We made it back to Portland last night. It was lovely to come back to warm weather, a well-cared for house and yard--and my spazzy little dog, Scout. She didn't have a very good time while we were away, evidently. Sarah (our house/dog-sitter) told us that a few days after we departed, Scout relapsed. Her auto-immune condition (polyarthritis) flared up with a vengeance and poor Scout was barely able to move.
But Sarah is a very responsible dog-sitter and called the vet who put Scout back on the highest doses of prednisone. Sarah also gave Scout anti-anxiety meds during fireworks season (which lasts about a month in our neighborhood) and even slept with Scout in our jacuzzi tub on the night of July 4th! I love my dog, but am not sure I would have gone to that extreme to comfort my pooch!
If you've been reading my blog, then you know that the Lord did some pretty cool things in the village. Every time we go back, hearts seem more open. Especially the adults. Several came to the carnival with their kids this year and even participated in the cakewalk and other activities. We held the carnival on July 4th and it ended up being the only "happening" that day.
On a personal note, I had a great time fishing, both on the Yukon and in Homer. The Yukon outing was amazing because no one expected to hook salmon, especially with the run being so poor this year. Greg brought ultra-light rods with teeny-weeny lures, but I still ended up landing a 30 pound king salmon! I lost one that was so big that it straightened my swivel when it made a run for the deeper parts of the river. Another big fish took so much line it "spooled" my reel. Too much fun! It was a glorious evening, sunny and mosquito-free.
I went out twice in Homer, chasing the elusive halibut. The first trip out, most everyone on the boat got sick, except for the skipper, Greg and me. The weather was stormy and the seas choppy when we headed out from the boat harbor, but the day settled into a flat calm and we eventually caught our limit. I think 30 lbs. was the largest halibut we reeled in that day.
The next day, I got to go back out on the charter because they had five paying guests and there's room for six to fish. It was cloudy when we chugged out of Homer, but we motored 40 miles out that day and fished not far from St. Augustine, an active volcano in the Alaska range. I could see the Homer Spit still shrouded with clouds, but it was sunny and the seas mirrored the blue sky where we anchored. 30 and 40 pound 'buts grabbed our bait each time we hit bottom. At one point, I thought I'd hooked a derby winner, but eventually hauled up a 50 pound skate. I was having a blast!
I was actually feeling a bit guilty, however, because I'd skipped out on meeting with a friend to go fishing. I knew my friend was struggling and wanted to bounce some things off me. But the lure of "Fish on!" was just too strong for me and I took the bait. After all, wasn't this my vacation?
I asked the Lord if I'd been selfish as I reeled in another 30-pound fish.
Suddenly, two orcas surfaced not 50 yards from the boat. They frolicked in the sun and the shimmering sea as we continued to pull in fish. The scene was magical. Then it dawned on me that the Lord had answered every prayer I'd prayed that day: from sunny weather (I was actually fishing in a tank top that I'd put on by faith on that cold, cloudy morning), to calm seas, to seeing the whales that were dancing in front of me. I could almost see Him smiling down on me, saying, "My daughter, I am so very fond of you!"
Yeah, it was an awesome trip. God loves the Athabaskan people. He's crazy about our missionary friends in the village. He adores the friend I stood up . . .
And my Father just loves to take me fishing!