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Category Archives: Living in Holland

A Country In Silence #Holland

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After saluting the WWII Memorial, my husband and the wreath bearers step back from the three country flags at half mast.

In the small Dutch town of Hoogeloon, my thumb catches on a golden uniform rope as I slip my cold hand into the crook of my husband’s arm. The light breeze does not disturb the performance of the flag twirlers nor does it raise the British, Dutch and American flags at half mast to full furling. The occasion is Remembrance Day, and to refer to it as Dutch Memorial Day does an injustice.

In the US, Memorial Day has for most become a day off with a nod to those who gave their lives for our freedom. Not so in The Netherlands where two minutes of silence are marked across the land at 7:58 pm.

My husband and I march behind the wreath carriers and scouts holding high eternal-flame reminiscent torches. Two Dutchmen, one Brit and four Americans died during WWII in this little place with 2000 residents. Their photos sit in the church beside the wreaths during the first half of the remembrance service. My husband was invited to honor these men, to lay a wreath, to salute their memorial.

Acts and speakers are punctuated by music. With uniformed members from ages twelve to 70+ at attention, the community band plays the Dutch national song, and My Country Tis of Thee, then a hymn, and The Star Spangled Banner. Three high school students read about what remembrance and sacrifice means to them. The Mayor, bedecked in the silver collar of his office, speaks. The scouts fan out beside the memorial, and I notice one tilting his feet on edge. Feet unused to standing for so long a period. Feet, about 10 years old, learning what sacrifices were made for their freedom to rest while a boy plays video games. Feet unconcerned with hiding from invaders or being exceptionally quiet so as not to disturb oppressors.

The youngest participant marches his feet when the band plays, even though he is part of the drum corps, which is a separate unit dressed in blue with feather-plumed floppy round hats. Not until the end, when over 300 community members crowd forward to lay flowers at the monument, do I see other smaller children. I remembere my father lamenting the small turnout for a bygone Memorial Day ceremony by the courthouse in my small Kentucky hometown. Do the Dutch make too much of the day or we back home too little?

Do the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of these soldiers know how their family member is honored and thanked again and again by people grateful for young soldiers crossing oceans to fight?

We speak their names: Eddy Jones, William Williams, John Burke, Nick Pehote, Jacob Fraasse, Jan Goosens, Jan Balkduk. We speak to recognize their sacrifice, to acknowledge the pain and loss their families bore, to remember history should not be reduced to numbers but has a name. Names and faces taught to young Dutch children in small towns and large cities all around The Netherlands.

The Remembrance Day organizers thanked us, were grateful for the gift of our presence, but they gave us, our soldiers, and our country so much more.

Two minutes of silence, and then thousands of church bells peal.

–Kristin

 

 

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Posted by on May 5, 2017 in Living in Holland

 

Tiny Fuel Bill – Will Miss U, Goodbye Holland

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What I will miss about living in Holland

…and what new folks can look forward to.

We unintentionally became a one car family when we moved to The Netherlands. My husband’s work moves one car for your use overseas, and normally we buy an old beater to supplement. We went very Dutch in the Netherlands, though, as my husband joined the 1 in 4 workers who bike to work. Our children biked to and from school, and I even biked for many of my errands until my last bike accident put me on crutches.

Biking downtown, to a friend’s house, to the park, to the beach (etc.) have all become the norm for our family. Our older sons have the freedom of transportation I never had till I turned 16. They’ve biked to Leiden, to the lake, to The Hague, as well as used great public transportation.

What will I miss when we return to rural America?

The tiny fuel bill for our vehicle.

I kept track our 3 of our last months in The Netherlands. Even when you add in regular maintenance of our bikes (about 20 EUR a month), public transport use (26 EUR), paying for parking (25 EUR including 2 EUR you have to pay to park at the hospital), and a road trip to Germany, our transportation costs have been minuscule compared to the U.S.

Goodbye 116 euro a month transportion costs. We’ll miss you.

 
 

Z is for Zeal for God’s People #AtoZChallenge #CorrieTenBoom

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As a child I had a very strange picture of what Jesus looked like, a white man with long glossy hair, a gentle and kind spirited person, a shining (maybe literally) person who drew people together. Phillip Yancey’s book, The Jesus I Never Knew, digs further into reality starting at Jesus’ birth. He was a refugee, a minority from a backwater place that people made fun of. I don’t remember when I began to see the Jewishness of Jesus, of his mission to God’s chosen people, of his life in occupied Israel.

Corrie ten Boom’s testimony, the life she lived meeting weekly, until her Nazi arrest, to pray for Jews, is also an upbringing I cannot quite imagine. Almost from birth her awareness of who Jesus was and how God loves His chosen people was part of being a Christian for Corrie. She saw more clearly, suffered in Ravensbruck, lost most of her family, because she knew Love.

This is the sort of Christ follower I long to be, knowing more fully, seeing more clearly, day by day with my savior. Thus, I have featured great quotes from my hero in the faith, Corrie ten Boom, during this year’s A to Z Blog Challenge. I’ve run out of letters but not out of quotes, so don’t be surprised if you see a few more in the coming weeks.

–Kristin

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2017 in Living in Holland, Quotes

 

Y is for Yelling Devil #AtoZChallenge #CorrieTenBoom

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I heard a story the other day about a pastor talking with a man about why the man didn’t go to church. The man said, “The church is full of hypocrites.” The pastor responded, “So is the grocery, but you still go there.” My husband heard the story and started putting in more places like Walmart, the gas station, and work. He made me laugh all over again.

Recently our pastor welcomed visitors by affirming their suspicions, our church is indeed full of hypocrites, we say one thing and do another. Even the Apostle Paul, who wrote half the New Testament in the Bible said, “I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate” (Romans 7:15 NLT).

I don’t want to make my enemy yell with joy. I haven’t got it all together. I am not perfect or better than anyone else. I definitely don’t do what I should. That new gym membership I got two months ago? Haven’t been in two weeks now. Whatever the measure for doing what is good, whether healthful, reliable, ethical, or moral, I don’t live up to it, and I know it.  With regards to the most important of daily decisions, I am standing in the need of God’s mercy and forgiveness each day. And bless His holy name, He forgives me again and again and again.

Thank you, Jesus.


–Kristin

 

#CorrieTenBoom

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2017 in Living in Holland, Quotes

 

X is for X-ceptional Vision #AtoZChallenge #CorrieTenBoom

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May we see the greatness in the world around us, in the faces of people on the street, in the pleasure of a child, and in our Creator who delights and sings over us. –Kristin

 
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Posted by on April 28, 2017 in Living in Holland

 

W is for Worry #AtoZChallenge #Corrietenboom

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Looking forward to taking my niece to Haarlem Holland….

The museum

The Corrie ten Boom Museum is located in the house where three generations of the Ten Boom family lived between 1837 and 1945. The Corrie ten Boom House can only be visited with a guided tour. During a tour, visitors receive information about Corrie and her family, and about the events that took place in the Ten Boom house before and during the Second World War. Visitors can see the hiding place, family photographs and objects from the Second World War. The entire upper floor has been made into an exhibition hall.

–Kristin

 

 
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Posted by on April 27, 2017 in Living in Holland

 

V is for Victory #AtoZChallenges #Quotes

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“The first step on the way to victory is to recognize the enemy.” –Corrie ten Boom, Dutch Resistance, Nazi Concentration Camp Survivor, author and evangelist.

Sometimes it seems the world is against us. Everything that can go wrong does. It is easy for me to forget that a battle is raging. Intuitively all of humanity senses this battle. That is the reason we relate to stories, and movies, and even many games on such a primal level. The battle is spiritual though waged in the physical and the emotional as well. Our enemy is Satan, the head devil, the Father of Lies.

Recognize who your enemy is. It is not the person who disagrees with your politics, who cuts you off in traffic, who is different from you. No, the enemy wants us fighting among ourselves, wants those who are made in the image of God to be at each others throats over little things and large. Let us love one another, raise our shields of faith, and shout out praises to Jesus. God inhabits praises, and the enemy and his minions must flee before them. I will enter this day with praise songs on my lips, enter the battle reminding my foe that he is already defeated.

O victory in Jesus,
My Savior, forever.
He sought me and bought me
With His redeeming blood;
He loved me ere I knew Him
And all my love is due Him,
He plunged me to victory,
Beneath the cleansing flood.

 

–Kristin

 

 
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Posted by on April 26, 2017 in Living in Holland