Here’s a breakdown of Easter (which just so happened to be one of the busiest weekends we’ve had in a long while).
Easter baskets showed up Saturday morning, right on schedule! New summer hats and flip flops graced their baskets.
Bennett turns 8 this week and Easter was the first time he wore a suit to church. I was a little surprised with just how excited he was – and just how old he looks when he’s wearing it!
We spent the afternoon with family. It is surprising how close we live to family, and how little time we actually spend together. We live seemingly separate lives that cross every so often at sporting events or when family comes to town. So holidays like Easter are a nice treat to sit around and talk and joke and play. And although there are a lot of family members, our numbers keeping getting smaller as more and more leave the nest – these group photos used to be much more crowded! 🙂 5 grandkids on missions, 7 grandkids married (and only one lives locally) and many more away at school.
The group of kids hunting eggs is the smallest it’s ever been. Briggs didn’t seem too brokenhearted about that fact.
The kids didn’t have school on Good Friday, which meant Steve planned a master breakfast and we sat around discussing the holy week and the importance of Good Friday – and answering the kids questions as to why it’s called Good Friday when it was really the darkest day. I think we were both pleasantly surprised with how well the kids participated and how long they stayed engaged. After a while we cleaned up the kitchen and the kids started to disperse. Steve and I were reveling in our ideal lazy family morning.
And then we received a tragic phone call. Our neighbor/friend had just passed away while on a work trip and his wife was unconsolable next door. Steve and I dropped everything. When we walked in that door, we had no idea what we would face. Suddenly the phrase, “Mourn with those that mourn” took on a whole new meaning for me and I saw a depth of pain I had never witnessed before.
Its hard to describe the emotions of my mind and heart on that blurry day but I remember a couple things that kept coming to my mind: the thought of Good Friday, the discussion we had just had with our kids just minutes earlier and my very favorite Easter quote I posted last week.
Our poor friend experienced her darkest Friday and it was almost unbearable to watch. We spent the weekend mourning with her and at the same time celebrating our Savior, Jesus Christ, and his resurrection – the day that changed everything. The day my faith and hope is built on.
Today at church, I listened to a children’s choir perform I Know That My Redeemer Lives. It brought me to tears as I thought about our neighbor and several close friends who are mourning a loss right now and what the resurrection means to them as they cling to the hope of seeing their loved ones again.
What struck me is how many times it says HE LIVES. He lives for each one of us.
My favorite line is at the end of the last verse, “Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives: “I know that my Redeemer lives!”
I know that my Redeemer lives. What comfort this sweet sentence gives! He lives, he lives, who once was dead. He lives, my ever-living Head. He lives to bless me with his love. He lives to plead for me above. He lives my hungry soul to feed. He lives to bless in time of need. He lives to grant me rich supply. He lives to guide me with his eye. He lives to comfort me when faint. He lives to hear my soul’s complaint. He lives to silence all my fears. He lives to wipe away my tears. He lives to calm my troubled heart. He lives all blessings to impart. He lives, my kind, wise heav’nly Friend. He lives and loves me to the end. He lives, and while he lives, I’ll sing. He lives, my Prophet, Priest, and King. He lives and grants me daily breath. He lives, and I shall conquer death. He lives my mansion to prepare. He lives to bring me safely there. He lives! All glory to his name! He lives, my Savior, still the same. Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives: “I know that my Redeemer lives!” He lives! All glory to his name! He lives, my Savior, still the same. Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives: “I know that my Redeemer lives!”
Several years back, Steve and I were asked to speak on Easter Sunday. It sounds cliche to say, but I was grateful to have spent so much time studying the life of our Savior, Jesus Christ on the final week of his life. This year I find myself in the same position, yet again speaking on Easter Sunday (of course with a different topic, although still related to Jesus Christ) and I’m once again grateful to have put so much effort into studying as we come into Easter. Although Easter is not one of my favorite holidays as far as traditions are concerned, it is one of my favorite holidays as I focus and reflect on things far more important in my life. This has been and is still my very favorite quote in regards to Easter.
I hope those that are heavy with sorrow and pain and heartache feel some peace this weekend as they celebrate Easter and more importantly celebrate Jesus Christ. He brings hope and clarity to my life and I love the opportunity to focus on Him. Happy Easter.
I would consider myself a fairly craft person, but I know my limits and I am not that fun mom that pulls out the dye and lets the kids go crazy dying eggs. It’s far too stressful and chaotic. However – I’m a huge fan of using markers to decorate eggs – and I’m a bigger fan of decorating wooden eggs that stay cute for years to come!
Here’s what you need:
I found 2 1/2″ wooden eggs on amazon (here), some leftover Rustoleum stain in classic gray and the same Sharpie oil-based paint markers (here).
Stain your eggs your desired color and let dry completely. Using the paint markers, go to town making all sorts of fun designs. I found that on some areas of the egg, the paint really seeped into the egg and I had to go over it a couple times to make it pop. I’m assuming if you sealed the eggs after staining you wouldn’t run into this problem.
You could also paint the eggs white and use fun color sharpie markers to decorate them. Either way – the kids (and moms) will stay entertained for a while!
Easter Sunday was uplifting and quiet. Not quiet like the way you would normally assume – I’ve got 5 kids and we met up with extended family. The volume of the noise was definitely not quiet. But it was a reflective day and even during the evening, as the sun tucked behind the horizon, I watched the kids play with their cousins and continue to explore their newly found eggs, I was quiet. I was in my “thin place” as I observed all that was going on around me but didn’t feel the need to participate or be in conversation to enjoy it.
I am grateful for those quiet moments in a loud world. I am grateful for Easter and all that we’ve studied as a family as we prepared for this special holiday. I’m grateful for my Savior and His atoning sacrifice for all my shortcomings and fears and worries…and everything else I’m willing to unload on Him. It’s been a good week and Sunday was the culmination of it all.
These kids are learning that the faster they smile and take a nice picture, the sooner they can run off and play. It’s taken a while to get to this point and Briggs is still learning the ropes.
Steve’s brother and sister-in-law have hosted Easter for years and I’m so happy every year that they’re willing to do it again. They make it nice and elegant (which can be hard for a crowd our size) and the setting always fosters great conversations. Whether they be lighthearted and laughing or personal and introspective. I usually get pictures of all the tables – this year I got this shot. Hallie has made it to the older kids table and she played it cool – and didn’t spill anything! 😉
Briggs found an egg, yep – only one! Once he found that egg and shook it he realized it contained candy. There was no convincing him of hunting eggs after that. He was happy with the candy in his hand.
We’re happy to have Steve’s parents home from another mission in Africa. Here are some of the grandkids – including two “grandkids” that married into the family and one great grandbaby.