Wednesday, November 29, 2006


Summit, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
Over the last week or so, I have been in some interesting dialogues with people about radical life dreams, goals, and things of that nature. On three different occasions, Mount Everest was brought up. I even watched the movie Into Thin Air about an Everest disaster while at my parents Thanksgiving weekend.

A couple of years ago, my dad and I hiked to the top of Seneca Rocks, and took this picture. The same summer, my brother hiked to the top of Mount Whitney, and is trying to persuade me to join him on a possible trip next summer.

What is it about these places that draw us to them? What makes us want to climb Everest? I recently saw this link on a friend's blog, and thought you might enjoy it too.

I believe there are several reasons. One reason is the challenge. Nobody, in their heart of hearts, is truly content with mediocrity. We enjoy pushing our bodies, our minds, and our spirits to their limits. In fact, truth be told, it is in those moments that we probably feel most alive. Maybe it is adrenaline, but I think there is something beyond that.

I believe we climb to these summits to experience God in His transcendence. When we look from Everest or another summit, we get a more robust understanding of the grandness of God. All of creation points us to the magnificent glory of God, if we just take the time to soak it in.

What are the summits you are seeking to experience more of God's supremacy in your life?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Mom Around Thanksgiving

Mom Around Thanksgiving, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
Over the Thanksgiving Holiday, I was able to spend time with much of my family. Unfortunately, my brother Chuck, his wife, and their son were not able to join us. But, my best friend on the planet (who is also a brother), Willie, was able to join us with his wife and Children for Thanksgiving. My sister and her husband were also there.

I didn't take many pictures during the time, but I definitely took time to appreciate all that was happening. I even cooked the turkey!!! Of course everybody was a little concerned because they had questions about my culinary abilities. Their concern turned to joy when they tasted that bird!!! It was delicious, and made for an extra blessing for everyone. (I guess I am not a bad chef).

Mom's had a bit of a tough time because her chemo testing has been delayed for the next couple of weeks while she waits to take a test and get results. Her spirits are up, and I think she really enjoyed having a full house for thanksgiving. Willie's children are like her grandchildren, and Sue is like a daughter to her too.

It was really cool just being able to have so many of us together to celebrate the holiday. Mom is as radiant as ever. It would have been great to have my brother Chuck and his family around too, but perhaps that will happen in the near future.

For all who have been praying, thanks for that gift of grace you have given us. My mom is doing great through everything, and it is your prayers that are making the difference!

I hope you also were able to savour the thanksgiving holiday amidst people you love deeply. Even if you didn't take photos, take time right now and savour that memory. What did you eat? What did people talk about? Who where you with? Were you thankful? Are you now?

Times with loved ones are precious--cherish them!

Monday, November 27, 2006


Illumination, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
While traveling with my family last Fall, we came upon this beautiful valley in Letchworth State Park.

Teere was a huge rain storm that cleared up just as we entered into the 13 mile park that is called the Grand Canyon of the East. It was probably the high point of our vacation to Niagara Falls. (Ironic that Niagara wasn't the high point.)

Lately I have been thinking a lot about light. In this picture, look at how the sun seems to bring life into the upper right hand corner of the photo. This whole valley is filled with color but only the spot where light is shining is fully appreciated.

Last night, my friend cameron talked about advent at church. He talked about how Jesus is the logos and the light. Until we allow ourselves to be vulnerable under the light of Jesus, none of our beauty will fully be made manifest. And when we let that light emanate from us to others, we help them to see both the beauty and the ugliness that potentially lie in the darkness. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Are you letting the light of Christ shine into you and bring out the beauty that He has built into you? And, are you allowing the streams of living water to emanate from you to bring light and healing to others?

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Kneeling in Study

Kneeling in Study, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
Last night I walked in on my dad reading. He was kneeling at the foot of his bed, and reading the Bible. When I saw him like this, I couldn't help but be touched. This image speaks volumes for his reverence for God and his Word. It also speaks to me of humility. My dad is a strong man, and during moments like this I see a gentleness and tenderness that not many people see. At least not until this picture.

How do you approach the sacred text? Do you approach it in humility, or as though entering a chore?

I love my dad.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Father's Instruction

Father's Instruction, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
For as long as I can remember, my dad has been sharing insights with me and my siblings. He and my mom have shared a lot of wisdom over the years, and to my shame I have not always been a good listener.

I just started reading the book of Proverbs this weekend. The book starts out with a little exhortation. "Hear, my son, your father's instruction, and forsake not your mother's teaching," The book of proverbs is meant to be words of wisdom passed from fathers to children.

Often we ignore wise counsel when it is presented to us. Sometimes my parents have been wrong about things, but regardless, we do have book full of warnings and words of wisdom that equip us to fully enjoy life abundantly.

Shamefully, we miss out on the treasure of good counsel from our Creator. Shamefully, we often ignore the wisdom that many counselors bring us when making decisions. It doesn't have to be this way. At any moment, we can commence listening and following wise counsel, or we can stop.

What are you doing right now?

People of the Book

People of the Book, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
In the last couple of weeks, God has been revitalizing my passion for the sacred scriptures. As followers of Jesus, our life becomes shaped by the story of this text. This becomes our story, our history, and our connection with the past in a very unconventional way.

Christians have been called the People of the Book because of the centrality of this story to the shaping of our understanding of the world in which we live, move, and have our being.

I heard this quote recently about the scriptures that has really made me think about the place the Bible has in our lives.

"This book will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from this book."

So the question we might want to ask ourselves when we feel our passion for being shaped by this text start to wane is simple. What other thing has captivated our heart? What is enticing us away?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Sunshine and Shadow

Sunshine and Shadow, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
I fell asleep to a heavy rain last night, and woke up to more of the same. Then, at some point this afternoon the clouds broke, and the sun began shining. It feels like spring, but it looks like late autumn in Morgantown.

It's amazing how bright the sky is, and yet much of the landscape is dwelling in shadows. So much of our world is like this--it dwells in shadow, just waiting for light to illuminate it and either expose its ugliness or reveal its beauty.

Aren't our lives more of the same? We're like icebergs--only 10% exposed. We are in need of illumination as well. There is a beauty that lies dormant in each one of us, just waiting to be revealed. And yet, there are aspects of our lives that we enjoy keeping in the shadows for fear of being exposed. But those areas can only be dealt with when they are brought to light. Maybe if we spent a little more time in the light, we would have a much brighter world, because we would radiate beauty instead of hiding in shadow.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Mom After a Long Day at the Cancer Center

Today was supposed to be mom's fifth dose. She was a little leery this morning that she wouldn't be able to get her chemotherapy. She's had a cough and shortness of breath for the last couple of weeks, and she was a little concerned about it.

So was the doctor. When she arrived, he brought her directly into his office, and had her get an x-ray to check for a possible blood clot in her lungs. The x-ray came up negative. He also did standard bloodwork, and my mom is pretty healthy. She is a little on the anemic side, but that is fairly common among American Indian people.

While the doctor was glad to see the negative x-ray, he wanted to be extra sure about things, so my mom had a CT scan of her chest. Again the results were negative--which was good. The doctor did notice some congestion in the lungs, so my mom is on a diuretic to try to get rid of the fluid.

The doctor also noticed what looked like a potential enlargement of her heart. (This is a possible side effects of one of the chemo drugs.)

Tomorrow morning she goes in for an echocardiogram. Friday she finds out the results, and so for the time being she is on hold for chemotherapy. Hopefully she will be able to get her dose Friday or Monday.

In the meantime, she has been tired, and a day of tests doesn't help that. But her disposition is as bright as ever. She is so filled with joy in the middle of it all, and peace and hope just radiate from her beautiful countenance.

to quote Stevie Wonder, "Isn't she lovely?" (By the way, I have been singing that to her all day.)

Friday, November 10, 2006

Famiy Fun

Famiy Fun, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
I took this shot two or three weeks ago while walking with my dad, brother-in-law, and sister in Parkersburg. There is this place called fort boreman park that we started going to this summer. I can't help but think that people have been going to this place for a long time. It has a great view of the Ohio River ande Blennerhassett Island. My dad and I go there almost every time I make it home now.

I like this picture because it reminds of me of simple good things like family and good stories. Things we tend to take for granted in a world that is constantly telling us that we need more things to be happy.

I haven't been able to blog much this week because of limited internet access, but I've had so much to think about, write about, and reflect upon. I've been on the road for about 1500 miles this week, and it seems like I have had a lot of time to reflect, pray, and enjoy solitude and silence.

I think many times our world and life is so fast paced that we rarely take time to enjoy what is happening around us. We rarely find ourselves in a place to reflect. It's a bit ironic, but it seems like it's largely when my life is travelling at 65-70mph that it feels like things slow down a bit for me.

How do you slow down to enjoy life and laughter in a fast-paced world?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Sunset on Lake Erie

Sunset on Lake Erie, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
I took this picture last fall in the Canandian village Niagara on the Lake. I just love the way the sun is setting along the shoreline of Lake Erie.

I've been close to lake Erie for most of the last 24 hours. Not close enough to see it, but close enough to feel it. I don't know if that quite makes sense, but it is like I could sense something larger than me very close to me, but I couldn't quite directly see see it. I even drove by an exit ramp that leads to a bridge to Canada.

I think that's the way it can be for us with God sometimes too. Most of us have a vague sense that God is somewhere out there, but we can't quite figure it out. The apostle Paul tells us that we might feel our way to God and find Him if we only seek Him, because He is not far from us. It's a pretty wild thought really.

It's like God is withholding Himself just waiting for us to seek. As we seek He reveals. It's not a matter of earning some privilege, It's almost like He opens our eyes to see and experience as we yield ourselves to Him.

So, if you aren't experiencing God beyond just a vague sense that He is there, perhaps He wants you to spend some time seeking His face. According to Isiaiah the prophet, God longs to be gracious to you, and He reserves a special blessing for those who long for Him. Take some time to seek God and freshly experience His grace and mercy. It's more beautiful, refreshing, and enjoyable than a sunset on Lake Erie.

Plans, Car Wrecks, God, and Character Development

So yesterday, I left super early to get to a conference. I left with plenty of time to spare so I could relax and maybe enjoy a cup of coffee or a meal in Toledo or Detroit (I've never been to either town, so I thought it might make for a refreshing break from my driving. Well God had something different in store. In fact, instead of a relaxing journey, I was stuck in traffic for between two and three hours a few miles north of the Ohio border in Michigan. Before the traffic jam, I was taken on a detour that added an extra 30 minutes to my trip. And then, when I finally made it to my final destination, it appears that I went to the wrong location, and so I spent an extra 30 minutes trying to contact someone to get directions to the location of the conference. My map directions took me to a location about half a mile away from the event, and so I had to call people and back track. I was tired, hungry, and frustrated by the time I arrived, which was actually the perfectly place for me to be. Why was this perfect? Because it served as a reminder to me of what a selfish, impatient, prideful, easily irritated, and wicked person I am when I choose not to keep Christ as the center of my life. I will gravitate toward selfishness everytime.

The reason why I was in a traffic jam was because of acollision resulting in fatality that happened early Monday morning on I-75. No matter how early or late I would have left, I would have been stuck in traffic with thousands of other people. Somebody lost his life in that accident, and that's a reality we seldom consider when we are stuck in traffic. Usually we are centered on the inconvenience it causes us. Yesterday, for some reason I was very aware of the severity of the accident, and my heart definitely goes out to the families of all those who were involved. I mean, what did I really lose in the accident--a little time. And yet, when I think about it, most of us are so selfish that we aren't even concerned about the severity of things going on around us. One man lost his life, but the rest of us only lost a little time, and even that time could be constructive. Maybe we need to learn to slow down and not be in a rush (but that's another thought for another blog).

By the time I had arrived in this traffic jam, cleanup of the accident was well underway. It involved three semis, so it took about 12 hours total. I gave some time to reflect on what might be going on up the road, but for the most part I was in my own little world.

It's funny how quickly things we enjoy can become idols or distractions. I had been listening to my Brett Cain and Keane CDs earlier on the drive, and thoroughly enjoying them for the good music that they were. When I was stuck in traffic, I got bored. I wanted to pull out my cell phone, but I don't have service in Michigan. I wanted to listen to music, but I found that the music wasn't as satisfying as it had been earlier. I wanted to get out of the car, but I was already getting a little light headed from all of the exhaust fumes I was breathing in on the interstate. I even wanted to start memorizing scripture (that's godly--right?), but I couldn't focus on anything. In the middle of all of that attempted distraction, God met me, and confronted me about my character, and my willingness to run to distractions instead of running to the loving arms of Jesus.

Why are we like this? I don't think I am alone in this struggle against distractions. I couldn't help but thank God in the middle of my frustration because His grace is sufficent for me to stand in the middle of trying circumstances. In the middle of this explosion, and this traffic jam, God was willing to bear with me, and work on my character. As much as I wanted to have some relax time, God wanted me to be confronted with my proneness to wander. What do you run to be distracted? What beautiful thing do you allow to become an idol? How do we recognize these things when they come on our radar?

Just a few thoughts from a long and character developing day on the road.

16 oz of delicious goodness

tea-w-legs, originally uploaded by Elan Photography.
Ok, I normally wouldn't blog about something like this, but it is soooooo good. I'm currently in Ann Arbor Michigan at a conference. But, on my way to the conference I stopped at a Starbucks in Canonsburg, PA for a little java for the journey.

So I asked them the big question--are they serving chai eggnog lattes yet? The answer was YES!!! This is like my all-time favorite seasonal coffee drink. Literally it just tasted soooo good when it hit my lips.

It tasted so good that I had to call someone. So I called my mom, just to tell her how good this drink tasted. I was in pure ecstasy with one drink. I highly recommend this drink if you get the opportunity to partake of it.

And while I am on the subject of delicious drinks. Is there anything that you have ever eaten or drunk that has taken your tastebuds into a virtual party? As I slowly sipped this drink (you don't want to drink it too fast--it's hot, and plus you want to savor the flavor), I thought to myself, I bet there are lots of chai eggnog lattes to be drunk in heaven. I can only hope.

But now we see in a glass dimly. So that means that whatever we enjoy in the present, things are going to be even better when the Kingdom is fully realized. I'm looking forward to it for sure, but in the meantime, I've got two months to enjoy these chai eggnog lattes!!!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Picture of Jesus

Picture of Jesus, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
I'm not sure how much accessibility I will have for blogging this week. I am leaving in the morning for two conferences in Michigan.

But, before I left, I figured I would take time to write a little something. Tonight at h2o, we had an artist by the name of Seth Hill come in and paint this picture. It started as just a rough sketch that looked like a landscape of some sort. And gradually it became a picture of Jesus.

It makes me think of the Ben Harper song of the same title. We all long to be a picture of Jesus. In fact, that is our calling. We are to become like Jesus, and be an image of what our life would be like if Jesus were to live it.

In all honesty we are a lot like Seth's picture. Initially there is not a lot of form to us. We are in disarray. Our lives are a mess. But as Jesus gets hold of our hearts, slowly we are changed. We move from being a mess to being more like Him.

Are you becoming more like Jesus? On top of being God in the flesh, Jesus is the perfect example of what a human life can be like. If you think about your life right now, and project five years down the road you won't be the same person you are today. You'll either be becoming more fully human (like Jesus), or more fully inhuman. So which are you going to be? I hope that I am becoming more fully human with each day.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

West Virginia Huffman and Me

Last night, my friend cameron had a costume/birthday party at his house. It was a lot of fun, and there were plenty of meatball sandwiches for everyone (it's a cameron king birthday party tradition!)

Nothing really deep to say here. Just me and my good buddy ryan posing for the popparazzi.

Birthdays are great days to celebrate though. God says that he knew us when we were in our mother's womb. But nobody else really had a chance to meet us until we were born. Take time to celebrate the people God has brought into your world today. What a gift that he has given each of us.

I have been thinking about the wonderful people I've become friends with over the years. It is the providence of God that people come into our life. He appoints the times and locations where we will live (Acts 17.26). God, in His providence has allowed me to meet so many wonderful people from virtually every corner of the globe.

Have you ever taken the time to consider the divine appointments God has brought into your life? There aren't chance meetings--it's God's providence that determines where we will be, and who we will meet there. Think about that--what a wonderful Creator to do something so amazing!
WVU Basketball Recruiting

I just saw this video on youtube, and well, I think every person in the state fell in love with this team. The video is a little bit long, but I'm sure it will bring to mind some great memories of the 2004-05 season. Let's go Mountaineers--basketball season is just around the corner!!!