End-of-semester rush…

I won’t be around for a bit. I’m trying to dig my way out of a pile papers that needs to be graded. When I return, I will be free! Free to blog about yarn and fabric and oatmeal cookies and good books and farmers markets and tomato plants and rummage sales and graduations and spring walks…

A Look Back at Lent

Before we are too far removed from Lent, I want to tell you about our “Lenten Tree.”  The idea was not mine.  On Ash Wednesday, a little bare tree was positioned at the front of the sanctuary at church.  Throughout Lent, people were invited to come to the tree during the final hymn of the service to tie a colored ribbon on a branch.  Each color represents a different kind of prayer.  The tree that was barren is bursting with color by Easter Day.  Our prayers create the beautiful connection that we may have with God…the very reason for Christ’s birth, death, and resurrection.

So I snitched the idea for our house.  You may recall my Valentine tree.  Well, after Valentine’s day, the hearts were taken down, and my family began adding prayer ribbons.  I made an envelope of cut ribbons that sat on our piano.  I listed the color scheme on the outside of the envelope.  And little by little our tree filled up with beautiful prayers.  The most common colors were pink (for wisdom) and purple (giving praise).  These were mostly tied by me, and they truly reflect the place that I am in spiritually and emotionally.  My family is at a crossroads in many important ways.  My hubby is graduating this spring, and he is on the job hunt.  We’re trying to make a decision about our older son’s kindergarten arrangements for next year (made more difficult by the job hunt), and I’m contemplating re-enrollment in my graduate program for the upcoming summer session.  Over the last few months, I’ve spent a lot of time contemplating these major decisions, and I’ve needed God’s wisdom in these matters (since my own is so very short-sighted).  And through all that contemplation (a.k.a. worry), I keep reminding myself that I want (and need) to praise God for all the things that are certain (His love) and for the adventure and opportunity of all the unknowns.

As Holy Week progressed, I made plans for our fifth annual “Maundy Meal.”  It’s my own take on the Seder tradition of Passover.  The “Maundy Meal” is held on Maundy Thursday (Holy Thursday), and we use it as a way to teach our children about the Last Supper and the Jewish roots of our Christian faith.  This year I made my own matzah or unleavened bread.  We used hard boiled eggs to talk about new life (As you can see in the photo, our older son bit the tops off of the eggs while he was helping me make dinner!).  We had a bit of tuna to remind us that Jesus teaches us to be “fishers of men.”  We used the chopped apple (much as a Jewish family would do) to remind us of God’s provision for the Israelites as they escaped captivity in Egypt, and the green vegetables (We used lettuce and celery.) remind us of the new life in spring and in Christ.  We serve grape juice to remind us of the Last Supper and the blood of Christ.  After we talk about all of the elements and read a few short pieces of scripture, we have a regular dinner.  It’s a simple way to tell the story and prepare for the Maundy service later in the evening. 

So now we move on.  I can’t wait to share my photographs from our visit to the local conservatory last week.  I’ll have to wait until I have access to faster internet so that I can show you all the floral glory!

Easter

When I reclaimed this blog in September (after a long hiatus and a period of terrible blogging habits before that), I did not realize that I would grow so attached to the process of condensing my days into this wee space, reflecting upon the blessings and finding humor in the stumbles.  But…I have.  I couldn’t wait to share my Easter  happenings with you, my blog readers.  You are few, but I appreciate every comment, every hello.

We had a lovely Easter and a meaningful Lenten season as well.  I was more mindful of Lent’s presence this year.  I believe the positive change was due to the fact that I had to express the meaning of the season to an inquisitive four year old.  That task of translation was a helpful and healthy challenge.  How often do we hear that the best way to learn something is to teach it?

The Easter celebration was simple yet colorful.  A true celebration of life, gratitude, redemption, and mystery.  We colored eggs and made potato print cards on Saturday evening.  On Sunday morning we had hot crossed buns, sausage, grapes, and hot (decaf) tea before heading to Sunday School and church.  The worship service was beautiful, and I loved playing the bells along with the choir.

After church we spent time with my family.  In the evening, we made our way over to my husband’s side of the family.  Both houses were full of laughter, hugs, and too much good food!

New Life

Tomorrow, we celebrate new life, and evidence of starting fresh is all around us.  We’re busily tidying up the house so that we can do some baking and crafting this afternoon.  We’re making plans for a special breakfast to start our Easter morning off right before heading to worship.  We’ve been noticing the daffodils popping up in our neighbors’ yards and all around the university where we work and study.  We’ve found lots of ways to talk about the story of Jesus and His resurrection, and I’m looking forward to sharing some of our traditions with you in upcoming posts.  This morning, our older son said, “On Easter, Jesus swims through the air to get back to God.”  What an image!