Friday, August 28, 2015

What Chelan Means to Me: Christina-Marie Wright #lovechelan #chelanfire

The #lovechelan logo was designed by Rose Weagant Olcott,
known as @dinmutha on Twitter. It is being used to raise funds
and awareness for Give Naked, a non-profit org which actively
raises funding for individual "gives" to meet the needs of those
who need assistance within the Chelan community.
This post is part of a series I will be running in the coming weeks, called "What Chelan Means to Me." It is my hope to share the stories of the grown (and growing!) children of the Chelan Valley, and its current and past residents, in order to raise awareness of the devastating fires which have ripped through our valley, and to help promote a beautiful, meaningful fundraising effort.

Visit http://bit.ly/lovechelan to view our fundraising progress, and to contribute. When you make a donation at any of the listed levels, you will receive a unique and heartfelt gift, contributed by someone who has their own connection to our peaceful community.

All funds will be donated to Give Naked, a non-profit organization which actively raises funding for individual needs through Chelan Valley Hope.

You can help by:


  • Sharing this post through social media. Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram... However you connect with your people, please feel free to share.
  • Using the hashtags #chelanfire and #lovechelan in your posts, to help us trend and to raise awareness and participation.
  • Making a contribution to the Indiegogo campaign, linked above. Even donations as small as $25 are rewarded with a heartfelt gift!
  • Praying for our community, in whatever way is sacred and meaningful to you.



Some of you know (and the rest of you will, now) that I grew up in a tiny little village on the most beautiful lake in the world, Lake Chelan.

My graduating class was 24 people, and at the time, we were a "big" class.

Lake Chelan is a resort and vacation destination, and people from all over the world flock to its shores to enjoy the water, the mountains, the slower pace of life, and the local love.

Fresh, local apples
It's the sort of place where the village really does raise each child... As kids, if we were out misbehavin' in public, if our parents didn't catch us, some other vigilant mama or daddy would. In a matter of moments, we'd be appropriately corrected, and our parents at home would be waiting, with a stern lecture.

Curlytop, daringly climbing a display of pumpkins at a local business six years ago

It's the sort of place that inspires creativity. I don't know if living in the Chelan valley drives folks to create, or if creative types naturally end up here, but I count among my fellow grown children of Chelan numerous painters, sculptors, poets, authors, musicians, actors and more. It's as if the beauty of the valley comes spilling out through our pens, clay, paintbrushes, keyboards, vocal cords and brains. So much glory is impossible to contain.

View uplake from the deck of a house on one of the valley's smaller lakes
I've spent years in the cocoon-like sanctuary of Lake Chelan, learning to swim in the clear waters, eating apples fresh off the trees in my grandparents' orchard, sledding down the mighty mountains, sunbathing in the glorious rays with Sun-In streaked through my hair... It is where I had my first loves and inevitable heartbreaks, my first kisses, my first broken rules, attended my first "keggers," and delivered my only biological child.

There, too, I suffered a devastating miscarriage, and fell into the comforting arms of my "family" -- the friends, neighbors and co-workers I'd come to claim as my tribe.

The Chelan Valley is where I was encouraged to boldly pursue a love of poetry and writing, thanks to teachers like Mr. Korsborn and Mr. McClure. It is where I met Mr. Wright fifteen years ago, and began a new life with him that is beyond anything I could ever have imagined for myself.

Mr. Wright, the week we met in 2000
It was where my Princess truly became a princess, serving as Miss Lake Chelan royalty.

Celebrating Princess's election to the Miss Lake Chelan royal court
And the community? We take care of our own. When my brother was diagnosed with erythroleukemia, he required countless blood transfusions. Members of the community organized a blood drive, which offset the costs of his transfusions.

When individual families fall on hard times, their neighbors are there, to help them recover and get back on their feet. But... what happens when the loss is so great, we need to look outside our benevolent community for help?

That, my friends, is where we are, now.

Fires have ravaged our community, taking with them homes, memories, business, and... lives. So far, we've lost three heroic firefighters. Businesses have burned to the ground, leaving little but a scorched sign to mark what was once a thriving merchant-place. Houses have been destroyed, the photos and mementos of the families who once felt safe within their walls nothing more now than ash and dust.

We need help. As much help as possible. And so, I am asking all of you to please do what you can to help my home. Please see the introduction of this post for ways you can help, and come visit us, if you can! We'd love to welcome you into our family.

*cross-posted at TheGonzoMama.com

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