Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A Glorious Easter

Our Easter turned out to be family bonding and spiritual despite the stress. The stress in planning and the stress I had when I couldn't find the fish I had bought for the Easter dinner! I am the first to admit that I am not a perfect mother, homemaker, and holiday-memory-maker. Any holiday in general causes stress for moms if it involves any planning beyond the ordinary. Then to put General Conference on top of it means more stress, despite the huge blessings of General Conference. I had a wonderful, glorious, spiritual moment during the morning session. We were starting to sing "He is Risen" as a congregation and my eyes looked up from the notes I was taking and rested on a picture of the Savior I have here in my basement family room. I instantly felt the Spirit testify to me that Jesus is a real person, and that He does live again, that He is risen, even after dying to pay for our sins. Not only that but He cares about me and is watching over me.

Every time Conference rolls around I attempt to make Conference packets of puzzles for my under 12 years old children but it just didn't happen this time. So when my husband was scolding them for not being quiet during conference and not listening I scolded myself for not making packets to help keep them quiet. I was busy planning for Easter.

I got this idea from one of the email lists I subscribe to get plastic eggs and put a puzzle piece in each one and have an Easter egg hunt and then have the kids put the puzzle together during conference. So I found two 50 piece puzzles from the dollar store for my younger ones and a 500 piece puzzle for the big kids. No way was I hiding 600 eggs! I combined pieces. This also alleviated my stress of what to put in the eggs. I wanted to get "healthy" candy or make it using Caralee's recipe, but I didn't want to take the time to go to the health food store, because it is a bit of a drive, or take the time to make it. I just got a box of chocolate raisins and then used puzzle pieces and called it good. Maybe next year I will be so ahead of the game that I will get the petroleum-free jelly beans I heard about in the Feingold newsletter or actually make Caralee's healthy chocolate eggs.
I at least planned enough ahead that we dyed Easter eggs on Thursday and did our Saturday cleaning jobs on Friday. At least the kids did theirs, I was so busy driving people to their Friday homeschool activities that I didn't do my Saturday jobs.

So the glorious Easter weekend started with the missionary reunion for my husband Friday night. We go to these because they are a free date for us. Now that we have kids old enough to babysit the younger ones we go out on dates every weekend. My husband went to Finland on his LDS mission. It is always interesting to hear the speakers at the programs for these. I have to admit the whole reunion isn't this huge social hit for me since the only people I know are my husband and his mission president and his wife. Have you ever been to a reunion or a party where you hardly know anybody? OK, so my nursing baby and I had some fun when I went to nurse and I listened to my notes I have recorded on my cell phone from my current study of government and politics. Oops, I am starting to sound like an anti-social nerd here. Sorry. One of these times I am going to post all the fascinating things I am learning.

Anyway, I really enjoyed hearing from the Luthys, the couple who have been serving as temple president and matron of the Helsinki temple. Brother Luthy is married to Sister Luthy, who is a native of Finland. He compared her to Esther of the Bible, who was "raised for such a time as this," as she could direct the temple patrons to every place they needed to go, even the hospital if they were sick, since she is a native. She was a beacon to the Russian patrons, who asked her if she was a Russian. She inwardly cringed because she grew up not liking the Russians, but then she realized they meant it as a compliment and she would smile.
So this story got me thinking about the power of women and how we are often called to be bridges or interveners in the lives of our children, our husbands,or people in the sphere of our calling, like Esther or Sister Luthy was as a temple matron. Lots of food for thought there. We are often more immersed in the culture of our home and our neighborhoods than the men so we can do this. I have been learning in my constitution class about how the government's role is to protect the culture of the family. So here's another blog topic for another time...``

We felt nourished by Conference and my husband three of the older kids got to go in person to the Sunday PM session. I stayed home with my nursing baby and three others. (I loved hearing all the messages of the importance of teaching children in the home. You just know Joyce Kinmont of ldshea.org is going to have a heyday with this one!) I fixed a nice Jerusalem Easter dinner of lentils. It wasn't a perfect dinner by any means, we used tortillas for flat bread as I had used all my flat bread dough for cinnamon rolls that morning. I was going to serve fish as well but I couldn't find the fish that I had bought on Friday amidst all of my chauffeuring. Sometimes I feel like life homeschooling and homemaking with seven kids is so stressful that it will be a wonder if I make it through to my empty nester days with my brain intact. Must be time to increase my intake of omega-3s.

I listened to Truman Madsen on tape talk about the Savior's last week as I prepared the Easter dinner. I enjoyed hearing him tell the story of Neil Armstrong. He said that Neil became a Christian after he went to the moon. He went to the Holy Land afterwards. Truman was speaking about the place where they think the Upper Room was, where Jesus held the Last Supper. He said that Neil asked if those steps were where Jesus actually walked and he was told everyone believes they are as far as they can tell. Neil went over to the steps and reverently walked there and said he had more emotion about walking over those steps than he did about walking on the moon. Wow!

I shared that story over our Easter dinner and we also talked about Passover and unleavened bread. We read from Cousin Janet's book A Christ-centered Easter (see the post two times ago). Then my husband and I did our Family Executive Council and the kids cleaned up and went to bed (after a few not so subtle reminders from me to clean up and go to bed). It was a very meaningful Easter and Conference weekend. And I am so glad we got a break from the snow and hail! It hailed on April 1 as a nice Mother Nature April's Fool gift and this morning we woke up to a winter wonderland of snow six inches deep. That's spring in Utah for 'ya. I had a grand time creating my own little spring/renewal/Easter/spiritual feast of General Conference culture in my home here.

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