Ode To Alaska

I really want to put into words just HOW this whole Alaska opportunity came up. The entire thing was pretty bizarre and I don’t want to forget just how blessed James and I feel…this is not to toot our own horns, or brag or whatever. I truly feel overwhelmingly blessed and don’t want to forget why as I have an ungrateful habit of doing.

…So hence my Ode To Alaska.

Probably most of you know (those who read this humble little blog) how hard my husband has been working to secure us a good job for when he graduates. He has put his heart and soul into his school to get the best grades possible, worked really hard at his two internships, has tried really hard to make good business contacts, and has kept an amazing attitude throughout the whole thing. I am super proud of him and feel honored that I am one of the biggest reasons he is working so hard. At times (more recently) its been tough because he hasn’t been home much and our time together is usually short and on the go. I’m hoping that part is almost over! 

The funny part about this little story is that ever since we’ve been married, James has been trying to gently prepare me for moving to Arizona. His ultimate goal from the very beginning was to get a job down there at a gold or copper mine. Weeeel….a couple months ago he even went so far as to buy me a cactus so I would feel more at home when we moved there! Haha! Love him. 


Well, after endless nights of James perusing the job market, filling out applications, doing numerous phone interviews, going to Las Vegas for a Mine Expo, making new contacts and eventually flying to several locations for on-site interviews, we were finally getting pumped to hear back from all these companies. We had heard glory stories about most graduates getting 5-7 job offers the previous year. We had high hopes. But sometimes God’s are higher. In a different way. 

Oh, the other thing I must mention…the one place my husband did NOT care to work was at a coal mine. Can’t say as if I blamed him. 

Interestingly enough, our very first job offer was at a coal mine in New Mexico. A crazy good offer it was…but at a coal mine. As excited as we both were to GET that offer, we still had high hopes that we would get other offers. We had a deadline of December 1st to get back to that company. 

The days rolled on and James tried his best to keep on top of other companies…especially two different iron ore mines in Minnesota. One was even the company he had interned at. Generally an easy sell for getting a job. But in our case, not so much. Still haven’t figured that out. A God thing I guess! 

I must interject here and mention that during this whole process I was praying for 3 things: 

  • #1) That wherever we got a job it would have a WELS church right in the town.
  • #2) That James would get a job he was excited for and would love going to work to every day.
  • #3) That there would be young people in the church for James and I to become friends with. 
To me, as long as these three things could be fulfilled, I would be one happy person. 
As hard as we prayed, though, it was looking more and more like we were going to end up in New Mexico. I was pretty neutral about it honestly. After all…I was getting to like my little cactus. Oh. AND it had a WELS church. 🙂 New Mexico wasn’t my ideal location, but it was close to Colorado. However, in the end I was mostly sad because I knew my husband’s heart wasn’t totally in it. And just feeling “okay” with a job wasn’t what we were hoping for. But hey! Sometimes God has lessons to teach us.
On our way back from Thanksgiving in Montana, with only a week left to decide and no other job offers, we had a really good talk together about our future. We both admitted that no, it was not the job that we had envisioned for ourselves, but we acknowledged that God had truly blessed us because for one, it was a job…and a good paying one. And for two…there was a church. And for three…it was only our first job and who knows where God would lead us from there. In that car ride I think we both humbly accepted that New Mexico was going to be our next home. And that a yard of cacti and rocks were to be in my future…
What James didn’t tell me until later was that at church that morning, James had had a heart to heart with the pastor and told him what was going on with jobs and such. Pastor asked James point blank if the job offer we had was one of our top 3 choices. James said, “Well, no, but it’s a good offer and if that’s where God wants us…” Pastor responded with a firm, “I will be praying for you guys.”
Still gives me shivers. 🙂
Because the next day…James got the phone call. From a company in Alaska I think we both had pretty much forgotten and given up on. It was James’ dream job…at a gold mine. In Alaska. Should I mention now that when we were dating James had just about moved to Alaska??? To go pan for gold??? Crazy man. 🙂
The lady gave him two choices. Choice one, they could fly him up to Alaska in the next couple weeks for a permanent job up there. Or, choice two they could skip the on-site interview and instead do a third phone interview with him for a rotational program where we would be in Alaska for 18 months and then in either Washington or Nevada for 18 months. Sadly, we had to decline the the on-site interview because it was too much of a gamble because we would have to decline the offer we DID have before knowing if we got the one in Alaska. Opting for the rotational program, they promised we would hear back from them by Friday. But we had heard that many times before so didn’t hold our breaths. 
The interview was Wednesday evening, and they said we would hear back from them either later that night or the next day. Wow. They CAN move fast when they want to! Well we didn’t hear back from them that night. Not much sleep. The anticipation was pretty insane. I have to say it was the anticipation that we both had been hoping for all along…so excited you can barely sleep. 
Work was extremely tough for me the next day. I literally checked my phone every 5-10 minutes. I was shaking from nerves and excitement. I was just so on edge! What if we got the job?! What if we didn’t get the job???? Knowing how devastated James (and myself) would be if we didn’t get the job turned me into a constant praying mess. 
During my lunch break he texted me and said he hadn’t heard back yet. Long pause after one of the texts. I was heading back to work when he called. I totally choked. This had to be it. “Honey I got the job!” I cried. Honest to goodness I just cried. Excited. Elated. Ecstatic. Terrified. Proud of my husband. 
We. Got. The. Job.
I’m not gonna lie…there was a huge mental switch from thinking we were moving to New Mexico to for sure moving to Alaska. I don’t even know that much about Alaska! It’s beautiful. There’s a lot of darkness. A lot of cold. Lots of moose. Amazing Northern Lights. I have so much to learn.
In the end I don’t know why God has been so gracious to us and given us this amazing opportunity. It truly is once in a lifetime. 
In the end though, I think the thing I am most thankful for is the fact that I am married to such a godly husband who was willing to set aside his pride and happily take the job at the coal mine where we thought we were meant to be. He would have done it with a happy heart for me. But mostly for his God.
So guess what, guys??? I hope my little cactus survives Alaska!!! 
Oh. And P.S. for the record. God answered all three prayers. The pastor and his wife up in Alaska are a young couple that just moved up there themselves a little over a year ago. How amazing is God? 


  1. nice story! You two are so cute. And don't think for a second you guys don't deserve every blessing you have. A good christian couple that is so giving and caring and sweet….why wouldn't God bless you? We will miss you though!


  2. Love it, Bethany! You are both such God-fearing people, and he certainly gave you the desires of your hearts! Made me cry too! Miss you already! Hugs and Blessings! ~Paula


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