Friday, March 30, 2007

Book: So You Don't Want to Go to Church Anymore

I was perusing another blog earlier this week and came across an entry about an interesting book. I downloaded the book (you can purchase a regular printed book, or download it as free PDFs) at the time, but didn't get to reading it until yesterday and I finished it this evening.

This is from the book's web site:
What would you do if you met someone you thought just might be one of Jesus’ original disciples still living in the 21st Century? That’s Jake’s dilemma as he meets a man who talks of Jesus as if he had known him, and whose way of living challenges everything Jake had previously known.

So You Don’t Want to Go To Church Anymore is Jake’s compelling journal that chronicles thirteen conversations with his newfound friend over a four-year period and how those exchanges turn Jake’s world upside-down. With his help, Jake faces his darkest fears, struggles through brutal circumstances and comes out on the other side in the joy and freedom he always dreamed was possible.

If you’re tired of just going through the motions of Christianity and want to mine the depths of what it really means to live deeply in Christ, you’ll find Jake’s story will give you hope for your own. This book probes the difficult questions and offers some far-reaching answers. It just might turn your world upside-down as well!

As I read the story, I couldn't help but identify with Jake, the main character. The spiritual journey, the struggles, and the faith and wisdom that he learns, is in so many ways the journey that I am presently on. I would place myself around the middle of the book -- the rest of the story is still to be written.

All who fit into the stereotypical "good Christian" mold needs to read this, because it will raise very uncomfortable questions about what it really means to be a follower of Christ, and questions about motivations behind "doing church."

All who don't fit into that mold, who at times may feel marginalized, can find a loving heavenly Father within these pages. For any who have ever wondered if they are really Christians if they don't carefully follow church-prescribed patterns of what a Christian looks like and acts like, the answer within these pages is a reassuring, "Yes."

For me, the big question that it raises is this: As a leader of a group of believers in Petersburg, am I helping those under my care to draw closer to and look more closely at Jesus, or am I just helping them fulfill what are believed to be religious obligations? Am I simply being a part of their religious To-Do list, or am I helping them to experience and know Jesus for themselves?

As I plan and run activities, as I prepare and deliver sermons, as I interact with church members, these are the questions I believe I need to ask myself. If something I'm thinking about doing or saying isn't bringing people closer to Jesus and to experience Jesus for themselves, then perhaps it really isn't that necessary.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Is it finally Spring?

Is it Spring?

Even the gulls are being lovey-dovey...
Is it Spring in the air?

On my walk past Eagle's Roost Park,
I saw dozens of Bald Eagles,
Perched in trees
And crusing through the air.

The sun is shining,
the air feels warmer...
Is Spring finally here?

by Mark Kubo

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

March Sunset

After all that snow today, the skies cleared up with plenty of clouds left for a colorful sunset this evening. We had just finished playing a game of Clue when I went out to the windows to take a look and saw colors that we hadn't seen in some weeks. Grabbing the camera, I rushed out to the Narrows, now at low tide, and the rocks had just enough snow left on them to create interesting patterns going out towards the water.

What Spring...?

The snow's been coming down fairly steady and sometimes quite heavy for much of the day today. Cell phone service has been completely out since around midnight. Anyway, I went out for the weekly minister's coffee at Helse's this morning and grabbed a few photos, and a few more this afternoon.

It looks like Narnia's endless winter...

Anyone familiar with C.S. Lewis' The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe has read about the endless winter of Narnia, thanks (or no thanks?) to the White Witch, where it's always winter but never Christmas. Well, our winter is beginning to feel a bit like that. Although the forecast office no longer has any advisories out for our area, we are seeing large quantities of huge, wet chunks of snow falling. Winter is not giving up without a huge fight, and I'm beginning to wonder where the White Witch of Alaska resides... Now some may say, "But you're in Alaska!" But this is Southeast Alaska, where we're supposed to be getting mostly liquid, not solid, precipitation.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Winter makes a comeback

Since Saturday, the skies have been showing off its blueness, the sun has been peeking through the clouds. The temperatures have warmed up, the snow is thawing, and edges of lawns can be seen where the snow has retreated.

Believing that spring is here and not expecting much more in the way of ice and snow, I swapped out my bicycle wheels yesterday from ones with studded tires to the ones with cyclocross type tires. I went out for a nice ride out and back for about 45 minutes under light showers.

This morning was similar. I rode out to the church to take the trash bin to the street for emptying today. Later on, in early afternoon, I rode out to the Post Office to retrieve today's mail. There was a package for Amy containing shoes and boots. I was afraid I was going to have to call Elise to come pick up the package, but I managed to cram the box with the other pieces of mail into my backpack and return home.

It was only short time after returning that I looked out the window and saw ice pellets raining down. After a few minutes of that, snow started to fall. It started out light, then got heavier and heavier until it was no longer possible to see across the Narrows.

And then just a few minutes later the snow tapered and the sun peeked through the clouds, and the far shore became visible again...

And soon enough, the skies began to clear and show some blue...

This evening, the snow is falling like it was in the first photo -- heavy and blown about by gusty winds. The far shore is nearly hidden again. The Juneau forecast office has issued a snow advisory for much of tomorrow, with 2 to 5 inches possible by the evening tomorrow.

It looks like Winter is giving her one last "hurrah!" before leaving the stage for spring's solo act.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Bible Reading 2007, Week 13

This week's readings comes from Deuteronomy 27-30 and the letter to the Galatians.

After quite a number of weeks in the books of the Law of the Old Testament, we are treated to Galatians where Paul gives his treatise on the proper place of law in a person's spiritual experience and journey. Chapter 5 is the summary of the proper relationships between peoples, God, grace, and law.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Is It Spring Yet?

A New Song

Here is a new song, hymn style, based on Ephesians 2:11-18, which speaks about how Christ's blood shed on the cross reconciles people back to God and with one another.

As I was composing the music, the melody from Beethoven's 9th Symphony popped into my mind and I realized that it fits this song's meter perfectly. So I used a short portion of the famous melody right near the end.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Our dehumidifier quit

I suppose I shouldn't be too surprised since it's been running 12+ hrs/day for almost six months now. It switches on and makes a short beep, but nothing else. We had Gerry come in and take a look, but couldn't find anything obviously wrong.

We could send it out for warranty work, as it's still under warranty, but that means paying hefty shipping fees. And even then, we need another unit ASAP so all of the moisture doesn't collect inside all over again. So we are trying to locate one to borrow, or else we will have to purchase another unit (hopefully the hardware store still has some in stock -- they cost more than ours did, though... sigh.)

Today is the first day of spring, or so I'm told. Looking outside, it's hard to imagine spring being here. The precipitation has turned to fairly heavy rain today, though, so maybe that is a sign.

Amy has been going to swimming lessons this last two weeks. Although I haven't seen it yet, I'm told that Amy has progressed from barely dog paddling about to being able to use her hands and arms effectively in the water.

Pastor Brown is here this week and he will be giving the sermon, so I have a break of sorts this week, at least from that particular bit of work.

We decided to use some of the sales proceeds to pay off the mortgage on our rental property. That way we save immeidately on interest payments, more than we would gain by leaving the funds in a money market account, and the rental income becomes a real income stream rather than simply passing through to the lender. We'll also be completely debt-free, at least until the next mortgage.

The children's choir is scheduled to perform twice during the first week of April. The first is on April 3 when our Alaska Conference leaders come through Petersburg. They do this once a year and have music and some talks. This year we will add the children to the mix. The evening begins with a potluck dinner, the music, and then talks on health and spiritual topics. I've invited the families of the choir's kids to come and stay for the whole program.

The second performance is for the community Good Friday service on the 6th at the Lutheran church. The tradition is that each minister in town who participates speaks on one of the assigned seven last words of Christ. I'll be giving a short message of around three minutes on the phrase, "It is finished," followed immediately by the kids singing When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, in a contemporary musical setting.

As far as I can tell, my body is still suffering from stress, though I haven't been experiencing bad headaches. Either the stress level has gone down, or my body has readjusted to the higher stress and I don't notice it anymore. I hope it's the former and not the latter. It really doesn't help that I haven't had much opportunity to go out and exercise as much as I would like. All the snow, slush, and ice hampers outside exercise. And there isn't enough room indoors to do anything.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Bible Reading 2007, Week 12

This week's reading comes from Deuteronomy 4:4-26:19 and Psalm 119:1-80.

These readings go back over Moses' final words to Israel where he repeats the instructions God gave to the people, to remind them that it is best for them to live inside the boundaries that God gave them. If they choose to live otherwise, Moses warns them that they will suffer the natural consequences.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Sermon, March 17: No Accident

(Click on above title link for sermon audio)

This week I take another look at the story of the wedding at Cana as recorded by John in chapter 2, verses 1-11. The sermon looks at the larger literary context that John places this story inside, so I look at John chapters 1, and also chapters 12-20.

The question that I think faces all of us from time to time is this: Is my life an accident? Especially when things aren't going well, we begin to question and doubt whether God really knows what is best for us, and we wonder if God can really be trusted. Wouldn't it be better if we could have the power to change the past and see into the future so that we could make better decisions today?

The story of the wedding at Cana led me to some lines of thought that answers some of the questions posed above.

(The first couple minutes sound a little different than the rest of the recording. I again forgot to turn on the recording device at the beginning, so I had to re-record the first couple of minutes after getting back home.)

Friday, March 16, 2007

Small town birthdays

Amy was a guest at a birthday party this evening. It was for one of the girls that is part of our choir. It's also the first one that either of our girls had been invited to.

What I find interesting isn't the party itself -- the party itself is just like any one might encounter. What I do find interesting is first of all, the toy store that we have here. It's a small, one-room store. I'm pretty sure it's smaller than the living/dining area that we used to have. Anyway, the owner/storekeep keeps track of the kids in town, their birthdays, and what gifts were purchased for each child. Not just for one birthday or occasion, but purchases going back for years. So the chances of a child receiving duplicate gifts is greatly diminished. This is something that can occur only in a small, isolated town where it's highly impractical to purchase birthday gifts elsewhere. And with someone interested in keeping track of all this, why would anyone shop elsewhere?

The other interesting thing was that after the birthday party, the girl's mom drove all the little guests back home. Again, this is something that can only be done in a town where most everyone lives within a 3-mile or so radius. We were imagining how long it would take if we happened to do this in the Portland area: From Tigard, go to Beaverton, then to Hillsboro, and then down to Tualatin, and maybe West Linn and Oregon City, and then back. This would take a lot longer than a half an hour.

Shelley spent the afternoon at the Boys' and Girls' Club where she decorated a ceilling tile to be used to redecorate the building that is used for the Club. After that she made faux-Olive Garden Minestrone soup which we had for dinner tonight.

Spring is trying to make a comeback. We had rain for much of the day. The weather forecast says we might see snow again tonight, however.

Thursday, March 15, 2007


We got word this afternoon that all transactions on the sale of our house was completed and title transferred to the new owners.

I just looked in my e-mail archives to see when we listed, and it was August 20, 2006. Today is March 15, 2007. So that means it was just a few days shy of seven months from listing to close.

On that day when we stepped forward on the irreversible course to where we are now, we never imagined that it would take that long... We thought a couple of months, maybe three at the most. But we didn't realize how bad a turn the real estate market would take, and how competitive the Bull Mountain area had become.

How long had God been preparing us for this? I have to go all the way back to the days I lived as a child in Singapore, where I first encountered the wonders of computers. Then I have to thank Bob Baerg at Monterey Bay Academy for allowing me to indulge my love of computers there. As a confused eighteen year old, who for some reason which I cannot recall, who put down as his initial major choice, Chemistry, and also considered majoring in Music, I chose instead to pursue Computer Science, because it held the best chance for making a more than comfortable living.

Even prior to graduation, I was fortunate in getting hired into a growing software company, Eikon, which became a part of Central Point Software, then Symantec. And then I made a move to Network Associates/McAfee. These companies served for me a bit like Egypt's seven years of plenty under Joseph.

Though during many of those earlier years, my walk with God was off and on -- mostly off -- and even when on, it was at a distance -- as I look back I can see how God used even those years as preparations for where I am today.

And for those that are wondering, yes, I feel better today. I haven't had a headache today for the first time in about a week.

It appears that the snafus regarding Elise's nursing license aren't as large as we initially thought. So though things looked to be completely derailed yesterday, today it looks as if things might only have taken a minor detour -- instead of facing a cliff, maybe it's just some rocky and potholed spots.

We continue to have off and on snow here. It's been this way since the latter part of February. We're told this is not typical weather here. But then, it seems that all over the world, chaotic weather seems to be becoming the norm rather than the exception.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Stress is getting to me

Over the last few weeks, I've encountered, and still going through, a number of stressful events. By themselves, I may not have really noticed too much, but all of them coming together in a short span have resulted in my body simply no longer physically able to adequately handle it. It's showing up in my blood pressure readings. I've been having unexplained headaches that nothing will alleviate.

I have a little wrist-based BP meter that my mom gave me some years back. It was in one of the boxes that I was digging through last week. So just to see, I used it and discovered that the measurements were in the area that, based on past experience, I know for me results in headaches and generally ill feelings.

I got to thinking about all the things that have happened and quickly realized why my body is reacting the way it is.
  • Elise being away for 1.5 weeks, of which a couple of the days were unexpected absences because the weather wouldn't permit planes to land.
  • Our property sale being handled during that same period, having to deal with signing papers across states and time zones.
  • Wondering if the sale will actually close -- all indications are that it will today or tomorrow. The purchasers have signed their papers and all that's left is for the funds to be disbursed.
  • Elise's mom and our niece coming to visit for a week coninciding with Elise's return. Additional people and disruptions of schedule on top of an already stressful period multiplies the stres level.
  • Elise's nursing license situation. She found out today that in order to get an Alaska license, it requires her to hold a valid license elsewhere. In all her converstations with the hospital here and the Board in Anchorage, despite hearing that Elise doesn't have a current valid license anywhere, no one seemed to realize that that would be a problem until the application process went through. Let's just say Elise is not a happy camper -- a rather frustrated, angry, and depressed camper... maybe... but not happy. And that again contributes to the overall negative stress level. Again, our plans get tossed the window, or at least delayed due to uncertainties and circumstances beyond our control. Elise is now working through the process to regain her California license, because that appears to be the most feasible and shortest route.
  • The church heating bill (heating oil) has been around $450/month the last two months. The regular contributions might come to that each month. So what we have is a negative cash flow. As the weather warms up things should improve, but still, it isn't good. The usual response is: Well, we need to increase our membership. But I have a problem with that. If the only or main reason to increase membership is to bring in more funds to keep the church open, then we shouldn't have a church building. We're planning a business meeting in a couple of weeks and having to present this little "problem" weighs on my mind.

Yesterday, I was close to non-functional because of all the things weighing upon my mind. I couldn't even get up the mental energies to put together a plan for our weekly children's choir rehearsal. So I went in last night with basically no plan -- except to wing it -- something I normally would never choose to do for anything. There must have been a power greater than me working things out and helping me, because not only did the rehearsal go about as well as it ever have gone, but as the evening progressed, I just felt better. Elise commented on that last aspect as we were heading home.

I think one reason for why I felt better after going through the rehearsal might have to do with the fact that this little choir, even though it's just four right now -- our two plus two other girls -- it is the one tangible difference that we seem to be making on a regular basis. The two girls that aren't ours, enjoy the hour we spend each week, and they are learning the songs. Last evening, we started working on a song that uses two-part harmony.

The other things we do, whether the regular church services or the cooking class, or the stop smoking class that we want to do, they're long-term efforts and we haven't really seen any results, good or bad, from those things yet.

Even though the my conscious efforts and thinking does everything possible to reduce stress, more exercise, more water, more prayer; the subconscious still reacts in a negative manner.

We desperately need your prayers. First for a sort of healing so that my negative stress goes down, my subconscious can find some rest, and I can feel better. Secondly, for Elise's nursing licensing process to proceed with no more major stumbling blocks. Thirdly, for Elise's general well-being through all of this.

God's ways are not our ways, the Bible tells us. Wait on the Lord, it also tells us. How much more have we to learn about this, I wonder? Just when we think we could see down the road, we discover that there is yet another unmarked bend in the road.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

A jaunt to Blind River

There was a bit of a sun break this morning.

From the family we had lunch with yesterday, the girls learned that the Girls' Club portion of the Boys' and Girls' Club here, offers a Photo Club. So they spent around an hour yesterday afternoon there, and came back with one of the single-use cameras. They were taking quite a number of indoor photos.

Anyway, back to the opening sentence of this post... I sent them outdoors this morning to get some photos there. And then my plan was for all of us to drive down to the Blind River picnic area next to the fish hatchery. This is where last June, the girls spent some time swimming in the river/slough. The bridge across the river to the hatchery is where kids jump off and into the river during the summer.

By the time we started out, the clouds had rolled back in and snow was starting to fall again, if ever so lightly. It's about a 15-mile drive out. This is just a little bit more than what my commute used to be. But now it seems like a really, really long trip. Funny how perception of time and distance is oh, so relative.

Anyway, we got to the river and the picnic area. The highway beyond the picnic area is not plowed. To go any farther requires a snow machine of some sort. The scenery was quite different from what we saw last summer. That might seem like stating the obvious, but it really looked like a different world, although some of the shapes and forms were somewhat recognizable.

We spent probably a half an hour or so in the area, photographing the scenery. By the time we were getting ready to go back, the snowfall had increased in intensity and continued to do so as we drove back. While driving back, I think it was Amy that mentioned something about changing the clock. It was only then that we realized that, "Oh, today is the changeover to DST." We don't watch television, we don't really listen to the radio, no reason to try to make it to the stores at opening or before closing, and there were no appointments that we had to make today. We knew about the change yesterday, but there was nothing to remind us today that we were living one-hour behind the times...

This evening the clouds again closed in and there was a period of heavy and wet snow.

Here are a few images from today. The bottom one of the boat is from the front yard of the apartment. All the others are from the Blind River area.

Bible Reading 2007, Week 11

This week the readings are from Deuteronomy 1:1 - 4:43; and Psalms 74, 76, 104, 105, 114, 135, and 144-150.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Sermon, March 10: Running Empty, Running Full

(Click on above title link for sermon audio.)

This week I start a series of sermons within a series (I guess...) In our journey through the Gospel of John, we are now at chapter 2, the first part (vss. 1-11) which is the story of Jesus at the wedding in Cana, and where He miraculously turns water into wine. There is so much to this story that it is probably going to take three weeks to do it justice.

Anyway, it deals with the question of emptiness that I think all of us feel and experience from time to time, and also the mystery of why God doesn't always seem to respond immediately and/or in the way we want the response to appear.

I forgot to turn the audio recording on until about a minute into the sermon, as I was reading the passage in John 2:1-11. So that's where the audio starts -- in the middle of the reading.

They made it out

They got seats on the southbound flight and made it out. Last night before heading off to bed, I saw that the flight was enroute to Seattle, so I'm assuming they made it back to Portland sometime during the night.

It's a good thing they got out when they did, because it was just 20 minutes or so later that the clouds and fog and snow all came back with a vengeance, reducing visibility to just across the street. It stayed that way, more or less, for much of the evening.

I think that yesterday's weather changes were one of the strangest that I've ever experienced. One moment, blue skies and sunshine, the next blowing snow and visibility reduced to half a mile or less, and then just as suddenly, blue skies again.

Today, it appears that all of that is behind us. There's just a smooth blanket of snow on the front yard. Now maybe Winter is ready to make way for Spring.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Another strange weather day

Today is the day Elise's mom and niece are supposed to leave. I think it will happen, but the weather has been swinging between extremes. They definitely will not make the planned connection in Juneau. At this point, I'm not sure they'll make it back to Portland today. They can get as far as Seattle. The other option is for them to try to get seats on the later, southbound flight and take a chance that this flight will make it in and out.

The morning started out with falling and accumulating snow. Then around mid-morning it swung to almost partly cloudy skies with bright sunshine. Then the snow would start again, the clouds and fog would roll in, the wind kicks in, and turns into an almost blizzard-like condition. Then a few minutes later, all that would be gone and the sun comes back.

Looking at the Alaska Air site, it looks like the plane is probably in Wrangell, as the pilot and ground crew try to make a decision on whether or not to continue on to Petersburg, and if so, when.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Almost done

Welcome to a semi-bright Thursday morning, at least here in Petersburg. Winter refuses to release its grip without a fight. We had a couple of days of 40+ degrees and rain, helping to wash away some of the snow, but last night, snow started to fall again. This morning, we are seeing a combination of sun, clouds, and snow.

We received our property sale closing documents yesterday. We signed them, and now they are on their way back down to Portland. Unless something major occurs between now and next Thursday, the closing should take place as scheduled.

When that finally settles, our severely negative cash-flow situation will be improved to a little bit of a negative cash-flow. The next little hurdle is our wait for the Alaska Board of Nursing to send Elise's nursing license so that she can start working. It can come as early as around the 20th, and hopefully no later than the first week or two of April. The application fee check was cashed, so we know they've received the application.

And then once that happens, we can find out how much of a housing loan we can get. That plus the proceeds from the sale will determine how much house we are able to purchase. Projecting forward, my guess is that it's going to be May or later until we are able to purchase and move. That's probably just as well, because moving in snow and ice isn't all that fun. (I must add though, that moving is never fun for me.) Maybe it will be dry and warm by the time May and June come around. On the other hand, some property could come up for sale in the next month or two that we simply have to jump on.

We're basically looking for property in town (no more than a mile, maybe two, from the center), 3+ bedrooms, 1.5+ baths, a largish living area, a good kitchen, and covered parking (we've learned is very important here - no fun digging out vehicles buried in snow, or trying to thaw out 1/4-inch thick ice) that can fit our F-150.

I'm not yet at the place where I understand the reasons behind why our property sold when it did, or why it's taken so much longer than we anticipated for Elise to get her license, and a multitude of other "why's." Maybe in another six months or a year, we will be able to look back and begin to better understand. I guess that's one bit of life that I've learned -- that the events of life don't make much sense at the time they're happening. Our God reveals only what is necessary for us to live life today, for us to make decisions necessary to get through today. Our life this past year is an illustration of James 4:13-16:

"Look here, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.' How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog--it's here a little while, then it's gone. What you ought to say is, 'If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.' Otherwise you are boasting about your own plans, and all such boasting is evil." (NLT)

This week, our girls have been spending their nights at the church with their grandmother and their cousin. Grandma and cousin are leaving us tomorrow. Stripey, one of our cats, will be very happy to have Shelley back home. Shelley is his special person. This week, he's been very clingy whenever I'm around. He tries to hug and kiss me when I'm trying to read and otherwise accomplish things at the kitchen table.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Snow Day

Things are warming up, but there is plenty of snow on the ground. I just heard that today was an extremely rare (as in even old-timers don't know when the last time this occurred, or if it ever has) snow day where the schools shut down.

I walked to church and back, but there were no sidewalks... They were all under four to six feet of plowed snow.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Bible Reading 2007, Week 10

Our Bible reading together continues this week from Numbers 31-36; Acts 6:8 through chapter 7; and Proverbs 10-15. The Israelites, after spending 40 years in the wilderness as nomads, are now once again nearly ready to enter Canaan to settle there permanently.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Everyone made it back

Yes, the fog lifted and the snow stopped and the plane was able to land this afternoon, albeit a few hours later than scheduled. The storm watch is still calling for snow tonight and tomorrow, but it looks like it won't be quite as severe as was originally forecast.

So we are all back together tonight for the first time in a week and a half.

More snow

It seems that Petersburg is where the storm wants to stick around. The snow is once more coming down at a good clip. Both north and southbound flights are delayed now because of weather. It is not looking good for today's arrivals.

I barely made it into the church parking lot today. Not only is the unplowed area deep, the entry to the driveway had a berm that the city plow had built up. The streets have become so narrow that turning around is difficult for a large vehicle like mine. I had no choice other than to shovel the berm and then drive in praying that I wouldn't get stuck. I'm at the church now, but I don't think anyone will be coming today.
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless handheld

Another attempt today

As feared, none of the flights made it into Petersburg yesterday. So Elise spent yet another night in Juneau. All the hotels there are full now. Fortunately, one of our church members who works for the Forest Service was also stuck there, and the Forest Service provides housing to traveling employees. So Elise and Lorean were able to go there instead of spending a night at the airport. I'm sure if they had to, they could have found a place to stay with one of the church members in Juneau.

The weather this morning is overcast, but visibility seems to be okay. A bald eagle is sitting on a post that is just across the street. There's probably somewhere close to 3 feet of snow on the ground. Another storm watch is in effect late tonight and into Sunday with potential for another foot or more of snow.

So there is a window of a few hours today where the flights could make it in. They will be attempting to come in on the southbound, afternoon flight. The departure from Anchorage has already been delayed 30 minutes or more, so we will see what happens.

Elise's mom should be on her way here. Her flight has left Seattle and is enroute to Ketchikan. No delays are reported for that flight yet. The church service this morning is likely going to be fairly short, since that flight arrives around 11:40 a.m. and I'll need to pick her up.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Good morning to a whiteout

I guess it's not quite what one would call a blizzard, but nevertheless visibility is very limited and snow is still coming down thick and heavy. The temperature has warmed up to 30, so the snow is no longer light powder, but of the thicker, heavier kind. The clouds are low, almost fog-like. If the skies don't clear up a bit more, there won't be any flights landing here today.

The fiddle and guitar group, of which Shelley is a part, is performing at the Elementary School this morning. Once again, my Friday is going to consist of running about to different places, and additionally will include waiting for a plane that might or might not land in the afternoon.

Knowing that I spent 3 hours last night from 10p-1a writing a first draft of tomorrow's sermon. I thought it would be better to have something to speak from than waiting until the last minute and not having anything at all. I'm not entirely satisfied with what I wrote down -- blame it on being tired and wanting to go to sleep. I hope I'll have some time today to work on a revision.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Cold, windy, snowy, and poor visibility

The storm came in this afternoon, and the plane did not land -- although it tried a number of times. Elise wasn't even on it... The Alaska Air customer service in Juneau told her that the chance of reaching Petersburg today was very, very remote, so she decided to stay overnight there and try again tomorrow. The chance of a plane coming through tomorrow also seems pretty slim, as this storm is expected to continue into tomorrow evening. If the storm lets up early, then the chance improves. If not tomorrow, then Saturday afternoon would be the next opportunity.