Beautiful Easter!

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Easter this year was definitely different than last year when we had the stomach bug, for which we are quite thankful. But, it was also different in that ever since we returned from Peru, we’ve spent Easter with my parents. This year, my father is slowly backing out of full-time pastoral ministry and decided it would be wise to take a little vacation during April and let the new team of pastors do Easter on their own. So, no extended family was around for the holiday! Honestly, I was not looking forward to them being gone. But, it turned out to be a wonderful weekendย and Brian and I were grateful to be able to spend the weekend with our little family starting new traditions and making memories with the kids.

We began it Thursday evening at church for our church’s remembrance service. BabyJ was the only one who couldn’t sit still, so he ended up with Daddy in the sound booth! The big kids loved the music and were so good for me; I was proud of them.

Friday evening, we did something I’ve always wanted to do: celebrate Passover. I’ve wanted to do it for awhile apparently because the PDF with all the instructions that I had was downloaded back in like 2010. We had been given some lamb by a resident who moved out a few months ago, so I cooked that up, along with some chicken (because I know my kids). We had potato latkes, hardboiled and then baked eggs, radishes, charoset (fruit mixture), parsley, and naan bread (because I couldn’t find matzah). Brian read our little script, we discussed each element, and the kids were awesome at trying a little of everything. They loved it! We decided this will probably be an annual family tradition. It really kicked off the weekend beautifully.

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The table all set! Yes, that’s Ranch dressing and horseradish mustard.. we are American Christians after all. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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E was super excited. She helped prepare some of the food and couldn’t wait to go through it all together.

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Looking for the hidden ‘matzah’

Saturday was opening day of trout season, so I was a fisherman’s widow for the day. ๐Ÿ™‚ When Brian finally got home, he dyed eggs with the kids:

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Sunday, everyone was up before 6 (and we were still a tad late for the service at 7!) and anxious for the sunrise service. Between pregnancy and the stomach bug, the big kids don’t remember attending a sunrise service, so they were excited to see what it was all about. BigJ thought we were ushering in the sunrise and was disappointed that the sun was already up when we got in the car! However, this made up for it:

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A rainbow on Easter is morning was a perfect reminder that God keeps ALL His promises!

They loved being outside (and it was like 60* – the warmest sunrise service I ever remember!).

During the breakfast, Brian had to go run sound for worship practice. Everything had worked fine Thursday evening, but Sunday morning, half of the sound system was not functioning! After a lot of prayer, Brian was able to come up with a temporary solution about twenty minutes before the service began! Total Satanic attack. Satan keeps forgetting that the whole point of Easter is celebrating the fact that he’s already been defeated!

I helped my sixth graders do a puppet song they’ve been practicing for the little kids’ Sunday school class and then again for the children’s church. They did a great job! I was quite proud of them.

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I had the privilege of teaching the kids during children’s church with my team. After the lesson, I offered to talk with the kids and answer questions. I spent about 10 minutes with a 7 year old boy who’d never set foot in church before and had no idea Who God is and that he’s loved by Him! While not even remotely ready to understand the Gospel, I loved simply sharing with him that he is loved, he was created with a purpose, and that Jesus suffered all those awful things because Jesus loves HIM. Now we just need to pray that his family brings him back so he can keep learning!

Easter afternoon was filled with naps (phew), finding Resurrection eggs and retelling the Easter story again, an awesome Easter meal, playing games together, and running around in the spring rain. I’m not sure it could’ve been a more perfect day.

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no, he’s not very good at taking things serious!

Now, it’s back to reality. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Brian’s finishing up Unit #3 so I can get in there and get cleaning. Coming into summer, the homes are booking rapidly for short stays, which means everything has to be totally ready to go. At church, we’re part of the team putting on a marriage conference next weekend, so last minute prep is going down for that. I’m wrapping up the Wednesday night program for the school year within the next couple of weeks. Brian’s got web design work to do for another BCM camp and we’ll be heading down to that camp sometime in the next month so he can do some on-site repairs and we can get away for a night as a family. E is finishing up 1st grade and we’re praying about finances already as we enrolled BigJ into preschool and E into 2nd grade for the fall. God will make a way, of that we have no doubt.

Speaking of school, you may have received a little fundraiser letter from E. We are SO EXCITED to be partnering with her school for a work day out here at MRF in early May! We cannot wait to have a large group of students, teachers, and parents out here helping clean up the property and get it ready for summer. We don’t know yet if E will be helping out here or if her class will go to one of other places, but we don’t really care, as long as she’s learning to serve, too! If you received a letter, we just ask you to prayerfully consider sponsoring her. This school is awesome and has done so much for us in allowing E to attend. This fundraiser is a great way for us to help give back to them. You can contact me with any questions.

Happy Spring!

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Easter Week

Flipping through Instagram nonchalantly this afternoon I ran across the breaking news about the bomb the U.S. just dropped on Afghanistan. It seems like you just can’t escape bad news and catastrophic events these days.

Which makes Easter that much more poignant.

The Thursday before Easter feels, to me, like the real start of the Easter celebration. Tonight we remember Jesus having His last supper and instituting the Lord’s Supper that we celebrate today. From there, the events of the last hours of Jesus’ life commence. It’s a solemn weekend – until Sunday, of course, when the entire world breaks out in song!

What has struck me this year is the need an Easter weekend. A time that is specifically set aside to quit looking at what’s happening around us and focus on eternity.

While ultimately our sins are the reason we need a Resurrection Sunday, the weekend is not about us. It’s about Jesus – His incomprehensible love and sacrifice for us. Not because He had some compulsory need to die a gruesome death, but because He wanted us to spend eternity with Him.

Being purposeful in remembering what this weekend is about has become progressively more important to me as I’ve gotten older. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in world events (especially when they’re so horrible) and in raising kids (even if they’re adorable) that the focus can be completely shifted from Jesus and the empty tomb to a busy schedule with no time to just sit and think.

World events – and simply life in general – can easily squelch all the solemnity and even all the joy out of this weekend if we let it. Remembrance must be intentional or it simply won’t happen.

We don’t have it all together (admittedly, I just spent an hour in my room, alone, while Brian watched the kids because I just needed to be separated from them for awhile!), but here are the few things we planย (I use that term loosely knowing anything can happen with 3 kids!) to do as a family this weekend to intentionally put the focus off ourselves and back on Jesus:

  • Taking the whole family to our church’s annual communion/remembrance service this evening. Usually just Brian and I go, but Brian wanted all three kids there tonight, so we’re going to give it a shot!
  • Tomorrow, I’m going to do some Easter crafts with the kids (if you know me, you know this is NOT in my comfort zone!).
  • Tomorrow evening, I’m going to put together our first mini-Passover. We absolutely love all the symbolism of Passover and the correlation of Passover and Easter, so I found a little booklet online that walks Christian families how to do “Passover” on the miniature with their children. Can’t wait!
  • Sunday morning, we head to church before 7am for the best service of the year: the sunrise service! Yes, we will have tired, possibly cranky children – but some of my best memories are from early morning sunrise services growing up. I love passing that on to our kids (and last year we missed it due to the stomach bug – ugh!). We’ll be at church all morning and it’s going to be awesome.
  • Sunday afternoon is when we’ll do our Resurrection Egg hunt, so that our kids get to do the traditional egg hunt, but we also get to reinforce the Easter story again.

I played very specific music all morning long for the boys and I while I worked, too. There’s just something about music that completely sets the stage for any event (here’s a good one).

Whatever you do with your family, I hope you are able to take some time and specifically remember what Jesus did – for you. It’s almost a breath of fresh air to be able to take the focus off of “here” for a few days. To take the genuinely awful events of this earth and put them back into perspective in view of eternity and what awaits us.

Come quickly, Jesus.ย 

Happy Easter!