Sunday, January 31, 2021

TWO BULL MOOSE IN THE YARD or the View From My Kitchen Window

 Some days I LOVE the view from my kitchen window!  Is that a moose I see? Why, yes! I do believe it is. The moose have stayed up on the mountain as we've had a comparatively warm winter. It is just getting cold enough that they are showing up in our yard....

This guy STAYED all day long. Cars lined up on our normally quiet road as folks stopped to get photos....We all enjoyed watching the moose too....well, Danny is not sure the moose is worth all the fuss. 

Millie didn't take her eye off the bull all day. 

I finally decided this was a golden moose opportunity and I got closer for some shots. He was very willing to pose. 

He eventually moved over to the swing set.  We're happy to share. 

WHAT? A second bull moose in the yard. This is unusual and could get interesting....

Yep - it got interesting....

Finally, we are left with nothing but photos, prints and poop. 

The bulls turned this long, lazy winter day into a fun day of wildlife viewing. 

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Using the Gym Passes

Krista has 2 free gym passes a month. She needed to use them before February arrives. We love it when she invites CoRielle to go to the gym, and we all are able to join them. Josiah and Carrie called to see what we were planning for the day. They joined us with Livie, too!  The boys were working. Michael stayed home with Dad. He doesn't really like swimming in public pools and someone needs to be with Dad. 

We made lots of fun memories, I didn't get photos as my phone isn't waterproof.  Here are mental snapshots I took:

  • Livie going down her first water slide with Josiah. She's becoming quite the fish. 
  • Benny going down the waterslide with Auntie CoCo - before his parents alerted us that he doesn't like his face in the water. 
  • Josiah and Cory talking in the big pool - while juggling Benny and Livie. 
  • Visiting with Carrie and Arielle in the Kiddy Pool. 
  • Benny gleefully shooting me with the water gun. 
  • ALL of us sitting in the hot tub.
  • Benny walking out to the lobby in Cory's shorts - someone took his clothes. 
  • Benny loves me to the moon, back to the earth, up the stars, and then the ANGELS! That's a whole lotta love.  
Danny isn't 100% in love with the whole pool experience...and yes, I DO look that tired these days. 
Me with Danny, Arielle in the foreground
Photo via Carrie's phone

After the gym the Eagle River contingent headed home, CoRielle went on to new adventures and we came home for was the perfect time to give Alex a special bit of mail..... Alex graduated last spring. The ceremony was cancelled and he has chosen not to do an alternative...but he HAS his diploma from the Galena School District! 

Well done! 

Friday, January 29, 2021

A Perfect Friday - Rude Christians?

 Another perfect began with the moon as Stacia and I  left the driveway....the time is coming when we won't see the moon for months. LOL 

Our day continued as we discussed the gospel of John over fantastic omelets at Sunrise Grill. 

Whilst we ate we couldn't HELP but HEAR the conversation of two gentlemen several tables away. The main speaker has written a book, or two,  he wanted to share, he loudly condemned compromising churches (including several local churches by name), it became apparent which church he attends (and he doesn't think they've got it "right" either),  he wasn't a fan of President Biden and didn't seem a fan of President Trump either, he used a racial slur that nearly sent Stacia from her seat to his face, but he left...before we said anything but certainly not before the whole place was given a false view of the Jesus we serve.  It saddened us and led to introspection. Jesus help us be aware of the impression we give others of you. May we not misrepresent  you.  And as we've contemplated Pilate I've wondered if I would have the courage to stand up to an angry mob...I certainly need to work on my responses to situations like this...not sure what it all means at this point...but I do think it grieved the Holy Spirit for this to be the representation of Jesus that morning. 

The waiter DID come over and say we were welcome to stay all day and study if we'd maybe they saw the contrast in how we approach our faith?

Arielle and the boys surprised us with a visit. I don't take the joy of having children close enough to stop by for granted! Millie actually was calm enough to stay in the same room with Benny. 

Papa got a smile from Danny. 

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Winter Freezer

 I scored a sale on blueberries. I expected them this fall, but they didn't arrive up here this year.  I had just had to buy my first blueberries in a year. 

I was happy to buy these and freeze them. Gotta LOVE our outside winter freezer. When it's 1* outside it doesn't take long to flash freeze things.  12 quarts of berries are in the freezer ready for yummy treats. 

Michael Rocks

 When Acorn sent a man out to install the chair lift - they didn't listen to what we said. They put it in...but they didn't let us remove the railing going downstairs and so the chair is out much further than we were told it would be...and THEN...the man just stapled the extension cords on our walls. I should have taken photos and sent them to Acorn.  We had a box screwed into this wall and 2 extension cords stapled on the wall. Downstairs we have the same. 

Michael removed the baseboard, hid the cord, made a groove for the cord....and more cord stapled to the wall. LOL  I told him he should moonlight fixing chair lift installations. 

Our Lap Dog

Millie is 8 months old, but she still believes she is a lap dog. She can be so aggressive, but she is also the most snuggly dog we've ever had. Of course, she's the first puppy we've had. Maybe they grow out of snuggling?  In any event, we love Millie cuddles.  

She will not be ignored. 


Wednesday, January 27, 2021

All Things Dad LOL

This town we call home is beautiful. It shines especially bright at 5 on a winter morning. 

Michael had an appointment in Anchorage at 1 p.m. Dad had an appointment in Wasilla at 2 p.m. Those who know Alaska know THIS wasn't going to allow me to be at both appointments. Michael left at 11:30.  

Dad and I picked Alex up at work on our way to his primary care appointment.  This was a huge help as I didn't have to lift the chair in or out of the back of the van. My shoulder has been tweaked. Alex stayed in the car and took a warm nap while we went inside. I really like this NP. He is caring and thorough and his philosophy of care seems to line up with ours. We left the appointment with encouragement, a referral to a specialist, and a plan for dealing with sleepless nights.   I opted to keep doing what we are doing for as long as we can...and that includes a healthy dose of prayer for peaceful nights for dad. To use drugs they often use in situations like the one we are experiencing would require a big shake up in meds and we'd all rather avoid anything "new." 

Dad's blood sugars are STILL doing well...and we opted to lower his metformin by 1/3  this time rather than lowering his insulin  a bit more. Nathan told me if I EVER have craziness, as we did this month, with a med to call him personally - and I will.  

Dad used to love Nathan. He's been rude and surly the last 3 or 4 visits as he blames him for taking his license. To be honest, *I* am the one who had the talk with him when the evaluation results came back. His doctor in OR put a big note in his records that his driving needed to be evaluated. Nathan had little to do with it, other than following through.  It doesn't matter; Dad has been mad at Nathan.... Today he looked at Nathan and said, "You know, the hardest thing I've ever had to face (and I've had a lot of hard things) was losing my license."   ::sigh::  

Nathan was so good. He reached over, got down so dad could see his eyes, and said, "Harlan, I know that was terribly hard to lose. I'm sorry." 

Dad said he was mad at all "4 of them" who took his license, but he sees it wasn't Nathan's fault and he's a "good boy from Wyoming."  Shew....

After the appointment dad wanted to celebrate his good blood sugar numbers by having a piece of pie at Sunrise. Whatever!  I know he is eating sugar free at home and I know he isn't going out to eat every day - I turn a blind eye to the shenanigans when we do go out. ::snort:: 

By the time we got home it was too late for me to make the chowder I had planned. We opted to make Wed night our pizza night. We got everyone where we needed to  be on time for the evening.  I probably need to take Nolan's suggestion and make Wed night our pizza night rather than Friday night. 

One of Dad's therapists recommended we get a "day at a time" calendar to help him with days, dates etc. I found this one  and it's a hoot. Every day Dad has to figure out what is wrong with the we get to laugh, we engage powers of observation, and there are history facts on the back. This is tomorrows - he ripped 2 off today - whatever. LOL The year may go really quick around our house. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Playful Millie

There seems to be nothing Millie loves better than playing tug of war with Michael or Stacia. 


Millie Update a puppy. I knew we'd have to face this, but didn't think it would be NOW. She's 9 months old. I guess it happens. I also did not know a dog can be in heat for weeks rather than days.  We weren't prepared and will need to go buy some doggie diapers.  

Check out her face. I understand. 

All last week we've been saying how much calmer she is. She has wanted to cuddle and hasn't had her usual level of energy...Stacia worried she was sick....hmmm... Stacia has some thinking to we want to let her have a litter of pups or do we want to get her spayed soon?

Another new thing in Millie's life is she is getting down the paper trick. I brought the paper in and she raced to grab it and take it to Dad. She didn't give it to him - but it was close. 

She's a good labradoodle....ever heard of a mastidoodle? We're working to avoid a muttadoodle. 

Monday, January 25, 2021

Millie - The Tea Dog

Yuuki used to lay on my feet while I worked on the computer or read a book. I miss it. She was my personal foot warmer. Millie doesn't sit on my feet, but she DOES like to come and snuggle up in the mornings when I enjoy a cuppa tea. 


Creating A Sanctuary... What CAN I do? Musings Ahead...

Grab a drink and sit a spell. This one is going to get long-winded. Here are some thoughts which have been swirling around my mind. 

I can't change cold, ice, snow, or dark winter days. I CAN control my attitude and actions in the midst of a rather isolated/locked down season. I've been consciously turning my mind to focus on  what I CAN do, rather than what I can't do - be that due to winter, covid, or caregiving. 

"What CAN I do?" has become a running thread in my mind.  "What CAN I control in this situation and what is simply out of my control?" 

I CAN walk inside, if I can't walk outside (honestly, it is 5* outside and I don't WANT to walk outside). I CAN move, even if I can't make it to the gym. I CAN meet with friends via zoom and polo when we can't meet in person.  Many of our covid related restrictions are easing in Alaska.  BEFORE last March it was my practice to meet face to face with women. Most often we would do this in coffee shops.  For me to leave my home now requires someone else to  stay engaged with Dad.  This isn't a matter of being in the same home, but being present in the room with him. He is NOT obnoxious, he IS much stronger - but he often forgets he falls at step 4, he needs his walker, his balance is simply off.  To leave home requires me to be intentional and it can't happen 2 - 3x a week in this season of family. I'm also exhausted as Dad is up several times a night, disoriented and looking for people and things which existed decades ago...but not in our home. It's easier for all of us if I make home the center of my circle. OK y'all God is the center. We know that. ::wink::

At the start of this month we added a local Zoom Bible study to the schedule. That is working well. Next month we plan to have an in person study one week and Zoom the other 2 or 3 weeks....working to find a workable balance for all...the group, me, my family...we'll get there. 

I continue to internally "fuss" about not being able to connect with women face to face... The nook...the sanctuary seemed to be part of the answer, but I wasn't sure how. I've written about the concept before - here.  In short, I believe God impressed on me to "create a sanctuary" in the nook of our home. I did that. BUT over was easier to run out to a coffee shop, Dad moved in with furniture some of which landed in the nook, we store things in the nook, the recycling is sorted in the was NOT a place to sit, relax, invite others to was a cluttered storage room with a recliner in it and a computer screamed storage and solitary pursuits.  One day I commented to Michael I needed to clear out the nook and make it another area for Dad to enjoy. Michael's response surprised me, "No. That's your nook. It's important you carve out that space." 

His response stayed with me. His words prompted me to remember the intent to "create a sanctuary" in this space. I am aware this is much bigger than a physical location, but God directed us to set aside a physical location, as well as creating a place for sanctuary in all of life. 

Sanctuary, according to Merriam-Webster, is a holy or sacred place set apart for worship, a place that provides safety or protection, it is  protection from danger or a difficult situation that is provided by a safe place. 

Sanctuary - it's what my heart longs for, it's what I long to provide for others. One of the characteristics of our ministry the past 30 years is walking WITH others, and that can be messy - for them, for us. We need sanctuary as we provide sanctuary. 

 In Bible study last week one of the gals mentioned being aware of the need to "make a place" for the presence of God in her daily life....and all the jumbled strains swirling around the nook settled into place in my heart, mind and spirit.  I needed to clean out the nook. Not because I'm selfish and want "my space" but because God impressed on me 3 years ago  I was to create a sanctuary in this space. 

In the past three years I  have used this space to meet with Jesus. We have counseled in this space. I haven't invited women to linger in the space with me. Why? It was convenient to meet in town. I'd allowed the space to become cluttered and it was no longer relaxing or welcoming (BTW that can happen internally as well as externally). I always feel like it is inconvenient for people to drive "out here," going to others is much more my "natural bent."  We had fallen short of the original vision of creating a sanctuary in this place - though I think we've done well at making our home, our land, a sanctuary. (The moose seem to love it. ::snort::)

There are lots of hours in the day when all the kids are working or out and about and the only ones home are Michael, Dad, and myself.  I can't run out to coffee shops as often as I previously did...but I CAN invite people to meet here. Dad often naps after lunch. Even if he IS up, if I create a welcoming sanctuary in the nook...I can sit here with cups of tea and connect with women. We can do some of our counseling here, instead of having to wait until other family is home for Michael and I to both leave. God KNEW I needed to create a sanctuary. He knew it would be essential for my personal mental health, for our ministry, for continuing to connect with women in this season when I can't run out as easily as I used to. 

And so, after we rearranged our bedroom, I went to work in the nook.  I'm about 95% done. I still want to move the carpet in here to our room, and bring up the carpet which is stored to the nook.  I also need to consider taking down Christmas decorations and delivering the rest of our little Christmas gifts and that will clear the last two storage tubs from the nook. I am taking recycling to the garage daily, rather than letting it pile up in the nook. I added twinkling lights - the other strand was 70% blown out. 

Standing in the kitchen by the tea things looking into the space

When the Christmas tubs are gone, I'll move the stand with the lamp back a bit. I moved the lamp from the living elephant in the room - for real.  The tub to the left of the desk is the consolidated tub of Dad's finances etc. I need those files handy so they will most likely stay there. All other storage tubs will be vanquished. I can shut the roll top desk as wanted. 

I cleared off Grandma Anne's rocking chair - which housed bags of recycling- and the boys moved in this little hutch thing from Mom G for me. I'll need to figure out how to refinish it eventually. I don't know if it's best to leave it natural or add a color.  The printer is on a drop leaf table from Mom G. The table folds out to provide a spot for a plate and cup. The big section on the hutch also folds down for the same. We can pull in another chair if we need it. I removed my Grandpa's rocker. I was tripping over it AND it's antique and will most likely split if we sit on it. LOL  It makes a special perch for young grands. 

I moved cookbooks to the bottom of Mom G's  hutch. There is currently nothing in the drawers. Excess tea and "tea things" are in the middle section and our selection of sugar-free syrups perch on top. Moving those items to the hutch,  made this tea nook much less cluttered. I DO miss the butler's pantry our home in CA had. LOL Have I mentioned we have a barista living with us? Stacia can make fun drinks as needed: London Fog, Mocha Breve, steamers, chai.

I guessed two could sit comfortably in the spot. One in the recliner and one in the rocker. The desk chair can be turned and another chair brought in for four to sit and visit comfortably. I think. 

What remained was to try it out. Would it work to have company and NOT be in the living room with Dad? Would he feel left out? Would anyone WANT to drive out here for tea? Would it be comfortable? Would I be able to relax with the project "mostly done?"  It felt threatening to invite others home, rather than to a coffee shop, and that has led me to more musing. 

I extended an invitation to my home for a cup of tea. I invited Rose because she's mentioned repeatedly to me we haven't been able to sit and visit since last March. She misses Life Group. I knew she'd been the caregiver for her parents for years and would have words of wisdom to share. Rose is also one of the most gracious people I know. I figured if it was too odd sitting in the nook....or if Dad needed help in the middle of our "tea" - she'd be fine.  She agreed to come. I made scones, sat out some nuts and prepared to offer a variety of coffee and tea. It was HARD for me NOT to put out a real "tea time spread," but I reminded myself to do what I COULD do with a thankful heart and it would be accepted in that spirit. Most often we didn't EAT at the coffee shops anyway -just a drink and conversation. 

Y'all it was perfect! Dad laid down for a nap about 20 minutes before she arrived. The kids were working, or out and about. We sat and visited...and it was much more intimate than a coffee shop. The conversation was sweet  and I am thrilled God provided a way for this aspect of "me" to continue into this season. 

JaRissa sent lovely birthday flowers which arrived as we visit...what a special bonus to the day. 

If you're local, and you wouldn't mind driving "all the way out here" for tea, I'm back in business and ready to visit.  If there are only two of us we CAN be 6 feet apart and masks are fine if you want to wear them...though I've not learned how to drink tea well with them. I'm game to practice. I DO wipe all surfaces down quite regularly at home as we don't want to get ANY kind of winter  virus with Dad in the house. This is the 2nd winter we've had him here....without ER visits or pneumonia...we aim to keep it that way. 

Finding a way to enjoy my daily 20 oz of Echinacea, Ginger, Peach, Turmeric tea.  It makes blogging a peaceful treat. I've decided herbal tea is basically flavored water and so I count 20 oz a day towards my water goal. LOL Doc says to drink it. I'm trying...and I'm taking 10,000 Vit D 3 too. 

Krista joined me for a brief conversation in the nook when she got home last night...and Stacia just joined me this a.m. 

Create a sanctuary...yes and amen. 

Sunday, January 24, 2021

An Event Worth Celebrating!

 Yes, Sunday was my birthday. 

HOWEVER, the best celebration, by far,  on Sunday revolves around an event which took place at a church in the next town over. An event which was celebrated by friends and family around the nation and I believe was also celebrated by angels in heaven. 

Carrie and Olivia made a public declaration of their decision to follow Jesus - sold out.  These photos bring tears to my eyes even now, 2 days later. These two are precious to us. 

Our "bonus" daughter and granddaughter! 

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Celebrating My "Birthday"

 My birthday is tomorrow, January 24th, but our household is busy and it seemed best to celebrate today. 

Yep,'s certainly been a year of unexpected opportunities for growth and challenges. It's been a good year. I look forward to reaching a few more milestones on my journey to wellness, investing a bit more time in relationships and living fully present...we'll see what God has in store. I've given up trying to guess. My word for the year is "now".

We went to Red Robin for dinner....and it was yummy. Then, home for "cake" and gifts. That maple bar was yummy. My stomach is upset...maybe too much fat and carbs? 

Stacia MADE this purse. I love it. She's working on a shirt too. 

Alex got this silver cross for me. 

Millie had had enough of being ignored. She believes she IS a lap dog. 

Dad spoiled me and got me the sweatshirt I'm wearing, this shirt and 2 sugar free candy bars. 

Krista and I will go out for a birthday lunch in the near future. It was a good day. I was happy we were able to find a time in the week when the whole household could be was a challenge. 
Sugar Free Goodies

P.S. I've been told I can't post photos of Michael's main gift online. 


Made 100 by my birthday...Walking Tally 103 miles out of 100 miles