Easter Advent

After having a child, I’m much more intentional and thoughtful about family ritual. So as Easter rolled around last year, I looked online for specifically Christian ways to anticipate and celebrate the Easter season.

We do a pretty good job with Christmas–and I get it, it’s crucial for the gospel. God incarnate, Emmanuel, leaving his throne and the perfect fellowship of the trinity to live among his enemies in a broken world.

Yes, we should anticipate and celebrate such a wonderful thing!

It’s also a really nice story with a baby all snuggled up in humble circumstances. Baby, animals, a special star, angels singing: kids love it, and adults do too.

But it’s all for nothing without Easter. And that’s a much harder story.

We might think we want to spare kids from the gory details of the crucifixion. Maybe they’re not ready yet, or it will give them nightmares, or they’ll just get confused about God being dead. In “sparing” our kids, we gloss over the resurrection and the gospel itself. They miss how bad sin is and how loving God is. They miss that pain and suffering can bring forgiveness and have purpose and give life!

So I wanted a meaningful way to celebrate and anticipate Easter with my family. Something that would leave us with much more than Easter eggs, the Easter bunny, a new dress for church, and a pile of candy.

I searched for something set up similar to Advent for Christmas, where each Sunday starting a month prior to Easter, we could get together and do a devotion and/or an activity that would be helpful in illustrating the gospel and softening our hearts toward the incredible Easter story. I didn’t find what I was looking for.

So I made up a way to celebrate that drew from lots of things I saw online, but it was mostly @mama_2thelittleones‘ Instagram picture that inspired me.

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She has a blog post about it that’s labeled as nature-based Easter crafting, but there’s no meaning or ritual behind any of the components; she says it’s more like a nature table. I loved the look, so I decided to use this as a starting point for our specifically Christian Easter celebration.

I’m sharing in the hope that you can use this as a starting point for looking forward to Easter in your own family, making your traditions more deeply meaningful, drawing your own heart and your kids’ hearts into the rich wonder of our God’s love and perfect plan of salvation.

Feel free to adjust as necessary to suit your needs: do shorter daily parts if once a week doesn’t work; change the activities to suit your kids’ ages and abilities; add questions to draw out thoughts and feelings. Feel free to share your adaptations to help others make the best use of this for their families!

Here’s an overview:

  1. God is holy and good.
  2. God loves his people and creation and came up with a rescue plan to save them.
  3. Jesus lived a perfect life.
  4. (Palm Sunday) Jesus loves those who hate him and he was willing to carry out the plan to save them.
  5. (Good Friday) Jesus willingly laid down his life to save his enemies.
  6. (Easter) God accepted Jesus’ perfect sacrifice and raised him from the dead.

FOUR WEEKS BEFORE EASTER

Materials

  • wreath
  • terra cotta/wood saucer
  • pebbles, stones, moss
  • egg
  • dirt
  • spoon
  • bowl
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The Easter Advent wreath.

Before beginning the devotion, set up the saucer in the center of the wreath. Add stones, pebbles and moss for decoration and to provide a solid place to set your eggs. This week will only add the dirt-filled egg to the scene, but apparently I didn’t take any pictures week by week, so all my photos show multiple eggs.

The Lesson

{This is a loose script; feel free to do what works best for you!}

Easter is coming up in a month, and we’re going to start talking about what that means. God has freed us from sin and showed us the best way to live, so each week our family is going to meet and talk about why Easter is so important, and what it means for us even thought it happened a long time ago.  

In Deuteronomy 6: 1-7 and 20-24 we hear, “Now this is the commandment—the statutes and the rules—that the Lord your God commanded me to teach you, that you may do them in the land to which you are going over, to possess it, that you may fear the Lord your God, you and your son and your son’s son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be long. Hear therefore, O Israel, and be careful to do them, that it may go well with you, and that you may multiply greatly, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

20 “When your son asks you in time to come, ‘What is the meaning of the testimonies and the statutes and the rules that the Lord our God has commanded you?’ 21 then you shall say to your son, ‘We were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt. And the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. 22 And the Lord showed signs and wonders, great and grievous, against Egypt and against Pharaoh and all his household, before our eyes. 23 And he brought us out from there, that he might bring us in and give us the land that he swore to give to our fathers. 24 And the Lord commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as we are this day.”

God rescued his people from slavery in the land of Egypt, and he has rescued us from much more than that! We were slaves to sin, but now in Jesus we have new life! Easter is one of the most important holidays of the Christian year, so we’re going to take some time to think through it together.

Today, we’re thinking about who God is and who he created us to be.

First, God is holy and good. In Exodus 34:5-10, we see God’s goodness when he reveals himself to Moses and affirms his covenant with his people.

“5 The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him [Moses] there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” And Moses quickly bowed his head toward the earth and worshiped. And he said, “If now I have found favor in your sight, O Lord, please let the Lord go in the midst of us, for it is a stiff-necked people, and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for your inheritance.”

10 And he said, ‘Behold, I am making a covenant. Before all your people I will do marvels, such as have not been created in all the earth or in any nation. And all the people among whom you are shall see the work of the Lord, for it is an awesome thing that I will do with you.'”

God is abounding in love and faithfulness, and he’s slow to anger and willing to do amazing work among a “stiff-necked people”. But he’s also good in his justice–he won’t say that the guilty have a clear name. This is a trustworthy goodness, not a blind goodness.

God is also holy. We can see this in Isaiah 6:1-7.

 “In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!”

And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”

Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.’”

Sin can’t be in God’s presence, and Isaiah knows it. When he sees God on his throne, he isn’t excited. It’s not like seeing his loving grandfather, or even like being near someone famous. He’s rightfully scared because he knows that he is dirty and sinful, and God can’t see sin without judging it. And that was part of his goodness, remember? We wouldn’t want a God who let the guilty go free of charge.

That brings us to ourselves.God is good and holy, and he made us. Genesis 1:27 says,

So God created man in his own image,
    in the image of God he created him;
    male and female he created them.”

{Show the whole egg.} God created us in his own image to have a relationship with him like a father with his children. Don’t you love to be with your dad when he’s playing with you? What about if you’re in trouble–then do you love to see your dad? No! Then you’re scared of dad, because you know you’re going to get a spanking.

It’s the same with people and God. Listen to what Romans 3:10-18 says about us.

“None is righteous, no, not one;
11     no one understands;
    no one seeks for God.
12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
    no one does good,
    not even one.”
13 “Their throat is an open grave;
    they use their tongues to deceive.”
“The venom of asps is under their lips.”
14     “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16     in their paths are ruin and misery,
17 and the way of peace they have not known.”
18     “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

That’s talking about us! All people are sinful. Mom and dad are sinful, and you’re sinful too! We like to think that we’re good people, but the truth is that we have sinned and broken our relationship with God.

{Break the egg into the bowl.( I had an already-dried egg set aside that I used for the next part because I was worried about the potential smell, but maybe it’s fine to use a freshly-broken egg? I don’t know–comment if you try it to let folks know if it goes well.) Place half the shell into the saucer with the pebbles and spoon dirt in as you discuss sin.}

It’s sometimes easy to act like we’re good people, but our hearts are filled with things God hates. God hates it when we go to worship and don’t really pay attention to him. {Spoon in dirt.} God hates it when we get angry at another person, even if they did something to make us mad. It’s actually so bad, God says it’s no better than killing that person. God hates it when we love other things more than we love him. God hates it when we lie and pretend so that we look better than we really are inside. We sin in lots of ways because we’re sinful people–dirty and broken just like this egg.

Can the egg fix itself? Can it find a way to get clean and make itself whole? No! There’s nothing that an egg can do.

Someone else could wash the egg and make it clean, and that is the good news of Easter! Next week, we’ll talk about how God loves his people and creation so much that he came up with a rescue plan to save people and wash their sins away.

THREE WEEKS BEFORE EASTER

Materials

  • broken, dried egg
  • wax
  • wick or cotton string
  • tin can or freezer quart zip top bag
  • pot
  • water
  • match

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Before beginning this week’s lesson, make a candle of a broken egg. Heat water in a pot on the stove and melt wax in a tin can or freezer zip top bag placed in the warm water. If you’re using cotton string, dip the string into the wax and allow it to dry. This will help your wick to stand upright in the egg as you pour the wax around it.

Center your wick in the egg and pour from the tin can or snip a corner off the bag and allow the wax to flow out into the egg. Let your egg candle harden before using.

The Lesson

Last week we heard the bad news that we’re sinful and broken and can no longer have a relationship with God. But God loves us and still wants to have a relationship with us.

God chose us as his children, to be part of his family. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.” Ephesians 1:3-6

He lovingly chose us to be his children before we were born! He wants to be our father even though he knew we would sin. Romans 5:8 tells us, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

This is great news for us! There’s nothing that we can do to make ourselves clean or right before God, but God loves us enough that he came up with a rescue plan to save us.

Remember that part of God’s goodness is that he loves us, and part of his goodness is that he hates evil. Part of his holiness is that he can’t stand to have evil in his presence. So how is he going to get around that? If we look like this–{point to dirt-filled egg}–how can God let us near him to have a relationship with him? How can God really love us when we’re so sinful and disgusting to him?

In the beginning of the plan, called the covenant of works, God gave us rules so that we would know what was good and what was evil and sinful. God knew that we would break his rules, so he set a plan for sacrificing animals. According to Hebrews 9:22, “…without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.” So in this plan, the animals’ blood was shed so that people’s sins could be forgiven.

But God’s plan was much bigger than that. John 3:16 says, “16 ‘For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.'” Instead of having people give their animals, God’s plan was to give his son. Probably not the plan we would have come up with, is it?

But God’s ways are much higher than our ways, and his love is much greater than our love. So he sent his own son into the world…as a helpless baby.

{Add the egg candle to the Easter advent wreath and light it.}

“8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, ‘“Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”’ 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14 ‘“Glory to God in the highest,
    and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘“Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”’ 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.” Luke 2:8-16

Jesus tells us, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12.

And hundreds of years before Jesus was born, Isaiah wrote about his coming:

“2 The people who walked in darkness
    have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
    on them has light shone.
For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
    and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace
    there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
    to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
    from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.”                          Isaiah 9:2; 6-7

Jesus came as the light of the world. Next week we’ll look more at his life and see how he brought light into our darkness.

TWO WEEKS BEFORE EASTER

Materials

  • match
  • seeds
  • water

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The Lesson

Last week we talked about how Jesus came as the light of the world. {Light the egg candle.}

Today we’re going to talk about how, unlike us, Jesus lived a perfect life. Jesus was human just like us. He had a mom and a dad like you do. He had to do work and get along with his siblings and other people in his town. Hebrews 4:15 says Jesus can “sympathize with our weaknesses”. He faced all the struggles of living life in this broken world and dealing with things that are unfair and sinful. But the passage goes on to say that Jesus “in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet [is] without sin.” He always did what is right and good.

Jesus was tempted even more than we are. We all give in at some point to temptation, so we will never know the full difficulty of holding out against sin. Jesus also had specific temptation from Satan, like Adam and Eve did in the garden–which we’ve never had to deal with–and he stood firm. Matthew 4:1-11 reads,

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written,

“‘Man shall not live by bread alone,
    but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written,

“‘He will command his angels concerning you,’

and

“‘On their hands they will bear you up,
    lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”

Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.”10 Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written,

“‘You shall worship the Lord your God
    and him only shall you serve.’”

11 Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.”

Jesus is the only one in the world who is righteous and can have a true relationship with God. There is no sin that gets in the way; Jesus is clean before God the father and can have the relationship that God meant for all of us to have.

But Jesus doesn’t act “holier than us”, even though he actually is. He hangs out with sinners and losers and people that no one else likes. Instead of rejecting sinners, Jesus has compassion. He teaches and heals people, and his actions and teachings surprise people and start to soften their hearts toward God. (I’m not going to copy it, but read Matthew 5-7 [or some portion thereof] and talk about how Jesus’ teachings are surprising.)

{Sow seeds in the egg with dirt in it and water the seeds in. Make sure to keep the soil damp through the week(s) so your seeds sprout!}

God plants his word in our hearts and gives us faith to respond so that we can grow and bear a harvest! Next week is Palm Sunday and we’ll see a lot of people respond to Jesus with excitement, but with no real growth in their hearts.

ONE WEEK BEFORE EASTER                       PALM SUNDAY

Materials

  • match
  • dried broken egg

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The Lesson

{Light the egg candle.}

Last week we talked about how Jesus’ perfect love and obedience to God softened peoples’ hearts. {Note whether there has been any growth from your seeds.} This week we’re going to read about the triumphal entry. This Sunday is called Palm Sunday because people welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem by spreading palm branches before him and praising him. Let’s read about it in John 12:12-19.

12 The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. 13 So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “’Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!’” 14 And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written,

15 “’Fear not, daughter of Zion;
behold, your king is coming,
    sitting on a donkey’s colt!’”

16 His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written about him and had been done to him. 17 The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to bear witness. 18 The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign. 19 So the Pharisees said to one another, “’You see that you are gaining nothing. Look, the world has gone after him.’”

With the crowd welcoming and praising Jesus, it did seem that the world had gone after him. But as we’ll see on Friday, this crowd doesn’t really believe in him. They have their own ideas about who he is–they think Jesus can give them what they want and rescue them from their circumstances. When he doesn’t give them what they want, they cry out for his death.

Even as Christians, our hearts still hold these tendencies. We can follow Jesus thinking he’ll make our lives better and easier instead of following him for who he says he is.

We can treat him like a sort of Santa Claus, presenting him with a list of our desires and requests in our prayers rather than praising him and meditating on all that he’s already done for us. Our circumstances can appear worse to us than our sin, and we want Jesus to save us from our money troubles or pain and difficulties, or relationship woes.

If he saves us from our circumstances, we welcome him with shouts of “Hosanna!” But if God doesn’t perform according to our expectations, we tend to rebel against his lordship, rejecting his call to take up our cross and follow him. Even as those who claim to be God’s people, our hearts can long for ease and comfort more than for God’s kingdom to come.

But Jesus loves those who hate him and seeks those who are his enemies. He was willing to carry out the plan of salvation, even though it meant emptying himself. {Add the empty egg to the Easter Advent wreath.}

Philippians 2:6-8 tells us: “6  [Jesus], though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

He emptied himself for the crowds who welcomed him for the wrong reasons, even knowing that they would want him dead less than a week later. He emptied himself for us before we were even born because his love for his people is so great. Our hearts are prone to wander, but God is faithful. He designed and carried through his amazing plan to save his people, even though it meant that Jesus would have to die–and more than that, that he would have to take the punishment for sins that he never committed.

What a great God! On Friday we’re going to talk about how Jesus willingly laid down his life to save us from our sin and provide a way for us to have a relationship with God again.

GOOD FRIDAY

Materials

  • match
  • toothpicks

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The Lesson

{Light the egg candle.}

Last Sunday was Palm Sunday, and we read about the crowd welcoming Jesus into Jerusalem. Instead of welcoming him for who he is, they welcomed him for what they thought he would do for them. Today is Good Friday, and we’re going to read about how the crowd has now turned on Jesus and cries out for his death.

Jesus’ perfect life–his love and obedience to his Father, and his love and care for people–lead him to the cross, and he willingly laid down his life to save his enemies.

27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor’s headquarters, and they gathered the whole battalion before him.28 And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29 and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 30 And they spit on him and took the reed and struck him on the head. 31 And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him and led him away to crucify him.

32 As they went out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. They compelled this man to carry his cross. 33 And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull), 34 they offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall, but when he tasted it, he would not drink it.35 And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots. 36 Then they sat down and kept watch over him there. 37 And over his head they put the charge against him, which read, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” 38 Then two robbers were crucified with him, one on the right and one on the left. 39 And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads 40 and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” 41 So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying, 42 “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him. For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”44 And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way.

45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. 46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “’Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?’” that is, “’My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’” 47 And some of the bystanders, hearing it, said, “’This man is calling Elijah.’” 48 And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine, and put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink. 49 But the others said, “’Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.’” 50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.

51 And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. 52 The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, 53 and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. 54 When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “’Truly this was the Son of God!’”

{Blow out the candle.}

The light of the world willingly died. He knew that this was the only way that sinful people could stand before a good and holy God without being destroyed for their sin. This was the only way for God’s love and justice to be satisfied. Instead of God punishing sinful people, he punished his own son, even though Jesus was the only perfect one who had ever lived.

{As you place toothpicks into the wreath, signifying the crown of thorns, silently or out loud think of your sins that Jesus died to forgive.}

The story doesn’t end here with Jesus’ death. That’s why we have hope as Christians. We look forward to Easter morning when we’ll celebrate the resurrection. We don’t worship a dead God–he is risen!

EASTER SUNDAY

Materials

  • leafy vines, gold ribbon, or crown
  • match
  • water
  • sprig of flowers

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The Lesson

{Saturday night remove the toothpick “thorns” from the wreath. Add some sort of decoration like a gold ribbon or leafy vine or a crown [which, as you can tell by the picture, I failed to do].}

Happy Easter! Today we celebrate the good news that God accepted Jesus’ perfect sacrifice and raised him from the dead! Those in heaven proclaim:

“‘Worthy is the Lamb who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might
and honor and glory and blessing!’”

Jesus faced God’s wrath in our place and took our punishment. Now we can have a real relationship with God because when he looks at us, he doesn’t see our sin because Jesus has paid the price for it. Instead, God sees Jesus’ perfect righteousness when he looks at us. What a trade! What a loving God to find a way to bring his people back into relationship with himself!

God gives us new hearts and grows us to be like him. Ezekiel 36:25-27 says, “25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.”

{Pour water into the empty egg. Place the sprig of flowers into the “vase.”}

Jesus emptied himself out of love, and he brought life to all who believe in him and call on his name. He gives us a way to have a relationship with God, with new hearts that can love and obey.

{Open Easter presents and have a feast!}

Easter basket side note: I’m not big into accumulating stuff or having a ton of sugar in the house. But I do think that giving gifts is an important way to make a holiday special and anticipated, especially for children.

In our house, we each get something sweet, based on Psalm 34:8 “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!”, and a new item of clothing based on the theme ‘Put off the old…put on the new!’ Our verses are Galatians 3:27 “For all you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ”, Ephesians 4:22-24 “Put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness”, and Galatians 2:20 “For I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

 

I hope that this helps you and your family look forward to Easter and have more growth and joy during this season!

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to celebrate

they met dancing

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preserving

 

 

 

Billings has a new grocery store: Lucky’s Market. Strawberries were on sale for 88¢ a pound, so I figured I’d try making strawberry chia seed jam.

Processed with VSCOcam Processed with VSCOcam Processed with VSCOcam

 

It’s sweetened with honey and agave. I warned Shawn it wasn’t very sweet. He asked why I didn’t add more sugar. I told him I did it on purpose so we could taste the strawberries instead of sugar syrup. He seemed wary.

 

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I used two pounds of berries, six tablespoons of  chia seeds, and probably three tablespoons of honey and four tablespoons of agave nectar. I heated everything, stirred, mashed, let it reduce, and poured it into glass jars.

Once it cools a bit, I’m thinking of testing it over ice cream. Then we’ll see if it meets Shawn’s approval.

Posted in Food | 2 Comments

languishing

So I’ve let this blog languish a bit. Home projects have taken a back seat of late, as has photographing and mentally arranging to share those projects and other joys of life.

But I thought I’d pop by to document a large-scale renovation: we’re adding a shower to the downstairs half bath. I’d dreamed of doing such a thing when I moved in to Stanwick Park, but I found that I like dreaming up ideas for improvement and never really carrying through.

And then I married a man of action. I told him about my idea to one day add a shower to the downstairs bath…and he went all wild and said we should get a plumber out to give us an estimate. So we did.

After reviewing the estimate, my darlin’ said we should go for it. A month later I still hadn’t called the plumber to give him the go-ahead.

After some encouragement, I made the call and contracted the work. The bathroom is still torn apart–sans sink, sans toilet, sans shower walls–but it’s exciting to me. I count this as progress!

photo 1The view from the doorway: the shower will be to the left in the back; the toilet across from it.

photo 2The soon-to-be shower(!).

 

 

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to share

I’ve been doing some arranging and rearranging, working toward better sharing space. One thing that needed help was my collection of necklaces, stored in a heap in the linen closet that I used for make up and accessories more than linens.

I looked on Pinterest for necklace organization inspiration–most of what I saw was displayed on the wall, in the way. My necklaces aren’t art. I don’t want them on the wall. I don’t want them visible except when they’re on my person.

While doing some yard work, trimming small tree sprouts, an idea took hold. It was simple; I went for it. Every girl probably already has something like this, but I didn’t, and now I do.

photo (18)

I’m still getting used to the necklaces clanking each time I open and shut the door, but I’m starting to remember that they’re there, and opening the cabinet more gently.

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to paint

Until recently my bedroom was tan. Builder beige. One color, walls and ceilings.

But now, my ceilings are white!

Goes on pink, dries bright white!

Goes on pink, dries bright white!

 

My walls are a cool gray blue (Arctic Stone, if you must know).

Edging out the tan.

Edging out the tan.

Gray wall versus tan.

Gray wall versus tan.

A better fit; I’m pleased with the change.

 

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to carry

I recently got a bike. It has a back rack, so I can carry bags, which is nice. But the panniers for sale in the bike shops didn’t impress me. Most of them were just one large compartment, which is inconvenient.

I wanted the bag to be large enough to carry my laptop, a change of clothes and shoes. Nothing suited me. So I made my own. Photo fail; it was blurry and sideways and laziness prevents my fixing the situation.

I got a bag at Montana Rescue Mission, bolted tarp hooks and a drawer pull to the back, et voila!

The bungee prevents the bag from flying off the rack. Helpful.

I used this site for the design: http://overthebarsinmilwaukee.wordpress.com/2011/05/24/diy-ten-buck-pannier-ortlieb-beware/
Posted in Projects, Travel | 2 Comments