Thursday, July 31, 2008

In the hospital or in the prayer room- He hears


I'm linking you to my friend Lydia's blog today about the great big God who hears us. See her awesome post.

It's interesting because when Lydia and Benjamin were at the prayer room, I was having one of the worst days I've ever had at work. One of my patients fell and busted up his elbow (fell down six or so steps) and a 350 lb. paraplegic patient of mine had a bowel accident as I was attempting- in vain- to transfer her from the wheelchair to the therapy mat. It eventually took four other people to help me get her back in her chair. It was one of those days when everything just goes wrong at once.

I was walking down the hospital hallway wondering how I could keep from crying as I went to talk to the crew at the nurses station when my heart just kind of sent up a quick cry for help to the God who hears.

I had never really thought about it before Lydia's post, but it's so true. If you think He can't hear, you don't cry out. If you think He can't see, you run and hide. If you think He doesn't care, you go your own way and try to make it on your own with bitterness in your heart.

I'm just really glad that we serve a God that DOES hear and DOES see and DOES care. I'm so thankful for the love that meets us in the hospital hallway as we fight back the tears.

So know that if you turn to Him and cry out, He hears. He sees. He cares. And the most amazing thing of all- despite our weakness and our failure and our shortcomings- He loves. Thanks, Lyd, for the reminder.

"One thing God has spoken, two things I have heard: that you, O God, are strong, and that you, O Lord, are loving." Psalm 61:11

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Dirty sticky yucky


We had a great time tonight playing soccer in the backyard after dinner- I got nice and dirty!
When we got a treat, my mom wanted me to hold the stick, but I insisted on eating my popsicle with a icy grip. Eventually, I decided that mom was right- it is better to hold the wooden part. I guess my mom is good for something!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Fun Fact Monday!


This is my Charleston-living, science teaching, world traveling, scuba loving, friend Lisa with puppy Tela. I was thinking about Lisa today on my run and how she loves the fun fact. So in honor of lovely Lisa Marie, I thought I would institute the fun fact Monday. So here you go. Five fun facts for today. (Lisa- if you're reading this, I need a shout out- it's been too long).

1. A baby koala is the size of a grape when it is first born.
2. About 17% of humans are left handed
3. The heaviest human brain ever recorded weighed 5 lbs, 1.1 oz.
4. October 10th (also my birthday) is National Metric Day.
5. If your three year old knows where you keep your kitchen scissors, beware. They can- and will- cut their own hair. AG is now sporting the layered look!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Saturday at the WBJ











Weekends at our house always include a morning and an afternoon activity. Saturday's am adventure was a nature walk at Walter B. Jacob Memorial Nature Park. It was a great choice- and surprisingly temperate for July in Louisiana. Of course, it wasn't the Red River Gorge of eastern Kentucky that we grew to love so much during our time in Lexington, but it's always good to take in a little nature now and then and the Walter B. was great for doing just that. Short, broad paths and informative plaques about the indigenous flora and fauna along the way are great for little ones- not to mention the snapping turtles you can check out inside the welcome center. We'll definitely work up to real hiking and biking when the kids are older, but the WBJ was perfect for a short morning outing in the woods. We'll be camping with some friends next weekend (between the four couples we'll have nine kids with the oldest of the bunch only turning four a few days ago)- I guess we're gearing up for roughing it with kiddos.

Sharing the love


I've been reminded lately how important it is to invest in and nurture relationships with the people who we bump into day in and day out. I have a natural tendency to want to stay in my own little world and I really love and sometime crave solitude, but what's most important when it all comes down is love- and what is love if not shared?

So when I had the thought to get my friends together to share our lives and to take some time to pray together this past week, I acted on it and it was great.

When I got an invitation for a birthday party that we weren't going to be able to attend, instead of just RSVPing a "no thanks," I suggested a play date instead. And even though I felt like we were going on a blind date, AG and her friend Kennedy had a great time while us moms hit it off like old friends.

When I saw my struggling friend at church whose husband is deployed to Guam until October, I drug her and her girls to lunch with us- even if it was just chicken and french fries.

That's the thing. So many times, I feel like my house isn't clean enough, or I'm not entertaining enough, or I don't have enough time, but even if other things fall by the wayside, at the end of the day, I'll be glad I spent my life sharing my heart than making sure all my proverbial i's were dotted and t's crossed.

So I'm going to try and remember to share my little life on this spinning planet a little more and reach out a little more in ways I haven't in the past. I may be hopping out of my comfort zone a little, but it's good. And practice makes perfect, right?

Friday, July 25, 2008

Twittering Junior


In case you're wondering, Junior has been busy traveling the world. China, Russia, and Germany- then on to outer space (on a rocket ship where she saw a purple comet) all in one day. She'll be back when we're out of town, I'm told. And one time, Junior was reportedly riding on a bulldozer and Anna Grace saw her and just shook her head and said, "not AGAIN!!!" Whatever that means.

We're having lots of fun with our imaginary friend.

Mr. Zesty


I was talking with my friends Nora and Rendi last night about the joker that is my husband. For those of you who haven't entered the world of Facebook, let me tell you about "status updates." On your Facebook profile page, you can enter whatever it is you're doing at the time, I guess to let your "friends" get a glimpse of life as you. Typical Facebook status updates are things like, "Candace... is ready for vacation," or "Candace... is sipping a Diet Coke," or "Candace... just got back from the movies." Jack has really taken a new twist on the status update much to his amusement. My favorites:

Jack... fancies the weekend
is walking for your love
is sad that Ed Truck died
is all business
is a North Louisiana all star
loves the Saturday and everything it stands for
believes in miracles (you sexy thing)
met the new boss (he's the same as the old boss)
is zesty
has more rhymes than the Bible has psalms
is king of the boom
glows in the dark
is renewing his mind
is in first place

Some are references to favorite TV shows or songs or pop-culture at large, but some are just random. Those seem to bring the greatest amount of enjoyment. And my husband really enjoys it. He'll think of it and tell me and just laugh. He's a joker. I was telling him this morning that it seems like everything's a joke these days... he's gone from joker to super joker.

He then proceeded to tell me that what I didn't know is that he's like Nintendo's Mario. Sometimes in the game he's little but sometimes, he becomes Super Mario. He then started humming duh, duh, duh, duh, dah, dah while giggling over his cheerios.

That's my man...

When you're tired, you're tired

Check out sleepy Samuel. Amazing!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Am I really?

During an episode of America's Funniest Home Videos (which apparently my children think is hilarious), a Febreze commercial provoked Jack to get me thinking. He told me that I am now that mom on the commercial spraying away the pesky smells that family life brings. It's a strange thought because I definitely don't think of myself like that- those women seem older and much more matronly. But I guess I am that woman. As I was ironing a tiny button-down tonight, I thought that maybe Jack was right- I am that mom they're trying to sell Febreze and Clorox wipes to. I guess. My house and life just seem so much messier than the emaculate white carpet and bright smiles of the television version. Go figure.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Small pleasures


Things that upgraded my otherwise ho-hum Tuesday from fair to good:

- my sister's post about my sweet nephew Cavett
- five brand new pair of socks compliments of Jack- there's nothing like brand new white socks
- my conversation with Anna Grace on the way home in which she used the phrases "you've got to be kidding me" and "well... not exactly."
- a major victory with Zeke's car seat which has been sitting on my dining room table for the past two days since I washed the cover- I finally got it put back together after days of wondering if I was going to figure it out or not
- a five mile run and a full night's sleep
- my mom's blueberry pound cake- yummy...

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Running for a cause


On my morning run through the neighborhood yesterday, I spotted a runner passed out in the front lawn of my church surrounded by four or five other runners huddled around with calm concern. I could tell from a distance that the girl had lifted her head out of the grass, signaling that she was both breathing and conscious. I briefly thought that without a cell phone or vehicle, I wasn't much help, so instead of stopping, I immediately ran the mile I had left to go to get my car and my purse to come back for my fallen comrade. Despite my hustle, the victim and her group had moved on by the time I returned, but it made me remember a conversation I had had with a fellow runner several weeks ago.

A co-worker of mine was telling me about a running podcast that she was listening to with the topic of the day being something about the why of why we runners run. My friend has developed an intense running addiction and is planning a marathon in the next year or so and the topic really caught her attention. We got to talking about it and what the guy on the podcast said really struck a chord with her. He said that the real motivation- the kind that really gets you going- is to run for something bigger than yourself. Very true.

As I glanced down at my ipod to check my distance, time, and pace at the end of my run yesterday, I had made a personal record for minutes per mile. In my concern for the injured runner, I unknowingly had picked it up for the good of someone else.

Consistently, my best runs are the ones in which I get caught up in worshiping my Creator, talking to Him, and interceding for others. I guess that's why there are so many "running the race" kind of metaphors in the Bible. Running for yourself wears you out and in the end, leads to burn out. But running for a cause greater than yourself propells you on with great perseverance and tenacity.

Running is a great stress reliever and a great way to stay in shape, but much more than that, I pray that running for Jesus and for the salvation of the world that He loves will be the force that drives me down the pavement day in and day out. Honestly, I don't know that my physical act of running has much to do to change the world, but I do know that it positions my heart in a place of fellowship with God-the God that has all power and all strength to do all things. Eventually my body with give out and I'll have to slow down at some point, but for now, I'll be running around South Highlands in Shreveport indefinitely- as long as my short little legs and the One who created them will carry me.

Isaiah 40:28-31 29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. 30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 31 but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

Talky talk talk


Z man has lots to say these days. For your enjoyment, we've recorded a list of some of our favorite people (and don't worry, Aunt Jenny, we love you too, but we're trying to get the double letter names down first- I'm sure Aunt Candace will be a long time coming, too.)

So so bye bye people people...

Friday, July 18, 2008

Good times


Things I learned at our Friday night game night with my brother and his girlfriend:

1. Amber's musical favorites include James Taylor and Sister Hazel- not Fergie so much
2. Jonathan would teach American foreign policy if her were a collegiate professor-beating out European history
3. Jack really will cross the line of appropriateness for a laugh
4. When your game piece lands on the space marked "win," sometimes that doesn't mean that you actually win. Apparently.

Game night is always fun.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Hard at work



I try to remember to give my little artist opportunities to create. So this morning we kept the coloring books in their drawer and worked on a grander scheme. The commentary to follow was amusing even though I only captured about half of the full explanation (it's an aquarium with KK's aquarium on the left, belugas in purple, and Junior's aquarium in the middle). As a side note, we have an official imaginary friend and her name is "Junior." Junior is quite the adventurer and gets into all kinds of things. She is very entertaining. I hope you get the pleasure of meeting her someday. (And yes, pink scrubs and purple flip flops were our painting gear of choice this morning).

Despite his sister's imaginative joy, Zeke had a sad morning mostly spent in mommy's arms. Another doctor's visit and a finger poke later, we've discovered a yucky virus that will just have to be waited out. It didn't, however, keep him from his little red wagon. He pushed and pulled the $1 garage sale find all over the yard. I think he thinks it's a lawn mower. In any case, it was the one redeeming moment of an otherwise dismal day for my little boy.

Monday, July 14, 2008

His hair is wavy and black as a raven- part three


On Friday, I was at the pediatrician's office with Anna Grace. I'm sure you could hear the terror from the waiting room as my three-year-old's screams pierced the heavy door and echoed down the hall. I laid my body over hers so that the nurse could guide the needle in just the right vein as quickly as possible. Anna Grace looked at me with fear and trembling and desperately cried out that she was SOOOO scared. As I looked into those terrified blue eyes, my own filled with tears. I was so sad with her that I wept as the nervous nurses poked and prodded her little arm. When they finally got blood, Anna Grace started hysterically laughing and let us know that it now tickled. So we were both crying and laughing and laying awkwardly on a vinyl covered plinth. I'm sure we were quite a sight.

On Sunday, I was at the bottom of a gigantic inflatable waterslide watching my friend Nora coax her two year old to experience the joy of friction-free water fun. She wasn't necessarily dressed for the occassion, but this dedicated mom was right by little Haley's side to cheer her on and experience the joy that daring to do something new can bring.

Being a parent really helps you understand that relentless and persevering dedication that mirrors the love of the Creator for his creation. These two scenarios reminded me that in the pit of our despair, God is there and at the pinnacle of our joy, God is there. When we're crying because we're "so scared," he tells us to "cast all [our] anxiety on him because he cares for [us]." (I Peter 5:7) When we're about to jump off the edge and slide into a new adventure, he's there to share our joy and to beckon us to himself like Peter's walk on the water (Matthew 14:28-29).

"His hair is wavy and black as a raven." Song of Songs 5:11b Jesus' dedication is extreme, relentless, and persevering, beckoning us to go on the heights with Him.

This past Saturday night, Jack's uncle Jonny experienced a devastating loss. That same night, we were having dinner with our friend Rendi who told us about an article that had run in a local paper about her husband Josh's recent acheivements. In Jonny's loss, the Lord is there to comfort as in 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 . In Josh's success, the Lord is there to share in the joy of the accomplishment.

"For the Lord your God has arrived to live among you. He is a mighty savior. He will rejoice over you with great gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will exult over you by singing a happy song." Zephaniah 4:17 (NLT)

May you know both his comfort and his love today and may you live for the dedicated, saving One who yearns for your heart and will one day dry up all the tears for good.


Thanks, Nora, for the entertainment!!! PS- Anna Grace is fine. She was being tested for whooping cough, but the antibiotics seem to be helping.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

It's not over


1 Corinthians 15:50-52 51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed-- 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.

I found this picture somewhere on CNN's website and I just love it. God's promises and hope signaled over death and decay. Powerful.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Joy


We followed our normal Saturday routine, but it all went so well. I may not have it all, but I do have a great family and wonderful friends and I'm blessed beyond belief. Ingredients for our Super Saturday:

-everybody up and at 'em at 6:30
-daddy's biscuits and bacon for breakfast
-mommy and daddy workout at the gym while the kids play with beloved Ms. Renee
-white cherry icees
-leftover Pie Works pizza from last night for lunch
-beating the heat at the pool with Aunt KK
-afternoon play date with cousin William
-cherry wheat Sam Adams for the Chaney happy hour
-boiled shrimp with Rendi and Sanders
-American Dog viewing with our dog loving little girl

What a fun day. The video is of the boys playing on the kitchen floor after dinner. How much fun can you have with a whisk and a bowl? SO much!!! CHEESE!!!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Sassiness

Sweet Anna Grace is also sassy Anna Grace. I usually let her know that it's not okay to talk to mommy like this, but I wanted to capture the full flavor of the sassiness for the video. This is what I battle and bless- day in and day out. We pray that her full bodied personality is molded and shaped for good and is a strength of her heart and not a weakness. Sometimes it's a fine line...

One sad cow










At a recent trip to Chick-fil-A, I remember thinking that you'd have to be nuts to dress up like a cow for their cow appreciation day. But here we are. Anna Grace's cowness became the activity of the day- complete with paper plate and balloon udders. And it was really fun until she saw the full sized dress up cow in the store. She couldn't even eat her lunch- she was so distraught. But it was fun anyway. Even Z man had a little cow tail. Love that Chick-fil-A.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A water mishap


We hung out with my Nashville cousins today- going from the icee store to Rainbow Park to the Southern Maid doughnut store for some hot ones. My little girl has had a ball.

But the scene of the day you'll have to picture in your head. The Rainbow Park (aka A.C. Steere Park) has a spray area with fountains and sprinklers that turn on and off randomly. Zeke had thoroughly enjoyed playing in a mud puddle and was ready to move on. In an effort to spare my car the dirt, I walked to the middle of the water area to lure the dirty toddler to a cleansing spray. Unbenownst to me, I was standing at the exact right spot to get surprised with a strong stream of water up my skirt. Lovely.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Our Dunaway diversion


We stopped at a south Louisiana hot spot on our way home from the beach- the Tickfaw River getaway of Jack's Uncle Jonny and Aunt Ginger. The perfect boat-riding weather lent itself well for a spin with cousins Alison, Amy, and Jeff and although the life vest was a little constricting, Zeke enjoyed the wind through his hair on our jaunt in the river. It was a great diversion from a long drive and it's always good to see the Dunaway crew. We even got a visit in with Paw Paw Zeke.

When we got home, Jack and I got to talking about the Dunaway crew and how their love and joy is almost palpable. Although our times together are few and far between, it's always fun just to sit back and smile as the conversations and laughter flow like the Tickfaw into Lake Maurepas. Makes me almost want to cheer for those other Tigers. Almost.

Love you, Dunaways! Thanks for the super fun visit!

That forest in France


Anna Grace, Zeke, and I ventured to our local library today and got a few new reads. This one kind of helped with my post-vacation blah. Very clever.

"And suppose that you lived in that forest in France,
where the average young person just hasn't a chance
to escape from the perilous pants-eating-plants!
But your pants are safe! You're a fortunate guy.
And you ought to be shouting, 'How lucky am I!'"

Good thing pants-eating-plants aren't indigenous to Shreveport. Whew...

Monday, July 7, 2008

It starts today


I don't think there has ever been a piece of clothing in the history of fashion that has ever brought such joy. Jack's "3 Day Sale" shirt is a favorite. He dons it on a Friday, proclaiming that "it starts today," with a big grin and sometimes chuckles as he gets a kick out of his own antics. The shirt was from a trifecta of Goodwill gems that came as a Christmas gift from a very astute friend. Thanks, Daniel. The 3 Day Sale lives on. And on. And on...

Sunday, July 6, 2008

On the mundane in life

See Romanian missionary Monica Klepac's meditations for the mundane and menial tasks of life. Good thoughts for the next time you clean up the dinner table or mop a dirty floor.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Where the ocean meets the land













Highlights of family beach trip '08:

-a stuffed dolphin named Tinky

-a family do-si-do to American folk songs

-the fresh seafood

-family fun with hotly contested board game action

-smiles and giggles of kids jumping in the waves

-Anna Grace's interpretive dance to "My Country Tis of Thee" with a blinking red, white, and blue tiara atop her head

Jack's parents are to thank for making it all happen. I was thinking today about the blessing that my in-laws have been to me and my little family- I could not even count the ways that they have poured out their love to us. Thanks, BB and Pop Pop, for all you do and for all your love over the years. We had a great time!!!!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Some thoughts for July 4th


Some interesting commentaries on what it means to be patriotic from our presidential candidates. Check it out. Very different and very telling perspectives.

His hair is wavy and black as a raven- part two


We squinted into the late afternoon sun as we pulled into Perdido Key. Our next stop was the beach. Our littlest one was more than excited to be emancipated from the eight hour car ride and squirmed to get down as he was carried the 150 feet or so across the sand to the water's edge. And since yesterday, Zeke has had a full force, bring it on, no fear attitude when it comes to the water. No matter how big the waves or how strong the current, he has just giggled and smiled as the saltwater and sand washed over his one and a half year old body. At the pool, he crawled in glee in the ankle deep baby area and jumped in the deep end without any hesitation- caution to the wind.

What a picture of trust.

Zeke lives and operates without that fear because he knows that he has dedicated parents who are at his side who are forever looking out for his well being. He is not worried maybe because he's ignorant of the danger that lurks, but I think more than that, he knows that we're always there to keep him safe.

If only we could be so daring.

In the Song of Songs verse that describes Jesus' hair as wavy and black as a raven, you get the sense that it's not a short cut, but rather the waviness implies length and health to a full head of hair. Mike Bickle likens this description of this aspect of the beauty of Jesus to the Nazarite vow of dedication as in the story of Samson (see Judges 13:5). The Nazarite was never to cut his hair as a symbol of dedication to God. He is set apart for extreme and solitary dedication to the will of God.

So when I thought of Zeke's trust in his parents who are always there to promote and protect him, I thought of the dedication of our Savior.

Jesus is dedicated to the will of the Father as in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:39), but He's also dedicated to the Bride (you and me as fellow believers) in an extraordinary and often overlooked way. He lives to intercede on our behalf (Hebrews 7:25) and He has told us that He will never leave us (Matthew 28:20). He's always there and he will not forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6). He catches us when we fall, He's there to comfort us in the hard times, and He's cheering us on in the good times. He is dedicated to us and loves us. Like Jack pulling Zeke out of an overwhelming wave, Jesus is there for us when we feel knocked down, overwhelmed, stressed out, or out of hope.

He is dedicated. May that knowledge spur us on to dangerous living- running into the waves of life in reckless abandonment- trusting Him to keep us safe.

"His hair is wavy and black as a raven." Song of Songs 5:11b

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A summer day in North Louisiana

As part of my pre-vacation day, Zeke and I took a windows-down drive up to rural Dixie/Gillam, Louisiana in hopes of catching the sunflowers in bloom.
We were a little late for the sunflowers (although my friend Jenn caught them), but we did see lots and lots of corn. It seems like corn is the new cotton in North LA- probably something to do with the rising price of corn compounded by the flooding in the Midwest. Maybe. But to be honest, I don't know anything about farming. I'm just used to seeing lots and lots of cotton in those fields. So then we made our way downtown to the Farmer's Market where we ran into our awesome granola-making friends, Paul, Bethany, and little Elijah (they sell their yummy goods around town). With a backdrop of live music and local goods, Zeke had a ball playing with little puppy Cocoa while I snacked on fresh blackberries. Zeke would stick his open mouthed face in the puppy's face in anticipation of a kiss and then run away, giggle, and run back for more. Lots of fun.