Christmas Traditons

Well here we are in the final month of 2015. Christmas is just over 2 short weeks away and there is so much more yet to do. Thanksgiving has passed, and it was a delicious day I must admit. Usually I have my Christmas tree up by now, however due to my husband being sick right after Thanksgiving and the fact that there is now a puppy in our house, the tree trimming has been delayed.

Thankfully one tradition, that I get to appreciate but do not have to work on, has been taken care of. That tradition is the star of Anchorage. Each year on a mountain on the eastern border of JBER (Joint Base Elmandorf Richardson) there is a huge star that is lit on the day after Thanksgiving.

You can learn more about this event  here.

Gifts and Dreams

You know how you look at other people and what they do for a living or hobby? Have you ever wished that you could do what they do at the same level? I have.

When I was little I remember watching my dad build stuff. I remember the work he put into putting up our back yard fence so that my brother and I could play there in the grass or on our swing set. I remember dad building privacy screens at the back of the house so that my mom could sun bath in privacy from our neighbors – at the time I did not understand this but after I got married and moved into my own home I did. In later years I remember my dad building mom a pantry cupboard for the kitchen and then more storage cabinets above the refrigerator and freezer. He redid our front walkway and deck in wood after removing the cement walk that had cracked and moved with the winter freeze and thaw cycles over the course of a few years. Even today, in their retirement house, dad is still building things. He built the garage and apartment, with some help from my husband and my mom, of their home as well as building much of what is in there. He has made their entertainment center, a chest to hold extra blankets and such (kind of like a hope chest) and more recently, a new dining room table and chairs.

While growing up, I was the littlest one so my job when dad was building stuff was to keep the wood from moving. Dad would place the wood that needed to be cut over two chairs (I am not sure if he used the chairs instead of saw horses because he did not have any or so that I could help – I will go with the belief that he did it for me) and I would sit on one end of the wood so that it would not move while dad was cutting it. In those early years dad had not acquired a table saw so he was using a handsaw most of the time for the 2 x 4’s and circular saw for the bigger pieces. Sometimes I got to help hold things while dad measured or even put them together. How I loved being able to help dad build stuff for our family and home. I would give up playing with my friends to help him, well, depending on what the friends were doing and what dad needed me to do.

Now that I am married with children, and now a grandchild, and a home of my own I still enjoy helping my husband build things. Sadly it is not as often as I might like (or as much as he would). He is a mechanic by trade and an artist by temperament. When he does build something it has to be done right not just thrown together. He built our shed and had to tell himself that it was just a shed and that we would not be living in it. A few years after that we acquired some chickens and he had to quickly build a house and yard for them, again he had to remind himself that we were not going to be living in it (both are still standing, are in use, and have had trees fall on them yet have not been damaged). Several years ago my son began playing the guitar, first the bass guitar and then electric guitar, and he needed a case for one that was given to him that needed it. The two of them, father and son, came up with a plan, bought the wood, and spent the next two and a half days in the garage building this case (made with some very fine wood, good foam, and a velvet lining) to house the son’s first electric guitar (the bass guitar had a case already though it was fabric). Trust me, that case has garnered many complements and has traveled quite a bit, it is probably worth more than the guitar and will be around long after said guitar has gone. As a gift to me one year, and at my request, my husband built selves for my make up in our bedroom made from some beautiful mahogany would he has – if we ever leave this house those shelves will be going with us.

With all of that said, if I could have a gift for a trade it would be carpentry. I have always loved wood and things made from wood. By wood I am not talking about the stuff that you get in a box from the ‘big box stores’ that you just use small nails and glue to put together, frequently made with particle board. No, I am referring to solid wood items that are both sturdy and beautiful. Those items that are not put together on a whim but have much thought and time put into them. Those are the items that you find in antique stores, that fetch a good dollar amount at estate auctions, and in quality furniture stores. They are the things that stand up to the test of time for more than one generation to enjoy.

I would love to be able to build things from wood that would last through the generations. Items that would garner memories and character. To be able to build something that was both beautiful and useful, not something that could easily be thrown out with the trash. Something that could hold up to a houseful of boys/men and animals but only become more beautiful with time. Something that had a definite purpose today and tomorrow.

While I do not know if the fence or privacy screens are still standing, nor do I know if the front deck and walkway have been removed or are still in use, I do know that my dads furniture will still be solid after his passing and that my brother and I will be discussing who gets which pieces (unless mom and dad have already decided – if you read this mom & dad, pick me, pick me!!!) and then we will pass them on to our kids. The out buildings here will most likely still be standing when this house is sold, if we do not take them with us when we move (not for many years I am sure).

The test of time brings out the beauty of both the piece and the one who created it.

Kindness: A Trend? A Purpose?

I think that everyone, at on time or another, has heard of ‘random acts of kindness’ or ‘paying it forward.’ It seems to have become a trend – not a bad one but still a trend. It seems the most common RAK (random act of kindness) is where someone pays for the person behind them, usually at a coffee house/stand or fast food restaurant. Having once been a recipient of this it does put a smile on my face when I realize someone has paid for me.

On social media recently there has been a story where a five year old girl who was eating at a fast food restaurant with her mother. This little girl saw a group of police officers eating there as well. She asked her mom if she could use her allowance to buy ice cream sundaes fro them to say thanks for keeping her family safe. This little girl did not know that these officers had just come from the funeral o a fellow officer. Her act of kindness brightened their other wise sad day.

While I like hearing about people wanting to be a part of a RAK I prefer those that were not inspired by being trendy or doing so is expected. True kindness comes from the heart whether it is random or purposeful.

A few months ago, my family and  were heading out and had stopped by a favorite coffee stand when we were given our order we learned that some had paid for us already. Wheat a treat that was. We wanted to do likewise so we left a tip as well as money to pay for the next people. I would call this a RAK because we did not know the other people involved.

We have also been involved in more purposeful acts of kindness. At a difficult time in our lives we were blessed to have friends and family who stepped up and helped us. When we tried to pay them back they simply asked that we help someone else when the opportunity came up. We have done so when we learned of needs. The needs were different in each instance but the love that went out was the same. Some occurrences were done anonymously and others were not.

I guess the end result of more people willing to help others is a good thing.



Gore Didn’t Do It!! Here’s the Proof …… satire

I got this from my mom in an email and I just had to share it where I wouldn’t lose it.



How the Internet Started – absolutely brilliantInternet Started – absolutely brilliant

In ancient Israel , it came to pass that a trader by the name of
Abraham Com did take unto himself a healthy young wife by the name of
Dorothy (Dot for short). Dot Com was a comely woman, large of breast,
broad of shoulder and long of leg. Indeed, she was often called Amazon Dot Com.


 And she said unto Abraham, her husband, “Why dost thou travel so far
from town to town with thy goods when thou canst trade without ever
leaving thy tent?”
And Abraham did look at her as though she were several saddle bags
short of a camel load, but simply said, “How, dear?”
And Dot replied, “I will place drums in all the towns and drums in
between to send messages saying what you have for sale, and they will
reply telling you who hath the best price. The sale can be made on the
drums and delivery made by Uriah’s Pony Stable (UPS).”
Abraham thought long and decided he would let Dot have her way with
the drums. And the drums rang out and were an immediate success. Abraham
sold all the goods he had at the top price, without ever having to move
from his tent.

To prevent neighboring countries from overhearing what the drums were
saying, Dot devised a system that only she and the drummers knew. It was
known as Must Send Drum Over Sound (MSDOS), and she also developed a
language to transmit ideas and pictures – Hebrew to The People (HTTP).
And the young men did take to Dot Com’s trading as doth the greedy
horsefly take to camel dung. They were called Nomadic Ecclesiastical
Rich Dominican Sybarites, or NERDS. And lo, the land was so feverish
with joy at the new riches and the deafening sound of drums that no one
noticed that the real riches were going to that enterprising drum
dealer, Brother William of Gates, who bought off every drum maker in the
land. Indeed he did insist on drums to be made that would work only with
Brother Gates’ drum-heads and drumsticks.
And Dot did say, “Oh, Abraham, what we have started is being taken
over by others.” And Abraham looked out over the Bay of Ezekiel , or
eBay as it came to be known. He said, “We need a name that reflects what
we are.”
And Dot replied, “Young Ambitious Hebrew Owner Operators.”

“YAHOO,” said Abraham. And because it was Dot’s idea, they named it
YAHOO Dot Com.
Abraham’s cousin, Joshua, being the young Gregarious Energetic
Educated Kid (GEEK) that he was, soon started using Dot’s drums to
locate things around the countryside.
It soon became known as God’s Own Official Guide to Locating
Everything (GOOGLE).
That is how it all began. And that’s the truth. I would not make up
this stuff.

To Write or Read

If you had to choose between being able to write a blog (but not read others’) and being able to read others’ blogs (but not write your own), which would you pick? Why?

This is a difficult question to answer.

I actually do not blog for other people, I blog for me. I write about what is on my mind or what interests me. If readers like it that is great but if they do not like it I go on with life.

There are things that I do for other people, I keep tract of some statistics for my church, I have taught Sunday school, I have made meals for families in grief or having just had a baby, I have taken care of friends, and other things for charity. I like knowing that some of what I have done has made someone’s life a little better, that they feel loved and cared for.

I do enjoy reading other people’s blogs though. I like to give feedback so that the bloggers know what they have written has been read and that someone took the time to share with them. I guess this comes from my innate desire to encourage – it is one of the ways in which I show my caring of others. While I get the whole “we do not do to gain praise from man” thing, I still feel that the pat on the back to show that what one does is noticed is always beneficial.

So I guess that my answer to the above question would be that I would rather be able to read the blogs of someone else than to write my own. Anyway I still keep a handwritten journal of the things I need to write out but want to remain private.

What about you? Which would you choose to do, blog or read?

Titles and Taglines

When I began this blog several years ago I decided that I wanted it to reflect who I am since this was going to be a blog of conversations from my point of view.

Who I am is an Alaskan. I have lived here since I was about 8 years old. I have a hard time seeing myself living anywhere else, mainly because the benefits of other locations just do not measure up to  where I live. If you have never been to Alaska you may have a hard time understanding how  this state can hook a person when it seems so harsh but if you ever have the opportunity to visit you will see what I mean.

autumn-trees-over-garage.jpg        backyard-3-dec-2007.jpg

These two were taken of my front yard.


musk-ox-mamas-under-pioneer1.jpg This one is of Pioneer Peak taken at the Musk Ox Farm in Palmer

      This is of a caribou on the North Slope of Alaska

One of two Bald Eagles that were at the church

One of two Bald Eagles that were at the church

I live in South Central Alaska just north of Anchorage, the largest and most populous city in the state. The climate leans toward cold but there are quite a few places in the Lower 48 (what we Alaskans refer to the Contiguous states) which have colder winters than we do.  The winters are dark but the summers are full of light.

The Matanuska-Susitna Borough is larger than some states – I believe it is comparable in size to the state of West Virginia. This is the fastest growing area of Alaska. We have vast mountain ranges, fish filled rivers and lakes, wilderness galore and skies that never end. When I am gone from this place I actually long to come back as I miss it about as much as I miss the people here. I can look at the mountains and gain inspiration to write about a variety of subjects.

I believe that the title and tagline reflect this: I live in the Valley which many consider to be the heart of Alaska.

I hope that by reading some of my posts here you will begin a dream of visiting here.