Sunday, February 28, 2021

Sunday spent in Silence and Solitude

Grandpa woke up with a headache and sore throat about 5:30.  He was concerned he had COVID again and was more worried than he had been when he actually HAD COVID.  Krista was drilling at JBER. Michael and Stacia headed to church. Nolan's schedule was such he was able to make it too.  Grandpa slept. 

I suddenly had a morning of silence and solitude. I sat in the nook, with tea and my Bible. I set the Bible down and simply sat, watching the mountain out my window and talking to Jesus. 

A few magical snow flakes began to fall. They weren't "falling,"  as much as floating in the air.  It reminded me of standing in the midst of swirling cherry blossoms in Hirosaki.  I told Jesus they were pretty amazing...

...and then we began to get a lot of flakes...swirling outside my window. I decided to simply sit with Jesus. 

Everyone got home about the time Grandpa was waking up and we moved into an afternoon of  being together.  Grandpa said he was fine when he woke up....

It's hard to believe it's the last day of February 2021.....

Way to Go, Nolan!

 What can this mean?????

Nolan has finished his first college course, "Fundamentals of Business" and tested for it. He passed with flying colors. He has earned his first 3 college credits in his first month of enrollment. 

 His new course (another 3 credits) is "Best Practices of Management." 

I like the premise of Western Governor's University. It's a good fit for Nolan. 

Random Shots and Thoughts

Rather than write a few more posts - here's one post with random shots collected this week, and the thoughts they prompt. 

Nolan is now working mostly closing shifts. This means he is home and up in the late morning, early afternoon. It has been nice to have him around to sit with Grandpa when we need to run an errand etc. It's also been great to have more time for conversations and to have him around when Arielle and the boys stop by. 

 Danny looks more and more like a little Scottish lad. He now has brows and lashes coming in - and they are ginger. 

I strained the broth and set it out to cool down so I could sim the fat...and when I got back out's frozen SOLID to the table. I guess it's fine there. 

This girl. She sets her alarm for 5:30 every morning and hits the school books. This allows her time to add things to her schedule that interest her and to work 2 days a week. She catches naps where she can. 

I believe this is  a bud on the lilac bush....

Alaskan forager....

Grandpa woke up with a headache and sore throat. I'm home with him while the others are at church. It's been nice to catch up on the let the new week begin. 

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Blazing a Trail

You know it's springtime* in Alaska when it warms up enough to get outside and play in the snow. ::snort:: Seriously, it's NOT break up yet, we're a good month away from seeing many buds...but the days are getting brighter, some of the birds are back and singing loudly in the morning, the sun is back, and the temps are up in the high 20's even low 30's. 

I kept hearing talk of cross country skiing. I was feeling sick. I think it's because of the massive dose of anti-inflammatory I've been on for 5 days. I'm cutting it out.  The dog began to go BEZERK! Investigation showed the crew had not LEFT the property and Millie knew she was missing the fun. 

These three blazed a trail in our yard for cross country skiing.  We've talked about it. I'm excited to see it come to fruition....Stacia and Allie are newbies at the whole thing and seemed to enjoy it.  They are working up to a ski-in-forest-cabin camping trip in  mid-March. 

I am SO excited to have an outdoor work out in the yard....I plan to locate a pair of boots and get out there myself as soon as my foot is "workable" again.  The trail goes into the woods, out of the woods, across the side yard and ends in the driveway. 

No moose were disturbed for this activity. 

*I really am not sure it IS spring time yet - but it is the last day of February. One can hope. 

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Mental Noise

 Dad had a dental appointment today.  There are so MANY aspects to consider with his care. It's mind boggling. I think we've come up with a plan which  takes all factors into account. He needs a lot of dental work. He's put it off for years. He's at a place now where the oral surgeon doesn't want to remove teeth for dentures... We had to fight to have 4 abscessing teeth removed. Ideally I'd spread the work he needs over 3 years to minimize the amount he'd have to pay out of pocket....but since he has put this work off for at least 6 years...we are most likely going to have to do it all in the upcoming months...meaning he will have a lot of out of pocket expenses. 

Safety protocols continue to be a challenge. We understand why we are told to provide 24/7 supervision. We understand why the risks of walking unaided outweigh the benefits. We understand sun downing and the need for precautions. Dad, however, is not happy with these protocols...and sometimes I wonder if the struggle....well...we've been told by doctors and home health care he is in the best situation for him....and so we are working hard to keep him in this situation... Finding respite care continues to be a priority. We're making a bit of progress, at least defining what may be helpful....all this is noise in my head....

Dad crammed a pen into his hearing aide. I don't know why...but I am going to have to take the hearing aid in again. Hearing Aides just may not work out. He is MUCH more alert and engaged when he wears them but he doesn't like to wear them. 

Michael has a unique way of relaxing these days...evidently this is mandated by the chiropractor. 

The day was not all about dental appointments and noisy thoughts. We also had some good conversations, played Farkle after dinner, and enjoyed our warming temps...high 20's. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Tea with Sandy

The highlight of today was hosting Sandy in the nook - my sanctuary.  It's been hard to find time, location and opportunity to get together with Sandy. Pre-covid we'd make it over to Crema's a couple of times a month. Then lockdown, numerous quarantines, caregiving and well - this is the FIRST time in over a YEAR we've been able to get together for tea.  

In the midst of the conversation, munchies and laughter, I  remembered to snap a photo to add to the virtual guest book.  I think the girls visited at a table nearby us the last time we were at Crema' they introduced Millie and Coulter. Eventually they went for a quick walk and a romp around the yard. Socializing can be hard all around, but I think it went well. 

I didn't realize how high Millie can jump. She could clear the chicken yard if she wanted to.  This may be a problem this summer when the chickens are out and about and want to use their yard. I don't think I've seen a chicken in the yard in months. Previous years they DID come out and gather.....

Michael had an appointment in Wasilla today. 

Jamin stopped in to pick up Jared. They fly out tomorrow to meet friends in Hawaii. These five guys (our 3, plus 2 bonus') have been friends since high school in San Angelo.  It makes me smile to imagine them in Hawaii together. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Woot! Active Duty Here She Comes

We have totally loved having Krista in Alaska with us these past 2 years. We always KNEW it was temporary and that she would go active duty at some point. 

Months ago the reserves told Krista she was approved to submit a packet to become an  Active Duty Air Force Chaplain. Then began the process of being picked for Active Duty. Part of this process is having a "scroll" submitted and approved by congress.  She ran around getting all the necessary pieces together to submit her scroll. Then we waited.  We were told congress "should" approve them by mid-January. Didn't happen. 

Alaska is a lovely place to wait! 

Mid February - she was notified her scroll had been approved. This meant she was accepted to go Active Duty, within 2 weeks her "acceptance letter" would go to assignments, and 2 - 4 weeks beyond that she'd receive an assignment. By mid-March she'd have ANSWERS about what the next season will look like. 

Krista has not been idle during the wait...she leads the church's young adult outings, is our youth pastor, has been doing lots of counseling, works with special needs at our local high school, serves in a reserve unit at JBER,  and keeps very busy with friends. 

One thing she has done in the wait is to become ASIST trained. She has presented at several suicide prevention workshops at JBER. (OK for civilians that's Joint Base Elemendorf Richardson; for military folks she's been presenting at ASIST workshops/trainings). She was presenting at a workshop this Monday (22 Feb) when she heard her scroll may not be approved.  She had promoted since the start of the application process and it appeared she would need to start the process all over again. We were glad we hadn't shared her approval far and wide. 

Within hours she heard ARPC had done some magic and she was NOT going to have to start all over, her scroll was approved - again. She'd have an acceptance letter within 2 weeks and then on to assignments for specifics...probably another 2 - 4 weeks before FACTS were shared.  She ran into AF chaplains from JBER at the workshop. She did share her scroll approval with her fellow chaplains at JBER. 

A short hour later she received the acceptance letter to sign and her packet was sent to assignments...the shortest 2 weeks in military history.  We agreed to wait another couple of weeks to share news of her approval - until she had an assignment. Monday was a ROLLER COASTER day for Krista. 

The NEXT DAY - Tuesday, 23 Feb, Krista was notified where her first assignment as an active duty chaplain will be.... Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson! YES. There were two Alaskan bases and we've all been praying if it was God's will  she be assigned to one of them for her first assignment.  We know she will eventually leave Alaska, but for another 3 years she will be within an hour of home. This will certainly make OUR transition to Krista being active duty much easier.   I think it will be nice for her to be able to maintain friendships as she launches into a new adventure. The next months will be full of decisions and change...but it's all forward momentum! 

To say we are excited is a gross under-statement. We will have the joy of watching her transition to an active duty chaplain. This has been a long journey. She felt she was to be a chaplain, 15 years ago. Ten years after she began wrestling with the call she entered an M Div program and started the process which led to today. This included ministerial ordination, earning an M Div, reserve time, gaining a civilian endorser (Open Bible - our endorser when Mike was active duty), and waiting, waiting, waiting. She has excelled every step of the way. She has worked HARD, and earned top grades and awards in both civilian and military training, to be where she is today - at the start of her active duty chaplaincy ministry. 

Part of what we did (or who we were) in the military was ministry scouts. We enjoyed encouraging men and women with hearts for God to pursue the chaplaincy. The Air Force NEEDS evangelical men and women with a passion for ministry and a heart for God. We sought to encourage young chaplains with these traits and to encourage others to enter the chaplaincy. It has been pure joy to watch these young chaplains move up the ranks...In my ministry to military spouses and troops I often prayed for conservative, God-loving, passionate female chaplains to enter the military. It is humbling, awe-inspiring even,  to stand here and of the many answers to our prayers for God to send God-loving, passionate ministers into the Air Force is our daughter. 

We are  proud of her zeal to follow Jesus.  I am hoping for a Misawa assignment in her future....oh the places we can visit.... LOL  The next week will be filled with goodbyes to students before spring break, working details to report in April, looking for possible new housing....and dreaming....exciting times! 

Crossing things off the Alaskan Bucket List

 Alainna, a college friend of Arielle's,  is visiting this week. They came over to visit today and made it to our house before the girls and I did....we mentioned a moose up the road. It turns out Lainna didn't see a moose on her previous visit. Seeing a moose is on her Alaska bucket list. I offered to drive her up the road to find a moose.  We set off....

We found one. It wasn't in a great location, but it counted to cross seeing moose off the bucket list. 

Arielle called as we drove around on a search for  bigger and more photogenic moose. "There are three moose in the yard." ::snort:: 

We headed home to find the three moose in our yard. Such pretty posers they were. Lainna grabbed some great shots...I snapped a couple. 

It makes us happy when Alainna visits CoRielle. Her visit sure does help with the cabin fever starting to set in about now. 

Monday, February 22, 2021

A Great Monday

A photo for the day...I took one at the doctor's office in a cute little robe...but decided I'm not liberated enough to post here you go...another shot of the outdoor freezer. 

I filled this with spices, water and the turkey simmered all night and today we strained it and set it out to cool. 

Yes, I DID have that aforementioned appointment. I thoroughly enjoy my visits with Shelly. I am blessed to have discovered her for a primary provider. Today we discussed foster kids, parenting as an "older mom," and Victory Bible Camp.  Enough said. I leveraged the yucky annual appointment with a a Vagabond visit with Jennifer and Brenda! Yay! Way to plan ahead...though it really isn't anything I can take credit for NEXT year I WILL plan ahead. ::snort:: We received an  added bonus when Aaron and Elise pulled up outside our window.  I appreciated the boys staying with Grandpa so I could have a fun filled doctor visit. 

Michael was off to Eagle River. Why? To pick up JARED. We are always happy when Jared does a fly in. He needed  a covid test before flying out Thursday and can't get the needed test in he's here 3 days before his trip.  He will work from our home and we'll have him for evening visits. Jared and Michael pulled in right in time for dinner...Turkey Pot Pie. 

Nolan, Allie, Stacia, Alex, JARED, Grandpa, Michael 


Sunday, February 21, 2021

A Blessed Sunday

 We are getting pretty good at spotting moose. Check her out...or maybe it's a bull without antlers - which really confuses me. 

Good Morning Moose

I was up early putting all the early touches I could on our Sunday dinner.  When we unset the tables from last night, I reset for today.  The turkey cooked all night.  It all worked well.  Yep, finding new routines for our here and now. 

Church was good. Pastor preached on Covenant and Compromise. It was a great topic - encouraging, challenging, was great. I have been thinking of my actions, my I living by law or love? What is motivating me?  Topic came to mind again as I read Acts 16 this morning. I've often wondered about Paul circumcising Timothy after the big counsel in Jerusalem. I knew it had to have something to do with his heart to continue to speak to and win the hearts of the Jewish nation....but I see it as a good example of him doing something that may have looked legalistic but was motivated by love. In any event I am enjoying sermons which have me considering weeks later....

We had 14 for lunch. I had meant to take a photo. I thought it would be fun to create a hospitality album "around the table"....but I forgot. I may have to invite them all again until I get it right. The food was good, Jacque brought an amazing salad and Krista (Danny's Krista) made a keto dessert I will be making for years to come....low carb, sugar free, chocolate peanut butter pie.  Brittany and our Krista were here for lunch and then bowed out for the rest of their day. The conversation was even better than the food. Michael and I commented we feel like we all go to know each other a bit better. 

Stacia and Allie petitioned for a few episodes of Leverage. We sat around and chilled as a big pot of  turkey broth began simmering.  Krista came home. Nolan got off work. We had the traditional "Sunday Night Ice Cream" and some headed for bed. We ended the day with more meaningful conversation. 

It was a blessed Sunday. 

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Jamin Turns 30! February Birthday Celebration!

 Tonight was our February Birthday Celebration - it fell on JAMIN'S 30TH BIRTHDAY! I can barely believe our children are these ages! LOL 

Jamin is making a name for himself in  Real Estate circles in Alaska. We are proud of what he has accomplished in such short order. He also volunteers at his church, makes the most of Alaska's recreational opportunities and continues to participate in various civic groups. If you want great shots of Alaska - check out his Alaska Realtor youtube channel. 

Josiah, Jamin and Michael

We checked the list numerous times and we had 21 people coming to dinner. We moved GG's chair to his room, the coffee table and rocking chair to our room....and set up extra tables. 

Benny is always happy to help the guys! 

We received sad news a couple of hours before dinner. BreZaak were not able to make it. They've been locked down for so long, and Izaak was days away from the "safe zone." He's been exposed at work and so it looks like he will need to quarantine. We have GG here, Josiah and Jamin are planning to fly to Hawaii this week and Jared is flying in was best to play it safe. While we ALL understand - we were also all disappointed...Michael removed a table. LOL

Table One 

Livie, Ellie, Stacia, Allie, Nolan, Krista, Luke

Table Two 

Arielle, Danny, Cory, Benny, GG, Carrie, Josiah - Jamin
Michael and I out of the picture. LOL 

At dessert time Benny moved down the table snitching ice cream cake. Arielle proved too quick for him. 

Baachan and Danny are looking a little rough! LOL 

We had mint ice cream cake, cookies and cream ice cream cake, chocolate mint cheesecake and a sugar free chocolate mint cheese cake. That's a whole lot of dessert - but we had six birthdays to celebrate. 

Birthday Gang - plus Benny! 
Jamin, Nolan, Alex, Ellie, Livie, Josiah 

I had been waiting to give Carrie her card as it had confetti and I wasn't sure if it would make a big mess at her house. She opened it. Benny then gathered all the confetti, refilled the card, and set it off again.  They did this 2 or 3 times. LOL

The Eagle River/Anchorage crowd left....Before CoRielle left Cory and Benny helped Michael with a splinter. They left. Krista's car was at Luke's so they left. Everyone headed for bed. Michael put chickens to bed and fought off our demon rooster. I got ready for tomorrow's adventures....

Friday, February 19, 2021

Alaskan Winter Magic

 We watch the forecast for the Northern Lights in our home like some watch the snow or rain forecast. Nights when the Northern Lights are dancing ARE truly magical.....we can usually snap a few shots from our yard....but sometimes they are active enough to warrant a mid-night drive up the mountain for  a few good shots. 

I began getting text messages from Josiah....and then Arielle....they were seeing lights. We weren't seeing them from here....but shortly began to see faint lights...Michael and the girls headed to the top of the mountain. I was  the logical choice to stay home with GG (who was asleep or we would have taken him). 

Photo by Michael 

Photo by Stacia

Watching the Northern Lights dance and leap across a star lit sky makes Alaskan winters totally worth it. LOL  And, yes, it is pure Alaskan Winter Magic. 

Thursday, February 18, 2021

The Trees Are Lit Up

There are moments which are magical. The moment when the sun hits the trees and moves around to light up our mountain is one of those moments. We love it in the late winter and other seasons it's too dark or too light for good sunrises and sunsets. 

"The trees are lit up!" Stacia called.....

Photo by Michael 

And three cameras rushed for various view points. Here are a couple of shots...

Photo by Stacia

Photo by Stacia 

Photo by Michael 

Millie took advantage of being outside to coax Allie into an impromptu play session. 
Allie, Stacia and Millie

...taken BEFORE the moose arrived and took over the scene.  We watched her eat while we ate dinner. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2021


 I finally found someone willing to cut my hair for me. Allie took off a few inches. Stacia provided emotional encouragement but refused to participate in the trimming.  

Millie is an opportunist.  Come to think of it - so am I - thus the hair cut! LOL 

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Winter Day

 Early morning fun with Millie....

While the rest of the country has wild storms, we've warmed up enough for it to begin snowing again. 

We spent a quiet morning sipping hot drinks and watching the snow out the windows. No, I did not make my personal goal of having Christmas down before Lent and the rest of the week is looking fairly busy. I am guessing I will work on it NEXT week. 

Michael, Dad and I enjoyed a quick trip to a Hotel Cafe for hot drinks and desserts after his appointment this afternoon. It didn't do a bit of good for my sugar level averages, I am sure....but Dad loved it. LOL