Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Alaska vs the lower 48

Something that has been really bothering me these past couple weeks is the ignorance of people, especially my friends. I know that the East coast is experiencing a HUGE heat wave that will hopefully break soon, and it is pretty miserable for most people. So  naturally, people are wishing for cooler climates and have been making comments about 'moving to Alaska because it's cold there all the time'.... and I am getting really tired and annoyed at those I know commenting like this. They *know* that not all of Alaska is cold all the time - because I have told them! I know these comments are meant as a joke, with no harm or insults intended (and I'm not offended, just really protective - which is weird because I've only lived here five months and I already feel very protective of where I live), but it still irks me.

And so some facts about Alaska:
Think of the Lower 48 states as a whole - The weather in MA is different than in Florida is different than in Illinois is different than in Colorado is different than in Oregon. The same is true in Alaska - in all seasons. For example. Anchorage right now is somewhat overcast/sunny with some rain but most temps are hovering between 50-70 degrees - much cooler than what most states on the east coast are experiencing. But go upstate...like Fairbanks. Or Denali National Park. Want to know what the temperature is up there? 100+ degrees. That's because it's land-locked.  Anchorage is cooler because we have a mountain range buffer and we sit right on the coast. The winter is different...Fairbanks gets to -60 degrees easily...and the farther North you go, the colder it can get. Anchorage is about the same as Northern Maine in temperature...when I moved up here in March, it was colder than MA but MA had twice as much snow as Anchorage did. The air if dry here (in Anchorage) so even with the little snow that happens...it stays for a long time.
Yes, much of the state gets dark in the winter. Only in the highest parts of the state, above Fairbanks (and maybe even some of Fairbanks has less than four hours of sunlight a day - if that. South of Fairbanks and into Anchorage and the rest of South-central and Southeast Alaska experiences more darkness but most days see between six and eight hours of light every day.

So for those of you wanting to make comments on other states when you are in the middle of a heat wave...please remember us who live there and what we have told you. And make your comment more accurate rather than lumping one whole state (practically the size of the lower 48 combined) into one category. Because it is much different than that!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Highlights from the week

On Seward Highway, Thursday

Exit Glacier

In front of Exit Glacier

We climbed the yellow path.

Downtown Seward.

The cruise boat we went on.

Some cormorants.

Fox Island beach

After dinner at Fox Island


She is the best guard over a garden. Ever.

Mama goat and her baby.

Moose we saw on our drive back to Anchorage.
From Tuesday the 19th.

We went driving around base on Tuesday and saw a mama black bear and her three cubs.

A view from six mile lake.

Walking at Thunderbird Falls Tuesday afternoon.

The bridge itself.

Some fungi. On a log.

The Falls themselves.

Dinner at Moose's Tooth on Friday and the Saturday Market today.

The Sampler Andrew got at Moose's Tooth.

The Backpacker: Spinach, Sundried tomatoes, garlic cloves, artichoke hearts, olives, feta cheese...delicious!

Pesto Supreme...everything mine had except for the spinach and garlic! Oh and it had pesto.

Taco Pizza...can you guess who ordered this one?

The artist at the Summer Solstice Festival carved this out of butternut squash. So cool!

Riding the Moose Express.

Andrew is SO funny!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Track the bees in your zipcode!

You make beautiful things out of dust; out of us...

I found out today that the Cadence couple serving Alaska, more specifically the Hospitality House on JBER, will be moving to Denver Colorado to Cadence headquarters to take a year of renewal, restoration and growth before moving on to their next ministry. I have come to like this couple. I love meeting at their house for potlucks and Bible studies. Wes is so great at approaching the passages with a different perspective and really getting me to think. Even though I don't know Elaine as well, she is a marvelous cook and baker and does offer encouragement when needed. I did enjoy walking with her and baby Ada one day a couple of weeks ago.

I've been thinking about it all day. All throughout work. I keep thinking, 'They are leaving... But I just got here!'

Angie and her family are PCSing in January of 2012, The Sawtelle's in November I believe. So many people have already left in the four months I have been here, and yet so many more have come into the group.

Is this what my life will be for the next three years? Lots of saying hello only to turn around and say goodbye?      Above all else, my mom best knows that I don't like change. I don't ask [God] for patience because I don't like being tested in that area. The thought came to me: maybe these three years are all about learning to go-with-the-flow and adapt and grow and learn from change - especially since it will be happening all the time.

But that doesn't mean I have to like it.

So I turned on the radio in the car, and this was the song that was playing:
Beautiful Things by Gungor
All this pain
I wonder if I’ll ever find my way
I wonder if my life could really change at all
All this earth
Could all that is lost ever be found
Could a garden come up from this ground at all

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

All around
Hope is springing up from this old ground
Out of chaos life is being found in You

You make me new, You are making me new

And I cried. 

I don't need to be the hero tonight...

Lyrics to Undone, the first song on FFH's new CD Wide Open Spaces.

Open up wide, swallow down deep
No spoon full of sugar could make it sweet
The cancer inside stealing my sleep
Night after night it keeps haunting me
The secrets I keep
Are tearing me up inside
I try to hide and then I wonder why

Why I’m still running when I know there’s no escaping

Come undone, surrender is stronger
I don’t need to be the hero tonight
We all want love we all want honor
Nobody wants to pay the asking price

Fall on my knees, fall on my pride
I’m tripping over all the times I’ve lied
I’m asking please, but I can see in your eyes
You don’t need tears for alibis
It’s true what they say
Love must be blind
It’s why You’re still standing by this sinner’s side

You’re still by my side when all the things I’ve done have left you bleeding


I don’t think I can drive it home tonight
I don’t think I wanna be alone tonight