Friday, April 29, 2011

Prayer needed

My Grandma had 8 screws put into her back this past Wed.  She has had back problems for some time now.  Please pray for a quick recovery.  At this time she is in the hospital and should be moved on Monday for rehab.  She is being stubborn and not willing do as the nurses and doctors ask.  She also is having some lung issues--not exactly sure what.  Pray that she, Papa, my mom, aunt, uncle and all the other family members will have patience through this healing process.

Monday, April 25, 2011

New Meaning

Resurrection Sunday (Easter) took on new meaning for me this year.  I know that because of Jesus' death and resurrection I will one day spend eternity with Him.  This year it just seemed so much more real knowing that Jamie is with Jesus because He over came death. 

We went by the cemetery on Sunday after spending the day with Josh's family.  It was our first time to see Jamie's headstone.  It has been in for sometime now, but we just hadn't gone by.  Jackson and I talked about how Jamie and others who believe or not in the ground, but in heaven.  It was a nice time for our family.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Resurrection Cookis

Resurrection Cookies

Families can use this classic, interactive recipe at home the night before Easter.

Get Ready: You'll need one cup whole pecans, a baggie, a wooden spoon, one teaspoon of vinegar, three egg whites, a pinch of salt, one cup sugar, a mixer, a greased cookie sheet, tape, and a Bible. Heat the oven to 300 degrees.

Get Set: Place the pecans in the baggie. Let children beat them with the wooden spoon to break them into small pieces. Say, "After Jesus was arrested, soldiers beat him" (John 19:1-3). Next, let children smell and taste the vinegar. Put one teaspoon in a mixing bowl. Say, "When Jesus was thirsty on the cross, soldiers gave him vinegar to drink" (John 19:28-30). Add the egg whites. Say, "An egg can sometimes have a new life in it, such as a bird. Jesus died so we can live with him forever" (John 10:10-11).  Sprinkle a little salt into each child's hand. Let kids brush it into the bowl and then taste what's left. Say: "Salt represents the tears of Jesus' friends" (Luke 23:27). Add the sugar. Say: "The sweetest part of Easter is that Jesus died because he loves us-and then he came back to life" (Psalm 34:8and John 3:16).  Beat ingredients with a mixer on high for 12 to 15 minutes, until stiff peaks form. Say: "The color white represents how we become pure because Jesus washes away our sins" (Isaiah 1:18). Fold in the broken nuts. Drop by teaspoonful onto a greased cookie sheet. Say: "Each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus' body was laid to rest" (Matthew 27:57-60).  Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door, and turn off the oven. Give each child some tape to seal the door. Say: "When Jesus was sealed in the tomb, the world was dark" (Matthew 27:65-66). Tell children it's time to go to bed and ask how they feel about leaving the cookies in the oven overnight. Say: "Jesus' friends were sad to leave him in the tomb, too" (John 16:20).

Faith Talk: On Easter morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow! Say: "On the first Easter morning, Jesus' followers were amazed, too. The tomb was empty because Jesus came back to life" (Matthew 28:1-9)!

Holy Week

Practice with Parents
April 17, 2011
Background: Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem was during the Jewish festival, Passover, which celebrated God’s deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt during the Exodus. Many people travelled to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover, yet Jesus’ arrival was different. This festive arrival was the beginning of the end of his life. The symbolism of the Triumphal Entry passages (the name of this festive arrival) is striking. The passages indicate that the people around Jesus recognized him as a messiah, a deliverer, and a king. Jesus rode on a colt that had never been ridden (Mark 11:2, Luke 19:30). Being “un-ridden” symbolized purity, which was needed if royalty were to use the animal. Palm branches were used to welcome Jesus. Palm branches were a symbol in Jerusalem that indicated hope. Cloaks were spread on the ground (Matt 21:8, Mark 11:8, Luke 19:36), which is something that would have been done for a king (e.g., 2 Kgs 9:13). People cheered, “Hosanna!” (which means, “please save us!”) and they called him Son of David (which means he’s a royal figure; Matt 21:9, Mark 11:9, John 12:13). (John H. Walton & Kim E. Walton, The Bible Story Handbook, 303-305)
Scripture Emphasis: Matthew 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:28-40, John 12:12-26
Activity: Read the Triumphal Entry passages as a family. Ask your children why it was important that Jesus rode on a donkey, people called out to Jesus, waved and laid palm branches at his feet, and spread their cloaks (outer coats) on the ground. (Jesus was recognized as Messiah, Savior, and King.) At this point in the story of Jesus, things are about to change. For this short trip into Jerusalem, Jesus was hailed as king. Soon, this declaration of kingship will have him killed. But today is a day of celebration. After reading the passages, discuss what was similar and what was different. Have your children choose how to reenact the story, and dress up, grab some palm branches, and act out the story together.
Prayer: God, thank you for sending Jesus to Earth. Help us to remember who he really is and to continue to love him more. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Practice with Parents
April 21, 2011 (Maundy Thursday)
Background: Jesus celebrated the Passover meal with his disciples. We call this meal the Last Supper. During this meal, which is recounted in all 4 gospels (Matthew 26:17-29, Mark 14:12-26, Luke 22:7-20, John 13:1-30), Jesus gave new significance to the bread and the wine. It was common during the Passover meal for the person who blessed the bread to then break it as a sign that the meal had started. Jesus changed that tradition a bit by telling his disciples that the bread was his body. He said that the wine was his blood. In Luke 22:19 Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of me.” The bread and wine serve as a reminder that Jesus’ body was killed and blood was poured out for the forgiveness of sins. (John H. Walton & Kim E. Walton, The Bible Story Handbook, 303-305)
Scripture Emphasis: Matthew 26:26-29
Activity: Have some flat bread and grape juice prepared. Read the story of Jesus’ Last Supper. Explain to your children that this meal was something special that Jesus shared with his disciples. Just like we do things to remember people who have died, Jesus wanted us to remember that he died to pay for our sins. When we have the Lord’s Supper (which is also called Communion or the Eucharist), we remember that Jesus died to pay for our sins. When you are old enough to understand this special thing we do in church, and when you decide to follow Jesus forever, you can also eat the bread and drink the juice. (If your child has made the decision to become a Christian, and you feel confident that he/she understands, bless the bread and juice and share in the Lord’s Supper together. If not, let the bread and juice serve as a visual reminder of Jesus’ sacrifice.)
Prayer: Thank you, God, for Jesus’ life, the things he taught, and that he was willing to pay for our sins. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Practice with Parents
April 22, 2011 (Good Friday)
Background: Good Friday is the day that Jesus was crucified. It is a somber day, one of mourning and darkness. Jesus died to pay for our sins. In the past, an animal sacrifice was required to pay for someone’s sins, and the requirement for animal sacrifices did not end. When Jesus became that sacrifice, he paid for our sins once and for all. Discussing death with children can be challenging, so it’s important to know how they understand death. Preschoolers (under age 5) do not understand death as final. We can tell them that Jesus’ body did not breathe anymore, but that good news would come on Sunday. 6-9 year olds understand death a bit more, and can understand that Jesus died on a cross. Keep in mind that they may be scared of death, so be sure to assure them that unlike everyone else, Jesus’ death was not final. 10 year olds understand death more fully and can comprehend the concept that Jesus died to pay for our sins. It’s important to let children know that Jesus’ death was not final, yet the concept that death precedes resurrection is important to discuss. (Theresa M. Huntley, Helping Children Grieve, 18-23)
Scripture Focus: Matthew 27:24-56, Mark 15:6-41, Luke 23:18-49, John 19:16-37
Activity: Talk about how Jesus was mocked, beaten, and put on a cross on Good Friday. Focus on the sadness and tragedy of this event, but leave out the gory details. Why did Jesus die on the cross? (He allowed men to put him on a cross so that he could pay for our sins. Jesus took all of the wrong things we’ve done to the cross with him. When he died, our sins went away too.) It is sad when people die. It was especially sad for the people who loved and knew Jesus. Even though today is a sad day, though, good news is coming. When people die, we don’t see them again. But this was not the case with Jesus. On Sunday, we’ll celebrate the good news!
Prayer: God, it must have been sad to let your son die on a cross. Thank you for letting him pay for our sins. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Practice with Parents
April 24, 2011 (Resurrection Sunday)
Background: Resurrection Sunday is the most important holiday in the Christian calendar. It is the day that Jesus was raised from the dead. Why is this important? Although many “prophets” died and stay dead, Jesus’ story ends differently. When he was raised from the dead, he conquered death. Because he rose from the dead, he can be with us in spirit and we can have new life. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” When a person decides to become a Christian, his/her old life (full of sin and bad choices) dies. He begins anew, all because of Jesus’ death and resurrection. That’s reason to celebrate!
Scripture Emphasis: Matthew 28:1-10, Mark 16:1-8, Luke 24:1-12, John 20:1-10
Activity: Attached to your Practice with Parents is a recipe for Resurrection Cookies. On the Saturday prior to Easter, prepare the cookies with your child. Talk about what each ingredient symbolizes and make the cookies together. On the morning of Resurrection Sunday, open the oven to see how the cookies turned out. You will have a big surprise in store!
Prayer: God, thank you raising Jesus from the dead. Thank you for the new life we have in Jesus. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Lent lessons

Here are more Lent lessons.  I am going to try and get the last ones posted in a more timely manner, but not promises.
Practice with Parents
Week of April 3, 2011
Background: Ash Wednesday was March 9. That was the day when Christians began the season of Lent. Resurrection Sunday (Easter) is April 24. That means that we are now in the middle of Lent, a season of preparation for Resurrection Sunday. Hopefully you are using this time to repent from sin and sacrifice something to emulate the sacrifice that Jesus made with his death on the cross. By sacrificing something you enjoy or do regularly, you can remind yourself of Jesus’ sacrifice. You can also signify to God that you value His sacrifice of Jesus more than you value the thing you chose to give up during Lent. So, in the middle of this Lenten season, let’s do a “check up” to see how you’re doing.
Scripture Emphasis: “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:1-2 (ESV)
Activity: Remind your child that we are in the middle of Lent (a time to remember the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross). Tell your child that it is time to do a “check up.” Just like when you go to the doctor to make sure you are healthy, God wants us to check in with Him to make sure that your relationship with God is healthy. If you and/or your child chose to give something up, talk about that. Ask the following questions: Have you stuck to your promise to sacrifice something during Lent? When you have really wanted what you gave up, what did you do? Have you spent more time praying, listening to God, or reading your Bible during Lent?
One great thing about God is that it is never too late to start over. He wants us to have a healthy relationship with Him, and when we mess up (or make bad choices or sin) He gives us a chance to make better choices. So, if you have not done your best to stick to the promise you made to sacrifice something during Lent, then you can start this week. Do your best to stick to it, and ask God and your friends and family to help you remember your promise. Your “check-up” is now complete. (Then give your child a sticker or a hug and remind him that if he continues to do these things, he’ll have a healthy relationship with God.)
Prayer: God, thank you Jesus’ sacrifice. Help us to remember to stick to our promises and to have a healthy relationship with you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Practice with Parents
Week of April 10, 2011
Background: When you think of God, what comes to mind? One of the things I think is how we relate to God, or how we treat Him. As Christians, we choose to worship God. This means that we take time to focus on Him, to praise Him, and to attribute our blessings to His goodness. God warns us, in the 10 Commandments, not to put any other gods before him. This means that we are not to put anything before God. The reflective nature of Lent allows us to see if we place any gods before the one true God. It allows us to see where our focus really lies, where we spend the majority of our time, and what we worship. This week, let’s consider this: Do we put God first or do we need to turn our focus back to Him if we have put something (or someone) before Him?
Scripture Emphasis: “You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God…” Exodus 20:3-5
Activity: Talk with your children about who they truly admire. Who do they talk about most? Which famous face do they recognize and know much about? Who do they spend time watching, listening to, or researching? God gave us rules to live by (called the 10 Commandments), and the first of the rules tells us to place no one (and no thing) before God. Yes, we may go to church on Sundays and say that we are Christians or that we love God. But do we really worship only Him? God wants us to spend time with Him in prayer, to worship Him, and put Him first. Where we spend our time and energy can show us what we truly value. This week, set aside time to worship and honor God only, and be cautious of putting anything (or anyone) before Him.
Prayer: God, thank you for giving us guidelines to live by. Please remind us when we put anything before you. We want to worship and serve you only. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Homemade glass cleaner

In an effort to be more green I have been experimenting with homemade cleaning products. One that has worked very well and is easy to make is glass cleaner. Here's the recipe:

1 c. water
1/8 c. vinegar
1/8 c. rubbing alcohol
1/2 T. cornstarch
1. Mix all ingredients in a small spray bottle (I used an empty Windex bottle that I washed out)
2. Shake
3. Spray on windows, mirrors, or any other glass surface
4. Wipe with a soft cloth or paper towel or even better newspaper
5. Enjoy your streak-free shine for pennies!
NOTE — You will have to shake the bottle every time because the cornstarch settles to the bottom.
TIP — I wrote the recipe right on the spray bottle so I wouldn’t forget when it was time to make more.