What God Sees

What God sees when he sees me: My future:God sees all of my next thoughts, next mistakes, next hopes, next decisions, next relationships, next commitments, next desires—and my final breath. At this moment, God sees me living with him in his spiritual realm forever. My present:He sees all my immediate thoughts and why I am…

Miracle Encounters

Shadows of spawning salmon fascinate my dog, Ruby. Salmon live at sea for years before traveling up Alaska rivers and streams to spawn in brooks or lakes. In these water courses, male salmon fertilize the eggs that females lay. The eggs hatch into alevin (hatchlings) then grow into fry. From fry they grow into smolt…

Leap Too Far

With sticky watermelon slices in our fingers, my sons and I hiked toward the sound of a frothy roar. The boys trotted ahead and found a flume spewing water through a natural canal. My eight-year-old gauged a leap to the opposite side of a concrete structure and bounded like a whippet. He waved his melon…

Belle’s Baskets

            When Belle was a girl, she listened to Deg Hit’an legends told by her elders in kashims (community houses). She never imagined that someday she would be honored as an Alaskan Native artisan in Washington D.C.               Belle lived around Grayling and Anvik, Alaska, where Deg Hit’an men sawed trees to power the steamships…

Model Mice

A family can learn a lot from Alaska’s singing voles. This rodent constructs a labyrinth of chambers about seven inches below ground. The singing vole prefers raising a family just a little above the tree line, in the “moderate” climes of northern and southern Alaska.             Our vole vocalist is also called the hay mouse,…

Eternal Tongue

“How would you feel if your baby died?” Chief Marie, the last Indian fluent in the Eyak tongue, explained how she would have felt if she had allowed her ancestral language to become extinct. According to linguists, 19 of the 20 indigenous languages in Alaska may die out as English replaces everyday Native words. Linguists…

Facing Change

            A few of us are blessed with a primeval sense of abandon. We live for the satisfying shudder, bungee jumping from a rock face, or standing pat in the face of a grizzly’s false charge. Far more of us are contented to partake of the perils on the Last Frontier at the safe end…

What Do You Expect?

Soldiers in Afghanistan have reported a sense of desperation at times, when IEDs (improvised explosive devices) surround their positions. They say that it’s smarter to risk a sniper’s bullet than to “guess” their way across a zone not officially cleared of landmines. In my frantic everyday life, I, too, can feel hemmed in — by…

How Embarrassing

Psalm 94:17-19 If the LORD had not been my help, My soul would soon have dwelt in the abode of silence. If I should say, “My foot has slipped,” Your lovingkindness, O LORD, will hold me up. When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Your consolations delight my soul. How embarrassing…When I agree with my…

I Will, He Will

When I reach down deep and nothing reaches back. When my heart beats hard and I have no strength. When no one knows the darkness inside. When something whispers, “Run!” but I stay. When hope is a mirage. When love is a word without substance. When all that is familiar seems foreign. When making sense…

The Egg is Gone

When my granddaughter and I reached our car with a load of groceries, we discovered that our eggs had rolled helter-skelter inside their carton. Naturally, an analogy came to mind… Our emotions often roll and tumble during upheavals in our lives–like eggs spilt in their carton. In time, we fit each “egg” back into its…

Tide or Miracle?

And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” (Matt. 21:22) When Officer Noah, of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) spotted beluga whales marooned in the Turnagain Arm, he flew his Piper Cub to 500 feet to get a better look. A little west of Bird Point (Southwest of Anchorage) the…

Just Wait!

The mundane. Such monotony. Sameness, day after day — until the lightning strikes. And in a flash of recognition you know God is speaking. His contact comes in a thousand different ways: while you lend a hand to someone; or give of your substance; or speak encouragement; or you listen to someone who needs to…

Safe Migration

            It was April in Alaska, when steel-gray skies weigh upon the heart, and birch trees seem to dress in mourning attire. About mid-month we hadn’t packed away knit caps yet, and underfoot my wife and I crunched traction sand on pavement that finally replaced black ice. As we ambled along, we desperately searched for…

Grizzly Memories

            An Alaskan English professor and her two young nieces ran afoul of a grizzly on a trail at the Chena River State Recreation Area. The bear was only a cub—perhaps 200 pounds, but it seemed intent upon protecting territory or killing for food. A burly sow wandered elsewhere out of sight, but this juvenile…

Dear Preachers

Please stop teaching that the principles in the Bible have many interpretations relative to a person’s circumstances in life. To any thinking Christian, you sound ridiculous. It sounds like you believe that God’s written word for mankind can be stretched like taffy to accommodate human appetites. If you teach that God waffles about the way…

Sweet Things

I am reminding myself today to soak in the fine things, the sweet things. Like taking strength from the bearhug of a grown-up son. Or drinking in the silly smiles of a granddaughter as she kisses my unshaven cheek again and again. I can ignore these moments like a reflexive breath or I can savor…

Where Else?

Okay, there may be a few places, but: Where else would our hackles rise as we hurry past a grazing moose? Where else could we hear, from our porch, a wolfpack singing songs of the hunt? Where else could we see bald eagles launch from the branches of a cottonwood? Where else do lengthening days…

Palm of Dread

It’s morning again… Sometimes, while I sleep, my subconscious meddles in God’s business, trying to solve problems. I awaken feeling like a giant palm is pressing down upon me. But I am learning that the moment I blink awake, I must choose to “set my mind on things above, not on earthly things (Colossians 3:2),”…