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Things to be thankful for

Originally taken from Ann Landers’ 11/22/01 column. Re-published at Revive Our Hearts.


  • Be thankful for the clothes that fit a little too snug, because it means you have enough to eat.
  • Be thankful for the mess you clean up after a party, because it means you have been surrounded by friends.
  • Be thankful for the taxes you pay, because it means you’re employed.
  • Be thankful that your lawn needs mowing and your windows need fixing, because it means you have a home.
  • Be thankful for your heating bill, because it means you are warm.
  • Be thankful for the laundry, because it means you have clothes to wear.
  • Be thankful for the space you find at the far end of the parking lot, because it means you can walk.
  • Be thankful for the lady who sings off-key behind you in church, because it means you can hear.
  • Be thankful when people complain about the government, because it means we have freedom of speech.
  • Be thankful for the alarm that goes off in the early morning hours, because it means you’re alive.

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Quick Tip: Easter Basket Filler

Easter grass is awful. Really. Especially when you have little kids who think it looks better strewn about the floor than sitting in an Easter basket.

This year instead of Easter grass, I put a piece of fabric inside my kids’ Easter baskets. It turned out very well– it was pretty and not at all messy!

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Resurrection Sunday

John 20 {from the English Standard Version}

The Resurrection

1 Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. 2So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” 3 So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. 4Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. 6Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, 7and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. 8Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; 9for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10Then the disciples went back to their homes.

Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene

11But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. 12And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. 13They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). 17Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'” 18Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her.

He is Risen, indeed.

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Happy Birthday to Me {How to Reflect Upon Another Year}

Today is my birthday.

In youth, as one birthday ends and the year stretches out endlessly before us, we wish time would pick up the ticking pace. We want to reach sixteen and a driver’s license. We want to hit eighteen and graduation. We want to become twenty-one, and be an “adult”. As the birthdays start whizzing by, closer and closer together, we wish we could put on the brakes– at least slow the ride down some.

Today I’m 28. It feels so young and so old all at the same time. As I realize that I won’t have forever on this earth, that my days are passing and I’ll never get them back again, I want to make each day– and each new year count.

Today, I’m reflecting in prayer on the past year, and making plans for the next one. Asking the Lord to show me where I need to grow and where I need His help to improve. Thanking Him for a year full of joys and blessings. And maybe on your next birthday, you should too.

  • What was the event/day/happening/situation that brought me the most joy this past year?
  • What was the hardest challenge I had to face this year? How did I do?
  • Where do I see growth in myself since my last birthday?
  • In what areas am I struggling the most? Do I need to ask for help?
  • If I had to describe my year in one short sentence, what would it be?
  • What do I hope to accomplish this next year?
  • Where do I want to be on my next birthday? Physically? spiritually? emotionally? relationally?
  • What small changes do I want to make to my daily life?

So, happy birthday to me. And here’s to a great 28th year!

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Easter Eggs & Other Traditions

I shared last week that our family would be doing Noel Piper’s Lenten Lights devotional during Holy Week. Our kids are loving it! I send them to their room each night while I light the appropriate number of candles and turn off all the other lights in the living room. Then I call them out and we look at the candles (how some are dark and some are lit) and read the devotional.

We are going to have an Easter egg hunt on Saturday with some friends, and I’ve been thinking about how I wanted to introduce the idea to the kids. I plan to have some plastic eggs filled with candy, some filled with change, and some that are empty. After they find all the eggs and we discover what’s inside, I will share verses about related to what was inside the eggs.

  • For the eggs with candy: For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things. (Psalm 107:9)
  • For the eggs with change: …Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (Colossians 2:3)
  • For the empty eggs: He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. (Matthew 28:6)

I have come across some other good ideas for celebrating the Resurrection with children, and wanted to pass them along!

Make Your Own Resurrection Eggs {@ teachkidsthebible.com}

Easter Story Cookies Recipe {@ Annie’s Home Page}

Resurrection Rolls {@ caffeine and a prayer}

6 Good Things to Do with Your Kids for Easter {@lifeasmom}

Resurrection Day Activities {@ heartofthematteronline}


Holy Week with Kids

As a family, we do a Jesse Tree for Advent, and I’ve wanted to develop some traditions for our children around Resurrection Sunday. I like doing “spring baskets” full of goodies, coloring eggs, and hunting for hidden eggs, but I don’t want these to be the extent of our celebrations this time of year. (And I like to do those things on a different day than Resurrection Sunday… last year we did all of the “secular” traditions the Saturday before Easter.)

Noel Piper has written a devotional called Lenten Lights, that we are going to use this week during our family devotions. I found a seven-candle-holder at IKEA this week, and it’s perfect for using with Lenten Lights!

Tonight we will begin with seven candles lit, and read the first devotional. At the end of the reading, one of the candles will be snuffed out to symbolize the Light of the World growing dimmer. Each night one more candle will be extinguished until all the candles are dark on Good Friday– when the Light of the World was “snuffed out”. The candles will all be relit on Resurrection Sunday when the Light was back! What a great visual for children as we learn about Christ’s death and resurrection!

What do you do this time of year to teach your children about Easter?

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{Love} Day

Set me as a seal upon your heart,
as a seal upon your arm,
for love is strong as death,
jealousy is fierce as the grave.
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
the very flame of the LORD.
Many waters cannot quench love,
neither can floods drown it.

Song of Solomon 8

It doesn’t take a lot of money to show love to your husband. In fact, it doesn’t have to cost anything at all. Sure, it’s an over-rated commercial holiday… but what a perfect excuse to put on some real clothes and a little lip gloss, feed the kids an early dinner, and serve your hubby a private, candlelit meal while the kids are otherwise entertained (Toy Story, anyone?).

Stare into each other’s eyes and talk about anything or nothing.  Put the kids to bed a little early, make some coffee and snuggle up for a favorite movie. Make out like you’re seventeen again.  Take a bubble bath together.  Have dessert on the porch and look for stars. Read Song of Solomon out loud together and giggle immaturely.

Rekindle the romance. (You won’t regret it.)