Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The 'State of Alaska'

Bernard Stevens: Excuse me.
Dr. Joel Fleischman: Yeah.
Bernard Stevens
: Where am I?
Dr. Joel Fleischman
: You know, I've been asking myself that same question since I got here.
I finally figured out we are somewhere between the end of the line and the middle of nowhere.

Bernard Stevens
: Oh. Where is that on the map?
(Northern Exposure 1990)

Running with Guns: At 5:45 am every other day unless I oversleep or Sherry doesn't get any sleep (she is an amazing and busy mom of two: 2 yrs and 5 mths), we drag ourselves out of our cozy beds, suit up in our running duds, strap on our headlamps and march over to each others houses to rap on the door... so far anyway, determined to hold the each other accountable! It's early, it's chilly,it's dark and...it's the wild tundra! Knowing we are not the only mammals cruising around the Quin rustic roads I buckle my trusty .44 on with a standard belt and hip holster which I tuck into my running pants against my back. This, however has turned out to be highly uncomfortable. I can't get it to ride against my back without flopping around and rubbing my skin raw, not what I care to deal with on an early morning jaunt. I've decided to go online holster shopping for a more runner friendly pistol packer. At any rate, this morning was like no other! We have had great weather up here the last 2 days, and this am was no exception! The full moon was setting over the beach and the stars were shining brilliantly. They are, more often than not, hiding behind the clouds. So taking advantage of the bright as day moon, we turned off our usual route past the phone tower and headed to the beach. We tried to bottle the beauty of the morning knowing runs like this will exist only in our imaginations in a few short months.

This just in: an archived video of my crash course training earlier in the summer with guidance from all my helpers (brothers and friends)...rest assured I was more than prepared to join the masses of pistol packers in AK;) And...Yes, I WAS aiming for the TREE.

Moose, Goose, Cranes and Caribou: I've lost half my cross country team to the necessity of the hunt. Everyone in the village that is able, is at their hunting camp bagging winter meat. Jim also joined the masses with success! While Steph and I supervised Tim plucking his own trophy, and then stole a foot off his crane, stripped it down and demonstrated for some of the neighborhood kids how the tendons in a bird's leg make the foot expand and contract. I got a kick out of it remembering doing that with the partridge legs when we were growing up. Jim was out shooting up the skies bringing home the bacon...or in his case goose. Also in lieu of the season and miscellaneous gunfire in our general vicinity, we (Steph and I) unanimously decided this evening that it was in our best interest to make the standard neon orange hunting apparel mandatory on our nightly pack walk. Tonight's regularly scheduled 'Tundra Trot" included front row seats to a stunning sunset over the Bering in the west and a glorious moon rise over the mountains in the east. Wow. So here's a few attempted pics I tried to snap that don't do it justice but it's better than nothing. By the way as the boys are out enjoying tracking future meals, we girls were invited to Marsha's house (another wonderful teacher) to bead. What a fun time!

5 Bears and Blushed Out Salmon: That was word on the river the other night. Fannie and her family had the heart racing adventure of encountering not ONE but FIVE of our furry friends while berry picking and fishing on the Kanektok! Also, everyone is noticing that our salmon are crimson now as nature takes it's usual course.

Peter and the Daisy: Had a little knock on my door the other day. To my delight and surprise as I opened it I looked down into a smiling little face with a fist full of daisies. "Here!" he said as he shoved them toward me, "They're for you! I picked them!" "Oh, thank you Peter." I replied assuming no strings were attached. I was wrong. He stood swaying back and forth on the step a little longer looking past me into the house. "Now can I come in???" He asked innocently. "Not tonight Peter." I apologized not expecting the request. Yes, my first gentleman caller in...well, a good while... was a 7 year old. Seemed fitting, I laughed and added it to all the other 'not quite what I expected' blessings God has been sending me. No worries, it is completely normal in our little village for the kids who all live right next door or just down the road to visit teachers. His request really was totally acceptable. As you can see...the pic is an example, one day after school my house was magically transformed into a gymnastics center. So the bouquet of daisies hand picked from my neighbors yard absolutely made my week! I just had to share and chuckled at the precious gesture.

Monday Night Bible Study: That's right we are underway. Amazing what happens when God has a plan. It started coming together at the beginning of August when Steph and I were talking about wanting a women's bible study but we didn't have resources here so we were brainstorming away while picking berries one afternoon. Later that same night I ran into Jerilyn who I had met at church a few days earlier, she's from Quin. Somehow (God:) we got onto the subject of bible studies and she lit up saying she had all kinds of resources from a friend of hers in Ohio and that they had been praying for a bible study to get started in Quin for over a year. Well, how wild was that! I told her about what Steph and I had discussed. The next day Niki, another friend, shared that she was hoping for a bible study to get going here. Well, a few details, word of mouths, a church announcement and one mass email later and we had our first get together this last Monday! 11 of us in all squeezed into my little house and listened to Joyce Meyer's Attitude of the Mind, first of six in that series. We are hoping to do a Beth Moore study after that. So if you are a pray-er please pray for our little group, actually it's pretty big group in comparison to the size of Quinhagak!

Exciting News From Teacher Housing: Yep, the Alaska Span Shipment, our bulk food order for the year arrived this week. Philip made several trips with his truck loaded down with boxes addressed to the Quinhagak Teacher Cooperation (that's us). It was quite the production as you can see. We have stalked our cupboards and freezers in preparation for the long winter ahead. I feel that I now have enough Ramen Noodles, Campbell soup and Dinty Moore stew (yes, I am reverting to that childhood staple, Mum) to last me several years out here with no need to leave the house. This is actually kind of unsettling but I'll get over it. Not to mention the sodium content of my choice in products. Shhh, don't tell Geri.

Come do the Salmon Run!

Keeping you informed on the up and coming events in Quinhagak. Just in case you want to jump in a few planes and come join us:)
This is a copy of our donation letter enjoy!

To Whom It May Concern;
The Salmon Run is a school organized community 5K or 1K walk/run. The 5K is open to anyone aged 16 and older. The 1K race is for children younger than 16. The races will be held here in Quinhagak on Friday, October 2nd at 2 pm. We hope this event will encourage people to maintain and model a healthy lifestyle for themselves and their children.

We would like to give all walkers and runners who participate in this year’s 5K race a t-shirt to help promote The Salmon Run for next year. Children who complete in the 1K race will receive a ribbon. In addition to that, we will be giving medals for first, second, and third place in both races.

To help cover expenses, we are asking for a donation from your organization. We hope that you will take this opportunity to be a sponsor of our race showing your support for the community of Quinhagak. Kuinerramuit Elitnauviat has agreed to be the main sponsor. Checks can be made out to “LKSD – Ski Club.”

Inquires or donations can be addressed to: The Salmon Run Race c/o Eric Pederson P.O. Box 68, Quinhagak, AK 99655.

Thank you for your time, consideration and support.
Sherry and Rachel, Race Directors

" My choice is you, God, first and only.
And now I find I'm your choice!
You set me up with a house and yard.
And then you made me your heir!

The wise counsel God gives when I'm awake
is confirmed by my sleeping heart.
Day and night I'll stick with God;
I've got a good thing going and I'm not letting go."
Psalm 16:5-8


  1. Hey Rachel, I love reading about all of your adventures. If you weren't A LITTLE BIT CLOSER, I would totally participate in your 5K. :)

    btw, you've been tagged!

  2. Rachel,
    Happened upon your blog while looking for Eric's email. He just sent some smoked salmon to us today. I was up in Quin in August as your math trainer. I really enjoyed reading your blog and seeing how God is present wherever you go. Also excited to see how you have connected with others to do a bible study. I have done quite a few Beth Moore studies lately and I have learned so much. I will keep you in my prayers. Say "Hi" to everyone for me. If you could send me Eric's email I'd appreciate it.

  3. Hi Linda, Nice to hear from you glad you are having fun reading the blog:) I have heard so much about Beth Moore studies and am super excited to get into it. Eric is such a great principal. He and all he brings to this community is amazing and such a blessing to be part of! His email should be eric_pederson@lksd.org I sure will send your greetings to all! Cheers, Rachel

  4. Hey Kid, Sounds like you are doing well!! It never ceases to amaze me when I read your blog at all the things you are doing. God has given you a special gift and you are continually using it!!! Blessings Always, Joe