Saturday, March 30, 2013

Palm Sunday

We had a great Palm Sunday, how about you?
Of course it started out with kids waving palm branches. :)
There hasn't been young kids in this church in quite a while, so we tried to keep it a surprise from as much of the congregation as possible and then march them out while they were singing.  Fun stuff. 
Then Noah got help lead his favorite song, "Hosanna."  You can't hear it well, but he sang every word! (He really did pick this as his favorite song on his own, without persuasion from his Easter-loving mom. :)  Ever since he heard it last Palm Sunday he has loved it and asks to sing it every day.)

Remember all those kids that came last week?  Only 2 came this week, the 2 that have families that come every week, and one is Noah...  that is pretty typical for this ministry.  It is kind of hard not to be disappointed and makes it very hard to plan, but that is just how it is.  But we did have a couple of sweet boys visiting for the week.  And we always have a good time, no matter how many are there.
We talked about what "hosanna!" means--save us--and acted out Palm Sunday.

When it was Noah's turn to be Jesus his buddy said she wanted to be the donkey and Noah was happy to go along with that.

We talked about what "Holy Week" is and some of the other things that happened, including reading about Jesus washing the disciples feet out of one of our favorite books ever, the Jesus Story Book Bible.  Then to talk about Good Friday I read another of my favorite books, "The Tale of Three Trees."  If you have never read this book, you are missing out!  The tie-in to Good Friday is that one of the trees is made into the cross. . . "And every time people thought of the third tree, they would think of God."

We also made these really cool crosses where you fold a paper and then make 1 cut and unfold it to a cross shape.  (It's really not very hard either!)
The cross can become this giant symbol of sin and a way to talk about feeling bad for your bad and almost shaming people into following Christ.  Don't get me wrong, realizing the weight of our sin and that we need Jesus and what he did is absolutely necessary, and it scares me how that sometimes seems to be left out these days.  But if we leave it there and make that all the cross is about, I think we are kind of missing the point.  I am a big fan of the cross as a bridge analogy.  Because what was accomplished through that "paying for our sins" thing was the way for us to get back to God, for God to have what He wanted in the first place--to be with the children he created and loves.  I asked the kids to think about the idea that God really likes them, not just loves them.  I know the word "like" doesn't sound very Sunday School-y or theology-y, but it's true.  God wants to be with us; He made us to have a relationship with Him; He really likes us.

Monday, March 25, 2013

A day in the life

Just for fun (and for my own memory keeping benefit...), I am throwing out a "day in the life" post with some details (and of course pictures) of what a pretty typical day includes for me at this time in our lives:

Using the beautiful sunshine to grow an Easter garden and raise bread dough (Those things go together, right?  They do in my life.)
Making that garden and bread dough with the help of a 3 year old.
Playing baseball with a big plastic ball and a mesh strainer "bat", complete with Nemo baseball hat.  Yes, I also had a turn with the bat and he insisted I wear the hat too.

With the cutest little spectator looking on. 
Oh man, I am thankful for that bouncer!  She loves it!

Playing out in a yard that looks like this on March 22:
We sat on a huge pile of plowed snow and pretended little chunks of snow were different kinds of food, which is hilarious when you are 3.  And sang songs from Vacation Bible School, because any time is a good time for that.

Browsing Pinterest. . .  can someone explain to me why it is so addicting? But hey, I did find another good idea for Sunday School and a yummy roasted cauliflower soup recipe to make for supper.

Making another "Jesus egg" to add our Easter tree.  When I was explaining that "King of kings" means the best king ever, Noah gave me a big hug and told me I was the best mom ever.
Listening to Noah "read" me the Easter story which included: "Then the angles plopped down and told the people, 'Don't be afraid!'"  And something thrown in there about Bethlehem because every story he tells has Bethlehem in it.

Realizing once again that there is some truth to the saying "boys will be boys" and it is okay, as Noah becomes more and more interested in anything with heroes and fighting and "bashing" as he likes to say. . . For example he loves the story of David and Goliath and I found myself actually saying today, "We are not talking about Goliath; we are talking about Jesus."

Spending as much time as possible looking at this 6 month old cuteness, because that cuteness looks a little older every day.
Feed the baby, change the baby, and repeat.

Continuing in the joys of potty training, which included sitting with Noah in the bathroom for half an hour until he FINALLY pooped in the toilet, and answering questions like, "is it okay to toot in underwear?"  Although after we finished said half an hour in the bathroom and as I was cleaning him up he gave me a big hug and said, "I love you!"  So I suppose even potty training isn't so bad.

I was going to start this post with something about how ridiculous it is to ask a stay-at-home mom, "what do you do all day?". . .
I love what I do and think a day in my life is pretty awesome.
The end.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Happy Passover!

Sunday was an awesome day.  For Sunday School I prepared a lesson about the Passover and we actually led the kids through parts of a Seder meal.  And then kids actually showed up, 10 of them!  And enough help to handle them all, age ages 2 up through teens.  It was awesome.
I love the whole concept of the Passover; it is so rich in meaning in it's original intent of remembering the Exodus and everything that God did there, and how it points to Jesus Christ and how he used it Himself to explain what He is all about.  Communion isn't just Communion, it has it's roots in the Passover folks.  And the whole Last Supper thing that we make such a big deal about especially this time of year--Passover.  And I love how directly in Scripture it says that the point is to be teaching this stuff to your kids, to pass on truth to the next generation, to do it in a way that is special and significant, because they can handle that and are worth the effort.  Okay, so that is with a little bit of my own interpretation/heart coming through, but it really does say to pass it on to the next generation.
(In one of my college classes one of the big assignments was to teach the class for the day on pretty much any biblical theme.  My friend and I chose to teach on the Passover; I don't really remember how or why we picked it, but I learned so much through that and go back to it often and I suppose that's one reason I like it so much.  Plus we did a fabulous job, if I do say so myself.  There might have been a mock slaughtering of a stuffed lamb with red crepe paper "blood" that was taped, I mean spread, on a doorframe.  And it is true that you learn more when you have to teach it.  So thanks, Dr. Gale.  And you rock, Mel.)
So when I saw this lesson on Pinterest (how did anyone teach, parent, or plan anything without it, I ask you), I knew I had to do it.  Now I am the queen of tweaking a lesson plan (or changing it so much until it doesn't even resemble the original... that's why I usually just write my own), but this is very, very well done.  Oh, and I added in this really cool experiment (yes, found on Pinterest) to show what yeast does.  The first part of a Seder meal is to have the kids of the family find hidden pieces of bread made with yeast and then get rid of them, to remember the whole "unleavened bread" thing of the Passover and to demonstrate Jesus' teaching that a little "yeast" of something bad can make a big difference.  So it fit it, mostly... and it is really cool. :)
I suppose I won't go through all the details of the rest of it, but seriously check out the link to that lesson if you have an opportunity, oh and read it in Scripture--Exodus 12 is the logical place to start.
And of course I have some pictures. :)  And did I mention it was an awesome day?  The Passover, getting to teach about the Passover, kids, and maybe a little bit of Hebrew thrown it there (as in Hebrew the language, which I also love; yes, I know I'm a nerd, but it comes in handy sometimes)--I was in my element.  And I have to say that the kids did GREAT.  This was quite a bit more sitting and listening than I typically have in a lesson, plus trying some weird food, and they did just great.  Okay, who prayed? :)
 Look at all those kids!!
 Trying some matzah, they were such good sports!

 So precious

Awesome day!

P.S. Will you please join me in praying that these kids keep coming back to church?  And bring their friends. :)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

A tree for every season

If you don't know this about me yet, I kind of love holidays.  So I kind of go a little crazy.  (I have really good reasons, I promise; maybe more on that later.)  And no holiday is quite complete without a tree.  Can you guess what we did this week?  Put up our Easter tree, of course!  I got a new one, and it is really cool. (My hubby compared my face bringing it home to Noah's face when he recently saw a Nerf gun for the first time...)

I am adapting this idea I found on Pinterest and we are decorating an egg ornament each day with a different name of Jesus on it.  Thankfully Noah is just as into holidays as me and loves it. :)

Because we also needed a Valentine's Day tree:
A Christmas tree (duh):

A birthday tree:

A Thanksgiving tree:

And one time a "we're having a baby tree" which is how I told Corey I was pregnant with Lydia:

I'm not crazy, I swear.  Well, maybe a little.  But it is the good kind.
So, do you have your Easter tree up yet? :)