What’s Your Should?

My nineteenth birthday is on Friday. And I’m struggling with ‘shoulds’. For example:

I should have a plan by now.

I should be in a relationship by now.

I should have a place to live by now.

I should have enough money by now to…

I should know what I want to study by now.

etc.

Upon many conversations with many wise people, I’ve come to realize that these ‘shoulds’ swirling around in my brain are stifling any growth in my character, as well as, being able to move forward in my goals. Some of these goals being recording an EP and getting my Aussie citizenship.

However, I’ve been so consumed with all the things I’ve felt like I should have or should have done by now. I have been unable to enjoy life or focus on being present.

I want to focus on being content with where I am right now and learn how to persevere through the uncomfortable moments. My goal is to release my ‘shoulds’ and be present, knowing that my desires will come eventually.  I want to learn to discern between my voice, others and that still small voice of truth and love.

It’s time to let go of my ‘shoulds’. How about you?

|Graciana Holland|

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Some Thoughts on Loneliness: Short.

lone·li·ness
ˈlōnlēnəs/
noun
noun: loneliness
1. the fact of being without companions; solitariness.
My thoughts: Maybe we are lonely because our hearts are searching for the ultimate companion. Maybe we are not lonely by accident. This void is here and it’s real.I believe this loneliness was put inside all of us because it was meant to be filled by the one who put it there… We are all searching for the ultimate companion. In my personal experience, this companion is none other than Jesus.
“A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24
Augustine said, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”
“That you can be lonely in a crowd, maybe especially there, is readily observable. You can also be lonely with your oldest, closest friends, or your family, or even the person you love most in this world. To be lonely is to be aware of an emptiness that takes more than people to fill. It is a sense that something is missing which you cannot name. ‘By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion.’ sings the Psalmist (137:1) Maybe in the end it is Zion that we are lonely for, the place we know best by longing for it, where at last we become who we are, where finally we wind home.”
I am still learning every day about what this means. More thoughts to be continued. If you have anything to add, please share in the comments!

Gratitude

Just a few thoughts…
Gratitude is looking back and recognizing all that has been given to you.
Gratitude is the decision to be content with where you are.
Gratitude is loving all who are put in your path, because they are put there for a purpose.
Gratitude is so hard.
It’s so easy to complain about life, to with you were somewhere else, with someone on else, or doing something else.
It’s so easy to forget the great places you have been, people you have spent time with, and things you have done.
It’s easy not to trust that you will experience those times again.
We are all on a journey.
We are all in a certain place for a reason.
Everything is just for a season, whether it’s long or short.
Nothing lasts forever.
Love where you’re at. Love who you are. Love who you’re with.
This time won’t last forever.
Make the most of where you are with what you have.
Every moment shapes who you are, and your character.
Your attitude defines you.
Who will you pay attention to?
Who will you set your eyes upon?
Who is your ‘Rabi’?
Who will you reflect?
The one who created you has given you so much, and has so much in store for you.
You have so much to look forward to, if you will only trust that it is there…
He has also given you this time.
Be thankful.
Be thankful.

Young Learner

I’m afraid to ask questions.

I am afraid to ask questions in fear that I will sound uneducated one and be viewed as childish or inferior.

I often stay silent during a conversation hoping that someone else might ask questions.

This might seem silly to some, since asking questions is a great way to gain more knowledge, but I’m afraid of the potential rejection. I feel a pressure to already know everything.

I’ve come to realize that this pressure has been placed upon me, by none other than, me.

I am learning how important it is to be patient with myself, to be okay with the fact that I am not all knowing, and to be okay with my uneducated questions. I’m learning how be gracious and accept that I don’t have to know everything. I believe that by facing my insecurities head on and being venerable by asking questions that I will learn for the better.

I keep praying for more patience and more wisdom.

I am young and will continue to learn until the day that I die. And, I encourage all young spirits out there, don’t look down on yourself or let others look down on you because you are young. Instead set an example for others in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity. Be willing to ask questions even when insecurities arise.

Do not be afraid.

x

Graciana

 

 

2015 New Years Resolutions

Happy New Years Everyone! It’s a tradition, every year, to create a list of resolutions and goals that you wish to obtain and achieve. I’m a firm believer in resolutions, though not only once a year. I think it’s important to reflect on your past and use it to continue towards a better future.

I’d like to share a few of my own resolutions with you.

 

1. Health. Now, this resolution is pretty common amongst most people. I am part of the majority who long to be healthier, thinner, fitter, etc. Part of this desire is a result of the media and the idea of a bikini body. I definitely have bought into to it. This year, however, I’m making it a goal to work towards body peace. It’s important to remember that we need to take care of our bodies. I mean, they have to last at least 80 years, guys. ha! I want to be healthy, because that is what’s good for my body, rather than just trying to be skinny. This is also partnered with mental health. I believe that our minds, bodies, and spirits all must be balanced. The only way to have body peace is to be conscious of what I am looking at, listening to, and believing.

2. Music. I’m not entirely sure of what the future holds with my music, but I know it will be great. I have traveled as a musician with my family for the past three years, performing and writing as a band. I’m feeling a transition of my own music rising to the surface. It’s exciting! I have a desire to influence and inspire many with my music on a great scale. As of right now, I am working towards recording an album of my own. I hope that this will be the first step towards achieving my goal to reach many.

3. Positivity. This year I learned a lot about positivity. It is easy for me to drift towards the pessimistic side of me. It’s a curse really. I’ve come to realize how much my attitude affects those around me which is why I am making a goal to be more positive. As hard as it is, I’m learning that it helps to verbalize the beauty of the world and give thanks to the one who created it.

4. Screens. Ahh, technology. This is a tough one because most of my communication is online, as well as social media being my main source of connecting with friends due to traveling. But, making a conscious choice to but down the iPhone and have a conversation, or read a book will certainly help with mental and spiritual health. I tend to get sucked into the vortex of Facebook and Instagram only to find out that I missed so much of reality. It’s time to take in the beauty around me, not in my screen.

I’d love to hear if you have any New Years Resolutions. Please comment, like and share.

 

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New Years Eve // Reflections

Graciana Holland

Hello Everyone!

Happy New Year! 2015 has come so fast.

I’d like to share a few highlights of the past years’ travel, food, fashion, etc. Many wonderful things have happened this year and I’m so thankful to have been able to share it with so many beautiful people.

Australia (Jan-April): I had the privilege of traveling to Australia with my family, to visit relatives as well as tour musically. A lot of new friends were made, many wonderful foods were eaten, and of course, I treasure all the time at the many lovely beaches there. This was also the time when I started my fashion blog!

Spring Tour (April-June): Our two lovely friends, Greg and Geoffrey joined us for two months of travel from Phoenix, Az all the way to Green Bay, WI. With a few stops in between including; Albuquerque, NM; Austin, TX; Hot Springs, AK.

Midwest Summer (June-Aug): In June…

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Musical Impact

I believe that what I write is a reflection of what I am ingesting, and what is going on in my life. I also believe that songs and the messages behind them can have an incredible impact on healing the body and the brain.

I found a study by Dr. Masaru Emoto in the 1990’s on the correlation of music-water interaction. Results showed that praying or singing over water or even taping a piece of paper with a negative or positive message changed the molecules of the water.

Now think about this,

The human body is made up of 60% water.

If negative and positive words and thoughts can affect water this much, then how is it affecting us? Words can pierce like a sword or bring healing. Music has the power to heal and it blows my mind how much words and sound really do affect a soul.

My mom wrote a song once using an ancient proverb, stating that “as water reflects a mans face so his words reflect his heart.” Learning to watch what I am consuming is a tough one but very important. I constantly have to make a conscious choice to reject certain messages and avert my eyes to images that are very much a part of everyday life. I was desensitized to the media and the impact that it should have. It is a struggle because “sex, drugs, and violence” are displayed everywhere all the time, but I want to make sure that my mind stays pure.

As a musician I want my music to inspire people to create and bring light to the world. I want it to bring emotion and evoke memories. I want to be able to be a voice of the suffering of humanity, cause a stirring in peoples hearts, and make them feel the impact of these other people’s stories. I want my music to bring joy and be an encouragement to those who listen.

Our Graduate

Finally graduated, Kids! Look out here I come:)

Tillers & Travelers

Ladies and Gentlemen, announcing Ms. Graciana Holland. Class of 2014 Graduate.

Graciana Holland

Graciana is graduating from T.T.R.S Academy. (Tillers & Travelers Road School) at the top of her class. She has shown excellence in her ability to think critically, communicate effectively and take risks.

For the next 12 months, Graciana is committed to traveling, performing and serving alongside of The Hollands! During this transitional year, Graciana will be looking at all sorts of opportunities. Her main interests that she will continue to nurture are music, fashion blogging/writing, food science, art, and psychology. We are excited to have one more year with Graciana and looking forward to all that is in store for our little song bird.

As her parents we have seen her excel in her musical abilities and her faith. Our desire is to send her off with tools and connections so that her gifts will blossom. Her main instrument…

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Steel Bridge Song Fest Reflection : High School Finals

Steel Bridge Song Fest // A festival started to raise funds and awareness for the old steel bridge in Sturgeon Bay, WI.
A number of years ago, due to certain codes, a proposal was made to tear down the old bridge and put up a new bridge. There was an uproar from the locals who appreciated the historical value of the old bridge and a music festival was birthed to bring the community together and protect the bridge. The local voice was heard and not only did they fix up the old bridge but another new bridge was added to the roadways. Steel Bridge continues to flourish, no longer needing to focus on saving the bridge, they put their efforts towards bringing in musicians from all over the world for a week of songwriting (Construction Zone) and a weekend of acts that celebrate the old historical bridge. The festival works with local venues to host the bands, builds community and brings commerce via fans into the small town. Construction Zone is a week long songwriting “camp”. Professional musicians come from around the globe to write songs in a group setting. Over the course of a week the groups record and perform the songs and in the end a compilation CD is made with funds going to support the festival.
Three years ago our family band, The Hollands!, was invited to perform on the main outdoor stage at Steel Bridge Songfest. After the performance Pat MacDonald, one of the organizers, spoke with my mom about us coming back, specifically for me to be involved in Construction Zone. This past summer the timing worked out in our travels, allowing us to come back to Wisconsin for the festival. I was incredibly excited and honored to be asked to be apart of the Construction Zone / Steel Bridge Song Fest. I was looking forward to learning and writing with other musicians, and gain experience in the music industry. I went into the week, hopeful and wide eyed.
We arrived on Sunday evening after the initiation dinner, which meant I missed the first round of ‘spin the bottle,’ a game used to determine groups of 3 or 4 musicians. There were two others who were also late, Miss Meghan Owens and Eric Mcfadden, due to flight complications and so the three of us were paired together. Melanie Jane, the director of the festival, said that I should go home and come back in the morning. She gave me their numbers incase I needed to call them, for meeting times.  I went to bed excited and nervous to meet them. The next day, when I got to the Holiday Music Hotel to meet my group, they still hadn’t shown up. Being new to the whole situation, I panicked. Everyone else was almost done writing their first song, some even recording and moving to a new group. I was frantic, texting and calling both Meghan and Eric. Where were they? They both showed up a few hours later, nonchalant and relaxed. I was a little confused and wondered how they could be so calm. We were so far behind! I wanted to get cracking and start the writing process. I wouldn’t say that I’m an extremely punctual person, but I definitely like to stick to the plan.
I came into the situation, excited but also insecure in my own songwriting abilities, specially amongst these rock and rollers (I’m a folkie you know). Everyone there already knew each other and had worked together before. I was a new-be. I was the youngest member in my group and had never written with anyone besides my family, The Hollands!. I was nervous that I wouldn’t have anything to offer. Once I realized the flow of the culture, I settled down a bit and we ended up writing a song within the hour.  It went a lot smoother than I thought, which was really cool to experience.  Both Eric and Meghan were very kind and seemed glad to work with me. They encouraged and included me, they listened to my ideas and asked my opinion in the most genuine way. All around it was a great, a bit stressful in the beginning, but memorable experience. The song we wrote had a blend of jazzy elements as well as some Bosa-nova guitar and sing-a-long lyrics. Recording was so much fun, with the only downside being that the recording session was at two in the morning. I had gone back to our bus around midnight and shortly after I went to bed, Meghan called to tell me that we needed to recored RIGHT NOW, because there are no other times to do it! I got dressed and she picked me up and we stayed until four in the morning. It was a little hectic and I was a bit groggy, but we got it done. The experience ended up turning out to be really cool and we were pleased with our song.
The next day I met with a different group to experience the process all over again. The night before, after dinner, I was able to participate in the nightly “spin the bottle’ game and was paired in a group with Craig Greenberg and Jimm McGivver. I felt a lot more confident this time around, with my initial experience under my belt.  Working with these two gentlemen was magnificent. We had an instant chemistry and a melody almost immediately, thanks to Craig. It was a cute, catchy little tune that became my favorite song of the whole week called “With A Kiss.” Jimm contributed the most to the lyrics. I loved just watching the way he really thought about all the words and wove them together. He is master lyricists. The song allowed for a duet and I sang alongside Craig, while strumming my ukulele. I loved singing harmony with Craig. It was fascinating to hear the way my voice sounded with another person, especially a male voice.  Our song was recorded the next morning. It was pretty easy compared to the previous recording, mostly because we were awake.
My third and last group was with two beautiful ladies, GeriX and Jeneda along with the accompaniment of the youngest CZ member, Hayden . I was really excited for this group because everyone kept saying how lucky we were to be paired together. Many said we would blend well together.  The song we wrote was a little different than the others, more melodic and urethral. We decided to try a different approach and were creative with all of our layers and textures. We came up with the idea of a Pirates of the Caribbean theme, focusing on the Sirens in the third movie, as well as an inspiration from the three women (sirens) in Oh Brother Where Art Thou. We were trying to create a sleepy hypnotic melody meant to lure our prey. It was definitely fit for a spooky sea based movie soundtrack. We used lots of different materials that included, large water jugs, empty bear and alcohol bottles as wind pipes, synthesizer keyboard, bells, and breathing sounds to layer over the top of our song. The recording process was easy and laid back. It was finished in about an hour and a half. I was feeling pretty good about the fact that all my songs were done. There were others who were joining together to make new groups on there own and write even more songs. There were actually quite a few people I would have liked to write with, but late nights and being a first timer wiped me out.
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I think all my stressing caught up to me because the next day, as I came down with a horrific stomach bug. It was the most extreme experience of pain I have had in a long while. I couldn’t eat or keep anything down. It was a wonder how all of these musicians were able to sustain themselves in such an environment. I was only on day four and I was already dead.  I started to understand, why the overall response when asking how someone is doing was, ‘exhausted.’ The night I got sick was the first night of the festival and the Construction Zone Songwriters Showcase at the Third Avenue Playhouse performance. My song with Craig and Jimm was picked for the line up which was such an incredible honor. I was so excited but so queazy. I ended up in the bathroom up until five minutes before going on stage. We played the song with ease and excellence, thank Jesus. And, straight after the performance I went home in hopes of being able to sleep it off for our Hollands! performance the next day.

 

 

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 Needless to say, I couldn’t sleep. I ended up sitting in the front of our bus, by myself, thinking about the past few days. Beyond my personal experience and how it benefited me, I began recapping on all of the conversations I had with different people, taking note of the spiritual elements at play, noting the cultural biases and dynamics of this rock and roll world. I understand that it’s easy to see from the outside and in the long run, I could be wrong, but I kept thinking about how amazingly talented many of these folks were yet how there was a dryness present, almost like they were starved for affirmation.  As much as I appreciated the actual process I noted there was a general language that revolved around personal accomplishments, almost as if to remind oneself that they were worth something, taking full credit for everything. I suppose that is pretty common for everybody, in every walk of life, but it seemed especially true in this performance based world. It just seemed so unnecessary because to me they were all beautiful human beings even before any of them opened their mouths or strummed a guitar. I don’t’ think there is anything wrong with acknowledging your accomplishments and sharing the amazing things that were given to you, but humility is such a beautiful thing and acknowledging from whom those gifts came from is important to me.  Having my parents along for the week, and gleaning their spiritual wisdom was such an important part of my week. They talked me through the rough patches and encouraged me to preserver, to be a light, even when I wanted to give up. They tried to offer me perspective by showing me to see a bigger picture in it all and reminded me to soften my heart and trust during times that were difficult. They reminded me that I was there for a reason. And, even when I’m down, God is faithful.

My experience for the week was definitely a learning experience. I had a hard time adjusting in the beginning but it was good for me as a person who is engaged in the music business and the culture that goes with that business.  I gained knowledge in songwriting and musicianship. I learned how different technicalities and art can be combined. I learned how to actually sit down and write with others and that it’s okay if a song doesn’t turn out how you expected. I also learned compromise is so important when writing with other people. I understand that there is a connection that happens when you write a song with someone. You don’t have to know anything about them, but when you sing together, a certain bond is formed. The Construction Zone artist talked about how we were all family. And, in a sense we are, specially having shared on such an intimately creative level.  I learned that I need to be and surround myself with people that love and trust if I am ever going to have a chance swimming upstream.

All in all, my experience there was life changing. It’s funny how the first part of the week, I was so unsure of my footing and I just wanted to leave but by the end, I had a familiar place amongst these kinfolk. I’d like to go back, to participate in the Construction Zone again. Thank You to all those who walked with me during Steel Bridge Song Fest Construction Zone, and that you for including me in your family.

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http://www.missmeaghanowens.com

http://www.ericmcfadden.com

http://www.gerixmusic.com

http://craiggreenbergmusic.com

http://sihasin.com