Monday, July 17, 2017


KWhile in Alaska we had the joy of feasting on a multitude of magnificent waterfalls. Some were slow trickles while others cascaded thousands of feet over volkswagon sized boulders. Several fell in crooked paths while others appeared "pencil" straight. A couple sprayed us with cold mist. Color changes appeared in a few as they followed their downward descent. Yet they all shared one trait: being UNIQUE in and of themselves with their own particular beauty! Here are just a few samples:

I was reminded that we are all created unique and special. God is the potter and we are the clay. He made us all perfect having our own uniqueness. Some people have blue eyes, brown eyes, some people can do this, some people can do that, some people are right handed, some write with their left hand. You were made for a purpose. 

God has a plan for everyone and we are all an individual member of the body of Christ. You are a masterpiece. As you grow more and more as a Christian you will truly see how special and unique God created you.

Psalm 139 speaks about this "uniqueness":

Psalm 139:13-14 You alone created my inner being. You knitted me together inside my mother. I will give thanks to you because I have been so amazingly and miraculously made. Your works are miraculous, and my soul is fully aware of it!

Psalm 139:16 You saw me before I was born.Every day of my life was recorded in your book.

Psalm 139:2-4 You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, LORD.

Celebrate the unique waterfall in YOU!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Beyond the shops

When planning our trip to Alaska my sister and I knew we were not doing a cruise ship along the inland passage yet we wanted to experience even just a glimpse of that "side" of the state so we decided to spend some time in Juneau. Juneau is a destination of many boats so we figured we would encounter the masses of cruisers and, like them, spend most of our time in the town visiting shops or on a couple of organized tours. For Hunter, strolling the crowded boardwalks lined with teaming shops of ANY town is akin to a dentist visit for a root canal! Thankfully Marlene and I came upon a lovely "local" at a visitor's center that opened our eyes to a number of her "out of the way" destinations, all of them "beyond the shops"! 
So far, with the aid of a rental car, we have hiked over rocks, barnacles, and muscles to Echo Cove, walked down to Sheep Creek to watch Hunter "wrestle in" chum salmon, drove up Basin Road where we hiked both the Flume Trail on Golden Creek and to Last Chance Mining Museum. Finally we found our way to Cope Park where we unpacked and ate our lunch listening to the nearby rushing creek. And those are just the past few days! Two more days await adventure seekers in Juneau!

During my night's devotions I realized there was an interesting spiritual parallel to "Beyond the shops".
I call it "Beyond the pew". I want to be a "beyond the shops" vacationer but it is more important that I strive to be a "beyond the pew" Christian! My relationship with Jesus should be one filled with adventure and spiritual challenges. May I never just follow the crowd or be satisfied with mediocrity. In stead I pray my life reflects "radical" Jesus in all I say and do!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Content with the Rain!

When the word vacation flashes across your mind do you envision sunshine and warm temps? Of course you do and so do I. At least that is what I thought a vacation should equate.How could there be any fun, any joy, any enjoyable outdoor activities in cold rain and gloomy clouds? This week I am discovering the smiles hidden behind the raindrops, the laughter in the cold rain forest, the beauty in the dark clouds, the pleasures only adverse weather can produce. God is also teaching me a valuable lesson called "Contentment". Contentment is defined as happiness with one's situation. If but a few short weeks ago you would have told me there was happiness to be found among rain and 50 degree weather I would have said,"You are crazy!" Just ask my husband if I am not "allergic" to cold. In the summer the air conditioner sits idle while the winter finds my husband in t-shirts and shorts in the house since he allows me to "control" the thermostat. Ha!
Yet our time in Alaska has opened my eyes to the joys discovered in nature despite and sometimes because of the weather. The green colors of the meadows are more vivid without the interference of the bright sun. Rain drops on leaves sparkle when the sun does take a quick peek through the clouds. Dark mountains laced with wispy clouds have an eerie but simple beauty. Crowds on the hiking trails are non-existent, which makes for a quiet walk while listening for birds singing through the trees. So let the cold rain come! I'm smiling and remembering Paul's words in Philippians 4:11-12
"...for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need (cold and rain)."

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Advice from an Estuary

Today, as Marlene and I walked through Baluga Slough in Homer, Alaska, we came upon this poem written on a placard along the hike. I found it most beautiful and full of wise thoughts. It mirrors Biblical principles.

Advice from an Estuary
Look ordinary
Don't ask for much 
Travel to your edge, then go further
Empty out
Let the moon refill you
Embrace opposites easily
Host travelers without borders, feed them
Listen to the distance in their songs
Nurture the invisible, harbor the young
Send those you've raised out into the world
Digest insults. Reframe and cleanse them
Adopt silence while others speak all around you
Measure change calmly
Mirror the sky
At times,
Be still.
- Wendy Erd

"Be still and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10

Besides just listening for God you can "see" Him in Alaska everywhere you look!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Flossing the Fish?

In Alaska anglers are required to catch salmon by a technique called flossing. It is a particular type of snagging the fish. The peculiar feature in this flossing technique is the necessity of the fishing line to "land" across the mouth of the fish allowing the barb to stick in one side of the mouth only. If the fish is caught with the barb in the tail, fin, side or another part of the fish the fisherman must carefully remove the barb and return the fish to the water. 
Salmon on their way up the streams to spawn do not eat. Therefore bait of any kind, even man-made flys, offer no interest to them. They have one goal in mind only-to mate! I guess with their "one track" thinking they don't see the line coming as it floats down the river right into their mouth as they swim up the river. It has taken Hunter a bit of work to master this type of fishing but he is one to never give up on a good challenge. He is having success and we have enjoyed one meal of fresh caught salmon and look forward to another tomorrow night. 
These salmon are "clueless" of the dangers of the lines in the cold streams as they swim up toward their destination. They remind me of life situations we often get ourselves into where Satan snags us. Our minds are on money, success, competing with the neighbor's for things, fudging on truth, instead of focusing on God and what He wants in our lives. One of my recent memory verses speaks to this dilemma and how to overcome it.
1 Corinthians 10:13
"No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful, he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will provide a way out so that you can stand up under it."
So instead of being "flossed" by Satan keep your eyes open and rely on God to guide you to safety. 

While fishing we enjoyed God's beauty and wild creatures!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017


 The right "tool" for the right moment-binoculars-to see clarity and detail when looking long distances. We certainly utilized their "power" during our adventure yesterday in Alaska. We traveled to Whittier, where we boarded a small boat to explore the Prince William Sound. Our own personal boat captain provided us "play by play" descriptions as he guided the boat through the many estuaries and open water sections of this great body of water filled with glaciers, chunks of ice, and cascading waterfalls.

Wildlife abounds in this seemingly inhospitable area! With our binoculars we could zoom in on sea otters, eagles, puffins, sea lions, harbor seals and even a humpback whale breaching in the distance!


Every time I picked up the binoculars I was amazed at the imagines I saw. Sometimes I felt as though I could reach out and touch what I was viewing, although I would decline that opportunity even if it was offered in regards to the smelly, noisy, cantankerous sea lions! Ha!

In reflecting on the day God reminded me that he, too, has binoculars but they are a great deal more powerful than those I was holding. His "binoculars" see into my heart, mind, and soul. 
What does He see in detail every day as he uses them to look at me? Is the image He sees clean and white like the beautiful glaciers or a bit stinky and ornery like the sea lions? Something to contemplate.
Psalm 51:7 "Purify me from sins and I will be clean; wash me and I will be whiter than snow."