red roses.

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The kids and I have started a little vegetable and fruit garden. We planted tomatoes, peppers, onions, strawberries, blueberries, cucumbers, watermelon, squash, basil, and cilantro. I told the kids they’d have to help me remember to water the plants. Otherwise, they would all die like they have every year we have tried to grow anything. I’m trying extra hard not to let them die.

So, this morning before I took the kids to school, I went out to water my plants. I consider them sort of like pets, or babies, if you will. If they yield a crop this year I will be so so so thrilled! After watering them, I looked over at my roses. Those are pretty easy to keep, so much that I sometimes forget all about them. Today, however, what I saw took my breath away.

My red rose bush was beautiful! It was full of bright red roses, calling me to bring them inside. Their scent filled the air around the bush. It was amazing.

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Here’s the thing about red roses. Red roses will always remind me of my mother-in-law, Cindy. You see, we had the most beautiful red roses for our wedding day, and it was all thanks to Cindy. The roses filled my bouquet, table centerpieces, and decorations throughout the church and reception. They were everywhere! Every arrangement had either been made my her or been approved by her after careful inspection. She wanted all the roses to be perfect. AND they were! They were absolutely beautiful! I couldn’t have loved them more.

Cindy was an amazing lady. She was kind and generous. Her bright blue eyes lit up when she flashed one of her big smiles. Despite being right around five feet tall, her small frame did not define her. She was unstoppable. She was strong. I’ve never seen a lady do the amount of hard labor that Cindy did around the farm with the ease and grace that she did. I’ve described her as a little feisty sometimes, in the most loving way, of course.

My favorite side of her was her loving and nurturing side. She was a soft and gentle mother to Ian. She was proud of his accomplishments and always encouraged him to be the best he could be. I thank her for giving Ian the strong foundation and self esteem that he has today. The love she poured into him lives on in Ian’s life everyday.

She was an amazing mother-in-law to me. She took me right in as one of her own immediately, and started pouring that same love on me. I’m grateful for the reminder of Cindy by these beautiful red roses.

Thank you, God, for this gentle reminder of her today.

What I learned from a homeless man and my kids.

I spotted a homeless man when we were sitting at a red light earlier. Knowing a have a bag full of goodies that I could give him in my trunk I debated whether I should even get them out.

What if the light turns green? I thought. The cars behind me will be so mad. Oh, well. They’ll get over it.

I got out quickly and called him over. “Sir,” I said, “I have some things I’d like to give you.”

He walked over to the back of my car where I stood and waited. I grabbed the bag and handed it to him. Inside the bag were peanut butter crackers, cereal bars, and water. There were also some hygiene items like soap, shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, and brush. Hopefully these things will be useful to him, I thought.

“God bless you,” I told him.

“Happy Easter. Thank you.”

I quickly got back in the driver’s seat, buckled up, and shifted to Drive. The light was still red. Thank you, Lord.

I didn’t expect what happened next.

“Why did you give that man stuff, Mommy?” Jack asked me.

“Because he’s homeless and I wanted to help him.”

“What’s homeless?” Jack asked.

“It means that you don’t have a home.”

“Why doesn’t he have a home?”

“Well,” I started, “some people might not have a job and they don’t have any money to buy a house, or clothes, or even food. God wants us to help others, so we are helping that man.”

“We’re lucky that we have a house,” Jack said.

“Yes we are,” I replied. “We have a warm house in the winter when it’s cold, a cool house in the summer when it’s hot, a roof to protect us when it rains. We have beds to sleep in, clothes to wear, food to eat..”

“Water to drink,” said Emma.

“Toys to play with,” Jack added.

“Our playground outside,” added Luke.

“That’s right, guys. We are blessed to have everything we have.” I said.

“Mommy, our house is PERFECT!” said Luke, my youngest little guy.

“It sure is, Luke. You are absolutely right. Our house is perfect for us.” I held back tears.

I’m so proud of my kids. I’m glad that they are beginning understand more and more about what happens around them.

I thought I was helping that homeless man today, but instead my kids touched my heart by understanding that we are blessed and being grateful for what we have. There are many days when I wish our house was bigger or that our “stuff” was nicer, but in the big scheme of things, none of that matters.

What matters is being grateful for what we have been given, living a good life by obeying God, and sharing His love with others.

Happy Easter, friends!

Who is the Easter bunny?

Who is he? Why do we even associate Easter with a bunny? The idea of the Easter bunny is sweet. I will definitely fill my kids’ baskets with a chocolate bunny and candy. However, although its all good fun, Easter has nothing to do with any bunny. I want to stress the real meaning of Easter to my kids. This is what Easter is all about.

This week leading up to Easter is always one of deep reflection. I reflect on what God has done in my life, and in the lives of those around me. I’m so grateful, and I aim to make myself available to listen to His gentle whispers for me. After all that He has done for me, the least I can do is live my life to please Him and tell others about Him.

Last Sunday was Palm Sunday, the day that Jesus arrived in Jerusalem on a donkey, beginning his last week on earth. I love reliving Jesus’ last days through all four of the gospels.If you haven’t read some of the stories recently, I’d suggest reading them this week.  Refreshing your memory will help you understand the true meaning of Easter. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John all have a record of what happened. These are some of the highlights:

*Jesus’ body being prepared for burial by the woman with the expensive perfume

*The Last Supper and Jesus washing the disciples’ feet

*Praying in the Garden of Gethsemane

*Jesus was arrested after Judas betrays him and sentenced to death

*The crucifixion and death of Jesus (at noon on Good Friday)

*Jesus’ body is prepared and placed in tomb which had been carved out of rock ( the tomb was sealed with a great stone and guards kept guard to protect it so that his disciples could not claim that he was raised from the dead)

* The resurrection of Jesus (Sunday morning- Easter) his body was gone!

*Jesus appeared to his disciples and many other people

*The Great Commission- Jesus tells his disciples to spread the Good News

18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

 

Jesus came to earth to fulfill the plan His Father sent him for. He died on the cross for our sin. And, just as he predicted, three days later HE ROSE FROM THE DEAD! He was the promised Messiah for us all. That is what Easter Sunday is all about.