Friday 5- Easter Week!

“No matter how unpredictable and out-of-control your life feels, Jesus is reigning, and he will continue to reign until the final enemy is under his feet (1 Corinthians 15:25). That doesn’t mean you won’t experience pain and hurt in this world, but it does mean there’s nothing Jesus does not know about, cannot rescue you from, or redeem and transform.” Paul Tripp

Do you feel like you haven’t done much to prepare your family for Easter this year and suddenly Palm Sunday is already here? It’s ok! This post is for you. Here’s 5 quick, easy things you can read or listen to this week to help you and your family prepare your hearts for Easter.

3 Things to Listen To

The Psalm Spot Easter Playlist

Looking for a music selection to play in your home this week? Here’s one already made for you!

2. The Easter Story by Max McClean

This 25 minute episode of the Easter story is a great resource to play aloud as you eat lunch with your kids, run your errands, or even as an evening activity to do as a family (bring out the puzzles, legos, or coloring pages!) 

Pray the Word: Holy Week by David Platt

Join David Platt as he prays through each day and the events of Holy Week on his podcast, Pray the Word. At just 5 minutes or less, these short episodes will help you not only see the events of Holy Week as they happened, but remind you of your role in God’s big story.

2 Things to Read

Look, the World Has Gone After Him! By Jon Bloom

“But Jesus knew exactly what he was doing. The timing of Lazarus’s horrible death, of his astonishing resurrection, of Jesus’s laying low, and now of his public reappearance was all coordinated with a prescient precision that would not be noticed until later (John 12:16). His hour had come at last. He would no longer lay low. The news must spread. It was time for the ancient gates to raise their heads, and the ancient doors to lift in homage. The King of glory was on his way (Psalm 24:7).”

8 Day Easter Week Reading Plan by Paul Tripp (Free Download)

This very short, eight day Easter week reading plan is the perfect resource to start this weekend either individually, with your spouse, or together as a family! With commentary from Paul Tripp, this resource will be one you’ll want to come back to every year.


1 Thing to Add to Your Easter Basket

The Beginner’s Bible All About Jesus Sticker and Activity Book Set

This is a super cute Easter basket idea for your kids, grandkids, or even the family next door (recommended ages 3-7) that’s under $5. I suggest purchasing a few extra to store in your closet for those last minute gifting needs that arise!

Monday 3-2-1: Keep Planting

Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let your hands be not idle, for you do know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.
(Ecclesiastes 11:6)

I’ve never had a green thumb when it comes to any kind of gardening. Let’s be honest, when it comes to keeping anything plant related alive! Two years ago when I went to choose some plants for Mother’s Day at the local greenhouse I remember specifically asking one of the workers, “Which of these is the most durable? Which one can survive me not remembering to water it for awhile?” He pointed me in the right direction and his words proved true that summer. That beautifully flowered plant not only survived the heat of the summer, but the sun and the shade, the days I forgot to water it and the days my toddlers gave it too much water. It seemed whatever weather or circumstances came its way, it managed to not only survive but also keep its beautiful red blooms. With very little effort, I reaped a colorful harvest on my front porch.

But let’s not be confused. That’s exactly the message the world wants you to believe about your life. It wants you to believe life should revolve around the methods that are the easiest, most convenient, timesaving, and painless. The world will tell you it will be fine in your life and in your relationships if you live the way I treated my plant. Do whatever you want, don’t worry about the weeds growing, the weather coming, or most of all, the time it will take to produce anything worthwhile.
But friend we know that’s not God’s way or how God’s garden works. Every day we are reaping something we chose to harvest a long time ago. Our thoughts, our words, our actions, our habits, our character, and finally our very own destinies are very much determined by the seeds we choose to plant in our gardens.

Sow a thought, reap an action. Sow an action, reap a habit.
Sow a habit, reap a character.
Sow a character, reap a destiny.
(John Stott)

But what if I don’t like my garden? What if I didn’t get to choose the soil I’ve been dealt? What if mine is hard and rocky? What if I HAVE been sowing good seeds now for a long time and it doesn’t seem to be making any difference? Why does it seem everyone else is blooming in their gifts and talents and I’m over here barely surviving?
What if…

You look over the fence and see the array of color and beauty in your neighbor’s garden while your hand is to the plow, working to break through the soil of your own.”
(Ruth Chou Simmons)

Then you’ve come to the right place. This note is meant to be a breath of fresh air for your weary heart after a long winter (or two).
A place to remind you that….

“Blooms are not the only way to see God’s faithfulness. He is actively growing you, friend, while you sow within the hard soils of affliction.”
(Ruth Chou Simmons)

One of my favorite prayers to pray when I am struggling to tend to the garden God has given me is from Hebrews 13. It says…

 “May God equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen.”

This spring God wants to work on the soil of your garden. He wants to plant some seeds, and He wants you to plant as well. Your garden might not look the same as your neighbors, but be assured He active, He is working, He is equipping, and He is the ultimate producer of all good things.

We welcomed spring with some outdoor gardening projects!

2 Things I’m Loving (+ A Few Extras)

1.) This podcast by Focus on the Family Parenting. After listening I wrote down, “Am I teaching my kids to be a contributor to our family and the world?” It reminded me of the article I read this week by Chip Gaines, Make Kindness Loud

But real kindness is built with grace and grit, and I don’t think one works without the other; they are wisely intertwined. Because life-changing kindness is hard. Sometimes so hard it hurts. It’s sweat and effort. It actually requires something of you. That’s kindness that inspires, kindness that makes a difference.” -Chip Gaines

2.) This healthy crack chicken recipe. This is a great one to double and freeze!  I made mine in my slow cooker and gave the second half to my neighbor.

3 Questions To Ask Yourself Today

1.) Am I being faithful to tending the garden and place God has given me to work or am I trying to be somewhere He has not placed me?
2.) What is one small seed I can plant today in my home and my relationships? A seed of kindness, seed of gratefulness, seed of compassion, seed of gentleness, seed of forgiveness? How can I “make kindness loud?” in my neighborhood?
3.) Are there any weeds that need pulled from my garden?  Any behaviors, any thought processes, any activities that are keeping me from walking closer to God?

Monday 3-2-1: Doing Less, Doing it Well

“In our ordinary chores and in the act of corralling chaos into order, we image God. Organizing a cluttered closet, sanitizing a nasty high-chair tray, distributing clean and folded laundry to the four corners of the house — these are as quietly mundane as the work God does in our time to water his trees with rain or, in history, to arrange for the manna that faithfully fed a generation of Israelites (Exodus 16).” Michele Morin

I’m sitting here at my kitchen island with the warm spring sunlight shining through my sliding glass doors. I’ve been thinking alot this week about some quotes I’ve jotted down from some books and blogs I’ve been reading. Even though we are halfway through the month, they motivated me to make a list of “must-do’s” and a list of “want to do’s”. Just doing that helped me release some anxiety I was feeling over how I should be using my time.

“Today do less. Do it well.” ~Sarah Mackenzie

“Do one thing at a time and do that one thing with all your heart.” ~Sarah Mackenzie

“Trusting a few things done well are better than many things spread thin.” ~Lara Casey

3 Quotes Worth Considering

  1. Do less but do it well.

Take time this month to work on teaching, practicing, and reinforcing table manners with my kids instead of being frustrated by repeated behaviors at dinnertime.

Instead of randomly scrolling facebook or checking emails when my mind wants a break from the chaos, actually designate a specific time of day to sit down and look at it.

Instead of responding to the urge to reply to every text message as soon as it comes in, set aside several times a day to reply and give more thoughtful responses when appropriate.

Start making a list of what I want to do with my kids this spring and summer. What do I want that to look like and sound like? What memories do I want my kids to walk away with and remember about summertime? What do I need to do to make these happen?

Pray for a neighbor today.

Look at my calendar. Am I making time for the most important things? Am I intentional about what I say yes and no to?

2. “Do one thing at a time and do that one thing with all your heart.”

Continue to cultivate a love for reading for my kids and myself. Silence my phone when reading books to the kids so I’m not tempted to be interrupted.

Get outside as many days as possible. Push the kids on the swings whenever they ask. Take more walks. Let them get dirty with mud and sidewalk chalk and not be annoyed at the extra laundry.

Take the time to stop the to-do list and work on handwriting with my three year old when he asks how to write letters.

Make good, healthy meals from a cookbook or printed recipe (and not pinterest.) Make dinner with worship or instrumental music playing, but not podcasts. Learn to focus my mind better at the task on hand without being distracted by other things.

Plan a date night with my husband. Get a sitter, pick a restaurant, make the reservation.

Plan some one on one activities with the each child and write these into my calendar.

Get up early to spend time in the Word without the interruptions of kids. Leave the planner in a different room. Turn my phone on airplane mode. Be present in the presence of the Lord.

Get coffee with a friend this month. Silence my phone. Listen well and ask better questions. Ask about her marriage, parenting, good things, and hard things. Know how her family is doing.

3. “Trusting a few things done well are better than many things spread thin.” 

Do an inventory of the kids clothes and shoes for the summer/fall/winter. What items do they actually need?

Make a list and plan 5 new, healthy freezer meals for those busy days I know I won’t feel like making dinner.

Pray for a friend today.

Spend some time pro-actively teaching the kids a new job this month. Do it along side them every day. Teach and re-teach. Praise and affirm.

Not sure where to start this week? Make your own list of “must-do’s” and “want to do’s” and prioritize from there.

2 Things I’m Loving

  1. My air fryer. I’m the first to admit, it took me a long time to jump on this train. I wasn’t interested in an appliance that would take up counter space and not be used very frequently. And then my friend started sending me all these pictures of her air fried veggies she was having for lunch and the next thing I knew my husband and I were on a date night looking at all the different models at Kohls! I’m a believer now. I’ve used it pretty much every day (ok maybe multiple times a day!) Here’s my favorite recipe so far. Air fried chicken breast (pair with a salad!)
  2. I recently read the library book “Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race” to my five year old daughter. It was fascinating! A few weeks later, my husband came across the movie on Disney and we watched it after our kids went to bed. 10/10 recommend! My sister-in-law also informed me there’s a novel, and I’m adding to my “need to read” list this year.

1 Quick Thought

Jesus didn’t do it all. Jesus didn’t meet every need. He left people waiting in line to be healed. He left one town to preach to another. He hid away to pray. He got tired. He never interacted with the vast majority of people on the planet. He spent thirty years in training and only three years in ministry. He did not try to do it all. And yet, he did everything God asked him to do.” (Kevin DeYoung)

Beyond Ourselves: Making Bible Study a Family Practice

“Family discipleship is leading your family by doing whatever you can whenever you can to help your family become friends and followers of Jesus Christ.” -Matt Chandler

by Emily Lehman

I was standing in the kitchen trying to clean up the last of the breakfast dishes when the sibling bickering began. It was usually over someone’s personal space being invaded (again), and this time was no different. I couldn’t push away the annoyance in my heart. Couldn’t they at least wait until I had a clean kitchen before they decided to fight? As I listened to my five year old daughter’s voice begin to amplify across the house, I was immediately convicted by her tone of voice. “I sound just like that when I’m frustrated,” I thought to myself.  Without even knowing it, I had unintentionally taught my daughter ways she could respond to others. I was discipling her in ways I didn’t even know.

But just like our children learn their first words by listening and observing our conversations, so our children learn what it is to follow Jesus by finding us with our Bibles open in the early mornings. They learn what talking to God sounds like by hearing our prayers spoken aloud throughout the day. They understand what it is to walk in obedience to the Spirit of God in our lives as they see us living with open hands, extending generosity, and caring for our neighbors. They taste repentance when they see us confessing our anger and irritation to our spouses. They glimpse forgiveness when we stoop to their level and whisper, “Will you forgive me? Mommy shouldn’t have yelled like that.”

As I read the Old Testament, I am reminded of the responsibility Jewish families felt in providing both physically and spiritually for their children. Young Jewish children would not just hear a few things about God; they were to know the entirety of the stories. Beginning at age six, a child’s instruction in the Jewish synagogues would involve memorizing the first five books of the Bible (the Torah). They were to know everything from the miracles of Creation to the fatal deception in the Garden of Eden, the whispers of a coming Redeemer made in the covenant with Abraham, to the Great Exodus where God so faithfully delivered His people.

The Lord, knowing how quickly and prone to forget His people would be graciously instructed them, “Take care, and keep your soul diligently lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children.” (Deuteronomy 4:9)

Somehow in the passing of generations, our Christian culture has become obsessed with an individual “quiet time.” This idea that our pursuit of loving and knowing God is to be done alone, quietly, away from the presence of others (especially the noise and distractions of children). We can become easily convinced that our personal time in the Word and the discipleship of our children need to be two separate things altogether.

“Write these commandments that I’ve given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder; inscribe them on the doorposts of your homes and on your city gates.(Deuteronomy 6:6-9, the message)

As I meditate on these verses, I can envision moms reading aloud the gospel accounts of Jesus being the Bread of Life as their children’s hungry bellies are being filled with breakfast. (John 6:35-40)

I can see moms opening the curtains to let in the soft morning light as they speak of how Jesus is the Light of the World of whom the darkness will never overcome. (John 1:1-5)

As they sort the laundry and teach their children how to get the stains out of clothing, they are reminding them that Jesus is the Lamb who takes away the sins of the world. (John 1:29)

When they break up another sibling dispute, they gently instruct their children that the tongue is like a fire, with the power to destroy. (James 3).

When they are treated differently because of the color of their skin, they teach their children the promise that God is ransoming people from every tribe, language, people and nation. (Revelation 5)

As often as they are sitting at home (at the kitchen tables), walking by the way (pushing the strollers), and lying down (tucking kids in for the night) they are finding ways to point their children to the greatest story ever told.

Just a few days later, I was standing in my kitchen preparing breakfast when I heard my 3 year old squeal, “Mommy look at the sky! God painted us a picture today! Look at all the colors He used!”  You too my friend, have the greatest opportunity in the world to disciple your children in what it looks like to walk with Jesus. It will not be found in one significant event in time, but rather in those small, ordinary, everyday moments that are all around you.

5 practical suggestions from one mom to another.

  1. Have children’s Bibles available and accessible at all times to your children. Have a copy of God’s Word they can look at, touch, and experience. Keep it in the same place in your home so they know where it is.
  2.  When your children are little, read from their children’s Bibles together every day (starting from the beginning and working to the end.) Teach them to see and understand the storyline of Scripture and the promises of God to His children.
  3. Model the spiritual disciplines in front of your children. If your children are never actually seeing you read and study your Bible how will they know that you do? As you do your Bible study time, encourage your littles to look through their own picture Bibles.
  4. As your children get older, set aside a time each day to teach them what studying God’s Word looks like. Read a passage of Scripture together, write down some verses that stood out to them, ask questions, and pray together.
  5. Make conversations about who God is and what He is doing normal, ordinary, and expected.

*This article was first published on Wandering Wilde.

15 Ideas to Get Your Kids Outside

“Research has confirmed time and time again that what children are naturally and unabashedly drawn to, unrestricted outside play, contributes to every area of child development. The importance here cannot be overstated and yet we are losing much of our childhood to screens, 1200 hours per year on average.” Ginny Yurich

15 Ideas to Get Your Kids Outside

  • Raise butterflies. This will be our third year using insect lore, and we have had so much fun naturally exploring the life cycles of insects as we’ve watched caterpillars turn into butterflies. You don’t have to stop at butterflies however, it looks like they’ve expanded on with ants and ladybugs!
  • Grab some magnifying glasses and let your kids go on a insect hunt (don’t forget your bug containers.) This outdoor explorer kit is really cute for younger kids.
  • Bundle up and eat a meal outside. If it’s 40 degrees or warmer, you’ll usually find us eating lunch on our back deck!
  • Make a DIY birdfeeder using apples or oranges! This would be a really fun activity to do with the neighbors.
  • Make some windchimes using sticks, paint, and beads. We made something similar last summer and they are still hanging out in our yard. Another fun play date idea to do with friends!
  • Grab a stack of library books, a large blanket, and take your reading time outside.
  • Grab some books on seeds, plants, or gardens and do this seed sorting activity. This would be another really fun activity to do with other moms. Let someone be in charge of the books and the others can bring seeds and help out with the seed sorting!
  • Grab some clipboards, paper, and pencils and learn how to draw some flowers with your kids!
  • Go for a spring nature hike with some friends and try one of these nature scavenger hunts.
  • Bubbles or sidewalk chalk! Have a bubble maker? This is a great “last activity” to do outside with all the neighbor kids before everyone heads inside to make dinner.
  • Make a homemade kite.
  • Make a nature journal and let your kids start a nature collection
  • Build an outdoor kitchen. No really, you can do this and your kids would love it!
  • Do an egg hunt in your yard (it doesn’t have to be Easter!) 
  • Take a walk or ride bikes. For extra fun, get your kids their own umbrellas and rain gear!