Monday, May 16, 2011

                                                      "Hello" to all our family and friends.
                                   We had a very clear day to catch a glimpse of Mt. McKinley.
                                               This is known as the "mosquito  trap." 
                                               The mosquito is often called the "state bird."
A quilt for Kendra and Stephen.
                         One sure sign of spring.  This robin was gathering moose hair to make a nest.

This evening we had a wonderful Institute and Seminary graduation.  I'll admit, it was a bit crazy getting everything ready.  We had students qualifying at the last minute and printer issues in printing the certificates.  However, things went rather smoothly in the end.  We had all the seminary students practice singing "We Thank Thee, Oh God, For a Prophet" in their classes.  Tonight all of them came together for one rehearsal just before the meeting began.  There was a wonderful spirit as they all bore their testimonies together in song.  We had two speakers from the Institute and two speakers from Seminary.  It was a two hour drive for many of the students to get to Fairbanks.  They are great kids and have a good foundation to build upon.  It was a great opportunity for us to see some of the seminary teachers again that we have only met once before.  They have great commitment to prepare every day to teach at 6:30 am.  I'm proud of the kids that are willing to get up early every morning to attend seminary classes.  That includes my grandkids in Ely.

Life in Alaska is definitely different.  We keep hoping to see some new leaves on the trees.  The only flowers you can find are in nurseries and greenhouses.  We did see some dandelions at Fort Wainwright this week.  I never thought I would be happy to see dandelions.  Jim helped Pres. Olsen put up the greenhouse in the back yard here.  We have purchased a few tomato plants and some squash.  We'll see how they do.  Gardening here is very different.  We have seen mounds in yards in preparation for planting.  The soil stays too cold for some plants with the permafrost underneath.  The light is interesting to get used to.  I woke up at 2:00 am last night and it was just dusk outside.  It's hard to tell what time it is!

With Seminary and Institute classes over (at least for a couple of weeks) we are now planning for summer.  I hope to be able to make progress in cataloging our library.  Kendra Day and Stephen Tibbs from the Branch are getting married in the Anchorage Temple on Friday and have invited us to attend.  That will be a nice trip.   It's a blessing to see their commitment to becoming an eternal family.  (I'm grateful to Sister Olsen for her wonderful stash of fabrics that she has shared.) 

 We love being here in Alaska.  It's quite the adventure.  May the Lord continue to bless you as he has been blessing us.

JoAnn and Jim