Due to the colder weather we've begun to plug in our cars when they are parked. We had three heaters installed on our vehicles: engine, radiator and battery. We have a timer on our home outlet at home, so it warms for about 3 hours prior to going to work. At work there are posts with plug-ins by the parking spaces where we can plug in. When the temp is + 20 to -20 the electricity runs off and on every 30 minutes. Below -20 the electricity is on all the time. They sell special kind of extension cords here that remain pliable when it is very cold, usually down to -50. Winter boots and coats are also sold by indicating the lowest temperature they should be effective. Alaskans have been very free about sharing everything we need to know to stay warm and safe in the winter weather.
My son, Sam, visited for 10 days this past August. It was soooooo good to spend time with him. I was able to take several days off work when he was here to show him the local tourist sites. We purchased a 1977 Dodge camper in June, so he and I took it on the road for three days on a jaunt to Valdez, Alaska. Enroute there we had a private salmon charter and did some fishing on a river raging with glacier run off. I can attest to the water's chill, as I took a tumble into the river getting out of the boat. He enjoyed his time here in Alaska and took hundreds, if not thousands of photos. It did my soul well to be able to spend time with him and to share the beauty of the great outdoors. He is such an awesome young man and I enjoyed every minute with him. It was probably good he went home when he did, as my stomach was feeling the impact of laughing so much with him.
The Methodist congregation has probably 300 members, and they are an active church with all ages participating equally. Church and worship are very important to Alaskans, with a LOT of churches in Fairbanks and usually the entire family attending. The Methodist Church had 120 in Sunday School last week. They have enough Sunday School teacher volunteers that they rotate teaching, teaching one segment of the lesson every four weeks.
Nearly every weekend in the fall there are craft sales and/or bazaars. The first one was prior to Halloween and they will continue until Christmas. Alaskans are crafty folks. We have a very, very large JoAnn Fabric store about 5 blocks from our home, as well as a large Michael's within 10 blocks.
Fairbanks has attracted an abundance of artistic talent from all genres. This Friday evening Camilla and I have been asked to usher at the local community theater for "The Miracle Worker". All theater performances we have attended have been flawless. The Sweet Adelines Christmas concert is December 4th/ The local military band concert and Sing it Yourself Messiah are also in December. Most weekends it is necessary to select which activities we want to attend, there are just too many to attend all. We also enjoy attending an occasional Ice Dogs hockey game, Fairbanks' version of the Musketeers.
We seem to have settled in to Alaska living, yet miss spending time with our loved ones face to face. We will be back to Iowa in May for my parents' 65th wedding anniversary, Nate's granddaughter's high school graduation and my son Sam's college graduation. Until then e-mail and phone calls will need to fill those voids.
Before I close I have a prayer request for Alta, a young mother in her mid 20's who is in need of a kidney transplant. Her twin sister, Alma, has worked with us at Boys and Girls Home of Alaska, since we opened. Alta was Life Lighted (helicoptered) to Anchorage Saturday evening so she can receive dialysis, leaving her year old daughter here in Fairbanks with family members.
The Advent season is upon us, and I am praying that you will have peace in your life amongst the hustle and bustle which can sometimes blur the reason for the season.