Monday, August 31, 2009

How weird is this?

I missed Sunday's disruption. I was changing diapers and rocking sleepy children in the nursery during the intruder incident. I hated to miss the service as I had some very special friends having their babies dedicated, but maybe it's good that I wasn't there. I heard it was really scary. Actually, Jack recounted the "Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon" move he started to make which may have actually turned into something more like George Costanza's antics in emergency situations.



On a different note, I'm really glad no one was hurt.

It's very odd to have happened at all. Right before John came to read part of John, chapter 14.

And I'm moved by John's heart for this guy. Love is not always my first, gut level reaction when I'm offended.

But it should be.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Victory!






Could it be? Dare I post it?
I think it has happened at the Chaney household. WE'RE DIAPER FREE!!!!





At least during our waking hours.


This is what I taped to his back this morning for church. A momma's gotta do what a momma's gotta do, right?

And just so you know, it totally worked.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

For your amusement at my expense







We had an absolute ball during our family's first bowling adventure last night. The highlight of it all was definitely Zeke going bonkers with high fives for everyone when he made his first strike (with bumpers of course). Jack bowled like a rock star (without bumpers of course) while I was so bad I that even Anna Grace put up a higher score than me.

video
So this is for your enjoyment. Courtesy Jack. Try not to laugh too hard. You're welcome.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Meek Zeke


One of the sweet ladies who keeps my children while I work out (God bless their souls) was concerned for my little boy this morning. When I walked my stinky, sweaty self into the nursery, Zeke was sitting very close to his caregiver with two trucks- playing happily. But Ms. J was still worried.

"He's not taking up for himself like he used to," she told me in her most concerned manner. "When another little boy takes his toy, he's just sad and doesn't take it back."

I didn't quite know what to say or how to calm her fears about my defenseless little one- mostly because I was processing this information. And despite her eager pleas for me to do something about it, I knew that our perspectives on the situations were somewhat different. On our way to the park, I realized that to me, this was quite a victory.

We had a playdate with some great friends, but they hadn't arrived yet, so I watched Zeke play and climb in and out of the maze of AC Steere Park. As I was watching him smile and run and slide, I knew that he was not passive and not weak, but maybe- just maybe- my little boy was learning meekness.

When you have an older sister, there are lots of opportunities to learn about how to interact with others. Maybe all our lessons in the time-out chair (for both of my children) are paying off. Maybe it's good that Zeke isn't retaliating in anger. Maybe it's good that he's learning what it means to be meek. I never want my son to be weak, but to learn to use his strength for good and to know what it means to walk in strength restrained- a life of meekness.

Ezekiel means "strength of God." It only makes sense that my Ezekiel would develop a strength that is one that mirrors his Father's. A strength that can take him to the highest of heights and the greatest of adventures, but a strength that is restrained and controlled by love.

May it always be with Ezekiel David Chaney.

Psalm 37:11 "But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace."

Zephaniah 3:12 "But I will leave within you the meek and humble, who trust in the name of the LORD."

Matthew 5:5 "Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth."

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Convicting with crayons

I have kind of a heavy heart today, so I'm going to take this opportunity to laugh at ... and incriminate... myself.


This is Anna Grace's art from Monday. Notice me and Jack on the couch, AG an Z happily playing ball. And notice all of our expressions.

Can you tell Monday was not such a good day?

It was actually one of those kinds of days when everything that can go wrong, did.










I needed a time-out from the situation, so Jack sent me outside to re-compose myself.

That's everybody inside the house and me outside of the house.


At least the kids were happy...


Leave it to Anna Grace to convict me with crayons.


She's something else.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Talitha Koum revisited

Sunday's sermon- Maggie Lee's dad is also one of our preachers- was the beginning of a healing balm. As John reflected on his journey through the nightmare of losing his daughter, he recounted the way he related to Jairus. There were so many similarities and their pleas to Jesus were the same. However, the glaring difference was the end of the story- Maggie Lee was not raised up to live out her time on earth.
There seemed to be no miracle granted, no wonder revealed. Only pain. Grief.


But despite these disparate endings, John was given wisdom and insight into the more subtle similarity between Maggie Lee and Jairus' daughter. "Talitha Koum!" were the words that Jesus spoke to Jairus' daughter. John rightly considers that Jesus has spoken these words to Maggie Lee in the same way he did to Jairus' daughter. His words:

"But this time... this time... He spoke them as One who had the authority of one who had conquered death by going through it and resurrecting from it, issuing the same reality to all who wish to hear the same words and follow along. And I don't think her healing is any less special than Jarius' daughter's. In fact, while I would rather have her here with me, and while my heart will ache for her from now until the day that I'll see her again, I know that her healing is actually better- that she rose up, in the presence of her Creator, in the strong and loving arms of her Lord and Savior, she rose up into the company of her grandparents who have gone on ahead of her, and while Jarius' daughter rose up in the presence of just a few people who were in that room, Maggie Lee has risen in the presence of a cloud of many witnesses as she was surrounded by the saints of old, even before the witnesses of the angelic beings. And there she stands. Raised up. Dancing. Singing..."
A couple of days after Maggie Lee died, Anna Grace wanted me to pray that she would dream about heaven. So we prayed. And dream she did. She dreamt that God's arms took her up- like an elevator- to heaven. She said that she saw gigantic flutes, big angels, and baby angels. And she said she saw Maggie Lee. She was wearing a yellow shirt and a pink skirt, and she had pig tails. And she was dancing for God on the dancing side of heaven. Maggie Lee was glad to see Anna Grace, but my little girl said she was shy because Maggie Lee didn't look quite the same. Because Anna Grace was on the visiting side of heaven, at the end of the encounter, God put her back down.

Shortly after the dream, I had a very special and kind-hearted local artist paint an account of the dream in all its beauty. I dropped it off today for Maggie Lee's family today. My prayer is that it would bring comfort and be a witness to the hope that we have in Jesus as our Lord and Savior. That it would serve as a reminder of the reality of the resurrection, the healing power of God (MLH), the indescribable wonder of what He's done for us, and the knowledge that we will see Maggie Lee again.

Talitha Koum, indeed.

Monday, August 24, 2009

So many babies...




... so little time.

Seriously? This little momma
has turned her room into some kind of fantasy orphanage. This morning she told me that some were her babies, some she adopted, and some were her friend's babies and she was babysitting. She's even been walking around the house "breastfeeding." Like I said, so many babies...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Together

There's something about eating breakfast together
and talking into the wee hours of the night together


and loving on twin baby boys together

and relaxing together

and having an absolute

BLAST

together

and conquering things together (this was harder than it looks)


and balaughing- I mean laughing- together until your stomach hurts.

More than anything else, there's something about loving God together.

As Saturday's sun was sliding down to the horizon making everything all golden and beautiful, we were running out the clock on our boat rental for the day, circling the lake and taking it all in. We sang and hummed and stared at the beauty around us, proclaiming that our God is mighty to save- that He has conquered the grave. Later, we laughed some more, we marveled at an amazing night sky, and we lifted up our hearts to our Creator- together- this morning.

This weekend was a celebration of sorts- our little group had studied the book of Daniel this past year and we're looking forward to a study on Heaven this fall.

After years of doing this small group thing, I've realized that there's just something about growing in the Lord and doing life- together. The fertilizer of His love makes the roots of relationship grow deep and strong. It's a blessing beyond measure.

So here's to many more years- together.

"How good and how pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!" Psalm 133:1

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

On the other side

I was focused on my literal "to do" list as I was draining my gas tank, carting my little girl all over town today. But in the midst of the mundane, I had a few people, a few ideas, a few words on my heart that all seemed to come together at about 7:15 tonight.

Lydia sent a message earlier that morning- an update on their upcoming adoption of a little girl. She wrote: "We were praying this morning and it was so clear to me that in the same way I (we) am sacrificing for this little ONE, the Lord Jesus came and sacrificed for me. In order for me to be included in the family of Christ, I had to be covered in his righteousness. Someone had to fight for me. Someone had to pay a literal price. Someone had to groan with everything in them to include me in the ETERNAL and amazingly awesome family of Christ."

Nora celebrated her girls today. Her miracle baby girls who were born at 24 weeks. I couldn't help but think of how they were fought for, how many doctors and nurses labored over their little bodies, how many people must have prayed for these little ones, how the Lord's hand was probably so heavily upon Nora and Jason and these tiny little girls. I thought of how my friend's heart must have groaned as she prayed and joined in the fight for these little ones.

My day's work ended at two meetings at my church. It's a church in transition, with somewhat of an identity crisis. A church with declining membership, but a church full of people who love fully and long to see this church be who the Lord is calling her to be. It struck me tonight that I groan for this church and yet I'm fully engaged in joining in the fight for life in that place. I've realized that God has put that groan in my heart that I would pray, that I would encourage, and that I would serve in this church that He loves so fully. He's called me to fight for life at my church.

So at 7:15, in the church parking lot after we had picked up the kids, we had to stop the car and get out. It was THE most beautiful rainbow I had ever seen. The kid's enthusiasm was only matched by the leap of my heart.

It seemed to speak strengthening, comforting words of hope. That everything was going to be okay. Even though we have to fight for life, the Lord is our strength. He will and does fight for us. Certainly He calls us to fight, but it's not by power, nor by strength, but by His Spirit. He's got it under control. He saved Nora's girls, He's working out every detail of Lydia's adoption, He will resurrect Maggie Lee, He cares and is working at First Baptist.

One of my favorite Jason Upton songs, "You're Not Alone," has a refrain that puts an extra spring in my step when I'm on a run. "Don't be afraid little warrior Bride- victory's on the other side. You're not alone..."

Warrior Bride.

It's funny... it's not the first time the Lord has spoken such hope to my heart... at my church... with a rainbow.

Crazy.

Parochial Prose

by Anna Grace and her mommy

It's time for back to school
And the doodlebugs are cool
But how will we get around
The other bugs that sound
St. Mark's is really fun
And now my rhyme is done!


We visited Anna Grace's new classroom yesterday and she was devastated when we had to leave. I've never seen anyone so excited about school. When we drove by her school this summer, she would wistfully whisper, "White House... I miss you."

So my little doodlebug (her classroom's mascot) was as happy as the proverbial bug in a rug as we made the walk to school this morning.

And her mommy's heart was so glad because her heart was so glad.

Yay for school!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Lack-a-nack-a-What?


It's that time of year again. LCANCAAFFA time. Lambda Chi Alpha National Collegiate Athletic Association Fantasy Football Association time. Affectionately pronounced "lac- a-nack-a-faff-a."

For over thirteen years now, Jack and his college buddies have been scheming and steaming about their very own drafted hypothetical teams. It makes college football season that much more fun. Or does it?

In any case, my little girl has picked up on the calls to Dennis and the Phil Steele magazines lying around and the increased playstation time pitting LSU v. its SEC rivals. She knows. It's LCANCAAFFA time. It has even shown up in her art.

Pictured is Anna Grace's rendition of the Tarheels v. the Giraffes. And, as you can plainly see by the black sky, it's a night game. And the sideways looking thing is the ram on the field. Go heels, right?

And go team Chaney. And team Greenway. And team Kummer.

Because there's nothing hypothetical about the relationships that this game fosters. We love our LCANCAAFFA friends.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

A little bit


I was heaving air in and out of my lungs as we stopped only a quarter mile into our trail. I could almost feel the lactic acid gathering in my thighs from the uphill climb to Forest Park which is on what seems like Portland's highest apex. I was taken by surprise and a little disappointed. I'm no couch potato and this was going to be an awesome ride through the nation's largest urban forest: 5,000+ acres explored by Lewis and Clark themselves. And now I was deflated, unsure if I could even get back on my bike- much less ride any further into what I was sure was quiet and grand beauty. It was sad. Later, after I made excuses for my poor performance to the guy at the bike shop- it was the altitude, right?- he left me no room for pride. Portland is actually at sea level. Yeah, right, I thought. I'd be looking that one up later. Mile after mile of gear grinding revolutions all the while standing and shifting side to side to get up hill after hill somehow had convinced me otherwise.

But at that moment- as we were catching our breath on the side of the gravel trail- I turned to Jack and asked him if he believed in me. Could I make it any farther?

"I believe in you a little bit," was his answer. I kid you not. That's what the man said. With a smile.

And that small affirmation- those small words that spoke small faith- got me almost five more miles up the trail. Fifteen miles in all that day. Not a big deal for Lance Armstrong types, but a huge feat for me- especially having been dead on arrival at the entrance of my biking destination. Mile markers recorded greater elevation of my heart as the white pylons counted up our progress. That "little bit" moved my heart from despair to desire and apathy to action. That "little bit" made all the difference.

I wonder what would happen if I just believed God- just a little bit.

I wonder how His heart would be moved if I grasped how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. If I, through faith, knew this love that surpasses knowledge.

If I had been so moved by the small faith of my husband in me, than how much more would my Creator's heart be moved by my small faith in Him?

I like to think that I have faith, but if I really believed what He has said about me and over me, wouldn't I run to Him more? Talk to Him more? Prioritize my life around Him more? Care about other things less?

I was recently given a gift courtesy my ipod's shuffle feature, a conference speaker, and the hand of God himself. Jennifer Roberts was comparing the way we approach God to an insecure wife. She still needed to lose the ten pounds she gained on the honeymoon, so until that happened, she relegated herself to the other bedroom on the other side of the house, acknowledging her love for her husband but the need for distance until she was perfect enough for him. Ridiculous, of course, but it's nevertheless how we keep the God who loves us and made us at arm's length.

I want to be rooted and grounded in His love. I want to know this love that surpasses knowledge, but so often I fall so short in not believing that he can love this weak, broken, small, prideful, sinful little woman.

So my prayer is that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen me with power through his Spirit in my inner being, so that Christ may dwell in my heart through faith. And I pray that I would be rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-- that I may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:16-19)

As He blows my mind with this love that surpasses knowledge, I pray that God's heart would be moved and that Love's elevation would rise to even greater heights in my heart. I pray this for my heart and for Jack. For my kids and for my siblings. For my friends in Asia and Europe and my friends in Shreveport. For the rich among us and for the poor. For the wildest hearted teenager and the loneliest, most infirmed senior. For the most mature Christian and the most confused one. I pray that together all of us as saints of God would know this love.

And I pray that our "little bit" of faith would add to great moves of the heart of God.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Fun with quarters


















In an effort to redirect my little girl to something constructive (she was very disappointed to have missed seeing Aunt KK and cousin William today), we set up a lemonade stand on our little corner of the world.

Six red plastic cups and lots of waving to cars later, Anna Grace racked up about eight dollars (one sweet lady gave her a $5 bill and didn't want her change).

Anna Grace decided "Have a lemonade day!" would be a great way to show her appreciation.

It's pretty close, but I think I may have had more fun than she did. What can be better than a lemonade stand in the summer when you're a kid? That's one of the perks of having kids: getting to act like one.

Have a lemonade day!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Welcome

I just realized that I never posted about my trip to the future.

I have this really fun and great friend from college who has always given Jack and I great recommendations for traveling anywhere in the country (but especially west of the Mississippi). So naturally, when Jack and I decided to cash in on our travel vouchers from getting bumped on last year's trip, we consulted the travel-wise Jeff Brandon on our next venture. When I told him we decided on Portland, he told me, "Portland is the type of town that is so cool it makes you feel like we have been living in the past in other towns."

Sweet.

I had a window seat and a movie to watch on my Continental time machine to the future.

It was awesome.

What did I see in the future, you may ask?

1. All manner of beauty. Let me tell you- it is just beautiful in the future.



2. And it turns out, you eat at recycled elementary schools in the future. And they're REALLY cool.





3. The trees are as big as they are beautiful in the future. They really make our trees look shrubby.


4. There are enormous bookstores that take up entire city blocks in the future. Good news for my friends Bethany and JennO.


5. There is also all manner of deliciousness in the future. And restaurants named Veritable Quandry and Bijou Cafe that serve up all kinds of organic, fresh, local yumminess. (This was my eggplant appetizer)


6. Did I mention the beauty? This is Haystack Rock on Cannon Beach- about an 80 mile drive from Portland.



7. Earth flags in the future? I guess this kind of makes sense. But maybe not really.

8. If you're a vegan, the future is the place for you! There are all kinds of vegan choices everywhere you go- even at the doughnut shop. The bad news, however, is that the future of desserts seemed to be grim. They had nothing on Southern Maid Doughnuts and there is no Bluebell ice cream in the future. That was the only sad part. But on the flip side, there is much less temptation to neglect your health. Which brings me to #9...


9. You can bike anywhere and everywhere in the future! I am most excited about this. Jack and I rented bikes for a day and biked to and in Forest Park (the future's 5,000 acre park) and then around town. There are bike lanes everywhere and you are respected as an urban cyclist. It's nice, I'm telling you. And green.


10. There are cries for peace in the future. As I ran across the Willamette River, I joined in that cry, asking for Peace to reign in that place. I can't wait until it's realized.


The future was great. I highly recommend you get your flux capacitor and your Delorean and get back to it. Roads? Where we're going we don't need roads.

Shout Out Sunday


I was really excited to tell a couple of people about my new treasure of a happy (courtesy BeBe of course), but maybe these antique ironing board/chair/ladder combination things are more ubiquitous than I thought. They had both seen them before. Go figure.

In any case, I love it. I think it's the coolest thing ever.

And honestly- it's kind of miraculous that I got it recovered all on my own. I'm talkin goin to Fabulous Fabrics with two kids by myself, then to another store for the trim and then the staple gun and the glue.... Maybe not a big deal for all you crafty mommas out there, but no small feat for me.

So I'm shoutin out a big thank you to BeBe (my thoughtful and generous mother-in-law) tonight. Anna Grace loves her "throne" and I'm loving the newest, very functional, and most interesting addition to my kitchen!