Friday, March 30, 2007

Mom's Love

Mom's Love, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
Nothing is quite like the love of a mother is it? Doesn't my mom look absolutely beautiful? Yesterday I went home for the morning to get some work done on my car, and more importantly, to visit my family (even if it was only for a couple of hours).

It was pretty cool hanging out with her and Dad in the morning. We were even able to have some lunch together--she made some home made beef and vegetable soup--it was delicious!!!

She's starting to grow her hair back, but it's still too short for her liking, so she insisted on the do-rag for this picture.

It was really cool while I was there because she set a personal record for distance on the exercise bike. She has been riding pretty regularly, and she rode 2.7 miles yesterday!!! For you cyclists, that may not seem like a big deal, but my mom has never really exercised--it's huge!!! I'm so stinkin' proud of her. And to tell you the truth, I think she can go further than that. I'm really excited about the difference exercise is making in her life right now.

She and Dad are on their way back to our "mountain chalet" to celebrate her recent test results. They've packed up their fishing rods, and are going for a one day trip to our not so secret stream (which was just stocked yesterday btw!). She is kicking cancer's booty--and I'm lovin' it!!! Her tumor has shrunk, pretty significantly in my estimation. It has gone from an 11.9 to a 2.9 SUV ( I have no idea what that means, but I understand ratios, and that to me means that this tumor is about 1/4 it's size at the time of her last scan in November.)

There is some fluid around her lung though, so she is going to have an ultrasound and find out those results in a couple of weeks. Thanks soooo much for continuing to pray for her, and for our family!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Being the Change

Being the Change, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
Some people send email forwards to everyone they know--personally, I'm not a fan, but some of my friends send me links to cool videos and websites, and I'm always appreciative of stuff like that, especially when it spurs me in my faith.

Monday (I told you I'm way behind in my blogging), I had a friend send me a link to a myspace page Loose Change to Loosen Chains. It is a page set up by a fifteen year old who is a modern day abolitionist. If you visit the page in the above link, I recommend watching the "Good Morning America" Video. I can't figure out how to import it to my blog. The video was on "Good Morning America" on March 15.

So this 15 year old kid has started an organization working with many others to end slavery. I am writing about this today to encourage you to think about the needs that the world has. You see, as Christians, we are not to be cynical--and in our world it is very easy to be cynical. We are not to be ones who are cynical. We are called to bring change to the world. We are called to be a sign of what life looks like when God's Kingdom comes and His will is done on earth as it is in heaven. This fifteen year old has allowed his God-given passion for justice to propel him to a cause bigger than himself.

God is interested in justice. And he is looking for people like you and me to be instruments in bringing about that justice. God is interested in healing our world. And He is looking for people like you and I who will be His instruments in bringing about that healing. Mohandas K. Gandhi once said, "You must be the change you want to see in the world."

What if we took those words to heart? What if we realized that God was with us in what we were doing, and there was really no way we could fail--what would we be bold enough and faithful enough to dream and do to be the change we want to see in the world?

What is it that God has called you to? Are you faithful or are you cynical when it comes to making a difference in the world?

Why not step out in faith and be that change--even a 15 year old kid can do this--SO CAN YOU!!!

Drop me a comment and let me know what YOU are doing to live out your calling in faithfulness to the Kingdom.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Green Acres

Green Acres, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
Well, it's official. My mom and Dad are now proud owners of a cabin in the Monongahela National Forest. And you know what that means--road trips are going to be frequent this summer!!!

Unfortunately, I've been slow in getting pictures and entries up on my blog lately, but I had to get this one up there.

Last Friday I drove down to Elkins and saw my mom for the first time in about a month. She seemed to be doing alright! Aside from the fatigue that comes from someone who is kicking cancer's tail she is as full of life as ever.

My dad, my mom, my brother-in-law, my sister, and me all converged on this almost heavenly fish camp last Friday, and they had just stocked the stream. Being the always prepared group of fishermen and women that we are, we left our rods and licenses at home. (It was supposed to rain that day, but the weather was also perfect). What can I say? None of us have ever had a fishing cabin before.

On Friday, my mom finds out what has been happening over this last round of chemo. She gets the results of her chemo, and I will be sure to pass the word on as quickly as I can.

I mean, this lady rocks!!! She's fighting this nasty cancer, getting injected with toxins, and she's like--"ya know, I think I wanna get a fishin cabin, and relax--fighting cancer is hard work."

Fighting cancer is hard work, and mom has been doing an awesome job!!! She's like some kind of superhero to everyone who spends any time around her. And put her together with my dad, and it's like they are the Incredibles. I love 'em!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Waterboyz and Some of Our Loyal Fans

Tonight we played our first CRC basketball game, and the results were a little less than we had hoped--we lost the game. But we gained so much more. I think we all had some serious jitters, and that will happen. Very few of us had played basketball together before, and we just lacked a little bit in confidence.

But it wasn't as a result of our fans. We had a large turnout to support us, and they had even more fun than we did I think.

And that's just the thing. You know, I had this mindset early in the week that we were just going to do so well with basketball--and I don't feel like any of us played up to our capabilities. But we had fun. We laughed. We had fun with our wonderful fans.

We had community. I made a couple of new friends tonight, and I think we all had some good laughs and some exciting moments on and off the court.

And more than that, we had each other. Community is such a gift. Regardless our outcome with these games, this is just a great group of people to hang out with.

If you are in town for our next game (April 9th) I hope you will come out and get in the mix!!!

Go Waterboyz!!!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Saint Patrick's Day

Saint Patrick, originally uploaded by homernoh.
I found this picture on a photography website I have photo's stored on. The caption under the photo from the original photographer jokingly calls him the "patron saint of hangovers every march."

To me it's all a bit ironic. I was walking through downtown Morgantown last saturday when it first struck me. There were ton's of people wearing green, and sporting shamrocks, and many were highly intoxicated. People tend to think of Saint Patrick's day as a day to get wasted. So the holiday becomes centered around these exploits, but not many know much about saint patrick.

And that's where the irony comes in. St. Patrick is the guy who brought the gospel to Ireland. And had it not been for him, many say that several of the great works of literature of Western Civilization would have been destroyed. There's a guy who wrote a book about it called How the Irish Saved Civilization. My old roommate (who is also irish), Rich Kyer, read it a few years ago, and I too have read this book.

Had it not been for Patrick, our world may have looked significantly different. Saint Patrick's day honor's the missionary Patrick whose faith led to the spread of the gospel all across Ireland and northern and western Europe. He is credited with the start of the monastic movement and is considered one of the first missionaries since the institutionalization of the church to do mission work by living in community with those from differing cultures and sharing faith both by word and deed. You see, he didn't tell people they had to change their culture and become like him, but he helped them see how God wanted to bring out all of the best aspects of every culture. He understood the concept often discussed in Christian circles called cultural relevance.

The shamrock was the tool he used to describe the doctrine of the trinity to the people of Ireland.

And every year, millions of people in the United States go out to "celebrate" Saint Patrick's Day, not realizing that some of what they do is completely antithetical to Patrick's mission and vision.

As I have discovered the history surrounding Patrick, it has given me a deeper appreciation for the holiday, for the mission of Patrick, and for the opportunity afforded us to talk about what's worth celebrating on this day with people who may have no idea.

I realize it's a little late for this year, but perhaps you will remember this blog next year as March 17th approaches.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Monday, March 12, 2007


Thunderbird, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
Last weekend, I presented a paper at the Native American Literature Symposium, in Mt. Pleasant Michigan on the Isabella Indian Reservation which is home of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan. The Chippewa are closely related to the Shawnee, so being in the midst of this place was really like being around family.

At the conference, I presented a paper looking at some of the language used in an old treaty formed with my tribe (and about a dozen others) and the United States. While my presentation went well, I was thoroughly amazed and awed by the overall experience I had while at the conference.

It marked the first significant amount of time I've been around a large group of Indian people in a long time. Overall, it was an emotional weekend, and it brought to rememberance many memories I never knew I had forgotten.

The hotel where I stayed was filled with art of various types, and this particular painting really struck me. The colors on the actual canvas were much brighter than they appear in this image, but I thought it was a great rendering of a Animake (Thunderbird) over one of the many lakes in the area. The art was captivating, and you could tell there was a lot of thought put into bringing beauty into the space.

I think we take very little time to think about bringing beauty into every area of our life like I saw all around me in this space. From the structural design of the hotel, to the floor, walls, doors, and various rooms, there was a lot of time, effort and energy taken to surround people with beauty.

I may blog more about my experiences and lessons learned later, but for now, I just want to encourage you to take a look around you today, and begin to imagine what the space around you could be. Your room, your desk, your home, yard, neighborhood, town, county . . .

Monday, March 05, 2007

Bono's Acceptance Speech

My roommate told me about this wonderful speech bono gave at the NAACP awards. Please hit play on the image and watch this. When I saw this I wept. I wept for this world that God loves, and my own tendency to forget about my neighbor. "Out of sight, out of mind" as the adage goes. I'm thankful for people like Bono and Gary Haugen who continue to bring these realities to my mind. Twenty seven million slaves in the world today. Millions more in a position of near slavery making many of the products we buy every day. Nearly one million children in Africa dying from mosquito bites. 5,500/day dying from AIDS in Africa.

When I think about these things, I long to do something, anything. How can we learn to better love our neighbor? How can we learn to better care for the poor, the lonely, the broken-hearted, and the destitute?

I pray this video stirs your heart to pray and seek God's face for the sake of His Kingdom, and His glory, and for the love of the people made in His image who suffer every day.

Friday, March 02, 2007


Rhythm, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.
Have you ever noticed that life seems to have a rhythm? it's like we are either in step, or out of sync with the whole thing. And you can usually tell when your life is not in rhythm.

It's kind of like listening to a band, or even one musician. We can hear a difference when a band is tight and in sync with each other. We notice a distinct difference when the "timing" is off in our car. We know that there is something wrong.

Yet, when it's our own life that's out of rhythm, we tend to ignore it. We know there's something wrong, but we aren't sure how to put things right. I think that's where there are a number of tools out there. We know that if our sleep is out of rhythm, we need to make sure we get in a normal routine when it comes to sleeping and waking up. We know that when we have gotten out of