Tag Archives: Easter

The Story of Our Staycation

In an Easter miracle that feels every bit proportional to Jesus rising from the dead, we managed to pull off a school vacation that didn’t suck.

Easter 2017

I am awed and grateful. I’m not even sure how to describe it, so I’ll just post a bunch of pictures with a few words to record this moment in time.

First, we had the two year anniversary of the day we met the Cherubs. We did not celebrate this, however. I tried that last year, asking #2, “What do you remember about that night?” to which she replied, “We just cried. We didn’t want to leave where we were to go live with strangers.” Yikes. So this year, we left this one right alone. Next month, we’ll celebrate Adoption Day, and then Moving In With Us day in June. But now we leave Nice To Meet You Day out of the picture. Lesson Learned.

We DID celebrate Easter, my favorite holiday.  At church we had art by Grace & Reena, and music about the incredible things we believe.

I preached about the Boston Marathon, and how cool it is that, four years after the Marathon Bombing, no one talks about who did it or why. Instead, everyone talks about the overcoming that happened in the aftermath, and how the words Boston Strong define who we are and what we love about living here. There are Boston Strong signs and t-shirts everywhere. I love it.

Then we prayed for Gwen & J.J. our two friends who’d be running the next day.  So inspiring.

Speaking of inspiring, Steve & I had a date afterwards! The Cherubs went on an overnight with their grandparents, and we went out for long relaxing lunch, after which we came home and RIPPED UP our bedroom.

And no, I don’t mean that as a metaphor.

Remember I told you about the stairs? And how that led us to some conclusions about the gross, hazmat-y rug?

Well, the project expanded in scope almost immediately. Replacing the floor somehow led to repainting the bathroom sink cabinet, pulling up all the baseboards, and taking down a wall.

Here is my inspiration photo:

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Here is what I woke up to this morning:

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Really, we’re practically there.

But I’m happy to report that there are now 10 contractor bags of gross rug down in a bagster next to the driveway, and our floor is now covered in lovely maple boards on which no dog has peed. I’m taking that as a win.

Perhaps the most exciting part of the week was watching Gwen finish the Marathon. Her friend J.J. flew up from Florida to run with her, and spoke at church about how friends run all different kinds of marathons together, cheering each other on and helping through the touch stretches. A bunch of us gathered in an office space overlooking the finish line to watched them cross, and as they crossed, we all pretended to have something in our eyes. Tissues all around for the big wins.

Finish Line Gwen and JJ

 

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Then Steve, the Cherubs & I walked back over the bridge into Cambridge. It felt like such a long distance, but our attitudes were kept in check by all the tinfoil wrapped people we passed who’d just run 26 miles, and the glorious sky over the city, and the fun of having something like this happen for people we love, in a place we love. Really, it was all the gushy feelings, accompanied by some sore legs.

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Speaking of sore legs – I went to the gym. Three times. My first session was with a trainer who is Irish and seven months pregnant, which means we looked like twins. I won’t post pictures of that. I’ll just say that I’m glad I can slide in my socks across the new wood floors as a form of travel rather than having to pick up my feet for each new step.

Happy Monday, All.

He is risen, indeed.

Confession: Right Now I’m Bad at Sad

My friend Melody pointed out this morning on Facebook that this week marks both the anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing, and Holy Week…in other words, it’s time to revert to waterproof mascara.

I’m having a hard time wrapping my brain around these big things right now. I’m caught up in little things – joy over how THIS DOG has finally figured out how to walk on a leash; frustration about the squirrel that ate through four inches of wood in one night to have her squirrel-ettes in our soffit; questions of whether installation of a ceiling fan in our tiny bedroom might reduce the need for an air conditioner this summer.

Such minutia. I mean, who cares about dogs and squirrels and sleeping temperature in a week where we commemorate the brutal murder of innocent people?

I guess I do. I want to be better than this – to be deeper, maybe. To cry some more. But I doubt that will happen this year, because I don’t have it in me. I think I need more distance from the raw, brutal loss to be able (or even willing) to mourn. It won’t always be like this. But this year, it is. I will cook (bake?) my first ham for Easter dinner on Sunday, and welcome our family around our table. But we won’t be holding a service for Good Friday. Maybe next year, but not now.

I was all set to feel horrible about this. Until I re-read this chapter from Nichole Nordeman’s book, Love Story, posted on her new blog. I grabbed my copy of her book and skipped to page 192, and let it remind me that the point of THE story is life, not death.

It’s a dog that was thrown from a van and abandoned in Tennessee, who now walks proudly through her Boston suburb like she was born here.  It’s God restoring me to a home where I get to figure out how to be hospitable to people I love, and less welcoming to pregnant rodents.  And it’s the anticipation of summer warmth after a long, cold winter that felt like it might never end.

This week, I’m focusing on the rest of the story: how after he was murdered, Jesus rose from the dead, and then told us that somehow, through him, that same thing is possible for us.

 

Resurrection

imagesOne of the surprising things about life with God is how often He lets things die. Dreams, relationships, careers, people. It’s like He’s utterly unfazed by death. The Bible preps us for this–all the talk about agrarian seasons, Jesus’ resurrection, the Apostle Paul reminding us in his letters that as we follow Jesus, the old us dies and we become “new creations.” It’s all very out with the old, in with the new.

I’m thinking about this because Easter is coming. I admitted to a friend last night that I’ve been more in a space of, How many days until this Lenten fast is over? and What’s the best way to cook a ham? than, Hey, here comes the highlight of our faith year! I mean, if you’re into Jesus, Easter is kind of the BIG POINT.  For all my lack of enthusiasm around Christmas (the world is going to hell, and God sent a baby? Sigh. Whatever…) Easter has always mattered to me, starting from the time I was a twenty-something searching for spiritual solace and direction. I guess I already knew that mine was a life that would require some resurrection power.  And yet this year, it all seems a bit vague and amorphous.

Then this morning, I read a passage in the second chapter of John. A bunch of salesmen who had been selling things in the temple jesus-and-the-money-changerswere mad at Jesus. He’d come after them with a whip, flipped their tables and ruined their nice displays, then drove them out. They demanded, “What miraculous signs can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?”

Jesus answered, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”

The people didn’t believe him, and yelled back, “Tt took 46 years to build that temple! No way could you rebuild it in three days!” But they missed the point. The temple Jesus was taking about was his body.  He knew they were going to kill him. He also knew that in terms of their intentions, it wouldn’t matter, and that in the big picture, his murder would accomplish something wonderful. He knew he would overcome death; that it wouldn’t be the end of the story, but the beginning.

He had what savvy marketers might call a “Resurrection Worldview.”

This morning, I’m asking God for some of Jesus’ bold confidence. I want to live in a way that expects resurrection as a normal part of life with Him. I’m close, but I’m not there yet. I don’t think we can get that kind of vision on our own.

There are seasons where all we see is death, with piles of hopes and dreams and ruined memories strewn across our mental landscape like a crop flattened by a tornado. I’ve found those seasons last about 2-3 years. It feel endless. But it’s not. Eventually, the landscape is cleared of debris. Life is neater, the dead things gone. There is sunshine and warmth in the air, and as I look around, I wonder how God wants to use all this space.  My tendency is to imagine all the things I think would be fantastic, and get busy: planting, building, decorating.  But I’m starting to catch on that this is not the way it works; that my best ideas are seldom the ones that lead to the big highlights in life.  So I’m waiting, looking to around, curious about what will happen next. This seems like a good vantage point.

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