Tuesday, April 22, 2014

It doesn't take much to be their hero...

It's a gorgeous spring day here. The grass is so green that it looks Photoshopped. :)

We got a some school done that was on my agenda, and some that wasn't. (I congratulated myself when I didn't rush them to finish up a puzzle of the U.S. that I'd forgotten I even had.) "Look, Seth, what is this state? Where does it go?"

When the wiggles were making me start to grit my teeth, I decided to take a break and head to Durant nature park. They ran pell mell through the woods like little puppies to get to the playground. This is the first year that Ben hasn't needed to be carried all the way, and it's the first time that Seth has read the trail signs without help.

You want to be a hero to your boys? Call to them as they play pirates in the woods, and tell them that they're getting "old Mcdonalds" for lunch. Better yet, have their baby brother tell them. Much cuter. And then watch them run for the van.

We hit not one, but two parks today. We ate at Annie Wilkerson and listened to the birds sing. Seth found the end of the fairy trail and told me about all the fairies he'd met and their homes. Evan picked up the flowers of a sweet gum tree and asked the naturalist there to identify it for him. We got some memorable, hands on nature study!

I texted David while we were there. "Thanks for working so hard to make it possible for me to be with our boys. We're thriving."

We are. :)

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Tenebrae and other misc. musings on Easter...

 Our first year doing an Easter tomb garden… Just a little grass seed and potting soil, et voila.

The roll dough is made and in pans in the fridge. The homemade ice cream is in the freezer, chilling, and the boys are upstairs noisily washing the sticky stuff off their bodies from licking the bowl. I'll make the green bean casserole tonight, and I'll put some jellybeans in a few plastic eggs and make up little Easter baskets. The Honey Baked Ham lies in state on the second shelf of the fridge. ;) Tomorrow we'll dress in whatever "church clothes" look most decent and head out to Easter service. (I'm finding out that I'm not the only one at our church that doesn't buy new clothes and do up big, elaborate baskets for Easter. And I'm grateful for that. Those things steal my joy and appropriate attention from Jesus, and I'm glad I'm not the only one.)

So this Easter, we decided to try and find a tenebrae service. My sister-in-law, Terri, really enjoyed the one that her church had when they lived in Minnesota, so I thought it was worth a shot. The problem is that evangelicals don't seem to do this kind of service routinely, so it was tough to find one. I asked around, but there was nothing close. Then I overheard a mom talking about her church at the playground,  and it was St. Marks Methodist near us. I asked if they had a Good Friday tenebrae service, and they did! Community Bible Study met there when Seth was a baby, so I knew a little bit about the church.

The service was exactly what I was hoping for. The choir sang "I Believe" while they stripped the chancel. This meant covering things with black cloths, taking off altar cloths, etc. It was moving to me, especially when someone took the vestments from around the minister's neck. It hit me that without Christ, we don't have the church, we don't have the people of the church, the ministers, the parishioners, etc. The other pieces didn't mean as much to me because those aren't a typical part our worship, but this felt a little like somebody coming up to our pastor and taking his Bible and microphone and telling him to leave because he had nothing to say anymore.

Most of the service was simply reading through the parts of Christ's passion from the book of John, and as the pastors read, they would pause and put out one of the many candles in front of them. At the end, the sanctuary was dark and quiet. One pastor took the tall candle out of its stand, walked away, and then there was a loud sound to symbolize the earthquake when Christ died. He brought the candle back, and it was left lit, alone, a tiny light in the middle of the dark room. We all followed the ministers out, and then he read the last passage, locked the sanctuary, prayed and then went out silently.

Evangelical Christianity has a lot of wonderful things about it, but I think there may have been an over reaction against symbolism and liturgy during my childhood. I know that symbolism can be empty, but that doesn't meant that it always is. Sometimes it is beautiful and meaningful, and the Bible bears that out in many places. I also wonder if, through concern that many mainline/Catholic churches focused too much on Christ's sacrifice to the exclusion of His victory, evangelical churches threw that baby out a bit with the bathwater as well. It seems like we almost never dwell on His sacrifice.

All that to say, I'm discovering something new to me (though tenebrae has been around since the 5th century) that has enhanced our understanding of Easter this year, and I'm thankful for it. A tenebrae service may become an Easter tradition for our family.

"He is risen!" And all reply, "He is risen, indeed!" :) 

 Easter mantel… found the printable on Pinterest :) 

Sealed sanctuary until Easter morning...

Friday, April 11, 2014

spring, my friends...

A little throwback to 2012. I was holding baby Ben on a picnic table when this was taken.

I just threw a wrinkled tablecloth on a crumb covered table. I pulled out 2 plates of the little fine china that I own, and I found some stubby white candles and pushed them into the crystal candle holders. While the boys tested to figure out which matchbox cars can fly the farthest, I cut up chicken and broccoli and strawberries. And then I threw them out the door with their grandparents… :) 

David and I haven't seen much of each other this week. It's been one of those nutty weeks that just flies by in a daze, and we've been a bit like ships passing in the night. We sent off some friends to a new home in D.C., and their loss will be felt. My parents came and played and took boys to a baseball game. I yelled during school and vowed that the schedule must become more relaxed to accommodate springtime wiggles. 

The pollen is so thick on the porch that my original plan to eat out there tonight had to be scrapped, but I made a cute Evite invitation for him to dinner at our place before that. I may forget to give him his birthday cards from me and the boys, but I can pull a baby rabbit out of my hat in this season of our life from time to time if it's only a baby one. :) 

After this long, long winter, spring feels like even more of a blessing. We learned about the myth of Ceres and her daughter today in Story of the World. The boys can tell the story, pomegranate seeds, six months underground, six months above, rejoicing and spring when she comes back, etc. But I couldn't help but think how much better God's story of spring is. The world was trapped in winter, but then God's Son died, renewed the earth, and breathed the breath of real spring onto the whole world. It is no coincidence that we celebrate the Resurrection when new life springs forth from the earth, and I'm so glad He planned it that way.

When I see the dogwoods bloom, that's what I think about. :) 

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

She said it better...

Ok, so I found this post today from Amongst Lovely Things, and she is way better at expressing my recent angst than I am. Go there!

I enjoy reading this blog. She's classically inclined like me, but she doesn't seem overly stressed out about it. It's a Catholic blog, and I think I find myself gravitating toward some of those lately. I think it's because the Catholics have lots of kids and seem to survive, so that's encouraging. :)

I also like to look at her pictures of her adorable twin boys. Because, of course, if we ever have another child, it would be twin boys. Hah!