Friday, May 28, 2010

Five things Friday

(CPQ- imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, you know)

1. I love my husband. We celebrated nine years of marriage last night over shrimp and grits and creme brulee with the littlest Chaney in tow. It was joyous.

Nana made me a quilt!
2. He may be only a little over a week out the womb, but little Asher is growing rapidly. I think he's going to be my biggest kid yet.

3. Lost is over. I was kind of disappointed in the ending, but I think I would have been disappointed with anything short of a really clear picture of a messianic redemption story. But you know what I really liked? That Jack and Kate ended up together. The fierce tenacity with which he professed his love moved me to tears. But it's not hard for me to be moved to tears these days...

4. Summer has only just begun and I'm already about to lose my ever lovin' mind with two kids and a newborn to juggle. All day. By my lonesome. It wasn't even 7:30 this morning before we had double time out and a heart to heart. Any suggestions? Anyone? Anyone??

5. I almost DFO'ed at Target yesterday. Luckily, I ran into my friend Laura and her mom in the parking lot and they totally stopped and helped me recover. Nursing moms need to carry snacks at all times. Lesson learned.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

On bread and life

Hello, all you TLLOM readers, Korrie-friend-of-Candace here. She has graciously invited me to give a guest post, and perhaps give her an evening or two of rest (my hope!).

If you've always wanted to bake some bread by hand but didn't know how to get the ball rolling, today is your lucky day! Or, if you are a baker, and are in need of another recipe to try, a well-loved and tested one, today is also your lucky day!

Before you say 'nah thanks', let me point out something about this recipe that is immediately appealing - you pop the loaves into the oven to bake instead of a 2nd rise. Nice!

So, after much research ( is highly reccommended) and some Youtube scouring, I'm going to describe how to bake 2 loaves of tasty, easy and healthy bread. Few things are as satisfying, and once you find yourselves slicing fragrant pieces to give to eager mouths, you are sure to agree.

Consequently, I've made this recipe a TON, and though it may not be perfected, it's pretty close. ;-) And, I'm revealing all my learned secrets r i g h t h e r e!! (sold yet?) Without further ado, here goes...

Honey Wheat Bread

2 c. warm water (I use my tap water, all the way on hot)

1/4 c. honey (about 2 good squirts from the bottle, or more if you like it sweeter)

4 t. dry active yeast (found my brand at our food co-op; it's french and I'm a francophile, so wah-lah. The kind you buy in little packets also works fine)

1/2 c. melted butter (go organic, for healthier fat)

2 t. salt (coarse kosher is somehow better)

5 c. wheat bread flour, and keep bag handy for kneading

1 c. all purpose flour

timer of some sorts

2 buttered bread pans

cooling rack

1. Mix together first 3 ingredients and let sit about 5-10 minutes, until yeast wakes up, realizes it's in a bowl of warm honey water, and has a party .

2. Meanwhile, melt the stick of butter and allow to cool slightly

3. Stir together the 6 cups of flour in large non-metal bowl (a dedicated wooden bowl is ideal, one that is never washed with soap so as not to strip it of all it's yeasty history. It will become an heirloom that your kids will fight over one day)

4. Add yeast water and butter to flour, and stir with large strokes using a wooden spoon, until mixture is "shaggy" and flour is incorporated.

5. Dump dough out onto lightly floured surface, knead a minute or two, then place your bowl over it for the autolyse time - set timer for 20 minutes, then go have a cup of coffee. This period without the salt allows for a better texture. Here it is before the bowl...

6. When timer goes off, remove bowl, push dough out flat, and sprinkle the salt over the surface. Fold up, then knead for 10 minutes. Add flour to surface if dough starts sticking, or flour your hands. Here's my son, "just giving it a little pat."

7. If needed, prepare a warm rising place by allowing your oven to preheat on a low temp for a couple minutes, then turn off but keep light on.

8. Wash out mixing bowl with just water, dry with hand towel, and add a little oil to the bowl (I use olive) and smear it around. Put dough ball into the bowl, flipping the dough over so as to coat it all with the oil, and put now-moistened hand towel over it. Place in warmed oven with door slightly open for an hour - set your timer!!

9. After an hour your dough should be ready, but test it by pushing your fingertip into it lightly - if dough slowly bounces back, it's time.

10. Divide into 2 equal lumps. Flatten each lump out, roll up gently but snuggly with seam-side down, and place buttered pans over them. This is shaping the batards, and will also improve the texture. Set timer for 10 minutes (sometimes I lose patience, and allow this resting time to be about 5 minutes, with no huge set-backs)

11. Flatten each lump out again, and re-roll as before. Gently squeeze rolls to enlongate them more, then place into pans.

12. Smear tops with softened butter, slash tops with sharp knife (I make a half-moon slit), put in now- cold oven.

Turn on oven to 350 degrees, and set timer for 35 minutes. Check around 30 minutes, or when the smell fills your house, which ever comes first, by sliding a loaf out and tapping the underside. If it sounds hollow, it's ready. Top should be nice and brown.

13. Allow to cool for a while, then dig in.

14. Store 2nd loaf in plastic bag, and leave the other wrapped in a towel but accessible.

Bon Appetit!

P.S. One of the best bits of advice - make a recipe many many times before moving on. You and the resulting food will be better for it.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sweet sounds of Asher

I may be exhausted, but I'm trying to savor every bit of the sweetness of life with a newborn. Even in a week, we've had our first bath, lost our umbilical cord stump, gotten our days and nights straightened out, and watched our birth weight fade into family history.  Seems like my friend Kayla and I are on the same page today.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

All kinds of love

There's lots of love lingering at our house lately

And many many many acts of kindnesses. Like my sister taking my kids to play on Friday while Asher and I rested up. I think- just maybe- they had fun. Just like the fun they had at their BeBe and Pop Pop's on Saturday.  Whew.  What a blessing for me.

Then there's the friend who stood by my side when I was scared and hurting- the kind that doesn't just grow on trees.

And there's the friends who have made homemade sundried tomato bread and cookies and casseroles and all kinds of culinary wonders. We've been well fed.

And then there's the sibling love. Some of us have adjusted better and more readily than others, but overall, we're all in love.

Then there is the family love.  Asher has gotten to meet all of his aunts and one uncle which is no small feat considering they've come from Alabama (woot-woot, birthday buddy Kate!), Dallas, and New Orleans to see their new nephew. My mom was there for it all- just like she always has been and always will be.

And then there's the baby love. Oh, the baby love...

Since I'm on newborn duty with two other small children who are out of school for the summer, I'll probably be forced into a blogging vacation. Which makes me sad. Blogging is like running for me- I love to do it. So I don't think I can stay gone for long. But the good news is that I might have a guest blogger or two show up on the TLLOM. So stay tuned, it's sure to be good.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

This is your story

Dear Asher, 

I remember the moment that your daddy and I named you.  You weren't any further along in this world than a twinkle in our eyes, but the thought of you prompted us to think of what name the Lord might speak over your life.  

And so, under a orangy-rose sunset on the patio of a Portland brewery, we dreamed and thought and wondered about you.  

After making me laugh with all kinds of names ranging from ridiculous to downright hilarious, your daddy said it.  

"What about Asher?"

At that moment, something in my heart moved.  Sometimes you just kind of know.  And after consulting the iphone for what the name Asher means, it was settled upon rather easily.  You are Asher.

Not only that, but your middle name came pretty quickly after your first.  

You are Asher Adam.  

In Hebrew, Asher means "happy, fortunate, or blessed."  Adam, being the first man, simply means "man."  

Happy, fortunate, or blessed man.  What a blessing to be spoken over your life.  

And not only are you named after the eighth son of Jacob and hence one of the twelve tribes of Israel, but your name and your little life speak to the redeeming work of Jesus as we look for the second Adam to come (I Corinthians 15:45) and the hope of the resurrection as you are named after a very special Chaney family member with whom we will reunite with great joy one Day.  

So, my sweet boy, live a life of joy, knowing that your happiness is not a fleeting circumstance-driven emotion, but a testimony.  Your blessing has been spoken over you by your Father in Heaven who made you, loves you, and beckons you to Himself.  

To remind you, I'll sing you your song as you cry in my arms and as you drift off to sleep.  I'll sing it to you when you get sick or when you hurt.  You know... your song...

Blessed Assurance
Perfect submission, all is at rest
          I in my Savior am happy and blessed
Watching and waiting, looking above
Filled with his goodness, lost in his love

This is my story, this is my song
Praising my Savior all the day long
This is my story, this is my song
Praising my Savior all the day long

I love you, Asher Adam.  Even though I know that one day, you'll grow into a strong, happy, and blessed man of God, you'll always be my sweet, happy, and blessed baby.  

I love you forever,

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Happy Birth Day!

Asher Adam Chaney, born May 18, 2010, at 11:57 am.

8 lbs 7 ounces

19.5 inches

Happy and blessed.

Monday, May 17, 2010

It's time

Zion, our birthday buddy. Happy birthday, friend!
Psalm 139:16 "All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."

All this time, the Lord knew May 18th would be the day for baby Chaney to come.

It had already been ordained.

As my doctor left the exam room on my final office visit today, he kind of mentioned off-handedly that we made the right decision in waiting this past week. We needed to wait, but now, it's time.

It spoke volumes to my heart.

In fact, so many things have spoken to my heart this week- Jack's serving me breakfast in bed and his patience with his uncomfortable wife, my friends creating diversions for my kids and me (not to mention the most awesome Cuban sandwich I've ever had), four different friends telling me that they thought of me and prayed for me when hearing the song "Everlasting God" (how awesome is that?), and many, many, many messages of love that may have been typed or texted, but as far as I'm concerned have come straight from the heart of God.

So we're off to the hospital at 5 am for a little water breaking and pitocin starting.

Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord...

Next up, a very special introduction of a very special newborn baby boy!

Because when you're three, you're just plain cute

The other Jack in my life

It was probably about six years ago that I started working with a sweet little boy in Kentucky named Jack. It was instant love.
He had a spirit that wouldn't stop and a smile that melted my heart.
I remember how his love for plastic grocery bags had me and his mom throwing them all over the kitchen and up in the air to entice our little love to stand up and walk.

His mom (who is one of the coolest moms I know not to mention an absolute inspiration) tagged me in this picture this weekend and it melted my heart yet again.

 back then
It may have taken him longer to learn how to jump than your average kid, but Jack is no average kid.

He's Jack.

And he's a jumpin-for-joy kind of Jack.

To me, there's no better picture of finding great joy in a jump.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Our pig-tailed wonder

She's sporting the first fad she'll probably ever remember, rocking blue toenail polish, and generally knocking my socks off with how grown-up she seems to be these days. She continues to sing constantly, ask a million-bagillion questions a day, and take life on with full force, recounting the days through endless songs, cards, pictures, and drawings. And she, like her daddy, is hilarious. They have a sort of running banter with each other that can make me smile like nothing else.

She's a whirlwind of silly energy, creative play, and serious love.

How we love our Anna Grace.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Changing the subject

So we're waiting some more on this baby. Yesterday's appointment sent me into another rollercoaster of emotion and admittedly, my heart began to waver, but I have firmly decided to stop the striving. Trust and obey. No matter what.

End of story.

In other Chaney news, did you know the World Cup starts in June?

If you're married to Jack, there's no mistaking it.

My soccer-loving husband kindly distracted me from the day's events by sharing some World Cup-related trivia that I thought I'd share with you. Aren't you lucky?

1. The USA played England in 1950 and- shockingly- beat them. The match-up didn't happen again until 1994.

2. The US is bidding to host the World Cup in 2018. Jack's really hoping to take his boys to some games.

3. It's not a city that hosts the World Cup, but a country. So, for example, you'd have World Cup games all over the country all month long- New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, etc. They'd all host games.

4. Only two teams have ever won the World Cup outside of their home continent.

5. Three teams are eligible to qualify for the World Cup from our region (which includes North and Central America). This year's qualifiers are the US, Honduras, and Mexico.

So there you go. Now you're a little bit more informed about the only game the whole world plays.

You can thank Jack.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Through your kitchen window

If you're three, all you need is your sister, a swingset, sunshine, a sprinkler, and a baby pool and you're all set for an afternoon of joy. And if you're that three-year-old's mom, the sound of that joy coming like a breeze through your back door and the sight of that joy glowing through your kitchen window remind you that your small life with its small joys, like any other small joy, can speak loudly of life and love and the glad heart of God.

"The very nature of Joy makes nonsense of our common distinction between having and wanting." CS Lewis

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The blessing in the wait

one of the blessings: time with my little sunflower
I could list a hundred reasons why it was and is inconvenient, difficult, and painful to have foregone yesterday's scheduled induction. Besides the physical discomfort and the logistical problems the delay creates, there are so many heart-level issues wrapped up in it all that I can't begin to go through it on this kind of venue.

But despite it all, I'm starting to see blessing in the wait.

Romans 5:3-4 "Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope."

So here's my list of why it's almost tolerable great that I'm carrying this baby longer than I had anticipated:

1. I'm really really ready. ALL my laundry is done. That NEVER NEVER NEVER happens at my house. Not only that, but I won't have forgotten anything to take to the hospital- from circumcision care to just the right hospital snacks, I've thought of everything.

2. I'm getting some sweet extra time with my little Zeke. Even now, he's curled up next to me and I'm loving his so soft skin and sweet smile as he watches a movie.

3. Okay, so this is harder than I thought. I can't say that I get to savor the joys of pregnancy longer with a straight face, so I won't.

4. Instead, I'll just add some filler items a la Carpoolqueen so that we can have an even five.

5. And this is for real- and maybe the whole point- I'm certain the Lord is working on my heart. The thing is, I'm completely sure that the Lord CAN send me into labor. What I've been so afraid of is that He won't. My fear is that I'll wait it out and still end up with an induction that lands me with the less than pleasant birth experience that I had with Zeke. But even if that's what happens, the Lord KNOWS what's best for me. I don't. In submitting to Him, listening to his voice and His promptings, working it all out with fear and trembling so as to be obedient to the way He's leading me, I WILL know Him better. In the meantime, I have to press into Him and wait on Him and remember that He sees me, hears me, and is with me in and through it all.

I probably won't even remember any of this struggle as soon as I lay eyes on my new baby boy, but one day, I'll look back and I'll be able so say that I knew a little bit more of God's faithfulness as I took these few days to wait on Him.

And that, my friends, is what is going to carry me through these last days of my pregnancy.

Oh, and thanks for the love and the prayers, by the way. Each of you who've prayed, commenters or no commenters, have blessed me without measure. I'm certainly feeling the love.

Hopefully I'll have some exciting news soon!

Monday, May 10, 2010


The verdict of my OB appointment was that I had not really progressed all that much. I have an early morning appointment for induction, but my (very kind and good) doctor told me that it was up to me. No rush. We can wait.

So we're waiting.

I'll keep you posted. Until then, I need to get back to my Saturday happy place and press into the heart of God. Because right now- honestly- I'm a bit sad.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

To my moms

The Lord gave me some thoughts on Mother's Day that you can read here (page 12) at Shreveport Bossier Christian Family Magazine. It was an effort (actually an insomnia-driven revelation) to honor all kinds of moms as the work of imparting and nurturing life takes on so many different forms. Today, I want to honor all those women, but I especially want to thank a very special three: my own gracious and sweet mother, my big-hearted mother-in-law, and my mother in the Lord who has taken me under her wing and has blessed me with her love.

Happy Mother's Day! We honor you today.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

With the help of the Lord

I want to thank those of you who have prayed for me and loved me in so many different ways over the past few days. These last days are not easy but I've felt much love and encouragement both directly and indirectly from the Lord through many of you. I feel refueled with a heart of gratitude for the ways I am so blessed beyond anything I deserve.

One of my friends described these last days as a tug-of-war of emotions- between the yearning for physical normalcy and the great anticipation of meeting this new little person and the looming uncertainty about how it's all going to work out.

I've spent a lot of time thinking about this delivery and wondering how it's all going to go down. The possibilities span the spectrum from natural labor and an intervention-free delivery to something gone horribly wrong and emergency surgery. There are just no guarantees.

But something has solidified in my heart and mind after much meditation on the childbirth experience paired with my relationship with the Lord.

The testimony of Eve in an easily-missed verse in the fourth chapter of Genesis has been replaying over and over in my mind. After giving birth to her firstborn son, Cain, she says,

"With the help of the LORD, I have brought forth a man." (Genesis 4:1)

And that's the point.

I want to try for as little intervention as possible, not because I think I can do it, but because I really can't. Only with the help of the LORD can I do anything. And no matter how this baby makes his entrance into the world, it is the LORD who will make it happen.

I'm just too broken and weak on my own.

Only with the help of the Lord will I bring forth this man.

And with the Lord, all things are possible.

No matter what happens, it is the Lord who will help me. Like Eve, it will be my testimony, as it has been for all of us who have a history with our faithful God.

So anyway, thanks for the prayers.

It seems that the Lord has spoken to my heart and despite the physical discomfort, I have peace.

Thanks be to God.

Friday, May 7, 2010

The home stretch

As seen in my OB's bathroom
As an update on my condition, all I can say is that I'm a little swollen, a little uncomfortable, a lot crazy, a lot tired, and sometimes even crazy tired.

Poor Jack.

I'm nesting and happy and kickin it into high gear one minute and I'm weeping and exhausted the next- unable to gauge healthy expectations of what can be done vs. what should be done.

Oh, and there's the three a.m. snacktime and, in this case, blog time. That's fun.

In case you can't tell, I'm ready to have this baby.

Must. Keep. Eyes. On. Prize.

Most likely scenario is a Tuesday induction. And we'll keep you posted.

Until then, I'll be trying to think happy baby thoughts. And maybe pondering the castor oil...

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Pine Needle Lodge 2010

Kayla summed it up very well in her Swamp Love post: "We consider ourselves severely blessed."


I love these friends and I'm still reeling from the whirlwind of love, tears, and laughter that was this past weekend. And I think I've almost caught up on my sleep and laundry. Almost. But before I move on to what's been happening since Sunday, I just had to finish my thoughts with a top ten list of some of my favorite things about our weekend at the Pine Needle. Because what's a reunion like this without a list? (Collages are fun, too- especially when you took over 200 pictures).

Let's start with my favorite:

1. The numbering of our rooms. There were only four rooms. All in a row. But if you wanted to find one of the Chaneys, you had to look in room 88. Wondering where to find a slumbering Benjamin? That would be room 10. It was one of the funniest things ever and at the same time, profound. But I'll leave that one alone for now.

2. Free ukulele lessons for the kids. Courtesy Ms. Ann, lodge owner and canoeing enthusiast.

3. Musical chairs and a birthday party.

4. The swampy backdrop (again, see Kayla's blog)

5. The 20 minute canoeing safety demonstration. Again, courtesy Ms. Ann.

6. Getting to love on all these kiddos, watching them interact, and trying to pick up on what makes them tick.

7. Zion's very enthusiastic serenade of "Seminole Wind." It was awesome.

8. Paddling a canoe with all my might at almost 38 weeks pregnant as Lee, Jesse, Anna Grace and I try to avoid getting splashed with swamp water by our "friends." I guess I can check that off my bucket list.

9. The authentic East Asian cuisine that was absolutely amazingly delicious and prepared with great love. I've never seen such chopping. And who knew about the chicken soaked in baking soda?

10. The encouragement and the love. Okay, so that was my favorite....

Monday, May 3, 2010

Photography by Anna Grace

Pretty good for a five year old. Reminds me that my little girl is, and will always be, an artist. Of course, it always helps that she had some really beautiful subjects...

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The numbers

Four goofy but wonderful guys

eleven children, three states, two continents

two adoptions pending, one birth pending

four strong and healthy marriages,

four families in the throws of the struggles of life in this fallen world,

One AMAZING God who sees us through it all and binds our hearts together in the process