Friday, November 29, 2013

Barbara


She is funny and SO spunky and she is generous (SO generous- giving is her gift) and fiercely loyal and she can cook... oh my word can she cook.  She's the kind of grandmother that plays games with the kids DURING THE LSU GAME and she thinks they're so funny and so good even if maybe they're not all the time.  If there's a problem she's gonna try and fix it (like if your dog has gas, by god, she's gonna find the gas pills at the pet store no matter who she has to talk to).  She works with her hands making things- always making things- knitting or sewing or even doing what you meant to call the handyman to do because, y'all, she wields tools like a pro.  If you ran into her in a waiting room somewhere and it were just you two, you wouldn't lack for conversation.  She can talk to anyone, anywhere, anytime and people love her for it. 

She is our Barbara, our BeBe. 

She is so loved and she loves us all so well.  

It may be a little late, but I wish you a happy birthday, Barbara!   

We are all blessed by your life and your love.  

a Thanksgiving adventure- Bear Grylls style








Wednesday, November 27, 2013

only Him


 A psalm of David.  When he was in the Desert of Judah.
"O God, you are my God, 
earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you, 
my body longs for you,
in a dry and weary land
where there is no water."  Psalm 63:1

If I were in a dry and weary land- a desert- and if I were thirsty, I would probably pray for water.

Lord, help me find water.  

Lord, lead me out of this awful place. 

Something like that.  But instead, while David was struggling in the desert without water, he didn't cry out asking God to give him water.  He asked for God more of God.  He didn't seek water, he sought its Creator-source.  Oh, the paradigm shift! 
 I find myself in quite the opposite position, and yet the truth is the same.  If you're reading this, there is a good chance that you do, too.  

When our shopping carts are rolling storehouses of abundance, when bathtubs and sinks are routinely full, when the wine flows and when our Thanksgiving table (and our everyday table, really) is an extravagant feast, we are not thirsty and we do not go hungry AND YET what really satisfies can elude us if we're not careful.

And I wish I had always been careful, but I haven't.

There is no food and no drink that satisfies like the refreshment of Living Water or like the sustaining comfort of the Bread of Life.  Really. 

Hungry or well-fed, parched or quenched, we do well to remember that we do not live by bread alone.  HE is what we need, what our seeking, needy hearts long for.

At our full tables this week, I hope to remember that it is more of HIM that I need and only GOD that I seek. I will give thanks for abundance, but I hope to remember that it is so temporary and so incomparable to the true, abundant life we find in Jesus and his love.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends! 

Friday, November 22, 2013

pour it out

Ok, so this picture doesn't have a whole lot to do with the post but this sweet little girl reminded me of my little sister when she was that age and I just loved it. 

Who doesn't love a Holy-Spirit-inspired, Beth-Moore-delivered truth? 

This is what I read this morning in her book A Heart Like His: Intimate Reflections on the life of David and I had to share:

"[David] viewed his heart as a pitcher, and he poured everything in it on his God, whether it was joy or sadness, bitterness or fear.  David not only poured out his heart as a personal practice, he urged others to do the same.  Note David's words from Psalm 62:8: 'Trust in him at all times, O people; /pour out your hearts to him, /for God is our refuge.'"

I poured mine out this morning and it was sweet. 

I'm thankful for David's example and Beth's reminder and our God, faithful to hear us, protect us, encourage us, and love us through all of life's ups and downs. 

Pour it out. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

ersatz's antonymn

Fresh eggs from the Harper farm.  They're the real deal, yo. 

word of the week


ersatz: 
er·satz
ˈerˌsäts,-ˌzäts,erˈzäts/
adjective
adjective: ersatz
1.
(of a product) made or used as a substitute, typically an inferior one, for something else.

Monday, November 18, 2013

first and second things

"The woman who makes a dog the centre of her life loses, in the end, not only her human usefulness and dignity but even the proper pleasure of dog-keeping.  The man who makes alcohol his chief good loses not only his job but his palate and all power of enjoying the earlier (and only pleasurable) levels of intoxication.  It is a glorious thing to feel for a moment or two that the whole meaning of the universe is summed up in one woman- glorious so long as other duties and pleasures keep tearing you away from her.  But clear the decks and so arrange your life (it is sometimes feasible) that you will have nothing to do but contemplate her, and what happens?  Of course this law has been discovered before, but it will stand re-discovery.  It may be stated as follows:  every preference of a small good to a great, or partial good to a total good, involves the loss of the small or partial good for which the sacrifice is made...  You can't get second things by putting them first.  You get second things only by putting first things first."  C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock:  Essays on Theology and Ethics


I've been very busy lately like I'm sure you have been.  I find myself always wishing I had more time to do and finish more things, but I'm learning the value of a righteous "no" without apology (well, I'm working on the apology part).  After all, I'm little tiny me serving a great big God and all I can do is my little part as I rely on Him for the rest.  I hope during this season of frenzied activity that I can remember and actually practice this holiday mantra (I'll fight for it):  first things first. 

It's the only way to really see and enjoy those second things anyway. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Links from my love

Jack and I practiced Matt Heerema's Seven Habits of a Highly Effective Date Night this past Wednesday. We breathed our sigh of relief, thanked God for our babysitter, exchanged war stories, downloaded the week, hoped and dreamed, prayed, and enjoyed each other greatly and it was glorious.

Here's hoping our date nights continue to be consistent and highly effective.  

Cheers, JLC!  I am so in love with you. 

Side note:  Because he's awesome, Jack sends me all kinds of cool links that you should check out, too:  Amazing snowflake photography, surreal places of the world, and ways to keep your brain top notch


10:00 a.m. snack, Asher style



Thursday, November 14, 2013

accountability's power

six miles complete, six am
I have been consistently meeting with a group of friends at 6:00 am on Wednesdays to pray.
And I have been consistently meeting with a group of friends at 5:00 am on Thursdays to run.  
(And by the way, the experiences feel so similar).

I post this not because I think I'm better than you (Jack is always suspicious), but because I think this just proves an important life principle:  Accountability is a POWERFUL thing.  

Which leaves me with one question:

Who's crazy Tuesday morning group can I join?  



Tuesday, November 12, 2013

proclaiming his name exalted


This is a current picture of the Sea of Galilee, probably taken within the last 24 hours by some friends of ours who have relocated their family to the Middle East to share the Gospel.

The picture is beautiful and so is their life- leaving the comforts of America to become fishers of men in a sea of humanity who don't know the saving power of Jesus, our Messiah.

After I saw the picture, I read You Version's verse of the day:

"In that day you will say:  'Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted.  Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world."  Isaiah 12:4-5

So, today, I proclaim that his name is indeed exalted.  He is worthy and He is more beautiful, more fascinating, and more in love with you than you can ever know.

Seek him out today.

#worthit

Sunday, November 10, 2013

s-o-c-c-e-r



So it seemed to be all soccer all the time this season.  S is for seasons of life.



 Oh but it was fun- especially watching all three teams improve over time.  O is for onward and upward!





 Clearly it took a significant time and energy investment, but it was worth it.  C is for constructive play. 










 Can we keep this pace of life up?  We'll try and we'll see.  I think we're playing again in the spring.  C is for carry on! 




  
Even so, I'm tired. At least for now.  E is for eager to rest. 




Retrospectively, it was relational and rewarding and the right fit for our kids.  So there you go... R

Soccer. 

Goodbye, 2013 season. 

You were exhaustingly wonderful, relationally rewarding, filthy but fun, and an overall great addition to this messy fun Chaney life. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

like Hannah



 I recently revisited Hannah's story while reading Beth Moore's A Heart Like His

Specifically, I was reading about Hannah's resolute trust and surrender to God as she gave her Samuel to the Lord.  Not only did she dedicate him to be set apart as a Nazirite, but she took him to the temple to be raised by a priest as soon as he was weaned.  This was her sacrifice of thanksgiving. In the book, Moore explains that "Hebrew mothers, according to the accounts recorded in the Apocrypha (2 Mac. 7:27), customarily nursed their children until they were about three years old." 

Asher is three years old now. 

It made me think about how I could take his little hand in mine and look into those little blue eyes and tell him about what's going to happen next.  How I could pack him a few things and then hand him over and walk away.   

Hannah was as hero of the faith for sure. 

But even though the Lord may not be calling me to send my child to the temple to be raised by someone else, I still must surrender in equal measure.  And by equal measure, I mean I must surrender fully. 

My children are not mine- ultimately.  They are the Lord's. 

It's not always an easy truth to hold on to, but it's a freeing one- the Lord is so much more capable to take care of them than I am. I cannot always be there.  Thankfully, He can. 

I will do my part to train them up but I must let go- surrender like Hannah- and know that the Lord is God and I am not and He's a Good Shepard and and I need not fear for their hearts or their lives because they are in good hands. 

His hands. 

Oh that we could all always remember to have a heart of brave surrender like Hannah. 
























Wednesday, November 6, 2013

"Ruby Gillis is about to die, FYI."


Anna Grace broke this news to me before she went to bed last night.  She is currently reading LM Montgomery's Anne of the Island and since we've read this series of books over the past few years, she wanted to fill me in on what's going on.

So we talked about "consumption" and the signs and symptoms of tuberculosis and mourned Ruby a little bit before we said our nightly prayers.

Such is life with AGC. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

our high calling


So I decided to sit down and take a breath and think about last week- I would process pictures while I processed the whirlwind that was the last week of October. 

Our friends came to visit like they do every year but this year it was especially.... frenzied.  Not necessarily in a bad way.  It's just that every moment was very full. 


I couldn't decide what it was.  We've been able to sit and talk and pray long over smoldering fires in previous years and considering the amount of children we've produced between the families we affectionately call our people group, we've done really well with finding time to do that deep, heart level prayer and share type thing.

But this year, there were the twelve children between three families that needed to be fed and then fed again and then fed again and again.  


And there was the carnival at school and the school itself and the laundry and the repeated cleaning of the kitchen and the cooking.


There were costumes and playing and pumpkin carving and more eating.  And the candy comas, of course. 


 




There were the soccer practices and the soccer games.



There was even a fundraising effort for a little girl yet to join us in the midst of our Halloween fun.  




At the end of the week's visit, we sat at a very long table at the Cracker Barrel- 12 children, 6 adults (we're missing 2 adults and 4 kids but they're in East Asia and we'll be with them again someday but not this year).  We ate and we had one more meal together one more time and then it was over and we went home and collapsed. 

So why the dearth of time to sit and visit long?

Because life with children requires a pouring out.  It's ok and it's worth it, but it's a pouring out of all you've got.

One day we'll sit around and prop our feet up again and have the luxury of staying up late.  Now is just not that time. 

But again, it is a high calling, this raising of a generation to know and love the Lord.  I'm just glad we're all in it together and that we have one another to encourage along the way- even if we can't do it long and late over a fire. 

We missed you, Rupps!  Love you guys!!!!!