Friday, August 29, 2014

A weekend retreat!

What? A retreat at the beginning of school year?!?

Thus, my lapse in a blog update last weekend.  The Radiant Women's Ministry at the church I attend put on a women's retreat.  We all met a various places and times last Friday and made our way to Sutton and the Victory Bible Camp.  Sutton is about an hour and a half north and east into the mountains.  Friday night was all about hanging out and getting to know the women... well, okay, I did bring some papers to grade so I wasn't socializing too much - but I felt if I graded Friday night I could enjoy the rest of the weekend. AND I DID!

The picture above was the view Saturday morning as I was heading out for a walk, all by myself.  Yes, I truly felt this weekend was about some time for me.  Of course I wanted to get to know some of the women I always see at church but always felt like I didn't have time to make connections; but I also felt this weekend was a gift of rest. 

So, I enjoyed my peaceful walk and felt my body just relax.  I wasn't walking because I needed to exercise and it was the end of the day and my mind was racing with all the things I needed to still do.  No, this walk was peaceful.  Just me, the crisp morning air and sounds of nature.  To my surprise, I happened upon this little waterfall.  

After my walk, it was time to start the day.  Our guest speaker for the weekend, Gwen Adams, gave 3 amazing sessions surrounding the topic of "Who am I?"  So many wonderful points were made, but the greatest thing I took away from the weekend was reevaluating where I spend my time.  Yes, I have my quiet time with God in the morning - but then what.  Gwen pointed out that we will see and hear God when we invest in our relationships that hold promise; spouse, children, friendships/spiritual partners, parents and church family.  I really reflected on what sucks my time away that I don't always realize that whatever it is takes me away from relationships.  So, I made a plan to make some of these adjustments.  One of them was doing a house hold chore every night so that the weekend was free for me to hang out with Leif and the kids and not be busy all Saturday morning cleaning the house.  I'll admit, it feels weird to sit here Friday night and realize the laundry is already done and bathrooms are already cleaned.  However, I'm excited to have basically all of Saturday morning to hang out with my family - doing nothing else, but enjoying our time together.   

 I loved seeing this little flower at our camp for the weekend - it just brought a smile to my face!

After our session with Gwen, we met in small groups and then had at least 2 hours of free time.  So, what did I do?  I took a nap!! Then went to 2nd session, had dinner and free time again - and guess what I did - went and finished a book and was asleep by 8:30pm!!  All you mothers can appreciate the idea of not having any demands on you and how your body just screams- rest!  So I did!

Sunday morning was a very reflective morning for me as I've been struggling with making friends here in Eagle River.  I was blessed with a very powerful moment as I sat in front of this lake early in the morning.  A lone loon was sitting on the lake just swimming around occasionally calling out to anyone who was listening.  I sat there and watched and realized that was me.  Just sitting calling out to try to make friends, but not really making the effort to fly off and find a group of friends to join.   Partly, it's my personality - I just don't do well with large groups, but much better 1 to 1 or even a small group of 3, but I'm never going to get to that place of finding a close group of friends if I don't make the effort to join the larger groups first.  Needless to say - this weekend was emotional and life changing - but also relaxing and refreshing.

As we headed home, it was amazing to see how in just 2 days the way the leaves are changing. Surly a sign that summer is ending and winter will be here before we know it.  

We had a busy week of school and events but looking forward to enjoying a nice long 3 day weekend.  We kicked off the weekend by sending Papa to go watch the high school football game to support the students he works with and to give him a break as he was amazing with the kiddo while I was at the retreat last weekend.   The kids and I took advantage of the break in the rainy weather we had this week and headed to the park to soak up some last days of summer.

Have a wonderful and safe Labor Day weekend!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Back To School We Go

This isn't the picture you'd expect to see for a "Back to School" title for this blog entry, but it is a reflection of how we are enjoying the last few days of summer.  In our neighborhood, a family sprinkled the hillside with what we thought was grass seed this spring.  Much to our surprise when we returned from Montana, it was a hillside full of beautiful wild flowers.  It soon became Sister's favorite spot to stop on our nightly walks...

Sister is really getting the hang of her Strider bike and it's a good thing because she's grown so much these past few weeks that she's almost too tall for the bike.

We've enjoyed our evening walks to the park and have tried to soak in every last bit of bright sunlight before our days grower darker.  Brother sure is enjoying his freedom at the parks these days - particularly the seated swings...

While we enjoy the last few days of summer, we have been going back to school for teacher inservice days and getting our classrooms set up.  I'm so thankful for a willing husband to help decorate my room at my new school this year.



Hard to believe students will be filling these seats on Wednesday!
I'm looking forward to the new school year and so is Leif - he's very excited to be back at the high school level.  Here's to a new school year!!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

ALCAN to Montana July Adventure

July 8, 2014 - August 3, 2014

Are we ready?

Well, fellow blog readers, it feels great to be back. It's taking me all week to go through all the photos but so much fun to relive the memories.  I would end up posting 30 some posts to share all the details of our adventure - so I'm going to do my best to summarize the past month here.  If you want more details - you'll just have to come visit us in Eagle River!

The picture above is the morning of the start to the adventure and shows our home for the past month.  Leif's parents and the four of us traveled in one vehicle (Explorer) and then had the pop-up camper as lodging.  One would think we were crazy, but actually we all had plenty of space.  

We saw all kinds of wildlife...

Elk at our campsite

Stone Sheep 

Brown Bear - we saw 16 in one day!!
and wild wood bison herd.

We were also blessed with some amazing sunsets

Dutton, MT

 Ft. Smith/Big Horn River - MT

Alberta, Canada

However, the focus of our trip was to be a part of the Jacobsen family reunion.  We made the trip down in 7 days- really taking our time and enjoying the trip. 

The kids were absolutely content if they could find a puddle and rocks - no matter where we stopped.

They were also pretty excited to go over all the bridges - this was going over the famous Tesslin Bridge in Yukon Territory which is the longest suspension bridge on the Alaskan Highway.

Let's not forget the fun things that pop up at the gas stations

and at the playgrounds

Of course we had our silly moments in the car too!

We even found creative ways to get our "quiet time" in!

The family reunion was a wonderful time!  Here's our Pope with his siblings.

Only one sister was unable to make it due to her husband falling ill. We were happy to hear he was doing better, but they thought it best not to travel.  Out of Papa's cousins, only 3 of the cousins were unable to attend.  So, we had about 60 people attend the reunion.

It was great to be able to spend the week prior to the reunion camping along side Papa's brother and his family.  Here the Jacobsen cousins enjoyed a 'chilly' swim!

Before we knew it - it was time to head back north. 
We left Montana on a Monday and arrived back in Fairbanks on Friday and then home to Eagle River on Saturday!  We put roughly 2,900 miles in 6 days!!! We were all ready to be home, have some space and use a really bathroom! Ha, ha...  In all sincerity, this was a wonderful trip.  So many memories were made and it was wonderful to spend quality time with family.  We were even fortunate enough to have my mom and dad come over for a visit from Wisconsin.  
(, send me some pictures you took!) 

 Our last camp site at Kluane Lake, Yukon Territory

As we've been home for a week now, we've shifted gears getting ready to go back to school. Can it be that time already?  I know as the craziness of school starting up, I'm going to remember how relaxing this trip was (yes, it was truly relaxing) and keep my focus on what's important in life.

Thank you friends and family that have kept us in your prayers this past month. Truly - your prayers were answered as we had zero car troubles, and 95% positive attitudes by all (okay- we all had a cranky moment or two) but honestly - what could have been stressful and irritating trip, was one of positive and quality time together as a family.   
So, we thank you for praying and keeping us in your thoughts!