//easter sunday in orlando//

(I heard this song at the dentist with my son Caleb yesterday and liked it so much).

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April 1, 2018

It was Easter Sunday and we decided to take a day of rest.  Rich read resurrection Scriptures to us in our hotel room that morning and then we slathered on sunscreen, put on our bathing suits, and headed for the pool.

Oh I forgot to mention that Caleb and Seth tried to play basketball first thing in the morning but came right back to the room because “There is an easter egg hunt going on, there are eggs everywhere even on the basketball court.”  I noticed Sarah (who was still in her pajamas and in bed) perk up at these words, so I asked Caleb to “hop like a bunny and go get Sarah an egg”.  We all laughed hysterically as he hopped out the door as only Caleb can, and then 10 minutes later, hop back inside the room with an egg and his front teeth sticking out of his lips just like the Easter bunny.  We affectionately call Caleb “Moose” for a reason, his bunny “hops” were more like heavy stomping earthquakes and he quickly hopped/launched himself off balance and into the wall as he tossed the egg to his sister.  “They were all gone so I told a man I needed one for my sister and asked if he would give me one of his.  There were kids with huge bags full of eggs.”  Sarah opened her egg to find a grape-flavored hard candy and was thrilled.

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Rich and I settled into pool chairs and very soon David was coming over to show me that he finally caught a lizard.  (the round scar on his stomach is from a spider bite, chronicled on this blog about 10 years ago).

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David was very curious about the wild life around the pool.  Now and then a duck or two would fly over to see if there were any crumbs to eat.  David tossed one a potato chip and we laughed to see it gobble it down only to bob his head up and down forcefully to bring it back up.  It landed on the pavement just as dry as it had gone into his beak.

David also saw a bird spear a fish over at the lake and came to report enthusiastlically.

My heart bursts with joy that he comes to share things with me so often.  I love to hear his stories and the way he tells them is always unique and interesting.  I am an eager listener.

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Sarah (in pink) quickly made a friend of a little girl just a year younger.  Eventually I met the little girl’s mother.  They had plans to go to a park that day but after seeing the girls swimming and getting along so well they ended up staying at the pool all day too.  They had traveled to Orlando all the way from Ireland and it was fun to visit with the mom and ask her questions about her country.

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We eventually made the girls get out of the pool to share a hot dog lunch together.  Sarah didn’t want to get out of the water and made sure to let me know that she “wasn’t done swimming yet.”  I was so glad to have gotten the children goggles before our trip because they had the greatest time throwing a little plastic card into the pool and diving for it.

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Behind the pool there was a lake and Caleb was so happy to go fishing.  He and Seth also played basketball for a while, too, and Seth was nicknamed “Seth Curry” by some other boys were were playing with them.

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After Sarah’s great reluctance to meet Disney characters at the park, I was truly intrigued to see that she got out of her beloved pool to approach the Easter bunny.  But on second thought, I decided that it had more to do with the eggs than the bunny.  It was the most adorable thing to see her and her friend get out of the water and hold hands as they walked over to the bunny for an egg.  All in all, Sarah managed to bring home about 7 or 8 plastic easter eggs.

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I spent the day in my chair with my book, journal (pictured above) and various nice coffee drinks.  The tallness of our hotel blocked the sun after a while so Rich moved to the other side but I stayed put.  I would rather not roast myself; it was perfect in the shade and Rich always gets annoyed because I still get tan so much better than he does even though he stays in the sun.

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Eventually it was time for dinner so we got all cleaned up and headed to a steakhouse for a good meal.

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“Yeah but mom look, I’m not even in the picture.”

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What is it with boys trying to look cool and thereby not smiling?

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Handsome Caleb after a day in the sunshine.

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Someone take away that soda!

The boys had steak dinners.  I had crab legs and Sarah had spaghetti.

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Even though we truly didn’t NEED dessert, the next thing we did was drive to a soft serve place for cones.

It was the kind of heavy cream soft serve that makes you feel full and sick after eating only half of it.

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It was a good ending to a relaxing day.

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What a God we have!  And how fortunate we are to have him, this Father of our Master Jesus!  Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven–and the future starts now!  God is keeping careful watch over us and the future.  

The Day is coming when you’ll have it all–life heal and whole.  ~ 1 Peter 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

easter happenings

Happy Glorious Easter!

By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us–set us right with him, make us fit for him–we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus.  And that’s not all:  We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us.  We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand–out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.
     There’s more to come:  We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next.  In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged.  Quite the contrary–we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!
     Christ arrives right on time to make this happen.  He didn’t, and doesn’t, wait for us to get ready.  He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready.  And even if we hadn’t be so weak, we wouldn’t have known what to do anyway.  We can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice.  But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to Him.
     Now that we are set right with God by means of this sacrificial death, the consummate blood sacrifice, there is no longer a question of being at odds with God in any way.  If, when we were at our worst, we were put on friendly terms with God by the sacrificial death of his Son, now that we’re at our best, just think of how our lives will expand and deepen by means of his resurrection life!  Now that we have actually received this amazing friendship with God, we are no longer content to simply say it in plodding prose.  We sing and shoout our praises to God through Jesus, the Messiah!

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We know that when Jesus was raised from the dead it was a signal of the end of death-as-the-end.  Never again will death have the last word.  When Jesus died, he took sin down with him, but alive he brings God down to us.  From now on, think of it this way:  Sin speaks a dead language that means nothing to you; God speaks your mother tongue, and you hang on every word.  You are dead to sin and alive to God.  That’s what Jesus did.

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A whole, healed, put together life right now, with more and more of life on the way!

(from the book of Romans in “the Message” translation)

I could just keep typing and typing, copying out these rich and wonderful words!  Even on the worse days, the Holy Spirit keeps ministering to God’s children.  The bad days are a little better, the best days are a foretaste of Heaven!

One of those “best days” for me personally happened just yesterday.  We visited Mom and Dad’s church and then I was able to ride along with them to the Otesaga Resort for our buffet Easter dinner.  I felt like laughing all day, I was so happy.  Even when we didn’t quite know where we were going for a little while there on the back roads……..

Our reservations were for 2 and we arrived with time to spare and were seated at two large round tables, side by side.  We were in a nice open room with huge windows which opened out to the bluest lake.  The weather was lovely, warm and spring like.  The food was served buffet style and we all ate until we could eat no more, with laughter and fun conversations.

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We were missing Ethan very much.

(My sister and her family also could not make it this year.)

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Cassandra’s dear parents joined us though, which was a fun treat; we love this family!

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Dave was able to play a few songs on the grand piano!!!  He was dying to get his hands on it.

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LOVE IT!

And one last drive away photo from out the window!  the parents! xo

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Well then, it came out in the car that Rich was in a bad mood because of something a couple of our children did that I didn’t know about until we were driving down the road and he was able to fill me in on the details.  I had wondered why he had sort of “deflated” toward the end of the meal.  My poor husband, I always have complete confidence in how he handles the issues that arise in our family.  Very thankful for that.   However, as we drove along, his irritation was causing him to retreat inside of his own thoughts and problem solving so that he wasn’t paying attention to his driving….I did notice that he was going a little fast but what with the situation and all I decided to keep my mouth shut and not nag him about speed limits.

Instead, I took pictures out my window.

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You can sort of tell by these photos that we were going 60 in a 45, right?

However, the officer was merciful and decided to only ticket us not for speeding but because our vehicle had tinted windows (I guess in NY you can only have a certain shade of tint)….and even that was eventually thrown out because after all that he wasn’t able to get his computer to work- so off we went again on our merry way and at a much slower pace, praise the Lord.

We still arrived home at just the right time; bedtime for the younger children to be exact!!!  And heart to heart time for the ones who needed fatherly guidance and instruction.

All is well.

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I took these photos just this morning; things are growing fast now that the snow has melted and the ground has warmed up.

April showers and all that.

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I saw the first spring violet this morning when I walked Sarah to the bus; picture to follow!

You are loved, xo

~Shanda

What we believe is this:  If we get included in Christ’s sin-conquering death, we also get included in his life-saving resurrection.  Romans 6

thrifting finds

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This picture doesn’t go with the rest of the post but I wanted to slip it in.  I am enjoying the birds every day, and yes we had snow on April fool’s day.   It’s all gone now.

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I drove to Vermont on Friday to get Ethan from college.  He is home for the week.  You may have seen the photo I put on instagram of all seven of the children.  I’m glad the older ones are starting to do their own things but there is nothing like those moments when all the family is together again.  It’s been even busier than ever at my house, hence not as much time to be on the computer.

This morning after getting the kids off to school and cleaning up spilled evaporated milk from all over the fridge, I had to go to the Post Office.  I asked Ethan if he would like to go along with me.  He insisted on waking up Jake and the three of us went.

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We went to the coffee shop first and I read them trivial pursuit questions while we enjoyed lattes and Jacob had a sandwich.  It brought back good memories of homeschooling.  I could sense myself slipping into that “mama teacher” feeling.

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We walked to the Thrift store to see if I could find any treasures.  The boys didn’t just walk, they jumped up on bridges and things……

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They can finally do what they wanted to do when they were five years old *but Mom would stop them so they didn’t kill themselves*.  I kept having flashbacks.  (By the way, Jacob is currently 20 and Ethan is 19).

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BACK HOME after thrifting and mailing books out to my friends…..

…..and here are some photos I took of *some* of my thrifting finds from today.  I was most excited about the framed needlework that I found, which I promptly added to my collection (after hunting house and garage for a nail.)  I used a rock as a hammer.

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The collection is growing slow because I am very particular.  Not only does it have to look right, the price also needs to be right.

If you are observant, you can see the word “mom” written in red by my bedroom door.  What you can’t see is the “X” next to it.  When I asked little Seth why he wrote “X mom” by my door he said, “Because you weren’t in your room.”  Made sense to me!  I can’t tell you how many smiles I have gotten out of that simple red sharpie “X mom” scribble by Seth since he wrote it a few years ago.

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Ceramic Bunnies!!!  They say 1983 on the bottom and the woman’s name, Eve, who painted them.  The lady at the thrift store said ceramics were a trend during that time period and there used to be a ceramics place in town.  Aren’t they so cute and perfect for this time of year?

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I didn’t even look in the book when I chose it, I just saw the words, “Holly Hobbie” and knew it was for me and added it to the books I already had in my hands…….here is a look inside at some of the illustrations;

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I love them all so much.  Holly Hobbie has been a favorite my entire life.  This book was published when I was a year old.  And I also love nursery rhymes.  It will be fun to read this book out loud to Sarah and hopefully even the boys might listen and enjoy.

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Lastly, a couple baseball books for Seth.  I also bought two books for myself.  The bunnies, the needlework, and the books cost me 3 dollars.

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I bought potted hyacinths at Trader Joes last week and they bloomed.  They smell of springtime.

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Still watching the geranium buds…..

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Kitchen window display of things that make me happy.

“I don’t really collect, I’m attracted to certain things, I get them, and they accumulate.”  ~Natalie Gibson

happy easter family pics

 

 

Blessed Savior, we adore Thee,
We Thy love and grace proclaim;
Thou art mighty, Thou art holy,
Glorious is Thy matchless name!

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Great Redeemer; Lord and Master,
Light of all eternal days;
Let the saints of every nation
Sing thy just and endless praise!

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From the throne of heaven’s glory
To the cross of sin and shame,
Thou didst come to die a ransom,
Guilty sinners to reclaim!

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Come, O come, immortal Savior,
Come and take Thy royal throne;
Come, and reign, and reign forever,
Be the kingdom all Thine own!

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Glorious, Glorious, Glorious is Thy name O Lord!
Glorious, Glorious, Glorious is They name, O Lord!

~B.B. McKinney

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Blessed be Thy glorious name,
which is exalted above all blessing and praise.  Nehemiah 9:5

In a small country church we gathered to worship the Lord together; Mom, Dad, the brothers and sisters, and children.  The people were warm and welcoming, the Pastor preached with humility and respect.  My mom took my hand and held it.  Dad gave me a hug.  I looked at each familiar sweet face.  Truly a family is one of the greatest blessings from God, and going to church together on a beautiful Easter morning is a joy unmatched.

I was glad when they said to me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.  Psalm 122:1

The people there had prayed sincerely with love for our Sarah when she was going through her kidney stone situation and they were so gracious to her on Sunday, happy to finally meet the little girl they had prayed for.  God bless them and their wonderful congregation!

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Then our family all drove to a resort hotel for an excellent Easter buffet.  We all swapped kids so they could ride with their cousins.

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My brother Dave, one of the most important people in my life.

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My brother Nathan with his family.  So very special to me.  I can help but smile as I look at this picture.

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My 18 year old son, Ethan.

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My brother Isaac with his wife Cassandra.  A wonderful couple.  So happy to call them “mine”.

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Nate with our niece, Abbie.

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Dad and Mom with the beautiful lake behind them.

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Emily and Jacob

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The little cousins; Sarah had the best day, she thrives on “girl time”.

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The big cousins; this picture makes me grin.

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My beautiful sister, Amanda, with her family.  We are so thankful that we live near each other and watch the children grow up together. I think this is one of the best portraits I’ve taken, I love how it turned out.

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Guess who took this portrait???????
The Easter bunny!

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We stayed in a hotel the night before Easter and Sarah slept in our room with us.  The boys were in the joining room.  I was already awake and just lying there in bed, hoping to fall back to sleep, and meditating on what exactly it means by “husbands loving their wives as Christ loves the church.”  How does this look in practical everyday married life?  And why don’t we hear as many Bible studies about this concept as we do about “wives, submitting yourselves to your husbands”.  Oh yes, I was thinking and thinking, it was quite fascinating.  My eyes were shut and Rich was by my side in the bed. Well, it was still totally dark when Sarah got up to use the bathroom which was directly in front of our bed.  As she turned on the very bright bathroom lights, I squeezed my eyes shut tighter.  As soon as I did, that very moment, Rich’s hand clamped right down over my eyes like a suction cup.  I laughed as I was shown this small but endearing sign of my husband’s love.

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Our girls; the brown eyes and the blue.

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Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids Him rise, Alleluia!
Christ has opened Paradise, Alleluia!

And He said to him, “I assure you: Today you will be with Me in paradise.”

 

easter baked beans

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“Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.” 1 Timothy 1:2

“The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” 1 Timothy 1:5

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My soul, admire the boundless love of God to thee and others of the human race.
Worms are bought with the blood of the Son of the Highest! Dust and ashes
redeemed with a price far above silver and gold!  ~Charles Spurgeon

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“I will not glory, even in my orthodoxy, for even that can be a snare if I make a god of it… Let us rejoice in Him in all His fulness and in Him alone.”  Dr. Martin Lloyd Jones

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“It is grace at the beginning, and grace at the end. So that when you and I come to lie upon our death beds, the one thing that should comfort and help and strengthen us there is the thing that helped us in the beginning. Not what we have been, not what we have done, but the Grace of God in Jesus Christ our Lord. The Christian life starts with grace, it must continue with grace, it ends with grace. Grace wondrous grace. By the grace of God I am what I am. Yet not I, but the Grace of God which was with me.”
– Martyn Lloyd-Jones

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Good day to you, friends!  It has been a lovely week at our place, although there is a sickness going around.  I’ve been sick since Tuesday but am feeling better although tired out.  Grace was home with me yesterday, and it was cozy indeed.

There is no school today for the children.  Ethan drove to the mall with Dave, Grace, and Emily (his girlfriend’s sister).  Rich and Jacob are at work.  Caleb, Seth, and Sarah are home with me and playing together.

Jacob’s girlfriend Emily was taking care of a duck yesterday.  While she was at school, she had Jacob bring it over to our house so he could watch it.  Of course we all fell in love with the duck.

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And Grace wanted to keep it.  She began researching but what I told her was true; you really shouldn’t keep one duck.  It would be a very lonely duck.

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So after a visit and much quacking, it went to be adopted by a family of ducks.

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Easter Baked Beans

(way back in October I wrote about my intention to try all sorts of baked bean recipes.  Well, I finally got to recipe #2 and it was delicious)

First I’ll give you the recipe and then I’ll tell you everything I did differently.  🙂

Navy Bean and Apple Casserole

1 lb. dried navy beans, 2 cups
6 cups cold water
1 tsp salt
3 large tart apples pared and sliced
1/3 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 lb. salt pork, sliced

Wash beans and turn into a 3 quart saucepan.  Add the water and salt, heat to boiling, and simmer gently, covered, about 2 hours.  Drain, saving cooking liquid.  Arrange beans and apple slices in alternate layers in a greased casserole, sprinkling sugar over each layer.  Pour in 2 cups of the cooking liquid and top with slices of salt pork.  Bake, covered, in a very slow oven (250 degrees) for about 2 and a half hours, or until beans are light brown and thoroughly cooked.  If they become dry in cooking, add more cooking liquid or hot water.  There should be enough liquid on the beans to make a gravy-like sauce over them.  5-7 servings.

*****

I saved out 2 cups of the cooked beans to use in a chili recipe.  I peeled and diced the apples and only used 2 apples because of my reduction of the amount of beans.  I sprinkled onion powder and cinnamon on the beans (about 1/8 of a tsp each).  I used bacon instead of salt pork (what is salt pork???) and I diced it instead of keeping it in slices.  It took longer for mine to bake, in fact, I let them go on for about 6 hours (I don’t know why it took so long, maybe my oven temps are off?).  I used a can of chicken broth that I had leftover in the fridge for cooking liquid.  I took the foil off for the last hour so they would thicken up and brown.  Adding cinnamon made them perfect–the bacon and apple basically melted into the beans making a wonderful flavor.  We all liked them, and Sarah had three bowls full.  They would go well with a ham dinner, which is why I have renamed this recipe “Easter Baked Beans”.

easter 2015

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Glorious Easter!  The day all the world is reminded of the amazing hope we have, because of our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ dying on the cross and *not staying dead* but rising again the third day.  Up from the grave He arose!  And because He lives, I can face tomorrow.  Because He lives, I can also live forever and ever……. and someday soon, because life is short, I will see Him, and know Him, and be home.  Oh I can’t wait for that day….that “can’t wait” feeling is HOPE, glorious resurrection hope.  Thank you, Jesus.

I woke up this morning at 6 and found Jacob frying himself some eggs, Davy ready to chat with me, and Grace sick to her stomach but saying she was fine and going to school regardless. (She is way too responsible for her own good.)  I served cereal, started the dishwasher, started a load of laundry, folded three loads of it at the couch, drank coffee, made myself a couple of eggs and shared them with Seth, gathered up homework and bags for the elementary school boys, and sent five children off to school.

I’m still in my pj’s, feeling rather sleepy, I’m in bed with Miss Sarah.  We are under the down comforter and she’s snuggled up close enough so I can play with her hair, she’s sucking her finger and feeling the tag on her new stuffed animal.  It’s cozy with my little sunshine girl, listening to the washer and dryer hum.

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I found this old snapshot of the kids, taken in our old neighborhood.  Caleb was a baby and not in the photo.  Grace is wearing her flower girl dress and Jake and E are dressed exactly the same, and standing exactly the same, too.  Little Davy has such a sweet smile on his face.  Isn’t it funny how a simple picture can make a person happy and sad at the same time?  I remember how Grace, at this age, used to hate getting sun in her eyes, and was very sensitive about outdoor photography, you can see it in her face in this picture, too.

They are growing up but Grace wore a white dress again this year.

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Thank you to Mike for taking these portraits yesterday morning before church.

Outside, we gathered up the family and I said, “come on let’s act like we love each other!” which prompted Seth to put his arm around me and melt against my leg……sweet, sweet love of a little son.

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Grace Sarah Easter 15

We went to church….I can’t think of a better day to attend a church service….and then when we came back home we didn’t eat a ham dinner.

We ate pizza!

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Here is a photo of all my children yesterday when we got back home.  I wouldn’t let them in the house until I took a picture of them all….my own offspring plus Jacob’s girlfriend Emily (red sweater), and Myriah (white jacket), a young family friend who lives in Virginia and came to visit us during her spring break.  She will be here all week.

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I spent five dollars on the actual baskets from our local thrift store, and I put jelly bean filled eggs in each one, with a gift.  I accidentally bought two bags of very SOUR jelly beans but the children still liked them.  Seth had matchbox cars, David and Caleb had sticky bugs that they could shoot with their finger at the windows, Sarah had a stuffed animal, and the older teens each received a pair of new socks.  Simple, but enough to keep them all excited about the day.

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We had my sister’s dog-baby all weekend, too.  His name is Lloyd and he is a labradoodle.  Isn’t he adorable?  Rich called him Rug and told me that Rug looked just like me what with the brown curls.  He was a lot of fun to have in the house with us, such a cute puppy.  David was the one in charge of him, while Uncle Jason and Aunt Amanda were away for Easter.  He is back home now and Seth asked me if we could please get a rug.

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Emily had Easter dinner at her grandparent’s house and took Caleb with her (heart melts).  The rest of us made homemade pizza……

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It was non-stop activity in the kitchen for a long time as I made a ton of pizza dough and the kids each made a pizza of their own.  Jacob was a slow perfectionist over his pizza, causing great amusement, but his hard work paid off because YUM YUM it was good.  Myriah made a pizza for the first time and did so good, it was amusing to see her press the dough around on the oily pan trying not to touch it with her long fingernails.  Grace made a pizza with salami as a topping and she used cookie cutters to make the salami pretty.  Seth made a crazy-shaped stuffed crust pizza that was thin on one side and thick on the other.  Ethan and David each chopped up their own fresh garlic and made clam pizzas.  It was awesome.

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We cleaned up the kitchen and then watched a movie.  Some of the kids fell asleep and the rest of us went outside after the movie was done, to get some fresh air.  By the way, it snowed yesterday.  But spring is coming and there are signs of it everywhere, it’s just very late this year.

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One last picture of Lloyd!

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I hope you all had a nice Easter, and have a Happy Monday!

We are loved.

{this moment} picture, song, scripture

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1 John 4:9-11  In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

Zephaniah 3:17  The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

1 John 3:1  See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

Proverbs 8:17  I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me.

Hebrews 12:28-29  Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.

have a beautiful, blessed Easter weekend, my friends.

We are loved more than we could ever fathom.