Though all love originates in God and is for that reason God's own love, yet we are permitted to catch and reflect back that love in such manner that it becomes our love indeed, in much the same way that sunlight reflected from the moon becomes moonlight. - A.W. Tozer

Saturday, December 20, 2014

It's Time to Play the Music, It's Time to Light the Lights

We're home for Christmas and have officially said our goodbyes to the other long-term volunteers in Crisfield. We will be returning for January and February, but there will be a completely different group of volunteers, so this felt very much like an ending for us. We were thrilled to come home for Christmas, but it was hard to leave our new MDS family as well.

This crew was such a lot of fun. I can't think of anyone that wasn't a good influence on our lives in one way or another. The kids felt like they had lots of Grandmas, Grandpas, Aunts and Uncles to help them not miss our Oklahoma family quite so much.

As we all visited and played games one night, we decided that two of the men, Jon and Dan, looked (and acted) like Statler and Waldorf from the Muppets. It was an obvious step to give the rest of us our Muppet designations. I'd like to introduce you, then, to our buddies from the last few weeks.

First we have Statler and Waldorf. Can you see the resemblance? Trust me, they played the part well! Jon built a Jenga set for the kids that was almost taller than they are, then sat back and laughed at their efforts to play it. (He definitely joined in the fun himself, though.) Dan, our token Canadian, kept everyone laughing and always had something to say. Right?

Next is Jenny. She was hard to place, but we settled on Janice. She's cool, friends with everyone, and has a great singing voice. (Jenny's a much better dresser, though) She could also have been Prairie Dawn, but with a lot more personality.

Robert was our project director, and his wife, Sally, the office manager. Robert is Kermit the Frog, He kept us focused on what was next, and led us where we needed to go, but with gentleness and a sense of humor. He was Sam the Eagle for a while, but I just decided he was too nice and smiled too much to stay a patriotic bird.

Sally, though, is definitely not Miss Piggy. She is The Count, because she's a whiz with the finances and books. She is the only person who chose her own Muppet, but I agreed completely with her choice.

Evelyn was our head cook, and she is the one who is working at the stove in this picture. She's the Swedish Chef. She's easy to understand, and certainly not goofy, but she looks Scandinavian and she was always busy cooking, so the choice was clear.

The cook who is facing the camera and threatening to flick something at Mim (my photographer) is Ann. She had to be Big Bird. She's much more clever than the Muppet, but she has long legs, a ready grin, and made every room brighter just by entering.

Ray and Martha, our project coordinators, were only around occasionally. They are the two who have been with the Crisfield project from the beginning, and they oversee transitions, openings, and closings to give a familiar face to the clients and the community.

 Martha, who is always joking and telling funny stories, is Fozzie Bear. She's great fun to have around and always finds something fun for the kids to do, bringing them games and inventing treasure hunts for them.

Ray was almost impossible to place. We debated several options, but I decided to go with The Newsman. He was just trying to get things done and be serious for a minute, but the rest of us were...well...ourselves. He gave up and laughed with us most of the time. (And I'd like to add that we are a fairly competent crew. No exploding chickens in Crisfield, MD this year.)

Aaron and I had a little trouble deciding who we should be until I suddenly had an epiphany. We are Bert and Ernie. It was obvious once I thought about it. He is organized and responsible. I am spontaneous and occasionally ridiculous. (Also, I play the drums.)

Aaron is trying to look like Bert.
Zaya and Mim are Beaker and Dr. Bunsen Honeydew respectively. They brew chaos wherever they go, but make everyone laugh while they're doing it. Zaya is occasionally incomprehensible, and Mim translates for him to the world at large.

There you are. Now you know more about our crew than they probably wanted you to know. I look forward to meeting new faces and friends in 2015, but I know these people will always hold a special place in our hearts.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Jenga, MDS Style

Here's an example of something the MDS long-term crew might find themselves doing on a weekend evening. The short-term crews have gone home, everyone has spent their Saturday catching up on chores or taking a drive to visit some Delmarva tourist sights - and Mr. Jon has put together a gigantic Jenga set.

Everyone gathers around to either play or watch. Mr. Robert gets his camera ready for the moment when the tower will fall, little knowing that it will be almost an hour before that happens.

Eventually we have structural failure at the top of the tower, but since the pieces haven't actually fallen, the game goes on. Luckily, Mim can get a little help from Mr. Dan.

And a chair.

Everyone waits for Jon to find the obvious piece. He found it. Can you?

Zaya doesn't need any help. He's the Jenga ninja, striking quickly then throwing himself backwards on the big green couch.

When the tower finally fell, it was by Mim deciding to grab a piece from the very bottom, choosing spectacle over duration. It was an awesome crash indeed, and she did not break her feet, although that was my fear.

We certainly don't play games all the time, but it's a welcome break from work and the regular cares of the regular days. We will miss this group very much, and although I know we'll be meeting new people when we return in January, this will always be a special memory.