Saturday, March 30, 2013

Holy Week ~ How we're celebrating/How we spent our spring break

Spring break and Holy Week converged this year, giving me a chance to spend the entire week leading up to Easter at home with my kiddos.  My goal was to spend some time each day talking about the purpose of Easter and working through many of the Live Life, Love Lent activities that we had missed over the past weeks.  Here's what we spent a lot of our time doing!

'O taste and see that the LORD is good...'
Psalm 34.8
"We live in a world which whirls by at even increasing speeds.  Not only do we travel quickly, we do everything else quickly too.  There is nothing inherently wrong with this but it can mean that we go at such a speed that we forget to savour the good things that we have.  The ability to savour is a frame of mind, and if we become better at tasting our cornflakes we might discover that we get better at savouring other good things too, so...slow down."
Activity:  Take longer over breakfast and really taste your cornflakes (or whatever else you have!)
Slowing down is good!  I'm particularly enjoying the fact that during this Holy Week, the boys and I are also on spring break from school/work - allowing us all to slow down and really enjoy everything going on around us!  This morning we made an extra effort to do just that.  Instead of hopping out of bed at the last minute and sprinting off to the gym, I got up earlier, had a protein drink over my daily Bible reading (turns out today's reading was from Mark and talked of the Last Supper.  Coincidence?  I think not!).  After I got back, I stayed stinky for awhile so I could enjoy time with Justin before he headed off to work.  Then, I got cleaned up, and the boys and I worked together to whip up a new pancake recipe!  It was fun to take our time and cook together - no rush, no fighting, no yelling.  It made it so much nicer to sit down to breakfast together, say our prayer, and dig in!  I love getting to slow down...and so do they!

'And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4.7
"Peace is not something that can be instilled by command.  Indeed, it is often the case that the more that people tell you to be calm and relaxed, the more agitated and stressed you feel.  The peace that Paul talks about in Philippians is not the kind you need to work to achieve, it is God's and it will guard us.  We do not need to strive after it so much as to allow it to encompass us, more peaceful."
Action:  Listen to a piece of music that makes you feel relaxed.
Ha!  Getting a five year old and a two year old to relax and listen to an entire song?  Not going to happen!  But we tried, and it turned out better than I could have imagined.  Sure, they wiggled.  And talked.  And poked each other.  But they did it all while sitting on my lap, and I loved getting to be so close to my kiddos.  We listened to a song called You Make Everything Beautiful by Rebecca St. James (one of my all time favorite singers).  I love the message behind this song and getting to share that with my boys!
In my weakness You can shine
In Your strength I can fly and
You make everything, everything beautiful
You make everything, everything new
You make everything, everything beautiful
In its time, in Your time
It's beautiful

'See, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare...'
Isaiah 42.9
"One of the characteristics of human beings is that we often like things to be the same as they've always been.  Just think about how outraged you feel when they move the supermarket shelves around or change something you love.  Although we don't like it, change is important for us, because it stops us becoming stagnant and inert.  God is always doing something new, more open."
Activity:  Try something new, for example a different food or a new experience
So far, this entire week has been an experiment in trying something new.  First of all, it's spring break and my day care is closed giving me the opportunity to play stay at home mom all week (a new experience for ALL of us!).  There have been all these opportunities to do new things (crafting at the Artsy Cafe) and making new dinners and desserts.  Today, the boys and I tried our hands at a new cake recipe with homemade frosting.  Logan turned his nose up at the frosting at first.  I finally got him to take a lick, and I then had the opportunity to watch his face light up in amazement - it was good!  This week has been an amazing experience so far - I'm so looking forward to summer vacation now!

'For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do."
Romans 7.19

"Evil may be putting it a bit strongly, but so often we end up by accident doing things other than the good we intended to do.  It is so easy to get side-tracked, pulled into watching that bit more telly or to spend that bit more time on the computer.  We don't intend to, it just happens.  Sometimes all we need to do is to make the decision to do something different, some good that we meant to do but haven't, something different."
Activity:  Outside of work, have a screen-free day and do something different.
Today was one heck of a screen free day for us!  Well, the boys got a little TV this morning while I got ready, but we were out of the house by 9:30 and on our way to lunch, shoe shopping, and the zoo! 

After three hours walking around the zoo, we headed back home.  There was a quick stop at Subway for dinner, and then we were on to the church for our very first Maundy Thursday foot washing service!  I didn't know what to expect having never even really heard of people doing a foot washing before, but it was pretty okay.  Our church is laid back, so there's no pressure.  And they were very accommodating with my children...meaning they let them wash feet with the grown-ups and thought it was cute.  Oh, and they didn't complain when they ran around like heathens during Communion (oh boy). 
All in all, it was a great day to be away from the "screen" for a good chunk of time!
'[Jesus] said,..."Do this in remembrance of me."'
1 Corinthians 11.24
"Christians believe that Jesus is present with us when we remember him as he told us to.  This is a little like when we say that we know something 'by heart', it is more than just a memory in our brains, it somehow lives deep within us.  Special words known by heart can inspire, nourish and sustain us when we need them most as we recite them or bring them to mind, so...remember more."
Activity:  Learn the words of something by heart, for example a poem a prayer or a song.
'Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.'

I decided to look up the verse on my coffee cup and memorize it.  I intended to have Logan memorize it, too, but I ended up never really pushing the issue.  I am glad to have this one always with me though.

'Greet one another with a holy kiss.'
Romans 16.20
"Well maybe not a kiss - it would certainly surprise your neighbours if you tried to kiss them!  However, the sentiment remais.  So many people live in an isolated and lonely bubbly, with no one to reach out to them and understand who they really are.  Neighbours can be near us physically but a long, long way away in all other senses.  Being a good neighbour involves reaching out and being 'near' in more ways than just living nearby, a good neighbour."
Activity:  Say hi to your neighbours today or when you next see them.
It was in the mid-sixties Friday afternoon so we spent over three hours that afternoon/evening playing outside on our front porch and driveway.  We ate cupcakes, rode bikes, drew with chalk...and said hello to all of our neighors as we saw them!  I love that I have such open and friendly boys!

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- SMILE MORE
'O that we might see some good!  Let the light of your face shine on us, O LORD!'
Psalm 4.6
"Somewhat intriguingly, in the Old Testament, a phrase that is commonly used to describe the good things we receive from God refers to the light of God's face, as here, or in the well-loved blessing from Numbers 6.25, 'the LORD make is face to shine upon you'.  The phrase ties up blessing with smiling.  While smiling is no subsititute for doing good in the world, smiling communicates things such as warmth, love and joy, which are all part of God's blessing to us, more."
Activity:  Give lots of smiles away today.
Today was the perfect day to put into practice this particular activity.  Justin and I took the boys to a huge egg hunt put on by one of the local churches.  The place was complete mad house and, to top it off, it was chilly and rainy.  Generally, this is the perfect scenario to put me in a foul and snarly mood which, of course, always rubs off on the boys making them equally crabby.  But, NOT TODAY!  Sure, I struggle the first few minutes there as I was completely taken off gaurd by the crowd (and the fact that I left the boys' coats at home), but I remebered this activity, remembered that keeping a smile on my face (and my boys' faces) was the goal. worked!
Even when it started to drizzle, and I was feeling overwhelmed, I simply put a smile on my face for everyone I met.  And you know what, I had the boys smiling, too.  And, the more we smiled, the more fun we started to have!  It turned out to be a fun time despite all the chaos and confusion and cold and drizzle.  Proof that smiling goes a long way!

"or what woman having ten silver coins, if she loses one of them, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it?'
 Luke 15.8
"The point in the parable of the lost coin is that the woman cares so deeply for the lost coin that she will stop at nothing until it is found.  Of course in its context this parable is about searching for people that are lost and not just things.  So why not take this parable one step further?  And while you tidy a room or cupboard, pary for someone who is lost or who has lost their way, so...take care of your home."
Activity:  Tidy a room or a cupboard in your house.

Today we worked together as a family to clean up our whole house.  Justin and I made the bed and folded laundry (with Gavin's "help") while Logan worked hard to pick up and put away all of his toys.  Then we worked together in the kitchen to make dinner and wash dishes.  It was great to work together as a family to take good care of our home!

I know the way we tackled our Love Life Live Lent project was supposed to go, but I know after tonight that no matter how we went about it, we arrived at the same end goal:  we were able to focus our hearts and minds on the true purpose of Easter, on the sacrifice of Jesus and the miracle of the empty tomb. 

How do I know?

Tonight we sat down to for a dinner as a family.  Logan asked to say the prayer, and of course, we let him.  His prayer started out as usual.  He thanked God for his family, for the food.  He then went on to pray for the Easter Bunny...and then he thanked God for sending us Jesus.  He thanked  Jesus for rescuing us.  He thanked God for bringing Jesus back to life. 

And my heart nearly exploaded with happiness.  He's getting Easter.  Best Easter gift ever.

No comments:

Post a Comment