My friend Rose has a little quote by Saint Francis of Assisi hanging in her bathroom that says,
“He who works with his hands is a laborer.
He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman.
He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.”
If you’ve ever met my husband Craig, you would surely know him as a laborer and craftsman. However, if you were to spend any amount of time with my husband, on any kind of project that involves woodworking or building, you would know that he has the heart of an artist. And so it is when we get invited to come alongside kinfolk who are working on any sort of building project, that Craig Holland comes to life.
In March, we were invited by the Vincent family to come and stay with them in Bendigo, Victoria and partner with them on an epic month-long project remodeling their home. The bedrooms were in the back of the house and the kitchen living room in the front. Their hope was to flip it around and put the bedrooms in the front of the house and the living areas in the back of the house, thus enjoying the gardens and having more space to host gatherings.
Andy, a civil engineer and fellow “artist,” was the perfect partner for Craig, as he had already worked through much of the tedious details around his home reno project. The stage was set, materials were gathered and many gracious hands came to join in on the mundane tasks of the everyday jobs. Had it just been a cut and paste job however, there wouldn’t have been any artistry or joy but it was during those moments of conversation where Andy and Craig had to solve a problems, entering the mystery of the unknown, that the artists heart was allowed to flourish.
The final product was not just a functional space but a space that felt like an artist hands had touched it. The finally was a home, sacred and secure which is surely a gift to those living in the space, but so much more to the head and hands that created it. We are grateful for opportunities like this, to exercise our gifts and talents, to be in community, working alongside our kinfolk, excited for the coming joy of dreams come true.
Hooray! After 3 years on the road we finally have our shower.
When we left Green Bay, WI in our bus Oct 14, 2011 we had the blue print for how our bus would eventually look and we had the walls, dinette, bed and couch built all thanks our friends, Marc Brummel, Allen Gokey, David Baumgartner and our neighbor Jim. It was a few months later, in Sister, OR that we would establish our electrical system thanks to Ben Miller and Craig would learn how to make our kitchen cabinets thanks to Mike Dyer.
For the next year we would roll around with out plumbing and then in Iowa at the Anderson’s, over the course of ten days, our bus would have cold running water, a flushing toilet and the added bonus of a new paint job.
Beginning of this year our building was put on hold to go to Australia for a few months, however when we returned the shower and hot water were next on the agenda. It has taken six months of savings, labor and love.
As for the cost of putting in this fantastic luxury…
Rocks collected from all over the world= Free. Tiles= $340, Seaward 11 gallon water heater= $300, add in plumbing parts, grout, sealer, shower fixtures and extra’s total= $1000.
… After three years without a shower or hot running water, we understand it really is a luxury, not a necessity… None the less, we are so grateful for all who have donated towards this effort. Bless y’all, and if you ever stay on our bus, you are welcome to have a shower, on the house!
Besides shredding on the guitar, my man can build and I have to say it really turns me on! I knew he was handy and had a logistical mind but watching him these past two years on the road, building our bus has been fantastic. And then, to see him take it to the next level and build as a means to care for others as well as for the art of it, well it’s just straight up sexy.
We were recently in Arizona and he built this lovely patio table and chairs for my mom and dad. We enjoyed dining on this set over the Thanksgiving holiday. His gift of craftsmanship is quality and the design work is beautiful.
Hey! We built a chicken coop at the Kineo Community Urban Farm.
Bet you thought this was going to be some philosophical ranting about how chicken coops have something to do with anything…
Actually, maybe I could ramble a little…
The farm was given one mama chicken a few weeks ago. She was a roamer and seemed content bossing around the goats and mothering the bunny. We were told that she was old and no longer producing but decided a coop would be a good addition to the farm, as there was a hope for more chickens. As we began to build the coop we noticed that she was watching and seemed to be anxiously waiting. Always close by, clucking and poking her head through the mesh.Then today, she was really creating a racket, so we picked her up to offer some comfort. She got really quiet and began to make a purring or snoring sort of noise. Moments later, she LAID AN EGG. It hit the ground with a splat, the bird dropped to the ground and in a flurry we were trying to scoop up the egg so she wouldn’t eat it. (Apparently, chickens eat their eggs if they are not trained)
And so, I ponder the question of home, what is home? Does a chicken really need a home? That chicken could probably live out a full live roaming the farm-yard with no coop, but we saw that the hope of a home provided the stimulation to actually be who she was created to be, an egg layer.
I’m not sure if the chicken coop analogy applies to us as humans but, we do see the value in the idea of home. However, our idea of a home is has changed over the past two years of nomadic life. Home, for us, has become where ever we are. Maybe though, like the chicken, we don’t know any different until that coop starts being built and our souls are stirred, and our physical beings are awakened to the point that we can not contain our joy. It reminds me of that old hymn, Softly and tenderly.
We have a longing for home, there is no doubt. That longing is not for a physical structure or place but for a peace that passes all understanding, and for the restoration of our souls and communion with those who travel this road with us. Home.
We parked in the Skeens driveway for 10 days. They live in Central Phoenix. Besides being a pretty wise missiologist, Jeff has mad skills in construction and spent a couple of afternoons helping Craig build a vanity for the bathroom and lay the flooring in the bus.
We were donated four boxes of the hardwood flooring from the Wall family in Green Bay back in July of 2012 and purchased four more at cost from Jeff’s dad, Med who works in the flooring industry in Phoenix. The final product is bright, comfortable and super easy to clean!
Summer Camp! Craig and I both have great memories of camp during our childhood and teen years. Including; canoeing, swimming, horse back riding (well, not so much for Craig), arts & crafts, friendship bracelets, theater, archery, songs, stories, campfires, etc… So, when Camp Director and friend, Eric Blumreich, expressed a desire to have us at Camp Tekawitha in Shawano, WI, we said, “YES!”
Camp Tekawitha is open year round for all sorts of retreats and groups but in the summer it caters to K-8th and a CIT (Counselor In Training) program for 9th-12th grade. It is located on a small manageable lake called Lake Loon. We’ve served at Camp over the past two summers but this year we were able to bring out our bus and come for two weeks of fun. Our kids each experienced life as a camper and Grace was able to participate in the CIT program. Meanwhile we shared musically throughout the week, playing a few Hollands! set, fun camp songs and leading a sound scape exercise where the kids broke into groups and created a sound track to the creation story. Also, Craig took some time to help build a storage unit for the sails/sailboats.
Volunteering at Camp Tekawitha offered an opportunity for us to plug in and use the gifts and talents that we long to share and gave us a much needed rest from the fast track of touring that we had been on. It also gave each of our children a chance to spend quality time with other young people, many of them friends from their days at St. Matthews School in Green Bay, WI. These are the moments that we cherish and as we continue down the line, we look forward to opportunities to serve in these ways.
Slowly but surely the little things that are being shored up:
Craig has built and installed all of our kitchen cabinets, dining room light, book shelf, trim around the doors, bathroom cabinets, curtain around the toilet, even a few decorations hung. And, last but not least, our bedroom door.
Next on the list is plumbing. We are thankful for the graciousness offered by those we stay with for showers and washing dishes but are so ready for a little running water.