Glory and The Pink Lady

We were asked by a friend, how God gets the glory in our lives and service. This is a friend who is serious about his faith and… very wealthy. He’s a thinker, a debater and has watched us from the beginning of our process but there was always a question from our friend, regarding our motives. He knew of our marriage issues and reconciliation, we shared our parenting woes, as well as the amazing ways that we saw God working in, through and, around us. We recently send out a letter to friends and family asking for support and his question was asked in the context of potentially partnering with us financially.  

Now, this whole fundraising thing is a little foreign to us and we long for our friends to care for us whether they can support us financially or not. However, we’ll admit that, we do have some systemic issues with the perceived manipulative nature of it all. We don’t have any trouble asking for help but struggle with the expected corporate way supporters  are catered to, pulled on and adorned just so they share their wealth.  

For instance, the reason we were able to meet our friends for lunch, was because they were flown in and put up as guests at a lovely conference center for a “Presidents” weekend in Scottsdale, AZ. Apparently, they were scouted out by large ministry, and brought in to be lavished on and ministered to, in hopes that they would feel a connection and give. It sort of reminded me of those deals that the fancy hotels in Vegas send out, for free stay at their casino. They know if they can get you there, that you will probably spend your money on their slot machines. 

We also know of an organization that does research for some of the richest Christians in the country. They look at a ministry and analyze it in a quantifying way, assessing whether or not the ministry is kingdom worthy. I can see a need for this type of research, as most of the ministries that they are looking at are large organizations. However, it all just seems so distant from where God is really moving. And, can you imagine the hoops those ministries have to jump through, to prove they are worthy of those funds. Good grief.

Here’s the thing… about the Glory of the Lord. We know that humility and poverty has something to do with it. 

…just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matt 20:28

…sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything. 2 Cor 6:10

Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death– even death on a cross!  Phil 2:68

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” Matt 5:3

And then there is the story of the widow and the copper pennies. We see Jesus make note of what folks were giving and compares the gifts of the those who give out of their abundance. These were people who great wealth, and though they give much, they could easily spare it, and had enough remaining: but she, the widow, in her”penury”, gives all that she had, her whole substance, all that she had in the world; what was to have bought her food, for that day; she left herself nothing, and trusted to providence for immediate supply.

And then we read about the Corinthians who gave out of their poverty to Paul and Timothy. “For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us.”

And so, we throw our hands up and we say, take our lives that we might really live. Take it all, that we might see you’re glory. 

20131104-124550.jpgWe arrived in Phoenix ten days ago, on our last financial leg, we had zero dollars. Our host, Kineo Community and our family have been gracious in caring for us. When we arrived we made note of things that might be helpful in our service at Kineo church and we put a shout out on our Facebook group ‘Tillers and Travelers” for art supplies, food and building supplies. Within a few days of voicing that request we had art supplies and a large box of fresh veggies show up. And then, yesterday, our friends The Huff family asked us to join them for lunch. 

We met Niqee at Camp Nebowa in Iowa three summers ago. We were in the process of getting our bus and heading out. She stayed in touch and two summers ago she invited us to join her family, Daniel, and two darling children, at an outreach in Shannandoah, IA. And, later at their home in Omaha, NE. we shared in community with this humble family. A few months later we heard that they had sold everything and hit the road, to serve. They travel in a minivan and similar to us, stay with host families and ministries, offering helps, encouragement and healing prayer. We watched them from afar and then two weeks ago they let us know that we were going to be in Phoenix together. We were excited to hear how things were going for them, to love on them and encourage them to keep rolling and serving. Little did we know that they were actually going to be the ones to pour into us. 

We sat at In and Out burger, enjoying our meal and sharing stories of God’s amazing tapestry in putting the body together. Then they pulled out a big yellow envelope and handed it to us. They spoke healing words over us, words of affirmation, letting us know that this gift was an act of obedience for them, that God recognized our faithfulness and wanted to bless us. In the package was a substantial gift for each of us. They wanted our children to know that God see’s how they care for others, and how He wants to care for them.  They wanted us to know that God gave them this blessing to bless us.  Mind you, these are kinfolk who live day to day, aka… in poverty. My eyes filled with tears, as I felt the presence of the Lord wrap his arms around us. 

We had but a moment to sigh and thank them when an elderly woman approached us. She was a tall woman with silver shoulder length hair pulled back into a pony tale. She had on a hot pink tank top and light pink shorts, pink socks and white tennis shoes. She had two bags with her, both pink. Her name was Debby.  She sat down at the table next to our families and said “hi.” A few polite words were shared and then she asked us, with all seriousness, if we had $10 dollars to spare.

Ok, so wait a minute… In a 24 hour period, I was sitting with my friend releasing him from any financial expectations, blessed by a significant gift from the unexpected and then asked for help.

Debby begins to explain her story about needing rent money. I tell her she doesn’t have to justify it to us, we’re happy to give. Craig pulls out $10 dollars, then Daniel follows. She is now holding twenty dollars. There is a small tear in her eye as she begins to share how that just impacted her. She tells us of a life that is filled with violence, poor health and constant rebuke from those with whom she asks for help. Daniel asks her if she would like us to pray for her. She says absolutely. We move to her table. He begins to talk with her about her heart, and God’s longing for her to move towards him. That God wants more of her. She is in agreement. We pray, Niqee puts a gift card in her hand and Debby whispers, “how much?” Niqee answers “$50 and to get whatever she desires with it.” Debby begins to weep and we all hug her. 

We say our goodbyes to Debby and to each other.

My heart is overwhelmed…. Love, Mercy, and Grace flowing from above. 

And so, to answer my friends original question: God gets the glory because he knows our every need and he uses unexpected means to care for us, and in caring for us, we are able to care for others. The glory is his because he orchestras it.   

 

 

Child of the Humble Sod

Hope thru ArtWe arrived in Phoenix on Thursday and jumped right into life with our friends at Kineo Community. We met Kineo through our dear friend, the late, Steve Malakowsky with Hope thru Art. This is our third visit to Kineo.

They are located on a large block in Central Phoenix between a mostly low-income Hispanic neighborhood and college students at Grand Canyon University.

Kineo has a heart for the broken hearted and use their time, possessions and talents to nurture relationships. They are committed to exploring ways to live in intentional community, caring for each other and for their neighborhood. One of those ways is to use their property as a gathering space. They are also in the embryo stages of planning an urban farm and we are excited to partner with them for the next five weeks. We are looking forward to getting our hands dirty but mostly for opportunities to encourage and offering a healing presence; to share the joys and woes of real life with our brothers and sisters here on the ground in this hot, tough soil.

TillingOur first weekend we literaly “tilled” the soil and laid sod. We cared for the little ones in the neighborhood and community by offering art, dance, games and music while the adults and older kids worked hard. Our friends, the Huff family, joined in the fun. We meet them in Omaha, NE two ago and recently they gave all they had away and began traveling and serving communities. They just happened to be in Phoenix at the same time and came over to help out.

Kineo has graciously offered us the space and freedom to serve along side of them. Five weeks are a long time for a community to care for us and so, we would like to invite our friends from around the country to partner with us by offering a tax-deductible donation towards our efforts here on the ground. We are specifically hoping to purchase art supplies, offer meals, and building supplies for the many project that they have, including building a chicken coop, paint, decking, and wood for the raised gardens beds.

Donations can be made at MODERN DAY. https://giving.modernday.org/client/index.php 

Thank you for caring for us so that we can care for others.

Two Years Baby!

Today marks our two-year anniversary of nomadic life. Thinking about all of the individuals and families that helped to make all of this happen. Those at the very beginning and those we continue to meet along the way.

When we pulled out of Green Bay, Wisconsin we had our couch, dinette and bed built, the rest of our belongings were in boxes on the floor of the bus. We had $1800 in our pockets and our first week on the road we trekked over 2000 miles to Sisters, OR. We arrived with only two hundred dollars left in our pocket and wondered what in the world we were going to do.

Little did we know that there was a community and purpose waiting for us!  We spent three months in that community finding our legs and experiencing a massive shift in our thinking about life, purpose, humanity and God.

Every single thing that has been built on the bus has a story that involves donated or refurbished materials and/or kinfolk offering a helping hand. Story upon story, layer upon layer of community, beauty and worth.

Today we don’t celebrate our efforts but we celebrate all of those who have persevered and come along side of us through this journey.

We celebrate those who have hosted us in their driveways, allowed us to use showers, laundry and space.

We thank those who have allowed us to invade their lives, shared story, community and meals.

We thank those who have graciously offered us the cash in their pockets to help us with gas, repairs, and groceries.

We celebrate those who have invited us into the fold, those who have trusted us to lead them in sacred space.

We thank friends who continue to hold us accountable, challenge and encourage us in our marriage, family and faith.

We thank the youth we have met along the way, that open their hearts to our children, that inviting them into their lives, sharing the experiences of football games, dances, going to movies, parties, and staying in touch with them when we leave.

We celebrate those who have educated us along our way, homeschool parents, teachers, and those with special gifts and resources, offering us opportunities to learn to surf, horseback ride, ski, mountain bike, hiking, fly fishing, work with fine art, graffiti art, CSA farming, and building/flying RC Planes.

We thank those who are doing amazing things to advocate for the marginalized and their willingness to allow us to come along side and encourage, serve and learn.

We celebrate you! Every single one of you! Thank you for loving us and cheering us on.

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Seasons Change

20130508-121609.jpgWe had a beautiful winter season of neighboring with communities along the West coast, Southwest and Cajun country, learning about different communal philosophies, experiencing miracles, sharing story, embracing and encouraging kinfolk to continue to care for their communities and each other. Through it all, a pattern of sorts was established and we had become comfortable in our travels. However, as the seasons change, there is a shift in the wind and we sense that the winter chapter is over. As funny as it sounds, coming from us nomads, “we are once again, heading into the unknown.” We have a longing to continue to move in community but it is beginning to take a different form. We feel a pull to try to hang on to what we know. History has proven however, that we can not and so we take a deep breath, enter the mystery and continue on trusting and rolling forward in faith.

20130508-121629.jpgWe are freedom seekers.

Freedom is light.

Freedom is unconditional love.

Freedom is the very

breathe

of

God.

 

Zion

20130220-155818.jpgAlthough visiting with community is a top priority for us, we do occasionally get to trek off the beaten path to see some of the wonders of this amazing world we live in.

Zion National Park is no exception. Located in Southwest Utah, it’s a breath taking part of the country and we highly recommend a visit. The park holds huge canyons, rock faces, and emerald pools.

Zion is a bit smaller than other parks we’ve been to, including the vast and beautiful Grand Canyon. Because of that, it offered a feeling of accomplishment as we wove our way through. Had we a longer stay we could have investigated more throughly but for a day trip Zion was a good choice.

Rest in the Desert

NeighborsOur last visit to Phoenix in February of 2012 was one of the most profound moments of our journey. It was the place where we actually saw the hand of God knit together the body. We saw the miracle of community woven together like we had never seen before. It was also our first real taste of an economy not of this world. We were looking forward to going back but it is the desert. I know folks rave about this place but for a water girl, the desert is the desert! We were tired and the pieces of the puzzle that we had last time around were not falling into place. We didn’t have a clear picture of who, how, what or why for this visit. However, we moved forward in faith.

The Skeens were our hosts. Jeff, Amy and their four precious children.

Who knew our weary souls would find such refreshment in this dry desert? And, yet we did. Ten days we spent, pouring into community, soaking up the sun… and the rain. Yes, it rained for three days in the desert. There was a harmony that washed over us the moment we pulled into their driveway and we knew we were with family. We shared story, encouragement, laughter, difficulties, meals, and more encouragement.

Because our schedule was light, with only one performance in the area (at the Chandler Multicultural Festival) we had more time to spend really tending to some much-needed areas, including our health. Amy took Grace and I to Holy Yoga. We ended up getting in three session, just the kick-start we needed. I was able to find a chiropractor and a massage therapist to do some intense work on my traps and neck, relieving a head ache I had since October. Banjo was able to really connect with Noah, the Skeens oldest and enjoy the friendship of a brother. Craig and Jeff connected deeply as well and at one point I made a joke about them having a “bromance” but honestly, it really was great to see them as kindred spirits, working out story and building more on the bus. Graciana was poured into by Anna, a Young Life leader from Jeff and Amy’s church.  A real joy and contentment fell over Graciana and a vision of her future was seen.  We shared in song with friends from Kineo Church. We enjoyed continued community with our friends, the Seymore’s, The Hummels, The Ortiz’s, Joel Pritchard, Lori Englert and Steve from Hope thru Art.

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The desert is still the desert, but the community we shared in Phoenix will remain an oasis.  And, we can’t wait to be with these kinfolk again.

Bus Conversion; New Flooring

Celu'haven floorWe parked in the Skeens driveway for 10 days. They live in Central Phoenix. Besides being a pretty wise missiologist, Jeff has mad skills in construction and spent a couple of afternoons helping Craig build a vanity for the bathroom and lay the flooring in the bus.

We were donated four boxes of the hardwood flooring from the Wall family in Green Bay back in July of 2012 and purchased four more at cost from Jeff’s dad, Med who works in the flooring industry in Phoenix. The final product is bright, comfortable and super easy to clean!

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When Push Comes to Shove

Have you heard the saying that, “at the end of the day, we do what we care most about.” For us that is community. It doesn’t always come natural to be in community with others but at the end of the day, we push through to honor the “tie that binds” us all together.

When we choose to make relationship a priority over logistics we experience the miracle of community… and more problems get solved.

This past weekend we had intentions to go and spend a few days alone as a family in the Redwoods of California. We had just come off of a full Holiday season with family and friends and then, recording in Portland. We were really looking forward to the down time. And, mind you we don’t often seek “down” time. So, when the time came for our departure and the bus didn’t start, all heads sank low. We had made plans that morning to share breakfast with the Nolan family that had moved from our old stomping grounds in Wisconsin to Vancouver, WA and were very near to where we were parked. We were meant to load up and drive the bus over to their neighborhood, have breakfast and then be on our way down to sunny California via a stop over for a few gigs in Cottage Grove and Roseburg, Oregon.

OK, so shift gears, this bus is not only our home but our means of transportation and we really are not mechanically inclined. So, when something goes awry it can throw a real spanner in the works. All of our minds efforts go mush and there is a paralyzing feeling that comes over us. Add to that the overwhelming amount of logistics that we have to process each day that we travel and it’s a recipe for disaster. However, when this challenge came we decided to lay it down, set it aside and go for breakfast. It was a challenge not to worry about our issues but in the end we had a lovely visit.

We made our way in our mini-van, four hours south to Cottage Grove and Roseburg, where we stayed with strangers turned kinfolk.

Arriving back in WA, accepting the fact that we were not going to see the redwoods but rather spend the needed time fixing the bus, we dove in. Travis Nolan who we had shared that breakfast with a few days prior just happened to be a diesel mechanic in the Coast Guard for years and offered a helping hand. He and his wife, Cindy, came over at 8am and plugged right into bus life with us. We shared lunch, kept problem solving, looking at the batteries, starter, wires, etc and about 1pm Travis began scouring the manual to find a little blurb about gears. He asked Craig, “What gear is it in?” Craig went and looked, and said with a loud exclamation, “Fourth, it’s in forth!!” That was it, simple as that! The bus wouldn’t start because it was in the wrong gear. We laughed, rejoiced and laughed more. Then Cindy and I ran some errands and gathered together one last time as families to share a meal and celebrate.

We departed the next morning towards Oakland, CA via Redding. Originally we were going to miss Redding but because of our waylay this was our new route. This opened the door for us to link up with our dear old friends, the Nero’s. And, our host in Oakland, Josh Harper, called and connected us with his parents who live in Redding for a late night coffee. We pulled into Redding after a 8 hour drive and found that our electrical was out of order, so in the same vain we had a decision to make. Craig pulled a few bold moves and fixed up the electrical, woofed down his meal and off we went. The door to the Harper home opened and we immediately felt like we were with family. We settled in for a few hours and shared precious time with these kind folks. This morning we were able to connect for breakfast at the Cottonwood Eatery with the Lori and John and share stories and encouragement.

Had we decided that previous Saturday morning when the bus wouldn’t start that we were going to make fixing it the priority things may have turned out similar but I’m not sure we would have experienced the joy of community. The joy of sharing in one accord and problem solving together. In that 72 hour period we had the opportunity to connect with multiple folks on all sorts of levels, all the while getting things done. This choice to keep relationship on the for front allowed for the gifts to flow and for faith to rise up! And for that we are most grateful.

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A New Direction by Ben Salmon of the Bend Bulletin

The Hollands hang out in their home, a 40-foot bus currently parked in a driveway in Bend. From left are Banjo, Craig, Jana and Graciana.Photos by Andy Tullis / The Bulletin
The Hollands hang out in their home, a 40-foot bus currently parked in a driveway in Bend. From left are Banjo, Craig, Jana and Graciana.
Photos by Andy Tullis / The Bulletin

Lifestyle change leads to music, community and many miles on the road for The Hollands!

By Ben Salmon / The Bulletin / Dec 2012

When The Hollands! — a traveling four-piece family band — drove their 40-foot-long bus into Sisters about 14 months ago, they intended on staying for just a few weeks before setting off on an endless journey.

“We wanted to do Thanksgiving with the parents, and then we just figured that this is the new life,” Craig Holland said in an interview on Christmas Eve. “We were going to go off and start touring.”

One problem: No gigs. The family had been so busy picking up its life in Wisconsin and hitting the road indefinitely, “the business side of being musicians had really gone by the wayside,” he said.

Getting rid of the house and possessions. Buying and working on the bus. Transitioning the kids into online school. Busy, busy, busy.

But, Holland said, “we hadn’t really booked a tour.”

So a few weeks turned into a few months, and the Hollands — Craig and wife Jana, who are in their late 30s, plus daughter Graciana, 16, and son Banjo, 11 — settled into arts-friendly Sisters. They worked with a church. Graciana took art classes. They met their neighbors.

“The bus is a great ice-breaker,” Jana said.

All the while, they worked on preparing the vehicle for its ultimate purpose: To carry this family full-time as they drive around the country to meet people, connect with communities and play their melodic and globally flavored folk music for an ever-growing network of fans.

Eleven months ago, they set out on their journey. More than 27,000 miles and a two-month stay in Australia later, they’re back in Central Oregon, and they’ll perform tonight at McMenamins Old St. Francis School in Bend (see “If you go”).

To the stage, they’ll bring a bond, both familial and musical, tightened by the time they’ve spent together and the experiences they’ve shared.

“We’ve soaked in everywhere we’ve been: the personalities, the culture of the communities we’ve stayed in,” Craig said. “It’s had an effect on all of us.”

Jana calls the family’s lifestyle change “a paradigm shift” and says it would be a challenge to return to a more stationary life.

“It’s funny how once you make that paradigm shift, your brain really does say it’s not even possible to really go back. I would have to relearn life again to go back,” she said. “To have our eyes opened and to begin to see the fruit of a life that’s for us more purposeful and more connected, it feels right.”

Holland history

Jana and Craig Holland met 13 years ago and were married six months later. Craig moved to the United States from Australia in 1997 for a “fresh start” and the opportunity to see American punk bands he loved, such as Warzone, Agnostic Front and Earth Crisis.

He landed in Chicago and began playing in a Celtic punk band.

Jana was living in Wisconsin at the time and was heavily into music, specifically the techno scene. She was a single mom with a corporate job and a big house that she opened to touring bands looking for a place to crash after a gig.

When Craig’s band ended up at her house, he was instantly drawn to the host.

“I guess he was sort of looking around my house, trying to figure out where the guy was in the pictures of me and Grace,” Jana said.

They were married in early 2000 and moved to Australia for a year. Jana had begun making her own folky music, and Craig had essentially stopped playing to focus on earning money, and being a husband and father.

That disappointed Jana.

“I just couldn’t find room to do music,” Craig said. “We just had such very different backgrounds musically, I didn’t know how to move into her world. It was like, ‘How do I play that kind of music when all I’ve known is this?’”

Jana jumps in: “Some couples have money issues or sex issues. We had this music handicap. It was so ridiculous. We’d get in huge fights over it.”

Fast forward several years. Graciana began performing with her mom. Craig brought his guitar out of hiding. And Jana was working on her first album, fighting a nagging feeling that it shouldn’t just be her name on the cover.

“I thought, ‘If I’m going to launch this, I don’t want to launch it as myself. I want it to be the Hollands,’” she said.

And that’s when a family friend, musician Bruce Hecksel, encouraged Craig to not just be a bit player in Jana’s world, but to go all in on the band.

Which he did. And The Hollands! — the ! is part of the name — were born.

Band beginning

The band released its first album in 2009 and began touring outside its home town of Green Bay, Wis.

And they loved it.

“We experienced so much affirmation on the road. We were invited into so many beautiful places and met so many neat people,” Jana said. “We recognized that we traveled well together. We always stayed in host homes so we had a deep sense of community while we were traveling.

“Venues were happy to have us and we made exactly what we needed,” she continued. “When we got back, we had broken even, or maybe even had an extra hundred bucks.”

That experience planted the seed for how the Hollands have spent the past year. But it was what Jana calls “an interpersonal issue” in the family — essentially, Craig’s lingering “what-if?” feelings about an old flame that kept him from fully giving his heart to his wife — that fertilized the idea.

“We had hit a crossroads where it was either our family was going to blow up and we were all going to go our separate ways,” Jana said, “or we were going to have to hunker down and really get into the heart of each other and reconcile.”

You can hear that vibe — betrayal, disconnect, reconciliation — throughout the band’s second album, 2011’s “Ashes to Beauty.” One song is called “Tears in my Heart.” Another: “Bitter Honey, Sin and Bones, Lady Wisdom Lead Me Home.”

On the road

In August of last year, the family was driving to Minnesota and looking on Craigslist for a bus to call home. They stumbled across one for sale right in their path, in Eau Claire, Wis. A man had purchased two buses from the Troopers Drum and Bugle Corps in Casper, Wyo., and needed to unload one.

The Hollands swung by, handed over $9,500, and drove off with a new home, which they’ve since named Celu’haven.

It’s relatively cozy for a bus, with well-stocked wooden bookshelves and art hanging on every open swath of wall. In the back are the bedrooms; Banjo keeps a drawer full of Legos near his bed, and Graciana has a picture of actor Taylor Lautner tacked above her pillow.

Celu’haven is not built for a Central Oregon winter, however. During their interview with The Bulletin, the Hollands repeatedly turned on the oven and opened it to warm their hands.

But it gets them where they need to be, and it’s big enough to hold their stuff, including Craig’s tools, so he can help out with their hosts’ projects when given the opportunity. In Bend, the bus is parked at the home of Josh Hart, the man in charge of the Operation Elf Box charity. The Hollands have been assisting Hart’s efforts since they arrived in early December.

“Music’s a part of our lives, but it doesn’t define us,” Craig said. “So the other ways that we can serve … are just as important as playing the music.”

Jana concurs: “We’re community builders. That’s our heart. When you come to our concert, we’re going to invite you to sing along. We’re going to bring out instruments. It’s just about sharing that moment of unity.”

Close quarters

Of course, there is such a thing as too much unity, especially among immediate family. Graciana, a multi-instrumentalist who has written a murder ballad for the band’s next album, says she has enjoyed the past year “in the big picture.” She misses her friends in Wisconsin, but has made others across the country. She is thankful for Facebook and Skype and said Australia was an “amazing” experience.

“There’s definitely ups and downs, like being so close to your family all the time,” she said. “It gets annoying, but it’s also good because we work things out faster.”

Banjo, the band’s percussionist, is a bundle of energy; during the interview he turned a sheet of construction paper into a hat, and then a boat. He called his life “fun” but said he likes “normal school” more than homeschool, “because in homeschool you have to stay with your parents the whole time.”

On the other hand, he’s been known to turn a pile of parts into a flashlight with new buddies in Iowa.

“It’s like the icing on the cake when we’re given the privilege of playing music,” Jana said.

The future

Before the Hollands returned to Central Oregon, they stopped in Portland for three days to record their third album. This time, the theme is not betrayal or reconciliation, but, says Jana, “the story of common man” and the commonalities of us all.

“We’ve met so many amazing people along the way that are just really doing some awesome things,” she said. “They’re just beautiful.”

And Craig believes those people see something beautiful in his family’s lifestyle, too.

“People’s generosity along the way has been mind-blowing,” he said. “I think part of it is that they’re seeing us pursuing a dream that I think is in all of us. Not everyone necessarily wants to go travel in a bus, but this idea of doing something crazy as a family — of setting a goal and doing it — I think that taps into something in a lot of people.”

And if there’s a larger life lesson to be taken from the Hollands’ unconventional ways, it’s that pursuing a dream — or doing something crazy as a family or whatever you want to call it — may be the key to unlocking the day-to-day gridlock we all face, Jana said.

“We’re trying to communicate (the importance of) recognizing whatever system is in your life (that’s keeping you from) connecting. And if that is happening, to recognize that you can do something about that,” she said.

“You don’t have to keep swimming that way.”

— Reporter: 541-383-0377, bsalmon@bendbulletin.com

You can link to the article in the Bend Bulletin HERE

Revival

revival |riˈvīvəl| noun, an improvement in the condition or strength of something: a revival in the fortunes of the party | an economic revival.• an instance of something becoming popular, active, or important again • a new production of an old play or similar work.• a reawakening of religious fervor, esp. by means of a series of evangelistic meetings: the revivals of the nineteenth century | a wave of religious revival.• a restoration to bodily or mental vigor, to life or consciousness, or to sporting success.

The ecumenical community in Sedan, Kansas, a town of about 1500, called and asked us to come and offer “revival” to their community. Both raised as “PK’s” (Pastors kids), insecurities and unknown expectations of what a revival even meant ran through our minds. All sorts of preconceived notions and past experiences flashed before us and our first reaction was to say no thanks. The challenge; to give it a go or try to control our situation, keeping ourselves in a box, safe and pride in tact.

When we launched on this journey one of our major ideals was and is to be open and available. Obviously, being mobile, we’re much more available and so that doesn’t tend to be a hinderance but openness, that’s more of a daily surrender. It’s easy to just do what we do best and stick to the straight and narrow but we long for more, we long to experience living and breathing life. We long to be stretched beyond our limits, physically, emotionally and spiritually. We have breathed in the fresh and pure air out here on the open road, we have and continue to experience deep reconciliation in our most intimate relationships, we have and continue to see our children flourish and conquer things that we and they never imagined they could, we’ve participated in helps, serving and life with a multitude of communities and have tasted the fruit of those connections. When it comes down to it, we have and continue to experience revival! And so after further conversation, we said yes!

Father Marcus Cunningham of Epiphany Episcopal Church was our host, referred by friends, Bill and Teresa Sergott in Wisconsin (we love referrals!). Marcus, his wife Anne-Marie and his family welcomed us with open arms and show tunes. Yes, we settled in and found a kitchen full of youth dancing and singing show tunes while making dinner. Our children were immediately taken into the fold and they were at home. The Cunningham’s welcome set a great tone and we felt as if we were visiting family or old friends. We shared a similar sense of humer and stories of our history, all of which brought us to the moment we were experiencing with one another.

There was much work to be done, however. And so we hunkered down in our bus and took a crash course in theology 101.

We began to orchestrate three nights of what we hoped would be a breath of fresh air for these kind folks, focusing on faithfulness, community, reconciliation and ultimately on the “Tie that binds” us all together. We wove together songs of old, like How Great Thou Art and Amazing Grace and introduced Hollands songs, as well as, The Exchange and No Other, songs by friends, Glenn Kaiser and Mike Troxel. We testified through our personal journey and shared insights from the living word. We offered opportunities for folks to get creative and explore through practical exercises that emphasised community and trust. The photo above was taken during an exercise where each person was given a block of fabric and each row a needle and thread. Participants were asked to sew their swatch to the next persons and so on. The end result was a tapestry of all the participants pieces. The idea was to show how important the “thread” was and how our role as the piece is to be willing to be connected. Finally, we listened. We learned about the town’s history and the different journey’s of local kinfolk, we heard their pain and their joy. We soaked in the stories and offered prayer and counsel.

Every evening before our session we would dine with a different pastoral leader from the town. We meet with the leaders of the First Christian Church, the Assemblies of God, the Baptist and the Episcopal churches. We broke bread and we found common ground with them all. It was encouraging to witness their commitment to one another and willingness to lay down their personal agenda’s and position for the greater communities sake. Really, it is something to make note their willingness to come together and trust us, just a family of folkies making our way, best we can.

Later that week we performed our Australian Folklore workshop at the local elementary school to K-6 graders. We shared in meals with the Cunningham family, helped with a gardening project, went to a high school football game and enjoyed the 25th Anniversary production of Les Miserables.

We are thankful for this opportunity to study, to share and to be an encouragement. We are thankful for a community that was willing to use us to the fullest. In the end, whether it’s an organized or individual effort to offer revival, we have concluded that it is a good thing. We are excited to have found this new muscle and will continue to offer that breath of fresh air where ever the need might be. Open and available.