Monday, September 28, 2009

We're HOME!!!

After three airplane rides and approximately twenty one hours of travel time, we have arrived back in Jacksonville. It was such a wonderful feeling to see our family last night at the airport! Now we have to get back to the real world...and whatever that will include! I have no clue what the next six months will hold, but God does!

Blessings....Until Next Time...Pamela

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Twenty Days and Counting!

Our time here is almost at an end. We have twenty days from today before we will return to our home in Florida. This will be a bitter sweet goodbye...we've loved living here in Alaska, seeing all the sights, meeting great people from all around the world, but...we have missed our family tremendously! I'm sure these last days will go by quickly. We technically have four more "runs" (from Anchorage to Fairbanks and back) and we are hoping that they are very successful, which means no delays and great tippers! Life on the train this summer has been an experience we will never forget.

We hope that everyone has a safe and happy Labor Day!

Until next time...Pamela

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Is It August Already??

I finally had the opportunity to look at my blog and realized that I had not posted anything since July 17...sooooo sorry! Time really has flown by and we have only 40 more days to go! It has been an amazing ride (in more ways than one).

One of the most fascinating places along the rail that we pass by each and every time we go north is the town of Sherman, population of two. (Photo above - Mary is standing at the door and waving to the passengers on the train). Sherman is located just north of Talkeetna in an area we refer to as the Alaskan Bush. This 40 mile strip has about 25 residents along the way that can only be accessed by the railroad. No roads, no airstrips, nothing, noda! The Alaska Railroad provides a "Flag Stop Train" that allows anyone along this strip to literally "flag" down the train, get on board and they will take them to their destination (either toward Talkeetna or Hurricane). They are charged by the mileage that they ride. Some campers/hunters board this train in Talkeetna and get off in the bush to hike, camp, and hunt out in the wild.

Shermans two residents, Clyde and Mary Lovel, homesteaded in Alaska in 1964, when they moved from Missouri with their four children - ages one to twelve. They wanted to begin a new life in Alaska - and boy oh boy, did they begin a new life. In 1963, after building a camper shell of plywood on the back of his 1949 Ford, three quarter ton flatbed truck, and hauling another camper behind the truck, they set their eyes on Alaska. With tons of truck/tire problems they finally arrived in Anchorage, 28 days later. They lived in Anchorage for approximately a year until they found property to homestead on in Sherman.

The property they found had a small two room "cabin" (I would have called it a shack) on it with no front door. They sold the truck and camper, packed everything they had on the flag stop train and headed to Sherman. And oh yeah...did I mention their was a bear in the area... Clyde had to continue to work in Anchorage, so he was only able to visit the homestead once or twice a month, so Mary and the children had to begin clearing the land and "proving" it up in order to own it, according to the homesteading laws of Alaska. She quickly learned to be innovative in order to survive out there with no help, no neighbors, no one! She learned to kill bear and moose, dress it, and can it so they would have food to eat. She washed their clothes in a creek nearby for two years and they hauled water to the cabin from that same creek so they would have drinking water and water to cook with (on a wood burning stove). The kids loved living out there and enjoyed being able to play freely. Mary had to home school the children because their were no schools in the area. Life for them was grand - seriously!

Mary wrote about their adventures in a book called, A Journey to a Dream, that we sell on the train. We talk about their place "Sherman City Hall" every time we go by to our passengers, recounting some of their adventures. Rennie and I were very anxious to read Marys book our first weeks here and fell in love with their story and them. We wanted to meet Clyde and Mary so badly, we were even considering taking the flag stop train ourselves and stopping by their place one day in hopes they would be home. Well, when we visited Talkeetna for the "Moose Dropping Festive" we actually got to meet them. I was so thrilled - so much so, as if they were movie stars - which they are in my eyes. Such sweet people!!! We were able to talk to them for about an hour.

Clyde and Mary are now in their 80's and 70's, still live in Sherman full time, have no electricity, running water, and have a two hole outhouse. Mary told me that they do have a generator that they fire up every once in a while so she can run the vacuum cleaner, do laundry (in a ringer washer...), or if Clyde wants to run a power tool. I stated that I could never do what they have done and Mary sweetly replied, "Oh sweetie, you could do it, especially if you had no other choice." It was such a pleasure to talk to them and spend time with them. I feel truly blessed to have met them. They will always remain a very special part of our Alaskan adventure.

I encourage you to read Mary's book. If you are interested, please let me know and I can give you the ISBN number so you may order it. She also is in the process of writing a sequel and I can't wait to have a copy!

I'm sitting with Mary, looking at some of her photos of their home during an Alaskan winter...Burrr!

See how high the snow is?? You can just see the roof!

Two of her grandchildren playing in the snow - wearing short sleeves! Their "Depot" is the small building just in the background of the photo.

Sherman City Hall in the dead of winter. How would you like to hike out to the outhouse in that??? Not me!

Sweet Mary, Rennie and I.

Clyde, Mary, and Rennie. Some special heros!

Mary's book, A Journey to a Dream

Until next time...Pamela

Friday, July 17, 2009

I Know, I Know, I Know...

I know that I have not posted in quite some time. We have been super busy working on the train. The days at times are extremely long and once we are back at home (especially on a "one day off"), there is little to no time to write about our adventures. We have a "three day off" coming up next week and I have much to tell.

We are at the half way mark of the season and it has gone by quickly. October will be here before we know it! I hope everyone is having a safe and very enjoyable summer - we are!

Until next time...Pamela

Monday, June 22, 2009

Shake, Rattle, and OMGoodness!

Well...we just experienced our first earthquake. Around 11:30 today, Rennie and I were sitting in our bedroom discussing what we needed to get accomplished today, when all of a sudden the door to the bedroom rattled as though someone was jiggling the handle. We looked toward the door, then the lamp, mirror, and floor begin to shake (at least six or more seconds). Amazed at what we were seeing, we both looked at each other, laughed and said at the same time, "I guess that is an earthquake!" Just as we began to walk out of our bedroom, the shaking stopped. We quickly jetted out of the bedroom to check on our housemate, Richard, to verify we were not going crazy and asked him if he felt that. Of course he did and we all just stood in amazement that we were all ok.

Later in the day we had to go to the rail office to drop off some paper work and they said that the quake had temporarily shut down all the trains on the rail due to them being in the general area of the epicenter. All the rails had to be inspected before they could continue their journey. I am extremely glad I was not on the train today!

Here is some news about it:

Rennie and I are very thankful to the Lord for his protection for ourselves and others we know. This will be a most memorable moment in our Alaskan adventure!!!

Until next time...Pamela

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Train Lung

Cough, cough, hack, hack, hack....that is what I've been doing for the past two weeks. Tour guides on the train call it "train lung". Breathing in all the fumes from the train, dust from the open air viewing areas, and not to mention guests germs that they bring seems to hop on us which creates a wonderful array of lung and throat congestion. Hopefully I can shed this junk soon and be back to normal - and actually sounding like myself and not a bass toad!

We are off for two more days, then back on the train for another two days. On our next three days off - next week, Rennie and I plan to visit Talkeetna for several days. We are looking forward to being tourists instead of tour guides. Talkeetna is a quaint little town and one of the stops of some of our passengers. I will tell you more about it and add photos when we return.

Until next time...Pamela

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Beginning To Have Fun

We have been working on the train for almost a month now, and I have to say it is beginning to be more fun. I have the privilege of meeting guests from the United States and all over the world. I have had several guests in my car from Jacksonville!

Yesterday, I had a wonderful tour group from Georgia in my car and they were such a blast!! We were all laughing and having a fantastic time, you would have thought it was a party train. They were so kind to me as they were getting off the train - each one insisted on giving me a hug - southern hospitality at its finest!

Rennie and I are now trying to figure out where we want to go on our excursions when we have three days off. There are so many things to choose from - we have to plan carefully as to be able to fit it all in.

We're back on the train tomorrow for another two day run. Hopefully I can update you more then.

Until next time...Pamela

Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Memorial Day!

Chugga, chugga, chugga, choo, choo...our time on the train is going well. Rennie and I are off for three days, which includes Memorial Day. We feel blessed to be here in Anchorage working on the train, blessed to live in a country where we are free, and blessed to have service men and women who defend our country everyday.

This past weeks travels were quite interesting and exciting. While traveling from Denali to Talkeetna we spotted a momma black bear and her cubs, so the train begain to slow down and even stopped. When the momma bear heard the train, she turned toward the woods and begin running, however, one of the cubs decided to climb up a tree - which just so happened to be right in front of our car windows. This poor little frightened cub was hanging on for dear life, right at eye level for all our guests. Camera flashes were popping everywhere and shouts of joy filled the air! It was if we had qued the animals for the perfect photo opportunity! Needless to say, I had some very happy campers aboard my train car! Once the cub realized he was no longer in danger, he worked his way down the tree and ran to join his mother. We then realized that another cub was hidding in the bushes below. Nature plays such an important part in these Alaskan vacations...and NO, I didn't have my camera on this trip - bummer!!!

We hope everyone has a safe and happy Memorial Day - we miss our family greatly as well as the beaches of Florida, but the weather is awesome here today, so we will most definately be out and about, enjoying every minute together.

Until next time...Pamela

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Land of Oz

It has now been almost a month since we have arrived in Alaska. Time is quickly going by and we are experiencing a plethora of new things.

The land in Alaska is breathtaking. Snow capped mountains everywhere, moose, black bears, caribou, and other critters, as well as the signs of spring surround us as we make our train ride from Anchorage to Fairbanks and back. Excited guests aboard our rail cars are full of anticipation as some are beginning their once in a lifetime vacation. They are happy to hear us tell them about the scenery and most of them are wide eyed looking for any sign of wildlife outside the domed windows. We enjoy talking to our visitors from all over the world - where they are from, telling them our story when asked about it, and sharing their joys that Alaska brings.

We are slowly getting accustomed to the long hours that the rail brings. Most days, we work between 14-16 hours and then we are up the very next morning at 4:30am preparing to work another long day. We look forward to our days off in between runs. Sleep comes easily and our fifty year old bodies have no problems letting us know how out of shape we are. I did break down and purchase an expensive pair of work shoes (most recommended by previous rail guides) and my feet have thanked me by not pounding with pain at the end of the day. Joints, muscles, and our backs seem to creek with each step up and down the spiral staircase in our rail cars. We are grateful for Aleve and hot showers that relieve us temporarily from our aches and pains. Sunday, on one of our days off, we visited the Summer Market in downtown Anchorage and gladly paid for a ten minute massage that was worth way more than what we paid! We both felt like new people afterward.

Memorization of our scripts is a slow process still, but we are associating dialogue with landmarks on each trip we take. We can now name some mountains by sight and are beginning to differentiate the multiple bodies of water we see along the rail. We glean new ways to deliver our tour by spending time with past and present rail guides who have been most helpful in sharing their tips and techniques. We appreciate their willingness to share their knowledge with us because we are extremely "green" and Rennie and I want to do all we can do to make our visitors have a memorable vacation.

The photo in today's post was taken about 46 miles away of Mt. McKinley (also called Denali - the tallest mountain in North America). This grand mountain stands at 20,320 feet and only 30 percent or less of anyone who visits Alaska actually see it in all its grandeur. Most of the time it is partially blocked by cloud coverage because it produces its own weather. It can be bright and sunny on the track, but be cloudy around the mountain, sometimes hiding it completely from sight. We have been told by previous rail guides that last season they only saw the mountain a few times. We have been blessed to see it seven out of eight times so far on our train rides. Sometimes it looks as if it is fake - like a painted background from Universal Studios. It is simply breathtaking each and every time we pass by. Also, in the photo, you can see what looks like big rocks in the water, which in fact it is large blocks of ash and glacier silt covered ice. The ice in the rivers are breaking up, but melting slowly as the warmer days are arriving. The ash is from a volcano, Mt. Redoubt, located south of Anchorage, that erupted in April. We are amazed at how far ash can travel!

Today we're resting, gearing up for the next trip tomorrow. Blessings to all on this Memorial Day weekend!

Until next time...Pamela

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Rail Guide Uniforms

On the third day of training, we were required to wear our official Rail Guide uniforms. We actually have two different sets of uniforms, one to wear on the Holland America cars and one to wear on the Princess cars. (During our time here, our schedules will fluctuate between both companies - now merged as Holland America PRINCESS - much more complicated to explain on a blog!)

The uniforms we are sporting below, are for Holland America. We especially like these because they are the most professional looking - and we both look fairly good in blue and black. Hopefully as we are here and working on the train, we will begin to loose our "winter coats" and will have to trade these uniforms in for much small ones.

More "Dinking"

Here are some more photos of us enjoying Anchorage.

I'm sure this is the only chocolate moose/bear in town!

This photo makes me want to sing Debbie White's "Moose and Bear" song.

We ate at a restaurant called "The Peanut Farm," which is situated on a creek. We were able to sit outside on the balcony. breathe in the fresh air, and enjoy some really good food. Afterward, we walked down around the creek and explored a bit. Again, Anchorage is so beautiful and the weather has been magnificent - the locals say the wonderful weather is extremely rare - usually it is raining and quite cold. We have said that we brought the Florida sunshine with us.

If you look at the banks of the creek, you can see that there is still thick sheets of ice. Over the winter, this creek is frozen solid. Spring has finally come to Anchorage.

These statues just cracked us up - they are located outside a bank that has a Starbucks attached. We stopped for a coffee break and had to take photos of these funny things. I don't know which one is the funniest - I guess you can decide!

Guess what time this photo was taken (taken about 10 days ago)??? On this date, it was 10:30PM. The daylight is beginning to stay around more and more. Last night, I begin to yawn and said to Rennie, "Why am I so tired"...then I looked at the was 10:00PM and the sun was still shinning brightly! Well..duhhh...

Until next time...Pamela

"Dinking" Around Town

This is proof that we are very far from our home!

The Anchorage Visitors Center in downtown Anchorage. Grass grows on top of the roof and gets quite beautiful during the summer months.

A small replica of the Alaskan Railroad train that pulls the Holland America and Princess cars for us.

Gray Wolf - they are huge, but so beautiful! The males can weigh between 85 and 145lbs., stand 26 to 38 inches at the shoulder, and live for approximately 10-18 years. As much as I want to see a wild bear or moose, seeing a wild wolf would be a highlight for me.

Which one is the brown bear??

The Chugach Mountains surround Anchorage - we are blessed to see these mountains every day!

A Puffin - up close and personal!

Two cute brown bears :)

Got my moose lips on!

This is a pretty accurate size of a real moose. We haven't seen a wild one yet, but we still have five more months for that! We were told the other day that a female moose was walking through the rail yard - I was so bummed that I missed it!

Pictures Of Our Home

Ahhhh, home sweet home. As I stated before, we were able to move into our rented town home on May 1. We are renting this town house from a rail employee, Laura, who works in Fairbanks over the summer. We share this beautiful place with our housemate, Richard. The town home is located on the south side of Anchorage, which is about 12 miles from the rail yard and only takes us about 15 minutes to get there, if traffic is not too busy...and compared to Jacksonville, traffic here is NOTHING! More times than not, traveling anywhere takes approximately 10-15 minutes.

Several things that we love about where our home is located, is that it is convenient to most stores (most are just down the street - some within walking distance), the Alaska Zoo is only 2 1/2 miles away (no we cannot smell the animals from here...), walking trails are everywhere, and that is has a washer and dryer, so we don't have to go off the property to wash clothes - Praise the Lord!

We consider it a true blessing to have such a nice home for us to enjoy over the next five months.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Home Away From Home

Praise the Lord, we have finally gotten settled in our townhouse. We are renting a home from a rail employee who works in Fairbanks over the summer. She was kind enough to rent us her abode for the summer as well as her room mate is allowing us to rent her car.

We also have a house mate, Richard, who is back for his third summer as a rail guide. Richard is from Virginia, retired from the State Department, and is a wealth of knowledge about the narration on the train as well as Alaskan history. The likelihood of us actually seeing him once the season begins is slim. The office usually schedules roommates or house mates at different times to give people privacy.

Our home is about 12 miles from the rail yard but extremely close to most conveniences, like Sams and Wal-Mart. Today, Rennie and I laughed that we need to visit Wal-Mart more often, just so we can feel better about ourselves...I think my children and my sister would be the only people to really understand that statement!

Some interesting things we have noticed about Anchorage so far:
  • No sales tax - so strange when we purchase something and there is no tax added
  • There are about 270,000 people here - much, much, smaller than Jacksonville and we are expecting over 1 million visitors to Alaska this season
  • The natives here want to be referred to as Native Alaskans, not Native Americans
  • Gas is a little bit more expensive than home
  • Food is quite pricey yet delicious! (Produce is not the greatest)
  • When you walk down the street, you hear a bubble-clacking kind of noise - that is the studs on the snow tires - it sounds so weird
  • So far, the weather is great - we have "rap and peel" days - blue skies and beautiful scenery - it does get nippy at night
  • The air is so dry - very low humidity, so your skin feels a bit like shoe leather, but my hair is looking great
  • We are finding most people friendly and helpful - they always want to know why we are visiting from Florida
  • There is still THICK ice around the lakes and ponds but it is slowly melting
  • There is ash everywhere from the recent volcano eruption - that mixed with dirty snow is gross
  • We are on an earthquake fault - we haven't felt any movements yet, but we have been told it has happened since we've been here
  • The water out of the tap is ICE cold and tastes like bottled water - no need to purchase bottled water while we're here
  • We are getting closer to the Summer Solstice, which means more daylight. Each day we are getting about five more minutes of sunlight. During the month of May we will have 19 hours of sun, June 21 hours, and July 24 hours of sun - and I mean SUN - it is as bright as 12:00 noon - thank the Lord for black out shades and sleeping masks!
It is time to return to my studying. I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend. We are traveling south to Seward on Sunday to go whale watching. We are hoping that the whales are ready to pose and smile for tons of photo ops!

Until next time...Pamela

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Hello From The Last Frontier!

Ahhhh, we have arrived and are loving Alaska. The beauty that God created here is breathtaking. No one can deny that there is a God after seeing this scenery!

After an extremely long flight, we arrived in Anchorage around 3:30pm. Just outside the airport, we saw the magnificent snowcapped mountains, reaching up to the sky and welcoming us. The photo to the left is one of many photos we have taken of the mountains. This particular view is one we will see just outside our townhouse!

So far, the weather has not been as frigid as we originally thought it would be. Today the temperatures are in the mid 30's but reaching in the 50's by the late afternoon. The snow in town has melted and all that is left are piles of dirty snow mounds and sludge. High atop the mountains the snow is still glistening but is slowly melting and you can begin to see shades of green beginning to return.

The food here is fantastic. We have already eaten halibut (the most wonderful tasting fish in the world), and smoked salmon. In the photo, we went to the Snow Goose and ate fried halibut - yumoo!!!

The salmon season is fast approaching and we can't wait to go fishing. Kim told us the other day that once the seagulls return, it is a sure sign that salmon season is not too far behind. Surprisingly enough, there are seagulls everywhere, especially near the bay. We thought we left those type of birds in Florida!

One thing that we have noticed is that food, produce, and paper products, here are quite expensive. What would cost us around $8 in Jacksonville, costs approximately $15 here. We're glad we will be working soon - we're spending all our spare cash quickly!

Kim took us to the rail yard and we we able to see the train cars that we'll be on up close. Wow, these things are huge and much, much bigger than we thought. You can barely see Rennie and I sticking our bodies out of the train car (picture to the left). The guests will be on the top floor of the car with us and dine in the lower portion.

Our training begins on May 5 (Rennie's 50th birthday) until May 12. The first train leaves May 13. A normal schedule for us will be working two days on the train, then one day off - two more days on the train, then three days off. On the three day break we will be able to work another shift or go on an excursion.

We move into our townhouse on Friday. For right now, we are in a hotel in downtown Anchorage. One view from our balcony are the mountains, another is the bay, and another is a part of downtown Anchorage. I'm guessing the size of Anchorage is approximately the size of St. Augustine. About 270,000 people live in Anchorage - so much smaller than Jacksonville.

Today we are supposed to go to an Alaskan museum. Hopefully we can learn many things that we can use with our narration on the train.

So far, our adventure is all that we have hoped it would be and we are truly happy and excited about what is to come our way.

Until next time...Pamela

Friday, April 24, 2009

Leaving Sunny Florida..But We'll Be Back

The time has finally come - Praise the Lord!!! We leave tomorrow morning at 6:31am and arrive in Anchorage at 3:15pm (their time). We are packed and ready to go. Please keep us in your prayers that we have traveling mercies, find favor, and are kept safe. I will post more once we arrive and get settled in Anchorage.

Love and kisses to all!

Until next time...Pamela

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A Bittersweet Goodbye

Yesterday was my last day teaching and it was so bittersweet. The day began with some of my composition students performing their plays that they had written as an assignment. The rest of the day was treated like the last day of school - no one did any "work" at all - we partied and played!

I received many heartfelt gifts from my students and I cherish that so much. So many sweet notes were written to me that truly made me feel loved. Deep friendships have been established with most of these students and I know that I will be a part of their lives forever.

I was so blessed and honored to teach at PEP (Providence Extension Program) for the past two years and pray that some life lessons "stick" with these students and that they will take these lessons with them throughout the rest of their education. Now, I'm moving forward with what God has for me (what that all entails after Alaska, I have no clue, but know that He will show me the way - I just want to make a difference in peoples lives).

A tearful yet joyous farewell to my students - I love you and all of you are my "Golden Children"!

Until next time...Pamela

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Wow, Only FOUR More Days Left!

As they say, time really does fly by - sometimes when you want it to and others when you don't want it to. In this case, we really want it to fly by! However, in the fast lane of time, I have so much to do.

This weekend I had a fantastic time with my daughter, Stephanie, in Orlando. We visited the Magic Kingdom, Disney Hollywood Studios, Downtown Disney, Disney's Boardwalk, shopped, ate, and laughed a lot. We were trying to cram in all the fun that we could into three days (that went by way too fast). I love spending time with my children and grandchildren because we always have so much fun together.

The "To-Do" list is long but we are whittling away at it, one bite at a time. We still need to back boxes to ship and actually ship them, pack up my home office to make room for a roommate for Adam, price all the curriculum that I have hoarded over the years so a friend of mine can sell it for me while I'm gone, get the acrylic taken off my nails because I am not allowed to have them while working on the train (boo-hoo, I love my hands with fingernails), type up a "to do" list for Adam so he will remember everything to do here at the house, grade and post grades for my students (I will miss them)...the list is so much longer. One bite at a time, we will get this elephant eaten.

Until next time...Pamela

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Ten More Days!!

Today marks ten days out from when we leave. The count down has begun! We still have so many things to do prior to leaving, it makes my head spin at times. Trust me...I don't need to be any more dizzy!

What to take, what to ship, what to leave home... The list goes on and on. I will begin the daunting task of deciding what to ship today. We are packing our warmest clothing today and shipping it this Friday. Coats, fleeces, and sweatshirts. I don't want to carry these types of clothing on the airplane due to the weight restrictions they have. I have to be very creative when deciding what to pack in our suitcases and keeping it to a 50lb. limit!

For those who read this blog and pray, please pray that all our expenses will be met and for my health. I have been dealing with some minor health issues and not sleeping much (two to three hours a night). The lack of sleep has kept me from working at my peek and I don't like that at all! I know that the Lord is in control and we are putting our faith in Him to meet our needs and desires. I thank you in advance!

Until next time...Pamela

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Leaving On A Jet Plane!

Praise the Lord, we are finally booked on the airlines to Anchorage! One job down, many, many, more to go. Next, we will be shipping items prior to our arrival, like polar fleeces, jackets, and warmer clothing. We only have 17 days left - wow, time is going by so fast. Whoot, Whoot!!

Happy Birthday Stephanie!

Twenty-eight years ago today, the Lord blessed Rennie and I with the most wonderful gift of our daughter, Stephanie. She is such a blessing to us and so many more. Happy Birthday our sweet, sweet, daughter! You are loved EVERYDAY!!!!

This is not the greatest picture of Stephanie and I, but had to use it just because my granddaughter, Julia, took is her little finger that is somewhat over the lens. So sweet!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Three Weeks Left

As of today, we have three weeks left here in Jacksonville. Time has flown by and I'm getting more and more excited about our adventure. My son-in-law asked me last night if I was nervous. My reply was, "No, just overwhelmed with what has to take place between now and April 25."

This morning as I was sitting at my desk, I looked up on my window (which faces east and the sun is so beautiful this morning), I saw a a couple of scriptures that I have written on Post-It Notes - one being: "So do not worry or be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have worries and anxieties of its own sufficient for each day in its own trouble" Matthew 6:34. This scripture reminds me not to worry, especially over things I have no control over - I have a hard time with that, a lot! How we're getting to Alaska is in God's hands, not ours and me worrying over it changes nothing, except more physical stress.

I keep several scriptures on that window so that I will read them each day. They are reminders of the Lord's goodness and love for me - that HE is in control of every aspect of my life. I know that God only wants good things for His children. I have to rest in that. Oh Lord, help me do that today.

Until next time...Pamela

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Nothing New

Nothing new to report or write about today - other than I wish it would not rain on my day off...ick.

Until next time...Pamela

Monday, March 30, 2009


Spring has definitely sprung here in Jacksonville, my second favorite season. I love it when the weather is a bit crisp and the cloudless sky is such a beautiful color of blue. Breathing in the wonderful air, turning my face to the sun and feeling its warmth is so refreshing...and then for me, I began to sneeze uncontrollably (stupid pollen!).

Signs that spring is here are the beautiful azalea blooms, seeing and hearing bees buzzing around, and beautiful flowers popping up all over the place. When I was very young, we lived in northern Alabama, where daffodils grew wild in our yard. I vividly remember their distinct smell - so sweet - it just screamed spring to me. Once I spotted them blooming, I knew Easter was not too far away.

Today, when I walk by a pot of daffodils in a grocery store or super center I have very fond memories of my childhood. I'm not too sure that I will get to experience seeing daffodils growing in Alaska, but I wanted to share a beautiful photo of these delightful flowers with you - shades of yellow buttercups that make me smile.

Until next time...Pamela

Sunday, March 29, 2009

A Place To Live!

Yipee, we now have a place to live, a vehicle to use, and a roommate! Whew...what a relief. A beautiful two bedroom town home has become available for us and were are thrilled. It is located in the southern part of Anchorage, but the use of the vehicle makes it perfect for us. We can check one thing off the "To Do" list but we have many, many, more. The list seems to be growing as each day counts down - 26 more days to go!

Until next time...Pamela

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Some Things We'll Miss

While we are across the country, we will miss our family the most, however, there are three little (some not so little) things we will also miss. Pets quickly wrap your heart around their paws and become like family. They are chalked full of personality and keep you laughing when days are rough. Three guys we'll miss are our two cats, Simba - eleven years old (pictured at the right) and Pooh Bear - ten years old, and our grand-dog, Butch - three years old. One thing Rennie will not miss is the abundance of cat fur! Two light colored cats and most clothing do not mix!

Simba and Pooh were both born in our home, so we are all they know. Most people call them little lions - which they are extremely big for domestic cats (Pooh - pictured at the right - weights 21.4 lbs!).

They have to stay behind and be taken care of by our son, Adam. I know they will miss us just because we're at the house most of the time. I will be sad to leave them behind, if only for five months but would not want to ship them to Alaska.

Butch the grand-dog - awaiting a treat and he must be the center of attention at all times!