Dear Family,

I am thrilled that Dad is sending his devotionals by email. He has a wealth of wisdom. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" Proverbs 9:10. The treasure trove of gems he daily mines from God's Word and the books he reads become more precious as he shares them. Miles separate us, but cyberspace has stepped in to bring us closer together and enable Dad to share in this way. I am posting his devotionals on Blogger by request of many who wanted to be "adopted family" in order to read his devotionals.

Because I have often wanted to share photographs, slide shows, and short home movies with you, I am starting a blog for that purpose. Dad bought me a digital camera in spite of my protests, but I have enjoyed using it and wish to share the joy in the photos I have taken.

In our earlier days much of our lives was documented with slides. However, slides cannot be enjoyed unless they are projected on a screen--that is, until the dawn of the digital world. I have scanned all those slides on to my computer, but here they sit. Now, with the help of Blogger, I can share them with you as I have time to upload them, and you can view them at your leisure.

I'm sure these iMages will evoke memories, and I hope you will not mind indulging my musings. Also, there may by memos I wish to share from time to time.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Our Japan Trip--God's Grace

Dear Family and Friends,

Before you read this blog, I encourage you to read the post entitled "Revelation 7:9" here: (The live link is on the sidebar.)

Our time in Japan was truly awesome. We were very much humbled at everyone's display of love, hospitality, and generosity. We rejoiced over the young men who are now pastors of fine churches and the Christians who are continuing faithful in the Lord. People kept introducing themselves as our (spiritual) grandchildren. We were treated like royalty. Ron preached 13 or 14 times in six different churches in a 22 day period. Vicky and I got to speak at ladies' meetings and give our testimonies at church gatherings.

We had to keep reminding the people that it wasn't because of us--God had chosen them from before the beginning of the world. He would have saved them without us. But we are humbled that He allowed us to be His instruments. Anything that is accomplished in the kingdom is totally attributable to God's grace and His good pleasure. We are merely His earthen vessels carrying the treasure of the Gospel "that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us" 2 Corinthians 4:7.

Hokkaido pastors Kiyokazu Honbo, Katsutoshi Kamidate, and Toyoharu Kamidate had often expressed their hope that sometime we could come visit their churches. They got together and arranged and financed the trip through the sacrificial gifts of their people. We were also privileged to visit Mino Mission in Yokkaichi, which also sacrificially gave to us. A special blessing was to have evangelistic meetings with Pastor Nakajima who had been led to the Lord and mentored by Pastor Honbo. Pastor Kamidate escorted us around Hokkaido stopping to meet missionaries in various cities. We admire their faithfulness and zeal.

The trip fulfilled the goal of these Japanese pastors--that we would be encouraged. That we were. I cannot express the overwhelming gratitude and satisfaction we experienced. We know that anything that was accomplished through our Japan ministry was solely the Lord's doings. "Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth's sake" Psalm 115:1.

Our ministry in Japan was at the Lord's bidding, at His time, to be used as He saw fit. We know that He could have used any other means for anything that was accomplished. "So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase...We are labourers together with God..." I Cor. 3:7, 9. There were those who sowed the seed and those who nurtured the sprouts, and at very stage--nothing but God's grace!

We left Japan with our bags bulging with thoughtful gifts and our hearts bursting, not only with praise and gratitude, but also with a renewed burden and determination to be more faithful in prayer.

Vicky was the photographer on our trip. She took most of the photos in the albums I have posted. We trust that viewing these photos will give you a burden to pray with us for the the furtherance of God's kingdom through the ministries of these missionaries and Japanese pastors.

A debtor to His marvelous grace,


You can view our photo albums here: (The Live link is on the sidebar.)

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Blough Family Annual Caribou Hunt

Dear Children,

Today (April 2, 2010) we received in the mail, the Heritage Newsletter from Conemaugh Township Area Historical Society in Pennsylvania. The front page article was about our family caribou hunt. After hearing about our family adventures and fun, the editor asked Dad to write an article about the hunt. He likes to feature stories about hometown people.
Here is the article:

EDITOR NOTE: Ron Blough was born in Woodstown and attended Jerome Grade School and graduated from Conemaugh Twp. High School in 1951. He worked briefly at Bethlehem Steel and then entered the Marine Corps. After discharge in 1955 he went to Bob Jones University where he met his future wife, Marlene Bingham from Denver, Colorado. They both graduated from Bob Jones University in 1959. Together they have raised nine children and have traveled extensively as missionaries/pastors--17 years in Japan, 9 years in New Hampshire, and in 1986 they moved to Alaska where Ron has continued his missionary/pastor duties. They currently live in Hoonah, a quaint, little native village on the island. They are the first to say they have had a marvelous and blessed life. We would add to that--a very interesting life. THANK YOU, RON AND MARLENE,FOR SHARING THIS LATEST ADVENTURE.

Four Wheelers Lined Up Ready To Leave Camp


About twenty years ago three of my boys and I decided to go on a caribou hunt. Because we couldn’t afford to charter a plane to hunt places inaccessible by road, we drove about 500 miles from our home on the Kenai Peninsula. Our destination was the Taylor Highway that runs along the Alaskan side of the Yukon River in the Yukon Territory near where the Gold Rush took place in the 1890’s. We pulled a trailer with two three-wheeled ATVs on the back. The hunt always begins on August 10th and we were too late to see anything but gut piles.

Nearly every year since then we have made the trip and almost always have come back with our tags filled. After several years we graduated to four-wheeled ATVs. We always drive to the small village of Chicken named by gold miners and trappers who wanted to name it "Ptarmigan" but didn’t know how to spell it. There we unload our ATVs and drive at least twenty-five miles up into the mountains. We have driven almost twice that far when we have been unable to find caribou. Because they are nomadic and are on their way to the Yukon, we are never sure just where they will be. There are no trees, so you can see for miles.

On my first trip I woke up at 4 a.m. when I heard a shot. (When hunting in Alaska there are no time restrictions, but you are not allowed to use artificial lighting.) I stepped outside my tent and shot a nice bull at 100 yards. As I was quartering it out, I heard something behind me and there were six bulls, all bigger than the one I shot, watching me. It hasn't always been that easy! Since then I have shot several outside my tent while still in my underwear. A few years ago my kids gave me camo long johns!

For a period of time the hunt was shut down to ATVs because the herd was dwindling. Wolves and grizzly bears were killing about 90% of the newborn calves. Alaska Fish and Game began to sterilize the alpha male wolves and gave a bounty to trappers who caught them. The herd grew from about 20,000 to about 45,000 today.

There are many much larger herds but are unreachable by road. Now we are allowed to shoot two grizzly bears without a permit while hunting the Fortymile Herd, named for the Fortymile River, which flows through that area. We can shoot either bulls or cows; non-residents may shoot cows only. It is not always easy to tell the difference, because both have antlers. Hunters leaving camp must report to Fish and Game, and after 500 caribou have been harvested, a plane flies over the camps and drops a stone with a note attached saying the hunt is closed.

After the years we weren’t allowed to hunt, son Judson and I resumed the hunt. In 1995 we were packed to go when we got a call that our daughter Vicky’s husband had sustained a fatal injury when a horse kicked him. They were on a church building mission at Pinedale, Wyoming, with their three children, the youngest, 2 ½-month-old Joanna. We didn’t go that year, of course, but the next year we invited our widowed daughter to go with us--excellent idea! She is an excellent cook! Judson and I had always “made do” with ramen and our catch of grayling. We have gladly taken her with us ever since.

Soon other family members joined us, and our camp often grew to twenty or more. Vicky’s three children began to accompany us as they got older. Last year her 14-year-old Joanna got her first caribou. Grandchildren as young as eight have filled their tags. (Hunters under 16 and over 59 are exempt from buying a license.) In 2007 I talked Marlene into going. I got lots of squeezes as she rode with me over some pretty rugged trails on our 49th wedding anniversary! She shot her first caribou at 70 years of age.

We are now living on an island in Southeast Alaska, so the trip is not as simple as before. We take a ferry to Juneau, our capital, and then another ferry to the town of Haines on the mainland. From there we drive about 400 miles to Chicken.

To get Marlene to go again I bought a Honda "Big Red" side-by-side UTV. Her biggest draw was getting to meet our ten-month-old granddaughter for the first time. Five of our 9 children and 14 of our 29 grandchildren live in Alaska. Since we live 1,000 miles from some of our children in Alaska, the only time we see them is when we all get together on Chicken Ridge. On our last trip the weather was bad mixed with rain and snow, but it was worth it! Our daughter Bea shot a bear at 30 yards that was coming toward her and her four children.

Venison from our island (we are each allowed 6 blacktail deer) and caribou comprise almost all of our meat. That, with crab, salmon, halibut, and berries make up a lot of our diet.

We commit each hunting trip to the Lord and thank Him for the good times and protecting care over the years.

"O Lord, how manifold are Thy works! In wisdom Thou hast made them all: the earth is full of Thy riches” Psalm 104:24.

Note from Marlene:

On the hunting grounds we are very careful not to waste any of the meat. We put the quarters into game bags immediately and hang them up to cool. If the weather is warm, one of the party will take a trip into Tok (about 80 miles away) to refrigerate the meat taken early in the week. The hunters always have backpacks to pack the quarters back to camp. Ron and I stick close to camp, and the boys help us take care of the meat. They were good troopers when Ron shot one at 412 yards in a place the ATV couldn’t go. Their hike from the valley back up to the camp with the caribou was arduous!

When we arrive home the fun and work continue as we process the meat. We make burger and sausage with the trimmings. Most of the meat we freeze, but some we can. Caribou meat can be prepared and cooked the same as venison. It makes good jerky.

Cold weather vegetables grow well in Alaska. We’ve always enjoyed having a garden. The long days make up for the short growing season. Our greenhouse comes to the rescue for tomatoes.

Truly we are blessed with the bounty from God’s hand!

Ron and Marlene with Vicky's Family

Home Sweet Home" For The Caribou Hunt

Caleb Helping Joanna Field Dress Her First Caribou

Judson and Maria's Aliya

One of The Challenging Muddy Sections of Trail

Photo credits go to Vicky Daniels. To see more go to:

Friday, January 29, 2010

Family Newsletter

Dear Kids and Grandkids,

I'm putting our newsletter here so that our friends would have access to the pictures and news. We do praise the Lord for our many friends and are humbled at the faithfulness of so many that are faithful in praying for us. How blessed we are! The letter follows:

Greetings from Ron & Marlene in Hoonah, Alaska! January 2010

Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. Ps. 127:1

Last May we moved from our rental to our “mansion on the hill.” We have a view of the harbor, the peaceful sea inlet, and beautiful snow-capped mountains. The sunrises and sunsets are too beautiful to be described. We have a fine view of an eagle’s nest below us and have watched the eaglets grow until time to fly away on their own.

We had looked at double-wide mobile homes and intended, along with our fisherman son and his wife, to each buy one and set them on sixty-foot pilings Cheyne had rescued from the harbor where they had been replaced by concrete. His lot is on the side of a mountain, so it was quite a task sinking the thirty-foot pilings (he cut them in half) down to bedrock. The double-wides were beautiful but so expensive to purchase and have barged up from the lower 48 that Cheyne decided to “stick” build a house himself. Before this he had never built anything bigger than a small storage shed. He is an excellent commercial fisherman, but I had serious doubts about this house-building venture on the side of a mountain.

He and Ronda, his perfect helpmate, made their own house plans. They did the bulk of the building, and Carey (our #2 son) who is living with us, did the dirt work and wiring, assisted them in hanging drywall, transported building supplies, and assisted in every aspect of the construction. Our grandchildren were a great help, also, especially 14-year-old Daulton. After about two years’ work in their off-season from fishing, we were able to move in.

We live on the top floor, which is level with the road. Cheyne’s family lives on the two floors beneath. We hold our church services in our large living room. I make sure the people have their backs to the four 4 ½ by 5-foot windows when I preach, or I wouldn’t be able to hold their attention. We are so thankful the Lord has given us this beautiful place to live in our old age.

We have fifteen to twenty who attend our services, but we have made very little progress in reaching the native population, which comprises about 75% of Hoonah. Spiritually it is a dark place. Many of their religious customs are similar to the Japanese. The suicide rate among the natives is staggering. Incest, drugs, and drunkenness are prevalent. I lean heavily on Romans 1:16: “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth: to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” We are not interested in “decisions” or seeing people “accept Christ,” but in seeing the power of God work in the hearts of the people in this dark place.

We both enjoy good health at ages 76 and 72. We have been invited to visit and minister to some churches in Japan in September. Should the Lord tarry and spare us, we anticipate meeting the pastors who were saved in our Hokkaido ministry and our dear Japanese friends from forty years ago.

“Our hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus’ blood and righteousness, we dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean on Jesus name. On Christ the solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.”

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all, Ron

Note from Marlene:

On our August caribou family hunting trip, we rejoiced to meet grandchild #28, 10 ½-month-old Aliya Grace, Judson and Maria’s baby girl. She and big brother Tucker make the sweetest pair! Between Bea and Steve's camp and our camp there were seventeen of our family plus two guests, Kyle Souza and Ryan Tyler. Bea got a bear and in our camp I was the only one who didn't bag a caribou.

Caleb and Abi were deckhands for Cheyne and Ronda last summer.

On a sad note, I miss my brother who died of cancer on September 22. I was so happy I got to spend a week-end with him and his wife at their home in Texas three weeks before.

Thank you for your prayer for the Roland family. Dr. Roland, father of Adam, Becky's husband, died July 30 less than seven months after having been diagnosed with cancer. We had been privileged to have had fellowship with this dear man of God when we were in Tucson in 2008. Adam’s September 2008 colon surgery had to be corrected at Mayo on January 5 this year. He is now recuperating. Adam and Becky welcomed #8 child, Evan James, on December 20. He is #29 grandchild for us.


Dear Kids and Grandkids,

My musings of late have been about God's omnipotence. As we entered 2010 with all its uncertainties and heart burdens that we carry, I was challenged to dwell on what is certain. Everyday I look out our picture windows and behold the majesty of the One Who is omnipotent. The One Who is able.

I think of Abraham. God prefaced the command He gave him to walk before Him and be perfect with the statement, “I am the Almighty God.” What fear or trepidation can we servants have who serve the Almighty God?

In reverence we affirm with Job, “I know that thou canst do everything” Job 43:2.

By faith we believe what Gabriel assured the wondering Mary, “With God nothing shall be impossible” Luke 1:37.

“Yes, God does all His holy will” is the answer to “Can God do all things?” in the Children’s Catechism. Truly God is able to perform what He promises.

He is--

• Able to save to the uttermost those that come to Him—Heb. 7:25
• Able to deliver us-- Daniel 3:13
• Able to make all grace abound toward those who give—II Cor. 9:8
• Able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day—2 Tim. 1:12
• Able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think—Eph. 3:20
• Able to succour them that are tempted.—Heb. 2:18 (in that he himself hath suffered being tempted,)
• Able to keep you (us) from falling and to present you (us) faultless before the presence of his glory—Jude 24

What great promises to lay hold of! May we be like Abraham who staggered not at the promises of his Almighty God, our God, Who is able to do all His holy will.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Remembering Grandma Bea

Valerie with "Gammy" in the dress she made her. The dress got handed down to Vicky, Bea, and Becky.

Dear Children,

I am remembering your grandma--“Gammy” or “Grandma Bea”--in a special way this evening, as it’s been two years since she went to be with the Lord.

You kids have many memories of what a fun grandma she was. These pictures will bring back some memories to some of you. You will all remember the big house in Woodstown and all the fun things she did with you and for you there. What a great time we had when “Poppy” and “Gammy” visited us in Japan! Later they moved to New Hampshire to be near us. After Poppy died she visited us in Alaska many times. I’m sorry I don’t have a picture of her riding Bea’s snow machine on her last trip to Alaska at age 89.

She was a unique, hard-working, intelligent, talented woman; a dedicated mom; a proud grandma; a generous soul. She made life fun for all. She was a friend to all. She loved the Lord with all her heart as she struggled to please Him. I couldn’t have had a more loving and supportive mother-in-law. My gratitude for her has grown as days have passed, and I look forward to the day we will be praising our Saviour together.

Last evening I perused “Mom’s Book,” Teardrops in the Mashed Potatoes—Over 50 years of Lovin’ and Cookin’. From that book, I chose a couple of Mom’s favorite hymns to share with you as we remember her in a special way tonight.

He Giveth More Grace
He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase;
To added affliction He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials His multiplied peace.

His love has no limit, His grace has no measure,
His power no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth and giveth and giveth again. —Annie Johnson Flint

Mom’s version of “What A Friend We Have In Jesus”

What a friend I have in Jesus,
All my sins and griefs to bear;
What a privilege I have
To take it all to God in prayer.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Grandpa Bingham, My Daddy

Dear Kids and Grandchildren,

In my Bible I have a bookmark that reminds me to pray for the newborn son of parents from Castle Rock Baptist Church in Tucson. The prayer is “that God would uphold your son in his integrity and set him before His face forever Ps. 41:12, and that like Job he would be called blameless, upright, one who fears God and shuns evil, one who holds fast to his integrity Job 2:3.” I not only pray that for their newborn son, but I pray that for my sons and grandsons and what examples you have in your father and grandfathers!

Because of the anniversary of Daddy’s death nine years ago at the age of nearly 96, I’ve been thinking about him and thanking the Lord for my godly heritage. On his 90th birthday, your Aunt Mary made a memory scrapbook and had each of his children and grandchildren contribute their memories. The memory book is at Aunt Muriel’s, but I have some of the pages copied, which I’ll share in this blog. Though lengthy, I trust you will enjoy being reminded of him--but not just that, I trust that you will be challenged by his life—especially you boys. What traits to emulate!

Robert J. Bingham March 5, 1904 - February 10, 2000

"The fourth son of five sons and two daughters. Born on the plains of South Dakota in the small claim house. The house moved to the 160-acre claim of government land. Resident required to live on and improve for five years before ownership granted before U.S. signed by U.S. President McKinley. Life was hard with severe days of heat and wind and lack of moisture in growing season. Real cold winters and blizzard conditions in winter with loss of livestock and lives of people." (Taken from his journal)

Marlene’s Page of Memories on the occasion of Daddy’s 90th birthday, March 5, 1994

"The just man walketh in his integrity; his children are blessed after him” Proverbs 20:7.

This verse describes Daddy. Though the spotlight here seems to be upon a man, may I emphasize before penning these lines that it is but by God’s grace that he is what he is, therefore, pointing to God’s glory. God gave him a wonderful helpmeet who has stood by him through thick and thin. They are one. Daddy loves the Lord. He is an unassuming, unselfish, righteous-living honest, humble man with a quiet spirit and sense of humor. His life has been his family. I’m proud to be his daughter. Here are some of my memories capitalizing on my childhood days:

Daddy is all of the following and more:

THOUGHTFUL—bringing Valentines to all of us when we lived in the house on Federal Blvd;
HARD-WORKING—going to work at Remington Arms; going to work at the greenhouse—what fun to walk there to have lunch with him! (I think he walked to work both places);
FUN-LOVING--walking the babysitter home with me at his side, he would give a little sneak backside kick as we were walking along pretending someone else was kicking me;
ENTERPRISING—buying his own food-distributing business from Mr. Stanek—he stored stale goods in the root cellar where the mice enjoyed the stash and I was afraid to retrieve anything from that room;
INDUSTRIOUS—raising rabbits in the garage on 35th Ave. and having a victory garden;
ORGANIZED—doing bookwork after coming home each evening and then falling asleep on the rocking chair and snoring while attempting to read the newspaper;
TIRELESS—working six days a week and never taking a day off unless it was the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s;
FAMILY-CENTERED—taking the family to the mountains early on the Fourth of July to beat the traffic and to return in time to spend a good part of the day working on the house; taking us kids by turns on his Thursday mountain route in the summers;
PERSEVERING—taking a side job of selling vitamins to help make ends meet;
DEPENDABLE—borrowing my babysitting money to bank on Monday mornings to meet the wholesale bill and always paying it back as soon as possible;
APT TO TEACH—taking me to school in the truck and giving me driving pointers when I rode with him—“Never follow too closely…”
CONSISTENT—having daily family devotions before breakfast from the time we lived on Bryant St. (and maybe before) until the present;
FAITHFUL—never missing church services and taking us to church in the “nut truck”—we sat on boxes in the back;
DEVOUT—being a deacon; displaying the fruits of the Spirit in his daily walk;
ENCOURAGING—including me in his holiday nut business;
GENEROUS-- letting us girls take the family car to college and with Mother’s help, aiding us financially in college and our family on the mission field;
LOVING—welcoming into his extended family another son-in-law and, in time, our nine children;
CONGENIAL—always being so hospitable on our numerous, though far-between, visits;
LIBERAL—taking in our large family for extended times and our college kids for semesters at a time;
PATIENT—never showing impatience with family, friends, or nature;
LOVER OF NATURE—enjoying nurturing the beauty of God’s handiwork by working in his yard and garden and on campus;
PROUD—in good sense—taking pride in his family and flowers.

Tributes from the rest of our family

Son-in-law Ron
“The fear of the Lord prolongeth days” Proverbs 10:27.

To my father-in-law on his 90th birthday. Modest, patient, slow to anger, honest, plodder, steady, dependable, loyal, principled—all are attributes of my father-in-law. I have not known him to lash out in anger, although I know there are things that make him angry. I have not known him to waver in his commitment to Christ. To my knowledge, he has never been guilty of “evil speaking.” The wise man of Proverbs said, “A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children’s children….” Certainly that has been true for our nine children! We generally don’t choose our in-laws; they come with the territory. But if we did, I couldn’t make a better choice than the one the Lord gave me. Happy Birthday!
My earliest memory of Grandpa Bingham is when we visited in Denver, Colorado, when I was five. He let me choose anything I wanted from his candy truck. One of the latest outstanding memories is the time two years ago when at 88 years of age he was out helping me jumpstart my car. Then there are lots of memories in-between that words can’t describe. Grandpa has a lot of spunk and wit! He’s great!
During my years as a student at BJU (1979-85), I had many occasions to sit down and listen to Grandpa Bingham chat with me about the past, especially about the days of his youth. I would always listen with fascination and wonder if I would remember the details well enough to pass the story onto the next generation. Grandpa’s stories were of the old days when times were tough, men were men, and it took sheer guts and determination to overcome life’s obstacles. How his father lost the new family home after being cheated by a man he trusted will be a story I’ll always remember. I was always amazed that Grandpa could tell stories that were ¾ of a century old with so much clarity!
When I had my fourth birthday, Grandpa opened his “candy truck” and let each of us Blough and Murr cousins pick out a treat. I picked out M & M’s.--Grandpa Bingham is a generous man. When I was ten, I had flu and Grandpa cared for me when everyone went away. He got out a big stack of scrapbooks and let me browse all I wanted.--Grandpa is a kind and caring man. When I was 22, Grandpa met my boyfriend, Kevin Daniels, and said, “We think he’s a fine young man.”--Grandpa is a wise man. After we were married and went to the mission field, we knew that everyday Grandpa and Grandma were praying for us.--Grandpa is a faithful man. We thank the Lord for a wonderful grandpa!
Noone who has been around Grandpa can disagree that he has dedicated his life to beautifying the lives of others. He has done everything from farmer to salesman to florist and his great spirit and love for the Lord have overflowed to all those around him. Happy Birthday, Grandpa, we love you!
Dear Grandpa, Thank you for all the hours you’ve spent with me throughout my life. I have sweet memories of staying at your house in Greenville. I always look forward to our “flower walk” outside, and I loved listening to the wonderful stories of your boyhood and courtship with Grandma. Your godly testimony is a constant challenge to me, and I love you with all my heart. You’re the youngest “90” I know. Happy Birthday! P.S. I can’t wait to see you here in Alaska. I'm going to take you four-wheeling!
Judson Blough
When I grow up to be 90 I want to be just like Grandpa. He acts like a teenager sometimes. Just a few of the things I admire about Grandpa are his patience, his wit, and the way he works hard. His reputation as a great man and hard worker is left behind him by those with whom he worked. I know, because I work on the ground crew where Grandpa worked for years until he retired at the young age of 87. Happy Birthday, Grandpa!
The best word for Grandpa is “incredible.” He’s 90 years old and acts half his age. Grandpa impresses me in many ways, but the thing that impresses me most is his consistent walk with the Lord through the years. When I stayed with Grandpa and Grandma in January I had the most special time. Every morning at about 6:15, Grandma would have breakfast ready and the three of us would sit up. Grandma would then read from Our Daily Bread and Grandpa would read from the Scriptures. It was very special for me to be in on their family devotions. The importance they put in daily devotions together is a tremendous example to me as I begin my adult life. It is a memory that will remain with me forever. Grandpa has been a wonderful example to me, and I want to strive to have the sweet spirit, humor, consistency, and hard-working life that Grandpa has. He proves that just because one is old, he doesn’t have to be cranky! Happy 90th, Grandpa! I love you.
One of my best memories of Grandpa took place a few years ago when I was visiting in Greenville. Grandpa and Grandma were going away for a few days, so they had me mow the grass and water the plants. I watered a couple of them several times before realizing they were plastic. When Grandma and Grandpa came home, Grandpa asked me if I kept the two plants out front watered well like he had asked. I told him that he got me pretty good, and we all had a good laugh. Thank you for all the wonderful memories, Grandpa! Have the best birthday ever. I love you.


I'll never forget how touched Mother was one year when I gave Daddy a card for Father's Day with a poem by Edgar A. Guest, because it so described Daddy. Here it is:

Only a Dad
by Edgar Albert Guest

Only a dad with a tired face,
Coming home from the daily race,
Bringing little of gold or fame
To show how well he has played the game;
But glad in his heart that his own rejoice
To see him come and to hear his voice.

Only a dad with a brood of four,
One of ten million men or more
Plodding along in the daily strife,
Bearing the whips and the scorns of life,
With never a whimper of pain or hate,
For the sake of those who at home await.

Only a dad, neither rich nor proud,
Merely one of the surging crowd,
Toiling, striving from day to day,
Facing whatever may come his way,
Silent whenever the harsh condemn,
And bearing it all for the love of them.

Only a dad but he gives his all,
To smooth the way for his children small,
Doing with courage stern and grim
The deeds that his father did for him.
This is the line that for him I pen:
Only a dad, but the best of men.

Nostalgic Pictures

Tending the beautiful flower beds on the campus of Bob Jones University

Beautifully landscaped home at 16 Shadow Lane, Taylors, SC.

Hudson's Birthday, February 1

Hi Everyone!

I wanted to give Hudson some memories to recall for his 48th birthday (yes 48th!) and so I made a short video from slides I had scanned on to my computer. It took me a while to get it on my blogsite as I'm just learning how to use all these modern technicalities of computers and the cyber world. Lots of quality is lost from the old slides to one digital device and then on to yet another, but at least the memories are captured.

A couple of years ago I was trying to do the same for Judson, and so I have posted that video also. (Becky, I'm having some problems with the one I made you.) I enjoy Joel Rosenberg's piano music so much that I have kept it on autostart but have cancelled the loop so that the hymn plays only once. You'll have to wait until the hymn is finished playing to play the Youtube videos. It's 3 minutes long, so maybe you can go to something else and come back to play the videos. Hope you enjoy them. I have learned where to find public domain music for the backgrounds of the videos.

Hudson, be assured of our love and prayer for you as you continue another year of your pilgrimage here and as you set your eyes on that "blessed hope." We love you!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Mother's Last trip to Alaska

I remembered that I had this picture when Vicky made her comment about her Grandma Bingham, so I am posting it here. It pictures four generations: Me, Mother, Abi, and Vicky taken on Mother's last visit to Alaska--October to December 2000.

As you all know, Grandma Bingham wrote a book about their travels, FROM SEA TO SHINING SEA ON A SHOESTRING. This picture of her on her last trip to Alaska reminded me of the chapter she wrote about that trip. I decided to share it with you here.

Chapter 72 - Another Explanatory Interlude

I wanted to spend time with the Bloughs in Alaska before settling down at an assisted living home in Greenville. My plan was to have Dick accompany me on the flight up and have Marlene come back with me.

But those plans were changed. Marlene wrote that they would come down after me in a pop-up trailer and encouraged me to get moved out of the apartment, thus saving rent, electricity, etc. I had less than a month to break up housekeeping for good! Marlene had come down and helped me move out of our house in November 1998; now she came and helped me move out of our apartment almost two years later. I gave everything away to family and friends, and what no one wanted, I gave to Miracle Hill. When the time for leaving came, there were still boxes left and other stuff. Muriel and Dick took care of all that, and on September 22, I walked out of the apartment.

Chapter 73 - The Trip to Alaska

We left from Paton and Melinda’s home on Saturday morning, September 23, where we had spent the night. Our destination was Ron’s mother’s and sister’s homes in Holsopple, Pennsylvania. It was a beautiful drive, for the fall colors were just beginning to show off. We arrived after dark and found Grandma Blough not as sick as we had been led to believe. We stayed at Ron’s sister’s house, for they were gone. Their daughter Cindy lived very close by, so we saw a lot of that family.

Every day Ron took us on trips through the beautiful countryside. He preached at two different churches while we were there. On the last Sunday we were there, October 1, we celebrated Grandma Blough’s birthday (September 30) and mine, which was that day. She was 85 and I was 86.

On October 2 we left Pennsylvania and headed for Alaska, our destination. Becky and Adam had arrived from Arizona with their two little boys, so they traveled with us the first day and a half. The countryside was beautiful! We stopped the first night in Schenectady, New York, where Adam and Becky had reservations. We parked our van and camper in the parking lot where we spent the night in the camper. It was a new experience for me, but I slept very comfortably. We were able to use the Roland’s facilities to bathe and dress.

The next day we traveled with the Rolands for half of the time, visiting an old church in Bennington, Vermont. Bob and I had been there on one of our trips. Then we said good bye to them and went our separate ways.

On to Alaska for us. I’ve never enjoyed a trip more but only wished Bob could be enjoying it with me. It was unbelievably beautiful and interesting. I enjoyed every day to the fullest. The fall colors were on display. The sunsets over the Great Lakes were fantastic. The mountains were breathtaking. I just don’t have the vocabulary to describe the wonder and beauty of that trip.

We spent about half the nights in the camper and half in motels.

We stopped in Bemidji, Minnesota, where we used to live and went into the store we used to have, now a photo shop. We drove to Solway where we also used to live. Ron was so kind as to take me to places he knew I’d be interested in. We were in Canada for their Thanksgiving Day. I think it was October 5.

We started our trip to Alaska on Monday morning, October 2, and arrived at the Blough’s home in Ninilchik on October 12 having traveled 6,096 miles. Five of those nights we slept in the camper, four in a motel, and one at Judson’s in Anchorage. Our usual routine was thus: we would get up, dress, and start out. After driving for a couple of hours, we would stop and have a good breakfast at a restaurant. Then on we would go until about suppertime when we would stop for our evening meal. We had snacks with us to keep our tummies from growling between meals. After supper, we would travel on, often driving after dark. Then we would find a gas station where we would park in the back with the trucks, or we’d get a motel. One of the highlights of that trip was a stop at a beautiful log lodge that Marlene had picked out on their way down. It was made of very, very large logs.

It snowed on our last night on the road, but Ron had stopped along the way and had snow tires put on our vehicle. So, we arrived safe and sound in Anchorage where we met Judson at a restaurant and ate there. We spent the night with him in his apartment. That was on October 11, 2000.

Before I go any farther, I must write about the not-so-good part of our trip. The heater in the camper didn’t work right. It kept going off. I about froze to death even though Marlene piled covers on me. Poor Ron would get up and work with it. He would get it going and then it would stop again. Finally, we stopped at a place along the way and got it fixed. Another not-so-pleasant event was that I fell while getting up to go to the “bathroom”--a potty-chair near my bed. I knocked my glasses off the table on which I had laid them. I was not hurt, but my glasses were. They were all bent out of shape, but Marlene got them fixed well enough for me to wear and see with them.

In Anchorage we had breakfast at Judson’s, then shopped at Wal-Mart. They put me in a mechanized wheelchair, and away I went. I was making a U-turn between some displays and bumped into one. Down it came! Marlene to the rescue. She got the display put back together, and no damage was done. I haven’t been in one of those wheelchairs since!

We, of course, were duly welcomed as we drove up to Ron and Marlene’s home in Ninilchik. Joanna, Caleb, and Abi were on hand to make us feel welcomed and to make me feel at home. Joanna helped me unpack and put things into drawers they had emptied for me. This would be my home for the next two months. I was glad to be there.
I praise the Lord for that wonderful trip. It was the best of them all.

“Traveling in the company of those we love is home in motion.”⎯Leigh Hunt

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Sweet Memories of Mother

Mother And Daddy and their four kids at Hudson's wedding, May 23, 1988

Dear Kids,

I am thinking a lot about my mother today because of the sixth anniversary of her going to be with the Lord. And, of course, along with thinking of her, memories of Daddy are there, too. They cannot be separated. Three years sooner than Mother, on February 10, he met his Savior face to face.

I have been blessed indeed with the most loving, caring, sacrificing, giving parents I could have had. And what a heritage they left us children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren! Can we ever be grateful enough?

Though the majority of my years were lived miles apart from them, yet they were always near. They made it so with their letters and visits--and always their love. There was never reason to doubt that they always wanted the best for each one of their children and grandchildren. Our lives were the center of their lives. They lived for us. I understand that now that you children are out of the nest and most of you many miles away. Your joys are our joys; your burdens and sorrows are ours also. Mother and Daddy wanted each one of us to love and serve the Lord they loved—the same desire we have for each of you and your children.

I have been recalling the last days with Mother. What a joy it was to see her looking forward to seeing her Savior! What a privilege it was being in the inner sanctum! How sacred! How special! And how privileged that all four of her children could be there with her! How precious it was to hear her express concern for each of you, my children, in those last lucid moments.

Mother, though gone, is still my guiding light. Throughout my life I have strived for her virtues. I’m still reaching. And I’ll be reaching until the day I die.

Now, it is our place to strive to be the parents and grandparents that will inspire each of you to love and glorify the Lord. What a responsibility! May we carry on the torch by His enabling grace and mercy.

Lovingly, Mom

Taken November 2000 at our church in Ninilchik

Monday, January 5, 2009

Mother’s Prayer

Family picture taken December 1983

Dear Kids,

The following prayer with tears I prayed for you children and your children the last two days since I found it in The Baptist Vision, Volume 14, Issue 1, page 16. It is by Mrs. Charles Hill Love, 19th Century Pastor’s Wife.

The sentiments expressed in this prayer go along with the message Dad brought to our little group last evening and also in his last Bible blog to you.

"Oh, Thou who hast been my God, my father’s God, my father’s father’s God, my mother’s God, my mother’s mother’s God; I come before Thee now to entreat Thee solemnly to be my children’s God. Thou, all-great Jehovah, and Thou canst save them. Oh, let Thine arms of mercy and love be constantly about them to preserve them from the follies of childhood, the dangers of youth, and the sins of maturer years.

"Thou knowest the anxieties of a parent’s heart, and Thou hast more than a parent’s love for all whom Thou takest into Thy care and protection. Oh, let my beloved children be some of those blessed ones whom Thou carriest in Thine arms, whom Thou leadest gently, whom Thou wilt watch over every moment of their pilgrimage below, and of whom at last Thou wilt pronounce, ‘of such is the kingdom of heaven.’

"Let Thy restraining grace be exercised toward them to protect them from evil dispositions, un-amiable tempers, disobedience, and all outward immoralities. May they love each other and their parents, and learn to take pleasure in denying themselves for each other and for the sake of all who may come within their reach. Preserve them from carelessness, laziness, wandering habits, and improper companions. And oh, great God, above all things, let Thy converting grace enlarge their hearts that their parents may have the unspeakable happiness of seeing them all follow the dear Savior; or, if their mother should not be allowed the blessedness of seeing this great change wrought upon them while on earth, may I be called to rejoice over it in the bright regions of eternal glory.

"Oh, my Savior, take my children into Thy care and keeping. I confess that I am not worthy of the least of all Thy mercies, much less am I worthy to ask Thee for so great favors, yet I would not be discouraged, for Thou hast said, ‘Open thy mouth wide and I will fill it,’ and I do trust that through the merits of the Savior alone Thy sovereign mercy may lay hold of my dear children, and that they may every one, spend their lives in Thy service. And oh, enable me to labor incessantly for their conversion, to pray without ceasing for them, and to endeavor by all the means in my power, to impress the truth of the gospel on their minds and to seek with all ‘earnestness that the Holy Spirit may impress those truths on their minds while they are young.’"

May God answer my sincere heartfelt prayer. Mom/Grandma

Friday, January 2, 2009

Whiter than snow

Dear Kids,

May I remind you of the poem that I would post on our bulletin board each year? It was to remind us the importance of each step we take and that there is forgiveness for the bad tracks we had left behind the past year. Oh, the blessedness of sins forgiven and the challenge of living a life pleasing to the Lord! Here’s the poem:

The New Year lies before you as a blanket of fresh snow.
Be careful how you tread it for every step will show.

In the places we have lived, we have had no want of beautiful snow to remind us that through the blood of Jesus, “though your sins be as scarlet they shall be as white as snow…“ Isaiah 1:18. 23, and “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow” Psalm 51:7.

We wish for you in this New Year of 2009 a constant awareness of these two things: the precious price paid for forgiveness of sin and the importance of a godly walk.



The first photo at the top of this post is the view from our home under construction here in Hoonah. The next photo was taken in Ninilchik, Alaska, viewing Mt. Redoubt across Cook Inlet. The next photo was taken on a hike to a glacier near our Haines, Alaska-home near U.S./Canada border. The third photo pictures our home in Littleton, New Hampshire. And can we ever forget our beloved home in Reuke, Japan, pictured in these last two photos?--No lack of snow in any of these places!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Greeting to Friends and Family

December 17, 2008
Dear Ones:

Isaiah and David express my prayer: “I will mention the lovingkindnesses of the Lord, and the praises of the Lord, according to all that the Lord hath bestowed on us” Is. 63:7. “Remember, O Lord, thy tender mercies and thy lovingkindknesses, for they have been ever of old” Ps. 25:6.

Mercies. Lovingkindnesses. As I engaged in writing our memoirs the first half of the year, I was constantly reminded that they indeed had been “ever of old.” For the abundance of these, we bow at the throne of our precious Saviour and give humble thanks.

On May 11th we announced: “Becky received a Mother's Day gift this morning at 7:57. He weighed 7 pounds 7 ounces and is their 7th blessing from the Lord…” Samuel Tate was our 27th grandchild. His mother was our 7th child--my Mother's Day gift 36 years ago.” Samuel’s oldest brother turned 9 May 16th. Coming early, Samuel was two weeks old before I got there to help.

To celebrate our Golden Wedding Anniversary, we had a family reunion in Sedona, Arizona, in June. We had a blessed time together, although we missed the ones who were unable to attend.

In September, I flew to Tucson to help Becky during Adam’s hospitalization. My two-week stay stretched to 3 months because of the unexpected complications of Adam’s colectomy. Thank you to all who prayed for Adam and all of us. Ron helped Adam in his ministry from October 23rd to Dec. 4th. We’re happy to report that Adam is on the road to recovery and we are back home.

Judson and Maria announced the arrival of grandchild #28: “On September 28th God blessed us with a beautiful baby girl, Aliya Grace. She was 8 pounds 9 ounces and absolutely perfect.” Aliya Grace arrived just as they were moving into their newly purchased home in Sterling!

In September Ron began sending devotional emails to the family. He had requests from others to be “adopted family” so they, too, could read them. Then Becky created a blogspot. You are welcome to visit “Dad’s Bible Blog” at Leave a comment if you do, so we can keep in touch. You’ll find links to blogs of some of our kids there. Our email addresses:, Mail: Box 624, Hoonah, AK 99829.

The Lord blessed Cheyne’s family with a good fishing season, which has enabled them to continue building their home on Eagle Drive here in Hoonah. The building fete of constructing this home on the side of a mountain is amazing! It is three stories, and they have designated the top floor, which is level with the road, for our dwelling, The Lord has marvelously enabled Cheyne and Ronda to design and build this home themselves. Fourteen-year-old son Daulton has been an excellent help! Ashley (10) and Wesley (8) have done their part, too. Carey helped with the dirt work and is now doing the wiring.

As the year ends, we lift our hearts’ cry to God for His continued mercies, which our family so dearly needs. “Hear me, O Lord; for thy lovingkindness is good; turn unto me according to the multitude of thy tender mercies” Psalm 69:16. Pray for God to use us here in Hoonah.

Wishing you the joy of our matchless Saviour as you celebrate His incarnation,

Marlene for both of us

December 24 in Hoonah

Wishing you the joy that comes from our Saviour's incarnation