Saturday, July 26, 2008

Friday Night Hikes

The last two Friday nights, I've had the opportunity to do some hiking. The range is right behind our house...only a 10 minute drive to the trail head. I didn't get any pictures from last week (peak 2 summit) but remembered the camera last night for the Peak 3 summit. I hiked with Joe Boland, Jeff Schulte, and Jay Schulte. We finish the night off with a little "Taco King."

Something happens in my soul when I am in the moutains...something comes alive...God's voice is louder in my heart because my spirit is calm. The Spirit led me towards repentance and thus, freedom in His grace. "I life my eyes up to the mountains. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth." Psalm 121
Jay Schulte and I on the way up.
On Top!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

When I Dip, You Dip, We Dip

So Jacson and I went 3 hours south this week to Kenai. There is a thing here called "dip netting" and we went along with my friends Jeff Cowell and Jeff Schulte. We all brought some kiddos along too. If you are a resident of Alaska, they allow each family 10 red salmon per person for subsistence. I wasn't able to "dip net" but in one year, I will get to wade into the ice cold water and stand with a mongo net and hope a fish swims into it. When it's hopping, you can walk away with dozens of fish. Unfortunately for us, we only came away with 8 total.

It was a great time because it was the first campout I've taken Jacson on. He had a total blast playing in the sand (we camped on the beach of the Prince William Sound at the mouth of the Kenai River), clobbering red salmon on the head, eating s'mores, and laughing with friends around the fire. It rained on us the second night so we had that wonderful experience of tent camping in the rain. Ever camped on wet sand with a 7 year matter how much you say "knock the sand off of you" it doesn't make much of a difference.

I am grateful for good friends, new friends for my son, the beauty of the water with the mountains in behind, and another Alaskan memory.

Yes, that is a fish head getting "grilled" on the fire. Lindsay asked me when I showed her this picture: "Did he touch it with his hands?" The answer from me: "Of course."
Silliness around the fire.
You gotta "do the dew" when you "dip net."

Friday, July 18, 2008

Moose Dropping Festival in Talkeetna

New friends at our church invited us to a little Alaskan town called Talkeetna (2 hours north of Anchorage) last weekend. Robert grew up there and bought the little house he grew up in. We were excited because it was the "36th Annual Moose Dropping Festival." On Saturday at 6 PM, they drop numbered moose poop on a target. The poop is painted white (not sure how they do that) and glued to a pin so everyone can wear their numbered poop on their shirts. Each dropping costs $5. We waited for the line to go down so we could purchase ours, but they were all sold out by the time we got there. The winning poop dropping won $1500 bones.

The town is at the base of the Alaskan Range with majectic views of Denali (Mt. McKinley). [too bad it's cloudy every day here and we didn't get to see it] Everyone who climbs Denali flys to the base camp from Talkeetna. It has 3 rivers that converge there and the Alaskan Railroad comes through. The town only has 400 people that live there but it's swimming with tourists in the summer months. Minus the moutain views, train station, and rivers, it reminded me of where I grew up in Gladeville, TN...softball field, town crossroads, small little market.

Here are some pics of our weekend. The highlight for us was the mule trip to the "beach" on the river where we fished (no luck), grilled, and sat around a fire.

Playing in the river.

The highlight of the weekend was riding on this mule. The sand on this beach was deep. Of course, Lindsay loved it.

Ellie loved the store so much she jumped for joy!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A Polar Bear, Grizzly, and Mountain Lion

Lindsay and I met a couple at our church this weekend that invited us over for dinner tonight. They are our age but don't have kids. (we warned them beforehand and they invited us over anyway) I looked over while we were getting things together to eat and saw Jacson jumping off the arm of the couch into the cushions and hearing Stacey say "oh my." Doug is from Zimbabwe and has an accent...Ellie asked him why he spoke Spanish. What? After finally sitting down the eat Moose hot dogs and fresh salmon from the Russian River, Ellie threw a fit because she wanted to sit next to Mommy. Finally, after she was disciplined in the bathroom we all sat down to say grace. I said, "We are the Swain's and we'll never be back in your home again." They laughed. Later they laughed again said "it's fine" when Savannah got ketchup on their carpet. I bet they weren't saying that when they scrubbed it after we left. I was shocked when Doug invited me to mountain bike with him on Sunday at the end of the evening. :)

So...we didn't know this when we arrived, but Doug and Stacey are quite the hunters. As you walk into their home you see the mounted Mountain Lion. And then when you round the corner you see the HUGE Polar Bear and Grizzly Bear in the living room. Our kids were fascinated...I was too. Stacey is the only woman in the world to have killed all four kinds of bear (grizzly, polar, brown, black) with a bow. Doug is a former professional hunting guide in Africa and specialized in Elephant and Lion kills. Looking at his pictures was a total "WOW." Toto, we are not in Tennessee anymore.

It was a great night...experiencing new things with new friends. I'll be sure to post a picture when I kill my first big game animal.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

First Days in Alaska!

We are full of feelings as we make this, loneliness, sadness. It's tough to start over relationally (we just did this in Jan 07 when we moved to LA), but we are so hopeful and confident that this is right where the Lord has us.

Pictures speak louder than what I can articulate at this point in our journey here you go:

Watching the sea planes take off and land at Lake Spenard!
A "baby moose" in the backyard of the house we were staying at. The sucker was huge. The kids were singing..."moosey, moosey, moosey on the loosey, loosey, loosey!"
New friends. These are the Cowell girls. There dad and I will be serving together at ChangePoint Church.
Jacson with Drew and David Schulte on the 4th of July. Nice view!
4th of July pic in front of our new 10:30 PM.
Sillyness on the 10:30 PM!