Changing Skin

It’s been two years since we ditched the bus to roam around the globe to learn, listen and encourage. We’ve been to nine countries in that time and written story after story about that season.

We detoured back the US in November of 2016 and when we left Australia in November, we arrived minus one Holland. Our daughter, Graciana, stayed back in Australia to navigating the world of “adulting.” We have watched from afar as she has learned some hard lessons. Good Night! What a paradox to go from being so engaged in the development of your child, catching them when they fall, to then having virtually no ability to reach out and soften the blows. And yet, she has rallied and it has been a joy to watch her begin to fly!

For the past six-month we’ve been in Phoenix, AZ. (our longest stop in six years!) and have been just soaking in good family time. While here we have been journeying alongside my parents as they both went through a sort of metamorphosis, getting their new skin as I like to call it. They have both been working through their difficult cancer diagnosis. My father, battling an aggressive Prostate cancer and my mother with a slow growing non-Hodgkins lymphoma.  It has been an absolute joy to participate in daily community with them, lending a helping hand and watching them both overcome the obstacles set before them.

I have always loved my parents but I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, that this intense time with them has allowed me to fall in love with both of them in a new and fresh way. They are each so unique and fantastic in their own right and together they are team Price!

I have loved just sitting and listening to them reminisce and share stories of their lives. Some of them stories I have never heard before. If I could have kept a recorder going the whole six months, I would have. For now, those precious memories have been captured in my mind’s eye.

Over the months, we watched them go from about a three to an eight and as they continue to exercise, sharpen their minds and use food as a source of healing, they continue to excel. My dad has had a rebirth of creativity and over the time we’ve been with them, he has designed websites, written books for 2BRealMen and written curriculum for an online class for his Twisted Thinking Transformed material. It’s been a blast to watch him soar! Then, this past week we all pitched in and moved my parents into their awesome new apartment. They are happy and healthy, ready for a new adventure! And, as we leave them, we are expectant that it will be the richest chapter of their lives.

The season of backpacking/global travel, releasing our daughter into the big wide world, dovetailed by our current stop over with my parents, has been the most difficult and most engaging two years of our journey thus far. We have experienced a refining in ways that are still manifesting and will most likely be for the years to come. We have discovered that like the honey bee, we are built to pollinate. We launch, refueled and ready to ignite love, truth, and life…to any we meet along the way.

We’ll kick start our six-month journey in Phoenix, AZ and route north to CO then jog east to MI, loop back west through UT, then north to Calgary, Canada! Then west to Vancouver and south to LA, finally back to PHX!! That will take us approximately 8000 miles. Our hope then is to fly back to Australia for another trek around the globe. More info on our actually routing HERE…

Lastly, it’s been brought to my attention that I need to ask more often for help/support. So, if you feel led to give monthly, so as to spur us on practically but also build up our faith, you can do so at MODERNDAY.

Thanks for caring for us with your faithful prayers and encouraging words this past season. We look joyward to continuing to share the love and stories along the way.

 

The Making of One

From the Archives… Celebrating TEN YEARS!

Jana Holland"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

1929856_14065906397_1539_nIn 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.

1929856_14065921397_2544_nA 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…

 *One* is now TEN Yrs Old!

CLICK HERE to celebrate with us! Have a listen to Jana’s Experimental Folk / Lyrical / Healing & Easy Listening tunes. Let them wash over you and encourage you!

one

 

Moon-fession

hi, it’s me

the moon

i have a confession to make

i have no light of my own

there i said it

it’s true

i am just an empty

dark

lump of rock

floating in the sky

but, you say, “we have seen you light up, full splendor, oh so bright”

well sure, most have seen me light up

some have even given me names like super and blood and blue

however, i am only the star of the show because the Sun has made me whole

you see, it is the Sun that gives me light

it is the Sun that makes me bright

without the Sun, I am nothing but an empty

dark

lump of a rock

floating in the sky…

…i feel much better now

how about you

have you any confession to make

quote-in-confession-we-open-our-lives-to-healing-reconciling-restoring-uplifting-grace-of-him-who-louis-cassels-339982

 

Cutting To The Heart

And, you thought being cursed by the spirit of death and hades was bad… Let me tell you, the heart is deceitful above all things and will lie like a dog. Oh! Those stinking self protective and self promoting old habits of the heart that start out subtle and then scream like the wind.

The author of Hebrews writes that ‘What Abba is after is writing His word on our hearts!’ 

This cutting into our heart. Oh man, it hurts and I’m having a hard time sitting still. However, for the love of Yeshua to be authentic in us, it has got to cut to the heart.

Recently my father, Jerry Price, sent me these words of encouragement to keep swimming upstream and a nugget of wisdom regarding spiritual warfare. May you be encouraged and challenged as well.

“God is in charge, I know. There is one thing to consider. The spiritual battle is not about flesh and blood but about principalities and spiritual wickedness & rulers in high places. It’s everywhere & comes in different formats.

*Physical violence where others would do us harm;

*Social marginalizing where others try to isolate us (and Jesus) as something irrelevant;

*Psychological games people play to confuse the believer and create an emotional sense of danger but is nothing more than intimidation to control our hearts & minds;

*A spiritualism that promotes idolatry to replace God and give a person a false sense of hope through prostituting our souls for personal satisfaction;

*An intellectualism that promotes an arrogance that communicates others are less than the one who prides themselves in their ability to debate;

*And a shaming from religious practitioners who would condemn believers for being hypocrites that don’t measure up to standards – in their view – that promotes a twisted sense of perfectionism, which doesn’t need God.

Take all of that and stir things up with Jesus and an upright life, you have spiritual warfare. Because, you see, the motives of the heart are exposed and people will harm us in any way to keep Jesus from being the light of the world.

ALL of the above comes from the darkness of depravity. Thus, the spiritual battles we face can actually be in the recesses of our own minds which is why David prayed for God to ‘search my heart and see if there be any wicked way in me.’

And, this I know, we won’t be able to escape the war if we’re alive in Christ and swimming upstream…. Any old dead fish can float downstream.”

I am finally getting to the end of myself. There is hope in the air and the fog is lifting.

 img_0582Abba, forgive me for allowing my heart to be over taken by weeds of bitter discontent and ego driven victim-stance; for a thistle or two gone to seed can ruin a whole garden in no time. Give me your spirit of discernment to recognize when I am being deceived, thus trading away Your lifelong gift in order to satisfy my short-term appetite. Soften my heart as I reflect on your tender mercy. For in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light that shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it. May the light of the world shine bright in my fragile soul. In Jesus name, Amen ‭‭(Hebrews‬ ‭12:14-17‬, John 1:1-5)

Oh! That we would not rest until the heart is totally transformed!! May you be liberated today to investigate the depravity of your own heart. May you seek the great physician in healing areas that paralyze you in being the Kingdom come. And, may the amazing grace offered through Christ’s sacrifice transform you from the inside out.

 

Medicine For The Soul; Fire In The Sky

Not sure if you knew this about me but I’m a human connection junkie. I look for opportunities at every corner to connect whether through a smile, conversation about the weather, sharing of story or deeper moments of spiritual formation. Some circles call people with this trait an empath, others call it extroverted. Whatever you call it, traveling full-time suites my thirst for this connectivity. I know and trust that seemingly random moments are divinely orchestrated and I wake up with great anticipation of seeing and experiencing these amazing moments of exchange. Security, comfort, and money are unfruitful drivers and I tend to spend little time thinking about them, trusting that my daily bread will come. I wake up longing to speak words of peace and affirmation over those I meet and when needed, to share a hard word of truth in love. I wake up open to receive. I have learned over the years, that filtering (discernment) is essential to being healthy in my gift set. I have learned that I must allow for times of quiet and solitude in order for the Holy Spirit to fill up my empty vessel. It’s important for my well-being and those I am surrounded by. 

And so it was, thanks to Abba’s faithfulness in weaving us together with the Saints, that we were gifted a week of solitude on a beach in South Australia. 

We met Jacia, a beautiful young soul, in Northern Thailand and shared a night of song and story. Before we parted ways, Jacia mentioned that if we ever needed a season of rest, that her family owned a little beach shack and would be happy to share it with us. We exchanged info and tucked it away for a time that only Abba could bring; for South Australia wasn’t yet on our routing pattern. However, that timing came to fruition sooner than we thought as it proved to be the soft landing spot after a tender return from the US where I was caring for my mother. 

img_0159We arrived to what truly was the cutest little beach shack, and a warm welcome from Luke and Diane Hopton, Jacia’s parents. They had us over for dinner and we were delighted by their faith stories. We found a few other times to connect with them and with some of their dear friends, but my normal capacity for friendship was low so as tempting as it was to fill our week up with meals and visits, I reluctantly declined.

img_0148The honest truth was that I was wrecked in my spirit, numb really. I tried to force any sort of feeling in the physical, nearly attacking my husband with affection, dancing wildly on the deserted beach, convincing my sweet son to walk miles and miles with me searching for seashells, trying to work up a sweat, just trying to feel alive. But it was in the stillness of the evenings when the sun was setting that benevolent rays of mercy would shine on me. Craig would bring out the guitar and strum gently or make a lovely cheese platter and we would just sit, quietly, night after night, watching the sun set on the horizon. It was in those moments, that I laid down my pride, laid down my sorrow, emptied myself out and opened up. It was in those moments that waves of Abba’s unending love and faithfulness came rolling in; dividing my soul from spirit, exposing the attitudes of my heart, and washing over me with precious words of healing. 

Words like: 

*The Great Physician is a faithful healer and can be trusted with even the most aggressive aliments. Tonight’s tonic included an epic sunset in the South Australian sky.

*In the stillness… in the quiet hour… You are with me.

*Faith is not a feeling. Faith is not an event. It is not a mystical or magical experience. Faith is not hope. Hope operates in the natural. Faith is the language of the supernatural. It the tether between us and the living God.

*Abba sees the things you and I can not see. You are going to recover. There is a level above science, there is a level above technology. It is the level where faith hovers and with the Creator of the Universe all things are possible.

*Faith goes into the future, secures the future, comes back to get you and leads you into that future.

img_0165I’ve written songs about the beach, about the living water that sustains me, and I’m so thankful that my Creator knows that this is a place that really fills me up. I love going to the beach with God! I’m also thankful for kinfolk like the Hopton’s who graciously care for us along the way, allowing us the time and space to allow the Spirit of God to care for us along the way. 

Dream Talk 2016

The year of mystery.

Sept of 2015 we were guided to “ditch the bus” and buy one way tickets to Australasia. We were looking forward to a folk music tour booked in Australia Sept-Nov and then had a loose routing through SE Asia for Nov-Jan. However, after that we had no vision or clarity. That wasn’t really to worrisome for us as we typically can only see about three to six months out. And, we knew we had an upcoming dream talk for 2016 on the books. So, we were hopeful to receive some clarity for the new year.

For those that are new to our dream talk, it’s sort of like a family business meeting with a supernatural element. It’s usually at the beginning of the year and takes anywhere from a few weeks to a few days to hash out. The talks involve us sharing the desires of our hearts, insights from the year prior, putting our requests before our Creator and a receiving a tangible vision and routing forward and then sharing that vision with you all. Ultimately, it’s a time where we sit down as a family and wait on the God of all gods to bring things into focus and then build a plan around that vision.

However, this year, our dream talk was unusually different. This time when we sat down, there was no focus, no tangible vision forward.  Our ideas wavered all over the map, from settling in one place, going to back to school, learning new languages, writing books, to traveling more of SE Asia and Europe, and making a new musical album. We were unable to see clearly and our sense of unity seemed unsteady. When we moved all of our personal desires to the side and got to the core, we all agreed that until we heard differently, that we all still felt a steadfastness about our over all calling to be and go into all the world, shining the light of love and offering encouragement. However, the lack of clarity and unrest really threw us off as we could not seem to find the tangibility in any of it, at least, what we could grasp of it with our limited mindsets. Were we meant to continue on in Australia or make our way back to the states? If we stayed we wanted it to be because we had an invitation. Likewise, if we made our way back, we wanted it to be because there was an invitation back. At the same time, after months of living out of backpacks, we also longed for the comfort of our home on wheels and that seemed to be tainting our dream talk as well. Then an actual sleeping dream was thrown into the mix. This would be a first.

I woke the morning of our scheduled Dream talk, aware of every detail.

16circlesWe were standing at the front of large room with our instruments in hand. Lines of children came flooding in. Then lines of soldiers followed and they stood next to the children creating a stripped pattern. (So a line of soldiers, then a line of children, and so on.) A gruff looking Sargent followed and stood near the door. We knew we were suppose to play music but we didn't know what or why. Was this a sacred or secular thing? Was this a school workshop or was it a concert performance?

Time stood still and in a flash we all saw the scene, set in full... We saw the Sargent blowing his whistle and the soldiers turning to their individual child, berating them verbally, saying horrible things about their worth, identity, cursing their future and telling the child terribly graphic things about what the soldier would like to do to the child. Then time sped up and we all flashed to the present. The Sargent was just about to blow his whistle but before he could Graciana began to bellow out the old hymn 'Be Thou My vision.' Then Craig and Banjo kicked in on guitar and drums. As I looked at the children, singing along with Graciana, I stepped off of the stage and began to walk around the room praying in the Spirit. The soldiers began to spew their words of shame, condemnation and death. I walked up to a soldier in the front of the first line, reached out and tapped his forehead with my pointer finger. He was absolutely stunned and fell backwards, knocking the rest of the soldiers down like dominoes. I looked back to Craig in dismay and he nodded for me to keep going. I continued to walk around the room tapping the front soldier in each line, praying and singing. We didn't get all of the words right on the song but kept on and the soldiers fell one by one. 

The Sargent was last to stand. With fear and rage in his eyes he turned around and ran out, disappearing into the horizon. All during this time the children were taking great delight singing and dancing, oblivious to what was going on with the soldiers. Then I woke.

What did it all mean?

We all sat, trying to find some way of making the dream work with our framework of reality. We began to look back over 2015 to see if there was a pattern building up to this dream. We saw that many of our dreams and desires for that year were fulfilled. Moments sharing in deep community, stepping into the thick of it with kinfolk, fighting for our brothers and sisters bound by lies, sharing woes and joys and being used in the ministry of reconciliation. Then there were the many bus riders who joined us along the line, who we were able to share in life, learning, and faith. We experienced a new-found freedom to share music wherever, to whomever, without worry of commerce, traveling to far off places and seeing the beauty of the saints around the world, all of which were and are dreams come true. We were open to continue to walk in that, however, we also noted that it was a season of great transition, new cultures, loss of friendships, physical aliments and such a fast pace that we almost broke as a family.

And so, the dream, although it evoked a deep desire to be used in the fight, was a bit overwhelming. We sat on it and began to pray for words of insight, knowledge and wisdom. Over the next few weeks we were each given a word. Craig received the word, ‘Praise’ and I received the word, ‘Healing.’ Banjo received the word, ‘Learning’ but Graciana received the most profound word, ‘Wife.’ Her word signified separation from us as a family unit, which we had obviously sensed was coming but the how, when, where, was unknown. And, how did that fit into the dream? So, we cast it aside for a time, just focusing on trying to get our feet on the ground in a new country.

When we landed back in Australia from SE Asia, we met with our kinfolk in Glenrowan, VIC. We were weary and weathered from the road. We shared our lack of uncertainty and vision for the year. Then our friend, Di, prayed for us and for our future. As she prayed, she saw a picture of us all.

IMG_0153This was her picture: 'There was a family; a mother, father, sister and brother, bound to one another in blood and a vision to spread a deep and unequivocal love throughout the lands. They found many along the way who were hiding in the shadows. They offered light and love to all they met. They ran and ran as fast as they could to as many places as the fingers on their hands. 

Then, one day, they stumbled upon a cave. They wandered in, They followed the path deeper into the cave and finally into a large open cavern. They halted to observe the many openings. 

12718056_10154298429069026_6590766396457928282_nThey knew this place for this place had been foretold to them and they knew that it was time for each to take a different path. They were told that this was an important part of their journey. That the individual journeys would strengthen them and they were assured that these paths would one day all wind back together. 

They meandered around the opening for quite some time contemplating, praying, putting fears aside and saying goodbye. And then, one day they got up, bid farewell and each entered into their path."

My heart panicked at the thought of all of us going in different directions. However, she could see the other side of the cave system and assured us that the paths would all lead back together. The picture didn’t really give us a grand plan but it did offer comfort when a few weeks later we all literally separated, Graciana moving in to her first new home in Bendigo, Craig and Banjo tooling around Victoria staying with family and friends and me flying over to the USA to help my parents through a time of healing. That took us to April. When I flew back, the fella’s picked me up from the airport and the three of us made our way to Adelaide to refresh and regroup, then drove north to Byron Bay. However, it definitely felt like we were all still in our own tunnels, with Craig starting an online University program in International Studies, Banjo beating to his own drum with schooling and the things a typical fifteen year old enjoys, and a bout of spiritual and physical issues for me.

As we made our way up to the Byron Shire however, things started to shift. Our first stay was with a small community of believers who welcomed us with open arms but also warned that they were in a season of disarray. We were grateful for their welcome and for a place to call home for a moment. We were also grateful for the openness they showed us in allowing us to come alongside them in their difficult season. We found that through the working out of our gifts of wisdom and counsel that a sense of purpose and renewal in our energies emerged. Our time with them was fruitful as we saw the mystery and ministry of reconciliation take hold. We found a deep sense of friendship and community with them and are so thankful for the ways that God knits us together with the body.

As I write, it’s late August and were in Sydney for a few more weeks. We’re house sitting for our dear friends, The Perini’s and the opportunity to stay in this home as offered us a bit of a reprieve from our backpacks and well as a hub to host gatherings, which we love. We’re just starting to feel comfortable with the way this year is rolling out, just now feeling ok with the lack of control over our future. We can see that this year has been less about us neatly packaging our year so that it is palatable to both us and you and more about us taking an even deeper launch into this life of faith, one step at a time, praising, learning, healing and exploring all it means to rely totally on Him as His bride.

In the meantime, we’ve done some really cool things and visited with some really amazing Saints throughout Australia. We’ve released this need to control the dream talk and we’re excited to get back to sharing those stories. We’ll continue to walk day by day as the Spirit moves and trust that the sleeping dream is a sign of things now and to come. We’ll keep singing and know that when we do that the powers of darkness will be overcome. Oh! that we might be used to set captives free and to make way for celebration. That’s the ultimate dream right?!

For our logistical friends. We can see far enough out to know we’ll be in Australia through the New Year. Our routing looking something like this…

Currently we are in Sydney

Mid-Sept, Melbourne area then west to Adelaide by first of Oct.

Mid-Oct, Alice Springs back to Bendigo

Nov- Dec, we are hoping to make our way down to Tasmania and possibly to New Zealand. Back to Melbourne to be with family for Christmas

Our desire is to do what we do, making merry, story telling, encouraging, and offering a helping hand. If you’ve got kinfolk in these areas, please let them know we’re coming.

Peace and Love, The Hollands!

If you feel led to lend us a helping hand, we have partnered with Modern Day Missions and hope that you find the giving process safe and efficient.

1

Our friend Jeff Skeens, wrote: “Jesus, move us. His Spirit changes us. He gives us beautiful dance moves. He give us courage to act in the face of oppressive pressure, as well as, to remain silent. He grants us grace to rest and listen. He offers his presence to us in fresh new ways. He shapes our thoughts, directs our passions, creates new life, and moves us to continue reforming. And when he does, his people listen, follow, and give him all the glory and fame!”

May you be encouraged to step deep and wide! May you be encouraged to dance and trust His unfailing love.

The Slow Heal

IMG_1535As much as I love an instant, fire from heaven healing, there is something very special and tender about the process of "slow heal." It reminds me of those encouraging words in Isaiah where Abba Father says "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth and making it bear and sprout, and furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; so will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it will not return to Me empty..."
A few months ago I left my husband and kids behind and flew from Australia to the US to help care for my mom. She had been fighting Lymphoma and was in her 10th week of an alternative therapy. Things were looking good but then one day she feel down her stairs and broke her pelvis. Her pain was immense but worse than that, the fall had shifted something in her psyche, and what erupted was a waterfall of emotions. Even with all of the precious care administered by my dad and sister, by the time I arrived, she was in a state of black and white thinking and all hope seemed lost. I made note of the fatalistic thinking and observed that as long as life moved steady she was fine but at the first road block, deep frustration and anger emerged and what followed was a total shut down, which would then exasperate her physical healing.  As much as I wanted to find a solution for her physical pain I sensed that her emotional state was blocking the healing and had to be addressed first.
After an initial assessment, we quickly began to establish new ground rules regarding the tone, pace and energy input/output in the house. Helping my mom to see the fragility of her emotional state was the first step towards healing. We worked on identifying and removing stressors, including topics that triggered emotional melt downs. Things like politics, Facebook, TV, and any conversation that involved logistics had to be shelved. We learned new ways to communicate emotions through journalling and focused on prayer and meditation as immediate “go to’s” when feelings of being out of control consumed. The more my mom engaged this emotional healing process, the stronger she became physically. However, the stronger she became physically the more the rest of the house would relax back into old patterers of relating thus raising the energy level in the house. And so, for Dad, Mindy, Josiah and myself, we would have to move more tenderly, allowing space for mom to drift in and out of her different emotional states. For a time, we had to put aside our own need to feel validated or justified, to be heard or understood. We had to diligently and aggressively zero in on, and isolate the pain so that healing could truly come. Whenever we would break from that commitment a relapse would happen and we would have to refocus. Consistency was essential.

IMG_1528As we all worked towards finding and maintaining a spirit of peace, mom began to improve. She began to see clearly, taking captive her thoughts, releasing her expectations of a faster pace, journalling (although, still not natural) and allowing the Holy Spirit to nurture and heal her inner brokenness. Our focus became all about “The Slow Heal.” We could feel it coming, hope was in the air, but the discipline and dedication that it took on all of our parts to continue to stay the course was difficult at times. The pay off was worth it and as we crossed over the hump, mom really began to recover. I was able to leave knowing that the spiritual ground had been tilled, cleared and ready for planting. And, I departed confident that just as the passage in Isaiah encouraged that once the rain came, that much fruit would come to bear.

I am amazed at all of the ways that the Spirit brings healing and especially thankful that I got to be in the front row for this one. My mom is precious to me no doubt but what was most encouraging was to see that she is precious to the Father. I think it totally rocks that for now healing has come to her body but even more than that, to see that at age 70, God is still after my mothers heart. This was the most encouraging part of the whole process. To me, that is what the “Slow Heal” is all about, that beautiful, mystical process of spiritual refinement. For the reality is that these bodies of ours will eventually fade away but the ancient text promises that our spirits will continue to soar like wings of eagles.

Recently my mom wrote an update about her healing. Here it is…

“Yay!!! Good numbers today set for another 6 months and I’m cleared to spend the summer in WI with my darling grandkids. Watch out Door County, here I come.

It is so good to be able to give my own update. When I fell in Feb I suffered a compression fracture to my pelvis but in the first few days I came to understand my whole body including my brain was effected. This changed our approach to helping me heal.

You all have been such a big part of this process. Just knowing you were saying my name to God, stopping by, sending meals. flowers,cards and words of encouragement have been a lifeline. Thank you so much.

Jerry is my #1 hero….he stepped into the role of caregiver, taking care of my needs even when I could’t get out of bed. A real test of our wedding vows we make almost 50 yrs ago…wow that’s a long time ago.

Melinda Kay supported her dad cooking cleaning and assisting me as needed. Sweet Joziah Marquez has been there cheering on my little accomplishments and giving me hugs. Nate, Heather, all 6 of the Price and the Hollands encouraged me on face chat.

IMG_1511Then 6 weeks ago Jana Holland flew in from Australia and relieved the team. What a blessing. She brought her great cooking and nutritional knowledge plus the understanding of the value of energy input/output in all our relationships. She’s back in Australia but a part of her is still with us. Thank you Jana for taking time out of your schedule to come and thank you Craig Holland, Banjo Graciana Holland for sharing her with us. Love you all.

Most of all…thank you God for the ways you work in our lives because there is still much work to be done loving people as you love us.”

And, that last line just sums it all up… “There is still much work to be done.” That is an encouraging and hopeful thing to hear my mother say.

Breaking Point

Through out SE Asia we’ve ridden our fair share of night buses. They are the cheapest and most efficient way to travel through the lands. And so it was, that we took a night bus from Bagan to Yangon, Myanmar (Burma). Renting a car was out of the question because of the laws in the country prohibiting how tourist can travel. A flight would only take one and a half hours but was well out of our price range and so, the night bus it was. We booked the trip on JJ (Joyous Journeys) Bus line, one of the most reputable in Myanmar. The trip by bus would be approximately 10 hours and would drop us off at the Central Rail Station in Yangon.

These treks via plane, train or bus are all part of the journey and although we’d rather the transitions be more efficient, this particular trip allowed us to see a few things. One, we saw parts of local life on that overnight bus that we would not have experienced in any other way. And, secondly, on a personal note, it was on this particular night bus that I found my breaking point.

As we boarded the bus at 10pm, our seating was scattered throughout the bus and we noticed that we were definitely the minority. The hostess was kind and meek. She spoke enough english to communicate logistics but struggled to command authority from the other foreigners that were riding the bus. For instance, one of the bus riders insisted on taking the whole back seat of the bus, even though the seats were already assigned. The hostess was trying to explain to him in her broken words that the back was meant for the crew to take shifts sleeping in throughout the night. In the end, she didn’t argue but left the man to his own devices and resorted to using his single seat as their refuge during the ride.

We were all given a bottle of water and a wipe to clean our hands, as well as, a blanket and a small pillow. The bus fired up, the lights went down and people started to settle in for the long sleep. As I stared out the window, I noticed every now and then, activity along the roadsides. Even at the late hour, people made their way here and there, small burning fires, making street food, hoping for a sale from passers-by. And then all of a sudden, the night would go black again. No street lights or signs posted, just the ebony of night and the majestic stars dancing in the wide open sky.

At 3 am we eventually stopped at a “rest stop” which offered some western amenities (toilets and a cafe). The lights inside the bus went on abruptly and we were all told we had to exit the bus as this was to be a 30 min stop for our driver to eat his meal. We all stumbled off of the bus, while ladies with different food items on trays approached us aggressively trying to sell us their goods before we went into the cafe. Still getting our bearings, we took a quick look around the dark parking lot. There was a chill in the air as clouds blew in and shadows began to cover the sky like a thick blanket. There were small camp fires burning here and there. The locals were covered in traditional dress and scattered throughout the parking lot; some sitting or sleeping on mats and some cooking over open fires. We saw truck loads of migrants (men, women and children) and other trucks with loads of women and children, just silhouettes, being transported in the middle of the night, to who knows where, to do who knows what.

We all made our way across the parking lot to the toilet block but hadn’t discussed where to meet up after. However, assumptions had lead us all back into the cafe, all of us that is, but our son. My husband, daughter and I sat for a moment waiting on him but after an uncomfortable amount of time a wave of concern began to wash over us. We all split up and began to scour the area, checking the toilet blocks, wandering the faintly lit laneway, looking in other buses and trucks, checking the vendors and doing it all over again. Our hearts pounding, we were in a quandary. He was nowhere to be found. We had lost our son! I started to think the worst. He was taken. I mean why not? Our son is a handsome 14 yr old fella. And, after everything we saw and learned in Pattaya, Thailand, my mind started to wonder. Panic set in as the bus driver yelled for us all to get back on the bus.

We all moved towards the bus, Craig boarded first and announced that he was going to look on the bus, to see if our son had gone back before us. I was last to board, waiting with bated breath to hear from the back of the bus. Time seemed to stand still as I took my first steps onto the bus, darting my eyes back and forth over the grounds. This couldn’t be, we couldn’t just leave. Of course we couldn’t! I was about to alert the bus driver that we had a missing child. Language barrier or not, he should be able to hear the distress in a mother’s voice and take heed. Then, just before I could speak, Craig yelled from the back of the bus, he’s here! He’s here!!

He had been on the bus the whole time and had no idea that we had nearly lost our minds looking for him. He had gone directly from the toilet block back to the bus. He was just there, curled up like a baby, sleeping soundly in his seat.

As my rational mind returned I took note to breath, inhaling deeply and exhaling slowly. I gave him a big cuddle and went back to my seat. Sleep evaded me so I prayed. I could feel myself breaking. The episode at the bus stop had exacerbated what was already there, lying under the surface. All these years on the road, all these faces we had seen throughout the US, Canada, Australia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and now Myanmar, all the divine appointments, all the stories, the sounds, the smells, they all took my breath away.  shutterstock_122158012_broken-heart1It was all becoming overwhelming and I was weary. Yes, we’ve had many amazing experiences but we’ve also felt the sting of injustice and tasted the bitterness of corruption. We had gladly allowed ourselves to be woven together with the saints, sitting and listening to story after story from those the “Empire” would deem unimportant. We had taken time to feel and understand, to help share the burdens of the afflicted, to offer prayer and share our gifts of encouragement. However, I had to admit that our battle wounds were deep and the load was becoming to heavy to bear. It was here in this moment that I realized that I had been shouldering some of these burdens on my own accord and finally surrendered them and laid them all down at the feet of the Almighty.

I wept, longing for “Thy Kingdom come,” asking for a new song, for a sort of prayer for restoration for those I had met along the way but, also for my own soul. A thirst for healing began to flow out of me and this poem is what followed.

~Here we are rolling along this same old road, ragged and worn, my heart is heavy, the hour is nigh and I’m still awake.
~Thinking about that river that flows, down the mountains into the fold of love and life and happiness, for all who seek.
~Child of Love, don’t you see, the trees that run down the river to the east where the water flows from salt to life and the healing is complete
~And, when those trouble come my way and pride has mounted, so I can not see, I ask the Lord to show me the way because my heart faileth me.
~Then His right hand lifted me up, brought me out of the pit that had trapped me, set my foot on the rock of life, now I’ve been set free
~Child of Love, don’t you see, the trees that run down the river to the east where the water flows from salt to life and the healing is complete
~Well I sat upon that rock, looking out over the canyon towards the west, as the sun it went down, my heart it filled up,
~Then said I, Lo, I come; in the volume of your book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O God yea, I sing.
~Child of Love, don’t you see, the trees that run down the river to the east where the water flows from salt to life and the healing is complete
~…So I gave over myself and asked the Lord to teach me to pray, and he whispered in my ear, come down to the river with me.
~And he sang, Oh darling let’s go down, let’s go down won’t you come on down. Oh darling, let’s go down, down to the river to pray.
~And he sang, Oh darling let’s go down, let’s go down won’t you come on down. Oh darling, let’s go down, down to the river to pray.

Myanmar-river-small-mountain-river-Shan-State-Burma….And, this river of life, these healing waters, are all that make any sense to me right now. And, as each face, name or story comes to mind, I knew then, as I know now that I’m going to just need a little bit time to sit. Time to just rest at the water’s edge and pray. Time to allow the pieces of my heart to be woven back together.

Prudent or Foolish

IMG_2674Recently, Graciana’s wisdom teeth started to give her problems. We tried a number of home remedies but eventually the pain was too much and we needed to find a Dentist. Sourcing healthcare on the road has its challenges, but we have experienced amazing provision and miracles, so we knew that it would eventually all work out.

While in Fredericksburg VA, our host family referred us to their dentist and he was able to get it us the next day for an exam. While there he found that her teeth were growing in sideways and needed to be removed. He was kind enough to refer us to his friend and fellow colleague, an oral surgeon. We were a bit stressed about the diagnosis, and the cost of things to come, but we were thankful for the openness of both doctors in fitting us into their schedules right away. As we walked into the oral surgeons office for the prelim, we fully expected to walk out with excellent care but a mammoth bill. Instead we walked out with excellent care, opportunity to share faith and an appointment to have Graciana’s wisdom teeth removed in the morning. On the way out of the door the Doctor let us know that we need not worry about the cost of this procedure, that it would be a gift!

What?!

The coolest part of the story, was that the night prior we had a conversation with our host,  about how our faith has been and continues to be instrumental in our decision to live the way we do. Our host, a lawyer, really struggled with the idea of letting God have control of our lives on a practical level and the thought of living the way we do terrified him. He asked all sorts of questions about how we deal with the “catastrophic” or when things go wrong. We answered simply that God had proven faithful in taking care of our needs through miracles and through acts of kindness from others, and that we believed the same for this situation. Also, that when things have gone wrong, there was always an amazing story of healing or reconciliation, even during times that seemed to be the end of us. He said, he couldn’t discern if we were “prudent” or “foolish.” And, honestly, we wonder that sometimes too.

None the less, after the series of events that transpired at the Dentist office, we came home with a report of God’s faithfulness. We shared that even though we were distraught about the potential debt that God had gone before us and ‘practically’ cared for us. This really blew his mind, and quite frankly, ours too!  God had plans to care for us but more than that, to care for our host by revealing a character that is faithful and good.

We have a deep gratitude for all that God has given us. Living in pure grace, it’s important that we not misinterpret ourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to us. And this, is what we hope we leave our host with, that the only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him.

Healing Waters and Woodland Gardens

Hot Springs ARHot Springs, Arkansas, gets its name from the naturally thermal spring waters that flow out of the ground. At an average temp of 143 °F, they say the hot springs produce almost one million gallons of water each day.

We could feel the history in this place and began to explore. We learned that Native Americans called this area “the Valley of the Vapors,” and it was said to have been a neutral territory where all tribes could enjoy its healing waters in peace.

In the mid-1500s the Spanish and French settlers claimed the area. In fact, famous explorer Hernando de Soto was the first European to visit Hot Springs in 1541.

The hot springs were such a coveted natural wonder that in 1832, President Andrew Jackson designed Hot Springs as the first federal reservation.  Hot Springs Reservation was essentially America’s first national park, predating Yellowstone National Park by 40 years. Congress finally established the National Park Service in 1921 and Hot Springs Reservation became Hot Springs National Park.

In just a decade, the area changed from a rough frontier town to an elegant spa city centered on a row of attractive Victorian-style bathhouses, the last ones completed in 1888.

In 1886, Bathhouse Row was discovered by the Chicago White Stockings (now the Cubs). With its hot mineral waters and Ouachita Mountain scenery as well as its hotels and nightlife, this bustling turn-of-the-century resort town was the perfect place for something no one had ever heard of: annual spring training for professional baseball.  In time, five fields were built.  Each spring, as many as 250 players came here to train, including the legends of the game.

Hot Springs also became a hotbed for organized crime. Like the Native Americans that came before, this area was deemed safe or neutral ground for enemies to gather. Especially in the 1930s, it was a popular hangout for Al Capone, Frank Costello, Bugs Moran, Lucky Luciano, Madden and other infamous mobsters.

Gangster activity in Hot Springs came to an end in the 1960s, due to a federal crackdown on what the government called “the site of the largest illegal gambling operation in the U.S.”

Although we weren’t able to fit in a visit, The Gangster Museum of America, which is located in downtown Hot Springs,  features classic relics  and a documentary in the museum’s theater.

Quapaw Baths and SpaWe did however take full advantage of Bathhouse Row and spent an afternoon soaking in the thermal waters with our host’s Anna and Rickey Rodgers.  We choose the Quapaw Baths and Spa’s which is situated right in the heart of the city and National Park. The daily rate to soak in the public pools, of which there were four, was $18 and well worth every penny.

We also took a day to explore the Garvan Woodland Gardens, which boasts one of the top five Bonsai gardens in the US. It’s a childhood dream of mythical beasts and strange companions, waterfalls, bridges that twist and turn, and home of the “Tolken-esk” Anthony Chapel.

Our favorite exhibit of the day, the Anthony Chapel sits nestled under a thick canopy of sky-reaching southern pines and age-old oak trees. Nearly six stories tall, the brilliantly designed structure compliments the surrounding wooded landscape.

We learned that Maurice Jennings and David McKee, both from Fayetteville (AR), created this awe-inspiring chapel. Jennings describes the Anthony Chapel as “the finest” of the more than twenty chapels he has designed around the country. It is said that the chapel project cost about $3.8 to construct.

The rest of our visit was spent enjoying time with our host family, the Rodgers. We shared meals, encouraged each other in faith and family life, built with lego, played board games, sang songs, and at over a hundred degrees the whole week of our stay, we enjoyed the air conditioning in their home.

We took advantage of our five days in the area, seeking out a chiropractor that could help with some migraine issues and taking care of much-needed maintenance on our vehicle. As it turned out our 7 hour drive from Coffeyville Kansas to Hot Springs AR, which was a bit treacherous, with winding hills and stormy conditions, could have been our last drive. Apparently, the hub cap screws on our trailer had fallen off sometime during our drive, meaning that our wheel was miraculously held in place until we arrived to our host home. Where by, it then fell off. It truly was a miracle that we made it safe and sound. As it was, we ended up finding a mechanic to help us out for about $500 and a few days later we were on our way.  We are so grateful for the supernatural protection that we know covers us wherever we roll and we are always delighted to meet kinfolk willing to keep us on our way.

We also said goodbye in Hot Springs, to Sylvia. After two weeks sharing space with us through IL, IN, KY, TN, MO, KS, and AR we were sad to see her go. She was a delight to have on board. We’ll especially miss her desire to learn and her fantastic sense of humor.