Sunday, December 12, 2021

Glory (of our) Days

As we wade through our current sea of unpleasants, I love to look upon pictures of our recent days and see the glorious happenings that have made our lives rich in spite of it all. 

Perspective. These tiny reminders reiterate to me how abundantly our lives have been filled. I do not take a single day for granted (though the close of some days is welcome at times :-). 

The 1916 wood knife I found near the ruins on my hill.

This horse-crazy fellow makes me smile. He absolutely loves horses and can't ride enough. Chip off the ol' block, I guess. 

Taking trail rides with Gumbum on her furry pony is a highlight for all of us.

My place. 

Declan gets it. I often see him leaning on an obliging tree, pondering life, taking in the extraordinary display of Creation around us. His soul craves it too. 

My first hike after returning from our trip to Oregon... this place holds so much of my heart. 

A man and his dog/moose. :-) 

Sunset hikes are the best hikes. 

Our Christmas tree. 

I love the woman in the tree... 

It is never hard for me to get all the critters to join me for a walk up my hill... there's a love and appreciation that seems deeply wired in each of the boys. Lochlan is best behaved and most joy-filled when he is sharing in our woodsy adventures and this brings me much joy. 

Trouble makers... 

There are never too many chefs in the kitchen around here and we've been baking way too many yummies. We'll be crawling up my hill and rolling down by Christmas if we keep this up. :-) 

"Mom, do I look good in a mustache?" 

Adventure Wagon. I love it. 

The morning that our day started out particularly rough, we followed our hearts into the forests and were not disappointed. 

Just before the snowball hit her... she never minds though! Happy heart. 

I'm telling you... we might need an intervention. 

Looking over our kingdom... 

Our kingdom. :-) 

Sledding fun. 

We will treasure these and so many things in our hearts. They are the moments that bring us joy, restore our laughter, remind us of the wonder of life and bind our hearts together. We are wealthy for the life we have been given. 


Friday, December 10, 2021

Gross perseverance


6:15. It came so early today. My brain fought the inevitable and my thoughts were foggy. My muscles ached. I think I actually had to pry open my right eye (a nasty but often necessary carryover action from the sickness on our journey weeks ago), not because anything was obviously preventing it's opening, but because it simply did not want to open. Everything felt tired. My bed felt warm and the snow that fell last night made everything feel cold, but as the sun rose the earth was bright and welcoming. 

Each night is a battle. Each day - all day - is a battle. Each morning is a battle. It is one of the tougher battles I have faced. I keep telling myself that this season will not last. Seasons change; we see it all throughout Creation. Yet, in the midst of a cold, biting and hence painful place, it is sometimes more difficult to believe in the change of seasons, in the warmth of the sun and the brightness it affects on everything it touches.

And when our boat capsizes and we are holding on to the toppled vessel in a rough sea, it seems at those times the waves are often rougher and more persistently the dogged predator of our hopes, our strength, our ability to trust in goodness and in miracles. The waves take many shapes, color themselves vibrantly to distract us from the sun, incorporate unbelievable objects to be thrust against our fragile vessels and bruise our weakened frames. 

We must hold fast, press past the threshold of our own strength, believe in promises that sometimes our faith alone keeps alive, and keep our eyes upward toward the sun. The tattered vessel may be our present lifeline in this battle, but it is very small in the portrait of the whole of life. It may keep us afloat in our weakness. For me, in this season, dogged perseverance is my tattered vessel. I may not be in a forward motion as I know I should be, but I am alive and the waves have not robbed me of my hope, my dreams, my will to live wholly (not just survive) and they have not fully taken my strength, because ultimately it is not my strength at all. 

I will not paint a picture of the grotesque existence we, in this household, face on a daily, hourly basis. I will not add pictures. I will not describe it all in garish detail. Honestly, I don't think anyone should be subjected to it. We all know our own minds can be rich and wondrously imaginative and this reality is unbearable on it's own without magnification. I know we each battle our own goblins and beasts that we cannot fully comprehend even as they reveal themselves to our unsuspecting selves. I hear the hopelessness and the longing. I understand in my own way. You must keep hold, keep hope, and keep your eyes up. There will be a new horizon. 

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Fragile Courage

We just returned from our three week journey to Oregon to see places we love, to show the boys where so many of my childhood memories were formed and to visit friends who are family to us. The trip was wrought with it's own set of challenges, but there was so much joy. 

"My dear boys, I wish I could shield you from the darkness of this world and keep your beautiful hearts unmarred by the brokenness of humanity. I wish the castles in your imaginations would never crumble. I want to hold the whole part of all that is sad, heartbreaking, overwhelming, the disappointment and hurt, and let it never touch you.

I find deep comfort in knowing that you have each other and that together, side by side, with the Love that binds you inside your hearts, you can stand firm in Truth and not be torn apart by the winds that threaten you."

Reflecting back on this picture journal of our trip gives me joy; these will be memories I will treasure for always. Resuming life has been not terribly unlike a slap in the face. The behavioral challenges with Lochlan continued throughout the journey and now into our re-integration into life. Tonight, as I wiped poop out of the indoor garden tree branches, off the floor, out of my hair, and tried not to react, the tears dripped down my face and off my chin. We've been advised by various autism therapists to have muted responses to the negative behavior as normal discipline will only cause the negative behavior(s) to escalate. Then, he peed on the couch. Then, he screamed at a volume that is clearly meant only for torture. We've invested in ear protection for the whole family so that we can be more successfully unresponsive and that has helped. The screaming is definitely less inspiring for him and so doesn't last as long; THAT is progress.

It's a battle and I'm weary. I have to believe that the labor and toil of this life - in each of our lives - is not in vain or I will not have the courage to keep taking forward steps through the exasperation, pain and sorrow. 

Courage: the ability to do something that frightens one. Strength in the face of pain and grief. My life as Lochlan's mom terrifies me. Will I be strong enough? Capable enough? Patient enough? Will I be able to teach him to love unconditionally? Will I be able to instill in him strength to carry him through this life in spite of my weaknesses? I have not been given a choice. Suffering is not for nothing. Not for any of us.