Monday, December 29, 2014

there will come a time, you'll see

"And after the storm
I run and run as the rains come
And I look up, I look up
On my knees and out of luck, I look up

Night has always pushed up day
You must know life to see decay

 But I won't rot, I won't rot
Not this mind and not this heart, I won't rot

And I took you by the hand
And we stood tall

And remembered our own land
What we lived for

And there will come a time, you'll see, with no more tears
And love will not break your heart but dismiss your fears

Get over your hill and see what you find there

With grace in your heart and flowers in your hair."

             -Mumford & Sons, from "After the Storm"
Mount Magazine, Arkansas

Thursday, December 25, 2014

shared together

"We have shared together the blessings of God."  Philippians 1:7  Perfect words for a beautiful day. 

Merry Christmas, friends! 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Banjo's back

He went to boarding school for 4 weeks which was great but we're all pretty pumped to have him back for Christmas.  Obvi. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

the beginning of the end

Have you read Lois Lowry's book The Giver?  Anna Grace and I recently read it and *spoiler alert* we decided that really at its core, the book and movie are really about Christmas.

The dystopian society of the book is flat and colorless and void of all true emotion- certainly of love. When Jonas, the protagonist, discovers memories of life with love and hate, family and war, he is overwhelmed by its joy and floored its suffering.  Courage grows within him to return freedom to his people and in the end, though the author makes it a subtle truth ("Silent Night" plays at the end of the movie), it is BIG truth: CHRISTMAS is what makes the suffering bearable, the joy overcoming all the hate and all the suffering and all the death.  It is the hope and it is the beginning of salvation.

A couple of days ago, I made created our family's 2015 calendar on Shutterfly.  I pulled out some beautiful moments of our 2014 to illustrate the months, but it's not as though the year was devoid of suffering.  I've lived long enough to know that 2015, should we be given the gift of all 365 days, will dispense joy and pain, adventure and struggle- for all of us.  I hope it's a realism and not a cynicism- I am hopeful and I know Love holds us through it all.  But it makes Christmas that much greater.  We struggle for now, but it's true that "Christmas is the beginning of the end of all suffering," and isn't it so appropriate, so wonderful that our year ends with the beginning of this great truth, this great news? 











I like it that my year ends like Jonas' triumph in The Giver- with the great hope, salvation, and good news of Christmas. 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

watered by love, Chaneys in bloom

"At Christmas, we like to see things in their proper place.  We unwrap the ancient legends and the oldest truths.  We like our angels unchanged and our rituals familiar.  We like the right faces around the table, the right carols to be sung, the promise this is how it's always been and will always be.  Because that is Christmas- the one still point in a world forever turning.

while they grow and change each year, I'm so thankful to have these faces as my Christmas constant

Sometimes Christmas is not a still point.  Snow melts away and the day doesn't offer up the peace that we'd imagined.  But in the darkness, seeds awake, shoots unfurl toward the light.  Fate might shake us, but our roots run deep, and we have love to water them.  And so we bloom where we are planted, turning our faces toward the sun."  Heidi Thomas

Friday, December 19, 2014

note to self

My camera is broken, so I don't have a big collection of pictures this year.  But since I can't seem to remember details from year to year, I'm using this post as a note to my 2015 self.

This year, Korrie and I baked 32 loaves (and ate one) while listening to the Mother of All Christmas Playlists and U2's newest album.  We doubled the recipe then multiplied it times six and it took approximately five hours not including trips to the store.

The bread rises TWICE.  Don't forget that like you did in 2014, my dear 2015 self.

Happy Christmas Bread Day!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

wide eyed and mystified

Anna Grace's nativity scene, 2010

If you need some centering this season, "Wonder" by Bethel Music is just the ticket. 

Its truth and effect are awesome in the truest sense of the word. 

May we never lose our wonder... 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Louisiana light

The morning light through the North Louisianan trees gently lit our start.

A high noon 65th wedding anniversary in South Louisiana shined as our purpose.

The late afternoon in Louisiana's heart set a beautiful bookend.

Past the sunset, we careened down the interstate, working hard to catch the fireworks over the Cane River. We made it- just in time for the show to burn bright in the sky and in the eyes and hearts of our amazed little boys.

Thank you, Jesus, for your Light- in marriage tried and true, in the love of a family, in the sky and in the stars, and in our hearts as twinkling lights in darkness shine with Advent truth.  Amen.  

Saturday, December 13, 2014

a truly inspired performance

Asher, playing a shepherd finding Jesus in a manger, gave one of the most joyful, inspiring performances ever.  Shouldn't we all rejoice, rejoice that Immaneul has come?!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


I had the privilege of capturing part of a birth day today!  Little Nora Kate came into the world a little under six pounds while words like "miracle" and "amazing" and "perfect" flew around the room as she met her family for the first time.  Momma Nora, a friend-more-like-a-sister, is doing well and I was so thrilled to hold and capture her sweet baby girl.  

Katie, another friend-more-like-a-sister posted this today and it couldn't ring more true:

"The grace of God means something like:  Here is your life.  You might never have been, but you are because the party wouldn't be complete without you."  Frederick Buechner

Happy birth day, Nora Kate!  Welcome to the party!

You are loved.