Monday, February 27, 2006

Cracked Ribs, Forgiveness & Healing

I have been busy and away from home during these Fur Rondy days. One of the Fur Rondy Events we went to during the past week was the Native Crafts Show at the Diamond Mall. So many crafty women there! (And men.) It's a great place to find native crafted art, jewelry, and clothing and a nice break from winter to wander around looking and visiting. Beautiful stuff there!

We had a long week of meetings to attend starting Friday the 17th. On Sunday while we were at home for one day my husband Doug went riding with Klint, Calli and Kris. They found some "powder" and were doing whatever it is that they do on the snow machines when Doug's flipped over and most likely landed on top of him before rolling away. The result was some cracked ribs.

He came home on Sunday and said, "I think I hurt my back."

Doug has always been active, and very self-sufficient. He works hard and is happiest working very hard. He is physically fit and would never let me lift anything heavy or cumbersome, (if he was around). As I have watched him hobble around I had to cry. Back problems are things that one does not get over very quickly, if at all. Doug has always had a strong back and I struggle with mine (twins, lifting bigger rocks than myself...when Doug was not looking). Watching him move with such effort has been hard for me to see.

The meetings that began on Monday, I thought they would be canceled until he could get around easier ---but NOPE. Off we went on Monday to the evening Anchorage Native Musicale being sponsored by Anchorage Native New Life Fellowship. He was in constant pain but kept saying he felt better doing something than to just sit at home.

That whole day Doug would not let me carry his bass guitar (very heavy in case) no matter how much I protested and told him that I should and could carry that. He said, "No Connie, it's too heavy." So, slowly we would head inside or outside.

The next morning we left early to get to the morning Native Leadership Gathering sessions. The meetings were put on by Wellspring Ministries and they were excellent. The topic was interesting so any hope of not going to the rest of the morning meetings was lost after going to the first one!

By Wednesday Doug agreed to let me carry his bass along with my computer bag and the projector for the PowerPoint Show that I ran at the Musicale. I think after this he started to look straighter.

The week is gone, the weekend too and this Monday morning, I am still tired. I told myself as I rolled over and went back to sleep, it's my healing time. I slept until 8:40 a.m. which is a long time for me!

During the Leadership sessions we heard some very good stuff. Stuff about forgiveness and how it heals our bodies to let go of past hurts and to forgive others even when we don't want to. When we forgive even when we don't want to, our hearts are freed from the strongholds we have allowed the Evil One to have a foothold in our minds and hearts then we are healed. In the place of unforgiveness God puts in joy and peace.

When we are full of joy and peace we are happy. When we are happy, even cracked ribs heal faster!

It's so good to be home.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The Refrigerator

Ashlee's ArtworkAJ's Artwork

Valentine candy and movies filled our evening while the grandkids were over. These are the pictures they made for me. I guess my blog looks Gramma-style today.

Yesterday, I sat in awe as the grandkids filed in then completely took over my thoughts and afternoon. It's amazing.

I listened, this morning, as they got louder and rowdier. I thought to myself, just let them go, you are the Gramma and you should only spoil them and soon their parents will return and they will go back home.

That crazy thought was shattered when they knocked over a candle and broke the holder it was sitting in. Alrighty then! I dried my hands and I left the kitchen to assess the damages. As I picked up the now useless pottery, I listened while kids began to bicker about just who was REALLY the most to blame for this unfortunate situation.

I decided making them sit down for a while would work for settling them down.

Is it right to keep the "Gramma's my name and spoilin's my game" attitude? Or should I spend the time I have with the grandkids disciplining too? What do you do?

Personally I have decided that the right behavior of our grandchildren is of more value to me than being their "best" Gramma-friend. I would rather be known as one of the Grandparents that took the time to teach important, right, life-long, how-to-live truths than to be remembered as the Gramma that just tolerated them until their parents THANKFULLY returned to pick them up.

One truth I believe should be taught children is love. What is love? I believe that love is actively helping, doing things for the other person. Love is shown by acts of care. For God so loved the world that He ... GAVE... Love is not some continual light-headed, giddy feeling, although I think that there is a time in life when that is a big part of building a love relationship. But that goofy feeling is not love. Love is so much more than stars in your eyes and baubles in your hands. Maybe so many people think it is and that is why they say things like... I fell out of love with you. If your hands are saying "I love you" how do they fall out of love? I think instead, they have "lost that loving feeling".

While I was dishing up lunch they all loudly began to say, "I love you Grammaloo!" "This is so good, I love you Grammaloo." "You are the best Gramma, I love you!" They each got louder as they tried to out do the others. I said, "That's enough with the I love you's. I want to see you tell me that you love me with your hands, .....not your mouths."

That began a good discussion. "What do you mean Grammaloo, saying I love you with my hands?"

"Yep, like instead of throwing your jacket on the floor when you come indoors if you would hang it up, I will look at that and know that you're doing that because you love me. Instead of kicking your shoes off and in the middle of the floor, if you would put them along the wall so no one stumbles over them, that means you love everyone that you are being careful for. If you throw your trash away and you don't leave it for me or someone else to do, that is saying I love you ...with your hands."

Hopefully someday they will remember Valentine's Day 2006 at Grammaloo's not because I gave them everything their little hearts desire, but because that was when we talked about love, and the way you can demonstrate your love with your hands and not only your mouth. It takes so much more effort, doesn't it?

So the rest of the day I was hearing.

"I'm hanging my coat up Grammaloo, because this is saying I love you!"

"I put your paper plate in the trash for you, because I love you."

"I made this valentine with my hands, because I love you."

This is something I learned later in life. What a difference it makes in relationships.

My grandchildren are eager to please me, and I have to say, they make me happy! But all that talk we did in hopes of learning a quieter way to say I love you has not diminished their loud words at all ----it seems to have increased it!

AJ, Lexie & Ashlee

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Please Be Mine, Valentine!

I remember those very decorated Valentine boxes, in school, with the slot at the top. I also remember the gobs of red and white construction paper we used to make each other Valentine's Day cards.

Big red hearts with little white hearts.
Hearts with popping out hearts.
Hearts with cut-out hearts.
Hearts with doors that unfolded to show "please be mine" notes.
By the end of the day --tired hands made messy hearts covered with paste.

It was such fun to have a valentine delivered to my desk on Valentine's Day. Even the messy ones were hoarded in my Valentine Friend's pile of hearts.

Secret admirer Valentine's were stuck into coat pockets when no one was looking, of course! One day, even I found one in my pocket! As I looked around, every smile immediately belonged to an admiring suspect.

Years later, my special Valentine came into my life. He's the one with those popcorn-spilling, egg-dropping kisses! The Valentine that took the sparkles from my eyes and put them on my finger! Lovely, candy-filled boxes then became standard Valentine's Day treats.

With kisses and hugs and more, along came five pairs of eyes which sparkled when they gave me my carefully made "Mommy, Please Be My Valentine".

My kids brought store-bought Valentine's to school and now some of them have little ones of their own.

Our grandson AJ (almost four years) has been considering marriage. He asked his Mom if he could marry her. She said, "Your Dad already married me." He was very disappointed. One day soon after that, he was sitting at my table eating his favorite, cookies. (The way to a man's heart....) As he ate he stopped to ask me, "Grammaloo? Are you married?" "Yup, I am married to Gramppa." "MAN!"

Foiled again!

Well, I hope that the sweetheart in your life has made this day as sweet for you as you have made it for your sweetheart!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Running with the Big Dogs

My shih tzu Chewy.

His registered AKC name is Culuk. Culuk means feather in the Alutiiq language. You can read about it at the Alutiiq Museum. Click the title for a link there. Click here to hear it pronounced.

The dust bunnies we chase with our brooms we also called culuks. They are light, fluffy, move with every little breath of air and can be frustrating. That is why I thought Culuk was a good name for a little dog like mine.

I have been brushing and combing him so much lately not because I love to, but because if I don't he will end up being one big matted culuk! I think I need to find a good shampoo/conditioner. I have no idea what a good shampoo for long, tangly fur is. I have been using baby shampoo on him. Lately he seems to get knots (matting) overnight! Doug was alarmed when I showed him the picture with his hair in a pony tail. hehe

I never ever thought I would want an indoor dog. We have always had outdoor dogs. I miss some of our other dogs that left us.

Troika #1 was Doug's dog. He was a great dog. We had to give him up after Doug decided to finish Bible school. Troika was too big on the campus. Mister Malcolm was my short basset hound mix. He was allowed to stay with us. Frankie, he got a bit squirrely around young kids so we had to give him away. Troika #2, our animal shelter-rescued dog. Clara, she slid out from under the fence one day and we never found her. I won't forget them. Both Troika's were smart, smart dogs. Mister, he was always quiet, calm and faithful. Clara was such a pouter. Frankie could jump the highest! Well, maybe Chevy can claim that title now.

Chevy is our BIG outdoor dog.

He is 8 years old now. This winter I noticed Chevy getting up slower and stiffer. I know how that feels. I moved him into my heated garage for the winter. He lost his thick coat now. He needs an extreme brushing. I am not very sure if he likes coming in. He rather likes it outdoors.

I thought Chevy was a great name for him. He is a big Akita, lab, husky mix. He fits right in with the rest of the Chevy's in the yard too!

Chevy and Chewy running together.

"A righteous man cares for the needs of his animal, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel." Proverbs 12:10

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


Moose are normally loners but have been passing through this area in herd-like numbers! One day we watched eleven moose meander through here. We usually see a cow and a calf or a cow with several calves, but not in large numbers. Although, during this time of the year we have counted over a hundred moose congregated on the Palmer Hay Flats before. I guess it's their Annual Moose Convention.

I felt sorry for them when it was -30 f. I suppose those heavy coats of theirs work well at keeping out the cold and keeping in the warmth. With the temperatures at 35 f here I am sure they are feeling very cozy right now.

I have wondered what draws them to the Palmer Hay Flats during this time of the year (normally so cold). Maybe the muskrats sulfur-smelling bye bye-products create heat while decomposing. ? :-)

When you drive into Anchorage you can look out across the Flats and see their mounds or push-ups of dirt and hay. They do that to keep their winter tunnels open through the icy surfaces.

We still have a long way until we truely have a spring meltdown but it close! I am looking forward to more sun, longer days and warmer weather.

I hope that you find the weather station I just added to the blog helpful. It is updated by every so often and the time changes then too. The time is not current. I am not sure how often the temperature is updated, maybe every half an hour.

I found a Webcam right down the street from us! It's on Hawk Lane and the Parks Hwy. It is on the road that goes to Houston High School. Other Cams can be viewed at the Alaska Traffic Reports.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Making Tracks

The wind is blowing pretty good this morning and the snow is melting fast. Feels nice to be able to walk out on the deck, pick up a log or two for the stove and all without feeling like every spot of warmth will have vacated the house before I get the door shut again. It has warmed up to 32F.

Schools are closed in the Anchorage area due to high winds and water on icy roads. In the recent years, it seems that February will bring deep-freezes and melting chinooks before spring finally makes its welcomed return.

The last time this weather came I decided to go to the post office. I was just about back home when I lost all traction going up a bit of a hill. I began sliding back down the hill (backwards), the tire hit the ditch then whipped the car around and slammed-stuck me into the chinook softened snow. I don't think I want to do that again ---so I am going to leave the mail sitting in the warm, dry post office box today.

Marie and Karla have returned from making tracks up and down the East Coast. It's always so nice to see your kids again after they have been gone for a while, isn't it? Especially when they get home safely!

Karla had left all her babies with her husband in Washington State then traveled with Marie to Maryland, Virginia, North and South Carolina. Karla's oldest is five and her youngest is ten months, so that was a big accomplishment for both Dad, Mom and especially "Grammy" in Washington!

Lately our kids have been playing games here occasionally on Sunday nights. Yesterday we tried to watch the Superbowl. I don't know much about the game but since there is such a to-do about it each year I try to watch and try to learn about it. (I forget all that I have learned by the time the next Superbowl comes around.) I was hoping that the Sea Hawks would win because my daughter Karla was hoping they would!

Making tracks online, I ran into several blogs and online websites where I read negative comments about "Jesus Freaks" or people that "push their beliefs off on other cultures" and by doing that have wreaked their way of life forever.

I, an Alutiiq, am thankful for those wonderful people that knew Jesus Christ and the difference His death and resurrection meant for one like me and my ancestors. I am thankful that they left their homes to come to Alaska to share their faith with my early relatives. This saved me from a multitude of grief!

When Marie returned from the East Coast she brought a book that she knew I would add to my collection of Alaskan and Native story books and history. I read with fascination this fact coming out of the Tsimshian tribe:

"Slavery occured among some Northwest Coast tribes, such as the Haida, Tlingit, and Nootka. Slaves are usually prisoners from enemy tribes or their descendants. The lives of these slaves were not much different from those of their owners, but during potlatches an opulent chief might show his contempt for the wealth and property by casually slayiing one of his slaves with a special club called "slave-killer."" American Indian Trickster Tales, Richard Erdoes and Alphonso Ortiz

So many, many thanks to the Missionaries that brought a life of freedom in Christ. I, for one vote, would not want to continue in a lifestyle where my dear children may have been violently stolen from me! Taken to spend the rest of their lives in a strange land with the possible future of being clubbed to death! Taken to never return home again! People who think my ancestors lived a tranquil life and were all love and dandelion butter'd noses don't really know what they are talking about.

I realize that there are things of every culture that is good, but fear? Fear was a major part of the past of many tribes and peoples, not only for the Alutiiq or Alaskan peoples. Fear from other tribes and fear from the dark spirt-world too!

Dad told me this about when he was young: they would hurry home in the evenings because as soon as it got dark they would hear the "whispers" all around the outside of the village. That was not good! Jesus Christ's victory over evil has banished those fears from the lives of our people who have accepted His truth.

Another story Dad told was about Father Herman, a Russian Orthodox monk, when he first came to the villages on Kodiak Island. As he would walk past some of the people they would begin to scream out when his shadow fell across them. The dark spirits that held our people in fear, they were the ones that were screaming. The Alutiiq people were made free from evils power over their lives.

I come from the Alutiiq people. I am one that loves Jesus Christ. I guess I am an Alutiiq Jesus Freak! That's okay with me. I want to be like Apostle Paul and be considered to be a fool for Christ. Only the enemies of Christ call Christ's followers fools. He will be forever banished someday, so don't follow him. He is losing. Why would we want to be on the losing side?

I want continue to follow in the tracks that Jesus Christ left because He conquered the evil that kept and still tries to keep us full of fear, hate and anger. I am thankful for the tracks that were left behind that went to my ancestors and other tribes. They brought freedom from being held in fear! I want to walk in them. Just like others I fall out of the tracks occasionally, but He forgives and helps us to get back on track!

We need to continue to struggle in this way. Christ's tracks lead to life eternal!

"We are fools for Christ's sake"I Corinthians 4:10

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


I walked outside (last night) to take Chewy for his last rest stop. He did his business and we hurried back to the porch. Now I notice big ol' moose tracks along side the sidewalk! Yikes! So glad we did not meet up with a moose. Moose encounters are not something I want to end my day with. If I had my camera... maybe!

Earlier, I had heard Chewy begin to gruff and then bark. I didn't go to the window to look because he tends to cry wolf. His barks have come to mean ... maybe, maybe not and more likely not to whatever he may be seeing through his fur covered eyes. Now if I went to look this time I would have enjoyed seeing a moose right outside my living room window!

I swept the floor for the second time today (wood chips on the floor and little hairy Chewy feet scatter them all over the floor). As I worked I listened to the news on Alaska's Gospel Voice Radio Station - KAGV 1110 AM and I heard something like this:

Enviromental watchdogs are working to keep oil drilling off of our beaches. Spokesperson: "This is a never-ending threat when people out there are working to keep drilling for oil." (All reworded by me, it's not exact, but you get the idea.)

I can never figure out people who do this. Is there an alternative to using oil?

I wonder how they got to work today? Horse? Dogsled? Stagecoach?

People who are fighting to keep our lands "pristine" don't they use the same methods we use to heat their homes? Go to work? Come home from work? Recreation....? Or do they know something that they are not sharing with the rest of us?

I know there are ways we all should practice to be more responsible and not waste fossil fuels since once it is gone that will be all that there is. Oil is not going to reproduce itself and make more for the next generations.

Wood. A wonderful renewable resource! We need to figure out how to run a car on a log! I bet it is possible with today's technology.

How about those old shoes hiding in the closet?

"Got any old shoes we can use in the car, Mom? We want to go to the Mall."

Now I'm thinking about my son-in-law Chris' shoes. Nice big ol' shoes ----probably can run a car for several days with those two!

Tires. Trash. Grind it up, use it all for fuel. I believe that there already are home heaters that may be set to use trash for heat, but I didn't look it up.

I think concerned citizens that are out there crying wolf should have to present an alternative to our troubles before they spout off to lock up our beaches and our tundras.

What will all the people "addicted to oil" use in our cars, boats, cruise ships, freight trucks, jet planes, trains, snowmachines, ATV's, RV's.... what will we all do when there isn't any oil to run in them ---because we are not drilling. Not drilling so that we can protect the beaches? Beaches that we won't even be able to drive to ---or travel to ----because we had no fuel to drive to work!

...hmmm? hah?

So many questions about that and so many other things today.

Aren't you glad that we pray as Jesus taught us to "...thy will be done on earth as it is Heaven"? I am!

I believe that God knows about all these things that bother us. He is never surprised when calamity strikes. I believe this old world will continue on just as He has planned. When He wills it, we all will come together in His presence ---the good and the bad (and even the ugly, hehe). We ALL will see Him just as He is. When we finally see Him we shall surely remember all things we believed or didn't believe about Him ---on this dying earth.

"Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!"" Mark 9:24