Monday, May 20, 2013

Flying Into The Light

It's a curious thing to fly to Alaska from the lower 48 at 9:30pm.
The world was dusky as we boarded the plane, but the further north we flew, the lighter it became.
It gave me an eerie time machine sensation of going backwards.
Three and a half hours later, we landed in Alaska, at dusk.

The next day the strangeness continued when it started to snow. I left the lower 48 in May and I landed in December.

Hearing someone shoveling their driveway when I awoke was a bit surreal.

I haven't been up to see Page for a few years. They were attending a new church, it just happened to be the church I grew up in, and haven't seen for 25 years. Again, speeding backwards.

I was even more amazed that someone there actually recognized me. And the man that stood up to preach was an old friend's little brother, who last I saw was running around in pull-ups. By some strange twist of fate, they planned a clip during service of an interview with the man who was pastor the whole time I was there. There he was, up front, proclaiming God's faithfulness on video just as he did when I was a little girl. I'll never see him again on this earth, but what an unexpected gift to have another glimpse of his kind face.

We were able to visit the little girls I used to nanny. They are beautiful women with babes of their own and I am so proud of them. So thankful for the times of laughter and dancing that we had together.

I look at these girls, and I look at my girls, and I look at Page, all growing every year more like Jesus, and I know that I don't really want to go back in time.
I came home today to 2 boys and one man who desperately missed their girls. Grant ran through the kitchen after we were all settled back in and said, "Everything is happy again now that you're home!"

I am so thankful for a past that brought me to this present.

Rosy's first time at the chocolate fountain.

Page and I love our girls!

Avonlea walking the tracks.

The tree which sister Amy and I almost ignited. It's my kids' favorite story of a bon fire gone wrong.

Madison and Rose on Beluga Rock. Dave proposed to me on the rocks right behind them.

Avonlea Page and Page on Beluga.

Avonlea converted Madison into a birdwatcher. They were able to spot a bald eagle and it's nest and several other birds which made Avonlea gasp and squeal at the same time.

I'll leave you with one of my personal favorites. Please remember that we came to Alaska from a heat wave in our neck of the woods. We were a little unprepared for the inclement weather. Page told me it was going to snow, but I didn't really believe her.
Rose was a trooper as we hiked to see the fairy field. In flip-flops. In the snow.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Ashley B.

Several weeks ago my mom came into the kitchen laughing.
She explained that months ago she had received a flyer from her college asking her random questions about what she was currently doing with her life. She filled it out carelessly late one night and sent it in.
Imagine her surprise when it returned to her in book form. Apparently it was the 50th anniversary of her graduating class. The printed book had a whole page on where each class mate was and what they were doing. Mom's was very original. Where her peers were golfing in Florida, and relishing retirement, she was in Washington "uncovering her Hebrew roots."
I laughed as hardily as she did when she read it. She sounded like a nut.
The kids came in and looked at all the pictures and mom showed them who had had plastic surgery and who hadn't.

Fast forward to this Monday. I was down in the orchard hanging my clothes on the line when a very white-faced, wrinkled-browed, mother walked toward me. She handed me a stamped envelope addressed to herself. I opened it and read:

Dear Gloria,

As a friend from college, I've whatched your progess. I've learned that you teach your grandkids now. Through your life I've uncovered that you believe yourself to be a jew. Mmmmmm... But I have learned that your a Christian too! That's what's most important. I'm also glad that you flattened your hair. The pictures that I saw a few years ago were....rather startling.

As a secret companion I'm yours,
Ashley B.

"What do you make of that?" Mom demanded.
"Honestly, I don't know what to make of it," I replied. It creeped me out, the spelling especially, what kind of college was this?
Mom leaned forward dramatically, "I didn't know any Ashley."
The plot thickened.
"Well where is it from?" I turned over the envelope again. Nevada.
I looked closer at the postal stamp that should tell the city and state. It was a butterfly.
"Mom, I think this must be from one of your grandchildren."

Avonlea looks so innocent. Especially when she plays the harp.
When Mom called her Ashley she started to giggle.
She reminded us that she had once sent Grant a letter from President Obama asking Grant to be "Boy of  the Year" and walk in a parade in Washington DC. Grant had hidden it and lived in nervous agonies for weeks.
I had forgotten about that.
She may have a talent here that I've overlooked.

I wonder who the next recipient of that talent will be....

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Beauty Enough

We went up to the mountain on Friday night. We went to see the orchard in bloom. Because I really don't know of anything more beautiful then an ocean of blossoms lapping the shore of a mountain.
The bee keepers had delivered bees last week. Those are the bees in the crates below.

Grant and Rowan found watching bees to be quite fascinating.
Until one thought Rowan's head was a flower.
And got mad when it wasn't.
Hence the hoods.

The orchard is guarded by two incredibly large dogwood trees which joined the bloom party while we were there.

Dave took the kids to the lake on Saturday. They saw a trout in the water and got really excited. Grant ran back to the car and Dave supposed he had gone to get the net to snag the fish. In reality, he had changed into his swimsuit. Before Dave realized what was happening Grant had dove into the water and caught the fish with his bare hands! We fried it up for dinner. Grant was proud.

This next picture is of my beloved island. It also has joined the bloom party and is carpeted in bleeding heart and curly little ferns. Indescribably beautiful.

My favorite moment of the weekend came when I was on a hike with Rowan. Traipsing a trail, we stopped suddenly at the faint sound of music. Sneaking closer, we saw Avonlea playing her violin to the birds. I sent Rowan back for the camera and I watched my daughter interact with nature. She had hummingbirds humming along above her head. She had a frog at her foot that she swears was croaking in time to the song. As I sat there amazed by this unusual sight, the actual song started to seep into my consciousness. She was playing a song I had written to my parents. It's a song of the children rising up to bless the parents. The blessings I vocally articulated 20 years ago were now blessing me. A generational blessing.

There was so much beauty that I simply couldn't catch it all.
An exquisite moon rise.
A bon-fire under a hundred million stars and my husband's arms around me.
A windy day that blew the cobwebs out of my soul.
A work party to earn money for missions. Kids working hard so they can go share Jesus with others.
Rosy on the swing under the dogwood, flying.

There was for once, enough beauty for my soul. There was even some to spare.


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