The sky is blue and the days have been warm and my heart has been pretty filled with gratitude for an amazing week of learning and loving right along side this family I adore.
Easter comes with it's fair share of commercial hoopla which is definitely fun and exciting.
But I sure love the way this one holiday has the ability to avoid having it's deeper more spiritual meaning overshadowed by focusing on some deliberate traditions and celebrations put into play in our family.
We began with a family home evening lesson last week, carefully planned by Eliza.
She led us into our celebration with our traditional "Walk in His Footsteps" wall. She reminded us of the heavenly characteristics of Christ with the challenge to make a choice each day to walk as he would with a goal in mind.
I love the way that thing is marching around the room.
Those traced footprints aren't all as little as they used to be, though some of them still bear careful handwriting and illustration.
I'll miss that so much one day.
Years ago when we began this idea, my mother-brain thought it such a good way to encourage some more positive behaviors ;)
I walked into the living room in the quiet-after-the-storm one morning and gazed at those written commitments. It struck me suddenly to see so much less of what I hoped each individual would be and to see, rather, all that they already ARE.
And I felt overwhelmed to stand among them as powerful and miraculous beings. Much less to be trusted to mother them.
Pondering on that thought, I was filled with gratitude for an eternal parent who sees all that I already am and therefore knows my capabilities and encourages me to my fullest potential to become like Him.
I was filled with wonder and awe at an entire plan laid out to build families, link friends, grow communities, connect peoples across time and space one to another by the simplest act of all ... unconditional love.
And I marveled at an incredible gift given to forgive shortcomings and stumblings, failures and flaws, mistakes and misdeeds in light of efforts to renew each day working a little harder to do a little better.
Oh how grateful I am for a season to celebrate a chance to continue on and grow and build and become right along side these people I love. And oh, how I love that Savior who gives hope and life to those beautiful promises of peace.
There is wonderfully insightful information HERE.
We've loved incorporating those principles into our daily study. We've also found time for a family discussion each day centered around Jesus Christ's final week found HERE.
I loved Monday night's discussion of ideas on how to stand for what is right in today's world even when it's hard based on his example of cleansing the temple.
Tuesday we enjoyed some favorite parable videos easily chosen from HERE.
Thursday night we livened things up a bit with our own adapted version of a Passover Dinner.
I had some pretty enthusiastic helpers (who helped pull this together after a swim at the hot springs).
We discussed traditional symbolism's and their meaning from an article found HERE and then peppered in some other foods that might have been found in ancient Jerusalem.
The kids said it was a really fun and memorable way to look at the historical and spiritual events of Holy Week and asked that we keep it as a tradition for the future.
This morning as we gathered for family prayer and scripture, we took a look at this video HERE.
It beautifully portrays the final hours in Gethsemane (and since we have little children, we were trying to appeal to their sensitivities). We talked of how later in the hours of the next day, Christ was killed but in those quiet moments of the Garden, he atoned for us all.
We pointed out that he was seeking silence and we can feel spiritual influences in our own, silently sought out, moments.
We encouraged each child to find the quiet, journal their feelings, and choose one thing in their life they'd like to work on to change in honor of him today.
What a wonderful time of year to celebrate that he came to show us the way, that he died, and that he LIVES! How grateful I am for that miraculous of all gifts.