Goodbye, 2017.

I don’t know why I love the lines between years so much. Maybe it is the clean break, the possibilities, or taking a moment to think about the past year and all it has done and given and been. 

I am thankful for the gift this year has been. We have had joy and pain, a lot of conflict resolution, tough conversations, an incredible amount of fun, and a lot of travel. We logged hours in the car, broke down and got back on the road. We slept in tents and on floors. We guided many circles of meditation, planted seeds, swam in many bodies of water. 

I know the years of having all my kids in the house are growing short. For the year ahead, I pray to appreciate each moment. I pray to be aware of the presence of God around me and with me. I pray to be one of the many voices of love in the world, that my heart and words would do honor to God. I can’t hope for much more than that.

I went through my iPhone videos and made a little unprofessional video of what I found. Here are some snippets of 2017. Welcome 2018! I think you will be beautiful.


Now you can support my writing on Patreon. Patrons can give as little as a dollar a month, and get extra question and answer videos and day in the life posts. Thanks to new patron, Heather Cavallin! Your patronage shows your support for my writing, and it means so much to me.

The days after and before.

 Christmas morning breakfast.

Christmas morning breakfast.

I love the days after Christmas and before the New Year. 

We have such a beautiful big Christmas Eve gathering each year at Shekina Garden, which takes days of planning and preparing, and of course there is our own planning and expectation of Christmas Day. Baking, cooking, and lists. It is so beautiful, and every year it is amazing to host a gathering of over one hundred people. Travelers from around the world come and celebrate with us. 

This year we put together a service of poetry, stories, performance art, and singing. It was so beautiful to watch people’s faces as they realized what was happening. A choir! A woman with a tampura, singing in Hindi! A performance piece with a tiny wooden bird! 

This year I felt buzzy and happy, relieved that everything came together. I was on a high because the art came together, and I love stories and art. Then we had our own lazy Christmas Day, with stockings and gifts, crepes for breakfast and snacks for lunch. Our landlords came over with gifts for blankets for the kids (they worry that we are too cold), and Christy and the girls came over in the afternoon for a while. 

Leafy and Kenya made everyone beautiful presents. There was big Star Wars theme this year. Chinua bought me some lovely new clothes. We got a couple of new boardgames. The boys have enough Lego to build for days.

And the community got together in the evening at Christy’s house then, with pizza and hot buttered rum, Leaf’s cinnamon rolls, endless stories from Cate and Chinua, and a lot of laughter from all of us, tired from the night before but so happy to be together.

And then the day after Christmas, when I realize that my time is my own for a few days before school starts again, I can look over the past year and dream about the next. I can write in the early hours of the morning. I love these days. Getting up for coffee. Thinking about all the possibilities. The possible art of a new year. Candles in the evenings. Eating together. I don’t really want them to end. 


My monthly Q and A video is up! Normally these vlogs are for patrons only, but for this month only, my vlog on self care is available for everyone to watch. Enjoy! You can watch it here.

Now you can support my writing on Patreon. Patrons can give as little as a dollar a month, and get extra question and answer videos and day in the life posts. Your patronage shows your support for my writing, and it means so much to me. Thank you.

A great light.


A people,
a people
—frail and lost in darkness of
mood, longing, and ego
desire and addiction—

have seen
a light,
a great light
So full of love
a light of dancing, moving stars
a moment, a glimpse of hope

He is coming near.
He won’t leave us here
He will lift us
breathe on us again
and we will live


A child has come
a baby takes his first breath,
opens his eyes
born for us, given to us—
He will take the weight of the world.
He is the Wonderful One
the Strong-armed God
the Father who never leaves.
the Prince of Peace.
His beauty goes on and on.
David’s throne, the line back to Abraham
stretching forward into the endless future
on and on with every good thing:
right ways
right actions

Never ending love
and peace.

(A paraphrase of Isaiah 9: 2-7)


Have a wonderful, wonderful Christmas, friends. I'm so glad to know you. 

December Musings: The Wild Mind


I am ready for a new year. Ready for new things to come. In the last months I have broken many of my own rules about getting enough sleep and exercise, enough rest, and taking each day as it comes, and am feeling the effects come back to me in self-loathing and poor mental health, so a clean start will be good.

I am tired of the battle of my mind. I feel like giving up. But Chin up buttercup, you don’t get to choose which mind will be yours

I am not neurotypical, and processing the world and the social interactions of life is exhausting. When I am not careful, I can take it all on in waves and only see the failures, rather than anything good about me. I see the places where I get it wrong, messing up in my family and life, getting distracted, feeling lost and not understanding. I see how my illness effects my family. I begin to live from my weakness, rather than living in joy. And it all leads to more self-loathing, to more self-contempt.

Thankfully, I have been around the block a few times. I have lists and lists of things that help, and in the week leading up to Christmas I’m pulling them all out.

Self care for me means:

*Creative work in the morning

*Lots of sleep


*Knitting or crocheting

*Lying on the floor

*Looking at designs and patterns

*Sketching or painting for fun


*Reading books on creativity and devotion

*A well-written novel

*Scooter rides

*Reading poems every day

*Taking rhodiola rosea every day

*Decluttering with love (not self-contempt)

*Candles, oils, incense. Good smells and good light.

*Listening to music

*Practicing my mandolin

*Markets and shops with interesting curious things


And most of all,

*Gratitude and lists of things I love to pull me out of bleakness

So here are some things I love. I love the way the light hits my kitchen in the afternoons. I love the expectation and breath of the holidays, the way Kenya sits and makes things every day to be ready. I love Isaac’s warm little body in the mornings. I love bricks and pinecones. The way my teenagers love to chat with me. Quirky people around my town. The garden in the late afternoon. Hands in the dirt. Crocheting my rainbow ripple blanket. Chopin. Blasting Handel’s Messiah from my outdoor kitchen so that I’m the weird neighbor. My other quirky neighbor who dances on the street every night. My elderly next-door neighbor's high, crackly voice, especially when she's talking to Wookie or her cats. Wookie. When Thai women smack me when they’re laughing at me. Chinua. Chinua. Chinua. The gray scruff on Chinua’s face. Chinua’s voice. The smell of his forehead. Leafy hugs in the mornings. Dear friends. Good things in the future. Good things for today.

I have not been left alone. The Spirit of God is with me. Even me, with my wild mind. Even with me, not able to relate in easy or intuitive ways. The Spirit of God comes and pulls me into the day and says, “Yes, together. Yes.” 

What about you? Do you struggle with something that feels exhausting? What is your version of self care?


Now you can support my writing on Patreon. Patrons can give as little as a dollar a month, and get extra question and answer videos and day in the life posts. Your patronage shows your support for my writing, and it means so much to me. Thank you.

Patrons, This month's Q and A video will be up today! xoxo

December musings: Abundance


It is getting colder and the forecast says we will have a low of 8˚ C. That’s cold for us, riding our motorbikes in the morning, making food in our outdoor kitchen, wind coming in our uninsulated wooden house with no heat. I’m excited. I’ll work more on my ripple blanket, light candles, hold my cold hands around my coffee mug.

Isn’t this a busy time of year? We’re preparing for a thanksgiving/blessing for a friend’s baby tomorrow at Shekina Garden, and for our big Christmas preparation next week. I’m trying to fix the mud walls which are still damaged from the flood and from the overuse they get as large people vault over them. (Frowny face.) All of this requires lists of food to be bought and made, poems to be found or written, prayers to be researched. It’s the best kind of busy work, though I am running from morning till night. Running to guide meditation is not to a hard destination. I am abundant with good work.

Because I knew these weeks would be so busy, I needed to remove an element of work from my life, so I gave my kids an extra week off school. They’ve been playing Monopoly (a.k.a. The world’s worst game about losing your house because you can’t pay your bills) and Dixit in the mornings. The four oldest came with me to Shekina Garden to help me sift the red dirt for the walls. It needs to be sifted because we are doing the fine top layer. My kids saved me hours of work by helping me with an assembly line of dirt sifters, bucket fillers, bucket pourers, and pebble emptiers. They also immediately made names for everything. “Plebble me,” meant “add dirt to my sieve,” and “this needs to be plebbled” meant, “dump the rocks from the bottom of my sieve.” I am abundant with help.

They are all fun and memes and silly videos and laughter these days. Kai has come through some rough years of mind-altering natural substances in the form of his own teenage hormones, and has emerged with a lot of common sense and easy-going humor. It is amazing. And now Leafy is heading into that dark land, but with his Leafy-ness intact. I love these sunshiny days when we can work together. It makes all the difficult mind-wrangling fade into the distance. I am abundant with fun.

I’m working more with Leafy on bringing his mind back to the present. He’s nearly twelve, and I feel that he needs to learn the skill. He’s so often away, deep in his mind of invention or the Marvel Universe, doing his laps around the yard. With our learning environment he has had the gift of space, lots of space to walk and think and talk things over with himself. But I want to teach him skills of focus when it’s necessary. He can do it, he can be a vivid and sparkling part of conversations, but not always when I’m asking him to do something. (Do any of you with non neuro-typical children have advice for me?) I am abundant with quirk. 

And always there is Isaac dancing to make us laugh. He has always idolized Solomon (and fought with Solomon) and Solo went through a phase of trying to make ridiculous phrases with the word “chicken” in them. (Which is an inheritance from his father. And on down the line it goes.) Example: “How are you doing?” “Chickeny! With lots and lots of chickeny chickens!” 

Isaac is going to a bilingual gentle learning school now, which has about 24 students, and English and Thai teachers, and when I dropped him off at the gate the other day, one of the Thai kids shouted, “Isaac! Chicken chicken!” And they both squawked at each other like chickens. I gave of teachers, Kruu Lucy, big eyes and said, “So that has spread, has it?” And she said, “Oh, it has!” Oops. Poor teachers. Later I asked Isaac if he had taught everyone to talk about chickens, and he told me not everyone, then listed about half the school kids. Agh. We are abundant with silliness.

Whenever I can, which is a few times a week, I take a drive on my motorbike, into the light of the hills around me. It is so golden, so slanted and perfect in the afternoons, highlighting the falling teak leaves and the ripples and dips of the hills. I can drive all the way around the valley, stopping to talk with farmers along the way. There are clouds and more trees than I know the names for. How could I ever feel poor when I can find these views? How could I ever doubt the sustenance and joy that comes straight from the heart of God? I am abundant with beauty.

I am not lost, and either are you. We are held in his heart, very found, very safe. The road is unknown before us. Sickness undoubtedly waits for us, even if there are many years of wellness before it comes. There will be loss, and there will be more sad days. But today there is some window of beauty, something that gives rest and comes from God himself, who is always surprising and full of light. We are abundant with light.


Now you can support my writing on Patreon. Patrons can give as little as a dollar a month, and get extra question and answer videos and day in the life posts. Your patronage shows your support for my writing, and it means so much to me. Thank you.

Patrons, send in your questions for this month's Q and A video! xoxo