Thursday, March 31, 2011

Possibly Time

It is a grey day of rain and coffee and lamplight. A day when the daffodils by my side are the only splash of sunlight, and somehow that's alright and fitting. Today is one of those with a wistful feel, more suited to a goodbye than a hello, though not a sad goodbye, just one that has to be. So I find myself thinking about change, not deep thoughts, just the usual round of memories and projections:

This lamp can be left when we move. I need to go through that box and get rid of those papers. I should probably pack those sheets separately, perhaps with that pan. Will there be a porch for the green-glow table at which the Man and I have spent so many evenings sharing coffee and conversation?

There is the smell of clean laundry and fresh flowers in the living room, the scent of comfort mixed with anticipation, and the cat is curled up on the couch, not realizing that his time here is running out (but what does it matter to him? the couch will come with us and the throw pillows and the blue hoodie he loves to cover in grey fur).

My world has been caught in slow motion, one day blurring into the other. I wake up, and the sky outside is still yesterday's sky. It's an oddly surreal sense of waiting. For what? March expires and in comes April with perhaps spring, but more likely a continuation of the same cyclical thinking that's getting me nowhere, and I have the urge to make something, anything, happen, even if it's just to get out of here for a day or cut off my hair in a desperate attempt to seize control of a world that is not mine to manipulate.

It's a conscious choice to surrender to truth, to take captive each thought, to know that if nothing else is happening (in my sense of the word) at the very least His mercies are new every morning (that is some measure of change) and that this squealchingly slow time is, as always, held in the palm of His hand. If He makes the sand move slowly through the hour glass, who am I to complain?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Addendum (with Sci Fi references)

A few months ago I wrote about a Francine Rivers' book entitled Her Mother's Hope. Let's be honest, most of my post consisted of me snidely laughing at books that have actually been published and paid for while my work is, mostly, unpublished and unbought (and occasionally, unwritten). Anyway, as mentioned previously,  Her Mother's Hope ended on a cliff hanger (we were all impressed and surprised), and I was invested sufficiently in the characters (or was it the story line?) to want to find out what happened...even if I spent a significant part of the novel groaning in laughter over the writing. Besides, my sister, whose opinion I respect, told me that I might have judged too harshly as she had read both books and found a lot to be commended.  So, my dilemma: I didn't want to buy Her Daughter's Dream because I didn't want to spend money and precious bookshelf space on it, but they didn't have it available at my library. And then I remembered: online reading! My new best friend!

I spent today and, admittedly, some of yesterday reading Her Daughter's Dream instead of doing housework during nap time. And I have to say, though the writing itself still had its cheese-tastic moments (which was not helped by the fact that there were no apostrophes in my online edition), I was really impressed by Rivers' depth and how she dealt with the hard-hitting issues of rape, miscarriage, pre-marital sex, and generational sin. Sure, the writing is not going to land Rivers' on the Christian classics list, but the faith statement she provides is worth a nod of approval, possibly accompanied by a smattering of applause. She gave me a lot to think about and even some to pray over, and I'm grateful for that.

That being said, I'm really sad that she's not writing a third book that projects the fictitious family into the future once aliens have landed and we all drive space mobiles and there's no atmosphere. I mean, she already covered an entire century plus of history and how cool would that be? Where is our Christian sci fi, people?!?!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Stop on Scotland Street

It rained this morning, and I made scones. So even though technically I read 44 Scotland Street and Espresso Tales last week, it seemed an appropriate time to blog about them. I would have blogged earlier, since I did enjoy them quite a lot, but the time just wasn't there. But my dear friend who is staying the week with me is sitting on the couch doing grad work and my husband is not yet home from work, so here I am.

Much like today jogged my memory about the 44 Scotland Street series, so did Alexander McCall Smith remind me of my own brief time in Scotland (eloquent, eh?). I spent four days in Scotland in the spring of 2007, two days for Edinburgh and two days for Glasgow, from which was stolen half a day for Loch Lomond. That's how I traveled back then. It was exhilarating, exhausting, and, well, mostly a little ridiculous. I hit the high points and moved on. Not that there weren't quiet moments to slow down and think, but it was about Doing and not Being. So I'm really enjoying reading McCall Smith's 44 Scotland Street series (I say "reading" as I'm planning to pick up the last of the series sometime next week).

Written originally as a serialized novel (one that can be printed a chapter per newspaper edition), the 44 Scotland Street series is pithy and full of flavour. Highly character driven, there's just the right amount of plot to make the reader wanting more at the end of each chapter, so its a quick read. I also just really enjoyed hearing McCall Smith's thoughts on art, relationships, modernity, parenting, and, yes, even globalization. Almost as much as I enjoyed imagining some of the more annoying male characters in kilts. There's just something satisfying about that. But mostly, it was just nice to Be in Scotland, to drink its tea, walk its cobbled streets, and, this time, feel no need to share in its haggis.

Marian made the mistake of leaving her blog, i proofed this for her, and now, I am posting this for her.  And she is glaring at me with a knife in her hand and she looks very very angry.  But, I still LOVE her :)


You know those couples who have been together so long that they wear the same clothes and tell the same jokes? They've even started to resemble each other--just because they've been together for so long, spent so much time together, and shared so many life experiences. I was thinking about that today, not in relation to me and the Man because we're not quite there yet (although we have caught ourselves wearing almost the same outfit, and no, it wasn't funny), but in relation to me and God. I keep hoping that the more time I spend with Jesus, getting to know who He is and what He's like, the more he'll "rub off" on me. I want to start caring about the things He cares about and seeing things the way He sees them. When I try to be like Him on my own, though, all I end up doing is failing miserably--either messing up more pitifully than before or wallowing in pride! My hope is that as I spend more consistent time in His presence, the Holy Spirit will begin to naturally transform me into a better mirror which can reflect the glory of Christ.

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:18

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Blips (on the Radar)

I took a quick trip to the commissary today and managed to get my ID checked four times. I can't decide which excites me more: how intensely thorough they're getting with security on base or the fact that Littles and I might possibly look like terrorists.

I've come to the conclusion that the thick coating of dust on the top of an unopened cereal box spells doubt for the Man's cereal picking abilities. He obviously over estimated our desire to eat healthy cereal.

Sometimes when out running errands I get really thirsty and the only water source available is Alex's sippy cup... ... ...I'll let you draw your own conclusions.

I really wish I could hire someone to write down the thoughts I have while driving. I'm sure when I actually read them over they wouldn't be half as clever as I thought they were, but it's annoying to have them, then forget them (because driving in DC takes forever), then spend the rest of day trying to remember what occurred during that brief moment of inspiration.

In theory, I really like the idea of paper bagging my groceries. In reality, I really hate how many trips it takes me to get them in the house from the car. In general, I think this juxtaposition between theory and reality carries over to most things in life.

Anyway, on to other, potentially more productive things. 

Just Because

It's My New Favourite

Oh, Teething...You're So Much More Fun When You're Over

After spending the last three days in whining agony due to teething (the whining from Littles due to the teething, the agony from me due to the whining), we seem to have made a turn for the better. This morning, Littles thinks everything is funny, which is a great way to show off the four new teeth that came through this weekend. I've found that his good mood is rubbing off on me, in spite of the fact that I woke up in an unusually grumpy (for me) mood mostly brought about by the last three days got it...whining agony. Let's put it this way: I went to bed last night at 8.30 in preparation for another day of ear drum shredding yowls. From the looks of it, though, God is not going to push me beyond what I can endure. Especially when I'm completely out of caffeinated coffee and will remain so until I make it to the commissary this week.

And on that note, I'm going to get up and start taking care of everything I've put on hold for the last three days while in Teething Survival Mode. I also need to rescue my cell phone from the Little Man who is probably busy running up my phone bill by calling his aunt in Yemen. What fun I have before me!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Creaking Tables

One of my favourite blessings
(he's since had a haircut, thank goodness)
My morning started out at the breakfast table with my two men. I'm not saying that the table was legitimately creaking, but it was a nice spread: banana bread, bran muffins, coffee, a gorgeous creamer/sugar set given to me by a dear friend, grapes, kiwi, and a bouquet of golden daffodils. I should've taken a picture. Still, it was the very act of sitting down to breakfast with the two people I love most in the world that made the moment, one that should be infinitely ordinary, so very perfect. It was gone in less than an hour as the Man headed off to work and Littles began his usual rampage by putting his jacket on over his pajamas (this is his new thing) and going into Destructo-mode. But I "treasured up all these things in my heart," if you will.

I was reflecting tonight (it happens when the Man is stuck late at work) on how the image of a creaking table is emblematic of my life right now. We have been so very blessed in countless ways--by friends, family, places to serve, a beautiful little home, a life that is full.... I'm thinking of this a bit more than usual, perhaps, as we received news that the military has plans for us elsewhere, in Oklahoma, actually. That, in itself, is a blessing as the job the Man has received is a step upward career-wise (I'm so proud of him!) and will also, hopefully, provide us with some much needed family time. But it has made me very aware of all the wonderful things--mostly people--we will miss about being here and the awareness has made me so thankful. As another writer once said: my cup runneth over.

We still have another four months before we head out on the next adventure, and I plan to use them relishing the creaking tables in my life. All of them.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Otters, Stars, and a Moonchild

Even a small star shines in the darkness.
Finnish Proverb

This morning I read the Little Man A Lot of Otters by Barbara Helen Berger. He made it to around page three before he jumped ship, but I found a new favourite. It's a simple book with beautiful watercolour illustrations that tells the story of the Moon who is weeping for her lost child. Her tears are falling stars found by a "lot" of otters who taste them and play with them until the light of the stars finally leads the Moon to her child who has been floating around in the ocean in a cardboard box. I already had a weakness for otters (the Redwall books did that for me), and now I may have to poke around for some more Berger books. Especially since she made the moon and her child obviously Asian. 

For inquiring minds that want to know, a group of otters is actually referred to as a bevy, family, lodge, or romp, or (if in the water) a raft. But I think "lot" should catch on soon. After all, it has the whole semirhyme thing going for it.