Tuesday, December 22, 2020

I don't always love you well


In life, there are mornings and there are evenings. There are seasons that we anticipate and dread. I think we are given seasons as a reflection to all of life. The winter happenings that determine your day in a winter season of your life may help prepare you to be strong and ready for the spring season in your life - full of hope and promise, new life and beauty in the breath of it all. Or, maybe the winter season weakens you so that when spring arrives you are able to see it for the first time and prepared to embrace all that it has to give you. 

Some days I feel like I can see you - the real you, the one that is not obscured by so many things. I see your joy, your pain, your potential, your love, and I see so much of what you have been promised in this life. 

And sometimes, I see a shadow of you. As with all shadows, it is distorted and out of proportion. I recognize you, but I don't fully see you. My vision is warped by the fatigue that winter births, by my own bias which is so easily nurtured in my carelessness, by pain that was most often inadvertently administered, by hope delayed or obliterated, by the trauma of every day life. 

I don't always love you well. I want to, but I invariably fail. I love you immeasurably. I love you more than I know how to understand. 

I am your mama. I am your wife. I am your daughter. I am your sister. I am your friend. 

Wednesday, December 09, 2020

My Logo

This tree is my logo. It is a picture of how I feel about myself in this season of life. 





compelling - it is made so by the backdrop the Creator has given it.


enveloped by the darkness and ready to welcome the sunshine each morning.




Friday, November 27, 2020



The wind is blowing snow flurries from the gutters and the chill can be seen more than felt. The cold patters at our windows. I am reminded of that lone tree I see every day on my walk - standing tall and straight, alone, against the elements. It isn't unmarred - it has the missing branches and the scarred bark - but it is beautiful and mesmerizing to behold. It is unshaken, for now. 

November is often a cold month, but in my heart it is always cold. It has been 40 years since Daddy was killed, and time has dimmed the acute agony of loss, but the gaping void remains very much unfilled. I think, as adulthood throws it's full weight upon me, I find myself longing to lean on him; but he is not there and my heart feels that emptiness. 

We are none of us unbreakable. There is a shirt that someone sent me: 

Though I can appreciate the sentiment to the strength and determination that is required to be the parent of a child with special needs, nothing has made me feel less unbreakable than parenting Lochlan. It has not been unlike walking a tightrope in the dark. There is no clear pathway to walk and always a sense that one wrong turn, one decision on his behalf made unwisely, one hour where I fail to watch over him appropriately, and his life will or could be permanently altered for the worse. Like that tree, so often I feel alone against the elements this world throws against me. Because truly, no one has answers. This path is full of possibilities. Keep walking. Look back, but only as a reference point for continuing forward, trying to place one foot in front of the next, prudently, even as every step feels precarious. And, in these times, again, the void is felt. I know that he couldn't tell me what steps to take or what the future holds, but I believe his presence would be comforting. 

I don't think anyone expects us to be unbreakable - we shouldn't expect it of ourselves. Perhaps, in the breaking of our hearts, the deferment of our hopes, the longing that cannot be mitigated, we find new strength - strength granted to us outside of ourselves. To be stronger, wiser, more resilient, filled with realistic hope - conceivably the breaking of ourselves in all the ways we never anticipated is preferable. I am thankful that this is another day to live fully, even if the next step forward, moment by moment, is unclear. 

Sunday, November 22, 2020

I don't want any presents for Christmas...

 "Mom, I don't want Christmas presents this year." Declan was ambling along behind me, deep in thought as we climbed an overlook to get a better view of the Peaks. I asked him to elaborate. "Well, we have so many things - I have everything I want and need. But, I see people all the time who don't have anything and they're all alone." We talked about some ways that he could help those people, and ultimately, he has decided that this year, instead of people giving him Christmas presents, he wants people to give him money to buy 8 backpacks which he will fill with supplies to help homeless - alone - people. We're collecting blankets, gloves, warm socks, heat warmers, granola bars, water, to-go cups that they can fill with hot water, homemade Christmas cookies, emergency sleeping bags, small flashlights, and anything else we can think of. 

Madigan and Kelton were both inspired and challenged by Declan to do the same, but each have different passions. Madigan wants people who were going to give him presents for Christmas to instead give money to help stop children from being exploited and abused. We found a privately funded non-profit called Children of the Night and their purpose is to provide intervention for children who are exploited and vulnerable. 

Kelton and I have been following the Chili Pepper Miracle Mustang Rescue organization. They rescue countless orphan or injured foals and then re-home them to families throughout the United States. Sometimes, Kelton cries over the stories of the foals and so many times he has told me, "Mom, I want to go right now and help that baby." He wants to volunteer to help at the rescue when he's old enough, but he has settled for helping get them donations, for now. 

When I was buying items at the store this past week for Declan's backpacks, the cashier asked what we were purchasing so many duplicate items for. I explained Declan's plan to her and she burst into tears. She said it gives a whole new meaning to the holiday season and helps restore her faith in humanity. She begged me to please bring Declan into the store this week so she can meet him and thank him, personally. I was reminded in that moment how much people need love and when it is expressed, even in it's simplest form, it can change people and give them hope. I pray that the choices of each of these young men, at this Christmas season, and throughout their lives, will bring about positive change in the lives of the people around them and help those people understand love, profoundly and personally. 

Saturday, October 17, 2020


I feel like the fact that life is finite was never lost on me, even as a young child.  There are just natural limitations that we all encounter throughout life that remind us of this reality. I also understood all too early that life could be short - it can be robbed from us without our expectation or intention. The death of my dad when I was a child cemented this reality for me.

However, it wasn't until I had kids that I felt how short life really is. I only get 52 weeks with my 6 year old. With my 10 year old. With my 9 year old. With my 8 year old. Madigan had a "private conversation" with me last night expressing his frustration that Kelton copies everything he does and unintentionally mimics his actions throughout every day. I reminded him that this too shall pass - all too quickly - and that Kelton will very shortly want to do everything independently and annoyingly "his own way". If Kelton is to have a role model and hero, I think he has picked a great one and I wouldn't want it any other way. Madigan teared up and said, "Mom, thank you for helping me understand. I won't always be the 'hero' to Kelton, so now is my chance to guide him and help him become the best man he can become, while he looks up to me." How many of us miss this understanding and opportunity, with our own kids? 

We, as a society, as individuals have blithely given up our rights to live fully with the ones we love and (for some of us) with the youngsters who have been entrusted to our care to train and guide into their futures. We have given over those rights and opportunities, and we have given them to our devices - our smart phones, televisions and our computers. The most dedicated friends, best moms and dads I know give away hours of their day(s) to this fake world, forever robbing their children of themselves. Those are minutes that can never be restored to them, and are lost in the abyss of tragedy, because it is utterly tragic what we are losing as individuals, as a society, to the devices that now rule us. We willingly relinquish ourselves to our devices, because they "help us unwind", "help us stay connected with friends/family", "help us keep up with the news in the world", "help us relax", "help us do our jobs", but mostly because we have allowed ourselves to be stolen away. Shame. On. Us.

Madigan is 10.5 years old. If we have spent an average of 3 hours/day (and I'm being ridiculously generous to most of us, right???) of his lifetime on the cell phone, that is 11,498 hours. 11,498 hours that could have been spent listening to him, observing him to understand who he is and what makes him that (incredible) person, reading books to him, cuddling with him on the couch, biking with him, hiking with him, riding horses with him, teaching him how to play chess, baking goodies with him, talking with him about the ridiculous and the profound, completing science experiments with him, helping him grow his own garden, and giving him the opportunity to know that time with him is valued beyond measure and never taken for granted. Those hours are lost. Dead. 

If a marriage is 20 years old and shared 3 hours/day with a device(s), that is over 21,900 hours lost. LOST. 21,900 hours that could have changed that marriage: time spent working side by side to raise children, time spent cuddling on the couch, time shared over coffee talking about what really matters, time spent fostering love over resentment, time spent building great things together (both tangible, material things as well as relational/spiritual), time spent in the enjoyment of each other's presence, time spent suffering in all the horrible things that life throws their way, together hand-in-hand, time spent standing against the trials of this world together and building strength into one another and because of one another. 

Let's try to be honest with ourselves. We don't give 3 hours/day of our lives (hearts, minds, time) to our devices. If we did, it would be tragic and heartbreaking. We give far more. Our society has been completely altered and I think as a whole, history will be the one to reflect that. So, let's be the catalyst for change, and let's change the face of history, let's change what people will see when they look back upon this time period. Time is being stolen from us and we're willingly (happily) letting it happen.  

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

I just had to pee...

 I just had to pee. 5 visitors interrupted me. It's crazy, you see?! Oh, the irony! 

First, it was the white paw underneath the door - Aberdeen, you're so predictable. 

Second, Declan needed to tell me that Kelton had called him "poop". Nice. 

Third, Kelton needed to tell me that he had called Declan's bicycle "poop". Much better, obviously. 

Fourth, Winston scratched at the door, desperate because he was surely missing out on something. 

Fifth, Lochlan walked in to start a load of laundry (which is not allowed). :-) 

There are basically no moments of actual privacy in my life right now. But, you know what? I wouldn't trade this season for any other season that has been or is to come. I love (and hate, but mostly love) the constant noise. The unbelievable amount of laughter. The ridiculous requests. The insane amount of laundry.  The filthy floors in my house. The bicycles that litter my yard. The electric fence around the entire perimeter of the property. I love the Aberdeen paws climbing up the stairs to my bed to snuggle way too early in the morning. The gross bathroom (boys' bathrooms are nasty - that's all). the refrigerator that I can't keep food in. The 4-Runner that is never clean. The four bunk beds that fill our house. I love our tea time in the morning, when we talk about the mundane and the important. The tears over Math because it's HORRIBLE. Listening to the boys laugh at the Calvin and Hobbes books they read at night. Hearing Lochlan roar in happiness as his brothers chase him around the house with his new Jeep toy. I love the dirty, messy, noisy and (so much) unpleasant, because it means these boys (and great dogs) are here, filling my life with joy and hope.

That moment when you go to smell the lotion... at high altitude. :-)

This life is lacking in perfection and we are all epic failures and brilliant successes in our own right, yet each day continues to be full of wonder and promise. We find encouragement in the most unexpected places and I am reminded each day that there is so much more than I can imagine.