Saturday, January 31, 2009

His lips are like lillies: the 411


My body and my heart endured quite a workout this past week.

My quads have burned from the heavy lifting at work and my heart has ached for a patient who has been in the hospital way too long. When I'm at work, I try to do my job, go home, and move on, but this is the second patient I've had in just a very short while that has really affected my heart. And the hard part about this patient is that the eyes that showcase despair can be heart breaking as we work toward standing in the parallel bars for a few shaky seconds or labor in our other exhausting therapeutic tasks.

So when I Peter 4:11 was brought to my attention this week, I brought it with me to work. "...If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen."

And then Thursday came. Usually a great day for me to catch up with housework and spend some time with Zeke, but my little guy ended up grabbing a light bulb, burning his thumb (the one he sucks), and crying all morning. He was fine, but needless to say, we didn't have the best morning. I was tired, worn-out, and became so self-absorbed that I had myself a good little pity party. How soon I forgot to serve in the strength that God provides.

And then came Philippians 4:11: "I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances."

And then when I realized that there was some sort of numerical theme, I took one more glance and found this...

Song of Solomon 4:11: "Your lips drop sweetness as the honeycomb, my bride." It brought me back to gazing at the beauty of Jesus. Just Monday, I wrote about the beauty of His lips..." like lillies dripping with myrrh."

And that brought me back to I Peter 4:11. The first part. The part I kind of skipped over: "If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. "

Dripping with myrrh. Speaking words of God. The strength He provides. Contentment despite circumstances. Things seemed to be lining up in my heart and mind.

His lips dripping with myrrh, a embalming resin symbolic of death and burial, spoke to my heart about the way I was to live. It's something that you hear in Christian circles all the time, but it was a powerful reminder that I needed to daily remember to die to my fruitless flesh and live in the strength God provides, speak the words He puts on my heart, and be content in the results. Because that's how He speaks. His words are laced with meaning and come from a selfless heart of love. He literally died so that I could have life. He speaks words in the context of a sacrificed Savior and a new order of life- life that is found in death to self. (see Matthew 16:24-25)

So after I bought myself flowers and posted the words the Lord had given me, I found that those words had touched someone's heart and brought forth hope in a dismal situation. Two other friends-one I've never even met- sent me notes of encouragement, reminding me that, "Sometimes God uses us in unexpected and completely unseen ways," and "Our hope is in the end and the things of this world will pass away."

My yellow flower post was a simple, seemingly non-consequential entry for a frustrating day. I don't always do well in asking the Lord what words He has for me to share to illuminate the dark places of people's lives. So often, "this little light of mine" exists with too much emphasis on the mine and dims in the darkness of ambition and the search for approval from those I love. But that day, my heart did well in speaking the very words of God. What a great lesson for me. To prayerfully post. To selflessly serve. To contentedly worship... even when there's no comments, no energy left, no accolades, and no vision of what is actually happening around me.

His lips are like lillies, dripping with myrrh. His words are beautiful and they are teaching us, shaping us, molding us, transforming us into His beautiful Bride with lips that drop sweetness.

How astounding is our God?

"His lips are like lillies dripping with myrrh." Song of Songs 5:13b

Dogsitting

Friday, January 30, 2009

A typical Chaney Friday afternoon

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These days are so maddening and so fantastic all at the same time. But how could I not love these days? The Z man spent thirty minutes (maybe more than that) trying to blow bubbles. It was a mess, but he loved it. The kids LOVE going to grandma's house to play in the backyard and it's a favorite Friday hang-out for our little family. Crazy fun days indeed.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A yellow word from God


It's hard to describe how on-edge I feel today. My thoughts seem to constantly and quickly turn to hundreds of complaints swirling around in my brain. Nevertheless, I bought myself some bright yellow flowers this morning and it seems to be making all of the yuck just a little bit better.

"And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and gone tomorrow, won't he more surely care for you? You have so little faith!" - Jesus (Matthew 6:30, NLT)

Thank you, Lord, for the flowers and the words. He's so thoughtful, eh?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Night School


Tonight was pajama night at Anna Grace's school. We bundled up and went to school in the dark, listened to bedtime stories in extra small chairs, and finished up the experience with star and moon shaped cookies and cold milk. It was all very cute, but honestly, every minute was pure drudgery. I was exhausted from a full day of dead lifting really difficult patients, not to mention coming home to all the demands of life with small children and a husband who really would like to eat dinner soon after I walk in the door (not that I blame him). So taking a rather whiny AG to school for yet another activity wasn't really what I wanted to do. But afterwards when I asked her if she had fun, her reply was, "I had so much fun I didn't even know what to do." And that sweet little smile was enough to melt away all the yuck in my heart.

I recently read a post that has really stuck with me. In speaking about our culture's attitudes toward children, the author suggests that the pervasive attitude of today is that, "parenting is a magazine, not a life of sacrifice."

So I've tried to keep this sacred charge I have been given- to love and serve the Lord as I love and serve my children- in mind when it gets really hard. It's not always easy, but I want to carry that in my heart, and know that this life of sacrifice will reap great rewards in this life and in the age to come. Even if it means sitting in a crowded, hot, too loud room in my pajamas with a large group of three- and four-year-olds right before bedtime. It's worth something and it counts.

Monday, January 26, 2009

His lips are like lillies


"His lips are like lillies dripping with myrrh." Song of Songs 5:13b

Daniel, in his Babylonian captivity, found himself in a very urgent situation. In a nutshell, King Nebuchadnezzar was going to put him and his friends (among others) to death if the king's dream was not first of all told to him (without even a hint), and second of all, interpreted. So Daniel and his friends held a serious prayer meeting, the fruit of which was a vision and interpretation of King Neb's dream. When Daniel revealed the insight the Lord had given him- when he told the king not only what he had dreamed, but what the dream meant with every detail explained from head to toe, Nebuchadnezzar exclaimed, "Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery." (Daniel 2:47)

Before the redemptive part of this story had come, the "wise men" of Babylon had cried out at the injustice of the king's decree and said something that really struck my heart when I read it. They said, "No one can reveal it to the king except the gods, and they do not live among men." (Daniel 2:11) Wrong, friends.

Last night I was talking to my friend Lydia about some strange things, good and bad, that have been going on in our lives. She reminded me of something her husband likes to say: "There is no line between the natural and the supernatural." Like the wise men of Babylonia, our culture lulls us into some kind of sleep- misconceptions about what God is doing, how far off He is (if He is at all), and we're labeled mystical at best when we talk about spiritual warfare, angelic visitations, demonic attacks, and words from the Lord. But, like Daniel, I want to declare that "there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries." (Daniel 2:27)

I have been awed by the things that the Lord has revealed to my heart over the past several years. I sometimes wane in my dedication and fall in walk with Him, but every time He helps me back up, puts me on my feet, and as I start walking again, leaning into Him, He reveals deep and hidden things that stun my heart. It is not natural and it is not normal. How amazing it is to receive revelations from the very heart of our Creator God!

It's a pep talk for myself as much as it is for anyone who reads these words. An encouragement to my heart to hear Daniel proclaim that yes, there is a God in heaven who interacts with us, who reveals things to our hearts, that is not far off and disconnected, but is concerned and loving and very active in response to our invitations. He is beautiful as He speaks words of life and truth to our hearts. His lips, as in the Song, speak of His beautiful words.

May we all do more inviting and listen and watch for the revelation of the beautiful One who reveals great mysteries.

Matthew 1:22-23 "Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and he will be called Immanuel (meaning, God is with us)." (see also Isaiah 7:14)

John 1:14 "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."

Exodus 25:8 "Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them."

Joel 2:28-29 "And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men with dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days."

"Nebuchadnezzar's Dream" by John Hopkins

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Shout out Sunday


His older and often dominating older sister was in Houston this weekend, so the Z man ruled the roost, chatting it up in Anna Grace's absence. It was fun to see him strut around and enjoy all the attention and really... I've never heard him talk so much. It was remarkable.

So my shouts outs today are three fold. To my sweet mom (she gets a double daughter shout out), who took Anna Grace to Houston to celebrate Cavett's birthday when I couldn't, to Barbara and Bill for keeping the little dude so that Jack and I could get a few hours away, and to little Zeke for being such a happy little guy, displaying the more expressive side of his sweet heart. Jack and I are truly blessed all around with a wonderfully fabulous and loving family.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

It just makes cents

Yesterday, I made some calls, did some research, and lowered the cost of our family's monthly medication needs from $100/month to $12/month. Twelve dollars a month for three daily medications. Because Jack and I are contract workers and not covered by our employers, we've opted to buy our own coverage in the form of a high deductible health savings account. It's not all fun and games- we have to pay $5k ourselves before any of our coverage kicks in, but therein lies the beauty of the plan. Never before in my life have I questioned how much my care is costing, where and how I can get the most affordable medications and care without compromising on quality. I'm motivated to be VERY concerned about preventative care and to make sure my little family stays as healthy as possible. Maybe it's not the whole answer for our current health care conundrum, but it sure does seem like a start.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Zeke Chaney's status update



This morning, Zeke was declaring his positional status as he put his head between his legs and declared, "Side Down!"

So, if my almost two year old were on facebook, I think his status update might be something like this:

Zeke Chaney is side down, apple eat, firetruck, puzzle, mommy's ipod, diaper only.

How bout all that for a Friday morning? Busy guy, eh?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Cowboy week... Yee Haw!


It's been a cowboy-themed couple of weeks at Anna Grace's school and she finally got to bring home the stick horse named Brownie she's been talking about for days now. Her day was complete with a visit from a real live horse named "Sunny Delight." She came home singing "Home on the Range" and talking with a hilarious Annie Oakley twang.

Such fun for my little cowgirl!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Happies










My mother-in-law is the queen of the "happy." One of the ways she shares her love is by buying little things here and there... just a little "happy," she likes to call it. I love the happy. What's not to love? It's one of Barbara's most endearing qualities. She loves to give and she loves to watch faces light up when surprised by a little something she picked up while she was out.

So after a tough few days, Jack and I got some much needed happies from a couple of sweet sources. Jack received a really Candace-friendly lamp for the study (Tiffany lamp marries LSU motif... that's about right for us).

And when I got to work this morning, I found that a really thoughtful friend had prepared a box of training treats for me. All wrapped up in fortune cookie looking paper, I have a thought for each day to inspire me on my running endeavors. I couldn't wait. I opened one tonight and was stunned at the phrase that spoke directly to my heart in a profound way.

Thank you so much, my sweet friend, and thank you sweet BeBe! May we all be inspired by your generous hearts!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Ya'll ready for this?

video video
I had a hard time getting him to perform for the camera, but Zeke goes bananas when his truck starts doing its thing. We have his daddy to thank for the mind numbing repetition of this song (for some reason Jack thought it would be a great Christmas present), but at least we get a show along with the noise.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Faith in Action

Jack was watching soccer tonight when Anna Grace came in the den with her wet hair and pajamas and asked her daddy to play "Fancy Nancy's Posh Bedroom Game." He didn't balk. He just plopped himself down on the floor and reviewed the rules, jumping right into the fancy action. I laughed and laughed and laughed as he played his purple and pink cards declaring "Let's get fancy!" and "Time to accessorize!"

Through the laughter though, I thought about how this morning's bible study at church had led our group to discuss how acts of service break down pride in our hearts. Playing a board game with your daughter may not be feeding the homeless or building a Habitat house, but it was an act of service by a man of God who takes the Word to heart. The scene was seemingly mundane, but actually a beautiful moment of service. Albeit funny.

Mark 9:35 "Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, 'If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.'"

John 13:5-8 "After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, 'Lord, are you going to wash my feet?' Jesus replied, 'You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.' 'No,' said Peter, 'you shall never wash my feet.' Jesus answered, 'Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.'"

PS- The picture is brand new AG and Jack at the hospital. One of my favorites.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Something for everyone

To break out of our normal Saturday routine, we took a little day trip to Dallas to do some things we can't really do in Shreveport. And everyone got their turn. For Zeke, it was the Museum of the American Railroad. Tons of fun for my little boy!


Chipotle for mommy and daddy. Yum!!!!


Ice skating for my little girl...


And a treat at La Madeleine for us all. Again, yumm...


Happy, happy day.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The innkeeper's census

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It doesn't matter if it's January or June- Anna Grace loves the Christmas story. She is especially captivated by Mary's role in it all and I think it comes from the heart of a little momma in the making. Or, I don't know... maybe she's just a big fan of the incarnation. Why shouldn't she be? But like I said, even in July she can be found coming out of her room with a blanket over her head, proclaiming to "Elizabeth" (usually me) that she has been visited by an angel.

So the other night when Anna Grace told me the WHOLE story (I only captured a little bit of it on the video), it struck me that this job I have is HUGE. Teaching my children truth while filtering out all the muck of the multi-faceted and self-centered messages of our Western culture is so difficult, but it is incumbent upon my husband and me to teach the truth to our children. To teach, we've got to know it and own it for ourselves, so I find myself in a state of greater resolve these days to spend my time seeking out the mysteries of God.

Questions like "How did God make houses?" and "Where was I before I was born?" wear me out because I have to think and explain to the best of my ability- with great patience- everything to a child who counts on me to explain it all. But, like Anna Grace reminded me at dinner last night, "you can't share something you don't have." So I resolve to own knowledge of the Lord all the days of my life that I may impart truth to those around me... especially those little ears around me that soak up every word.

(We'll get that innkeeper vs. Caesar Augustus thing straightened out eventually! Details are still fuzzy, but at least we're getting the point, right?)

"... In the days to come, you will understand all this very clearly." Jeremiah 23:20

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The weather outside is frightful


It's actually starting to get kind of cold in northwest Louisiana. Like, below freezing.
Pretty crazy considering Anna Grace was playing in sleeveless dresses outside just a couple of weeks ago...

Aren't my guys cute?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Oh yeah... hydration...


I love it when the Lord speaks to my heart on some kind of theme, and He's certainly been speaking about training lately. The awesome part about it is that He's been speaking within the context of a little community of believers of which I am privileged to be a part.

My friend Nora (also the team captain of our relay marathon) directed me to this blog recently and I was reminded of a key component of training. Staying hydrated.

Now, most of you know how much I love a good, cold Diet Coke. Okay- maybe not as much as my famed Diet Coke can pyramid making husband, but still... I LOVE them.

But I really do feel like maybe something that's not necessarily bad (Diet Coke) has been holding me back from further strides in my training regimen. If you've been following the TTLOM, you know about my struggles with hydration. More often than not, I'll grab a golden Diet Coke (as AG calls it) just because it's convenient. Terribly lazy, I know... In fact, I really did mean to add one more resolution to my list this year: drinking ridiculous amounts of water.

So it was a good reminder that I need to keep copious amount of water- spiritual and physical- accessible at all times. Maybe I need to put forth even greater effort to get out a cup and fill er up- in more ways than one.
I need that lemon water... er... I mean Living Water.

In fact, the Chaney family is "accidentally" and "sorta" on a TV fast (another blog for another day). But again, it's a trade off- one not necessarily bad thing for another... something greater... life on a higher plane. Can't wait to see where it takes us...

John 7:38 If you believe in me, come and drink! For the Scriptures declare that rivers of living water will flow out from within."

Revelation 7:17 For the Lamb who stands in front of the throne will be their Shepherd. He will lead them to the springs of life-giving water. And God will wipe away all their tears

Monday, January 12, 2009

What?


I know... I'm on an AGC art kick, but I really had to share this one.

This, according to Anna Grace, is me, sitting in a chair, reading my Bible, and the circles behind me are the angels.

Not normal.

His eyes are like doves - part four

I recently made a new friend, discovered her blog, and was
given such an amazing glimpse of the Lord's heart, reminding me of his beautiful eyes. I've posted before about His eyes that burn with passion for the ones He loves, but Amy's story really spoke to this sometimes tired, sometimes discouraged, sometimes struggling mom and I wanted to share. So here's her story.

She wrote about discovering her discovering this picture (to the right) on her photographer friend's website. The photographer gave it a caption:

"She is their blanket to warm them on a cold winter night. She is the food that satisfies their hungry spirit. She is their shelter from the storm, their nursemaid to heal all hurts. She is the wind that lifts them up when they have fallen. She is encouragement that guides them forward. She is the love that brought them here. She is the heart DAILY PRAYING them through. She is their mother… and lucky me… she is also my friend." (photo and words by Kristin Mosura)

Amy's response (straight from her blog):

"The mom [Amy] heard The Stranger’s voice whisper to her spirit, 'This is how I see you.'

The mom was so full of emotion she could barely breathe. She didn’t understand how this picture could have come from that photo session. The little people had been wild that day. When they were supposed to stand, they would lie down. When they were supposed to sit, they’d run around. In the middle of the chaos, the photographer friend told the mom she wanted to take a picture of her with the little people. The mom enjoyed having her picture taken about as much as she enjoyed having her license renewed at the DMV, or ironing, or having the flu, or smelling a dead skunk on the side of the road. She would really have rather taken a math test. She had protested that she didn’t match the kids and she’d barely had time to put on any makeup that morning and she hadn’t even touched her hair. But the photographer friend can be a little bossy when she’s on the job ;) , and the mom was a little afraid of her. So she plunked herself down and the little people piled on top of her as if she were their own personal jungle gym. They wallowed and wiggled and climbed and fidgeted. The mom tried to smile, but found it difficult while saying, “Stop that” through clenched teeth. Finally she just quit fighting and decided to just let her photographer friend click away. She was probably only seated with the little people for a minute at the most and she was sure nothing good would come of it. She relished the opportunity she would have to say, “I told you so,” to the bossy photographer friend.

But then what was this? She looked at the three precious children in the picture. Each one of them looked happy, content, peaceful, safe, loved. God hadn’t been wrong to let her be their mom. They were going to be okay. She looked at herself. She looked happy, content, peaceful, safe, loved. And she was going to be okay. For the first time she looked at a picture of herself and saw beyond her physical imperfections. Instead of trying to measure up to an unrealistic expectation of beauty, she saw the beauty that comes from a heart that loves. And she realized that as stressful as her job was, she would rather be a mom than anything else in the world. For the first time in a long time, she was okay with who she was because she knew that her God was okay with who she was. Not because she was perfect, not by any stretch of the imagination, but because when He looked at her, He saw the girl he had created AND the girl He was making her to be. Later that year, for her birthday, the photographer friend gave the mom a pendant with the picture on it. The mom wears it almost every single day to remind herself of who she is and who she’s becoming. I wish I could tell you that she never carried any other pictures in her backpack except the true one, but she has to remind herself daily that what others think of her is none of her business. Her king is enthralled with her beauty (Psalm 45:11), and isn’t that enough?" (emphasis mine)



Song of Songs talks about these eyes of His being like doves, signifying "undistracted devotion," as Misty Edwards sings (see sidebar widget). But as I've been dabbling in Revelation lately,I've been struck by another description of these beautiful eyes- that they are like "blazing fire." (Revelation 1:14).

As I read Amy's words, I understood these burning eyes a little more. He burns with love for us and He sees us through these knowing and loving eyes.

May we all have revelation on the beauty that is ours in the burning, blazing, loving eyes of our Savior and King. The One who has eyes like a dove that see both who we were created to be and who He is making us to be, burning away our sin and shame.


Psalm 45:11, "The king is enthralled by your beauty; honor him for he is your lord."

Ephesians 3:12 "In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence."

Song of Songs 1:5 "Dark am I, yet lovely,
O Daughters of Jerusalem..."


Song of Songs 5:12 "His eyes are like doves by the water streams, washed in milk, mounted like jewels."

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Ruba-dub-dub!



There are a lot of things I didn't anticipate about parenthood, but the amount of fun that a bubble bath on a Saturday night can be is one of those things.
It was all smiles and giggles and fun. Not to mention the now legendary "poop cup" that Jack is proudly displaying. It's been through the dishwasher, but having your baby poop in the bathtub is quite a traumatizing event and one that Jack got to experience not too long ago. So he used the now off-limits for drinking- poop cup. It's funny... I'm so unbelievably grateful for bubble baths and poop cups. Like my friend Kayla once said, "Having a family has exceeded all of my expectations." Amen, sister!

Little House on the Prairie meets Mardi Gras



My very opinionated four-year-old has come up with some interesting outfits, but this one was quite a winner. The Mardi Gras mask was made at Parent's Night Out last night and it was difficult to get her to take it off to go to bed. As for the frontier get-up, she played at Nana's house this morning and got into the dress-up trunk. So it was that we went to Jason's deli and got more than a few double takes. The funny thing is, this is really quite tame compared to some of the outfits we've sported around town. You pick your battles, right?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

This race called life


Sometimes things seem to be on some sort of cosmic collision course. Lately, the thoughts, emotions and situations of life seem to be flowing into some sort of streaming meaning- teaching me what it means to truly endure, truly wait, and to truly gain patient hope in the Lord.

In anticipation of an upcoming 4 person team relay marathon, I've been running more. And in the meantime, I've been treating a patient at the hospital who is teaching me about endurance. In the midst of a really difficult diagnosis, he's been quietly teaching me (and probably lots of other people, too) about what it means to run this race called life. What I'm learning:

1. Consistent training with intentionality is essential.

I've printed out a training schedule that will help me make sure I'm ready in March to run my 7.8 mile leg of the race. In being intentional about my mileage, I'll be ready. How much more should I intentionally order my life around prayer and seeking out the things of God?

As I wheel my patient to the mat, he knows how difficult it's going to be. He's stretched and he's tried and he's tested, but he endures with great dignity. He tries his best and musters a smile even when it's hard. And I know it's because he's lived a life of love. He has consistently trained in spiritual disciplines that has given him strength for times getting tough... as they inevitably will for all of us this side of Jesus' return. I hardly know this man, but I can see fruit that only comes from a life of consistent training.
1 Corinthians 9:25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.
2. Fellowship with those who encourage you on to the finish line is extremely helpful.

Being able to talk with my team members (go team Graney!) about our plans and our training is so encouraging. Reporting to my running friend at work on Monday about my awesome Saturday morning run propels me to do more, to go farther, to run faster. When I see others joining in and triumphing and moving forward despite great odds or great disappointment, it moves my heart to join in the race. I need friends who run and I need friends who surround me and encourage me to press on to victory in Jesus. My friend Lydia recently reminded me that the fellowship of believers showcases the heart of the One who loves us and created us. It moves us.

My patient has surrounded himself with these people who reveal the Father's heart. They are standing in line to help in any way possible and encourage him on. His family adores him. His wife has not left his side. His friends are many. The prayers are many.

Hebrews 10:25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another-- and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

3. Your focus must remain ahead of you.

It's easy to get caught up in what happened in the past. Reliving past victories or rehashing defeats- neither exercise is helpful, but rather takes your eyes of the truth of the moment.

My patient patiently waits as I get everything together. I wrap his ankle in ace wrap to assist in clearing his foot when he walks as his left side has experienced a significant degree of weakness. I bring a walker over to his wheelchair and instruct him on the best way to stand. I give him pointers on how to walk while his wife walks behind us, pushing the chair. All the while, he stands, putting one foot in front of the other, working in the strength that he has for today. He doesn't get caught up on what he did yesterday or how much farther he has to go, but he sits and rests after a labored walk and speaks about the blessings of God.
Philippians 3:13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead...
Hebrews 12:2-3 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
4. In not giving up, you win.

The key to running a race is that you know that there is an end. That there will be rest. What I love about running 5K and 10K and especially marathon-type races is that there is total victory in just finishing. It's going to be especially fun in Little Rock for our team relay because every one of us will get a medal- and the Little Rock Marathon prides itself in the unusually large size of their prized medals.

The point is, finishing is winning.

My patient is finishing well, sharing his life with those around him, and imparting knowledge of God even to his physical therapist in the midst of great pain. It's great endurance, but I know it is not all self-generating. When we lean into Jesus, we find great strength.
Isaiah 40:28-31 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 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.
Death will not always have a stronghold over this world. There is an end. Cancer will not always ravage the lives of even those who love God. There is a clear call to the saints in Revelation to patient endurance (Rev 3:10, 13:10, 14:12). That great Day has not yet come, but when it does, we have to know and have lived the patient endurance that the strength of God affords.

5. The goal, or the prize, is paramount.

There is nothing like crossing the finish line of a race. It is glorious.

In April of 2000, I finished the Country Music Marathon in a whopping five hours and twelve minutes. It was really hard, but I'll never forget the moment I saw the finish line. I'll never forget the tears in Jack's eyes and the exhilaration of such an accomplishment.

How much more thrilling will it be to run to the arms of Jesus?

Philippians 3:14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.


I have some other friends who are running in the team marathon in March. Rendi, who is running with her sisters and her sister's friend, informed me that I'll be running my leg of the race with her sister, Faith.

"Prophetic?" I thought to myself.

Running the race with Faith... Hmm...

I had to say goodbye to my patient today. He'll probably discharge home by the time I'm back at inpatient rehab next Wednesday. But on his way out, I told him how much it has moved my heart to see him respond to the situation with such faith. I told him how, in Hebrews 11:21, it talks about Jacob leaning on his staff and worshipping God. That's what Jacob was commended for. Leaning on his staff and worshipping, just like my patient had to lean on the aluminum frame of his wheeled walker, but all the same, praised God.

Thank you, friend, for giving me a taste of what it's like to have victory in running this race called life. And thank you, God, for the strength to run it well.

Song of Solomon 1:4 Take me with you. Come, let's run! (NLT)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Now take the money away... same story?



Jack and I thought this one was way funny.



And this one. So I just discovered hulu. So what? :)

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Daddy Jack will make you...

I would have really like it if my movie maker program would have cooperated so that Kriss Kross' "Jump" could accompany Zeke's attempts at jumping, but alas... technology decided not to cooperate. In any case, the baby ipod Memaw Dent gave us for Christmas is quite entertaining- as are my little one's attempts to get both feet off the ground.
video video

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Remember the yellow cup?


We're now in a post-yellow cup era in the Chaney house. It seems to have gone missing. But no worries- Jack's big thing now is to make himself a really big glass of water which he promptly abandons. This leaves large glasses of cold water all over the house. It's perfect for me- I finish them up and everybody wins. Ah, the little things...

Friday, January 2, 2009

Art de jour


Anna Grace got two easels for Christmas which she absolutely loves. It works perfectly, too, because one is a travel easel that she likes to use on her bed with colored pencils and a dry erase board and the other is the stand and paint kind that is equally as entertaining. It gives us multiple venues to express our artistic notions. I love what she draws and I know I'm that mom- doting over all my child's creations, but I had to share. The above drawing was from this morning. While I was working out, she created this masterpiece (note the airplane top left). The masterpiece below is actually a pictorial grocery list- with everything from six apples to diet cokes to a bag of green beans and more. Her intention was to take it to the store and be my helper... until I left it at home, which, of course, did not go over so well. Despite the disappointment, she was a big helper in the store. It's just too bad we didn't have our lovely cheat sheet with us. Maybe next time...