Thursday, April 30, 2009

New life everywhere

Isn't she beautiful?

Sarah Grace, all 5 lbs, 13oz and 19 inches of her, was born yesterday to my friend Elizabeth. I can't wait to go hold her and smell her and feel her fuzzy little head.

It seems fitting to me that spring is upon us. It seems like there is new life in every corner of my life right now.

There's the baby girl born yesterday, Korrie's news of being pregnant with baby girl (Rosemary Jane- beautiful, huh?), a baby shower this weekend for twin boys, Kayla leaving for Thailand to have her third baby boy, and Lydia's heart for adoption which may eventually bring new life to the Harrigan household.

So pray for all this new life. Pray for Kayla and her new baby boy and a wonderful birth experience even though she's a world away from home and in a different culture and without her extended family. Pray for a healthy pregnancy and delivery for Korrie's Rosemary Jane. Pray for a happy transition to home for Sarah Grace. Pray for the Harrigan family's future and their willing hearts to adopt.

I'll keep you posted.

And here's some food for thought.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Per Kate's request

Last week I sat the Z man down on the front porch, lollipop in mouth, and took Jack's clippers to the wild man's hair. We went from crazy to tamed in 15 minutes. I'm afraid this little one won't know longer hair than #5 clippers until he's a teenager. I'm just not into having to do more to my two-year-old's hair in the morning than to my own.

Jack's sister wanted to see it, so here you go, Kate. A little preview of our little dude in action.

It's a blanket with sleeves!

I've been working diligently to clean up the astounding and amazing mess that is my house today while the kids are away.

So, I take a break to sit and check my email when I discover an email from the hubby.

He's discovered a Snuggie ad.

He feels compelled to share it.

His subject line?

"You, me, and our friend from Oklahoma."

Fun diversion. Now back to work...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Ode to my bed: A limerick

To travel is good- that I see
But when I do, sleep much eludes me
Upon my return
I lay down and I learn
Sometimes home is the best place to be

Pictured is my cute little sleeping bandit. I'm afraid he's just like his momma... There's no sleeping like sleeping in your own bed. We got maybe four hours at my sister's house on Friday night. Last night he slept horizontally on the top of the double bed at my head. At least he slept though, right? Benadryl anyone?

But no worries, Jennifer. It was worth it.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The treasure

It's that time of year again, my fellow Northwest Louisianians. Holiday in Dixie Treasure Hunt time!

After Jack got us started, my sister and I were absolutely certain we knew where the treasure was, so we hunted for a good two hours this morning. Make no mistake- this one is hidden well.

I never thought my heart could race so much at the opening of a public library, but despite our most clever sleuth skills we came up short of an exciting discovery.

The real treasure? Tweedledee and Tweedledum very much enjoyed the bike rack that apparently can double as a pogo stick. Oh the joys of toddlerhood!

More to come on throw ball/kick ball, a haircut on the porch, and a celebratory chocolate Southern Maid donut. What a day.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Our Winners!

Does this picture need any commentary?

It was the high school guys vs. the "young adult" guys at our church last night in a heated game of dodgeball. I hate that I missed it (maybe the kids will just have to stay up late next time), but my friend got this picture of three of our champs.

And yes... the old guys beat the kids.

Jack's caption?
"More bars in more places." (a la AT&T)

Funny one, that Jack.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Disinfecting and moving on

The latest Chaney news is that I'm venturing back into the world of pediatrics. I'm really excited and I have a great new gig at a growing pediatric clinic lined up for two and a half days a week. Perfect.

I will, however, very much miss my peeps at the hospital. I've grown to love so many of them (especially one) and I had kind of a heavy heart this morning as I spread my news.

So as I was sharing my heavy heart this morning over coffee and French toaster sticks, Jack gave me a bit of perspective. It's not that big of a deal. Life at the hospital will march on. He reminded me of Micheal Scott and that time he quit his telemarketer job. Jack found the script for me because we got such a kick out of it. So, if you're an Office fan, you'll really enjoy this. Nick is the boss who barely looks up from his paperwork to acknowledge Michael's resignation and Michael is well... self-absorbed, unaware, dim-witted Michael.

Michael: Nick, I had a dream last night that I had two full time jobs. One here at the Lipophedrazone diet pill company---
Mr. Figaro: Lipophedrine
Michael: And the other I was a Regional Manager of a small paper supply company called Dunder Mifflin.
Mr. Figaro: Never heard of it.
Michael: In this dream I did both of these jobs beautifully, and I loved it, and everybody loved me. But the truth is, I can't do this.
Mr. Figaro: Are you quitting?
Michael: I am.
Mr. Figaro: Come back anytime, don't forget to disinfect your headset.

I won't make the transition for another four weeks, but still- Jack reminded me not to forget to disinfect my headset.

And after I told the boss lady today that I was moving on, I smiled as she told me to "come back anytime."

Sunday, April 19, 2009

His arms are rods of gold set with chrysolite - part three

Psalm 102:25 "In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands."

Psalm 103:1-6 "Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits-- who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's. The LORD works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed."

Isn't it awesome to think that the very hands that laid the foundations of the earth and spread out the heavens are the same hands that forgive and heal and redeem and crown with love and satisfy and work righteousness and justice for the oppressed?

Anna Grace painted this picture during our aforementioned play date at the Ms Nora's house. I thought it was rather mediocre until she gave it a title (totally unprompted). "Jesus' hands," she named it. And the best part is that she really wanted it to be specifically for Isabela who is in the hospital recovering from heart surgery. So, sweet Bela, this picture is yours. May you know the healing hands of the God in heaven who stretched out the starry sky above you.

And for the rest of us, may we look to those Hands to uplift us and sustain us as we embark on the mundane as well as the extraordinary this week. May we offer up our lives as living sacrifices in an effort to join in His divine activity: forgiving, loving, building, and working in the Spirit of His redeeming love.

"His arms are rods of gold set with chrysolite..." Song of Songs 5:14

Shout out Sunday

Some of the best weekends are the ones that you just don't do much of anything. It's time to cherish- especially when little ones are growing and changing by the minute.
Zeke thoroughly enjoyed our
little family tradition of biscuits and turkey bacon
and music and pajamas on Saturday mornings and I must say... it made me smile, too.

So, on this low key weekend, Sunday shout out props go to Nora Greer for hosting a fun rainy day marching band/finger painting/cookie baking get-together (it was way fun), to BB and Pop Pop for a fun Saturday night dinner, and to Karen Degenhart for accompanying us to our traditional Friday night pizza place and for keeping the kids during our small group tonight. You can check out what my kiddos were up to on her watch on her blog. Who knew I had such industrious little ones? If we could only harness all the energy...

Friday, April 17, 2009

Things that are amazing to me

1. My mom has some sort of crazy MacGyver gene that I'm really sad I didn't inherit. She single-handedly fixed Anna Grace's cheap plastic kite today with nothing but the fold-out scissors she carries on her key chain. It was amazing.

2. I know people have their righteous reasons for not being on Facebook, but I can't get over how much it is connecting me- even at the heart level- to friends all over the map. Specifically, three of my really tight friends and I had some major relationship building exchanges this week. It amazes me. And why is a Facebook inbox message so much better than a plain old email? I can't put my finger on it, but there is something just better there.

3. You know how sometimes a friend of a friend becomes a friend? That's Carpoolqueen. Funny is too limiting of a word to describe her. And it still amazes me that she chose to have me "win" this sweet little apron (isn't it too cute?) during her blog's giveaway spree. Jack really helped my cause (I believe his comment said, "My wife really wants that apron. Little does she know… If I win, I’m wearing that thing while I grill.") I didn't put him up to it... really. I never win things, so even if it was a little "unfair" (sorry, Whimzie), I'm still amazed.

4. Why does Time magazine seem to want me to think they have all the answers? All the titles of their articles are starting to sound strangely uniform: "The End of Excess: Why this crisis is good for America" and "Why it's high time to legalize pot" and "How climate change is causing a new age of extinction" and "Detroit: Why the surviors will prosper." Have they always used this angle? If so, I've not noticed it before. So to me, it's an amazing phenomenon.

5. My last completely miscellanous amazement comes from another blog completely devoted to hilariously passive agressive notes. (It's an amazing niche in and of itself). So, for all of you who are waiting for 5:00 to roll around this Friday afternoon, get your belly laugh on as you read about "squatter Renee" and whoever Terry might be. As my husband said, this stuff is gold...

Happy Friday!

PS- you may want to steer clear of other posts on the passiveaggressive notes site- Jack tells me the vulgarities fly freely elsewhere...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A friend who would do anything to help

I love this lady.

She gave up an hour of her Thursday night just to help me out. She is an interestingly wonderful combination of strong and beautiful and has a heart of gold. Like I said, I love this sweet friend.

I can't wait until we retire and get to spend a little more time together. Thank you, friend, for the help and for your servant heart.

Rendi = awesomeness.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Four little dudes in a wagon

We had so much fun with our sweet cousins in town for Easter last weekend. All blond and all sweetness. There were lots of hugs and wagon pulling and ball throwing and toy golf set playing and Easter egg hunting.

My sister and I posted a bunch of our shenanigans on the FB, but I thought this picture took the cake. Zeke really did have fun with his buddies in general, but certainly was not down with taking this picture.

This too shall pass... Right?

Props for the commenter with the best caption.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The (prophetic) Rocker

How is it possible that God can use a movie that Jack rented...

...two days ago

...that we just happened to watch tonight

...that was kind of good and funny but also kind of trite speak to my heart about a specific struggle in my heart?

I'm telling you- the Lord of heaven and earth- the One who set me up with a word via Rainn Wilson- is amazing.

PS- Don't rent it thinking it's profound, because it's not. It all just kind of lined up for me. But if you liked School of Rock and you don't mind predictable endings, you'll like this one.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter art and a song in her heart

It's lots of fun to paint with your four-year-old. And when I say paint with your four-year-old, I really mean paint with your four-year-old. I got my Easter art on. Good times.

And I thought it was time for another Anna Grace song. I had to cut it off, because the song just kept going and going. I was glad because she told me that the song had come back in her heart. Actually, she told me that it was in an Easter egg inside of a bunny inside of a purse inside of her heart, but whatever. I don't know if it was the nap or the time playing Chutes and Ladders with mom and dad, but she was a happy camper tonight. So enjoy this rousing and nonsensical yet joyous serenade. Her song is back, people!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Shout out Saturday: Birthday Edition

Since two of my favorite people were born on April 11th, I thought I'd send out a big birthday shout-out to my little sis, Karen, and my friend, Lydia, along with some fun facts about the two.


1. She is an organization fiend. You should see her pantry.
And her closet. It's inspiring.
2. She has a very dry sense of humor. When I told her that a couple of weeks ago, she, very dryly, said that she didn't have a sense of humor. I love it.
3. She's a professional when it comes to wrapping a gift.
4. She just ran a half marathon in 2 hours and 28 minutes, but the best part is the very awesome story that goes with it. Check it out.
5. She writes songs. And they're amazing. And I cry every time she sits at the piano and sings them.


1. I'm starting with this one because sometimes she forgets that it's not normal. She's a lefty so she wears her watch on her right arm, but she also wears it inside out so that she has to do a funny arm flip to tell the time.
2. She is the slowest drinker in America. The last time she came to visit, she warmed her coffee up in the microwave several times. She's a sipper, people.
3. She has an administrative gifting that makes her a champion of organizing a group of friends, children, or even a class of eighth graders. Bless her.
4. She prays with great fervor and lives from her heart.
5. Though she may rise early, it takes a little push to get her moving and out the door at an early hour. ;)

... and they're both talented and beautiful women of integrity who love God and serve their families with undying love- women who do not give way to fear (1 Peter 3:6).

Happy Birthday, gals! Hope it's fabulous!!!!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

New life and new hope: Happy Resurrection Day

You should see my geraniums.

I bought and planted two geranium plants three years ago, placing them in two pots on either side of the front steps leading up to my house. I hear these geraniums are annuals and I really shouldn't keep seeing red flowers bloom every spring, but there they are in all their glory- blooming again for the third year in a row. It doesn't get extremely cold down here in Louisiana, but still... I found myself some hardy plants. Or maybe it's a sign.

Lately, I've been looking for signs of resurrected life all around me.

Sunday morning, Jack taught on Matthew 28- the resurrection of Jesus. What really struck me, what I can't get out of my head was his question about the women who came to the empty tomb and their emotional response to their angelic encounter- the news that their Lord had been resurrected. Matthew 28:8 says that they were "afraid yet filled with joy." Had I ever had these opposing emotions simultaneously, my husband asks. Then my two buddies to my left immediately responded with what I guess was the right answer: the birth of their children. Joyful occasions no doubt, but the extraction of a baby from the body is a little terrifying in and of itself and then there's the whole I-am-now-responsible-for-the-upbringing-and-well being-of-another-eternal-being thing.

I thought about what Jesus' new life meant and how those women must have felt. Was it at all like I felt when my children were born?

Life and especially resurrected life is so beautiful and so holy that I think maybe they did. Maybe they felt a much greater measure of joy and a much greater measure of holy fear than I did on that first birth day. Jesus was alive. Jesus is alive. I'm trying to wrap my mind around that, but I sometimes get discouraged because I have such a hard time grasping it, holding onto it, and running with it.

But it's true. Jesus IS alive. And we will live with Him with resurrected bodies forever with Him on earth. I just wish it didn't boggle my death-ridden mind, body, and soul so much.

I want to stand for life. I want to seek salvation in small acts of redemption and the final hope of the resurrection. I want to feel what those women felt over and over again. I want to know that hope.

And I think I'm starting to see life in a different way. We carry such heavy loads of death everywhere we go and I'm starting to appreciate the acts of redemption that will carry on after we've been fully and completely restored to what we were really created to be.

It's Brenda who takes a stand for life, defying her doctor's recommendations for abortion, and holding her daughter every night in her arms as she falls asleep. It's her arms that will hold sweet Bela day after day and night after night as she recovers for weeks and weeks in the hospital after major heart surgery.

It's my friends who moved their young, pregnant family halfway around the world so that people in Asia would know the hope of the Gospel, giving them new life and new hope.

It's Lydia who has a heart for adoption- that one more child would have a brand new life and a mother and father who really love them.

It's Korrie, pregnant with her fourth child in four years, bravely embarking on the joy and servanthood of a large family.

It's my friend who works tirelessly at the hospital during his residency, trying to impart healing amidst rampant death and disease.

It's the patient who works and strains to strengthen his body, praying and fighting with all of his might to come out from under the heavy burden of cancer.

It's amazing feats of life.

It's the grandmother rocking and feeding her grandchild so that her daughter might have the refreshment and renewal that time away from her children can bring.

It's my husband, working to bring words of life to the group of believers the Lord has given him.

It's you as you forgive, bringing life to a dead relationship.

It's me as I lay hands on my children to pray on their behalf at night.

All of it requires sacrifice, but all of it brings life.

And ultimately... and this is a big ultimately... it's Jesus bringing new life at the resurrection. That's what He's about. He makes all things new. This present darkness that is filled with death at every turn WILL be overturned with light and truth and LIFE. True life. For real. Forever.

Until that Day, let us look for life and stand for life and work for life in all its forms as we grow in love with the One who gives it.

You should see my geraniums.

"Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand." Psalm 16:9-11

"For you have delivered me from death and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of life." Psalm 56:13

"Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." Matthew 10:39

"But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep." I Corinthians 15:20

"And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.' He who was seated on the throne said, 'I am making everything new!' Then he said, 'Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.'" Revelation 21:3-5

He is risen! Happy Resurrection Day! May we all celebrate in the light of life!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Feeling the love

An unsure subject and a budding artist

You can check out my friend's post at Runrgirl (and I really hope you do and leave her an encouraging comment), but I was so impressed by the move of her heart that I wanted to share on the TLLOM as well. She spent some time with us on Friday afternoon, but Zeke was not going to cooperate. Not for anything.

From her entry:

"Created this layout of one of the photos I got of my most reluctant subject Zeke. It's called 'Unsure'. Journaling reads: Although Zeke Chaney seemed most unsure of me during my 1st ever 'paid' photo shoot, I suspect I was!!! I'll do it anyway, no matter any fear.
I've lived so much of my life trying to protect my pride, some fragile ego. I'm done with that. That's all about old tapes, old messages and I'm tired of being limited by such awful songs that reel around in my head.
And so, I'm moving forward, stepping out of that comfort zone to experience the life He wishes for me. That means sharing my talents with others. I say all of this only to record this step in a journey down a narrow path. And if I find I have unwittingly picked up that baggage again, I can lay it at the cross and remember it's important to walk this imperfect journey anyway!"

Way to go, friend! You're moving forward in love with the gifts He's given you. What could be better than that?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Owls, messes, and a magic carpet ride

Incoherent and miscellaneous, but notable happenings in the world of Chaney.

There's more than one way to clean the floor, I guess. And more than one way to have loads of fun on a Saturday morning.

What am I to do with all this hair? I'm really pondering a buzz cut for the summer.

A typical mess made by above child. Sometimes I feel like I spend all my days cleaning up messes. Sigh... With independence comes mistakes. Lord, give me patience.

During our yard work yesterday, we discovered two baby owls in the branches above. They stayed with us all day long. The kids were smitten.

And last but not least, this picture, for me, takes the cake. There is no way on God's green earth that these two will sit down to take a picture together. I've tried everything- bribes of candy and all- and it's just not happenin. This is the best it gets. Ces la vie, right? They're still very special blessings from the Lord. Pictures or no, I'm one very blessed momma.

Friday, April 3, 2009

She's a winner, people!

I am so proud of my little girl. She is a Centenary College Cross Country 2009 Healthy Kids Fun Run Winner! We had a ton of fun together, completing our one mile run in under 14 minutes. I'm pretty sure she was one of the youngest youngsters out participating and she had a blast. It was touch and go for a few moments but between having our eye on a #2 racing bib just in front of us to set the pace and the college kids cheering us on along the route, we accomplished our goal in what I consider really good time for a four-year-old. Pizza and a movie was in order for my little red-faced winner.

Lately, Anna Grace has been reacting when I put on my shoes and head out the door for a run. She's really wanted to come with me. I've let her go down the street with me and back a few times, but this took it to a whole other level. It's a good reminder that what I do speaks to her heart- she sees it and she wants to do the same. How I live this life and the activities I engage in speak just as loudly as the words I say to her as I tuck her into bed at night. Very convicting. I pray that I am emboldened and enabled to live a life worthy of my calling so that she might pick up on my pace and run ahead with perseverance into the race that is so lovingly marked out for her.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." Hebrews 12:1

(PS- I had a surprise photographer at my race. Thanks, Melissa. That so touched my heart.)

Bela Fleck, Chick-fil-A, and a Friday afternoon

The good: Zeke and I totally jammed out to some Bela Fleck this morning on our way to pick up Anna Grace from school. He called to me from his car seat: "Music, momma!" "I like it!"

The bad: I had to clean up diarrhea when we got home from Chick-fil-A today (and by the way, this is how we feel about Chick-fil-A). When I made the discovery, AG asked me why I was walking away so slowly and what was wrong with me.

The ice cream: It's naptime!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Just one!

This is my blog post for an audience of "just one." Here you go, Kathy Lewis. This one's for you. How we miss you!!!!!
(Of course, he was saying our catch phrase over and over before I turned the camera on. Of course.)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Think Warm!

Over a boiled shrimp po-boy at Fairfield Grocery on a rare day to myself last Thursday, my new friend Ashley and I got to chat it up. It was fabulous. We met at the park a few weeks ago and have become friends quickly and I can't wait to get to know more of this Diet Coke loving, long distance running, magazine publishing mother of SIX girls. (Can you see why we hit it off?)

We talked about running and how much we loved Diet Coke, but what we talked most about- and what is most interesting in my estimation- is theology. She and her husband were native Shreveport Baptists who spent some years at Oxford and have since converted to Greek Orthodoxy. Fascinating, right?

The thing is, I have run in quite the mixture of Christian circles my entire life. My grandfather was a United Methodist minister. I grew up attending a traditional United Methodist church on Sunday morning, and a very charismatic Word of Faith movement type church on Sunday nights. I distanced myself from church in college, but renewed my commitment to Jesus at Northpoint Community Church in Atlanta while I was in grad school. A year after we got married, Jack and I moved to Kentucky where he attended a Wesleyan seminary while we went to another non-denominational church. We're now attending Shreveport's First Baptist Church while we're sending our children to the Episcopal school where Jack grew up. We have very good Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Episcopal, non-denominational, Lutheran, Methodist, and Assembly of God friends... and now Greek Orthodox. As far as church goes in the West, I feel like I've seen and done it all. I've been to Mass and I've been to services with people dancing in the isles. I value tradition and I value worship in all its forms and so I'm totally fascinated with my friend's faith as it is just a little more than I've experienced and been exposed to because it is so Eastern in its orientation. I can't wait to sit in on a service.

A couple of years ago, I was running up the paved hill to the front steps of our church's very grand sanctuary. As I was approaching, I could see that there was something going on on the steps that are usually empty on Saturday afternoon. As I got closer, I realized that I was stumbling upon a bridal portrait session. It was early Spring and the wind was still very cold, so the shivering bride in her sleeveless gown was struggling to muster a smile worthy of a bridal portrait. So as I trotted by, I gave her a wave and a smile, and I told her to "think warm!"
At that moment, the Lord spoke to my heart that what I just saw and what I just did was a picture of my ministry. I was to encourage His bride. Her Day is coming and She must be ready. It was and is so profound and so striking. So I've got to think that He's put me in so many different ecclesiastical settings for a reason. He's connecting me with other believers to be an encourager despite the cold winds that may blow against their faith, dedication, families, or ministries. I'm not even quite sure what all this means or how all of it plays out or what it looks like for me, but it's something for me to ponder and wonder about as I eat my sandwich and talk about Jesus with my new friend with her cool story...

Ephesians 5:31-32 " '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."