Somewhere Between an Artist and an Engineer

I’ve been thinking a lot about identity.

Dad was a building engineer. I say “was” because he’s technically retired, but not because he’s stopped. To this day he continues to build. His 5 acres in the rolling hills of Kentucky are filled with barns and buildings of which he and my mom have designed and constructed. Even now he’s got two more cabins he’s building on a small lake. One is for sale but “we don’t care if we sell it” my mom says. He also fix just about anything so I’m constantly calling him for help. Just a few weeks ago we fixed my toiled via FaceTime. When I call him he’ll say, “OK, what broke?”

My dad and mom designed and built my mom’s “art studio” in the backyard in Kentucky

Mom is an artist. I try to tell people that her work rivals some of the best painters they’ve seen, but you won’t find her paintings up in her house. Most of her friends have absconded with them over the years. Yet you will find her work throughout her home. The house itself is her work, including the custom bathroom she designed and my dad built that’s probably the size of my master bedroom. She has an “art studio” in the backyard full of painted wood pieces, crafts, and furniture of which she’s working on. To what end, I don’t know, but she makes beautiful things.

One of the few drawings my mom did when she was young that I found in my parent’s attic.

I have my father’s name and his height. He’s six-foot-one or as he says, “Six-two with shoes on.” I’m six-four without shoes on. But I have my mom’s nose, I think. Growing up people said I looked like my dad, but I’ve grown into my mom’s nose, eyes, and complexion. What does this have to do with identity?

History reveals identity.

Klyne R. Snodgrass, Who God Says You Are (p. 82)

Who our parents are does not determine who we will be, but as Klyne Snodgrass says, “History reveals identity.” As we spent some time with my parents this summer, I realized just how much I’m like them and how much I’m not. Mostly though, I saw how much I’m like them. I really do want to make beautiful, creative art like my mom, but I can’t draw. I love dimension and order and figuring out how things work, but I can’t build or even maintain my house. It’s probably why I got into digital graphic design years ago. I found in the computer a tool to create things that my hands couldn’t. All I had to do as figure out how the computer worked (engineer) and tell it to create what I wanted in my heart (artist). Sometimes I wish I had more identity as an artist than I do. Other times I wish I was more of an engineer. But in the end I’m somewhere between an artist and an engineer–longing for the ability to create by hand beautiful works while settling for the help of a machine to create what I can’t on my own.


Culinary Arts and Warm Days

“Do you want to see something amazing?” That’s what the text read on my phone that I got from Bethany this morning. “Yes,” I typed quickly back. I had never really gotten a text like that from Bethany so I was very excited about what was to to follow. “Avery made this all by herself,” Bethany wrote, followed by this photo:

Avery's Pretty Things (4/16/15)

When I got home I showed Avery that photo on my phone and asked her what it was and she said “a flower!” Not bad for a three year old. Maybe she has a future in the culinary arts?

Titus got in on the fun as well.

Culinary Arts (4/16/15)

As the days continue to warm up, Bethany has been taking the kids outside for lunch on the grass and play time. Today the kids were exploring in our landlord’s garden (which we also have access too) and picking little flowers. Bethany made a little daisy chain bracelet for Avery which she was really excited about it. I know I’ve already written this, but Avery continues to make us laugh as she grows in her speaking and personality. She’s about as girly as ever and I think it’s great.

Avery's Pretty Things (4/16/15)

Along with warmer days, we have longer days which allow us to play outside when I get home. The last few days I’ve been going out in the yard with the kids and playing basketball, soccer, and even tossing the Frisbee around. Titus has been getting pretty good at it so I took a short video of him throwing today (below). He also does a great job of catching the ones I toss back. I love it!

Frisbee Titus from Shay on Vimeo.

That’s all for today!