How Alaskan Animals Pray (and 7 "Wonder Years" Winners!)

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(Wonder Years Winners Below!)

Some animals get all the luck. This time of year, think of all the attention given to donkeys, camels, sheep, goats and any other creature whose likeness attends and protects every baby Jesus, every Nativity scene. Were they even present that night that God broke into the world through the screams and the body of a teenage girl?

I don’t know, nor do I know if dogs and cats go to heaven, but I do know that animals are beloved. I know that creatures high and low, hairy and slithering were spoken into being before us in that resplendent first garden.

So this Christmas season I am thinking of animals, the animals around me in Alaska. Most mornings I sit over the ocean, reading my Bible, watching the eagles and otters. I tire of human antics and long for something purer. This is the real news of the day, not the Internet news, not the radio news. When I am watching these creatures I feel as though I am watching bodies and beings at prayer. They seem to be praying the words that I love and stutter nearly every day.

Here they are, my animal neighbors who move me to pray with them.


Our Father who art in heaven,

Glorious, honored, loved, hallowed be your name.


(May we always cherish it in our hearts and keep it holy.)


Reveal your kingdom among us, here, now,

in ocean, tree, bush and sky.
Cause your every purpose to be fulfilled on earth,
 just as it is fulfilled so perfectly in heaven.

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We acknowledge you, Father, as our generous Provider
  so we ask, would you give us each day the food that we need—

(but no more, no less so we live by trust more than by food?)




And would you forgive us the creaturely wrongs we have done,

the debts we owe, the ways we have hurt others 

as we ourselves forgive and free those who have wronged and hurt us?



Please rescue us, deliver us when we face tribulations, temptations,

when we are drawn away from you rather than close to you.

Please rescue us from the destroyer, that evil one.


We ask you all this

because you are the King

and this holy kingdom is yours,

power and majesty and strength is yours

glory and honor and praise is yours.

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Forever and always,

 Yes and amen.

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Friends, it was SO wonderful to hear from so many of you last week! What a treat! I know I said I was giving 3 books away, but I’m giving 7 instead. (I would give you ALL a book if I could! But maybe it would make a great gift to your over-forty friends for Christmas?)

Please contact me here ( with your mailing address and I’ll get a copy to you asap!

*Karen Worley

*Lula Cobb

*Jane Stewart

*Yvonne Mollica

*Katie Husby

*Lance Aldrin

*Darrell Davis

Congratulations!! May the words in those pages enrich and prosper your soul!

Leaving Kodiak: Living a One-Fisted Life

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It was a day trip to Anchorage. For oral surgery. I didn’t even take an overnight bag. Just a flight up, lunch with my beloved brother,  into the chair, needles, anesthetic, three posts put in, x-rays then off to the airport after a stop at the pharmacy for pain pills (quick!). 

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I sit here waiting at the end of a long dark terminal, with 20 others, writing. Working, prepping for the writing workshop on Lake Michigan this next week. I leave for that in just 3 days. For some reason, I do not worry about the weather. And then it came. The Voice:


“Passengers going to Kodiak, we’re on weather hold. Check back in at 5:30.”


I look up from my computer, sigh, say a prayer, eyes closed, and keep working.

It’s 6:00 pm now. The next announcement comes:

“The flight to Kodiak is cancelled due to weather.”

I find out it's gusting 50 mph and dumping gallons.


Of course it is! I sigh again. Finish my email, call Duncan. I will have to spend the night. I have no clothes, no pj’s, no makeup, no charger for my phone. I am wearing open-toed croc sandals because of a hurting foot. 

 But it’s okay. I'll be fine. I remember times my luggage was lost. I once spoke at a women’s retreat in the same clothes all three days. Some nights at home with 6 young children I fell into bed exhausted fully dressed----and stumbled out of bed for another round in the same duds. I know how to camp, how to improvise, do without, make much of little.



         I go to bed that night in a hotel room, with pain pills and a long call to my husband and sons, whom I will miss. In 3 nights I am leaving for 2 weeks. I’m so very anxious to be home with them before I leave.

Today, I arrive at the airport tired, but glad to be getting home. The weather looked better, Duncan said, and planes are flying. Whew! I work all morning, take a taxi, board the plane. I’ll make it home in time to pick up Abraham from high school, then go home make dinner, go to Godspell rehearsal. My last rehearsal for 2 weeks. I already missed last night.

I rest the whole flight. The ding-dong bells chime as we start to descend. We sink through the cloud-fog until I can see the water. I see the surf around the reef just before the runway. We’re going in, I’m about to be home, to kiss my sons, to make dinner, to eat together, to get Abraham to his concert-------to fill up on Happy Family goodness (before I leave!) 


 and then. Yes, of course. And then. And then the nose lifts. I turn to the man sitting next to me (a friend) and say, “If we turn around I’m going to cry.” The nose keeps lifting. Maybe we’re going to circle, like we usually do. Sometimes as long as 30 minutes, searching and waiting for a hole to dip down into.  Then the pilot, a woman, comes on:


"Ladies and gentlemen, I’m sorry, but the weather closed in as we made our way to Kodiak. It was looking good when we left but it deteriorated the last 10 minutes. We don’t have enough fuel to circle, so we’re heading back.”


I make good on my threat. Tears, head turned toward the window. I will have one night now with my family before I leave for 2 weeks-maybe. IF I can get in tomorrow.  I am tired, my jaw hurts, and I just want to bawl. So I do. but quietly.


How many times has this happened? And what do I do with this disappointment --- again? This reality---That I live in a place that collects and gathers wind, fog, ice, storm, spinning those who live here into helplessness, and even sometimes despair. And sometimes into strength.













But I am not strong. I am weak. I write this through real tears and small flashes of anger. Sometimes the price of living here feels too high.


I want a convenient life, you know? When I said, “I do” to Duncan I didn’t know I was saying “I do” and “I will” to this. What if, after 38 years, I don’t? What if I won’t?


But this is the story of all our lives, isn’t it? All of us who do not bail when the fog rolls in, who cry and pray instead of leave, who keep getting on planes, in cars, on subways we’re not sure will get us where we need to go, who keep mothering and fathering when the fun is gone, who hold onto whatever comes with one hand clinging hard, the other hand open . …


  Because every part of life is uncertain. No matter where you live. Except one part.


Call me crazy, but I am one of those who believes that there’s a God in this universe and in every universe in every dimension around us who is madly, calmly purposing and intending Good. A God who honors our human choices, and yet steers the hearts of kings and presidents. A God who knows the fall of a swallow, and yet who orders Time itself. A God who responds to our every "ask, seek, and knock" and yet who accomplishes all HE has ordained. 


All---for good. And yes, a “good” that sometimes includes calamity and harm, and----inconvenience. But this world and this God do not exist for my happiness. There is so much more at stake than my (our) personal happiness. God is not my Father; He is Our Father.


 But also, He knows I am made of dust. He invites me to ask from Him what I need and what I want. And so I do. All the time. I don't imagine I will ever stop needing, wanting and pleading at times for something other than what God delivers to me. I will never be that spiritual. I will always be human.


So I wait to get home. I stand here now in the airport, one hand open, the other knotted.

 One hand pleading, "Please?!" and the other, palm up, "Your will be done."


I know it will be done.


 I will be home. Maybe soon.





Dear Reading Friends, I'd love to hear where YOUR hands are right now: double-fisted? Double-open? Do let me know if I can pray with you and for you.

Do please leave a comment. I ALWAYS answer--BUT! To see my response, you'll need to sign up for the email just above the comment section.