January 28 already.  This marks one year since we arrived in Anchorage.  Wow, what a year.  I remember a year ago driving from Tok to Anchorage getting the premonition I would be stretched.  I will say that I have been fortunate that I have not been stretched in the way I thought.  I envisioned major culture shock and having to get used to a whole new way of life.  Having found a Kohl’s, Target and Lowes nearby, I have all my favorite places to shop.  And I found the delight of shopping at Fred Meyer.  I do wish for a Bath and Body Works, but the commissary carries their products, I just have to hope they actually have what I want when I’m there.  (I know I could shop online, but have you seen the cost of shipping to Alaska?)  With a Red Robin, I am as happy as a clam.  That restaurant and I have so much history, it’s my version of comfort food.  Again, I do wish for more, a Cheesecake Factory or Melting Pot for nice nights out, although as we haven’t yet tried any of the wonderful date night restaurants that Anchorage does have to offer, I honestly can’t complain.  I also long for Zaxby’s, yummm, love Zaxby’s.  But it looks as if we will get a Buffalo Wild Wings here soon.  Drove by it the other night, but it doesn’t look open quite yet.  Found an awesome church, and we have amazing neighbors who have virtually adopted us.  Grocery stores are better stocked and have better prices than up in Tok.  All that I was worried about was for not.  The cold has been deal-with-able, and while I would be fine not seeing another snowflake until next October, that really has been fine.  I’ll admit, December’s lack of sun is hard, but the sun does return.  The stretching has mostly actually self-imposed.  Cutting the cable tv.  Teaching a Bible study.  Leading worship.  I’m not the person I was a year ago.  Not completely different, but surely not the same.  Although my generall goal is to grow all the time, so looking back over a year and seeing the same person would be disappointing.

I wonder what year two of my Alaskan adventure will hold?  Year one was amazing and wonderful, and has brought me more than I could have ever guessed.  A wonderful house, we had been hoping to stay on base, and while I remember seeing this house on the internet before we arrived that was before some significant price reductions, so I never imagined I could live here.  Amazing new friends who totally have my back.  The sight of glaciers and bald eagles being routine, but never commonplace.  My old roommate in the Lower 48 falling in love and getting married, having met the love of her life right around one year ago.  I’m actually very thankful to her for getting married in December as it gave me the opportunity to visit the sun for a few days.  After another great day in a succession of great days I’m ready for the next year, bring it on.