Autumn… Fall… Sweater Weather… I love this time of the year in Alaska. The warm colors, falling leaves, chill in the air, random snow flurries, lattes and hot cocoa fill me up with cozy sights and thoughts.
This season also brings wonderful celebrations, but there is one holiday I’d love to skip, Halloween.
Why? Our little Sweet Pea is filled with fear as the skeletons, ghosts, spiders, vampires, witches, gravestones, terror-filled masks and everything in between appear. It is the type of fear that’s connected to trauma, initiating a fight or flight response.
In Texas, our neighbors hung a gigantic spider web from the corner of their house to the edge of their driveaway, covering the majority of the front of their property. Every time we left or came home, our lil’ sweet pea screamed endlessly even after explaining that it was pretend. When we went for a walk, we had to avoid that side of the entire street.
Proactively, I try to avoid going into stores with her during the months of mid-August til mid-November to prevent a traumatic experience for her. Last week, we had a quick stop at a local shop. As soon as we crossed the parking lot and made it to the sidewalk, I could see we would be greeted by a life-size witch manniquin, positioned in the middle of the entrance. I did my best to prepare her and held her hand tight. As soon as her eyes gazed upon this scary creature, she screamed louder than I ever heard and ran away so fast. I ran as fast as I could and caught her before heading into traffic. Adrenalin was pumping in both of us; she was trembling. I tried to console her tears. We hesitantly entered the store, she was in my arms with her hood up and looking the other direction. We left immediately as scary decor filled much of the store, but after sharing our experience with the store manager.
On our way to pick up big brother from school yesterday, I heard “Mommy, Halloween is not good for little girls” from the backseat. Followed by, “Halloween is not my favorite.”
I know that many people enjoy Halloween, but I would be okay skipping the entire thing. Our family celebrates fall with leaves, pumpkins and favorite dress up costumes.
Today is special in so many ways! For many, October 18th is observed as Alaska’s birthday.
Alaska Day is a legal holiday in the U.S. state of Alaska, observed on October 18. It is the anniversary of the formal transfer of the Territory of Alaska from Russia to the United States, which occurred on Friday, October 18, 1867.WIKIPEDIA
For our family, today is our one year anniversary with Alaska. The day we arrived in Alaska, 365 days ago. It is incredible to believe that one year has passed since we set foot (or tire) in the Last Frontier. Each day has brought the unexpected in different ways, which continues to keep us on our toes.
Three moves in five months was a bit chaotic, knowing that our plans include to move once more in several months — hoping for a more permanent residence. The Lord has blessed us every step of the way with love and encouragement from family and both new and old friends.
I am not sure to call it culture shock, repatriation, life in Alaska, ministry in a congregation rather than a world mission or a combination of all of the above… took a stronger toll on me than I ever anticipated. I am endlessly thankful for the unchanging grace and Word of God that led me through these unchartered waters.
I hope to share all our spring and summer adventures in the upcoming weeks! Stay tuned!
Two weeks ago, I felt a pain on the inner corner of my left knee. I monitored it daily as the pain grew and the area became red and warm to touch. The symptoms were similar to the initial blood clot that formed on the inner thigh of my right knee. I continue to take blood thinner daily, so the formation of a blood clot would be unlikely, possible. I made appointment at the laser vein clinic to get it checked out.
My clinic visit began with an in-depth consultation, measurements and photos followed by an ultrasound on both legs. The results were fantastic! Double and triple checked-no blood clots! The procedure was a success and everything is healing. The pain and redness in my leg is from the ablation and my body is absorbing the man made clot.
My legs feel amazing, No more aches, pains or cramps. My current treatment is blood thinner and compression stockings until my next check up in a month. God be praised for healing!
In May, I had successful treatment procedures for venous insufficiency or venous reflux in the greater saphenous vein. The first day, the doctor performed Radiofrequency Ablation and Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy on my left leg and on the right leg the following the day.
Follow-up treatment included 30 minutes on the treadmill immediately following each procedure and wearing thigh high compression stockings for 36 hours (yes, that included overnight) and then a minimum of 8 hours each day for two weeks.
My additional treatment included a continued prescription of blood thinner medication to prevent future blood clots and physical activity of a minimum of walking an hour a day.
Due to the combination of the procedure and blood thinner, my legs were extremely bruised. The day after the procedure, I felt fantastic! The aching and throbbing in my legs disappeared along with the swelling in my ankles. It is amazing! I do often feel a ‘pulling’ and “tingling” sensation in my legs which are expected.
Last week, I went to the clinic for my follow-up ultrasound. Everything is healing properly and there was no sign of any blood clots. Praising the Lord for the diagnosis, the excellent medical team and successful procedures!
My next appointment is in three months.
Shortly after we arrived in Alaska, I began to feel pain in my right leg. As the days passed, the pain increased. When I couldn’t bend my leg, I discovered a hard lump behind my knee. My concern grew as I have Factor V Leiden which is an inherited blood-clotting disorder due to a mutation of the blood’s factor V protein. My mom also has it and survived a puliminary embolism.
After more research and a long search for a local preferred physcian, I had my first doctor’s visit in November as the clot had grown into a hard cord. We began the appointment with an hour consultation and exam, followed by a duplex ultrasound. The doctor’s office is located in the hospital which made it conveinient and possible to do immediately. The results confirmed that I had a blood clot and began immediate treatment with a prescribed blood thinner medication and thigh high compression stockings.
A week later, I began follow up treatment at a Laser Vein Clinic. We started with a thorough exam and duplex ultrasound on both legs. They discovered the exact placement of the clot, along with additional clots in my lower calf. The results also revealed that the great saphenous veins in both legs have reflux. These veins carry the blood upward to the heart, but mine have a gap in their flap that allows some of the blood to travel down and pool at my ankles due to gravity. It also causes cramps, aches and pains in my legs and feet.
For three months, I continued taking daily blood thinner medication, wearing the compression stockings and going to the clinic for regular ultrasounds. In April, the ultrasound indicated that my blood clot dissolved enough to move forward with part two of my treatment to remove the “bad” reflux veins. Today is the day… for the left leg and tomorrow the right.
May the Lord guide the medical team and my recovery.
The last few weeks flew by with our days full of ministry activities and our move.
This is our first Lenten season with daddy as a parish pastor of a congregation. As a child, I grew up across the street from our local congregation where I thought I had a good grasp of all the ‘behind the scenes’ efforts of a stateside congregation, until now. My deep respect for pastors and their families has grown exponentionally since our arrival, but especially the past 40 days as we prepare our journey to the cross to the empty tomb. Much planning, coordinating and doing are woven into Lent.
Our two little ones squeal with excitement when they hear daddy unlock the door and jump into his arms. Many of the nights they are in bed when he comes home. They are convinced he sleeps at church, even though he does give them a good night kiss when they are fast asleep.
Our move to another part of the city was a success! As soon as the keys to our new rental home were in hand, we did a thorough walk through while video documenting a list of repairs needed. Then it was time to deep clean the kitchen and bathrooms.
The next day, a few members from church came to pack the kitchen and move the items from our smaller rental house to our new one. After a long day, we spent the first night in our new home.
The first few days, we tried to unpack as many boxes as possible from the garage to make room for items from our storage unit. One morning, a volunteer group from one of our high schools in Michigan moved two loads from our storage unit to our house. Thank you, MLHS!
We have most of the boxes opened and furniture assembled. Some things ended up repacked as we downsize. We still have a load or two in the storage unit we need to move. We hope to tackle that sometime after Easter.
We are truly blessed and loved by our Lord.
Have you ever felt like you were in three places at the same time? At least in your mind? This week, we are dealing with three houses.
# 1 Our current rental house is going on the market in April. Today, we had a visit from a real estate agent and continue packing everything up.
#2 Our upcoming rental duplex doesn’t have any window coverings. The owner agreed to work with us on a budget for the 19 windows. I put together an estimate for different blackout options as we are entering the sun season. We found out today, the owner will put up hardware for curtains only. Good news, hardware installation will be done before our move. Sad news, black out blinds weren’t selected.
#3 After six months, we received an offer on our 2 yr old home in El Paso, Texas! We are in the inspection stage, which went mostly well. We have a list of minor repairs which is a challenge to do 3,500+ miles away.
Many “to-do” lists this week! Can’t wait until the move is complete and house is sold! It is an amazing feeling to finally feel moving forward to getting settled. We are still one away from our next home, but much closer!
They day we’ve been longing for has finally arrived! Today we had TWELVE hours and TWO minutes of daylight in Anchorage, Alaska! It is unbelieveable. It is amazing to watch the sunrise and have lots of light after suppertime. I will admit, our little ones’ bedtime is slowly getting pushed back as it is difficult for all of us to begin the bedtime routine with the sun out. Looks like black out curtains and blinds are on the top of our shopping list.
A shout out to any sourdoughs out there, please share any tips or tricks you use to maintain your kiddo’s bedtime and any recommended window treatments. 🙂