Sunday, January 31, 2010


I love love LOVE him. 

Grammy night tonight....

Saturday, January 30, 2010

It's Snowing!!

So pretty.  We rarely get a lot of snow, but this is the second time this year.  Kind of nice to be house bound and have nothing to do. (=  Not gonna lie. 

Also, I am having issues wondering if I took something too far.  Internet, sometimes you are hard to traverse even when I mean well....

Friday, January 29, 2010

A Piece of my Childhood

Ryan and I listen to the podcasts Stuff you Should Know, and Stuff you Missed in History Class on a regular basis.  It's fun, educational, and we are nerds at heart.  Today they did a podcast on lost tribes or people groups and after that discussion Ryan e mailed them about my parent's experience with New Tribes.  I ended up getting involved in the online conversation and it was fun!  It was cool to go back and relive that part of my life.  So here is what happened in a nutshell and where I spent 4 years in the late 80s.

Dear Chuck,

My parents served with New Tribes for 4 years in the late 80s in the Amazon regions of Bolivia.  At the time New Tribes was working to contact the Yuqui tribe who were under pressure from the regional Bolivian loggers and the Bolivian government itself.  Here is a link to view pics of the tribe where they still live. 

New Tribes is a Christian organization and the purpose of the contact teams they send out is primarily to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ, but they do try to do so in a responsible manner.  Especially as you pointed out, as many well meaning people have killed through contact of diseases. 

The Yuqui people share some language and cultural similarities with the Tupi-Guarani people group in Bolivia, but are distinct from them.

The contacts were always intended to be peaceful, and the shotgun was carried to be shot in the air, and never to be used against the people themselves.  That is in fact what happened on the day that the tribe fired on the New Tribes team.  The gentleman who  was shot in the back was the Yuqui translator that was with the team, and he was shot because he happened to be standing closest to the tribe, who were in the jungle/wooded area.  My dad fired into the air, and the contact group hastily retreated.  As far as we know, there was no reason for the tribe to be upset with the team, or to have fired on them except that they were naturally hostile toward any but their own tribal members. 

I was 5 or 6 at the time, but I do remember clearly my mom binding up the wound of the poor translator and the adults gathering in our home. 

I know there is a lot of debate about missionaries contacting tribal groups and the work that they do.  However, I think that New Tribes did a good work in contacting the Yuqui and convincing them to settle.  Their numbers were ever diminishing because of the pressure and the fighting between them and the Bolivians in the area.  They were a stone age tribe in all definitions of the term and were fighting with bows and arrows against the guns of the loggers and settlers in the area.  They were also hostile due to their natural religion and often sought the fights out.  The contact team certainly did not quit after the incident Ryan introduced you guys to.  They persevered in giving gifts and earning trust.  Currently all remaining Yuqui are settled along the Chimore River in Bolivia. 

If you guys are interested in more information about the Yuqui and the history of the tribe and what happened in the 60s through the 80s here are some good websites:

And an excerpt from the every culture site:

Relations with all outsiders (Aba) were traditionally hostile. Whites or mestizos were thought to be the spirits of dead Yuqui and were greatly feared. The word "Aba" probably derives from a term used by Guaraní invaders, whom the Yuqui consider to be their own progenitors (there are still Guaraní people known as "Ava"). Nevertheless, because these outsiders, or Aba, are not known Yuqui and therefore must be spirits of dead ancestors, they are regarded as enemies to be destroyed. This reaction is consistent with the belief held by the Yuqui until peaceful contact occurred that they were the only living beings on earth. In the mid-1950s increasing hostilities with settlers moving into Yuqui territory resulted in the arrival of missionary contact teams organized by the New Tribes Mission, a group of North American Protestant fundamentalists. Following more than ten years' of cutting gift trails, leaving gifts for the Yuqui along these trails, and gradually establishing peaceful relationships with a band of fortythree individuals, the mission convinced the group to give up its nomadic existence and hostilities with the outside world. They were settled at a camp on the Río Chimore. In late 1986 and 1989, what were probably the last two remaining bands of forest Yuqui were successfully contacted and encouraged to relocate to the Chimore camp. With natural increase and the addition of the two new bands, both closely related to the original band contacted, the population had reached 130 by 1990.

**The Yuqui population is now at 200. 

SO fun to relive all that stuff.  Here are a couple pics I am stealing from my life.  Mom did the black box thing for the tender eyes of the churches back in the States.

Pic #1.  Dad and some of the Yuqui tribe they were contacting.
Pic #2.  Me and Nate hanging out in our yard.  
Pic #3.  Playing around with some Yuqui friends on the homemade scooter.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Living in My Own Head

Sometimes I think I live in my own head too much.  Faith and I were talking about that today.  If we go for a couple of days working in solitude, we tend to go a little toward the depressed side and need human interaction to life(haha lift!) us out of that.  For example, today I found out a client chose someone else to do her newborn's 3 month pics.  Now this is going to happen.  People are going to come and go and I had already done 2 shoots for her that she was pleased with.  Also, another local photographer decided to copy my pricing and print schedule for a portrait session.  This is also going to happen from time to time.  But honestly, you would think my best friend had died.  This is how I was feeling not less than 20 minutes ago.  I actually had the thought, as I was editing my niece's photo that maybe I should just do work for my family.  Maybe I wasn't good/competitive/creative enough.  *sigh*  Self, get a grip.

God has definitely directed my steps into this career.  It is what I am supposed to be doing.  I know that.  I have a whole year of exciting possibilities in front of me.  Tons of goals.  Desire to achieve and get better.

I don't want to be a cup half empty kind of person.

Thank you God for challenges and set backs and that everything doesn't just come easy.  Thank you that work and improvement are part of being who you want us to be. 

In other news, today I went house shopping with Ryan, played hopscotch with JJ, and I have finished editing everything until March rolls around with a roar.  Faith called me just to chat.  My mom's bday is today.  And I had Mexican food with a friend for lunch.  Not too shabby.  (=

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Tonight, Tivo and I went for a hike around the LU mtn.  It's a little chilly, but she had the biggest doggie grin on her face and I was rocking out to my ipod, so we didn't care.  The sunset was incredible.  Big clouds, major oranges and pinks and bright blue behind it.  God in technicolor splendour. 

On the way home stopped at Target to grab some Vitamin Water and bday cards and ran into Ryan P. and Brad B.  Both totally great, creative and cool guys.  So fun to chat with them briefly.  

I love where we live. 

PS.  Note to self, always try to look halfway presentable even when hiking, because you will see someone you know.  O vanity, thy name is Crystal. (=

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

If I Were She

I read her lines and wish to have that kind of voice that speaks sparingly yet says it all.  The honesty to say what is in the heart so that the whole world can share a moment that defines a soul's inner thought. 

And yet I am thankful for this little space.  It's my place.  I say a lot or nothing or something small, but it's mine.  And no one seems to see me here, except for God and the online world.  Maybe. 

I look forward to the moments when in the teeming of my day I steal a minute to spill my heart.  Cathartic like a cleanse.  She writes poetry, and me, I just write me.


Good grief, this midnight hour is becoming a habit. No good excuses tonight.  Just too much tea and chocolate. 

Monday, January 25, 2010

Lip Service

Tonight's small group was kinda hard. Actually, today had a theme running through it. Weird. Some days the HS is clearer than others. It started with listening to Mark Driscoll's Haiti trip recap. The devastation there is out of control. I cannot even begin to imagine living there. And then my thoughts moved to Nicaragua and our trip to the House of Hope coming up.

And then tonight in small group, we read Stephen's stoning in Acts and prayed for the churches around the world who suffer persecution, particularly in Iraq and Burma. As we prayed, the over riding theme was clearly that we American Christians have no concept how Christ is absolutely everything to those around the world that suffer. We have so much material that it clouds our vision of the eternal. Erin prayed for our faith to grow, that we would be tested. And internally I was definitely thinking, "no! no!" I don't want to be tested. That's painful, it hurts. I don't want to lose family and suffer pain and live in poverty.

Actually, some days I don't even crack my Bible open.

Ok, lately, actually most days.

How shallow is my faith, Lord. I find it really easy to give you lip service and do my easy duties like Help Portrait and small group. I hear you Lord. Forgive me for my shallow, pitiful, self seeking relationship with you. Help me to be obedient and draw near.

I'm coming back to the heart of worship
and its all about you its all about you Jesus
I'm sorry Lord for the things I've made it
when its all about you its all about you Jesus.

Letters to my Brother Part 1.

Sam is great. He is one of those rare people in the world that draw other people to them. Like they have an inner light. He has the gift of making other people laugh and feel comfortable immediately. He is also a casualty of too much religion and not enough faith.

We had an extensive online conversation a while ago, and I saved the letters. In part because I think that they are important conversations. Sam is not the only post modern Christian kid asking these kinds of questions, and I think that they are discussed maybe too little in your average church or group situation. We had a loooong discussion, so I won't post everything. Hopefully sharing these will help someone else ask or answer some questions.

Sam. Letter 1.

Total Waste of your Time.
So much to say, and yet, for fear of a difficult response, nothing is said at all. Suffice to say that I have begun to realize that these social institutions and norms that we subscribe to may not actually fit everyone. There are exceptions to every rule. Unfortunately we may not find this out until its too late in the game.

Would that these eyes had been opened a little sooner.

I mean think about it....and I am not talking about just one thing here, but many things...who decided all this? Somewhere along the line a bunch of people got together and said "Ok, well, a person's life should have this, and this, and some of this. Otherwise they are just not doing it right."

I'm not even saying that it's wrong. It's right and beautiful and perfect and fulfilling and joyful..for the right person. Probably even the majority of people.

All I'm saying is that I don't want the yellow brick road.

Written 2 hours later.

On second thought, this is all a lot clearer than I thought. I’m looking to get off my ass. I’m looking for blue sky. I’m looking to be a larger than life hero to a tiny little princess. Just the tiniest ounce of actual feeling, of actual accomplishment. Days go by, and numbing disillusionment crushes life just a bit more every day.

You want to know what is retarded? That “self” is bad. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about community and living for others, I do it to a fault sometimes. But damn it, sometimes you just want to scream “WHAT ABOUT ME?! WHY DON”T I COUNT?” A sense of purpose is a sense of self, and regardless of religion or cause, however inclined, we all want that. Tell me different and I will politely tell you that that is one opinion, just like mine is.


While I’m at it, and on my soapbox, I read a quote the other day. “I don’t believe in God, but I am scared of him”. Man, that should hit home! And you know what’s ok? To admit that’s how you really feel.

You want to know what I am curious about? How many people actually believe in God who go to church. I’ve been to church my entire life. I mean 3 times a week. I’ve crossed continents in the pursuit of his will(by crossed I mean dragging a carry on twice my size full of encyclopedias), and I can honestly say I don’t know that I believe in him. I mean think about it. He’s a God of love, correct? Of course if you don’t believe or if you live in South America and worship the sun and the earth because that’s all you know and hear about, then you burn forever in a lake of fire. Eternal torment. Nice right?

So take away the threat of hell. How full are those churches? How many people sit in a pew for fear of sitting in coals? How many people follow because they truly love, believe, and desire God? It’s easy to march when there is a gun at your back. Interesting thought, right?

So how many believe because they are scared? And is that better, in the end?

So that’s a mini-rant.

Crys Letter 1 Reply

God is a God of Love, Sammi. People project their ideas of God onto him, and define him by their own vision. And get it wrong a lot of times. It is ok to admit how you feel, if God is God he should be able to handle questions. I don't love Jesus because I am afraid of Hell, Sammicito. I follow Him because I find nothing good outside of Him. And I love Him. For real. But I like your mini rant. You are a thinker my bro, and I like that about you.

Maybe we dragged encyclopedias across continents so the sun worshipers could know. And I trust LOVE to take care of those who never here.

And Love gives us free will to choose not to love him back. Love isn't love unless there is a choice involved. Cynicism is easy, anyone can doubt. It's much harder to truly believe. ...

As for churches, I think there are tons of people who go to church their whole lives and never believe. Christianity is a lifestyle as often or more often than it is a relationship.

Hmm. I spelled here instead of hear. that's my college education at work

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Poetry and Such

I have to confess something. In 6th grade I thought I was a poet. Not really sure why I keep the volume o' splendor that is my work from that year, but my kindhearted teacher told me I had a gift. And thus commenced an interest in rhyme and rhythm. Want me to share? Ok, no really, you don't have to ask. (=

"The wind is a cat that screeches and yowls,
It pounces on coats, hats, caps and growls."

That's right, Internet. Wonder why that never translated into being Poet Laureate? (=

Well, the good news is there are fabulous writers out there to appreciate and I would like to share two of my recent favorites with you. First of all I LOVE this Yeats poem. Except for the last two lines. Cuz happy endings are best. (=

When You are Old.

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;
How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim Soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face.

And one of my dearest friends had this read at her wedding last year. I fell in head over heels in love with it. The first half is better than the last half again.


There's just no accounting for happiness,
or the way it turns up like a prodigal
who comes back to the dust at your feet
having squandered a fortune far away.
And how can you not forgive?
You make a feast in honor of what
was lost, and take from its place the finest
garment, which you saved for an occasion
you could not imagine, and you weep night and day
to know that you were not abandoned,
that happiness saved its most extreme form
for you alone.

-Jane Kenyon

It makes my heart sing to read it.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

My Sweetheart (=

Mommy Dreams

We get to keep Jordan tonight. I love watching her. She is spontaneous fun in a 2 year old body. Hey, I know I'm biased, but she is the cutest, smartest, sweetest little girl evah. And she is talking in sentences and paragraphs now so we can have actual conversations. Apparently she downloaded some of her looks from her auntie because she and I at the same age looked a lot alike. People often assume that she is mine when we are out, and I admit to feeling that pang every time. Not because I want to steal J away from my brother and sister in law(who rock) but because I have serious baby fever.

I am a vivid dreamer, and often I can remember my dreams. For example, I had a nightmare when I was 10 and we lived in my grandmother's cabin on furlough. The cabin was kind of a nightmare in real life, and that translated in my dream to sharks swimming around in the rugs and having to jump around on the furniture to get out the kitchen window. I dream often of airplanes and airports and sometimes US Presidents. haha. I can't tell you about the presidential dreams, Internet. Just know that they were very funny. (= Anyway, one night earlier this year I dreamed that two giant turtles were chasing me and one of them knocked me down. It was a dream that begged for an explanation so I looked it up. Apparently dreaming about turtles = dreaming about pregnancy and two turtles means twins.

Bottom line. So ready to get knocked down by a turtle and join the ranks of my friends and family who post thousands of baby pictures and talk about staying up all night and teething issues and potty training. Yup. I want to join that so interesting conversation.

Maybe not twins, though. (;

Friday, January 22, 2010

A New Day

This morning it's chilly and rainy. I am eating a banana, drinking a pepsi and listening to music hoping motivation to work will suddenly come knocking on my door. This week out of nowhere I just had this major craving. MUST.LISTEN.TO.CELINE.DION. There's no fighting these things. So Ms. Celine is my soundtrack to the day, and these lyrics seem appropriate for my rainy Friday am. You are welcome internet. (=

Let the rain come down and wash away my tears
Let it fill my soul and drown my fears
Let it shatter the walls for a new, new sun
A new day has...come

Thursday, January 21, 2010

More Thoughts

Tonight a friend posted a story on the pitfalls of social networking. Part of the business of being a photographer is that you are also in the business of selling your personality. It means a lot of time online and a lot of time posting and talking about yourself. Having said that, two of the issues he brought up hit kind of home for me. One is the issue of narcissism, and the other one was the possibility of online relationships becoming inappropriate. I was thinking about the narcissism thing tonight at the gym. Especially after having written that last post about using I every other word. It's true that my job does require that of me, but it's also true that one of my major love languages is words. I like to be told that I'm nice, pretty, talented all of the above especially if the words seem genuine. Maybe I cross the line too much with all the posting. Maybe I care too much when nobody jumps right in with compliments or kindness. I don't think it's wrong to accept verbal affirmations, but maybe it's wrong to seek it all the time. This quote from the Calvary Road seems especially appropriate:

"The Lord Jesus cannot live in us fully and reveal Himself through until the proud self within us is broken. This simply means that the hard unyielding self, which justifies itself, wants its own way, stands up for its rights, and seeks its own glory, at last bows its head to God's will, admits its wrong, gives up its own way to Jesus, surrenders its rights and discards its own glory - that the Lord Jesus might have all and be all. In other words it is dying to self and self-attitudes."

Gosh, if I'm honest, I seek my own glory a lot. And yet the irony is that all of my talent is a loan from God and my success flows directly from him as well. It was a surprise to me to learn how many of the top photographers, actually, photographers in general are sincere Christians. But maybe that shouldn't be a surprise since we serve a creative God who loves people. (=

The other part about online relationships is a good reminder/warning. I love that you, O Internet, have reconnected me to people I grew up with in Bolivia, my cousins in Canada and CA, people I meet on vacation, and friends from college. It's so awesome to pray for and communicate with all of them. Ryan reminded me tonight that he and I will have been a we for 12 years coming up soon. That's a long time. It would be easy for one or both of us to get bored and find someone else to interact with. It's easy access. I need to be mindful of guarding my heart and loving my online community with a love that is based in grace and truth.

Things to ponder. Things to work on. It's a rainy night, and I think I am going to go make some Kenyan tea and go to bed. Later!

Prayer and Discipleship

Hi Internet! I am going to address you as a person because I like the conversational tone, and hey, it's my blog and therefore my party. (= I had a moment last night where I wondered if I use this on a regular basis, what if I talk about "I" too much. You know like that dreaded interview question, define your weaknesses and your strengths? Hate that question. There is no way you want to come off as a braggart or a terrible person so I always fudged my way through that hoping not to look too much like an ass in either direction. But I digress. I guess since this is supposed to be my online journal "i" can make appearances. Just know, Internet, that if I start sounding too self absorbed you can tell me. (=

So, God has been working in me over the last year saying that perhaps someone should be interested in the college age kids that go to church with us. Half a year and several discussions later, it looks like I have a little small group of ladies starting up. Ok, truth? I am terrified. 2 of the girls are my sisters, which, means they will be honest with me. Which is good. But mostly I know that I am a seriously flawed individual and I am scared of messing up and therefore messing them up. But a Sarah Wetzel took an interest in me in highschool and her discipleship helped to form the foundation of my Christian worldview and I still look at that period of time as super growth in Jesus. These ladies are wonderful people and they are facing a lot more issues than I had to in becoming a young woman. Mostly, it would be good just to be together in community and study the Bible. I love Roy Hession's book The Calvary Road. Found somewhere to download it for FrrrEEEEEE...yes! So we might use that as well as start out in the book of Galations. (freedom in Christ, Christian identity) Anyway our first meeting is Valentines Day the 14 of February. Nice. (= Some chocolate eating, I mean prayer, haha might be in order.

So Internet, I have been praying about it, and I want to leave it in God's hands. My puny efforts are meaningless unless He makes it work.

Thursday calls to me. Have a good day!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


I don't know if it was the trip to Nica or just my soul that needs to take a breather sometimes. Either way, it was nice to pause. My pastor gave me a book to read called Helping the Poor Without Hurting Them or Ourselves. Nice title right? Catchy. (= For some reason I've lost the ability to sleep in when I am somewhere new, so every morning on the island I snuck outside while Misty was sleeping and my snazzy new book and I had some quality time. Max Lucado came too. Come Thirsty was the name of the devotional. No distractions, no cell phone, no internet. Just the sunshine and the breeze and God. Pretty close to perfect.

Relationship with God is the wellspring of our being as humans, but my spring gets so blocked up. I admit to feeling pretty apathetic. I love love my job, but it also demands a lot of time and so do my relationships with friends, family and Ryan. And wanting to succeed in life and business often replaces wanting to be near to God, and without me even realizing it. So things that God reminded me of in that week we spent together: I need to shut up and listen, take time to be still. God is my source and my success. People matter more than awards and recognition. I have more than I could ever ask or imagine in material and spiritual wealth, give thanks more often.

Especially in the trip to the House of Hope. Those little girls broke my heart. They attached themselves to each hand and followed Brittney, Misty and I around the entire time. One especially just wanted to be hugged and touched lovingly. I cannot even fathom what their lives have been like in the brothels, and then I have the audacity to complain about my cushy life. So God was pretty clear about perspective. Oh, and by the way, waterproof mascara is definitely needed for the trip back in March. I am not going to be able to translate their stories without losing it. Truth.

So what is all this rambling about Internet diary? Bottom line, God is full of graciousness and mercy toward me every day whether I recognize it or not. Frustrations are going to come around but I need to stop in those moments and remember mornings in the breeze and God saying remember what you have and give thanks.

And thank God for friends and laughs. Misty makes my heart happy. A truly lovely, unique individual. One of my two favorite redheads. (= Funny story, last night of our trip we were eating dinner at our fave local restaurant(fish was to die for) and we got hit on by two random American dudes. Pick up line to Misty: Is your hair naturally red? ( Yes) I bet you have a Nica boyfriend(No) I bet you have students calling you diablo. (No wierdo) Pick up line to me: People aren't nice to me, you are nice to me. (??) You guys want to go get pizza? (as we sit eating dinner in front of him) I swear we thought they were running away from the law. (=


PS. I forgot I had this diary available...will post more often....

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