Thursday, April 28, 2011

Road's Gone Now We Have A River

You'll look up and down streets.  Look 'em over with care.
About some you will say, "I don't choose to go there."
With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet,
you're too smart to go down any not-so-good street.
And you may not find any
you'll want to go down.
In that case, of course,
you'll head straight out of town.
It's opener there
in the wide open air. 
~Oh, The Places  You'll Go, Dr. Seuss 

In the



A great shot, notice the drying smelt and ptarmigan

The New Quinhagak River
Impromptu Bridge the Village scrambled to build.

Kids playing in the new river.
 "Quinhagak" in Yupik it's name means "A new river channel".  Our foundation around this tundra village is all gravel.  And this week our new river channel decided to flow right smack dab through the village separating uptown from downtown! The village maintenance crew had to bust out all the big equipment to dig out the path the water was headed through before it eroded more of the road than necessary. From there a make shift bridge was placed over the river.  We are no longer driving the magic school bus to work as the bridge is just not quite structurally sound enough to be sure it would withstand our weight.

We also had some vandalism go on the other night, part of which resulted in the office building of the Coastal Villages Regional Fund being set on fire.  Several four wheelers were stolen and the 'gas station' (small out building where one can purchase gas during certain hours and days from the store) broken into. 
Big trucks, little trucks, and four wheelers
Seems like everyone has been on edge lately, I'm chalking it up to spring fever.  We all get a little crazy this time of year, everything changing. Seems everyone is waking up kinda grumpy and groggy from the long winter hibernation.  It'll pass.  All is well otherwise, the weekend is nipping at our heels and I for one am eager.  I have a bit more packing to do;)  From the fast melting tundra...this is Rachel saying Pirrua.
Fire at CVRF
Fannie's new tundra efficient prototype home
Me and Terri Under the Table at Fannie's

Shout Out To:  Joshua Mac Skime...turning 31 on the 29th!  I love you little brother of mine:)  Now off you go into your thirties;) Happy Birthday!  And to everyone joining us in Quinhagak this weekend for the Annual Moravian Youth Singspiration!  The village will be busting at the seams with visitors from all over this region in no time.  Welcome To Quin Everybody!

"By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us—set us right with him, make us fit for him—we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus. And that's not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God's grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise."  Romans 5:1

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Dream a Little Dream With Me...

Welcome to Hollywood! What's your dream? Everybody comes here; this is Hollywood, land of dreams. Some dreams come true, some don't; but keep on dreamin' - this is Hollywood. 
Always time to dream, so keep on dreamin'. 
Happy Man Pretty Woman 1990

Quinhagak School Gets a Flag Pole

Culture Week
Tearing Ptarmigan
Making Story Knives
Sewing Eskimo Dolls
If you were here at Quinhagak School this week you would be amazed at the hustle and bustle of cultural activities taking place.  In Steph's room they are building dog sleds out of Popsicle sticks with a dog team creation of clay.  Moving across the hall into Dora's room they are weaving pot holders. In Grace's room chubby little hands are sewing eskimo dolls. Zig zagging over to
Making Kuspaqs

Ali's room 2 of our  community member elders are sewing kuspaqs while the girls are weaving with looms, making pillows and tearing ptarmigan.

That was a sight to behold, downy white feathers flying around the room, each of the girls' heads covered with a light dusting of them, Ali standing a mist the whole shebang orchestrating and futilely trying to blow the floating fragments of wings away from her face before they settled.  In Mr. B's room they are carving story knives, I had to laugh as several 6 year olds greeted me at his door sporting safety goggles that looked more like helmets and saws as big as their bodies in hand.  All around the room kids are sanding away while Jim has wooden blocks vice gripped to his desk power sawing what would eventually be a story knife. In the high school wing they are hunting, fishing, beading and carving.

Making Dogs and Sleds

Meanwhile in our own room Adam and Moses are building a fish trap. And in the gym Jamie, Connie and Sammie were demonstrating and teaching Native Youth Olympics:   Lots going on up at the school this week.  Come on up and check it out.

NYO Seal Hop

NYO Arm Hit

NYO Alaskan 1 Leg Kick

Making a Fish Trap

NYO Stick Pull

NYO Stick Kick

A Job in Anchor Town!
Happy to report that I got word yesterday that I did in fact get a job in Anchorage for next school year.  Here goes the next step in our Alaskan Adventure. Thank you to all of you who were keeping me in your prayers! 

"No matter how much you dream, how much useless work you do,
or how much you talk, you must still stand in awe of God."
Ecclesiastes 5:7

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happyaq Easteraq

Easter is not a time for groping through dusty, musty tomes or tombs to disprove spontaneous generation or even to prove life eternal.  It is a day to fan the ashes of dead hope, a day to banish doubts and seek the slopes where the sun is rising, to revel in the faith which transports us out of ourselves and the dead past into the vast and inviting unknown. 
~Author unknown, as quoted in the Lewiston Tribune

"Good Morning Quinhagak!" He begins the morning salutations over the VHF.  He was answered by 2 or 3 greetings.  Yep I was up early today for the Easter Sunrise Service, pulled on the Xtra Tuffs (snow's been steadily melting these last few days with the rain and everything is soaked) slipped into the army issued parka (my favorite piece of all weather attire;) I plodded out the door.
Spring Thaw 2011 The Flooding Begins
It's still dark at 6:15 am today.  I hook up Mutt and Jeff to their respective sets of steps then set out in the direction from which the bell tolls.  As one foot steps in front of the other, I'm there again,  transported to my first morning in Quinhagak.  It was a Sunday, it was raining then too.  I had been begging God the whole day and night before to just let me get back on one of those tin cans with wings they call planes and go home to my family.  My eyes were red from tears, my stomach sick with the unknown, I stood surrounded by unfamiliar faces.  I had followed the bell that day too. The bell which hangs just outside the church in a little building that could look like a really tall outhouse.  The bell that is rang before every church gathering.  An invitation to us all here in Quin, Come to Church Quinhagak! Jesus loves you:) Crunch, splosh, splish, crunch I splash through the snowy slush toward the road and smile at the thought then offer up a quyana to the Lord for somehow keeping me put, back then in spite of myself.  I can see the dark sky starting to glow a lighter shade of blue toward Eek mountain. This place, this road, this walk to the has all become home to me. 
A New Lake by the Old Store
I follow Carrie and Elena in, John is holding the door.   There are a handful of people scattered among the last 5 pews (nobody really cares to voluntarily sit front and center). I slide in next to Pauline smile and whisper "Happy Easter!"  She nods and grins.  Jerilyn and Karen walk past and sit in the pew ahead of us. We smile at each other and mouth "Hi!"   They are up early too, we all took maqii last night at Liz's... a super hot one, so by all rights we should still be sawing logs.  I'm there again almost standing outside myself looking at the deja vue scenario.  But this time my eyes are red from last night's hot steam.  This time I stand surrounded by familiar faces of my friends.  This time my stomach is sick at the realization that This Time of my life is very quickly drawing to an end.  In less than one month, I will say good bye to my home in Quinhagak, Alaska and I'm not ready.  I'm more scared and nervous to leave this place than I ever was to come here. But these are the journeys that we travel.  Unknown, new, different, change everything that is awaiting me on the other side of May 20th, 2011.  That's my take off date.  Booked the tickets for all of us...Ani, Tak, and myself.  I wish life had a set of brakes.  I spent last week trying to squeeze in as many interviews in Anchorage as I could.  I'm praying for the right job well actually any job at this point.  Again I find myself at the 'flying through the air having to let go of one trapeze bar in order to grab the other' phase right now.  Unsure if (a) there will even be another bar to grab and (b) if I can get a good enough grip to hang on!  Ahhh, but all too well we know these circus events are the same ones that God uses to stretch us, strengthen our faith, increase our obedience.  And so at this moment I'm sailing through the air in a free fly...having to let go of one to reach the other. The blessing in all this?  I'm taking everyone with me.  Quinhagak has taken up permanent residence my heart, property has been staked and it is coming with. Isn't it amazing how much love we can have in our hearts?  I don't think there's a maximum capacity and that is a beautiful thing.  Anyway we sang a few Yupik hymns, Pastor Chingliak shared the liturgy, we bundled up and made the annual symbolic Easter walk to the grave yard.  Then as the sun began to crawl over the mountains masked by the rain clouds, and facing the dozens of painted white wooden crosses jutting out of the mounded graves every which way, we huddled up, sang a few more hymns, and Pastor Chingliak completed the liturgy.   Turning to leave we greet each other with a handshake or a hug "Happy Easter".  As we walk back along the road to the church I feel sad that this time will be over.  Then God reminds me "What is dead will be made alive."  I get it.  This Time may never be again this side of heaven but what do I know of the next place...  Maybe on our way to heaven God will let me walk with my friends in Quinhagak like we did this morning...who knows;)  God knows:)  Happy Easter Everyone.  Hallelujah Christ is Risen!

Running Karen and I started our running regiment again this week since the spring weather is cooperating.  What's new?  We've temporarily added climbing.  Taking advantage of the remaining piles of snow heaped into a miniature mountain range by new housing, we 'climb' them. 
This was not here last week!
Snow Pile Islands
Packing My goal was to get at least half my 'stuff' packed up this weekend.  Sending it on to Anchor Town this week.  I have noticed that've packed a few things I would like not to be packed but I do not have the energy to unpack and repack so I will be going without.

Walking the "Puppy!"
Distributing the kid's playroom (aka spare bedroom aka Mike's room) is totally empty.  This weekend when they knocked on the door, "Can we visit?"  My response was "As long as you take a minimum of 5 things with you when you leave." The room was cleared out in no time.  Word travels fast around here:)

Hunting everyone has been out bird hunting.  Jeremy showed up at my door with a swan that was bigger than him.  "The birds are back!" he announced with the white feathered proof slung over his back.  Yep spring time is trying to pry its way back into the tundra folks. 
The Flying V Returns

Ali and Einer

Principal Eric in the Alaskan Tuxedo and Addy
Dennis and Les
Me and Alicia
Allison, Steph, Big Jon & Ali
Marsha and Dennis are hosting the annual Easter dinner at their house this afternoon.  Always a fun time.   Where ever you might be out there in this world, "Have a Blessed Easter."

Shout Out To: Meg and Cheri!  Thank you for generous donation of beautiful dresses sent up to add to our collection for this year's Prom 2011!  The girls will love them Quyana:)

Sunset on the the Bering Sea

At noon the sky turned dark and stayed that way until three o'clock. Then about that time Jesus shouted, "Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?" which means, "My God, my God, why have you deserted me?" Some of the people standing there heard Jesus and said, "He's calling for Elijah." One of them at once ran and grabbed a sponge. He soaked it in wine, then put it on a stick and held it up to Jesus. Others said, "Wait! Let's see if Elijah will come and save him." Once again Jesus shouted, and then he died. At once the curtain in the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, and rocks split apart. Graves opened, and many of God's people were raised to life. Then after Jesus had risen to life, they came out of their graves and went into the holy city, where they were seen by many people. The officer and the soldiers guarding Jesus felt the earthquake and saw everything else that happened. They were frightened and said, "This man really was God's Son!" 
Matthew 45-54

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Something Bigger Than Yourself

"What I've experienced today is people connecting through their deeds, gestures, hopes. I think that is the story of the Special Olympics."
Sean Dorman, volunteer in charge of the Global Youth Summit

To start us out we had an incredible send off by our own school!  A pep rally complete with us running in to gymnasium with "Welcome to the Jungle" blaring!  We played the Youtube video from Special Olympics Alaska of the partners club for the entire school to introduce them to what we were doing.  It was perfect! 
We had cake!

Willis attempted to play for money
We Played Basketball
We had Pizza
We Flew the friendly skies
We are Basketball
Saw lots of Flying Wild Alaska!
We Met New Friends
We Ate more pizza
We Played More Basketball
We Ran Races
We Long Jumped
And Jumped
And Jumped
We Tossed Bean Bags
We Visited with Connie's Dad
We Made Our Team Sign
We scootered through the obstacle course
Team Quinhagak
Then we flew to Bethel and participated in the 1st ever Bethel Unified Special Olympics Tournament!  It truly was hands down the best experience this year.  The kids participated in everything from a basketball tournament, long jump, 50 meter dash, bena bag toss, obstacle course and relay race to a shopping trip at the AC, lunch at Front Street Cafe, doing hair, painting nails and wearing formals to the dance.  Our kids and chaperons alike had an absolute blast!  From Friday to Sunday we were running around Bethel Regional High School living it up meeting new people and cheering each other on.
Our Team Sign
We met more new friends

We Got Dressed Up
We Danced the night away

We Laughed
We Danced some more

We Smiled..A lot
We Boogied

We did the Twist and Shout
 We Learned a new line dance

We put our hands in the air
Is this seriously on the menu?
We ate Lunch at Front Street
Special Olympics

 Shout Out To:  Everyone who volunteered to make such an incredible event possible!  Quyanaqvaa!  We appreciate you!
"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith."
2 Timothy 4:7