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!

 

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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.

 

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…

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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.