August ends in Sitka . . .

August 26, 2015

Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers for the families and friends of those lost in the mudslides as well as the search and rescue squads and recovery dogs.  The final victim was recovered this Tuesday evening and the lives of all three will be celebrated on Saturday. While a very sad time for all, I’m so glad that the families have some closure. Their grieving will begin and may take some time and it is comforting to know that their support systems here in Sitka are strong.  This community will surround them with support, comfort and prayers.

Only five weeks remain for my time here in Sitka.   I’m scheduled to depart on September 30.  Was thinking yesterday of all the things I want to see and do before I leave and starting to plan a calendar so I don’t miss anything. I know I have said it before time and time again but I must say it again . . . this is a wonderful place that I encourage all of you to see anyway you can. It’s scenic, understated, and pure calm. Maybe I would feel differently if I lived here year round, I don’t know. Seems like the permanent residents I see each day would be showing some of those “different” signs if it were true. This might just blow my 3-month theory of living somewhere in order to get to know the culture and surroundings. I think I might have to find a way to come back for a different season. Possibly April, May and June in 2017??? Will have to see if the park service asks me to return then.

Speaking of National Park Services, these folks are great.  I encourage you to visit and search for areas you might enjoy visiting.  Volunteer opportunities are all over and there might even be one in your back yard!  Or maybe one you could make a 3-month visit to a place of your choice just like me!

This week has been much less busy with the kids gone. Work is fast approaching end of month activities so I’ll be doing some monthly inventory next week. Also working to enhance the SOP (Standard Operating Procedures) for the gift area. You know how I love processes and procedures defined! (Okay, we all have faults you know!!!)

We have a new volunteer – – – Michael from San Diego arrived and will be staying until the end of October. He seems like a great guy and will be living in the “white” house alongside our British gentleman, James. Since James has been the social organizer for all our get-togethers he has some big shoes to fill on the social front. James will be leaving us mid-September. His lovely personality and energetic attitude will be sorely missed around here . . . plus his accent as he uses the public announcement system to welcome visitors to the park . . . spelled “p.a.wwww.k”, and invites them to view a “lovely” 12 minute video about Sitka and it’s history. I’ll miss seeing him out in the tide pools looking around for goodies. James is a “one-of-a-kind” and will make a great biologist one day.

I was hoping the Sitka black tail deer would return this week as they have for the past two weeks. Unfortunately, they did not. Guess they found their home team and decided humans weren’t the way to go. Evenings this week were spent catching up on some readings that have been awaiting my attention. I’m determined to finish at least 3 of these over the next couple weeks. There’s a couple local history books about the Tlingit and Russian people here in Sitka that look very interesting.

School has started for all the grandchildren. Grant’s a senior this year. I’m amazed at how fast that came along! Here are a few pictures of the kids as they prepare for a new year of school.

Grant 1st day of school
Grant’s first day of school as a Senior at McKinney Christian Academy in McKinney, Texas.
Grant Senior Year
Here’s one of his senior pictures that I love! He’s grown into such a fine young man. I’m so proud!
Reid 8th grade
Reid starts 8th grade. Amazing!
Jack & Luke - 3rd Grade
Jack and Luke start 3rd grade. Can you tell them apart?
Cam, Tom Mike.10_5_6th grade
I love this picture. Here’s Cameron (who starts 10th grade); Michaela (who is a 5th grader), and Thomas (who starts 6th grade.) They are sitting outside the bookstore reading their new books. My Aunt Jane was the one who started my passion for reading and I passed it along to my daughter Melissa who has clearly passed it along to her 3. This picture warms my heart! (The look on Cameron’s face is due to hormones. He’s 14 and is really having a good time!)
First day of school in Indiana
Here’s a picture of Cam, Tom & Mike on their first day of school. They are in the bus as Melissa was a little behind schedule getting their picture. She got the bus though! Their driver, Mrs. Johnson, is there with them. She’s a gift from above and watches out for all the kids.

My son-in-law Robert remains in Afghanistan. Remember him in your thoughts and prayers. He loves the work he is doing there and his team started to arrive this week.  He now shares his office with two co-workers and a few more are coming soon. Be well my friends and take good care of each other.

Blessings, Mara