Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Powerful and Valiant: The funny (and profound) things they say

ANNA GRACE:

"If you are scared, just think of Christmas." I find this to be profoundly and superbly good advice.

"MMMmmm... powerful words."
This was after her daddy told her to have a great day and after we had discussed the power of words to curse and to bless the night before.
ZEKE:

Me: "Isn't she beautiful?" (referring to Anna Grace)

Zeke: "No. She's ADORABLE!"

To his daddy:

"I don't like LSU anymore. I like sports."

After reading a favorite book a certain someone gave us:
"Goodnight! I am VALIANT and BRAVE!!!!"

Of course, Asher doesn't say much other than blah blah bleh meh, but even that is pretty sweet.

What words, what fun. We love these kids.

Monday, November 29, 2010

All our days

I have this dry erase board that lives on my fridge that helps me plan for the week ahead. Every Sunday, I wipe it off and reschedule the coming week, but every night, I wipe off what we've accomplished for the day. As I wipe green dust from my fingers, I am reminded that the day is gone. It's not ever going to happen again. It's been kind of sobering to me lately.

This past Friday, we decided to kick it into high gear and decorate for Christmas. This was a long-awaited event for my little girl. Once the decision was made to put up the tree, she let out one of her trademark heart-level sighs of pure delight. She then proceeded to help in any and every way she could. As she was unloading ornaments, she proclaimed to all of us, "I can feel the Christmas spirit in my heart already!!!" Then later, it was, "This is going to be the best Christmas ever!!!"


These days go by so quickly. I have so little time. Anna Grace's little outbursts of joy are a good reminder of Moses' psalm:

"Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, for as many years as we have seen trouble. May your deeds be shown to your servants, your splendor to their children. May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us-- yes, establish the work of our hands." Psalm 90:14-17

Certainly, at times it feels like I have been "afflicted" with days. And in their proper context, these days truly are the hard part. One day we won't struggle with back pain or loneliness or fear or anger or cancer or selfishness or death in all its forms, but for now, these are the days we've been given. My six-year-old doesn't get it right all the time, but every now and then she reminds me to pray that I might sing for joy and be glad all my days.

The trick is to sing for joy and be glad ALL our days.

For that, I'll keep praying.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Who am I?

Of course, this was his sister's idea, and it may be completely obvious, but it's still a fun Thanksgiving-Eve game. I have so much to blog and zero time to blog it. I guess this will have to do for now. It's still pretty funny. Poor Zeke.


Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Here's to enjoying our Blesser as we count our blessings.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Geaux Love

I'm still not sure how I got so lucky, but somehow I ended up in Baton Rouge for a weekend away from the kids to spend time with these guys. Seriously- I'm not sure why I was invited, but I'm sure glad I was.

There they are. North Carolinians turned LSU fans thanks to their friend Jack.

Not only is Scott really kind, he is a big ol' funny man. I don't know of many people who can make a story about getting punched in the throat absolutely hilarious, but my friend Scott is not to be outdone in his quick wit. Of course, I think his comedic giftings would be lacking were it not for the dog and pony show that is Scott and his crotchety sidekick Dennis. Endearingly gruff, my friend Dennis is equally fun and beneath his rough exterior is a soft heart that loves well. Who else would give his best and final cheese-smothered nacho to his friend Candace? No one, I tell you. That Dennis is one in a million.

I'm thankful that Jack is blessed with loyal and faithful friends who are true stand-up guys. Like I said, I don't know how I got so lucky to hang out this weekend.


Speaking of lucking out to see friends, I got a good (although too short) visit in with JennOP. More QT is to come at Christmas when I'll finally get to meet her sweet baby girl, but it was a rare treat to get to visit sans kids for a moment. So. Stinkin. Fun.



Of course, we also got to hang with the Dunaways (Jack's aunt, uncle, and cousin pictured). The tailgate is and always has been (as long as I've been around) their production. I told Ginger how I sat down for a while and just watched Ginger and Johnny give out hug after hug after smile after greeting to people coming by. They set up camp because they are LSU fans, but more than that, they are people who love God and therefore love people with a tenacity that is truly inspired. This tailgate isn't just about a party, it's about relationships.



Although the seven layer dips, cold drinks, and abundant Chick-fil-a are a nice touch.



I'll always be an Auburn Tiger, but I am growing quite fond of the purple and the gold, too.





After all, it's not about the athletic performance of college students that we don't know anyway. It's about the ones we do know who are sitting right next to us. I'm not all that entertained by first downs and pass interference, but the high fives and the smiles and the memories of time together is what makes the three or so hours worth it.


So, with a wink and a smile, I say Geaux Tigers with a heart that says Geaux Love.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Certifiable

When your route looks like this:



You make your arm look like this (so you can remember where to go of course).


And then you wake up at five o'clock- because you don't want to oversleep- to meet your friend Nora, in the dark, you pop some ibuprofen, and you cut a hole in your gloves (because it's pretty cold and you need gloves) so that you can use your touch screen to track your time and control your music.

I know there's a reason I'm doing this.  I just don't remember what it is right now.  Stay tuned and maybe I'll figure it out.  


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Ask Asher

Q: So Asher, whatcha been up to lately?

A: Thanks for asking, my friends! Swinging, smiling, playing, laughing, eating, smiling, sleeping, smiling... you know... I am a super chill dude and I love life.


Q: What do you eat these days?

A: I eat oatmeal regularly and I've tried peas and bananas, but what I really like best is pumpkin. Straight out of the can. I LOVED it. Probably because my mom's milk comes in three flavors: coffee, salsa, and pumpkin.


Seriously- don't let my face fool you. I really liked it. A lot.


Q: What else has been going on? Anything new?

A: Well, I'm almost able to sit up on my own- I'm working pretty hard on that- and just got my first tooth! It kind of makes my mom sad to see me growing up so fast, but I can turn on the charm and cheer her up pretty easily. She's such a sucker for my grin.


Q: What do you think about your big brother Zeke?

A: Oh, man. My big brother Zeke is the COOLEST. He can make me laugh like no other. He is HILARIOUS. Have you heard his routine? I crack up every time he comes at me with his crazy eyes. I don't know what he's screaming about all the time, but seriously- it's hilarious.



I really love him.













And I think the feeling is mutual.


On another note, don't forget to keep praying for my friend Glory.


I think that's all for now.


I'm peacin', my peeps.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Glory



Pray for Glory today.  


And "hold on loosely" to the ones you love.


Our lives are truly but a breath.  

Monday, November 15, 2010

Toto-ly Awesome

Somebody's school's third grade class put on a production of "The Wizard of Oz" today.  


So, of course, that somebody came home and put on her red dress up shoes and requested two braids, please. 


That somebody then proceeded to make a set, cast characters, and direct the funniest version of the production that ever has been.  


They seemed to have fun, but I still kind of felt kind of  sorry for my boys.  Asher was relegated to a basket with tiger ears shoved on his head (for he, of course, was Toto) and Zeke was fed his lines from a rather bossy assertive director.  And being the scarecrow, tin man, and the wizard all at once is no easy task.  


My little guys took it all in stride, however, and it turned out to be one of the best after school activities we've had in quite a while.  It was like we had found the place where troubles melt like lemondrops a way above the chimney tops.  


It only lasted about an hour, but still...  


It felt like we were somewhere over the rainbow.  

One of these things is not like the other

Saturday, November 13, 2010

MOUSTACHE



No words




Our young adult small groups, which form a rather large group, gathered down by the Red River for our annual fall bonfire. I love that. Annual. I love the annual bonfire and the annual caroling hayride and the annual summer retreat. It seems like we've had semi-monthly baby showers and I love that, too. Basically, I love doing life with these people.


And this is just some of them.


I love that we can cry and laugh together all in one night.

It's not to be taken for granted. When you have this kind of community with Jesus as your glue, the love is real and tried and true.

As my friend Nora helped me say during my rambling blunder of a speech down by the fire...

there just are no words.

Love you, friends!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

On singing to Him

Sitting on the front row of Faith Chapel on Wednesday, my heart felt like it was going to leap out of its chest.  

Our very spritely BSF teaching leader was beginning her lecture on Isaiah 11 and 12.  Of course, protocol requires an outline and carefully prepared homiletics, but as she began talking about the shoot that would come up from the stump of Jesse, the glorious Branch that is the Lord Jesus, I wanted to just stop there altogether.  Ditch the outline and the talking points- let's just gaze at Jesus.  

Our beautiful Savior, our beautiful Jesus.  

"Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist."  (Isaiah 11:5)

"In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his place of rest will be glorious."  (Isaiah 11:10)

Does it get any better than that?  

It will be for real.  The real deal. 

No more death.  No more struggle.  Just Jesus, beautiful Jesus.

In fact, I think I could just camp on these two chapters indefinitely.  

And there was a question from this past week's study that might very well have been my favorite BSF question of all time, although I read it incorrectly.

I thought it read something like, "after studying the first twelve chapters of Isaiah, what song comes to your mind?" 

My three part answer:

1.  "His Banner Over Me is Love" - the version I learned as a child at camp- how sweet is this?

2.   "You Never Let Go" by Matt Redman (mainly because of the "I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on.... and there will be an end to the struggles" part)

3.  "Lift Up Your Face" by Third Day - It ends with "salvation is on its way." 

Yeah it is.

My big sister, however, who is a children's leader in Dallas, actually read the question.  It actually read, "After studying the first twelve chapters of Isaiah, what song would you like to sing to God?"  

Different question. Or maybe similar.  Maybe the ones that came to my mind were the ones the Holy Spirit had put on my heart.  

In any case, Jennifer chose a good one for sure.  

But what I kept thinking after I re-read the question was that what I really wanted to sing to Him was something along the lines of Revelation 22:17.  

My spirit cries a simple "COME, Lord Jesus!" 

So maybe I don't know the song my heart longs to sing yet.  Maybe I've yet to learn it. 

What I do know is that when I hear it, it will be kind of like hearing my little sister sing "Agnus Dei" at a wedding.  Completely heart wrenching, completely full of wonder and awe. 

So... any other BSF'ers out there?  What was your song?  

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Chief Zeke and his picnics


The enthusiasm with which Chief Zeke is living life these days is truly impressive.


In a good way.


Most of the time.

I have to admit, it's kind of hard to deal with at 6:00 am, but I recognize that that's more my issue and I'm working on it.




Today, we were sitting on the kitchen floor eating our lunch as we have grown fond of doing (Zeke calls it a little picnic), and it dawned on me that these lunches we have together are such a gift.


After he ate all his turkey, I was feeling generous and pulled out a bag of chocolate chips. He was ready to grab some, but he was also going to spill them all over the floor if he didn't get some help.


"Cup your hands," I said as I showed him what I meant.


He received his five chocolate chips in his hands- one, two, three, four five- and with a smile enjoyed the good things I had to give him.


It reminded my heart that the time with him itself is a good thing to be treasured. The Lord is teaching me how to receive these good things from Him through the small hands of my little boy.

It's such a small thing- turkey and pretzels while sitting criss cross applesauce on the kitchen floor with my three-year-old on a Wednesday at noon- but it's precious. To be treasured. All too soon, he'll be grown and gone and there won't be pretzels and turkey picnics anymore.


This Thanksgiving season affords us a lot of opportunities to count our blessings, but today, I'm thankful for learning gratitude.


And I'll take the six o'clock madness.


With it comes a very precious little boy.

Curls, smiles, and strength

It helps sometimes to know that we're standing under the same warm sun under the care of the same big God- even if Kentucky is way too far from Louisiana.  Sending love to my chicory loving, live music sharing, inner and outer beauty sporting, seriously good lasagna cooking, strong opinion touting, microwave snubbing, godly mothering, and domestically inspiring friend.  

I love so many things about her.  

So, Korrie, have an Ale 8, revel in what I'm sure is a cool Kentucky breeze, and know I'm thinking of you today.  I miss you and love you dearly.  

PS- Isn't it reunion time already? :)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

My great privilege

One of the most beautiful mothers I know- serving daily with great love
picture stolen from But a Breath
5:00 am - Zeke crying. My feet hit the cold floor to wrap him back up in his Lightning McQueen sleeping bag, then back to bed.


6:30 am- Asher makes first noises. Happy noises, but it wakes me up enough to realize that he slept all night. And that I have a very urgent need to feed him.

6:45 am- Baby fed. Drop him off on the couch with his daddy. Must have coffee. But coffee break is interrupted by more crying by #2.

6:50 am- After I growl unsympathetically at my child, Jack affords me some coffee and quiet time. Whew.

7:10 am- Coffee for parents, biscuits for everyone. The troops are hungry and making sure we know it.

7:30-8:50 am- Baby gets fed cereal and is put back down for his morning nap. I completely forget to give him the antibiotic he needs to ward off his ear infection from last week. Maybe I subconsciously forget on purpose because I don't like pink puke all over everything, but still... I forget.
Anna Grace gets her hair done and is encouraged to get dressed. We battle over accessories and hurriedly brush teeth on the way out the door.
Zeke gets dressed, brushes teeth sucks toothpaste straight from the tube, and cries about not being able to take his tool belt to church.
Since daylight savings time gave us "another hour" to get ready, I thought I would take a shower. Bad decision. We're still rushed, still late. I grab the diaper bag and Bible and, by some small miracle, we eventually pull into the church parking lot.

Apologies and deep breaths before church. We made it, but at the expense of my patience.

Ah, motherhood.

When you're a mother, your sandwich is the last to be made. Your bag is the last one to be packed. Your teeth are the last to be brushed. And very rarely do you get enough sleep.

As a friend and I were commiserating these facts the other day, some words came out of my mouth that I believe were from the Holy Spirit, because it certainly took me off guard.

"It is our great privilege."

Sitting in the pew this morning, I felt defeated and drained. In an effort to get my family ready to go to worship Jesus (do you catch the irony here?), I lost my temper. I lost my patience. I was completely and totally deficient.

But maybe that's why it is my great privilege to be in the place of 24/7 service. It keeps my pride in check. I get very regular reminders of my weakness, how desperately I need the Holy Spirit to see me through. It reminds me, when I'm tired and weary, of my Savior, who is never tired, never weary, never wavers, but always loves at all costs.

It reminds me to be like Him- to give myself away, and to put myself last (and to apologize when I blow it and don't).

Now that I think about it, He said it Himself in Mark 9:35, ""...'If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.'"

Motherhood, and all kinds of servant hood for that matter, is a great privilege.

I can make a few changes to make things go more smoothly in the mornings and things won't always be this difficult. The kids will grow up and will eventually learn to to take care of themselves. But until they do, I must see this season of my life as an opportunity to learn how to serve- with great love- the way that Jesus did.

It is my great privilege.

It is my great privilege, it is my great privilege, it is my great privilege...