Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Mom After a Week

Mom After a Week, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
My good friend Ryan Brown was heading to Parkersburg today, so he and I left Morgantown around 7AM this morning.

I didn't tell my mom I was going to be there, I wanted to surprise her. Well, she surprised me too. She was feeling the best she has since before her chemo. Her spirits were up, and she just looked full of life. When I wrote this, I was sitting in the living room with her. She was a little tired, but that didn't stop her from cooking some meatloaf for lunch.

We had some salad and breadsticks from Olive Garden (supplemented with fresh tomatoes from the garden), and home cooked meatloaf for lunch.

Mom is doing great, and I am so proud of her! She is still knitting, and crocheting, and most recently she has begun exploring making turbans, scarves, and wraps for people who lose their hair during chemotherapy.

To everyone who is praying, I want to thank you--it is making a difference, and God is using those prayers to sustain and carry us through this challenging time.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Sky Rock

Sky Rock, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
I was having a really rough day after leaving my mom last wednesday. My friend Mark had just rented a cabin at dorsey's knob in Morgantown, and he had invited me out to check out the place.

Last fall, I went up to this place with my parents. At the time, there was a lot of work being done on the area. I can remember looking down the hillside with my dad as my mom sat in the car a little further down the slope.

You can see a lot of Morgantown from this hillside. it's pretty wild, seems like big views and big water have always helped me to see beyond my circumstances.

When I see views like this, I start to think about how big my God is.

It was a hot day on the knob, and really humid in Morgantown so I left after a while. After all, we can't always stand on the hilltop--sometimes we need to journey through the valleys.

Mourning Dove

Mourning Dove, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
I was sitting on top of Dorsey's Knob and I had just gotten off the phone with my best friend on the planet, Willie, and I saw this bird fly by me. It landed in a tree about five feet away.

It was a mourning dove. I don't know a lot about mourning doves except that they are also called raincrows. That was my old chief's name.

I don't know if you believe in such things, but I kind of felt like God might have sent that bird to me to let me know that I'm not alone and that everything is going to be alright.

That little bird was such a comfort to me that afternoon. I can't really explain it, but when I left that hilltop, and I left that bird, I felt tender but comforted. It was beautiful.

Mom the day after

Mom the day after, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
I got a little smile out of mom the day after her chemotherapy. She's staying pretty upbeat through it all. It was pretty scary going in the first time, but we all made it through alright. Mom has the hard part. We've got it really easy.

I've been wanting to put this picture up for a while, but just haven't had time. It seems like I have been burning the candle at both ends with lots of irons in the fire and all of those other proverbial quotes about being busy.

But we're all hanging in there.

Thanks for all of the praying that is happening. I believe it is prayers of friends that God has used to sustain us.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Survivors, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
After my mom's first dose of chemotherapy, I went down to my favorite place in parkersburg with two of my uncles. Uncle Bill and Uncle Kenny. Kenny just survived aggressive treatment for bone cancer, and my uncle Bill just came out of treatment for colon cancer.

We watched the sun set over the Ohio River this evening, and I can't help but think this is something that our family and other shawnee people have done for many many generations.

As I sat there with them, I was filled with hope. It was good to spend time with family, and it was also good to see people who were so close who are cancer survivors.

Things are going to be alright. Mom is going to be part of this legacy of survivors. It's one thing that Indian people do well--survive.

Its also something that followers of Jesus do well, we survive.

Thanks again for praying.

Sunset on the Ohio

Sunset on the Ohio, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
Here is a shot of the area where I grew up. This is my river, my sanctuary. My dad found this cool park and cool view and wanted me to see it. I want you to see it too. I am usually closer to the water when I visit the mighty Ohio, but on this evening we were able to look at it from a hillside (hills are rare in Parkersburg). The French called this river La Belle Riviere (The beautiful river). I imagine you can see why they might call it that. And possibly, you can see why it has been such a special place for my family, and other Shawnee people for generations.

Me and Mom

Me and Mom, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
Yesterday, I hung out with my family in Parkersburg. My mom started chemotherapy today, and fortunately, I have been able to do a good bit of work from down here. It has been good just being around. I think the pace of the past week caught up with me yesterday afternoon. I fell asleep on my parents couch in the afternoon, and probably had the first decent night of sleep I’ve had in over a month. I actually slept for eight hours too—I never do that! Mom’s chemo seems to be gong well. Right now, she is knitting as the drugs enter her chest to eliminate the invasive carcinoma that is trying to spread in her right breast. Emotionally, as a family we have been doing our share of weeping and laughing together. Spiritually, we are going to the source of our hope, Jesus. Mentally, we are staying sharp and hopeful. Mom’s doing really well physically too.

Any prayers you can lift up on her behalf would be appreciated!


Inhabitation, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
And we did it! Three days, and lots of sweat, energy, and sacrifice, and we pulled it off. We transformed the space. I think Ben Harper’s song is appropriate.

I can change the world
With my own two hands.
Make a brighter place,
With my own two hands.

When we step out in faith, when we are willing to work hard, God meets us, and does the unbelievable through people like you and I.

What amazing feats have you been part of? What amazing feat is God calling you toward right now?

Pleasant Painting

Pleasant Painting, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
Thursday night, we began to put finishing touches on the walls, as we transformed the atmosphere through the use of paint, lights, and prayer. Jeremiah was among the many smiling faces who spent lots of time in our little café space this week.

Sacred Sunbeam

Sacred Sunbeam, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
Wednesday night, we gathered to pray and plan for the future of the new space. It has been cool to gather and pray and dedicate this space. Very much prayer has gone into this space, and very much celebration as well. Actually, on the night of this gathering, one of the people present made the comment—“we’re planning to be in here Friday? That’s pretty ambitious!”

Ambitious indeed.

Brotherly Love

Brotherly Love, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
I just love this picture of Cameron and Duncan King. These two brothers were present almost every day, and were among the 20-25 people who sacrificed time, sleep, and meals, to make this dream a reality.

The Labor Begins

The Labor Begins, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
So many people came together, and we commenced a tremendous undertaking. These are just a few of the many who dedicated long hours and lots of work to transforming the space.

Sozo deconstructed

Sozo deconstructed, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
Well, there has been a lot of work going into the development of so.zo. This little image gives a good idea of our starting point. It’s hard to believe that we got it finished in time for open mic Friday night. There was a professional crew doing demolitions on the space, and when I talked to them Tuesday afternoon when we started, they were convinced it would take them at least a week, but it could take up to a month to restore the space—we had 3 days to restore it and inhabit it.

Monday, August 14, 2006


So.Zo, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
Last week we signed a lease on a storefront along high street in Morgantown. Eventually, this will be the home of a cafe/coffeehouse/cereal bar, but for now it is a pretty empty space.
Over the course of this week, we will be slowly transforming this space to prepare it for the debut of an open mic Friday night.
Whlle it is hard to say goodbye to the dream and vision we had for the waterhouse, we could potentially do more, and do it better in this new location.
It's fun to jump into new projects too. I will have to post some pictures as we make progress in this new space.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Mom and Dad

Mom and Dad, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
Well, earlier today I had a conversation with my mom, I knew something was wrong, but I wasn't sure quite what. She and my dad went to the doctor yesterday as a result of swelling she had in her right arm.

She thought it was related to a cortisone shot she recently received for knee pain.

It wasn't.

Over the next couple of weeks, my mom will undergo a series of tests to deal with a multiplicity of health issues that emerged during her recent doctor's visit. Its kind of sad, because my mom had no idea that anything was wrong, she just assumed it was a part of getting older. My mom and dad are both tough as nails, so I think they are as shocked as I am about what they heard.

Here are the problems which were discovered yesterday.

She has a consistent cough
She has fluid in her lungs--not sure if it is bronchitis, pneumonia, or something else.
She has a chest x-ray and follow up exam monday for this
She has an infection in her right breast
the infection has been draining into her right arm, and causing her entire arm to swell.
her right breast is also swollen
She has a lump in her right breast
next thursday she will have a biopsy done to find out more about it
She has fluid around her heart--not sure if it is congestive heart failure, or something else
she has a echocardiogram and follow up this thursday.

So, I would really appreciate prayer for my moms health. Pray that all of the problems would go away, pray that the doctors would be granted wisdom to find the source of the problems, and they would be taken care of quickly. Pray for my mom to be courageous, and for everything to turn out ok. I am sure she is pretty scared, and upset, and so I would appreciate prayers for all of that.

Thanks for taking the time to read this, and giving this situation a couple of minutes of your time. I know we are all busy, but I really appreciate your prayers for this.

As I find out more info, I will try to keep everyone in the loop.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

God Roept You

This morning I was reading Psalm 81 in the Message, and this verse stuck out to me. It has really captivated me today. And it made me think about my many friends at the Zolder, and around the city of Amsterdam.

"I hear this most gentle whisper from One
I never guessed would speak to me"

When I read this, I thought that's what we need, and we don't expect. We often go through life unexpectant that the One would speak to us, in our circumstances, in our routines, in our decadence, in our depravity, and in our clutter. And yet, He does. He speaks gently and softly to us. It is a whisper like the wind--refreshing on a hot summer day.

Why did I think of my friends in amsterdam? Well, here is a little background on the city. People come from all over the world to visit amsterdam. Most of those visitors are either looking to find themselves or lose themselves in the city. Across from the Centraal Station there is a building that has the words "God Roept You" and "Jesus Loves You" written in giant neon letters. Many people are looking for someone to love them and the second phrase speaks into the hearts of those people seeking to lose themselves in the wilder side of the city.

And then there is the phrase, "God Roept You." It means "God Calls You." Imagine leaving the train station and seeing that sign. You are about to immerse yourself into the depths of drugs and prostitution and excess of all sorts, and you see this neon beacon. God calls you. And He calls in the most unexpected times and places. He calls gently in a whisper.

The One who made the universe calls to us. May we listen intently. And may we hear freshly amid the circumstances and distractions of everyday life.

"Hoe gaat het?" to all of my Amsterdammer/Nederlander friends!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Secret Space

Secret Space, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
this attic space was totally dark and dismal, but when I stuck my flash ready camera into the space, it opened up a whole new world. I just like the pattern that the wood makes in this attic space of an old elementary school.

Although it looks pretty cool, it doesn't appear that this attic space has a whole lot of viability.

Thinking about this attic space just made me realize something. I have lived in my house for three years, and I have never checked out the attic. It may be time to do a little exploring . . .

Then again, maybe not. We are in the middle of some record high dog days temperatures here in Morgantown. I think I will stay in air conditioning and comfort, for now . . .

Living Room School

Living Room School, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
Wiles Hill Elementary is being transformed into a community and senior center for Morgantown. I just thought this living room looked cool.

National Night Out

National Night Out, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
Last night was National Night Out. From what I gather it is meant to be a celebration of neighborhood and community. I was pretty excited about the event myself. I guess my neighborhood has the best one of these events in all of morgantown, or so I heard.

I live on Wiles Hill. I have lived here for 3 years, and yet, I do not know any of my neighbors. I met tons of people, including several city government representatives.

I met a preacher who works in a church down the street from me, and I met the parents of my friend and co-worker, Mark Byrer.

It was really cool to finally connect with people in the neighborhood. There is one guy, who every time I have ever walked by his house, he has greeted me. he has lived in the neighborhood for 50 years. His name is Charlie Williams (which is also my dad's name!). Mr. Williams sees everything that happens in the neighborhood, and reminds me a bit of some of the older people who watched out for trouble in the neighborhood where I grew up.

Over 100 people came out for the festivities, but unfortunately there weren't many people close to my age. It appears that either the neighborhood is an older neighborhood, or younger people just don't value the idea of community as much.

I think we miss out on so much by not being rooted in a neighborhood community. This get together was probably the first event I've been to in a long time where people didn't have a microphone and a PA system. It was refreshing to see a simpler way of living and being.

I hope this won't be the last opportunity I have to interact with my neighbors until next year.

Do you know your neighbors?

Tree and lake

Tree and lake, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
When I took this picture, I felt like I was in a very surreal place. I was only 20 minutes from Morgantown, but along the shore of a mountain lake. It felt like I was in canada, or new england, but that wasn't the case.

The tree kind of haunted me the entire time I was at this lake, so I had to photograph it. No leaves are on the tree. It looks like it has given up its life to stand by the waters.

At the same time, after it's death, it appears to be living in an unexpected way. Standing vigilently by the shore. And living on in this photo as well.

I wonder what will stand as a legacy in our lives long after we have spent our years on earth?

Beauty in Bloom

Beauty in Bloom, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
I've been trying to learn how to use the macro function on my camera, but I don't think it works all that well (or I am incompetent)!

It's kind of weird because I usually associate blooms with April and May, but on a walk through my neighborhood I saw this. I have no idea what the flower is, but it was really captivating.

My friend Cameron and I have been talking about this book we have been reading by N. T. Wright called "Simply Christian". Write says that our appreciation of beauty is an echo of the voice calling out to us from beyond, the true image of beauty. Have you ever noticed how a picture, with all of it's technology and image capture abilty, can never seem to capture the majesty or beauty that we experience all around. I noticed this first after a trip to the grand canyon. My photo's were lame compared to what I experienced.

More than photo's though, maybe our heartbeat should be similar to the Navajo beautyway prayer, then maybe we would appreciate the beauty in bloom all around us.