Beginning and Endings


Each fall I’ve been privileged to witness one of nature’s incredible wonders . . . anadromous sockeye salmon (reds) returning to relinquish their own life to create new life.

After spending 1-2 years in their freshwater birthplace, they journey to the frigid waters of the Bering Sea. It’s believed they navigate by magnetic cues, position of the sun, and day length at while at sea, before returning 2-3 years later to their exact birthplace by imprinting on the unique chemical signatures of the waters . . . creation’s original GPS!

Dodging sea lions, seals, sharks, lampreys at sea, they must contend with bears, eagles and man upon their return. It’s estimated that of the 2,000 to 5,000  each female sockeye lays, only 1 in a thousand survive . .  a statistic I briefly ponder each time I catch one . . . but it quickly passes . . . they taste so good! 😊

Sockeye’s prized, savory red fillets are attributable to the high cartenoid pigment of their rich marine diet. By the time they spawn their flesh has turned a tasteless white as the cartenoids are transferred to their skin and eggs upon reaching their spawning grounds.

Watching sockeye salmon complete their aquatic life cycle allegorically always reminds of my own terrestrial life journey . . . each a beginning-to-end journey of survival wrought with trials and transitions.

Like the sockeye my skin has often turned red in embarrassment, and has lost its once youthful glow. Unlike the sockeye, many of my trials have often been self-imposed.

Standing stream-side I’m forever grateful knowing I’m still ’swimming’. Somehow, having navigated through my own and sin’s ‘predators’ for 8 decades . . . I’m 1 in a 1,000 . . . but not by my own making. It’s by God’s unfathomably amazing love, mercy and grace alone that I’m still headed ‘upstream.’

Like the sockeye, my life’s journey will someday end . . . but not in a stream-bed. My end will be the beginning of an eternity above with the One whose sacrificial death defeated mine, and all who have accepted Him as Savior . . . hope we share it together.

Keep Looking Up . . . His Best is Yet to Come!

Returning Home

Creating New Life
Journey’s End

Shalom and the Rabbi


The Hebrew language richly conveys feeling, intent, and emotion. Shalom, the Hebrew word for peace, is my favorite. It’s used to greet and bid farewell to people, but expresses an all-encompassing peace that is so much more.

Strong’s Concordance defines Shalom as completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety, soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, and the absence of agitation or discord . . . today’s world is in dire need of an infusion of Shalom.

Shalom is displayed on our well house. A few years back it prompted a humorous encounter. Arriving home from town one afternoon, a note with a phone number was on our door, “Please call us.”

I called, and a friendly voice answered, thanking me for calling back. Identifying himself as a rabbi, he explained that he and another rabbi had been exploring the rural environs of the Matanuska Borough seeking fellow Jews to invite to their recently established synagogue in Wasilla, AK. They noticed Shalom on our well house and had left the note on our door.

Are you Jewish?“, the rabbi asked.

No,” I politely replied, “but my boss is a Jewish carpenter.”

Could you give us his name?”, he responded.

Jesus”, I said with a smile . . . he immediately realized I wasn’t a frozen chosen candidate for his congregation 😊 

Sometime later I met the rabbi at his synagogue’s booth at the Alaska State Fair and we shared smiles together.

Last evening Shalom silently embraced my soul as the Creator placed an effulgent patch of rainbow across the lake to end the day.

Awakening this morning, Shalom’s peace lingered. Stoking up the woodstove and pouring a steaming cup of coffee, I sat astonished beyond comprehension pondering how, despite the self-hatred of my countless past felonious faults, failures and foibles, and those I may make today in the future . . . I’ll forever remain my Abba’s beloved child.

Opening the You Version Bible app, this Shalom tribute formed in my thoughts . . .

S H A L O M

   Serinity

 “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”

Psalm 91:1

 Hope

            “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you            and not harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” 

Jeremiah 11:29

   Adopted

   “In love He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will.”

Ephesians 1:5

Loved

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”

Lamentations 3:22-23

    Overcome

I have told you these things that you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

John 16:33

Majesty

Splendor and majesty are before Him; strength and glory are in His sanctuary.

Psalm 68:34

Shalom my friends!

Keep Looking Up . . . His Best is Yet to Come!

Well House

Fish Lake Rainbow – Chickaloon, Alaska

Reflected Majesty

Patch of Glory

How Great Thou Art


Sunshine, storm and nature joined forces this afternoon to transmute the lyrics of a favorite hymn into a stunning Alaskan visual concert beyond words. I am richly blessed . . . may you be as well.

How Great Thou Art

O Lord my God, When I in awesome wonder,

Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made.

I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,

Thy power throughout the universe displayed.

When through the woods, and forest glades I wander,

And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees.

When I look down, from lofty mountain grandeur

And see the brook and feel the gentle breeze.

Then sings my soul, My Savior God, to Thee,

How great Thou art, How great Thou art.

Bill Gaither

Matanuska River Valley Mists
Matanuska Glacier

Keep Looking Up . . . His Best is Yet to Come!

Peace on the Edge


The sign belies the peaceful stability of silent solitude that was mine watching eagles soar high above the Matanuska River Valley . . . a treasured “Be still and know I am God” moment.

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

Isaiah 40:31

I M Blessed… May U B 2

Keep Looking Up . . . His Best is Yet to Come!

Fun Is Ageless


To enjoy life to the fullest you ‘moose’ have fun. A couple of old duffers did just that at the 2022 Alaska State Fair in Palmer, Alaska.

9 or 90, goofing around is healthy . . . don’t forget to take your medicine 😊

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dies up the bones.”

Proverbs 17:22

Rusted and Restored


My rusted old watering can has sprung a leak. Over the years we’ve nurtured and raised many summers of vibrant flowerbeds together.

Having attained an advanced state of maturity???😊, and a tad rusted out myself, I’m not a big throw-away fan. I can remember my grandfather having me straighten out used nails . . . frugality on steroids! Sooooo, replacing my old watering with a new, rust-proof, sleek plastic model isn’t an option  . . . Flex-seal to the rescue! Successfully patched, we’re back watering flowerbeds again.

My restoration project reminded me of a story I reflect on for encouragement during times when past regrets threaten to crowd out present joys, pondering if my life’s purpose is to merely serve as a good bad example😊

During those less than a ‘10’, discouraging detours along life’s journey, here it is for encouragement, believing that He who brings “…beauty for ashes…” created you on purpose for a purpose.

  The Cracked Pot

A water-bearer had two pots, each hung on opposite ends of a pole he carried across his neck.  One of the pots had a crack in it. The other was perfect, always delivering a full portion of water at the end of a long walk from the stream to the Master’s house. The cracked pot always arrived half-full. Each day for two years, at the end of the long journey from the stream to the master’s house, the water-bearer delivered only one and a half pots of water.

The perfect pot was proud of its accomplishment to fulfill the purpose for which it had been made. The poor cracked pot was ashamed of its imperfection, miserable that it had only been able to accomplish half of what it had been made to do.

After two years of what was perceived as a bitter failure, the unhappy, broken pot spoke to the water-bearer at the stream.

I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you.”, the pot said.

Why?”, asked the water-bearer. “What are you ashamed of?

For the past two years I have been able to deliver only half my load because the crack in my side causes the water to leak out all the way back to your Master’s house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all this work and don’t get full value from your efforts,” the broken pot said.

The water-bearer felt sorry for the old, cracked pot, and in his compassion said, “As we return to the Master’s house today, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path.

As they went back up the path, the broken pot cheered up a bit observing the lovely flowers blooming in the sunlight along the path’s side. However, upon reaching the Master’s house, realizing it had leaked out half its load once again, the broken pot’s despondency returned, and so it apologized again to the water-bearer for its failure.

The water-bearer said to pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of the path, not on the other pot’s side? That’s because I have always known about your flaw, and I have taken advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day, as we have walked back from the stream to the Master’s house, you have watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my Master’s table. Without you being just the way you are, He would not have this beauty to grace His house with.

Keep Looking Up . . . His Best is Yet to Come!

My Kinda’ Politician


Politics are not my thing. However, the combative tenure of the elections occurring in Alaska and Wyoming today is discouraging. Radical contention has replaced reasonable compromise. The “One Nation Under God” our founding fathers envisioned is sadly becoming two nations under political division.

As an octogenarian I’ve been privileged to witness times when “reaching across the aisle” was often the political norm, not the exception, and I grieve for the political tenure our children are inheriting. I continue to pray for our Nation’s leaders in both parties to contemplate their agendas with a “We” not “Me” focused perspective.

That said, I came across the story below about a former politician whose “We” political perspective was refreshingly encouraging, and pass it along optimistic that our Nation can come together and heal  . . .

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

2 Chronicles 7:14

Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia

During the worst days of Great Depression and all of World War II, five-foot 4-inch Fiorello LaGuardia was the mayor of New York City. A colorful character, dubbed the “Little Flower” by his adoring constituents for the carnation he always wore in his lapel, he was known to ride New York City fire engines; accompany the police on speakeasy raids; take entire orphanages to baseball games; and read the Sunday funnies to children on the radio whenever the New the New newspapers were on strike.

One bitterly cold, January night in 1935 mayor LaGuardia showed up at a night court in the city’s poorest ward. Dismissing the judge for the evening he took over the bench. A raggedy old woman, charged with stealing a loaf of bread was brought before him. Pleading her case, she told the mayor her sick daughter and two children had been abandoned by her husband, and her grandchildren were starving.

The shopkeeper from whom she had stolen the bread refused to drop the charges. “It’s a bad neighborhood your Honor. She needs to be punished to teach people around here a lesson!

LaGuardia sighed and addressed the woman. “I’ve got to punish you. The law makes no exceptions. Ten dollars or ten days in jail.” As he pronounced the sentence he reached into his pocket and tossed a 10 dollar bill into his famous sombrero.

Here’s the ten dollar fine, which I now remit; furthermore, I am going to fine everyone in this courtroom fifty cents for living in a town where a person has to steal bread so that her grandchildren can eat. Mr. Bailiff, collect the fines and give them to the defendant.”


The next day New York City newspapers reported $47.50 was collected and given to the gratefully bewildered old lady who had stolen a loaf of bread to feed her starving grandchildren, 50 cents of which was contributed to the embarrassed, red-faced shopkeeper. The seventy some petty criminals, people with traffic violations, and New York City policemen present in the courtroom that evening, each who had paid 50 cents the mayor ordered, gave him a standing ovation.

Keep Looking Up . . . His Best is Yet to Come!

Termination Dust and Eagles


Termination Dust #1

A friend in the Lower 48 brought a smile to my face when they asked, “What is determination dust?”

It’s called termination dust, and refers to the first snow that appears on Alaskan mountaintops signaling the end of summer. Actually, termination dust is an oxymoronic term . . . many Last Frontier mountains are covered with snow year round.

Anyhoo . . . I stepped out on the deck this morning to snap a couple pics of this ‘dust’ you can ski on for those of you who may not have experienced it. As I did so, an eagle was soaring above the mountains about a mile away . . . far beyond the range my basic $300 35mm camera’s capabilities of capturing with any clarity. But  . . . for youse guys blessed with ‘eagle eye’ vision . . . see if you can spot our national symbol in the Termination Dust #1 pic before viewing the Termination Dust and Eagle pic. If you’re still having difficulty seeing ‘ole’ Baldy, I hear Wal *Mart  is offering a special on glasses with a free vision exam

Each time I see an eagle, His assurance in Isaiah 40:31 comes to mind:

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagle; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

After nearly 80 years on the planet, walking has become a tad easier than running, but waiting is still not my forte

Keep Looking Up . . . His Best is Yet to Come!

Termination Dust and Eagle
Termination Dust #2
Distant Eagle

Glorious!


The rains have ended.  From the deck I stood in silent wonder as my Abba tucked in another day brushing this awe-inspiring masterpiece across the heavens. I M Blessed . . . May U B 2

The heavens declare His righteousness, and all the people see His glory.” – Psalm 97:6

Keep Looking Up . . . His Best is Yet to Come!

Glorious!

Sunset Spruce

Rainy Day Reflections


August ‘Termination Dust’ – Chickaloon, Alaska

For the past three days the sun has taken a hiatus from the Last Frontier. Continual, confining drizzles have taken up residence, raising creeks and dampening spirits. As an ole retired dude, I’ve a favorite dampening antidote . . . curling up with a book until the sun returns from vacation. Turning pages by the fire . . . it’s 49 degrees here, with fresh ‘termination dust’ on the mountain summits . . . this sobering quote by an unknown author rose from the page:

We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life.

We’ve added years to our lives, but not life to our years.

We’ve cleaned up the air but polluted our soul.

We’ve split the atom, but not our prejudice.

We plan more but accomplish less.

We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait.

These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throw-away morality, one-night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill.

It’s a time when there’s much in the show window and nothing in the stockroom.

Penned nearly two decades ago, these words poignantly describe today’s hectic, chaotic, divided world. Regretfully, we’ve come a long way the wrong way.

Whoa Freddy !!! . . . time to get out of the drizzle and ponder more positive musings.

Of all the countless blessings living in the Greatland offers, two of my favorites are the Solitude and Silence this rugged, vast stretch of wilderness provides. ‘S’ & ‘S’ aren’t luxuries, they’re mental health essentials!

Often, when wandering through His mountain cathedrals, an old hymn written in 1889 drifts into my thoughts:

This is my Father’s world,
And to my listening ears
All nature sings and round me rings
The music of the spheres.
This is my Father’s world:
I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas–
His hand the wonders wrought.

This is my Father’s world:
The birds their carols raise,
The morning light, the lily white,
Declare their Maker’s praise.
This is my Father’s world:
He shines in all that’s fair;
In the rustling grass I hear Him pass,
He speaks to me everywhere.

This is my Father’s world:
O let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the Ruler yet.

This is my Father’s world:
Why should my heart be sad?
The Lord is King: let the heavens ring!
God reigns; let earth be glad!

Hey . . . guess what? . . . he rain is still coming down outside, but the sun has come back out inside😊. The dampening antidote of curling up with a book works!  Time to get up outta’ the Lazy Boy and put another log on the fire.

Keep Looking Up . . . His Best is Yet to Come!