Thursday, April 11, 2024

Brunch, Skiing, Bread & Spring Grass

I have come up with a routine that is sort of working. When I had time with Jesus first thing - as I like -  I could NOT get a workout in before Dad needed my attention. I now have to get up and moving early...but I've taken to soaping the devo verse each morning, working out and INVARIABLY regardless of the time of morning Dad rings his bell at the 2-mile mark. I'm not thrilled, but I am guessing 2 miles is better than none because I am waiting for a longer period of time. I then have my extended time with Jesus because I can do that when Dad is up. 

Stacia and I popped out to our favorite cafe for a "brunch study." Breakfast turned to lunch, and we have a hard time focusing with all the noise... We found a solution. We went to the car and finished our discussion in the car.  I think we'll plan this from now on - or we need to find a quieter lunch spot. 

Allie had classes and homework/socializing at college. 

I came home and played with bread and dinner...Stacia met Jenni for a drive up to Hatcher's Pass and some skiing. 

It's Thursday so you KNOW after dinner was done and cleaned up, we headed for the couch for knitting and an episode of, "All Creatures Great and Small." 

Playing with bread? I'm trying to find a way to make a sourdough loaf that doesn't use a lot of sugar, butter and YEAST.  Earlier in the week I just popped my normal round of dough into a loaf pan. It worked...but we get much more bread with a round.  This channel popped into my feed and I clicked. I decided to try her recipe (The recipe is in the description of the video if they link doesn't work). I didn't have enough starter so halved her recipe. I was able to use my fresh ground flour mixed with the bread flour, an egg, milk, yogurt and honey (which I'm not thrilled about, but no butter or yeast). I was skeptical it would rise with fresh ground flour used. It said to let it ferment overnight until the dough was doubled in size. 
Blew right out of the plastic wrap.

I was met with THIS at 0600. I divided and shaped it into two loaves and then put it into my pampered chef pans. I wasn't sure it would fill the pans...I shaped them the way she did on the video... I may shape as I usually do next time. Note: I rewatched how she shaped, and she makes TWO triangles before rolling it up which would work MUCH better. ::snort:: I'll try her way again. 

They got huge! I'm glad I had the bigger Pampered Chef pans. My oven heats from the top, and these rose so high they were far too close to the element and got overly browned....

Bread on the left is the normal round thrown into a loaf pan. Bread on the right is the soft sourdough. 

Both loaves taste good.  The soft loaf doesn't have the sourdough tang. Michael loves the tang of the original recipe...BUT the bigger loaf DOES use whole grain, it IS an overnight ferment, and it slices great. I'll probably bake the original rounds for the taste...and make these every now and again for those who want bread and don't like the tang, or to be able to use my fresh ground flour. ::snort::

And HERE our first patch of spring grass! I'm hopeful! The hoop house shape is IN the garden...still lots of snow...but soon I should be able to get to the greenhouse. 

Enough yammering! 

1. A great discussion with Stacia at Brunch. 
2. A husband who can fix vehicles. 
3. Thursdays with Jenni. 
4. Mercy. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

These 2 Photos

These two photos have captured my attention tonight. The first was taken in September 2023 at Pyrah's Farm.  It was a beautiful fall day...Carrie and Arielle let me take this shot and I was NOT to post it until Arielle had gone public with her pregnancy. 
Carrie & Arielle (with Josi and Ellie)

Today Carrie and the girls came out to meet Ellie. 
Carrie and Josi and Arielle and Ellie

There has been so much pain and so much joy since that first photo was taken. Grief has a way of entering a room and demanding attention. Grief isn't always polite. It doesn't care if you have a different blog post planned, it doesn't care if you are in the midst of something else...when grief wants attention grief grabs it.  I have learned, however, if I give grief the attention it is demanding it is content to step into the background and let other emotions take front and center... like contentment and joy. Look at those girls and THEIR baby girls! 

Allie also met Ellie today. 
Auntie Allie and Ellie

Allie, Ellie, Livie, Josi

We got a good laugh at the girls' matching bows again today! LOL 

The kids played inside and outside! was a sunny day! 

Charles declared GG was putting a puzzle together that looked like "hot lava."  It's a puzzle of a pizza, but in his defense GG just started it.
GG, Charles, Danny

Cory is a great girl dad. 

There was a funny moment when Danny came in and I was holding Josi. He came over and was chatting to "my baby"...and Arielle said, "Are you sure?"  He kept chattering. "Look closer." The look on his face when he noticed dark hair instead of strawberry blonde was PRICELESS. He was perplexed. 

Ah, Josi! Your smile and those dimples are the perfect way to end this day! 

1. Family. 
2. Lunch with Sherri and Joanne. 
3. Steve, Michael's best man all those years ago and a dear friend has been in the ICU. Today he came out of the coma and is off the ventalator. He is still in the ICU and in need of prayers.  

Monday, April 08, 2024

Another Flannel Monday

 Twenty-three weeks. 

I'm not sure I'll ever make it through a Monday without reliving that afternoon, the phone call, the minutes immediately afterwards calling each of the siblings, calling close friends...."Josiah's been shot, and he's dead." Words you NEVER expect to say. The drive up to Anchorage...desperate to get to Carrie.  The sense that this could not possibly be real! Murder could not have touched our lives. 

I'm thankful we immediately determined not to become bitter but to forgive. There have been many opportunities to forgive - from the murder suspect to those who mean well but wound with advice that shows they really have never been in our shoes. We have received much grace and have extended much grace as well. 

I'd like to say a word to my "tribe." Those who go by the name of Christians, Christ-followers. Sometimes, we are the very WORST at hard emotions. We've gotten the idea we can't walk with God in the dark places of our lives. In our attempts to "help," we end up encouraging others to deny emotions, and honestly, it's not God's plan for us to deny our human emotions. Lament is a gift. As I lament, as I name the pain, God meets me there and walks with me in the pain. This is much better than "getting over grief" before I've had time to walk out the emotions. 

I'm thankful we "do not grieve as those without hope"...but I've come to know many of us miss the impact of Paul's comment. We stop at "We do not grieve." In doing so we put unrealistic expectations on ourselves and others. As Christians we DO grieve - but we do it with HOPE - hope in the person of Jesus, hope in the future. Make no mistake; we experience grief - the pain is real. The pain of what was lost in the present and in the future doesn't go away. We are human. If we love, we grieve when death enters the picture. The power of Paul's statement is that even though we DO grieve, we grieve with HOPE. Unfortunately, I've seen the tendency to think one has to "put on a happy face" in order to prove we have "hope." That simply isn't true.  Acknowledging the pain gives people more hope that God can walk through these things with us than "putting on church face." 

We should seek to follow Jesus. Jesus loves. Jesus weeps. Jesus is always with us. Jesus was a man of sorrows...and partying. 

I've had many moments of tears today. That's o.k. God continues to bless by bringing just the right person at the right time across my path... people who know the value of simply being with another. This is key - you can't FIX THIS. You can only love; you can only "rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep."  That's all we're told to do. Be there. You don't have to say a word, and unless you are SURE you have something necessary to say, it's probably best not to speak. Job's friends were HEROES when they came and sat in the ashes with him, but when they opened their mouths to "fix Job" and "help him understand," they traded being heroes and became zeros.  

I had tea today with a friend who has lost a loved one. Brenda gets me. I cherish our times together. 

I did not take a single photo today...and so I thought I'd have to resort to a bread photo...but google photos popped up this memory today...Ah...

It was 2010. Michael was deploying from Japan to the Middle East via Dallas and the East Coast. The boys were in college in San Angelo (20 and 18 years old) and drove up to Dallas to see Michael.  Time has passed so quickly. 


1. Tea with Brenda. 
2. We grieve with hope. 
3. Memories.
4. God carries the weight of my heart which craves justice. He will judge righteously. 

Sunday, April 07, 2024

Sunday Happenings

We got out of the house in good time this morning and headed to church in Eagle River. 

These were the sweetest row mates ever. You can even see two of our sweet daughters in laws in the background. 

Liv, Josi and Carrie and Larissa in the back

WOW...another powerful sermon series kicked off this week...Deeper Life Through Forgiveness! The word came in power today, worship was inspired, 18 more baptisms, the parking lot was CRAZY...which means that some have come back from Easter. God is on the move in Alaska. 

I continue to be in awe of how Pastor Brian is able to speak the real, the tough messages with such grace.  We'll be looking at forgiveness and the life of Joseph for the next four weeks.  This week we looked at favoritism and jealousy. A few thoughts that stood out to me...

"Every offense leads to a choice..."

"Where's the offense? You gotta name the offense for it to be healed." 

"Jesus can make me unoffendable." 

"When I stop forgiving, I stop looking like Jesus."

"Unforgiveness moves me to a deeper level of dysfunction..."

3 tips for dealing with offense...favoritism and jealousy:

1. Assume the best of those who choose others above you.

2. Celebrate others who have incited feelings of unworthiness.

3. Root out unforgiveness as if your life depends on it! It does.

The topic of forgiveness is timely for me (us?) as we continue to wrestle with how to love and forgive AND work through the legal system after Oct 23rd.  

Via ACF Facebook page 

After church we headed to PIZZA MAN! We discovered a new room where they had lots of tables and could sit all 12 of us.  I love connecting with the "kids." Today us five had lunch with Jared, Larissa and Noah, Jamin, and Carrie and the girls. Jamin had to head out to the valley to show a house. We went home with Carrie and Livie. Jared met us there. We helped move bigger furniture and such around. Livie is going to move her room downstairs, and the nursery is moving into Liv's old room across from Carrie's. It will be nice to have Josi's clothes and such on the same level as the rest of the house. 

Just like old times! LOL 

Stacia soaked up some Josi time

Bre reports the kids were able to wear their Easter outfits to church. It's a red-letter Sunday when everyone is well at the same time. 
Jojo, Gideon, Annie, Bella holding Trudy


Two of the Sisters

Welp - ready or not a new week has begun! 

1. Clear roads to church...a crazy parking lot...and excitement at church. 
2. 5 or 6 baptisms in our service - there are 3 other services...these are exciting as they represent new believers taking the NEXT STEP in their relationship with Jesus. 
3. Community. 

Saturday, April 06, 2024

Game Night at Jamin's

 Jamin hosted a family game night at his apartment in Eagle River tonight. It was my first time to see his apartment since he'd had it totally remodeled and updated. It's cute. Now, we just need to visit his new studio. LOL 

Allie opted to stay home and work on her upcoming project and weekly assignments. Stacia has time management down to a science and was able to plan the breakaway time earlier in the week/month/year. LOL  Alex texted he would stay with GG, which was a great offer as I've not been able to participate in past game nights.  However, Allie really needed to stay home and that allowed us to go, and her to have much more quiet space of time to be productive. AND frees her up to enjoy Sunday rather than having to cram homework into the schedule. 

Jamin provided pizza and we all brought snacks. Us, Jenni, Nolan, Carrie and the girls, and Jared and Noah were able to make tonight's fun. I didn't take many photos but here are a few. 

We talked through a deck of ice-breaker type questions Jamin had and then we played "Pick Your Poison."  It was a fun night.  I didn't consider photos I should have taken...but here are a few that I did click. 

Jamin, Jenni, Josi, Livie, Stacia

Note Jamin has an impressive array of Alaska wildlife represented in his space. He has a stuffed animal of the cat variety beside the fireplace as you walk into the door. Noah had spent the afternoon/ day with Jared. They went shopping, knocked on some doors, did some campaign stuff and climbed 3 floors of stairs to the tip top of the building Jamin owns. LOL I suspect he had some assist with the stairs, but he burst through the door as big as life. I wish I'd been in place to get a photo of Noah when he noticed the cat standing beside him ...bigger than him, stretching up and out. It was classic. He seemed perplexed as to whether he should pet him or back away... the animal looked a bit like Bleeker, but didn't move or act like Bleeker.  I also missed photos of Michael and Carrie. 

I "sort of" got a picture of Nolan (and Stacai)

Noah was intrigued with Josi. 

Cousins! Noah and Josi. 

Jared and Noah 

The moose looks a bit intimidating so close to Liv...but the bear would have been more alarming! LOL 

This was a fun night.  Now that we know Alex likes to occasionally skip and stay in town, we'll be checking in with him on future game nights. It was a lot of fun for Michael and I both to be able to be out with the kids. GG isn't going to make it up 3 flights of stairs. 

It's been a full day! 

1. Connections - with family and friends. 

Bella is Turning 8

Bella Turns 8 on April 12th! That feels unreal! In some ways it's gone so quickly and in other ways life has totally transitioned since her birth. LOL Bella is a social butterfly, is mastering phonics, is a wonderful big sister to her four siblings, and a big help to Bre. Bella sparkles. She has a way of drawing people to her and that is never more evident than on her birthday. 

Today was Bella's friend party, though several family members crashed the party at her invitation. LOL Her theme was ice cream - or that's the theme I picked up on. Bre made darling cupcakes in ice cream cones, there were little dishes of ice cream and ice cream toppings, and even a photo booth featuring an ice cream truck. 

Annie's feet, Nolan, Stacia, Jamin, Andrew, Lorelai

Izaak and Trudy

Allie, Stacia and I went over. A highlight was seeing several friends from MAG. 
Bre, Rebekah, Melany

Bella was dressed in an ice cream dress, be watching for more shots of it...but here you can see the sprinkles on top.
Annie, Bella, Gideon

Melany, Andrea and me

Kids and Hope

Nolan and Stacia

Jenni and Joelle (Jenni's sister)

Ketziah, Leah, Morgan and Jojo

The girls are pushing on a big school project this weekend - in between all the social activities. We had agreed we would stay an hour and so we popped out. Bre sent photos from the photo booth. We totally missed it. 

4 of BreZaak's children 

Jojo, Bre, Bella, Annie, Gideon

Nolan and Annie

Bekah, Bre, Joelle, Jenni

BreZaak's kids! 

Bella, Jojo, Annie, Gideon


Uncle Nolan with kids

Jojo and Nolan

Hope, Lucas, Lucy (Joelle's children)

Bre, Annie and Gideon 

Bre is the party queen and a master memory creator! Another great day in the books.