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!