without any direction whatsoever. And so like Hansel & Gretel, except with perhaps a different fate (I don’t think I’ll have an evil witch trying to eat me anytime soon), the Lord has given me my next bread crumb. I am headed home to be with my family and friends for two and a half months. I have a new short-term mission territory and its called “home.” My mission: to love. Once my mission is complete, I am on to Spain. The Camino del Santiago beckons me as I hear the Lord’s voice calling me to rest in Him for a while. To come and walk with him, quite literally. Over the month of walking, as the distractions of life are slowly left on the roadside, I pray that September in Spain will be a time for the Lord to speak and I to listen.