Folklife Family Expedition

Folklife; is the accumulated traditions practiced or appreciated by members of a group who share a common history or way of life. A group’s traditions may include a wide range of skills and knowledge, from customs and belief to stories and songs, from music and dance to crafts and other decorative handmade objects. Generally, traditions are learned informally and passed on from one person in the group to the next, often orally, by imitation, or in performance.

Expedition; a journey or voyage undertaken by a  group of people with a particular purpose.

Family: We are a Mother, Father, Sister and Brother, bound by blood and vision to travel about this earth, spreading a message of reconciliation and connectivity through LOVE. We make our way sharing the gifts and talents given us; Music, Craftsmanship, Mentor-ship and Instruction, Merrymaking and Community building. We believe the opportunity for creativity in any culture engages humanity in the act of being human, offering dignity to both the creator and created. We see music and art as universal languages. They are tools that can bridge cultural gaps and offer opportunities to bring about peace. Using these tools, our desire is to connect with those we find along the way and encourage community and growth in relationship.

Here we go! A few months ago, when we ditched the bus in Alburqueque, New Mexico and put out a request to visit kinfolk in Southeast Asia, we couldn’t have imagined the way that our routing would be orchestrated. Of course, each day will be up to the good Lord, but we have a basic route to follow. We will travel light, with one small backpack and one instrument each, allowing for ease of load and plenty of opportunity to share story and song. We’ll be eyes wide open during this 9 week expedition, seeing sites, exploring the land and learning about the history in the places we go, but our main focus will be on learning from a local level about life through the eyes of our hosts. Our hope is to offer encouragement, share traditions and be able to come home with inspiration and stories of real people who are living lives of sacrifice, actively loving and caring for their neighbors and making a difference in a time such as this!

Nov 18 we fly to Manila Philippines, where we’ll come alongside KIDSIM, a far-reaching organization with various programs that cater to those most in need of food, shelter, education, and medical attention.

From there we fly to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. We will follow the routing in the photo above and will be connecting with a variety of hosts and communities along our way. Jan 12 we head to Singapore and then back to Australia until further notice.

Practically, our trip will be funded by the savings that we have made from our intense two month tour in Australia and a small handful of amazing friends and family who have faithfully given financially through our Modern Day fund. However, many have asked how they can help and we do actually have a few needs. One of the things we are finding is that many of our hosts do not have room to accommodate us, so the need for our lodging funds has increased. Also, we’ve just found out about added unforeseen visa costs and have been warned about bribes at border crossings. And, of course, we’d love to be able to share what we have with our hosts, so any extra will go straight from our hands to theirs.

And so, as you are rounding out your giving for 2015, we’d be so encouraged if you’d commit to care for us over the next bit of time, so that we can care for others. If you would like to become one of our patrons you can do so by visiting MODERN DAY. It’s easy, tax deductible and if you’d like to set up an on going monthly giving cycle, that’s an option too.

We can’t wait to share this adventure with you all and are profoundly moved every time we see God’s hand in our lives. We are so thankful for all of your encouragement, prayers and for trusting us with your gifts. This wouldn’t be possible without amazing grace and covenant community, so be blessed and know that you are loved!

 

Old Factory Aromatics

IMG_0626Soap-i-dy Soap-i-dy Soap! One of our favorite things to do is spend time with kinfolk who are living their dream. So, meeting and learning from the proprietors, Jonathan and Madeline, of Old Factory Aromatics was one of our highlight during our time in Texas.
In 2007, Jonathan Savoie and Madeline Novak met in Chicago IL one evening. Jonathan tells the romantic story of Madeline walking through the doors at Ravins Grin.  A friend of a friend, Madeline joined his table as she had just come from work at a local soap making company. She shared a little bit about her job and the soap making and a spark ignited in their relationship. Jonathan fell for Madeline… and her bag of soap. Over time, Jonathan began to feel a stirring to find a more creative outlet in life. He found soap making intreging and seemed to have a natural knack for creating signature blends. The more he moved towards the craft the more it felt right and the final confirmation was finding out that soap making was actually apart of his French heritage. As their relationship flourished so did the move towards the sundry business, and together, they started Old Factory Aromatics, moved to the Texas hill country along with Madeline’s sister, Emily and set up shop.
We’re glad they did! Their soaps and sundries are made with the finest organic ingredients and Jonathan’s nose for delicate combinations is excellent. And, in the French tradition each product has a fantastic story, including art work. This added touch makes their products even more special.
IMG_0592Their workshop is currently in Canyon Lake, TX just south of Austin but they hope to settle in Wimberley someday. In the meantime, we parked alongside them for a night, enjoying a sunset at Canyon Lake, made Red Thai Curry for dinner and later they showed us the romantically scientific process of soap making and allowed each of us to try our hand at creating a signature blend perfume. Graciana chose a blend of Vanilla, Cinnamon and Blood Orange. Banjo went for Geranium Bourbon, Cassia, Frankincense, and Rosemary. And, Jana used Oak Moss, Cypril, Pink Grapefruit, and Frankincense. It was so inspiring to see the kids really get into the creating process. The next morning we shared breakfast and said our final goodbyes. We roll on with wafts of beautiful smells and fond memories of our time at the Old Soap Factory.
Head on over to their website and get yourself some Old Factory Aromatics.  

The Collaboratory

In typical nomadic fashion, we met Ceri Jones Salahadyn through a series of events and people. She invited us to her Collaboratory in Mesa, AZ to learn the craft of welding, plasma cutting, as well as, hear her amazing story.

IMG_4970Exploring the science and process of welding was fascinating and for us “road schoolers” as it offered us a wonderful learning opportunity. We learned that welding is the process of joining two or more metal parts by melting the pieces and adding filler material.  The filler is melted and pools between the other pieces.  The end result after the materials cool is a strong joint or weld. We learned how to Stick weld, which is when an electric current passes between the metal and an electrode (stick).  The electrode melts and combines with the metal to form the joint.

Our project was to make a candle holder. The real fun began once we welded the base to the stem and were ready to use the plasma torch to design our holders. In this process, a gas (oxygen, air, inert and others dependant on material) is blown at high-speed out of a nozzle; at the same time an electrical arc is formed through that gas from the nozzle to the surface being cut, turning some of that gas to plasma. The plasma is hot enough to melt the metal being cut and moves fast enough to blow molten metal away from the cut. We all made individual designs in the form of trees, faces, and shapes. We found that plasma cutting was much more difficult than welding and required a very steady hand.

Through out the course we were able to hear Ceri’s story, which was quite breathtaking. A fabric & abstract artist in her own right, Ceri met her husband and fellow artist Khabir Salahadyn at the beginning of time, or so it felt. Her story intertwined the two dancing and weaving through time and space, doing what they love, creating, inspiring, inventing, and graciously sharing their knowledge and goodness to the world around them. In late march of 2012, Khabir was diagnosed with severe liver cancer and the couple moved from Denver, CO to Mesa, AZ, seeking out healing options and community. They made the journey in their Working Art truck, a 22ft beautiful old Mack Daddy, fully loaded with all their Working Art, tools and equipment. They arrived to a community of hope and healing and explored the realms of alternative and naturopathic possibilities. Each and every step of the way, they received the very best care and treatment opportunities available for Khabir.

However, the time was coming when Khabir would pass from this world. So, with his last bit of breath and strength Khabir helped his wife set up the Collaboratory and transferred his vast legacy, teaching her everything she would need to know in order to continue on. He helped her create the space, encapsulating his presence, his freedom and abilities into the world around her.

When we met Ceri it had only been one year since Khabir’s passing and you could still feel his steady hand present in the space. Ceri carries on with love and light. She is a passionate learner, adventurer and visionary, who desires to empower people and cultures with innovate new ways of communicating through the arts. Her hope is to bring Vision, Mission and Values into the lives of people, organizations and their communities.

We are so grateful for opportunities to meet and be inspired by others we connect with along the way. If you ever get to Mesa please stop into the Collaboratory, create something fantastic and say “Hi to Ceri” from us Hollands!

Musical Impact

Graciana HollandInsightful perspective from our little songbird on music and why she wants to make it for you. Plus an original song for your listening pleasure.

Watch out y’all, you might be inspired.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o5ATzmkKY9c

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 memories. I want my music to bring joy. I know that what I write is a reflection of what I am ingesting, and what is going on in my life.

Learning to watch what I am consuming is a tough one but very important.

I know that songs and the messages behind them is incredibly healing for the body and the brain, but I did not know the extent to which that healing goes.

I found a documentation of studies by Dr. Masaru Emoto in the 1990’s as he tested the music-water interaction. Results showed that praying 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…

View original post 77 more words

New Album in the Works

The life changes we have made over this past year have been so mind altering and soul stretching. It’s been a process to digest it all but over the last few weeks we have put our minds and efforts into writing songs. We hope to record these new songs this December in Portland, OR with David Fuller. Looking to have it available Spring 2013.

Crux of the Album:

There is a great love and purpose for us that is worked out in the messes, storms, blue skies, daily work, and dreams of our common lives.  This album gives narrative shape to actual people and circumstances in their dealings with God, each other and the inner workings within themselves.

Themes: Community, Common Lives, Storms, Injustice, Faithfulness, Long-Suffering, Circle, History, Pastoral, Poetry, Kingdom, Voyage.

We’ve decided to redo Old Man’s Town from our latest album, ‘Ashes to Beauty’ and feature it on this upcoming album. It’s a song that has aged well and our hope is to really allow the energy that has been building in that song to have a second chance to impact.

We’ve also been working to incorporate the unified sound that has developed in us as a family, not just a duo. Over the last two years we’ve performed as a family 355 times. There is a solidity that has developed and we are looking to incorporate that into this album. So, although we will still have room for guest appearance’s, on this recording we will feature “The Hollands!” as a band and as a family, including musical parts and songs that have been written by our children, songs like “Lanie Done Did” written by Graciana Holland.

Here is an excerpt from that song:

“Just about 26 seconds ago/Lanie done something bad/That time that time that time/Was all it took to make him mad/And the waves came down/Like an earthquake ready to rumble/Rolling round, Lanie, done did stumble”

Thistledown

       

Feb 14, 2012. We spend the Hallmark day of Love visiting our dear friends Lori and John Nero out at their Thistledown Farm in Cottonwood, CA. We meet Lori and John in Wisconsin and feel in love. They are downright good folk. They are grounded, full of life and explorers extrodinares. They inspire us and we are delighted to introduce them to you.

Driving back to their property was enchanting. Winding back through miles of golden hills and dirt road we found their precious encampment. The green house followed by their 700 sq. foot yurt. It was the first time we’d ever seen a yurt and found it to be fascinating. Lori and John live like real pioneers. They have a real appreciation for harvesting energy via solar and recycling everything, including waste. They got our wheels spinning on ways to make our lifestyle even more planet friendly. It was a rich and encouraging day.

You can follow their blog to learn more about their frugal living, self-sustaining, self-subsistent homesteading journey at:

Rustic Freedom

 

 

Offerings

Have your heard of the ancient temple of the Lord, built by Moses and his people? It is said that this temple was made of the finest gold, silver, bronze; blue, purple, and scarlet material; fine linen, onyx stones and lamp oil; spices for anointing oils and for fragrant incense. All were offerings, freely given by any who were willing. It is recorded that the offering was made to the Lord, not to the tabernacle (for a tax deduction). In fact, this story is amazingly God-centered. God is present in every step of the process. In the text that this story is recorded, Exodus, God details the need, tells how to use the supplies, prompts Moses to ask for them, prompts certain people to respond, the people give to God and the gifts are used to glorify God by craftsmen God gifted.

It is an amazing story of how the great designer pulls together the most amazing mysteries and wonders, engaging with us to create community.

We are not building a temple of the Lord but we are building a bus that we long to use to create and encourage community. The bus is empty right now yet there are divine appointments happening daily. Folks are coming forward to share the load, excited and ready to help. It is humbling and almost unexplainable, expect for the fact that I know there is One I can trust through it all.

Here are a few of the offerings we had over the last weeks.

Troy, a neighbor, called and offered a fantastic deal for our sheet metal. Paul, another neighbor, stopped by and took a tour. He was pretty excited about our endeavor and announced that he is a mechanical engineer and would like to help design the heating system. We found reasonably priced salvage windows online through Factory RV Surplus, out of Elkhart, IN. Then our friend, Saul popped over and shared his expertise as an electrical engineer. If time stays on our side we will have heat and electricity by our departure date of Oct. 12. If not,  at least we’ll have the plans for what needs to be finished.

Another wonderful offering came from Allen Gokey, owner of Packerland Builders and a long time friend. He graciously donated a trailer full of cabinet grade birch wood that was once used for a skate park/outreach  in Appleton, WI. A word of delight greeted us as we loaded the wood on the trailer. Most of the wood is in great condition. One side was coated with the memories of youthful skaters enjoying life and company. The other side was pristine and will make for a beautiful home.

                        

To top it all off, Craig’s old band mate and violinist on our album Ashes to Beauty, David Baumgartner arrived with his fabulous family and Swiss expertise in furniture architecture. We dreamed, designed and built for two days straight. David’s mind moves a mile a minute and his design ideas were brilliant! Debbie, his wife and dear friend, brainstormed ideas for fabric and decor. She helped with meals and was such an encouragement.

                

We are so excited to see what else comes our way this week. “Once the commitment is clear, you do what you can, not what you can’t. The heart regulates the hands. This isn’t so others can take it easy while you sweat it out. No, you’re shoulder to shoulder with them all the way, your surplus matching their deficit, their surplus matching your deficit. In the end you come out even. As it is written, Nothing left over to the one with the most, Nothing lacking to the one with the least.” (2 Cor. 8:12-15 )

On a side note: My skin cancer issue has been resolved as my appointment with the dermatologist concluded that I am healed. Thank the good Lord and thanks for all your prayers, concerns and well wishes.

Pocketful of Sunshine in Northern MN

Terrapin Station and Green Scene

There’s a pocketful of sunshine in Northern Minnesota and the host is Brother Brian of Terrapin Station, Nevis, MN. I met Brian via our friends Patchouli.  Talk about a local connector. Brian is passionate about bringing original music and culture to his community. He is a local/global thinker and we absolutely enjoyed our time in his neck of the woods.

Nevis, MN is not the sort of place you’d expect a thriving indie folk venue to exist. But Brian and his wife, Stacey have been tilling that soil for sometime now and the garden is in full bloom. The venue itself is a very modest but handsome building with a beautiful mural on the side of the building (Painted by the fabulous, Bruce Hecksel

Inside is a feeling of warmth and community. The stage/sound quality was fantastic. Probably one of the best we’ve played on. And, to top it all off Brian’s darling daughter, Jenna, shared her handwritten songs for the first time in public. Such a gifted young lady with a servant’s heart. It felt like home the moment we arrived.

Being a bit of a hike from anywhere, Brian worked hard to hook us up with more venues and introduced us to the Legends and Logging Festival in Park Rapids, MN where we got to meet a long time web friend, Tom Feldmann. That boy can play!

Then there was the Green Scene Farmers Market in Walker, MN.  The Green Scene is a homegrown business offering whole foods and a quality experience. Owner, Erin Andrus, is a delight. She is motivated, smart and kind. Her desire to bring good food to her community is paying off and this June she opened her doors to the public at the Green Scene. It is a neat little market/deli with a eco-friendly feel. The food is amazing and the staff, equally amazing. We were met with smiles and a cup of cold water on a hot day. A handful of venders, local farmers, bee keepers, craftsmen, music by The Hollands! and wool spinners made for a beautiful afternoon. If you are ever in the north woods of MN. Stop in and visit Erin and her staff. …Read more about Erin’s story

On Hospitality and Citizenship

I’ve had random thoughts racing through my mind all day. They’re all seemingly important but not necessarily connected. So, I chalk it up to cabin fever.

First thought: I have moved over 19 times in my life. I have lived on three continents and in 5 US states. I have been the visitor and the local.  Through all of these moves I have come to understand this; being hospitable is crucial. I’m not convinced that folks understand the impact they have on others and the life-giving ability they have to make someone feel at “home.” To bring someone into the fold, to treat one like kinsfolk. That is the calling for us all. Not just the few Martha Stewards out there (bless their hearts)…

Second thought: Craig is going to the consulate office tomorrow to take his big test to become an American Citizen.  Australia and the US have an agreement allowing him dual citizenship.

What does it all mean? Well, first and foremost, he’ll be able to vote. When I met Craig 12 years ago, he was in politically based punk band. Typical of most punk rockers,  he was pretty opinionated about the powers that be and the way the poor and downtrodden are oppressed. However, living as an alien (legally but still an outsider) pulls a bit of voice out of one and for the past 10 years or so he has been observant but relatively silent on most issues. As we near his citizenship I have noticed his voice getting louder and I wonder… if  becoming a citizen makes a difference in one’s credibility or feeling of credibility?

Third thought: The house is getting in order for our grand gallery night event coming up this weekend. It was started purely as a way to make friends and build community with like-minded creative folk. And to support the arts, which we love dearly.  In a sports town that over shadows the arts this event has been a diamond in the rough for us. We are looking forward to hosting our 4th and possibly final gallery night.  How it works: We invite about 15 local fine artists to show 3-5 pieces.  We live in an old Victorian house in Historic Astor Park. We take all of our decor down in the 4 lower main rooms and use them as the gallery walls. The kitchen is used for a delicious spread of desserts, wine and cheese. We also invite many of our musically inclined friends to perform throughout the night.

As we prepare to move on this fall, our hope is that folks in this area will continue to see the value in creating and connecting with each other. I hope that we inspired those we met to be more hospitable. To reach out to those who are “visitors” and bring them into the fold.

~jh

Ashes To Beauty

“Ashes to beauty, healing has come. Will you look in the mirror or turn and run? Redemption has come, now rest your weary soul. Will you consecrate your life or go back to war?” ~jh

We are excited to reveal the cover art by Kara Counard.

“Ashes To Beauty” is the name of our new album.

The name feels right, maybe a little cleche’ but it’s fitting. We have been married for over 10 years and this album reflects many of the highs and lows of our commitment to each other. Everything from our first love to betrayal and the act of reconciling our love for one another. It would fair to say that we are MORE married today than yesterday.

It’s not only for married people to listen to however, our desire is for the listener to hear a message of hope and encourage the connection that comes with commitment whether it’s in marriage or in community. We chronicle our journey, to show the process of healing that comes through reconciliation.  When we are open and look in the mirror to see our impact on others, redemption comes and our ashes turn to beauty.

Release date to come…