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Now Choose Life

This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live- Deut 30:19 A 50ish woman who has chosen to live in the midst of tragedy and move forward by choosing life. Welcome to the journey!!

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April 15, 2019

Resurrection Eggs and my great reminder from them!!

Since I was working with our children at church this past Sunday, I decided to use Resurrection Eggs to help tell the Easter story.

I didn't know about these special eggs when my kids were little, but I remember watching as our children's minister at my church in Texas used them to help little ones remember the Easter story.

Resurrection Eggs are plastic Easter eggs that have a special object inside that represents an aspect of the Easter story. There are several versions out on the Internet so as you create, you can use different ideas. I decided to use a small cup as one of my objects.

A small cup can certainly represent the drinking of wine at the last supper. But, I wanted the small cup for one of my eggs to represent Jesus praying for God to let this cup pass from him. This is a big concept for kids to grasp, but I think it's like everything else. The more they hear it, the greater their understanding will be.

My issue became--What am I going to use as a cup. Keep in mind, I was thinking about these eggs all last week. I had every one figured out except the cup.

Luke 22:42 was heavy on my mind last week.

"Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me. Yet not my will, but yours be done."

In fact, I couldn't get it off my mind.

Thinking about Jesus facing something that in all his humanity he didn't want, weighed heavily on me. He knew the suffering that was before him. He knew the macabre emotions of taking on the sins of the world. He knew!! Yet, he still maintained his obedience to God that he had lived his entire life here on earth.

It took me back to dealing with something in my life that I didn't want. It took me back to having to come to terms with the death of my husband. I have told many people that coming to terms or accepting something that has happened in our lives that we don't want- that we never would have wanted- is one of the most difficult aspects of life.

I'm not comparing anything I've gone through to anything that Christ did or experienced. What I did this past week was use the only life experience I have had to try and comprehend what He was experiencing when he prayed this prayer THREE times. That's all that we can do in our limited human existence.

So through me thinking about this verse, I realized once again that no matter what I'm feeling, Christ truly does understand because he has experienced something similar. I realized once again, that He truly was completely human-- God in human flesh. And I was reminded once again that he is my ultimate example of how to live my life. The Christian life is about choosing obedience to God's will for our lives. Christ chose obedience every time- even to the point of death.

I'm committed to reading through the Easter story this week. I'd love to hear what you are doing to prepare for Easter Sunday!! What a glorious day it will be!!

Here are some pictures of my Resurrection Eggs and a little information about them.

12 Plastic Easter Eggs Numbered 1-12

Egg 1- Leaves- to represent the palm branches on Palm Sunday
Egg 2- Crackers- to represent the bread eaten at the Last Supper
Egg 3- Small Cup- to represent the prayer Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane
Egg 4- silver coins- to represent the 30 pieces of silver Judas received for leading the soldiers to                                           Christ.
Egg 5- rope- to represent Jesus being beaten
Egg 6- rose bush branch shaped like a crown. To represent the crown of thorns placed on Jesus' head.

Egg 7- a cross- to represent Jesus being hung on a cross.
Egg 8- nails- to represent the nails driven into Jesus' hands and feet
Egg 9- sponge- to represent Jesus' thirst and the wine vinegar he was given
Egg 10- spices- to represent his body being dead and prepared for burial (I used cloves)
Egg 11- a rock- to represent the stone rolled over the opening of the tomb, and then found moved                                  when the women went to his grave.
Egg 12- empty- to represent the empty tomb.

I was so moved by how well the children did with each of these objects. I had a wide age range, and even the little ones could understand most of what we talked about. It fed my soul to go over this with these children!!

So there you have it. I picked Luke 22:42 as my verse to contemplate this week. It's a powerful verse!!

April 08, 2019

What I Read- the weekend of my son's wedding!!

Our growing family!! 

If you love to read as much as I do, you MIGHT not think this is weird- I have found over the years that whatever book I'm reading on a trip somehow becomes part of the memory of that trip. I like to think that books and words become part of who we are when we read them. So, it seems logical that if I take a book on a trip, it becomes part of that trip.

2008- I saw a book I had never heard of at Borders- The Shack. When I read the cover, I was intrigued so I took it with us on my son's graduation trip to Costa Rica. I fell in love with that book and watched it become a national bestseller and great movie. I have memories of reading that book while laying out by the pool!!

2010- I read a galley copy of Columbine- about the Colorado school shooting. Published 10 years after the tragic event. It became part of my girls trip with my daughter, sister, and friends when we went to NYC the summer after my daughter graduated.

2012- I read Carol Radziwill's account of losing her husband to cancer right after losing her best friend and her husband's cousin JFK Jr in What Remains on a trip to Europe with my kids the summer after my husband passed away. Reading the words from a widow who had suffered a tragic event- several tragic events- gave me the strength to move forward.


So it seems very appropriate that I remember the book I was reading the weekend of my son's wedding. I checked out Promise Me Dad on my overdrive app the week before we left to go back to Texas for my son's wedding. I had been preparing myself emotionally for how I would handle the day of celebration without his dad. I held tight to some advice that a dear friend told me when my son graduated from college.

My late husband passed away about eight months before my son graduated from college. His graduation that December marked our first milestone celebration without his dad. I was talking to my friend, Claire, about facing that celebration and that I didn't know how I was going to sit through it without him. She just told me straight-  "It will be sad that R isn't there to see it. But you will be there to see it. Don't let the sadness overshadow that fact that you are lucky enough to get to be there."

Wow- that is just a sample of some of the great advice that I got from so many after his death. I tried to remember this as the wedding approached, and I made sure that when I danced with my son at the wedding reception, I told him that I didn't take it for granted that I got to be there with him on his special night!!

How lucky am I that I got to dance with my son at his wedding reception!!

Reading Joe Biden's book during this time became part of the memory of the wedding for me. The main theme of the book is Joe Biden fulfilling his son's request to "Promise Me, Dad" that you'll continue to live a life of purpose. He ends the book with this scripture:

                                                                            2 Timothy 4:7
      I have competed well; I have finished the
             I have kept the faith.

Here are just a few quotes that were meaningful to me from his memoir and some pictures from the wedding:

p. 18 "By my estimation, at any moment, one in ten people in our country is suffering some serious degree of torment because of a recent loss."

p.21 Advice from a former governor of New Jersey whose wife had died to Joe Biden after he lost his wife and small daughter in a car wreck:
"He told me to get a calendar, and every night, before I went to bed, put down a number on the day's date. One is as bad as the day you heard the news, he said, and ten is the best day of your life. He told me not to expect any tens, and he said don't spend any time looking at that calendar, but mark it every day. After about six months put in on graph paper and chart it. What he promised me turned out to be true: the down days were still just as bad, but they got farther and farther apart over time"

Some of my great friends. All of these women were great sources of strength to me when I was
raising my kids!!

p. 9 "May 30, 7:51 p.m. It happened, I recorded in my diary. "My God, my boy. My beautiful boy."

P 8 A quote from a letter from Vicki, Teddy Kennedy's widow. She quoted from a letter from Joe Kennedy Sr to a friend about the death of his son:
"'When one of your loved ones goes out of your life, you think what he might have done with a few more years.' Joe Sr. had written to his friend. 'And you wonder what you are going to do with the rest of yours. Then one day, because there is a world to be lived in, you find yourself part of it, trying to accomplish something- something he did not have time enough to do. And perhaps that is the reason for it all. I hope so.' "

The beautiful couple!

I'm glad I took the time to prepare myself for the emotions of the day, and I'm so thankful for that conversation with my friend all those years before because I truly enjoyed my son's wedding!! It was one of the greatest weekends of my life. The closeness of family and friends getting together to show my son so much love and respect was a wonderful time. And I didn't take for granted for one minute that "I'm alive" and that I was lucky enough to be there to experience it!!

How about books become part of your life in a unique way as with me?

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