An extraordinary life comes from extraordinary moments, and Stephanie and I have had more than a few. We've been in our home state for eight years now, and in that time our family has grown like fireweed under an Alaskan sun.
In July of 2003, we sold most of our possessions, packed our aged Trooper and left Texas. We headed West until West ran out, then we turned North and kept going. We drove until the road pretty much ended, but we went further still.
Our first stop was Fort Yukon, a remote village community of about 500 mostly Native Alaskans, along the Yukon River. It is a place where "the streets are innocent of asphalt and the corners free of streetlights." There are no roads in or out of the village, and travel requires a plane ride, a boat ride along the river, or in extreme cases, hundreds of miles by snowmobile.
In the summer of '06, we loaded up our open river boat and moved about 90 miles up river to our new home of Circle, Alaska, pop. 73. I enjoyed teaching in a school of only two teachers and 22 students in grades K through 12. In Bush Alaska we did a lot of learning. We Learned how to live as guests in a culture different than our own. We learned how to be good neighbors and friends in a place where outsiders have brought as much harm as good. We experienced life in the 18th and 21st centuries at the same time.
With ever more children, we finally settled in Fairbanks, Alaska. It’s the second largest city in Alaska and a relatively small town. I continue to teach kids and adults while Stephanie manages the real work of taking care of five kids and running our household.
And we continue to learn: to read the river, to harvest food from the land, to survive in extreme cold, to balance work and family, to strive for simplicity in a complex world, to love God and our neighbors, and to raise children with integrity.
This is our place. This is our story.
"Entramblitures" is a made-up word. I never sat down and tried to come up with some strange new word. On the contrary, this word just jumped in my head. I assumed that it must be a real word that I had come across somewhere before and for which I just didn't know the definition. But after much search, I didn't find a thing. I like the word Entramblitures because even though it doesn't have an official denotation, it does have for me a number of really great connotations. It makes me think of words like enter, entrance, amble, ramble, tramp, trample, trundle, and literature.