EggHeads

One of my favorite parts of cooking and dyeing eggs for Easter is getting to eat them afterwards.  I love hard-boiled eggs with salt and pepper, and I especially love egg salad sandwiches.

This year, though, for some reason, I am having the hardest time cracking and chopping the little guys up.

It’s like they are our little friends.  Friends don’t turn friends into lunch…

We had such a good time making these eggs and painting crosses with our special guest artist, DeeDee (my mom).

We love the fun traditions that we share as a family at the holidays, but the best part of Easter, by far, is celebrating the resurrection.    It was a morning full of praise, the picture of new life represented in baptism, and serious reflection on the loving sacrifice our Savior made for us.  It was wonderful to get to share that with my mom this year.

Don’t you love seeing all the bright, pretty colors that come out for this springtime celebration?  Mom stayed with us for a week, and she had to deal with the occasional sassiness from me during that time.  I can be such an egghead.  (perhaps this is why I struggle with turning my new-found friends into sandwiches…)  Thanks for your patience with me, Mom.  We had a wonderful time, and we miss you already!

Finally, I must close with a picture of my Easter cuties, who are not a bit eggheaded…

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Easter Victory

“And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.  At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.  The earth shook and the rocks split.”  (Matthew 27:50-51)

Good Friday.  The day we remember a dark day almost 2000 years ago, but oh, what a good day, indeed.  The day the Lamb of God took on the sins of the earth and paid the price for all as the ultimate sacrifice.  Our sins separate us from the Holy Lord.  He died for me.  He died for you.  We can never earn or deserve the grace that has been poured on us from our loving and merciful God.  If there were only one soul on earth to save, Jesus still would have had reason to hang on the cross.  He loves us all that much.  So much, that “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  (Romans 5:8)  But, Easter isn’t celebrated on Friday.  It gets better.

“On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb.  They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.  While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them.  In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?  He is not here;  he has risen!  Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee:  ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.'”  Then they remembered his words.”  (Luke 24:1-8)

We don’t serve a dead deity, we serve a living God!  (Hebrews 9:14).  He is not to be found among the dead, but among the living!  If I look dead to others, how can I encourage them to seek the Living One?  After Christ defeated the grave, He said to the disciples, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.  Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”  Our innocent Savior took the path of torture, pain and death so that we could follow with one thing – belief.  “That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”  What better time to share the good news than when we celebrate that truth?    Matt Maher’s ‘Christ is Risen’  says it all for me.  “Oh Church, Come stand in the light.  The glory of God has defeated the night.  Oh death, where is your sting?  Oh Hell, where is your victory?  Oh Church, Come stand in the light.  Our God is not dead, He’s alive, He’s alive!”  (see 1 Cor 15:54-56)  Happy Easter!

That’s How We Roll

This week in Awana Sparks, the kids are getting a movie night.  Not just any movie night, a drive-in movie night.  90 minutes of viewing pleasure in a cardboard creation (aka homework for parents!) that should resemble the vehicle of their dreams.  Martha Claire requested a castle car, but then downgraded to a carriage like Cinderella.  She is the middle child, and often just gets tossed around based on the demands of big sister and baby brother (who is not so baby anymore). 

So, Mom and Dad decided to compensate for their occasional neglect of this sassy little one by creating a carriage fit for the princess.  We are not perfect parents, but every once in a while we have a shining moment.  Sometimes there is only time for frozen pizza, sometimes we have to skip bathtime because we get home late, sometimes we are impatient, but sometimes we find ourselves spending a few seven hours working on the cardboard box car that she will sit in for a little over one hour.  Feelin’ like a princess every minute.  That’s how we roll…

Cereal for Dinner

An old friend of mine is wanting to keep in shape and stay healthy, and she has developed an accountability system consisting of several people in which we e-mail each day’s food and exercise to each other.  It is mostly to keep us honest about those 9:30 p.m. brownies and so that we can encourage one another in the efforts we are able to make towards exercise and taking care of ourselves.  This was my log from yesterday:

Morning:  Breakfast smoothie and Coffee                                                                                         Lunch:  Bagel with butter spread, Tangerine, Water                                           Snack:  leftover cookie cake                                                                                                          Dinner: Bowl of Rice Chex, 4 mini Quiches  (Girl Scout meeting night)

All I eat is breakfast food.  What is up with that?  Yes, cookie cake is totally a breakfast food.

The quiches weren’t even mine, they were brought to our meeting by another mom.  They were just the perfect ending to a day destined to be the day of breakfast food. 

I am not endorsing a diet that will end in diabetes and malnutrition.  Sometimes, a girl doesn’t have time to cook a steak.  The occasional breakfast bonanza won’t kill me.  Cereal is fortified with vitamins and minerals, after all.  I am the type of person who has to eat something, though, or I turn into a mega-mommy-monster.  There are some things we can do without, there are some things we cannot do without.  As busy and distracted as I can be, I have found that I need some good time in God’s word and in His presence. 

 Everyday. 

Not just squeezed into a busy schedule, it needs to be a priority.  “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”  Jesus speaking in Matthew 4:4, quoting Deuteronomy 8:3.  He was battling the temptation of hunger while fasting in the desert.  Can I just say that I am glad he said “bread alone”, recognizing that bread is a good thing.  There will be no carb-free diet for this girl!  As a matter of fact, we know food is a crucial thing, we need it to live.  We also need every word from the mouth of God to live.  We cannot get these words from Oprah.  They are given to us in Scripture.  If you need a good word, open His Word.  It is alive and active and sharper than any two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12).  It will feed you.  Even on cereal days.  Dig in!

Baking 101

One of the ladies in my bible study shared a wonderful analogy with us a couple of weeks ago, and as I was baking Will’s birthday cake I realized it was the perfect little opportunity to share it with you, illustrated and all.

Let’s say that each one of us is made up of ingredients like  flour, salt, baking soda, eggs.

On their own, these ingredients are not particularly tasty.  Flour is the foundation of the recipe.  Eggs, salt, leavening.  These are like some of the difficult or challenging seasons we have been through in our lives.  They flavor the recipe and hold it together.  There is also sugar, butter and vanilla.  These could be like some of the sweeter times or influences from good people in our lives.  But, still, not really delicious all by themselves.  (except butter…but, let’s not go there, Paula Deen)

Once these ingredients find themselves in the hands of a master, they are mixed together in proper proportion and then put in the oven.  Each recipe has a different temperature and time that allow for the ingredients to come together and form a finished product. 

A delicious cookie, or in this case, a cookie cake.  But, it doesn’t end there, because who doesn’t love a little frosting?  (in this case, the most delicious buttercream ever, trust me – I am not a frosting fan, but this is some seriously yummy stuff, and worth interrupting my riveting cookie analogy to tell you to try it, please!!!)

Now, most of us do not picture ourselves as car and train cakes, but that is what my little man requested, and I could not deny him, even for a prettier illustration.

God can take our ingredients, different for each one of us but perfect for our own individual recipes, and create masterpieces that bear the mark of their Master.  It’s not easy getting baked, sometimes we want to jump out of the oven before we are done, but that would just make us an undercooked mess.  Wait it out, the chef knows exactly what he is doing!

“Yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay,  you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.”  (Isaiah 64:8)

Roots

“Joktan was the father of Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah, Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, Obal, Abimael, Sheba, Ophir, Havilah and Jobab.  All these were sons of Joktan.  Shem, Arphaxad, Shelah, Eber, Peleg, Reu, Serug, Nahor, Terah and Abram (that is, Abraham).  The sons of Abraham:  Isaac and Ishmael.”  (1 Chronicles 1:20-28)

That’s a thriller of an intro, isn’t it?  How many of us have fallen asleep in the middle of reading a Biblical genealogy?  Or, worse, have been asked to read one aloud?  Good luck pronouncing ‘Arphaxad’ and ‘Reu’!  Yet, the Bible is littered with these Hebrew genealogies.  They are the family records of the nation of Israel, and held significant importance to them in being able to prove their descendance from Abraham with whom God made covenant.  They are not just extra words or filler, they are intentional, as is all Scripture.  (see 2 Timothy 3:16)  These genealogies represent the significance of where we come from as individuals, and that resonated in my life this week as we buried my paternal grandmother.

As her grandchildren, we always knew her as “Grammy.”  She battled Alzheimer’s for almost two decades.  As of eleven years ago, she no longer recognized her grandchildren, so most of my memories of who she was are seen through my childhood eyes.  My father’s family lived in Hong Kong for a decade in his youth, and her home was decorated with the many beautiful things they collected while they were there.  I always had the impression she lived in an Asian museum of sorts.  She was a golfer.  She was an excellent Bridge player and instructor.  She loved to travel.  She had an Atari.  These are some of the things of Grammy I remember from my childhood.  I have to admit that I didn’t concentrate on more intimate details of my grandparents until I was older and less full of being a kid, and by then it was too late to get to know my Grammy better face to face.

I have since learned she was the youngest of seven children, all of them pictured here with my great grandmother.

Hard to believe that little one is my grandmother, front and center and very adorable.  Her parents died when she was seven years old, and she had a very difficult childhood after their death.  She was separated from her siblings for a couple of years, and her caregivers were not loving people based on impressions and stories she related to her children.  As a result, it is not a stretch to believe that she never really understood how a healthy family unit functioned.  She made choices and mistakes in life that hurt her husband and children.  But, she was also resilient and determined.  She was the Valedictorian of her high school class and then a stewardess for Pan Am airlines, a career that she took great pride in. 

This is all interesting stuff for me, but how does knowing all of this really affect who I am?  What do genealogies have to do with us all? 

As I took a tour of my family history in Erie, Pennsylvania this week, I was impressed with the impact my ancestors have made on my life, both directly and even more so indirectly.  Directly like in the physical qualities I inherited from them, my eyes or my hair.  Indirectly they have influenced me through the relationships they had with the people I do know and the things that I have learned from those relationships.  You can’t escape your roots, because they are part of who you are.  This was illustrated perfectly in the image of this beautiful Willow tree growing in the yard of one of my great grandparents’ former homes.

Colorado does not have trees like this. 

The trunk was five or six feet wide. 

Having grown up amongst the mammoth Live Oaks and Magnolias of the south, I miss being surrounded by these solid creatures. 

So, I took a bunch of pictures of a big tree because I’m a little starved for seeing them.  Bear with me.

Without roots, there is not a trunk, nor can there be branches.  The roots feed the whole tree.

I can’t help but feel like I come from some of those seriously twisted and bent branches sometimes.  I think a lot of us do.  We’re human. 

As hard as it is to believe, though, I am not defined by my gnarled, misshapen branches because I have a loving gardener.  As a believer and follower of Christ, my family tree is rooted in this truth, “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!  And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1)  As such, He can take all of my bent and twisted branches and they can be brought together into something beautiful, something that can one day be called an “oak of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.” (Isaiah 61:3)  That is what God desires all of our family trees to look like, a display of His splendor.  There is a lot to be said for getting in touch with our roots, and I said a lot!  Thanks for sticking this one out to the end.