change of address

i'm still writing, but you can now find me at danaemasseycasteel.com. hope to see you at the new website soon!


top 10 -- reasons i still go to camp

i'm in the car with shaun on our way to north carolina to spend a week at carolina bible camp. it's my favorite place in the world & my favorite week of the year. when i tell people i'm going to camp, especially one 11 hours from where i live, i get a lot of odd looks! aren't i too old to still be going to camp? couldn't i go to one closer? well, in the traditional c.b.c. fashion, here is a top 10 list of reasons i still go to camp:

10. tie dye -- where else is it acceptable to have multi-colored hands from tie dye? and what would i do with all my stained t-shirts without it?

9. spades [the game] -- now that i live in the midwest, the home of euchre [or as i call it, pansy spades], i crave the afternoon & late night spades games with old friends. 

8. air-conditioned cabins -- a must in north carolina july heat & humidity [at least in my book!]

7. top 10 lists -- our assistant director, the venerable geoffrey sikes, captures our hearts & minds at dinner every evening with one of his original top 10 lists. these are the stuff of legend, & i often mark different years of camp by a particular top 10. 

6. teaching -- of all things, teaching is my favorite thing to do, especially when i get to teach teens. i learned how to teach at c.b.c. by having great teachers growing up & by being given the opportunity to teach starting 10 years ago by our dear friend & education director, jayson rawley. teaching at camp has been pivotal in my spiritual growth, in great part due to getting to partner with my sister, vanessa, an incredibly gifted teacher. i look forward to doing it again every year. 

5. the singing -- from "arky, arky" led by our beloved chester rainwater to our annual late night all-girls singing. but the best is friday night singing. to me, it's the closest thing to heaven this side of eternity. it's my favorite night of every year. 

4. mountaintop recharge -- while we can't live on the mountaintop, it is necessary that we periodically take time from every day life to unplug from the world & recharge with God. camp is one of those times for me each year. i come away with renewed sense of purpose, conviction, & zeal. 

3. the people -- where to begin? our fun-loving director, dennis conner, who does a great ostrich impression, gathers an amazing staff every year. the regular staff have taught me, challenged me, & mentored me for the past seventeen years. they have poured themselves into my & others' lives in the hopes of helping us live for God with our everything. getting to work alongside them now is a privilege, & they continue to spur me on toward Christ. 

2. the people -- i've grown up with several of my fellow staff. we were campers together. we know where each other has been; we've seen each other grow; we've been part of each others' growing. i get to see so many of my dearest & best friends in the world every year this week at camp. i love our late night talks & spades games, raiding the kitchen leftovers & laughing till we cry. 

1. the people -- out of all my reasons for still going to camp, without contest, the number one reason is the campers. it is my passion to reach out to these teens. they need a safe place & safe people that let them ask questions -- hard ones, that wrestle through the answers & unknowns with them, that show them an example of choosing to follow Christ after high school, that show them it's okay & normal to be imperfect but that it's also possible to change & grow & conquer a particular struggle. others have dine this for me. i came to camp my first year a messed up, rebellious teen who had stopped believing in God. God used camp & the people here to break through my stone heart, to show me the beauty of the church when it works, to start me on a lifelong journey of serving Him. i am forever changed because of this camp, & i want to be an instrument to do the same good in others' lives. i want to pass on what was given to & done for me. my campers are so precious to me. i love spending time with them, learning from them, & seeing them grow over the years. they are the biggest & most important reason i come back every single year. 

i'm at camp now, which means i'll be signing off from the online world for the next week. i would appreciate all prayers you can send Godward for us! may He use this week to do a mighty & transforming work in all of our lives! 


my [JUNE] top 10 list

i can't believe it's the end of yet another month & half way through 2013. i've been out of town almost more than i've been home the past couple months, so it's time for some catch-up. here's what's been going on with me this month.

10. books on my nightstand:
      >> the lost symbol by dan brown
      >> love is an orientation by andrew marin
      >> your pregnancy, week by week by drs. curtis & schuler
      >> body, soul, & baby by dr. tracy gaudet

9. song stuck in my head:
      >> "radioactive" by imagine dragons [unfortunately]

8. latest memory verse:
      >> the Lord Himself watches over you! the Lord stands beside you as your protective shade. [psalm 121:5]

7. can't-do-without accessory:
      >> a headband, any headband, to keep my bangs out of my face [too lazy to actually fix my hair these days]

6. must-see tv [or netflix]:
      >> white collar [why can't i have friends like neal & mozzie??]

5. annual goal i'm most focused on:
      >> making our bedroom a sanctuary [finally painting & decorating it!]

4. annual goals i've recently accomplished:
      >> traveled to greece with shaun! [it's been a dream of ours for over 10 years.]
      >> climbed mount olympus! [seriously one of the hardest things i've ever done]

3. what i'm saving money for:
      >> diapers & college fund

2. heavy on my heart:
      >> the vast chasm between the church & the lgbt community, how the christian community has not generally been loving or listening toward those we don't identify with or understand
      >> the teens in my life who are making poor choices

1. biggest news:
      >> in case you haven't figured it out already from mentions of pregnancy books & diapers, shaun & i are expecting our first biological kiddo. we're looking forward to this new phase of life, but i'm also making the most of my youth, coolness, freedom, & privacy while i still have it!


top 10 -- reasons i don't use capital letters

10. aesthetically & from a graphic designer's perspective, i prefer the look of lower case letters to capital letters.

9. i'm kinda picky about my handwriting. i like it to look like font, & my capital letters just aren't that great.

8. i like to do things differently, sometimes just for the sake of being different. [there you go, mom -- i admit it.]

7. my signature is immensely cooler looking when signed in lowercase letters.

6. e.e. cummings was a good poet & a cool guy. imitation, flattery, etc.

5. when i was in high school, i took a combined literature/history class my senior year. we studied a couple books from the bible as literature & from a historical rather than religious perspective. that's when my habit began. i would capitalize only God's name(s) in my notes as subtle reminder of my beliefs while learning about & addressing the bible academically.

4. what was begun as a sort of coping mechanism in high school became a habit & one that i liked. there seemed to be something poetic & sacred about only capitalizing God's names & pronouns that refer to Him as a way of showing Him honor above all else.

3. i've since learned that ancient scribes showed what we would consider today an insane kind of reverence when writing the name of God. i've heard different versions of what they were required to do, but one example is they had to wipe off the pen & wash their whole bodies before writing the name of God, YHWH, each & every time they wrote it. this practice has not lingered into our times in any form, but i like it, so i practice it via capital letters.

2. i think we overuse capitalization anyways. all caps should only be used for design purposes when appropriate. [or for LORD or YHWH if you like -- some people always write Lord in all caps to indicate the personal name of God.]

1. it has become part of my personal identity that i don't capitalize many words. anyone who knows me well never ever capitalizes my names. [except my mom because she's still in denial & entirely too proper to do otherwise!] it's just me, like my blonde hair or my "obnoxious laugh" or my inability to dance. it's just me.


question about PRAYER

beth moore has posed this question in several of her bible studies & videos, & it has stuck with me for years:

how different would our prayer lives be if Christ suddenly showed up while we were having our quiet time?

i hope i would recognize Him.

i hope i would fall to the floor rather than stay seated in my padded chair.

i hope i would cry out His name in adoration.

i hope i would be afraid to look at His face & at the same time anxious to see it.

i hope i would talk to Him with the shy but unreserved speech of a child before one admired & trusted.

i hope i would ask Him to put His hand of blessing on the suffering people on my prayer list.

i hope i would find the voice & courage to sing a song of praise to Him.

i hope i would listen to Him.

i hope it would mark me with a desperate thirst for & expectancy of His presence for the rest of my days.

how do you think it would change you?