So I’ve taken a few months off from blogging. We have had a lot to think and pray about. Our lease is up in April. When we moved to Alaska las August, we originally planned to head slowly back to Maryland over the summer. We would build a cottage on the eastern shore and Lu was going to attend a small Catholic high school there. As we drove to Alaska last fall we planned it all out.

I’m not sure when or if I will ever learn though– God has his own plan.

If you read my first blog post you know that our journey here was quite spontaneous. God more or less paved the way here much to my dismay. I really wanted to stay in DC, but we “accidently” sold our condo in DC. After closing meandered our way here in hopes of salvaging our travel business. Alaska was really the only place at the time we felt it would be safe to send clients in the foreseeable future (in many ways it still is) Coming here though was always with the intent to return. We were just here to build our domestic travel partnerships and promote Alaska for a year.

While I love a good adventure and have never been on a trip I didn’t enjoy Alaska was supposed to be just that– an adventure, a trip.

The truth is though Alaska has charmed us beyond our wildest imagination. The prospect of leaving in April has been gnawing at us. We simply aren’t ready.

There are a million and one reasons to go back. I never wanted to leave the east coast. I hate the cold. It’s dark all the time. I was worried about my joints. All my family is back east. Rick’s family is also all in the lower 48. It makes no sense to stay here. And yet neither Rick nor myself could shake the discontent with leaving.

And God has once again paved the way for us to move to Alaska

My joints feel great. Seriously I don’t know why because it makes no sense, but I feel great. I think it’s because it’s a dry cold and there isn’t humidity. Whatever it is I will take it. I haven’t been this active since high school– skiing, skating, hiking etc. It’s like I am 20 again.

The cold doesn’t bother me. It’s always cold here in the winter so you just dress for it. There is none of that questionable, “What is the weather today?” It’s always cold. So I dress for it. And I really don’t feel cold. In fact I relish it. Taking a walk with the winter chill on my cheeks and breathing deep the crisp air is so invigorating. I feel so alive.

The darkness is beautiful. I get to see the sunrise every morning in winter and still sleep in. I also get to see the stars as I have never seen them before. And the elusive northern lights, while rare, are just stunning. When the light does come its so low in the sky the whole landscape glows. The mountains turn pink and the sky turns from deep blues and purple to golden. It’s like all day you get the magic light of just before sunset.

I think the biggest thing though is that when my RS (my younger son) came to visit at Christmas he, too, fell in love. Like all of us I think it took him by surprise. In the darkest days of winter I think he expected it to be gray and depressing, but rather he found a winter paradise. ES and JS agree. They would rather visit us here.

I was worried too about where LS would go to school if we moved to Alaska permenently. As I’ve mentioned before my days homeschooling are coming to an end. With ES heading to college next year LS doesn’t want to be the only kid at home all day. She will be the first kid to go to high school. But where?

God answers our prayers.

On Christmas Day our parish priest here mentioned that there is a bus that runs from the parish parking lot to a Catholic high school in Anchorage. I looked into it and, alas, it’s a perfect fit! It’s a small school– less than a hundred kids. We went on a tour and the wonderful woman who showed us around knew every kids name. LS, who is skeptical of all things ALaska, even fell in love with the place.

So in the course of the past few months we decided to stay, but there is a still a missing piece that weighs heavily on us.

We need to find a home.

Every time we find the perfect place the deal falls through or never even gets off the ground. I want to be picky about it, but I have to be honest– the process is wearing me down.

I haven’t been writing at all these past few months while we discern our future and it seems to be the need for a home that is at the root of my writer’s block. Although I have plenty of time to write while waiting for new listings to go see it seems that I spend an enormous amount of energy obsessing over this missing piece. It a basic primal need to have a place to live and with all the uncertainty about where we will be living I just haven’t been able to write.

Anyway, today I force myself to write and share the ongoing story of our moving to Alaska journey. I’m confident God will come through in His own good time, but the control freak in me is really struggling.

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About Mary

Mary Stephens is a long time homeschooling mother of four: two still at home, one in seminary and one graduated from college. Mary holds a degree in international affairs from Georgetown University and a Masters in Teaching from the American University. Passionate about both travel and education she offers homeschooling tips and tricks as well as free travelschooling units on her website penciltreks.com. Mary also owns Christopher Travel, a luxury travel company specializing in exquisite vacations around the globe.

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