Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Could I borrow a cup of sugar?



















   I made a trip over to Juneau last week to go shopping. Sounds about as exciting as watching paint dry doesn't it? I believe most ladies like to shop, but I think that usually involves fun things like shoes or clothes or some such thing. I don't know what's so fun about those items. Now if they were shopping for hoochies or spoons or flashers and assorted other fishing gear, I could see where that would be fun. I think my heart skips a few beats every time I spot a new pack of hoochies that have the potential for catching fish. That's much more practical than a tenth pair of shoes or an extra blouse to squeeze into a closet. Unfortunately I wasn't shopping for fishing gear. I paid $132.00 to hop a ferry and go shopping for groceries. It seems like a lot of money, and it is, but the fact is, it costs so much for groceries here, that with the amount that I bought, I actually saved money. A case in point. I ran out of gum prior to my trip so I elected to go to Colette's Cupboard to buy some. Colette's is the only other store in town that carries groceries. I bought two packs of my favorite gum- Trident original. When the gal rang up the sale, I had to cough up $4.03. Holy Crow! I really savored that gum, chewing it until there wasn't a smidgen of flavor left. At Costco I bought gum on sale for $5.99 a carton. There are 14 packs in a carton, so I bought four cartons. I figure I saved about $88.00 just on the gum alone, which pays for a good bit of the cost of the ferry ticket. I love shopping at Costco. Most of the groceries you buy come in case lots or in  a size so big that you need to invite  the whole neighborhood to help you eat it all. I bought a beef sausage log that's about two feet long and two and a half inches in diameter. You could feed half of Germany with this thing. I bought it for an upcoming Christmas party that we're having. As you can see from the pictures above, the shelves are well stocked- at least for now. I believe I've mentioned in the past that on occasion my daughter Jennifer will fail to pick up some necessary item that she needs for dinner. For whatever reason, she'll decide she wants to cook something like, say, chicken. Well she doesn't check to see if she has chicken before she decides to cook it, and because she is incredibly busy, and apparently shopping isn't at the top of her list, by the time she discovers that she doesn't have what she needs, the store is closed. Hey, no problem- I'll just go over to mom and dads and tap into their supplies. No need to go to Costco, I'll shop at Bottsco's. I can't count the number of times down through the years that she's called and wanted to "borrow" one thing or another. I don't know how you borrow a spoon of mayo. It runs in my mind that we've provided coffee, sugar, potatoes, canned vegetables, soy sauce, mayonnaise, other items that escape memory for now and of course toilet paper. I don't know how, in a house full of women, you could possibly forget to buy toilet paper, but apparently it happens. I guess we're guilty of enabling by the very act of providing said TP. Once or twice of having to squat in the woods without the benefit of tissue would probably do wonders for ones memory. However, we're not totally hard-hearted, so we of course "lend" whatever is needed. Just don't bring back the toilet paper when you're done with it. I have a tendency to express my opinion when I deem something isn't what it should be, and Jen has called to borrow things with such frequency that I inevitably give her a hard time for not being prepared. Now when she needs to borrow something, if I answer the phone she'll ask to speak to her mom. Of course I know what that's about. Things are looking up though. She recently had to go to Juneau for some medical issues and while she was there she stocked up at Costco. When I was at her house the other day Jen proudly announced that she had a full compliment of toilet paper and coffee and other supplies that in times past could be conveniently gotten at our house. Then she marched me down to her freezer and showed me how neatly stocked it was. She was very proud of herself. I'm proud of her too. However, I know that it's just a matter of time before she'll run out of something and she'll need to be making a trip to Bottsco's. Fortunately I have a large supply of plastic grocery bags she can use to take my supplies home with her.









Friday, October 17, 2014

Danita's Children

A Haitian boy in the market
Children in school at Danita's Children

Dauphly

Francia Dervilus

Robenson Talabert






























































































 I received a lovely color pamphlet from Danita's Children  a couple weeks ago. Danita's Children is an organization down in Haiti that runs an orphanage, a school and most recently a hospital on the compound. In 1998 Danita Estrella came to the Dominican Republic with a group of doctors in order to translate for them. Several weeks later she traveled to Haiti. When she saw the orphans, the people sleeping in the streets, the abject poverty, her heart was broken. Two months later she said goodbye to her family and moved to Haiti by herself. She opened a home for orphans and one month later she had fourteen children she was caring for. She started a charitable organization called Hope for Haiti and has since renamed it Danita's Children.I'm not sure how many children she's taking care of right now, but as you can see in the second picture, there is quite a few of them. They have a saying at Danita's Children- there's always room for one more. Somehow they have been able to take in so many needy kids. It's not just a temporary fix either. As Danita states, this is a lifetime commitment to feed, clothe and educate these children. With the hospital she has opened she hopes to provide medical care for the entire island,so that no one in this desperately poor country will have to suffer because they can't afford it.As she states in a video, when we get up in the morning we wonder what clothes we will wear, or what we will fix for dinner. When Haitian families wake up, they wonder how they will survive. She mentioned that there are one hundred and forty eight million orphaned children in the world. How will they know that they have value as human beings? How can they know that God hasn't forgotten them, that He loves them if those who are Christians don't step up to the plate? Who does God use to meet the needs of these kids?  He uses us. It's not up to the United Nations or UNICEF or some government funded corrupt organization to feed and clothe these kids. Its up to those who call themselves Christians. It takes money to run a place like this. Sorry, but it does. An orphanage or a church or a hospital needs  money, just the same as you need money to buy food or medical help or heat for your home. A lot of folks are turned off  by requests for money when it comes from the pulpit, but as she mentions, in the Book of Proverbs God says, those who give to the poor, lend to God- He will repay. Will the king of all the universe repay grudgingly? Will He default on what you have lent Him? No way! I know that there are a lot of very worthwhile charitable organizations. If you aren't in the habit of giving, I hope that you will start a new habit. I can attest to the fact that you can not out-give God. It doesn't have to be this organization, though I believe it is certainly worthwhile. I hope you will prayerfully consider supporting a Christian charity, whether it is feeding the hungry or teaching prisoners or visiting the elderly. We have so many needs in this world, and if Christians don't step up who will?


















Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Lost Opportunities



















  I took these pictures out back this morning. For those of you who can't tell or aren't familiar with the flora of Southeast Alaska, these are blueberry bushes. As you can see, there aren't any blueberries on them. In years past, I wouldn't even bother to pick any berries until now because of all the leaves. I kind of like to wait until after a frost so that in the process of picking I don't end up with more leaves than berries, plus there is a little white worm that inhabits some of the fruit, and I think the frost drives them out or at least kills them. In any event, I had planned on going out picking several weeks ago, but the fishing season was extended, which was a good thing, and the weather was really foul with lots of wind and rain, which wasn't such a good thing, and I missed my opportunity to go picking. Blast it! I really wanted to have a gallon or so of blueberries so I could make a few, or I guess more than a few, batches of those blueberry sour cream muffins. I still can, but now I'll have to buy what I want, at a fairly steep price. If you snooze you lose.
  I've been thinking more about the limited time we have on this earth lately, and how everything has a season, just like it says in the book of Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 To everything there is  a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. It's not just berry picking or fishing that has a season. Obviously you won't find farmers in northern climates out trying to plow the fields when there is six inches of snow on the ground, it doesn't make sense. You plow in the spring when the ground is ready. Here in Southeast, most people try to take care of outdoor projects when the sun is shining. You can paint in the rain I guess, but it probably won't turn out too well. Same with mowing the lawn or washing the car.
  Without a regular job to go to, I have a lot of flexibility in my day. I can go work on the boat or do a load of laundry or spend the whole day watching television. For one reason or another I missed out on a chance to put in a winter's supply of halibut. Usually I catch a few incidentally when I'm trolling, but it didn't happen this year. I should have set a subsistence long line earlier in the summer when the halibut were more abundant, but I didn't, so I missed out. The same thing with the berries. I don't think I was goofing off when these opportunities arose, I just didn't take advantage of the chance when it came up. With that in mind, I figured I'd go hunting yesterday. I don't usually go this time of year because the brush is so thick, and frankly, I'm scared of running into bears in the woods. I asked a friend to go with me, but he had other things to do, so I just figured I'd go out and hunt the road system. It won't be long and the roads will be filled with hunters from Juneau and other places bringing their campers and four wheelers and running all over tarnation shooting everything in sight. When that happens the deer become a lot more scarce and harder to find, so I kind of wanted to beat them to the punch. As I was driving past a wooded area I saw a small deer cross the road and walk into the woods, so I parked the truck in the area and went to see if there was a bigger one hanging around. There wasn't, but the day was so pleasant- sunny and warm, that I didn't care. As I walked I was just enjoying the sounds of nature- the Junko's and Chickadees in the brush, a squirrel up in a Spruce cutting the cones and letting them drop to the ground, and all the little rivulets of water running down the hill. It was all very serene and peaceful, and I was really enjoying myself. However, as much as I liked the hike, I was hoping for a deer, so I got in the truck and traveled down the road a little further to a spot that I hoped might harbor a few decent sized deer. I parked the truck and started walking. There was muskeg on either side of the road and clumps of trees and scrub brush scattered along the muskeg. I didn't go far, maybe a half mile or so. I was coming up a small rise   when I looked down the road and saw a rather large brown bear with it's head down walking up the road directly towards me, maybe fifty yards away. I know the bible says that a spring can't produce salt water and fresh, I guess referring to your spiritual condition, but I'm here to tell you, I produced a little of both yesterday. I don't know if my first words were "Jesus!' or "Oh Shit!" but I know I spoke both in rapid succession and then started backing down the road. Once the rise hid the bear from my view I turned and rapidly started walking towards the truck. I kept looking back and saw that the brownie had topped the rise and was still coming. Brown bears can cover a lot of territory in a short time. They have a very purposeful stride and if they should decide to attack you, they can run like the wind. You can't out run one. As it was, my heart was pounding in my chest just with the rapid pace I was walking. I wouldn't have been able to run if my life had depended on it.   When the bear came into view again and didn't show any signs of changing course I turned and yelled at it. Fortunately for me he stopped and looked in my direction and chose to amble off into the muskeg. Had he decided to charge I'm not sure my .270 would have made much difference. I might have gotten one shot off, maybe two before he would be on me. I'm so happy that I didn't have to find out. Today would have been a good day to go hunting. It's kind of sunny and warm, but I don't think I'll go. There are other things that need done while the weather is good, and I don't want to miss the opportunity to do them.