2 Weeks. A picture blog of the journey leading up to our maiden voyage. On Oct 13, we started up the engine and are Oregon bound. Much to still do but we have been sent off with love and support beyond our wildest dreams!
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.
I’m not much of a camper. In fact, I’m probably a level -2 camper (if there is a scale). It’s hot and sticky. Long days of loud music, thousand’s of people and offering more that any one person can do in day. I have felt oppressed lately and uneasy about the future, so my surrounding aren’t helping. For so long we have been focused on the vision of our call. The vision of sharing family, song and encouraging community and connection through reconciliation. That is all still there but I find myself totally absorbed in my mind, trying to control the details and it’s not working out very well.
Yesterday, I was so overrun with weariness and desperate to leave the festival. My family was having a lovely time and didn’t want to leave. I knew I was being a downer and a bit selfish as my reasonings were all based on fear. “I need to get back to our home so we can have our garage sale, so I can book shows for our future, so I can bla bla bla.” It all sounded so responsible but what I really needed was to stay and be open. I talked myself into just taking a deep breath and seeing what comes. And it came!
I meet three families. All of them servant minded, “kinfolks” as I like to call them. All of them gifted in their craft and all of them focused and moving forward. They told me their stories about how they found themselves as travelers and faith and the mystical ways that God worked out the details. My skeptical mind listened but kept a distance.
Grace, a wife and mother of three darling little girls, is a leader along with her husband of the “Tribe of Judah,” a school out of Iron Mountain, MI. They weren’t planning on traveling except for a few times a year with the students from their school. But last year, just before Cornerstone Festival, a bus was provided and they have been on the road since. She told me a story of a time in New Orleans where they only had a bit of change left, (mind you there are more than a handful of students plus her family on the bus) It was one of those nick of time, testing of the faith stories. I listened but probably squirmed a little.
Later I meet Tony. He was standing by a wagon full of sweet little children in the back of the Chelsea Cafe’ Tent. He was watching his grandchildren while his wife, two beautiful daughters and son set up for their show. I’m not even sure how it happened but in the course of about 20 min. I learned about his 20 + years on the road, traveling with his children and now grandchildren. When I began to ask him questions about the logistics of finances and where they traveled. He just answered, “No, no we didn’t book ahead really. We just did the faith thing.” Hmmm. The Faith thing.
Then there’s Alan Aguirre and his band Men As Trees Walking. He has quite a presence at the festival. He rolls in on his big ol red bus with a fierce lion on both sides. I heard a bit of a buzz about who he is and what he has accomplished. The camp site is busy with movement and I don’t usually approach folks with this sort of presence because of pride, I’m sure. I fear they will think I’m needy… I’m laughing because I am needy. Anyway, I walk past several times and then my feet just start moving in and all of a sudden I’m by his side introducing myself. Craig is with me and we start asking questions about logistics, busses verses RV’s, traveling with family. (He also travels with wife, daughters/son-in-laws, a new baby grandson. About 11 total) He talks of obedience and working through trials. He shares a story about the bus. It’s a disheartening story about the cost of the journey with this bus. He is convinced that God wants him to be in this bus and I’m not going to argue with that but I do ask him if he ever get frustrated with God and question why God would have wanted him to by such a burdensome bus? To paraphrase, he answers, “No where in scripture do I read that if I obey God, he will…. I just read obey because I love God.” I start to tear up. I ask him how he and his family get through. He doesn’t answer in material terms talking of marketing and networking (although, he does that well) but he says two simple words, “prayer and fasting.” He encourages our family to stay in unity with one another spiritually. My defenses are down now and the tears rush out. He hit the nail on the head. We have been so focused on the material issues of selling our home and what we’ll live in next, booking and getting life organized that we’ve lost our vision. The ultimate vision of loving and obeying God. Really it doesn’t matter where we live, what we do or become. My deepest longing is to know God and be open.
Then this morning as I sat down to reflect this came to me…
“Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. 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.” Rom. 12:3
I rest in the encouragement and advice that comes from such wise souls. Allowing the waves of faith to wash over me and laying my pride down. Today I look forward to gleaning more of the goodness will come my way.
We generally do well with transition. We have both traveled extensively, lived in different countries, and the rhythm of motion suites us. However, as we move closer to the dream the anxiety and fears start to come in. So, we refocus on the desire that started it all; the longing to share our gifts and talents with the world, to be available to encourage reconciliation, growth and community where ever it might be. That is what drives us.
And so, I make lists. 🙂
- The House: We need to visit with our neighbors and let them know we will be saying goodbye. Put the sign in the yard. (I know that sounds simple, but it’s been 2 weeks since we got those signs and although I’ve blasted it all over the internet, the reluctance is there.)
- Garage Sale this weekend and again after the house sells: I’ve been weeding through our stuff. It ALL must go, but the process of striping in layers seems to be a bit more comforting. I know that when it is all gone I won’t miss it. I know this because the stuff we’ve already sold or given away is not missed. However, I’m more of a “tear the bandage off slowly, rather than one quick rip.” (pain is not my forte’)
- Continue researching Rigs: The initial thought was to get an RV and pull our van. But, we are also open to selling our van and purchasing a Truck and 5th wheel. There is much that will come into play as we research. We are looking for a home, so walking into an RV or 5th wheel it need to feel open. Cost is very important, understanding that we will be living on much less than we do know, we want to be responsible with our finances. So finding a rig that fits our budget is VERY important.
- Booking and looking for community: We can not do this alone, wandering around this land looking for work, trying to get by. We need community. We need others to see us in their big picture and invite us in. We reach out and hope and pray. Regions and Seasons are:
June – WI
July – WI, IL, IA, NE
Aug- MN, MI, IL
September- WI, NE, MO, IN
October- IA, NE, CO, ID, CA, OR
November- CA, OR, WA, MT
December- OR, WA, CA
January- CA, AZ, NM, NV, ID, UT
Feb- AZ, NM, KS, MO, AR, TN
- Kids: Graciana and Banjo are finishing up at St. Matthew’s School in Allouez. It is a supportive and kind community and we will miss them. Grace graduates in two weeks from 8th grade and Banjo will finish up 4th grade. We have them signed up for Wisconsin Virtual School and went with Grace yesterday to pick out her freshman year courses. They are both so excited for our new adventure. Banjo turns 10 in a few weeks. The day after our CD Launch. Time to start planning his party!