alaska flag

Eight stars of gold on a field of blue –
Alaska’s flag. May it mean to you
The blue of the sea, the evening sky,
The mountain lakes, and the flow’rs nearby;
The gold of the early sourdough’s dreams,
The precious gold of the hills and streams;
The brilliant stars in the northern sky,
The “Bear” – the “Dipper” – and, shining high,
The great North Star with its steady light,
Over land and sea a beacon bright.
Alaska’s flag – to Alaskans dear,
The simple flag of a last frontier.

I flew home last week, albeit for a visit that lasted less than 48 hours.  I was raised in Anchorage Alaska and I wouldn’t trade growing up in a place where the winter is dark and the summer is only slightly warm for any other place in the world.  Alaska’s beauty, in my biased opinion, is unmatched.  It is rugged and raw; unexpected and unpredictable.  It is where I learned to love nature and love God through nature.  I would sit for hours just behind my house staring at the ocean, scanning the water for the spray of Beluga whales and watching the tide roll in or out, depending on the time of day.  I would sit silently analyzing my teenage life, hoping I wouldn’t be surprised by a moose sharing my latitude and longitude.  I left Alaska when I got married, but it has never left me.  Too many memories to ever let go of.

And they flooded back this weekend as I flew back for a Time Out for Women.  (At the airport waiting for the shuttle bus.)

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I made the mistake of choosing an aisle seat when the tickets were booked. I would have loved to look out the window as we flew in.  I asked the woman seated by the window to take a picture for me.  She was willing, but gave me a look that said, “Dumb tourist.”

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The Time Out for Women event was spectacular for one, main reason…the audience.  They gave more to us than we gave to them.  They were engaged, responsive, fun – a group of them even brought glow sticks.  (Which we made good use of – waving them in the air like they were 4th of July sparklers.)

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(The team left to right: Chrislyn Woolston, Brad Wilcox, Alyssa Parker, Anthony Sweat, Virginia Pearce, Moi, Wendy Ulrich, David Archuletta, Mary Ellen Edmunds.)  Oh, how I love each of these amazing people.

Kari Hafen, my high school BFF, was there.  I used to go to her house on Sunday afternoons and we would sing Janice Kapp Perry songs.  I went because she would make me Crunchies (peanut butter and chocolate treats)…oh, and because I liked to sing.  That too.

Kari brought Crunchies to me at the event.  It strengthened my testimony.

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After the event I went to dinner with my nephew and nieces.  They are right up there with the most awesome kids in the world.  We ate at the Lucky Wishbone.  It is hamburger and shake joint and my picture is still on their wall of pictures – though all the pictures have practically turned black and white because of the sun. It is this picture…(I was 14 when I caught this 80 pound king salmon in the Kenai River.)

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I talked with George Brown, the owner of the Lucky Wishbone.  He is 95 years old.  He still wears yellow-lensed glasses.  Always has.

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It was a wonderful, all-too-short visit and I loved every minute of it.  This was how Alaska waved goodbye as we flew away at 6 am.

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Blog to you soon,

Hilary