Tisha b’Av (9th of Av)

“Adonai-Tzva’ot says, ‘The fast days of the fourth, fifth (T’ish b’av), seventh and tenth months are to become times of joy, gladness and cheer for the house of Y’hudah. Therefore, love truth and peace”(Zechariah 8:19).

Av is the fifth month of the Hebrew calendar which falls in July/August on the Gregorian calendar.  The 9th of Av has become a day of fasting and mourning for the Jewish people due to many catastrophic events throughout their history occurring on this day, focusing specifically on the destruction of the Temples and their exile from the Promised Land.  

Traditionally, there is no Torah study on the 9th of Av as it is not considered a joyful spiritual event.  Only Lamentations, Job, and parts of Jeremiah are read as they prophesy events like the destruction of Jerusalem or the suffering that the righteous like Job must endure.

“Iyov (Job) got up, tore his coat, shaved his head, fell down on the ground and worshipped; he said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will return there.  The LORD gave; the LORD took; blessed be the name of the LORD.’ In all of this Iyov neither committed a sin nor put blame on God”  (Job 1:20).

The Twelve Spies

The devastating events regarding the 9th of Av began with the account of the ten spies.  In Numbers chapters 13 and 14, Moshe sends 12 men into the Promised Land to check out the land.  When they return forty days later, ten of the men are discouraged by the ‘giants’ living in fortified cities. They feared they would destroyed if they tried to go up against them in war.  Because fear is a debilitating spirit, they pass them on to the Israelites who spend the night, the 9th of Av, crying and mourning.  

“At this all the people of Isra’el cried out in dismay and wept all night long. Moreover, all the people of Isra’el began grumbling against Moshe and Aharon; the whole community told them, “We wish we had died in the land of Egypt! or that we had died here in the desert!  Why is Adonai bringing us to this land, where we will die by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will be taken as booty! Wouldn’t it be better for us to return to Egypt?” (Numbers 14:1-4).

According to the Talmud (a commentary on the Scriptures), “God saw their tears and responded: ‘You cried tears of naught, and I will establish for you [on this day] tears for all generations’” (Talmud Ta’anit 29a).  Because of this judgment against the Israelites, numerous other historical events happened to the Jewish people on the 9th of Av that keep the day as one of ‘lessening the joy’ for the Jewish people.  

Destruction of the First and Second Temples

Remains of Second Temple

The First Temple was built by King Solomon in Jerusalem about the 10th century BCE.  A detailed description of its interior and exterior design is found in 1 Kings chapters 6-8.  This Temple stood for about 410 years until it was destroyed in a siege of Jerusalem by the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar in 587 BCE on the 9th of Av.

After the prophesied 70-year Babylonian exile, the Jewish people returned to Jerusalem.  Under the leadership of Ezra the priest and Nehemiah, a Second Temple built in Jerusalem.  This Temple stood about 420 years until it was destroyed by the Romans on the 9th of Av in August 70 CE   With the destruction of the Second Temple, the Jewish people were  dispersed into the nations of the world.

The final revolt of the Jews against the Romans occurred in the city of Betar.  On July 8, 132 CE, the city of Betar was destroyed and 100,000 Jews murdered.  The following year, the Roman commander Turnus Rufus plowed under the site of the Temple and the surrounding area.  Both of these events occurred on the 9th of Av.  

Reasons to Contain Joy, Remember and Mourn

The First Crusade destroyed French and Rhineland Jewish communities murdering 1.2 million Jews.  The First Crusade, which murdered 10,000 Jews in the first month, began on August 15, 1096, the 9th of Av.

The Jews were expelled from England, accompanied by pogroms and confiscation of books and property on July 18, 1290, the 9th of Av.

They Jews were expelled from France on July 22, 1306, the 9th of Av.

On March 31, 1492,  Queen Isabella along with her husband, Ferdinand, ordered the Jews banished from Spain.  The edict was signed on March 31, 1492 and the Jews were given four months to leave the country.  The final day Jews could live in Spain, thus beginning the Spanish Inquisitions, was July 31, 1492, the 9th of Av.

Note: Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492.  Though he found the ‘new world,’  in reality he was helping Jews to escape the Spanish Inquisitions.  There is evidence that Christopher Columbus was himself a Jew.  

World War I began when Germany declared war on Russia.  This war began a massive upheaval in Europe that concluded with World War II and the Holocaust.   World War I began on August 1-2, 1914, the 9th of Av. 

SS Commander Heinrich Himmler received approval for “The Final Solution” which resulted in the Holocaust and murder of nearly ⅓ of the world’s Jewish population.  It was approved on August 2, 1941, the 9th of Av. 

The mass deportation of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto to the Treblinka extermination camp began on July 23, 1942, the 9th of Av. 

Gush Katif was a group of Jewish settlements in Gaza with 8,600 residents.   It was known for it’s unique greenhouses that exported more than $200,000,000 in bug-free fruits and vegetables to Europe.  For peace with Gaza, all Jewish settlements in Gush Katif were evacuated on August 13, 2005, the 9th of Av.

Lamentations

“But in my mind I keep returning to something, something that gives me hope – that the grace of the LORD is not exhausted, that his compassion has not ended.  [On the contrary,] they are new every morning!  How great your faithfulness!  ‘The LORD is all I have,’ I say; ‘therefore I will put my hope in him. …For rejection by the LORD does not last forever.  He may cause grief, but he will take pity, in keeping with the greatness of his grace.  …Let us examine and test our ways and return to the LORD” (Lamentations 3:21-24, 31-33, 40).

Following the month of Av, comes the month of Elul,  the days of repentance preparing for fall ‘appointed times’ of the LORD and the ‘Season of our Rejoicing.’

“Tears may linger for the night, but with dawn come cries of joy” (Psalm 30:5).

©2014 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.  

Revelation: The Seven Messianic Communities

Most of what is written by the Jewish apostle Yochanan (John) in the Book of Revelation is found throughout the Torah and the Prophets beginning in Genesis with the creation of the heavens and the earth.   This shouldn’t be surprising because everything that Yochanan knew and understood came from the only Scriptures available –– The Hebrew Scriptures. 

As I have studied Revelation throughout the years, adding my understanding of my Biblically Jewish heritage, inclusive of the symbolism found in the ‘appointed times’ of the Lord, discrepancies and confusion slipped into the background. The Spirit of God opened my eyes to new and unique perspectives.  Several years ago I used a similar approach to study the seven congregations in Asia Minor.   Drawing from historical events that happened to Isra’el transformed preconceived ideas and previous teachings that didn’t include a Hebrew perspective and were even anti-semitic at their core. 

These are the links to the Seven Congregations in Asia. To continue studying more chapters in Revelation, click here.

Revelation Chapter 1 – Unveiling Yeshua

Revelation Chapter 2 – Ephesus

Revelation Chapter 2 – Smyrna

Revelation Chapter 2 – Pergamum

Revelation Chapter 2 – Thyratira

Revelation Chapter 3 – Sardis

Revelation Chapter 3 – Philadelphia

Revelation Chapter 3 – Laodicea

One, Unique – Hebrew: Echad

אחד

The word echad is found in the Hebrew Scriptures nearly 1000 times. In its basic meaning, it is the number 1 when counting in Hebrew. It also means ‘first.’

“God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. So there was evening, and there was morning, the first day” (Genesis 1:5).

“Their rings of outer leaves and their branches were of one piece with the shaft. Thus the whole menorah was one piece of hammered work made of pure gold” (Exodus 37:22).

“You are to begin your calendar with this month; it will be the first month of the year for you” (Exodus 12:2).

“Now choose yourselves twelve men out of the tribes of Isra’el, one man for each tribe” (Joshua 3:12).

The word echad also means ‘undivided oneness.’

“This is why a man is to leave his father and mother and stick with his wife, and they are to be one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).

“I and the Father are one” (John 10:39).

Even though Eve came from the flesh of Adam to become a separate person, when they came together in the marriage covenant with Elohim, they rejoined as ‘one’ flesh. What God joins together, no man should separate because they become an ‘undivided oneness.’

When Yeshua was at the Temple during Hanukkah, (the Feast of Dedication), he told the people that he and his Father are an ‘undivided oneness.’ They cannot be separated into two gods or separate persons. They are ‘uniquely one.’

Echad means ‘uniqueness.’ This word ‘unique’ brings understanding to several specific Scriptures: the binding of Isaac, the Shema, and the nation of Israel.

“He said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love, Yitz’chak; and go to the land of Moriyah” (Genesis 22:2).

“Sh’ma, Yisra’el! Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai echad [Hear, Isra’el! Adonai our God, Adonai is one]” (Deuteronomy 6:4).

“And what one nation on the earth is like Your people Israel, whom God went to redeem for Himself as a people, and to make a name for Himself, and to do a great thing for You and awesome things for Your land, because of Your people whom You have redeemed for Yourself from Egypt, from other nations and their gods?” (2 Samuel 7:23, NASB).

In Genesis 22, Abraham is told to take his ‘only’ son, Isaac, to Mount Moriah. Isaac is not Abraham’s ‘only’ son; he had an older son named Ishmael. The word for ‘only’ is echad and doesn’t mean ‘one’ in this passage, but ‘unique.’ God is telling Abraham to take his ‘unique’ son, the son that was born from his faith to the place that would become the Temple mountain. Isaac is ‘unique’ in that there is no other offspring like him in the world. He is one-of-a-kind.

In Deuteronomy 6:4, the words of the Shema include the word echad in describing Adonai. This word has the same nuance of not only being the ‘only’ God, but a ‘unique’ God among the ‘gods.’ There is no other God like Yahweh. He is one-of-a-kind.

In 2 Samuel 7, King David uses the word echad to describe the ‘uniqueness’ of the nation of Israel. There is no other nation on earth that God redeemed for Himself and to make a name for Himself. It is the ‘only’ nation through which God revealed His eternal plan of redemption. The offspring of this nation will not be rejected until the sky can be measured, the foundations of the earth understood – in other words, never rejected (Jeremiah 31:36). Israel is a ‘unique’ one-of-a-kind nation.

Hebrew Word Pictures

One, Unique – echad – אחד

א Alef – An Ox means ‘first’ or ‘strength.’

ח Chet – A Fence means ‘to protect.’

ד Dalet – A Door means ‘pathway.’

The Hebrew Word Picture for echad: first strength protects the pathway

In Greek the word monogenes means ‘unique.’

The Greek word mono means ‘one, singular or alone.’ The Greek word genes means ‘offspring’ or ‘pertaining to origin.’ Genes is where the words genealogy and genetics derrive.

The words ‘only begotten’ are a mistranslation of the Greek word monogenes. God has many ‘sons,’ as seen in Genesis 6:2. Yeshua is His ‘unique’ son, one-of-a-kind. Other created ‘sons of God’ are not the ‘visible image of the invisible God.’ That is ‘unique’ to Yeshua. The following verse translates monogenes correctly in the Complete Jewish Bible:

“Those who trust in him are not judged; those who do not trust have been judged already, in that they have not trusted in the one who is God’s only and unique Son” (John 3:18).

©2022 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.

‘Agree to Disagree’

The phrase ‘agree to disagree’ has become the latest phrase of promoting tolerance within the Body of Messiah. When two or more individuals disagree about a ‘doctrine’ or ‘dogma’ and can’t seem to overcome their differences, the phrase ‘agree to disagree’ usually comes out of someone’s mouth to end to the uncomfortable discussion. However, ‘agree to disagree’ is not a statement of victory over a disagreement, it is a statement that debilitates the growth of the Body of Messiah because it allows each person to continue on the path of their own viewpoint rather than being transformed by the Truth through the renewing of their mind (Romans 11:1-2). In other words, one person’s preconceived religious ideas matter more than the Truth of God’s Word and the Truth suffers.

Many times the discussion or debates are quenched because of someone pulls out of their pocket the false love gospel. If someone is challenged because of a false teaching, then the person challenging the false teaching is criticized for not being loving. How foolish! Love, in its fullness, allows for correction and rebuke so an individual is trained in righteousness. Love does not allow for living in rebellion against Adonai.

First Corinthians 13:6 says that “love doesn’t gloat over someone’s sins, but delights in the truth.” Love delights in Biblical Truth, not false teaching that wraps people in sin. Most in Christandom, if they truly studied the Bible, would realize that many things they believe as Truth are not even found in the Bible. They are grounded in false gods and lies. The one pointing out those false gods and lies is loving them more than those who taught them the lies.

“Moreover, love is this: that we should live according to his commands. This is the command, as you people have heard from the beginning; live by it!” (2 John 1:6).

True love for Adonai and Yeshua is that we live our lives according to the commands of Elohim. If we live out a false teaching which is opposed to the Bible, we no longer walk in Truth, but a lie.

One good example is the Sabbath day. The Bible is clear that Adonai created the seventh-day Sabbath as a memorial to creation; He blessed the seventh-day. The day had no beginning or ending because it was to be eternal. He showed the Israelites the purpose of Sabbath was to trust in His provision. He made the Sabbath day one of the Ten Commandments. He said the Sabbath was a ‘sign’ between Him and His people. The Sabbath rest remains. The Sabbath will be restored as Eternity.

Over time, the Truth of Sabbath became illegal through the Council of Laodicea, anti-semitic church doctrines and fathers, the Roman catholic church and today, it remains hidden under the guise of the first day of the week, Sunday. If and when someone brings to light the lost Sabbath of Adonai and His command to ‘remember and keep it,’ a discussion inevitably ensues that ends with let’s ‘agree to disagree.’ With that statement, the person is admitting they are wrong about Sabbath and no longer have a desire to understand the Truth. They will continue to reject the Truth no matter how much Truth they are shown. They will believe what they want to believe even if it is false and leading them away from the faith they claim to have. They will remain hindered in their spiritual growth.

Once they have determined their belief is correct, apart from Biblical Truth, they will stop searching the Scriptures for the Truth. They will no longer be like the Bereans who eagerly welcomed the Truth, checking the Scriptures every day to make sure that Sha’ul was speaking Truth (Acts 17:11).

“Now the people here were of nobler character than the ones in Thessalonica; they eagerly welcomed the message, checking the Tanakh every day to see if the things Sha’ul was saying were true” (Acts 11:17).

The Greek word for ‘checking’ is anakrino and means ‘examine,’ ‘investigate,’ and ‘question.’ The Bereans received Sha’ul’s words with a mind ready to investigate whether or not he spoke the Truth. Too many today rely on church fathers, church history, denominational dogmas, and other religious books rather than seriously ‘examining’ the Scriptures. They no longer examine, investigate or question the validity of anything they believe. Those who refuse to investigate false truths will remain in the false truth, going deeper and deeper until they dig their heels into the ground to protect whatever they believe about a cherished doctrine which will in turn take them further and further into false teachings.

When ‘agree to disagree’ blocks any further discussion, the person who uses the phrase is saying, “I will believe what I want to believe, and you believe what you want to believe.” Apart from being arrogant in thinking that they have stopped an argument or debate by being a peacemaker, they are promoting a ‘different spirit’ than one of Truth that unifies. They are allowing the false ‘spirit’ that governed in the days of the Judges when ‘everyone did what was right in their own eyes’ rather than doing what is right in the eyes of Adonai. They have become the mouthpiece for promoting the world’s tolerance in the Body of Messiah.

When spiritual growth is quenched, the Truth becomes offensive and is avoided at all costs even by using platitudes and worn-out phrases. I am reminded of someone who once said to me, “Don’t rock the boat or my golden calf will fall out.” That person spoke words of Truth when they heard the Truth. The Truth did rock their boat and eventually they did lose the idol of of their affection.

©2022 Tentstake Ministries Publishing

Convocation – Hebrew: Mikra

מיקרה

The Hebrew word mikra comes from the root qara meaning ‘that which is read.’ In the Scriptures, mikra is translated as ‘convocation,’ ‘assembly,’ and ‘a reading.’ This would refer to the public reading of Torah, Prophets and Writings known as the TeNaK (Old Testament). There are 23 occurrences of mikra in the Scriptures.

Elohim gives instructions for a ‘holy assembly:’

“On the first and seventh days, you are to have an assembly set aside for God. On these days no work is to be done, except what each must do to prepare his food; you may do only that” (Exodus 12:16).

“On the fifteenth day of the seventh month [Sukkot] you are to have a holy convocation. You are not to do any kind of ordinary work, and you are to observe a feast to Adonai seven days” (Numbers 29:12).

“They read clearly from the scroll, in the Torah of God, translated it, and enabled them to understand the sense of what was being read” (Nehemiah 8:8).

Another meaning of mikra is ‘rehearsal.’ The definition of ‘rehearsal’ is to ‘practice for a public performance.’ Each of the Feasts of Adonai, found in Leviticus 23, requires a ‘convocation’ or ‘rehearsal:’ Passover, Unleavened Bread, Shavuot, Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, and Feast of Tabernacles. Assembling together for a ‘rehearsal dinner’ is the foundation for the Feasts as Adonai. He gives His people ‘appointed times’ to ‘rehearse’ for a future event that will be brought to fulfillment by Yeshua in the Kingdom.

Yeshua says, “many are called, but few are chosen” when talking about guests invited to the wedding feast (Matthew 22:14). The Greek word for ‘called’ means ‘invited.’ He is saying that many are invited, but few actually make the choice to come. He says that many ‘were not interested’ in coming to the banquet. The Greek word says that they were ‘careless and paid no attention to the invite.’ The Greek word goes deeper to say that they found the invite to the wedding feast ‘rehearsal’ to have no value (Matthew 22:5).

The Greek word gamos is used for ‘banquet’ and refers to the Wedding Feast of the Lamb. The people who refused the ‘invite’ missed the Lamb’s wedding; they made a bad choice. Only those friends and family who are special to the bride and groom attend a ‘rehearsal’ meal for a wedding. The rest of the people are the invited guests. Yeshua used the same imagery of a wedding banquet to describe the responses to his Father’s ‘rehearsals’ for His Son’s Wedding Feast.

Hebrew Word Pictures

Rehearsal – mikrah – מיקרה

מ Mem – Water means ‘chaos’ or ‘mighty.’

י Yod – Closed Hand means ‘finished work.’

ק Kof – Back of the Head means ‘what is past’ or ‘what is behind.’

ר Resh – A Head means ‘highest authority.’

ה Hey – A Window means ‘reveal’ or ‘behold.’

The Hebrew Word Picture for mikrah: mighty finished work what is behind the highest authority revealed.

©2022 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.

Nothing Stays the Same

Bean Creek Overlook

Greetings from Alaska! Yes, we are still living in Alaska as mostly full-time RV’ers. We have spent the past three winters in Cooper Landing and enjoyed every minute from the snow and cold to even the four hours of daylight. On the left is a photo of the overlook near where we live. Everyday the ‘picture’ changes making this place a phenomenal photo op.

The first winter we were here four months when our granddaughter was born; our fifth-wheel was in Las Vegas. The past two winters we asked if we could ‘store’ our fifth-wheel at the Princess RV Park of the Kenai Princess Lodge and we were blessed with a ‘yes.’ Our rental ‘suite’ and trailer were about 100 yards from each other so we could keep an eye on it or retrieve things we needed from it. We rented a small 2-bedroom ‘suite’ from locals for the dark days and colds nights while our trailer waited for us to return.

We did not head south to the Lower 48 with our Grand Design Solitude for several reasons: the pandemic and our refusal to take part in medical tyranny, enjoying winters without tourists, our continually growing grandchildren, and we just didn’t want to do the Alcan again with the possibility of destroying a second trailer. We believe that Grand Design is a better company than Primetime, but ‘better safe than sorry’ as the saying goes.

Summers of 2020 and 2021 we continued camp hosting at Cooper Creek Campground. Even with the ‘plandemic’ we had campers –– mostly Alaskan –– and continued to meet new people while former campers, who could, returned to fish and stay with us. To say we loved the experience as hosts would be an understatement. We enjoyed the people we met, we appreciated Alaska Recreational Management (ARM) who we worked for, and we embraced being outside all summer. We loved the Kenai River and its turquoise color, Cooper Creek and its returning salmon, our outdoor office surroundings, the smells, the flowers, the birds, the moose, the beauty … everything.

Mount Cecil in Spring

The summer of 2021, however, brought some changes to the campground which also brought a new perspective to our sweet, little job. When we arrived at the campground, there were downed trees everywhere –– not downed from the weather, but from the forest service and the maintenance man who worked for the concessionaire. Sadly, no one cleans up their messes, especially the forest service. We did a little clean-up since the trees blocked the road and fell on tables, but we soon decided removing major tree debris was not part of our job description. Those who came to clean it up just made huge piles of slash that technically could be burned, but not for another year. We knew that our crazy campers who have no sense about fires would bring us a summer full of grief. We were not mistaken. Many campers tried to burn the slash, the tree trunks, and the leaves to no avail. We were always having to haul slash piles from campsites because the wood never burned, and the mess that was left didn’t meet our standards of a campsite for new campers.

One other small issue, though flattering to a degree, was that we were pretty much ignored by those we worked for. We knew that we ran our campground efficiently and that they didn’t need to check on us or worry about us. For that we were, and are, appreciative. It was ‘our’ campground and we were allowed to run it the way we wanted. However, twice a week someone was to pick up the envelopes and money that we collected. Sometimes it was almost two weeks until someone came. At times we had a lot of money in our possession. This concerned us because we have no police protection from either the forest service or the local town. Anyone could come and demand that cash and we would have no recourse.

We also had another issue that made us rethink the value of the job vs. our personal health. My husband and I tried to move a table –– the tables are immense and extremely heavy. Yes, people move those tables which makes it difficult for other campers to use the site or the table is placed right next to the fire pit which is dangerous. My husband ended up with a hernia. It was covered through workman’s comp which was an incredible blessing, and we were told to ask for young men from another campground to come and help us in the future. I had also fallen a couple of times –– mostly my own stupidity –– once because the maintenance man didn’t clean up after himself and I did his job. We just didn’t want to continue hurting ourselves. It takes longer to feel better when you’re older!

We are great camp hosts and learned that many people actually came to the campground because of the reviews we received! I worked with every camper to get the site they wanted or needed, and I always filled my no-show sites by calling reservations to confirm campsites. To have an open site brought joy to everyone who drove through and suddenly found themselves a place to set up their tent. We gave out bear spray to guests that had none, and we gave out marshmallow sticks so campers wouldn’t cut down trees. We helped big rigs back-in and pull-out, jumped vehicles, ran shuttles, and offered space for those who had issues with leaving –– lost keys in the river fishing. I had a Naturalist board and a children’s hike sheet for learning about the plants, berries, and animals in the campground. We truly were more than camp hosts –– we were recreational advisors, too.

We made a lot of new acquaintances, and a few good friends –– friends that we continue to see year round. One of our campers moose hunts and asked us to help process the moose for meat! Another couple has a Montana fifth-wheel the size of ours. We would love to camp with them around Alaska. And, that is when we began to realize that as much as we loved our job, we could never leave and enjoy the state of Alaska when it was summer. We could never hike when we wanted to because we were always tied to the campground. Of course, if we were lesser camp hosts, we could leave; but we would return to whackadoodles involved in shenanigans so we stayed attached to Site 1 at Cooper Creek Campground for five years –– a memorable and rewarding five years.

When September 15, 2021 arrived, we packed our trailer and headed for Seward, Alaska not knowing that the drive around the loop would be our last with our ‘home.’ We enjoy camping by the bay and spent a week watching seals and boats. We decompressed from the daily chores of hosting and slept in! After a week, we headed north to Kesugi Ken State Park near Denali. We needed a new adventure. We camped in the cold, hiked in autumn weather, and had a beautiful view of Denali. Too soon we had to leave and return to Cooper Landing because everything shuts down for the winter.

In Cooper Landing, we stayed at the Princess RV Park until we could move into our ‘suite.’ Some dear friends from Texas came up for my husband to officiate their wedding at the campground by the river. It was a beautiful autumn day spent celebrating with people we met at Cooper Creek Campground opening fishing weekend the first year we hosted. We visited them in Texas, and now they were married in Alaska.

Mount Cecil in Winter

Through the winter, we did a lot of soul-searching about what we really wanted from our life in Alaska. We are now residents and we even bought a cheap ‘beater with a heater’ Subaru. We desired to be part of the community, something that was difficult living at the campground with never-ending duties.

We also knew that because of the millions of dead trees due to beetle kill that more trees were going to be cut down and left to the crazies in the campground. With fire danger being high the past two years, due to lack of rain, we didn’t want to be responsible for campers who were negligent and started a forest fire. We were right about the trees. One campground didn’t open due to the danger of falling trees; another had so many trees removed that every site has a view of Kenai Lake. The river side of our campground didn’t hire a tree contractor and there are trees and brush everywhere –– again the work of the US Forest Service, your tax dollars not at work. I actually wrote them a letter last year about their lack of care for the forest; I got a sham reply. This year the head dude retired. The woman taking his place is much more ‘aware’ of reality in the forest when it comes to tree management and forest fires.

For the past five years, my husband had to haul water three times a week and pump it into our tanks. We also had to haul our sewer in a ‘honey wagon’ twice a month, dumping it in the manhole of the pit toilet. This became tedious, and with my husband’s injury, there were times that I needed serious help. We paid for a septic company, but after the first visit, they made excuses for not coming. We needed that service; we wanted that service, and hoped that maybe we would get a raise or our employer would offer to pay for it. Wishful thinking. We did not have electricity even though there was an electric pole within 20 yards, and every year we were told that maybe next year we would get electric hook-up. We used solar, batteries, and a lot of gas for a generator. After five years, we needed a change. We began to pray for other options to make our life just a little easier.

One of our options was to buy a bed and breakfast, but the whole prospect never materialized because of the woman selling. A second option became available through my cleaning job at the post office. One of the clerks had decided to buy a house and leave the place he had been ‘camping’ for the past two years –– the Cooper Landing Community Center. We made a few calls and suddenly we were the new caretakers at the community center. The most difficult part of the decision was not calling our ARM manager, but letting regular campers, who appreciated the way I managed the campground, know that we would no longer be there.

At the end of April 2022, we moved into our new spot with full hook-ups. It was an adventure as it seems everything is. The ground was soft, very soft and still watery. Our wheels sunk deep into the mire. We made a French drain and put boards on top hoping that the ground would dry quickly. We take up more room than others who have perched here so we had to cut down trees just to get into the space. There was a lot of clean up because the former care taker cut wood for a wood stove. Between the slash, dead branches, and saw dust, we had work to do. BUT, having water, electric, and sewer made the whole process worth every minute. We have a view of the Kenai River through the ‘dead’ beetle kill trees and a beautiful view of Mount Cecil.

Our ‘new’ job consists of being ‘present’ and keeping the center looking ‘nice’ by weed whacking, watering flowers, and closing the gate at night and opening it in the morning. We have to be aware of events at the center and make sure people are being respectful of the place. We are not responsible for cleaning up after events which is very nice, but we are responsible for everything outside.

This is a non-paying job which means we must find some work to do. My husband is working his toushy off for our winter landlords. They are stripping, sanding, and re-staining their huge house. On June 1, he began working two days a week for our daughter in her husband’s fishing office; I am hoping to start proofing legal transcripts. We have a lot more free time to do whatever we want including working however we want. We also have more time to do fun things with our grandchildren rather than being babysitters.

Our winter ‘suite’ will not be available this winter. The owners want to transform the place into their bedroom. Though it will be another adventure, we are able to stay in our trailer at the center for the winter. We will have electric and propane for heat, but they turn off the water (they also said they turn off the sewer, but no one does that). We will have to figure out how to fill our 80-gallon tank twice a week which will be a challenge no matter how we do it. We will have access to the inside of the center so we can run a hose, but at -20 that could be ‘fun.’ Still, we have the opportunity to remain in our ‘house’ and not unpack everything that could possibly freeze as we have for the past two winters. Moving in and out every six months is tedious. We will most definitely spend at least one month in the Lower 48 which will mean warmth, water, and family.

This is where I am now –– sitting in my trailer next to the very high Kenai River with a beautiful view of Mount Cecil that is striped white with snow. The yearly softball tournament has just ended. It was two weeks of hanging with the locals –– my husband even played for the Creakers (Creekers) old-folks team. This next week is VBS at the center and my grandson will be spending a night here so it’s easy access the next morning. There are weddings, sewing days, meetings, and sometimes nothing. Still, locals come by to run their dogs or drop off their recycling. The library is here so people stop there. I am only one mile from the post office so I try to walk there every day to check the mail.

However, I miss walking around the campground and getting miles and miles on my walking shoes. I miss seeing new faces every day from wherever in the world and I even miss cleaning pit toilets –– I have two here that are rarely used. It’s quieter here. I can sit by the river all day if I want; I can write if I want; I can nap if I need one. Life is slower, and when my son visited recently, we actually had time to spend with him. Tomorrow, camper friends will be here for opening fishing day and we’ll meet them for dinner. Other friends will be letting us know where they found a spot. And, our moose buddies will be here next week and need us to help them back their trailer into a site.

This is our life in Alaska. We live in our RV full-time again. We have utilities. We take care of the Cooper Landing Community Center. We have made local friends. We have made international friends. We snow machine, ice skate, and cross country ski in the winter –– my husband teaches ski lessons at Alyeska Resort so he can downhill ski for free. We have small jobs to keep us busy, but nothing that holds us down. This is what semi-retirement looks like, and I never imagined that I would be a resident in the Last Frontier. Every day I look around me and thank Yeshua that I am here for however long he wants me here –– because everything changes sometime and nothing lasts forever.

Remembering Life 2021

Remembering 5 Years of Cooper Creek Campers

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