Monday, March 30, 2015

Our Top 5 {Kid-Friendly} Resurrection Picks!

I put a bunch of my Easter prints in the mail on Saturday and now I'm ready to take a little breather from my shop this week, restock my supplies and celebrate the Resurrection with my family!

By the way, thank you everyone who took advantage of my Flash Sale to purchase some gifts. You are all amazing! It was a lot of fun to put together orders of some of my favorite designs!

The prints above are still available as Instant Downloads in my shop this week and would make the perfect hostess gift this weekend.

So we are celebrating Easter all week! My husband might be traveling over Easter, so we decided to get a head start on our plans before the boys and I head down to New Jersey for the weekend.

Here are the few things we've decided to do as a family this week.

Resurrection Rolls, Source Eat At Allies

1. Resurrection Rolls

We planned our special Easter dinner for tonight. Levi, who just turned five, has suddenly decided that he's a great helper. (Having a birthday is magical!) So he and I prepared Resurrection Rolls for dinner. {I have a feeling he really just wanted to sneak marshmallows.}

I've seen these before, but assumed they were from scratch and that I couldn't pull them off.

NEWS FLASH: These are SIMPLE and are made with crescent rolls!! 

The longest part is reading the Scripture passage (John 19) they recommend to go along with it, which I do recommend as well! Mine didn't quite look like the above photo, but they were yummy and a lot of fun to cut open and say "He's not here, He has risen!"

2. Resurrection Eggs

We followed up dinner with our nightly Resurrection Egg reading, which tells the Easter story using various objects during the 12 days leading up to Easter. Tonight was the crown of thorns. We ended up with two sets of eggs this year, which is perfect, so each boy can open his own egg and there are no fights! This set I purchased at Hobby Lobby last year and it comes with a booklet with short daily readings.

  This set I made in my MOPS group.

3. Resurrection Garden

We got a late start on our very first Resurrection Garden because terracotta pots were hard to find this early. Maybe it's just that New England isn't out of winter mode yet. {We had flurries today!}

I'm not holding my breath that the grass seed will actually grow, but it's still a great symbol of the three crosses and the empty tomb and another fun Mommy & Levi project. Guess who was the sticks and stone gatherer?

{What it might look like in a couple of weeks}

4. You've Been Egged!

Have you ever done this one? I hadn't heard of hiding eggs in a neighbor's yard and leaving a note on their door until I found it on Pinterest. But it looks cute and I love that it's all about Jesus! We plan on doing this later on in the week, so I put Levi to work filling the eggs today. Notice, you only need 12 eggs! The downside is we'll be hiding them our neighbor's snow-covered yard.

5. He is Risen Banner

Our Easter mantel with He is Risen printable banner. I kind of rearrange it every couple of days and the most recent addition was the banner. Perfect for the early reader to recognize letters and words! Free download at Whimsical Design Studio.

So there are the top 5 projects I picked this Easter. During the rest of the week we plan on watching some of our favorite  kid-friendly Easter videos on YouTube and Right Now Media and taking some time to talk about and reflect on Christ's sacrifice on the cross.

But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.
Isaiah 53:5

 What are YOU doing this week to celebrate Christ's Resurrection?

Monday, March 23, 2015

A Superhero Birthday Party!

On Sunday, my oldest turned five. Five, people. That's kind of a big deal.

For about 6 months he's been insisting on a Spiderman birthday party with all his friends. He hasn't even seen Spiderman, so I gave him some other options, but Spiderman it was, so I gritted my teeth (because I know nothing about superheroes and neither does he) and decided to put together a super hero party fit for my very social five-year-old.

I could NOT have pulled this off without my mom here to help me organize the activities and my husband to figure out the back-up plan for the pinata that was supposed to be outside. (It snowed that morning.) Oh, and my husband made an appearance as Batman! He didn't stay in the costume long enough for me to get a picture though. I think he planned it that way.

So here's a look at our favorite five-year-old Superhero and his super special Superhero Training Camp party. (Our favorite two-year-old Superhero is pictured too!)

Just had to add in this last one so you could see all the snow still on the ground on March 21. :/

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Because of His Great Love We are Not Consumed {Heartbreak + Lamentations Print}

It was a typical bedtime routine earlier this week. We read a couple of stories {as quickly as possible because it's already a half hour past bedtime}, then our Jesus Calling Bible. Before we can get to the part where we "talk about our day and what we did well" followed by prayers, he launches into talking about heaven. Heaven is a favorite topic these days.

"When can I go there?" he asks. "I want us ALL to go there. EVERYBODY I love. {My friend} is going to heaven too, right?" This is where he pauses for an answer and I pause wondering how I should answer. The friend we are talking about is a neighbor. Someone he absolutely adores. We are slowly getting to know the family. But he already knows this friend is THE. BEST. And I just don't know the answer to his question. "And if {my friend} isn't going, then I'm not either." {In my son's four-year-old perspective, heaven is like Disney World — you travel there, have a good time, do some fun stuff and see some cool people, and then come home and beg to go back} 

But I of course know it's much more than that. It's eternity. And this sweet question coming out of my son's mouth is the most important question we can ponder. The weight of it and its implications sent a wave of panic over me that threatened to CONSUME ME. The feeling was surprising. I admit I don't often feel that way. There was guilt that I should feel this burden more often — that weight on your heart that overwhelms and brings sudden, deep sadnessfor the people in our lives. Both the people we pass in the store and the people we call friend. It's truly devastating to think about.  

What else in this world really matters other than this?

I pondered this  as my eyes began to burn with unshed tears. And why am I so concerned about everything else? There are so many pains and disappointments in life that I focus on and complain about, and yet I can't answer my son's innocent question. This child needs to know that Jesus loves her! And maybe she does. But, more likely, she doesn't. What if nobody ever tells her? What if WE never tell her? Why doesn't my heart break more often for the people around us who don't know Him as their Savior?

That night we prayed for his friend, and I reminded my son how and why people go to heaven — by making a decision to follow Jesus and accepting his free gift of mercy. Just a few months ago, my son made that decision for himself, and that day was one of the greatest joys in our life. We talked about how we can tell this friend about Jesus and then I said goodnight.

But the feeling lingered through the rest of the evening, during the night and into the next day. That burden that could only be from the Holy Spirit.  He's working on my heart, breaking it, molding it, changing my priorities and my concerns. Raising the important things to the surface. The heartbreak I felt did not consume me, because I have the hope of Christ in me!

So, He changed my plans. The post I was going to to write today. I had been excitedly working on this new Scripture art print with these amazing verses in Lamentations ... and then the conversation with my son took place. And I just couldn't ignore it. I couldn't sleep. The Holy Spirit spoke in my heart, and I couldn't go back to writing about how much I'm enjoying watercolor and new fonts and looking forward to spring. Because maybe I'm supposed to be about more than that.

The Words in this passage offer the very same hope that our friends and family and neighbors so desperately need!

It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak." 2 Corinthians 4:13

When I read this passage from Lamentations I hear it in the soft, southern drawl of a mentor and friend who has committed it to memory. There have been so many times over the last few years when a friend or I needed to hear it and it comes tumbling out at just the right moment. I want to impress it on my heart so that the sweet truth and wisdom of these words comes tumbling out of my mouth at just the right time.
When things are falling apart around us and we are feeling discouraged and hopeless, we will be able to call to mind what we KNOW about God. That he is LOVING and He is COMPASSIONATE and He is FAITHFUL. That we are NOT CONSUMED, because of who He is. Not because of who we are or our circumstances.

And for those who don't know Him, He is holding out His hand of mercy and his free gift of salvation for anyone to accept and to join him one day in heaven. And He keeps offering it. Over and over again. Because He has GREAT LOVE for each of us. This is it! The hope that ultimately conquers disappointment and despair and urges us on to love others and to call out to God for their salvation.

I know that He can use my family and yours in the lives of our friends, family and acquaintances if we will boldly share that love and share the word of God. If we will ask the Holy Spirit to intercede for us with our Heavenly Father when that burden and heartbreak comes over us for our families, our neighborhoods and our world. Will you join me in prayer? Will join me in finding ways to love our neighbors and friends? Will you join me in knowing and speaking God's Word?

May you know God's love, compassion and faithfulness!

Watercolor prints in four colors now available here.