"Whatever God Brings You To, He's Big Enough To Bring You Through!"

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The New Year...

Its been a while since we've posted on here but know that we are all well. We've continued to post on our facebook page, www.facebook.com/faithtothe49th as it's been easier to keep things updated as they happen using that site.  We appreciate all of your positive comments, letters, thoughts and prayers.  They mean so much to our family.  For those who are reading this back in TN, know that we miss you all but we have no doubt this is where the Lord wants us for now.  We think of all of you and pray for you often!

Christmas and New Years have come and gone and so we start on this new journey that is the year 2012.  January was cold and snowy as everyone would expect Alaska to be with lows some nights reaching between -25 to -35 and wind chills from -35 to -45.  According to the locals this has been one of the coldest and snowiest winters they have had in our area in many years. All of that being said, we have really enjoyed out time hear.  A few weeks back we traveled to Seward to watch the Polar Bear Plunge and to visit the SeaLife center which the entire family enjoyed!  We liked it so much we decided to spend the night and when we awoke the next morning, there was a over a foot of new snow that had fell during the night.  While we were there we visited the Seward Church plant that our home church in Soldotna sponsors and were even invited back the next Sunday to preach for them.  The drive over from Soldotna to Seward takes around 2.5 hours but the drive itself is extremely breathtaking.  Snow covered mountains all around you with frozen and snow covered lakes and rivers around each turn. 

In addition to our trips to Seward we experienced our first Dog Sled Race at the Tustumena 200.  Our landlord Paul Gebhardt (Iditarod Competitor & 2 time runner up), participated in this race and ended up finishing fifth.  It was cold the morning of the race with the temp at the time of takeoff hovering around -27 degrees.  We were able to help with Mr. Gebhardt's dogs for a few days and even got to help out another musher, DeeDee Jonrowe as she lost one of her dogs during the race.  We were fortunate enough to find her dog (Ophelia) on our way home from town later that night.  Here is part of an email I sent a friend of the events of that day...

"Every day in AK is a great day... but today might just be the best or at least one of the best and most interesting days we have had since getting here. We started the day off by getting up at 9am and driving a few miles out to watch the start of the Tustumena 200 Dog Race with our friend the Burrows and the Starbucks. It was -27 when we got there... to say it was cold would be a mild understatement. We watched our landlord, Paul Gebhardt, take off first with his team and then the rest of the competitors including, DeeDee Jonrowe. We left and came back home for a bit to warm up and grab some extra clothes before heading over to Kasilof beach to see the view and then on to Soldotna for the Winter Games, some 25 miles away. We ate lunch there and then walked around and let the kids enjoy some of the games and activities they had to offer.  We then headed back to the Burrows house around 3:30 where we heard that one of the racers, DeeDee Jonrowe had scratched as one of her dogs(Ophelia) had got loose just 6 miles into the race and was now missing. We all wondered where she could be and Robin and I even joked that it would be funny if we found her on our way home. After sitting around for a while, we decided to go see a movie where we ran into some more friends. After the movie we were able to see some of the fireworks from the Soldotna Sports Center on our way to take the Burrows back home. We dropped them off and headed home, as our landlord had ask us to feed his other 50 dogs for him while he was competing in the race. It was now dark and once again -25 degrees as we drove 25+ miles back to our home. Much to our surprise as we turned onto our road, we spotted a dog running. The closer we got, the more we realized this was Ophelia, the missing dog. At this point, you might be asking, "How did they know this was Ophelia?" Well it's not often you see a snow dog with a hot pink strap and booties running down the side of the road. :-) We turned around to follow her, then pulled in front of her to try and stop her but she turned around and would not let us catcher her. We contacted race headquarters via FB and let them know we had found her as we now continued to follow her in the opposite direction. Headquarters contacted DeeDee to let her know we had found her and soon DeeDee was calling wanting to know where we were. We explained what was going on and she said she would meet us at the other end of the road some 10+ miles away. Let me take a moment to pause her and just say that this dog is a machine... I've never seen anything like it before. She had been running since 11am that morning, it was now 7pm, we had just followed her on our road for over 8 miles and she was showing no signs of slowing up! We eventually met DeeDee as she had came in from the other end of he road. After a couple of failed attempts by both of us to stop and catch Ophelia, we finally forced her off the road into the deep snow where she continued to run. We followed her tracks in the snow along the bluff of Kasilof beach in snow that was 3-4' deep for about 300 yards before finally finding her stopped and laying at the bottom of a large snow bank... she had run out of space and no where else to go. DeeDee was overjoyed she had gotten her baby back and we were just happy that we could help reunite them. Ophelia was cold and had ice and snow hanging from her eyes, nose and chin but she was still ready to run. We waded back through the snow on our way to the trucks where DeeDee and her baby warmed by the heater. Happy that we had been successful in our attempt to help but still in shock that we actually did find the dog we had joked about finding just a few hours before, we headed toward home. Once there, we fed and took care of remaining 50 dogs of Mr. Gebhardts, which was a lot of fun! Now here we sit discussing the crazy events that were our day and trying to type it all down before we forget. No half page of written word could ever truly capture the excitement of the day but as least now you have some idea.  Only in AK could one have such an eventful day! We were so blessed today in so many different ways... Good Friends, Good Times and a Good Ending! God is Good All the Time!"

This past week we have spent our late evenings and this past Saturday working on our snow cave / igloo.  Me and the boys have worked a couple of hours each night and 4-5 hours on Saturday digging a hole into the HUGE pile of snow in the middle of our driveway.  It's been a blast!  We plan to keep working on it this week and hope to be able to spend the night in it by the coming weekend or the weekend after that. 

Below are links to our photos and videos from the past month.  Check them out and let us know what you think.  Also remember, you can see more photos and videos like these by going to www.facebook.com/faithtothe49th and liking our page.  Be sure to post your feedback on our FB page as well.

God Bless & Safe Travels!

The Moores





















Saturday, November 26, 2011

So Much To Be Thankful For...

Day: 132
Date: 11.28.11 

Now that this Thanksgiving Day has come and gone, I find myself reflecting on the day, both for 2011 and for the years past.  Like those before, this year was filled with friends, food, fellowship and football.  However, unlike those past years, our families and some of our best friends were missing.  Oh how your perspective changes when you are 5000+ miles away from the land you once called home and the family you love.  Friends and family who you had spent the past 30+ years with are now only accessible by phone, text, email or video.  Was this a difficult Thanksgiving... the short answer is yes!  However, what this Thanksgiving did provide was a reminder of what the holiday truly is about.

According to Webster, the word "Thanksgiving" is defined as "a day set apart for giving thanks to God".  A question that arises as I consider this is, why just a single day?  We all have so much to be thankful for, how could we possibly cram all that into a single 24 hour period of time?  So in addition to using just that single day, lets take a moment each day to reflect on the past year and the many blessings we have to be thankful for.

As for me and my family where do I start?  God has blessed us so much in the past 12 months.  It's still hard to believe its all real.  What started out as a nudge from The Man upstairs grew into reality and here I sit typing this in Kasilof, AK.  Who would have ever thought this was even possible?  The list of things we are all thankful for is as long as the road we traveled to get here...  A God who loves us and provides for us daily, a family back home who does the same and friends both old and new who have been such a help and mean so much, just to name a few. 

With all this being said, what are you thankful for?  Do you take time to give thanks on a regular basis or like so many other people (myself included at times), do you try to pack it all into a single day?  In the days, weeks and months ahead take a moment each day to be thankful... but more importantly, take that time to give thanks to those you are thankful to and for.

"Thank You Lord For Your Blessings On Me..."

God Bless & Safe Travels!

The Moores

A few pics from our Thanksgiving weekend:





Saturday, November 12, 2011

Another Month Has Come & Gone...

Day: 116
Date: 11.13.11

It has been a while since we've posted an update so we wanted to take a moment to catch-up with everyone.  For those of you who are on Facebook, you've see a few more updates that those who are not.  We've found it's a little easier to keep things updated there given the time constraints of the day.  If you are a member of Facebook and have not liked out page yet, you can find it and "Like" it at www.facebook.com/faithtothe49th

It's hard to believe we have been here in AK for over 3 months now.   The past month or so has been extremely busy.  A new job, new friends and more involvement with our church have kept us hopping during the weeks and weekends! Cole started and finished his basketball season during the month of October and of course we ended the month with trick-or-treating.  This year's trick-or-treating was a new experience... for the very first time ever we took the kids trick-or-treating in the snow!  It was a great night as this was the first snow of the winter here on the Kenai Peninsula. 

The next weekend we awoke to our first large snow (at least by TN terms) which was 8-9".  Later that morning our landlord/neighbors came over to see if the boys would like to help with the sled dogs and take a team of the pups on a run.  Of course they wanted to, so we dressed and headed over.   By the way has anyone ever heard 85+ dogs barking at the same time?  Needless to say, it gets kind of loud.  While we were there we learned how to place the harnesses on the dogs and hook them to the pull line.  After that, the boys took off as the dogs were pulling the 4-wheeler, as there was not yet enough snow yet to run the sled.  30-45 minutes later, the boys returned and were stoked to have had that experience.  We helped unhook and unharness the dogs and then headed home.  Once we were home the first snowball fight of the winter ensued and somehow I ended up as the looser.  3 on 1 has a way of causing that.  :-)  Sunday we had a great church service and then a pot-luck dinner for lunch. 

The past week has been a mix of cold snowy days and cold clear days.  A couple of nights have seen lows in the negative single digits.  Friday evening the snow moved back in and we awoke once again to a fresh blanket of 6-8" of new snow Saturday morning.  The kids spent the day play and sledding in it while I went into town for our monthly men's prayer breakfast at church.  Afterward, I got to witness my very first moose being field dressed and prepared.  Those are some extremely large creatures.

Below are the links to several pictures we have taken over the past few weeks.  Check them out when you have time.  The Lord continues to bless and we are so very grateful.  It seems as though we see some new amazing site or have some new amazing experience every other day.  If you ever get the chance to visit AK, let me encourage you to take the opportunity to do so.  For those who think they will never have the time, let me encourage you to make time.  It's an experience and a land you will never forget!












God Bless & Safe Travels!

The Moores

Saturday, October 1, 2011

September - Month End Review

Day: 72
Date: 09.30.11

It's been a while since our last update on the blog, although we have posted some status updates and pictures on our Facebook page (Faithtothe49th).  Fall comes early in AK as the leaves began changing a few weeks ago.  September has been a busy month as the kids began different sports and we began getting serious with the job hunt.  The good news is the boys are enjoying there new hobbies / sports and I have finally landed a job with State Farm.  God is good and He has continued to take care of us even though we continue to pray and seek his direction in what His plan is for us here in our new home. In the meantime we do our best to live for him and find more opportunities to serve wherever and whenever possible.

Last week we took a couple of short hikes... one here at the cabin and another at the Kenai Wildlife Refuge Center.  The hike here at the house produced 4 hawks and a porcupine which, oddly enough, was up in a tree.  I wasn't aware that porcupines spent time in trees until then, which showed me that you actually can learn something new every day.  The boys enjoyed the hike so much we decided to take another one at the refuge center a few days later.  We didn't see any animals on this trip (other than a squirrel and golden retriever) but we did see some fantastic views!  I've posted a link to those pics below.

Today we took another trip to Homer, AK to see what the changing leaves looked like there.  To our surprise we found our first snow of the season although it was in the upper elevations of the mountains there and not where we were at.  As always, Homer gave us some great views and shots.  We ended up driving as far south as possible on paved roads to the very back of Katchemak Bay.  The views along this road were amazing as the fall foliage merged with the newly snow covered peaks of the mountains across the bay.

On our return to Kasilof we stopped to see the Russian Orthodox Church and Cemetery in Ninilchik.  From there we continued on to Johnson Lake, where we happened upon a Moose and her two young ones.  The views at this lake were really nice as the leaves were changing all around.  After numerous pictures there, we continued on to Centennial Lake and then on the Head Waters of the Kasilof River which is fed by Tustumena Lake, the 8th largest lake in AK.  The Kasilof river has pristine blue water as it is fed by several different glaciers above Tustumena lake.  Unfortunately you can not get to the lake by road so we had to postpone seeing it until a later date when we can hike or boat in.  After taking several more pictures along the way, we headed home for the day.

Until next time... God Bless & Safe Travels!

The Moores

Kenai Wildlife Refuge:

Homer Trip:

Saturday, September 10, 2011

A Nice Drive Home...

Day #51
Date: 09/09/11
Weather: Partly Cloudy & 58

Well this week we drove into Anchorage for a couple of days as I had a job interview in town.  We stayed with our friends the McMillans those two nights and certainly enjoyed our time there.  Thanks to them and their family for their hospitality and kindness.

Today we left Anchorage around 9:30 and started our drive home around Turnagan Arm.  We stopped several times along the way to see the bay and to take pictures as the clouds were low and the sun was shining through.  Once we were halfway around the arm, we stopped by the Alaskan Wildlife Conservation Center where we got to see Caribou, Moose Ox, Buffalo, Brown Bears, Moose, Reindeer, Bald Eagles & a Lynx.  Everyone had a good time at the center and enjoyed seeing the animals.  From there we headed through the Portage valley where we got to see the Portage Glacier and Portage Lake.  After a stop at the lake, we traveled on to the Whittier Tunnel.  This tunnel is the longest in the US at 2.5 miles and is one lane.  Vehicles travel in one direction every 30-45 minutes and the tunnel is shared not only with vehicle traffic from both sides but also trains.  It was an interesting experience and an interesting drive.   Once through the tunnel, we arrived at the town of Whittier.  Whittier is a very small version of Homer, with a small port and a a few small shops and restaurants.  While we were there we ate and walked around for a while taking pictures and looking and the incredible views.  After leaving Whittier we head home on the Seward Highway making just a couple of more stops to take pictures of a waterfall and a couple of different rainbows.  All in all in good trip to Anchorage and nice trip home.  Below are the links to all the pictures we took during the day.  We hope you enjoy!

Turnagan Arm:

Alaskan Wildlife Conservation Center:



Seward Highway:

Fall is certainly in the air as the leaves here in AK have already begun to change.  My understanding is this will last only 2-3 weeks before the leaves will be gone and the early signs of winter will arrive.  Tomorrow, we hope to attend our first Fall Festival of the year over in Kenai with our friends the Burrows.  We are looking forward to it and hope to have more pictures to share.

God Bless & Safe Travels!

The Moores

Friday, September 2, 2011

Where Else But Alaska...

Day #43
Date: 09/01/11
Weather: Sunny & 68 

After a couple of days of rain, this morning we awoke once again to clears skies and warm sunshine.  We hung around the house for most of the morning before deciding to take the entire family to the river for some fishing.  We packed up the truck and headed to the tackle store first to pick up a few items and to get Robin's fishing permit for the day.  After that we headed over to Centennial Park, a spot we had not fished before. After driving through the campground and to the fishing area, we quickly realized there was no room for us there as there were folks fishing every 5-10' down the bank.  After seeing this we decided to go exploring for another spot we had heard about.  Unfortunately, we were unable to locate this new spot and so after 30 minutes of driving around, we headed to the spot we had spent our previous days on the water at.  We arrived at the parking area and began putting on our gear.  We had everything on and were getting ready to grab the fishing rods when I realized I had forgotten the boys life-jackets.  After standing for a couple of minutes frustrated and in awe of my bone-headed move, we loaded up the truck and headed back to the house to get their PFDs.  Finally, after a 30 minute round trip, we were back where we started at the parking spot and were on our way to the water.  We arrived at our spot to find we were the only ones there, which was exactly how we liked it.  I rigged everyone's fishing poles and we waded out into the edge of the river.  Shortly after everyone had began to fish a large bald eagle flew by and landed in a tree just above us.  Robin grabbed her camera and began taking pictures as the rest of us continued fishing.  The eagle, as it turned out, had his eyes fixed on a certain dead salmon which a group of seagulls were feasting on, on the island in front of us.  After a few minutes he swooped down and scared off the gulls, taking their food in the process.  He drug what was left of the fish up on the bank, grasped at it a couple of times and then flew off with it in his talons to a tree just down the river.  Needless to say everyone was excited as this was the closest we had come to a wild eagle.  Once the eagle flew back across the river we continued fishing for the next couple of hours without any luck.  Around 6:30 I made one of my many "last casts" and hooked up on our first and only fish of the day.  It was a small trout that didn't put up much of a fight.  I wrestled with it for a minute, let the boys check it out and then let it go to fight another day.  After a few more "last casts" we headed back to the tuck where we took off our gear and headed back into town to get gas and a few groceries.

After leaving the grocery store, we headed home.  We pulled into the driveway as normal and began unloading the fishing gear and other items we had.  I grabbed the life-jackets that had caused me so much aggravation earlier in the day and walked around the back of the cabin to put them in the storage bin.  As I started to lift the lid on the bin, I heard a loud grunt/snort which startled me.  You see the day before we had seen a black bear at the cabin, literally 20 feet from the back door.  You can imagine the different thoughts running through my head after hearing this sound but when I looked up, I saw a large female moose about 30-40' from me.  I was surprised to say the least but she certainly didn't seem to be.  She stood there chewing the grass she had just picked while looking me over.  I slowly walked back around the side of the house and stuck my head in the front door to let Robin and the boys know she was out there and to have them look through the french doors on the other end of the house to see her.  I walked back around the opposite side of the house with Cole and we stooped and watched her for a couple of minutes while she stood picking grass in the edge of the yard.  After those couple of minutes she continued walking through the yard, stopping to pick from time to time, until she had made it all the way around the house to the driveway.  We all stood on the deck watching here, amazed at what a large animal this was.  She stood and watched us too for what seemed like a couple of minutes before slowly walking around the truck and off into the woods between us and our neighbor.  It was awesome to get to see such an amazingly large creature.

Now as I sit here typing this and thinking back over all the events of the day, especially those of the early part, it would have been very easy to have become so frustrated that we simply gave up on our fishing trip and decided not to return to the river after forgetting the life-jackets.  However, in doing so we would have not experienced the blessings of the evening, such as seeing the eagle or the moose, if we had not first endured and overcome those roadblocks and frustrations of the afternoon.  As discouraged and aggravated as life may make us sometimes, we all need to remember that the only way to see the finish line is to actually finish the race.  "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us," Hebrews - 12:1




God Bless & Safe Travels!

The Moores

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Homer, Alaska... A Jewel of a Town!

Day #40
Date: 08/29/11
Traveled: Kasilof, AK - Homer, AK
Interstates / Roads:  AK-1
Miles Driven: 180
Weather: Sunny & 65 early, changing to cloudy & cooler in the evening

Well today we got a late start but it turned out to be a great day!  Around 10:30am, we headed southwest on the peninsula to Homer which is a place Robin has wanted to visit for years.  Homer is the hometown of Jewel, her favorite singer.  Along the way we traveled through several other smaller communities such as Clam Gulch, Ninilchik and Anchorpoint.  The smaller towns here are hard to explain... back home we would joke saying, "don't blink or you will drive right through (insert town) without knowing it".  The funny part about that is that here it is actually true.  A school, a post office, a grocery store and a gas station and you have yourself a town in AK.  However, each of these towns had something different to offer, from views of the ocean and beaches to views of the mountains and volcanoes across the bay.  I've posted a link to our pictures and videos below.  In many of them you can see Mt. Redoubt, a volcano which is 10,197' high and Mt. Iliama, a volcano which is 10,016' high.  Although we see them frequently, it's difficult to stop taking pictures of them each time we see pass by a view of them.  After stopping at some pull offs in between each of these towns to take a few pictures and videos, we made it to Homer.  Entering Homer there was a large pull off with some incredible views of Cook Inlet, the Gulf of Alaska and the volcanoes mentioned above.  While we were there we watched several birds, including a couple of bald eagles, flying around overhead. If you look closely in a few of the pictures you can see the bald eagles.  After our stop there, we descended down into the town of Homer, which was a nice little bay-town. We drove through town and out on the Homer Spit, a small stretch of land leading out into the bay.  Here there were boardwalks with shops, restaurants and several docks/marinas with hundreds of boats.  We stopped at some of the shops and ate lunch at a place called Captain Patties.  Here we sat 10' from the ocean watching the barges and fishing boats cruise by while eating some of the best fresh fish I have ever had.  After lunch, we headed back into the main part of town and the Ocean & Inland Marine Center.  Here we toured around the visitor type center looking at the different history items of AK and the inlet.  From there we took a stroll down some of the trails which lead to the beach.  According to the boys, this was the favorite part of their day as they got to play on the beach collecting shells and rocks.  After our time there, we loaded up and headed up to Skyview Drive.  This road gave us the best view of the inlet and surrounding area that we had seen.  You could look out for miles at the bay, the spit, the inlet, glaciers, volcanoes and the town of Homer.  After taking numerous pictures and videos there, we headed back toward home.  

When we reached Kasilof, we decided to take a detour on a road we had never been on before.  We traveled this road and found a secondary road that lead us right down on the beach.  Again the boys played for a little while while we looked around and took pictures.  After this we called it a day and headed home.  Today was a great day as it was one of the first days since our friend the Gilberts left that we got to get out and enjoy some more of wonderful scenery AK has to offer!  Thank you Lord for your many blessings!




Until Next Time, God Bless & Safe Travels!

The Moores