Thursday, April 28, 2011

Flat Stanley meets London

Flat Stanley is one lucky paper thin boy.  He got colored, folded up, and sent across the pond to visit a dear, dear, dear friend of mine in London.  

Lucky. Flat. Dog.

He relaxed by the Thames, took in Hyde Park, posed in front of Westminster Abbey, minded the gap on the Underground, and on and on it went.  

Our Stanley came back with a three page, single spaced story and pictures that made us almost feel like we were there with him taking it all in.

He had an amazing time.  

 Thanks a million, my friend.

Maybe we'll fold ourselves up and float your way one of these days.

Until then, keep your eyes peeled for Flat Pat.  Our Stanley still daydreams of meeting his true love someday...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

With a wistful sigh

We miss you.  We miss you in general and we'll miss you even more acutely around our circle next weekend.  But we send our love across the miles and we'll hold out hope for one amazing 2012 reunion in all its fullness- Jubilee and all!  Until then, we'll blog and we'll FB and we'll email and we'll send hugs with packing tape and care packages. And until then, keep living the dream! How we love our friends the Rupps!  

Monday, April 25, 2011

My banjo padawan

Did I mention that Jack is learning to play the banjo?

Well, he is.

And it's incredible.

He's frailing as we speak.

His clever little Facebook status today was:

"Jack Chaney is a banjo padawan. This isn't the chord you're looking for..."

I'm not too much of a Star Wars buff, so he had to explain it to me, but once he explained the scene and the back story to the Jedi mind tricks, it made sense.

Love that JC.  Love the banjo.

Great, great combination.

Onward, JC!

Before you know it, you'll be trampling like turtles.

Can't wait...

Not without testimony

This week's photographic homework sent me on a scavenger hunt to capture things like glow and wave and smile and basket and lamb and spice and plastic.  I became slightly obsessive, carrying around my list and keeping an eye out for just the right slice of life in just the right light at just the right time.  

And what struck me this week was the richness of life, even in the simplest of things.  The sunlight behind a plant or some stained glass, good things to eat, water, joy behind the wheel, or even a resting place for birds point to the One from whom all good things flow.  

In Acts 14:16, Paul and Barnabas implore the misled crowd to acknowledge the Creator God who "has not left himself without testimony." His kindness, they point out,  is evident in the rain, crops in due season, plenty of food, and in the joy that fills our hearts.  

So this week, every picture was a testimony of the kindness of God to this little speck of a girl living on this peanut of a planet suspended in the great vast ocean of a Creator who loves.  

Make no mistake about it:

He has not left himself without testimony.  

Sunday, April 24, 2011

A comedy of errors

This is us.

Getting everyone fed and dressed is one thing.  Having everyone in coordinating colors is another. Having everyone smile at the same time is yet another thing.  And getting a perfect picture (i.e. without a Storm Trooper in the frame) with our five-man crew?  Well that is nearly impossible at this point in our lives.  

But my sweet momma did pretty well considering what she had to work with. 

How I love my little crew.  

(And this one's for you, Jennifer. They're not perfect, but you have your pick!)

Sketching salvation

 This Easter morning, my budding artist received, among other little goodies, a notepad with a pen.  So she, of course, decided to get right down to it and sketch out the Gospel in a nutshell before she even ate breakfast.  This little girl is amazing.  
Transubstantiation (Last Supper)

Supplication (Gethsemane)



Resurrection (that's a "3" at the top for 3 days in the tomb)


Happy Resurrection Day, my friends. 

He is risen!

Friday, April 22, 2011

It's Friday...

Our central hope as Christians.

It's Friday... but Sunday's comin'.

Amen and amen.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

On the hunt

Photographic scavenger hunting this week.

Four and fierce

It occurred to me today, not as a new revelation but a revelation nonetheless, that Zeke is all his own.  As my friend has said about her own kids, he is his own whole universe of a person.  

His spirit renders a fierceness that, in its immaturity, can often be wielded for mischief.  However, with intentional nudges in the right direction and with continued exposure to the truth,  I am confident that his tenacity and his great zeal for life will render him strong.  

While he is so different in so many ways from his older sister, the bond that must run through their blood is great and deep emotion.  My Zeke can and often does, in the words of Walt Whitman, sound his "barbaric YAWP over the roofs of the world."  He can be a fierce kind of happy running to near flight with all manner of happy coming from those well-used vocal cords and he can be a fierce kind of sad with hot tears and high pitched cries of pain from a heart broken.  

And all that can happen in the span of a minute.

Over a Matchbox car or waffles.  

Tonight, after the kid's wildness led to disorder and more than our usual dose of chaos, Zeke went to bed crying.  After Anna Grace helped calm him down (this is becoming a gift of hers), we read our Bible story.  My red-faced little boy looked up at me with a face still wet from tears but a smile that was taking his heart on the upswing of emotion and said, "God is in my heart!"  


I have no doubt that God is going to do great things with this fierce and strong and deeply-feeling heart of his. 

Lord, give me the wisdom and energy to keep up.  

Love you, Z man.  Forever.  

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Clothe me with compassion

Between the popcorn and the pedicures of Anna Grace's very first sleepover this past Friday night, I slipped in a surprisingly effective lesson on true beauty.  With tummies full of pizza,  with faces flush from running around in the late afternoon sun, and with hearts bursting with anticipation, my little friends entered Anna Grace's room to find their dress up gowns and tiaras paired with inner beauty counterparts- things like love, kindness, and patience.

They were thrilled.

As they literally put on pink and purple gowns, we discussed how to figuratively clothe ourselves with love and kindness and patience.

 And who knew that pedicures could spark such conversation?

These daughters of the King sat and listened and interacted with giggles as I went through scenarios about beauty in an effort to drive home certain truths regarding their unique God-given beauty and the profound importance of inward and divinely-imparted beauty.

It was a great success.  We played hair salon and watched a movie and everyone (well, everyone except me) got plenty of beauty sleep.  It truly went off without a hitch.

I'm thankful to have had this time with these girls to speak words of truth and life into their lives.  They weren't even too embarrassed when I danced in the kitchen while flipping their alphabet-shaped pancakes in the morning.  But the day will come when they won't appreciate my antics and they won't ask for blue pancakes and pink toenails anymore. Maybe.

But hopefully, they'll remember the truth about who they are and what beauty is.  Hopefully this little sleepover will serve as an offensive blow to the cultural definition of beauty that is shallow at best and destructive at worst.

And perhaps what surprised me most was the volumes this little lesson spoke to my own heart- the way this concept lingered in my heart and mind.  I don't think it was a coincidence Colossians 3:12-14 arose in a conversation with some dear friends tonight:

Colossians 3:12-14   "Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity."

It's for little girls and it's for not-so-little girls.  It's for anyone who longs for true beauty- a legitimate and deep longing of the human heart.  It's for weak and broken people who need forgiveness.  It's for God's chosen people- holy and dearly loved.

It's for me.

Clothe me with compassion, God.  Adorne me with your kindness.  Dress me in humility, gentleness, and patience.  And thank you, Lord, that you exchange your beauty for our ashes.  How I love you, Beautiful God.  

This week's homework

So can you guess that I had to tell a children's story in pictures?  
Could you tell it was The Tortoise and the Hare?
Can you tell I only had about five minutes?
Could you tell that Anna Grace was REALLY into it?
Could you tell that Asher really WASN'T?
Could you tell I was madly trying to adjust shutter speeds and my point of view and f stops while making sure Zeke didn't run off too far?

Maybe I'll have time for a re-shoot before tomorrow night, but I doubt it.  I think my little effort will have to do.  I still had fun with it and that's all that matters, right? 

Oh, and thanks, Aesop.  Consistency and perseverance are good lessons for the journey.  

Friday, April 15, 2011

Considering them

"...Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these.  But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you-- you of little faith?  Therefore, do not worry, saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear?' For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.  But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." Matthew 6:28

Thank you, Jack, for the beautiful reminder that sits on my dining room table.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

His light

Every Thursday morning the K5 chapel at St. Mark's opens with the kids standing quietly while the candles are lit.  Then as each one is lit, the children, in unison, pray, "Thank you, Jesus, for your light."  I don't get to go every week, but it gets me every time.  

Thank you, Jesus, for your light.   
At one point in our lecture last night, my photography teacher was speaking about how photography is, at its most basic, capturing light.

And it kind of dawned on me this capturing light thing evokes a "Thank you Jesus for your light" kind of response in my spirit.

So tonight, Anna Grace and I took a trip to the park for our annual Holiday in Dixie treasure hunting, and I slowed down the shutter speed and opened the aperture and let a lot of light in.

I'm all manual, baby!

Thank you Jesus, for your light.


On giftedness

Don't miss this post.  Divinely inspired.  Just like her beautiful voice that gets me every time.

Happy birthday, sweet sister!  I love you dearly.

Here's to the next thirty years!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Smoke on the Mountain, fire in her heart

I'm so proud of my friend Nora.  She stole the show last night with her stellar performance in our church's mission benefit production of Smoke on the Mountain.  She inspired stomach-wrenching laughter and thoughtful praise to our strong and loving God through her obedience to the Lord's call in being cast in this play which did not come without the high price of dedicated time to rehearsal.

I thought she was absolutely crazy to do it (what mom with three kids has time for this?), but like King David in 2 Samuel 24:24, she counted the cost and did what she felt called to do.  Only the Lord knows the extent to which the gospel will go forth because of this effort.

I keep saying it, but I'll say it again- WAY TO GO, NTG!!!!  You truly were inspired.

And I haven't laughed that hard in a long, long time.

Thank you.

My favorite Easter decorations ever

One look

You know how just one look of your child's eyes can just melt your heart?  This morning, Asher was pulling up on a wooden stool and squinting his eyes with a nose crinkle.

Be still my beating heart.

How much more is our Heavenly Father's heart moved when we look His way in love?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

It's where the heart is

What do you do when your husband has to go out of town for a work event on a Friday night?  

You pack up the family and you go with him. 

Dorothy said there's no place like home and certainly there's a good deal of truth to that.

But if there's no place like home, there's also nobody like family. 

And if you're with your family, you may be in a hotel in downtown Dallas or anywhere, really.  But as long as you're together...

you're home.  

Thank you, Lord, for family.  And thank you for being our Abba, Father. What unfathomable love you have for your children! (Romans 8:15-16)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

An alphabetic revelation

... and Z...

.... or Z.  

On Monday, a very giddy me bopped into the doors of our local college, my backpack full of my camera and a sense of adventure. And my first photography class was great.  I took pictures all Tuesday long with great enthusiasm in between dropping off kids at school and wiping bottoms and cleaning the kitchen and making dinner.  

My first homework assignment- this photographic alphabet- was interesting, challenging, and an absolute blast.  

And the best part is that most of these pictures were taken in my little three bedroom paradise- all of them within the little world in which I mother, cook, clean, sleep, and sometimes daydream- the same little world that sometimes seems so mundane.  

Who knew the alphabet was under my nose?

Part of Monday's class involved some teaching regarding ideas as they relate to the creative process. And as I was looking- really looking- in my little world for R's and G's, it reminded me of my purpose here on the blog and the purpose to which the Lord has called me in this new endeavor- to reflect, highlight, or somehow showcase the beauty of the Lord.  As in I Peter 1:8, we don't see Him with our eyes in this age, but we love Him and just like my eyes were opened to the letter Q on Zeke's lunch plate, I pray that I would receive revelation of His beauty through snapping pictures of His people and His creation.

And I can't wait to see what's next.  

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Rice and beans, beans and rice

I am in love with fresh cilantro. 

And this little creation. 

Mexican rice + black beans + corn + Rotel + red onion +  grilled chicken (sometimes) + fresh cilantro (always)= deliciousness

Throw some grated cheese, salsa, and/or sour cream on top and- to use Anna Grace terms- BAM!- it's deliciousness. 

I pity my poor chilren who won't partake in this spicy goodness.

But then again, that just means there's more for me...

Sunday, April 3, 2011

dee Audubon Zoo

 I wennon down to the Audubon Zoo an day all axt fuh you

 An day all axt fuh you

day all axt fuh you, (fuh who?)

Well day even inquired about chuh'

I wennon down to dee Audubon Zoo

And day all axt fuh you

Duh mounkeys ast,

duh tighuhs ast

 and duh elephant axt me too


Red beans.  Rice.
Bomp Bomp Bomp

Bomp! Bomp!
Shoutin' out to The Meters for the funky song and sending a thanks to Aunt KK for meeting us down at dee Aububon Zoo. 

Bon temps.