Bringing back the social calendar

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That’s it; I’m settled. Our place has always been cozy and welcoming and the mountains, ever-gorgeous. But now, the people have captured my heart, too.

It started last weekend, when I babysat for a coworker I met at the restaurant, now closed for the season. She and her man had some ranching to do: a good, old fashioned round-up, to be exact. While they herded and gathered cows on horseback, I sat with a precious angel named Emma who took to me immediately. We colored and danced, and she fell asleep holding my hand. Then we ate a hearty ranch supper with the work crew, enjoying new friends and countless bear stories. The next day, we did it all over again, supper and all.

Precious Emma, already a cowgirl

Precious Emma, already a cowgirl

On Monday, we were blessed by a spontaneous invite to join some new friends for dinner. It was such a treat! Pete met them at a Bible Study (yay! we found one!) last Friday when I was at work. It was an instant hit. They’re about our age, with two young kids who ended up on my lap, books in hand. If Pete keeps leaving vests, gloves, and mail at their house, I’m guessing we’ll continue to see a lot of them!

Then I went to the “East Glacier Women’s Club” meeting on Tuesday (which I’d been looking forward to since I happily scrolled it on my slim social calendar weeks ago). As hoped, I met many wonderful women: the women of the community. The meeting was all-business, showing that these ladies took pride in their town and their people. More than that, I felt accepted, loved. They took me in and invited me to ski weekend getaways and Wednesday Mahjong. I was delighted, and took them up on the offers. I am now addicted to Mahjong!

games

But the best offer of the evening came from DeeAnna, who offered me a job on the spot when I mentioned I had a degree in Journalism. It’s just a temp job, but it’s so great! In my two short days, I interviewed the Executive Director, wrote and distributed a press release to local media and crafted a quick ad for the local TV station. I also produced a newsletter, updated contact lists, and started on some print materials for an upcoming clinic. I am in heaven working in this field again. Funny enough, I’m also working with teens in a way, too.

The organization, International Traditional Games Society, is dedicated to restoring and teaching traditional Native games that have been lost over the decades. The games are so interesting! Hand-carved, hand-painted and wrapped in leather, they are beautiful works of art, as well. Next week, they are putting me through a $250 training for free, so I can help facilitate these games in schools and at future clinics. I’m so thrilled!

On top of all of this, Pete and I heard our applications were approved at the local schoolhouse for substitute teaching, grades K-8. I’m nervous to teach but figure I could do it once in a while. Funny enough, you just need a high school diploma to sub at the school. I tell myself that a loving heart is what’s needed most, but I still fear they’ll tear me to pieces. I remember having subs in school… and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone! I just might stick with babysitting; word has already begun to circulate…

The charming schoolhouse where we may find work

The charming schoolhouse where we may find work

Either way, it’s a pretty place. And we’ve gone down to one car. Hurray! It’s a bit of a change for us, but it’s a tiny town, perfect for walking. It feels like home already. But we miss our friends and family! Big hugs!!

Just off my street...

Just off our street…

Stir crazy already?!

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We have been here for two and a half weeks – just long enough to go stir crazy. Already. I know it sounds lame, but it’s true. We don’t know what to do with ourselves. We don’t have close friends or family nearby, and we don’t have day jobs. Luckily, I’ve found regular work at a restaurant I used to work at (seven years ago!). But they were evening shifts… and that all ends tomorrow, when the restaurant closes its doors for the season, like always.

Despite his ongoing search, Pete remains jobless, save a few odd gigs he picked up around town. He never really took on the “vacation” mindset, as I have, and has been antsy to get that regular, daily nine-to-five going. I think it’s a man thing. He wants to provide. Meanwhile, I want to hike the park and have play days, which is how we’ve spent our weekends, to be fair.

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Bison flanked by the great range behind East Glacier Park

Both hikes have been in the snow. The first, it snowed on us. The second was a sunny “showstopper” kind of day where all the mountains took on a gorgeous coat of snow, illuminated all the more by a bright blue, cloudless sky. The birds chirped happily above us, and the brisk air smelled of new beginnings – and that fresh, nostalgic Glacier smell I’d been missing for so long.

Will this be the adventure I always dreamed of? I wonder. Can we handle the unemployment, the weather? Will we bail ship and come running back home?

It is far too early to tell how this chapter will unfold. But we are here, ready to see what God has for us. Only time will tell. So for now, we hope. And we settle into a slow pace of life very unlike the life we left behind. For how freeing it feels, it is yet unsatisfying. I suppose that “do or die” mentality still needs to simply die.

After all, it isn’t about “doing” here, it’s about “being.” And isn’t that the very essence of finding our satisfaction in the Lord? To know that you don’t have to earn His love or “arrive” at a certain place to be accepted and valued and so highly treasured. Ahh, to be in that place of freedom. I only long for it, being trapped continually by the desire to be “established” or settled or just plain busy. But this trusting in Him puts us in position to grow our faith. And if that is the only purpose for this journey, then so be it.

A family welcome

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Months ago, before Pete and I decided to move to East Glacier, we planned to rent a house out here for my mom’s 60th Birthday. So with really good timing, and no travel expenses needed, we had ourselves a brief little family vakay in the midst of the transition.

Now that it’s consistently raining and miserable, I’m even more grateful for the splendid weather we enjoyed. But best of all: family time. And a great bear encounter from the car!

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The adventure begins

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Well. It’s here. The Great Montana Adventure.  Thus it’s time to start blogging again! We know there are many supporters out there who want to stay connected and hear how it’s all going. So I’ll try to keep you up-to-date on this blog. If you want to get regular news, just look us up right here, or call us, or write us a letter. We love snail mail! Please do send letters.

Pete and Becky Arnold
PO Box 261
East Glacier Park, MT 59434

egplodge

This gorgeous lodge is in large part the reason this small community has survived. In the summer months, it’s bustling with tourists visiting the lodge and the nearby Two Medicine entrance to Glacier National Park. Restaurants thrive, hostels and hotels book up, and people populate the streets, with its one-square-mile walking-friendly radius.

But that is summer.

Winter is an altogether different story. The people leave, the shops close, and the locals delight in “getting back their town,” as we heard from a gal today. As quaint and cozy it sounds, it also sounds miserable. Frigid temps, crazy winds. Snow drifts higher than a house. And the winter population? About 300.

People here think we’re crazy for moving here in the winter. They wonder if we’ll stay, like so few do. But they resolve to conclude we won’t, like the many who have come and gone before us.

We’ve been walking the streets everyday, catching up with folks I met when I last lived here in 2006. It’s been very fruitful! We have heard of countless job opportunities. A cup of coffee and a piece of pie here, a plate of nachos there. It seems we’re on vacation, in a way. And yet, these are choice opportunities to chat with the locals and let ourselves be known.

We long for community here. So far, we feel welcomed, and have rubbed shoulders with most in the five days we’ve been here. We’ve come to acknowledge certain regular social opportunities: poker at Billy-Bob’s, coffee at The Diner, and a run to the library on Wednesdays, the only day of the week it’s open… for only two hours.

Pete is exploring work opportunities and is hoping to get random work chopping wood and shoveling snow. We’ve both applied at the local schoolhouse as substitutes. I’ve also gotten a few shifts at a restaurant I used to work at – a total blessing! But that restaurant closes in two weeks, with the rest of the town. And then we’re left with a diner, small market, post office, bar, and gas station.

Our nearest neighboring town, 12 miles east, is Browning, the heart of the Indian Reservation. Even though I’ve lived here before, it is still somewhat shocking to be a minority. The looks we get, the insecurity we feel. It’s uncomfortable and good for us. I’m grateful for the chance to grow in this area.

I took a bunch of photos of our house, a tiny little space that fits us perfectly.

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So that’s it! My first post about the new adventure. I know it was long… they won’t always be so long! Thanks for your prayers for jobs and friends and peace and joy. We heart you! xoxo

On passion. And people.

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Yesterday I asked Pete what he thought was my greatest passion. Without skipping a beat, saying it so matter of fact: People.

Now that right there made my day. First of all, because he knew me so well that he could answer that question before I could. And secondly, because he was right. It wasn’t snowboarding or backpacking or even the outdoors. It wasn’t youth or women or kids, even. It was broader and more accurate. People.

It’s the kids I get to love on at church, the youth I get to engage with through YD Adventures, and the women in my life who push me or get pushed by me to trust and rely more on Christ. It’s my husband and all of the special ways we share our affection. It’s my family and my friends. My coworkers, my housemates. I really just love the heck out of them! All of them.

So what does one do with passion, anyways? What comes to mind is the word, “investment”. It seems to me that if you invest time and resources into your passions, joy will always follow. Because even if the money is lame and your status is less than glamorous, you are nonetheless doing something that makes you feel alive. Something that brings good and not harm. Something that is fruitful and joy-giving.

That, my friend, is one solid investment.

I don’t think I’ll ever look back on my life and wish I hadn’t invested in so many people. (I might even wish I’d have invested in more.) No, I’ll look back and say that was time well spent. It will not matter if it didn’t pay off financially. It will not matter if I made mistakes in the midst of it. It will matter that I did it despite those barriers.

So what is your one unyielding passion? And are you doing it? I determined that my two greatest passions were people and words. Oh how I enjoy writing. Even if it’s a simple blog that I write in my bed at five in the morning. There is no monetary reward in store, here. No pay. But dangit, I’m doing what I love. And that is enough.

Passion… pass it on.

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Mustachio (camp name) introduces us girls to my fave new hairstyle

Cora, my dear darling friend, and I embark on a birthday biking adventure, Portland tram inclusive!

Sam and Micaiah, two lovely volunteer/summer staff at YD Adventures

Enjoying Hazel Barrett, my amazing friend, mentor, and housemate

Precious Kelsey, a YD Adventures student turned friend

Erika, a delightful co-leader on YDAO trips, and an even better friend

Wyatt and Ivy, my new nephew and niece: possibly the sweetest kids on the planet

Numero Uno, himself. My loving, always-makes-me-laugh husband, Pete

Super Wife conquers Chicken Pot Pie

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My husband is such a kind soul that he puts zero pressure on me to be Super Wife. At times I battle with putting that pressure on myself (like when I return after a week away with YDAO). But he, on the other hand, is just plain content, expectations: nada. The result: more baking and experimenting in the kitchen. More recipes. More apron-wearing. And more messes to clean up. But the best part: more smiles from HoneyDude.

I think I’ve been craving this little life change for some time. I just didn’t know it. So thank you, husband, for being so loving and sweet and wonderful that I want to make chicken pot pie for you. It’s a fun little journey, Mister. xo

Look mom! A pie!

Oh boy, it was too good to be true. Shameless, I know.

Now I’m not really a Martha Stewart or anything. I just try. (Which makes it fun!) And while I can’t say I’ve even tried or enjoyed chicken pot pie much in my life, it was nonetheless beckoning me like a challenge I needed to conquer. So I sought out a recipe and went to work. Straight off a long work trip, and with a day off, Super Wife threw on her apron, determined to make a savory little pie for Hubby.

The final word: Ultra delish. I will definitely make this one again!

   Chicken Pot Pie

    Prep Time: 30 Min | Cook Time: 50 Min | Ready In: 1 Hr, 20 Min

    Ingredients:

  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cubed
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • 1/2 cup sliced celery
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 3/4 cups chicken broth
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 (9 inch) unbaked pie crusts

    Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C.)
  2. In a saucepan, combine chicken, carrots, peas, and celery. Add water to cover and boil for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and set aside.
  3. In the saucepan over medium heat, cook onions in butter until soft and translucent. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, and celery seed. Slowly stir in chicken broth and milk. Simmer over medium-low heat until thick. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Place the chicken mixture in bottom pie crust. Pour hot liquid mixture over. Cover with top crust, seal edges, and cut away excess dough. Make several small slits in the top to allow steam to escape.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

    Becky tips:

  1. Buy a whole roasted chicken from the deli and shred half for this recipe; save the other half for tomorrow’s dinner
  2. Cook veggies in broth for extra flavor.
  3. Omit celery seed. Who buys that?
  4. Cook onions in olive oil. It’s better for you and just as tasty.
  5. Definitely buy pre-made crusts. Just allow time for them to thaw!
  6. Find this recipe and more on allrecipes.com, my go-to for yummy, tried-and-true recipes with honest reviews.

Four photos. Why I do what I do.

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Rappelling is exciting, scary, and challenging. It involves little more than courage, trust, and faith… plus a reckless abandonment of fear, doubt and worry. //Helping students understand what it means to recklessly trust God in ALL things.

“How am I going to scale this wall… by myself?” he asks. The only way: with help. //Helping students catch the true value of the church, the body of Christ.

Bonding through challenge course… never fails. //Helping students overcome obstacles of love.

Spending time with peers in a healthy atmosphere of trust and fellowship. //Helping students grow in their relationship with Christ, by loving God and others