Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Another year has gone by

Today marks the 8th anniversary of the avalanche that took Alan's life and that of Jim Bowles. It doesn't seem possible that 8 full years have gone by, but there have definitely been moments that have felt like a lifetime in a few short seconds.

The weather in Anchorage that morning started out sunny and clear. After enjoying a Saturday morning of "jammie time" with the boys, breakfast and play (I even did some scrapbooking), we ventured out for a few errands.

Accomplishment - documented memories:

This photo was taken about noon near Potter's Marsh on Saturday, February 13, 2010:

This was the view Alan captured on his cell phone that day:


It was simply beautiful. Much like the weather I'm experiencing today in Valdez:

Alan left early that Saturday morning headed to Moose Pass to enjoy a ride in the back country with friends. No one suspected how this day would change all of our lives.

As I sit at my desk and type (when I should be working instead), I think of all of the many friends Alan had - the people he loved and cherished - and I am sad for them. I hurt knowing that they miss him too. Their lives are changed just as ours did.

Alan was one to pick up the phone at odd times to follow through on a thought of a friend. He would call and just check in to say "What's going on?" and hear their voice. He always wanted people to know that he cared. His friends aren't getting those calls any more. Their lives are very different because of his passing.

The boys are learning and growing and living every day just as he would want I believe. They look like him and often remind me of him in the way they walk and talk. For many years the boys and I would laugh about something funny and imagine what Alan would have said about it. We would enjoy looking at photos and sharing our memories of him in our lives.

Recently Payton made a comment that he really didn't know his dad because he was so young when Alan passed. Jarrett has said many times that he doesn't remember things like Payton does. This is all understandable.

What's most difficult for me is that I can't do much about it.

Today is just another day. And life goes on. It really does. Even when grief slams us to a screeching halt, life goes on. We often feel that life goes on for everyone else and it seems it has stopped for us. But life goes on for us too.

And for this I am grateful.

Because life goes on, I have met someone to share my life with. I have met someone worth going through the ups and downs of emotions - the challenges of living with another person when you don't always agree - and the opportunity to share the good and the not so good. All of this because life really does go on.

I try smile and greet every new day with a positive outlook because I am truly grateful for the life I am living ... but today I'm sad.

It is my wish that those who miss Alan will think of him and remember something funny he did or said and enjoy that memory.

It is my wish that you remember the legacy Alan left behind and live life to the fullest.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

So much in such a short time

I imagine that for many people the days go by, one after the other, and we stop every now and then to catch our breath. To examine where we are. To try and smell some roses. Hopefully, we notice and enjoy the special small moments that really do make up this big amazing life. It can be easy to let these slip by unnoticed.

In a Huffington Post article dated November 4, 2010, Wendy Strgar wrote:

"We reveal ourselves most honestly and intimately in the smallest of interactions and the tiny incidents of daily routines."

I agree with her statement. These small moments are the stuff life is made of ... the bits and pieces that are the big picture. If we don't pay attention to them, we miss out on the incredible journey. And isn't the journey more important than the destination???

I am paying more attention to the details lately. I am using my big camera more to take photos with instead of just my phone. I am driving in the car without the radio turned on. And we are trying to get more "wind down" time in the evenings in our house.

Because these details are our lives.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Missing my Blog

Time is flying by!
I know ... many people say that.
But really ...

"The days are long, but the years are short."
(quote courtesy Gretchen Rubin - spot on!!)

Each day we go to school, go to work, do homework, pay bills, eat, clean up, do laundry, play basketball, write notes to friends, shop for groceries, and somewhere in there try to rest and sleep and daydream.  Then the next day we wake and do it all again.  And while I understand this is how most people's lives roll with children similar in age to mine ...

... this is not enough for me ...

I am not documenting the daily moments that make up the big picture.
And I miss it.

So where to go from here???

Today is a brand new day.  There may be clouds.  It may look dark when you walk outside.  But look up! The sky really is the limit!!!! You've never seen this day before so go out and get in it!!!!!!!!!!!!

And decide that you ARE MORE THAN worth it!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Alaska Observations

We arrived in Anchorage very early on Saturday morning, July 16th.  Since then we have seen a bunch of friends, started getting settled in our new home, had friends visit even, traveled to a few places, and attended the wedding of the year.

We have much to be thankful for …



We have done a fair amount of driving over the past few weeks.  During this time I’ve noticed some things that I may have (slightly) forgotten while living out of state for the past three years …

First, even though it’s pouring down rain outside and you can barely see neighbors across the street because it’s so socked in, the water hitting the roof is a beautiful sound.

Also, people often drive slower than the speed limit up here in the summer because of the beauty that is Alaska. While I totally understand that, I still curse the rubber-neckers.

The mosquitos did not relocate despite my wishing this with all of my might. And apparently the yellow jackets have over-produced.  (major understatement)

Being on the water (the ocean, the harbor, the river) is just as wonderful as I remember.  Even better now.

Summer in Alaska is warm.  Comfortable. Even hot some days.  And the air is fresh.  And the rain is beautiful!

The love that is family – and friends that are family – lives on despite years or miles or even experiences. My ties in Alaska run deep. Even though not all ties have been cultivated, they still exist.


Before I forget, here are some photos showing where our travels have taken us:

Uncle Brian’s on Horseshoe Lake


DSC_0874 (2)
Moose Pass / Tern Lake – Hall Wedding


Portage side of Whittier Tunnel

IMG_2273 (2)
My home – Valdez! And Grandma Rhoden!!!


It’s interesting to be able to say this even though we don’t yet have furniture in our new home … and we’re floating along the water in Prince William Sound …
but I feel grounded.

And it feels fantastic!

Friday, July 8, 2016

Together Time

It’s not every day that I can capture a scene like this …


and today I actually missed the shot!  But the boys sat back down when I asked them to so that I could capture the moment through my lens.


J Man (or J Rat as he’s lovingly known lately) isn’t feeling well, and so he isn’t running at full speed – in any sense of the word.  That boy slept most of the day.

Knowing this makes these photos even that more special.  Big brother knew what was going on and he was patient all day.

Will wonders never cease?!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

this AND that

Rather than feeling like I have to make a choice in every situation (i.e. this OR that), I am now going to frame my thoughts along the lines of having a variety of options.  That really is how life is ya know … we have options.  We all have choices.  And just because we say yes to one decision, or choose one thing, does not necessarily mean we are saying no to all other options.

Soon we will change from this …


To this …


I have made the decision that we are moving back to Alaska this summer.  In under 5 weeks actually.  I have found a new home for us in Anchorage – we have sold our home here in Carlton.  There are many reasons for this change, all of which are good and right, but it will still be difficult to make this move.

And while this is another big change for us, it does not mean we are choosing one OVER the other.  We are making this choice because it is the best decision for us with regard to living full lives with our families.  We have made amazing friends in Oregon – we are leaving behind friends that are family – but they will remain our friends and family.

Pretty simple.

Friday, May 20, 2016

In the past few months

Life these days are consumed by baseball, basketball, school, work and more baseball.


My boys love sports – they have so much fun! The above was taken on vacation in Washington State in March. It doesn’t matter where we are – as long as there is a hoop, the boys are happy.

Taking photos has taken a back seat in my life lately.  I miss having a camera in my hand.  I want the documentation of our lives. I love having photos to help aid our memories.

I have stopped taking photos.  I think this may be because I am someone typically crippled by too many options.  I have two cameras and a cell phone, but have not yet mastered backing up my photos continually, and feel overwhelmed by it.  I still take a few snapshots here and there, but nothing like what I used to take in my “former life.”

I miss it.  The photos.  Having the memories.  Documenting our story.  This is something that will take a more front seat role in my life.

Starting today.