Monday, September 28, 2015

our team

Having three kids with three different soccer schedules creates an intense calendar (and laundry) situation. While you would think it would scatter our family, it has actually helped us rally around one another.  They wear three different colors, but we're team Chaney and I hope they'll remember these days as glorious- the days in which their family sat on the sidelines and cheered for them, win or lose.  Like my laundry room basket that gathers uniforms, my heart gathers soccer memories of hands raised in victory, legs pushed to the limit, and spirits that don't quit. 

Go team.

And as a side note, we are really enjoying them being kids.   Won't last long.

Thursday, September 24, 2015


1.  When my mom moved out of her house, I inherited some of the classic literature collected from our required reading in high school. I recently picked up Hemmingway's The Old Man and the Sea.  I don't remember if I had read it before as high school was a good 20 years ago, but I loved it.  What a story!  My favorite quote:

"Now is no time to think of what you do not have.  Think of what you can do with what there is."  

Even now, I feel bedraggled and time-poor.  But it's so true- now is no time to think of what energy and time I don't have. What can I do with what there is- that is the question.

2.  I think I've mentioned it a time or two before, but my husband loves college football.  But even though his purple and gold love runs deep, his love for us runs deeper still.  Case in point: Jack very well could have decided our five-year-old was better off not going to Saturday's game.  Instead, on one of the hottest game days of all time, my husband held our sweaty, sleeping son in Tiger Stadium and left early so to take care of him.  This is love.

3.  Speaking of loving your kids, my Wednesday morning group has been reading and discussing Mark Batterson's book Praying Circles Around Your Children.  It's short on pages, but packs a punch with its message.

"Prayer is the way we take our hands off and place our children in the hands of God." 

It's so good, y'all.

4. Speaking of good:  "Thin Blue Flame" by Josh Ritter.  I may be late to the game, but this is one of my recent favorites. He's got a new album coming out soon and he'll be in Dallas in January so..... yes.

5.  I don't know what the deal is with National Such and Such Day, but FB sure does keep you up to speed on it all.  So to bookend the post, I'd like to take the opportunity to express my gratitude to our amazing Creator and generous Giver for Anna Grace on this National Daughter Day.  I'm so glad she's mine.

And that is all.


Thursday, September 17, 2015

what I saw at Ki Mexico (besides some amazing tacos)

Jack's friend from high school and also-incidentally- the husband of my friend Korrie's midwife

On our date last night, Jack and I went to the newest, most hisptery-ist place in town, Ki Mexico.  It was packed (why wouldn't it be with a beer/taco pairing night that included coffee and chili chipotle crusted brisket with black beans and carmelized onions with a Baltic porter?) but in the corner, I noticed our friend working away at his turntable- a stack of records behind in him and a couple spinning discs in front.  Plenty of people noticed the music and tapped their foot or even sang along (I did), but I saw our music man- him in the light, a big loud distracted crowd framing him, and I slipped out my camera and took a blind shot.

Noticing is one of the greatest gifts the habit of photography has to offer.  And in noticing our buddy in the corner, I was reminded that our Creator sees us and notices us- even if no one else ever does.  He sees our work, what we're doing, how we're doing it, all the time.  He sees our struggles and our victories and our diligence and our weariness and He loves us in the midst of it all.  If we so choose, we can live and work in His light, making our own kind of music by the work of our hands.


"The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.."  2 Chronicles 16:9 (NLT)

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

morning montage

In the spirit of Monday's post, I captured a few moments of morning love on Tuesday.  So I leave you with these and a thought for the day:

"No work of art exalts itself.  The only reason for its existence is the will and talent of the artist.  As God's workmanship, we are to reflect our Savior by living for Him and not ourselves."  
Charles Stanley

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Sidewalk Tigers

Like Auburn and LSU football?  If so, you can get your fill of fun-filled sports talk when you search "Sidewalk Tigers" on iTunes-  a new podcast by my husband and brother that is three episodes in the making.

They're adorable.  And highly educated I promise- even if they didn't go to LSU or Auburn.

I've tried to think existentially about how the human heart could possibly be so enthralled with college sports that one could talk about it for hours and hours, but I didn't come up with much.  Maybe it's part human ability and creativity in a completed pass or run, a perfect touchdown, or athletic achievement at its pinnacle.  Maybe it's a fascination with what will happen, what might happen, what could happen.  Maybe it's a mirroring of the struggle of good and evil and the ingrained desire for justice or maybe pride.  I don't know.  Maybe it's just fun.  If you tune in, you'll certainly hear my beloved Sidewalk Tigers having it and in their way, creating something beautiful.

Play on, boys!  

Monday, September 14, 2015

the sweetest hours

I love mornings.  I haven't always appreciated them, but as I strolled the neighborhood this morning, coffee in one hand and a dog leash in the other, I realized I've come to know the early morning as one of the best things about being alive on planet earth.  There's just something about a morning that draws one out of oneself- the gaze of the heart is up and out, hope rising with the light.   

I don't remember much about mornings as a kid, but I do remember Saturday mornings:  pajamas, the Smurfs, and blanket forts well before my parents woke.  I must have been like my kids are now- early risers, too much fomo to linger in bed for too long.  As a child, mornings were beautiful.  But teenage growth hormone turned me from an eager beaver into a sluggish morning monster and sadly, mornings became my nemesis. I remember sitting on the couch watching the Weather Channel (our Dent family routine), wondering how I could will myself to get moving much less have a good attitude while doing it.  Granted, my relationship with sleep has always been tumultuous, but dysania became the norm and for many years, I never met a morning I enjoyed. 

But you do what you have to do when you have to do it, so all those years in college and grad school and marriage and work, I got up when I absolutely had to.  And then I had babies. 


There's nothing like having sleepless babies to mess with your sleep schedule.  I might have been up at 5:00 am in those days, but if I was, it wasn't pretty.

And coffee.  So much coffee.

Of course, God was faithful and good to me in that season.  He saw me through it, but kids grow and I find myself in a new season, able to go to bed early and rise early.  I spent a couple of years praying about how I could do that and it has finally happened.  I'm just now realizing that not only are these early mornings a sweet gift from God, they are also an answer to prayer.  Kind of like the slice of cake after a big healthy meal, a late night has lost its luster and I've traded it for the beauty of the cool morning air, the rising sun, and the quiet heralding of a new day.  I'm able to meet my waking children with a smile and a kiss and mornings are now my new favorite- a gift that had just been sitting there, waiting to be unopened and enjoyed.  Mornings are beautiful again, but maybe even better than I remember.

So set your alarm and give my new friend Early Morning a chance.  She's a beauty.

I've come to learn that the sweetest hours are the morning ones. 

Friday, September 11, 2015


The heavens declare the glory of God as does an iridescent dragonfly, fibonacci numbers in his wings.


Thursday, September 10, 2015

oh, the possibilities!

"The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls."  Pablo Picasso

"I fell up."  Ben Bethard, the imagination behind the photograph

"The world isn't full of artists and talentless rubes, and creativity isn't the property of a privileged few.  Rather, it's an attribute of every human being.  Those who think, 'I'm not creative' prove this statement untrue every time they make a peach pie, plant a flower bed, or plan a party.  To be human is to be creative, and to understand why, one need look no further than Genesis 1 and  2... As image bearers, we have been given the gift of creativity, and it allows us to impose order upon disorder, to imagine and make, and to steward the world in such a way that it's better than we found it."  
Mike Cosper

Here's to pulling order out of disorder, seeing the possibilities within ourselves and all around us, and to the Master Creator who made us in His image.  Now go make some time and space to create today!  

Monday, September 7, 2015

labor and rest

Coushatta, LA
So we had bunches of fun enjoying Labor Day way out in the country but Ann Voskamp's Labor Day prayer is right on as our heads hit our pillows in preparation for tomorrow's tasks: 

"...on Labor Day, there's a whole bunch of weary women and tired men who labor even on days like this, Lord, heroes who don't shirk back when the alarm goes off and they hit the floor because they know they're called and they go slay their dragons... people who labor hard, like everything depends on them, but pray harder because they know everything really depends on You, people who aren't afraid of dirt under their fingernails because they know all work is good work because it makes this world a better place and makes us the better for it.  On this Labor Day, it's the joy of faithful work that lets the faithful enjoy real rest.  Please bless us all with labor, Lord, and bless the laborers with strength for their calling... In the name of Him who was a carpenter and knows what it means to make your life into a labor of love, in Jesus' name.  Amen." 

Amen indeed. 

the connect

Right now in my little corner of the universe, human connection looks like Asher and Zeke-  brothers putting star stickers all over each other's face and giggling.  Last night, connection was over fried chicken and a lot of purple and gold with our LSU-loving friends.  Wednesday, it was an hour and forty five minutes (shocking!) on the phone with Lydia in South Carolina. I think we both woke up a little bleary eyed but with a heart that much more full.    
We were made to connect with one another, to know we are loved and we belong.  Maybe that's even part of the draw of wearing the same colors and gathering at stadiums to cheer on college kids playing a ball game.

This past week I listened to this TED talk twice.
The main idea: allow yourself and others to be who they are- their real authentic selves, help them know they are loved and they BELONG.  They're good enough, they made the team, they're in- no matter what.  We belong to each other but eve more than that, we BELONG to the One who made us, who gave up everything to be with us forever.  To connect.  

Who knew giggles over star stickers could move a soul a little closer to wholeheartedness?  

"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, becauseGod is love." I John 4:7-8

Friday, September 4, 2015


He's 5-years-old, his favorite food is a chicken sandwich with pickles, and he likes hockey "because it's a tough game."  His favorite thing about school is going outside and learning math.  He wants to be a hockey player, climb a mountain, and ride a rollercoaster.  This little guy is certainly full of life, certainly loved, and certainly bound for great heights! 

Monday, August 31, 2015

just do your best

On game three, day two of the Cabosa Cup soccer tournament, I was sitting at the edge of my seat, so sweaty but so proud.  And having so much fun.

My eight-year-old middle child, such a sweet spirited, sometimes-hesitant and always-cautious kid, was giving it all he had on the soccer field.  The score was irrelevant- Zeke was running as fast as he could, playing the best that he could and what else could you ever ask for?  I had watched from the sidelines too many times knowing he was holding back, not disappointed (after all, I share his middle childness and his hesitancy) but hopeful that one day he would give it all he's got.  That's all I wanted to see- Zeke having fun ("so much fun!" he said), doing his best, giving his best, playing his best.

so proud of this guy

It's so simple:  just do your best.

We're given an inhale as a gift.  We can exhale with our best effort as an offering of thanksgiving.

Our Father loves us fully when we're struggling and when we're on the bench and even when we throw up our hands, but I think He must really love it when we just do our best.  He's spoken it to my heart these past months and it's true:  You can't do everything, just do everything you can.  When we give it our all day by day and hour by hour, I think He must be smiling wide saying, "That's my girl!" I don't think He's ever disappointed in us as much as He's hopeful for us, that we would look to Him for strength and run full force the path before us.  Just doing our best.

Like Andy Stanley pointed out in our study last night, his invitation to in-the-midst-of-great-sin-and-shame tax collector Matthew was simple:  "Follow me."  Its simplicity is freeing, isn't it?  You don't have to be perfect or have it all together, you just accept the invitation to follow Jesus and you do your best minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day.  You do your best for Him and when you fall down, you ask Him to help you up.

You just do your best.


"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart..." Colossians 3:23

Saturday, August 29, 2015

"goodness occurred and he tasted it"

A jog to the church following the boys on bikes + a couple more miles with mom + an accidental wandering through the neighborhood 'cause the gate got left open + play with his other puppy friend Ruby Lou = Banjo's best day of his life.  August 22, 2015

The best and most creative, insightful description of animal consciousness I've ever read (and maybe the only one!?): 

"Mr. Bultitude's mind was as furry and unhuman in shape as his body.  He did not remember, as a man in his situation would have remembered, the provincial zoo from which he had escaped during a fire, not his first snarling and terrified arrival at the Manor, not the slow stages whereby he had learned to love and trust its inhabitants.  He did not know that he loved and trusted them now.  He did not know that they were people, nor that he was a bear.  Indeed, he did not know that he existed at all:  everything that is represented by the words I and Me and Thou was absent from his mind.  When Mrs. Maggs gave him a tin of golden syrup, as she did every Sunday morning, he did not recognise either a giver or a recipient.  Goodness occurred and he tasted it.  And that was all.  Hence his loves might, if you wished, be all described as cupboard loves:  food and warmth, hands that caressed, voices that reassured, were their objects.  But if by a cupboard love you meant something cold or calculating you would be quite misunderstanding the real quality of the beast's sensations.  He was no more like a human egoist than he was like a human altruist.  There was no prose in his life.  The appentencies which a human mind might disdain as cupboard loves were for him quivering and ecstatic aspirations which absorbed his whole being, infinite yearnings, stabbed with the threat of tragedy and shot through with the colour of Paradise.  One of our race, if plunged back for a moment in the warm, trembling, iridescent pool of that pre-Adamite consciousness, would have emerged believing that he had grasped the absolute:  for the states below reason and the states above it have, by their common constast to the life we know, a certain superficial resemblance.  Sometimes there returns to us from infancy the memory of a nameless delight or terror, unattached to any delightful or dreadful thing, a potent adjective floating in a nounless void, a pure quality.  At such moments we have experience of the shallows of that pool.  But fathoms deeper than any memory can take us, right down in the central warmth and dimness, the bear lived all its life."  C.S. Lewis, That Hideous Strength

Thursday, August 27, 2015

how much love

Happy birthday Meg!

"How Many, How Much"  by Shel Silverstein
How many slams in an old screen door?
    Depends how loud you shut it.
How many slices in a bread?
    Depends how thin you cut it.
How much good inside a day?
    Depends how good you live 'em.
How much love inside a friend?
    Depends how much you give 'em.  

Happy birthday Korrie and Lee!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

a season

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

 These past weeks, we've had birthdays to celebrate, food to savor, lessons to learn, eyes to look deeply into, battles to fight, laughs to share, hearts to spill, plans to make, and sun to soak up.  Time and space for reflection on it all is in short supply but hopefully that will come in due season.  Seasons change, you know.  They always do.