Thursday, April 29, 2010

Still Winter, April 29th

In the spring I have counted one hundred and thirty-six different kinds of weather inside of four and twenty hours. ~Mark Twain
Hey just wanted to share with everyone that my sink froze again yesterday for the 1001th time. Wanna guess our temps up here? All over the board and mostly frigid yesterday. Is it spring? You tell me. It has snowed three times in the last 24 hours, the wind blew, temps dropped below freezing but the sun shone (just now). A meteorologist's dream come true, 100% chance of a correct some point anyway:)
"Bring the winter coat I left in Troas with Carpus..."
2 Timothy 4:13

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Da Bears!

"This...whatever-it-was...has now been joined by another...whatever-it-is... and they are now proceeding in company. Would you mind coming with me, Piglet, in case they turn out to be very hostile animals." ~Winnie the Pooh

Word travels quickly. You could almost hear it whispering it's way down the hall today.
Steph reported that the kids came in from recess growling. I knew it would catch me at some point. It finally whooshed past and taunted me in the form of Jim's strategic line of questions, "You been carrying your gun when you're running lately? You been running by the beach?" not waiting for my reply he confirmed, "They just saw one by the wind turbines. The bears are back."

Again I confess my extreme bear-phobia (acceptance is the first step)...this is one reason why I relish winter...Then why bear country Alaska you may ask? Great question! That's God for ya...take ya right to the source of your greatest fear, make ya stare it right straight into its beady little eyes then goes and carries you through it in spite of yourself. Anyway, I didn't want to admit this story but in lieu of today's news I will humor you, literally. Sunday I did in fact go for a run down the beach, and it is true that I packed my gun. It is also accurate that Ani and I did make a very abrupt, unplanned 180 when in the distance ahead of us there were 2 unidentifiable dark masses possibly moving. I did not care to confirm movement just wheeled an about face, howled out a courteous 'We're here bears!!!' over my shoulder and headed outa Dodge. Quickly realized Ani and I were upwind from the masses and may not have been noticed. Assuming this was the case, heart racing, I fumbled around for the 44 in my camel back then made a split second decision to proceed 'running away' by sloshing straight across the tundra toward the road (hoping for traffic). Take a moment to picture this scene if you will, for humor's sake: Calamity Jane Gone Wrong and her trusty side kick Odie stumbling through ice cold puddles of squishy moss at a snail's pace, like out of one of those nightmares where you're being chased but can't run. Yep, I prefer to believe that Ani and I were running from a couple logs. So today's latest information sunk right to the pit of my stomach. Ugh. Okay, I still can't confirm it for sure so I'll fall back again on the ignorantly blissful fact that some things are better left unknown or mere figments of my overly active imagination. Nothing like a little adrenaline rush to pick up the workout intensity.

The whales are passing through too. If you have good binocs and can scope the correct horizon Grace says you can see them.

"Lions roar and bears charge..." Proverbs 28:15

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Get Singspired!

"This is not homesickness. This is more than homesickness. I'm facing serious personality meltdown. Joel Fleischman, the Jewish doctor from New York.
You take that away and who am I? What am I?"

"Well, Fleischman, just forgetting a few subway stops..."
"This is just the tip of the iceberg. Don't you understand? It's like 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers.' I'm being replaced by some insidious replicant, a Joel Fleischman look-alike that talks about crop rotation and carburators. I've got to stop it before it's too late."
- Joel to Maggie

Well the extra 400 people in the village will be heading out tomorrow and Tuesday. It has been so fun to meet and see new people and catch up with friends the last few days. That is also one of the benefits for everyone who makes it out this way for the grand annual event! Family and friends all together celebrating God. It's good. And you just never who you might meet.

Last night our little singing group
practiced over here at my house then spent the night so they could all get "ready for church together in the morning". They slept in the tent, the 'new' old chair, on the couch and in the spare bedroom (aka Mike's room lol). Molly didn't last the whole night homesickness set in as activities wound down. Go figure, I had a heck of a time trying to get ahold of Mom and Dad to come rescue her around 1 AM. Due to the high number of people in village there was also a high volume of cell phone usage. You see, our little circut board up here can barely handle the normal number of calls in our village and with the added roamers it went into meltdown mode. Thankfully one of our desperate text messages got through. Within minutes Mom and Dad knocked on the door to save the day. My heart went out to the little thing, I myself was a middle-of-the-night-caller-homer, I can see my cousin Randi rolling her eyes even now. Homesickness is no fun whether you are 4000 miles away (ahem) or right across the street. Frankly, the only true remedy is undoubtedly: Home. There was some transference going on, not gonna lie, as I handed Molly off into the arms of her parents I couldn't help but smile, knowing she would soon be snuggled in her own bed loved ones nearby with all the familiar surroundings that make home, Home. Somehow in that moment I felt closer to Home too. The other 3 finally fell asleep but were up and chirping at dawn. We made blueberry pancakes served with homemade maple syrup sent to me by my friend Donna back home at LCO, for breakfast. It was so yummy, I could taste the smoke from the fire at sugar bush camp that boils the sap down into the sweet brown syrup. Miigwech Donna. A taste of Wisconsin in a jar;) I was instructed to be their waitress while they (my customers) ordered at my restaurant. Now that is one role I can definitely play no acting needed, let's here it for all you waitresses out there in the world (and waiters). What a job, seriously, it makes me tired thinking about it, I might actually need a nap now. Anyway the menu was limited this morning, short stack or full were their only options:) With bellies full of blueberries we headed off to church. After several other groups sang, it was our turn, Mac played guitar while we belted out "Get in Line Brother". Then Pastor Larry preached an excellent message.

Went for a jog/walk down to the beach and across the wet tundra this afternoon. The sun is out again. I don't wanna waste perfectly good vitamin D.

P.S. The verdict is in. I definitely like seal meat, at least marinaded in teriake and fried with mushrooms and onions. Yum. Maybe kind of like bear meat?
Shout Out To: My other bigger than me little brother Joshie who is THE BIG 3-0!!!!! On April 29th! "Have a Happy 30th Birthday JOSHUA MAC!! That's an order straight from the Power Pig;)" Enjoy Phoenix and Vegas. A word of advice don't pack your ulu knife in your carry on! Go crash a few bumper cars, climb a wall or two, shoot a wild pig and a coyote, run up a mountain, go sky diving with the flying Elvises, make a wish or two, say a prayer or two and thank God for making you cause we all are! Let's take a stroll down memory lane shall we, hum??? A few shots of Joshie's 29th year...there go your 20s....WATCH OUT!!!!! ZOOM!!!!...did ya see 'em???? Hey just think of it this way, a year of life is like one lap around the Brainard Speedway, you just keep gaining speed therefore you must keep getting better and better! Oh, and ladies...he's single;) I'm biased but he is a gem, the real deal girls, an amazing guy. I'm so blessed to have such a truly wonderful brother:) He's my favorite middle brother;) Sam's my favorite baby brother;) Sam you'd have gotten an in depth bio too if you were turning 30, but your not, so you had to share with Mum as usual. Jesus loves you and so do we! Happy Birthday!
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort."
2 Corinthians 1:3-7

Friday, April 23, 2010

Living in the Holy Land

History is a symphony of echoes heard and unheard. It is a poem with events as verses.
~Charles Angoff

I have been Singspired. Just walked in the door from the first service I was able to attend of Singspiration. Standing room only. And of all the speakers that could be coming, I just found out today that Father Michael Oleksa, himself would be here tonight and tomorrow morning!

It may not seem exciting for some of you but for me he has suddenly become obvious bookends for my first year in Quinhagak! For me he's sort of a like a movie star when it comes to this journey of moving to bush Alaska. Last summer while touring around Anchorage, you may remember I met my friend Drew during a hike outside of Eagle River. Drew coincidentally (or not so) turned out also to be the son of the school psychologist who worked here in Quin (6 degrees to separation was the name of the game). Just wait it gets crazier so one day after a run, Drew and I went to a book store. He was suggesting reading material, one book in particular that I had already skimmed through and debated about buying was by Father Oleksa. With Drew's added recommendation I purchased the book Another Culture Another World.

In this book was an incredible amount of information and stories about Native Alaskan people of very high interest to me logically on the eve of my giant leap into rural Alaska. One story in particular caught my attention, it told of the first missionary to this little village on the Bering Sea, none other than the tiny community of ...Quinhagak, Alaska. (See my blog post from November 14, 2009). Sadly as turns out the first missionary ends up a martyr, killed by a Quinhagak hunting party, which in turn made me wonder if I would meet the same fate, kidding. Oddly enough or rather appropriately enough, tonight I sat in a little metal child sized chair in the cry room of our Moravian Church with 20 or so others who had also squeezed in hoping for a spot since the church was packed to overflowing by the time we got there. We strained to listen as Father Oleksa recounted that exact tale which had in such a strange set of events miraculously ended up in my hands last summer and intrigued me weeks before even setting foot in this place. It was surreal. He said that this was the first martyr in Alaska and possible North America. Then he pointed out something that I had never known. Apparently for a place to be considered a 'holy land' one of two things must have occurred there: first a people must pray without ceasing and/or second someone has to have been martyred there. So in Quin as history reveals we definitely qualify for reason number 2, Father Oleksa pointed out. "You realize, don't you, that Quinhagak is considered a 'Holy Land'?" "Huh." I pondered, "All this time I've been living in the holy land. Always knew something was special about Quinhagak." Bookends. Yep. Father Oleksa ushering me in with knowledge and sealing the year with a live performance of confirmation. To think I was bummed out that I didn't get to take my Alaska teaching courses with him this summer in Anchorage, and the whole time he was headed out our way instead. All I can say is that God is totally in the details. So much that it really boggles my poor little mind.

Bake Sale Update! We raised enough money at our bake sale to purchase out next bible study we hope to start in August on the Book of Daniel:) Thanks to everyone who bought goods and supported us!

"He brought them into his holy land, this mountain he claimed for his own." Psalm 78:54

Make a Joyful Noise

Some days there won't be a song in your heart. Sing anyway.
~Emory Austin
"Hoooooolyyyyyyyyy, SO MANY ALLAANEQS THERE ARE HERE!!!" howled Nina as we were quickly scanning the unusually busy store this afternoon. She had noticed the first obvious large wave of 'out of towners' in village this weekend for the annual Singspiration at the church. This is about the biggest deal we have in Quinhagak, even bigger than the basketball tournaments I'm told. Never do we have so many allaaneqs, 'out of towners' in town than this weekend. Hence Nina taking note, then announcing the obvious to everyone in the store. Of course I had no idea what "allaaneqs" were at that moment. This was again another instance, like the other million times before it, when knowing Yupik would have come in real handy, you know. Ugh, if only my brain would absorb it, or if it were even a little bit like Spanish. Alas it is not, I could only guess it meant something bad by the frowning response I got from a few bystanders who likely assumed she was directing whatever the 'bad' word was at them. I'm sure I turned 3 shades of red as I again sported my sheepish albeit apologetic (store) smile then tried to blend in with these alleged 'allaaneqs' whatever they were and act as if Nina wasn't with me. Seriously every time I go to the store it's a new episode of 'How Dumb Can Rachel Seem', eventually you call a spade a spade, yah, yah I know, I know. Deciding against making a purchase and waiting in the eternal line while Nina ridiculed these poor people, I made an escape with her directly in tow. "What does that mean??? What are you calling these people?" I pleaded with her once out the door and headed toward my house as she yelped it out again so everyone in a 50 yard radius could hear her. "You know, so many different people there are here. So different they are." "Okay??" I shrugged, can't argue with that, lots of new faces. "But if you are going to yell out names at them, you could at least smile and wave while you are at it, you know, to seem nice and kind." "Sure." she agreed nonchalantly as she pointed out more allaaneqs, flashed her 6 year old toothless grin... and hollered "Hello! Allaaneqs!" I smiled and waved too.

My first seal:) My friend Jerilyn's hubby and cousin had a successful seal hunt today. They were busy harvesting all it: the fur, meat and fat (for seal oil) when Jerilyn offered to let me tag along to check it out. I hadn't seen a seal yet and honestly didn't know if anyone really hunted them around Quin, as you can see they do (Sorry if anyone out there can't handle this. Here it is part of life and has been since the beginning of time so please be understanding). I love to hunt myself and understand the beauty and hard work involved in substance living. As I have said before I am continually amazing at harvesting that takes place in Quin, everything gets used and bartered with to be sure everyone has what they need. Just the other day I traded my friend Grace some wild rice from back home for salmon strips she had dried. Anyway the guys were happy to let me snap a few pics and poke around asking what, I'm sure they thought were ridiculous yet typical 'cossack' questions. After admitting I'd never tried seal meat her cousin very generously offered me a backstrap!! For real I asked??? Hello that's like a prime cut, you don't just give someone a backstrap. I accepted excitedly and couldn't wait to run home to marinade it in what's left of my teriake sauce. I'm super anxious to try it. They all agree there is nothing you can compare it to so I need to see if I'm a seal fan. Stay tuned.

Seconds. One man's junk is another man's treasure. Yesterday I inherited Milt and Niki's old recliner! The kids and I love it! Thanks Hootons!

Yes, the spring air has again been wrestled to the ground by winter. It is snowing this evening. name it, we attempted to bake it tonight at my house. Women's bible study bake sale at the school tomorrow 4-6 or until items are gone. We are trying to off set the costs of books and study materials. So we'll see how we fare:)

Despite our best efforts it seems we all eventually become... our mothers. My friend from Bethel stayed with me yesterday since she had work in Quin. She jumped at the chance to 'walk' down to the beach that evening with Ani and I, never having been to Quin before. I had the brilliant/very 'my mother-esq' idea that we should take the 'tundra' back. Well I had my xtra tufs and she had...short snow boots...we made it halfway across and were blocked by a new melting stream, we didn't turn around. I fear she found herself in for more than she had expected, lol. I won't even get into the whole shenanigan but for those of you who encountered one of Mum's famous 'BogWalks' back on the farm. Yeah, enough said. Sorry, April, lol.

"Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth,
burst into jubilant song with music;"
Psalm 98:4

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Midweek Wonders

The highlight of my childhood was making my brother laugh so hard that food came out his nose. ~Garrison Keillor

Tyrone, one of our 2nd graders, got a four wheeler this week and has been terrorizing the village ever since. Here is a great pic of him chauferring his 2 younger brothers (clinging for dear life, I'm sure) all around. Right after I snapped this pic he kindly offered to give me ride to the clinic to get my 'nose poked'. They were testing for the pneumo virus at the clinic this week and giving anyone who let them swab their nose $25. I declined the ride offer mostly because I obviously would have had to ride on the handle bars and I didn't trust Tyrone's driving even with no visual obstructions. Never did make it to the clinic, oh well.

This just in! Molly learning to ride a two wheeler caught on camera. Dad helping her along.

Some of the kiddos summit what is left of a snow hill after our 40 degree Sunday!

Our pack o pups in a mad dash to mark their territory when we finally arrived at the Arolik River. It was the halfway point of our 8 mile expedition on Saturday.

And that's the latest from Quinhagak, Alaska somewhere on the Bering Sea.
(Which has come back to life this weekend, ice out)
Good Night Everybody.
(It's broad daylight but we are still going to bed. I put 2 blankets over my window. At least it has the appearance of darkness).
Blessings~ Rach and Ani

Shout Out To: Auntie Bean! Happy Birthday on the 21st!
And Congratulations to my friend Kathy who just accepted a position teaching in Kwethluk a village 60ish miles north of Quin, just outside of Bethel! We are so lucky to have you at LKSD! That makes 3 of us from Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe School who are now teaching in the Lower Kuskokwim School District. Is that crazy or what??!!

"Let brotherly love continue." Hebrew 13:1

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Saturday Mornings

"Weird, isn't it? Somehow in the dead of winter when its 40 below, so cold your words just freeze in the air, you think you'll never hear a robin's song again or see a blossom on a cherry tree, when one day you wake up and bingo, light coming through the mini blinds is softened with a tick of rose and the cold morning air has lost its bite. It's spring once again, the streets are paved with mud and the hills are alive with the sound of mosquitoes." ~ Chris in the Morning, Northern Exposure
Fog rolling in across the mouth of the Kanektok River last night when we walked home from Dennis and Marsha's.
It was around 11:00 pm. Pretty wild, eh?

Morning Everybody! I have my window open this afternoon and can hear someone hammering away on their house. Many of the houses here in Quin are getting a sprucing up on the outside, new siding. I'm assuming someone is taking advantage of the sunshine and making hay. The kids have been stopping by every half hour trying to wear me down but I'm taking this morning off. Gonna go for a jog and soak up the hustle and bustle of nice weather. Guessing it is in the high 30's right now. Road is alive with the buzz of four wheelers every few minutes.

Okay so we don't really have mosquitoes yet, rather we've steadily been having 1 hour blizzards blow through for the past 2 weeks. Just enough inconvenience to prevent mail from being delivered, from anyone coming or going by plane, and maybe to interrupt the occasional satellite channel. But last night Animosh and I got our butts outa the house and went for a jog down to the beach. When we got there....what to our wondering eyes did appear!.. Of course there was about 2 inches of fresh snow blanketing the gravel road and our dead head strewn beach, but you couldn't miss it, far out in the distance I could see the ice break up, huge bergs floating around in open water! Open water I could actually see! And then to top it off, there was a noise that was oddly familiar...something remote but almost recognizable! "Shhhh Ani!" I ordered as he loudly snuffled around in the snow searching for the caribou carcass he's been helping himself to each time we go to the beach. I rummaged through the files of my winterized brain for the sound identification, "I hear something?..What is it??? What is it??? BIRDS!!!! It's BIRDS!!! I hear BIRDS, ANI!!!!" He started bouncing around with me not sure why but pleased with my renewed enthusiasm. We did a little happy dance, made a snow man and headed for home to share the great news. Though I couldn't see them, they were definitely making their presence known so much like God. An evening serenade from the first arrivals to the tundra. And they weren't ravens OR ptarmigan. They were sea gulls! They are back! I've never been so happy to hear sea gulls, truthfully they kind of scare me, think Hitchcock scary. One summer deep in the recesses of my childhood my dear ol' Mum decided to take my brothers and I on an adventure across the lake to see the baby seagulls at 'Seagull Rock" (the local nesting grounds near the cabin). Well, I being the oldest, biggest and even then the pushiest, demanded my way to the bow of the boat to ensure the best view of the 'Baby seagulls'. As Mum dropped back to a troll and steered the 15 foot Lund into the infested waters, I think I may have even been reaching out toward one little fluff ball bobbing along in our wake. Suddenly WHAMMO! THUD!!! What had to have been a very disgruntled, maternal, protective mama seagull took control of the dangerous intruder situation and dive bombed me right out of the bow. Knocked me to the floor of the boat! All at once, we were under attack! "EVERYBODY GET DOWN!!!! AND COVER YOUR EYES!!!" Mum screeched, as she gunned the 25 horse to full throttle putting as much distance as she could between her brood and theirs. I remember rolling around on the floor of the boat that afternoon sobbing, rubbing my bruised head and ego. My mom stretching her neck from the captain's position at the rear of the boat, "Are you okay??? Did it get your eyes?" My two brothers huddled together low near the 2nd bench seat next to their tackle boxes squinting toward me unsure if it was safe to uncover their 'eyes' but yet wanting to see if I still had mine. Yep, that's how it happened, my young brain forever imprinted with the fear of seagulls, until now. Like I said.... it's a wonder we survived childhood, and like they say "what doesn't kill ya makes ya stronger". So I'm happy the seagulls and I can sort of patch up our tainted past. At least for now.

Apparently this time of year up near Kotzebute the kids like to go 'bergin'. This is a game of ice flow hopping out into the sea. Not sure how that works but, I don't think I'd be much of a 'berger' myself.

Steph and I finished our first beaded necklaces at Marsha and Dennis' last night. And Dennis promised me he'd take another look at the sadly misshapened fur hat I tried to sew this winter to see if he could salvage it. Hope.

We never made it to Eek. Guess it wasn't meant to be. Maybe next year. But we do plan on walking to the Arolik River this afternoon an 8 mile trek round trip. Should be a great day to get out and stretch our legs and minds. Blessings to everyone back home, where ever that is for you.

Shout Out To: My friends Joshua Lee and Rachel who got engaged recently! I meant to put that on here a long time ago you guys, sorry. Congratulations!

"You are wakened now by bird-song." Ecclesiastics 12:4

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Cheeseburger in Paradise

"Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside." ~Mark TwainAll day today I've been craving a great big, greasy, juicy cheeseburger with all the fixins. Since I couldn't run to McDonald's or anywhere for that matter, I improvised! Tonight after school that's exactly what I made myself...featured above. It was quite miraculous that I had everything and more! Thank you Lord! I actually had some freezer burnt bacon that semi-survived the winter hidden in the back of my freezer so I fried that too. Taa-dah a double bacon cheeseburger deluxe with a side of tater tots! I invited Steph to join me but I ate her burger before she called me back LOL. Sorry Steph.

We went for a hike to the beach tonight with some of the kids. "All living creatures are yours for food; just as I gave you the plants,
now I give you everything else." Genesis 9:3

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Hola, From the Northern Tropics

"It's spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you've got it, you want - oh, you don't quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!"
~Mark Twain

Wherever you go, go with all your heart. ~Confucius

The last few days in the last frontier have been blustery, blizzardy and wet. All mixed up into one great big puddle of tundra mud. If that's any indication as to what is to come, I'll be getting my money's worth out of my handy dandy Xtra Tufs. I purchased these 'made in the USA able to withstand the worst of Alaskan weather' mud boots while in Anchorage last summer before I came up to Quin. It is so strange to look back on the last year, maybe even stranger yet, the year before. Trying to prepare to make the move to the 'bush' and having absolutely no idea what to expect or how to get ready for it. I had to chuckle as I tromped across the tufts of still frozen moss this afternoon while Ani and went walking. This has become our 'backyard' trotting through the seasons and now into spring, hopefully. Anyway I was thinking about that concert we went to out in Girdwood when we were in Anchorage back in March. Everyone there was wearing Carhartts and Xtra Tufs. Jim, Steph and I wondered if there was some kind of dress code that we missed. Apparently in Anchorage Xtra Tufs are also a fashion statement. Not that they aren't here, they definitely are, I mean just look at these stylin rubber boots! Steph even got me super cute socks you wear with them to dress them up...picture will come later. I'm trying to figure out how to incorporate them into my prom attire;)
Village Hopping! We didn't go to Eek last weekend. We are going to try to go this weekend. They are having a big basketball tournament, ha, maybe Steph and I can jump in on a team. Wish Ani luck, he'll be flying the friendly skies for his very first time. He's still not too sure about the whole 'kennel' idea. I've been feeding him in it. So what he has figured out??? If he keeps his back feet firmly planted on the outside the kennel while reaching into the back where the food is and eating it from this stretched position, he is rescued from actually having to be in the kennel. There is some kind of analogy to life there, for me anyway. But it's too profound to have to think about right now.

We finished our 2nd Beth Moore Bible Study on the Fruits of the Spirit. Our little group up here has really been enjoying and growing from those studies. They require a lot of reading and digging in the bible, learning, sharing and thinking. We are ordering our final one for this year and are already excited about next year's. We would recommend Beth's Studies to any women's groups out there, they are solid and deep! Great stuff.

Finally they call themselves "Michael's Angel's" Quyana Mike for the bracelets and shades. We are putting them to good use:) The girls came over after school so we watched "The Great Outdoors" and dressed up pretending that it was summer time, hence the sunglasses.

As you might recall my kitchen drain was frozen the entire time MIke was visiting so this is how we emptied it after washing dishes.

A few more pics
from Mike. These are the kids waiting on my porch to 'visit' after school while he was here. I was conveniently at work until 5 or 6 that particular day;)

Some of the kids posing. Endless tundra and sea behind.

The school parking lot, four wheelers and snow gos!

Shout Out To: Mum and Sammie! Happy Birthdays (28 and 53 respectively!) on the 16th! Love you and miss you so much!
I can see clearly now the dark is gone.
It is 10:00 pm and looks like it's maybe 5:00 pm. The Midnight Sun is definitely upon us here in Quinhagak, Alaska. Lots of Light! And that is a blessing. This verse seems to fit and made me smile... someday.

"What a Day that will be! No more cold nights—in fact, no more nights! The Day is coming—the timing is God's—when it will be continuous day. Every evening will be a fresh morning."
Zechariah 14:6-7

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Sun and I, Up Too Late

"We all carry around so much pain in our hearts. Love and pain and beauty. They all seem to go together like one little tidy confusing package. It's a messy business, life. It's hard to figure - full of surprises. Some good. Some bad."
~Ruth Ann, Northern Exposure

(I love this sweatshirt)

My friend Jerilyn stopped by this evening with her girls. They played while we had tea and visited until past 10 pm. Who would have known?? It was bright as day outside. I am getting thrown for a loop again as the land of the midnight sun rises from it's winter sleep and reclaims it's worthy title. As I type this, it is dusky outside and it's 11:00 pm!

Steph came over for a hair cut. She now has the cutest bangs. And I got to play hair stylist (which I plan to be when I grow up:) Okay this was the second time that she had to stop over because the first round last night was a little lopsided. No worries we got it figured out and it looks so fun.

There were boogers smeared on my bathroom wall, after some of the other kids left earlier this evening. When he told me he couldn't find the tissue I didn't realize he had already taken care of the problem and was merely explaining what I would later discover. I guess showing him the toilet paper was just letting him know for the next time.

The Alaska State Trooper helicopter flew in and landed today. Our State Trooper drops in from time to time generally unannounced and not for chit chat. Though the helicopter flying over and landing is an exciting event, (even I now jump up and run to the nearest window in hopes of catching a glance as it hovers by). Around these parts it also comes with the grave, uneasy question of, what brings Trooper Mike into village today? I never did find out to what we owed today's visit but figure some things are better left unknown anyway.

Being the opportunists we are, Steph and I enjoyed the evening sun and went for a snowy walk down to the beach with our pack o pups. We've got more snow than we've had all winter. We trudged along, half wishing for snowshoes. The dogs had a blast tearing around and the extra dose of vitamin D was greedily absorbed by all.

Anyway, we are almost done with testing. Thank the Lord, then we can get back to school status quo!

"Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Remember, O LORD, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old. Remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you are good, O LORD."
Psalm 25:4-7

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Short Timers Syndrome

"Things ain't what they used to be and probably never was."
~Will Rogers

Days Like These
This is the shawl that my Gram started for a friend of mine here in Quin back in November. Then Gram had her stroke in December was unable to finish it. She ordered me, with all of my 3 weeks of knitting experience, to complete and deliver it. Well, it took me 3 months but here it is, I finally got it done. Not nearly as good as Gram would have. It was a joint effort. I brought it to Emma on Easter with love from Gram. Gram just got out of rehab a few weeks ago, all had been going pretty good. Then I received the news that she had another small stroke this weekend. So far it seems to have affected her speech mostly. I am intentionally stuffing it. I have to right now to survive. My Gram and I are close, she is the main reason I would have decided not to return to Quin next year. I'm headed home already in 6 weeks for summer break, but it feels like it can't come soon enough, I can't wait to see her and my family. I know time has felt like it's been flying up here, but in this situation it now feels like it has come to a screeching halt. It's as if I'm crawling, like I'm moving in slow motion maybe even backward. Even at school things are headed toward wrap up mode. This week the kids and teachers alike are working our brains off, thinking our way through state testing. Now that is truly a Marathon!! In the special edu. realm I felt like I could finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, coming down to my last few files, of course right on cue 'Murphy's law-like' there suddenly are several new things popping up that were not on the agenda. So life-ish eh? The roller coaster we all ride. Don't get me wrong I'm eager to come back next year I feel it is what I am supposed to be to doing but right now at this exact time I am wishing I was home with my family. I miss Gram. Then the Physical Therapist and I were visiting this week and I told her my feelings after she had asked, of course. Don't want you worried that I'm sniveling on to whatever poor itinerant happens to cross my path. She smiled and said I was probably just suffering from 'Short Timers Syndrome'. Sounded interesting so I looked it up...guess it happens with people in the military quite often. I've self diagnosed with this instead of surrendering to the label of 'homesickness'. I need to start running again, try not to think about everyone and everything so much, time is still flying I hope. Speaking of flying, we might be hopping a 6 seater to Eek (a small village about 30 miles from here) this weekend for my friend Traci's birthday so that will be an adventure to get my brain back and find some perspective. Se la vi. Hope you all out there are enjoying Spring. It is snowing here.

Short Timers Syndrome
In 1967, Dowling provided the ‘classic’ description of how STS evolves: “There is the period of anxious apprehension, a potentially severe syndrome of emotional distress beginning mildly two to three months before rotation, but usually occurring obviously in the last three weeks of the tour and most marked the last three days prior to rotation. Irritability seems to alternate with euphoria. Pacing is a common sign. Quiet hard working individuals who for eleven and three quarters months have put up with deprivations, long working hours, and continually increased demands will suddenly behave in a rather inappropriate manner.”

Shout Out To: Dad! Happy Birthday on April 8th!! Love you! And To Traci Buckle over in Eek Happy 40th Birthday WWWWWWoooooo-Whhhhhhooooo! Celebrate, Good Times!
me plunder. Why don’t we just head back to Egypt? And right now!”
"They were totally afraid. They cried out in terror to God. They told Moses, "Weren't the cemeteries large enough in Egypt so that you had to take us out here in the wilderness to die? What have you done to us, taking us out of Egypt? Back in Egypt didn't we tell you this would happen? Didn't we tell you, 'Leave us alone here in Egypt—we're better off as slaves in Egypt than as corpses in the wilderness.'"
Exodus 14:10-13

"Why don't we just head back to Egypt? And right now!" Numbers 14:4 are about to beco

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Peek Into Quinhagak

"Easter says you can put truth in a grave, but it won't stay there." ~Clarence W. Hall

Steph and I were up early to go to the sunrise service. This afternoon Marsha and Dennis had a bunch of us over for Easter Dinner. Talked with family back home, then Principal Eric took Steph and me for a mush. It was a very wonderful Easter Sunday.

The Easter Dinner Crew at the Seaton's

The Hooton's and Hosetter's show up in their own Easter Parade.

Steph and Masha set up the table.

Addy sports her Wisconsin Pride
with Mom Sherry helping
her stand to show it

Einer and Evi color on the floor.

A little snowbiking anyone:)

Notice Animosh!
We put him in on the team. It all came back to him, like riding a bike;)

Me and Steph
Happy Easter Everyone.

"He went on to open their understanding of the Word of God, showing them how to read their Bibles this way. He said, "You can see now how it is written that the Messiah suffers, rises from the dead on the third day, and then a total life-change through the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed in His name to all nations—starting from here, from Jerusalem! You're the first to hear and see it. You're the witnesses. What comes next is very important: I am sending what my Father promised to you, so stay here in the city until he arrives, until you're equipped with power from on high." Luke 24: 46-47