Thursday, April 26, 2012

Three for Thursday: things to see, read, and eat

Thanks to my friend Nicole for a great pic!

1.  The movie Chimpanzee is outstanding.  You should go see it. The cinematography is stunning and the story is amazing.  I was captivated by every part of this movie.  Take the kids, grab the popcorn and GO! 

2. You should read this blog post.  I was so moved by it this week- especially in thinking how the Lord loves to just watch us in action.  Good stuff. 

3.  I've linked before, but seriously, this chickpea recipe is so delicious.  You should eat it. 

That's all for now...


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A recitation

I have recently been inspired to get consistent with our little morning devotionals before we pile into the car for school.  It has been wonderful in its simplicity.  I don't need an instructional book and I didn't have to attend a seminar to learn how to do this.  All I needed was a Bible and a little working knowledge on where and how my three very different kids can relate to scripture.  We actually started at Psalm 1 but when I realized things were getting lost on them, we moved to the very familiar, practical, and profoundly comforting Psalm 23.  My almost-two-year-old does little more than copy our little made up hand motions, but the other two pretty much have it down pat.  It takes us 5-15 minutes every day but those small minutes may be our most important of the day.  I don't always remember, I don't always plan ahead well enough to have enough time, and oh my word but my house looks like a tornado has blown through when we finally walk out the door.  But even so, our little efforts to gather and learn scripture and pray before we tackle all that is before us are so important and so formative for a readied heart before the Lord. 

The fact of the matter is that I won't always be there for them.   I can't be.  There will be times when they are afraid or alone or unsure and in those moments, they will be able to remember what the Lord has written on their hearts- that He is their Shepherd, that he is with them, that he comforts them, that he provides for them in all of their need.

That they will be able to recite and remember and pray Psalm 23 is important and formative.

It's not always easy, but I'm letting Zeke's sweet recitation serve as pep talk to this momma- this tired momma- that it's always worth the effort.  

And that truly, my cup overflows. 

**Please forgive the poor video quality. I had a little monkey climbing all over me the whole time.  I'm sure you understand. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Bicycles, a birthday, and bedtime

 We celebrated four years of one of our bestest little friends today... 
Happy birthday Elijah!  We love you!
 ... with an octopus cake and lots and lots of lots of playground playing and lots and lots and lots of bike/scooter/big wheel riding.  I wish I had a video of all the kids racing around that parking lot.  It was fun for all ages. 

 Parking was a riot.  I don't know how we all knew to bring our wheels, but we all did. 
photography by NTG!
 Water-on-the-head-pouring was quite the entertainment.
again, photography by NTG!
 And I even got in a picture.  Weird. 

Of course, all the festivities were a little much for our AGC.  She was plum tuckered out. 

I think we all are. 


Friday, April 20, 2012

Food for thought

Bethany's orzo:  whole wheat orzo in vegetable broth+sauteed mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, garlic, and spinach.  Yum.

At creation, Adam and Eve and all the animals were vegetarians before the fall.  I could make an argument that they were all vegan, but at the very least they were vegetarian.  (Genesis 1:29-30)

Revelation 22:2 says that the leaves of the tree of life on the New Earth will be for the healing of the nations.  

Of course for now, meat eating has its place, but it's an interesting thought that there is a healing dimension to plant eating.

And of course, spinach and cranberries will not save us.  Only the love and saving power of Jesus' blood on the cross grants us life eternal. Even with the most disciplined diets, our bodies will eventually wear out.  But going easy on the fried chicken and burgers can't hurt.  It's just a good idea. In fact, there is much to be gained in expanding your plant eating horizons.

So go ahead, try some chai.

Don't bale on the kale.

Take it from me, eat a chickpea.

I'm convinced that the little bits of improved health gained here and there from a plant based diet are little bitty, teeny tiny, vague, miniscule, and shadowy hints of those amazing leaves from the tree of life- imparting life and health for all of eternity.

Food for thought.  

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Her work continues

If nothing changes, only about 62% of the children living in my parish (Caddo) will graduate from high school. 

Louisiana schools rank 50th in the nation- DEAD LAST- in the quality of public education offered to the children and families it serves.

On Monday, my mother will be flanked by a couple of friends and colleagues as she presents a proposal to Centenary College's provost.  Her vision is to launch a specialized reading center for teachers and their at-risk students in our region, giving teachers the knowledge and skills they need to effectively teach these children while giving these same struggling kids additional opportunities to attend reading clinics and specialized tutoring sessions.

Her grandfather, Paul Brown, was once interviewed after receiving an award from the Kiwanis Club for the leadership he provided in the "religious, cultural, and business life of the State." When asked how he felt as he received his reward, he only stated that he did nothing more than what he should have done and that "...After all, I am trying to build a city in which my children and my grand-children and sometime, my great-grandchildren will live.  To do this, I must, at the same time, realize that what I do for them, I must do for the children and the grand-children of the other citizens of Shreveport, because after all, we are all going to live here and we are all going to enjoy a great city.  And whatever we can contribute is really for those to follow us-- for our posterity.  We want to leave them a city of which we can be proud.  I feel that we should leave them our city in a better shape than we found it.  If we can do this, I think this is the greatest reward." (interview by Jacques N. Steinau, Shreveport Magazine, 1974)

My mother shares my great-grandfather's vision to give ALL children in our city hope for a better life and a better future.  It is an active application Micah 6:8's command to "act justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God."

Please pray for her on Monday as she gives her presentation and she casts her vision.  She may be "retired," but her work- the work the Lord has clearly called her to- continues.

If nothing changes, 63% of the children living in my parish will not graduate from high school.  But maybe something will change.  And maybe part of that change will find its beginnings on Monday.  

*A special thanks goes to my sister Jennifer Hill for the back story and Shreveport Magazine interview information.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Thrice blessed

Anna Grace's seventh year has been absolutely incredible.  
She is hilarious and very clever.
Her latest feat was putting Asher to bed all by herself including a bath and diaper change and book reading and the whole SHA-BANG!  In fact, that's a good word for her.  SHA-BANG!  She would like that. 

Zeke is growing in strength of spirit everyday.  (I love this picture, too, Kayla).
He is sweetly silly and extremely loyal.  
His latest exploit was taking the scissors to his hair which is a bit ironic considering how particular he is about that and other things. 
And I've noticed Zeke taking things in even when it seems like he's not listening.  He's a SPONGE. 

Asher is embarking upon his independence.
He possesses and expresses strong emotion and is very adventurous- generally ready for whatever, whenever.  And yet I've never met a more of a cuddley baby in my life. 
He discovered roly poly bugs AND how to poop on the potty today.  He seems so small for undies, but I think we'll be going that way sooner rather than later.  
He's little, but he's getting so BIG.  In about four weeks, we'll be celebrating two years of Asher.

And time, she keeps on a flyin'.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Beet it

Hippocrates is credited with saying, "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food."

While a beet might be good medicine, I have found its beauty to far exceed its palatability.  If you have a great and tasty beet recipe, send it my way.  Otherwise, the beet might end up in the trash and its leaf a simple subject of my admiration. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Freakishly good

One of my really sweet and really hilarious friends recently asked me over some enchiladas, "Do you ever feel like a freak because you are such a good mom?  I mean... in a good way?"

My answer was NO ABSOLUTELY NEVER.  In fact, I almost daily struggle with feelings of inadequacy and failure.  Absolutely never do I feel like I'm such a good mom that it's freakish.

Not even close.

But I've been thinking about it ever since, and in the meantime, my friend keeps the jokes coming about my super mom status.

Little does she know.  She doesn't see me when I lose it with my children who choose not to listen to me.  She doesn't see (or smell) behind my toilet.  I haven't done really virtuous things like homeschooling or adoption.  I don't bake my own kid's birthday cakes.  I've missed chapels, forgotten homework, hurt feelings, and the list goes on.  And don't even get me started about the laundry. 

There's a whole lot of things that I'm not good at and I've yet to learn, but my friend's jokes remind me that just because I don't bake well and I'm not crafty and I don't do things that other moms are really good at, there are important lessons in the midst of this journey of mine:

1.  I am uniquely made to do this job that only I can do.  

I may not be able to french braid with ease, but I can take a picture of my daughter's hair in the sunlight.  I can't bake, but I have faithfully celebrated each birthday with my children with great love.  I don't home school per se, but I am teaching my children to memorize scripture at home.  I can't sing really well and I'm not good at public speaking, but my kids have been soothed by my little songs more times than I can count.  Maybe my children don't need me to learn to sew or decorate or keep a perfect house, but instead, like April Perry says in her article, "Your Children Want You," they just need me.  And maybe that's enough.  Sort of.  Really, what they need is me, unique and special me, but a new-creation-in-Jesus type of unique and special me. 

2.  I can only do my job well in as much as I ask the Lord for help.

Lately, Psalm 23's third verse has been lingering in my heart:

"He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake."

The Lord is my Good Shepherd, leading me on righteous paths: through the carpool line, down the grocery store aisle, to the bookshelf.  For His name sake, for His renown and honor, I am becoming the mother He has called me to be.   When I neglect prayer and my relationship with Him, I usually fall on my face.  But in that broken place, I always find His kindness that leads me to repentance.  My feet are set, yet again, on the paths of righteousness that He has laid out for me.

So yeah, my house is dirty and no, I'm not some kind of really awesome and put together or completely self-sacrificial mom, but maybe I'm still a freakishly good mom.  In a good way.

In fact, if you're navigating this motherhood road with Jesus, so are you.  

With the Lord as our shepherd, how could we not be? 

I guess we're all just a bunch of freaks...

 (in the best way).  

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Seeking and finding and celebrating

We hunted eggs with our Chaney family

and our church family

and our Dent-Hill-Degenhart-Latino-Wyche families, too.

Lots of family egg hunting. 

But for good times with family, we didn't have to look too far.

The best way to celebrate the resurrection is most certainly with each other. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Asher's first carousel ride

Anna Grace, who has a little momma heart, was very concerned that I wasn't holding on to her littlest brother at every moment, but he was all set for the adventure, stayed safe, and enjoyed every minute of it.  
It was supercalifragilisticexpialidocious in every way. 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Where, O death, is now thy sting?

Empty tomb breakfast as seen in

"He is not here; He has risen, just as He said."  Matthew 28:6

Christ the Lord is ris'n today, Alleluia!
Sons of men and angels say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heav'ns, and earth reply, Alleluia!

Stanza 2:
Love's redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids Him rise, Alleluia!
Christ has opened Paradise, Alleluia!

Stanza 3:
Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Dying once He all doth save, Alleluia!
Where thy victory, O grave? Alleluia!

Stanza 4:
Soar we now where Christ has led, Alleluia!
Foll'wing our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like Him, like Him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!

Stanza 5:
Hail the Lord of earth and heaven, Alleluia!
Praise to Thee by both be given, Alleluia!
Thee we greet triumphant now, Alleluia!
Hail the Resurrection, thou, Alleluia!

Stanza 6:
King of glory, soul of bliss, Alleluia!
Everlasing life is this, Alleluia!
Thee to know, Thy power to prove, Alleluia!
Thus to sing, and thus to love, Alleluia!

-Charles Wesley

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Slumbering sweetness

What happens when you wake up at 5:00 am and nap on your mom's shoulder in the morning while she grocery shops and then you try and watch Miss Pattycake before dinner? 

This happens. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Love of the strongest kind

This past Sunday, our doctor friend Josh spoke on the physiologic aspects of the crucifixion.

I think it made most of our stomachs turn and most of our hearts ache.

It's painful to even think about what Jesus endured on the cross, so for the most part, we don't.  At least I don't.  Or I try not to. 

The extreme emotional stress he endured in the garden actually burst his capillaries, leaking blood into his sweat glands.

He endured a flogging that ripped flesh from his body, exposing bone.

Thorns dug into his skull. 

Evil men with evil intentions accused him falsely, mocking him and beating him over and over and over. 

He pushed himself up to breathe for hours on the cross while his pericardium filled with fluid putting pressure on his heart, not to mention the sleep deprivation or the nails through his wrists and the arches of his feet. 

While Josh was explaining and reviewing the details and the timeline of it all, it occurred to me that while Jesus' body was utterly broken on the cross, because of love, he was absolutely and incomprehensibly strong all at the same time.

Our Messiah, the Anointed One, King Jesus is a lot of things.

But make no mistake about this:

He is strong.

Psalm 62:11-12  "One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you, O God, are strong,  12 and that you, O Lord, are loving..."

May He be your rock, your fortress, the One in whom you take refuge today.  There's no one stronger.

And there is no one else who loves with this strongest kind of love.

for Lyd

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Cinammon duckie popcorn and did God make the street

Doesn't she just look like a natural?  She LOVES it.
Chaney Spring Break 2012 was uneventful and yet remarkable all at the same time.

There was our first guitar lesson.

There were the many wonders of Jubilee Zoo.

And Asher is now speaking in sentences, so there's that, too.

Overall, it was just good- even if it ended with a broken lamp and a house in a complete state of disarray.

And wouldn't you know it... one of my favorite memories from this week was about an hour or two on a Friday afternoon when Anna Grace made a cinnamon popcorn snack and I folded laundry while we sang and danced along to Pandora's shuffle of Disney show tunes.

It's those ordinary moments that we'll remember, I guess.

I'm looking forward to the day when we can take mission trips to Guatemala or go white water rafting or make long road trips to visit dear friends we miss so badly (or maybe white water raft while on a Guatemalan mission trip with dear friends?), but alas... this week was ordained for home- finding our duckies and dancing in the kitchen and asking funny questions.

And it was good.