Lauren and Mikaela--identical twins living on opposite coasts--blog about the story of life and their adventures in faith.

3.25.2016

Purposeful Easter

I ponder traditions a bit more, now that it's up to Joel and me to make them happen! Easter has so many fun traditions (dyeing Easter eggs, receiving Easter baskets, enjoying church breakfasts, and gathering with family and friends), but I especially cherish the more meaningful moments that point me back to Christ and His resurrection.



{1} Good Friday Service

Growing up, Ron and Sandi (my grandparents in everything but blood relation) always took my siblings and I to a community-wide, midday Good Friday service. This is such a beautiful tradition, because it helps me to slow down and pause on Good Friday. In the midst of busy Easter preparations, it's a time to contemplate the sorrow and suffering my Savior endured on my behalf.

{2} Resurrection Cookies

Find the recipe here, which guides you through making meringue cookies in which each ingredient symbolizes an event in the arrest, crucifixion, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. 

{3} Resurrection Eggs

I love how easy these eggs make it to focus on Christ's sacrifice for us in the days leading up to Easter Sunday! Each adorable egg has a miniature object inside representing a part of the story. Children love opening the eggs and finding the treasure inside! I saw them at Hobby Lobby this year, but you can also order them online

{4} Easter Garden

My Mom makes a lush miniature garden every year, usually incorporating hyacinths and pansies into her recreation of the tomb scene. Easter morning brought the excitement of waking up to find the stone had been rolled away--and the tomb was empty! Learn how to make one here and here

{5} Passion Play

Attending a local play is such a great way to refocus on the agony of Holy Week and the joy and hope of Easter Sunday!

{6} A Graveyard Walk

We're planning to begin this tradition this year, made all the more convenient by the fact that we live mere blocks from a 150 year-old cemetery which holds more than 34,000 graves. Cemeteries are sobering places, but did you ever consider how Jesus' disciples and followers spent a good deal of time tombside on the day Christ rose from the dead? Seeing so many markers representing so many souls now absent from their physical bodies is also a reminder of how our Lord conquered death--and the victory Easter brings to every person who trusts in Jesus Christ as his Savior!

What are your Easter traditions? I'd love to hear them!


Past Easter Celebrations:



Good Friday Blog Posts:




Photo Credit

3.18.2016

What Would You Do for $13 Million?



 
Yesterday I learned of a baseball player who made a decision that is inciting both controversy and passion, and I am fascinated.  Adam LaRoche is a White Sox player who I (an admittedly sports-illiterate person!) had never heard of before I read this article.  But as I read I was inspired by this man who brought his son to baseball practice every single day.  His 14 year old son would clean cleats, help out, and just watch his dad, and last year the Chicago Tribune dubbed him the team's "26th man." 

But recently, Adam's boss gave him an ultimatum: he had to reduce or eliminate the days he brought his son in with him. (After all, the boss reasoned, where else can you bring your son in to work with you?) Adam LaRoche chose to retire early, losing out on $13 million dollars left in his contract.

$13,000,000. 

The story is still unfolding, but nevertheless I am blown away by what his decision proclaims to the world. After all, this is not an issue of right or wrong.  It would certainly not be morally wrong to simply reduce the number of days his son came with him.  But Adam faced a choice, and he knew his decision would send a clear message of who or what he valued. 

If Adam had allowed the promise of personal gain to keep his son home, he would have been admitting to his son what really mattered to him and what really controlled him.  He would have been saying that he prioritized his son when nothing better was on the horizon, but when money was on the line his son took second place.   The reason we are even talking about this situation is because Adam didn't do that: he "put his money where his mouth is" in the most literal turn of that phrase.

And even $13,000,000 could not change his mind.

How strong am I--how strong are you--on the beliefs that are a core part of who God made us to be and that equip us to fulfill the mission He has given us?  Is there any rationalization by which we could be convinced to change those values for personal gain?  Let me put it this way: what is your price?

Can curious sideways glances keep you from praying before a meal?
How much money would it take before you agreed to skip church to take a job?
Does your family take backseat when better offers come along?

Adam LaRoche walked away from $13,000,000, and in doing so he made a powerful statement his son will never forget.  His son will never wonder if money is more important to his dad than he is.  His son will never question whether or not his dad has a price at which his priorities will implode.  His son will never doubt that his dad means what he says.

But I am convicted because I wonder if I would have been bought out for a lot less.  And as painful as it is to think about, every time we are bought out, we negate to the world who watches the sincerity of everything we have done before. 


If my life values are not important enough to withstand the pull of personal gain, then how much did I ever truly value them?


A plaque in my room reads in bold, all capital letters: "If you stand for nothing you will fall for anything."

So ask yourself honestly what you stand for: Would 13 million dollars be enough to buy you out?

Sources: http://www.foxsports.com/mlb/story/adam-laroche-chicago-white-sox-retire-ken-williams-son-clubhouse-drake-family-031616
http://abcnews.go.com/Sports/adam-laroche-white-sox-manager-told-bring-son/story?id=37758766
“A Great Moment at the End of a Great Season,” ©2011 clappstar, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/.

3.15.2016

Backwards Contentment


If youth and old age could be combined into one non-contradictory person (think: Energizer Bunny with a brain, or Labrador puppy without a penchant for chewing and jumping), we would have it made. I've often wondered why it is we can't have both. Why do I have to make all the amateur mistakes now, when I've got the energy to go 70 miles per hour?

Yet somehow, with increasing smarts and wisdom (because, although I am most definitely not on the honor roll for Life Lessons Mastered 101, at least I have progressed from my 15 year-old self) comes increasing wistfulness. I first noticed this, not in myself--because who notices flaws in himself first?--but in the scores of sweet middle-aged women who ooh and aah over my baby. Every single one of them says some variation of, "Enjoy this time! It goes by so fast! It seems like mine were that age just yesterday, and now they're 27 and 31!"

To all the middle-aged mothers out there, I am trying, I promise! You tell me the days go by incredibly fast, so I am doing my very best to savor every nighttime feeding, every sleepy morning smile, and every splish-splash in the bath. But I find in myself the very real tendency to be "backwards content." I don't think this is just a mom problem, because it's not only a struggle for me with my nearly seven month old who is sitting up, waving, and eating avocado (how? how did we get here so fast?), but also in many other areas of life. High school seemed interminable until I was finished and could look back with satisfaction. Getting married would neeeeveeeerrrrrr happen until it did, and now I wonder how my single years went by so fast. My body was never quite perfect; then I had a baby and I became perfectly content with my body...the way it used to be. Somehow, being content is always easier in retrospect.


Maybe there is no cure for this. Maybe every woman everywhere will look in the mirror and criticize her appearance at the age of 20 and then long for that appearance at the age of 40. Maybe every woman everywhere will wish for a good night's sleep, or a nicer house, or a new stage of life, but when confronted with that very wished-for thing, will look back with contentment upon the interrupted nights of sleep (representing precious wee ones crying in the night), the small house (representing close proximity with loved ones), or the old stage of life (representing productivity and energy). 

And then I met a woman at Wegmans (no, you don't have them on the West Coast, and yes, they're awesome) who was adoring Liam; he, in turn, was giving her priceless smiles and giggles. She repeated the exact same mantra in the exact same way. Except she kept going. After the "just yesterday" bit, she said, "My son is 14 now, but 14 is such a fun age too. I'm so proud of him, you know? It's just cool to see your children growing and learning and becoming more independent. You'll love that stage too." I admired this woman for her ability to love the past and embrace the present--a delicate balance.

I don't think the situation is hopeless. I think it is a beautiful thing to look back upon life with contentment. Hindsight is 20/20 after all. But I think it is an even more beautiful thing to embrace the here and now with vigor and delight. Maybe that's what all these older, wiser women have been trying to tell me all along.

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