Mushing Memories

At 93, pleasant memories glisten like snowflakes in my mother’s mind. Her paintings remind us of when she served up hot chocolate and mushing stories to parka-clad clients at our Mush A Dog Team theme park. Twenty years later, it’s hard to believe it was us who lived this Alaska life–with 40 howling huskies, harnesses,…

Reasons

Since October 26, 1973. That week in ’73 I wondered, “Will this really happen?” Carol struggled to focus on her school work at Rogue River High School, while I slammed particle board sheets through a panel saw at a cabinet shop in Grants Pass. It seemed like a dream when Carol’s mom agreed to legally…

Restore the Reed, Ignite the Wick

A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice… (Isaiah 42:3). (Scriptural Context: Isaiah reveals the coming Messiah as “Servant.” God will unlock eternity and justice for the “Gentiles” (everyone who is not of Jewish descent). As a boy, if I…

Our Story My Way

One Saturday, Tom, my youngest adult son, challenged me to get away from the computer and play outside. I followed him to 4-wheeler territory that locals call the Jonesville quarry. I remembered the Fossil Canyon trail from several years before — a pretty tame 4×4 jaunt, and easy on my 63-year-old bones. After traveling for…

Controlling Control

Control is the bully we should lose once and for all. We can’t seem to stop it, though it ruins our health and shreds precious relationships. Our need to control EVERYTHING has become our bread of life, and we meddle as if we possess sovereign foresight. Control commandeers the cable “remote” and infects our minds with…

Hold Fast

By perseverance the snail reached the ark. (Charles Spurgeon) May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance. (II Thes. 3:5) 

Climate Changing–Again

Here come the fall colors on the Last Frontier: Red, like rust. Red, like roses. Crimson red. Cherry red. Honey amber. Yellow-gold and bronze. Leaves cling or cartwheel everywhere. Needles and cones hold on for dear life in autumn winds. Night and morning clouds hide the mountains–until the sun shines a brief revelation: termination dust…

Her (Coffee) Cup Runneth Over

“Bring towels! I spilled some coffee…” An understatement… In the crevasses between the seats. Puddles in the cup holders. On the back seat floor too, rivulets of sweet, sticky home-made espresso. And Sweetie is nearly late to her appointment. MY MISSION: to hold the line against morning frustration—so I laugh as I swipe and dab.…

First Conversation in Heaven

What will your first conversation with a loved one be like–in heaven? “What’s on for tomorrow? Got plans?” I ask. “Not sure,” she says. “Can I see you again?” I ask. “Of course,” she says. I look down at our bare feet—feeling the smoothness of gold pavement. “We sure had a time, didn’t we?” my…

Years of Reflection

So much water over the dam for us two. Still overboard in love. For you younger-marrieds: It gets better season-by-season if you let it. You can start fresh right where you are. Commit to her. Commit to him. Don’t give up.

Marital Glee

Driving along Glenn Highway (Alaska) today I shared a wistful longing with my wife: “Sweetie, someday I want to climb that bluff and sit where the ancient hunters made their arrows, you know?” “Hmm. Yeah…” Sweetie’s forehead rests on the car window as she stares sleepily across Eklutna wetlands. Is she listening? “…that’s where they…

You Can Trust Her

Empathy, Sympathy, and Intercession are sisters who find fulfillment in helping others. Empathy will defend you when others bail. Empathy “feels” your pain, and knows your struggles because she has been there. Sympathy also shares your feelings. She strokes your emotions and comforts you—but if your situation gets too hot to handle, she may have…

Eternity Inside

Denali (Mount McKinley) amazes us with its visible landscape: Snow. Ice. Moraine. Rock. Wildlife. But an array of invisible life and elements are just as real. On Denali, thousands of creatures emit clouds of microscopic pheromones to communicate with their own species. Molten lava seethes beneath the mountain’s earthen crust. Wind rips through icy chasms…

Mom and Monet

Claude Monet was the driving force for Impressionist painting in the 1800s, and a master at capturing emotions in water and shadow. His rapid brush strokes apprehended color and light, with little emphasis on exactness. Monet painted the same scenes of flora as many as 200 times, his brush serving as a “time-lapse camera.” Monet’s…

Root Bear

Eustice dropped his bulldozer’s blade and squinted through drizzle where I pointed. “See it?” “Nah… Oh, wait… A-yuh!” A good-sized black bear hunkered on its haunches staring at us, motionless. Eustice flipped the bulldozer’s kill switch and twisted in his seat to get a better look. He shook his head. “Not movin’ a dite…” I…

The Shepherd Boy in Us

David’s mistakes echo throughout his 40 years as king like the hiss of a drawn sword. Adultery, murder, deception, rage, hubris… But despite all of his failings, God called David, “a man after my own heart.” (Acts 13:22) How is that possible? Learned commentators parse God’s reasons for this declaration: “David was quick to repent.”…

Cut It Loose

When we are at the end of our rope, sometimes we hear the old saw: “Tie a knot at the end of the rope and hold on!” while at the same time Wisdom hollers: “Let go of the rope, Dummy!” About 50 years ago, Fashion’s Shadow pranced like a parade horse, with me walking at…