December 16, 2015
It’s clear and cold here in Lake County. We have had lovely rain — steady and gentle with breaks in between. No one is complaining about the wet weather; we are all so grateful that fire season is over. There’s nothing like having to decide what should go into the car of everything you own. It makes you realize what’s really important. It changes you.
Speaking of changes, a lot has happened this year. I changed my diet three times, learned a lot more about trauma and stress release and healing (using myself as a Guinea pig) and am happy to say I can still see, I can still walk, I can still breathe, I can still swallow, I can still digest, I can still think, I can still hear, I can still type, and I can still sing. I had a couple of hard falls and broke no bones. At my age, I take none of these things for granted.
Because of greatly improved health and stamina, I was able to make some strenuous road trips to Southern California to work on my documentary on sculptor Betty Davenport Ford, and one to Oregon to present at the annual Women Writing the West conference two workshops on unblocking writers block. I also finally completed “Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled,” my album of original Scripture songs and did a couple of concerts at churches here in Lake County at the end of the year with the help of people from different churches and my friend Dan Worley, who produced the album through hundreds of hours of work during the seven years it took to record, mix, and master the album. We’re hoping to take it to other churches to teach Scripture that is easy to memorize because it’s set in catchy melodies.
In a way, 2015 has been almost a vacation. I took a year off from book writing to learn more about access technology, though I managed to produce a chapbook of ten years of unpublished poetry, most of which I assiduously and ruthlessly edited into poems worth sharing. I am now confident enough in the new tools that I’m excited about getting back to two books I have worked on for years, but couldn’t complete because of the changes in my ability to see. It’s slower and more cumbersome, but at least I can still write, and that’s a great gift indeed.
Hedy is nearly ten. She has a little white under her chin, but moves fluidly and still likes to romp, forever puppy-brained. She really is a good guide, though, just as they told me she would be in the last years of her working life.
Christmas letters tend to sound cheery and triumphant, and in retrospect my year has been that way, but I assure you there have been many serious bumps, ruts, and potholes along the way. I am reminded that caterpillars do not simply stretch out stubby legs and develop compound eyes. They go entirely fluid inside the delicate shell. It’s those crushingly difficult times that provide the pressure required to melt us from what we had and were before, transforming us into something entirely new. It has been five years since Dennis and Daddy died, and in the chrysalis of pain, unknowns, loss, and empty places, God has been transforming me in ways I really like. Life is very different from what I thought it would be, but I know it’s going to be fun to fly.