One woman’s quest to make sense of a nonsensical world after losing her dream home and all her worldly possessions to a raging and sudden wildfire. Exploring the existence of God, our cultural discomfort with grief, what it means to be human as well as life in a 1967 Airstream trailer, Kristen Moeller shares her humanity, her spirit and her dark edge openly for herself as well as for the countless others who beg to be heard in their wild journey through this wacky world.
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LIfe in Flames

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It’s quiet here.  Dare I say peaceful?  I know houses don’t make much noise – especially mountain houses but it seems more silent than ever before.  The land is restored to an earlier state.  Different than it was in 1983 before the building began yet it restored to a raw place, pre-human dwelling place.  Grass is blooming in patches, birds are singing, bugs are crawling, small wildflowers are poking up in unlikely spots.  The hummingbirds have returned and we welcome them with small feeder on our Astroturf lawn.  I sit outside to write today, getting a later start due to lounging in bed until 7:30, taking out the trash (we have trash service again!), and a series of phone calls.  Jessica is on the way to help me create some order and “continue” with the inventory process.  The dreaded inventory feels just that, dreaded.  Yet with the help of friends, it is doable.  Alone, not so much. 
It promises to be a warm day and I am grateful (as always) to live 3000 feet above the early season heat Denver will experience today.  The shipping container will arrives later this morning and we will begin nesting there as well. More storage space for our small pile of detritus we have accumulated as well as the artifacts that lie in the elements, rusting even more on their newly scorched visages.  I discovered an artist in Evergreen who makes small sculptures out of found art and was drawn to an angel she made from a collection of who knows what.  I am creating a pile for her to commission an angel formed from what once was.   Right now, the pile sits next to the totem pole and obstructs the view off the back of Flame.  It needs to go somewhere else.  The twisted and molten memories beckon and clog my mind more than it deserves to be clogged.  Read More

Choose your own way

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The time has come to turn your heart into a temple of fire 
– Rumi

Have I mentioned how much I love our trailer Flame?  I adore her.  I love her small dear space.  I love the coziness.  I love my drawers (yes, still talking about that!).  I love the little AstroTurf lawn we have adorned with plastic Adirondack chairs and solar lights.  I love her sweet silver silhouette which greets me as I pull in the driveway where she sits just to the right of the scorched totem pole.  I love her solitude.
We still haven’t worked out the space – but it’s only been 3 nights… The clutter gets to David yet I know we will find homes for things.  The most challenging issues are the dogs and the “home office” setup.  The two gigantic dog beds are staying although one takes up the entire kitchen floor and the other the dining/entrance area.  Dogs are happy though – and that’s all that matters.  We can move the beds out of the way during the day.  Read More

Oh what a beautiful morning

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Morning # 2, in Flame.  Last night was much much much better.  My obsessive search for dog beds paid off.  Before I talk about the payoff, lemme tell you about my obsessive search and another demonstration of a brain on stress.  As I mentioned yesterday, the dogs did not have a fun first night and therefore we did not have a fun first night either… Determined to create some comfort for dogs, I went seeking beds that wouldn’t take up the entire tiny floor space yet would create the right amount of comfort for our furry children.  Petsmart had a pair in lovely burnt orange – both weather proof and equipped with carrying handles!  Score!  That is until my baby Tigger settled in to one as I drove around town and I noticed the far from tranquil sound that the “weather proof” cover created.  Tramping through a pile of Christmas wrapping paper was the fine melody.  Out of the frying pan and into the fire, you might say. 
Here’s where the stress response kicks in.  Seemingly out of time to get to yet another dog supply store, I begin to obsess, the thoughts making hopeless circles in my already taxed mind.  Did I already remove the tag?  Should I return it?  Will it be ok?  But I like the orange material.  What if we put the “fleece” pads over it?  Will that work?  What will David think?  Will they take it back tomorrow?  Over and over these considerations rounded the corners of my brain with no solution in site.  In conversations with multiple friends, this was the only thing I could express.  The dog beds… what do I do about the dog beds.  I began to panic – a Niagara falls of tears dangerously close to the surface.  I knew fatigue was setting in as well bringing its own gifts to my stress cycle.  I was going under.  Read More

A Few Kinks…

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I have always loved camping and have not done much of it in the last 9 years.  About that long ago, my brother and his small family were considering a move to Colorado (which they did, and then moved away again).  To make their trip most comfortable – and entice them to live in this fine State – David and I gave them our bedroom.  Not having a guest room at the time in our small home, we got adventurous and built a tent platform on our land.  I loved that week in the tent.  I loved sleeping in my sleeping bag all cuddled up hearing the sounds of nature – and it was nice to enjoy a fresh perspective on our property. 
Prior to buying our house in 2003, we had 10 acres of vacant land in Fairplay where over time we built a sweet camping spot.  We leveled a spot by hand, removed deadfall, built a lovely fire pit, created stone-lined pathways throughout.  It was our private paradise.  David carved a cool log bench using his chain saw.  Some of our greatest moments were spent on this gorgeous land at 11,000 feet bordering National forest.  In order to afford the renovations we wanted to do on our home, we sold the land in the fall of 2003 miraculously attracting some hearty buyers who bought even though snow was already on the ground.  In Fairplay, especially at 10,000 feet, once the snow falls it stays fallen.  Read More

Home is where the heart is and where the mothers are

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Many thoughts arise on this foggy Mother’s day morning.  Rather than indulge my typical considerations of being a childless woman, I send appreciation and love to all the mothers I know – and I celebrate my treasure box of friends who mother each other.  If I sang praises for each of the glorious women I have in my life I would never be able to remove my fingers from the keyboard.  So today, I will clamor on about two beloved momma friends and of course my own momma.  And, I will update you on the journey to our new mother ship, the sweet vessel Flame.
The plan: move out of Lynn’s (another mother I cherish yet the tale of our journey together needs it’s own platform) on Friday and spend the first night in Flame. 
Actuality: rain, snow and unseasonably cold temperatures which discouraged decision to stay a first night in lightly insulated aluminum cylinder.  Felt it wouldn’t be good for mental health which appeared to be strained after day of packing little belongings we have which still took all day and coupled with putting finishing touches of sparkle & shine to welcome the beloved McHeffey’s back to their magnificent abode. 
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Only the shadow knows…

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Today is the day.  By tonight, we will have moved into “Flame” – our chosen name for our 1967 Airstream Overlander 26’.   Mother Nature chose a socked in chilly morning for our maiden voyage back to our property… hmmm.  Good thing silver looks good against any setting.
The dogs are restless this morning, tearing up and down the living room, into the kitchen, out the front door into the mist and back again.  I wonder just how they will tear through a 26’ trailer… More w-a-l-k-s will be called for.  This younger one, the one I will call the “baby dog” until his last breaths (which actually better never come cause I don’t want to be in this world without him but we won’t go there now…) needs lots of activity.  And now, you might think otherwise as he has settled in on the leather love seat next to me – and I am next to David – as I write and David watches a video on steel shipping containers.  Why pack when we can educate ourselves about what is sure to be our first ‘outbuilding’ on the property and will serve as both David’s office and his workshop?  True to form, we will wait until the last minute.  Thankfully, Joleen is coming for 5 hours to help us clean and get out of Dodge. Read More

Write on yo

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Writing became such a process of discovery that I couldn’t wait to get to work in the morning:  I wanted to know what I was going to say.  

~Sharon O’Brien

Yesterday I had the opportunity to talk about writing for a solid hour on a tele-seminar hosted by the fabulous Kym Coco.  She inquired about my journey of becoming a writer; the benefits of a writing practice; how writing has changed my life; common beliefs that keep people from writing; and how writing could be an access to realizing our potential.  I could have talked for hours on this subject and Kym masterfully pulled the points from my long-winded and passion-filled answers.
The day before I began writing my first book, Waiting for Jack, I was not a writer.  And, it took me years to actually call myself a writer.  I was becoming an author but being a “writer” seemed to be some elite category where I had to earn membership.  And maybe that’s true.  At some point in my journey, I began to call myself a writer.  Now, in my blogging, I am getting close to the total word count of my first book.  It took me 9 months to write that and I have only been doing this for 33 days…  I have never been a proponent of speed-writing but I am seeing what is possible when the fire burns hot.  Read More

As long as I fricken need to…

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I received a voicemail a few days ago which in addition to the multitude of other saved messages I have from you people I treasure deeply.  This one I transcribed; these words I needed to hear and to remember.  Thank you Anne Gillespie for saying:

“Stay in the manure as long as you fricken need to.  Anyone who thinks that grief looks pretty and can be tied up in a little box and is linear hasn’t been through it.  Grief is messy and unpredictable and non-linear.  It’s really good one day and like hell the next day.  There is nothing you need to do.”

As long as I fricken need to…  What I want to tell you today is that I just want to go home.  I really really do.  I just want to go to my home.  That home.  The one that is lost forever and now is being scraped away.  That’s what I want.  I want this experiment to be over and things to go back to “normal”.  I want my bed, my sheets, my creaky staircase, and my infestation of stinkbugs in the bedroom.  I want my leopard chairs, my silver spoons that are the perfect size for a serving of agave in my coffee.  I want my beautiful stove, my claw foot tub.  I want my windows.  I want my meditation loft and my purple office.  I want to sit in there and contemplate the world and my life and think about how lucky I am to live in such a place.  That’s what I want.  Read More

It aint over ’til the fat lady sings

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After two days of clouds, snow, rain and mist, the sun is shining brightly today.  We have had June weather in March, and now March weather in May.  Seems Mother Nature cannot make up her mind.  This is the joy of Colorado living.
Yesterday, my neighbors and I took our third trip to the Capitol.  This time to testify in front of a Senate committee about the future of what has now become two bills to assist victims of the fire.  After pressure from the press (primarily Channel 7), the Governor, Attorney General and legislators from both sides of the aisle came together in a press conference to declare their desire to work together.  Our testimonies last week in front of the house were very different than last night in front of the senate.  Something was shifting in big government and we could sense it in the room.  Hardened lawmakers were softening up and actually wiping away tears as they listened to our words.  The senators that sponsored the bill both got choked up as they presented their case.  All of us were more emotional too.  Yes we are tired and yes it’s hard to tell the story over and over but it seemed we were even rawer and tears flowed from most of us as we shared in front of this strangely sympathetic group.  Read More

Metaphorically speaking

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I wrote yesterday but only managed to squeak out 456 words.  Given I have been cranking out an average of a 1000 every time I write, this felt like writing failure.  And, I couldn’t quite “finish” the piece so I ended up abandoning it and going dress shopping (more on that in a minute). 
Now I have 39 minutes to write this post and get it out there.  I really want to keep my morning writing routine.  At 6:51, I am getting a later start than usual and need to leave the house at 7:30.  Pressure.  Writing under pressure doesn’t flow so well.  Writing what comes to me as I sit is very different than writing on a prescribed topic or under a time limit.  Yesterday, I began (again) my challenge of re-writing my book Waiting for Jack.  And, yesterday on my second attempt since the fire, I went down many paths none of which lead to many words on the page.  I took a drive into town, got breakfast at Einstein’s, took the garbage out, browsed house plan books and websites.  And, I was very very sleepy.  I had planned to write all day yet it took me until 10am to even sit in front of the computer.  A rusty 456 words later, I still wasn’t getting anywhere.  I did do some cleaning of my email inbox however.  Read More