Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Unexpected New

We've lived here for a little over a year now, and we are already prepping for the move. Yet somehow, as things here are drawing to a close, I'm still experiencing all kinds of new things. I guess I always thought that one of the perks of a season of life drawing to a close was that you had a handle on things for at least the last few months.

But today I drove to a new library and, consequently, met some new librarians and explored an all new children's section. I also, and this is neither here nor there, discovered that the twins are just not quite ready to do the library without the stroller. I was re-shelving as fast as they were de-shelving, so I finally shoved the de-shelved books in our bag and made a break for the check out counter. Hope the completely illiterate twins picked good library books...

Today, I made two new friends. And tomorrow I go running with a new running buddy because my old running buddy decided to make a trip out of town for a whole week and getting myself out of bed requires a lot of motivation right now.

The family that watches football together...
...stays together.

I've also been mastering driving a new car...a significantly bigger car, which has been a bit terrifying and also a lot humbling as I've just accepted the fact that one does not learn how to park a small bus in one day. Incidentally, my driving is improving the kids' prayer life. So: bonus.

Also, and this is not related, we are debating names for said new car since the Man says I need to stop referring to it as "The Great White Beast". My follow up options were "Old Abominable" (in a loving reference to the Abominable Snowman, of course) and "Moby Dick". Littles then made an across the board decision that Bruiser should get to pick the name, and naturally Bruiser picked "Trash-truck". When I protested, I was cooly informed that the Man and I could name it something else, but from then on the kids would refer to the car as "Trash-truck". Somehow this didn't go the way I had planned. Also, Littles took the opportunity to let me know that Moby Dick was a sperm whale. Not a Suburban. And he knows this how? (Incidentally, I looked it up--and he was right. Know-it-all.)

Back to the point, this semester we started a homeschool co-op thingie which has involved lots of new--and especially lots of new people. May I just say: it's tons of fun meeting new people and telling them you're going to be there for a grand total of four months. Come be my friend so I can leave you!

We're also experiencing some new paperwork hoops that we have to jump through this move. And you should know: I love paperwork almost as much as I love gouging my own eyes out.

And I feel like I could just keep going. I really could. But I'd bore you.

The point is that change is a constant. Sometimes I lure myself into thinking that there are seasons, and I can pick what kind of season I'm in. As in, I'm not moving so I shouldn't have to deal with new stuff right now! But no. Evidently it doesn't work that way.

Instead, I'm trying to remind myself that I like new things. New things are fun and exciting and adventurous! But when I'm honest, I know that I am stodgy and boring and when I go to restaurants, I always order the same thing because I already know what I like and why be disappointed by getting something you don't like.

So let me end on this: thank God that He doesn't let me do that in real life and only tolerates it at restaurants. He keeps sending me new things because He knows that while I may be content to stick with the old and comfortable, He has even more wonderful gifts to give. His mercies are new every morning.

And sometimes those mercies look unfamiliar and occasionally scary. And sometimes they just look like new friends and awkwardly bad parking jobs and library bags full of unexpected book choices.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Stained Glass

Stained glass has always fascinated me. I love the way the light breaks through the colors, stretching different hues across the walls and floor and ceiling. The Man and I visited the Chihuly Gardens while we were in Seattle. It was a fantastic exhibit with the contrast of dark and light, the use of reflections, and the joining of the man-made into the natural world.

About halfway through the tour, we watched a video showing how Dale Chihuly and his team created these masterpieces of art. Some of them, when assembled, are enormous, much bigger than they could've been had they been created from a single piece of blown glass. Hundreds of unique pieces joined together, sometimes hung precariously, to create an awe-inspiring work of art.

To me, this is the Church as it should be. All of us different, blown with God's own breath into unique shapes, tinted with our own colors, and connected into one expression of beauty. 

I don't necessarily think this is a bad analogy for the Church. But in reality, it seems like we are much closer to traditional stained glass than we are these perfectly sculpted Chihuly pieces. We are broken. We are made of shards of glass that would've been litter to a lesser artist. We are pasted together with glue and boiling metal. It is a painful reality, and one that we may not understand fully.

In those moments, we do not see the masterpiece. We cannot even glimpse the finished product. We are wholly overwhelmed by the pain of the breaking and the heat of the joining. The Artist's face seems far away at best, coldly unconcerned at worst. We ask ourself where the beauty is and what happened to the purpose.

And then the light breaks through the window, and we may not see ourselves as we are or as we used to be, but we see the sun beams, split into a thousand colors, filling the room with glory. 

Stained glass may have other meanings to other people, but to me it reminds me that my brokenness (and maybe your brokenness too) will be used for beauty. It may not be my beauty--after all, what am I but a broken shard of colored glass?--but when the sun comes up and the light floods in...

...there is the breath-taking wonder of hope in new life.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

October Kick-off

It's been five weeks since I wrote last, and it's time to get back on the horse. Or wagon. Or camel, depending on what book you've been reading lately.

Initially, I had this brilliant plan to get back in the saddle (there's another way to say it) by doing 31 Days again, which would've been rather sink or swim of me. But September left our family and me especially a little fragile, and to be honest, it's not just the writing I'm trying to get back to. It's a lot of things that have been put on pause for the last few weeks, good things, necessary things that need to be added back to our normal.

So I'm reminding myself of a lot of cliches, that slow and steady wins the race and that I don't want to be a flash in the pan and other such fun thoughts, all of which boil down to the fact that 31 Days will not be a part of my October. But if you happen to be sitting around with a ton of time on your hands and nothing to read, you should go by the 31 Days Challenge and browse through the topics.

However, should you hang around here this month, I plan to continue writing about my usual hodgepodge, but I thought I'd give you a few teasers for what the next month might hold at Ink Blot Coffee. Naturally, I will still be providing book posts, which should be interesting considering that my library is closed for renovations this month, and the regular funny kid stories, but I also thought I'd give you an update on my thoughts regarding my word of the year and I've had some ideas about light and stained glass hovering around the corners of my mind that may make it out before November shows. We'll see.

In the meantime, since I've been dwelling in deeply thought provoking proverbs lately and they say (drumroll) a picture is worth a thousand words, I thought I'd share a few from the last few weeks that haven't seen the light of day (by which I mean neither the blog nor Facebook--shocker).

My parents came by for a visit in September.

Good times were quite obviously had by all.

I love these crazy twins.

And this heartbreaker.
And his older brother who doesn't show up for another few pictures.

While Mom and Dad were here, the Man and I offloaded the kids...
And went to Seattle!

All the artsiness made me very happy there.
But we came back soon before this guy decided to
grow up and leave home.
Seriously. Make it stop.

Side note: is he cute or what?

I tried hard to get a picture of my parents and all four kids--
and I promise this was the best one.
The other five shots were epically worse, if that's possible.

Anyway, October is here now, and it rained this morning. Yesterday the kids and I ate pumpkin bread on the front porch. Today I am sitting down to write. Tomorrow we finish out what actually looks like almost a complete week worth of kindergarten. These are small steps. Sometimes the smallness of them frustrates me, but we are walking back towards normal slowly but surely. So I'd like to close by saying simply, both to you who are reading but also to myself, welcome back.