Accept the miracle

I can’t be concerned about the logistics

of how God works things out,

or the trouble He goes to to bring me to a place free of distractions

so I can soak in His healing love.

It doesn’t matter that what I signed up for was not what I did,

nor can I dwell on the wonder of how I can travel 4,365 miles from home

and be at home…and part of a family.

It does no good to try to figure out how, in a Methodist church in Nikiski, Alaska –

on the fourth anniversary of my mother’s death – we would sing

the only song that was sung at her funeral.

There is no way that I could calculate the probability that clouds would roll in

when we started chopping down that cow parsnip,

and the sun would come out just as we finished.

No, I can’t be concerned about the logistics

of how God works things out.

I can only accept the miracle.

A fabulous time!

Thursday morning when Shawn and I were about to leave for the church, I felt that I was supposed to ask Sharon (who by now had become Mom) if she had anyone who mowed her yard. She said that she usually mowed it and that it was on her list, but she hadn’t had time. I told her that we would try to help her with that and then got into the car.

We reported to Salmon Frenzy Headquarters to find a sanctuary full of people singing worship songs together. We found seats and joined in. After the singing there were introductions and some housekeeping items were discussed. Then it was time to break into groups for orientation. Since we didn’t come with a group, we followed one of the staff members and asked him where he wanted us to serve. He told us that this was the largest group that they had had, and asked us if we knew anyone in the community who might need work done. Our thoughts immediately went to “the Grouch” down at the B&B and we said, “Yes!”

We went to Home Depot, bought some gloves and called to inform Mom that she was our home mission project.

We pulled weeds,

cleaned up tree trunks and


At this point it is important that you know the following information: Our first morning we asked Mom about this plant.

She told us that it was called cow parsnip. Then she said


“You need to be careful of this plant, because if the juice from it gets on you while you are in the sun, you will have third degree burns on your skin.” That was comforting, since that stuff was all over the place.

Now…there is a quote that says that the will of God will never take you to where the grace of God will not protect you. That’s good, because bless her heart, Mom wanted her cow parsnip whacked down…all two acres of it. So,

Shawn cranked up the motorized weed whacker on wheels, and I found a manual one for those hard to get places, and we went to work.

We even learned how to keep the weed whacker working…

with a little help from our friend.

We piled up limbs and

hauled off limbs and

cleaned up underneath trees. We even dug a trench and buried a cable.

After six days,

this looked like


Now, I’m not going to lie to you, it was a lot of hard work. But…


Glad we stopped by

When we got back from our canoe trip and put on dry clothes, we headed to the First Baptist Church in Kenai which had been transformed into ‘Salmon Frenzy Headquarters’. Since we had come to Alaska to take part in Salmon Frenzy, we needed to know when to report for duty. We were told to be back there at 10:00 the next morning. That meant that we had that whole day to get to know the area.

After buying a few shirts, we were on our way. We located Safeway, Home Depot and of course, Walmart, which we happened to visit three times that same day. The last time was for me to get a case for the new phone that I bought at the AT&T store in Soldotna…the old one was in my pocket when I fell in the lake.

In our comings and goings, we stopped to watch some dip-netters.

We had seen people transporting dip- nets on the tops of their vehicles,

but until we got up close and personal, we didn’t realize just how big those things were.

Salmon Frenzy is a service ministry to those who camp on the beaches and dip-net their year’s supply of salmon. I’m glad that we stopped by this place to watch….because…we never made it to Salmon Frenzy.


The only two loons on the lake

The next morning as I began to look around, I noticed that the B&B contained some very nice art work. Hanging above the mantle is this painting of Charles Brower who is known as “King of the Arctic”. You can read his story in a book titled Fifty Years Below Zero.

Finally, after realizing that Charles and the Grouchy Old Woman shared the same last name, I asked Sharon if they were related. Guess what? The King of the Arctic was her husband’s grandfather.

After breakfast, we did a little tag team wrestling with Minx,

who seemed tickled to death that we were up. Then we decided to walk down to the lake (in our pajamas)

and read our devotional together. We took the oars with us so that we could do a little canoeing. When we slid the canoe into the water I waltzed on into it like I had good sense; a fact which we all know is a figment of my imagination. Before I knew it, I found myself

in cold water…which was a nice change from the temperature of water that I usually find myself in. We didn’t have to tell Sharon what happened. She found out from the tattle-tale guests who were just about to leave.

Refusing to let that little episode have any effect on our mission,

we paddled out into the water in search of the loons that had been calling to us all morning…knowing in our hearts that we were probably the only two loons on the lake.




A week I’ll never forget

On July 17th, Shawn and I arrived in Anchorage, Alaska.

We were met at the airport by a young man named Aaron, who drove us to Alaska Missions headquarters

where were we were given a Volkswagon Passat (with a sun roof) to drive for the week.

Then, we headed to a little town called Nikiski located on the Kenai Peninsula. It was one of the most beautiful drives I have ever taken. Several hours later we took a right on Halibouty Road and made our way to the corner of Josephine and Earl where we found our home for the next seven days.



The place was called ‘Grouchy Old Woman B&B’. It was located on several acres on a hill

overlooking Daniel’s Lake. We were welcomed by the Grouchy Old Woman,

whose real name is Sharon Brower… and her sidekick

Minx. Minx means ‘cheeky or mischievous girl’…and that she is. Inside we met Sharon’s mother

Blanche, who had turned 96 that day. We called her Momma. And so began a week I’ll never forget.


Thanks to “Preparation A”

We’ve all been there…a few days away from leaving on a trip…and there are things that must be taken care of before we go. Things even crop up that we didn’t expect. We know that prior planning and preparation produce a pleasurable passage…not only for us, but also for those who have to be around us. That’s why, for my upcoming Alaska trip, I have applied what I call “Preparation A” (preparing for Alaska). Preparation A is designed to provide relief from the discomfort caused by waiting until the last minute. As the time for departure nears, stress levels seem to swell, while more than ever we are itching to leave. So, before things got out of hand, I took action.

I finished building the chicken tractor and Joe and Nidette have taken it to its new home…

where Bonnie and Clyde are now at home.

I built a crate, and the painting of the lady with the shotgun is safe inside it ready to be taken to UPS for shipping (without the cat of course).

Beds (three in all) have been made ready for relatives that will be stopping by Sunday night on their annual pilgrimage to Mississippi.

And, clean sheets awaiting Joel’s sister who comes in Monday to be with his mom while I’m away.

I’ve purchased a car charger to take with me for my phone, as well as a second battery for my camera. And,

I have managed to fit everything that I will need for nine days in Alaska into one backpack.

All I have left to do is get a massage. Thanks to Preparation A, the next four days won’t be a pain in my rear end.

As they say in SOUTHERN France…

When I gave my cousin the pair of Malaysian Seramas, she didn’t have an appropriate outside cage for them. I suggested she build a chicken tractor – something she was not familiar with. . So I said that I would build her one.

I took a cage that I had, laid it on its back and removed the bottom.

Then I built a frame out of angle iron to set it in.

Next, I made and attached a handle and

built an angle iron frame for the house.

After installing the walls, I painted them gray and added the roof and wheels.

This particular model is a hatchback – no pun intended.

It comes complete with a memory hose roost attached to a removable floor for easy clean-up.

According to code, there is a handicapped entrance.

On the front of the house is some decorative iron work because decoration can cover up poor planning.

So… as they say in Southern France…

Vie-ola! You have yoreself a chicken tractor!

She can decide for herself

I’ve been working on a painting for a lady in Bay City, Texas. She saw a painting that I did 34 years ago and really liked it. I was going to sell it to her until we realized that my oldest son was attached to it. So I offered to do another one for her.

It’s a painting of an old black lady walking through her chicken yard with a shotgun in her hand,

although I’m not sure why.

Perhaps she’s after Sunday dinner. Maybe, she’s after what’s after Sunday dinner.

Or maybe she’s like Mrs. Willie McMain (who has since crossed over to the other side). She told my daddy that sometimes she would wave her pistol out the back door and fire it, just so she could hear it go off.

Whatever the case, the painting is finished. And that lady from Bay City, Texas…

can decide for herself what this woman is doing with that shotgun.

Powerful scent of clean

One day last week the boys spent the afternoon with me. My train of thought was to work them to the point that they couldn’t help but take a good nap. So I asked them if they wanted to scrub the front porch, knowing all the while that their answer would be yes.

So they scrubbed,

and they rinsed,

and they scrubbed,

and they rinsed. They never did get all the soap off…and I finally just quit trying. You see, when I got them started, I had half of a big jug of Pine-Sol. But I went to the barn to get a nozzle, and when I returned…

there truly was a “powerful scent of clean“.