Monday, June 29, 2009

Good and better


Peanut butter crackers are good and messy faces are even better





Oranges cut for scooping out pulp are good, but fresh squeezed orange juice is even better

A picnic lunch on a screened in porch over Waffle Blocks is good, but being able to spend time with Nana on a Monday is even better.

Can't wait til she retires, because I could really get used to this...

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Three things I like to do


1. I like to sleep in my running clothes so that I can just get up and go in the morning. And sometimes I even wear my socks.

2. I like to highlight things that strike me as important or interesting when I read books. It drives Jack crazy and he won't let me do it when we're sharing a book, so I'm really excited that I just bought two books of my very own last night.

3. I like to carry my very full laundry baskets on my head from room to room when I'm folding and putting away. Makes me feel all global. And it's wonderfully functional.

Just so you know.

And thanks to all of you who commented on my latest beauty post. I'm really excited about the way the Lord is speaking and the way all the thoughts are already assimilating. The processing of it all feels like a big pot of gumbo in my head- on the stove over low heat... and simmering.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Putting the Valentine's candy to good use

I heard some teaching recently (thank you, Tracy) on teaching your children to hear God. Our distraction-filled culture is not so amenable to being still and tuning in to the Lord, so a simple game was proposed: Have your children play in their room all the while listening for their names to be called. When they hear their names called from the other room and respond quickly, they get a small treat (in my case, M&M's). I know, very Pavlov's dogs, but it's important that my children develop the ability to really listen and really respond to the people around them and ultimately listen and respond to God. It's been fun to watch them get excited about hearing their name, knowing a blessing awaits them. It's reminded me to get quiet and listen to that still, small voice that longs to call my name, that Voice that longs to impart the blessing of knowing what's on His heart.

Deuteronomy 6:3-9 "Hear, O Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the LORD, the God of your fathers, promised you. Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates."

John 10:2-5 "The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger's voice."

The world according to Anna Grace

video

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Glad she asked


(Disclaimer: Video not for children)

As a woman who just went shopping and tried on swimsuits in that unforgiving light of the dressing room

As a woman who couldn't even stand the sight of it despite having a healthy body mass index

As a woman who is inundated by messages from this unrighteous culture of what she's supposed to look like

As a woman who loves God and is trying to walk in His ways and be a testimony of His love and goodness to this broken world

As a woman who is trying to raise a little girl to find her beauty in the Lord and nowhere else

I'm so glad that Beth Moore (we're doing her Esther study) asked me this most pressing and important question this week:

"What might be a reasonable way to handle the pressure [to be beautiful] for those of us who are neither likely to nor under spiritual conviction to throw away all our cosmetics?"

I have a follow up question:

What does it mean to be beautiful? Do I need to do or be something to be beautiful?

I believe it is a longing of every human heart- and not just women- to be beautiful. How do we handle this? What is the Lord saying about this? What do I need to be teaching Anna Grace about this? How should I be renewing my mind on the subject of beauty?

I think the impetus for it weighing so heavy on my heart is my daughter. I really want her to get it. I really want for her to know that she was made by God and she is beautiful. I really really really want to get this right.

And honestly, I want healing. I want to know true beauty, and I want that for all my beautiful friends and for my beautiful mom and for my beautiful sisters and for all of us. Maybe I'm being presumptuous, but haven't we all been wounded regarding our beauty in some way or another? If you haven't, please share your secret.

I've been pondering it all and I'm afraid I'm building up a pretty good bit of blog gas (as my husband who thoroughly enjoys flatulent humor would say).

We'll see where the Lord takes us on the subject...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A new heart


As parents, we spend a lot of time focusing on what we teach our children, but sometimes it's just as valuable to stop and process what the Lord is teaching us through them.

Yesterday as we were cruising in the car, I pulled out an old Nickel Creek CD. The carefree melodies of the mandolin and violin were perfect for a steamy afternoon drive- windows down and Icee in hand, wind blowing your chlorinated hair dry. Anna Grace sat quietly in the back, sipping on her peach and Coke Icee mix, until a song came on that moved her heart. It didn't take me by surprise too much, because Anna Grace has done this many times before: crying because she's happy. It's an emotion that she's not sure what to do with, but it's very strong in her heart and she is moved to tears with expressions of love. Whether it's The Fox and the Hound movie or a Nickel Creek song or me telling her how much I love her, the emotion takes hold of her heart and she is moved in a big way.

It's not always an easy thing. Many times, she's inconsolable when she's disappointed or she's thrilled to the point of hysteria when she's excited about something, but I'm trying to walk the fine line of directing her heart and emotions appropriately and in a way that brings life. As Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola put it, "Jesus did not come to make bad people good. He came to make dead people live."

I want to be fully alive and fully engaged with Jesus, living from my heart, and that's something Anna Grace is really good at doing. Whether she's casting out fear in prayer before she screams "CANNON BALL!" to announce her flop into the pool or telling me that it feels like heaven to do a flip over her little pink chair, she is fully engaged and fully alive in these moments and that's something I don't want her to ever lose.

I think I've lost a bit of Luke 7:31-35 in translation, but it seems like it speaks a little bit to this dilemma of my heart: "To what, then, can I compare the people of this generation? What are they like? They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to each other: 'We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not cry.' For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, 'He has a demon.' The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, 'Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and "sinners."' But wisdom is proved right by all her children."

I want to dance. I want to cry. I want to experience life in all of its fullness.

Thank you, Jesus, that you are the One who promises to give me a new heart and put a new spirit in me and to remove from me my heart of stone and give me a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26). Thank you for using your little girl to teach me a little bit more about your big heart of love.

Chocolate Fondue with avacado and carrots



Yes, I'm still at it. Chocolate veggies were on the menu tonight and let me tell you- it was delicious! It may have been the best yet.

I know that your kids love guacamole and carrots with ranch dip, but mine don't. I wish they did, but they don't. Even my thirty two year old big kid. So we do what we can. It was a mess, but it was actually fun eating our green and orange veggies. Who knew?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Aren't daddies the best?

















I sure am blessed with good ones in my life. Thank you Bill and Jack for all you do and for all that you are. May the Lord bless you and strengthen you in your vital assignment to impart a picture of the heart of God the Father to all your children. Happy Father's Day!

Cause Love Rules at the Luh-uh-uv Shack


A dear friend of mine sent me a card this week. She remembered the sadness that Father's Day invokes for me and thought to comfort me in preparation for today. Psalm 119:76 graced the inside cover: "May Your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise."

I never thought in a million years I would find His comfort in a karaoke bar.

My family rallied at a life long friend's wedding this weekend in Waco, Texas (beautiful and holy moment, by the way). After the drive back to Dallas, the babysitter was already at my sister's house keeping the littlest ones, so we dropped off the older kids and met up with Jonny and Amber at the local tavern- where there happened to be quite a scene complete with a smoking bull and the karaoke of all karaoke.

After flipping through the pages and pondering whether Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA" or Tone Loc's "Funky Cold Medina" would give us the most laughs, my brother chimed in. He'd do the guy's part of the B52's "Love Shack."

It was SO on.

We turned in our request and wouldn't you know it- before long the karaoke master was calling Amber, Jennifer, Candace, and Jonny up front.

And Jonny NAILED it. It was a sight to behold. We had a blast and laughed like a bunch of hyenas.

When I came back to my seat, my dear husband asked me, like he does, if I knew who would really love being there to see that.

Dadoo.

Dadoo indeed. He would have loved it.

It made my heart smile.

One Day we will sing together again.

Thank you, Lord, for your unfailing love, your comfort, and your promise. And thank you for karaoke.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Our friend KeKe


Anna Grace has a devotional book that makes suggestions on how to live out your faith as a little girl who loves God. The other night's suggestion was to make cookies for your neighbors. So that's just what we did. There are two little girls who live about a block away who have seen us playing in the front yard and joined in our game of throw-ball-kick-ball (I really must tell you sometime about our made up game of fun).

We dropped them off when our little friend wasn't home and didn't think anything else about it. Until yesterday when we got this note.

It was so sweetly honest. Appreciative and regretful all at the same time. It made me smile.

I guess I'll be making some more cookies this afternoon...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A little girl's life with a great big message

What I witnessed tonight stunned my heart. I need to process, so here I am.

One of the girls in my Wednesday night Bible study group had her baby on Sunday. Her beautiful baby girl, Avery Faith, went back to be with Jesus only a short while after she was born. Confronted with a diagnosis of anencephaly, her parents had been preparing for this difficult and bittersweet moment of their little girl's birth for several weeks and the time had come to both welcome their little one into the world and give her back to Jesus all in the same morning.

Tonight, I sat on a cushioned pew in the back of a chapel and wept as I witnessed these amazing parents celebrate the life of their little one. As this little girl's daddy choked back tears to give his testimony of faith giving glory to God, I realized that this was it. This was more real than maybe anything I've ever witnessed. It was a moment of their faith intersecting with the Lord's faithfulness. It was truly stunning. The beauty of the Lord was heavily upon this couple. It was stunning. I've just never seen anything like it.

In the midst of the most devastating experience of their lives, they blessed the name of the Lord and lifted Him up, giving Him glory.

Beautiful.

I can't wait to meet this beautiful little Avery one day. Until then, I'll continue to press into the Lord, blessing His name despite circumstances, praying that He will come back, abolish death, and make all things new.

Come, Lord Jesus.

It sometimes seems like too much to take, and yet I know that the Lord causes all things to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. Avery has left an indellible mark upon this broken world and her testimony is powerful- only the Lord knows how far reaching this little life's message will go.

Her life and her testimony invokes a strange mix of hope and heart wrenching grief. How can I feel so inspired and so sad at the same time? Maybe that's the point. We need not let go of our hope- it's real and it's coming. At the same time, we need not let go of our grief- this world is not as it should be. In the words of my friend John Harrigan, "Death is not okay."

Lord, help us to cope in the meantime...

Janis Joplin meets Fancy Nancy meets Fairy Godmother


Silly fun.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Brave

It seems that the Lord has been speaking to my heart about the power of His word and His desire for me to speak His blessing over those with whom I cross paths.

My friend gave birth this past week to this beautiful new life. His name is Brave Ransom. It's such a big name for such a tiny little life, but it speaks volumes to the man he'll become. It's not your average Joe name- it's much more than that and it speaks more than that- much more blessing, much more of who the Lord calls this little one to do and be.

Of course, there can be great honor and meaning derived from family names or even the more popular or common names that run in our circles, but there is something about this name that just strikes my heart as powerful.

Every time this little one meets someone new or runs too far away from his mother or is even asked to turn around, the people around him will call him Brave. It is such a powerful gift his parents have given him- to be called by believers and unbelievers alike by a name that empowers, strengthens, and affirms his place as a courageous warrior for the Lord.

If you know me at all, you know that I feel very strongly about names already. Ezekiel means "the Lord strengthens" and David "beloved." Anna means "grace" in Hebrew and my little girl is of course named for the grace she has been given so richly. But even more than that, I'm learning of the importance of speaking words of life over those around me even in the simple, daily routines of life.

Just the word "name" is used 588 times in the Bible. We see God naming His creation, Adam naming the animals, the Lord giving and changing names throughout the scriptures, and in the end, Revelation tells us that the name of the Lord will be written on the foreheads of His servants. Throughout the Bible, names are always formative, reflecting character traits or encounters or covenants that bind or forever change who or what the created is. Abram to Abraham (Genesis 17:5), Jacob to Israel (Genesis 32:28), Desolate Land to the Bride of God (Isaiah 62:4), Peter as the rock (Matthew 16:18)- the list could go on and on and the significance of the names that the Lord bestows is so powerful.

The exhaustive nature of the study of God's words for His creation is what moves my heart so much. The power of the words spoken over something is something I take for granted. I forget that even the world was spoken into existence and just as there is power in the words of the Lord, somehow, we tap into that power as we speak his blessing over his creation. There is tremendous power in a name and there's tremendous power in calling my little boy kind or my husband diligent or my patient capable.

I once saw a study that moved my heart (I wish I could find it and link it). It looked at the amount of affirmation and positive words that were spoken to children in lower socioeconomic level homes in relation to middle and upper socioeconomic level homes. It was a HUGE disparity. It further impressed upon my heart the importance and significance of what I am saying to my children and to all the people in my life- that my words cause change and have effect- either for death or for life.

Lately, I have been waiting and listening to see if I can hear more of what the Lord is saying about the people around me. How can I encourage them in the love that their Creator has for them? What is on His heart? How can I speak and bestow blessing? I've been looking for His words and not mine because His are the ones that bring life.

So the blessing that comes with a name is a blessing rightly bestowed. In the words of his mother, this newest little one received this name as a blessing from his parents to "pave the way for him to live bravely in this world, a world that so desperately needs to be ransomed from the chains that bind it."

What a powerful birth day gift. It's so full of meaning, so full of Love- just like a whisper straight from heaven itself.

I was talking to a friend a while back over princess birthday cake. The conversation veered to her recent trip to Asia and then to my friends who are pregnant with their third boy- all the while living half-way around the world and far from home and extended family. She just looked at me in wonder as her I told them a little bit about my friends.

"Wow," she said. "Brave."

I just smiled... and agreed.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Bachelorette blessing



I had a 30 hour respite from being a mommy this weekend to go celebrate with my soon to be sister-in-law at her bachelorette party. At dinner last night, she asked the married ones at the table to offer our best advice. So advice was given and taken and discussed, but before I leave Dallas, I wanted to take some time to confer not just advice, but blessing over this upcoming union. Amber's still zonked out in bed (I've never met such a night owl), so I'll type out my blessing to you, my dearest sleeping beauty:

Amber, may your love for your husband be always patient, always kind. May it not be envious or boastful or proud or rude. May it not be self-seeking, but self-giving. May you not be easily angered or keep a record of wrongs. May you not rejoice with evil, but delight in the truth. May your love always protect, always trust, always hope, always persevere. May your love never fail for my brother, your husband, God's son.

Because it's all about Love.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Breakfast

Lamentations 3:21-23 "Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness."

Darkness has fallen over Louisiana but I have friends in Thailand who are enjoying a wonderful morning, so I thought I would break my blog fast by declaring the great compassion of the Lord. New every morning. Great faithfulness.

He's brought me to a new and good place and I'm so thankful. Much to share about it all when it's not bedtime.

But in the meantime, I couldn't resist sharing some pictures of my favorite guys and their summer cuts. Zeke is such a little dude. He sang "Old MacDonald had a farm" all day long and he keeps telling me that he's a hippo and "I know THAT'S right." Funny little guy.






I felt terrible today and if I had been expected at a job this morning I would have called in sick. But somehow, you can't just tell your kids that you're sick and they need to take care of themselves for the day. At least not when they're two and four.

But in the end, we managed to make it... even enjoy the sticky June heat... and giggle all the way to bed time.

Compassions new every morning. Great faithfulness...

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Signing off

Derailed.

It's my state of mind, my current predicament, and if I was a Tweeter, I'd most likely mysteriously Twitter away my plight. Then someone would probably be kind and ask if I was okay and then I'd say I'm fine- it's nothing really- and that would be that.

Stephen Johnson proposed in his article about the Twitter experience that a tweet, someone else's perception of their current existential experience in 140 characters or less, has "unsuspected depth."

And one of my good friends, in the context of a conversation about the same, has recently observed that his life is mundane enough without having to enter into the grind of everyone else's daily lives. (Although he's probably not experienced the droll experience of a Jack Chaney Facebook status update which I guess is somewhat similar to a tweet).

So unsuspected depth or mundane annoyances? Which is it?

I guess the irony here is that I'm not considering a Twitter account. I was really just thinking about the neutrality of technology and the way it can be used for good or for evil.

I feel like I've blogged a lot this week, but not very much. I need to write for so many reasons, but I feel like I've not been plugged into my Source enough lately to be using this venue for good.

Like my cell phone on it's last bar of battery life, I need a recharge.

Maybe I'll take a bloggy vacation... until the Spirit moves...

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Zeke Speak

Hey my peeps! I may be two years old, but I've been one busy dude. Let me start with yesterday.

Ever been to Shuqualak Farms? That's where we go to pick blueberries. My mom loves it there. Loves it.


We went there last Friday and had a great time, but this time, I decided that blueberry picking was not for me. You may think from this picture that I was into it, but really... not so much. If only mom could understand me.

Dad is always talking about my mom's "first mistake of the day," and if you ask me, her first mistake was not making a healthy breakfast. She thought we could get doughnuts, but came back empty-handed from the doughnut store. Something about it being National Doughnut Day and long lines. I was bummed. In any case, if you ask me, that was her first mistake. I need a good breakfast.

Even though it wasn't too hot and even though my Nana was with us, I decided that my mom couldn't or wasn't meeting my needs, so I cried. A lot. People kept asking me what was wrong. I did NOT want to talk to them. I am so misunderstood sometimes.
My sister wasn't too into it, either. She gets me. But she recovered and ended up picking a pint of blackberries.
One thing I did enjoy? My blueberry popsicle. Sweet.

So that was yesterday.

Today, my mom and dad kept calling me a "big boy." What's up with that? They put me in underwear (but it's cool 'cause they've got Lightening on them) and they decided to put my crib in a hole in the ceiling. They got down those stairs that are really fun for me to climb on, but it was bogus because I kept getting in trouble when I tried to climb.

Also, something was funny, because my mom kept laughing to herself while she wrote on some kind of bag that she put my bed stuff in.
So tonight, I'm going to sleep in my new bed. All night long. Because I love my mom and I want her to get her rest. Aren't I sweet?
Peace out, dog.

Zeke

Thursday, June 4, 2009

A winner

To sum up my nutritional diatribe this week, spinach brownies, pumpkin french toast, and our beloved smoothies were quite a success. I've set my sights on trying one new recipe at least every other day. Thank you all so much for the words of encouragement.

And I know that Barbara wouldn't mind my just going ahead and picking a winner for the giveaway...

Because I don't know how she does what she does...

and because she needs a little happy today...

and because she reminded me of the need to pray often...

Nora Greer is the winner of the cookbook that just might change the Chaney world.

In other nutritional news, check out one of my BFF's from Caddo Magnet Highschool, class of '95.

Isn't she awesome? I'm so proud.

Happy eating!

Super Zeke

video
I really don't know how all this started. He's never seen Spiderman. Not once. But he has a really funny impression of the aforementioned superhero and after getting some new Spiderman shoes yesterday, it was all muscles all the time. Enjoy. This one's for you, Aunt Amber!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A conversation


Anna Grace: Daddy! Look at this apple!

Jack: Wow. Did you do that?

Anna Grace: No! It was just like this.

Jack: That's pretty cool. It has a cross on it. We should put it on ebay.

Anna Grace: What's ebay?

Jack: It's where you sell and buy stuff that's cool.

Anna Grace: Oh.

Jack: How much do you think we could get for it?

Anna Grace: eighteen dollars?

So there you go. For the bargain price of eighteen dollars, this, too, can be yours to add to your fruit-with-religious-symbols collection.

Any takers? Ha. ;)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Try, try again

Grilled cheese with pureed butternut squash?

Not so much.

But despite a small failure, we'll keep pushing on toward better eating. I still need lots of prayer support in pushing the issue and persevering, but we'll keep trying.

I was thinking about the impetus for the increased focus on shaping up the Chaney diet. I was probably inspired at our latest reunion by the way my friends are so diligent in healthy eating. I've been hoping to gain greater revelation on the body as the temple of God and I still only have a glimmer of a glimpse of what that really means, but I know that the Lord wants us to be good stewards of what He's given us. That goes for our money, our time, our relationships, this earth we live on, and even our bodies.

So we'll keep pressing on, chopping, pureeing, steaming, and cooking our way to better health.

Because we are not our own.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body."

Monday, June 1, 2009

TLLOM giveaway

I bought flax seed, beets, butternut squash, and lots of spinach at the store this morning.

It is so on.

After airing my nutrition grievances, I was given much appreciated advice on how to incorporate veggies in the Chaney diet. I am so grateful.

After spinach-strawberry-blueberry smoothies were a success, my friend Jennifer let me borrow her copy of Deceptively Delicious (previously recommended by Lauren) and then my mother-in-law bought me two copies. One for me and one to give away, she said.

So I although I don't generally use this blog as a forum for giving things away (other than maybe a few unsolicited thoughts on life), I thought I would give away a Deceptively Delicious book.

If you have a blog, link your story of a struggle fought and overcome in motherhood in the comments section. If you don't have a blog, I would love for you to email me some thoughts and I'll post them here- I'd love to have a guest author on the TLLOM.

I'll let my mother-in-law choose the entry she likes best and they, too, will get to learn the deceptive deliciousness of pureed veggies.

I thought it would be a good way for moms to encourage one another in the little battles we face every day. Let the thought sharing begin!