Friday, February 27, 2009
Ah... this morning was such a gift.
We're childless while visiting Jack's sister in Birmingham, so we slept late (7:30) and went on a long run at Jemmison Park in Mountain Brook which ended up being an amazingly sweet time with my husband and with the Lord. I know that my jaunt this morning would be considered misery for some, but not only was it a run at a park, but it was a trail run which makes me perfectly happy and I considered it pure joy as we weaved our way by the stream on our cloudy morning together. And as we finished our five miles, Jack directed my attention to the Name lifted high above our trail (if you look closely, you can see it in the picture). Thank you, thank you Jesus for such a wonderful gift this morning.
The rest of the day has not gone as well as my post-run high during my coffee and spinach and artichoke pastry at Panera. In an attempt to visit one of my best friends in Atlanta, we got stuck in a parking lot of traffic for over TWO HOURS and had to fore go our reunion this time. But, as I'm safely back in Birmingham, I'm happy and thankful to be safe and warm- out of the pouring rain with my husband and sister-in-law who have the painful problem of where to go to dinner...
“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” Proverbs 4:23
My friend Susan recently posted her thoughts on why it is that she blogs. Great list. It really got me thinking about why I enjoy this particular technological medium so much. It also got me thinking about how important it is for me to blog for all the right reasons (as opposed to those pesky wrong ones).
Like anything else, blogging affects the heart and like Solomon pointed out, I need to keep a watchful eye on what I let move my heart in one direction or the other. So in my heart and mind, I’ve tried to sort out my blogging motivations that keep my heart on track and the ones that I need to toss and burn.
Keeping me on track:
- One of my very first posts left me feeling a little vulnerable, but I think it still holds true for me today. I was one of those kids who, from elementary school to graduate school, sat quietly in their seats and never- I can honestly only think of one time- raised my hand to ask a question. I’ve had a pride issue that has kept my mouth tightly shut- the fear of rejection or some sort of public blunder motivating my silence. So opening up and sharing my heart in a pretty public way is kind of scary but also kind of freeing for me. I’ve been set free to a certain degree from being so concerned about what other people will think if I share what’s really on my heart. So the first good reason to blog: To break off pride and share honestly about what’s on my heart.
- What’s on my heart. Hmmm. Lots of nasty things can come out of my heart, but what I really want to share are the things that are of the Lord- the things that I want to cultivate and grow in my own heart and mind. The Lord nudges me and speaks to my heart in varying ways and means and I want to be responsible to share what He says. So the second reason: To encourage others and to share the knowledge of God.
- Whether I’m a good writer or not is beside the point, I love to do it. I’ve had journals off and on all my life- ever since I was a kid- and it feels good to write because that’s how I was made, I think. I’m not a speaker and I’m not a teacher, but I feel like I can best express myself through writing. Sometimes Jack can sense that I’ve got something in me that I need to get out and he asks if I have “blog gas.” So reason number three: To do what God made me to do.
- I want to remember what the Lord has done. I have a friend from our days in
who developed the idea of having a family manna jar- somewhere you keep the written record of the way the Lord has answered prayers, as the Israelites remembered the provision of the Lord in the wilderness as in Exodus 16:32-34: Kentucky
“Moses said, ‘This is what the LORD has commanded: “Take an omer of manna and keep it for the generations to come, so they can see the bread I gave you to eat in the desert when I brought you out of
So in that spirit, I want to have a record of how the Lord has blessed my family, spoken to my heart, and heard our cries. It’s important to remember.
- I know that a lot of my family- immediate and extended- love to keep up with the kids and this is a great way to bridge the gap over the miles that separate us. And not just family- Jack and I have left friends all over the country and blogging helps to some degree in maintaining bonds of love and friendship that are sometimes hard to hold onto with miles and miles of interstate between us. And another thing- I have three friends of friends who I’ve actually grown to know and love without ever meeting face to face because of blogs (you know who you are, Carpoolqueen). My last reason may be the weakest one because blogging doesn’t (and shouldn’t) replace face to face interactions with people, but my last reason is to build and maintain relationship.
Toss and burn reasons:
- To generate traffic and get noticed
- To count comments and judge posts based on praise or accolades. (I’ve been very guilty)
- Selfish ambition
- To generate any sort of misconception that I have it all figured out or I have all the answers or that I’m altogether wonderful. (Actually, I’m very weak and very broken- the only things of worth I can offer come from the Giver of all good things).
So I’m trying to move forward in my little blogging endeavor, the TLLOM (affectionately pronounced tee-lahm), with a mindful intentionality to ask for grace to blog out of wisdom and obedience and not self promotion. I’m going to remember to guard my heart as I hammer it out at the keyboard- after all, it is the wellspring of life…
Thursday, February 26, 2009
So thanks, BeBe and Pop Pop, for all you do and for who you are and for all your love. Oh... and the dinner was fantastic, too! :) Love ya'll!
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Monday, February 23, 2009
"For some, the flow of the world can be easier to resist than the flow of Christian mediocrity." She was referring to the integrity and the extraordinary spirit that Daniel maintained very much like in Numbers 14:24 when the Lord describes Caleb as having a "different spirit" and that he followed the Lord "wholeheartedly."
May we strive for wholehearted devotion, resisting both the lures of Babylon and the grind of mediocrity...
Sunday, February 22, 2009
In any case, today's shout out goes to some old friends, but good friends. They are quite the characters. Here's to you, friends!! (Can I get a oo-oo?)
JennO (P): You have always had a kind and thoughtful way
about you. I love your hugs and I always love
laughing with you and I have especially
loved watching you grow into a beautiful woman
and dedicated mother.
Lisa: (yes, this is her Facebook profile pic. Awesome, right?)
What can I say? No one is quite like Lisa. Teacher of
the year, world traveler, list maker, marine life lover,
and question asker. Love, love, love you. Miss, miss,
miss you and your South Carolina self.
Katie: I hated missing your reception tonight, but know that I loved meeting Scott (congrats again) and know that I am also so proud of the woman you're becoming. You've done and seen so much and I know you'll touch a lot of lives with your new healthy (WAY healthy, vegan healthy) cooking endeavor. Many blessings for your new marriage and your new career!
I had to really muster up some energy to get away from my cozy house and my pajamas on Saturday night to get a chance to catch up with these out of town friends, but I'm so glad I did. There's nothing like catching up and laughing with old friends, holding onto the bonds of love and friendship that have carried us through these many years. Thanks for the visit!
Saturday, February 21, 2009
My childhood buddy Myles (we've known each other since our month-apart births and his mom has never been afraid to treat me like her own) is getting married. He's marrying a really great girl who hails from Michigan and I'm really excited for them. So, of course, with a wedding coming up this summer, wedding showers are in order and the first one commenced this afternoon. Which brings me back to our southern culture...
It was the kind of wedding shower where all your mom's friends are there- the kind of ladies that you sort of know, but not really- or maybe you did when you were little, but you definitely can't come up with names. And there were candelabras and heart-shaped chicken salad sandwiches and pantyhosed legs and pink punch and southern draws and oohs and ahhs over the pewter serving pieces as Sarah opened each bow-attacked package. It was one of those showers that worked like a well-oiled machine, with the multiple-hostess team manning their zones, from greeter to snack master, to present displayer, to party favor distributor, to garbage collector. It was impressive. Myles' little sister was there taking it all in with me and her comment was a little under her breath, but it was something to the effect of her feeling like she was in some sort of "Gone With the Wind" meets the future time warp. And at one point, Sarah reached for a teal package, asking where Lewis' was. Silly Sarah. She's got so much to learn... ;)
But it was really good. Very good. Sarah was genuine and kind as she opened all her presents and since I didn't have any kids with me, I could just sit back on the overstuffed couch with my spicy cheese straws and punch and take it all in. So in my quiet cozy corner, I prayed for Sarah and Myles- that their home would be filled with love and children and the blessing of the Lord for years and years to come. I was so glad to be there and to be a part of the blessing that was today.
So congrats, friends. Here's to years of love for the journey through life together!
BUT- it was a great time and it's so fun to share the birthday festivities with our buddy, Sam. Happy birthday, little friend!!! It was a bouncin' good time!!!!
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Jack has had "heartburn" and "chest discomfort" since Sunday (a little unnerving considering he's already on heart meds). He finally decided that today was the day to get it checked out. So as I was telling one of my co-workers about the situation, my patient- my very elderly, very hunched over, very much in pain, very shaky voice patient- asked for my husband's name and began to pray a beautiful and heart-wrenching prayer over my husband... and me.
I was supposed to be helping this woman. Not the other way around.
But there she was- pain and all- hovering over a walker, asking the Lord to touch my husband's heart.
Later that day, she told me that she felt like the whole reason she was even in the hospital was to pray.
And later that day, Jack went to the doctor and the EKG was normal. A muscle pull, the doctor thinks.
James 5:16 "Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective."
Powerful and effective indeed.
Thank you, thank you Jesus!!!!!
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Sunday, February 15, 2009
We fit so much in today. From pancakes with candles to a full morning at church, to a crazy animal parade to more fun with friends at church tonight- but today is a day to remember the goodness of the Lord in creating the life of Ezekiel David Chaney and I don't want to miss it. So, for my own mommy heart, this is my remembrance of the sweetness I see in my little boy. Happy Birthday, Z man!
Things I know and love about you, my little dude:
I love what a good sleeper you are. Thirteen hours a night and not a peep when I put you in your crib. You just lay in your crib, pop that thumb in, clench that silky lovey of yours and sweetly wish me "night, night!" If only you would eat as well as you sleep...
I love that big ol' belly of yours. You love to show it off and you love Sandra Boyton's Belly Button Book. Bee, bo!!!
I love that sweet smile and the quiet way you have about you. You love to be around people, but you don't crave the spotlight. You're content doing your own thing in your own little world. And you're quite a little joker like your daddy.
I love the way you clench your fingers together and squeeze your eyes tightly shut when we pray. I love how you rejoice in saying "Jesus!" and I love it how you can spot a Bible from a mile away.
I love the way you have to give something to me before you put it down. You can't just set something down. You have to say "no lovey!" or "no cup!" or "no truck!" and hand it off before you can just leave it. Kind of funny.
I love how you love music and you dance your little dance to everything from Widespread Panic to Misty Edwards. Your face lit up as you strummed your Dadoo's guitar yesterday. Maybe you'll play like him someday.
I love what a snuggle bug you are and I will definitely miss all those cuddles one day.
And one day, when you're all grown up, I pray that you will grow into your name, that you would be strengthened in the Lord, that the hand of God would be upon you, and that you, like David, would be a man after God's own heart.
handsome Valentine's Day date- none other than her sweet daddy. Our local Chick-fil-A had dressed up its accommodations for the occasion, using black tablecloths, flowers, seated service, free appetizers, and desserts to fancy up their fast food. Perfect for a date with a four-year-old.
Jack recounted the scene for me...
When they arrived, Anna Grace had a funny look on her face. When questioned, she told Jack that she was wondering if it was okay for her to have chocolate milk- since it was a special occasion. Chocolate milk it was.
Later, the same funny look. Jack inquired again to find out that she was "trying to find something nice to say (to Jack)."
She thought about it for a while and came up with, "I love you."
And there's nothing sweeter or nicer than that.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
the values of the Indian people.
It got me thinking about this lovely day we call Valentines. Commercialized? Yes. Overrated? Probably. A real holiday? Questionable. Altogether evil? Maybe not.
To celebrate or not to celebrate seems to be the question.
But my heart just seems to resonate with the thought of celebrating romantic love (which is interesting coming from a somewhat unromantic person). But I think it's because somehow, in some profoundly mysterious way, the Lord has both chosen us (not unlike the Indian custom of arranged marriage) and allowed us to choose Him (allowing us to voluntarily commit our hearts to His). Certainly, our relationship with our Creator is holy and completely other than the relationship that we share with our spouse, but it is a relationship that we can see glimpses of in marriage.
On my wedding day, my dad and brother played the guitar and bass while my little sister sweetly sang Alison Krauss' "Looking in the Eyes of Love" for my first dance with Jack. And over the past eightish years, I have looked into those blue eyes and seen a man who has loved me well. Even when I'm harsh, tired, irritated, selfish, and hard to love, he's stood by me and loved me. He's walked through life with me, supporting me and holding me up even in my darkest hour- making me laugh in spite of it all.
So this Valentine's Day, I'm remembering the holy gift of romantic love and marriage. Today, I thank God for what He has given me in Jack Chaney. What a guy. I'm so thankful for the unique love that we share in marriage and the mystery of love revealing itself in such an amazing way.
Every time I look into those eyes of love, I'm reminded of One who loves wholly and freely and competely. The One who is beckoning His church to righteousness, wholeness, and readiness for the wedding supper of the Lamb.
Song of Songs 5:12 "His eyes are like doves by the water streams, washed in milk, mounted like jewels."
Ephesians 5:25-32 "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church- for we are members of his body. 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.' This is a profound mystery- but I am talking about Christ and the church."
Revelation 19:7-9 "Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear." (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.) Then the angel said to me, "Write: 'Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!'" And he added, "These are the true words of God." "
Thursday, February 12, 2009
But I have this picture on the fridge that AG drew not too long ago. It's a go-to image for me in the midst of the craziness. She brought it home from school one day, declaring that it was a picture of "me and mommy." So sweet. No matter how crazy life with my little ones gets, I want to remember those four hearts at the top and the holding hands and the smiles. One day, I'll probably miss those little hands to hold, the wiggling at dinner, the heaviness on my hip, and the times that God trained me in love through the life of my children.
I couldn't wait for Sunday. I had to shout it out to my friend, Lydia, for letting me borrow the choo-choo train cupcake tins. Thanks, friend! Way cute.
My little valentine baby is having two small family birthday parties Saturday and Monday, then a bigger one with his buddy, Sam, next weekend. So this was the trial run for the first round of celebrations.
So get excited, Nora! It only took me about three hours to whip up this creation. What a cupcake making party we will have next weekend!
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
So there's the band- Flight of the Conchords (New Zealanders Gemaine and Bret) and then there's the band manager- Murray Hewitt. Two guys with a "manager" trying to make it in New York. Murray is by far the funniest character as he is hopelessly hopeful and blissfully ignorant most of the time. And quite a stickler. Jack and I laughed and laughed at the last episode in which Murray pulled out the overhead projecter to display a chart that he had created to visually represent the status of his relationships. With the x axis representing time and the y axis representing relationship status, one could move from "enemy" to "stranger" to "colleague" to "workmate" to "friend" within the context of time. See clip.
What got me thinking about good ol' Murray was Melissa. I know, Melissa... big jump, but hang with me...
I've worked with Melissa for almost two years now and I've really enjoyed getting to know her. So today after we shared a six mile run in sunny and beautiful 70 degree weather after work, I was thinking about what a friend she has become... how she's really moved up on the chart... and all the things I've come to know about her and how I'm looking forward to knowing more. I know that she's kind and funny and smart and I'm looking forward to ever increasing levels of friendship. That is- if she doesn't fall down to "stranger" or "enemy" somehow. Ha! Thanks for the company, Melissa! Great run!!!!
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Monday, February 9, 2009
A friend sent me a link to this article today. Check it out.
I thought these gems deserved a post of their own. Apparently Lyd and I missed it, but after a while, when we were all outside, Anna Grace and Benjamin were stood at the door chanting, "WE ARE HUNGRY! WE ARE HUNGRY!" These silly friends had big fun.
Sunday, February 8, 2009
The characters of the weekend and the blessings that flowed:
Benjamin and Anna Grace
Samuel and Zeke
The interaction between our soon-to-be two-year-olds was minimal, but it’s still fun to coax the two into friendship (i.e. “Can you say ‘Samuel,’ Zeke?” and ‘Can you let your friend have a turn with Thomas?’) and to know that one day, the friendship won’t need a bit of coaxing for the friendship to flourish. Their fun days together are still to come.
To talk to
We had such a good time sharing our hearts and the joy and struggles that come from this stage of life. Her words encouraged my heart and were full of light and truth.
And not only did we get to share our hearts, but we had a chance to get away and laugh… a lot… during what came to be our “progressive dinner” along Dixon Street in Fayetteville, ending with Scrabble and lattes where we stayed out until- get this- almost midnight. (gasp!)
Jack and John
My husband has a way of lightening the mood, so to speak, and it’s always kind of fun and very amusing to sit back and watch Jack interact with John. All I can say is that I mostly laughed at these two. As we were going to bed last night, Jack just kept laughing to himself about what had gone on that day at the petting zoo and the jokes that followed. And that’s all I can say about that…
Renee and Jim
The weekend was complete with a visit with
her birthday cake and her love with my children. Happy birthday, friend! Your presence was certainly the icing on the cake!
So it makes sense that if you hate love and service, you would to try to drive a wedge between our families. But I laugh in the face of Charriganitis. I’m certain the love of God will wash over our families for years and years to come and cement our hearts together as we run this race called life together.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
The other morning, he told me to "make food." It's so funny watching a little person learn to speak.
Jack: "Hey, Candace, come here. This is awesome! You gotta see this!" (He had gone to Walgreens to pick up the free shades a few minutes earlier)
Candace: (from the other room) "No thanks. Not interested."
Jack: "But you've got to see this! Just for a minute?"
Candace: "Really. I really don't want to."
Jack: "For me? For recreational companionship?"
And that's when I took my place on the couch, put on my ridiculous glasses and mustered up some kind of excitement for what's happening on the TV.
Ah, yes, the things we do for love...
Monday, February 2, 2009
I found Facebook's "twenty-five things" to be fun but a little narcissitic. So I thought it would be more fun to compile a list for Jack. Maybe it's still narcisstic since we're one flesh and all. Oh well...
1. He loves music and very often gets chill bumps when he hears a song that really moves him. Especially when he's driving. And he loves to sing. Which brings me to #2...
2. He was in boy choir at his Episcopal elementary school. He has a really funny story about "Father Anthony" and one of his fellow choir boy members on some sort of trip. I think it involves yelling in an English accent and some sort of potty accident.
3. He loves pizza, chicken biscuits, and beer. But his left ventricle doesn't.
4. He loves humor that is ridiculous or shocking or maybe a combination of both- and like I have said before, he's the funniest person I've ever met.
5. In highschool, he spent a summer in France. His host family came to visit him and his family for a month soon after we started dating. And they stayed for a month. Stories about "the French people" still linger around the Chaney household.
6. Speaking of Europe, he loves London. He went in college ("London '98") and wants to go back.
7. Speaking of London, his favorite soccer team is Arsenal. And he's really into it.
8. He went to seminary but now works in the oil and gas business. He considers himself an overqualified Sunday school teacher.
9. He worked for a sports radio station for a while when we lived in Atlanta.
10. He loves Friday afternoons and Saturday mornings.
11. He obviously loves sports, but what's a little less obvious is that he especially loves uniform analysis. He thinks it's awesome when a team wears special or throw-back jerseys or helmets.
12. The LSU fight song is the power song on his Nike+ ipod system.
13. He loves to say ___ is the new ___. Right now it's four is the new three (as in miles for running).
14. His knees can hyperextend about forty degrees. It'll make you cringe.
15. He created a Fantasy Football league in college that has endured for over ten years and is still going strong.
16. He's a stickler for rules.
17. The man can put down some diet Coke. You know those 44 oz. buckets at the Circle K? He loves them. He keeps the cup so that he can get refills for 89 cents.
18. His name is actually Jonathon.
19. He likes to stay out of the spotlight. He really does hate attention.
20. He would never do a list like this. Ever.
21. Don't challenge him to a football game on the Playstation. You'll lose.
22. His favorite author is N.T. Wright.
23. He has an uncanny fear and fascination with aliens ever since he watched Close Encounters of the Third Kind in elementary school.
24. He was student council president in highschool and was voted "most likely to succeed." I think he's had great success.
25. His heart is kind, he's a strong man of God, and I'm a lucky gal to have him.