Thursday, December 10, 2009

Dogsleds, Darkness and Fine Dining

Once again a huge time lapse between blog posts, but hey, Christmas prep, a four year-old and stuff just keeps vying for my attention. Now I will make this short, but full (instead of writing Christmas cards, which are late if I don't get them out tomorrow).

Discoveries and realities:

The Explorer Hotel for a date out to eat; we went to Trader's Grill Steakhouse for our wedding anniversary and we were blown away by the fantastic food. Everything was fabulous and the restaurant itself is classy and warm with high ceilings and a huge picture window overlooking a forest lit with white lights. Lovely, we will be back.

S.A.D. lamps (or Happy lamps) really are helpful. I sit in front of mine with my morning coffee for 15 minutes every day. The sun rose at 9:50 am today and sets at 3:06 pm. That is 5 hours of sun, if it's a sunny day. It shines into my kitchen and I try to get a few rays when I can. Taking vitamin D for sure.

Went dogsledding with Beck's. Total blast, loved it. Discovered my 15 year old Sorel Snowlions (-40C rating) did not keep my toes warm. They got painfully cold and I got inside just in time after the sled run, it hurt as they thawed. Purchased a new pair of boots: Baffins ( -100C) rated. They'd better work. Oh yeah, goggles are essential and keep every inch of skin covered or it will freeze and fall off. Ha. FYI it was -32 windchill that day.

Decorating your igloo. INVEST IN GOOD, CREATIVE, BEAUTIFUL AND ABUNDANT LIGHT FIXTURES. Best planning I ever did, thanking my smarts on that one. Also, the warmth of some fuzzy lambskin or shaggy wool rugs on your floor really makes a difference both visually and to the touch of course. Whites, lights and brights. Stay away from dark or rich colors, they absorb too much precious light.

Buy a coolmist humidifier for respiratory illnesses, the dry air is a killer.

If you're blond (I'm not) get a chlorine filter for your shower head so your hair doesn't turn green. Green brand (at Extra Foods) cleaning paste will get the blue and green stains out of your tub, it is eco friendly to boot.

My dock:
Swung by the dock today (can hardly see it now) and saw a black/silver fox try to catch a raven, he chased it up to my van. The raven tried to sit on the hood to escape this fabulous fox (beautiful and cute). The fox had a look at us and then ran back onto the frozen lake to join another one, they chased each other around. Neat to see.

Gotta go write Christmas cards...

Holidays are almost here, west coast here I come...

Monday, November 2, 2009

White World

This morning I woke up to a beautiful white landscape. Every tree, every little leaf and branch was covered in (what I believe is called) hoar frost. A thick and fluffy white coating on everything. Minus 18 degrees celsius with the windchill last night and I didn't plug the van in, oh well, the "locals" didn't either. I got Emma and I out in plenty of time to warm up the van and get her to school on time. I started it and then came back in for her. After 10 minutes I still couldn't get the ice off the windows with the scraper, even though the engine was already registering warm and the fans were on full blast. Don't know if that is normal, or just lousy GM heaters. Hmm. Both Emma and I have been house bound for a week due to some wicked cold virus. She couldn't wait for me to un-buckle her, she hit the ground running to the school. That was easy! :0)
After dropping her off I headed to my dock. It was breathtaking, all frozen solid, the lake covered in ice and snow. The silence there is awe-inspiring, as is the song of the Ravens in that setting, it was the only sound. The sound of their wings flapping as they flew overhead was also pretty impressive. They were checking me out for a hand-out. I had my little digital camera with me and clicked away. There was a little hole in the cloud for an orange sun. As I neared the dock I noticed upside down, triangle shaped rocks wedged in the ice where the water is normally 3 or 4 feet deep. Someone has been tossing them in to check out the strength of the ice. The local authorities say it's forming well, but not ready to walk on. There is a website to check out ice thickness measurements.
By now my gloveless hand that was holding the camera was too cold, I took a few more snaps and got back in the van. At home I parked the van and went for a quick walk to find some more hoar frost forest for my camera to capture. When the batteries died I headed back home to get a few things done before I pick up my husband from the airport. It will be so nice having him back, it was a rough couple weeks without him here. But, this morning refreshed me, I think God was giving me a hug.

Friday, October 16, 2009

October on "my" Dock.

Whenever possible, I swing by "my" dock on Yellowknife Bay, usually in the morning, after I drop my daughter off at pre-school. From the first time I saw this spot, I knew it would be a place of refreshment. I love seeing it in different light and seasons. This morning was so beautiful, surprisingly "balmy" for a mid-October morning (2 degrees Celsius). I stood on the white, frosty boards, rocked gently by the waves that drummed a rhythmic melody under my feet. I was a bit surprised to already see shards of ice creating a small ridge along the shoreline. I arrived in time to see the sun begin it's morning drama of gold and fire. The sky was clear blue except for a bank of cloud at the horizon that was breaking apart along its edges from a breeze. These low, rolling clouds had beautiful, golden-light linings tinged with pink. Whenever the sun broke through, it reflected off the water as though from thousands of small mirrors. It reminded me of an impressionist painting. Nature is so close up here, on one's doorstep. With raw beauty so accessible, I wonder how people can remain untransformed. Beauty is a thing perceived. I wonder if many have been deceived into dulling their senses, or perhaps forced into doing so, because having senses means feeling pain. The Bible tells that we become blind and deaf when we pay homage (focus on, worship) to that which cannot see or hear. I have heard, from people who experienced restoration to God through belief in Jesus Christ, that it was like having their eyes opened; colors sang with new life, the world was brighter. I was 4 when I gave my life to Him; I have been seeing the world in living color for such a long time that I don't remember what it's like not to. I can't help but be an artist.

Friday, October 9, 2009


Ah, a month and a half has gone by since my last post. Since this is a public blog I have not been writing everything in it, my heart and experiences have filled other pages... but, I wonder, if some of those things should make it in here after all; perhaps others would find they see themselves.

The last two months have been intense. Apparently God has more faith in me than I do, ha. In the last two months I have learned that if I am not completely honest and transparent with God, facing any wounds He uncovers in me head on and bringing them to Him; I get pommelled by the local principalities of the other kingdom. Not a nice feeling, really messes with your head. However, since I belong to the King of Kings and He is about victory; I am victorious. I now know why there is so much hopelessness, depression and addiction up here. Not everyone may pick-up on it, perhaps they are protected by a grace that keeps them for another purpose. I, apparently, am meant to identify the local spirits for a reason. I have found that taking every thought captive to the obedience of Jesus Christ is an essential part of daily living here, some days are worse than others. If I am feeling physically weak, or upset about something, the battle is more intense. When I identify the source, the spirit, it becomes easier. It is only before I realize that actually, no, I am not hopeless or depressed, that I feel like I'm going crazy. Mercifully, God does not tarry with granting truth and revelation that sets me free of the barrage of lies. I am only guessing at this, but I think there may be a lot of formerly healthy people now on meds (name your poison) since moving up here. After my experience of the last while I know that it is purely spiritual. Spiritual principalities that feed off of wounded hearts and lock them up. Well I've got news for you:

Isaiah 61

1. The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the broken hearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness the prisoners,

2. to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,

3. to provide for those who grieve in Zion-
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of His splendor.

Revival is coming to Yellowknife and there is nothing you can do about it.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Finally Landed

So, we've dug ourselves out of moving boxes sufficiently enough to allow for little luxuries like updating my blog. We've been here 2 and a half weeks now and my emotions are a bit more balanced. Leaving Belleville was hard for me and apparently for our daughter Emma too.
I'm realizing how important it is to live in the moment you're in, if you don't, you'll miss the beauty it has to offer. Not living in the present means you're living in an alternate reality (in the past or in the future), one that is a product of a mind colored by emotion. Memories and future planning are what makes life rich, but don't LIVE there.
Two "mantras" I like: "I don't want what I haven't got" (The Cranberries) and "for I have learned how to be content (satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or disquieted) in whatever state I am" (the apostle Paul). It is a battle oftentimes to achieve and maintain such a state, learning to surrender and trust God's guidance is a key to doing this successfully. So here I find myself with a new opportunity to discover of what substance I am made. Hm.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Preparations To Consider

I've approached this move north of 60 knowing it won't be ordinary and that I need to prepare for more than the usual. It will be a bit more psychologically involved than a move near the 49th parallel.

One of the more obvious anomalies in moving to the sub-arctic is the daytime darkness in winter and midnight sun in summer. Light, or rather a lack of it, can have a potentially huge impact on your emotional and physical well-being, which in turn may affect your relationships and down you go (depression can sneak up on you)... have a chat with your Doctor before you go, taking vitamin D is essential; acquiring a S.A.D. lamp is recommended.

Another factor is the climate. Have a plan to get involved with the community, whether through work or volunteering. Enroll your kids in fun and active diversions. Take up a new hobby. The winter climate being as frigid as it is (-30 to -50 C), for as long as it is, means you'll likely spend a lot of time inside your igloo.

So, little winter light + cooped up = an interior decorating challenge. I am up to the task (interior decorating is a passion of mine). I researched what others who live in these climates have done and will share my findings in upcoming blog posts. If you never thought interior decorating was important, think again. It has the power to affect your emotions and thus your outlook on life. Beauty inspires and revives; ugliness is a usurper of life.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

First Impressions

It is Tuesday morning, we flew in on Sunday in the early afternoon. My first view of the North was from the plane, of Great Slave Lake. Covered in fragments of ice, the lake was deep blue and white, as far as I could see. There was a low cloud bank, but we popped through in time to see the rocky islands and Yellowknife itself. Pretty. I saw colorful houseboats, some pushed onto the rock, waiting for the ice to melt away. When we stepped off the plane the ground was wet from a recent rain shower, and the air clean and fresh, it reminded me of living on Vancouver Island.

YK is definitely a city, petite, but with its various sections defined nonetheless; old town, business section, the street you don't walk down at night by yourself. A city, just mini. Surrounded by lakes, rock formations and resilient little "pipe-cleaner" evergreens. The deciduous trees are still only half way leafed out, but the dandelions are blooming and people have filled there window boxes with flowering annuals. This place is built on rock, gravel and sand, bringing in topsoil is expensive and it would be invisible 8 months of the year anyway. It is Canada's rugged north. I like it. I think it will be very pretty in the winter.

We dropped in to visit 440 Squadron yesterday and someone asked me if I'm looking forward to moving up here. I paused and then said, "Yeah..., I am." The man seemed surprised, "Really?". To which I replied, "How many people can say they've lived north of 60?". That seemed to satisfy him and even appeared to give him some encouragement... a spouse with a positive attitude about her husbands posting location. I guess some spouses arrive in tears, or so I've heard.

Yesterday we viewed our assigned housing. It will be a change from .6 acre and house, but there is beauty to be enjoyed almost everywhere, even in what some affectionately call "the ghetto". I like the space, the wood laminate, the white walls, the kitchen and the decks, and the views from the back. It "felt" right. Good. Peace. IKEA here I come... cha-ching! :0)

Oh yeah, and I got offered a job...

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Yellowknife Community Garden

So I've been thinking about how cool (no pun intended) it would be to learn how to garden north of sixty and found this site for Yellowknife Community Garden.  You apply for a plot of ground, attend workshops, learn about organic and sustainable gardening, donate some of what you grow to the community food banks, and make friends in the process.  I noticed that there was a post on June 5th announcing that they now have the water turned on to the gardens... June 5th!  Ah, but 23 hours of sunlight a day does wonders... :0)  I applied for membership even though I will arrive too late for this year's growing season to have my own plot; I'm sure they won't turn down an extra pair of hands!  I hope to get a plot assigned for the 2010 growing season.

Check out their site using the address below the YKCG logo.


Monday, June 8, 2009

The Decision

We are 2 months away from the big move.  In a week I will go north with my husband and 4 year old daughter to view our apparent accommodations for the next 3 years.  This will be my first time going up there, my husband has been there many times and loves it.  Everyone who has spent time up there seems to love it.  Our decision to accept a posting north was made based on a few things, which we interpreted as God's divine will for our lives.  I am able to find comfort in that, knowing that where He has led us in the past, no matter how difficult it was, the result was always worth it.