It’s the final countdown!! We launch for our 2017 US/CANADA TOUR on JUNE 9! Dates below…
Craig has been working like mad to get our bus in good working order for our six-month trek around the US and Canada! He’s been dealing with all the mechanical issues, installing under cabinet lighting, a new Air/Con system (which we’ve waited nearly six years for), and giving the bathroom a facelift. Plus rehearsing and writing music, helping my parents with odds and ends and working a part-time job building stuff for other people, the man is an absolute machine!
Anyway, we have a pretty amazing route set before us, which will take us approximately 8000 miles. We’ve got loads of stops and we can not wait to see so many of you kinfolk!!
If you see yourself on our route and would like to connect with us, we’d be delighted! Just send us a message at thehollands @ thehollands.org
Our routing will be as follows:
June 9-11 Los Cerrillos, NM
June 12-13 Taos, NM
June 14 Colorado Springs, CO
June 15 Wellfleet, NE
June 16 Omaha, NE
June 17 Des Moines, IA
June 18-21 Mt. Vernon, IA
June 22-25 Green Bay, WI
June 26-29 Sturgeon Bay, WI
June 29-July 2 Urbana, IL
July 3-14 Muskegon, MI
July 15-16 Chicago, IL
July 17-26 Sturgeon Bay, WI
July 27 Milwaukee, WI
July 28 Elkhart, IN
July 29-31 St. Louis, MO
Aug 1-2 Kansas City, MO
Aug 3 Hays, KS
Aug 4-6 Denver, CO
Aug 7-10 Timberline, Frasier, CO
Aug 11 Heber City, UT
Aug 12-20 Salt Lake City, UT
Aug 21-25 Yellowstone, MT
Aug 26-31 Bozeman, MT
Sept 1 Somewhere between Bozeman and Calgary?
Sept 2- 5 Calgary
Sept 6-7 Banff
Sept 9-10 Kelowna
Sept 10-13 Vancouver and surrounding areas
Sept 14-20 Mossyrock, WA
Sept 21-22 Portland, OR
Sept 23-28 Bend, Or
Sept 29 Somewhere between Bend, OR and Redding, CA
Sept 30-Oct 1 Redding, CA
Oct 2-8 Oakland, CA
Oct 9-15 Carmel/Monterey, CA
Oct 16-17 Los Angelos area
Oct 18-25 Phoenix, AZ
Of course, we’ll be merrymaking all along the way and our tour dates are up at www.thehollands.org
Look forward to seeing y’all out on the open road!!
On a recent trek across South Australia we were looking for kinfolk to come alongside and learn from. We put the word out to any and all who might be up for a visit and found a handful of folks willing to share a glimpse of life through their eyes.
On the southeast side of Adelaide, in a place called Christies beach is a community house full of surfer dudes. We meet Andy, our host, at Surrender Conference a few years back and when we were getting ready to head through his area we reached out. He and his wife Jessi, set up a super fun house concert at their friend Kenny’s.
About 40 kinfolk showed up, families and all. Andy, a fantastic muso in his own right, played an opening set and we finished out the night with a word of encouragement and merrymaking. What a blast was had by all!
Meet Jayne! Jayne is a Saint with the super power of “sincere love.” She daily offers herself up to those around her providing a safe space to journey through life’s hardships. We met Jayne through Craig’s old muso friend Darren, from back in his hardcore days. Darren lives in Adelaide and was volunteering with Baptist Care SA and introduced us with Jayne.
Jayne’s official title is “Support Worker” with the Aboriginal Elders Program at Baptist Care SA, where she supports Aboriginal women elders in day-to-day life by offering them encouragement, counseling, and advocacy. She is also the founder and leader of Club Tutti, a choir program at Minda Homes. Minda enables people with intellectual disability to embrace & enjoy experiences of life through disability care, disability services & disability education.
Jayne invited to participate in a week of her life, offering us opportunities to share music and story.
We shared sacred space with kinfolk at the Aboriginal Berean Community Church Inc Queenstown SA.
It was an honor to share a meal, story and merrymaking with the Narungga mob down at Point Pearce Station on the Yorke Peninsula, SA
One of the greatest gifts in life is being able to ask questions. Google is a great way to find answers but face to face conversations with those who have expertise is even better.We have a curiosity about cultures and people groups and our desire to listen and learn has broken down walls and allowed us to hear more than any text-book could ever teach. Because of Jaynes introduction, we were honored to be able to sit across the table from many Aboriginal elders and ask them questions. They were patient as we fumbled our way through and they were gracious in their gift of response. For the moment, these interactions will stay personal, however the over-riding themes have now been woven into our very fabric, as our understanding has been awakened. That is what some call growth and it is essential for any who call themselves peacemakers.
One sunny afternoon, Jayne took us to sing with her Club Tutti choir. Having done music therapy in nursing homes for years, our time with Club Tutti at Minda Homes was a sheer delight. It was a familiar and joyful experience engaging with those kinfolk as they sang their hearts out.
Traveling through Australia with just back packs and instruments often left us vulnerable to not knowing where exactly we’d lay our heads every night. However, the generosity of our hosts continued to give us a peace of mind. It’s funny how connection happens. We had a few conversations with Jayne before our visit and during one of them we mentioned that we would be so grateful for a host, a hub, a place to call home while we were in town. Jayne put us on to Sparky and she welcomed us with open arms.
When we arrived, Sparky was just leaving for work. Jayne had mentioned that Sparky was a fire performer but were tickled with she opened the door and she welcomed us in her fire-red costume. She was a sheer delight! She gave us the low down on her place, showed us to our rooms and wished us a great visit.
Between our outings with Jayne we enjoyed learning more about Sparky and her love for her dog, traveling, community, faith and her art form. Sharing her space with us was natural and informal and just what we needed on our last leg down under. Thanks Sparky!
Like a thief in the night, betrayal has come and it's all out war.
Time stands still in the wake of denial, as the bombs hit the floor.
Disheveled and dismembered, our sundered bones are flung here and there as a high pitched hum rings in our ears.
All is an echo of what once was.
Harmony is silenced, completely silenced, broken, paralyzed by the nuclear lie that your life matters more.
But, you are me. We are we. And the betrayal affects us all.
We, like the sea-pen roaming the ocean floor, polyp attached to polyp, each with a purpose, not one less, all attached to the core.
Some say forgive and forget but we know that the forgotten prolongs captivity.
Remembering is the secret to this redemption we all long for.
So come one, come all, bring your missing, dead, and broken pieces.
It is this 'Re-membering' that will heal our wounded souls.
May we re-member so that our collective melody, harmony and deep bass lines can all be restored.
Betrayal is one of the most relationally debilitating experiences one can have. It evokes feelings of rage and engages that dark part of the soul that longs for revenge, power and control. When one is betrayed, they are wounded and without the proper antidote their wounds can fester into victim stance, whereby one believes he or she is always morally right, is not responsible or accountable for their actions, and is entitled to sympathy from others. Looking through an habitual lens of victim stance leads to perpetration, for a victim is consumed with regaining lost power and will eventually take it from others in some manner. Thus, the one betrayed becomes the betrayer.
So, what is the proper antidote?
In his book, Sin, Fr. Hugh Connolly talks about the idea of “re-membering” as a process which calls to mind the deepest convictions and possibilities of people, encourages them to heal forms of dis-memberment and to work toward a better, more integrated society. In order for re-membering to happen a sincere sense of humility is an essential for both betrayer and betrayed. That is, to see past what others do to us, we must be willing to “look in the mirror” so to speak.
For the betrayed, although it is counter intuitive, resting in this humility empowers the victim, as it keeps them from falling into the trap of becoming the betrayer.
For the betrayer, confession, admission and acknowledgements of responsibility and ultimately of personal depravity are necessary purgative, purifying and ultimately healing acts.
When both parties take these positions, a healing tone is set and the cycle of discord can be broken thus allowing for re-membering, reconciliation and restoration.
With a head count of 75 million sheep, the second largest sheep population in the world, and traditional sheep shearing bush songs like Click Go the Sheers, Australia is definitely known for its sheep farms!
Bordertown, SA sits about 18 klm from the South Australian/Victorian border and is the halfway point when you drive from Adelaide to Melbourne. It’s a small town of about 2500 population and the hub for many of South Australia’s farmers. This part of the country is ripe for agriculture, specifically cereal crops such as wheat, barley and oats, as well as, livestock such as sheep, cattle and pigs. The terrain is flat, with thinly lined trees here and there, similar to the landscape of Nebraska in the USA. At night, you can see the stars all the way down to the earth’s horizon and on clear day you can see a good three miles out.
The Thomas farm was established many generations ago and is home to hundreds of sheep and a few large wheat fields. When we arrived, Trevor invited us into the shearing shack where we got a little homeschool lesson on the in’s and out’s of this very manual process of shearing.
Sheep shearing 101: Cutting or shaving the wool off of a sheep is called shearing. Shearing is similar to getting a hair cut. However, shearing requires skill so that the sheep is shorn efficiently and quickly without causing cuts or injury to the sheep or shearer. Most sheep are sheared with electric shears and the fleece is removed in one piece. A professional shearer can shear a sheep in less than 2 minutes and the world record is 37.9 seconds, set in 2016 by Ivan Scott from Ireland.
Sheep are usually sheared once per year, before lambing or in the spring before the onset of warm weather. Sheep with long fleeces are sometimes sheared twice a year. Shearing prior to lambing results in a cleaner environment for the baby lambs. It also keeps the fleeces cleaner.
We were in the shack for approximately thirty minutes and during that time we saw about 20 sheep get their annual hair cut. It was intense but the shearing team, (a father and son) were so calculated and precise that the sheep barely had time to really understand what was happening before it was all over and they were ushered out of the shack in to the greater holding pen. They would then be washed in a special liquid that would help clean and heal any nicks or cuts and finally set out into pasture.
As the sheep were sheared, Trevor explained the process of taking the wool to market and which would eventually bring the wool into the hands of spinners and finally to the yarn shelves across the country.
It was intriguing to be in able to learn about this fantastic tradition of sheep shearing! However, the highlight of our visit was sharing a meal around the farmhouse table prepared by three generations of Thomas ladies! The aromas were delightful as they had been cooking all morning and the spread they made was that of a Christmas feast!
I asked if it was a special occasion and they answered, “no, that this is what they make every day for lunch during shearing season.” The three coarse meal, of roast chicken, lamb and veggies, potatoes, and a salad also including a delicious homemade dessert. It was part of their offering to the sheep shearers for their hard work, which by the way, the shearers only had thirty minutes to eat and get back to the shack. That thirty minutes was so fascinating however, as we were able to ask all sort of questions about daily life on the farm, how they handle the uncertainty of weather patterns, global warming, farming technics, the costs and factors that make up good farming practices.
It’s one thing to learn about these sorts of things from a text-book or a TED Talk and a wholly other thing to actually sit across the table from those you are curious about and unpack ideologies, preconceived notions and ultimately talk about dreams for the future. Thankful for kinfolk like the Thomas family, willing to take in us weary travelers and allow us to engage, even if just for a moment, catching a little glimpse into their every day, extraordinary lives.
Even as a child, I had a natural bent towards the warrior role of “mother”. I find strength in compassion and I know I’m not the only one. In fact, when I began to dig into the folklore around mother figures, I found some fascinating stories, especially those revolving around the idea of the “Mother Bear”. Archaeological findings dating back to ancient times, suggest that in particular the Lion, the Bear and the Elk tend to be the symbols of “mother”.
Stories of the Great Bear Mother have been traced from the earliest times throughout the colder northern hemisphere, from Finland to Siberia to North America. She even has a constellation in the northern sky called Ursa Major. Moscow’s coat of arms also includes a She bear who carries a double axe. In Britain, based on this early veneration of the Great She Bear, we find the mythic hero-king Arthur, named from the Welsh Arth Vawr – Heavenly Bear. He was believed to be the spouse of the Celtic goddess, Artio – the Great She Bear. The Ainu of Japan, who are descendants of early Siberian migrations, still retain their veneration of the Bear in both legend and ritual. We see her roar fiercely in the ancient writings of Hosea and for Native Americans the Bear is one of the guardians of the Four Directions.
The stories go on and on as she continues to make her appearance with different names throughout history. The ultimate theme in all of these stories is that the Great She Bear, advocate and protector, whose animal fur, skins and body gave warmth and food was revered as an awesome Ancestor Mother of human beings.
Everyone has a mother, love them or hate them. Some have been abandoned by their mothers and some scorned. For those downtrodden baby bears, the Great She Bear roars. You know her, she’s the neighbor, the teacher, the grandmother, aunt, coach or older sister that stands in the gap, raising the standard and setting the example. It’s a beautiful gift. For many of us this instinctual compassion is a tender response to a broken world.
However, there is a very real temptation for all of us who feel this natural tendency towards Mother Bear, to take this very precious gift and distort it into something wholly unnatural and damaging. Where instead of understanding this role as a ‘collective’ we decide that our will is more important than that of any other Mother Bear. Believing that we are “THEE” Mother Bear, we manipulate and interject our will upon a baby bear irregardless of whether that child already has nurturing from their own mother.
In Twisted Thinking Transformed, Author Jerry Price, calls this an ownership attitude; where one person believes they have the right to take ownership of another person, place or thing that does not belong to them because they believe they deserve it. This sort of thinking creates endless examples of double standards and confusion. It’s the same attitude seen in the Hebrew story in which King Solomon of Israel ruled between two women both claiming to be the mother of a particular child.
The story recounts that the two mothers were living in the same house, each the mother of an infant son. One of the babies died. Each adamantly claimed the remaining boy as her own. In order to settle the dispute they went before the King. The King called for a sword and declared his judgment: the baby would be cut in two, each woman to receive half. One mother thought the ruling fair, but the other begged Solomon, “Give the baby to her, just don’t kill him!” The king declared the second woman the true mother, as the true mother would surely give up her baby if that was necessary to save its life.
We don’t know all of the back story as the scene really focuses in on the Kings ruling. However, we do see that these two women lived with each other, so they were in some sort of relationship, maybe even friends or relatives. The woman who had an ownership attitude was so distorted in her thirst to be “THEE” Mother Bear that she was even willing to sacrifice the child so that the other woman could not take her rightful place.
How many times have we seen this story replayed, where a mother bear who is actively trying to nurture her baby bear encounters another mother bear and finds out that the person she deemed an ally, someone who could support and uplift, was betraying that trust, maybe even with good intentions.
It is so important for each of us to honestly recognize the temptation to tether with another’s baby bear and God help us if we ever overstep our position in another child’s life and thus cast a shadow on that mother/child relationship! It’s true, many of us have been the victim of this sort of betrayal but it also true that many of us have been the betrayer. It is crucial to the collective whole that we all be bona-fide about our own missteps and seek a better way. It will take humility, a healthy active ability to really listen to one another and a promise to be for one another.
And so, from one Mama Bear to another, I propose a treaty.
This is a promise to all the She Bears out their nurturing their baby bears. It is written in first person perspective in hopes that you, as a reader, will identify yourself as the Mother Bear and make the pledge also. If you agree with this treaty, please sign in the comments. If you find that there is a heart-felt promise that you’d like to add to the treaty please feel free to add it in the comments.
THE MOTHER BEAR TREATY
To all fellow Mother Bears, from every tongue, tribe and nation. I promise that I will be for you and not against you.
I promise that if I encounter opportunities to come alongside your baby bear that I will understand that position as supplemental, not primary.
I promise that, as a fellow mother bear, I will work to engage with you without judgement and will look for ways to encourage you in your primary role.
If I have no baby bear of my own, but resonate with the collective Mother Bear, I promise that any encounters I might have to come alongside your baby bear will be seen as supplemental, not primary.
Whether I agree with your parenting style or not I promise that I will not manipulate your baby bear with jabs that threaten the foundation of your relationship. Rather, I will try to find ways to build your relationship up.
If your baby bear comes to me with a complaint that involves you, I promise that I will listen without bias and will encourage your baby bear to make every effort to reconcile with you.
I promise that if my good intentions towards your baby bear falls short and you take offense, that I will be open to hearing your heart and to owning the pain I may have caused, making every effort to reconcile with you.
Likewise, if you, with good intentions towards my baby bear, fall short, I promise to communicate the impact of that pain openly and allow room for you to make amends. If you make amends, I promise to not harbor any bitterness.
If my baby bear hurts your baby bear I promise that I will hold my baby bear accountable and do everything within my power to bring my baby bear to a place of remorse and guide him/her towards reconciliation with your baby bear.
If your baby bear hurts my baby bear, I promise that I will hold your baby bear accountable and will make every effort to communicate the damage to you. If your baby bear approaches with humility to apologize, I promise I will also listen with an open mind and move our babies towards forgiveness.
It may be that we or our baby bears are just not going to get along, in that case, we will walk away graciously and hold no grudge.
I promise that I will not use my words to condemn or shame you. I promise that I will not speak about you to other Mother Bears with any sort of mallace or ill intent.
I promise to uphold this treaty, to protect the sanctity of the collective Mother Bear, and once again, to be for you, not against you.
Jana Holland, just one Mama Bear in the collective whole.
The East and West MacDonnell Ranges stretch out for hundreds of kilometres on both sides of Alice Springs. The traditional owners of the Alice Springs area, the Arrernte people, believe giant caterpillars called the Yeperenye became the Ranges – they entered this world through one of the dramatic gaps in the escarpments of the area.
While in Alice Springs we stumbled our way around these giant caterpillars, spending a lot of time in Simpsons Gap. We found it fascinating how we could walk for hours and always end up in what seemed like the same place. To the untrained eye it can be overwhelmingly disorienting with the extreme heat, blurred vision and an eerie stillness in the air.
However, the day we arrived everything was in full bloom and fresh cool water was in the rock pool. Some of the dead tree trunks showed the remnants of fire, presumably from a sacred ceremony. I though about the stories I had heard about the ancient Aboriginal songlines, also called dreaming tracks.
From what I had learned, these (paths) songlines are recorded in traditional songs, stories, dance, and paintings. By singing the songs in the appropriate sequence, indigenous people can navigate vast distances, citing landmarks, waterholes, and other natural phenomena. However, songlines are more than just a pre-goggle maps way of navigating the aired land. The songlines also carry the history of the land and of their people in harmony with the land. They believe the footprints of their Creation Ancestors are on the rocks and learn from their elders the sacred sites, the stories, song, dance and with them the Tjukurpa (the Dreaming Law). Thus, the songlines are acts of remembrance, involving mind and body. Through the songlines the Aboriginal people continually recreate the Tjukurpa connecting them to past, present and future.
I could feel the history of these ancient people under my feet and respectfully I treaded lightly. I felt welcomed though, welcome to take time to reflect on my own history and faith. As I sat under a giant old gum tree, precious memories of my own Grandma Grace’s songlines came to mind.
I meditated on all the ways that she passed on tradition and story, of self and of God, singing in her beautiful angelic voice, sweet old hymns about the paths set ahead and those who have gone before us. She sang of a Creator God who longs to walk with us, to talk with us and to tell us we are not alone. Oh! To know we are not alone!
I remembered her voice in the stillness. As tears rolled down my cheeks, a song began to flow off of my lips and I joined her in harmony singing.
I come to the garden alone,
While the dew is still on the roses,
And the voice I hear falling on my ear
The Son of God discloses.
And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.
He speaks, and the sound of His voice
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing,
And the melody that He gave to me
Within my heart is ringing.
And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.
I’d stay in the garden with Him,
Though the night around me be falling,
But He bids me go; through the voice of woe
His voice to me is calling.
And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.
Only a handful of cars passed as we drove eight hours north from Coober Pedy on the two lane highway. It was the red dirt that called us to the center of the Australia. Hours passed with not a word, just the hum of the van and the slow motion of our breath. We stopped several times along the track to touch the unusual crimson sand. It was enchanting, mysterious and unlike anything we had ever seen. As our eyes delighted in the arcane landscape our minds began to wonder off. The rhythmic monotony of the road was comforting and as I sunk into the richness of the deep red, ancient words came into focus.
“Come. Sit down. Let’s argue this out. If your sins are blood-red, they’ll be snow-white. If they’re red like crimson, they’ll be like wool.”
I contemplated that first line. It was true, I was unsettled and ready to hash it out. I delighted in the relational nature of a God that was willing to argue it out with me. Then memories of the past twelve months began to flood my mind. Memories of new people and new places. So many new experiences to digest and to try to make sense of. I realized I was full to the brim with newness almost the point of bursting. I was overwhelmed with the stories of kinfolk we had met along the way. Some were stories of overcoming great obstacles, while other were filled with such betrayal, suffering and heartbreak.
I had witnessed injustice face to face, through the eyes of so many who have been oppressed by empires and religions. Then I watched a mighty storm roll in from afar, as those I loved began to war against one another in online forums. And, then there was the recent news of my fathers ailing health which sent me spiraling, wondering what I was doing in the middle of the desert, when I just longed to be home.
There is a flux between faith and reason and I was wrestling to find the balance; questioning what was the point to all of our suffering and rightly so! In his book, God, Medicine and Suffering, Stanley Hauerwas states that suffering creates a silence which is not easily shared. Oh! the silence.
As the miles of red dirt passed, my soul was overwhelmed at the uncertainty and I wept. I pressed into Abba’s heartbeat like a child to her mother’s breast. Then He whispered, “I am with you.”
I was reminded of Jesus last recorded words which were translated from the original Greek to English, “I am with you always—regardless of circumstance, and on every occasion, even to the end of the age.”
I don’t have many answer to sweeping philosophical or theological questions about suffering and evil but I do have a divine community of care that has made it possible for me to absorb the waves of suffering that may threaten to destroy.
It’s not wrong to ask tough question but those questions cannot be divorced from the power structures of the social situations they reflect. When we turn the Christian faith into a system of beliefs that can be universally known without transformation; then that faith practice becomes a civilization religion or what I call Empire Christianity.
It is empire Christianity that creates the ethos necessary to sustain the empire rather than being a set of convictions about God’s work in Jesus Christ. It is empire Christianity that makes the assumption that good must ultimately triumph, otherwise the universe, as well as, the social order is incoherent.
However, in my faith practice as a Jesus follower, I recognize that suffering cannot be separated from my calling to be a new people made holy by transformation. That transformation is inseparable from fellowship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is that assurance of community that has made it possible for me to push past the silence to tell the stories.
I’ve heard it said that it is the gift as well as the burden of the artist to tell the stories, to break the silence.
The Psalmist shows us the way and teaches us to tell the story of suffering. The psalmist teach us that Abba can handle our complaints. These laments are meant to name the silences that our suffering has created and bring us into communion with Abba and with one another, to rage that we see no point to it all. And yet, our very acknowledgement of that fact makes us a people capable of living life faithfully. In fact, our willingness to expose our pain is the means that Abba gives to help us identify and responsed to evil and injustice, pain and suffering. It is through lament, through story that we find our way out of the silence and back to the light.
Physically, the red track led us to Alice Springs but spiritually the track led me back to the heart center.
Psalm 80; God Implored to Rescue His People from Their Calamities.To the Chief Musician; set to [the tune of] “Lilies, a Testimony.” A Psalm of Asaph.8 You brought a vine out of Egypt. You drove out the nations, and You planted it.9 You cleared the land for it. And its roots went deep and filled the land. 10 The mountains were covered with its shadow. And the tall trees were covered with its branches. 11 It sent out its branches to the sea, and its new branches to the River.12 Why have You broken down its walls so that all who pass by pick its fruit?13 The wild pig from among the trees eats it away. And whatever moves in the field eats from it.14 O God of all, we beg You to return. Look down from heaven and see. Take care of this vine. 15 Take care of the root Your right hand has planted, and the branch that You have raised up for Yourself. 16 They have burned it with fire. It is cut down. May they be lost when they hear Your strong words. 17 Let Your hand be upon the man of Your right hand, the son of man you have made strong for Yourself. 18 Then we will not turn away from You. Give us new life again, and we will call on Your name. 19 O Lord God of all, bring us back to You. Make Your face shine upon us, and we will be saved.
"Jana Holland was given a rich heritage of song and spirit. Every Saturday afternoon for the first 15 years of her life, she would join her Grandmother at the local nursing home in Muskegon, Michigan, to sing hymns of old. As a teen, she was introduced to the world of performance, and recording by touring with Judy Price, her mother, mentor and gifted vocalist.
Through these experiences Jana developed a deep desire to connect with others through song and began to write after having her daughter in 1996. In her writings she shares her life journey, offering an emotional, intellectual and spiritual response to deeply moving issues." ~CD Baby
In 2007 Mama Holland sat down with her guitar and recorded five heart songs. Run, Empathy, Keeper of Your Dreams, Sweet Little Baby and Windows.
All of the songs were deeply personal and chronicle her journey out of the pit, foot set upon a new rock and a new song put in her mouth.
The name *One* came after an encounter she had at the zoo in Madison, WI. While there as a chaperon on a school trip, Jana had an interaction with a stranger. A woman and her son had been trailing behind the group all day and finally approached Jana at the end of the afternoon. The woman said that she had a divine message and wanted to know if Jana was keen to hear. She answered, “sure.” The woman told her that she was going to have a baby. Bursting into laughter, Jana responded, that the physical possibility for this prophecy was quite impossible. However, the woman continued on, stating that it wasn’t a physical baby but the birth of something that Jana had longed for, something creative. This resonated with Jana as she had a deep desire to record her heart songs but no idea how to do it. She left the encounter encouraged and excited for what might come regarding her dream. She though the name *One* was appropriate because it would hopefully be the first of many new creative babies.
A few months later, while sharing her dream to record, a fellow musician and sound engineer named Danny Lueck made a generous offer to help. He had access to all the necessary recording equipment and the expertise to guide her through. And so, the recording began.
Thinking back to the lady who had encouraged Jana, she smiled and from that moment on everything about the process was related to that of having a baby, from the CD art work, to making jokes about Danny being her doctor and the ladies in the office, her nurses. Even the process to produce a final product was laborious. Everything was done by hand from the burning of the disks to creating the hand-made packaging. Her mother and cousin were there by her side and even threw her a little shower to celebrate.
All up they hand crafted one hundred of the EP *One* and the songs were archived on CD Baby and put on to Youtube, Spotify, Apple Music, Etc…
Upon first appearances, Coober Pedy, South Australia, feels like a post-apocalyptic scene out of a Mad Max* movie. And, rightly so, it was the backdrop for the film, Beyond Thunderdome. It’s eery and vast with mounds of sand and rock piles as far at the eye can see. Coober Pedy is one of the most unusual places in Australia and perhaps the world. It’s also one of the hottest places in Australia, with summer temperatures often reaching 45°C, and ground temperatures reaching as high as 65°C.
Before white fella came into the territory, Aboriginal nomadic hunters and gatherers travelled the rugged terrain constantly in search of food and water supplies as well as to attend traditional ceremonies. In fact, the name “Coober Pedy” comes from the local Aboriginal term kupa-piti, which means “boys’ waterhole.”
The first European explorer to pass near the site of Coober Pedy was Scottish-born John McDouall Stuart in 1858, but the town was not established until after 1915, when the first opal was discovered by Wille Hutchison.Miners followed in 1916 and by 1999, there were more than 250,000 mine shaft entrances in the area. With laws in place discouraging large-scale mining any novice with equipment and fortitude can test their luck mining for an opals. Once a license is acquired, each prospector has 165-square-foot to claim their lot.
Coober Pedy has a modest local population of about 3,500 and attracts folks from over 45 different countries. Most of them come to Coober Pedy for one thing; Opals.
Coober Pedy is renowned for its below-ground residences, called “dugouts”, which are basically mine shafts, built into homes. Some of them with elaborate interiors, large ballrooms and underground pools.
One of our favorite dugouts was the Serbian Orthodox Church. The Serbian’s came in droves to Coober Pedy to try their hand at Opal mining in the early 90’s and the church was built-in 1993. It is the town’s largest and most impressive underground church, with intricate rock-wall carvings and a gorgeous vaulted ceiling. The stained glass window provide a celestial atmosphere in the standing room only sanctuary.
Another interesting area in Coober Pedy is “the Breakaways.” The Breakaway Reserve gets its name from the massive rocks and plateaus that from a distance look like they have “broken away” from the main range.
Our favorite was the formation known by non-aboriginal people as “salt and pepper” or the “castle”. To the Aboriginal people, they are known as the “Two Dogs (Pupa)” sitting down, one yellow dog and one white dog. To the south-west of Two Dogs is a peaked hill, known as Man (Wati) who is the owner of the dogs.
Practically speaking, the town had all the amenities that one might need when traveling through. There is a local grocery store with a decent organic section, a backpackers, camping, plenty of Air BnB’s and a few nice hotels (most of which are underground), gas to refuel, and one of the best Pizza joints in South Australia, John’s Pizza. There is even a golf course, which you have to play at night with glow in the dark golf balls. And, of course there are Opals.
Whether you are heading north to Alice Springs or south to Adelaide, Coober Pedy is the place to stop.
*Other major movies, filmed here on location include, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Ground Zero, and Pitch Black.
Come Thou Fount, one of the most famous hymns out there today. Set to the American Folk tune, Nettleton, it has been covered by David Crowder, Jars of Clay, Michael Card, Phil Wickham, Chris Tomlin and a million other worship bands. Even some of our favorite folkies like Sufjan Stevens and Mumford and Sons have covered the song.
I’ve always loved this hymn, but if I’m honest, I really have no idea what most of the lyrics mean. You know, with all the founts, fettering and Ebenezers, constraining and interposing… So, I thought I’d look up the history and come to find out the song was written by Robert Robinson in 1757 and is autobiographical in nature. Robinson writes the song as a confession of a proneness to wander away from the Lord. It is a song about repentance and redemption!
Those who have recorded Robinson’s story tell it this way. In his youth, Robert Robinson was apprenticed to a barber in London and was quite the party boy. One day he heard a sermon by a preacher named George Whitefield. There was fire spewing from Whitefields lips as he spoke on the stern words of John the Baptist to the Jewish leaders of his day. “Brood of vipers!” He shouted, “Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” (Matt. 3:7). Anyway, during the sermon, the Spirit of God took hold of the wayward young man and he put his faith in Christ.
Associated with the Wesleys for a time, Robinson served as a pastor in several churches. He wrote a number of works on theology, and two hymns that we know of, ‘Mighty God, While Angels Bless Thee,’ and ‘Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing.’ However, in his later years he drifted away from God rambling and stumbling back into his old pit.
Robert Cottrill, newspaper columnist, radio host, and long-time contributor to the Cyber Hymnal tells the rest of the story:
"Although Robinson was in broken fellowship with the Lord, that one day, the author was traveling in a stage coach. His only companion was a young woman unknown to him. In the providence of God, and not realizing who it was she spoke with, the woman quoted Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing, saying what an encouragement it had been to her. And try as he might, Robinson could not get her to change the subject.
Finally, he said, with tears in his eyes, “Madam, I am the poor unhappy man who composed that hymn, many years ago. And I would give a thousand worlds, if I had them, to enjoy the feelings I then had!” Gently, she replied, “Sir, the ‘streams of mercy’ are still flowing.”
He was deeply touched by that. As a result of the encounter he repented. His fellowship with the Lord was restored through the ministry of his own hymn, and a Christian’s willing witness."
The last stanza is often left out. It is my favorite:
O that Day when freed from sinning,
I shall see thy lovely Face;
Clothed then in blood-washed Linen
How I’ll sing thy sovereign grace;
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry,
Take my ransom’d Soul away;
Send thine Angels now to carry
Me to realms of endless Day.
May we continue to sing songs of repentance (sincere regret or remorse) and redemption (absolution) and may we find our comrade, Robert Robinson’s journey back to Jesus an encouragement of God’s faithfulness to us.
And, may we hold fast to the reminder that the author of Hebrews exhorts.
"Therefore, since we have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also get rid of every weight and entangling sin. Let us run with endurance the race set before us, focusing on Yeshua, the initiator and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame; and He has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you may not grow weary in your souls and lose heart.”
Hebrews 12:1-3 TLV
By the way,
Fount means; a source of a desirable quality or commodity.
Fetter is a chain or manacle used to restrain a prisoner, typically placed around the ankles.
And Eben-Ezer is from a reference from the book of Samuel and means stone of help