Sunday, June 19, 2011

                                              June 16, 2011 - Welcome Isabelle Emily Spens
                                                          Happy Fathers Day, Patrick.
                                It's the land of the midnight sun.  This was taken about 11:30 pm.
                                   This little lake is on our way to the institute on the UAF campus.
                                          The flag of Alaska was designed by a 13 year-old boy.
        Dandelions are in full bloom all over Fairbanks.  These long-stemmed dandelions are in our yard.  Many  areas are covered with them.  They are so colorful after a long winter that no one seems to care if they grow. There are also other wildflowers along the roadsides in colors of purple, blues, white and yellow.

     This week has been exciting with the birth of a new granddaughter Isabelle to join with Emily and Patrick's family and with our continued teaching of the Pearl of Great Price summer curriculum at the institute. Also now that we are teaching another class in Delta Junction we get to drive down and back each Wednesday and it is just a beautiful and scenic drive. Rivers in the area are now full and have boat traffic as well as derbies floating along . It is also great to meet with the YSA and teach them and of course JoAnn provides home made cookies and milk or something for their treats. We also continue to have investigators attend our institute classes to see what the church is about. They are usually brought by some of the YSA kids who know them.
     There have been some big thunderstorms here.  There was one while we were away and so much water surrounded the house that some came into our basement apartment. It is the second time that we have had water inside so we just mop it up and dry it out and life goes on. There are some things that could be done to the house to stop the entry of water, but at this point I am not sure our landlord is going to do anything.
     It is the summer solstice celebration season here in Fairbanks and so there are all "night" (there is no night in terms of darkness) activities like baseball games and 10K runs etc. Some people stay up all night to celebrate, however JoAnn and I just went down to the Pioneer Park and the UAF arboretum late on Saturday to see what was going on but did not stay up all night. The picture and history of the Alaska flag above was taken at the pioneer park museum. Pioneer park is filled with old but restored log and frame buildings from the Fairbanks area dating back to the late 1800's. They have entertainment , food rides and gift shops and it is mainly open during the summer tourist season.
     Summer is truly a great time to be here in Alaska. It is like living in the high mountains of Utah surrounded by forests (and animals). Wild flowers are blooming. The Tanana valley (that we live in ) is totally green and the moose are grazing on the long grasses by the roadside. Temperatures are mild and there  is lots of sunshine. It is truly wonderful to be here.

Happy Fathers Day to all you dads.
Jim and JoAnn