Summer IS:

1. Getting outside and hiking towards this.

Mt. Rainer

2. Dreaming up ways to scale this.

The Cliffs of Insanity?

3. Realizing one's limitations and contenting self with a "hike" through the semi-melting snow of Paradise.

Kelsey, always glamorous, even with little men on her head.

4. Camp crafts that should never go out of style.

5. New endeavors.
Scott's handiwork.

6. Loving these faces.

Look at them. How can you not?

7. And these.

Special, wonderful, dear friends.

8. Even this.

Jershua, King of the Creepers

9. Taking time to...cheer the brave souls peeping through the stubborn snow of the Cascades.

10. Content after hiking through this.

11. Remembering this.

We are...images of God.

12. Coming home to this.

Peanut. Picture compliments of M.G.

13. Enjoying a road-trip day, but anxious to get back to this girl.

Winny and her "burger."

14. And this guy.

15. Oh, and this little one.

16. And always, them.



"Somebody told me it was frightening how much topsoil we are losing each year...

...but I told that story around the campfire and nobody got scared." - Jack Handey

Wow, what a week and a half it has been. We're only a day into the new team week (our 4th of the summer) and it already feels like Camp High Rock was ages ago. But, no. Just a few days ago we were just packing up after a week of the joys and trials that come with camp. Only a few days have passed since, but in Rez time that seems like an eternity!

It truly was a wonderful time with all the campers up at Camp High Rock. I don't know if this is a sign that we at Sacred Road might be working too much (heh heh)...but for myself, working as a camp counselor was actually quite a break. I would hate to use the word "vacation" as that implies lounging about with fancy coconut drinks by the pool, but last week was certainly not a burden. Not only was it lovely to spend the time up in the mountains, with the fresh scent of evergreen in the air, but the time spent with our campers was wonderful. We female interns spent much of our time with the highschool girls; it was such a treat to get to know all the girls, but especially those who are from the Yakama area.

By Friday, after only five days with the campers, I had almost forgotten what life was like outside Camp High Rock...moving from one close community to another was fairly seamless. (Of course, it helped that half of the Sacred Road team came along as counselors. :)

It was encouraging to have a whole week to walk alongside all the campers...by the end of it I was left with wanting more time with these precious children and teens to hear their stories and share more about God's promises for their lives. For many, camp is a break from an uncomfortable home-life and a chance to experience a different kind of community and friendship.

Now, back from camp, I hope that conversations that were started may be finished in the weeks to come...though the likelihood that I'll see many of them again isn't high. But, though I cannot be a part of these children and teen's lives any longer, I do know of someone who can...and can do a much better job than I ever could. :)

Friends, thank you so much for all your encouragement and support; I feel I don't say it enough! Though this summer has been incredibly draining and tiring at times, it has been such a blessing to witness all that God is doing here on the reservation. I look forward to sharing more in these last few weeks of the season.

On that note, I must sign off for now. But, before I go, I want to plug our latest team video, posted on Sacred Road's youtube page: http://www.youtube.com/user/SacredRoad#p/u/5/y1RRlfA2M5s

Alrighty friends, thank you and may you have a blessed July!

 Only half of our girls! Go Fireflies! :)



I love our team. Every last one of  'em. 

My knees and legs are smeared with craft paint and sidewalk chalk.

I have counted at least 10 freckles on my lips. Yes, on my lips. Chapstick pumped with SPF whatever does nothing.

The wind tortured our hair and eyes today with debris made up of who knows what.

Therefore dirt now resides in places I knew not it could exist.

(But!) Kids came to Totus Park.

Kids came to Adam's View Park.

Adults came to Bible study.

Takoda sat with me at dinner. We ate too much cake.

There was laughter. Most of it all day. Most of it loud. Most of it together.

I think the laughter outweighed the tears.


It's official: an update.


          It’s been over a month since I arrived at the Granberry’s front porch here on the Yakama Reservation. Orientation has passed. Four teams from Alabama, Idaho, and Illinois have come and gone. Four houses have been either painted or roofed, or both. Hundreds of snacks have been eaten at Kid’s Club, many a craft put together, and 2 weeks worth of skits and songs have been produced under the big blue sky of eastern Washington to a crowd of Totus Park/Adam’s View kids. And the food, oh the food, that has been prepared and enjoyed by folks from all over these United States in Harrah Community Church and the White Swan Longhouse.

Needless to say an “official” update is horribly overdue! Thank you to those who have been urging me for an email…every one of your phone calls gone to voicemail, texts, emails, and facebook comments have been well-received and a huge encouragement these past few weeks. It is an understatement to say that it has been busy here...but that is no excuse. So, here I go...!

Except, I'm not sure where to start...my fingers itch to tap out a multitude of stories I could share in my brief time here. Which do I share? And which do I not?

Perhaps I could start with what it’s like on the first day of Kid’s Club in which we played with dozens of kids at Totus and Adam’s View Park...about little Dante who has stolen my heart as he quietly chalks the pavement:

Or darling Leah as she excitedly runs to Kid's Club as we pull up to the park in our vans. 

She looks quite serious here. But normally, the joy on her face as we pile out with chalk, bubbles, and hugs is breath taking.

Or, perhaps another story is in order. One centered on my primary job here on "the Rez" as food preparer and children’s ministry helper? Until last week I never thought I could be found elbow deep in dressing the elk meat sitting on the Granberry’s kitchen counter...pictured below, actually, is fellow intern Ruth and Mary G. herself.


 Or, hilariously messing up a cryptogram for kids at our Tuesday night Bible study...or unloading a car so packed with supplies even the guys at Costco thought we were crazy… 

No, I will not include a photo of said cryptogram. Don't have one. Grocery photos, on the other hand. Have them a plenty.

And of course, yet another facet to the work here with Sacred Road is the Yakama community itself. Two weekends ago the community celebrated "Treaty Days" in which the 1855 Yakama Treaty was commemorated. As the dancers and drummers gathered for the grand entry at the pow-wow I was struck with just how beautiful Yakama culture is despite the brokenness that has permeated this community. Case in point, the 1855 Treaty is celebrated..one would think that there is not much to celebrate, considering 11.5 million acres was ceded to the U.S. government. However, the Yakama ancestors are celebrated for what they were able to save for their future generations....this type of honor and respect is sadly fading from popular culture's view. It is my prayer that through Christ this Yakama community may continue to celebrate all that is beautiful in what their ancestors have passed along to them this day...Yakama culture is beautiful...Yakama culture counts:

Finally, I could continue to spend a great deal of time sharing stories on the smaller community on the Rez that is Sacred Road. Two weeks ago we celebrated with the Granberry family on their seven-year anniversary since moving to eastern Washington (this is their 8th summer). Seven years ago the Lord impressed upon Chris and Mary's hearts to move here with their four kiddos...seven years later the Lord has kept them safe, they have been welcomed into this community, and God continues to work within the hearts of the Yakama community. Needless to say, it's an incredible honor and blessing to be able to work alongside the Sacred Road staff, seeing and learning with them as we attempt to love our first neighbors well this summer!

Ultimately, this first month has been a crash course in what it means to live in community...what it means to live in the Yakama community as a white, female Christian...what it means to live within the close (and becoming closer still) community of believers in Sacred Road...and what it means to live in a community just 3 hours east of my hometown though culturally I'm a stranger in my home state.

Some of you may be familiar with Jean Vanier's From Brokenness to Community (I know a few of you St. Louis friends had to read it for a certain class last semester ;). "Community is a wonderful place," he writes, "it is life-giving; but it is also a place of pain because it is a place of truth and of growth--the revelation of our pride, our fears, and our brokenness." I remember reading this last semester...I knew this last semester. But it hasn't truly resonated with me until this summer. Each community I find myself in, whether it's the specific community of food prep and children's ministry or the broader Yakama community, has it's joys, it's tears, and it's laughs. Daily I'm reminded of God's amazing grace in my life and in the lives of those around me...and yet I also see the terrible brokenness and darkness in my own life and in this reservation community.

More later as the weeks grow long. Blessings, dear reader(s?).

One of the many attempts to make Winney giggle. Success!


Musings of an intern...

"All children, except one, grow up. They soon know that they will grow up, and the way Wendy knew was this. One day when she was two years old she was playing in a garden, and she plucked another flower and ran with it to her mother. I suppose she must have looked rather delightful, for Mrs. Darling put her hand to her heart and cried, "Oh, why can't you remain like this forever!" This was all that passed between them on the subject, but henceforth Wendy knew that she must grow up. You always know after you are two. Two is the beginning of the end." - Peter and Wendy

In quiet moments I've been reading J.M. Barrie's collection on the illusive Pan...in-between prepping meals for nearly 80+ people, collecting crafts for Kid's Club, chalking cement with Totus kids, scratching the bellies of Daisy, Peanut, Cooper, Bobo, and Sweetie, and soaking in these uncharacteristically wet eastern Washington days. All in a day's work.

It has always been a rather saddening opening quote, but since coming to "the Rez" it is even more so. Deep down I have thought of Peter as rather selfish demanding forever-youth in Neverland and dragging the Lost Boys and the Darlings into a world based upon his fear and loathing of grown-ups.. For all intents and purposes I'm one of those grown-ups...and from where I'm standing, adulthood isn't half bad.

But, from Peter's (and to a certain extent Barrie's) perspective adulthood means death. While the Mrs. Darlings of this world desire for sweet delight in their little Wendys, Peter's desire for youth is rooted in his fear for the bitter death of growing up. The root to Peter's fear and hatred of grown-ups is never explicitly given, though I can make a few educated guesses. But, whatever his reasons are, they are quite evenly countered with his second-greatest desire...for a mother. This contradictory mentality is what plagues his nightmares most...to live in freedom but under the loving shadow of a mother. Stuck in this juxtaposition, it is impossible for Peter to grow-up in any manner that is healthy...he needs a mother to survive. Only with a mother can he continue to thrive as the Pan.

Here on the reservation we're surrounded by many Peter's...hurting children begotten by hurting adults and circumstances. Many children without mothers...or fathers...or even a daily hot meal. For a few hours each day we can attempt to fill the void with showing love through bubbles and chalk...a hug...losing at tetherball...or simply "just being." We can be that "mother" they so desperately need. But in truth, that won't be enough. For many here, two really is the beginning of the end.

It's a sobering fact which cannot be avoided. But a comforting, countering fact is this: there is a "mother" to be had for these children. In the end, Peter gets a mother. She's not a conventional mother by any means, but a mother nevertheless. And Peter can continue to be the Pan. (On that note, I'm not quite sure how I feel about that...sometimes I wonder what a grown-up Peter would be like...hm...) Just as Peter can soar through the Neverland sky, so these kids, if only for a few hours on a blustery afternoon, can thrive through their unconventional mothers here on the Rez...their mothers teach Tuesday night Bibles study, blow soapy bubbles in the wind, play kickball, and share snacks...or simply hold them in their slumber on the chalked Totus cement.

And then there is yet another mother...the most unconventional of all: the love of a creating and sacrificial God. We, children and adults alike, can cling to scripture (Isaiah 58 comes to mind) and the promises of the Lord. Ultimately, he alone will feed these children with the love and heritage they need...he alone may be the only "mother" they receive...but it will be enough. It must be enough. Without this love I fear these children may never grow up...

In the short time I've been on the Yakama Reservation with Sacred Road I've been given a glimpse of how the Lord is loving on the naughty Peters...and the sweet Wendys. His goodness and grace are known, even in the most sorrowful of times...and that fact trumps them all...

"Mother" Morgan


This one's on "Up"...sorta.

I promised myself I wouldn't do it again.

I couldn't.

I shouldn't.

It's only a movie.

I couldn't stop the sniffles:

Bless 'em.

This face. Even this face made me sniffle.

But, what really got me was watching Carl watch his and Ellie's house float away into the clouds. He'd finally let go...let go to the memories weighing him down, the belongings tied to him...and the pain he's clung to after Ellie's death.

As I sat there is the darkend living room, with Winny and Vi snuggled into my sides (and Asher in his usual place 3 inches from the TV), the weight of this last week at Covenant was nearly suffocating. This was my last night of babysitting...this morning I already miss them. 

The excitment for this summer with Sacred Road has been replaced with apprehension...yes, it's mostly due to the pressing stresses here before flying out on Saturday. Come next Wednesday I'll be singing a different tune driving across my beloved Washington to White Swan.

I'll have multitudes of kiddos and new friends to love on this summer. But last night, and this morning, my thoughts are only on those I'll be leaving in St. Louis (and of course my west-side WA family). New roommates, classmates, and neighbors turned beloved friends, pastoral professors, and my little flocks of kidlets...the Lord has truely blessed me with a new community this past year.

However, there's no need to cling to a floating house of balloons. :)

"Great is Thy Faithfulness" came to mind this morning, fresh in my memory from singing it to the kiddos to sleep last night. This is my anthem for the rest of the week. May it be yours too.

"Great is Thy faithfulness," O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.

"Great is Thy faithfulness!" "Great is Thy faithfulness!"
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
"Great is Thy faithfulness," Lord, unto me!

Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thy own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!


Edward R. Murrow once said...

..."The newest computer can merely compound, at speed, the oldest problem in the relations between human beings, and in the end the communicator will be confronted with the old problem, of what to say and how to say it.

Blog fail. For someone who says they like to write this blog wouldn't be a great indicator of that. But, then again, this is a blog...and who keeps up with their blog promises anyway? People with plenty to say, with an exorbitant amount of time on their hands, devoid of real world obligations...that's who. Well, that's what I tell myself to feel better about my own shortcomings.

For those who have been checking this thing for updates, I really do apologize. Yet one more method of communication I've neglected as of late. E-mail, texting, phone calls, facebook...even snail mail...they are all part of a massive plot to reveal how badly I multi-task communication amongst family and friends. For someone who certainly uses 20,000-30,000 words a day (that's the usual female average, apparently), it would seem fairly simple to express those words through the various means of electronic communication at my fingertips. For a gesticulator, the keyboard is not a valid means of expression...nor is the span of time and distance.

"One of the hardest things in life is having words in your heart that you can't utter." Credit that quote to James Earl Jones. Not sure how reliable wisdomquotes.com is in who actually utters these little snippets...but the sentiment behind it is applicable tonight...this semester really. With a thousand ideas...musings...emotions...challenges...passing through my skull these past few month I can say without hesitation I don't know where to begin to truly communicate anything of value.

Words on a page, a cell or computer screen, even a voice on the other line, can be misunderstood or not heard properly for even the most articulate amongst us. Words of comfort...lines of advice...a lovingly sarcastic jab fail in impact without the physical presence within communication. The warmth of human touch, the intimacy of a well-needed hug, the beauty in silence are horribly missed when one only has cheap plastic to type or talk through.

I suppose it's the sign of my post-modern generation to be musing about this...on a cheap plastic computer...cell phone to the right...and logged on to facebook...while typing away at a blog. Oy to the meta squared. I'm squirming...uncomfortable with blaming the post-modern in me and "impersonal" forms of communication...uncomfortable relying on technology, yet secretly I also love this aspect of my generation and use and abuse it with relish.

All this to say that this last week has been a week of re-evaluating my efforts in being a good communicator...and daughter...sister...friend...classmate...student...co-worker...stranger...whatever. Whether it's through the papers I'm tap-tap-tapping out, the silly texts I thoughtlessly compose, a hurried phone conversation, or a quick sentence exchanged rushing through the library I've become incredibly self-aware of my need to sharpen up...and slow down...and lovingly hear...and thoughtfully share...and intentionally care.

What that means for this blog I don't know. Time will only tell if this is meant to become a meaningful form of communicating for me. Until then, learning to be technologically silent, yet intentionally communicative. Isn't some sort of silence golden, after all?


"See how nature - trees, flowers, grass - grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence...we need silence to be able to touch souls." - Mother Teresa