Wednesday, July 27, 2016

our resounding yes


"You can hear God in everything, and miss him in anything."  Ken Hesler

Today, a mama and a daddy walked through the doors of a courthouse to finalize the adoption of their three children and I was almost undone at the privilege of capturing those moments.  This mama who had labored for years with paperwork and prayer.  These little hands held, their hearts full. The extended family present, dressed up and beaming.  It was all so beautiful but what really got me was the part when the lawyer was done speaking and the judge looked squarely at the parents and had one more question.  Did they understand that these children are heirs with all lawful rights to inheritance equal to that of a biological child- that there was no difference?  

The mama and the daddy nodded a proud and happy, unreserved and resounding yes.

Yes, yes, yes.

Is there anything else they wanted more?

Just the night before, my girls and I watched Priscilla Shirer's session 6 of her Armor of God bible study on my television screen as she unpacked what it meant to put on the helmet of salvation.  Our salvation is our identity in Christ- it is our liberation, she explained.  And we are adopted daughters of God and our Father is blessed ("our Daddy is fat (phat?), y'all- BLESSED- and you are his daughter and you are blessed too!" - she is an amazing preacher for sure- makes me smile big).

And I had just walked among the great big sky at midnight wayyyyyyy out in the country with little Asher a few nights before- us so small and stars so big - and I told him the story about Abraham and how Abraham just looked up and just believed and that was enough for God.  Abraham was in.  And when we believe, we're in too.

And so when the judge asked those happy parents that question about the inheritance, it just went WHOOSH over my heart.  Our Heavenly Father adopts us and lavishes his love on us and we are heirs as his children.  It is an unreserved and resounding YES for us, too.

Is there anything else He's ever wanted more?

"All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.
God has now revealed to us his mysterious will regarding Christ—which is to fulfill his own good plan. And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth. Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan." Ephesians 1:3-11 (NLT)

                                                                             

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

a photographic time machine


Things tend to surface during moves and clean-out efforts.  So between my move and my mother's, I recently ended up spending a lot of time holding tiny slides to the light, teleporting me back to the early 80's.  Turns out, some things haven't changed so much.  Like moms being behind the camera more than dads, chalkboard documentation, puppies, potty training and pizza- not to mention the love of a family and a sustaining presence of God in all that beauty.

It was a great trip.
me on the left, my sister Jennifer on the right












my parents on their first anniversary

Monday, July 11, 2016

a little list


1.  I'm still hoping for a Chaney record deal someday.  Asher's current obsession:  his grandmother's ukelele.


2.  Speaking of obsession, Anna Grace has gotten us pretty attached to a super sweet stray cat that she has named Pocahontas.  I guess we have a cat now.  Never saw that one coming.  


3.  On July 3rd it was like our church grew big ole slip and slide arms to grab hold of its neighbors for a big wet, firecracky hug.  I love this imperfect but grace and truth-filled place.


4.  Want a good idea for a dinner party?  Here's one.  Before it starts, ask your guest to send you their answers to questions like:

 -What song makes you think of your childhood?
-What song makes you think of your spouse?
- What song makes you want to dance?
-Name a song from your first CD.
-What song do you hate?

Play the songs, guess the answers.  Simple and super fun.  Also, dance party.




5.  Speaking of dance parties, heaven must be a lot like Sky Ranch Camp closing ceremonies.  What a place.


Friday, July 1, 2016

on how much beauty a medicine cabinet can hold

at our last family dinner on Stephenson

Tomorrow (I guess it's later today- I can't sleep), we're moving out of the house that has held us for 10 years.  When we moved in, Anna Grace was on my hip and I wasn't but half a second pregnant with Zeke.  For me, trying to grab memories is like grabbing for handfuls of a cloud- it's all hazy and elusive.  But of all things, my kid's medicine cabinet had me all nostalgic today (yesterday).

How a bottle of sticky expired cough syrup did it I don't know, but it brought me back to holding my babies- babies!- all those long-short years.  The diaper cream with the funny name (Boudreaux's butt paste is what we use in these parts)- how could I not think of roly poly babies with thigh rolls and heart-melting smiles?  Wobbly little legs taking their first steps down the hall and footie pajama snuggles. The heavy duty prescription strength soap was for impetigo a few summers ago- they all three had it, but for Anna Grace I had to rush across the Texas border to get my little girl from camp with an ear infection and staph on her skin.  We went to the little country doctor and laughed in the aisles of the grocery store that day, she and I. The bottles of liquid Tylenol and Ibuprofen was feverish babies and so many sleepless nights here but sleepless in the best way: sleepless with a baby held close to my beating heart.  The squished bottles of toothpaste and old toothbrushes- it's like us being squished in this house together for all these years, close and messy and not quite perfect. Somehow the medicine cabinet held a whole lot more than just rubbing alcohol and band-aids.

As I was boxing it up I thought: what a mess.  What a beautiful, beautiful mess.  

Thursday, June 23, 2016

submerged


Have you ever considered the miracle that is Vacation Bible School?

A few weeks ago several people approached me at the park to offer bottled water and a flyer for their church's VBS when it dawned on me that VBS is just plain miraculous.

Congregations everywhere- so many VOLUNTEERS- give hours and hours and hours of their time to plan, prepare, and execute creative and engaging programming for kids of all ages all because they love Jesus.  And Jesus LOVES kids.  So churches do this thing in the summer to SUBMERGE the kids of their communities in this truth. It's incredible, right?

Asher is in week 2 of VBS (FBC, then Summer Grove, St Marks next week!) and it is marinating his sweet little heart in the truth of God's word.

"Mom, I want to go tell people about Jesus in China."

Man, am I grateful.  

Sunday, June 19, 2016

nothing short of epic


 
You can have the best of everything in the world, but if you don't have devoted and inspiring friends that make you stronger and better, the best of everything in the world falls short. 

Our friendship with the Harrigans- it's nothing short of epic.  I'm leaving Fayetteville with a full and grateful heart. 








Prayers are appreciated for these amazing friends who are leaving for the Middle East in August.  Let me know if you want to help support these incredible people who love God in such clear and obvious ways- they are a light on a hill!

Shine on, Harrigans!  We are behind you all the way. 

Friday, June 17, 2016

fayettechill



So we're in Fayetteville with our friends the Harrigans and I go running and y'all... Northwest Arkansas running isn't Shreveport running.  It is hill training.  So on my last uphill, I was running out of steam, but I just felt like I should close my eyes and focus on the unseen.  I shouldn't look at the hill, but only my feet, the next step, or close my eyes all together.  The hill was still there and I knew it, felt it, but just taking the next step and fixing my eyes made all the difference.  

And wouldn't you know it... I made it up that hill without stopping.  

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith." Hebrews 12:1-2a 

and more of our fun day with our dear friends:









 

Monday, June 13, 2016

finding Jesus



 "Let my teaching fall on you like rain; let my speech settle like dew. Let my words fall like rain on tender grass, like gentle showers on young plants." Deuteronomy 32:2 

No better scripture for this morning's rainy day VBS. Prayers for Meredith and Heather as they lead our young ones to great truth! 






Saturday, June 11, 2016

blueberries and BeBe





Brad Pitt, right?  

We go to the blueberry farm every year to pick berries and eat popsicles after we've lathered ourselves in bug spray but can I just say that it is 1,000,00 times easier now that everyone is older?

Praising God for a new season of life- big kid season.  It's as sweet as a big fat juicy Louisiana berry.