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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Thank you. For my life.

I’ve told most of you how I feel about the journey I am on. If you don’t know, here it is short and sweet. January 25th, 2011 I contacted HubSpot after receiving an email because I downloaded their Social Media Marketing Kit. My journey began that day.

Through my blog (Alaska Chick’s Blog), I have shared many personal aspects of our lives, dreams and heartaches inclusive, with you and even more than many about myself. I have been on many of your blogs and have learned and renewed what I knew from living a life that lasted so much longer than I ever dreamed it would.

We are taught not to talk about ourselves on our blogs. I don’t see how this would work for so many of the blogs that have touched my life. Let me say this: the reason for this blog is to allow you to know us, to know me (and discuss those uncomfortable truths and taboo items few want to get into, the things that bring balance to and truly enrich our lives).

The blogs I have found and enjoyed learning from so much, ay know what? They are by real people, living real lives, trying to live good lives and trying to be good people. I have never had to pay one of them for advice or help and I have so much reading material now - it’ll take 3 years of Hunting Seasons to read it all!

But, I have something so much more priceless and special to me than all of that to show for the last 6 months. Maybe someone like Stan or Stacey or Gini or Frank or Erica or Mark or Janet or Marcus or John or Sibyl could find the beautiful words to say it, to put all the feelings down into words, or Margie would have found a song that said it, to help you understand and really feel what I am trying to convey, deep down inside.

You didn’t only help me and teach me, you didn’t just get another reader to spread your posts... you became my friends. The truth is, you saved my life.

Suffering from depression for years, medicated to feel “normal", dealing everyday with OCD (personally, I like the OCD, it sure gives you the motivation to get stuff done and right!) and agoraphobia, when I suffered my last stroke in January of 2010, I believed I was not going to live to see my children grow up and what grand things they may do. When a doctor advice to you is to  “get your affairs in order", the thoughts and feelings, the regrets... they take a little time to sort out.

The Castle was born from my one dream, a home my Aunt Karen would be proud of. Ok, I know that sounds funny. Seriously, my mom was a wonderful homemaker and housekeeper and boy, between my mom, Kay (my other mom), I sure knew how to clean and make things nice! Aunt Karen is the one I worshiped in my child’s mind. She is the one that taught me what certain rooms were for, how far into your home guests are taken, how to arrange your home with class and elegance ... oh that stuff, and I know it isn’t what is really important, it was only the basis for my dream.

A home big enough, the lack of space of any kind, the anxiety attacks, the depression;  it was hurting my children as badly as it was hurting me. I asked, begged and pleaded for help from my children’s father, from the school system, the state to help us get into a bigger house. The result was the under laying threat of my children being taken away from me and charging me with neglect.  My boss was the only one to hear my heartache and pain.

The Castle is the name we gave the new house as it was taking shape. The original idea was  to either enlarge the cabin we have lived in since my little boy was 6 months old or to connect the three buildings on the airstrip. We quickly decided that putting an addition on the cabin wouldn’t really work. The reasons were that originally the cabin, known as the Hilton, was built for guests, not as a home and to put an addition on it, it would just be another room, no flow or ease of a real home.

The second, more important reason was that as years go by, the darkness seems to be affecting me more and more. The Hilton is surrounded by trees, even with all we have cut over the years. There is only the sky above, no mountains visible, little to no sky, to view the beautiful sun, stars, moon or even the aurora borealis. The cabin has exactly 13 steps to pace from one end to the other, no more than almost 3 steps at the widest floor space. The windows, although as I became more susceptible to the darkness and closed in feelings, we have changed two of them to open; do not open.

Homeschooling my son, watching him absorb and learn, what began as a thrill became a nightmare Get it done. My son is incredibly gifted, something HAD to be done. My son, Zachariah loves to learn, and I am so trapped in the cabin that it is all I can do to hold still long enough to teach him.

My little girl, Isabella is a wild and highly active little bundle that doesn’t understand why we shush her or take away more than half of her play space to try to have school. Bella sleeps with me as she has since she was born. There just isn’t any room to be had for another bed. Most of both of my children’s toys, books and clothes are packed in boxes, in another building, a tent and in a basement in Tok.

I cannot leave Caitlin out of this story. She came to Chisana and reminded me, guided me, and gave me a beautiful gift, not unlike the gift I have received from all of you. The gift of remembering I am not alone. Not here, in Chisana, not here in this tiny world, but all I had to do was open my heart and let it all go.

As the work began to connect the buildings, a man came into our lives for a completely different reason and goal. We started working on a different and exciting direction for our business when out of nowhere, as blessings seem, he decided that since building houses is something he did, he’d help. Between Terry, my boss and best friend for years and years, and Dean, with the strength of character and faith and risk, the Castle was born.

Dean and his crew spent all the time they had helping us get started and our hunting season started and our team had to get to work. Now hunting season has ended, and our remaining builder, (who we had taken in, so that he didn’t go to jail, as he is the son of a very good and loved friend) left because he is an alcoholic and a quitter. Now, with winter upon us and school has started, we are in the same cabin with the Castle only days (3-5) away from being enclosed, and only 2-3 weeks away from being livable.
So, that is the story of the Castle, and still it sits, unfinished. But do you want to hear something, else? (!) The children’s Great Grandma asked me the other day, “Is the work almost done on the new house?” ...No, Gramm. “Are they working on it?” ...No, Gramm, there is no one to do it. “Are you ok?” ... You know what? I am! This new direction we are heading, you know, to let people know who we are? It has completely focused me on something really important.

Knowing what we do, here in the icy North, knowing how people feel when they are here with us, has everything to do with the direction I have taken with this blog. I want to make a difference to someone. Maybe I can even make a difference, to many someones! Yomar, another friend, has included me, ME, in his dream to make a difference with his The Practical Life website.

You have done this. You, each one of you. You, that clears out my itty bitty house for at least a few hours a day so I can learn and work. You, that always has an encouraging word on my blog. You, who can always point me to the right website or human to help me figure out what I missed or just can’t figure out on my own. You, that has a good word or you with a funny one, or YOU, that shares who YOU are with me.

Is it any wonder I want to be part of helping others, to help them feel welcome, to understand the good that can be done (not only for ourselves!) for anyone who happens across your post.  So many of you have written posts on responsibility that were so uplifting to me (it may have felt like a cyber-smack to others), that it reminded me how BIG this world is for us, online.

So, this is for YOU. Thank you from the bottom of my heart and soul for helping me do this. I do know, everything comes in its time and more accurately, His time. I feel so much stronger, knowing you all, knowing I can make a difference. Not only to us, but to someone else who may feel forgotten and alone. 

People I mentioned in this blog entry: