Thursday, October 30, 2008

Jumpin Jupiter

I'll be really sad one day that I don't have little ones around anymore to use as an excuse to do things like sliding down giant inflatables. Jumpin Jupiter was pretty fun indeed. Thanks for the pics, sis.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pumpkin Shine

The 15th annual Pumpkin Shine on Line at Betty Virginia Park did not disappoint- I think it just gets better every year. Fun times were had by all- especially a little black cat who just HAD to wear her costume...

Starting the day out right

Zeke has an uncanny ability to seek out Bibles in our house. It's one of his favorite things. And it doesn't matter if it's a children's Bible or a thick and heavy embossed one- he knows. What can I say? The boy loves the Word...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Katie and Couric

When Jack and I went to New York this summer, Anna Grace was super excited at the chance of us running into Katie Couric. Anna Grace knows all about Katie Couric reporting for CBS in New York.

Yesterday, as we were watching the news, Anna Grace told me that she wished I had named Zeke, "Couric." And she told me her name should have been "Katie."

How freaky would that be?

Nevertheless, I guess it's better for her to admire a female anchor woman for national news than someone like Brittney Spears.

I'll take it.

Now, if we could only elect the first female Vice President...

Monday, October 27, 2008

What the world needs now

My brother and sisters and I got to spend some time together this past week. It's rare for us all to be in one place at one time, but it was good to be together again. It always is. And I'm so glad I have two sisters and a brother. Growing up, it sometimes felt crazy and crowded, but now it just feels good... complete.

Growing up, I remember my mom telling me several times about people asking her how she felt about adding to the overpopulation woes of the world. (She tells me that she really got asked that question). Her answer? Quite emphatically she said then and she says now, "The world needs my kids."

Jennifer, Karen, Jonathan, and I still have a lot of work cut out for us, but as I look at my siblings, I can see what she meant. At the heart level, my siblings love God and are seeking out ways to use their own specific gifts, resources, and abilities to work for His Kingdom.

There are so many days when I wonder how my mom and dad, especially my mom, survived raising the four of us, but I know that the process was blessed. It wasn't always perfect and we didn't always get along and money was sometimes tight, but my parents did well in welcoming each of us in our own time, loving us, and training us up in the way we should go.

In the end, we won't depart from it.

I have another memory of a cross-stitched plaque that hung in the house where we all grew up. It said, "I have no greater joy than to see my children walk in truth." I always thought my mom just didn't want us to lie- it wasn't until later that I really got it. And it wasn't until I had children of my own that I really understood the weight of that sentiment. I want a lot of things for my own children, but most of all, I pray for hearts that overflow with love for their Creator. When it comes to my kids, there really will be no greater joy than to see them walk this thing out in love and obedience to the One who loves them and created them- reaching out to a lost world with the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Truly, the world needs my kids. It needs yours as you raise them to know and love Jesus. May this generation rise up to a great calling and may we be obedient in welcoming new life as He speaks and moves in our lives.

"Sons are an inheritance from the Lord, children a reward from him." Psalm 127:3

"Didn't the LORD make you one with your wife? In body and spirit you are his. And what does he want? Godly children from your union. So guard yourself; remain loyal to the wife of your youth." Malachi 2:15 (emphasis mine)

"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6

Sunday, October 26, 2008

You're invited!

I've decided to throw a David Dent memorial party for All Saint's Day this Saturday. So put on your favorite Christian parody t-shirt, bring your most off-color joke and a bottle of Dr. Pepper for a meat-grilling, cowboy hat wearing, chips and salsa eating, guitar strumming good time!

I'm pretty sure we buried Dadoo in his favorite pair of boxers- the ones with the Tasmanian devil shouting, "Wazzz upppp??"

That's just to give you an idea of what my dad was like. I hope I can throw a party that lives up to my daddy's zesty take on life...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

A time to cherish

It's so easy for me to slip into the I-can't-wait-till-Zeke-is-older mindset- especially at a restaurant when he's wiggling out of his highchair for the fifth time or running the other direction when I'm trying to get him in the car.

So I'm trying to remember the smallness of this time. He'll never again be a toddler who calls all liquid "mee-lk" or holds arms in the air and asks to be "up, pees!," or bobs his little head in the carseat to his daddy's Railroad Earth tunes. I want to remember and cherish how he softly and quietly announces "choo-choo" when he sees a train from the car and how he cackles at his sister's antics and how he loves his silky "lovie", laying down with thumb in mouth whenever he grabs it- whether it's on concrete or crib.

He doesn't really cuddle all that often and he's a pretty good sleeper, but every now and then, I'll rock him at night when he wakes up crying or when he's having a hard time for whatever reason. I sing to him and over him a camp song I learned years ago:

Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on [Zeke], Spirit of the living God fall afresh on Zeke, melt Zeke, mold Zeke, fill Zeke, use Zeke, Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on Zeke.

He cuddles into my shoulder with his thumb in his mouth, then asks for "more" with the taps of his little fists when the song is over.

Sweet times with my sweet boy. I don't want to miss a thing. Truly, this is a time to cherish.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The best month of the year

Birthday fun + that nip in the air + the hint of color in the maple trees + bright orange pumpkins everywhere you look = one great month

Oh, how we love October...

Fun with tires

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Her real birthday story

Tonight, while my extended family was huddled around a table at Tacomania, my mom and I were talking about what was happening at a hospital in Kentucky "four years ago right now" over the sounds of the wiggling, giggling kids next to us.

Four years ago today, I was in labor. And I had been in labor for hours. And hours. And hours.

My soon-to-be sister-in-law was sitting right next to me and let me know that on her birthday, every year, she was painfully reminded of the difficult time she had given her mother in entering this world. It had become one of those, "Yeah, mom, I know, I know..." kind of traditions that kind of wears out over the years.

It was a small moment offset by steaming fajitas and negotiations over what Anna Grace was going to eat, but it gave me something to think about. What do I want to tell Anna Grace every year on her birthday? What do I want her to know about October 22?

Every year, I do think about that oh-so-long-and-painful labor, but I also, invariably, think about that starry Kentucky night of October 31, 2003. The night I looked up into that vast starry sky as Jack and I made the drive home from Shelbyville to Lexington after a Jason Upton worship experience, talking about how the Lord had moved in our hearts that night to step out in faith and welcome a child into the world. My heart was so moved by what happened that night- by the way God reached out to me during that first anniversary of my dad's unexpected and untimley death. An excerpt from my journal from that night:

"The Lord gave us so much this night and spoke to our hearts through the song, 'Is There Room?' Jason talked about dispelling the spirit of inconvienence when it comes to having children... they are the Lord's and they are a special word from Him to teach US how to be more like Him. Thank you, Lord! It's especially precious since this was the anniversary of dad's death. It gives me great joy to know that dad is possibly conferring with this little one... even now before he/she is born. I am so excited to have this new person in my life and I love him/her already... "

So I think I'm going to skip the birth drama and tell her about the heart of the Father- how God spoke to our hearts about her. How I looked up into that great big sky and trusted my great big God to bring her forth, to provide for her, to create her.

That's what I want her to remember. Every year on October 22. How much God loves her. How He spoke so powerfully to two unsuspecting hearts to open them up to a possiblity of a new little life. Her life.

Thank you, Beautiful God, for this beautiful little girl. May she bless your name greatly as you have greatly blessed Your little one- Anna Grace Chaney.

"My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depth of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." Psalm 139:15-16

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Ingredients for a fabulous Fancy Nancy birthday

1. Lots of preparations
2. Curls and smiles

3. A teapot birthday cake

4. Pin the jewel on the tiara

5. Fancy Mommies

6. A chandelier

7. Pink roses and yummy hor d'oerves

8. Fabulously fancy friends, of course

9. Plenty of beauty rest after a big day

10. The best grandmas ever!
Thank you, Nana, for the beautiful venue and the best teapot cake ever. And thank you, BeBe, for the yummy tiara shaped cookies and the sparkling touch of a chandelier. Anna Grace is blessed with two fantastically fancy and fabulously first-rate grandmas!

Friday, October 17, 2008

My kids are bananas, b-a-n-a-n-a-s...

More and more, we're going out in public looking rather crazy. We draw a little more attention than I'd like, but it's amusing nevertheless. Here we are at our Friday night pizza place.

And after the Friday night pizza place, we head to Blockbuster for a 99 cent family rental. While Anna Grace and Jack were roaming the isles trying to make decisions, Zeke was running around like a wild man. At one point he grabbed the stack of Diet Cokes at the checkout line, started violently shaking the stack and screamed, "MEE-LK! MEE-LK!" He thinks that anything liquid is milk- even water in a the bathtub.

My kids are bananas. But I love my little monkeys...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Heart and Bowl

It's a little providential- the timing of this kitchen remodeling thing.

After feeling weird and kind of bad for a while, Jack finally went for a doctor's visit. And thank you, God, that he went. We found out that he has high blood pressure, left ventricular hypertrophy (more benign than it sounds), and high cholesterol. I'm just glad he didn't end up as one of my stroke patients on three North at Willis Knighton...

So I'm getting a new kitchen and a new husband (he's already lost ten pounds) with a new perspective on cooking. We've already had great success with spaghetti squash and I can't wait to jump in to my new kitchen and start really going to town with eggplant and leeks and mashed cauliflower. It's going to be a whole new culinary world. Of course, my world will have to wait. The counter goes in late next week, then the sink and the dishwasher. I was washing dishes in the bathroom while giving the kids a bath at the same time tonight and I really appreciated the beauty of the kitchen sink. I try not to complain because it is a huge and beautiful gift that we are receiving, but I don't think I'll soon take countertops for granted.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

His cheeks are like beds of spice

We all have about 20 facial muscles, pulling and wrestling against each other to display the emotion of our hearts. It's amazing when you think about it.

Just this past week, Jack hooked us up with a new webcam so that we can talk to our friends and family in East Asia, Alabama, and hopefully Texas. As the screen revealed the faces of our friends the Rupps for the first time, I knew that this was going to be different. It's one thing to hear a voice on a phone. It's a whole different thing to see the wrinkles of surprise, the chin tuck of a bashful three year old, and the head tilt of a thoughtful reply. It adds so much.

So in thinking about the cheeks of Jesus- the windows to the emotions of His heart, it makes sense that they would be beds of spice. They add so much.

It adds context to His commands, His challenges, His admonishments... He has deep and diverse emotions that beautifully display His burning heart of love.

I look in His word for knowledge of how He feels, as in Psalm 103:8-12 and I have much revelation to gain on the diversity of the emotions of God, but I've realized that there is a really accessible way to gain a little glimpse into the heart of Jesus. Sometimes I see His cheeks on the faces of the holy creatures I bump into every day. I see the fruit of the Spirit affecting the faces of those around me if I stop to recognize it and appreciate it for what it is.

I was thinking about one of my favorite fruitcakes, Lydia Harrigan aka Indian Princess, as I was going through the pictures of our weekend together. Her middle name is literally and quite appropriately, Joy. And from His heart to hers, Jesus is expressing Himself through the smiles of my friend. Even when my little girl was directing her to do crazy things in an indian costume on stage, she smiled and laughed and loved and showed off those beautiful cheeks of love and joy that are so characteristically Jesus- as she's done so many times before.

So I'll keep a closer eye out for greater revelation on the heart of God and how He feels through prayer and through His word and through the seemingly mundane interactions with believers in my midst. And I'll strive to connect with the compassionate and merciful heart of God and flash a smile as I bump into hearts of anger and strife.

"No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us." 1 John 4:12

May we all strive for spicy cheeks like His- the beautiful kind that yeild perfume and reveal a full heart of love.

"For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us." 2 Corinthians 4: 6-7.

"His cheeks are like beds of spice yeilding perfume..." Song of Songs 5:13a

Monday, October 13, 2008

Great big fun at Little Bitty City

It is a crying shame that my best video clips won't upload of the wonderful theatrical performances that were produced at Little Bitty City in Hot Springs, Arkansas this weekend. And when I say crying shame, I mean CRYING SHAME. We made complete idiots of ourselves dressing up and laughing ourselves silly while making up various story lines to act out in full costume. And by we, I mean me and Lydia... Oh, and the kids, too.

Little Bitty City was genius. I guess we benefited from the fact that they just happened to be rather empty on Saturday, but we mostly had the place to ourselves. From the huge rack of dress up clothes, to the elaborate train set, to the exercise room, to the mini grocery store, to the construction zone, to the little star stage, it provided Lydia, Anna Grace, Benjamin, Erin, and me a perfect place to spend our Saturday afternoon. I think Anna Grace may have thought that this was heaven itself...

Our weekend in Hot Springs was a...

Birthday Cake Baking

Giant Turtle Petting

Train Set Playing

Crazy Dress Up-ing

Mommy Dramatizing

Erin Hightower loving

Crazy Face Making

Best Buddy Making

Big Hug Giving

Exhausting Good Time!!!!