Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Saturday Salutes on a Wednesday

I had this fun collection of Easter-themed posts that I wanted to share last weekend, but life was full of fine arts competitions and travel and lack of sleep ;) and I wasn't able to get them posted.  Therefore, you get an Easter version of Saturday Salutes on Wednesday!

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Caroline has ideas for Celebrating Easter With Your Children.

I love the idea of doing a Resurrection Tree with kids in the weeks leading up to Easter.  I would do a few of the ornaments differently than what's listed, but I really like how Christina laid out the whole story of why Jesus came to save us.

I've used Homemade Resurrection Eggs before when teaching the Easter story to children at church, but it would be fun to do at home, too.

You know I enjoy doing scavenger hunts with my girls and here's an Easter Egg Scavenger Hunt.

Kim has ten fun Easter Games for Kids.

Hope the rest of your week is great!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Living in the "Yet"

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"Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls:  Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation."  ~Habakkuk 3:17-18

Sometimes it seems that nothing is quite going our way.  Maybe money's tight, a child keeps getting sick, a job situation is stressful, or there's a spiritual temptation over which we just can't seem to get victory.  Maybe our attitude becomes "Woe is me."

It's easy to get discouraged, to feel like life is against us and we're not prospering as we should.  But let's don't live there!  Let's take Habakkuk's approach; let's live in the "yet."  Let's rejoice in the Lord when times are good and still rejoice in the Lord when times are bad.  What's going on around us may not be good, but God always is!  There's always joy and praise to be found when we focus on Him.

Don't live in the despair of difficult circumstances; choose to live in the "yet" and rejoice in the Lord!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Easter Scripture Readings for the Family

We have just a few Easter traditions at our house - Easter baskets for the girls, pretty new spring dresses to wear to church (if we're able to find them in the stores in time!), and a special meal for Easter lunch.

This year we're beginning a new tradition that I hope will become a special part of the season because it points us to what Easter is all about - the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

For the week leading up to Easter, we're going to read passages nightly from each of the gospels about what happened in Jesus' life in the days before His crucifixion.

I wrote out a schedule listing the topic and Scripture passage for each night for seven days.  The eighth day has the gospel accounts of the resurrection and will be perfect to read together on Easter Sunday.

Day 1:  Jews Plot Jesus’ Death/Judas’ Betrayal/Anointed by Mary
    Matthew 26:1-16
    Mark 14:1-11
    Luke 22:1-6
    John 12:1-8

Day 2:  Passover/The Last Supper
    Matthew 26:17-35
    Mark 14:12-31
    Luke 22:7-38
    John 13:1-31

Day 3:  Garden of Gethsemane/Jesus’ Arrest
    Matthew 26:36-56
    Mark 14:32-50
    Luke 22:39-53
    John 18:1-11

Day 4:  Jesus Before Sanhedrin/Peter’s Denial/Judas Dies
    Matthew 26:57-27:10
    Mark 14:53-15:1
    Luke 22:54-23:1
    John 18:12-27

Day 5:  Jesus Before Pilate/Barabbas
    Matthew 27:11-32
    Mark 15:2-23
    Luke 23:2-32
    John 18:29-19:16

Day 6:  Crucifixion
    Matthew 27:33-56
    Mark 15:22-41
    Luke 23:33-49
    John 19:17-37

Day 7:  Entombment
    Matthew 27:57-65
    Mark 15:42-47
    Luke 23:50-56
    John 19:38-42
 
Day 8:  Resurrection
    Matthew 28:1-10
    Mark 16:1-14
    Luke 24:1-12
    John 20:1-20

If you'd like to print this Bible reading plan, I've made a printable PDF you can access through the link below.

Easter Scripture Readings for the Family

What other Easter traditions do you have in your family?

Monday, March 16, 2015

What I Need Is To Be Drawn Nearer


Though I've been a Christian for many years, I still find myself at times seeking my joy, fulfillment, purpose, and satisfaction from human relationships.

Though they care for me, my husband, children, other family, or friends can't meet my every need.

Only God has the ability to meet my emotional and spiritual needs.  He knows me best and loves me most.  It's only by drawing nearer to Him that I can find total rest in my soul, realize my full potential, and have lasting peace.

I am Thine, O Lord, I have heard Thy voice,
And it told Thy love to me;
But I long to rise in the arms of faith
And be closer drawn to Thee.


Consecrate me now to Thy service, Lord,
By the power of grace divine;
Let my soul look up with a steadfast hope,
And my will be lost in Thine.


O the pure delight of a single hour
That before Thy throne I spend,
When I kneel in prayer, and with Thee, my God
I commune as friend with friend!


There are depths of love that I cannot know
Till I cross the narrow sea;
There are heights of joy that I may not reach
Till I rest in peace with Thee.


Draw me nearer, nearer blessed Lord,
To the cross where Thou hast died.
Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer blessed Lord,
To Thy precious, bleeding side.


~Fanny Crosby

All my insecurities are lost when He empowers me, when I know He will never leave me nor forsake me.  Spending time in prayer and studying His Word leads me to better know the Savior Who died for me and with whom I will spend eternity.

Friday, March 13, 2015

3 Truths About Money and Marriage

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I'm not an expert on marriage or money, but I know that the husband/wife relationship runs more smoothly when both people are in agreement on how to handle their finances.

Here are three truths I'm learning about how money works best in our marriage.

1.  Both partners should know what's going on with the finances.  There's no hiding shopping bags under the bed or a surprise purchase sitting in the garage.  Obviously this might exclude Christmas/birthday gifts, but even that works best for us when there's a general expectation of how much will be spent.  We've found that doing a monthly budget works well for us; then we know ahead of time where the money will be going and it helps us limit overspending.  One spouse may deal more directly with the daily handling of the money, but it's helpful when both have at least a general overview of where the money is going.

2.  It's all "our" money.  Right now, my husband is the sole breadwinner in the family.  However, he never makes me feel that it's "his" money; it's always been shared, even down to the decisions on how it will be spent.  Yes, sometimes it feels weird when I'm buying his birthday present with money he earned himself, but that's okay in this season.

3.  Working together toward a shared financial goal builds great unity in a marriage.  At the beginning of each year, we sit down together and write out a list of financial goals for the next twelve months.  It gives us direction for where our money is going and helps us delineate our priorities and dreams for our family's spending, saving, and giving.  Whether it's paying off debt, saving for a vacation, or giving to a missionary need, sharing the vision lets us encourage and help one another to reach the goal.

What other truths about money work in your marriage?

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

7 Life Lessons Our Child Is Learning from Team Sports



Not every child will play team sports. I didn't and I think I still turned out okay. :)

However, we really enjoyed seeing our older daughter get involved with her school's JV girls' basketball team this year.  She thoroughly enjoyed the experience and is already planning to try out for the team again next season.

While our daughter learned more about the game of basketball and how to run drills and execute plays, she also learned at least seven lessons that will benefit her as she goes through life.

1.  Teamwork.  This one is obvious, but don't we need to employ teamwork in every aspect of life?  On the job, at church, in our family, we all want to work together toward common goals.  On a team, you learn to cheer for and encourage fellow players and blend each other's strengths and weaknesses to accomplish what's best for the group as a whole.

2.  Empathy.  When you see a teammate on the free throw line with a chance to make the game winning shot, you can feel for her - her nervousness, or perhaps her confidence.  If she misses, you feel the letdown, knowing that might be you in another game.  If she makes it, you celebrate her success together.

3.  How to handle disappointment.  Our daughter's team lost their first end-of-the-season tournament game, which meant they were done for the weekend.  I could tell from her one-word text ("Lost") that she was disappointed.  Yet learning how to handle that on the court can prepare her to handle life's disappointments in the future.

4.  Good sportsmanship.  You win some, you lose some.  Being on both sides of the equation and learning to win and lose with grace is good experience.

5.  Overcoming difficulties.  Play through; keep working even when your team is the underdog or behind on the scoreboard.  Maybe you got a bad call from the ref, maybe you don't feel well, maybe you had a fight with a friend right before the game.  Focus on what you have to do in the moment and do your best to succeed in spite of the circumstances.

6.  Proper response to authority.  Whether or not you agree with his call, the referee is the ultimate authority in the game of basketball.

7.  The joy of winning.  Yes, she needs to learn to lose gracefully, but there's nothing like playing hard and winning, especially when it's been a close, competitive game.  Celebrating wins is a good habit throughout life!

What other lessons do you think team sports can teach our children?

Monday, March 9, 2015

Well-Adorned Children


I just had the privilege of having my sister and her three children in our home for a couple of days.

I'm amazed at all that my sister does, how she ministers to her family and in her church.  She encourages me with her dedication to and love for the Lord.  She and her husband are raising two little boys to be obedient, respectful, well-mannered gentlemen.  She also has a precious three-month old daughter. 

I have forgotten how much physical labor is involved in parenting little ones!  At 14 and 12, my girls can do almost everything for themselves.  Parenting at these ages is much more mental than physical (unless you count driving them to and from their activities :).

I talk often about seasons of life, but the past few days reminded me how true it is.  She's in the season of littles; I'm in the season of tweens and teens.  Yet whether our children are infants or young adults, we all want to see them love the Lord and grow into a relationship with Him.

Proverbs 1:8-9 says, "My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck."  

As parents, we are to instruct and train our children.  That instruction and teaching, done according to God's Word, can adorn our children with grace and bring blessings in their lives.  That's why we teach them to obey us; so that one day, they will obey God and His Word.  We work on their attitudes so that they can learn to face life and respond to its trials with the joy and peace of the Lord.  We demonstrate kindness to others so that they will learn compassion.  In every area of life, we can guide our children into wisdom and understanding.

Bible-based truths are the jewels, the adornments we want for our children to wear.  No matter what season we're in as moms and dads, let's ask God to help us rear children who will be well-adorned!