Monday, April 17, 2017

Possibly the best Easter ever...

I'm not sure what it was but in my head this Easter has been the best one ever......I think its a combo of the following blessings...

1-I teach New Testament every year but this semester we really dug in deep about how ridiculous the celebration of Easter (bunny, eggs, jellybeans,etc) is and how valuable and important the observance of Passover is. It kinda struck a cord with me and I made sure that everything we did was a reflection of Christ's sacrifice for us. My kids still got their baskets-but they  had 3 eggs with gum, a pack of jellybeans, peeps and their Year Book I always make...we even used that as a time to reflect on what God has blessed them with this year and I made sure each book had scripture and pointed them towards seeing God's hand in their life. I don't want to become a kurmudgeon about holidays but I do want my kids to not get caught up in the material way we tend to celebrate in America.

2- We got a 4 day weekend. 4 glorious days to spend together....and as you know the Harvells use our days to the fullest! Adam has made so much progress on the playroom remodel---he has been a beast! The kids and I cleaned out the house!!!! LIKE FOR REAL-5 bags to GoodWill and then a yard sale where we made $130 bucks...pretty good for 3 hours! I HATE CLUTTER...I HATE PILES and now I feel like I can breathe again! We also went to a surprise birthday party, a glow in the dark party for our friends kids, a FANTASTIC church service, worked nursery as a family for another church service, had the ultimate dance party, tried out a new Pizza place, followed by Steel City Pops (who knew avocado Popsicles would be sooo dagum good?), we facetimed with Uncle Chris, Aunt Micah and the sweetest little man we know, Mr. Levi. We got some ideas for our big road trip this summer, we hung out with neighbors, got some groceries, cooked and finally the best part-we facetimed with Aunt Jill-who my kids had NEVER met and who I hadn't seen in 10 years!!!!! Its a long story but the ending is all that matters. She is alive, she is safe, she is well, SHE LOVES JESUS. It was the best ending we could have hoped for. I loved seeing my dad so happy about finding his sister and seeing her meet my kiddos and call them "heathens"....she hasn't changed a bit :).

3-Easter day was unreal. I mean it. Easter tends to be one of the few holidays where the Harvells get slightly depressed. Everyone spends it with family and we do our own thing, except those special years when we have family in town! This year though God really has been showing off and giving us such great family through his body, the church! We had two other families (who like us don't have family near by) over for lunch. The 4 little kids sat together at the breakfast nook and entertained each other the whole time (it was loud and lots of laughs). The two older boys (Goober and his swim team buddy) sat at the bar and made mischief and nicknames for everyone. The couples sat in the dining room and went over all the summer trips we are taking, our upcoming family camping trip and caught up on life. THEN THE FUN STARTED. The 2 big boys hid about 100 eggs in our back yards for the little kids. We loved watching them find eggs (even in the chicken coop!!!).  Then we came back in and dyed eggs. I had seen a neat way to do it with shaving cream and so we tried that. We dyed 36 eggs and the kids were MESSY! The eggs turned out sooooo neat!!! We are for sure doing it again! After that we ate matzah and talked with the kids about the stripes and holes in the matzah symbolizing Jesus's body. We showed them how to break it and how its unleavened symbolizing how fast the Egyptians had to flee Egypt and how leaven in bread is taken out of Jewish homes around Passover.  Then we played beanboozled....I don't think we have all laughed that hard in a long time. EVERYONE was playing and laughing and smelling each others breath. As everyone packed up to leave 3 hours later we ended with a dance party to Tripp Lee's Manolo (a christian rapper) and everyone got to see the parents bust a move........I thought to myself " this feels like a family lunch". I am so thankful for people who step in for us as family....even at Grandparents Day this year, Papa Dan (one of our co-workers who adores our kiddos) stepped in and attended their programs, took them candy and loved on them. It sure doesn't replace family but it allows our kids to grow up surrounded by others who love them and teach them and support them. I am beyond thankful for that.

4-The last thing that made Easter so very awesome is that we allowed our kids to watch The Bible Miniseries, episode 9 "Passion"-the segment where Christ is crucified and resurrected. They watched with the biggest eyes AND LOTS OF TEARS. They had never seen the torture and physical pain that Christ went through. They had never thought about how much his mother and disciples must have grieved at his flogging and death. We told them it was hard to see but something that we must acknowledge to understand the full measure of Christ love for us. We let them sit on a towel in the living room to eat their dinner as we watched. At the end, their dinner plates were full-they couldn't take their eyes away long enough to eat. They had so many questions and Ribbit cried big tears and wouldn't leave my lap. They were so upset when the crowd chose Barabbas and when Pilate sentenced him to death even after finding him innocent.

You know that plate I told you I wanted...that said "Silly Rabbit, Easter is for Jesus"? Well my mom had already bought a sign that had that exact quote on it and had put it in the mail to me and I opened it the day after my last post. Great minds think alike :). I think I am going to leave it up a couple more weeks, just so we are fully reminded of what this 4 day weekend was really all about-not jellybeans, finding eggs, ham, getting stuff done or even the special things like family, friends, enjoying life...but about the fact that God would give up this Son to take on my punishment, to allow me the chance to spend eternity with him.....
my new favorite song has this line in it.....

"You didn't want Heaven without us,
So Jesus you brought Heaven down.
My sin was great,
Your love was greater.
What can separate us now?"

Papa Dan letting the kiddos make their own root beer floats

8th Grade Passover Seder

Inviting in the Holy Spirit..recognizing that God is our light.

Washing each others hands in preparation for the meal.

Serving one another.

Breaking the matzah and talking about how Isaac's body was almost broken but God provided a Ram to sacrifice instead...a symbol that later on he would provide his son as the ultimate sacrifice for us.

Sweet Kenna breaking her matzah.

Blowing the shofar

Love this Seder every year!

I always sit my students and partake in the reading from Exodus. I learn something new every year.

Some of the guys from our Sunday School class went hunting/ fishing/ four wheeler riding out at the Reeder boys LOVED it!

Learning how to shoot.

Our AHG unit after our Noah's Ark puppet show. I was extremely proud of them for making their own puppets and props!

Goober and his best friend Brayden on the swim team practicing the I AM kick..don't ask me what that is...I am still learning the proper way to swim without drowning!

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