Sunday, June 27, 2010

Staying awhile

"As they were going down to the edge of town, Samuel said to Saul, 'Tell the servant to go ahead of us'- and the servant did so- 'but you stay here awhile, so that I may give you a message from God.'" 1 Samuel 9:27


In the course of our study last week, my Kathy reminded me that just as Saul need to stay awhile to receive a message from God, so do we need to stay awhile- to linger in the word of God. Our message from God is there if we will take the time to receive it.

It's costly.

You lose sleep over it. There is an opportunity cost. But just as David would not sacrifice to the Lord a burnt offering that cost him nothing (2 Samuel 24:22), so should I give to the Lord the best of my time.

It's not easy to find the time with all the life teeming at my house at all hours of the day and night. But I bet it's not easy for you, either. There's always something.

However, when you prioritize it and fight for it, the reward is far better than you could have asked or imagined.

So here's to lingering. To tarrying with God. To waiting for a word.

Thanks, Kathy, for the reminder.

I need that.

Breathtaking

Wanna see something beautiful?  Check out Bethany.  She's finally here!!!! 


I saw her picture on Facebook this past week and I don't know- it just nearly took my breath away.  The love is just overwhelming- the love I feel for her, the love I feel for her momma and her family, the love her momma and her new family has for her, the love that the Lord is revealing through it all.  


It's just breathtaking.

Stay tuned to the All Who Are Thirsty blog.  I'm sure the story to come will be amazing.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Worth it


I feel like I didn't get a single thing done today. And then I remembered how much I really did today.


There's not much to show for my day's work. Maybe a empty sink and a caladium or two in the backyard.

What I really spent most of my time on today is reaping eternal dividends.

Often precious.

Sometimes difficult.

But always worth it.

(photograph by Anna Grace)

Insanity

YouTube - Reaction to USA Winning Goal

Not unlike the Chaney household reaction.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Who's who?




Pretty amazing resemblances, huh?

Beautiful things of my life

Being at home with your kids is an amazing gift, but sometimes it can also leave you feeling a bit confined, isolated, and limited.

It's a tricky thing how the enemy of our hearts would have us believe we're missing out on something when actually, we're right where God wants us to be.

As I drove home on what ended up being a beautiful night with our church family, the lyrics of a Psalty the Songbook song struck my heart as it streamed up from the backseat:


"Beautiful... beautiful... Jesus is beautiful... and Jesus makes beautiful things of my life..."


The way the kids marveled at this spider web this morning, the way the elderly lady from my church held my baby boy with a sparkle in her delighted eyes, the baby yawns, Zeke pointing out the pink sunset, the comfortable companionship of good friends, the afternoon nap, the pop-in at my mom's house, the time swinging with my beautiful daughter

who's growing up so quickly-
it was all kinds of beautiful.


It may not be glamorous or exciting, but if I keep my eyes open- or rather, if I keep asking to have my eyes opened to it- there really is untold beauty in much of this small life that I've been given.



So I'm going to keep looking for it.



I've found that the more I do that, the more beauty I see.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Living up to his name









My 1o pound 5 week-old smiles in his sleep.  


He is truly a happy little man.



The royal treatment

James 1:12  "Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him."


Anna Grace, in true Anna Grace form, decorated the house for Father's Day- not the least notable of which was the homemade crown with which she coronated her father.


And it was so perfect. She knows, as do I, that there's something special about her daddy.


He perseveres under trial.


He trusts and obeys.


He grows daily in strength and diligence.


He makes us laugh.


He crowns us with his own kind of love.  


So thanks, Jack, for all you do to anchor our family in truth and love.  


You're quite a man. 

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Mud pie, anyone?




She may wear dresses and bows and aprons with ribbons, but my Anna Grace likes to make sure you know that she's "the toughest girl you know."



Of course, with two brothers, she'll have to be.

A dirt-digging, dancing diva. That's my Anna Grace.



But as tough as she'd like to think she is, it doesn't take much to have her show her true dainty colors. One live creepy crawler, one skinned knee, or one bit of dirt in her mouth and it's all over.

We're not too tough.



Brotherly love



It turns out that Asher's five year old sister and three year old brother are quite the safety hazards loving and well-meaning siblings. Holding Asher is a daily requirement of their hearts. I just hope I can intervene quickly enough to avoid any mishaps.


Like when Zeke went to put candy in the baby's mouth.


Or when Anna Grace accidentally knocked the empty bassinet over.


Maybe somehow I can grow some of those mommy eyes in the back of my head...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Great things



Psalm 126:3   "The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy."


My sweetheart Zeke and his remarkable recovery from strep throat plus a nasty virus on top.  Truly, the Lord has done great things for us.  



Wednesday, June 16, 2010

What sustains me

In just a little while, Jack will wake up, make me a pot of coffee, and ask me how the night went.  And like every morning for the past four weeks, I'll either choose to complain or state the facts with a degree of gratitude.  Sometimes it's a fine line.

Facts:
1.  Asher woke up at 11:30 and 4:00 which is wonderful.  It would have been even better if he had gone back to sleep at 4:00 am, but still- in my book, sleeping for more than three hours at a time is quite a victory for a 4 week old.
2.  Zeke woke up at 12:00 with a fever and a nasty cough.  There's probably a trip to the pediatrician in our future.  And we'll miss our much beloved day camp at St. Paul's.
3.  It's 5:00 and I'm up for the day.

This season of my life is a juxtaposition of the wonderful and the difficult.  Mostly, it's wonderful.  We'll get over a fever.  Eventually, we'll get a full night's sleep.  And along the way, we'll cherish the cuddles, the silliness, and the rich and thick love that comes with family life.

It's just that on days and nights like this one, I have to remember that in giving of myself to these children, I am giving of myself to love. And in appreciating the fullness of the blessing the Lord has bestowed on me with this precious family, I am sustained in the early morning hours when I'd rather be sleeping.  Or in the frustration of not having enough hours in the day to get it all done.  Or in the consistent execution of appropriate discipline.  Or the mountains of laundry.  Or just in the mundane and smallness of it all.

Because in the end, it's not mundane and it's not small.  It's loving someone in their earliest days of life and imparting the heart of the Father into the fabric of a child's soul.

And there's just not much to do in this life that is greater or more profound than that.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

From peaceful to pandemonium in no time flat


It was so peaceful.  So sweet.  Asher slept soundly in his daddy's arms whilst the USA took on England in what would be my little boy's first World Cup experience.  


It was so peaceful, so sweet, that is, until USA scored its first and only lucky goal.  



At that point, Jack let out a whoot and a holler the likes of which our little house has not seen.  Needless to say, he scared the begeezums out of my sweet sleeping boy and he lost his baby-holding privileges.  


Asher spent the rest of the game sleeping on his quilt on the floor.  


Away from the crazy.  


But by the time the next World Cup rolls around, in four short years, I bet the whoots and hollers will be even more earth-shattering with Jack, Zeke, and Asher teaming up for the game-sharing experience.  


As Anna Grace would say, "I can picture it right now..."

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Hills are alive...


...with the sound of music. Or is it...


starfall.com


and silly kids


and mommas shooing kids away from sleeping babies


and fun in the sun



and a little girl who sings Little Mermaid songs a hundred thousand times, going under the water and then emerging for the final and dramatic "part of that.... WORLD!!!!"?


I don't know about the hills of Austria, but the Hill Family house was full of all of the above and much more starting well before seven am every day this week. Thanks again, sis. We'll be back soon to make some more crazy noise beautiful music together. And next time, we'll bring Nana. And maybe even KK and William. And we'll take a bigger car. And we won't get lost on I-30. Or stuck in a torrential thunderstorm.

Or have kids with emergency surgery.

Deal?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Troubled toes, troubled trips, but terrific times

Holy cannoli! That's gotta hurt!!!!

Monday morning's initiation of "The Master Plan for Summer Activity So That Momma Doesn't Lose Her Mind" started out with a bang.


Literally.


While on our way to Dallas to visit my sister's family, my nephew Kendrick's foot sustained a nasty blow from a kitchen stool.


Secondly, the trip that should have taken three hours for me and the kids took four and a half hours. But thank goodness for nice ladies in bathrooms in Kilgore, Texas, who volunteer to hold your newborns while you help your toddler poop on the potty.


After Kendrick had a bit of surgery (no broken bones- just prevention of secondary infection), things started on the up and up.


One thing's for sure: We'll not forget this visit.


And even though it took us what seemed like forever and a day to get here, it was totally worth it. For the past couple of days, I've been blessed by an extra set of eyes, an extra set of hands, and an extra big dose of love.


So thanks, sister. You've been a gracious host to the tornado that is my little crew of kiddos.


Let's hope our next visit is a little more uneventful.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The sweet spot of our Saturday

You'd think that we would have gone for the locally grown produce.

Or the homemade jams.

Or the all natural soaps.

Or the best granola this side of the Mississippi.

But no.

When it was all said and done, the only trace of a souvenir from Saturday's Farmer's Market was the white powder that frosted Asher's poor little head- evidence of his mother's sugar high.

But I wasn't alone.



We all partook of the sugary goodness. (But to our credit, it was crazy crowded and we would have made better choices had there not been a crowd to fight. Next time, it's blackberries and sweet corn for us).




"Dynaco Zeke" shirt designed by Anna Grace and made lovingly by Nana

We all had a great time.

I'd like to tell you that we all stayed happy and that the rest of the day went as swimmingly, but alas... it didn't.

Such is life.

But at least we had our beignet moment.

It was sweet in more ways than one.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Love, mercy, and a half contraction: Our birth story

Sitting on the edge of a hospital bed, slumped and afraid of the next gargantuan pitocin-induced contraction, awaiting a the insertion of a very large needle in my back, I met God.

Everything to do with the end of this pregnancy had been a challenge to my heart. Some women really love being pregnant.

I am not one of those women.

By week 38, sleeping was elusive, heartburn was continuous, and carrying an 8 pound baby on a 5 foot, 1 inch frame was uncomfortable at best. Not that I was not and am not grateful for the supreme blessing of a healthy baby boy- but those last weeks of pregnancy posed significant hurdles to maintaining perspective amidst the challenge to endure to the end.

But in seeking the Lord and waiting on Him, He brought me through that last, painful 39th week.

And He brought me through a two hour window of extraordinary pain.

He brought me through it and he brought me to a moment in which I knew His love- the moment I was slumped and afraid on the edge of the hospital bed.

In that moment, I called on my mom and my friend to pray that the next contraction would hold off until the injection was over.

In that moment, I was gripped with fear of the pain coming, rising with the next wave on the monitor.

And in that moment, the melody streaming from my computer's itunes playlist just happened to float meaning into the struggle. At that very moment, the words of that song seemed to be streaming not from my Netbook, but from Heaven itself:

It's all about love. Love, love, love...

The melodic refrain repeated over and over. And then my friend spoke it to my trembling heart.

It's all about love.

One contraction. Then another. This time about half of the intensity.

I think I muttered something about mercy.

I'm not sure if this moment lasted ten minutes or thirty seconds. But what I do know is that I'll never forget it.

Love.

It is patient. Long-suffering.

It is not self-seeking.

It always hopes.

It always perseveres.

It never fails. (I Cor 13)

At its very core, Love is self-sacrifice. Service. Surrender.

In that moment, I remembered Jesus and all He gave. Because He loves.

The moment passed and before noon, I was holding a precious new life with my right arm and cutting his umbilical cord with my left. He was perfect in every way. Joy was plastered all over my face.

I'm so thankful for Asher and I'm so thankful for how the Lord spoke to my heart through this birth experience. Like Mary, I'm going to be pondering these things in my heart for some time. I'm going to remember it when times get tough again. When I have to wait. When I have to persevere. When I have to love even when it's hard and painful. When I have to hope that this present suffering will pass.

Because it will.

In persevering, we will discover hope. Whether it's a ten minute moment of pain or a lifetime's struggle...

It's all about Love.

Love, love, love...