Saturday, September 22, 2012

No Subject

We had a fun trip this week.  We asked Betty 73, and Lemmie 74, to go on a fall drive and have lunch at 32 mile. The sisters are a little hesitant to go off the main road alone, so this was a real treat.   We had lunch and then decided to drive up Kelsaw and look at the leaves.  They were beautiful.  We stopped at a bridge, where they had filmed White Fang and got out to walk around.  Dondaivd when down to the river and saw the Coho’s spawning and came back to tell us. This river is not the big major one, but a smaller, Idaho- like river.   We had our poles in the car, so we asked the ladies if they wanted to go fishing.   They were like a couple of kids.  Lemmie pulled off her shoes and socks and wadded into the river up to her knees with a net trying to get some fish.  I was worried she would fall down; because, she isn’t extremely stable on flat ground.  She didn’t catch any, but had fun.  She took a huge staff-type stick and kept hitting the water to agitate the fish.  When fish spawn, they don’t necessarily feed, but will strike at something that they feel is threatening.  Betty went down river and wadded in only a little ways and did catch a female Coho who had just finished laying her eggs.  Betty is the one who was raised in Haines, and as a child she had caught fish with her hands.  She did use a net this time.I caught two Coho’s.  One about 15 lbs.  It was really fun. Dondavid wasn’t so lucky this time, but a week ago he caught two fish and I didn’t, so we are even. I let Lemmie borrow my pole because I had my limit.  I had to teach her how to cast and then I begin to wonder if she was ever going to return the pole. When we finished fishing, the ladies gathered mushrooms, and berries, and we finally headed home about 4:30.  Everyone was so tired they just fell in bed and slept like logs.  Betty has told everyone about the trip.  Seeing how happy these ladies were  is what makes missions worthwhile.  It is so often the little things that bring joy into other’s lives. 
Dondavid has been working on Lemmie’s pick-up the rest of the week, and so I have had a little time to catch up on house things.  We seem to keep busy.  People are beginning to ask when we will be leaving.  I don’t know if they are tired of us and ready to have us go, or if they will miss us.  I actually do not feel as trunky now as I did in the July.  It helps to be busy.  I have been teaching a lot in Relief Society lately, and we are giving temple preparation lessons to our new family.  It will be nice to only teach the temple prep class this week.    I am looking forward to conference.  It seems like we just had conference.  We have a ‘linger-longer” lunch after the first session of conference and just visit which is fun.
Fall isn’t as pretty here this year.  The leaves don’t have the brilliant color, and they kind of turn brown and fall off really fast.  I guess we aren’t going to have a long Indian Summer.  Snow is predicted for the 7th of October.  I hope they are wrong.  It is still in the fifties but is supposed to drop to mid forties next week.
Well that is about all in Haines.  I don’t know what you are doing for Christmas Holidays, but we sure would like to see anyone who comes up our way.  I could always do Christmas dinner.  I think I will have time to pull that off when we get home.  Besides I have presents (if I can find them). I know Ed, Russ, Warren, and Amber,(you will be in Rexburg, right? Or are you doing Christmas at home yet?) should be around so we can all get together to eat and play.   We will probably travel the end of Jan to help/visit those who live in warmer places—Troy, Brent, Teresa, Shaun—and then be home when the weather turns nicer in the spring.
 We will leave here Dec 10 by Ferry to Bellingham.  It takes 4 nights and 3 days to do that, then we will drive to Boise (Dec 14 may 15), stop and see Amber (unless you are already in Rexburg) and my sister, stop in Blanding to see Diana and Merlin and be home around Dec 18.  So that is our life schedule at that point.  We are looking forward to seeing everyone.  Hope you have a Happy Day!
Love all of you,

Friday, September 21, 2012


  Thanks for sending the number.  They had a question about a prescription we were trying to renew.
   Sounds like you've been super busy!  Glad you finally got to go celebrate Ryan's birthday!  It's always fun, even if it's late!   Glad you're not trying to sing, too!  It takes time, even if it's enjoyable.  My voice has sure gotten crappy, I guess because of allergies or just getting old. 
   I'm still working on Lemmie's truck, still waiting for the rest of the J-channel.  It takes 2 1/2 weeks to get anything.  You order it, they send it to Seattle who takes three days to process it, they put it on a barge and it takes another week to get it here.  If she'd let me do it in brown, they carry it.  But green, not.  I thought maybe Home Depot in Juneau might carry green like they do in IF, but nope, just brown.  I've got most of the other stuff done, insulation in, inside done, doors and knobs on.  Extended the mirrors, fixed the passenger door so it will open from the outside.  Re-hung and rewired the taillights so they both work now.  Cut the big welded brackets off the back so I can make steps for it.  Still need to figure out what I'm going to do there.  I put steps on the cab so she can get in now.  Should be able to finish it up in a couple of days when the channel gets here.  I'm going to change the oil on it this afternoon and pump up the tires.  She still is trying to find some stock rims for it, it has fancy aluminum ones on it that are too big and it binds when you turn very sharp.  Wish I had the set from out in the back yard here, but sure aren't going to ship them up for her!  I'll be dang glad when it's done, but she keeps finding more stuff she wants me to do for it.  She wanted a back-up camera on it, but the one she got doesn't work.  It's for a car and has a transmitter that's supposed to mount in the trunk.  When I hooked it up it just gave a crummy picture on the monitor that you could hardly see.  Guess it doesn't work good trying to transmit the length of the truck through the steel box.  Oh, well.  Now she wants me to mount some of her used kitchen cabinets in it so she can pack stuff in it to go camping!  It was origionally supposed to be just a box so bears couldn't get into the garbage.  She's got about $1000 into it, but says it's still cheaper than buying a camper for it.  Hey, she's 75!  How much is she going to use it?
    We took her and Betty for a fall drive up Kelsaw road where we went gold panning with Alex while you were here. We stopped on that bridge to look at the water, and the Coho were running, so we got our fishing poles out to try our luck.  I caught a couple of smaller ones, only about 7-10 lbs, and mom caught a lunker that weighed 25.  She was pretty excited!  We threw back a couple of little dolly vardens, kept a brookie that weighted about a pound for Lemmie.  We also caught a dog salmon and ate it for dinner, but the meat is kind of mushy, so won't keep any more of those.  We haven't eaten the big one yet, cut it into steaks to freeze.  I think we'll try for some more of those, they're dang fun to catch!  Also caught a sockeye, but haven't tried it yet either.  Wish you could come up now!  If we'd tried to net them we could have caught 50.  They don't take the lures very good, it took us about two hours to catch the ones we got.  Betty caught one coho, but it was kind of mottled  as it had already spawned.  She said she would can it and it would be fine.  Lemmy and Betty loved being out, they don't go out much by themselves.  They're kind of wary about driving into the bush by themselves, afraid if they have car trouble they won't be able to get out.  They were like a couple of school girls, went wading in the water, and laughed and giggled a lot.  It was fun.  Guess that's why we're here.  The leaves are all changing, a lot are falling off.  The Devil's Club is all yellow with red berries, the Alders are golden, the fireweed is red, it's really nice.  I don't think it's as bright as it was last year, but it's still really nice.
    Well, I guess I'd better go get busy.  Sure love to hear from you and hear how you're doing.  Hope you have a great weekend!  Go do something fun!
   Love, Dad

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Pioneer Day

July 24, 2012, Pioneer Day.
Alaska Anchorage Mission
So I am sorry this is so long and without pictures but I hope it gives a flavor of our mission experiences.
I would like to write about the great blessings we enjoy and the gratitude I feel for them.  First, I have to write a bit about our mission.  Haines is rich in spiritual nourishment. The very quality of the mountains, the power of nature, the beauties one sees every day is breath-taking.  I think the Lord sent us here just for me.   One experiences the healing that comes with living close to nature, having solitude, and time.  The pace of life is slower here; people are less hurried; less concerned with acquiring the niceties of life such as clothing, cars, furniture, homes, jewelry, make-up, sport and recreation equipment etc.  Oh, they like these things and on some level, desire them, but they have not become necessities.  There is not the feeling of competitiveness, of keeping up appearances, or trying to be a little better than someone else.  One is ok just the way they are--dress warm, be kind to one another, and share.
The push to put children into sports, dance, gymnastics, singing groups at young ages is negligible.  Some of these activities are available, mostly sports, others are not—interesting how not having something available removes its desirability.
             The library appears to be the center of the community.  There is the standard summer reading program that most communities have.  In the winter, the library provides after school activities in native culture, crafts, sculpting, wood carving, basketry, as well as tutoring, reading, movies, and lectures for adults, and book reviews. There is a table at all times with discount books for sale, old magazines are in a basket in the foyer that are free.  These recirculate around the community and often return to the library.   The magazines are old but well cared for and well read.  I am impressed with the book exchange in the community.  You can go almost anywhere, the Laundromat, restaurants, gas stations  and find books that you can just take home and read and put into circulation somewhere when you finish.  Because of the long winters, everyone seems to read.  At Christmas time, the library hosts the town 16 foot Christmas tree and there is an evening for “The Lighting of the Library.”  It is decorated with winter scenes, and Christmas lights.  It is too snowy and icy to decorate town, so the library becomes the center.  Well I digress. 
            Many in the community have low paying jobs and struggle to make ends meet.  The result is a lot of sharing of one another’s burdens temporally and, I assume, emotionally.  If there is a fire or some other hardship, these people share whatever they have.  Often what is given might be things the individuals could use themselves, but because a greater need is perceived, they give freely of what they have.  I have come to understand the Lord’s command to give to the poor and needy, to give freely from the heart.  Perhaps one needs to experience destitution in order to recognize needs of others and have compassion. I stand ashamed as I realize how selfish I am at times.  This reaching out and caring for one another has touched my heart and makes me want to be more caring and aware. 
             Let me talk about living conditions here.  For an example, there is a young couple with two children.  They have a nice apartment, but the husband works for minimum wage.  It is a struggle to make it from one pay day to the next.  They manage the rent, and utilities. If anything extra comes up, they really struggle.  I mean they literally do not have grocery money, the frig is empty—they feed the children and do without when necessary.  This is a constant battle.  There have been times in my life when I felt we struggled, but I always had some sort of food in my cupboard and frig. 
             Gas is $4.87 a gallon and while there is really no where to drive here, it is still nice to be able to get out a bit.  The store is still four or more blocks away, and when it is cold that is difficult.  They have one truck for the husband to get to work.  Gas is a luxury.  There is no going out to lunch with the girls every week.  In the winter, the wife is house-bound.  Full time jobs are scarce and once you get to Alaska, it is hard to get enough money to move back to the lower forty-eight.  This particular man has job training in diesel mechanics, but the one mechanic in town won’t hire anyone without experience.  Rather a dead-end prospect for him. The few that are well-off own most of the business in town and so continue to do well.  Haines used to be very prosperous, but the lumber mills closed down, the fish cannery closed down, the saw mill is gone, and the town hasn’t encouraged any great amount of tourism; because, they like it the way it is and don’t want to change.  Consequently, young people grow up and leave because there are no jobs.  In many ways, Haines is a dying community. The majority of the population is old.  The whole school K-12 is about 150.  Contributing to the problem is Haines location on a peninsula.  The closest town of any size is Whitehorse, Canada, five hours away, and it can’t be reached half the time in the winter because of the snow.  Juneau is four hours away by Ferry.  Anchorage is fourteen hours away.  So the isolation contributes to the economic problems. 
             Here is what is called a dead-end economy—stuff comes in but never goes out. This happens because people shop online or outside the community and then there is nowhere for goods to go, so they are recycled in garage sales. Garage sales are marvelous places for children’s clothes, tools, and household items. This, of course, also helps those struggling financially.  Another example of dead-endedness is car disposal.  A huge barge came this spring and hauled off 1,000 plus cars.  There hadn’t been a barge for this purpose for ten years—cars were just driven into the woods and left to be grown over.  This really helped clean up the area. 
             The other side of this living condition is it develops great inner resources, resilience, and strong fortitude.  People don’t complain much here.  There are no whiners.  They just pick themselves up and carry on.  That is the way life is.  “Just deal with it,” is the attitude.  They have what I call a gnarly personality, surviving the elements as well as whatever life hands out to them. It reminds me of the poem that says something to the effect of, “Lord forgive me when I whine, I have two eyes the world is mine, etc”— you know the one I mean.
             Our branch here consists of 18-20 members.  Average attendance is 12-14.  There are four couples including us. 6 widows in their 70’s and 80’s, 3 part-member families and four less active sisters, and one child in Primary. In case you didn’t notice, we have a total of 4 priesthood holders.   Some of our widows have lived in Haines all their lives.  All have had very hard lives.  One lived on the far side of the inlet and had to come to school and town when the tide was low, so they could wade across the water.  They needed to return home before the tide came back in.  She talks of catching fish in the small streams with her hands.  They had no running water, and of course an outhouse.  When she talks of her youth, it sounds fun.  She had rich experiences though she left home at 15 because of family conflicts and abuse.  She finished 8th grade and doesn’t consider herself very smart; however, she has a lot of life smarts.  She knows all about “fiddle heads” for salads, (these are early ferns that look like seashells before they unfurl), she makes seaweed pickles.  She now enjoys a small home in town, but  in the winter turns her heat down to save on the heating bill and lays under quilts to keep warm most of the day and then stays up at night to tend the fire so her pipes don’t freeze.  She crochets baby outfits for every baby born in town and gives them to the clinic to send home with the mom’s.  Mother’s here have to go to Juneau two weeks before their baby is due and stay in a motel or with friends because they don’t deliver babies in Haines.  How hard to not have your husband with you.  When you go into labor I guess you call and hope your spouse makes it in time. Anyway, this sister crochets dresses for Barbie dolls, does bead work of Eagles and other revered animals.  She has three organs that were discarded as people moved and taught herself to play.  She is very generous and gives me things continually.  She is one of the ladies who comes to play games with us.  She is a hard worker, thrifty and can laugh at life.
             Another very refined, educated lady was in a German concentration camp as a young woman.  They did experimental surgery on her and she was the hostage to get her father to cooperate with the Nazi’s.  She was not Jewish.  Because of this she was unable to have children of her own.  She became a surgical nurse and is now 85 and hopes to get a kidney transplant, or she plans to do her own kidney-dialysis in her home.  She never talks about how she feels or her struggles as a youth. Sometimes she says, “I’m not doing too well today, so I don’t think I can stay to all of church.”  You never see her without a smile on her face and yet I know she struggles with fiber-myalga (don’t know how to spell that), and arthritis along with her kidney problems. She is a convert to the church of seven years and came to Haines because she like the area.
             Then there is the sweet sister we took to the temple, who is our super prepared lady.  At any time, I think she has camping equipment for four people in the back of her camouflage van.  She has diabetes, arthritis, a house that is sitting on an artesian well of some sort that periodically floods her kitchen.  She is so independent that it is hard to do anything for her, but she would give you the shirt off her back.  She is lonely and marches to a different drummer than most of the rest of us, but is a tender spirit.  Because of divorce, she has lost track of her children and does not know where her children are, and has no relatives here.  She has also lost two husbands to death and recently lost her companion-dog, Victor which was very hard for her.
             Most of these sisters are converts to the church.  They come to church every week to support one another.  They understand the principle of stewardship, and being their brother’s keeper. They are grateful for their chapel that they have had for only about 20 years, and take turns cleaning every week. It is touching to see them all come out with pruning shears to clean the church yard together.  When you try to do some of the heavier work to help them, they act like they are more able than I am.  I think since I wear a skirt most of the time they think I can’t do anything even if I am in pants. Anyway, I think they enjoy the work, and tell me they are fine.  Then they can hardly move the next day, but never complain.  I am afraid I complain at times, but am working on that.   What a positive attitude they have, what commitment and dedication.
              Have I learned anything since being here?  Yes.  I’ve learned that my problems in life seem small by comparison to others.   I am blessed beyond measure both temporally and spiritually.  The testimonies of the saints here burn brightly and their individual strength is felt.   I am humbled to be in their presence.  I am thankful for all the Lord has blessed me with. Thankful that I have always had food, a  safe home,  my education, a family whom I love and cherish and that loves me in return and who is there when I need them; for a husband who understands me and is a good man.        And above all, I am thankful for the gospel which has been a guide to me all my life.  I love the gospel with all my heart. I would be nothing without the gospel.  I know our Heavenly Father loves us individually and knows our names.  I know he answers our prayers and wants us to ask him for what we need and want. I know when I draw near unto my Heavenly Father, He draws near unto me and gives me answers and direction in my life.  Sometimes I don’t ask, because I know he will answer and I am not ready to hear the answer, but I should.  I think we slow our own progress by depending on ourselves too much.  Today we desperately need His guidance and direction.  I know when I read the Book of Mormon, it strengthens me and helps me be closer to my Father in Heaven. I love the counsel in the Book of Mormon and the scripture that says, “..lean not unto thy own understanding;  in all thy ways acknowledge Him and he shall direct thy paths.”   I am thankful for the priesthood in my home.  Having not had that when I grew up, I value it every day and am glad the Lord has entrusted that power to us.  I could not have raised my family without priesthood blessings to sustain me.  Because of the troubled times we live in, I am especially thankful for a living prophet, President Monson,  and know he gives us warnings and directions on how to live our lives. The gospel gives me a sense of peace and safety—it teaches me how to live with joy and happiness.  I bear testimony that God lives and because he live we to will live eternally.  God bless you all and remember how much we love and think about you. 
Love, Mom.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

New Nature Worry

Hi Everyone again,
I forgot to tell you about a new land development here that has some of the sisters alarmed.  We developed a big split across the road about 8" wide now that goes up the side of the mountain.  They filled it up, but it opened again.  They were calling it a ground slump.  It is wherte a mass of land slips and shifts from the top, then upswells at the bottom.  This has gone on for a couple of weeks now.  There are also sink holes appearing in the area.  One house was evacuated.  It is affecting about a 4 mile area.  The latest is that they found an old man-hold and it is full of water and evidentally filling from somewhere and washing down the mountain.  Guess we'll see what happens there.  On the other side of town from us.
Thats all.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Thoughts on Life

Dear Family,

I haven’t written for a long time and I apologize. Life is so “the same.” There is little to write. Dad shovels snow, fixes tires, chops wood (I carry wood). I watch him work or visit with the sisters. I am getting really good at visiting. I think that fills a need. When people live alone, they get lonely, they don’t get to reminisce, or talk, or just have a good sounding board. So I think they enjoy the visits, and I certainly do. Sometimes one just needs to talk. Men don’t seem to have this need so much. Weird. I do genealogy, prepare lessons for Relief Society, bake cookies for people and try not to eat them before I get them given away. Pretty much I keep house, wash, and cook (which I still dislike by the way). Everyone loves dad. They will really miss him when he leaves. A couple of the sisters call and love to visit with him when he answers the phone. The little branch here definitely needs our “youth?” It is a blessing to be able to work hard, and the sisters have really needed some help this winter which is worse than normal.

We had a fun relief society enrichment clip_image002meeting last week. We did Yoga for seniors, soaked our feet in minty Epson salts, exfoliated them, creamed them, and it felt lovely; then we had a lecture on personal hygiene, and lunch. We only had six of us there but we had a good time. It reminded me of having a pretty spell at home. One lady clip_image004wants me to do yoga for the senior citizen center. I hope the lady calls me; it would be fun.

Last week we were literally snowed in for a couple of days. When it snows here, once it begins, it just keeps on steadily all day. We got around 4 feet of new snow. It can lay down 1-2 inches of snow an hour. This week we shoveled everyone out just before we got wind and rain. Wind has blown all day at about 60 mph. One hundred foot trees are swaying 5 feet to either side of their trunks giving a 10 foot swipe. I keep checking to see if any have broken off. This has to be the only place where you check for fallen trees or bear scat when you go outside. It rains like it snows—buckets of it all day. The nice thing is it is warmer, and it has melted 2-3 feet of snow, so now I can see out my window a little better. When the temperature drops, all this water will freeze, and it will be icy and slick. We will have to wear our snow tires (things that attach to your shoes with studs in them to keep you from falling down). We probably have another couple of months of winter. People say when the snow melts, it is a real mess for awhile. I will probably have to break down and get some water boots. Many people here wear those green boots we call pipe-moving boots. They have some that are slightly better looking at Wal-Mart that are black rubber with colored polka-dots or flowers for the ladies. (of course, you have to get to a Wal-mart in Juneau or Whitehorse ) At first, I thought these boots must be for kids, but guess not. I am afraid my long skirts will be rather water soaked, but I don’t want to shorten them for one wet spring. My Merrill boots are ok but are heavy, and I probably don’t want them to be so warm.

clip_image006clip_image008We finally saw some moose. Here again animals are larger than the same species at home. (can’t find my moose pictures—I think I didn’t have my camera) These were along the road, but I understand sometimes they come right into town. The snow has been so deep that it is causing them to move down.

Now I am feeling inclined to talk about the birds here. The Tlingit Native Americans in this area have totems of the Eagle, Raven, fish, and Bears primarily. In Whitehorse, they had the Raven, and the Wolf. Anyway, the ravens are almost as fun to watch as the eagles. They are huge and love to play in the wind gusts. They also come in flocks to peck around the parking lot by the store. I caught some of them at the service station. They hardly move when you drive through them.

clip_image010clip_image012Eagles are always wonderful. It makes me feel so awesome to catch them on camera. There is something special about actually taking the picture yourself. I love this eagle who is warming his wings in the sun. It is almost like the eagles pose for their pictures. They also roost in the tops on the trees and never in the pine trees. They like to be in the open areas. Maybe it is because they need the space for their wings to land. The eagles always seem to roost in the same spots and the same trees. Many times there will be 4 or more eagles in the same tree. I have a few pictures of eagles in flight, but they are hard to catch.

clip_image014We recently found four swans that seem to have forgotten to migrate. They are simply beautiful. There are also huge seagulls, a different variety than the ones we have. Buzzards are cool. Here again the nature here is just so beautiful I can hardly get enough of it.

Here in Haines, there is only one main road, so people say, “ Just go out the road.” I thought that was so dumb until I realized that there is literally only one main road. If you go “out “the road, it isn’t hard to find most places. They will say, “He lives at 35 mile.” And you know it is just out the road. When it snows though it is a bit difficult to find the mile markers, let alone the little lane openings that have been plowed. Oh they have a new term here “the burm.” The burm is where piles of snow are in front of your drive way or along the side of the road that the snow plow has plowed up. We hate the burm because we always have to shovel it away for everyone to get out of their drives.

Well I think that is about all I have to say for now. We sure love to hear from you and know how your life is going. Hope you have a good day tomorrow.

Love you tons, Mom

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Journal Entry

Dec. 10, 2011

Dear Family and friends,

We too are really missing our kids. We've been out almost a year and still have a year to go. What were we thinking! If the next year goes as fast as this one has, we'll still be home in no time at all. I can't believe how fast the weeks and months fly by! We have also talked about how sad it would be if our kids got so used to being without us they won't care when we get home, and they will be so involved with their friends and family they won't have time for us. We want to visit them in the spring after we get home on our way to Florida for our "Old Family" reunion! I think it will be really fun! Of course, we're not thinking about that right now, but will be next year at this time!

We do have time to reflect and read quite a lot, though we have been pretty busy this past week with a funeral on Friday, (the guy who was flown south, died of an aneurysm) getting the church ready for meetings on Saturday, conducting and holding meetings on Sunday (The branch president is still gone for a couple of more weeks), then spending Monday and Tuesday sawing up and splitting a second tree that blew down in the parking lot of the church. We hauled it over to a widow's house that heats with wood and now between this one and the one last month she has enough wood for the winter. She really appreciates it. I hope they are about done blowing over, though. When I was young it didn't take three days afterwards to recover! We had to split them all with a maul and wedges and it still feels like work! Then we stacked it on her porch so it will be out of the snow.

clip_image002Wednesday we did the family history center in the morning, visited in the afternoon, and in the evening I helped teach the community woodworking class at the high school that I've been doing. Next week is the last night, but they asked if I could help again starting in January. It has given us a great opportunity to get to know fanatics. We have the blessing of our mission president to do so. Of course I'm doing it as community service and not getting paid for it. The guy I teach with (the official teacher) attends the Baha’i church with his wife, and the other shop teacher doesn't go to church, but we found out his wife who lives in Montana is a member. She came to visit him for Thanksgiving, and we picked her up for church. She is a recent convert, and will be moving up next fall. We asked Darwin if he'd like to learn about what is wife believes and he said he's not ready yet, but will let us know when he is. Anyway, Thursday was our “P” day for washing, shopping and cleaning the house with Family History in the evening again, yesterday we helped a lady work out some problems with her home loan and insurance company, today we went to 33 mile with a young couple for hamburgers (the only place in the area for good ones), then came home and helped decorate the Christmas tree over at the church, then went and watched the “Snow Dragon” in the Community Christmas Parade. Also visited some less actives and made arrangements to pick them up for church tomorrow. So goes our weeks!


The weather here changes from month to month. Today's paper said we got 11 feet (135.8") topping the previous November record of 68". On December first it turned warmer and windy, thus the trees blowing down, as well as power lines. Weather has been into the 40s, we've also gotten about 10" of rain, so the snow level has dropped to about 18", and most of the roads are nearly clear. I'm really glad, I've been getting really tired of blowing the walks clear of snow every day, often with 2' of new snow. Today was cooler, about 32F, but crystal clear and sunny. The sun rises about 8:45, goes down by 3:15, but hey, any little bit helps! At noon it was barely above the mountains on the Southern horizon, goes down fast. When it does cool off in the evenings the roads get really slick, but at least we don't have to shovel it! We are warm and cozy in our little cottage, we have baseboard heaters heated by water from the church. Like heated floors, baseboards take a long time to respond, so we pretty much set it and leave it the same all the time. Sometimes it feels a little cool when it's windy, when it's nice it's a little warm, but we're definitely not complaining! The church system is heated with oil which is really expensive, but electricity is even more so, and they don't have natural gas available here. Many people spend $600-1200/month just for heating oil. We're really glad it's included with our cabin!

We are planning our branch Christmas party tomorrow; we'll have a dinner at the church, play a couple of games, and exchange "white elephant" gifts. The people seem to really like doing things, even though they are older. We changed it from next Saturday to Friday so one of the part member-less-active families could come, but the dad got a new job so he can't come anyway. His wife and two youngsters will be there. We are really hoping to teach him as we get to know him better. He works as a mechanic in a garage, but works half days Saturday and all day Sundays. Maybe pretty soon he can trade some weeks with others who work there.

Some of our dear friends from Whitehorse called and want us to come have Christmas dinner with them. We'd really love to, but can't unless President Lehman gets back from Washington and is feeling well enough to do without us. We won't know for another week or so. If all goes well, they should be back on the 20th or 21st. I hate to be gone the first week he gets back. We're still trying to find out what the Sunday schedule is for New Years this year. Is New Years Day going to also be Fast Sunday? What are they planning over there?

Well, I guess I'd better be going. I still need to do the paper program for church tomorrow; it's our primary program for our one kid in primary. He just turned 11 two weeks ago, so unless we get some more kids coming next year we'll have to cancel primary and start up a young men's program!

Hope things are going well for you. Did you have a good Thanksgiving? What are you doing for Christmas? We have loved getting family letters from some of you, especially with the pictures!

Love, Elder & Sister Powell

Monday, November 28, 2011

More Snow :)

We got another 2 feet of snow last night.  It brings our November total to 133".  Right now it's raining, we hope it stays warm enough so it doesn't snow more tonight!  I spent four hours shoveling and plowing this morning, then this afternoon the snow slid off the roof.  I'm attaching a couple of pictures of our "partly cloudy."

Hope it's better tomorrow as we leave for Juneau!   Love ya.  Dad.