deep and wide

Some of you might’ve heard that we had a little rain here in southcentral Alaska last week. The water collected in every hollow and cavity it could find, and from about Seward to Talkeetna our creeks and rivers burst at the seams, spilling everywhere. Roads and bridges are washed out and flooded and many neighborhoods are unrecognizable.

Including here. Remember our record year of snowfall that resulted in our Krawlspace Kiddie Pool? It’s not as deep this time, but it does qualify for wading pool status. I’d take it personally if it hadn’t come from two back-to-back freak events…but I am thinking that maybe we should at least buy some goldfish for down there for fun.

So the hose is hooked up again, and fortunately the education we got in the spring is still fresh on our minds and we know what to do now. Yippie.

We’ve watched the water level closely, though, as there was a flash flood nearby that ten people had to be rescued from by raft.

And we’ve watched the kids in the yard closely, as the water is deep and wide and we don’t want them to practice swimming in it.

We took advantage of that one day of sun to harvest our mint and oregano. We discovered that we had been saying “oregano” quite often without realizing it…it happens like this…

Reagan does something. Any number of things, actually – slams a drawer on someone’s fingers, spills a project someone was working on, or turns the bathroom into a waterpark, for just a few examples – and the unvarying exclamation from any one of the rest of us (except Andrey) is, “Oh, Reagan! Noooo!!!”

Well, I confess that probably wasn’t the actual phrase that came out of my mouth at least one time last week. My fingers are still recovering.


In other news, we restarted our school year this week. We’ve schooled year-round for years, so this was the first time we’d taken a (sort of) summer break since…I dunno when. And by “restart,” I really mean that we’re doing math and handwriting and other books-at-the-table lessonish kinds of things…because of course, life is learning, all the time (and boy, have we all been learning!) and we are always reading, anyway.


But the at-the-table part looks like this:


And this:

And one day last week it looked like this:

In the background, you can see an emptied-out bookshelf propped against the wall. This is because when someone was sweeping right before schooltime, someone was playing with her brother who was also supposed to be sweeping, and someone accused someone else of highsticking with the broom and proceeded to knock over a waterplant that spilled behind the bookshelf and ran down the wall and puddled onto the floor and under the shelf and required the use of Grandpa’s fans that we fortunately still had since drying out the crawlspace in the spring.

So. Our first lesson that day was not about math or grammar, but about cleaning up our messes and helping others clean up theirs. This was the day before we discovered our wading pool in the crawlspace, so I guess we’ll be asking Grandpa if we can just hang onto those fans a while longer.

There was a lesson for me in that mess, though. As we stacked the books and moved the shelf, we found dust bunnies and sticky dirt under there that needed to be scrubbed, too.

It was okay. It interrupted our day, but we scrubbed and wiped dirt and as we did, He told me how He was scrubbing me, too. And each of us. It has been a hard, craggy, boots-on-the-ground month of adjustment and we have all needed His washing as the stress exposes dirty places that have needed washing for a long time. Like phrases that haven’t escaped in years but come out when three of our fingertips are slammed by a little girl that has been told over and over not to touch the drawers. Ne pipai! 


I am brought facedown before a Father who needs to scrub me (and apparently it takes a lot of water to do this). His love is deep and wide…bursting at the seams, spilling everywhere.

His oath, His covenant, His blood
support me in the ‘whelming flood

when all around my soul gives way
He then is all my hope and stay


We have other big interruptions, too, that scrub each of us. Little Reagan has raging fits (usually over food, usually while it’s being prepared) and I hold her in time out until she’s calm enough to sit there on her own. Her fits are not like a tantrum that our other kids would have (even Andrey) but the fit of a baby who does not understand why the milk they crave needs to be heated or cooled to the right temperature. So I firmly cuddle her as she rages (a wise and experienced adoptive mom recently referred to this as “medicine” – she may not like it, but she needs it) and eventually she calms, and it occurs less and less.


And yes, it occurs in ratty jeans (standard attire) and messy hair, and also sometimes shortly after I answer the phone (silly me!) to catch up with family that I haven’t talked to in forever. Awesome.

“Horses are timid animals at heart, but Goblin’s the most timid of all.”

“Has he been treated badly?”

“Yes – whipped because he’s so timid. He had four owners in one year….He’s not mean, nor a bully. He’s as sweet and gentle an animal as you’ll ever find. A piece of paper blowing in the street might make any horse shy – and he’s ashamed of himself the next moment. But Goblin doesn’t ever stop to see what it is. He thinks maybe it’s a little white dog about to bite his heels and he jumps out of his skin….Sometimes it takes half an hour to quiet him again. As for clothes on the line, they aren’t just shirts and petticoats. He thinks they are white hippogriffs big enough to carry horses off in their talons….

“Now what you’ve got to do is get his confidence so completely he’ll know you’ll never let anything hurt him – you can’t do that by whipping him. Then he’ll go through Hell, a laundry yard from his point of view, for you….Of course you’ll be scared, but just remember this: no matter how scared you are, he’s more so.”

– Esther Forbes, Johnny Tremain 

Get their confidence so completely that they’ll know you’ll never let anything hurt them.  Teach them the love that is deep and wide, bursting at the seams and spilling everywhere, as the Lover scrubs the mama, too. These things are more important than counting by fives and punctuation, and even (gasp!) writing.


on Christ the solid rock I stand
all other ground is sinking sand


All other ground is sinking sand…

More rain is on the way this week. We’ll keep you posted and continue to follow the One who walks on top of the wet stuff.


deep and wide — 2 Comments

  1. Praying, praying, praying!
    I remember watching Cynthia hold Sophia tightly in her arms and say over and over “God loves you, Jesus loves you, I love you, Daddy loves you, Mikayla loves you, Naomi loves you and you are not an orphan any more.” Over, and over, and over…
    May God shower His blessings over all of you!