Tuesday, March 31, 2009


A few days back, I took Owain on some errands during our Tuesday date. We passed those caramel eggs and in the accented cadence of his he declared, "I want this." I had him put it back. I would never get one for myself. I do not know why. Is it guilt for spending money? Was I raised right to not indulge? Is it my meager attempt to live simply?

On the way out the store, I threw it all out the window and splurged. I bought a 50 cent chocolate egg. We loved it. Owain's chin was covered in caramel and fingers were all sticky and gooey.

Later I questioned it all. Am I spoiling and enabling Owain? He gets whatever he wants, when he wants it. So do I. When I am hungry, I eat; thirsty, I drink; cold, I put on more clothes. I am privileged. What is my responsibility as a privileged person?

Yet we all have trauma. To quote Dan Plies, "we all live in different wings of the psyche ward." Dusty, a Swedish family member to Charis who has traveled all over the world, said all people have suffering - some from poverty, in the U.S.A. from consumerism.

I feel overwhelmed and mute to describe the suffering I saw and heard visiting El Salvador (spring break to rattle myself and be with Dan Plies). But this is where it is leaving me. Perhaps the person next to me in the grocery store is suffering and feels mute too? Perhaps the student taking the grammar test in class is suffering and feels mute too?

I see new purpose to my job as a teacher. Writing is a skill and a tool to give voice to trauma and release trauma. How do I do this when these kids are traumatized by privilege and enablement? How does a teacher open their eyes and pencils?

Most importantly, how do I keep my eyes, heart and voice open? How do I keep Owain's open and not raise him to suffer from privilege and enablement?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Um, Blog?

You're right. I know you've been suspicious for a while now, and I know in my heart I have to tell you ... well ... there's no easy way to say this. I've been cheating on you with some other writing. Look me in the eyes blog! I still love you and care about you! Uh... I can see from what you're doing to the flowers and candy I brought that you're kind of upset. And you have every right to be! I've been so wrong! The screenplay I'm working on may seem more glamorous than you - leggier, sleeker, a bigger show-off perhaps - but also more high maintenance with none of the charming comments or self-indulgent offspring snaps!

I will come back to you, blog. No matter where you go, I will find you. When the time is right, there I'll be, holding my boom box below your bedroom window. Just you wait and see.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


The foundation of our farm is family. Not only in that Charis and I are sisters, but also within and throughout the web of support that brought us together and keeps us moving ahead. Our individual families and huge extension of friends are our biggest and best cheerleaders, our listeners, our visitors, our foundation.

This past week we have been wading through sadness and tentative fear for Nathan and Barbara, our brother and sister inlaw. Barbara's dad became suddenly and gravely ill last weekend and now they are by his side at the hospital, unsure of the future for their own family. Barbara set up a blog to share updates on Dwight's status and through that communication started hundreds of miles away, I have been able to witness the waves of concern reverberating among a giant web of support. As a part of that community and family, I am humbled and deeply grateful for this gift.

Thanks for your concern, thoughts, prayers for Nathan & Barbara's family. A candle has been lit for their peace and hope.

Monday, March 16, 2009

In the interest of full disclosure...

I have a tendency to get all gushy about the beautiful seasons here at Lostview. The lush summer, the vibrant fall, the clean, crisp winter, and then the tender newness of spring...which really doesn't actually come until very late spring, practically summer. What's typically missing from my happy, adjective-filled odes to the seasons, is the long stretch from February through April in these parts.

BUT, there is much to be said for this time of year! Spring is SO CLOSE, you can feel it in the air! In fact, the air was a balmy 60 degrees this past weekend and we all poured out of the house, vowing not to return until the sun went down. Ellis actually exclaimed (while barreling down the muddy driveway) "I love it outside! I never want to go back inside, ever!" This is a true gift for a kid who asks me daily when it's going to be summertime and when he'll see grass again.

It was wonderful to wander the farm in the warm sunshine and mud, everyone (adults, kids, chickens, horses) giddy with springtime delight. But it's muddy, people. And stinky (ever wonder what thawing manure smells like?). And dirty (previously snow-covered broken toys and wind-blown garbage getting re-exposed for the enjoyment of all). And wet. And coming alive.

Here are some photos of the spring thaw...I can't wait to post new photos of the transformed landscape come May. In the meantime, get out your rubber boots!

And a couple snaps of my big boy...I couldn't resist.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Playing Chicken

I'm not naming any names or anything, but some of us around here may need to join CCA (Chicken Cuddlers Anonymous). Especially since this little gal is getting to be more and more like a pet every day.

I was recently asked to give a chicken update, which I haven't done because quite frankly there hasn't been too much news in the poultry department this winter. We did lose a couple of the girls last fall to a mystery illness, which was kind of sad but probably necessary in that it toughened me up in the ways of chicken ownership (I used to cry when my stuffed animals got taken to the Goodwill, people). One of the white hens got all broody and wouldn't get her ass off the eggs and I had to wear a glove to collect them because she would peck at my hands - I imagine I would too if someone came in and systematically stole my children every day. Egg production has been decent throughout the winter with the help of some Christmas twinklers hooked up to a timer, which may make the chickens feel a bit like they're working in the red light district in Amsterdam, but seems to be doing the job. We've even had enough to sell a few dozen eggs to the neighbors when they come a-knockin'.

That's all I've got for now, but I'm sure with spring will come more to tell! Amy, this one's for you....