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.

 

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Fox In The Chicken Coop

The hour was nigh, the full moon smack dab in the middle of the sky and the air was thick with the smell of spring blossoms. Amongst the rolling hills sat a little community farm, with a sweet little farm-house, chickens, and sheep. All was quiet, that is until the break of dawn; that’s when the shrill of screams woke the farmer’s wife.

“There is a fox in the chicken coop!” she yelled.

The farmer jumped out of the bed, rushed to the door, threw on his gum-boots, grabbed his gun and ran wildly out the door. He crossed the paddock, eyes darting left and right, finally reaching the chickens, but he arrived to late. The fox had been in and out, taking with him one poor chicken. The evidence of the crime laid all over the dirt floor. Feathers, blood and the rest of the chickens squawking up a storm. The farmer tried to calm them down, but they seemed inconsolable. He threw them an early breakfast and figured eventually they would find their way back to the calm. Defeated, he took one more look around and he went back to the house to get ready for the day.

That wicked, wily fox! What the farmer didn’t realize is that this fox was very different from other foxes. Sure, he had a bushy tail and those keen greenish-yellow eyes, but this fox was nefarious and had a super power. This fox could shape himself into the likeness of his prey and was actually still in that coop. What the farmer didn’t realize is that the fox had other plans. He planned to nestle himself in amongst those chickens, enjoying the warmth of the coop and the assurance of a constant food source.

The chickens were even fooled by the foxes cunning abilities to fit in. He ate the seed and feed that the farmer fed them, he roamed around the grassy hills but never wondered to far off. He could bawk like them and he could cluck like them. He even went the extra mile to make the chickens feel like they were really special, speaking sugar sweet words of affirmation.

Life seemed pretty great for the fox. He had even gone as far as to win over the affections of the rooster.

Once a chicken came to the rooster and said, “Rooster, that chicken over there, pecked me the other day, she sat right next to me while we were laying eggs and when I asked her why she didn’t have any eggs herself, she leaned over and pecked me. It hurt so bad.”

The rooster was angry but he really liked the fox chicken as they were good friends, so he was conflicted as to what to do. He vowed to kept his eye on the fox chicken but he never confronted his friend.

One day the farmer brought a new chicken into the coop. This chicken was different from the rest. She was beautiful and very talented. This chicken was red and could lay more eggs than the rest. The rooster knew that the farmer had high hopes for the red chicken and it was his job to watch over that new girl. Likewise, the fox saw that the red chicken was high value. The other chickens meant nothing to him, they were just easy feed, and if he was honest with himself, they were bland and a bit dry. But this red chicken, well she just might be the real door prize. And so, the fox decided he would convince her that he was her best friend and most of all, he would seduce her into giving herself to him without a fight. She would be the best dinner yet, for surely she would more juicy and have more flavor than the rest.

The little red chicken was new and although she was different, all of the other hens welcomed her with open arms, inviting her into the fold. They all became fast friends, sharing meals and roaming the hill-side together. The rooster, likewise, offered up his loyal services and even took a little liking to the red hen. Life was good and everyone seemed to be getting along.

Then, one day, she noticed the fox chicken sitting in the corner and curiously thought, “hmm, she seems nice too,” so she went over and introduced herself.

She said, “Hello, my name is Venus.”

The fox chicken responded in as high a voice as he could muster as to not give away his true identity, “Hi, my name is Foxy.”

Venus was immediately stirred by Foxy’s smooth talking. He looked like all the rest but there was something different and maybe a little dangerous about Foxy and that actually made her excited. She noticed that Foxy had the most unusual greenish-yellow eyes. She’s never seen a chicken with eyes so intoxicating. A sense of peril flooded her mind but she quickly abandoned the thought as he continued to speak his hypnotic words, telling her all about his great adventures and how much they had in common being the “different ones.” He told her secrets and told her not to tell the others, she promised with her life that she wouldn’t tell them. Then one day when they were all roaming the hills, Foxy lead her away from the rest of the hens. At first, Venus felt special and relished in the attention Foxy gave her. However, when the thrill was over, she realized that she was not being wise, as foxes roamed these hills too and it is never safe for chickens to wonder to far off.

And so, Venus, confessed to the Rooster. The Rooster was grateful for the confession and went to Foxy, warning her to stay close and to not lead Venus astray. Foxy was compliant but very angry at Venus and ignored her for days. Venus grew more and more depressed and thought that maybe she was wrong for telling and went to Foxy to say sorry. Eventually, things seemed to smooth out and Foxy and Venus resumed their friendship. Foxy played with Venus like a child plays with a rag doll and Venus loved the attention. In fact, the whole coop noticed how much attention Foxy gave Venus and they all thought it was wonderful, for who doesn’t want a best friend.

Life in the barn yard seemed to be harmonious but the fox was growing more and more hungry and his patients was wearing thin. And so, one night, when everyone had gone to bed, he convinced Venus to come with him on an adventure. She was hesitant but excited by the invitation and decided to go along. They stayed out all night, roaming the hills and pushing past the boundaries of the farm. Venus was scared but in awe of Foxy’s confidence and fantastic navigation skills. She followed him here and there, eventually following him down into his den.

They entered slowly, Foxy lit a candle and eyes wide open, Venus started to realize that she was in a foxes den.

She exclaimed, “Foxy, we have to get out of here, it’s not safe here, what if the fox comes home!”

Foxy slyly answered, “Foxes hunt at night, so never to worry my little friend.”

They explored the den, sat on the sofa, and shared a cup of tea. It was late and despite trying to resist, Venus’ heavy eyes fell asleep. Foxy, warmed up next to her, taking a long whiff of her rousing aroma. He couldn’t wait to eat her. He began to move in for the kill but Venus came to and with a look of panic rushed out of the den, over the hills and snuck back into the coop.

The next day, Venus felt horrible and concerned about the bazaar ways that Foxy had nestled next to her. She knew something wasn’t right but was ashamed, so she tried to keep it a secret.

Some of the chickens questioned her, saying, “Venus, where were you last night?”

She was exhausted physically and mentally as she tied to explain away the late night. Eventually, the truth came out and the chickens were shocked by what they heard. They told the rooster and the rooster was shocked by what he heard. He went to Foxy and had a heart to heart, but in the end, Foxy was able to smooth it all out, using his crafty speech and slick charm.

The rooster also scolded Venus and Venus vowed to stay away from Foxy but it was short-lived. For chickens stick together and everywhere Venus went, Foxy was sure to be there. She couldn’t seem to find any space where Foxy wasn’t. It seemed impossible to stay away except by isolating herself from the whole group. She really tried, but she was so lonely, and she missed the adventures and the exhilarating feelings she had when she was with Foxy.

Later, that same day, the farmer came into the coop and noticed that there was one more chicken than normal, he noticed Foxy and picked him up. He looked him square in the eyes and saw that he was different.

Wondering out load he said, “Well, who are you little green-eyed hen? And, how did you get in here?”

He put Foxy outside of the coop for the time being and went back to the farm-house to consult his wife about the strange little hen.  The fox knew his time was short and by now he was famished. So, that night, when all were asleep, he pecked on the window of the coop and bid Venus to come out and join him. Venus was reluctant but eventually gave into the temptation and snuck outside, careful not to wake anyone. Foxy then gave a provocative speech, holding Venus in his arms, letting Venus know that she was his best friend, and that he needed her, that he loved her. Venus was so touched by Foxy’s doublespeak that she didn’t hear his mention of wanting to eat her. She hugged him tightly and before she knew it he morphed into himself, the fox, and devoured her without a peep.

The next day, the farmer came down to the coop, still unsure of where the strange little green-eyed hen had come from. There Foxy was, laying in the dirt just outside the window, pretending to be asleep. The farmer looked down and thought, “how strange but she must be ours?” And so, he opened up the coop, put out the chicken feed, shrugged his shoulders and made his way down to the sheep pen. All the chickens, except one, came wondering out for a feed and a day of roaming the hills. The little fox chicken opened his eyes and mischievously smiled of the corners of his mouth.

He whispered to himself, “yep, that was the most delicious, and juiciest chicken I’ve ever had.  Now, I think I’ll go have sheep for supper.”

And so, the fox wandered over to the sheep pen morphing into a sheep along the way. The farmer was fooled by the foxes disguise but the foxes victory was short-lived as the farmer wanted a sheep for his supper. And so, the farmer took his knife and killed the fox.

Moral of the story for the fox: What comes around goes around. Evil thoughts have evil ends. 

Moral of the story for the little red hen: Lust is the soul's demand to shortcut a longing fulfilled, this impatience leads to a life unfulfilled. 

The moral of the story for the rest of the cast: Appearances are deceptive,The wisdom of the prudent is to discern his way, but the folly of fools is deceiving.

The fox represents the enemy, whether within or a demonic presence, which tethers with our ego, dancing in unison to the beat of “Another One Bites The Dust.” The enemy knows that the way to destroy us is by causing us to drift very slowly. How the enemy must laugh in diabolical glee to see us chasing the “lions” away, all the while, the little foxes, unobserved and almost unhindered, wreak havoc on the farm. It’s the little things, the things overlooked, that often spoil things of value.

The Farmer, his wife, the rooster, Venus and all the other hens represent all the different way we try to manage the depravity of our own hearts, whether through willful nativity, ignorance, turning a blind eye, cheering it on, or a warped understanding of our identity as god within.

So, consider this. You know well the times you are living in. It is time for you to wake up and see what is right before your eyes: for salvation stands at the door and knocks.  The darkness of night is dissolving as dawn’s light draws near, so walk out on your old dark life and put on the armor of light. May we all reflect Christ, living today the same way as we will in the day of His coming. Do not fall into darkness: wild partying, drunkenness, sexual depravity, decadent gratification, quarreling, and jealousy. Instead, wrap yourselves in Yeshua, God’s Anointed, and do not fuel your sinful imagination by indulging your self-seeking desire for the pleasures of the flesh. But rather, put on Beauty, Goodness and Truth. (Romans 13:8-14)

Live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the distorted desires of the ego. Yield to the Holy Spirit, trust Him and rely upon Him to give you the victory. Then there will appear in your life an abundance of fruit –- ““the fruit of the Spirit”;” love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:25)

 

 

 

 

An Open Letter to James Dean

James,

My grandfather, Donald Price, was a bootlegger, gun-runner and a thief. He was the guy they called in when they needed someone skilled at picking locks. He was a “bad boy” to be sure. My grandfathers life story inspired my father, Jerry Price, to study psychology, specifically regarding the twistedness of our minds. I grew up sitting around the table with these men, gleaning wisdom and understanding the nuances regarding the depravity of the human condition. I set out to try their words and became quite good at conning others but in the end I found out what my grandfather and father already knew; that every con thinks they are unique and that belief sustains their duplicity. What I didn’t understand but do now is that the ultimate con is to con ones own self. My grandfather used to say, “you can’t con a con.”  Meaning, “I’ve been there, done that” and quiet frankly I can see right through you James. 

Even so, what you need to understand is that if you plan to continue to insert yourself into our daughters life that you are also inserting yourself into our lives. You can’t have one but not the other. So all these games you’ve been playing, deceiving one another, as well as, the community around you, needs to stop. It’s short sighted. 

During my pregnancy with my daughter, I glimpsed for the first time in my life, the future. Now mind you, she was conceived during a time in my life that was utterly dark. I was in the thick of my twistedness and like you James, I was short-sighted. I didn’t have a dream for my future, nor could I see past the immediate sense of pleasure and thirst for power that held me captive. None the less, God could see and knew that my daughter would be a life force of love and light and her birth would be my birth out of duplicity and into wholeness. Her birth was divine and from the moment she was conceived God placed his seal on her life for His glory.  

So, James, what you really need to understand is that when you initiate or for that matter, respond to my daughter’s initiation, that you are not just messing around with her, you are not just messing around with us as her family, but you are messing around with God’s plan for her life. And, my hunch is for your life too. The ancient text says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline” (Prov. 1:7). My hope is that you are not a fool but one who is moldable, pliable and becoming all that you were created to be. So, live in the light but know that as long as I keep seeing you pop up in my daughter’s life that this mama is going to keep popping up in your life.

Sincerely,

Mama Holland

 

Graduation Expectation

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We ask little children, “What do you want to be when you grow up.” We ask teens, “What are you going to do when you graduate?”

These question are loaded with expectation, even if we don’t recognize it. The emphasis is on logistics and commerce and says to most children/teens that they need to figure out something that we all know takes a life time. Heck, I still ask myself what I want to be when I grow up.

Knowing the pressure my teen already has from the media and outside world to become “something” makes me angry and frustrated. I want her to just be and grow and take the time threw out her whole life to nurture healthy ideology, character and in doing so, become who she is really created to be. How can we change the dialog from what one will do to who are you now and how would you like to grow?

Homeschool on the Road

Sofija BurtonIn March, we sat down with Homeschool mom and “Teach Where You Live” blogger, Sofija Burton and she asked us a few questions about Homeschooling on the road.

SB:  Tell us a little about your family. Who lives with you?

JH: We are The Hollands! A nomadic family of merrymakers. We are four, Jana- Mother, Craig-Father, Graciana-Sister, Banjo- Brother. We are folk musicians and observers of humanity, encouragers of community.

SB: How did you come to live on a bus?

JH: We came to a cross roads in life where our family life was fragmented, our gifts stifled and a longing crept up for a more holistic way of life.  And so, we began to dialog and dream of a simpler way. The nomadic life came as a result. It was apparent that a drastic change in lifestyle was necessary and the idea of giving away all we owned and traveling seemed a reasonable option.

The Hollands! BusSB: What are the challenges of living on a bus and traveling?

JH: We bought the bus off of Craig’s List in 2010. It was the Casper WY Trooper Drum and Bugle Corp Bus. It’s a 1984 MCI model. We had to strip it clean and build it out from scratch. The most challenging aspects have been building the electrical and plumbing systems, then the fact that we aren’t dealing with straight lines have added to the construction difficulties. However, Craig is a learner and these challenges suite him. As for the rest of us, living in a half built bus has been a struggle at times. However, we are much more comfortable now than when we left in the bus. We have electricity and now that my kitchen is built I can offer some pretty delicious meals. We have a working toilet and cold running water but look forward to the day we have hot water, a shower and air conditioning.

SB: What are the perks?

JH: Mobility would be the greatest perk. It’s very comfortable to travel. It’s home. Another perk would be the opportunity to share in life with neighbors across the US. You are our 32nd neighbor in the last year and a half. It is a real joy to have the opportunity to observe, learn and work out life with so many kinfolk.

SB: How do you home-school while traveling? Describe a typical day.

JH: We currently use the K-12 for our 6th grade son and E-Achive for our 10th grade daughter, both are on-line schools out of our home state of Wisconsin. Each program is slightly different and offers separate perks and challenges. Our days fluctuate depending on the community we are engaging with. Some days are more focused on the curriculum and others we are fully engaged with community around us. Homeschool

SB: What are challenges of home-schooling on the road?

JH: Because of the nature of our travels, the ebb and flow of virtual school can be a challenge and sometimes feels disjointed. Although the programs in and of themselves are quite good, we are beginning to explore other options for schooling that will bring the kids learning in line with our lifestyle and offer them more opportunity to really experience “live” learning. There is such pressure from the world system to “keep up with the jones” and when this concept seeps into our learning environments it stifles real growth. It takes us hostage and invokes a deep fear of failing. Instead of learning we grow up regurgitating. We are tired of watching our children regurgitate. We long to see them really learn.

SB: What would you like your kids to learn from this experience?

JH: We would like to give them an opportunity to take “ownership” their learning, to find freedom and joy in observing and fully participating in the environments we travel in. Homeschooling is a real gift and we are excited to begin to think out side of the box and explore ways to facilitate this.

4th of July Family Caravan

The Blumreich family, our first community caravaner’s, joined us over the 4th of July weekend.

blumreichbus.jpgWe picked up Eric, Jodie, Emma and Clara on a Thursday in front of their house and began our trek south towards the beautiful town of Galena, IL. Our first stop Beloit, WI for the Blumreich annual family gathering. We enjoyed a potluck style meal, played yard games, sang songs and enjoyed fireworks.

The next morning we packed up and drove about three hours before pulling into the Palace Campground, which sits just outside of Galena. We discovered this little gem last summer and knew the Blumreich’s would appreciate the vintage aspect of the facility, including an old school pool with diving board and mini-golf course. Everything about the campground reminds us of camping back in the 1970’s and in a world that is constantly upgrading there is something nostalgic about that. It would be the ideal setting for most of the Chevy Chase ‘Vacation’ movies.

PalaceCampground.jpgWhen we arrived at the campground and set up three tents, one for Jodie, Eric and Clara, one for Graciana and Emma and one for John and Les (Eric’s parents). Then we all settled in for a fantastic weekend.

We enjoyed swimming, mini-golf, a trip to the city center to see all of the historical artifacts and shops. We shared meals, bon fire’s and song. We observed each other families, with the most encouraging conversations revolving around the joys and woes of parenting teen’s and pre-teens.

It’s no easy task to be a parent to any age group and it’s affirming to share our journey with other parents in order that we might know that our struggles are perfectly normal, that we aren’t the only ones going through it, and that we are not alone. Likewise, it was good for our children, specially our 16 year old’s, who sometimes believes that the grass is greener on the other side. They were both able to work through drama, share dreams and desires, and hopefully gain perspective by being in such close quarters.

thehollandsgalena.jpgOur ultimate purpose for going to Galena was to perform for the Galena Performing Arts Festival, which rounded out the weekend nicely. The concert was held in the historic Grace Episcopal church and was a fantastic setting. Seating about 80, we packed the house to over 150.

We were a little leery about how our children would transition from enjoying the lazy weekend with friends to performing, but they did a fantastic job. Funny enough, that day, I had spent quite a bit of time myself in the pool and personally couldn’t hear much during our performance with all of the water in my ears. However, everyone else picked up the slack and this one will go down as one of our favorite settings and behind the scenes moments. Including, Eric’s helpful hand in set up/tear down, Emma’s thoughtful prayer for us before our show, a tender moment when Craig introduced Graciana as our “beautiful” daughter, Banjo’s fun antics on stage, and the Malik family driving in from Mt. Vernon, IA to see us and say hello.

On our drive home, I asked Eric for constructive feedback on what it was like to travel with our family. He responded, “your future guests will have to be pretty laid back.” Ha! I know we beat to a different drum and we are thankful that the Blumreich family took the plunge to be our first caravan guests. We are thankful for their willingness to swim upstream with us merrymaking nomads. We love you Eric, Jodie, Emma and Clara.

From the Inside Out

20130513-081732.jpgTaking a moment this morning to recognize the awesomeness of this journey we are on, specially as it relates to the interpersonal relationships of family.

There is a sweetness in the air and the sun is shining. I’m remembering a moment at the Mammoth Cave National park, two weeks ago. We signed up for the historical tour and were on our way to explore the caves. Our 11 yr old son was having a melt down because he didn’t want to hike. We had already paid for the tour and were dreading the next two hours of a whiny pre-teen. We had experienced these angsty, over the top episodes over the past months and they were wearing on us all. Each time the fits would come we would try to manage through them prayerfully, although not very eloquently. Then after they passed we would address him, sharing the impact that it was having on us all, including our son. We would bring to light the belief system in place that precipitated the fits and we would challenge him to identify the fear or twisted thinking patterns at the root. Then we would talk through the options and consequences. These conversations were long and tedious and often the timing was not ideal.

And so, as we walked towards the caves, the attitude started to seep in and we braced ourselves for the coming storm. However, this time it was different. Instead of the full blown episode, there was only rough blowing of the wind. And, after a moment of discord, our son turned back. Was this a new front? Was this a new tactic? We continued forward maintaing the joy and anticipation of experiencing the largest cave structure in the US, all the while our son followed and at a certain point must have had a conversation in his own head, the one that we’ve been having all along about root belief’s and decided to make a change. I’ll admit that I wasn’t sure it was a lasting change and wondered if there would be some sort of pay back in the caves or after the hike, but this time it really was different. This time the change went to the core. It wasn’t a white knuckling surrender but a real moment of clarity, of empathy. There really isn’t a formula for this stuff, only prayer, open conversation, vulnerability and belief that we are all connected. I don’t know what decision he’ll make next time around, but I do know that the more we replace lies with truth the more we walk in the light. The more we walk in the light the more we recognize the lies. I’m encouraged by the sacred text. “be transformed from the inside out by renewing your mind.”

By the way, the Mammoth Cave’s were amazing and Kentucky was the greenest place we’ve ever been. Also, I would like to thank my dad for his wisdom and for authoring “Twisted Thinking Transformed.”  You’re a wise old soul dad!