Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Speaking his language

If generous giving is the anecdote to greed and genuine joy for other's blessings a remedy for jealousy, then I think understanding can weed out a good amount of bitterness.

It only took seven years of dating and ten years of marriage, but a good dose of understanding has finally taken root in my heart for the other love of my husband's life: college football.

Jack has gained significant perspective. He now realizes that when his team wins the national championship (which, strangely, has happened to him three times within just a few years), no one knocks on his door and gives him a trophy.  In fact, nothing really changes.  Because it's just a game.  That doesn't mean that this Saturday won't feel like Christmas morning to him, but still, he knows it's just a game. (See: entertainment mantra).

I have gained significant understanding.  He really likes it and I really like him, so I'm learning to speak his language.  There's no Rosetta Stone for tight end stats or defensive plays, but I'm learning and tweeting and drafting and trying my best to keep my game face on.

I'll never forget sitting at a wedding reception several years ago and chatting with a newly-engaged couple.  Our grinning and completely enamored friend could hardly look anywhere apart from his fiance's face as he told us about how his girlfriend and now soon-to-be-wife had memorized the roster and stats of every single basket ball player for the University of North Carolina for the season.  And she surprised him.  One day, she just broke out with something like, "So do you think Leslie McDonald will be able to come back from his torn meniscus or do you think Tyler Zeller will have to carry the team this year?"  Something like that.  I thought it was genius.

Genius and very, very loving.

So that's why I sat at my computer last night and drafted players for my first ever fantasy football team.  That's why I'm tweeting sports stuff (although it's surprisingly hilarious fun).  And that's why I'm taking to purple and gold more frequently than my co-Auburn alums understand.

I, the #sportswife, took him, the #sportshusband to have and to hold, for better or for worse, for soccer or for football, in injury and in health, in losing and in winning, to love and to cherish; from that day forward until death- or life's fourth and goal- do us part.

Geaux us.

My post-dinner pick me up

 I sure am tired by the time bath time rolls around.

Good thing the kids save up a little sweetness for the end of the day.

They will take all you've got, but they'll also give you more than you could ever imagine.

Thank you, Lord, for children.  

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Her hrte

A gallery of hand-drawn pictures lines the wall outside of Anna Grace's classroom at school.  I guess on one of the first days, her teacher had the class complete and illustrate a fill-in-the-blank sentence.

The sentence was as follows:

The most important thing about me is ____________.

I loved all the wonderfully unique and funny answers, but of course, as it should be, Anna Grace's was my favorite.

Hers read:  The most important thing about me is my hrte        .

We'll have to work on her spelling skills and of course the Lord has only begun His good work in her, but for her to know that the most important thing about her is the state of her heart?  Wow.

We're on the right track.

Like my friend Kayla said, parenthood is not easy.

At all.

Many, many, many times (usually between the hours of four and six pm), I think I very well might have lost my mind, but when I see things like this, I'm thankful for this little encouraging glimpse of glorious reward.  What we do as mothers both refines our hearts and molds theirs.  Our words and actions matter and there really will be rewards for being faithful in the small things.

I'm not the best mother or the nicest mother or the most creative mother.  I DO lose my patience and I DO raise my voice and I can GUARANTEE you that your base boards are cleaner than mine.

I know that this little sentence was a small glimpse.  I know that it might not be the sum total of a reflection of who I am as a mother.  But for the influence I did have and the part I did play, I am profoundly grateful.

And I'm grateful for a little girl in my life who, with her blue eyes and wind swept hair, can remind me when I get off track that the most important thing about me?

It's my hrte, too.

Thanks, AGC.  And thank you, Lord, for such a daughter.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Worth captioning

Are we going to the moon?

Maybe this will tell me how to get there.

I don't think he knows what the heck he's doing.

If I make all kinds of zooming sounds in my playhouse, I bet I can get there. BWSHHHH!!!

Ahhhh! A is for astronaut and Z is for one zany Zeke!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Defining nervous

Zeke loves school.  Loves it.  Today his sentiment was that he wanted to go to school every day for forever.  But on the first day, he was a little nervous.  But not that nervous.  I will forever love how he explains it- that his brain wanted to smile, but he didn't want to smile.

Does he really have to grow up?

Monday, August 22, 2011

The post-baptismal flow

Anna Grace was looking out the window in the car when she told me about the experience she had in her school's chapel today.  She quietly told me that it almost made her cry because it was so beautiful.  
Which is in itself a beautiful thing.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

What do I know

We told our story again tonight.

Testimony time.

Tonight, as I listened to Jack tell our new small group the same story we've told for years, I was struck anew by the faithfulness of the Lord.   Every time we recount all of our steps and missteps in our journey through life and every time we look back and see the how the Lord's hand was all over us and our situations, I stand astounded.

How did He do it?

How did He bring us this far?

How could He love like He does?

I was at the beach when I first heard Addison Road's song, "What Do I Know of Holy:"

What do I know of You who spoke me into motion?Where have I even stood but the shore along your ocean?Are you fire?  Are you fury?Are you sacred? Are you beautiful?What do I know?  What do I know of Holy?

I've spent a good number of years now loving Him, serving Him, drawing closer to Him, and still, I feel, like the song, that I'm only at the shore along His ocean.

I remember a cross stitched plaque hanging in my sailboat-loving grandfather's house. It said something like, "Lord, have mercy on me.  Your ocean is so big and my boat is so small."

Sometimes, all I know is that I am so small and I know so little.  So very little.

But from what He has revealed to this finite pea of a person, I know that this One who spoke me into motion, who spoke the universe into motion, loves me.

He is faithful.

I've seen it.

We've lived it.

What do I know of Holy?

Not much, eternally speaking.

But from what I do know, He is unfathomably mighty, amazingly kind, unwavering and faithful, and loving beyond words.

I may not know much of Holy, but what I do know propels me to go deeper into His cleansing waves of love and mercy.

I may be a the shore, but I hope to go ever deeper.

And we'll keep on telling our story while we do.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Today, Asher thought that Zeke's tummy needed some zerberting.
 And Zeke thought Asher needed to play with a motorcycle.
 They are two peas in a pod: my dark handsome pea and my tow head sweet pea.

It's kind of fun to think about these two being best buddies- growing up together and sharing in all of life's big moments.  It won't always be easy.  They'll have to learn to love and share and forgive one another.  They'll have to be loyal and faithful friends.  They'll have to learn how to both protect and love their older sister.

My day's reading lead me to Malachi 4:10: "Have we not all one Father?..."

It was a good reminder that just like Zeke and Asher are peas in a pod, learning to be thick as thieves, so should we, as brothers and sisters in Christ, love and forgive each other, with loyalty and faithfulness.

Have we not all one Father?   And wouldn't our love for each other surely bless Him?

I know today's brother bonding made me smile wide.

I can only imagine the grin of the Father.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Backpacks and butterflies

She told me she had three butterflies in her stomach, but that didn't hold her back from asking me every second before 8:00 if we could go yet.  Anna Grace loves first grade.

He told me that his brain wanted to smile, but he didn't want to smile. I think that means he was a little nervous. By the way his red faced smile greeted me on the playground, I don't think he let it get to him.  
Zeke is in K4 and I can hardly believe it. 

Happy back to school!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Established in love

 Anna Grace and two of her best friends in the world were baptized together yesterday morning.

 and listening

 and practicing
 and maybe even some nervous giggles came before the big event.

It was a glorious day.

Two things really struck my heart:

1.  The day's message and songs all centered around love- agape love.  The kind of love that is patient and kind, not given to envy or pride, that is not rude or self-seeking, not easily angered, and the kind that keeps no record of wrongs.  The kind that never fails.  You know, the I Corinthians 13 kind. The kind that makes you beautiful. I can't find my copy at the moment, but I really like Sally Lloyd-Jones' description of this love in the Jesus Storybook Bible.  She calls it something like a never-stopping, never-ending, never-giving-up, always and forever love.  It struck me that maybe the Lord was whispering a prophecy over these girls- that they would love in this way.  That the love that has washed over them will emanate from their lives affecting the world with the fragrance of Christ.

2. Anna Grace's friends certainly have their own stories and made separate and distinct decisions and I think both of them had had their salvation moments well before yesterday's baptism, but it was with Anna Grace's decision that iron sharpened iron and they entered into baptism together.  I've always known and it's always been VERY clear to me that Anna Grace is a leader.  Yesterday's big day was an opportunity for me to affirm her in being a leader for Christ.

Thank you, Jesus, for these precious girls and for their decision to follow you.  We pray that Anna Grace, Jesse, and Madeline, being rooted and established in love,  may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,  and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-- that they may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:17-18) AMEN!


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Prayers from Perdido

This week, I have

rejoiced with the Rupps

prayed for the Stanleys

prayed some more for Caden Stanley

interceded for the Rupps

and rejoiced with the Rupps again.

Say what you will about technology.  As for me, I'm thankful for the way it connects hearts and for the way it can be used to wield weapons of prayer and intercession.

Even on a vacation at the beach.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Peace and Be Still-ness

 Long story short, we found ourselves on a 52' catamaran for a complimentary sunset cruise yesterday evening.

 It was beautiful.  

But better than even the glowing orange sunset was a frightened Zeke's lesson as he snuggled in his daddy's arms.  Jack held him close and reassured him- reminding him of what happened to the disciples on the Sea of Galilee, waking Jesus up as the waves crashed all around them. It was then that a certain Peace and Be Still-ness settled in Zeke's heart.

And then I think all our hearts were glowing like the setting sun.

Perdido Key 2011: The Cast of Characters


The plumber

Sleeping Beauty

The Joker

and last but definitely not least...

Jeff Gordon

Sunday, August 7, 2011


obviously not me, but definitely how I felt 
As I was cleaning our condo's kitchen this afternoon, I told Jack that I just felt loved.  I felt loved by a God who gives good gifts like seashells and toddling children, by my in-laws who invite us along on their beach vacation every year, by my husband who picked up my favorite desert at the grocery store just because, and by Kate who played with Asher while I took a nap.

I just felt loved.

The truth is that I'm always loved and always cherished by the One who made me, but I don't always have eyes enough to see it or a heart perceptive enough to receive it.

But this afternoon, I kicked up the worship tunes and thanked the Lord for the rest, for the vacation, for such unmerited blessing, and for the love that I was able to latch onto today.

A woman who knows she is loved is formidable.  Formidable in the powerful, invincible, very difficult to overcome kind of way. That's how I felt tonight: formidable.  Formidable in love.  And profoundly grateful for this great Love.

1 John 4:18-19  "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.  We love because he first loved us."


There he is!

I found these really pretty people on the beach today and decided to take their picture.

 But then I knew I would recognize that crazy man on the right from anywhere.

Oh yeah...it's Uncle Kenny!

Friday, August 5, 2011

She served up grace

Art and photography credit to Anna Grace
Tonight, we said goodbye to an old friend: our pizza waitress.

Allison has been witnessing the Chaney crew invade her store for more Friday nights than she could probably count. She's witnessed two of my pregnancies, she's met most of our friends and family as we gathered around the big circle table in the corner, she has witnessed our children go totally bananas on more than one occasion, and yet she still welcomes us every single time with a smile and extra croutons.

There is just something about being known.  There's something comforting about somebody knowing that your kids will have water with a straw and a lemon, that you prefer the wheat crust, and that you definitely need extra croutons. Not only did Allison come to know us, but she served us with grace, patience, kindness, and consistency.

We will mis her.

Now, every time I sit down to chow on some Rosemary Roast pizza (my fav)at Pie Works, I'll think of Allison, studying art in New York, and I'll smile. She may just have been doing her job, but what's really cool is that she used this season of her life to serve and serve well.  She was always kind and always helpful and always faithful with croutons.  My kids- especially Anna Grace who got to know her as an art teacher- will always remember her kindness and to me, that's a really big deal.  We bless her on her way and hope that one day our paths will cross again soon.

May the Lord go before you and may the work of your hands be forever blessed, Allison! We will mis you!

Thursday, August 4, 2011


While Anna Grace is dreaming of being a pet owner, I think Jack is dreaming of how to fix the current college football bowl system as evidenced by his scribbles about super conferences and team designations that came to me through the dryer.  
At least there's no guessing about what's on their minds these days.