Saturday, March 28, 2015

cozy

"No home is too small that one more cannot be invited.  Cozy is the new grand."  Jen Schmidt

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

excerpts




"In ordinary life we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich."  Dietrich Bonhoeffer


"We are, on this earth, so incredibly small, in the history of time, in the crowd of the world, we are practically invisible, not even a dot, and yet we have each other to hold on to."  Ann Patchett



"In the spring time, the only pretty ring time
when birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding;
Sweet lovers love the spring."
William Shakespeare  


 "The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love."  Galatians 5:6


"God turns stains into stories."  Jon Weece


"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."  Jesus of Nazareth

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

remembering St. Patrick


O, Almighty God, who hast compassed us about with so great a cloud of witnesses:  Grant that we, encouraged by the good example of thy servant, St. Patrick, may persevere in running the race that is set before us, until at length, through thy mercy, we may with him attain to thine eternal joy; through Jesus Christ, the author and perfecter of our faith, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever.  Amen.  

-Book of Common Prayer




Monday, March 16, 2015

visibility low

Sometimes we want to see so badly we can taste it.  We want to know what's going to happen, who will be there, how it will work out, if things get fixed or if they don't.  We cry out for answers and we pray for a fix, for direction, for the thing to HAPPEN ALREADY.

But tomorrow is still covered in a thick fog and visibility is low and we learn again and again to walk by faith and not by sight.

morning fog at my corner of the world
I heard U2 sing it before the sun came out today- "It's alright, it's alright, it's alright, it's all right.  She moves in mysterious ways."  Maybe Bono's muse moves in mysterious ways, but so does God and He is doing things we don't know about and we must trust Him.

I read it this past week in Exodus and I loved it- the Lord says to Moses:  "Why are you crying out to me?  Tell the Israelites to move on."  (Exodus 14:15- emphasis mine)

There's a time to cry out and there's a time to move on and though visibility remains low to very low for all of us vulnerable and tiny and incredibly loved humans, sometimes we just have to take steps and move on- fog or no fog.

"Crying is all right in its way while it lasts.  But you have to stop sooner or later, and then you still have to decide what to do."  CS Lewis, The Silver Chair

Friday, March 13, 2015

a prayer for Lily



When I first met Lily, I found out that she really likes to be sung to.  As it turns out, singing to little people is one of my favorite things to do, so we got along quite swimmingly.  She really loved "Itsy Bitsy Spider" and I taught her "Praise Ye the Lord" but what was the most endearing by far was her take on "Jesus Loves Me."

"For the bible tells me so..."  She would fold open her hands like I'm doing in the picture.

"Little ones to him belong..."   She would rock the baby like you do with folded arms.

"They are weak but He is strong..."  That's the one that she really got into.  Her white knuckled fists at the end of her bent arms would shake with the strongest contraction she could muster.

She's learning good things, that Lily Anne.

If you're reading this now, we are asking that you pray with us for Lily and her sweet momma Lydia. She had a cleft palate surgery but it opened back up so we are praying that it will close again until their next appointment at the beginning of April.

Lord, thank you for this beautiful little girl and her beautiful family showcasing Your beauty and Your heart.  We ask that you would heal Lily's palate.  While we are weak, you are so strong. Help this family see and know your strength and your great grace through it all. We ask in the great name of Jesus.  Amen. 

I'll update you sometime after Easter.  If you ask me, that's a great time to get some great news.  

Thursday, March 12, 2015

my time machine



Say Love from Candace Chaney on Vimeo.

Meet Holly and Peter with their new baby, Abram.  Ten years ago, I was just like Holly minus the adorable dimples and spotless house.  Being new clients, I had never met them before but as I walked into their country home, Peter and Holly loving on baby Abram and their puppy Sage was a sort of time machine to me.  Ten years ago, Jack and I were doing the same things on little sleep and lots of love.   

Lord knows I haven't gotten it all right in the motherhood department over these past years, but I have known Love as the Sustainer, the Food, the thing you live on when "the days aren't easy and the nights are rough."
lyrics from The Avett Brothers' song "Living on Love," art by Meg Bethard
 For Holly and Peter, Psalm 121 comes to mind:

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you—
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm—
    he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and forevermore.

Lift up your eyes, your help comes from the Lord.  Love.  

Monday, March 9, 2015

indoor sunshine

Anna Grace keeps a list of platitudes or life tips for herself in a tiny black and white polka dot notebook.  This very rainy Monday morning, she shared one with me that I found quite helpful:

"Number 18:   If you're sad because it's Monday, remember you have art."  

In her case, she's referring to art class that only happens on Monday. But taking away that little detail, I think it's still pretty great for just about anybody.




Sunday, March 8, 2015

a human adventure


the old road to Belcher, LA

A few nights ago I dreamt that Jack was going to Paris without me.  I was furious.  But when his dad picked us up to go to the airport, it was revealed- the whole thing was a surprise trip for me. I was so overjoyed that I got all weepy.  

My longing for adventure is intense and constant and it seems like ages since I've seen the inside of an airplane (two years).  My brain knows that the trick is to find it where I am but my heart has a hard time holding on.  

A day after my dream, I drove on the old road to the outskirts of town for a Friday afternoon photo shoot.  The same old road with the same old curves reminded me of high school but most especially of when I was a kid riding a big yellow bus through these same fields of cotton and cattle, back and forth, forth and back.  It was not unlike the chicken noodle soup I had for lunch- comforting and familiar and its beauty wasn't lost on me.  I could still see it and I've got to trust that I am where I am because I've been placed by a God who has me on the road He picked for me. It may seem like I've worn this road out but it only seems like that. 

Four-year-old Asher told me a story the next day:

"Once there was a human.  This human's name was Candace.  She gives me all the things I need.  She has three kids, one sister and two brothers.  The brothers names were Asher and Zeke and the sister's name was Anna Grace.  And there was a mom and a dad.  That human is my my mom and I love her." 

It may not be a chateau in Paris, but there is adventure in that.  

Thursday, March 5, 2015

March 5th



Just yesterday it was 78 degrees and humid- like sitting in a bottle of fog, Anna Grace pointed out. 

This morning, the boys are jumping on a snow-covered trampoline. 

March is roaring in like the wildest of lions for sure. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

our magnum opus


I once met a girl- I think it was in college- that didn't care for music. I didn't know her well, so I asked her what kind of music she liked and she only shrugged and said she really didn't care about music. It kind of blew my mind.

"What about in the car?  Do you turn on the radio at all?  Is it just silent?"  I was baffled but she remained very dismissive of my concern.  Maybe she did, maybe she didn't.  She was totally indifferent.  

I was confused about how this could actually be true.  I was the type that blared Weezer's "Say It Ain't So" with my best friend and liked George Strait for a Saturday morning.  I grew up with hymn sings and John Denver and my first CD (James Taylor's Greatest Hits) in 1994 really made my heart soar every time I put it on.  More currently, it's Beck and Band of Horses and Avett Brothers and Al Green and John Coltrane's "A Love Supreme" or anything written by my songwriting little sister.  And it's always been something.  I even remember listening to records as a kid.  I would put them on and just sit there, listening and loving the collections of sound and song and story.

I hope that nowadays this girl I met has at least one song, one station that she finds calming or moving or a tiny bit thrilling.  I bet she has. Hopefully in the past 15-20 years her ear has become sensitive to some genre of sound that makes her feel a little bit more alive.

The thing is, there's just too much beauty to see and to read and to taste and to hear and to feel and to make to just let it pass us by unnoticed, unheard, unread, unappreciated, and undone.   I've found that it really is a way we love God- a way to give thanks for the gift of life- to love and appreciate and make art. Of course, we're all artists in our own way.  Whether we're quilting or writing or dancing or even crafting a really funny joke, it can be an act of gratitude and love to the One who made us creative like Him.

And even a marriage can be art.  

The knitting together of two hearts isn't an easy thing.  Sometimes you have to backtrack and reknit those places that got snagged and off-track.  Sometimes you want to lay it down because it takes so much work.  But when you press on and on, after a while, you begin to see that you have something so beautiful.

"Look, God!  Look what we're making!  Thanks for the instructions!"  My heart wants to say it when we pass another year loving one another when it's easy and when it's hard.  


 Jack and I talk often about the "one flesh" concept of Genesis and we've decided to really harness its power.  We have two birthdays, we say.  Happy birthday us on February 25 and on October 10.  And man, do we celebrate.  We eat and we rest and we see and we throw parties and we serve and we jump up and down to songs at live shows to artists making music in the zone.

Avett Brothers at the South Side Ballroom in Dallas

Harper chickens made it to the auction this year!  Amazing!
The fourth annual happy birthday Jack (and Doneen)silent auction to benefit our friends serving in Guatemala was a great success!

Very often, we fail each other.  We let each other down and we again have to remember to do our part to keep on making this beautiful thing called marriage, but the Master Artist is kind to teach us, help us, show us what it means to press on in love.

When Jesus really opens our eyes to it, we can almost see it coming together and it's good.  We just need to keep pressing on and keep noticing what He's doing even when it looks like a mess.  Maybe He's helping us make a masterpiece when we take time to step back or turn it over or look at it from another angle.

Lord, open our ears and our eyes and our hearts to Your beauty.  Show us Your angle.  The glimpses I've seen are amazing.  I can't wait to see more.  


I love you, Jack Chaney.  Happy birthday to us and to you!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Sneauxpocalypse 2015


So we're on day 3 of Sneauxpocalypse 2015.  It kind of feels like an unexpected guest that you're enjoying but totally unprepared to meet.  And of course, this never happens in Louisiana, so we're improvising with Rubbermaid tops for sleds, CD cases for windshield scrapers, and sometimes even socks for mittens. 


She's using lots of words as usual- talked my ear off on a walk to the drug store about the flower's thoughts on treason among other things!

They were so excited that they all slept in AG's room like they do on Christmas Eve.  Sweetness. 







He needs a t-shirt to stay warm, of course. 


This is my favorite pic.  Mismatched boots- Asher called them "fire frog boots."


I am reminded of Whimsie's classic post on Southerners in snow and of course, dear old Buford on SNL.  Hilarious.

Phillip the snowman




And speaking of hilarious, we happen to be celebrating a birthday today for one hilarious guy.  My goodness, how we love him.

So happy Jack's birthday to you and happy Sneauxpocalypse to my fellow Northern Louisianians.

It's one we won't soon forget! 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

more than a footnote


I was reading Genesis 30 this week and there it was again:  "Then Leah said: 'How happy I am!  The women will call me happy.'  So she named him Asher.'" Genesis 30:13 (footnote: Asher means happy)

You'll never be able to convince me that names don't carry some degree of power.  Our Asher is happy.  Well, sometimes he's not (and WHEW is all I'll say about that) but when he is which is mostly he is VERY HAPPY. 


And that Anna Grace.  Double Grace.  (footnote:  Anna means grace)

Growing in grace.  She's pretty great.

And not pictured is Ezekiel growing in strength.  (footnote:  Ezekiel means God strengthens)

Our little people growing into their names and their callings and the people God made them to be.  It's more than a footnote. 


Friday, February 20, 2015

the big small things

an out-take at my last shoot, the real life beauty of a mother
 It's a good word for today- that the small things, the unnoticed things, the things only the Lord sees are the things that are what count for a lot.  Even we forget them.  Tim Challies' description of "an extraordinary skill for ordinary Christians" inspires us to remember that "every bit of it will matter.  Every bit of it will do good for others and bring glory to God."

Press on, friends.  It matters.  

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

best-laid plans

Zeke's birthday coincided with our Winter Break, so we had planned on a trip to Broken Bow, OK, with my sister's family.  Zeke's cousin William is one of his favorite human beings on the planet so it was all set to be a good time with family that we very rarely get to see. 

But then, the stomach bug.

My poor little sister.  She thought she had seen the end of the virus that landed William in the hospital, but as it turns out, it hadn't finished rearing its ugly head and so... they were out.

I was kind of joking when I texted my friend Lydia THE MORNING WE WERE LEAVING, telling her about it and telling her that they should come.   But I guess when you take three kids on a trip around the world to adopt your fourth, a spur of the moment 7 hour road trip is no biggie. 

They came! 

So some of our other favorite human beings made the trip and celebrated with us and between the friends and the air hockey and the hot tub and the hiking, I think Zeke had a great time. 







this sweet little nugget let me hold her and sing sing sing to her and I loved it






















we're practically regulars

It was as cold outside as it was warm in our hearts but we had a great time and I'm amazed at how that one worked out. 

But even so...we missed you, Degenharts!  We need a re-do!