Sunday, August 07, 2022



Kelton woke me up at 4:00, super restless, stuffy nose and generally unhappy. I tried to get him settled back to sleep, but once that mission was finally accomplished an hour later, I was thoroughly past going back to sleep myself. So, I made a cup of tea, de-weeded the outdoor flowerbed that didn't get covered by mud, planted some wildflower seeds and then made breakfast. I've scheduled my day around the incoming monsoon storms predicted for this day. I rushed to the big house to get it cleaned post-guests and before the incoming guests arrive. Then, I rushed home in the rain to find Lochlan throwing up all over the house. He's still throwing up so this is likely to be a long 24 hours. 

So far, today, we have dodged the bullet and had mild rain with minimal runoff. We're all hoping it stays that way. I parked my 4-Runner in front of the A-frame (on the East side) in hopes that if flooding comes (from the West side, down the mountain), the walls and house will keep the water from being in a position to get to the 4-Runner. Of course, it may be the mud alone that makes the decision to park here a poor one - if it rains too much or the rivulets in the driveway get carved deeper from the water flow, getting out may be tricky. Parking at my parents' house 1/2 mile up the road is the safer bet, but a bit inconvenient, especially when it's raining and I really am not looking to sing in the rain. :-) 

I've started gathering rocks from around the property and piling them inside the barricades to reinforce the barricades and to start accumulating what I will need for the rock walls I will need to build over the next several months. I'm designing a plan for the property to start restoring it, but it's a long-term plan. I don't think it will take me less than 2 years and that's with the miracle of acquiring the right equipment. 

I have been watching the boys a lot through this process. They've each commented that I've been a little edgier with them than usual. I had noticed but I'm sad to know that they had noticed as well. They assured me that I haven't been too cranky, but that I haven't had as much patience as usual. :-) I think they're just being gracious. They are holding up incredibly well. We have put them through a tremendous amount of change and it appears that we are likely to have even more changes ahead in the coming months. For the most part, they have adapted like pros, shown incredible flexibility and their hearts are full of courage and hope. They have exhibited perseverance even when they are tired and they have a willingness to pitch in to help even when it's not expected. 

I do believe that living with Lochlan has given each of the boys an incredible resilience. It's less obvious when the world treats us in a civilized way - there are the normal childhood spats, irritations and general human failures. When the world starts hurling mud, wind, fire, rain, and a whole bunch of crap (literally and figuratively) their resilience and strength of character is boldly illuminated. They stand up tall, support each other, watch over Lochlan when the challenges he bestows upon us are elevated during change of any kind, and they press on. I NEVER see them wallowing in self pity. They seem to anticipate the future even during the darker seasons, and they are incredibly creative in finding solutions to hardship where those solutions can be found. 

May we continue finding strength through our weaknesses and through our challenges. I hope that our courage will be greater because we have known genuine fear and pushed past it. I hope that I will always find joy in the things that are beautiful: 

  • in the friends who have abundantly used their time and resources to make life easier through this season, rebuilding driveways (time and again), reinforcing walls to hold back the water, removing destroyed fencing covered in mud and rocks so that I can start rebuilding post-monsoon. 
  • in the little bucket gardens we have on our porch which give us a bountiful harvest. 
  • in the paintings that are given to us each day in the skies above us. 
  • in the (generally) happy hearts that I live with. 
  • in the wild places that hold my heart. 

Until this race is run... 

Sunday, July 31, 2022

Do the next thing

All people suffer. We each go through inexplicably hard times at various points in our life and it has the potential to either break and destroy us, or to break us, mold us and help us find joy we have not previously known. Joy, born from pain, has no measure and no bounds. It changes us forever. The most profound things I have learned in this life have come from the deepest suffering. It puts all things into perspective. At the most basic level, I realize I have absolutely no control over anything in my life and there is some great freedom in that. My responsibility in this crazy brutal life is to rise each day that I'm given and do what I can, what I am able to do with all the strength I can muster- do the next thing. 

I miss my hill. Being locked out of the forest right now is so crazy hard because it's where I go to feel grounded and whole again. When I stand on that hill, underneath my tree, I feel small and suddenly whatever threatens to overwhelm me also feels smaller and less daunting. There seems to be some strange irony that I cannot go my place of refuge now when life seems particularly absurd. However, I am finding peace in the unexpected places. I am filled with hope each morning when I look out upon the mud covered field with it's broken fences. Each night, especially on post-flood days, I feel slightly battle weary but those feeble emotions will only fail me. I am rich because I am not alone - none of us is truly alone, even when our suffering, our pain, the horror of our circumstances tries to deceive us to believe we are. And I have found friends in neighbors - shared suffering can do much to unite, giving people a common mission, even if that's just survival :-). 

I am (very) anxious for the next season to begin, but I must live in this season fully and well. So, if it's picking up boulders again today then it will be done. 

"God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world." ~ C.S. Lewis

"He makes us wait. He keeps us on purpose in the dark. He makes us walk when we want to run, sit still when we want to walk, for He has things to do in our souls that we are not interested in." ~ Elizabeth Elliot

Friday, July 29, 2022

zero visibility

Lochlan just ambled into my bedroom where I was sitting on my bed, reading. He looked at me as he came forward, giving me a huge smile. Then, as he got close, he leaned in, and placed his cheek on mine. He turned and KISSED me and said "night". My heart stopped. My dreams are made of these moments.  

As I sat in the living room tonight, I was watching Lochlan and Madigan interact at the dining room table. There was a steady flow of playful banter, a tickle poke, raised eyebrow, giggle, and more teasing.  I think in many ways we will never fully realize how much "brothering" Lochlan has shaped each of the boys; deep in their hearts I believe they are changed to see the world differently because they have lived with the perpetual stream of challenges, they have learned to understand a human who is complicated and difficult to understand, they have loved past the pain and even more incredibly they have understood the profound simplicity of love that is not based off merit but is given because humanhood is beautiful and it's value is immeasurable. I think it has built in them a resilience and it is something I look at when my own courage fails me. 

Lochlan has been nursing a few new and old fixations for the past couple weeks - undoubtedly inspired by the absurd amount of stress. He started pulling his hair out in chunks again, so we had to cut his hair very short. To express himself he often hits his arm with his other hand, leaving bruises, so we've had to put his arm in a brace and tape it on with Gorilla tape. He has been trying to climb out of our new yard which is fenced with the panels, so I'm 'bout to have to put my creativity hat back on. Grrr. He has continued to receive speech therapy from Allie (AJ) who has worked with him for years. He adores her - we all do - and we are incredibly blessed to have her. She started working with LJ when he was completely non-verbal and we all rejoiced if he grunted a response. Now, she has him enunciating words more clearly and she's working with him to say 3-4 words at a time. She utilizes creative methods to motivate him, including mini chocolate chips. For each word he gets a choc chip. But, only if he says all three words at once! :-) She's also working with him to keep a shirt on (sometimes adding a weighted vest helps) during his sessions. 




Lochlan is getting hippotherapy from a therapist across the street from us. We have had to miss several sessions due to evacuations, and then flooding, but I can see that it has been a huge benefit to him nonetheless. 

So, as we adapt to our new realities, we are trying to keep this boy on track to continue making progress. This current season of our lives is in the crazy zone, but we have few choices in the matter, so... onward. Today, I loaded a 12' gate to take to the other property and while I was delivering it, a storm rolled in. I rushed to get home, and as I was grabbing the (metal) gate (in pouring down rain), lightning struck impossibly close and I felt electricity run through me. Max and Fancy felt the same shock, so perhaps it was running through the water we were all standing in. Max and I both felt slightly numb on one side of our bodies for a bit, and our hair was standing on end, but we seemed unscathed otherwise. 

I, then proceeded, to drive home entirely too fast with almost zero visibility. I rushed up the road to park my car at my parents' house (as it cannot safely be parked anywhere near my house) and my dad drove me back home. By the time I reached the cabin, the rain was relentless and the water had started flowing. Within an hour there was an active river beside both the octagon and A-frame. We also lost power, though only for a bit. 

We lit candles all over the cabin,read a boxcar children story and waited out the storm. It all passed eventually. We've lost a bit more real estate in the rivulets that are spread across our land, but all-in-all we fared well. Madigan and I walked the property after the storm had passed and were able to remove some trees and rocks that were piling up on our few remaining fences. 

Living in the tiny cabin has had it's challenges, including the hobbit-sized refrigerator, the itty-bitty stackable washer/dryer unit, the lack of a pantry and the fact that on rainy nights my bike (an efficient mode of transportation to get to and from my car parked at my parents' house) has to be parked in the kitchen.

 However, I have discovered that the perks outweigh any of the inconveniences. I can enjoy the new kitchen sink we installed in the grand remodel last summer and I love it! The bathtub... it's magical. I have been looking for an excuse to use it for quite some time, and then suddenly no excuse needed! The candles... almost as soon as you walk into the cabin, it just says to you "candles would be lovely right now". (Right, Kathy?!) I love to have a candle on the fireplace and I actually find myself waking up excited to light it and grab my cup of tea. I love the smaller space to clean - even if it also means we are tripping over each other a bit more. But, the BEST part is my mountain. I can see it in all it's grandeur and the sunsets do not disappoint. I find solace in the wild places and seeing the wild places outside the back window, even in their scarred form, bring me comfort and joy. 

So, the storms will come and they will go... we will press on and face tomorrow with the joy that we find in the hidden places.