Keep Dreaming

For any aspiring author, there is just about nothing more thrilling than seeing your own words in print, your own byline, your own story. Someday, I would love to hold my own book in my hands, but for now, this is joy enough to keep me going. From the age of 12, I’ve had a love of writing and story crafting. Over the years, I’ve read a lot on the craft of writing, I’ve sat in on webinars, and I took a class on feature writing at the university (one of my favorite classes). One of the most consistent pieces of writing wisdom I come across is that writers write. So if you want to write, write. You can’t do anything until there are words on the page.

So this is a baby step. A year and a half ago, I had the delight of seeing another article published in MaryJane’s Farm, and a year or so before that I had a commentary published in our local paper. This article in Country Magazine was well timed encouragement. Encouragement to keep going. Encouragement to take one step at a time. Encouragement to keep dreaming.

 

Canada/Alaska Adventure | Home Again

Somehow, the three and a half weeks since I got home from Alaska flew by without me realizing it, full to the brim with summertime and normal life. I jumped back in to work the day after I got home, had a week of work and then five days on the road and in Bozeman, MT, at a Biblical counseling training conference. The rest of the time filled in with everyday life, family, housekeeping, unpacking, packing again, unpacking again. My brain has been so fried, my blogging took a back burner.

Alaska, like all of the West that I’ve seen so far, tugs at my heartstrings in mysterious ways. While once-upon-a-time (and not too far in the past) I would have said I never wanted to leave the Black Hills, I find my heart waking to the idea of seeking out the deeper West. There is that quiet place in my soul that hungers after the remote, the distant, the separate, the raw.

It was definitely a shock to the system to come from the cool moistness of the Glacier View climate, to the hot, arid Black Hills. It was strange to leave behind a green, lush landscape and exchange it for a landscape that had been green when I left, but is now very lacking in rain. I miss puttering in the garden for hours at a time in the cool of midday, without scorching or melting or frying. I miss the bright flowers and foliage that thrive in the almost endless daylight. I miss the wildness, the steepness of the peaks right outside the window, I miss the water and the clear, blue mountain streams. But then…this is home. Where the hot summer air smells piney and golden. Where beebalm and chokecherries line the Hole-in-the-Wall Trail, where the stars are diamond bright, and the sun sets behind Harney Peak. Home is where my family is – my blood family and my church family. Home is where Trixie and our log cabin and the Miner’s Cabin wait in our little hollow underneath our red ridge. Where Ember comes running when I call her name, or sits yowling outside the window until I let her in. Home is where I have a bed underneath the eaves and can hear the raindrops pattering on the tin roof a foot away. Home is here.

They say home is where the heart is. For now, my heart is here. But will it always be? Only time will tell.

Canada/Alaska Adventure | Entry #11

Happy Independence Day! July 4th can be a hard day to celebrate, with our nation as volatile and starkly divided as it is. But it is refreshing to put all of the politics aside for a day and gather together to celebrate our freedoms, and to honor those who came before us and made those freedoms a reality.IMG_0329eThe Independence Day festivities got a great start at high noon down by the Matanuska River, with a flyover by the Kingdom Air Corps, a local missionary aviation school, as a tribute to our veterans. Check out their website here. They particularly do work in Russia, reaching small, rural communities who have never heard the gospel. A really amazing mission.IMG_0255eIMG_0262eFollowing the flyover was the parade, featuring local horsemen, as well as the various souped-up, brightly-painted wrecker cars for the launch later. The lineup even included an old cop car, complete with siren and lights. Classy. IMG_0289eIMG_0280eIMG_0270eAfter the parade and the food, we all gathered for the event that really draws the crowd – The car launch. It is a totally redneck solution to having too much daylight for fireworks, and it is hilarious fun. The brightly-painted launch vehicles are driven to the top of a bluff and, simple: let fly off a cliff into a small pond at the bottom. Because why not? Who doesn’t get a kick out of watching vehicles hurtling wildly over a bluff, taking out a few trees on the way down? Six automobiles and a snow machine were launched. There’s some great video footage on The Alaska Life Facebook page.
IMG_0393eIMG_0380eIMG_0358e2There are lots of crazy and fun traditions surrounding our national freedom holiday. Some things have meaning behind the tradition, some are just plain fun. But what it all boils down to is that we are glad to be free, and we are thankful for our heritage of freedom, which we only enjoy because of the sacrifices of so many, past and present. And in spite of all that our nation is going through and has gone through, in spite of the hatred and vitriol, the violence, and our self-destructing culture (sorry, Debbie Downer here…but I can’t really state it any other way)…in spite of all that, there still is hope.  Truly. There still are people who believe in freedom as a God-given right, as a right that must be exercised alongside morality, and there still are those who are honorable, peace-loving, peace-seeking, and will fight for what they believe is right. God is not surprised by where our country is at. He is in complete control. God is still God.

“May we think of freedom, not as the right to do as we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right.”

~Peter Marshall

IMG_0308eIMG_0293eI hope you’ve had an encouraging, uplifting Independence Day, were able to spend time with family and friends enjoying Creation and being reminded of the Creator behind it all, the God who has blessed us so richly, in innumerable ways, and Who has given us freedoms here in this country which we enjoy and too often take for granted. But most importantly, God has presented to us the opportunity to gain spiritual freedom, through His Son Christ Jesus. That is true freedom, and it can never be taken away.

Happy Independence Day!

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Canada/Alaska Adventure | Entry #10

America from the earliest days was built upon tenacity and determination. Each place has its stories of the men and women who were the first-comers, the settlers, the pioneers, those at the front lines of the frontier. Driven by myriad reasons, but driven nonetheless, men and women trekked through the harshest conditions to pursue and fulfill those dreams. It is amazing to what lengths mankind is willing to go, to expand, to explore, to pursue freedoms and wealth and opportunity and stability and adventure. And the further west and north in the United States, the more recent those stories are.

The Independence Mine was a hardrock gold mine, formed by the joining of two mining companies in 1938, and was worked until its closure in 1951. It was the second most productive Alaskan gold mine, producing nearly $18 million by today’s standards. This is an informative article, briefly outlining the history of the mine. IMG_0035eIMG_0026eIMG_0045eIMG_0053eJenny and I, along with a friend of Jenny’s, visited the mine on Friday, after we hiked Hatcher’s Pass. If we hadn’t been starving and a little pressed for time, we could easily have spent more time walking the trails around the park, taking pictures, and taking in the scenery. Run-down and tumble-down buildings, in various stages of dilapidation, hugged the mountainside, giving quiet testimony to a time when the area was alive with industry. It is amazing to think of the men who first came into this area, in spite of – and maybe because of – how remote and rugged it is. The camp buildings in particular were fascinating to me, as someone who loves old buildings, but also because of how out of place they seemed compared with the rest of the mine buildings. The bunkhouses, cookhouse, and other camp buildings, according to the informational signs, were painted with aluminum paint and red trim, “giving the camp a clean, cheerful appearance.” The manager of the mine wanted to keep his miners happy, and the accommodations were known as the best in the area. IMG_0081eIMG_0127eIMG_0118eIMG_0114eIMG_0002eIMG_0014eIMG_0097eSo much history, and so recent. A step back in time.