Only in Alaska

So yesterday afternoon I was feeling a bit cooped up, it was raining and I hadn’t been outside for a walk for a few days.  I can’t remember the last time I picked up my camera (post summer blues) so I decided that I would take the dog for a walk on the beach.

It was raining, which meant I could let her off the leash and not have to worry about anyone else being there to scare her.  So off we went.

This is what I originally had planned on photographing. Maybe spending a few minutes perfecting a shot like this.

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The rain, the birds, the low tide -I had some ideas I was planning to perfect…but then something caught my eye.

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Now that in and of itself isn’t that unusual.  There are people out surfing on occasion, but this person didn’t appear to be surfing…in fact, I couldn’t be sure what they were doing.

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I watched a few more minutes…

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…and then this happened…

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I couldn’t be sure if I was seeing things, but from what I could tell this person was doing handstands…on a surfboard…in the ocean…in the rain.

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I am still not sure what, exactly, was going on -but it was sure impressive, especially considering I slipped about four times this weekend.  On solid ground.

Fuzzy Weather

It’s official -fall is here.  How do I know this?  Well just the other day I was outside and stumbled upon these little guys.  They go by a variety of names, and I am not even sure of their technical name -but we have always called them fuzzies.  We would spend our time rescuing these guys from the middle of the road where they would meet their certain death.

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To Love Without Limit

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. -1 Corinthians 13: 1-7

These verses have been poking away at me for quite some time now.

It started Monday night, after a women’s bible study on the fruits of the spirits.

It popped into my mind (not by chance, mind you) that I really don’t love a lot of people. Not in a… romantic way, but in the way that I really don’t like a lot of people. In fact, I really don’t CARE for a lot of people. I am not the most compassionate or sympathetic person. I get annoyed by stupidity all the time. Regardless of how hard I try, I struggle deeply -with loving people the way that God has commanded us to. I do not love humans. I do not love mankind. I don’t.

The thought was planted, and over the past few days I have thought -hard, over this thought of love. Of compassion. Of caring.

Then today, I read an article on how in relationships -we go after the people who are most like us. Why? Because we are looking for someone like ourselves. We want people to be just like us, and when they aren’t -we chuck them to the curb with last weeks leftovers. When someone disagrees with us we gasp in horror -how could they! I for one, am guilty of trying so hard to stuff people into the boxes I feel they should be in.

Some people are amazing in this area -they are compassionate to a fault, they love without restriction.  They see a need and fill it.  Meanwhile, I am busy carefully calculating to see if said person fits into my box the way I think they should before I make my move…most times, losing the opportunity to love without condition.

I struggle to make them FIT into my life, I want them to be who I want them to be -instead of realizing: They aren’t. They never will be. Not everyone is like me, in fact, no one is like me! And how wonderful that is. But that doesn’t stop me. It doesn’t stop me from seeing people through my clouded, dirty perspective -day after day. I see them with my molded glasses on that say they must have and act this way -or else perhaps, they cannot be a friend of mine.

Good golly how selfish I have been.

Instead of seeing people this way -I need to see them for who they are, but bigger still -I need to see them how God has made them, how God sees them…not as I see them, not as I want them.

People will never fit into my mold or my view -and so I need to stop trying, desperately to make them fit! Instead, seeing them for who God has made them, who they are -opens the world to me in a completely different way. It gives them the freedom to be who they are, to have their strengths and weaknesses -it gives me the freedom to love them for who they are, as they are -instead of constantly trying to rank them, box them up and ship them away.

I need to free myself from my ridged views -and quit assuming that I am, in fact, the mold that everyone should live up to. I need to love people the way God loves them -and me. I need to see them how He sees them, not as I see them. Because then, and ONLY then…can I truly love them, as they are. The way He loves me. The way I am.

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Good Morning!

So here’s the deal. I’ve done a fair amount of babysitting in my life -spent days watching kids, put them to bed and left them for their parents to deal with the following day. I even did a stunt where I put one kid on a bus for school -that was fun when he almost missed the bus over an episode involving a missing sweater. But I digress. A few months ago I was asked if I would mind kid sitting at night for a few nights. Feed kids dinner, get them in bed -then get them up and off to a friends house the next morning. It sounded simple enough, and I am always up for random stunts -so I agreed.

The instructions were simple enough “Wake the kids up at 7am” since they would be starting school in a few days their mom was hoping to have them adjusted to the early to bed, early to rise schedule. I agreed to this schedule and last night was my first night there. It went well enough. Kids were in bed by 9pm and I had the rest of the evening to myself. I set my alarm for 6:52 -thinking I would get up a few minutes early, hop in the shower and then wake them up.

It was all planned. It was all ready. It was going to be fine.

Except I woke to hear foot steps running down the stairs. I blinked and looked bleary eyed at the clock which read: 6:02. That is am. Six in the morning.

Now those who know me best know that waking me up early is not the thing to do. Especially without coffee. Especially before the hour of 9. But these children, bless their socks, were up with the morning sun. Or what I can assume was the morning sun. The sun was up and so were they -so they must have woken together. I laid in bed -silently, hoping they were just using the bathroom and would go back to bed like reasonable souls. But alas -I heard dishes clinking, and breakfast being made and I knew.

These kids were not going back to bed.

I forced myself from the blankets, rolled onto the floor and stared in the mirror at nest that was atop my head. My hair and I agree on mornings -they are not the bees knees. We don’t do mornings. I debated about taking a shower and calming some of the wild morning madness atop my head, but it was all very much before coffee and the clock was still reading the number 6 -so I brushed it down, threw on a sweater and stumbled into the kitchen where pancakes were being made.

Thankfully I had had enough sense to bring along a coffee maker -else I don’t know if any of us would have survived.

I don’t know if this is normal or not. I’m told by various sources that it is very much normal. That 6am isn’t that unreasonable of an hour and gauging by the traffic -others don’t think so either. Their grandparents were wide awake sitting on the porch awaiting their arrival. So I guess I am the only one that doesn’t believe in waking before the sun.

Yoshi

Apparently, Miss E has been stalking my blog looking for new updated pictures of Yoshi.  I haven’t done much in the way of photography lately, but today was sunny and calling me outside -so out we went.  These were the results:

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Under the Sea

We got out underwater camera film back the other day.  I laughed…because these pictures.  They are anything but the amazing underwater pictures I was expecting.

You know the type -the ones that look amazing and completely capture the awesomeness that is under the waves.  I’ve seen them all -I know what I was looking for -and then what I got?  Well, they just made me laugh.  But also because they sort of make me happy.  The time spent snorkeling (while challenging!!!) was awesome.

I am probably dating myself but if you remember using disposable cameras (and waiting for the film to get developed) you will have a general idea on what we were up to.  But you also have to remember that we had big rubber gloves on, so navigating the camera wasn’t exactly what one would call…easy.  There were a lot of shots of the glove!

I kinda want to go back, you know?

This guy was a really cool shade of purple when you looked at him under the water -almost like a neon, glow in the dark color.  Of course the picture just shows a little purple blob.  It was a sea urchin, for those wondering.

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An attempt at a thumbs up

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Under the sea!  See?

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While the hardly counts as “Under the sea photography” -I think I am going to work on brushing up on my “on land” photography before I attempt anything….well, professional.  So this will have to do for now.

A-Snorkeling We Go

I couldn’t tell you why exactly, but the idea of snorkeling has interested me for a long time. When we went to Australia last year we originally planned to go snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef. After all, that is kind of something you have to do –right? Unfortunately our plans to go to the reef didn’t work out and we didn’t end up going. Still, the idea was there.

Making a very long story short –we got an offer to go snorkeling with a local tour here in Alaska that we couldn’t pass up. When Amanda and David started planning their trip here I knew it was something that would have to go on the list to accomplish this summer. This past Saturday, we checked that idea off the list.

Snorkeling here in Alaska is probably different than snorkeling in other places –one of the main differences is that you have to wear a wetsuit. Having never worn a wetsuit before we really had no idea what to expect.

Getting in the suit was a challenge in and of itself –pulling on a full rubber suit is challenging in the best of circumstances –but I started to panic while pulling mine on –and started sweating…it was a task that was more challenging that I expected! Then we had to make our way to the van and go for a drive –sitting in a wetsuit? Not the easiest challenge!

Once in the water things started to loosen up –but then the next challenge came: snorkeling.

They offered weight belts for those who were more adventurous and Amanda’s hand immediately went up. Thankfully we talked her off that ledge and decided to try it without the first time. It was probably a good idea.

Let me start by saying that the whole experience? Was awesome.

But getting started was a bit rough. My mask leaked, and I kept swallowing water. Combine this with the fact that I am 2 inches shorter than everyone else means I can’t always reach the bottom where others can and the flippers that kept flipping me onto my stomach and it was a rough start. But once the mask was sorted and I realized you shouldn’t open your mouth under water and waves going over your snorkel pipe are not good –it was all good.

It was quiet. And amazing. Seeing everything come to life under the water. To be completely honest –I didn’t think I was going to be that blown away by what we saw, after all –I have seen all the starfish and sea like animals from my 25+ years of living here in Alaska…but seeing the water from under the water? As odd as it sounds was completely different…and amazing.

When we first took off I was thinking “I never want to do this again” and by the time we got out I was thinking “I can’t wait to do this again!” It was a lot of fun, wetsuits and all…and now? I kind of want to go back to Australia and go snorkeling in the reef. Who wants to come!

We turned in our underwater disposable camera and have to wait a week for the pictures to come back…until then, here is proof we were, well, in wetsuits!

Amanda told me to stop making this face, but I feel it sums up the whole wetsuit ordeal fairly well!

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A much better selfie

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Summer Bucket List: Kayaking

A few years ago I signed mom and I up for a “ladies night” kayaking paddle.  We had a blast and has left me wanting to go again and again.  Things have never lined up for us tho, and we haven’t been back until last night.

When we started putting together a list of thing to do this summer while Amanda and her family were in town we knew that kayaking had to be done.  David didn’t seem convinced about going -so we went forward with booking the ladies night paddle again.

It was as much fun as I remember…we spent two hours out there -and it only seemed like 15 minutes max.

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Our new attire.

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This Alaska.  This is something I will never grow tired of.

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It was fun to get out and get a fresh perspective.  Ketchikan always seems more manageable from the ocean.

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We went under the bridge and had a quick paddle around Creek Street.

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Made it back safely.  No one flipped over -bonus!

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Here is to another fun time kayaking -and many more to come!

Summer Bucket List: Ziplining

When we first started planning the epic adventure, 2016 edition, we compiled a list of all the things we hoped to accomplish during the short few months Amanda and her crew would be here.  Among the work related tasks, we sprinkled in some fun things we really wanted to do -one of those things was ziplining.

We were able to score a real deal for the tour and had an absolute blast.

A few years ago we were on the same tour, and Amanda somehow managed to spin herself around and almost slammed into the tree.  She was a bit worried about doing it again, but we are happy to report there were no spin outs and no tree slamming either.

It was an amazing time -and one that we hope to do again sometime soon!

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Only Fools Run at Midnight

Ten years ago, we did what any good fool would: We ran a fun run. It was the first official race that we had ever been in and was something that excited us beyond belief. Since it was a fundraiser, we went around the neighborhood collecting money and making our speech. That night we ate what any good runner would: A high carb meal that would make us sick later on, donned our pajamas and ran our hearts out.

Fast forward ten years.

I had casually mentioned a time or two that we should “relive old times” and go on the fools run once again. No one seemed that interested until one night I went in the grocery store and saw this gem:

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What is a fools run, you might ask? I think this pretty much sums it up best: Over one thousand “fools” will take to the streets with hundreds more to cheer them on…

Basically you show up at midnight in a costume and run through the town. It is great fun. So long as you don’t pass out (it has happened before!)

Rushing out to the car I spilled the news that the run was “THAT NIGHT” and “WE SHOULD SO GO!” Amanda was game. David on the other hand, could not understand why would want to wait up until midnight before running downtown in our pajamas…better yet, why would we pay for this with money?

Once again, we did what any good runner would do: Ate a high carb mean that would eventually make us sick, don our pajamas and run our hearts out.

We waited until 11pm before loading up in the car, driving to town, pay money to get our bibs and free shirts, took a few pictures and the gun went off. We ran. We beat our previous time by 3 minutes. We had fun.

We ran downtown while those who were still up (read: Mostly those in bars) cheered us on and gave us high fives. We saw just about everyone we knew, and had no shame –running downtown in our pajamas. It wasn’t until the next morning did a little bit of embarrassment start to sink in. Not embarrassment for running in my pajamas, or being so slow…oh no, the embarrassment was for not HAVING any embarrassment!

To quote the lady who was cheering us on: Run you fools, run!

What can I say? Some run to get in shape. Some run during the day. Some run for fun. We run at midnight. In our pajamas. We run with our fellow fools.

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My look in the bottom picture, and Amanda’s look in the top pretty much sums out how we felt about that night.

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