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 it...it 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