Saturday, December 30, 2023

Seven Dogs

We have brooding sunrise skies this morning. I woke up entirely too early, but when I saw the cloud-filled sky out my window I knew the painter would be masterful with His canvas this morning and I didn't want to miss it. 

This Christmas, my parents went to Austin to spend it with Krista, and Lisa came from Austin to stay in their house and spend the holiday with us. It was a quiet time spent in much conversation and very little chaos. I loved every minute of it. We were watching Mom and Dad's animals, so we had a grand total of 7 dogs in the house, but even they seemed to resonate with the general spirit of calm. They just operated as a pack with almost no quarrels or irritations. I got to know the other three well and cherish the unique qualities each of them possess. 

Snack times and meal times for the dogs were a bit of a circus and highly popular events. :-) 

We haven't seen Lisa for over a year and I treasured every moment she was here. Watching her love on the boys is one of the most beautiful things I have ever beheld. I have been so deeply blessed to call her my sister these 23 years and that bond has only deepened, matured and become more profoundly treasured in my heart as time gallops by. 

As 2023 comes to a close, I walk forward to tomorrow, cautiously and with some great anticipation. It's confusing to feel this melding of dread and hope. Yet, above it all, there is peace in my heart, for I know that each day the sun will rise. I will cherish this borrowed breath as it is given, I will watch for the fingerprints of the Creator in all that I see around me. I will walk forward even when I grow weary because the strength is not my own. And I will hold onto these ever so quickly passing moments I treasure with the people I have been given to live alongside. 

And I will ride this wonderful horse every chance I get. :-) 


Thursday, December 21, 2023

Galloping through sand

 Am I teachable? When I was a kid, I was always learning, my mind molding each day into something more, my heart open, and I believe my innate desire was to grow and always become more of what I should be. I watch the boys and am constantly amazed by their willingness to learn and become. 

Do I still see in myself a willingness to be changed, to be humbled, to be taught things I should already know? Am I willing to learn from those with less experience? Do I still have the ability to see when I have wronged someone? Do I have a heart that is soft enough to love even when I am wronged? 

Sometimes, I see this look of stubborn, willful determination pass across the face of one of the boys, and it is usually accompanied by an immovable spirit; and it never lasts. It is always ultimately replaced with repentance, or kindness, and almost always a willingness to alter course. 

So, I find myself constantly challenged. Challenged to not be confined to a rut of thinking and acting and responding. Challenged to not allow my expectations to dictate my behavior. Challenged to see the truth that others may understand better than I do. Challenged to live justly, but walk humbly. 

As I have crawled past the difficulties of these past few weeks, I have found strength and encouragement in the unexpected places. Handmade gifts from beloved friends who live too far away. A neighbor offering to bring me paper towels because I never seem to have any. A friend dropping by an entire enchilada dinner for our family as a thank you for my efforts this past year on the mitigation project for our future flooding. A precious note on my coffee cup from my much-loved baristas. Another profoundly perfect gift from my secret friend who has randomly sent me perfect gifts for over 7 years. The little soft stuffed giraffe my boys bought me because I "needed" it. The gift card to a local coffee shop that was placed on my car seat. The log chair I found at the ReStore for $25. Watching the meteor shower put on an incredible show - I saw over 55 in 30 minutes. 

We spent time this week playing on a volcanic sand hill and I couldn't help but notice the correlation between life and that sand hill. We galloped down it with ease and delight but when we went to get back up it, it was one foot forward with little progress. As we persevered each time, we did make it to the top and it was so worth the effort! :-) 

I pray that I am teachable enough to recognize what I have been given. Strength that is not my own. Joy that overwhelms sorrow. Hope that overcomes the burdens. Sunrises that bring dawn from darkness. 

Thursday, December 14, 2023

I love you, but I'm definitely going to forget you

Pottery shattered. Again. Another special piece bites bites the dust. I sigh. This is not the season... 

This is not the season for nice things. 

This is not the season for quiet and tranquility. 

This is not the season for rest. 

This IS the season to work hard. 

This IS the season for creativity - creativity is absolutely required in countering Lochlan's continuous string of experiments and fixations. I find myself nurturing creative projects and even though I rarely have time to bring them to fruition, the ideas don't die and I know someday I will bring many of them to life. The creation of the ideas actually gives me strength and hope when the road is impossibly hard. 

This IS the season for a relentless onslaught of challenges. 

This IS the season to face what is unexpected. Constantly. 

This IS the season of wonder - constant wonder! 

This IS the season of discovery. 

This IS the season for throwing breakable items (for Lochlan, at least). He doesn't do it when we're watching, but each day this past week we've lost something we value. It's hard. No, it's impossible. And frustrating. 

Kris was in Boston for the past 5 days, and one evening I was taking Declan and Kelton to a kids club they go to. On the way there I asked Declan to please put a timer on my phone so that I would remember to pick them up when it was over. "I love you, but I'm definitely going to forget you" I told him. We both laughed. 

My boys have the greatest capacity for unconditional love I have ever encountered. They do not hold my weaknesses (which are obvious to them) against me - EVER. They forgive me when I have wronged them. They see where they can fill in the gap to help anyone and everyone and they not only fill that gap, but go the extra mile. And they build others up. Today, after a pretty long day and a lot of challenges with Lochlan, I came in from fixing another fence and I was cold and felt a bit cranky. Kelton met me at the door, opened it for me, hugged me and said, "Oh, my beautiful mom. You are so beautiful to me. I love you and I made you a cup of tea." GAME CHANGER! 

So, we'll get through this season, too, but it can pass in its time because it holds its crazy beauty alongside the impossible.