Saturday, February 18, 2012

Sweet Smiles

I am very fortunate to be constantly surrounded by creative friends who also just happen to be up and coming photographers. Eric's cousin Caitlyn is here visiting from Wisconsin to shadow Eric on some photo shoots and learn some new skills in photoshop. And of course, hang out with us girls and practice her skills on Lexi, who happens to be rather photogenic. Convenient? Very.

Here are some of her photos from our trip home from the Lincoln Park Zoo yesterday. You can also find these pics on Facebook, but for the sake of my blog, I sometimes put them in both places for various reasons. It was a gorgeous day yesterday, 50 degrees and sunny with blue skies. The animals were mostly all out and Lexi had so much fun seeing them! On the the train on the way home, she was so tired she became slap happy, which resulted in some pretty cute shots. It's funny to me how much she definitely favors my side of the family in her looks... makes me curious if baby #2 will be a mini Eric. ;)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Creative Fun

I know this was on Facebook, but since some of my faithful followers are not to be found there, here is some sweetness for you to enjoy. It brings me so much joy and pleasure to have a daughter that loves painting and coloring and creating almost as much as I do. We have been spending many happy creative mornings and afternoons together (in little 10 minute sessions) in our sun room art studio, using our time well before a certain hungry little distraction is born! ;)


I've been thinking a lot about moving lately. One of our close friends here is moving to Seattle this spring and is already starting the transition process. For us personally, it looks like our little family will most likely be looking for a new place to live here in Chicago once June shows up and our lease ends.

I have moved so many times in my life. It just comes with the territory of being a Pastor's Kid and a then a Missionary Kid and then a College Kid and then a Chicago Renter. I know that moving and transitions and the concept of "Home" are a bit more abstract in the life of a Third Culture Kid, and I think that this will probably have an effect on me in some small way for the rest of my life.

It is so different for Eric, who was born and grew up in the same house that his parents still inhabit in Nebraska, with no plans to move anytime in the future. "Home" is a concrete noun with solid imagery that coincide with it. It is not only his physical house in Nebraska with his childhood bedroom and some of his old possessions, but it is also the friends he has there, his childhood church, as well as his parents and siblings and all the other memories that have passed during his 19 years spent there. After college (which are almost always transition years for everyone who goes to school out of their home state), his "Home" became being a family with me in Chicago, regardless of what physical dwelling we are currently in.

But for me, the idea of "Home" is so much more webbed and conflicted. A little spread here and a little there. Some in Spanish, most in English. Sunshine and concrete, swimming pools and snow, dirt floors and tortillas, red brick apartments and functional playgrounds. Never quite fitting in anywhere. Thankfully, I have a much more solid grounding now that my life is intertwined with Eric and my babies, but the "Where are you from?" question still eludes me, even after being in Chicago for almost seven years now.

I can only imagine how my older sister Allison feels about "Home" given all the different places and people where she has poured out her life in and for. Her roots go deep wherever she lands, but she consistently cuts off the top of the plant, her life, again and again to move to new places and to new people, leaving deeply planted roots behind in the soil all over Latin America.

I just finished reading a graphic novel called Daytripper, by Brazilian twin artists Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba. It is all about a man walking through life, only to discover when he is an old man that it is not until he can accept the fact that he will one day die, that he can truly let go and enjoy life fully. The imagery of the graphic novel is captivating, focusing in on the quiet moments of life, the unspoken, what is quietly said with the eyes, a view, the emotions that colors convey. Towards the end of the story, the main character, Bras de Oliva Domingos is on a train returning home from the hospital, where he just learned he has new tumors growing on his brain. As he reflects on this and on his life, which is coming to an end, he discovers some things about "Home" which I found to be quite truthful. Obviously much of the meaning is lost without the visual imagery that is so vital to a graphic novel, but hopefully the words will be sufficient enough to carry some of the meaning.

It takes some time and a lot of looking around, but you eventually find that your home is a lot more than just the house you live in.
Bras has all the time in the world to figure that out.
He discovered your country can be your home, or a city, or just that particular neighborhood.
Sometimes your life changes --
--YOU change--
--and your home moves to a different place.
Bras realized that home is not a physical place at all, but a group of elements like the people you live with -- a feeling, a state of mind.
He feels safer just knowing that even if he's away...
...there is a home...
...waiting for him to return.
It's where he can rest.
Where he finds peace.

(Daytripper, Moon & Ba, pp.232-234)

And of course, I can't help but reflect on the fact that our true home is in God's presence, right in the center of His heart, where one day soon, absolutely nothing with inhibit us from being with Him face to face, in His arms, where there is a pure perfect love and forever peace.