Wednesday, September 28, 2011

No Man Knows............

Blowing the Shofar
"Watch therefore, because you do not know the day nor the hour in which the Son of Adam is coming,"  Matthew 25:13


Unless you've been taught the Scriptures from a Torah foundation, you may not know that this verse is a direct reference to this particular appointed feast - Yom Teruah, or Feast of Trumpets.  This particular holiday occurs at the sighting of the New Moon as are all of the first days of the new "moonths" on the Hebrew's calendar.  

As it is taught, Yeshua's return will be a fulfillment of the Fall Feasts as HIS first coming was a fulfillment of the Spring Feasts of Pesach (Passover), Unleavened Bread, the Feast of First Fruits and Shavuot.  HE will return with a mighty shout and the sound of a trumpet blast.  Thus, we prepare for HIS return with a mighty shout and the sound of the shofar as we keep watch for the signs that mark this generation in a way that has never been seen in history before.  

Today we celebrated Yom Teruah as sundown arrived with a visible new moon in the sky.  We consider it to be visible at 2% or greater and it was greater than 2% prior to sundown both here in Alaska and in Jerusalem on their Wednesday sundown.  We didn't actually get to observe the moon here as it's been cloudy and overcast for several days now so we used the data at our Moon Phase widget and at a second sight as a confirming witness.  

Of course, using the moon as our marker, we once again found ourselves out of step with the rest of the Messianic movement and this is as always very grievous and frustrating.  It  has been suggested that we should all just go along with what "everyone else" is doing but following that advice, why not just go back to the church and sit in a pew and stop trying at all?  (Sorry, this really is very difficult and frustrating.)

Unfortunately, this puts us out of step on the following feasts of Yom Kippur and Sukkot also, but this isn't a new thing.  For us, it's just the way that it is for those of us scattered in the nations and trying to keep HIS Torah.  We can only look forward to the day when HE puts all things back into their right order and teaches us how to walk properly.  

For our celebration meal we enjoyed au gratin potatoes with turkey sausage and a hearty oatmeal bread with ginger honey that we found in Jerusalem in a little shop on Ben Yehuda Street.  It was pricey, but saving it for this special occasion made it even more special.  

“Lashana Tova Tikatevu!” 

("May you be inscribed [in the Book of Life] for 

a good year”)

Friday, September 23, 2011

What is "Home-r"?


Welcome to Home-r!
 People like to have a place called "home".  It's a deep-seated need to have a place where you can go and feel like you belong there.  We have our "Nest".  It's been our home for the past 2+ years, but it's a "home" where the view out the windows is always changing.  We love our "Nest" and although we tried to imagine ourselves living somewhere else, if even for only a short time, it never works in our hearts.  This is our "home".  


There have been many times in our travels when we've come to places that we thought we might like to stop and look at for a while.  I'm very fond of soaring mountain ranges and ragged seascapes.  DannyLee seems to share my love of such things.  Sadly, those places didn't have what it takes to keep us there and we often found ourselves moving on long before the sights became ordinary to us.  


Wosnesenski Glacier
Winter in Alaska, however, is something that has to stop us, at least for a while.  Cowboy DannyLee at the helm of this rig blasting his way through a blizzard or outracing an avalanche is something that I'm not all that interested in having in my list of notable experiences.  The days of affordable gas and finding a readily available job are long over and life doesn't seem all that sure anymore.  It has truly come to be a time when "right now" faith is the foundation of our daily walk.  
Across Kachemak Bay


This is what has brought us to Homer, AK.  Now, this begs the question, "Just what is Homer?"  It's described in a variety of ways by the locals and the not-so locals.  The sign coming into town says that it's the "Halibut Capital of the World".  Mileposts describes it in a strange medley of ways:  "the little drinking village with the big fishing problem", "the end of the road", and "where the road ends and the sea begins" are some of my favorites.  


Dordshin Glacier?
                                                          All of these have endless imaginings to be worked on in the coming days, but none so much as the one that says, "the end of the road".  This thought has caught a hold of us far more than any of the others, not being inclined to either fish or drinking.  Why has FATHER brought us to "the end of the road"?  I don't know, but we have time to wait on HIM and let HIM tell us for HIMSELF.  Let the pictures tell what they can for now.
Holland America Cruise ship in Homer




Homer Spit from the bluff

To see what we could sea.......

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Soldotna

Centennial Park - Site 99
Are we there yet?  That's the thought that came to mind when I put the caption on the photo.  Here we are for a night at Centennial Park in Soldotna, and the best place we could find to park out of 170 spaces was site 99.  Hmmm..........


The road has been long and stressful and it's time to pull off and have a quiet night.  There aren't any Wally Worlds down in this neck of the woods so we opted for the city park.  They don't provide any hook-ups, but dry camping is getting to be one of our more useful skills.  It makes us really appreciate making that investment in our solar set-up.  Now if we can just figure out a better way to have heat!


Highway One is a two-lane twisting, turning, up and down maze of driveways and blind turn-offs.  We were warned by our friends that head-on collisions were frequent and ofttimes, deadly.  While our biggest concern has been moose, bear and caribou, the "local yocals" are far more of a hazard.  The highway planners were aware enough to put "truck lanes" or turnouts at key points along the way.  DannyLee has become very skilled at using them to allow cars and trucks to get past our rig.  Far better to have them in front of us going about their desperate business then to have them trying to pass us in no passing lanes or worse.


However, there's always someone that just can't wait and their importance exceeds any consideration for safety or common sense.  It's not like we're going slow.  Here the speed limit is only 55 and we're moving along at that speed with the occasional slow down for traffic and such.  The roads are wet as it's raining sporadically and here "he" comes.  One idiot in a red sports car decides to pass on a blind curve not only us but the 2 or 3 cars behind us.  Needless to say, the oncoming car that "he" ran off the road onto the shoulder was probably happy to be alive that day, as were we.  (Mind you, I say "he" as a general use.  Fortunately, we never had to have a "face to face" with that one!  It could have been ugly.)


This last picture is the view of the river from our campsite in Soldotna.  This is a pretty good sized town and with it's proximity to Homer, it's a comfort to have access to some of the larger stores.  There isn't a Wally World, but we're learning to do without.  Fast food has pretty much fallen off our table also, so we're seeing some progress in getting "Egypt out of us".  Are we ready for the "Greater Exodus" yet?  I don't think so.


As we woke up and prepared to continue our journey south to Homer, the phone rang.  DannyLee had a lovely surprise as he found himself chatting with an "open door".  A new business venture in Homer was interested in meeting with us and talking about our entertainment options.  This opportunity raised our hope to a new level and we found ourselves leaving our "redoubts" in Soldotna that morning and heading for Home-r, AK.  What an incredible, amazing, awesome Elohim we serve!!


Friday, September 9, 2011

Past Hope, Finding Mt. Redoubt

Mt. Redoubt
 Continuing south from Anchorage on Hwy 1, eventually brings you to the Kenai Peninsula.  This is an area where everything seems to be FOR SALE and yet, ordinary people like us would dare not ask the price.  As any real estate agent would tell you, "Location, location, location!"  The views are beyond fabulous!  


We've firmly decided to make the drive south all the way to Homer.  I'd put out some "feelers" for possible winter engagements and there was nothing to be done but wait.  Looking at the signs as we drove along, one of the first towns we passed was Hope, AK.  Even as we struggle with our faith, it was hard not to feel a sense of hope as the scenery unfolded before us.  


A sudden glimpse of the mountain shown here caught us momentarily off-guard.  As I'd said, we hadn't spent much time in our Milepost in this area and had no expectations as to what we were going to encounter here.  In a brief moment of confusion, DannyLee asked if we were seeing Mt. McKinley from here, but a quick check of the map nixed that idea.  What we were looking at was equally as exciting as when we first caught a glimpse of Mt. McKinley.  Mt. Redoubt is a volcano - a real, live volcano with an active history!


We had made it to the Pacific "Ring of Fire" which puts a whole different spin on "Johnny & June's" song.  There wasn't just one volcano to be seen, but there are several in this area.  The currently most active one, Mt. Cleveland, is not here in this cluster, nor is it visible from this part of the Kenai Peninsula.  That's only a small comfort if volcanoes are of any concern.  All of the volcanoes in this area are fully capable of "going off" at any given moment and have a history that isn't all that long ago.  


The name of this particular volcano, Mt. Redoubt was quite appropriate as we continue to await HIS direction and an "open door" for our winter location.  The silence around us and above us seems deafening.  


Mt. Redoubt



Thursday, September 8, 2011

Finally Anchorage!

Anchorage Airport
We left the busyness of Wasilla for the overwhelming busyness of Anchorage.  While the magnificent landscapes of Alaska are prominent no matter where you go, the hustle and bustle of "city life" is very evident here.  Traffic is heavy and the roads, while clearly marked, can be a challenge with their sudden turns.  


Yahoo Maps gave us a convoluted path through Anchorage that was supposed to help us avoid something.  Instead we found ourselves on a one-way street, in the wrong lane, with orange cones separating the lanes.  As the cars in front of us started diving through the cones in order to make the upcoming left turn, we were horrified.  Not making this turn would clearly take us straight into downtown Anchorage, all 51 feet of us!  NOT!!


DannyLee made an "executive decision" and decided to run down a few orange cones as he made a desperate pass to get into the left turn lane.  Oh, well.......... it's not like they were blocking anything like wet concrete or big holes or a "work in progress".  They were just "there".  Well, not after we went through.  Hmmmm.......


Since we're not "big city" kind of people, we basically just rushed through Anchorage as fast as the traffic and the traffic laws would allow.  It was strange to see the Anchorage Airport right in the middle of town.  This plane in the photo caught my eye as planes are very much a part of Alaskan life.  I guess it's because much of Alaska is only accessible by plane.  One interesting factoid is that the planes used in Alaska are an aging fleet and many of them aren't made anymore.  It's getting harder and harder to repair and maintain them because of this - something to consider before jumping on one of those "puddle jumpers", eh?


After we made it through Anchorage, we didn't know what we were going to see.  We hadn't spent anytime perusing this part of our Milepost.  We were suddenly surprised to find ourselves "seaside".  It was like finding a whole new perspective on Alaska.  The road south is basically squeezed between the mountains and the sea.  As we twisted and turned along the way, our minds twisted and turned with the question of just where we were going and where would this journey end............


Friday, September 2, 2011

"We Walk By Faith, Not By Sight"

Cantwell RV "Park"-ing Lot
As we continue to head south, the weather has been great for traveling.  The sun keeps shining and there isn't too much wind though it's a bit chilly when we stop for a break.  We decided to spend a couple of days in an RV parking lot in Cantwell.  They call it an RV park, but that's definitely a "misnomer".  


As we were preparing to leave, the park owner mentioned that she was heading down to Homer for the winter.  She said it's a nice place to spend the winter, much warmer than Cantwell.  I quietly stored away another mention of Homer as this town has been brought up to us more than once.  


At this point, we feel the pressure of concern about the coming of winter even as we continue on in prayer seeking HIS Will and HIS provision in this matter.  We've been struggling with unbelief about staying in Alaska for the winter from the beginning.  It's just not a logical thing for full-time RV'er's to do, or so we think, as our thoughts tend to fly south.


Now that the time has come for us to settle in and prepare for that winter, we hear the roar of silence and we're left to wonder - did we hear wrong?  Our faith is on the line and the magnitude of what lies ahead of us hasn't escaped our imaginations.  We go back and forth from what HE has done for us in the past to the reassurance of HIS promises and yet, there's nothing to do at this point but watch and wait.  


After a brief respite in Cantwell, we head south to Wasilla to meet up with friends.  Even with the tension that we are struggling with, it's important to us to walk out our ministry and try to be an encouragement to others.  Sadly, our timing wasn't the best as our friends were out of town much of the time we were there.  We were able to share a wonderful meal with them on our last evening in Wasilla.  It was time to get back on the road and head south.  


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Denali National Park

Today finds us on another long and winding road heading south from Fairbanks.  We left Fairbanks under fair skies.  Our planned route would take us from Fairbanks to Anchorage through Denali National Park.  Needless to say, the camera was kept close to hand.  

The road stretched before us as we passed through endless forests and mountains that seemed barely touched by the hands of men.  The road was the only constant reminder that many others had passed this way before us.  It's funny to me how we find ourselves traveling down these nearly empty roads with the faith that somehow we would arrive at a place that we really wanted to be.  


The fall colors are coming forth in a dazzling array of golden yellows, brilliant oranges and deep maroon reds.  This is a side of Alaska that the summer tourists all miss in their haste to be gone before the snow flies.  It's also a powerful reminder of how fast time flies and how quickly the winter snows will be upon us.  I find myself thinking of an old fable about an ant and a grasshopper quite often these days.

As we marvel at the landscapes that are unrolling before us, we suddenly find ourselves face to face with the "granddaddy" of Alaska - Mount McKinley! There are mountain vistas and mountain views and glaciers and valleys everywhere we've traveled in Alaska.  Many of the mountains have kept their "snow bonnets" or perhaps a light dusting of snow throughout the summer.  The beauty of mountains has long been one of my favorite vistas.  None of this has prepared us for the magnificence that suddenly lies before us! 

As we drive southward through Denali National Park, we find ourselves playing "peek-a-boo"with this incredible mountain.  The road winds in and around the lesser peaks as the rivers and creeks play alongside.  The trees are thick along the roadside and we find ourselves craning our necks to see through every small break.  Each roadside pullout is a potential for a shot, or NOT! and the clouds add to the frustration of the game.  At any moment, a view could open up that would be completely obscured with passing clouds.  DannyLee is doing his best to try and catch every opportunity and we're grateful for the lack of traffic.  Anyone trying to follow us could have grounds for a serious case of road rage. 

We're amused to find that we're not alone in this game as we play leapfrog with other "photo hounds" seeking that one "perfect shot".  As we're heading south, we come upon a group of cars and photographers all standing in the middle of the road with these huge cameras.  Our rearview mirrors fail to reveal the "object" of their intense scrutiny and we could only know that it was Mt. McKinley that held their attention. 

I can't say that we got the "perfect shot", but we're satisfied with what we've got.  Everything managed to come together (or apart (clouds!)), as they say and Mt. McKinley shined forth wearing it's beautiful white snowcap.  It was a beautiful day! 

Mount McKinley