Friday, April 2, 2010

Days of Play--Good Friday Resurrection Activity (and treat)


Crescent rolls, marshmallows, butter, and cinnamon-sugar teach us that 
indeed Jesus Christ has risen!  
Scripture: (depending on child's age)
Matthew 28:1-8, 11-15; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-12; John 20:1-10  

Application:Jesus died, but He overcame death through the power of the resurrection!  

Summary: Before Jesus died, He had told His disciples that He would raise up the temple after three days, which He was speaking of the temple of His body. Three days after His death, some women, who were disciples of Jesus, came to the place where He was buried to anoint Him some more. They found the tomb empty. There had been a big earthquake and an angel who had come down from heaven, told them that Jesus was alive indeed! The women ran to tell the other disciples the good news. Peter and John ran to see for themselves and were amazed to see the tomb empty, with just the linen cloths, with which Jesus had been wrapped, laying there.  

Focus:That our children would understand that Jesus is alive forevermore and that there is power in His resurrection that will enable them to be resurrected to everlasting life someday too if they will just believe upon Him as Lord and Savior.  

Directions: 
Learn about the resurrection first hand. 
  1. First, have each child take a crescent roll and lay it out flat. Tell them this represents the linen cloths that will wrap up Jesus. 
  2. Then take a large marshmallow and explain that it represents Jesus taken down from the cross. 
  3. Now anoint Him with oil and spices by rolling Him in the butter and cinnamon-sugar. Wrap Him up in the crescent roll linen wrappings and pinch and press all the seams together carefully (so that the marshmallow does not ooze out) and place on a baking sheet. 
  4. Now put him in the tomb (the oven) and roll up the stone (close the oven door) and bake according to the instructions on the crescent roll package. 
  5. Guard the tomb, but allow the children to watch that you do not get into the oven. 
  6. When the timer goes off, have your kids yell and jump like there is a great earthquake and have the children run up to the tomb. 
  7. Roll away the stone (open the oven door) and pull out the baking sheet. Put one of the crescent rolls on each child’s plate with them watching you the entire time.  
  8. When they break open or bit into the linen wrappings, they will not find Jesus (the marshmallow) anymore. He has risen! (And the treat is not too bad either)  


Memory Verse: 
“I am alive forevermore.” 
Revelation 1:18    
                                        
Prayer: Dear Lord, we praise You for the power of Your resurrection and ask for that power in our lives to accomplish Your will and purpose.  

Living the Life: 
Discuss with your children the wonder and awe of our risen Lord. Discuss how this changes our future and hope!

For more free family devotional resources visit www.familyblueprint.org  

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Things I Love--Resurrection Eggs

Family Life has this delightful tool to help teach children about Easter, Jesus and the Resurrection.  They are called Resurrection Eggs.

The eggs come in a hard plastic egg carton.  Each egg has a different toy that represents part of the Easter story and a handy little book that tells scripture you can read to children to help explain the significance of the toy.


Every year before Easter I start hiding eggs.  Day 1, egg 1.  Day 2, eggs 1 and 2.  Day 3 eggs 1-3.  You get the picture.  With each new egg my children and I read the scriptures and discuss the meaning.  It is pretty cute to hear M.E.'s version of the tale.

Day 1--Donkey--Jesus rode a donkey into Jrsulm and people shout ShoHanna! (her pronunciations)
Day 2--Judas betrays Jesus for thirty monies.
Day 3--Jesus had one last supper with his friends.
Day 4--Jesus went to the garden to pray.

It is pretty great!

If you are interested I suggest looking into Family Life to get a set!  The set is under $15 and can be re-used every year (this is our 3rd year with our set and it isn't getting old at all!).

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

What I Think About--Wearing Colors

Are you guilty of wearing one dominant color?  Is black your thing?  Maybe you are like me and you tend to lean towards "earthy tones" (which is fancy talk for "I wear a lot of browns").  Go look in your closet right now.  Is there one color that dominates (and is it really a color or, as I suspect, a neutral)?

Anyone else think it's time we break out some color? Be bold--be daring!  It's easy to do if you know some color tricks!

Look at the color wheel below.




Okay, so hopefully we all remember that the primary colors are red, blue, and yellow.  Secondary colors (which are made my mixing primary colors) are purple, green, and orange.  Color basics.  Check.

Now, how can you wear color?

  1. Go with a monochromatic look.  Monochromatic means "one color."  On the color wheel above, find one color--say blue-green. There are roughly 9 levels of blue green. You can mix ANY of these levels and look good.  They go. Trust me.
  2. Wear complimentary colors.  Complementary colors are directly across the wheel from each other: Red/Green, Blue/Orange, Yellow/Purple.  Mix and match complimentary colors.  They go.  If you don't want to be too bold (like if you want to wear blue and orange but don't want to look like a Denver Broncos fan, move in on the color wheel.  Wear peach and cornmeal blue.  It works.)
  3. Wear color wheel neighbors.  Yep, if you wear colors next to each other on the wheel you'll look great.  They harmonize.  
  4. Wear primary colors.  These are bold and look great together.  However, make sure you wear only 1-2 of the colors dominantly and one of the colors as a highlight or else you'll look like a clown.  For example, wear blue-jean shorts with a red top and a yellow belt or bracelet or a yellow dress with navy shoes and a red bag.  Another option is to wear softer versions of these colors: blue jeans, light blue top, maroon jewelry ...
  5. Make your neutrals pop!  Brown, gray, black and white are generally regarded as neutrals (though really gray is the "real" neutral).  You can pretty much make anything look hot with neutrals.  If you must wear a brown tank top and khaki capris, make it pop with an eggplant purple woven scarf and yellow shoes.  
What rules am I following here?  #3 and #5.  Blues and Greens are color wheel neighbors and I'm making my neutral brown pop. You can't see it by my necklace is has brown, jade, and turquoise beads!



Some color warnings:

  • Figure out if you are a Winter, Summer, Autumn, or Spring complexion and dress accordingly.
  • Know what colors you look good in and wear a lot of them.  If you have a "summer/winter" complexion (pale skin and dark hair or dark hair with light eyes) you can probably pull of bright reds and pinks (not so great for "fall/spring" complexions like me!).
  • If you are a summer/winter gal you can also wear black really well.  If you are a fall/spring gal (dark eyes, mousy hair) stay away from black--it makes you look sallow and those circles under your eyes just look darker. Sorry.  (P.S.  Summer/winter gals, it really ticks me off that you get black.  Oh well, at least I can have brown.)
  • Fall/Spring girls think "jewel" tones.  Jade, peridot, amethyst, deep turquoise, garnet--these are great colors on us! (In the photo above I'm rocking a jade shirt and a turquoise bracelet).  
  • Summer/Winter gals think icy and bold--fuschia, mint, navy.


A basic understanding of the color wheel=color wearing success!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Caramel Apple Salad

We love this recipe at Easter!

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz carton of Cool Whip (low fat or Cool whip Free work great)
  • 1 box sugar-free Butterscotch pudding mix
  • 14 oz can pineapple tidbits in juice
  • 4 large Fuji apples diced
  • 4 large Granny Smith diced
Directions:

  1. Combine pudding mix and pineapple in a large bowl and mix well.
  2. Add in apples and stir to coat.
  3. Fold in Cool Whip.
  4. Chill and serve!

Tuesday's Too Clean Tip--SOCKS

Laundry is not one of my life's loves.  I love to dust and shine my sink but laundry and ironing are my nemeses (well, there are others but that's all I'll bore you with that today).

Anyhow, one of my least favorite things about doing laundry is looking for socks.  Even if the dryer doesn't eat one (and to be honest, I blame the washing machine half of the time just because I think dryers get a bad rap), I hate the process of digging through a mound of laundry in search of the other navy blue trouser sock with light blue squares on it.  Ug.  What a time waster.

A few years ago I read (in Real Simple) that an easy solution to this was to pin your socks together.  I tried this for a while and it did work.  Socks came out of the dryer already mated.  But the problem was getting the socks pinned.

I had several options:

  1. Dig through the dirty laundry to find sock mates and then pin the swampy socks together.  A collective Ewwww! please.
  2. Have Matt pin his own socks together (and honestly, I'm still trying to convince him NOT to leave his socks in a sock ball after taking them off.  How does that happen, exactly?).
Neither of these worked.  And it got worse after we had the Divine Miss M and all of sudden the world's cutest frilly socks were dominating the laundry and getting lost in drastic proportions.

Something had to give.

My solution: Get a lingerie bag

When you or your kids take their socks off, put them into the lingerie bag (it might be best to have a bag for each family member or one for adults and one for kids).  I throw the whole bag in the washer and dryer and wa la!  No missing kid socks.  

I'm still working on Matt.


Monday, March 29, 2010

Rwanda

Today's post is a long one but I encourage you to skim read it and to watch the video.  It truly is an inspiration.

My best friend Kim went to Rwanda in August on a mission with E3 Ministries.  This is a part (yes, only a part--God is so good that Kim filled page after page of testimony and STILL didn't share everything she saw!) of Kim's experience.

I am posting this today, Monday March 29th, 2010 because Kim is heading back to Wyoming from Rwanda--her second mission there in a year.  This time she went to disciple children's ministry leaders!  

Please read this and be encouraged.

But first, check out this awesome video of Kim in Rwanda!
(The video is 5 minutes long.  Kim is interviewed around minute 2 and the woman at the end saying "Go, go, go" is one of my spiritual mentors, Diana).




Unfortunately I am having technical difficulties posting the rest right now ....

Stay tuned!

Emanah Sheemway!  Praise God!  

I want to testify of the amazing works of our Lord while we were in Rwanda!  

On our very first day of ministry, we were guests at our first church service.  Tony, our leader from E3, gave a short message and explained the gospel.  Then, he asked me to share a short testimony.  (I knew that I was supposed to be prepared to share).  The night before, I prayed and read the Bible.  I felt God wanted me to share about how He rescued me from depression by showing me His grace as described in Romans 8.  I wrestled with God about this and did not really think I should share this on our first day. 

However, I knew that was what God wanted me to do.  I only had a few minutes, so I shared how I got really depressed when I went to college and how I felt I had no hope.  During that time, I believed that I had to earn God’s love.  I knew that I had fallen into sin and I didn’t believe I could be forgiven.  Even though I was a Christian at that time, I believed the lie that I could not be forgiven.  I explained how I took a Bible class, Romans and Galatians, because someone told me that was what I needed to do.  I went to class.  As the teacher read from Romans 8:1, I felt God was speaking directly to me.  I sat in that desk with students around me and cried.  I did not care because I heard those words and believed.  I believed that, “There is therefore now no more condemnation for those of us in Christ Jesus.”  I explained how the teacher repeated those words over and over.  I told them how God rescued me from depression by speaking to me through His word.  I shared more from Romans 8 and explained how nothing could separate us from His love.   

After I shared this with the people in Rwanda at church that day, I sat down. I felt strange because I could not read the expressions on their faces and I did not know if they understood.  I had just shared my heart, but I did not know why.  Then, after about 2 minutes, an elderly woman stood up in the front row.  She walked toward me and Noah.  All of us were supposed to be singing.  She sat down next to us and started talking to Noah.  She wanted us to pray with her to become a Christian.  So, I laid my hands on her and we prayed with her.  I noticed that she did not reach out to me to accept my hand.  After we prayed, Noah started talking to her.  He looked up with tears in his eyes and he said, “Kim, she came up here because of what you said.  She wants to know if she can be forgiven.”  I immediately answered, “yes.”  Noah said, “Kim, there is more. Come closer.  He whispered as he continued, “She has struggled with guilt over her sin for many years.  Several years ago, her husband died.  Then, her in-laws came to her house and tried to take the house and all the land.  She paid a witch doctor to kill her in-laws.  She wants to know if she can be forgiven.” 

I was stunned.  She was looking directly at me.  I was faced with my own theology.  I got down on my knee, looked her directly in the eye and said, “Yes, you can be forgiven.  Yes.”  With tears in her eyes, she hugged me.  She was set free that day.  Praise God!

E3 Partners Ministry has a goal to evangelize, equip, and establish churches.  We had a very small team from North America.  We had 8 people come from the United States.  This included E3 staff.  After much prayer, the leadership still decided to go forward with God’s calling to establish 8 churches in Rwanda.  God accomplished this and so much more while we were there!  2, 712 people came to know the Lord!

Each day, two from our North American team and their ministry partners went to a mission point.  In the morning, these small groups would go with believers from Rwanda to evangelize-house to house- in the community surrounding the location for the new church.  This was an amazing experience.  Every morning, I would walk the dirt streets with my backpack and my straw hat.  My ministry partner would then insist on carrying my backpack.  We would pray for the people to be open to the Holy Spirit.  We would pray for the words to communicate to their hearts.  We would pray for God to speak through us.  Then, we would go.  We would walk.  We would walk through dirt and dried grass into small homes with one bench and no light but the sunlight that peeked through the open doorway. 

After Noah explained why we were there, the people would immediately greet us, honor us with the one bench and eagerly get ready to listen.  As I spoke, Noah translated in their beautiful language and their faces changed from sad or solemn expressions to a curious one.  I would pray and speak.  Noah would speak.  Then, God would speak through us.  Over and over again we would witness that moment when hearts were opened by the Holy Spirit to the hope found in Christ.  Great celebration would follow!

Though Kim was sent to share the Good News about Jesus, she admitted to me that at times, she humbly felt that she was getting more than she was giving.  Here is some of what she learned.

I learned to step out and obey
I did not choose to go on this trip.  He chose me.  I felt a very clear call to go.  It would have been disobedience for me to stay in the U.S.  It would have been comfortable, easier.  I would have missed the blessing of serving the Lord, being used by God and seeing Him work in the lives of people.  In addition, I would have missed a deeper relationship with God and a deeper faith for the cheap substitute of the familiar. 

Maybe you say, “I do not feel called to go.”  That may be so, but God has called each of us to go and share the hope we have with others.  

What is stopping you?  
Your list of things to do?  
Your comfort?  

If you know Jesus, you have a hope: an eternal, life-giving hope because you have forgiveness and a relationship with your Heavenly Father.  I was shown in Africa that all I had to offer them was this message- no food, clean water, health, or money.  I realized that the one thing I had to offer was the only thing they absolutely had to have- the only hope they had to survive emotionally, to endure, to get better, and to live life.  

They needed forgiveness, peace, and a relationship with God.  

We witnessed over and over again the joy-the sheer joy and happiness of life with God, forgiveness in Jesus, and the hope found in a relationship with Him.  Once they heard, they knew this is what they were looking for and they wanted to tell everyone else that they needed this more than food, more than water, more than health or wealth.  

The song that says, “my hope is in you...” has new meaning to me now. Why don’t we see that is what people need?  Is it because they look OK?  Is a life filled with hopelessness but a home filled with stuff OK?  Who needs Jesus?  Just the poor? Who needs a relationship with the Lord?  Everyone!

Be joyful and celebrate!
Celebrate God!  With open arms and fast feet, people in Rwanda praised the Lord.  Children with tattered clothes and no shoes danced with a joyful heart and infectious smiles.  “Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all ye lands.  Serve the Lord with gladness, come into His presence with singing.” (Psalm 100:1-2)

We serve a mighty king who has provided for us, loved us, given us life.  Let’s praise Him.  Let’s love Him with all our hearts, soul, and mind.  Jesus suffered, bled and died for all of our sins.  He paid the price so we are righteous in His sight.  We now have a relationship with Him.  We do not have to be separated from Him anymore.  We have access to Him every minute.  He LOVES us.  Not a romantic, cheap love.   A love everlasting.  A love we cannot fathom.  A Father’s love.  We can call out to Him, Abba, Father.  This is like saying, “Daddy.” 

He sent the Holy Spirit until He comes back.  He will convict us, give us peace, comfort us, and guide us.  He will intercede for us on our behalf when we do not know what to pray. 

So, if God is for us who can be against us?  Let us worship Him, love Him, and know Him.  He is with us.  He will never leave us or forsake us.  Our hope is in Him.  Our joy is in Him.  Let not your heart be troubled for our King reigns and He has you in His mighty hand!

Be thankful
People in Rwanda were so thankful!  They were so thankful for everything- including us.  I am truly thankful to God for calling me to go.  Praise God for what He did in Rwanda and what He does every day in our lives!  hope this encouraged you in your faith.  God deepened my faith in ways that I cannot express and He graciously used me and all the members of the team in mighty ways for His glory and His work.

Welcome home, Kim.  I'm so grateful for your gracious spirit, your love for God and your love for your brothers and sisters in the world.

I love and admire you.  And next time, we go together!












Sunday, March 28, 2010

Days of Play--Resurrection Cookies

This is an excellent recipe to teach your children that Jesus rose from the dead!  I cut this recipe out of a Christian book club magazine years ago and love it.  Sadly I can't eat the cookies because of a nut allergy but everyone else seems to like them!


Ingredients:
1 cup whole pecans
1 teaspoon vinegar
3 egg whites
a pinch salt
1 cup sugar
a zipper baggy
1 wooden spoon or rolling pin
scotch tape
Bible



Directions:
Make these on the night before Easter!



Preheat oven to 300'.
  1. Place pecans in zipper baggy and let children beat them with the wooden spoon or rolling pin.  As children break pecans into small pieces, explain that after Jesus was arrested.  He was beaten by the Roman soldiers.  Read: John 19:1-3
  2. Let each child smell the vinegar.  Put 1 teaspoon vinegar into mixing bowl. Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross He was given vinegar to drink. Read: John 19:28-30
  3. Add egg whites to vinegar.  Eggs represent life.  Explain that Jesus gave His life to give us life. Read: John 10:10&11
  4. Sprinkle a little salt into each child's hand.  Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl.  Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus' followers, and the bitterness of our own sin. Read: Luke 23:27
  5. So far the ingredients are not very appetizing.  Add 1 cup sugar.  Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us.  He wants us tocknow and belong to Him. Read:  Psalm 34:8 and John 3:16
  6. Beat with a mixer on high speed for 12 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed. 
  7. Explain that the color white represents the purity in God's eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus. Read: Isaiah 1:18 and John 3:1-3
  8. Fold in broken nuts.  Drop by teaspoon onto waxed paper covered cookie sheet.
  9. Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus' body was laid.  Read: Matthew 27:57-60
  10. Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF.
  11. Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door.  Explain that Jesus' tomb was sealed. Read: Matthew 27:65-66
  12. GO TO BED!  While you tuck your kiddos in, explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight just like Jesus' followers were sad when he died. Read: John 16:20&22
  13. On Easter morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie (for breakfast!  You'll be super mom for allowing a cookie for breakfast!).  Notice the cracked surface and take a bite.  The cookies are hollow!  On the first Easter Jesus' followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty. Read: Matthew 28:1-9
  14. Turn on praise music or sing a song of praise to Jesus.  
  15. Say a prayer with your kids thanking God for sending his Son to redeem the world!




Pepper Steak

This is a great marinade.  You can even make it, pour it over steak, and freeze!

Ingredients:
1/4 c. low sodium soy sauce
2 T lemon juice (fresh is better!)
2 T white wine (or cooking wine)
2 T minced garlic
Coarsely ground pepper to taste

Mix all and pour over steak.  Marinade at least 2 hours turning half way through.

To freeze, mix all, pour over steak in a ziploc bag and freeze.  To cook, thaw steak overnight/all day in marinade.  Grill or broil (roughly 8 minutes a side for medium-rare).