Monday, March 28, 2011

Reading Night

I love my husband.  I love him for too many reasons to count...but one in particular is reading night.  I've always enjoyed reading (actually it's only been post college when I was no longer forced to read).  Alas, nothing is more relaxing than sitting with a good book and a cup of hot tea curled up in a soft, fluffy blanket in front of a window on a sunny afternoon (was that a run-on sentence?).  Matt however might say that nothing ends his day better than catching up on SportsCenter.  Oh the differences. 

Recently the Borders in Anchorage (1 of basically 2 bookstores in Alaska...I guess books aren't big up here) went out of business.  So, naturally, the deal-hunters we are, we went shopping.  This was all in preparation for our Maui trip, but we bought a few extras...I mean they were on sale!

Thankfully, Matt has taken a new found love of reading (while I don't mind the top 10 plays of the day every once in awhile either)...and realizes the importance of it to me.  We now have "reading night" about once a week.  Come home from work, Matt walks Mocha, I make dinner - afterwards we kick up our feet with a book.  We switch books, read new ones, grab old ones off the this moment in time we have more than enough to suit our fancies for a bit.  

I recently just finished Fearless by Max Lucado (I mentioned here).  I highly recommend this book to anyone that lives in or experiences fear (ok, that's bascially everyone). Easy read, encouraging and filled with Truth.

I'm also working on More Than Enough by Dave Ramsey .  I'm married to a finance guy, so one can never had enough books on money managment.  One of the biggest obstacles in most people's lives, sadly.  My husband has taught me a great deal about living financially wise. I am blessed that he is so gifted in this area. Thankfully it hasn't been a big battle for us since I've always been pretty frugal myself.  But I do have a new found joy in spreadsheets and budgets.
AND my recent find, Radical by David Platt.  It's about not adjusting the Gospel to fit the American dream.  I'm not that far into it, but cannot wait to dive into it more.  Good thing it takes 12+ hours on an airplane to fly back south. I might get both of these puppies finished, plus a slew of others...
I'm always looking for a good book. So I'm always up for suggestions.  Here are a few of mine. :)

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Random things that brought me joy today:
  • The high is 40 (the snow is melting!)
  • I wore my fleece jacket to work. No puffy coat anymore.
  • My heated blanket from my boss I utilize everyday at my desk (even though it's 40...I'm still a Texas girl). It was a great gift.
  • I can bring my pooch, Mocha, with me to work.  Like today. Chilling at my feet. Only in Alaska.
  • The trailhead right outside my office for walks at lunch. Today it'll be with Mocha.
  • I get to see so many people I miss (and haven't seen since moving to the Arctic) in just over a week!
  • This video. Oh my goodness, I couldn't stop laughing.
  • Giving gifts. Especially the kind that you are so excited to give. Those are the best.
  • Sunset isn't until 8:24pm tonight. That makes daylight more than 12 hours thus far. Over half way there.
  • Girlfriends. Old and new.  Life is depressing without them.
Hope you too find the joy in the little things today!

Monday, March 21, 2011

First day of Spring?

I guess it looks a little bit different here. 

Sunday, March 20, 2011


"But, first, remember, remember, remember the signs. Say them to yourself when you wake in the morning and when you lie down at night, and when you wake in the middle of the night. And whatever strange things may happen to you, let nothing turn your mind from following the signs. And secondly, I give you a warning. Here on the mountain I have spoken to you clearly: I will not often do so down in Narnia. Here on the mountain, the air is clear and your mind is clear; as you drop down into Narnia, the air will thicken. Take great care that it does not confuse your mind. And the signs which you have learned here will not look at all as you expect them to look, when you meet them there. That is why it is so important to know them by heart and pay no attention to appearances. Remember the signs and believe the signs. Nothing else matters." C.S.Lewis, Chronicles of Narnia

There are times when I feel completely beat up at the end of the day. Discouraged. Defeated. I let the world get the best of me.  I need to remember. The Truth. What God's Word says. About who I am. Who He is. What is important. What this life is really all about. 

I may not have physical people around me majority of the day who share my beliefs, but I am not alone.  God reveals Himself to me. He encourages me. And those times when I do not feel it, I need to remember.  Remember and hold on to that. 
The current Scripture taped to the computer screen I stare at all day long to help me remember...

"But I call this to mind, and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
His mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is Your faithfulness."
Lamentations 3:21-22

Friday, March 18, 2011

Another first...Snowmobiling

We are trying to fit it all in before the snow disappears.  And with daylight savings time it's light until after 8:30pm which provides more play time during the week.  So after work this week, Matt and I got a personal tour on snowmobiles...actually it is a co-worker of Matt's that graciously allowed us to play around with his toys.  We went out to Eagle River (burbs 25 min outside of Anchorage) - and literally rode on the river.  It kind of made me nervous at first, probably because nowhere down south do the rivers freeze enough to drive a machine on.  A few places we could see holes and long cracks of evidence the summer is coming, but it was such a good time (and you are going fast enough) that it's easy to look past the freezing water directly beneath.  Majority was still snowpacked, which once I got up the nerves, allowed great spots to catch a little air.  It was a fabulous Tuesday evening.
Matt and I had races.  One machine could go 0 to 60mph in about 5 clearly whoever was on that mobile would win.  I may have unintenionally reacted when gunning it by screaming at the top of my lungs.  Thankfully nobody could hear. 
Matt's first comment when we get home..."can we go buy one this weekend?"
Hm. Not going to happen.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

I needed something to do while Matt worked on taxes.  That's my excuse.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Thoughts on Fear

"Where is your faith?" Jesus asked his disciples. In fear and amazement they asked one another, "Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him." Luke 8: 25

I used to believe I was my mother said.  I remember walking the streets of downtown LA late at night during spring break one year just because I wanted In-N-Out Burger; I spent time sharing the Gospel in the middle east the summer after 9/11; I led students backpacking in bear infested wilderness for days on end; I packed up all my belongings and moved to a gigantic city without plans or much money.

I can't explain it, but fear has overwhelmed me at times the last several years.  And not just I'm-a-little-scared feeling but almost sheer panic.  Probably not natural nor healthy.  I know it's completely ridiculous, but even that realization doesn't make it go away.  It varies depending on the situation - from crime in Houston (I may have been known to call 911 a time or two...both were false alarms, no worries:)) to turbulence on an airplane to bears in Alaska.  Or most recently - earthquakes. 

The reoccurring natural disasters and tragedies caused by the recent incredibly powerful earthquakes in New Zealand, Haiti, Japan burden my heart as I pray for them.  I don't think my mind has grasped the devastation they are facing. 

It has also made me think.  Alaska has more earthquakes than any state in the US.  I have felt quite a few over the last 9 months or so - I know there are several everyday.  Some bigger than others...but they all make my heart race.  It's such a strange feeling if you've never experienced one. The local news warns that the "next big one" is coming.  It probably doesn't help that my office is built basically on a cliff overlooking the inlet or that my husband works on the 16th floor a few blocks away.  We both spend the majority of our days in the "red zone"...the zone that scientists suggest will break off and sink.  Thankfully our home lies in the "yellow zone". Whew.

As for natural disasters (not to make light of any of them), Hurricanes you can track for days and flee (been there, done that). Tornadoes come during storms and you can usually climb in your bathtub for safety (again, I can check that off).  Earthquakes are without warning and there is not much you can do.  They are so incredibly powerful.

Thankfully they are nothing compared to the power of God.  They come unannounced to us, but not to Him. 

I've recently picked up the book Fearless by Max Lucado (recommended by Matt - I'm glad he knows me!). I highly recommend it if fear grips your life at times like it does mine. 

'Fear not' is the most repeated command in the Bible.  I find that very interesting.  God knew that it would be a constant struggle for man while living in this dark, sinful world.  Whether the economy, safety, earthquakes or just the obscure unknown -- we have no reason to fear. I could walk around paranoid every minute or I can chose to rest in God's hands.  I prefer the latter but it's certainly a daily surrender, isn't it?

Monday, March 14, 2011


Matt and I decided to head out this past Saturday morning with our snowshoes and Mocha. While I gracefully glide along the top of the snow...Matt sinks.  Ok, not really about the first part, but Matt did have a bit harder time than I did.  I'm not sure how much the snowshoes actually help.

I will admit it was a bit deep in certain places...
Evidence through pictures...
Should I feel bad that Mocha tried to save the day while I just took pictures and was highly entertained?

Saturday, March 12, 2011


I'm pretty sure this awesome race is almost over by the time this is posted...but here is documentation I was there for part of it.  Kinda.  You see, Anchorage has a "fake" start where it's basically a parade of all the mushers and their dog teams.  Every 2 minutes or so a team is announced and they ride the streets of downtown Anchorage for all to see. Since there were 62 teams, I have to say we didn't watch them all.  It was a bit chilly.  

There is a big festival called the Fur Rondy for about 2 weeks leading up to the start of the Iditarod.  It is quite the event around here.  The official start is the next day in Willow, AK - about an hour out of town.  Next year we'll probably have to attend that.

Here I am with my good friend, Nicole. Trying to stay warm in the 9 degree temperature on a Saturday morning.  You can see all the people...and we were in the less crowded part.
This is the guy who has won the last 4 or 5 years.  Lance Mackey and his dogs.
I will say riding in a sled was a bit more entertaining than just watching, but I'll certainly take what I can get. :)

Thursday, March 10, 2011


"How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word.  I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands.  I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.  Praise be to you, O LORD; teach me your decrees.  With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth.  I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches.  I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word."  Psalms 119: 9-16

What a challenge. Memorization has never come easy to me. Or so I think.  Yet I can remember details of other the ingredients to that recipe or the amount of calories burned completing certain workouts or how much that shirt at the store was.  Maybe the things you remember signify what is really important to you. 

I believe memorizing Scripture is vital.  I just don't always follow through.  Working in the secular world requires Truth to be meditated on continuously to combat the lies constantly thrown at me.  I was going through an old box the other day and came across a book full of letters written to me at a time when my life was consumed with believers.  I worked, lived and socialized with people on the same page as me.  I was involved in at least 2-3 Bible studies a week.  I was taking seminary classes.  My world was immersed with godly people who knew me, challenged me and loved me well.  A huge blessing at that time in my life.  

I know that God has us experience different phases in life.  It is what makes us grow and keeps us from being complacent.  The past nine months has been a phase of clinging to God alone.  I've missed a deep circle of women who keep me accountable and really know me.  I've missed being so involved in a church that I leave feeling refreshed and encouraged.  I miss spending day to day with at least one co-worker that has the same heart and belief as I do. This is a time to really solidify where my joy comes from.    

My sweet friend, Amber, invited me to join her in memorizing Scripture each month keeping accountable through email.  A few new girlfriends are going to join me every few weeks in meeting together for prayer and accountability.  We are slowly getting involved in a local church.  These things are all wonderful, of which I am thankful for. It takes time.  It takes a proactive attitude, as my wonderful husband always reminds me of.  But most of all it starts with me and God.  But none of them can take the place of my personal relationship with my Lord.  No one else can force me to "meditate on (God's) precepts" (vs. 16).  Which makes me thankful for times like these...because I realize it's all I have and I need it desperately.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Cupcake creations

I wish this new activity of mine was more on the healthy side. 
I love cupcakes.  Even in spite of the amounts of fat and sugar.
I'm in the process of learning to make all flavors completely from scratch and decorate them in creative ways (I can't take all credit, some ideas I have stolen). 
I find it therapeutic. I used to run to relieve stress...a little ironic.  But I guess more people benefit from this. :)
Strawberry for Valentines.
Matt's favorite and oh so delish.

I was going to make these fancy oreo filled cupcakes.
Instead I made these. My owls.
And then there are the panda bears.
(the head is a mini cupcake)

And they aren't just for little kids. :)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Maui...I'm in love.

Maui was fabulous.  A once in a lifetime trip.  We enjoyed every minute of it...except for the leaving part. :)
enjoying the beach and the beautiful sunsets

enjoying the company
enjoying the hiking
(up the mountain on the opening scene of Jurassic Park!)

enjoying the luau and the sunset

enjoying the dinner cruise, whale watcing, and yet another sunset

enjoying the views
enjoying the waterfalls

enjoying the surroundings

enjoying the splurge for the weekend
enjoying the waves crashing on the red sand beach
enjoying learning to surf

enjoying the view from the pool
did I mentioned the sunsets?

Friday, March 4, 2011

An Escape

This past week, in full joy, I got to bust out this box from the top of the closet. *If you can't read it, it says "SummerTime Clothes"*  When we moved up here in JUNE (yes it was technically summer) I decided it was rather cruel to have to look at clothes that I can never where in Alaska.  Thus the box.  Full of wonderful sundresses, shorts, flipflops, etc that will one day get more wear again (I hope!).

A very strategic trip was planned back in August.  I knew the winter probably wouldn't be easy to endure (I was proved correct), so we planned a little trip to tropical paradise for February...something to look forward to during the long winter.  It was kinda our very belated one year anniversary trip (since rather than vacation together we moved to Anchorage just 2 days before) or maybe at this point an early two year....either way, it was glorious.  Much needed. Very refreshing.  And so very sunny. :)

As soon as the internet at our house decides it wants to start working again, there will be more to come on that one.

Good news -- we have about 9 hours days again and it's been in the 20's!  Oh my how my perspective has changed in just 9 short months...