Friday, December 13, 2019

Alive Alaska Update

Friday nights used to mean pizza and movies. For Stacia and I it now means playtime with Bella and Gideon! LOL  The Queen of Sprinkles strikes again.

This seems like a good spot for an update on Alive Alaska.  Alive Alaska is a Christ-centered, recovery-focused church which welcomes all in and out of recovery, their loved ones, and anyone looking for Christ's love every Friday night.

They meet at 591 S. Knick Goose Bay Road in Wasilla every Friday night at 7p.m. Each evening begins with a community dinner and service kicks off at 8 p.m. There IS Children's ministry - run by BreAnne and Brittany.
Brittany and Bre - Photo via Alice Alaska FB 

Izaak, Bre and team planned for soft Launch in November with a "hard launch" on Good Friday 2020.  The thing is - this thing LAUNCHED with a big, unexpected boom. God obviously is using them to meet a need in the Valley. They had 80 people the first two weeks. 80 people. Think about that. The next three weeks attendance hovered at 100. 100 people...coming to celebrate Jesus and community on the recovery journey.  How humbling and exhilarating for BreZaak to be used to meet this need...that spot where their passion and the world's need intersect - calling; magic.
Bre - Strong. Courgeous. Gherkin shirt from 2015
Photo via Alive Alaska FB

Photo via Alive Alaska FB - Izaak on right

Tonight - 130 people in attendance; 21 children. Two more volunteers for children's ministry - volunteers are  a sure sign of health. They ran out of chairs. ::snort::  Brokenness gathered in Christ-centered worship, for His glory alone....magic!

The Return of the Moose!

It took a minute for me to comprehend what I was seeing. It is not one, but three, moose in the yard.

They returned! We've not seen any moose for about a month. At that point it was Rosie (of the USFW collar) and her baby..... Today, there were 3 new ones....

My greenhouse (a  gift of 2018) is a casualty of the recent wind storms.  When Michael is done with float fixin.....I am sure we'll recover what can be used and come up with a plan for next springs greenhouse. It was still standing after the first storm and I wasn't sure how to remove the panels. Removing panels will be fairly straight-forward after the 2nd wind storm.  I had stored summer toys and such in's an unsightly mess at this point. The moose did enjoy exploring the pile.  Note the walls are now over in the garden...that is NOT where the greenhouse was set up.

The greenhouse in happier's a tad bit disheartening. 

Look at all the brown! If it's going to be cold and dark - I want snow. Snow brightens up the landscape.... Without snow, we are getting lots of rain and ice. It is not the norm to have green weeds in the garden this time of year....
The chairs hold a tarp over the fire ring - ready for winter fire/hot chocolate
- for when we're SLEDDING....and snow shoeing....
 Ah - we are not simply a moose refuge...there's an aura of wildness marking our yard.   They simply follow the dancing lights to our garden! ::snort:: Mystery solved. 

And so....this is the second lasagna bed. It was piled tall in the fall, and is "cooking down." We are putting our winter compost here....the moose are loving it. ::sigh::

Do you think they REMEMBER the fence being electrified earlier in the year?

They romped around in the garden, by the greenhouse, with Road Runner - our escapee hen. Phoenix flew out and took care of the overly curious moose who was pawing at Road Runner... Good boy. The moose eventually settled down to our backyard buffet - aka the compost bin. The chickens and I were on the near side of the fence. This is as close as I've gotten to moose - and I won't be getting this close again....unless they continue to materialize on the other side of the chicken yard.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Memorial Ice Cream

Two years since Mom unexpectedly went home to be with the God she loved and served her whole life.  The memories have been  pretty consistent since Nov 17th - Michael's birthday and Mom and Dad's anniversary. One just never knows. Mom was declared cancer-free just 6 weeks before she died. I am much more mindful of "time" and being fully present since this passing.

I DO find myself sad, remembering...and yet, "feeling Christmas" much more than I have the past two years, which tells me the whole "time heals" thing is kicking into this phase of grieving. Mom LOVED Christmas. She planned for it all year.  She had at least 200  nativities....bought gifts and KEPT THEM HIDDEN all year....and so I find myself remembering as I decorate, putting in a bit more effort than is my norm, because they are sweet memories...and she feels closer at Christmas.

We had Life Group tonight. We didn't want to cancel, but we wanted to do something to mark the day. Mom LOVED Dairy Queen, ice cream, sugar just a bit less than Christmas. ::snort::  When Michael and I suggested an early dinner at Dairy Queen, followed by memorial ice cream, Dad got a sweet smile on his face, and laughed.

This isn't the healthiest way for diabetic to remember Mom - but it's fitting....and it's once a year. I had a mini-blizzard and made note to schedule next year's A1C on Dec 10th rather than the 19th. LOL

Cheers, Mom. We miss you - but can barely imagine how much you are enjoying your Christmas this year. 

How odd is THIS egg? One of the girls laid a rose-shaped egg. 

This is one DANGEROUS farm! Dinosaurs on the roof...all the barn animals are lying on their sides. Sometimes I wonder what goes on in Benny's mind. Arielle continues to be pretty is a blessing we are able to so easily watch Benny for them as Cory works.  The week has gotten away from Stacia and I, but she won't mind the pay from the past week. $13 an hour to watch two kids....good spending money for her.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

The Week So Far

It was a quiet Sunday in the nursery. Michael, Stacia and I were happy to play with the sweeties at a ratio of 1:1. LOL 

Michael has been working on the logistics of creating a float for Colony Christmas. Krista has been working on manning the float....a bit of candy is coming in, people have been volunteered, and after church costumes were selected. 
Backs purposefully I didn't get permission to use the photo of minors
 Josiah stopped by to pick up a costume after which we headed for lunch and home. Jamin took advantage of the cute puppies to attempt cute footage for his business channel.

Puppies aren't supposed to be upstairs, but Benny has taught them to climb the stairs....who can resist a cute puppy?

A good gal friend and I were able to fit in one more "coffee date" before Christmas. Michael drove me and took my van to get the tire repaired. Her husband brought her and ran errands....the bottom line being we even snatched time for all 4 of us to visit. Win win.  OH! Two screws found in my tire. I have no idea where they came from.

Two things of note have happened to change this week's plans. We had another windstorm - which brought with it warmer temps. Our snow is gone again....with the exception of this little start of the sled hill. It's beginning to look like a BROWN CHRISTMAS. We are set to have the warmest winter on record....evidently the 51* in Anchorage is the warmest day EVER on record for this time of the year. Odd year.

The other thing of note is some silly bug in the basement....Benny woke with a fever on Monday and Arielle came down with it Tuesday. My theory is it hasn't gotten cold enough to KILL THE GERMS.

When Arielle is sick, Stacia gets to go be a nanny in her place. The spot is 30 min from my home....that takes 2 hours out of the day to drive her there and pick her up. It IS a beautiful drive. She enjoys the time and $.

Look who made it up the stairs again? 

Michael and I decided to leave the table as it was at the tea. We don't usually need 8 seats at the table, and it may be easier to put the tables up for extended family with the table oriented this way. We'll live with it a bit and see what we think.

Michael entertained us with Advent wreath tricks after dinner. From Facebook comments I discovered this is a common Advent trick for Dads everywhere. LOL  Unfortunately, Blogger doesn't like the length of the video....which may be another vote for actually starting the YouTube channel my spare time. 

Tuesday dawned bright, warm, and windless. Carl and Michael took the panel outside to spray paint it....

Earlier, I drove Stacia up beyond Norman St.....Arielle sent a text as I drove, "Be careful. Miranda's area is extremely icy." wasn't too bad - or so I believed. I pulled up behind that little car and slid back down...twice.
The roads were pretty good except for the 1 1/2 miles of gravel road  Norman....sheer ice.... I made it to drop Stacia off.....and then I had to go BACK to the main road - UP a sheer icy incline. I learned the van has all sorts of bells and whistles to let one know they are sliding. I pondered WHY car manufacturers would believe one needs the DISTRACTION of those bells and whistles whilst sliding.  I made it. By the time I got to the "main road" - which is really two or three streets from the Glenn Hwy - which is THE MAIN ROAD -  I was all prayed up and had discovered myself to be quite demonstrative in prayer when  properly motivated.

Michael drove out to pick Stacia up and I took these photos. He agreed it was bad...but pointed out they had put a gravel strip all the way down the shoulder and even if I did start to slide off the road, it would have stopped the van. Or so he believes.....I didn't notice it.

Bre had invited the girls and I to a White Christmas tea. We would watch the movie and enjoy some refreshment....Arielle was sick - we skipped the movie, I grabbed Dad, and we met at Bre's for tea and goodies.

I made some sugar free cookies - which were good. I tried some peanut butter/cream cheese truffles that I'm not so sure about. I'll dip them in the sugar free chocolate before making a final decision. I suspect they are keto fat bombs as they are very fatty and not so sweet. LOL  Anyway - I had a couple of sugar options for Dad and I. He does not avail himself of the sugar free options - though other family members DO like the cookies so all is not lost.

Sugar coma? No, Gideon does this at every meal. 

I got home and found the trailer inside the garage (a feat in itself) and Michael assembling pieces....the wind put us a day behind schedule so no lights yet....

We were all VERY tired after dinner and went right to bed. LOL  Early this a.m. we heard that Miranda's little one is throwing Stacia doesn't have to work today. She is happy. I am happy. We're all happy!  Just a normal Wednesday.....

I had planned to have some moms with preschool kids over to decorate sugar cookies, but this close to Christmas with this bug running through the house, caused a change in plans. 

I suddenly realized it's the 11th of December - so I guess I'll pay bills instead. LOL I don't know why a new month always sneaks up on me. 

Saturday, December 07, 2019

MAG 2019 Christmas Tea

The family  (including Dad) is eating ice cream. I will hide in the nook and blog and pray I don't give in - because I really don't want to start metFormin.

I will focus instead on yesterday's  fun Tea. Jennifer did a great job with planning and pulling off this year's tea. Originally,  we had thought it would be at her new Lakeside home....but her home isn't finished. We moved locations to our home.

Carl stopped by while we were setting up and starting. He and Michael have all the words done on the float....the message is on both sides so it can be seen equally from either side of the parade.

Some women I have come to love deeply in the past couple of years.
Yasinta and Bonnie
Nora and Nani

Stacey  - she's stocking tiered tray - not eating a plate
of raspberries by herself.

Britney & Donna 

Sandy & Jennifer
 We had 3 tables in my living room, 2 in the dining room and the big table we normally use - it was impossible to get a photo of everyone all at once. LOL
F - Britney & me
Rose, Nora, Nani
Yasinta, Bonnie, Stacie, Ameilee
We had a wonderful selection of savory and sweet food.  Jennifer and Donna picked the recipes and various ones of us prepared them to share. We have about 4 women doing the Keto diet, and 3 - 4  of us avoiding sugar due to diabetes....there was one or two full sugar treats, several low carb and several keto treats. I had no trouble at all filling up without eating sugar or tyramine (allergy).  I appreciated the care Jennifer gave to making sure there was something for everyone....for the most part the recipe make-overs are easy ones which are part several of our ladies lifestyles. For instance, I made low carb chicken salad....basically switched out cashews for pecans, skipped the grapes and put in Romaine leaves instead of croissants, and I used Best Food vegan as I was making it and I still watch my cholesterol very carefully with my hyper-cholesterol whatever they call it syndrome. Wala - still tasted good and no one busted their eating plan. ::snort::  I was skeptical of skipping the cashews and grapes - but after making this with non fat Greek yogurt and no nuts - this tasted like a treat. LOL 

All the tea cups were from Mom's collection or ones I had purchased. We will have MANY MORE when I actually unpack the part of Mom's collection which she didn't sneak into the trailer when we moved up here. ::snort::  I hope I have a few of her crystal platters. I discovered all mine must have been given away when we downsized to move to Japan. LOL 

Donna made these lovely 3-tiered serving trays. I plan to buy the pieces and make some for myself. Donna graciously suggested I keep a few trays to use for the two tea parties I will be hosting before Christmas. I had vague thoughts of getting one made this week - but I think Donna's plan is much saner. 

Sandy spoke to us about peace - and it was a word for the moment. 

At some point during the day Michael needed to leave. He and Nolan went to pick up Alex, grab lunch, and go watch Midway....this meant he and Nolan grabbed keys and played a giant game of tetras on our icy lot. LOL 

Photo via Krista
I didn't sleep well Friday night. I got home around 10:45 or takes a bit of time to unwind....Alex needed to be up early and I was driving him to work....honestly, I mostly was up thinking about Mom and missing her. 

I was very tired this evening. Stacia and I settled down to watch a Christmas Movie with Dad. Dad spotted Home Alone and it seems he and Mom watched this one alot. He could quote the lines to us. We were a bit shocked at the dysfunction in the family....but enjoyed zoning out....the boys came home and finally accomplished our annual viewing of The Muppets Christmas Carol. Benny snuggled in to watch...

Sharing traditions with a new generation - Priceless.