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3.13.2011

Lent and Easter Traditions

{Picture by Radio One Inc.}

Growing up Southern Baptist, I never heard much about Lent. I knew a lot about Good Friday and Easter, but always wondered what the day marked "Ash Wednesday" was all about. I naturally thought it must be a good holiday, since Ash is in my name. Really, I did. I know it was very egocentric of me, but aren't most children (and adults, for that matter)? As I learned several years ago, Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent.

Anyway, as I was perusing Facebook today I was lead to the blog of Noel Piper (noelpiper.com), wife of the famous Baptist Preacher and author of Desiring God, John Piper. One of her blog posts discusses the tradition of Lent and the question, "Is if for Baptists?". What is boils down to is that Lent marks the 40 days before Easter and should be a time when Christians prepare their hearts for the celebration of Easter, Christ's Resurrection! So whether you do it by observing the traditions of Lent or simply reflecting on how Christ has redeemed your heart from sin and all that He has done for you; both are ways prep in order to truly celebrate the meaning of Easter outside of the egg hunts, candy, and family gatherings.

Noel poses the question, "How do you prepare for Easter?" I had never given this much thought until today. My answer would be that I really don't other than going to find a fabulous new Easter dress to wear on Easter Sunday. I don't have children, so I don't really have a need to prepare Easter baskets and fill them with candy. Wow! How sad, that I do NOTHING to prepare my heart to celebrate the greatest day that ever happened in the history of the world, especially for me as a believer in Christ. Again, wow and whoa! I start preparing for Christmas a whole month or more before, but only occasionally have I prepared for Easter, usually by reading the passages in the Gospels about the days leading up the the Crucifixion of Christ, His death, and His Resurrection. And then, I have only done that a few times. It is time to be purposeful in my actions. I don't want another Easter Sunday to sneak up on me!

Noel is tweeting answers to her question and you can follow them along with me here. One of the traditions that I think I am going to implement is the lighting of 7 candles. One for each week leading up to Easter with the last for Good Friday. Light them all on the first day ( I assume this means Ash Wednesday) and snuff one out each Sunday with the last being snuffed out on Good Friday. This symbolizes how the darkness and sin seems to take over the world and snuff out the light leading up the crucifixion of Jesus. Then, on Easter Morning, light all 7 candles again to symbolize that He has overcome the darkness and that His light shines even in the midst of the darkness. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:5).You can utilize her devotional book for free, Lenten Lights, through the desiringgod.org website. It will give you eight weekly (or daily) devotions to use throughout the weeks leading to Easter Sunday.



Like Noel, I too will pose the question:  How do you prepare for Easter? Leave you answer in my comments section below! Can't wait to read what you have to say! Now off to hunt down some sweet candles for my new Easter Tradition!

3.01.2011

Heirloom Amaryllis



My grandmother's amaryllis were passed along to me and my aunts when she passed away this past August. You can see a beautiful tribute to her here written by my sweet sister on her blog. She had a love for flower gardening and watching birds enjoy their nectar and shade from the bay window in her kitchen. When my  cousins and I were kids (11 of us total) we would spend all day outside playing in and exploring my grandparents 40 some odd acres. My Meemaw would always make sure that we knew not to run through the gardens and we were strictly forbidden to pick any of them. I know that I was very tempted to pick those gorgeous blooms and once or twice I gave in to my Meemaw's dismay. Thankfully, she never stayed upset at us for too long no matter what we had done, and my Pawpaw would always chime in after we had been scolded with, "Lillian, just let 'em do it." That usually got us off the hook. Thanks, Pawpaw!

Anyway,  I too share my grandmother's passion for flower gardening and birdwatching, and I feel so blessed to have some of her flowers and house plants to keep alive. Each time I water them or simply enjoy their beauty, I am reminded of my sweet Meemaw. I feel that as I keep her plants alive, her memory is kept alive too. I miss her so much and wish with all my heart that I could just talk with her once again.

She had quite a few amaryllis. I remember how beautiful they were when she was alive, so when I got some of them last fall, they had already flowered but still had their leaves. She kept them potted too, so it was an easy transfer to my home except the fact that I didn't quite know what to do with them. Of course, I Googled it. I read many different articles and other snippets of advice. By this time it was getting pretty darn cold outside. I also realized it was too late to try the "force bloom" route in time for Christmas, so I decided to bring them in the house and "just let them be" to see what would happen. I did cut off all the leaves since they were yellowing and browning at this point, placed them in a window, and watered them weekly (with my man's help of course. Actually, he did most of the watering).



For many weeks now, we have  faithfully watered and watched green leaves shoot up and grow and grow and grow.


 Just a week or two ago we saw our first buds form. 


Friday, I saw that the single bud had split into two red-orange buds, and Sunday we had blooms!!!! Success! 





I don't know what kind of schedule we have these things on or what we will do with them in the future as far as keeping them in pots of planting them outside, but I am ecstatic that they are alive and growing and beautiful!






P.S. Whenever I get the camera out, Brody always waits to have his turn in front of the camera. I just say, "sit"  and he sits and poses. I then ask him to "say cheese" and he cocks his head to the side. Here is my 10 month old little man.