Happy Mother’s Day

Family Photo copyI just wanted to take a moment to wish each of you a day of rest and refreshment tomorrow. I pray it is a time of joy. For those of you who will struggle through tomorrow because of pain, loss, and strained relationships, I pray for you. I promise. You are not alone. I’m on the other side of this screen holding your hand and lifting your arms and praying you find peace.

As mothers, you are the bravest (and likely most exhausted) people I know, and I am so grateful for the time you spend with me because I know time is a precious commodity. While I may not know each of you personally, you are dear to me and I truly love to hear from you.

Please stop back by tomorrow to read a word of encouragement from my friend and fellow mama warrior, Katrina. I know it will bless you.

Happy Mother’s Day and God Bless!

Beyond Bunnies–Christ-Centered Easter Ideas for Families

Courtesy jannoon028 at freedigitalphotos.net

Courtesy jannoon028 at freedigitalphotos.net

Is Easter early this year or am I just late? Somehow I missed the last month, the month I typically spend gathering craft supplies, reading great Easter stories, and searching for new creative ways to make Easter fun and fresh and most of all Christ-centered for my kids. I wanted to gather my favorites over the last 15 years and put them together for you here. I wanted to make it easy for you to make Easter special in your home, but somehow life got in the way. It does that sometimes. Maybe if I start now I’ll be ready next year :-).

Still, Easter is important to me. So, I’m going to do my best to carve out a few new memories between now and Sunday and maybe you can find a sliver of each day to join us.

Here’s what we’ve done so far:

We’ve been reading Amon’s Adventure A Family Story for Easter by Arnold Ytreeide, so we’ll continue reading a chapter a day and finish Easter night.

Amon

I love this author and all of his books. They are captivating stories that younger ones can enjoy and yet delve deeply into spiritual truths. We’ll finish ours Easter day, but it’s okay to start now and finish when you can.

Resurrection Eggs are a must in our home.

celebrate-easter-resurrection-eggs-800X800

I love this activity that can be used with or without the book, Benjamin’s Box by Melody Carlson. One by one, the eggs tell the events leading up to the crucifixion and it all ends with an empty “tomb”.

Here’s what we will hopefully get to:

Crafts, crafts and more crafts from http://www.orientaltrading.com. These are inexpensive to buy, but can also be used as ideas to make your own. We haven’t gotten to this yet, but we will by Sunday and my little girls will tell me how awesome I am.

Well that’s it this year. We haven’t done anything earth-shaking yet and likely won’t. We haven’t made a crown of thorns or constructed a giant lighted cross. We haven’t even made our annual tissue paper cross to hang in the window. Still, I’m sure my kids will survive an uneventful pre-Easter and we’ll all still love Jesus when it’s passed. In the end that’s what matters.

Jesus.

Just Jesus.

All the activity is fun, but if we make a crazy dash to create the perfect Easter but forget how to look like Jesus in the process then what have we accomplished but hollow religion? And who says we can’t have a cross cake and make resurrection cookies next month or any other time of the year?

Happy Easter dear sisters and may you find Him in all you do.

This Christmas, Be Still

I got off the couch today. Not exactly an Olympic feat, but it was more than I could do yesterday. An unexpected back issue forced me into stillness. With so much to do and a growing holiday list, it’s been both frustrating and eye-opening.

I rarely stop. I wake up each day with thoughts swirling in my head before my eyes are even open. Before my feet hit the floor, I am already settling my heart as it is bombarded with burdens that plague it. Burdens for sick friends. Burdens for failing marriages. Burdens for difficult choices I need to make. And it is in the midst of these thoughts and weights that I often press through my day attempting to scratch through the list of things to accomplish. Sometimes I do a good job of praying for and receiving peace and sometimes I manage to do little more than catch my breath.

Perhaps you get it. Perhaps you also struggle to breathe some days.

So now it’s Christmastime. And here I am. Sitting. Thinking. Not doing. Not baking. Not crafting. Not entertaining. Just breathing. And praying. And realizing that the world is getting along just fine and that I need much more of this. I need time to be still. To be still and know. To be still and know that He is God. And that He really doesn’t need my help with anything. He just allows me to be a part of it. Each day is His gift to me, and it is not a marathon. I want to trust Him to do more and I’ll have to do less.

 

It’s really not that hard. It’s just a matter of coming…

14Fireweed-2

 

                                                        …and finding rest.

 

We’re all so busy. Especially now as we race to finish the cookies and the shopping and the Facebook posts before Christmas day. But every day we race past lost people. Hurting people. Lonely people. Tired and worn out people. And we don’t have the time to notice. Sometimes we are those people and we wish someone would see us. And yet, isn’t that really what Christmas is about? Not trimmings and treats. Not gifts and parties. But about God loving us enough to reach into our world and touch those lost, hurting, lonely, and tired and give them life. He did it once as a babe. He does it each day as a Savior.

If you’re like me, you don’t have to work hard at moving. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s just that in all my moving, I forget what it feels like to rest. I have to admit I’ve felt a bit guilty these past two days, like I’ve done nothing but waste time. And yet, there has been something refreshing about my time on the couch. Something holy even. Frustration eased and peace came. And it required nothing from me except being still.

This world is full of activity. It doesn’t need one more person scurrying along. But it does need one who is willing to slow down and look another in the eye and give a love-inspired, joy-filled, peace-bringing smile.

I hope that once I’m mobile again I don’t forget my couch lesson. I pray I remember to look up from my list and see those around me a bit more clearly.

God bless you with Christmas rest.