Observed in Alaska
Glaciers: It may look like a massive sheet of ice, but actually a glacier is a living, frozen river. As we watched the Hubbard glacier for several hours, we heard it talking continually—sounding like a never-ending summer thunderstorm. We watched numerous “calvings” of great chunks of ice at water’s edge, giving birth to large and small icebergs. Caves and crevasses revealed varying shades of blue. The Hubbard loses about 6 feet of ice each day, while more snow and ice is added at the top. The journey from top to bottom can take several hundred years. Sometimes God’s formational work in us can seem glacial, but we can be certain that He is always “calving” new efforts at Christlikeness in us.Arctic Terns: The arctic tern goes the distance every year—a greater distance than any other animal. Starting out in Arctic regions, it migrates all the way to Antarctica, then back again—a round trip of 44,300 miles. This amazing bird flies as well as glides through the air, performing almost all of its tasks in the air. Talk about stamina!Salmon: Salmon species in the Pacific Northwest lay eggs in freshwater streams at high altitudes. After 1-3 years in the natal stream, they migrate downstream to brackish water, where their body chemistry changes to allow them to live in salt water. Sounds transforming. Then they move on to the ocean, where they stay for 1-5 years, until they are adults. Then they head home—most often back to their birth stream—to spawn. I watched many salmon try to make their way up the stream pictured—fighting forward, washed back down, repeat. Their perseverance was remarkable.Hardy people: Fishing in icy waters. Logging at high altitudes. Navigating serpentine roads in deep winter. Traveling by dogsled. Enduring bitter cold inland and 80 inches of rain on the coast. Encountering real wild life in the backyard. The hardiness of the people of Alaska reminds me of what a weather wimp I really am and affirms my gratitude that God gives grace for whatever and wherever He places in my life.Majesty: Towering mountains. Rugged forests clinging to rocky slopes. Cascades of water tumbling down cliffsides. Snow-covered mountains at the height of summer. Spectacular beauty. “For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made…” (Romans 1:20).Appreciating My Husband: We were in Alaska to celebrate 35 years of marriage—and it may have been the most focused on each other time we have had since our honeymoon 35 years earlier. Certainly, in today’s world, 35 years reflects the kind of stamina the arctic tern demonstrates. Navigating the challenges of rearing a family in our culture requires the perseverance of salmon. Though we don’t have hundreds of years, I am grateful that God’s work in our lives and our marriage is persistent—yet gentle. His grace has strengthened and sustained us repeatedly. Our prayer is that His beauty and splendor will increasingly shine forth from us.Oh yes. We had a lot of fun too!