Thursday, November 25, 2010


I am thouroughly enjoying this holiday. I spent most of my day in my stretchy pants, sweatshirt, and wool socks... and loved it. When I woke up this morning and got the water on the stove to boil for coffee, I looked out the window and it was SNOWING! It looks so beautiful and I am thankful for that.

other things I am thankful for... family. amazing friends. opportunity to be in Alaska.
.:.oatmeal with cranberries, almonds, and almond milk. yum.
.:.flannel shirts. friends [and roomies].
.:.Christmas music.
.:.the office.
.:.time to relax and crochet.
.:.and the holiday season.

so many things to be thankful for.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Today I decided to take it easy. I just got home from Unalakleet yesterday, and I was planning on taking a long bath, reading a bit, and going to bed early so I could substitute teach today; however, that did not happen. For some reason, after my bath yesterday I was wide awake. I tried to go to bed early but found myself still up at 2 in the morning, which is the opposite of what I wanted to happen. So disappointing.
Needless to say, today I was exhausted. I felt kind of sick, and just plain ol' lethargic. So I decided to sleep in, eat a healthy oatmeal breakfast, enjoy a french press of coffee and catch up on my blogging. While I was relaxing listening to music and blogging I got up to heat up some more water for tea and you'll never guess what I saw outside my kitchen window....
that's right friends it was a moose.

I was so excited I followed her while she walked around the house to the backyard from my bedroom window. It was pretty amazing for this Midwest girl to see, but I'm sure if I mentioned it to anyone here they would look at me like "what's so special about seeing a moose?" I literally took about 60 pictures of her, even though she just wandered around a bit, eating a few things off the trees, and then moseyed on to the next yard.
Here are a few more pictures for those of you who aren't used to seeing moose on a regular basis,like me.


and off she went.

I feel very confident that I made the right choice staying home today, and I am hoping to go to bed early tonight. Wish me luck.

...and i'm off again.

so. I got back from fall blast on November 14th and I planned on just being back at the apartment and subbing for the week. Lauren, Byron, Sue, Mary and Joe were all planning on flying out to Unalakleet on the 19th for the Norton Sound youth worker gathering. Since I was already able to be a part of the Yukon-Delta region one in Mountain Village I was going to stay back in Wasilla; however, after a crazy turn of events Joe needed to stay back and so there was an opening on the plane. On Thursday afternoon [the day before the flight] Mary asked if I would be willing to go and help her with  the weekend, you know, doing the background stuff so she could facilitate the discussion. There is no way I was going to say no!

The conference took place in Unalakleet, which is actually the Village where the bible camp is located. I was already dying to get out there and see what it was like, plus Sue and Byron just began moving out there so I was thrilled to be able to go visit!

This was Lauren's first trip out to a village, so I was so excited that I was able to experience that with her, secretly I have been dying to go anywhere with her because things are always more fun with friends! In following tradition, we took a group photo before boarding the plane.
Lauren enjoying the trip to Unalakleet.
Leaving beautiful Palmer.
Getting ready to land in Unalakleet. That dark cluster in the upper left corner is the village of Unalakleet.
We arrived there around lunch time so a group of us decided to split a Unalakleet famous pizza from Peace on Earth.

As a side note: The man who owns this restaurant came down to anchorage with one of his sons to visit his older son who goes to school there. The older son is a part of the young adult group in anchorage called Arriga, so as a special treat on what just so happened to be my first visit at Arriga, the father Brett and his two sons made enough pizza's for the whole crew. They were unbelievable, any type you could ever imagine, and each one more delicious then the one before it, so I knew that when I made it out to Unalakleet I would have to go and see where the magic is made!

This was their greek pizza: tomatoes, olives, feta, garlic, banana peppers, and delicious herbs spread around the crust. yum! 
This pizza was the Bella Ryan special: pepperoni, olives, jalapenos, and pineapple. Bella used to work at Peace on Earth for a year or so and came up with unbelievable combo.

Here is the crew dying to dig in:

Sue Bruckner.

Bella Ryan.

and Adam London.

A snapshot of the inside.

And one of the largest set of moose antlers I've ever seen!

After gorging on our delicious meal, we made our way back to the auditorium to get set up for the conference.

All the other youth workers from the other villages started arriving, and in keeping with tradition again, we began each session with prayer and singing a few hymns. Here Nathan Toots lead us in singing 'Up from the grave He arose.' This wasn't everyone who came but atleast here are a few group shots:
This is Nathan leading, Byron and Austin in the left corner, Adam London, and Lloyd.
Going from the Left there is Isabelle sitting down, then behind the couch is Donna, Bella, Ruth, Suzie, Sue, and Mary. Isaiah is standing and then the back of Austen and Byron.

Nathan conducting, a little bit of Adam, Lloyd, Curtis, and Nathan Hobbs. 
And a better close-up of Adam, Lloyd, and Curtis.

While our conference was going on, the village of Unalakleet was also hosting volleyball games at the school. The team from Golovin came in and the team from Elim was also supposed to come in but freezing rain made it too hard for the planes to land.

After our meeting on Friday, a group of us headed over to the school to watch the volleyball game. A few of the students I had met at Fall Blast were playing so I was SO excited to see them again!
Here is Roberta (Wassuq) dominating.

Number 22 is Lynda Cooper, she also was at Fall Blast.

This is Thomas jumping to block the ball, he was on the Golovin team and was a part of the Fall Blast crew!

There were quite a few more from the crew:
Svea is in the sweatshirt, jennie is giving double thumbs up to me, and the others are mixed into the huddle.
The UNK team had great team sportsmanship!
This was the funniest little girl. She kept trying to scare us in her spiderman costume!

So many of the little kids kept playing with us. This little guys kept tickling Suzie and I. They also made paper airplanes and were shooting them at us throughout the entire game, with incredible force I might add.
Our way back to the auditorium was quite an adventure. The entire village of UNK was like an ice arena. The streets were completely frozen over, so we had to skate our way back. It was so fun, but SO dangerous. The slightest incline left you stuck in the same spot for quite a while until you could muster up enough momentum to get yourself out. We had quite a few laughs at every one's "almost" wipe outs! 

As always, the weekend flew by.

Thankfully the conference went great, and I was able to be a part of some amazing discussions. We were so thankful that Unalakleet let us host our retreat in their village, and to be welcome to stay with a number of the families in town. Also, I was so blessed to be able to be a part of their volleyball games and their church service on Sunday. I have no idea when I will have another chance to go back to Unalakleet, but I am already looking forward to that day!

One final goodbye to the beautiful village of Unalakleet.

The flight home.

And back in Palmer.

Until next time.

.Fall Blast.

Wow, I am so blessed. Since I've arrived in Alaska I have already had two opportunities to go out to villages. This past week I was able to be apart of the planning for the High School retreat, known as Fall Blast. There was quite a bit of writing/ responding to emails, buying/ shipping food, and putting together PowerPoint slides for the worship music! We tried getting everything organized so that the retreat would go off without a hitch, and I'd say for the most part, things went great.

It was such an encouraging weekend with an amazing speaker named Luda. She is a Russian women who speaks on the KICY radio show, sharing the gospel  with the Russian audience. There were also a few college students from ACC who shared their testimonies and what the Lord is doing in their lives as of now. It was very powerful and encouraging. The Lord put together an amazing staff of people who love working with the youth, which definitely added to the success of the weekend.

This was part of the crew.
Nikki Dill, Max Fancher, Me, Julie, Tom [our pilot], Alyssa, Jaculine, and Byron

This weekend was such an amazing time, and I loved getting to know some more of the students in the different villages. I believe we had a total of 35 campers from villages including: Unalakleet, Elim, Shaktoolik, White Mountain, Koyuk, Golovin, and Nome, basically all of the Norton Sound Region.

[here is a map so you can see what I'm talking about.
This retreat was for the Norton Sound region,
and the Mountain Village youth worker conference I went to before was for the Yukon Delta].

So. I took a ton of pictures but I will post a few so you can get a feel for where I was. We met in Elim for the retreat, so all the students began flying in from their respective villages. As the groups started arriving we mostly set up registration and played games. Basketball seems to be the favorite, but alot of the kids also love, I mean LOVE the game Ninja [which is all the rage at LGYC, too. I thought it was funny that they all play it too].  

This is the game ninja in action.

The guys played basketball every chance they got.


We also played the Alaskan version of sharks and minnows
called Caribou Caribou!
[The caribou are waiting by the wall and there are
two wolves in the middle waiting for the
delicous caribou to cross onto their tundra!]

We also played a group game called electricity, similiar to
telephone. Everyone links hands. The beginning person
squeezes the next persons hand and it continues on down
the line. Once it reaches the last person they have to run
back to the front of the line and so on and so forth!
After dinner on friday we headed over to the church for Chapel.
This was Luda. Our amazing russian speaker.
Listening to her life story, and how the Lord has
used her life to reach so many people was truly inspiring.

On Saturday moring, we were greeted by an unbelievable sunrise. Suzie, Tom Mute, and I headed over to the chapel to get the powerpoint set up fot that mornings chapel. Tom reminded us that the Lord's mercies are new every morning! He also reminded us that it is always morning somewhere in the world. So we are promised that the Lord's mercies are always new!

Great is His faithfulness!

After lunch, we took the entire group on a hike.

Once we made it to the top we decided to play a game! For this game we all got in a circle, squeezed real close to one another and one the count of three all sat down. The tricky part was that you really had to trust the people around you. In order for it to work everyone had to fully sit down at the same time, if you didn't trust the person behind you it broke the circle and you fell down.

The first few times we lost a few people.

 but finally we got it!
Here is a shot of the entire group at the top.

This is my friend Deborah that I met.

My roomies for the weekend: Nikki and Julie!
And a group resting before out descent back down.

When we got back to the bottom I had a bit of time to walk around Elim. This is looking out from in front of the school.
and this is out infront of the chapel.
Before I knew it the weekend was basically over.
On Sunday morning we took a few goup pictures before all
the kids starting heading back to their villages.

Here is our entire group of guys.

the girls.
and the staff.

This was such an amazing weekend. I met so many amazing people; both leaders and students. I am so thankful that I was able to experience Fall Blast, this is truly something I love. Being a part of youth retreats where I am able to counsel. Spending time getting to know the kids, listening to their stories, laughing at their crazy stories in the cabin, and worshipping with them in chapel.

Here is a final picture of two amazing girls I got to meet:
Roberta (Wassuq) and Jennie.

Keep your eye on them...they are going to be amazing leaders!