The Clock Maker

antique pocket watchAs the hands of time move freely around the face of the clock we find harmony in our day. But say there is a catch in the second hand, and it ceases to move the way it is meant. We may not notice at first, but when an appointment is missed because our clock has let us down, we would surely take it to the clock maker to repair the glitch; for the watch can not repair itself. So it is with the heart of man. We are created to function in love, justice and truth and when there is a glitch in those areas it takes an open mind to seek healing through community and creator.

Recently we rallied with another bus traveling family on a large plot of land adjacent to a nature preserve. The plan was to come alongside and neighbor with the traveling family of six and the property owners who had a family of four. We arrived Easter weekend, just in time for a Seder Celebration (Jewish Passover Fest) held in the barn on the property. Our hosts, welcomed us with bright smiles and open arms. Once we settled the bus we got our musical gear together and made our way over to the Seder, where we shared in community and song with about 50 kinfolk from the surrounding area. That evening we met a handful of the crowd and were excited about the week ahead.

In the morning we all gathered in the bus for coffee. Immediately, conversation and story ensued and over the next 48 hours, barely stopping to eat or sleep, we all shared testimony after testimony of God’s faithfulness in our lives. Even the children were invited into the conversation and we were all blessed by their willingness to share. At one point, we all made note of how the week felt like a mini-retreat and by day three, we were so filled up with goodness and satisfied in community that we were ready to enter into “task” with a mind full of grace. Our plan was to help with some much needed maintenance and building projects on the property, as well as, prepare for a wedding the next weekend.

As the tasks were being completed, many started to realize that there was a relational storm brewing. And yet, we continued on, waiting, praying and all sharing our hearts openly. It was near the end of the week that a meeting was initiated and we all gathered to discuss the “glitch in the second hand” so to speak. We had all tasted the beauty of that initial connectivity and although the tendency would be to move back towards the beginning by brushing over the conflict, our hearts were stirred for more. We all agreed that we were divinely put together for this moment and recognized that God was offering, through these relationships, liberation and restoration. And so, over the course of the next few hours we fought towards unity as we hashed out interpersonal communication issues, ever aware of the masters presence through it all.

Honestly, we have all traveled this road and there are times it does not end with liberation or restoration. Some times it ends with pride and closed thinking. But, this moment was different, this was difficult and unnerving at times but in the end, this was life giving. In this situation, we all chose to move through the storm, with confidence that God was going to put us back together. What we found, as the glitch was being repaired, was not just function, but hope. That hope ushered us into a weekend of wedding celebration, which as we look back, was quite symbolic of the joyful “times” to come.

“The end of the matter is better than the beginning and patience is better than pride.”

“Oh! May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope!”

As we continue on, we give humble thanks for the ways we are woven together with kinfolk, and the willingness of others to to allow us to be used in a way that encourages and liberates.

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Happy Birthday Drummer Boy

IMG_8075Austin, TX was the place to be late May as we celebrated our Drummer Boy’s 13th birthday. It was a celebration to be sure with all the fixings but most importantly awesome community. There are a number of precious people and families in Austin, TX who really care for us when we roll through. Many of them have children who love our son and we couldn’t have asked for a better stop to celebrate his life.

IMG_8047The celebration kicked off the night before the big day at our Persian friend Mehrdad’s home. We met Mehrdad last spring at a house concert that we performed and he kept in touch with us, often times sending little notes of encouragement. When we returned this time, we were so excited to see him and when he found out it was our son’s 13th birthday he was even more excited. He was so happy that he invited us to his home for a special Persian meal and to meet many in his community. The food was amazing and the conversation was even more fantastic as different folks shared their stories. We learned about the history and traditions of their Bahá’í faith, as well as, the persecution they faced in their homeland of Iran. They shared their journeys of coming to the US and gratitude for being able to live and worship peacefully now.

Dony Wynn, Torchys Tacos, The HollandsThe next day, the BIG DAY, was full of adventure, starting off at one of our favorite Austin taco stands, Torchy’s Tacos where we met our friend Dony Wynn, who last year spent time mentoring our son, encouraging and sharing musical talents.

We fell in love with this ol’ fella after hearing his amazing story growing up in New Orleans, his time as a professional drummer in the rock and roll world, working out the meaning of life as a hermit and now finding passion in the visual arts.

From there we went to a matinée and saw the action packed Spider Man 2 and of course, enjoyed movie theater popcorn.

IMG_8093We concluded our festivities at Zilker Metropolitan Park, which is situated near downtown Austin. It’s a fantastic park and the home to Barton Springs watering hole.

With temps of 90 degrees we were ready to cool off in the fresh spring water. The kids went to the free side of the park and found a large tree along the bank to climb on and jump into the water.

They frolicked for about two hours and then rallied for Texas BBQ from Green Mesquite BBQ, which was just a mile down the road from the park. It was awesome! We ordered take out including a variety of meats for about $60 and everyone brought a salad/drinks to share.

The evening wound down with a red velvet cake that the Malik family made, at our sons request and one last swim. Honestly, we could never have pulled off such a fantastic birthday without our friends, Mehrdad, Dony, The Maliks, The Heikkilas and the Newells. So thankful for community!! In the end, our Drummer Boy felt loved and appreciated. This will be one to remember!

Austin, TX

IMG_8113On a side note: A few months ago we asked our little Drummer Boy, what would you like for your birthday and he responded confidently and quickly, “a Bob Marley CD and a bag of chips.” What? He totally stopped us in our tracks and we all just looked at him dumbfounded. First off, we were totally expecting some expensive video game request and secondly, he had never shown interest in Reggae or anything acoustic before. I mean, he plays in our Folky/Americana acoustic based band but has always drifted towards heavier sounds. For the first time, our little dub step, metal core son was speaking our language! Who knows how and when kids pick stuff us, but the request totally cracked us up and we couldn’t resist.

 

 

 

Midsommer in Bishop Hill

DowntownBishopHill.jpg

There is something quite delightful about small town USA. Homespun shops, beautiful gardens, rich history and interesting architecture. Bishop Hill is no exception. This little town sits between Moline and Galesburg, IL and you have to be purposeful to visit the historic site as it’s not on any of the main highway routes. It’s worth the effort to make a detour however.

TheHollandsBishopHill.jpgWe were invited by the Bishop Hill Arts Council to perform at their Midsommer Music Festival, a summer solstice celebration filled with music, dance and the traditional decorating of the Maypole.

We rolled into Bishop Hill the night before our performance and thanks to the Heritage Association we parked our bus next to the Livery Stable. We were tired from a days travel and hungry, and on recommendation we went to the Filling Station for dinner. Linda, the owner, struck up a conversation with us and invited us to dine on the house. The meal was hardy and Linda was a fantastic host, funny and down to earth.

On our walk back to the Livery Stable we took a side trail to the grave yard. We noted many of the grave stones dating back to the early 1800’s, probably of settlers that were actually born in Sweden. There were buzzards flying over head as the sun was setting on the horizon and air was still.

Blackhawkpipesanddrums.jpgAfter a good night sleep we awoke to the brilliant sounds of the Blackhawk pipe and drum band wafting throughout the air.  The beginning our exploration of what has been frequently been called “Utopia on the Prairie” was off to a good start. Our first stop, the Bishop Hill Bakery and Eatery where we found the most amazing old world cinnamon roll you can imagine. After breakfast we explored many of the historical buildings including the Blacksmith Shop, home to the Prairie Arts Center and VagnHall Galleri. We met Jeffrey Goard, the potter, we met a broom crafter, and a luthier named Gary Carey, who makes beautiful mountain dulcimers and other lovely instruments. We also met a  fella who was showcasing photography from his time as a field worker (missionary) in South America. It was inspiring to hear his story of travel and service to the widow, orphan and poor.

Steeplebuilding.jpgNext we visited the Steeple Building, where we learned about the Swedish heritage and history of those that settled in this area. We learned that this little town of 125 was established in 1846 as a commune by 75 Swedish settlers led by religious radical, Eric Janson. Nearly a quarter of the Colonists died that first winter and about four years later Janson was murdered by a member for not allowing a marriage to take place. Despite other set backs, they colony persevered and grew to about 600 members until dissolving in 1861. A hundred years later, in 1961, the Bishop Hill Heritage association organized and the town was designated a National Historic Landmark and is on the National register of Historic Places. We also visited the Bishop Hill Museum to take in one of the most renowned folk artists, Olof Krans. His paintings provided a fascinating glimpse into the story of the first Old Settlers Reunion in 1896.

In the afternoon, we performed for delightful crowd despite the heat of 89 degrees. Our performance was followed by the crowning of the Midsommer Queen and the decorating of the Maypole. A gent in his 80’s played rollicking traditional tunes on his accordion while we marched the Maypole to the old School House. Craig was invited to be one of the Maypole carriers. Three blocks later the Maypole arrived at its destination where it was erected and the dance ensued. There were a few folks dressed in Scandinavian garb who lead the processions around the pole. After about an hour of dance the leaders lead a snake line of participants into the School house for a light supper. Later in the evening we attended our first barn dance, held in the old school-house. Many there were learning for the first time and the band/callers were very gracious in teaching us all. The night was filled with laughter and joy. It was what one might call, ‘good, clean fun.’ The night concluded with a stroll by moonlight back to the bus and a final farewell to this darling community. Until we meet again.

Neighbors in New Mexico

20130305-104244.jpgWe have been in New Mexico for three weeks, one of our longer stop overs. We are parked in the cul de sac neighborhood of North Foothills. Our hosts, the Burtons, connected us with the Mulder’s, their next door neighbors and they allowed us to park in their “flat” driveway. The Burton’s have six  children and the Mulder’s have four, they both home school and have been such gracious hosts.

We have a brief history with the Burtons via our time at a community in Chicago. There is something connective about living with others that binds us together with others who have also lived there, even if our connection at the time of living in community was limited. I suppose it’s what folks who have been in the military or a sorority/fraternity might feel when they meet someone along the way who was in the same one. It’s a familiar feeling, yes, it feels like being with family. While with the Burtons we celebrated birthdays, had dinner parties, went hiking and enjoyed everyday life. I had the opportunity to cook for the whole clan most nights, which was a real joy for me. We shared homeschool stories and duties, (Craig taught math to the kids, David taught Mountain Biking, Sofjia taught English, and I taught Art). Sofija writes a blog and interviewed us about our journey homeschooling on the road. You can read that at “Teach Where You Live”

While in town, we also connected with a few other kinfolk. My dear friend, Holly and her family moved to Albuquerque a few years back and we enjoyed renewed friendship and encouragement. We had fun working out at Hot Yoga, dining at a hibachi grill, and working on a project at her house, building a fence for her dogs. It was so good to see her. Also, we connected with another close family, the Grovers, who moved to Albuquerque about 9 months ago to care for aging parents. Brian Grover is a mate of Craig’s and used to play music with him back in the old Ballydowse days. We performed in Albuquerque and Brian joined us for that show on Bass.