Eastertide 2016

The last year or so I’ve been reading a lot on the Liturgical or Sacred Church Year. I am by no means leaning into becoming Catholic or Orthodox, but I have found that incorporating some of the rich aspects of traditional worship into my own observances has been so so beneficial.

An Enriched Lent

We began Lent on Ash Wednesday when I began this study on the the Prodigal Son, with Edie Wadsworth, from lifeingraceblog.com. She’s a Lutheran, and I’ve loved so much of her writing which reflects her deep faith and the highlights the Lutheran leanings toward the need for grace in our daily lives.

CandleI read somewhere about having 6 candles and lighting them all on Ash Wednesday, on each Sunday prior to Easter, eliminate one candle. Then on Good Friday extinguish them all. It’s like the reverse of Advent, to remind us of Christ conquering the darkness in the Resurrection. I don’t force anyone in the family to participate in this, I just take a moment to center my heart and mind on the season, and honestly, the entire process was just so powerful this year. By resurrection Sunday, I was full of this anticipation to celebrate!

A Beautiful Holy Week

Last year, we did a daily study of walking through the last days of Jesus’ life on earth leading up to the cross…and on Holy Saturday we made Resurrection Rolls.

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This year we changed it up according to our schedule. Each night of Holy Week we had our Family Time either after dinner or during Homeschool…

We did our main readings from this book by Vic KParker…It was very thorough (good for younger and older kids) and divided the week up perfectly…love the illustrations too.

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and added Easter Hymns to our binder we use for Morning Time/ Symposium most days…

Symposium Binder easter hymns

On Monday we read about Jesus clearing the Temple, on Tuesday we read about the Last Supper and had a “footwashing” of our own (we washed each others hands) and had communion.

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On Wednesday we read about Jesus’ praying in the the Garden and his betrayal. On Thursday we read about his false trials and the beatings he took for us. On Friday, the crucifixion. Saturday was a day of silent reflection.

And Sunday….we celebrated.

We joined with other saints at a service…which was beautiful. Full of dance, visual art, music, congregational singing and the gospel message…best of all, the expectation reflected on the faces of fellow believers.

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The kids got their baskets AFTER church (there was no way they were eating candy before church!)

groupThen the extended family came over for dinner. We all love to see the grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins – but according to my dad…holidays were a must for the family to get together.

Dinner was complete with our singing, conversations, jokes and of course delicious food.

easter program

I try to make our celebrations a bit more meaningful by taking an hour to plan a little “outline” that includes poetry, or scripture reading, some songs/ hymns, games, etc. This is what this year’s looked like…we had a “progressive reading” of the Resurrection Story as napkin rings. I found them here.

 

 I try to set the table the night before. This year I was on a tight budget, so created a centerpiece with silk flowers from storage, my sister ended up giving me some fresh flowers that day, So I incorporated them happily.The rest were decor I already had from years past. Loved stuffing old plastic eggs with the conversation starters, they were like Easter “fortune cookies”.

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DSC_0370 The kids table had an Easter I-SPY Game I found here…

After dinner we headed outdoors for the Egg Hunt…

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DSC_0424And back indoors for dessert!

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Happy Easter – Christos Annestis!!

PS – I was super happy with my easter decor this year. I spent a whopping $3!

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Together

Today’s Five Minute Friday topic was…
TOGETHER

I love to get together with people. To really “be with” people, in a real and authentic way. Ever since high school (maybe even before), I had this innate ability to steer clear of relationships that I felt would honestly be a waste of time.  If I sensed they were superficial with me or that they weren’t being honest with me (or themselves), I mean, not everyone is going to like/ trust/ open up to me, right? I’m OK with that. I’ve always tried to be the kind of friend that I would want for a friend. It’s hard to convey this without sounding like I’m full of myself…
I’m just confident that I’m a good person to have in your life because of the One who lives in me.
I believe that God’s design was for us to be together with others. He said it was not good for man to be alone. He also says that he puts the solitary into families…that it’s better to have a friend who is close by than a brother who is far away…that two are better than one…He depicts the church as His bride and as a family of brothers and sisters…and to let brotherly love continue… I think He doesn’t want us to be alone. That He designed us to be together.

 
I’ve got some really great friends. There’s that old adage that if you can count your good friends on one hand you are a lucky “man”. I would say then, that I am among the luckiest.
I’ve chosen to see my life as a garden, and all the people in it are the living things that have been planted there. When I gave my life to Christ, I recognized that He is the Gardener of my life, not me. So I don’t really have a say as to who/what is done with the plants in my garden…how long they bloom or produce or even when they need to be removed. Every plant in my garden have seasons, some are long term, some are short. Some are ever blooming, some I’m still waiting for the first bloom, years later.

Some of them are people I see every week (or more), some of them because of different seasons of life or distance, I see only rarely…but we have one thing in common, we are real with each other. We pick up where we left off, there’s no worry or fear that one or the other of us is hurt or offended by our lack of time together, no insecurity…there’s a common thread that I do my best to convey that I care about them and want to spend time with them (as do they). Some are friends that we laugh together – a lot. Some are friends who together we lament over and solve all the worlds problems together. Some are people I immediately call when I need someone to pray. Some are the ones you have tea with, others a glass of wine, some both. Some have kids, some have no kids, some are grandparents and a few are still in high school or college. Some share the same blood as me, most don’t. Some live in other countries, some live a few hours away, others live on my road…most share a relationship with Christ, but some don’t. Many I’ve known for almost 20 or more.
 
 

Being together takes work, it takes effort. I requires dying to myself, often. I try to consciously not be overbearing or bossy or a know it all or any other traits that I know are my own weaknesses, and trust that my friends are well aware of their own and do my best to give them the benefit of the doubt, and not judge or draw attention to their weaknesses, rather to Christ and to the blessings we already have.
 
I want to be an encouragement. Someone who, when I’ve been with them and after we’ve parted, they feel better, uplifted, helped and loved. I hope to learn from others much more than I can teach, though I will share any wisdom that has been passed on to me, since it’s not my own…it’s not mine to keep 🙂 I try to be a light, a messenger of hope and someone who brings peace wherever I go. I love to get together with people. I love the people in my life, the flowers in my garden. I’m very very blessed indeed.

 

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