Category Archives: Ben


CAUTION: Photo’s in this post are very graphic.

mox·ie  (mks)

n. Slang 

1. The ability to face difficulty with spirit and courage.
2. Aggressive energy; initiative.
3. Skill; know-how.
Ben has been wanting a dog for so long that I can’t remember a day that he hasn’t asked for one. Today he found one. He was out back sledding and came running inside practically in tears. “Mom, mom, there’s a puppy outside and it’s hurt real bad. It has a big sore on it’s neck. Mom, can we bring it in and help it.”
My first response was no. I don’t need some mangy mutt with a “sore” in my house. My response took him from the brink into full blown tears. He really does have a tender heart.
“Alright.”  I said. “Bring her up.”
I was not prepared for what I was about to see.
In he came with a small, adorable but severely wounded puppy. She was wearing her collar, but underneath the collar was a large, oozing, gaping wound. And I mean LARGE, OOZING, GAPING wound.
I immediately went and grabbed a towel to wrap this small puppy with a large wound in. Ben wrapped her up and sat down holding her in his arms like a baby. The puppy did not move. She just lay there with a blank look on her face. No whining, no bark, nothing but a blank expression and shaking like a leaf.
Now, as I have confessed before, I do not possess the ability to be a nurse. My mind is good, but my stomach is weak. I can’t handle blood or vomit or pus or snot or body fluids of any other nature.
First thing that needed done for this dog was to remove the collar, but there was no way that I could hold that dog, see the wound, get the collar off and still keep the contents of my stomach down. So I did what any other gag reflex challenged person would do and called our neighbor. Great neighbor that he is replied “I’m not sure why you think I’ll be able to get her collar off without puking either, but go ahead and bring her down.” So Ben carried her down the stairs, still wrapped in the towel, still motionless except the shaking.
Chris was able to cut the top side of her collar, but we were not able to remove it because it was imbedded in the wound.
We brought the puppy back upstairs to decide her fate. One thing was obvious. She needed a vet. Badly. I made a phone call to a friend to inquire about a vet in this bush town. Yes, there is a traveling vet and he happened to be in town this week. Good News. A phone call to the vets office, only to discover from the answering machine that he was indeed in town this week, but had left to go back to Anchorage on the mid-day flight about an hour before and would not be back again for three more weeks. Bad News.
Another phone call to friend looking for more options. No other vet in town. However, the vet’s assistant did live here, maybe she could help. Or Animal Control.
I called the vet’s assistant. Explained the situation. Told her of the direness of the wound. Explained to her that I was not a “pet” person, nor was I capable of cleaning up a wound of this magnitude. Her recommendation was Animal Control.
In this bush town Animal Control is also the police. I called the non-emergency number, talked to the operator, told her the situation. She asked me to call back in 1/2 an hour because her officers were out taking care of a DUI.
For the interim we decided that puppy needed to be made comfortable, so we made her a bed of old towels in a Rubbermaid tote. While we were preparing her little resting place Ben set her down on the floor and she somehow managed to work the collar out of the wound and to the ground it fell.
We made her as comfortable as we could in the tote to wait for Animal Control.
I knew what her fate would be with Animal Control and had to explain that to Ben. More heart break and tears. His crocodile tears brought me to tears. Could we do something, anything to save her.
Another phone call. This one to the emergency animal clinic in Anchorage. Explained the situation to the tech there. She said that first thing would be antibiotics. Could we get our hands on anything?
Called vet assistant here in town again. Yes, she had some amoxicillin.
Dialing emergency clinic in Anchorage. Told her we could get the antibiotics. What next? Clean the wound.
Clean the wound? I can’t even look at the wound without gagging. Cleaning would not happen under my watch. So I called another friend that I had heard was an animal lover. Could she come help with the cleaning? Yes.
In the meantime, the traveling vet that had just left Bethel a few hours ago returned my call. I explained the situation to him, he confirmed the antibiotics dosage and the cleaning regimen. Off I went to pick up the medicine and some puppy food. A $50 commitment to try to save this puppy’s life.
Also, while we were making decisions and phone calls, the police/Animal Control officers showed up. Funny thing, one of the officers in this small bush town is also a teacher’s aid at Ben’s school. Ben was excited to see him and showed his first smile of the tearful afternoon. His second smile came as I was telling the officers that we had decided to try to save the puppy. The officers still examined the dog to file a report because it was obvious this was an abused and neglected animal.
My friend Angie made it over a little later and I prepared her by showing her pictures that I had taken of the puppy a little earlier. We then formulated a cleaning plan that involved Dave and Angie and the puppy in the bathroom and me over at the neighbors. We moved the puppy to the bathroom where Angie gently finger fed her soft food mixed with crushed amoxacillin and got her first glimpse of the actual wound and gasped. It was way worse than the picture showed. And much deeper. She did not feel comfortable washing it out for fear of further hurting this poor puppy.
Another call placed to the traveling vet. No answer, so I left a message. Then Angie called the vet’s assistant here in town looking for advice. She still recommended that the wound be cleaned, explaining that is what would be done at a clinic. So Dave and Angie carry on. Puppy goes in the tub, gently held by Angie while Dave does the cleaning with gentle shampoo and warm water. In the middle of that process, Mr. Traveling Vet returns my call and again confirms what we are doing. At the same time that I am on the phone with the vet Angie and Dave discover what has caused this severe wound on the poor puppy. Some IDIOT has put a girls pony tail holder around this puppy’s neck. Seriously. A rubber band has grown imbedded into her neck and caused this large, oozing, gaping wound.
After the rubber band is cut away from her neck and pulled out of the wound (as told to me afterwards by my husband) and puppy is cleaned Dave applies neosporin to the wound, they gently dry her off and set her again in the tote to rest.
Not for long. Within20 minutes of her first dose of antibiotics and having the rubber band removed this puppy is up and moving around. Climbing out of the tote on her own and exploring the house. A completely different pup than the one that Ben had brought in the house four hours earlier.
Still, her wound is bad. We are certain that in a normal situation she would require many, many stitches to close it up and likely a much stronger antibiotic than what we have. But this is Bush Alaska, so we work with what we have.
She has a long road ahead of her. As does Dave, because her wound will require cleaning and neosporin application three times a day for a long time. But we think she’ll survive and if she does, in three weeks she’ll meet the traveling vet.
In the meantime, I think we’ll call her Moxie.
And now the pictures. Be warned, it’s not a pretty site.

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Filed under Alaska, Ben, Bethel


Life here has just been plugging along. Here’s the highlights of our summer so far:

We moved. Not away from Dillingham, just to a new house here. Remember this house? It was a great house, with a HUGE kitchen and amazing windows. Having those windows was truly a blessing from God last winter; they allowed so much light in. However, that house was just too big and too expensive. We found a new place here and it is also amazing, albeit much smaller duplex. The owners live in the other half and are good friends of ours. They have 4 kids; ages 10, 7, 5 and 1. It’s like a playdate everyday…..except I hate the word playdate, so we won’t be calling it that.

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Camp. Ben went. He LOVED it! He wanted to go back the day he got home. I tried to get him to do a guest post about it, but he turned me down. So, this is what I know about it……He had a “totally awesome” counselor named Jacob and every time he talks about camp he refers to said counselor as “my totally awesome counselor Jacob”. I’m not sure if he was brainwashed by Jacob or if Jacob is truly “totally awesome”. Either way, I just appreciate an 18-year-old kid that is willing to take time out of his summer to hang with a bunch of ten-year old boys. The report that I got from Ben was that they played lots of games (including “Capture the Domesticated Farm Animal”…..ummm, yeah?), shot bb guns, swam in the lake, rode on a giant inner-tube behind the boat, played more games, ate moose stew, pushed their counselors into the lake (apparently while one counselor was being pushed off the dock Ben’s glasses were knocked off his face and into the lake. Apparently Jacob dove in after them and was able to retrieve them before they hit the bottom and that makes him “totally awesome” in my book!),  had a carnival, made hobo breakfast and went to chapel twice a day.  He came home a very tired (and stinky!) boy.

A few weeks ago (while Ben was gone), Dave, Cooper and I were invited out on the lake with our friend Clay. Cooper opted out in favor of staying to play with the neighbor kids, but Hannah (the oldest neighbor girl) wanted to go. We met up with Clay on a Sunday evening and headed out for a ride on Aleknagik Lake. It was truly a beautiful evening and I could have stayed out there forever. While the guys did a little fishing I sat in the boat soaking up the magnificent evening sun.

We’ve also stayed busy with baseball and soccer. And I mean baseball and soccer in the very loosest of terms. There is an organized league of 4 youth baseball teams. The league is open to kids ages 5-11. In sports that is a HUGE age gap. We have some teeny, tiny, microscopic little kids playing with some gigantically (yeah, that’s a word….I think), humongous, big boys. And kids of all skill level. Dave is coaching a team and again I use the word team very loosely. Our roster consists of 14 kids. On average about 8 make it to games and practice and it’s rarely the same 8! Still it’s fun and very laid back……nothing like suburban little league. (I’m joking there….kindof).

Soccer is about the same……primative. Another mom and I agreed to offer some soccer clinics, so on Saturday mornings we meet at the “soccer field” (yes, another loosely used term) for two sessions. We work with 5-9 year olds for the first hour and then 10-13 year olds for the second hour. Ending each hour with 15-20 minute scrimmages. Again, this is not what most people think of when they think soccer. There are no fancy uniforms, or try-outs, or traveling teams. Just a bunch of kids, that don’t even own cleats or shin guards, who meet in a bumpy field to have a little Saturday morning fun!

Alas, it looks like summer may be drawing to a close here in the Bristol Bay region. It has been quite rainy and rather chilly the past few days here. I have been told that fall will be upon us soon. And I’m pretty sure that by “fall” they mean rainfall. I’m okay with that, but only because in 5 days the boys and I embark on a month-long trip to the motherland; where summer is still in full-swing. We will be spending about two weeks with my family in Northern Washington and then Dave will join us and we will spend two weeks in the Vancouver area visiting his family and all our friends. There is much to look forward to……here is our list of things that we plan in being overjoyed about: cereal for less than $5 a box, Sonic happy hour, seeing Toy Story 3 in the theatre, 80 degree days, darkness at night, hanging out with cousins, watermelon, strawberries, corn on the cob, less mosquitos, Target, Subway, trying out 5 Guys Burgers and Fries for the first time, playing in a relatively warm lake, water slides and staying at both grandma’s (who understand the importance of having chocolate milk) houses.

And I leave you with one last thing that I am going to enjoy during my month away from the bush:

Paying less than $5.61 a gallon for gas!

There, now you’re all ketched-up.


Filed under Alaska, Ben, Boys, Cooper, Dave, Dillingham


He’s off to Tanalian Bible Camp for 7 days.

Part of the adventure of going to camp in the Alaskan bush is getting there because you can’t drive from here to there.

MARC Alaska is one of the groups that flies the kids from the surrounding villages to Port Alsworth.

This group of kids were lucky enough to get to fly on this plane on loan to MARC by Samaritans Purse.

Praying for an amazing week for the entire group of 5th and 6th graders at Tanalian this week!


Filed under Alaska, Ben, Dillingham

Bullet Points

  • I have once again survived strep throat. It was touch and go there for a day or two, but I pulled through…..Okay, that ‘s a bit dramatic, but c’mon people, strep throat sucks. Bad. or is that badly? either way, it is painful. I am super thankful to my friend Shelly (yes, I finally have a friend here!!) who delivered lemons and honey to my door to help soothe my throat with hot lemon tea!
  • This morning I was laying on the couch in our living room and I looked out our big picture window to see a bald eagle soaring in circles just above our trees. It was BEAUTIFUL. We have seen quite a few of them lately and they never cease to amaze me.
  • Today, when I was finally able to hold my head up without the assistance of super-strong mega-dose Ibuprofen, I wandered through the house picking up “schtuff”, I came across no less than three encyclopedias of Comic Super Heroes. Seriously, THREE, and they are huge books. All three are from the public library and are about different heroes. Is there really that many Super Heroes? I am pretty sure that the three males in this house would be perfectly content if their destiny in life was to BE Super Heroes. In spandex no less.
  • We had a very important milestone this weekend. It’s been one year since we left Washington for life in the  Alaskan Bush! One year. It’s hard to believe. We were going to have a little family celebration before our uninvited house guest, Mr. Strep, showed up this weekend. We’ll celebrate sometime soon. So, who had wagers on whether or not we’d make it?
  • Our long days have started here and the weather has been beautiful! We’ve had highs in the 30’s for the last ten days and lots of sunshine. With that sunshine comes something that I LOVE; Ben’s freckles. His face is covered with them and I think they are soooo cute! I’m gonna have to try to get a good picture of them for ya’all.
  • Speaking of Ben, he helped me make dinner tonight. It was one of those amazing parenting hours. Not that what I did was amazing, but the time was amazing. We had the Worship playlist playing on Itunes, he was picking his favorites, playing them over and over and singing along. We also had a great conversation about making good choices and not judging peers who are struggling to make good choices, but rather encouraging them. I love that kid and his heart for people.
  • Lest you think it was all roses at our house tonight, after that amazing hour we had a not so great hour that included Ben fighting us about his math homework and declaring that he didn’t need anything more than 4th grade math and that he was quitting math AND me yelling at both of the boys to pick up their trails of stuff (yes, including those super hero encyclopedias).
  • Finally, a Cooper funny…..yesterday, when the boys got home from school Cooper was extra chatty. Very extra chatty, yet I was still very wiped out. I listened for as long as I could (which was pretty long), then I said “okay Cooper, you gotta stop talking so much.” To which he replied “I know mom, my teacher tells me that everyday.”
  • The End (not really, I just wanted to add one more bullet point).


Filed under Alaska, Ben, Boys, Cooper, Dillingham, Parenting

Best.Day.Ever (in Dillingham)…..


Filed under Alaska, Ben, Boys, Cooper, Dillingham, Me, myself and I

Happy Things

  • My husband is such a hard worker. I am really proud of him and the way he provides for our family.
  • My 10 year old is so capable of many things. This morning he made delicious smoothies for breakfast AND cleaned up his mess.
  • Cooper is on his way to becoming a reader. He still struggles with recognizing a few letters, but he can read quite a few “sight” words and sound out words with letters he knows. At the beginning of Kindergarten he could only recognize 8 letters, so this is huge!
  • We signed up for Full Circle Farms again. This week our box contained potatoes, cabbage, apples, yams, pears, oranges, avocados, tomatoes, mushrooms, lettuce, spinach, kiwi, cilantro and limes. My fruit bowl overfloweth!
  • It has warmed up a little today! It is 15 degrees out right now. That is much better than -5.
  • We were supposed to get more snow today but right now the sky is blue and the sun is shining.
  • I am completely addicted to this blog. She has a beautiful story to tell and does it so well.
  • Last fall the school had a fundraiser where you could order different products (mugs, aprons, note cards, mouse pads made from your child’s artwork. We ordered note cards and sent a set to each of the grandmas for Christmas. This past week Cooper got a card in the mail from one of my mom’s cousins with a note saying “Dear Cooper, Thank you for the beautiful picture. You have a very good imagination and a steady hand to color so nicely! Here is some money for art supplies-I appreciated your artwork-a budding artist! Have a nice day! Your grandmas cousin, Terry” Apparently grandma sent cousin Terry (whom I have never met) a note on one of Coopers cards and she liked it enough to send the budding artist $20 for art supplies. What a fun surprise!
  • It has turned out to be a beautiful day, I think I’ll head out and try to get some pictures of life around here.


Filed under Alaska, Ben, Boys, Cooper, Dave, Dillingham, Me, myself and I, Uncategorized

To quote my sister Kris

She wrote “Ok, end the pity party and update your blog!” on my facebook page yesterday.

Alright then.

I’m over it. for now.

Thank you all for the encouraging comments on my last post.

A few things I know:

I have been blessed with amazing people in my life.

I will always have my friends, no matter where I am.

I am where I am because God has placed me here.

I can choose to be happy.

Vitamins really help.

So, on with life I go.

Now the random things of life.
Because I know that’s what you all come here looking for.

It’s spring break here.
We have snow. Lots of it.
There is likely close to four feet in our backyard and more on the way.
It’s spring break here.
I should take pictures of all the snow.

Ben had a friend sleep over last night.
It’s a friend that I have a very low tolerance for.
Last night I overheard Ben and his friend in a heated discussion.
It was a creation vs. evolution discussion.
Ben had his Bible out and was reading from Genesis.
He was rock solid.
I love that kid!

Tonight Cooper read a book to me.
Well, most of a book anyway.
It was Danny and the Dinosaur.
He did such a good job!
It’s hard to believe that just last fall he could barely recognize his letters.
I love that kid too!

Remember back here, I had decided to join a “read through the Bible in a year” group.
I quit.
It’s okay.
I am not legalistic so I have no guilt in letting this go.
Our church recently started a Beth Moore study and I really felt like that was where I needed to be right now.
I am also trying to get through the Love Dare.
The Love Dare is a 40 day challenge. It will take me much longer than that.
Those two things are important to me right now.
Some year I’ll read through the Bible.
Just not this year.

And that’s all she wrote tonight.


Filed under Alaska, Ben, Boys, Dillingham, Me, myself and I