Thursday, September 29, 2011

Minding our manners

The first grade experience at Anna Grace's school includes a tea party aimed at learning to mind your P's and Q's.  Anna Grace wore her Nana's white gloves, her friend Jesse's hat, and this particular dress  because we've been reading of Anne of Green Gables and her affinity for puffed sleeves.  

   It was a great learning experience, but also one of the most adorable events I have ever witnessed.  

There were white gloves, mom's high heels, pearls, fancy hats, over-sized coats, and all kinds of cute everywhere you looked.  

They practiced being ladies and gentlemen.

 They drank tea punch with pinkies up.  

 And then the piano drew them to the dance floor as the giggles commenced from both kids and parents alike.  

Anna Grace, of course, thought it was the best thing since sliced bread.  Truly, the event was as sweet as the punch and petit fours. 

Here's hoping the lesson sticks.

"Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others.  If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter which fork you use."  Emily Post

Monday, September 26, 2011

Our Jubilation at Bistro Byronz

Attention Shreveporters! (Shreveportians?)

On Monday, October 10th, from 5-9 pm, you have a chance to eat a delicious three course meal at the fantastic Bistro Byronz on Line Avenue for a great cause.  Not only will it be delicious and fun, but 30% of the proceeds will go to the Rupp family for the adoption of the beautiful Jubilee Rupp!

So organize your girls night out or your family dinner or call up that friend you haven't connected with lately and make your reservation TODAY!  And help me spread the word.

Not having to cook dinner on a Monday night and instead eating etouffee and a steak and bread pudding while supporting an amazing family adopt this precious little girl?

Yes and yes.

Please join us!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Hugging the family tree

Parent-teacher conferences kept us out of school on Friday and because my youngest two children had never been, I called an audible and took a field trip to my family's land in Henderson, Texas- Dent since 1889.

Seeing as though Dent is my maiden name, you can imagine how much time I spent at my family's "farm" (think land, not animals) growing up.

Let's just say it was a lot.

The White House on a Hill:  the house my grandfather built with his own two hands when he was 18 years old.  

As we ran around a bit, I almost felt dizzy from all the memories that flooded my brain, especially watching my children run in those same fields that looked so different in a time that seems like ages ago.

Because I've found that taking pictures is very therapeutic for my heart and mind, I had my camera on hand.  And when Anna Grace took to this old mirror we found, the sentiment was perfect.

It was almost like I was the blonde-tressed six-year-old looking in an old mirror- back into time.

I could almost make out my rosy-cheeked grandmother washing babies in the upstairs bathroom singing a song about keeping the bathroom "warm, warm, warm."

I could almost see the tractors pulling trailers full of people dressed in red, white, and blue followed by little girls waving little flags in stars and stripes swimsuits, fried chicken and potato salads adorning long tables and lawn chairs scattered everywhere.

I could almost see my sister and I rope swinging and gathering up Indian Paintbrushes for my Memaw and my mom.

I could almost see the Jeep bounding out of the woods and kids piling off like clowns from a clown car.

I could almost see the aunts and uncles snickering at the disjointed yet dramatic plays put on by giggling cousins on stage at Care Bear Lodge.

I could almost see my dad and my Paw Paw again.

I could almost see- almost- beyond the broken glass and the overgrown bushes- a family farm made new on a New Earth with a reunited family in the power of the resurrection.

It was really dim and clouded and certainly a daydream, but still, it was like I could almost see it...

1 Corinthians 15:22  For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 

Dent since 1889, eternity to come.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Decorating with truth bombs

Behind my daughter's bedroom door, three hooks hold all kinds of tiaras and skirts and feathery dress up kind of treasures.  Yesterday, I added a black framed picture of her daddy twirling her around at a wedding.

I want and need to print and frame much more of this kind of thing not because it looks great (although it might) and it's a great picture (although I like it) but because of the message it sends to my daughter's heart.

"You're beautiful and your daddy loves you.  He enjoys you.  He LOVES you," it seems to say through Jack's broad smile and Anna Grace's blurred hair and dress.

1 Corinthians 13:12  says "Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known."

For now, until we see Him face to face and before we know Him fully and are fully known, we must take hold of  these poor reflections and understand their shadow as a dim reflection of the heart of the Father.

You're beautiful and valuable and precious and loved.

Your Father loves you.  

Thursday, September 22, 2011

E=mc what?

So the proverbial "they" may be rethinking the notion that anything can travel faster than the speed of light in a vaccum.  I thought it was intriguing how the AP refers to these particles as "speed demons."  The space-time implications are #interesting for sure.  #SCIENCEISFUN

Dear Aunt Robin

It was ten years ago- maybe a bit longer- that you sent a gift to a soon-to-be-married me.  You couldn't come to the shower- Lubbock is a long way from Shreveport- but you didn't let that stop you from sending something anyway.

As I pulled these blue and green and floral beauties from the dryer today, I thought about how you couldn't have known all the love they would see.  All the gumbo-ed mouths wiped, all the mouths covered for a laugh over a mid-week ham sandwich, all the small, dimple knuckled hands covered in ketchup wiped by these my go-to cloth napkins and placemats.

How could you have known?

You probably don't even remember sending them, much less what they looked like.

Nevertheless, they are well loved and kind of have a special place in my heart after ten years of good use for good times with family and friends.

Isn't a thank you note after you use the gift a thousand times even better than the obligatory cardstock one?

Anyway, thanks again.  I love them.

With great affection and appreciation,

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Best Puppy in the Whole World

She's mild mannered, calm, conscientious, and extremely loving.

I would say so far so good.  We LOVE our Zoe.  

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

He will do it

What is insurmountable to us 

 is surmountable with the Lord.

 He is faithful to equip us for every good work.  

And when He said He'd be with us, even to the end of the age, He really meant it.  

1 Thessalonians 5:23-24   "23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  24 The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it." 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Unchanging, Redeeming

Yet another reason I love Mumford and Sons who so passionately have "fire in their bellies, romance in their hearts, and rapture in their masterful, melancholy voices" (per their website).  I'm going to thank Jack and Lee for sending this my way, but I'm going to dedicate this one to Nora.  This has long been one of our favorites together and I know she's sung it to Sam a time or two.  

Not only that, but just yesterday she was talking about these lyrics: "Prone to wander, Lord I feel it.  Prone to leave the God I love.  Here's my heart, Lord, take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above."  They resonate her in her heart just like they do with so many of us. And what I know about Nora is that she is seeking to drop her anchor deep in the Lord, not to wander, but to be sealed and set in His love.  

Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing.  Come indeed.  

Friday, September 16, 2011

Zoe and Pie

So do you remember Anna Grace's video post about the pie?  It's funny- it was almost exactly four years ago.  In any case, it was about that time that Anna Grace started asking if she could get a dog.

Oh, her daddy and I would say, you can get a dog when you're... uh... I don't know... six.

We said it for years.  Four years.

And since she only has a few more weeks as a six-year-old, we had to make good on our promise.  Just like the pie crust.

But this one turned out even better than the pie crust, I think.

I think we've all fallen in love with Zoe Jefferson Polka Dot Cowgirl Emmaline Chaney, miniature schnauzer extraordinaire.

I know we'll have poop to clean up and walks to go on and food to buy, but Zoe will also always remind me of lessons on faithfulness.  Hopefully the littlest momma will remember it, too.

Thank you Lord, for YOUR great faithfulness and teaching us in the midst of the small places of our lives.  All good and perfect gifts come from you.  Thank you Lord for little Zoe.   

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


1 John 1:5  "...God is light; in him there is no darkness at all."

Psalm 89:15  "Happy are those who hear the joyful call to worship, for they will walk in the light of your presence, LORD." 

You! High five!

Tomorrow is LSU tiger day, so I'm sending my shout out.

Tomorrow night I will most likely be found at my grill making tiger burgers in my purple and gold with my little LSU children running around in the backyard.

I'm SO a Chaney.

Geaux Tigers.  

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

True Love

I guess it was a couple weeks ago when my daughter grabbed a stapler, her oil pastels, and a picture of me and her daddy to create this current masterpiece.

I "love" it.

I can't remember where I saw or heard or read this sentiment, but I remember hearing something recently like, "You have to live the gospel, not just preach it or speak it.  If you don't live it day in and day out, your children will never believe it."  (Where did I hear that?)

Life with little ones can tend to magnify the imperfections of our union- especially when they do things like kick you in the face before 6:30 am or furiously wrestle over their place on the couch or refuse their dinner so vehemently that they puke as they choke down a kernel of corn (true story).   But if ten years of marriage has taught me and Jack anything, it's taught us to be quick to apologize, to be eager to serve, to pray relentlessly, and to forgive, forgive, forgive, forgive and forgive some more.

The way we live day in and day out is important.  As we react, make mistakes, apologize, and forgive, we are living out the gospel and our children take notice.

Our friends might even take notice.

Maybe even the passing world around us takes notice.

Sharing your life, your heart, and everything you own with another imperfect person as in marriage is difficult at best, but living out true love- the kind of love that Jesus showed us at the cross- is the only way to get it right. And when we get it right, it brings forth a powerful testimony of His kind of love.

I hung Anna Grace's picture on the fridge to remind me of my children and their ever present and ever perceiving eyes and ears.  I hope we don't let them down, but then again, I don't really have to worry.  I'm sure we will.  But the good news is that the One who gets it right every time and who loves them perfectly never will.

To know true love, we'll just keep pointing them to the cross and as tall an order as it is, we'll press into the Lord and by the power of the Holy Spirit, endeavor to live in that kind of love as we go.

And the payoff? Hopefully one day, they'll not only believe it, they'll know it.    

Monday, September 12, 2011

Welcoming Jubilee

Aren't they both just beautiful??!!!  This picture makes me smile. 
...Whoever welcomes this little child welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me...
Make sure you head on over to But a Breath and if you feel so led, join the Rupps in welcoming little Jubilee into her forever family.  


I had the great privilege of photographing all 5 pounds of a pretty sweet baby boy this past week.

This was my favorite pic of the bunch.  

I took about 250-300 pictures, edited 42 of them and now that it's done and the album has been sent, I can't wait for the next session that comes my way.

It's funny because I feel just like I did when I first started practicing physical therapy: inexperienced and inadequate.

But I feel like the Lord might be saying that this endeavor- or whatever this is-  is more of a blessing than a business.

And that's all I know for now, so that's what I'll go with.

Who's next?

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Sometimes I wish I had 25 or 30 hours in a day instead of my short 24.  I long to sit at the computer and type all the things running around in my brain.  But since I only have 24, I'll just tell you that I was thinking about how beautiful the word "daughter" is.  Such a pretty word for such a special relationship.  


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

My secret

I could complain about all the kids music that streams daily through my vehicle's speakers, but to be completely honest, I really like music for kids.  I really do.

Case in point:  Sirius XM's Kids Place Live channel plays this song by Kristen Andreassen called "Crayola Doesn't Make a Color For Your Eyes."  Watch it.  It's great.

Its acapella groove keeps swimming in my head as do the lyrics:

"Crayola doesn't make a color for your eyes.  There is no way that I could possibly describe (you).  Crayola doesn't make a color to draw my love..."

So there you go.  I love kid's music.  I admit it.

Keller Williams' new kids album is super fly, too.

From Psalty to Music Machine to Veggie Tales to Kristen Andreassen, I love to listen to music about Cucumber Canoes and Cruising in Car Seats.

So don't let me fool you.  When you see me with windows down, rockin' out down Line Avenue, I'm most likely not listening to something cool.  I'm probably singing about the Music Machine getting a tune up or how a little bird builds his nest little by little or Shoe Lie Loo.

But then again, maybe that's what's really cool...

Monday, September 5, 2011

Down easy

"Keep children wet at all times. When combined with frequent slathering of sunscreen, what you're doing is marinating them. The tough, stringy gristle of the child psyche is tenderized, and, after prolonged broiling, at the maw of bedtime, child flesh goes down easy."
I won't be taking much of P.J. O'Rourke's parenting advice, but I certainly identified with this command to keep children immersed in water all summer as our Louisiana summer has been blisteringly hot.  

Today was different.  It gave all us northwest Louisianians hope, I think, that we won't be in triple digit misery forever, but still, I had to laugh at this parenting coping mechanism when I came across it.  

We took his advice today even and tonight we accordingly went down easy.  

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Bubba, Boudreaux, and lessons in leadership

This Saturday's LSU-Oregon game brought a great victory for my awesome father-in-law's 60th birthday (you're the BEST, Pop Pop!), and it was also a great opportunity to watch some pretty interesting people.

We were in Cowboy Stadium, mid-way up in a sea of purple and gold. In our section, to our left was the fan of the game who I'll call "Bubba."  He was the absolute most enthusiastically happy fan I've ever seen.  He didn't heckle or complain.  He wasn't rude or crass.  But every time the momentum shifted the Tigers' way, he would turn around and high five everyone possible, cheering us all to our feet.

To our right was another would-be leader who I'll call "Boudreaux."  In his yellow embroidered fishing shirt and with his duck call constantly hanging from his lips, he'd have a scowl on his face as he flapped his arms (much like the duck for whom he was ironically calling for demise), calling for the fans to stand in cheering solidarity against the other team.

It was interesting because Bubba was really effective in getting the four tween-aged girls in the row in front of us, me, Kate, and everybody else in our section clapping and hooting and hollaring for the LSU Tigers.  Boudreaux always seemed to be standing alone.

In all its frivolity, it still got me thinking about leadership and how to positively influence others.  Bubba may have had one too many Miller Lites, but he did inspire mutual affection and goodwill.

Makes me think about what MY movement will be.  Who I will inspire.  How MY life's cheers might inspire those around me.

And about Who I'm following.

Thanks, Bubba.

And Geaux Tigers.