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Day Five – Simply Smiles, Breakfast with Mr Ford Hill

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"Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children." ~ Crazy Horse ~
Day Five – Simply Smiles, Breakfast with Mr Ford Hill



It is 6:30 am and I am sitting outside with my coffee and Lady, one of the Rez dogs that have claimed the Community Center area as hers. There are a few people moving around but it is peaceful and quiet.

I have so many questions still left to be answered. The first two things that struck me as odd when arriving on the Reservation on Saturday are; the first was an American flag and right after that was a big cross. These are symbols are representative of everything that led to your people being in the position they are today. In Boarding Schools (which they were forcibly put) the children were beaten into submission by Nuns and staff and every kind of abuse was the norm. The flag represents the government and army that systemati…

Day Four – Simply Smiles, Second Day of Summer Camp

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“Life is about growing and improving and getting better.” ~ Conor McGregor ~

Day Four – Simply Smiles, Second Day of Summer Camp


Today was a better day. I was wandering around trying to figure out what to do and a little boy with a wiffleball bat asked if I wanted to play. We went into the horseshoe area and I pitched to him. As time went on, more people joined us. I began to focus on the enjoyment the kids were experiencing at this moment, versus the pain, I felt yesterday. Being aware of my mood and walking around periodically when I needed a break.
After Lunch, we loaded up and went to the school for activities. I helped John and Calli with Solar System stuff with the younger kids and then dissecting owl pellets with the teens. It was fun to see glimpses of curiosity and excitement from the children.
Dinner tonight was sweet potato enchiladas and I sat with some of the staff members and had a good conversation. I am feeling more comfortable with everything. I also took a bunch of…

Day Three – Simply Smiles, The First Day of Summer Camp

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“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” ~ Neale Donald Walsch ~
Day Three – Simply Smiles, The First Day of Summer Camp

Today was OVERWHELMING! As soon as the kids started showing up, I felt their pain, unhappiness mixed with a desire to have some fun at summer camp. Emotions were at their boiling point for me. I had to take a couple of walks just to breathe.

I helped with an activity where we filled plastic eggs with paint and the kids threw them at white t-shirts, they seemed to like it. One of the teenage girls took a lot of time and drizzled to paint on both sides making an elaborate design. When she was finished I told her we could hang it on the fence to dry. She handed it to me and said “it’s for you, I don’t have anywhere for it” and took off. It took me by surprise but I thought it was very sweet. 
At lunch, the staff made an announcement that we would be taking all the kids to Dairy Queen for ice cream. Everyone was excited… well, almost everyone. I just wanted to fin…

Sunday (Day two) Simply Smiles – Orientation and the First Community Dinner

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“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” ~ Neale Donald Walsch ~
Sunday (Day two) Simply Smiles – Orientation and the First Community Dinner

I did not sleep much or very well last night. Evidently did not things as organized as I thought and my mind was racing all night. I have almost turned on my phone a couple of times, but I really think I need to stay off of it (I turn it to airplane mode as soon as we arrived). I need to keep my focus on this trip and preparing myself to be completely out of my comfort zone. I am one of only two people here who did not come knowing others.
There are signs presenting themselves to me that I was meant to be here this week. Basically, every volunteer or staff member has some sort of tie to New England. So far three f the people remind me of good friends of mine. Maybe not exact doppelgangers but they could play them in a movie. Lastly, at breakfast, this morning what I do for a living and the next question is always “what kind of candles do you…

Saturday, Simply Smiles – Kansas City, Denver, Rapid City then CRST Reservation

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“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson ~
Saturday (day one) Simply Smiles – Kansas City, Denver, Rapid City then CRST Reservation

Last night was a freak out trying to get ready. Why so many last-minute issues for a trip I’ve been planning for months? My plan was to take my smaller/cheaper camera and found out that it was not working, luckily, I checked. This forced This forced me to take my Nikon D3200. Upon arrival at the Rapid City Airport, I stepped out on the observation platform, no more regrets. I wish I took zoom lens.

Let me back up a bit; On the flight from Denver, there were many college students on board. Come to find out; they were going to the Reservation as well, so was the young lady sitting next to me. We had a nice conversation and they seem to be a nice group of kids. It made me feel better knowing their college was …

Strength Emenates out of the Depths of Struggle

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“The devil whispers "you cannot withstand the storm". The warrior replies "I am the storm".” ~ Anonymous ~
Strength Emenates out of the Depths of Struggle

I will not rant about “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. Technically, in the long run it may instill in you coping skills, but, getting the shit beat out of you day in and day out will break your spirit. If you reject quitting and refuse to give in, you will get to know yourself better that any other time in your life. You will also know who your people are. The ones who love and care about you and will not abandon you when you are at your lowest point, when you don’t even want to be around yourself.

There were times when I felt that all the fight had been drained from my body and Dysthymia and apathy take over. The best way I can describe it is being in the ring with a professional boxer and you are taking numerous body blows followed by a demoralizing right hook.  It hurts so bad that you wish the bell…

Have you ever thought about suicide or hurting yourself or others?

"Hopelessness is a feeling. It's not a fact."
~ Anohni ~



Have you ever thought about suicide or hurting yourself or others?
A common question from medical and mental health professional people is; “Have you ever thought of suicide or hurting yourself or others?” I used to answer this with a quick “no” or “of course not” until recently. I have since heard myself say “well, I have thought about the act of suicide, but never planned my own”, half-jokingly “I’ve got too many responsibilities for that” and most recently, “Only to the length that if I was to do something; I would have to find a way to make it look like an accident (without doubt) to assure that loved ones were not burdened with my debt. Next, I am an organ donor and want to donate everything possible so it could not be messy.” Later that day I found myself looking at the Crisis Hotline information. I stopped and digested the events of the day. So…would that be a yes?

So then the question arises; what if a person…