Monday, October 23, 2017


 Somehow, we have a teenager. 

Our best girl turned 13 yesterday marking the beginning of a Chaney era.  I figure we'll have around 11 years of teenagers in under our roof and I'm sort of wide eyed about it. 

But if Anna Grace's personhood is any indication of what's in store for us during this next phase, I think we're gonna make it.  She's hilarious and fun and smart and not without her struggles, but meets them with honesty and scripture posted on her bathroom mirror.  I am crazy proud of her. 


Dearest, run your race well.  We're all cheering you on.

"...let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith..." Hebrews 12:1-2

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Barcelona in October

"I will always prefer Barcelona in October."  Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Maybe it's overplayed- sure- but is there a better metaphor for life than a marathon?

All my days fly by me as I do the next thing and take the next step and I'm on the path God made just for me and I'm bound for ultimate beauty in life eternal, but until then I pound that pavement and it's not always easy.  Life is full of struggle and none of us are immune.  My marathon may be easier or harder than yours, I may fall more or less often than you, but this race is mine and I must see it through.

And then, sometimes, there's that energy drink on the side of the road that gives you a boost you need.  That, for me, was Barcelona.

In no particular order, here's a few of the photos Meg and I took during our week in Spain. 

 Best.  Trip.  Ever. for the win - we had a 2br, 2 ba apartment close to everything for a great price

our friend from Shreveport lives in Barcelona so we were treated to great hospitality the first night we arrived
the view from our friend Julia's rooftop terrace
We had a private bike tour of Barcelona with our new Belgian friend, Mathieu - excellente! 

Just a short drive north of Barcelona is Costa Brava, a gorgeous coastline- this is Tossa de Mar.  We all squeezed in our Fiat rental and spent one day and one night in this gorgeous little town.

The cups of coffee were so petit.

We took the metro quite a bit and discovered that Catalonians really show a lot of public affection for each other. We tried to play it cool.  But we might have giggled a little. 

Beautiful Meg and Ben at Lloret de Mar, another little coastal town where the local people really couldn't seem to keep their clothes on. Yet another cultural surprise. 

La Sagrada Familia, Antonio Gaudi's magnum opus.  It's the largest church in the world and it absolutely took our breath away. (Meg's photo - beautiful!)

We played lots and lots of Canasta all over Barcelona, my dad's favorite card game. 

he only had a little culture shock :)

It's really fun traveling with a fellow lover of photos.

I had the best time ever with this guy. 

Pics in the airport?  Yes, please.  (We got a FANTASTIC deal thanks to  Y'all check it out because the rates are unreal.)

There are several Gaudi museums throughout Barcelona, this was at his amazing La Pedrera. 

Lloret de Mar

Tossa de Mar's 11th century castle. We played cards and ate dinner and hung out with some new friends from England until the wee hours.  No one in Barcelona eats dinner until 9:30 ish anyway so we just went with it and tried to stay up late and sleep in to minimize jet lag. 

ceiling, La Sagrada Familia

so many tapas
We rode the gondola up to Montjuic Castle which offered a fabulous view of the city.  Barcelona has it all:  history, culture, beaches, mountains, beautiful weather... I fell for it hard.

The people of Catalonia are vying for independence.  I just hope the king doesn't send a fully armed battalion to remind them of his love. 

Rooftop at La Pedrera.  Star Wars storm troopers were modeled after this.

one of Gaudi's first creations at La Placa Reial,

best travel buddies ever
Mathieu showing us around the port of Barcelona, reminiscent of Columbus' statue just a quarter mile away. 
a rooftop on my birthday, second rooftop of the day
breakfast at Placa Reial
So.... we woke up on Sunday morning to 750,000 people demonstrating for Spanish unity.  WOW! 

La Basilica de Santa Maria del Mar, an iconic gothic cathedral built in 1383, we sat through a small portion on Saturday mass.  It's the setting of the end of Carlos Ruiz Zafon's book The Shadow of the Wind - a great novel to read if you plan on visiting Barcelona

the view from our balcony Sunday morning- we weren't sure if we'd make it out that day but we did! 
Si, a flag to show support for the Catalonian Indedpendence referendum. These were everywhere. - they need this one.  Can you see why I was dying laughing THE. ENTIRE. WEEK?!?

Saturday's demonstration was a call for peace and dialogue

Saturday was shopping in the Born district - such fun

Fiona, our new friend, designs, makes and sells all her clothes right there on the spot.  We adored her.  And we may or may not have ambushed her with a whole big photo shoot right then and there.  My favorite was when we left and Meg thanked her for making beautiful things. 
ruins at Tossa de Mar (12th century?)

centerpiece of Gaudi's La Sagrada Familia

the way it captured light and spread it around.... genius

mbb, one gifted photographer

Did I mention my friends made me laugh?  And that I have three kids?  ;)

the convertible shirt/dress I bought from Fiona and all the beautiful beach and light

one of three facades of La Sagrada- this was the nativity facade with Tree of Life themes throughout

On our first day, Ben and Meg gave me a stack of coupons to use for the week- everything from ordering your food in a foreign accent to a trump card for lunch or dinner to describing the scene in a movie trailer voice.  This one was my favorite.  They all had tiny notebooks. 

Taste of America - Goldfish and Captain Crunch
jamon iberico, manchego, and cava was my favorite Spanish combo meal - this was on the roof of Villa Emilia

paella by the sea, best table thanks to our friend Julia
Meg woke up early an made me a banana bread cake and created this!  I am so thankful for it all.  Best birthday ever. I highly recommend turning 40 in Barcelona. 
There was so much more that we saw and so much more to see but I'm crazy grateful for this most amazing week in this most beautiful city.  I'm thankful for the grandparents that took such good care of our kids while we were away, for friends who made the week so fun, for my Jack for pulling the trigger on the whole thing, and for God's gift of 40 years of life- all of His gifts, so many gifts.