Monday, April 17, 2017

Easter fun!

Today was  sort of a continuation of yesterday's fun and family for me.  Gwen had the day off of work, so we "celebrated" and took the kids to the mall for some summer shoe shopping and then to their favorite "big park".  This park excursion also included a "picnic" lunch so it was a big hit all around.  This truly is a BIG park with 6 large play areas, a large sand/water play area, stuff for the younger kids, a BIG climbing rope structure and more!  I have been to this park with the kids since Lia was a baby since it was the closest large park to their old house.  Because they now live pretty far away from this park, it is a real treat for the kids to revisit this wonderland of park equipment.  It was another incredibly beautiful day (yesterday was fantastic) so it was a treat to be outside and enjoying the springtime.

Yesterday was one of those days that you just don't want to see come to an end.  The time just sped by and was filled with laughter, fun and food.  All of the kids had a blast....well, I suppose that is a bit of a stretch for Grace....but she ate, slept and smiled through the day!  Our day started with all 11 of us together at Gwen and Tim's church.  We actually took up two rows!  Let me tell you there is nothing better for this Grandma than to look around at all those sweet faces celebrating that Jesus is alive!  We never heard a peep out of Grace during the entire service!  Church was followed by lots of good food.  How wonderful is the aroma of ham baking in the oven and we were greeted with that lovely smell arriving at Gwen's house. After our annual outside picture taking event (these pictures were shared yesterday on Facebook!) the kids had a wonderful time exploring their Easter baskets.  Zeke was thrilled with a small "pocket volcano" that I included in his basket.  (In case you are wondering, this small plastic volcano is filled with baking soda and vinegar and placed in a glass of water, creates a wonderful volcano - perfect for a 5 year old boy!  It can also be used in the bath tub!)  
Grace had a couple of wardrobe changes during the day, including putting on this "my first Easter" bib, just for me!  After the rousing Easter egg hunt, we all walked to the park.  To end the day, we took a family picture and it was a surprising success - even though this was the end of a long, long day.
Every family picture we take has a missing piece.  I can't help but look at this picture and know that Lucas is missing from it.  But while Lucas is missing from this picture, he is always in our hearts.
I love that Susie and Doug included their special Lucas bear in this Easter family photo.  And Susie is also holding Grace's sweet "Rainbow Bunny"!  Grace is our precious rainbow baby.  She is a reminder of hope and love after the storm of grief and loss when Lucas died.  

I can't think of a better day and a better way to remember Lucas than Easter.  Because of Easter, we know that we will see Lucas again one day.  Because of Jesus, our family has been able to go on - day after day, in the last two plus years.  It is the message of Easter - He is risen! - that fills us with joy. 
I just love that Easter this year, happened to fall right in the middle of my weeks of loss.  Not only was I thinking about Lucas, but I was also thinking about my mom, dad, mother-in-law, father-in-law and sister.  I needed the reminder that Jesus has destroyed the power of the grave!  

Yes, this has reminded me of yet another song......Forever by Kari Jobe.  I don't know if you are all sick of me sharing songs, but so often Jesus speaks to me in music.  And this song contains this all important message!  

Now death where is your sting? Our resurrected King has rendered you defeated!

My prayer today is that this message of Easter will touch your heart and your spirit.  Because of Jesus there is joy and hope and love.  There is family and fun and food and playtime.  And we can sing Hallelujah!

Jesus, thank you for wonderful sunshine and bright blue skies.  Thank you for the sweetness of candy that brings smiles to faces of little children and adults!  Holy Spirit, help us all to remember, even in the seasons of grief and loss, that the sting of death has been defeated by Jesus!  Thank you for your sacrifice for us, Jesus.  Amen

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