When I think about the last few years and the year to come I think of Lyle's analogy of life being a river with many unknowns, rappids and whorlpools, shallow water and deep water. He is right I think, life, as God intended it, is an ADVENTURE! He intends for us to have an intimate, meaningful, completely fufilling relationship with Him where we take His out-stretched hand and willingly follow Him wherever He leads. He can lead into some crazy stuff, but there is a place inside us that desires that kind of adventure, the kind of adventure that has purpose, passion, meaning, value, the real gut wrenching stuff that cuts right to the heart and really means something because it cost something!! This kind of adventure, this kind of life attitude that is willing to abandon worldly security and comfort to follow a sometimes crazy God of the univeres is scary, terrifing, and risky. He could ask me to give up everything but that is still what we want! So, we find ourselves coming into another turn on our river and asking that the Lord will strengthen us and humble us to follow where He may lead.
At this point in my life I find myself on the craziest adventure I could ever imagine. First, I got married to the best man I know last December and as all of you married people know that is the craziest adventure of all time. Second, I quit my teaching job, the job I spent over seven years of my life training for, thinking about, and planning for and have become a commercial fisherman and a receptionist/dispatcher/whatever else needs to be done person. Third, Lyle and I have decided to spend seven months travelling around the world, seeing the sights, checking out several mission organizations, and most importatnly seeking the Lord's will for our life together.
With these three major changes in my life I find myself doing and experiancing things I have never done before, never imagined doing before. I often find myself completely out of my comfort zone just looking around for some clue as to what our next move may be. However, through all this newness, that can bring discomfort, God is bringing amazing blessings that I could have never received had I stayed in my comfort zone. I have a Godly, tender hearted, protective, funny man who is constantly trying to love me the way God loves me. Lyle's devotion to me has been one of the greatest gifts God has ever given me and I have seen a real picture of how Christ loves me through Lyle's love for me. Praise the Lord for a Godly husband. I also have a part in a thriving commericial fishing family and buisness and learning to fish this summer was so much fun. I was able to get durty, live on a boat, pick fish, and hang out on the sea in the sun (praise the Lord it was sunny most of the time). Most of all Lyle and I had a chance to do something together that was high stakes, dangerous and lucritive. It was a growing and bonding experiance for us to see each other in that tough environment and I look foward to next season! I also have a year of travel set before me that will challenge me, force me to rely on Christ and Lyle, and give me a "reality check" of what life is really like for most people on the planet. I have dreamed of doing the things Lyle and I have planned to do in the next year but never thought they would really be able to happen, but Lyle is a doer (to my advantage) so off we go.
Dolly rhymes with Dall I think.
After a long night of packing we finally fell into bed after midnight and set the alarm for 5AM with a little sick feeling in my gut knowing the time would slip by so quickly. The relentless racket of the alarm broke my dreamless rest only moments after shutting my eyes and my arm shot out to pound the snooze button for another glorious 6 minutes of rest. The excitement of the days prospects slowly ran through my brain and and I chased them away to gain those last few moments of bliss before the buzzing returned. Finally ousted from our bed Heidi and I set about our final preparations for our adventure. We set out full speed ahead on Lake Clark and up the shore to Copper Mountain where we intended to go to the far end of the mountain to start our assault of the 4500' peak. We changed our plans a bit after seeing the large cloud cap on the top quarter of the mountain. Not wanting to get turned around in the fog on top we opted for a more cautious and probably arduous journey up the south west rib. Our fears where not ill placed and with-in hours we were battling up hill into a sea of alders. We felt like the alders were the mountains sentinels sent to protect its slopes from the human invaders and trying to turn us back at every step. Every now and then we would find a small clearing that would afford us a few modest gains but then back to the war until we were allowed to gain the high ground and set foot above tree line. The cloud cap on the mountain soon absorbed us and we crept up the hill expectantly, only able to see a few hundred yards in front of us. It was nearing noon and the thick clouds were persistent, we worked our way up the ridge and stopped to check some suspicious shapes that turned out to be rocks. Suddenly the clouds disappeared and no more than 200 yards away sat a group of nine rams resting peacefully in their ignorance of our presence. For thirty minutes or more we sat and studied our new friends trying to decide which one to take home. We finally decided on our favorite one and Heidi took care full aim. The rifle shot pierced the crisp afternoon air and all the sheep jumped to their feet and our new buddy headed down hill away from the group. We chased the poor fellow and finally got a chance for a second shot and Heidi nailed him. He plunged down the slopes and landed on his feet only to bed down behind a large rock and nurse his wounds. The fatal bullet found him in his bed and the rugged terrain swept him down hill. Over and over he rolled, end over end all the while Heidi and I willing him to stop only to see his feet once more raising over his head. Finally it came to a rest and we began to make our way down being care full not to succumb to the same fate ourselves. We were amazed to find his beautiful horns unscathed by the tremendous fall and his body hardly worse for the tumble. First came the pictures and then we set to work quartering him up for the long walk down the mountain. We boned him out on the slope to save weight and began the death march back down the mountain eyeing the alders waiting for us with open branches. Apparently those alders didn't mind us leaving their lofty terrain, we found the controlled fall down much more appealing than pushing up. Soon we were down into the woods and the lake not far in the distance. We pushed on, eager for a long drink as our water supply had run down to nothing and our mouths were feeling thirsty. A stiff walk down the beach a few miles returned us to the boat and we retrieved our packs only to head off into the waining light in search of our bed and a warm house. We had made a memory that we will not soon forget and long after the meat has passed our lips his horns will grace our wall. She called him Dolly on the way home and I thought it was an odd name for a ram but . . . it did rhyme.