Sunday, November 29, 2009

An Abbey Version of LOST

I have, in the days preceding Thanksgiving, become addicted to the TV show LOST. The characters consist of airline passengers whose plane crashes on an unknown island a 1000 miles from their original flight path. During the days, weeks, and months following the crash, the passengers undergo various trials and tribulations that develop their friendships and characters. The director helps to build suspense in the storyline by creating flashbacks from the characters' pasts that help us as bystanders to understand yet another piece of the mystery.

I realized tonight, as I conversed with Sister C and Sister K, that our lives in Fairbanks--and perhaps lives in general--were very much like my favorite TV show. We were all together in this life, forming and growing with one another, as we learned how to overcome the difficulties we faced on a daily bases. As I learn more about the girls I live with, my Sisters, the closer we become and the more I realize that in Alaska we are all connected through someone in some way. Small world.

Yes, perhaps we were not on an island being chased by "the Others" and trying to survive through yet another night, but sometimes a person can come home, or even wake up, feeling like a battle had been fought.

Whether it was won or lost is another story.

I was glad that, though we will not always all be here together, that God gives us moments with friends where we can laugh and cry, vent and sing, and rejoice that each day brings us a little closer to the bigger picture.

--Sister M

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Space and Harmony...
In reading "Clowning in Rome" this week I came across a section on the depth of celibacy, not as the act of being physically set apart, but having an empty and ready space to receive, hold and distribute the love of God. The author spoke about a community that treasured their time away, their "empty" space. He writes:

"They made it very clear to me that friendship is very important to them, but they have to learn... to keep seeing their relationships with each other in the context of their common call...
They have to be willing to let new developments... separtate them.... be willing to see their separtaions as an invitation to deepen their relationship with their first Love, the Lord, and then through the Spirit of the Lord with each other.... Together, committed to protect the empty space in and between each other." ~Nouwen

I instantly thought about my "sisters". We all have our space. No one is pushed in or out of it. The Abbey is not a place where we will all live for long. Marriage, work, school and other opportunities come along and change the dynamics. We cannot hold on to our friendships too tightly and try to fill them with the business of our lives and leave little room for the work of Christ. Nouwen used the example of celibacy being like old churches in the middle of Rome, "The churches of Rome are like beautiful frames around empty spaces witnessing to the One who is the quiet, still, center of all human life."

I sit typing in my room while Sister K plays and sings by the fire, ashes mingling under her socks. Sister K.D. finally snuggles into bed with Alli while Sister E, props her feet up and reads over notes for tomorrows class. We each have our space in which Christ wants to speak to us. Its precious and some how we know that we each need it. My empty space, my quiet time away from them has been guarded by them. I am so grateful.
(I highly recommend the book! Clowning in Rome by Henri J.M. Nouwen)
Sister C.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Bold and Beautiful

The Bold and Beautiful Mouth

Tumbling forth
out into the space
bringing a voice to the heart
and defining thoughts
out loud
is that of a waterfall
so easy it seems
they tumble out
and chaos it does not bring
but rather
of rhythms and rhymes
filling my eardrums
with the complete sound
of the meaning at heart
her heart is heard
in a well-defined
or two.

By Sistah K

One part blue sky, two pinches white snow

As I work on programing stuff for the students I work with on this November Friday morning, I am reminded by a previous colleague that when he worked with me, he observed that I lived, "Outside of the box." I smile at this, for he is exactly right. Not, that I don't observe specific rules of society and the law, for if I didn't I would not have the freedom to write such words from my own house or enjoy the ability to speed when I do choose to~

Yet, for me, "living outside of the box," is who I am in so many ways. I have struggled with what this means in the past and I know my own family has not always understood my intentions and decisions. Yet, as families are, they love me regardless and support me as much as they can.

I suppose for many living in this rather isolated state of Alaska, "living outside of the box" is entirely natural. Alaska is a place where one either wants to live here or not..the shade of gray doesn't span the horizon as much as black or white does. What I continue to gather in my own infancy of living in this great state, is people love their independence, ability to conform or not with others and to others, travel extensively when desired and live with the attitude, of "I can, I will and why not?"

For me, this sticks. My own Alaska story started five years ago on the Yukon River while peeling Spruce logs during a Missions Trip. Not many can say they fall in love with a place while getting dirty for Jesus. I understand this, and I suppose it's another reason why 'living outside of the box' explains much of my life.

And as I blog this morning, Sister K is chopping wood outside, not because The Abbey is low on wood, for we are not. Yet, I believe it is because she wants too.

One of the things I love the most is that Jesus himself did not live in the box, He confronted it, and simply chose to live outside of it, at the same time changing hearts, minds and people for generations to come. What Jesus did in the lives of the Disciples by teaching them a whole different approach to life sticks with so many, thousands of years after He died on roughly cut wood and rusted nails.

And the beautiful thing about Jesus is that we each have the choice to desire, crave, yearn and ask Him to be part of our lives, regardless how big, small, or non-existent the box of our lives is.

Sister E

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Threading. And I mean it.

I have been threading today. And I don't mean the online chat threads. I am talking about good ol' fashioned hair removal using sewing thread!
Step 1: Take about 12 inches of thread and tie the two ends together, forming a circle.
Step 2: Hold the thread like you're about to do a cat's cradle and twist it about eight times. (The twists should appear in the middle.)
Step 3: Put thread right up against skin where you wish there was no hair. Use fingers to move the twists along the strand. As they move you should see them pluck out the hairs!
It is cat's cradle for the face! Now, this may sound easy, but believe me, I gave up after the fifth hair was plucked and went in search of my tweezers. The ladies on youtube made it look so easy! If you are intersted in trying it yourself, check out this link...
Love ya'll!
Sistah K

Monday, November 16, 2009


Some evenings we have visitors at the Abbey. Some announced, some spontaneous, some that give and some that take. We love all our visitors.
Tonight there was a man who happened to know that we needed wood chopped, he happened to have an ax in the back of his car... he also happened to be single... and happened to just be on his way home from work...and he may have happened to have met one of my sisters on an occasion. As I helped stack the wood I was again reminded of my beautiful roommates and the benefits they bring to my life. I have an inclination that I am not the only one who has noticed their beauty. I don't mind. The house is now surrounded by stacks of neatly chopped wood.
Ah! the benefits.
Sister C.

Sister C at 16 Below

I woke up to outside wood chopping on this 16 below zero morning. Sister C was outside swinging a not so wide axe on rather cold wood. Sister C is also known to keep our water supply ready and fresh, trapsing to the spring at Fox every so often to support our hydrating needs. All the sisters of The Abbey appreciate this!

Today, while it is frigid outside, does remain a blue sky day. At least for a few hours anyways, until the moon decides to shine down and those amazing large stars come out...winter solstice is close to us....oh, where has the year gone?

In any event, I must move on to work pertaining to children and planning.

Sister E

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Good, the Bad, and the Fabulous



I groggily flop my right arm out from under my sleeping bag, floundering for something small to throw.

"ScrittcheEHHHHHEEEEE" *twang*

The rats, black and white, sisters, a shared custody between myself and a friend, decide that 4 A.M is the perfect time to try to escape from their cage. Teeth on metal, night after night, you think they would learn by now.

My hand hits the cool cover of a book and I throw, the book banging off the bars, silence from the rats as the cage twangs.

I fall back asleep, resolute that I must find a better means of keeping them quiet in our thin-walled Abbey home.

--Sister M

Abbey Winter photos

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Sabbath Morning

I woke this morning to a dull pain in my head and found myself in a zombie like state until Vick's Vapor Rub and Mr. Musinex came to the rescue. Three of our sisters are here at the Abbey on this Sabbath day.

Sisters C and M are out, praising Jesus with others as Sisters KD, K and myself make breakfast of french toast and garlic induced scrambled eggs. The morning sun seeps through our upstairs window and our wood stove continues to pour out heat. Good thing too, since by tomorrow night the mercury will dip down to 30 below!

Sabbath rest, in it's many forms, is amazing and wonderful. How we are able to praise the One who loves us throughout all of our lives in the simplest of times. The trees outside are dusted in fine lines of white snow which glimmer in new day sun.

"Glory, Glory, Hallelujah" Sister K exclaims as she beckons me to make the Sabbath eggs since our french toast is done.

So, I must now attend to culinary arts and bid all good day and happy Sabbath Day.

Sister E

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Fireside Chat

What I love about The Abbey, besides what sister C previously mentioned in the introduction is simply our Saturday evenings sitting together by the fire while jazz streams from the stereo and one may or may not be sipping Merlot.

Women we are, each independent and sassy, yet loving and carefree enough to appreciate each other's own uniqueness. For example, it's not everyday that I come home from work to find a moose head being chisled out by Sister KD and being asked if i want to see the poor animal's spinal cord. And then my sister goes and sniff's the moose face!

Or there are the mornings I wake up to the singing from Sister C as she sings to Jesus from the floor below. I love these dawning days, as they afford me a moment to smile and remember who my first love is too.

Sister M spins her own mystery to us all as she comes home from a day of traditional work in town, but also shares her finds after visiting the local transfer site and shows off the latest addition for our kitchen. I love to see her enthusiasm illuminating from her while she tells the story behind the 'find.' As my mom says when looking for the right antique to add, "it's all in the hunt."

While most of our own families lives Outside, we are own family here at The Abbey. How there is nothing better than coming home to a warm house and being greeted by the women you have grown to love, who also accept you for who you are and not caring about all those other things women get caught up in. We don't do drama, and I love it.

Conversations while eating the cookie dough out of the ice cream carton and musing over the week's events create tender memories that make our Abbey it's own place.

How our lives are varied and set in different stages, Sister K left her job today and looks forward to the next adventure that awaits. She easily smiles and is often found baking bread in the bread machine, that yes, was located at our friendly transfer site.

Our newest member, Sister EW is new to the group, but we are enjoying her here when she is here....the girl left us to spend time with her own sister from down South and we look forward to her return later in this frigid North.

Of course I could go on, yet i must go now for i am meeting a deadline set by Sister C. Sister C is not as nocturnal as I and wants to read this latest post before becoming a pumpkin, and with this is say, "Good night for now."

Sister E


Here is a blog for the previous, current, future sisters and supporters of The Abbey. We are a community of young women living life together for the purpose of honoring God,conversing in the kitchen, salvaging reusable items, loving others, laughing and various other tasks.

The Abbey had its official beginnings in the Fall of 2006 when Sister C purchased the home from an adorable old couple of sourdoughs who had collected the remnants of an entire town. There were various buildings, rooms full of "treasures" old relics, only valuable to the previous inhabitants. After many long hours of cleaning Sister C was joined by a small, yet growing family.
That winter a son was born in the Abbey.

The following Summer Sister C. was joined first by S.K.(s), then another sister.. then another.. and another. The Abbey budded from one young woman to five in a matter of months and has more or less maintained that occupancy. There have been ten women in and out of the Abbey.. not mentioning our animal friends, Alli, Lulu and Nuwt.
There have been Building Burnings, Bonfires, Bible Studies, Bonding moments, Boys, Babies and no Burgles. We have two neighbors, both men.. one celibate and one not so celibate and a dog named Maggie. We chop wood, haul water and bake our own bread.
The Abbey is a place of rest, candle light, peace, laughter, romance, singing, dancing, work, study, contemplation, conversation, growth, life, tears, hugs, talking... lots of talking, transition, dreaming, hoping (that the roof won't leak again...) and so much more.
Enjoy our blog as we continue to share our moments with each other.
Sister C.
(aka mother superior)