2011.08.25 FYI Two thoughtful essays . . .

Read this:  The Gospel Coalition - Deconstructing Moralism

Is preaching grace what this culture really needs?
Does grace lead to bad behavior or to good behavior?
The video from Les Miserables is terrific!

and this:  High Calling Blog - The Ten Commandments of Working in a Hostile Environment


2011.08.24 Vacation posts - last 3 days are done

The last three days of vacation are posted
and can be found here:

2011.08.24 Most of my day has been spent . . .

. . . printing photos for my Vacation / Mission Trip 2011 album.
The book I'm planning to use is too small for full-size prints.
So, 125 photos printed 2- or 3-to-a-page on 4"x6" paper . . .

One blank album, bunches of trip memorabilia,
photographs, some scrapbook supplies and tools,
and a few hours of time
a memory book
to be savored during my lifetime
and possibly,
the lifetimes of my children and their children.

Time well-spent.


2011.08.21 Anya! Look at me!

No, not at Foxy . . .

No, not at Jewel . . .

Yes!  At me.  Good girl . . .

A smile?
Not gonna happen.
Not this time.


2011.08.19 Adventures . . .

The Shutter Sisters prompt for today 
is to share photos of adventures to new places or of new activities.

I had to think about this one for a bit
because even though I've just returned from a vacation
and from my first-ever mission trip,
I think this photo (of an art journal page) sums up
where my ongoing adventures happen . . .


2011.08.18 Candlelight

Last Friday evening, we were invited to Russ and Sara's for dinner.
These photos were taken on their deck after dinner was finished and cleared away.
The candle hurricanes are from a discarded light fixture.

2011.08.18 Quotes "Feel the Fear...and Do It Anyway" / Susan Jeffers, Ph.D. ~ part 2 of 2

The point is that you must make the effort.  So many people sit at home waiting for the phone to ring and wondering why they are always alone.  Nothing is going to come to you - especially in the beginning.  You have to go out and create the kind of support system you want.

[Using the No-Lose Model,] consider some decisions you are now facing.  Write down all the positive things that can happen by using either pathway – even if the outcome might not be what you picture.

Learn the concept IT DOESN’T REALLY MATTER by starting with little decisions you face each day.  As you ponder which suit to wear to the office, notice that it doesn’t really matter; which restaurant to eat at tonight, it doesn’t really matter; which movie to see, it doesn’t really matter.  Each choice simply produces a different experience.

As you approach each goal, bear in mind the Magic Duo - 100% commitment and [acting as if you count] – to help you focus and achieve a sense of fulfillment.

… one of my students argued that if we say yes to everything, we are accepting everything.  If we accept everything, then we won’t act to change things that are wrong with this world.  I explained to him that saying yes means positive action; saying no means giving up.  It is only when we see possibility for change that we can work to effect change.  We can say no to the situation as it is, but yes to the possibility for the growth it offers.  …  Saying yes means getting up and acting on your belief that you can create meaning and purpose in whatever life hands you.

Years ago I heard a great line in a B movie: “Security is not having money; it’s knowing you can do without it.

I am convinced that . . . if we do not consciously and consistently focus on the spiritual part of ourselves, we will never experience the kind of joy, satisfaction, safety, and connectedness we are all seeking.

~ Susan Jeffers, Ph.D.  Feel the Fear ... and Do It Anyway


2011.08.17 Quotes "Feel the Fear...and Do It Anyway" / Susan Jeffers, Ph.D. ~ part 1 of 2

At the bottom of every one of your fears is simply the fear that you can't handle whatever life may bring you.

If you knew you could handle anything that came your way, what would you possibly have to fear?

"Be careful" carries a double message:  "the world is really dangerous out there" ...and... "you won't be able to handle it."  What Mom is really saying, of course, is, "If something happens, I won’t be able to handle it.”

Most of us operate within a zone that feels right, outside of which we are uncomfortable.  ...  for each one of us that zone of comfort is different, but whether we are aware of it or not, all of us - rich or poor, low or high on the totem pole, male or female - make decisions based on the confines of that comfortable space.

They have discovered that security is not having things; it's handling things.

It is important to remember that goals constantly change as you go through life, and you have to keep reassessing them.  The decision you make today might not be the decision you would make five years from now.

[After making a decision]  Throw away your picture.  We all create expectations of what we would like to happen after a decision is made.  The picture in our mind's eye might have served a valuable function in helping to make a decision.  But once the decision is made, let the picture go.

After much consideration, I have come to the conclusion that if you haven't made any mistakes lately, you must be doing something wrong.

~ Susan Jeffers, Ph.D.  Feel the Fear ... and Do It Anyway

2011.08.17 Old Settlers' Days

For jan . . .


2011.08.15 Photo updates

I've posted the scenic vacation photos on Flickr.
Click on the "My Flickr Photostream" widget to see these.

I've created an album on FaceBook for the Mission Trip photos.
If you have a FB account, you can see them here:  DebC - Crow Nation 2011.

I've decided to post the personal photos from the vacation here.
They will be posted on the dates they were taken.


2011.08.11 Crow Mission Trip - a reminder

An orange brought home from Montana.
Instead of a snack food for the flight home,
it has become food for thought.

A flood of memories:
22 people working and living together for a common purpose,
relationship building,
smiles and teasing and card tricks (by Josh),
sharing and learning and serving,

Forever memories.


2011.08.07 Home!

We are safely home.

The last week of July:
Vince, Anne, and I drove to Colorado,
then north through Colorado, across Wyoming,
and ended in Billings, Montana.

On Sunday, July 31:
Vince left Montana to drive home
Anne and I stayed in Montana for a one-week
mission trip on the Crow Reservation.
We flew home yesterday.

I will post photos and narrative
in the coming weeks.


2011.08.06 Mission Trip to the Crow Indian Reservation - part 1

Who and what:
Anne and I went on a mission trip to
the Crow Indian Reservation
from Sunday, July 31 through Saturday, August 6.

In May, Anne and I talked about our mutual interest in going on a mission trip.
We didn't have anything specific in mind.
Just something we would pray about.
The first week of June, I attended the annual Home Educators' convention.
Immediately outside the entrance to the Vendors' Hall
was a booth for World Servants.
The banner:  "Serving changes everything.  Lead the way."
Lead the way . . . well, okay then.

I've read quite a bit lately about getting outside your (personal) comfort zone.
This was definitely outside my comfort zone.
Committing to a week of
living with strangers,
unfamiliar living accommodations,
no computers,
very limited cell phone use,
relating to a people with a very different cultural background.

And me, an introvert.  Hmmmm . . .

What we (the World Servant team) worked on during the week:
Kids' Club (like vacation Bible school) each morning in the park,
a nursing home visit,
community Ice Cream Social one evening,
community Carnival one evening,
construction projects.

The construction projects (with one exception) focused on
the permanent mission campground.
The previous campground had become much too small,
so a new campground was underway for this and future
World Servant teams as well as other mission teams.
All mission work is supervised by Four Square Church in Crow Agency, Montana.

Kids' Club . . .

Nursing home afternoon . . .

Serving ice cream at the Social . . .

2011.08.06 Mission Trip to the Crow Indian Reservation - part 2

And, more photos . . .

Two of the four camp dogs (there were also three kittens) . . .

 The bunkhouses . . .

Evening campfire . . .

Working on the bathhouse . . .

Anne learned to use a circular saw (among other things)
and then supervised someone else learning . . .

Making to-go lunches . . .

The road into camp just before sunset . . .

2011.08.06 Mission Trip to the Crow Indian Reservation - part 3

The most important thing I learned . . .
building relationships and trust
than any actual project or activity.

I figure this applies to life as well as mission trips.

World Servants uses a Learner / Servant / Storyteller model
for interacting with others while on a mission trip.

I figure this applies to life as well.

1st - Learner
"Learn about others by observing and listening rather than teaching others
by imposing what you think you already know is 'right' and 'superior'".

2nd - Servant
"Serve alongside others to help them accomplish their goals
rather than leading others to accomplish your goals".

3rd - Storyteller
"Tell your own personal story rather than preaching
someone else's story, ideas, or theories".

Specifics to the Crow Indian peoples . . .
ask before taking photographs,
let the other lead in interactions,
do not compliment something they have or are wearing
(as they may feel compelled to give it to you),
do not make promises of any kind.

 At the carnival . . .

Craig saying "Good-byeà la M*A*S*H . . .

2011.08.06 Mission Trip to the Crow Indian Reservation - part 4 and final

What a "typical" day was like . . .

The 22 of us were on 4 teams.
The teams rotated fixing breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

The breakfast team served breakfast at 8 a.m. (or thereabouts).
When it was your turn to serve, you also cleaned up.

You went to your morning assignment
which could be Kids' Club in the park in the town of Crow Agency
or a construction assignment.
There were also other camp projects which kept the camp running smoothly.

The lunch team served about noon.
Then, off to afternoon assignments.
Dinner was at 6 p.m.

Evenings could be group activities at the camp,
the community Ice Cream Social,
the community Carnival,
or an evening church service.

The last evening activity was always a short praise service
and a debriefing.

The debriefing was fun and included lots of laughter.
Questions would be asked by our World Servants coordinator, Steve Suhi,
such as
"Who learned something new today?  What was it?"
"Who interacted with someone from the community?  How did it go?"
It was lively and definitely contributed to building our own group community.
There were amazing people on this trip.
There probably are on every mission trip.

We ended with a distribution of Barnabus notes.
Barnabus was Paul's encourager in the Bible.
Throughout the day and evening,
members of our team would write notes to other team members.
Slips of paper with starting phrases such as
"You were an encouragement to me when you ..."
"Today you made me smile when you ..."
"Today I saw you working hard for Jesus when you ..."
The notes were folded and your name was on the outside.
I always read mine in bed just before sleep.

So . . .
would I go on another mission trip?
Would Anne?

What would I tell you if you were thinking about going on any mission trip?
The same thing my sister, jan, told me before Anne and I signed up.