Monday, August 29, 2011

We Saw IT!!!

Yay!  YAY!!  We saw IT!!  We finally got to see IT!!  Happy, happy, happy day!

O.K! O.K!  I know you're wondering just what is "IT".  This is the one thing that we really looked forward to seeing from our first thoughts of coming to Alaska.  

No, it wasn't a polar bear.  (Though I would be interested in seeing one if the chance to do so arises.)

Enough stalling......................we finally got to see the Northern Lights!  

We were in Fox, AK which is north of Fairbanks.  We were staying in a little campground that was in a small valley and we were surrounded with mountain ridges on all sides.  About 1 a.m., DannyLee went outside to take Ariela for her final walk of the day.  It wasn't long before he came back and told me to come outside too.  I had an inkling that I was in for a treat and I wasn't disappointed.  

The sky was full of dancing green and blue rays to the north and there were these ribbon-like clouds all around our location.  The clouds to the south and east were white and it seems we might have missed the best of the show already, but for our first time, we were delighted and stood outside in simple wonder.  It was funny for us that we had just seen our first Alaskan rainbow the day before while in Fairbanks.  

It felt like YHVH Elohim was giving us a solid reminder that HE alone keeps HIS promises! 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Another "Hope" Fulfilled!

While floating about in a pool of hot water puts a smile on my face, nothing does it for “my darling” like a vast expanse of perfect green grass dotted with “holes” – 18 of them, that is!

Alaska probably isn’t the first place that one would think of as a “golfer’s paradise”, but there are more golf courses here in this state than there are in the whole land of Israel. 

While that little “factoid” probably doesn’t mean much to the average person, to a “golf-nut” it can really be a determining factor.  However, having more golf courses doesn’t bring down the high cost of “playing a round” and the North Star Golf Club in Fairbanks doesn’t offer much in the way of a discount no matter what day of the week you play. 

Sometimes, you just “gotta do what ya gotta do” though and this was DannyLee’s first time back on the links since Knoxville, TN almost a year ago.  Considering that, his expectations for a great game weren’t all that high.  (Wi Golf just doesn’t do all that much for your golf swing!) 

He settled for nine holes and a walking cart to carry his bag and in the end, all I got to hear about was the cute young lady working at the clubhouse named Stephanie.  She was more than happy to help him with taking some pictures to commemorate his special day and she made quite an impression!  (YES!  I heard all about it!)
An Alaskan "foursome" for golf anyone!

Friday, August 26, 2011

The "Luxury" of a Hot Bath!

There aren’t a lot of roads in Alaska especially considering the vast size of the state.  Lots of people have warned us about the conditions of the roads and while it’s true that there are some really bad secondary roads and even some bad places on the main highways, we’ve been on far worse highways down in the lower 48.  The best advice for dealing with bad roads is the kind of advice that would work well for most of us anyway – slow down!

Since they have to build really long roads here, it seems that every road leads you to someplace that you just might want to go.  This road leads to the Chena Hot Springs Resort.  This is a very good road to go down.  The resort is located about 56 miles east of Fairbanks and the drive is truly worthwhile.  The one thing that always impresses me about traveling around in Alaska is that no matter where you go, city or country, you never lose sight of being in the wilderness of Alaska.  We really like that!

Now, I must confess that the real attraction to traveling down this road wasn’t just the beauty of the drive.  I’ve been hoping for a chance to make this trip since we came to AK.  I haven’t had a nice long soak in a hot bath for a very long time and the RV life doesn’t often provide for such things.  We couldn’t get there fast enough!

The hot water was hot.  The valley view was impressive and the cost of $10 a person for a day pass wasn’t that extravagant.  We really enjoyed having a dip in the “pool”.

One of our thoughts since we came here was to do a “mikvah”, but the icy waters of the Alaskan lakes and rivers combined with the leeches that inhabit such places kept us dry.  We were able to carry out our plan here in the clean and comfortable water.  What a joy to come before YHVH Elohim in such a way!  We were deeply blessed.
Chena Hot Springs Resort

Thursday, August 25, 2011

"Wally World" campground in Fairbanks, AK?

"Wally World" campgrounds?
Heading north to Fairbanks for a welcome break from our summer's singing engagement was a real change from the cooler weather moving into the Tok area.  We were excited to be back on the road again even if it's only for a short time.  DannyLee's gotten a lot more comfortable with my more laidback "wandering" style of letting things come.  When we first hit the road, he'd work out detailed itineraries showing every gas stop and overnight place along the way.  This trip saw us on the road with only our Milepost close to hand. 

When we arrived at the "Wally World", we were both surprised to see what appeared to be electrical hook-ups in the parking lot.  AND the number of rigs parked across the back of the lot was pretty amazing too.  We couldn't see anywhere where anyone was actually "plugged in" and never having experienced winter in Fairbanks, the actual purpose of these plug-ins escaped us.  I "had to ask"!

So, here we are on our big shopping excursion and I make my way to the service desk.  The very helpful young man behind the counter carefully explained to me how 70 degrees below zero was death to a car.  He gave me a long story of how he managed to blow up two starters before he caught on to using an engine block heater to keep his car warm enough to start.

This wasn't some interesting way for "Wally World" to cash in or even provide any kind of "service" to their RV-ing "friends".  It was really all about taking care of their employees and who can fault them for that.  (Now, if those "Wally Worlds" in the lower 48 can catch on to this idea, how about providing some kind of shade in the parking areas.  We had that in Thailand and it's not all that hard to do AND much appreciated!)  

We definitely enjoyed our stay at "Wally World" and I'm happy to say that we even learned something new.  That always feels good!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

It's a "dog's life!

Alaskan Ari!

Rufff!  Rufff!!  It’s me – “Alaskan Ari” coming to you live from the wilderness!  I know it’s been a long time since you’ve got to hear from me.  My mom said she was going to let me have a say every now and then.  I guess she forgot.

SO!  Here I am in the wilds of Alaska living a “dog’s dream” life.  I had no idea what kind of adventures I was in for when the Whittle’s adopted me, but I haven’t wasted a minute being sorry.  I love my “gypsy life”!

Riding in the truck always brings new things to smell and new places to pee.  Going to Alaska has opened my eyes, ears and nose to so many new smells that it’s hard for me to stay inside the rig when we’re all at home.  I love to be outside watching and sniffing anytime that I can.

Chasing squirrels and rabbits is great fun and the few times that I’ve been allowed the freedom to run has been great.  I live for those moments.  I have seen some very large animals from the safety of my seat in the backseat of the truck.  I’m not sure I’m all that interested in getting a closer look.  All in all, I’d have to say in my eyes, life is good!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

"Finding" the Remnant!

The single thread that weaves together our travels on Tsiyon Bound is our search for the "Remnant".  No matter where we've gone or what we're doing, our hearts are turned to "the search" and it's never far from our thoughts.  The beauty of our search is that we quite often find "Remnant" in the most unexpected places and in the most unexpected ways. 

One person might be revealed by a passing comment or a response to one of DannyLee's special songs.  Another might be shown simply by their wearing of tzitzit or a bumper sticker on their car or rig.  The best times are when they basically seem to just stumble right over us and into our camp.  Tracing back the steps that led them our way almost always reveals the clear fingerprints of our YHVH Elohim.  This is always a cause for great excitement as we celebrate HIS presence in our lives. 

When we first arrived in Tok, we couldn't help but notice all of the rocks that basically made up the ground around us.  What makes the rocks even more interesting is the variety and mixture of almost every rock I can identify.  It was easy to pick out sandstone rocks, flint, granite, crystalline, shale and even pieces of jade.  Much of the stone is rounded as if from a river or perhaps the movement of a glacier and the range of colors from orange to brown to black is amazing. 

What really caught my eye, however, were the speckled, spotted and striped rocks.  It seemed that everywhere I looked I could see a wild variety of color combinations.  It didn't take long for my mind to draw forth a comparison between the rocks and Ya'akov's (Jacob) sheep. 

"And Yaʽaqoḇ said, “Give me naught! If you do this for me, I shall again feed and guard your flocks:  “Let me pass through all your flock today, removing from there all the speckled and spotted sheep, and all the black ones among the lambs, and the spotted and speckled among the goats. And these shall be my wages........ And on that day he set aside the male goats that were speckled and spotted, and all the female goats that were speckled and spotted, every one that had some white in it, and all the black ones among the lambs, and gave them into the hand of his sons."   Genesis 30:30-31,35

As I wondered at the meaning of this comparison, I heard FATHER's voice in my spirit and HE said to me, "Gather them!"  Now, one thing that the RV life doesn't lend itself to very well is gathering anything and with the price of gas, gathering rocks didn't seem to be a very good idea at all.  I definitely needed to seek clarification on this matter.  I meditated on it for a couple of days and then shared it with DannyLee on one of our walks.  He quickly obliged me by picking up whatever rocks I pointed out to him. 

After assembling a small gathering of rocks and some further meditation, the revelation came that HE was speaking about gathering the Remnant.  Our focus so far has only been on finding them and ministering to them where they are.  We've not yet been in a position to gather them.  As we open our hearts in prayer and meditation on HIS Word and HIS way, we expect that HE will give us further instructions in how we are to carry this out.  Until then, we will wait on HIM...........

To further add to our joy in this search, one day a large group came to one of DannyLee's performances.  We had a group of locals coming by to entertain their out of town guests.  They were quite excited to find out the names of some of our songs and CD's and we were excited to find out the names of their children.  These were no ordinary people and this turned out to be an extraordinary moment in our summer adventure.  We are looking forward to whatever FATHER YHVH has in store for all of us in the coming days.

So sorry!  Dad's at work & missed the picture.
You can learn more about this beautiful family and their ministry in Alaska at their blogsite Simple Living Alaska.  We shared many wonderful meals with them and look forward to having an opportunity to share even more as we expect to be together in HIS eternity.  May HIS face shine upon them!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Summer's End

The end of summer comes quickly in Alaska and fall appears to be little more than a footnote in the shadow of the coming winter.  As we find ourselves leaving our 42nd point of departure, we can only wonder at what lies ahead for us.  

Our tiny campsite here has been "home" since our arrival  in mid-May and "The Nest" creaks and groans as we go through the process of "hooking up" and "pulling out".  All of Alaska lies before us and the weather has become somewhat unpredictable these days.  Sometimes it's cold and rainy, other times it's cold and sunny, but it can all change in a moment and "cold" is a relative thing.  

We can see snow on the mountain tops even though it's still little more than a light dusting.  It carries the hint that there will be more to come soon.  While we have been through snow in the lower '48, there has never been anything significant to deal with as it has always melted within a day.  We've been told here that once it starts to snow, it doesn't melt until spring.  It's definitely not something to be taken lightly.

Our summer gig came to an abrupt close with the "death" of another piece of equipment.  We now own 3 broken karaoke players and have a fourth that is on it's last legs.  We're faced with the need for a complete overhaul of our equipment before we can do anything else on the music side.  This has truly been a downside for us.

On a positive note, our summer was greatly blessed by the friendship of two wonderful people at the campground.  We were deeply saddened when it came time for them to return to their home in Louisiana.  While we've met many interesting people during our stay in Alaska, these two will long remain in our hearts as a special blessing that came to us in the time that we needed them most.  So, Jim and 'Dine!  This "post" is for you.  Thanks so much for your loving kindness and faithfulness to be a blessing to all of those that come your way.  May you always be blessed!

Mississippi Man & Louisiana Woman!