Friday, March 29, 2013

Little Joys, Day 3

Today did not start out as a day for joy.  Lb had a HORRIBLE night and managed to keep both Dh and I up for a good part of the night and then, the water that was slowly trickling in (we assumed it was a leak from spring - it happened last year and while Dh fixed last year's leak beautifully, it seemed like this was coming from a different spot) became more of a gush.  I was not in my happy place so finding the little joys was not an easy task.

Fortunately, I am married to an amazing man who ordered me out to walk the dogs and get some time by myself and immediately, things began to turn around.  I don't know whether everyone finds this but I love dog walking people.  They are so friendly, especially early in the morning on a holiday when we are the only people awake.  People look rough, stumbling around the field gripping coffees for dear life and hoping not to run into anyone who would judge our bedhead.  As usual, I met some lovely, coffee-gripping people and felt my faith in humanity restored someone.  Neither dog rolled in anything nasty or met a skunk either, so it was a good outing all around.

Our church was having an evening drama presentation so we opted to meet up with Dh's parents, sister and her husband and our niece at their church.  It was a great service and amazingly, Lb was really good for most of it (although, at the end, when it was at its most poignant, he did start loudly saying, "Go home, now."  I was hoping that people would think he was talking about Jesus :-)

After the service, it was decided that my niece, M, would come back with us for part of the afternoon.  I have to admit, that ended up being such a joy.  She's a sweetie, first of all and secondly, it always pleases me when we have unexpected company and I can pull it off.  I did not grow up in a home that entertained anyone outside of a few elderly aunts and for the longest time, I found having people here stressful.  I've worked really hard to overcome that because I do want to have a home that is welcoming and especially for the younger crowd, a place where they can come to feel safe and loved and accepted.  We had a great lunch and she helped us with several wonderful Pinterest Easter treats that will be more meaningful for her now at the family dinner tomorrow since she helped put them together.

 She also has a marvelous sense of humour and since it was her birthday earlier in the week, we bought cupcakes.  Unfortunately, it didn't occur to me to get candles but she willingly made due with a number 5.

The best part?  Dancing around the kitchen together to Harry Belafonte.  That's a memory that I will treasure.

Finding More Joy

I love Holy Week.  It's challenging, at times, but it keeps things focused in a way that I find harder to achieve at Christmas.  We use to have an amazing minister back in the city who knew how to "do" Holy Week like nobody else.  I can remember so many meaningful Maundy Thursday communion services, powerful Good Friday services and Easter sunrise services that really made me feel as if something fantastic had happened.  He had his eccentricities but he made it all so significant for all of us.

I love our church here but sadly, Holy Week just isn't the same.  I don't want to find another church so we are trying to make Easter more special.  I'm going to seem a bit like a hypocrite when I say that I want Easter to be focused on Jesus and than share photos of Easter bunny activities.  Honestly, there is a purpose to this.  Pk and Lb get treats and so I have made it a mission of mine to be sure that whenever they are getting, they are giving, as well.  We have done eggs for all of their good friends and we thought that last night would be a fun time for delivery.  Pk had the brilliant idea of wearing her bunny ears and Lb actually joined in the spirit of it all.  Other than a few moments of wanting to kill when milk was spilled all over the basket of eggs and caused some of the ink to run on the tags, we had a lot of fun.  My life seems to be overfull of those kinds of frustrations at the moment, which I why I am trying to hard to find the joy.  As you can see form the pics, we had a great time!

Another aspect of my attempts for make Easter Week special was our special Maundy Thursday dinner.  In the past, I have tried doing a Christian seder dinner, which can be meaningful but, as the kids are so young, usually ends up in being a bit of a exercise in frustration.  This year, I decided to simplify.  We watched out DVD Bible segment on Holy Week and I discussed the Last Supper with the kids while we watched.  During dinner, we included bread and "wine" on the menu and drank for special cups and we discussed why we would do that.  Pk remembered watching our ministers break the bread at church during communion and she wanted to do that too.

We ended the evening with some baking.  It was fun but also highly unsuccessful - we tried to make coconut macaroons as nests for our eggs.  Sadly, they ran all over the place and I discovered that Pk hates the smell of coconut (and was less than gracious about it).  At least we had fun.

This was probably the loveliest moment of the day - I love how much Pk loves her little rabbit.  I went in to take a photo of Pk and our friend's dog who is staying with us and when I uploaded the photos, I noticed the scruffy little rabbit face peeking out.  Everyone needs a friend like that.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Finding Joy

I went to our local Christian bookstore (I LOVE bookstores - I can't resist and I wanted to pick some things up for the kids' Easter baskets).  I try to keep Easter as Christ-focused as possible but I also don't want to turn into one of those joyless Christians who throw out all of the fun and make their kids think that to be Christian is to be dour and depressing (so, to all of those of you this week who have told me that you wish you didn't have to do candy at all and this is all just a waste, bah - my parents did the most Christian Easter of all when I was growing up and we still have chocolate and loved it).  Anyway, they had a sale on and I just had to pick up this book.

I'm a huge lover of hymns.  Many of my moments of closeness with God have come during songs (hence why you will so often see me crying during hymns in church).  This book was $5.99 and has a daily devotion tied to a hymn.  How could you go wrong?

Yesterday's reading was about joy and that we will approach the Father with gladness and singing.  I think I needed that.  If truth be told, while I have moments of joy, I do tend to be a "glass-half-empty" kind of person.  I get overwhelmed easily and while I keep going and to most people on the outside, I seem happy, I struggle a lot with feeling bogged down by life.  This reading lead me to a decision.  I am going to try to get back to blogging and to take at least one photo a day to capture something wonderful.  When I really think about it, while my house is nothing special and none of us are going to win a Nobel prize, I have so much and there are so many times in a day when I am amazed at just how lucky I am.   It's time to get myself more focused on capturing that.  

So, here goes.  Day 1.

LB woke up with a nagging cough and a VERY grouchy mood.  I debated whether to go to work and send him to daycare but after checking my sick days and seeing that I am o.k., I decided that I would stay home with him.  Me being home = sheer joy for Pk - we were able to walk her to school rather than her taking the bus.  I wish you could have seen how proud she was.  We took an Easter Lily for her teacher and for her sharing, she shared the book "The Parable of the Easter Lily" (Liz Curtis Hicks).  Pk wanted to take a very Jesus oriented book and while I agree that Pk should be able to do that (I would read it if something similar came into my classroom), I didn't think that was fair to spring on her teacher at the last minute so this wonderful book was a perfect choice - it let Pk share her faith without being too dogmatic for a public school classroom.  Pk marched along, telling every stranger in town that this huge plant (which she insisted on carrying) was for her teacher and that her brother was sick so her special treat was that mommy was walking her to school.

The sun was streaming through the trees, which just made my heart sing.

While LB watched his movies (that is the only way to contain him to rest), I worked on eggs.  And eggs.  And eggs.  I wanted to do something for the Children's Worship kids at church and luckily, Mamma Jenn posted a link on her page to some wonderful printable Jelly Bean prayer cards.  I filled each egg with jelly beans and we will hand them out on Sunday.

We also did eggs filled with chocolates and jelly beans for the Pk and Lb's friends.  I love doing stuff like this.