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May We Never Lose The Wonder

When we first moved to Alaska over 2 1/2 years ago, I was in awe of absolutely everything I set my eyes upon. As an Oklahoma girl for 28 years, I never experienced any of the beautiful scenery we have here in Alaska. The closest thing we ever got to a mountain was…. I dunno, Black Mesa, measuring just shy of 5,000 feet?  We didn’t have clear, beautiful streams… We had the Arkansas River, which was more like the muddiest, murkiest bath water you wish you’d never seen.  There are no glaciers.  No endless bounds of snow in the wintertime… although one year there was what seemed like an endless bound of ice storm which knocked our power out for 5 days in subzero temps, which is something I totally could have lived without.  No mountain goats to gawk at for hours on end and no bears… except for the ones that escape from the zoo.

Some days I have to pinch myself to believe I actually get to live in a place this beautiful. It didn’t come easy and truthfully it hasn’t always been fun. But it has been worth it. And I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I often have to tell myself that I never want to lose that “wonder” that I first came here with and I’d like to tell you a little story, most of which took place about two years ago.


Palmer, Alaska; Rainbow outside of Fred Meyer

When we first moved to Alaska and lived in Palmer, I was approximately 43 months pregnant and had exactly zero friends. One afternoon I left the kids with the husband and took a trip by myself to Fred Meyer. And so as fate would have it, big, fat, pregnant, oblivious me ended up leaving my cell phone somewhere in the store. If you know me, you know that my phone is my lifeblood. Especially in a new town where I knew no one and didn’t know my way around. It wasn’t until I went to pay for my groceries that I realized what I had done. I got that hot feeling in my cheeks and made a beeline for Customer Service. I asked if anyone had turned in a cell phone (all the while holding out little hope for such a miracle)…. but much to my surprise, someone had actually turned it in and it was waiting there for me in all of its sparkly pink glory. So this fat, pregnant, wildly emotional girl cried all the way to the car with my groceries. And then I looked up and saw this (above). Cue all the tears! I felt like this was God saying to me, “Hey! This is where you’re supposed to be.”

Let me never lose the wonder.


Palmer, Alaska

Again, I’m approximately 59 months pregnant here. Getting to pull over on the side of the road with the kids and the dog to play at a beautiful body of water with mountains in the distance and mountains reflecting on the water…. seriously, that’s not even heard of back where I come from! Cue the big dumb grin on my face.

Let me never lose the wonder.


Seward highway sunset

One evening we pulled over for a beauuuuuutiful sunset on the Seward Highway past Anchorage. The mountains…. the water… the clouds… the color! Can’t get enough. Can’t stop staring.

Let me never lose the wonder.



Catching that first Alaskan Salmon in Palmer, Alaska… we were so proud of it! And look at it, laying there in all of its half dead glory, but we didn’t know that nor did we care. We were fat, dumb and gloriously over-the-moon happy, yet again, and honestly it was the best dang salmon we ever tasted. (We’re from Oklahoma, remember?) Cue the smirk on the husband’s cute, unshaven face.

Let me never lose the wonder.


Eating a picnic lunch over close to a glacierEating a packed lunch close to a glacier on a road trip outside of Palmer, Alaska. It was so stinking cold and us hot-bodied Oklahomans weren’t quite used to the cold yet, but we just didn’t even give a rip! We had beautiful fall colors all around us, water within spitting distance, mountains in view and the Matanuska Glacier nearby — whose path we couldn’t actually find because Siri is a rude and unhelpful jerkface  — but that’s beside the point. Cue the smirk, again, on the husband’s cute face. (That’s apparently his favorite look.)

Let me never lose the wonder.


Palmer, Alaska

And then there was me, 98 months pregnant here, acting like it was no big deal. But I was standing in front of a gorgeous lagoon with that AMAZING REFLECTION with my sweet baby still a’bakin and my sweet little boy just a’throwin rocks in with not a care in the world.

Let me never lose the wonder.


Palmer, Alaska

Then here I had a new baby, only 11 days old at this point (who nursed pretty much 26 hours of every day), and I just had to take a road trip with my mom (who flew in from Tulsa!) because I just couldn’t wait to show her Alaska. And I loved every minute of it. Cue the blanket on the nursing baby because it was actually pretty stinkin’ cold there.

Let me never lose the wonder.


Canada, road to Haines

Fast forward a couple of months when we were finally moving to the place we wanted to make our forever home — Juneau!  So we had all of our stuff packed, had the majority of it put on a barge to be shipped to us later, while we took our truck with a small Uhaul filled with just the bare essentials. We had the 2 month old baby, a 4 and 5 year old, and of course the dog as we traversed down the highway from Palmer to catch the ferry in Haines to finally end up in Juneau. The road trip was amazing and beautiful and frustrating and terrifying and glorious all at once. Making that drive in January was probably not the smartest thing we’ve ever done….

But let me never lose the wonder.


First family photo in Juneau, Alaska

Then when we took our fist family photo in our new home of Juneau on January 18th of 2015.  Juneau… the place we longed to be, the place we planned and purposed to make our new forever home! It was such an amazing feeling. (And PS, those look sort of like XtraTuffs on my big ol’ post prego feet, but I can assure you I hadn’t yet discovered the amazingness of XtraTuff boots at this point in my new Alaskan life.)

Let me never lose the wonder.


And this was not long after we had moved here.  It was one of first gorgeous, wondrously perfect sunsets we saw at Fisherman’s Bend in Auke Bay.  That feeling that swept over me… the feeling of awe and amazement and gratitude for the opportunity to see this type of thing every single day (or as long as it’s not raining).

The splendor of Alaska restores my soul.  May I never take our new home for granted, because while beauty may exist anywhere an appreciative eye may see, if we were compelled to journey so far to find it, maybe it was home we were searching for all along.

Alaska… may we never lose the wonder.


  1. Mildred Clift Mildred Clift

    Thank you! I so enjoy reading your blog. Makes me want to take another trip Alaska.

    • Be careful, Mildred… I, too, often found myself dreaming about trips to Alaska. That’s how you end up living here for good! 😉 (and thank you for the compliment)

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