Thursday, August 30, 2007

If you can't beat em, join em

Anna Grace was walking around the house this morning greeting her family members with, "happy football day!" I had visions of her going to school and her teachers wondering why this child was fixated on a fictitious "football" holiday. But it was amusing. And for those of you who don't live in SEC country, LSU played it's first football game of the season tonight- a day Jack looks forward to every year. Clearly, one of the major paternal influences in our family has been one of LSU football indoctrination. But it's something I'm learning to live with and embrace. I like to think of it as being incarnational- a concept I picked up from Jack's anthropology course while he was in seminary ( I did a lot of osmosis-type learning in those days). It's showing people love by taking on the characteristics and norms of their culture. When Jesus came, the Word became flesh and he became a man- living among us, eating, talking, breathing so that he could relate and ultimately love us.
So it's a small way I'm trying to show love to my husband. Putting on the LSU shirt with a smile. Maybe it's a stretch, but I'm going to go with it.
And it's okay. We're going to Atlanta tomorrow to spend the weekend with my Auburn buddies. Maybe Jack will don some orange and blue...

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Baby and Ballet


Big day.

My nephew, Kendrick David Hill, was born today at 8 lbs, 3 oz and 20 3/4 inches. Jennifer and baby are doing well and Cavett, I know, is a proud big brother. He was born at around 4:45 today. Mom called this morning at around 7:30 and was already close to Houston! Needless to say, she made it in plenty of time.

In other news, it was Anna Grace's first day of ballet lessons. She lived up to her name, gracefully tapping and pointing as Miss Christy led the 15 little girls through the motions. From what I could tell through the tiny window in the door, she did beautifully. I really feel like I have a little dancer on my hands. I have mom moments frequently, but I definately felt motherly today- nursing Zeke and waiting expectantly with BB outside the door to the studio. Later, Jack and I kept asking her how things went and as she kind of passed on speaking, we recounted being asked similar questions growing up and having a similar reluctance to outline and highlight the day's events. I guess I'll just have to get used to it.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Battle places

As I was treating my six foot, three hundred pound patient today, I was thinking that I kind of missed working with kids. As a physical therapist, it was always just easier to manipulate and maneuver little appendages- not to mention the singing and game-playing that pediatric PT involves. It was just a little more fun. But I've got a really good deal right now, working just three days a week in rehab and I try to remember that God is really using me where I am. I was reading Corrie Ten Boom's "Marching Orders for the End Battle" tonight and this kind of stuck out at me. She wrote, "Our everyday life is our battle place. A part of God's strategy is to appoint the place where we have to fight. We cannot escape it by looking for another front line." She goes on to say that as we abide in Him, He gives us our place and gives us the strength to stand our ground. It is sometimes hard for me to feel like I strike a balance being a working mom- having to leave my little ones to go to work- but clearly, the Lord has put me in this place for a time. So as I interact and work with the people He's put in my path, I'm trying to find strength in Jesus, abide in Him, and know that I'm fighting where He's placed me. The big and tall patient I'm working with now needs Jesus and he certainly needs His love as he works through not being able to stand, negotiating a wheelchair, and learning how to walk again after major spinal surgery and infection. So I'll stand my post. I'll stay in my own battle place. And I'll draw my strength from the Vine.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

The up and up

Today was a much better day for little Zeke. He woke up without a fever and after a third toe-stick, the pediatrician found that his white blood cell count had gone down. This picture is of him greeting me after his three hour nap today. Yeah Zeke!!! And praise God for His healing touch!!!

My mom gets MVFM (Most Valuable Family Member- Jack likes to assign this title to people every now and then) for the weekend for keeping Anna Grace while Zeke recovers and for spending the morning working on our yard.

Anna Grace had a great day and had five secrets to tell me before she went to bed:
(I'm sure she wouldn't mind my disclosing them)
1. I will not cry.
2. I will not get out of bed.
3. I will not get in your bed.
4. I will not cry.
5. I will get a new puppy.
She told me today that she was "so smart."
It sure is busy and at times difficult with these little ones, but so worth it.

Friday, August 24, 2007

What you do when you are up with a baby

Zeke is still sick. He is such a sad little dude. He just couldn't get comfortable last night and therefore couldn't sleep. So as we rocked and rocked and rocked late into the night, I got a chance to watch something that Jack had recorded on CNN- Christiane Amanpour's special report entitled God's Warriors.
It was really interesting and it's running again this weekend if you get a chance to tune in. It is an account of Judaism, Islam, and Christianity and what Amanpour presents as the most radical and fundamental of the faiths and the political tensions, violence, and controversies that ensue. At first I was disappointed by her presentation of Christianity and the most devout of my faith. Initially, she presented the predictable abortion clinic bombings and fundamentalist hard-liners. But she also displayed some interesting nuances of the current climate of evangelical Christianity in America. And she ended with a really intriguing piece on a movement called Battlecry. Unbeknownst to me, it's a huge ministry outside of Tyler, TX devoted to reaching a new generation of young people for Jesus. The series ended with Amanpour interacting with a girl in her early 20's at a Battlecry event in San Fransisco. The girl was just walking down the hallway by herself, singing. Amanpour was intrigued by her, followed her, and ultimately asked her why she was singing and who she was singing to. The girl told Amanpour that she was simply singing a song of thanksgiving to the Lord. She proceeded to tell the world how Jesus had changed her life and how excited He made her feel. It was really moving. It really struck me... These are God's warriors. The Lord is building an army with these young warriors for Him. They don't fight with bombs or bullets, but with prayer and love, because they know that "our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places." (Ephesians 6:12)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Literal Football Fever

Poor little Zeke has had a fever and has just not felt well since Tuesday. I took him to see the pediatrician and he got a shot of antibiotics- hopefully he'll feel better soon. Jack gave him a bath tonight and to help him feel better, he made up a delightful little song. Now I know where Anna Grace gets it. It's to the tune of "Camptown Races." It goes like this, "Football starts next Thursday... Doo-dah, Doo-dah, Football starts next Thursday... oh the doo-dah day." There are verses in which "maybe mommy will make a snack," and "daddy's going to drink a beer," are interjected. It made Zeke laugh. And me. I thought that blogging would be a good way for me to chronicle the funny little things that my children do, but I didn't really think about recording the musings of my husband. Jack and I often acknowledge the fact that God really made us for each other because I really think Jack's funny when maybe a lot of times other people wouldn't. For example, Jack is really into Tim Tebow right now. He's the University of Florida's quarterback and, more importantly, Jack's fantasy football QB. He is actually a really neat guy- this article is really worth the read, but I think Jack's words were that he chose Tebow because he loves Jesus, but also because he's "a machine". All that to say, Jack came home with a bunch of Tim Tebow jokes today like, "there are no disabled people... only people who run into Tim Tebow," and "Tim Tebow doesn't drink milk because if he did, his bones would be so strong that he would kill anyone he touched." Even now as I write it, it's not that funny, but it sure did crack Jack up. And I have to admit... it really amused me as well. Am I right? Did the Lord make a match or what? :)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Newbies

Here we are. We were so excited about our first "Back to School Night" as parents. My mom came over for dinner and to keep the kids while we went out. Her comment was, "you'll get over it." I guess after 20 years worth of these kinds of gigs, my mom got kind of tired of it. But by the second hour of talk about peanut allergies and carpool instructions, I was over it. We had a good laugh when we got home. I'm really glad that Anna Grace's teachers are thoughtful and cover all of their bases, but it seems like a lot for preschool. But I'm in for the long haul. I'm sure this is the first of many such nights for Jack and Candace Chaney.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Samuel's story

This is Zeke with his buddy, Samuel. They were Bumbo buddies this past weekend (thanks for sharing, Zion!!). Samuel is my friend Lydia's baby and he is quite a remarkable little guy. I say that because he already has such an amazing testimony and he's not quite six months yet. It was Lydia's second birthing experience and we were all praying for redemption of the process since it was so traumatic the first go-around. With Benjamin (who is Anna Grace's age), she had a lot of unexplained and mysterious internal bleeding leading to an emergency C-section and just an overall scary experience. So we prayed for a normal, healthy delivery for Samuel and He delivered. Lydia had a really normal, healthy delivery. But just a day after he was born, Samuel stopped breathing and had a seizure. After lots of tests and tears, they found that he had had some kind of intracranial bleed. So we prayed some more. Lots of people prayed. Probably some of you reading this prayed. And now little Samuel is the most talkative and healthy little five month old you've ever seen. He's not missed a developmental beat. At his follow up physical therapy visit to assess his development, he got the "talker of the week" award. And the thing is, the bleed was in the temporal lobe- the brain's center of speech and language. So was really a wonderful thing for me this past weekend to see him and hold him and thank God for the way he healed our little Samuel.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Bunker













We met at “the Bunker” this weekend for our reunion with all our buddies from our seminary days. The Bunker, as the Rupps dubbed it, is where our friend, John Harrigan, grew up- a ‘70s style underground house tucked away in rural north-central Arkansas. Snowball, Arkansas, to be exact. It was a perfect fit for us- a room for everyone, no neighbors to disturb, and plenty of room for our toddlers to run and screech in delight as they enjoyed each other’s company. It was an amazing time for us. The highlights were having the kids ride Dan the horse (Anna Grace hooped and hollered "yeee-haw!") and swimming and a picnic by the Buffalo River. Needless to say, we wore them out. As my friend, Lydia, so aptly put it when referring to the kids, “It’s so fun when they’re awake, but it’s so fun when they’re asleep.” When the eight kids were asleep, the “grown ups” really got to connect. We laughed and cried as we dug deep and shared our hearts, lifting each other up in prayer interspersed with soft guitar refrains and songs of worship. To be in a community of friends who really know you and really love you was refreshment from the Lord- for all of us, I think. It wasn’t always a calm, relaxed weekend, but it was good. And it was one we will not soon forget.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Round two

Tomorrow the Chaney family is off for another adventure. We're headed to Arkansas to meet up with our friends from our time in Kentucky- a really special group of people with whom we've developed a really extraordinary bond. Together, we started a small bible study group as four married couples. We've now doubled our size. Taken about two years ago, this picture is of what I like to call, "round one," Lydia and Benjamin, me and Anna Grace, Korrie and Jesse, and Kayla and Bright. We are now getting together with "round two." All boys this time. Korrie had her Zeke in October, I had mine in February, Samuel came in March, and little Zion in May. I'm really excited to see them because we just have a really neat connection. I'm sure you know what I mean. Just little things. I was talking to Lydia the other day and I told her that I was running again and she was so excited for me- just because she really knows me and what that does for my heart. I can instantly connect with Kayla no matter how long it's last been that we talked. Korrie is an awesome friend- always keeping it real with dry humor and a knack for thoughtfulness. I love them. And the guys share a passion for God and a love for each other despite the jabs and jokes. Needless to say, I'm excited. I'll let you know how it all goes.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

First Day

It was Anna Grace's first day at Montessori today. She had a great day. What's funny is that I was laying in bed last night at 10:30 and I couldn't sleep. I kept wondering what it was... why I couldn't sleep. Did I have caffeine too late in the day? Had I slept too much the night before? (Ha, ha). Then it dawned on me. It was Anna Grace's first day tomorrow and I was excited, anxious, and nervous for her. But when I picked her up today, her teacher gave me a great report. When asked what her favorite part of the day was, Anna Grace told me that she was- and I quote- "pleased to paint." She played with Raspberry the gerbil and made new friends. BB thoughtfully made her cookies for her first after-school day and it was an all-around success. My little girl is growing up, too.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Sweet dreams


In an effort to get Zeke to sleep through the night, I instituted the "dream feed" at 10:00ish a month or so ago. I get him out of bed and take him to my room to feed him. Jack and I discuss things and watch Anderson Cooper re-hash the day's events as he eats and he never really wakes up. He just eats in his sleep. Tonight, he finished eating and opened his eyes just enough to say hi. Jack held that little fuzzy head in his hand as he was smiling and talking to him. Zeke gave him a half-grin- just turned up one corner of his mouth and closed his eyes. Back to sleep he went. It was so peaceful, so sweet, so precious.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Better than wine

I was rocking Zeke at 6:45 tonight and thinking to myself that there is no way that I'm not going to be in bed within the hour. I was so tired. But- I'm trying to run a 10K for my 30th birthday in October and so I really need to keep up the running schedule. So after I put Anna Grace to bed, I drug myself out into the sweltering August heat and started my run. I have my MP3 player filled with worship songs- mostly from the Passion CDs and IHOP prayer room jams which really pick me up and get me going. By the time I was 1/2 mile into it, it was great. And after 1 1/2 miles, it was really great. I've never tried crack-cocaine, but I really don't think it could be better this. I'm serious. Your heart comes alive when you get a runner's/Holy Spirit high, running and singing in your heart, "Hallelujah," and "victory belongs to you, God," and "You're the God of promise... you're never through with me." As I ran through my neighborhood against a wispy orange against blue sunset, it really struck me that I should share this experience. So tonight I wanted to encourage any of you reading who struggle, as I do, with these physical and spiritual disciplines. Sometimes it can be so hard to do on the front end, but it is really enjoyable once you delve in. I don't share this as someone who has become strong in these disciplines. It's as much a reminder to myself as to you. Left to my own devices, I usually sit on the couch, drink Diet Coke, eat brownies and watch episodes of "Flip that House" until I crawl into bed . But as it says in the Song of Solomon, "your love is better than wine." (Song 1:1) His love, encountering Jesus, is better, more exhilarating than any thing this world has to offer. And we are mandated to "honor God with our bodies." (1 Corinthians 6:20) So hit the pavement, sing a song of worship, dive into scripture. Do them together or separately- whatever works, but I'm here to tell you, it's a pretty awesome combination.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Sunday blahs


Jack has coined the term "Sunday blahs" to refer to that feeling you get on Sunday night. Monday starts to creep into your mind and steal that carefree weekend feeling you had since Friday afternoon. Well, I've got a case tonight. But for the past eight months, I've had quite a good remedy. A group of eight of us have been meeting on Sunday nights for our small group Bible study and it has really helped in diverting attention to things eternal. I have been really blessed by this group of people and tonight was kind of our last meeting as this particular mix of people. We're opening it up to more people and we're meeting in a couple of weeks to expand and grow this ministry. It's always kind of hard to move on to the next thing, but when God gives you a blessing, it's best not to hold onto it too tight that you miss the up and coming blessing that's on its way by following His leading. Holding onto my comfort zone group is what's exacerbating my Sunday blahs tonight, I think. But I'm looking forward to what's ahead as we forge onto that next group or groups and I'm praying that God will pave the way for this next experience, that we will know Him more fully and in turn love Him and each other more deeply.
ps- If you squint really hard, you can see Jamie, Will, Jack, and Josh. It's a small group. Get it?

Saturday, August 11, 2007

At Rainbow Park



This Saturday we caught up with some old friends. Some BFF-ers. It seems like yesterday that we were sipping Icees, driving through Shreveport with the windows down and singing Indigo Girls- but it was 15ish years ago. Emily now lives in St. Louis and Laura is now in Memphis. It was so good to catch up. And it's so good to a be able to pick up where you left off with friends. I get to keep up with them every once and a while through email and maybe once or twice a year when we can get together in Shreveport, but it always feels easy. We now have five babies between the three of us and it was fun to have them play at the park while we swapped mommy stories and chatted about life. And their babies are as cute as can be.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Fill me up


We had kind of a rough night and as you can see, Anna Grace ended up on the couch. Bless her heart. But last night was mostly my fault- I lost my patience. This morning things were better. When I was taking a shower, she came in to tell me something and we chatted through the shower curtain. Then she started singing a song the way she does. She just takes a thought, makes up a little melody and sings it over and over. This morning it was, "I'm going to be a person like that someday." I think she may have been thinking about how one day, she'll take showers. Who knows. But it was really a word for me. She watches me and picks up on every little thing I say and do. It's a big responsibility to teach this little person how to be loving, joyful, peaceful, kind, faithful, good, gentle, patient, and self-controlled. As parents, it is incumbent upon us to emulate these fruits of the spirit and there is only one way to do that. As my dear friend, Kayla, put it-- we need to be filled up (with the spirit) so that we can be poured out- that our children may see God and know God - forever. And that is my prayer.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Little victories

Zeke slept all through the night last night! Huge news for the Chaney family. Anna Grace thought he deserved a special treat.
He's learning to sit up and took an upright bath last night for the first time. I love this age. It's my absolute favorite. They're not quite mobile yet and they are so cuddly and smiley and fun.
My little boy is growing up.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Just what you need - just when you need it

It was one of those days that you just feel frazzled, stretched too thin, too tired to give. I'm now working part-time (three days a week) in inpatient rehab. Today I was buried in assessments and discharge summaries, with a schedule that was jam-packed- even a meeting through lunch. The kids hadn't slept well last night, so I started the day a little tired and things kept piling up on my heart and brain. It was Zeke's second day at daycare and he hadn't done so well on his first. I'm working with people all day and at the end of the day, I was wiped. But I had a really friendly and hard-working patient who I had worked with for the past couple of days and she was going to be able to go home tomorrow. As I was saying my good-byes, I rolled her wheelchair to her room and wished her the best. She had one more request. She wanted me to get a cup full of what looked like candies from her bedside table. I handed her the styrofoam cup and she picked one of the red hearts out and pressed it into my hand. She looked at me and in a really genuine way told me that God loved me and He is always with me. She wanted me to always remember that and to take this pocket heart as a reminder. What simple, sweet truth. What refreshment.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Politics on a Monday night

Jack and I have really gotten into this up coming presidential election. We aren't really thrilled about our choices thus far, but it got me thinking about the proverbial "issues" and what is important to me and what should be important to me as a Christian (i.e. what does the Lord say?) I am and have been a single issue voter (pro-life) and I think that this is probably the most urgent and important crisis facing our nation today, but I have recently started thinking about what else is of priority when making voting decisions.
Jack and I recently had a conversation with some friends of ours with very different worldviews and political leanings. I found it hard to express my stand on things because I guess I could be labeled an "evangelical Christian," a term that is widely used but poorly understood by the rest of the world. I hate being labeled, in the first place, as anything other than a disciple of Jesus- "Christian" is fine with me. It encompasses evangelism inherently. Doesn't it?
The pro-life cause and other traditionally "conservative" causes are very important to me, but so is taking care of our environment. Not that I'm some champion of environmental causes, but I would like to do something and I am concerned about taking care of God's creation. I stumbled across a really interesting commentary on this struggle for those of us who step out of the "evangelical" box on this issue.
So I don't know who we'll even have the opportunity to vote for, but I guess it's good that at least we're thinking...

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Grandma's love

We are and have been so blessed with having our moms close. It's something that I think our mobile and on-the-go generation has lost- many of us living far away from our extended family. But after having our second little one after having moved back home, I truly appreciate the value of that support system and the love and wisdom that flows from our moms who have been there and done that. Zeke starts daycare tomorrow and he's almost six months old. Thanks to Jack's mom (BB), we haven't had to deal with a tiny baby at daycare and the ear aches, runny noses, and heartaches that accompany that. My mom helped some, too, this summer while she was off from teaching school and she often keeps one or two of the kids on Sunday night when we're off at small group. BB has taken Anna Grace for special days this year to Bible Study Fellowship and is always meeting a need when she sees one. That's her gift. Nana is always there to validate or offer words of comfort or give a baby a bath when I'm just worn out. I love the moms in my life and I'm so thankful for their kindnesses and their love. My kids are really blessed with exceptional grandmas.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

One of these days

It's been all about Anna Grace lately. I guess she's on a roll.
We had a great day. My very young 86-year-old Memaw and my super fun Aunt DD came for a visit from Tyler, TX. We spent most of the day with them and then went to dinner with BB and Pop Pop (Jack's parents). Anna Grace had a great time, had her bubble bath, and then we went through her bedtime ritual with three books, prayers, and stay-in-bed strategies. So tonight as we said our prayers, she really kind of got it that it was God who was listening. She got excited about it and said that she wanted to "go up" and see Jesus, God, and Dadoo (my dad- she knows about him being in heaven with Jesus). I told her that one day we WILL be able to go there and how it will be really awesome. As I was on my run later tonight, I heard Jason Upton's song, "One of these Days," talking about how "one of these days, we're gonna go... over [the] Jordan... where justice will roll down like water" and "one of these days we're gonna go where love never dies... people are peaceful... with no battle lines... joy is abundant in everyone's praise... we're gonna go there... one of these days." Anna Grace really touched on what I really yearn for. Not that I have a death wish, but don't we all yearn for the time when we will behold the beauty of Jesus at a whole other level? Don't we all yearn for an end to the injustices of this world? For peace, unabashed love, and a deeper revelation of who we truly are in Christ? For our King? For now, I guess I'll just try and live in the reality that this is my 70-90 year internship for what is to come in eternity. It's sometimes hard to rise above the day to day, mundaneness of everyday life, but it's something to strive to rise above as we look forward to that awesome and glorious day...

Friday, August 3, 2007

The Masterpiece

Here's Anna Grace's latest creation. And here's her explanation:
The squiggly orange lines to your right are daddy. The blue lines
oriented vertically toward the middle are mommy going to the hospital. The orange half-circle with the dots and coloring in it is mommy's belly when Zeke came out. The blue circle to the bottom left is Zeke. And the orange dots all over the page... those are Georgia's paw prints. Exquisite. Truly a work of art.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Cupcake serenade


Imagine, if you can, Bob Marley's "Stir it Up," alternating with a refrain of "botulism." "Come on an stir it up... little darlin'... botulism... little darlin... botulism..." This is what Jack taught Anna Grace as we made cupcakes this afternoon before dinner. She was sneaking spoonfuls of cupcake dough (made with raw eggs, of course), so Jack told her that it would give her botulism. Not salmonella. Botulism. The "stir it up" came from the stirring, of course. So the two got mixed into one and that's the soft, catchy line Anna Grace sang as she scooped the dough into the paper liners. Priceless.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Piecing it together

It's fascinating to watch a toddler learn. Anna Grace has been learning words like "dilemma" and "fantastic." She can now write an "A" and a "G" that is almost discernible and I'll never forget her excitement when she realized that she could "write her name." It's always kind of funny when we have a conversation where I have to explain some commonplace thing to her. Like the other day we had a big discussion about the difference between buying something and renting it. She accepts my explanations and moves on, but a smile kind of lingers with me as she soaks in all this information. Tonight she was working an interlocking puzzle and she was asking for help. It's hard to patiently guide her through the process of looking at the picture, lining things up, turning the piece, and pushing the pieces together instead of doing it for her. But the more she figures out on her own, the more she learns. I guess that's how it works. We just have to do it- do things that at first we think we can't do on our own to learn and grow. I'm just glad I have the opportunity to have a front row seat to watch this little one take it all in.