Saturday, February 19, 2011


I’m still waiting for word from the village, to know if I can rent the house on the bluff that overlooks the sea and the mountains. What does one do to pass the time and soften the frustration? If one is me, one goes ice skating.
If I believed in reincarnation, I would swear I was a champion skater in another life. My earliest memories are of roller skating in my driveway with my neighbor friend, Brenda, and making her promise to pretend that we were ice skating. I was absolutely enchanted by it. Year after year as my birthdays rolled around, I always got to pick an activity and a friend. The friends changed as I grew older, but the activity stayed the same, “Take me ice skating”.
It was a long drive to downtown Atlanta in the days before interstates. I knew my parents hated that drive. My mother would try to talk me into putt-putt golf or some other closer birthday fun place, but I never wavered. Once a year, I was an Olympic star.
I remember the smell of The Igloo, as it was called. It started to work its magic on me as soon as I walked in the door. While spectators would see me slipping and sliding and struggling just to stay upright, in my mind I was Peggy Fleming, “taking the ice” and wowing the crowds. My mother always thought I would break something and she was right. I was breaking Olympic records with my quadruple axels and my blurry spins. I was gliding as graceful as a gazelle (aren’t they supposed to be graceful?) and blinding onlookers with my exquisite form and my flashing sequins, totally in another world.
The years passed and reality took me through college and career and marriage and children and then……at age 32 I found myself a full time mother with one child in four year old preschool and another, going to the two year old class for three hours on Tuesday mornings. Funny how I can remember these details. As soon as I dropped Thomas off, I escaped into my ice skating otherworld. I’d check the mommy self at the door and step out on the ice as the champion I knew I was meant to be. Then for two straight years, Greg would keep the kids every Monday night and I’d take lessons. We’re talking some serious mental illness now. I learned to jump and spin for real and, more impressively, I could just dance my way across the ice, allowing the fantasy to completely overtake me. It was escapism on par with Houdini.
Then full time teaching and mothering and wifing and everything else seemed to overwhelm the need, and I stopped skating. I went back once a few years ago to try it out and it wasn’t so fun. I could hardly balance myself and, like Puff the Magic Dragon, I felt the spell was broken and I just wanted to sadly slip into a cave.
Then, years later again, I find myself planning a trip to Alaska in winter. “Now I wonder what I did with my old ice skates. They must be here somewhere.” I dug them out and packed them up. And then I found a frozen pond, cleared of snow, with no one on it, underneath snowcapped mountains and a gigantic sky. I’ve been there three times now, or rather Peggy Fleming has emerged from her past, dressed in sparkles and as smooth as ever. She jumps and spins and dances her way into the hearts of all who watch. She’s a joy to behold!
“….He satisfies your desires with good things, so your youth is renewed like the eagles…”

Monday, February 14, 2011

More waiting

Because of a series of circumstances that would be boring to relate, I still don’t know if I’ll be moving to the village. We all know the lessons associated with waiting, and I’m learning them all (I think).
Anyway, in the meantime I’m being seduced by the pleasures of city life. I found a scenic frozen lake to skate on. Odd to consider that a part of city life but it is. I could skate every day (when the temps are not in the singles anyway) It makes me feel so…..worked out.
The last two days have been pretty chilly so I holed up in the bookstore. It has dawned on me that I should never buy another book. While snuggled by the fireplace in an overstuffed chair with my steaming latte I have read almost two complete books in the last two days. Just read ‘em then stick ‘em back on the shelf. And be very careful with the latte.
Do I feel the least bit guilty wiling away my time like that? Not at all. One of the books I read was about the value of knowing yourself and just being yourself. That's easier said than done but it's so liberating! If I don’t move to the village, I just might have my mail forwarded to Barnes and Noble.
Speaking of village, I’m sitting here now, all packed up, WAITING! Here’s the conversation I had with the “airline” this morning:
Me: Hello this is Kim Vermeer. I’d like to fly out on the four o’clock flight today.
Them: Okay, I’ll put you down. Who is this again? Okay, gotcha down. But we won’t be flying.
Me: What? Not flying?
Them: Not at four.
Me: Then when ARE you flying?
Them: Not sure, depends on the winds.
Me: Maybe at noon?
Them: Maybe.
And on it goes. They’re supposed to call me if the winds die down. I think it’s doubtful (both that the winds will die down or that they’ll call me). I’m supposed to sub tomorrow and the next day. We’ll see.
Now just what time does that bookstore open?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


I was in the village for 10 days. I loved every minute. I worked in the school with the kids, I took walks at sunrise (remember, that isn’t exactly getting up early in Alaska), I ate moose and goose with my native friends, I talked shop with the teachers, and I developed a real desire to stop commuting and just live there. Did you see that coming?
As usual, circumstances started to fall into place to make this a possibility. But you can’t just decide to live in this native village and that’s that. You have to acquire permission from God AND the tribe. It is, after all, private property. So I wrote a letter to the tribal counsel requesting approval, and I got on my knees before the Lord begging, “Pretty please?” In the mean time, I found a house for rent. It’s just a little house but it sits right above the beach, overlooking Cook Inlet and the mountains beyond. The view is breath-taking. It’s spectacular and thus………..I’m anxious.
Just when I feel the peace of being totally surrendered to God’s will for me and willing to submit to whatever He has planned, something comes up that I really want, and I start trying to talk God into doing things my way. I REALLY want to live in the village and in that house. It has become “my p..r..e..c.i..o..u..s” and we all know that can’t turn out well. All too often God gives us good things only to see us start to worship the gifts instead of the Giver. I know you know what I mean.
I want to live in the village so badly that I know I will be so disappointed if the counsel (or God) says no. They are meeting tomorrow (the counsel, not the God-head). I guess it comes down to expectations. Some say if we have no expectations we can never be disappointed. I suppose that’s true but…….I don’t think I’m willing to go there. I do have expectations, I do get excited about stuff and set myself up for disappointment and heartache, I do move on things even when I’m not sure of the outcome, I do walk through doors even when I’m not absolutely certain it’s God leading.
I think He can handle it. I think He’s big enough to cover my mistakes, to pick me up when I fall, reorient me when I get displaced. Actually, He’s done a lot of that in the last three years. He’s used to me….impulsive, impatient, easily excited. I think it might scare Him if I changed at this point. I like to think when the God-head meets to discuss me, they describe me as “passionate”. It has a positive ring.
So I try to stay calm and “be anxious for nothing, but in everything….I let my request be known to God.” If the move to the village doesn’t happen, if I can’t live in the house overlooking the sea and the mountains…..I will still follow…..and He will still lead…..and I will still enjoy being me (in the midst of a few disappointment tears).