Showing posts with label Resurrection Day. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Resurrection Day. Show all posts

Reunions




This time last year, my belly was just starting to round with a new little life (Georgie!) when we made the difficult decision to search for a new church.  I remember crying.  We had been going to our previous church for seven years, and it took a significant amount of that time to really start to feel involved there, like we belonged.  Though we had been praying about it and felt like this was the right decision, I wasn't looking forward to starting over.

I didn't write about it during that time, but it was a long, hard search until we found somewhere that met our standards and felt right.  Maybe I'll write more about the process of looking for a new church someday, but let's just say I'm relieved to have it behind us.  There is a sense in which any body of believers feels like family, but every time you start attending a new church it takes some time to feel like you belong.  We've been pleasantly surprised and blessed to feel at home here quickly, and that has helped ease the transition, helped us know that it was right.  

A couple of weeks ago after the church service, I pushed open the door to the ladies' room, and looked up and into the face of a dear lady from our former church.  She stared at me for a second, and I stared at her, and then we burst out with each other's names and rushed to give each other a hug.  We laughed about meeting again in a restroom of all places.  My family visited with their group in the hall well after most of the regular attenders had cleared out.  It was a reunion of sorts, and I couldn't stop grinning for the rest of the day.  Reunions, when they are sweet, will do that.

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March has been a month of reunions overall.  We also went out to visit my dear childhood friends on their ranch.  They can't get away that often, but once a year we make the trek out to see them.  I want to make it happen more often.  

We visited, caught up on each other's lives, introduced the baby.  We ate lunch, and remembered back to when we were kids, growing up in a little white church in the mountains.  Every summer there was an ice cream social, with real ice cream churned in vintage buckets, packed with snow from the nearest mountain pass.  There would be peach, and banana, and pralines and cream - the row of ice cream makers on the shelf above our heads brought it all back.  

























We will keep making this trip out to the ranch as long they will have us, because we love our friends so dearly, and our reunions make it seem as if we live much nearer than we do.  It always feels like we saw them last week instead of last year.

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Reunions don't always feel so sweet as all this, of course, but when I do have moments of happy reunions, it makes me think how beautiful Heaven will be.  I imagine we'll see everyone who we know here who has trusted in Jesus, and that will be one round of happy reunions.  Then we'll see all the people whose names we know but who we've never met - but it will seem as if we had known them all along.  Then we'll see all the people whom Jesus saved who we never met, and we never knew their names, but we're still all connected because we've all been adopted into this family, through the blood of Jesus.

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It's Good Friday today, when we remember Jesus's death on the cross.  My heart is heavy as I remember why He died - to pay the penalty for my crimes (and yours too), when He had no crimes of His own.  God became a man, lived without sin, and died in our place - covering our sin and reconciling us with Himself when we trust in Him to save us.

What kind of despair the disciples must have felt though, when He died.  I can't even imagine that feeling, because I've never had to feel it - we all have the benefit of knowing the rest of the story, after all.  Seeing Jesus on the third day, alive again, had to be an unimaginable joy!

And now, I'm just waiting for my turn.  Because someday I'll see Him too, either when I die and enter eternity, or when He comes back on the clouds to take us home.  And boy, that will be the best reunion of all.

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Happy Resurrection Day (on Sunday), friends!  I pray that you know Jesus as your Savior too, and may you get a small taste of the joy of that coming reunion as we celebrate that our Savior is alive, forevermore!

"But the angel answered and said to the women, 'Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. "  

Matthew 28:5-6a

Let's Talk About Easter Baskets



(Affiliate link below. Also note that I received the book mentioned in this post for free in exchange or a review. This is my honest opinion!)

Alright, I'm just going to get straight to the point - what do you put in your kids' Easter baskets?

Easter is less than a month away!  There have been years when I put a lot of effort into picking things for the kids' Easter baskets, but since we've had a fourth and fifth baby I've toned them down quite a bit.  Last year's baskets were definitely thrown together last minute.  This year I'd like to make them at least thoughtful, since they won't be elaborate by any means (five kids, remember)!

Here are some things I've included in the past:

Summer shoes - Why not go ahead and buy something I'm going to need to purchase anyway?
Swimsuits - Same reason.
Umbrellas - My kids loved these.
Sunglasses/hats - Are you noticing a theme here?  Easter feels like the official kick-off to spring, so I lean toward warm weather essentials.
Books - Of course.  I'm actually kind of doing the book gift early this year with this book from Tommy Nelson.






If anything can get you in the mood for Springtime, it's the cute illustrations in this book!  A Very Happy Easter Prayer is part of a series, so it's written in a similar style as some of our other books, with little poems on each page thanking God for some part of the season.  I like how this one incorporates Jesus's resurrection on the last page too.  It's adorable for my little ones as a transition into the Easter season, and gets us all looking forward to Easter!  If I hadn't already given the book to my kids I would probably stick this in one of their baskets, especially for my younger kiddos.

As I'm considering what to include in Easter baskets though, I'm at a bit of a loss.  I would kind of like whatever I put into their baskets to have some connection with spiritual growth and pointing my kids back to Jesus, because more than any other holiday, this holiday is really about Him!  In a lot of ways Resurrection Day is an even more important celebration for our faith than Christmas.  On Christmas He was born, and He was born that He might die to take the punishment for our sin.  While Christmas is happy (because we celebrate the long-awaited arrival of the Savior!), it's looking ahead to something sorrowful.

Resurrection Day, on the other hand, is pure joy.  He suffered and died, but then He showed His power, proved He is God, and conquered the grave! Without the resurrection we are still in our sins, but because He rose again we can be alive forever with Him!  It's triumphant in a way that even Christmas isn't, and I want to make sure that all doesn't get lost amidst lesser things.

And I don't think it necessarily will get lost because we'll be talking about the Resurrection and everything that means in all the days leading up to Easter - but I don't know, I'd like it reflected somehow in their little gifts on Easter morning.  Or maybe I'm just expecting too much from a present for this age group (0-7 years)?  Any suggestions for me?

What do you put in your kids' Easter baskets (if you do them)?

How To Have Easter Fun When You're Apparently Not Anemic



What a full week we've had!  Last week we not only had our first ultrasound, but we also had Clyde's 3rd birthday, and then Easter of course! I was also so excessively exhausted and actually physically weak one day I called my doctor to find out if I had anemia.  Wouldn't it be nice if that was my only issue?  Hello iron supplement, problem solved!  

But I apparently am not anemic.  However, that's not stopping me from eating foods that are iron-rich, just in case I have low iron stores or something.  Which is entirely possible, because right before I got pregnant I was craving ice - and isn't craving non-food items a sign of iron deficiency?  I think so.  Maybe I should have told that to the condescending nurse from my doctor's office (I may or may not have cried when I got off the phone with her).  Thankfully iron-rich food is what I'm craving anyway.  Give me all the dark leafy greens, eggs, and hamburgers.

Lots Of Easter Fun

Since I was so exhausted most of last week, I tried a new strategy and woke up with the sun and the kids just long enough to pour bowls of cereal and turn on Clifford The Big Red Dog.  Then back to bed I went.  I'm happy to report it worked beautifully, and I got another hour and a half of sleep.  Yes, that also means my kids got an hour and half of TV first thing in the morning, but you do what you've got to do.  This gave me enough energy to actually do the Easter activities I had been hoping to do all week, instead of spending another day miserably tired on the couch!

We colored eggs...





We did a (late) review and celebration of palm Sunday (I think this is the way to go, because I got five palm branches on clearance for a $1)...





And we made Resurrection rolls, to remind us of the empty tomb, because Jesus rose from the dead! Yes, I added pink frosting.  There were probably flowers on the outside of the garden tomb, right?





As for Easter Sunday, we went to a sunrise service at a local Christian camp, and then off to my mom's for Easter dinner and egg hunt!  It was a lovely Resurrection Day!  Much better than last year, when we spilled a gallon of paint and nearly ruined the carpet.

Sidenote: Easter with kids is like, 100% more fun.  The fun may come at the expense of actual reflection time, but I snuck some in where I could, and you do have to naturally reflect a bit to explain what Easter is really about to children.

What Am I Reading Lately?

I finally finished all the fiction books that were in my obligatory review stack, and I've decided I'm done with the book reviews for a couple months (after I finish the two non-fiction titles I have left -  insert sigh).  I need time to read what I really want to read.  I just get so tempted by the brand-new free books dangling in front of my face, but I'm shutting my eyes now and saying, "no!"

I'm trying really hard to finish a young adult read this month to participate in Collaboreads, but it's not going so well.  I feel like I'm running gout of time, and I'm not totally sure if my book choice counts as "young adult".  I went with "On The Edge Of The Dark Sea Of Darkness" by Andrew Peterson (affiliate), first book in the Wingfeather saga.  I'm only a little way in, but I am so enjoying it!  It reminds me a lot of Narnia so far, and it's funny.  I read a couple chapters to Derek in the car, and he was laughing out loud. Also, it's written by Andrew Peterson, who is a Christian singer/songwriter a couple of you recommended to me when I asked for new music a couple months ago!  I didn't even realize that until after I picked it up!

What is the best young adult book that you've ever read?  And I'm taking Hunger Games and Divergent series out of the running, for variety sake.

Old School Blogger Shoutout

As previously mentioned, I have been a complete blog slacker between trying to finish my outrageous to-review book list before vacation next month, and feeling kind of gross if I stare at a screen for too long (pregnancy-related).  I won't totally let this section go, but I don't have anything new for you this week!  I will attempt to get caught up on my blog reading soon.

What I'm Drinking:  Orange juice.  I cut back on the decaf coffee because I couldn't decide if it was helping or hurting my excessive exhaustion.  What is your favorite tea blend for iced tea in the summer months?  I'm planning ahead!

How To Salvage A Holiday Disaster (An Easter Story)


Yesterday was Resurrection Sunday.  I opened my eyes, and as so often happens lately, I had to lay in bed for several minutes to let the sleep clear out.  I feel like I used to be able to just jump out of bed the minute I heard little feet pounding on the floorboards above my head, but lately I wake up every morning feeling tired.

Right now we are working on a major house renovation.  When we first decided to do this, Derek would tell people that it was a major renovation, and I would wave my hand at that statement.  It's not major.  It's just new paint, new trim, and new floors.  Not a big deal at all.  So thinks someone who has never actually done a major house renovation.  Because those three things are definitely major.

Are You Angry At The Right Thing?



I woke up, blurry-eyed, and snuck quietly into the living room to do my morning devotions before the kids woke up.  But before I started I shot off a quick text, apologizing to Derek for the night before.  I had gotten angry at him for something, and yes, I'm admitting right now that we don't always resolve arguments before we go to bed.  This case is a good example why - they night before I was furious, and felt perfectly justified in my anger.  When the morning came, I realized what a "contentious women" I was really being (and if you've ever read Proverbs, you know that is not a good thing).

Appropriately, after reading the day's passage in the Bible, I opened up Matthew Henry's Commentary, and this is what I read:


"The way to be angry, and not to sin, is to be angry, as Christ was, at nothing but sin."  
-Matthew Henry


Initially my reaction was one of ugly self-righteousness and trying to justify my own actions (even though I had already recognized that I was wrong - just being honest here, guys).  Could it be righteous anger then, to be angry when someone has sinned against you?

But immediately this verse ran through my mind:


"For the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God."  


And I realized what a hypocritical attitude I had, to direct anger at someone else's (supposed) sin against me, and completely forget the blackness in my own heart.

The only way to really be safe in righteous anger at sin is to be more angry at your own sin than anything else.  

The example of righteous anger that is always cited is when Jesus become angry because of the money tables in the temple.  And Jesus did have righteous anger at the cheating and lying that was going on, but there is a big difference between Jesus and me - Jesus has no sin of His own.  He had a pure right to be angry.  I, on the other hand, have a heart full of sin - and if I am going to claim to have righteous anger, it needs to be directed at my own sin first.

And today, of all days, it is easier to be angry at my own sin.  Because today, thousands of years ago, Jesus suffered unspeakable things to pay for it.  

Justice is a big talking point among Christians these days, and people mean so many different things by it.  But if we are going to talk about justice, let's apply it to everything.  What would be just here, really?  God could have chosen to be angry with us forever, to give us our punishment, and He would have been just in doing so.  But instead Jesus, our righteous Judge, took our punishment Himself.  That is the most unjust thing that ever happened, but He did it because He loves us, and He continually offers us every chance at His forgiveness.

When we accept and believe what Jesus did for us on the cross, there is no more anger there, though we continue to do things to deserve it - but Jesus took all that anger on Himself.  Now, for the one who trusts in Him, there is only love, and mercy, and grace. I am so grateful for what He has done for me, even though I constantly prove I am unworthy of having the King of the universe die for me (see example above).

And I love that it doesn't end with death.  Death and sin did not defeat Jesus - He defeated them once and for all when He rose from the dead on Easter morning!


"One day the grave could conceal Him no longer
One day the stone rolled away from the door
Then He arose, over death He had conquered
Now is ascended, my Lord evermore!"
-One Day, J. Wilbur Chapman


He is risen, and He is coming back someday to take His own home!

Are you one of His too?

I hope and pray each of you reading this can know the mercy, and grace, and victory that is only found in accepting who Jesus is, and what He has done for us!  

Happy Resurrection Day (on Sunday), my Friends!  

He is risen indeed!


Easter Basket Ideas For Toddlers


 I'm still working on the birth story post for Clyde - I'm hoping to have it up next week!  In the meantime I wanted to get this post up about the kid's' Easter baskets, because I always have so much fun picking out stuff for them.  Stay tuned for more on Baby Clyde!

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I'm really looking forward to Easter this year.  I feel like Wyatt is understanding more and more.  The other day we were talking about how Easter is the day that Jesus came back to life, and he has brought it up a few times since then!  He was also pretty interested in his Easter basket "presents", but I know more and more about Jesus is sinking in too, and that is what is most exciting to me.

Anyway, we went shopping for the kid's Easter baskets the other day, so I wanted to post some of the things we picked out!  The best part is that most of the things I found for their baskets only cost $1 - I like that price!  So here are my (inexpensive) Easter basket ideas for toddlers.


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If Jesus Lived Inside My Heart book - Alright, we already had this book, but I wanted to post it here because it's one of my favorites.  I can't even explain it, you just have to read it.  It makes me cry every time, and I think it's such a sweet little book for an Easter basket, so I thought I'd recommend it now!

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Hot Wheels cars - Wyatt loves Hot Wheels cars - the other day at the store he grabbed one and was asking me if we could buy it, and I told him we'd have to wait.  So I'm going to sneak one or two into his Easter basket.  I love that he loves these, because they are only a dollar, and such an easy present that I know he'll like.

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Bubbles - What toddler does not like bubbles, I ask you?

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Ponies - Gwen picked out these little pony horses at the dollar store the other day - similar to My Little Ponies, but cheaper.  I want to try to find a couple more for her basket.  This is the first toy that she has actually picked out for herself, which I think is so cute!

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Water bottles - Thank you dollar aisle at Target.

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Fun dough - Or Play Doh, or silly putty.  Whatever you like best.

Flower growing kits - I found these at Target too and snapped them up.  I think it will be a fun project, for Wyatt especially, to water them and watch the flower grow!  Hopefully they actually do grow or it will be disappointing, but if these don't work I have some seeds and some soil in our shed we could use instead.

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Yogurt Melts - I just feel weird about putting too many jelly beans in the kids' Easter baskets.  Plus Gwen can't chew that stuff even if I did want to put it in her basket!  Yogurt melts are a good alternative, and my kids think they are candy anyway.  I just put a few in each of their plastic eggs!

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And I decided to change it up a little and put it all into these:

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Toddler Backpacks - These are Skip Hop backpacks - I had been eyeing them, but I just wasn't sure I wanted to spend $20 a piece on backpacks for the kids right now.  Then I was walking through JC Penny the other day, and spied these on clearance for $6.99 each!  Yes, please!  They only had the shark and the ladybug, but I wasn't going to complain if I could get them for such a good price!  Wyatt has been really into bags lately, and I think he'll love having his own little bag to carry his stuff around.

And Clyde is a little small yet for all this fun, but his favorite thing at the moment happens to be his pacifier - so I finally broke down and got him one of these:

415Bug cuBL SX425

 He might get to use his before Easter though.


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What are you putting in your kids' Easter baskets?
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