Monday, September 27, 2021

Do the next right thing

Reflections from my wanderings this week... 

The place(s) where I take all my questions. Sometimes the answers are given, but more often I leave them in His care and wait.

Keep walking. One foot, then the other. Don't give up. 

Worry robs today of it's joy and energy and gives nothing to tomorrow. 

If it is a rocky path I am asked to follow, I shall find good shoes and strong companions to walk with me in this life. 

“There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations - these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit - immortal horrors or everlasting splendors. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously - no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption.” C.S. Lewis

The stories behind pictures are often quite different than we suspect. In the following two pictures, the boys were hanging as far out of the car as possible to avoid the stench of dead, rotting flesh that was hanging off Bumpy after she rolled in a carcass in the woods. 

When I encounter various people, it is important to remind myself that the picture before me does not tell the story. It is just a picture. Assumptions are unwise. 

Hard times come for each of us in life. As we walk through it, we may be devastated by it, and rightly so. But, we may (simultaneously) find it is the pathway to unfathomable joy, in His severe mercy. 

The mountains declare... and I stand in awe and reverence. 

Love is only limited by the box we put it in. Great love I see daily and it astounds me. 

 I must obey in the thing that lies before me today. I must simply do the next right thing. 

Great gifts come to us in many forms... some are easier to recognize than others. 

I think we are each deeply alone. We may build a life alongside others, marry, have lasting forever friendships, raise (the most amazing!) children, grow old alongside those we cherish the most; but inside of each of us I think there forever remains a hunger for something. Completion? The fulfillment of that which we have spent our lives working out? I don't know what it is, but there seems to be an unsatisfied emptiness that leaves each of us even just slightly hollow. It gives us a longing that we most often can't explain. It may be part of what drives us as the human race to live fully, wholly, desperately, and not give up.  

I open my eyes and see the mountains, valleys, streams, deserts, and everything in between; they are a reflection. And I find abundant joy and hope in what I see. 

The simple moments in each day are often the most profound. 

I will hold these treasures in my heart. 

Friday, September 24, 2021

Our Anne Sullivan


I cannot say for sure the date when Kaysee came into our life in all the real ways. It just sort of happened. 

Her presence has changed all of us, but especially Lochlan. 

When Kaysee was just 16 years old (or maybe 15?) she came to Nashville to spend a couple months with us one summer to complete an internship at Vanderbilt. During that summer, Lochlan was just starting to show developmental delays and never slept. He would come out in the evenings and stay up in to the late hours hanging out with Kris, Kaysee and me. It was such a special time and Lochlan and Kaysee formed a lifetime bond during those weeks. Little could we have known how that relationship would morph over time.


Kaysee started working as Lochlan's Respite Care provider, which originally just meant that she was his caretaker when I needed hours free to do other things (like home school the other boys, or take a hike). However, she quickly took on a role in Lochlan's life that is so far beyond that of a caretaker. She has become his Anne Sullivan.  When she started working with Lochlan, we were just at the beginning of the search to find a resolution to his intestinal issues. So, she has run the gauntlet with us, from diarrhea, vomit, screaming, disengagement, fixations, and disappearances.

She has helped us mastermind methods by which to thwart his various escape attempts from our property, she has shared in our exasperation as the endless hours of whining are sprinkled with screaming, she has helped me transform my wolf pack into something slightly more civilized (we even make our beds each morning, but shhh...). 

She has taught the boys about mushrooms, edible plants, and the abundance that our wild forests offer for our use if we only learn about them. 

She has reached into Lochlan's heart/mind and helped us find the lost boy inside. He looks into her eyes asking questions that sometimes only she knows the answer(s) to. She's helped teach him his alphabet, colors, numbers, and he's even starting to read some words. We've all learned a large portion of sign language thanks to her diligence in learning new words and teaching them to us. She does not put up with behavior that we had become desensitized into tolerating. I think a lot of parents of children with special needs become worn down (worn out?) from fatigue and the endless portions of impossible that we are dosed. Kaysee came in with a fresh set of eyes and a new, lower level of tolerance for ill behavior and Kris Lochlan has dramatically improved in basic social skills/understanding/behavior with her persistent tutelage in that area. Like Helen Keller, it was not uncommon for Lochlan to just finger his food, or grab morsels from any of our plates, or snack from the cooking pot. That is no longer tolerated and Lochlan seems the happier for it. 

All of our expectations and thus our hopes for Lochlan have increased exponentially since Kaysee became his life line and my right arm. Before her merge into our life, I was very nearly to the point of exasperation and hopelessness that can threaten a great many good things. I literally cried out to God from the mountaintops to let me hear the voice that was locked inside my son. I begged for His mercy in helping me find answers to open up his heart to us. 

Now, the endless chatter (which is a good deal understandable) that comes from him as he putters about the house is music to my soul. Watching him comprehend things and seek knowledge and understanding with a voracious hunger is, to me, being witness to a miracle. 

There are still hard - no, impossible - days, but hope abounds!

Kaysee has also been willing to share with us, Max, the love of her life. Max has invested so much of himself into the boys (and hence us), giving them an almost unforgivable (on my part) love of Ancient History and tales of old. Max is a masterful chef and has opened a window into the art of fine cooking and how much more the culinary arts have to offer. I cannot wait to see what the future holds for these two precious people who have so enriched our lives because they have chosen to BE and let us be a part of it.