Golden and Noble Works

“A wife too should regard her duties in the same light, as she suckles the child, rocks and bathes it, and cares for it in other ways; and as she busies herself with other duties and renders help and obedience to her husband. These are truly golden and noble works."
Martin Luther

Friday, April 29, 2011

Easter at My House - Aubri H.

Here are some pictures of Easter at our house. I really like having this Resurrection set. I never thought of getting one before but my girls love looking at it. I always enjoy putting out my Nativity set at Christmas but it didn't occurred to me to have something like this for Easter. I'm glad I got it!

And I'm glad I finally made some time to make this Alleluia banner. The idea came from here.

I didn't get around to making the "natural" dyes this year. It required a little more work than I ended up having time for. But I had fun with the regular Paas dyes.

I used some acrylic paints to decorate after dying.

And paper for embellishing! I love these little birdies!

And tried decoupage on blown out eggs. I was inspired by Martha Stewart's eggs here, but unfortunately all of Martha's projects I try, always turn out a little less than stellar. I guess we can't all be Ms. Stewart.

Blessed Easter!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Easter at My House - Kathy F.

Kathy writes about the Resurrection Eggs her family makes for Holy Week and Easter:

Holy Week is the highest and most special week of the church year as we remember the sacrifice Christ made on our behalf, but it often gets overlooked by the business of our ever growing list of things to do before Easter - dying eggs, buying the ham for dinner, and preparing Easter baskets for loved ones, etc. This set of Resurrection Eggs will help with the reflection of the true meaning of this week.

During Holy Week next year (starting on Monday) open 2 eggs, read the Bible verses together as a family, reflect on the meaning while looking at the symbols included. On Holy Saturday, open egg # 11 and then on Easter Sunday open #12 in the same manner. This is small thing to do, but it can bring much meaning to this special time of year.

Egg Number 1
Message: Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. The people waved palm branches.
Passage: Matthew 21:1-11.
Item: pretend palm leaf

Egg Number 2

Message: Judas betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.
Passage: Matthew 27:3 Matthew 26: 14-16
Item: Three dimes

Egg Number 3
Message: Jesus ate the Last Supper with His disciples.
Passage: Matthew 26:17-19 Mark 14: 22-25
Item: A small piece of cracker to represent the passover bread and grapes for wine

Egg Number 4

Message: Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemene
Passage: Mark 14:32
Item: praying hands

Egg Number 5
Message: the rooster crows 3 times and Jesus being bound and led away by the soldiers
Passage: Matthew 26:34 and Matthew 27:2
Item: feather and knotted rope

Egg Number 6

Message: Soldiers placed a crown of thorns on Jesus' head.
Passage: John 19:2-3 Matt 27:29
Item: A small thorny branch

Egg Number 7

Message: Jesus carried His cross.
Passage: John 19:17.
Item: small crucifix

Egg Number 8
Message: Jesus was nailed to a cross and pierced in His side.
Passage: John 19:18, 37 and John 20:25-29
Item: A nail

Egg Number 9
Message: Soldiers parted Jesus' garments and cast lots for His coat.
Passage: John 19:23-24
Item: Miniature dice

Egg Number 10
Message: They gave Jesus vinegar mixed with gall on a sponge to drink.
Passage: Matthew 27:34 and 48
Item: A sponge with vinegar

Egg Number 11
Message: The stone covering His tomb and Spices to prepare Jesus’ body
Passage: Matthew 27: 59-60 and Mark 16: 1
Item: rock and spices

Egg Number 12

Message: The tomb is empty. He has risen!
Passage: Luke 24:6 Matt 28:1-6
Item: Nothing

If you would like to share something your family did for Holy Week or Easter weekend, please let me (Aubri) know!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter at My House - Kristi L.

Alleluia, Christ has risen! A joyous Easter to you all!

Here are some pictures Kristi shared from her family's Easter celebrations. I thought it would be a fun series of posts, so if you would like to share something from your week please let me know!
Above is her Easter Resurrection set.

Her Easter eggs. Kristi writes: "We used brown farm eggs with regular dye. We tried some rubber bands this year, too. Marbling an egg was not the success for which I was hoping."

And Easter rice crispy bars she and her daughter made using colored, flavored marshmallows.

And something I meant to post on Sunday but didn't get around to.
Kristi found this Easter sermon by Pastor William Cwirla, you can read it here.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Holy Week Cooking from Aubri

Making Lentil Soup

I thought I'd share some of the recipes I used for meals during Holy Week. For Maundy Thursday I made a Lentil soup (recipe here) and a Rosemary Flat Bread (recipe here). I'd never cooked with lentils and thankfully found it to be easier (and tastier!) than I'd expected.

Crisp Rosemary Flat Bread

And for Good Friday I made Hot Cross Buns. This has become a tradition for me and I'm so happy to have found a recipe that turned out so much better than my past experiences. I used Hot Cross Buns Recipe II here. I made them on Thursday and it was so hard to wait to eat these (ok, more than 1) on Friday. Yum!

The Seven Last Words of Christ - IV


“Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit” (Luke 23:46).

The parting words of Jesus were taken from Scripture.” Psalm 31:5 says, “ Into thine hand I commit my spirit.” After the torment of betrayal by one of His own, the anguish of denial by another of His own, after mockery and abuse, a crown of thorns and suffering, after being forsaken by God, and enduring the throes of death His was nevertheless a peaceful death! The measure of our affliction in life can never measure up to that of our Lord, yet just because He suffered more than we could ever have endured, we are bold to say, “Lord give us such a death as this.”

As children of God we may be confident that measured in terms of our relationship to God, ours will be a peaceful death. Our Savior has reconciled us to God. As we are reconciled to God through the death of Jesus, we have nothing to fear from God. No matter how violent our death may be, no matter how fierce the struggle may be between life and death, our heart can be at peace. Our Lord Jesus promised us “whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Further He said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand” (John 10:27-29). With these promises in heart the Apostle Paul said, “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day” (2 Tim 1:12). Amidst all the noise and raucousness of our ungodly age, the believer in Jesus can join with the martyr, Stephen (Acts 7) who said, “Lord Jesus receive my spirit,” and John Huss who before He was burned at the stake, said, “But I commit my soul into Thy hands; Thou hast redeemed me, Lord Jesus, God of Truth”, and finally Martin Luther who lying on his death bed said “I pass away; I yield up my spirit. Father into Thy hands I commend my spirit, Thou hast redeemed me, Lord, Thou faithful God.” Such a confession we may confidently make because our Lord Jesus having fulfilled all for our salvation commended Himself, and with Himself all His members to the hands of the Father in Heaven for which reason we may say,

In Thine arms I rest me,

Foes who would molest me

Cannot harm me here

(The Lutheran Hymnal-347).

Courtesy the Church of the Lutheran Confession


Friday, April 22, 2011

The Seven Last Words of Christ - III


“It is finished” (John 19:30)

“It is finished.” With reference to our text, the Greek Lexicon offers for the particular verb form of the word “finished” the following interpretation: “Everything has been accomplished which by the appointment of the Father as revealed in the Scriptures I must do and bear” (Thayer).

Everything foretold about, and necessary for our salvation is complete! With reference to the attainment of the promised eternal salvation, no works, no penance, no blood, no money “ nothing!- is necessary unless one does not believe what “finished” means. As comforting as it is to believe that Jesus has paid the full price for our salvation when He died upon the cross, so sad is it when people remain comfortless and burdened because they believe that they have to complete what Jesus already called complete.

Our Savior Jesus Christ said to His disciples, “Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished” (Luke 18:31). “It is finished” tells us that Jesus is true to His Word. We, the redeemed who believe the Word of Christ, and trust in His once-for- all completed atonement are numbered among those to whom Psalm 22 makes reference. “A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation. They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done this” (Psalm 22:30-31).

Wilhelm Besser wrote in The Passion Story, “They who waste their energy in labor designed to add to or complete the work of Christ, they who, instead of accepting in faith the work of God that justifies the ungodly, they create a Savior according to their own fancy who is to make the virtuous more righteous, or to make penitent sinners gradually purer. They destroy for themselves the blessed message: “It is finished!”“ The faith that saves is not built upon personal effort, however sincere, to pridefully try to complete what Christ called complete, as if Christ actually did not complete what He said He did. They make of Christ a liar. Being people of flesh and blood who “daily sin much” the penitent sinner relieves an accusing conscience, not by trying harder to do what he can never do or even has to do, but by simply believing “It is finished!” In so believing the child of God respects the Word, and gives Christ and His cross due honor.

In this context Luther said, “ My penitent tears do not justify me. Christ alone has taken my sins away. He cast them into the sea of forgetfulness. This is my defense, a defense which rests upon: ‘It is finished.’”

People who appreciate art do not add another brush-stroke to the painting of a master. It is unthinkable. Why then should the sinner for whom Jesus died, and in whose behalf He declared, “It is finished,” even entertain the idea that the accomplishment of his salvation calls for an addition to what the Master has declared complete?

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works…” (Ephesians 2:8-9). Thank God!


Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Seven Last Words of Christ - II


“And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me”(Matthew 27:46)?

When we consider the seven words of Christ from on the cross, we cannot but be amazed at the richness of the blessings that flow to us from Him. It is truly a hard heart that cannot be crushed by what we see or be softened by what we hear as Jesus hung on the cross. That is no less true of the 4th Word that our Savior spoke.

The reality of the Father’s love in promising a Savior is overwhelming to the penitent who knows what was lost by the sin of Adam and Eve, and who recognizes the on-going nature of sin in one’s own life. The manner of His conception of the Holy Ghost and birth of the Virgin Mary is no less overwhelming because it is so contrary to nature. But we believe the miracle, and gladly so for it declares to us that Jesus is without sin. That He should bear the sins of the world and suffer for all people is beyond reason. But one of the most overwhelming events, and some of the most incomprehensible words recorded in the Scriptures are these spoken by Jesus from the cross in mid-afternoon. It was at three o’clock in the afternoon, the very hour when the lambs for the evening sacrifice were slain that Jesus said, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

If there is nothing else that strikes the penitent sinner with the enormity of sin, surely it is these words that express the forsakenness of Jesus by His Father. There is no hell on

earth when we understand what hell is. There may be things on earth that mimic hell, but hell in the real sense is being forsaken by God. Being forsaken of God is the epitome of punishment. God is not in hell, nor can those in hell call upon God. The Father forsook His Son! Who can grasp it? Penitent sinners cannot grasp it but are thankful that that is the way it was. Much less can the denier of Christ to whom the preaching of the cross is foolishness understand it (1 Corinthians 1:18).

The question of Jesus underscores the reality of His suffering and shame. What He endured was not a charade. It was real! In the very question we can appreciate the severity of what it is from which we have been delivered. The answer to the “Why” of Jesus lies in the Father’s determinate will to spare sinful man from the dreadfulness of eternal condemnation. For us, it is not a flippant proposition of “Better He than we.” Nevertheless the blessed truth is that because Jesus suffered it, none who believe in His meritorious atonement will suffer it. Having been reconciled to God through the merit of the Lord Jesus we have peace with God. We still cannot fathom it, but as Christians we in faith believe that the Father forsook His Son in order that all who believe might have the daily assurance in life and at the moment of death, that the Father will not forsake us.

Thanks be to God the Father, and to His Son, our Savior Jesus Christ, and to the Spirit for giving us the faith to believe what is beyond comprehension.”


“I thirst” (John 19:28).

“I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried: mine eyes fail while I wait for my God. And hide not thy face from thy servant; for I am in trouble: hear me speedily” (Psalm 69:3,17). “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God” (Ps 42:2)? “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaves to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death” (Ps 22:14-15). If we want to know the enormity of our sin, we need only to sit at the foot of the cross, and recognize that the words above from the Psalms are a reflection of what our Savior suffered. When originally offered the drink of myrrh and gall that would have alleviated His suffering and hastened His death, Jesus refused to receive it. He must be in full control of His senses to drink the cup of suffering to its fullest, for only by doing so could He satisfy the demands of the Law which pronounced death upon the sinner. To have done less would have left fallen man still under condemnation of eternal death with all its indescribable horror and suffering. But when He had endured it all, and had fully paid the price, the Son of God desired to see His Father. He was ready to die. It was His time, the time selected by Him. Unto the end Jesus remained in control of all things in order that the Scriptures might be fulfilled. “They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink” (Psalm 69:21).

Now He said, “I THIRST.” The thirst that He felt was not uncommon for someone in His circumstance. A parched throat oft times accompanies death. But His thirst was more than a dry throat. He thirsts for those for whom He died to come to Him and drink of the refreshing water of salvation. By prophecy Isaiah 53 says, “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied” After the toil of His soul, the Savior finds satisfaction in every soul that has been redeemed, and that has by faith grasped salvation in Him. Each time that we hear this word, “I thirst” we should appreciate what it is that He suffered, and at the same time daily bring Him satisfaction through our word and action, as well as our living faith and hope. In that manner we declare that Jesus did not thirst in vain. May we satisfy the thirst of the Savior by saying with David, “I stretch forth my hands unto thee: my soul thirsts after thee, as a thirsty land” (Ps 143:6).

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Seven Last Words of Christ - I

Kristi L. thought it would be good to reflect on the Seven Last Words of Christ during these last days of Holy Week. Our first installment are the first three words Christ spoke from the cross.

Courtesy The Church of the Lutheran Confession


“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).

Throughout His trial Jesus did not complain. He did not strike back with His tongue at the evil that was hurled at Him. He was silent, except when it was necessary to witness to the truth or proclaim the honor of God. Yet upon the cross, when the die was cast He spoke treasured words. The first words were words of intercession. But for whom were they spoken? They were spoken for the betrayer and the denier. They were spoken for the soldiers who had taken Him in the garden as well as for those who had borne false witness against Him. They were spoken for the High Priest and the crowd that called for His crucifixion. Included were Pilate and Herod, and finally those who crucified Him and mocked Him at the cross.

Even as He prayed He witnessed to His relationship to God. He called Him, “Father.” He did not say to the people at the cross, “I forgive you.” The offenses against Him were directed at the Father who had sent Him. He implored the Father to forgive them, and thus showed that He had not come into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

The cross of torment and death was the cross of love. We sing in a hymn, “The King of love my Shepherd is.” Never was such love shown by one person for so many as when the Savior God, having taken the sins of mankind on Himself, died to validate the very prayer that He spoke, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

But this all sounds so abstract to many. Furthermore, of what importance are the words spoken by Jesus Christ two millennia ago? Today the issues are race relations, the economy, the impending war, taxes, social welfare and equality and a myriad of other things. Who cares about what Christ said so long ago?

In response let us recognize that those words were spoken for us and for all people. When the crowd cried “crucify Him” Jesus” response was “Forgive them, Father.” In the face of the world’s blasphemy, Jesus says, “Forgive them.” When our conscience cries out against us because we have transgressed, Jesus” words still echo across the centuries, “Father forgive them.” The message of the Gospel is that where there is forgiveness of sins there is also life and salvation. All who recognize the terrible burden of sin and its eternal consequence are thankful for the price Jesus paid for which reason the Father graciously forgives our sin.


“Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).

“And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left” (Luke 23:33). Around the cross were representatives of all kinds of people. Thee were the proud, the self-righteous, the scoffers and mockers. There were people sympathetic to Jesus. They were all there by choice. And then there were some who were not there by choice. They were two others suffering the same punishment as Jesus, though for different reason. They were malefactors who were not there by choice, but whose life choices put them in this circumstance. The one criminal mocked Jesus from the cross. He died with cursing on his lips. What a horrible way to die! But there was the other who was won by the power of the cross. He had heard the first word of Jesus in which Jesus implored the Father to forgive his crucifiers. “And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom” (Luke 23: 42). We often speak cynically about condemned criminals who repent on death row. No doubt there are some who do confess the Lord without meaning it when they are confronted with death, in other words they do it for effect. But we should be careful about such judgment.

The criminal who was facing death hanging alongside Jesus spoke from the heart. He confessed his sin and unworthiness. Luther* said, “In the Garden He (Jesus) was comforted by an angel, on the cross by a murderer hanging beside Him. How strange that God should let His Son be comforted by a murderer.” There is joy in heaven over one sinner that repents.

Jesus’ response is a comfort to us. This man did not plead his works or any righteousness of his own. How could he? He had wasted away his life in crime and was now receiving the just reward of his deeds. “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6: 23). If ever there was a strong commentary on the fact that salvation is by grace through faith without the deeds of the Law here is one. The gift of salvation is not earned. It is given. Jesus said to the penitent thief, “Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.” The Lord had said, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me” (John 12:32). Through Jesus’ word to this man, He declared the penitent thief to be one who was drawn to Him.

What a way to die! “Today you will be with me in paradise.” Analyze those words. Today with Jesus. in paradise. How blessed is the death of the saints; how great the breadth and depth of the grace of God! Let us not wonder how this evil man could be shown such grace. But let us thank God that grace is so rich to even include him, for then it will include us whose sins against the Lord are every bit as dark, even if not as spectacular. One church father* wrote, “I do not ask for the measure of Paul’s grace. I ask not for Peter’s portion; but I fervently beg to receive what Thou on the cross didst bestow on the malefactor.” On our last day how blessed we will be as we cling to the cross of Jesus from which will come to us these gracious words, “Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.” *Quoted in “The Passion Story”- Wilhelm Besser


“When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home” (John 19:26-27).

As Jesus hung upon the cross there were many who hung around the cross. Besides His friends of whom there were fewer, there were the mockers and scoffers. The sight of Jesus hanging upon the cross, as well as the sound of evil voices mocking her Son surely brought to Mary’s mind the prophecy of Simeon. Simeon had said to Mary, “ And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed” (Luke 2:34-35). The name “Mary” means, “bitter.” Here at the cross she tasted the bitterness of the helplessness of a mother who could neither take the place of Her Son nor alleviate His suffering.

But greater than the mother-love of Mary is the love of her Son, whom she also knew as her Savior. For she had said in the Magnificat “My spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior” (Luke 2:47). Neither she nor we have ever been called upon to exercise sacrificial love to the extent Jesus did. Yet in the midst of His suffering there is exhibited what the Scriptures record, “Having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end” (John 13:1). In His last hours, He did not forget His mother but provided a protector for her. The Savior provided her with another “son.” He saith unto his mother, “Woman, behold thy son!” Jesus called her “woman” and not “mother” because He would have her think of Him in relation to her atonement by Him rather than in a narrower familial relationship. Mary could lean on John as a son. But the concern was to be mutual. John too, as the disciple “ whom Jesus loved” was also in need of support. “Then saith He to the disciple (John), Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.”

In these words, first of all, we learn that our welfare is the constant and abiding concern of our Savior. He knows our pain and sorrow, even in His own. He did not die on the cross in our place to forgive us our sin and win heaven for us only then to forget us while we are waiting for the eternal dawn. Here He also helps us to appreciate that He helps and strengthens, and encourages us through one another. We do not live on an island. At the cross we learn to appreciate the mutual love and care that exists within a fellowship, as well as the responsibility that members of the body of Christ are to have for one another. If in His deepest suffering He loved His own so much that He would provide for their mutual welfare, how also ought we to care for and love one another, and thus reflect Jesus’ love whereby He has loved us all!

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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Things We Can Learn from a Dog - From Jenny S.

Meet Cody

Jenny writes:

A blogger I visit frequently, the Bearded Iris, posted this and it brought tears to my eyes...and down my cheeks. If you own, or have owned, a dog you must read this list. Touching, really. Makes me want to go cuddle Cody, our lab/boxer mix.

(I'll warn you about Iris though...although her blog is true-to-life and funny, it's also somewhat colorful (PG-13) in Iris's unique way. It may not be for everyone.)

Things We Can Learn from a Dog

1. Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joy ride.

2. Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.

3. When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.

4. When it’s in your best interest, always practice obedience.

5. Let others know when they’ve invaded your territory.

6. Take naps and always stretch before rising.

7. Run, romp, and play daily.

8. Eat with gusto and enthusiasm.

9. Be loyal.

10. Never pretend to be something you’re not.

11. If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.

12. When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.

13. Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.

14. Thrive on attention and let people touch you.

15. Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.

16. On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.

17. When you are happy, dance around and wag your entire body.

18. No matter how often you are criticized, don’t buy into the guilt thing and pout. Run right back and make friends.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

More Ideas for Holy Week and Easter

Sorry, I couldn't help myself!

I'm an "idea hoarder". I like collecting good ideas for using or saving for future use. With all the good ways to celebrate Easter flying around here I thought I'd share some others that I've come across.

Just so you know, many of my sources are Roman Catholic but with some discretion I still find them useful.

Holy Week
Stations of The Cross coloring pages
Lenten or Good Friday Cross made of sticks, very easy!
Good Friday Hot Cross Buns recipe
More ideas for Holy Week here

Palm Sunday
Make Palm Crosses
Make a Palm Branch craft for children
More fun ideas for Palm Sunday here

"Jesus Eggs"
Resurrection Eggs

Empty Tomb Rolls
More food here

Easter Tree (reading Scripture verses, start this 2 weeks before Easter)
Alleluia Tree
Alleluia Banner (nice idea to have "buried" it during Lent then bring it out for display at Easter)

Do any of you continue celebrating Easter throughout the entire 50 days of the Easter Season? If so, what do you do?

Monday, April 11, 2011

The History of Aprons

From Kristi L.

I don't think our kids know what an apron is. The principal use of Grandma's apron was to protect the dress underneath, because she only had a few, it was easier to wash aprons than dresses and they used less material, but along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven. It was wonderful for drying children's tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears.

From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven. When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids. And when the weather was cold, grandma wrapped it around her arms. Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove. Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron.

From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables. After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls.
In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees.

When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.
When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the men knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner.

It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that 'old-time apron' that served so many purposes.

Send this to those who would know, and love, the story about Grandma's aprons. Or it can be a good history lesson for those that have no idea how the apron played a part in our lives.

Grandma used to set her hot baked apple pies on the window sill to cool. Her granddaughters set theirs on the window sill to thaw.
They would go crazy now trying to figure out how many germs were on that apron..
I don't think I ever caught anything from an apron ..... but Love !!

That was a poem that was shared at the luncheon I attended on Saturday. The speaker gave a humorous presentation regarding her grandmother’s apron drawer. There are so many different aprons out there, both from the past and present.

I own my grandmother’s apron. It’s made of red cotton with blue-and white colored flowers on it. Very much the old patterns of fabric. There’s blue rickrack sewn all over the place to “dress it up.” It has two shoulder straps that button in the middle of the back and a tie around the back as well. And, of course, two pockets. I like to wear it because it reminds me of my grandma. I use it mainly when I’m canning and working with garden produce in the summer. Other than that, I don’t really wear it too much. I probably should, for as much flour as my shirt ends up wearing when I’m baking. I really do like aprons and should wear them more often, simply to keep me clean. Plus, it gives our members something to chuckle over when they see me wearing it. I do have a new apron, but have I used it? No. Don’t ask me why. It’s just sitting there, begging to get dirty.

Joanna has an apron, too. It’s one of my grandma’s smaller ones. She used to wrap it all the way around her back and tie it at the front. Alas, she has grown, so now she ties it at the back. She knows that canning requires an apron, and she runs to the drawer to get hers and mine. That’s a memory in the making.

How about you? Do you wear an apron?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Easter Approaches!

Holy Week and Easter are coming up and I have been thinking about different ways to commemorate and celebrate this time with my family.

For Palm Sunday I wanted to try making small crosses out of palm branches that my girls could wear to church. I think little things like this are good for teaching children. But I don't have a lot planned for the rest of Holy Week other than making Hot Cross Buns for Good Friday and going to our evening services.

I've thought about Maundy Thursday being a day to show love for others. I read on the LCMS website that one custom was to carry gifts to the poor in baskets on that day. With that in mind I could come up with several things we could do on this day in our community or for members in our church.

For Easter Sunday in our home, our Lenten countdown crown of thorns "calendar" (sorry, I can't think of what else to call it) will be donned with white flowers and purple will be replaced with white to visually mark the change in season. I will have Easter baskets for my children (no, the Easter Bunny doesn't come to our house, just his baskets full of treats!) and a special meal prepared, but do any of you find that this particular Sunday is exhausting? Especially for your pastor husband? I always look forward to it and dread it a little to be honest. Probably because I'm married to an introvert who just wants to *nap after church AND I have tiny kiddos that tend to make the simplest events much more difficult than I'd thought! But even so, I want to do something special on this festive day.

So, what does your family do during Holy Week and Easter? I'd love to hear about your traditions!

*My husband has three service on Easter morning, 6:30, 9 and 10:30....he deserves a nap!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Kristi: What I'm Reading

Harold Senkbeil’s book Dying to Live

All of our discussion on prayer and the amount of prayer and how to pray has prompted me to re-read Senkbeil’s section on private prayer. Allow me to share several excerpts from the book...

With Heart and Mouth – These are the two focal points of prayer. We would do well to keep our mouths linked with our hearts when we pray; private prayer works best when it is oral prayer... While the silent meditation of our heart is just as pleasing to God as the words of our mouth, we would do well to seek out places for private prayer where we can speak out loud... We’re not pure spirits, after all; God has given us bodies as well as souls. And so when we as the children of God come to our Father in heaven it’s natural that we form our words with our lips as well as our hearts... Not only is it the most natural way for us to say what’s on our heart, but it is also the natural way for our hearts to listen to the Word of God.

I prayed aloud as a child as my parents taught me the words and rhythm of prayer. Somewhere along the way I abandoned that practice and became a silent pray-er. Why? I have no idea. Singing the word of God is one way to hear the Word of God, as well as pray it.

Dr. Senkbeil writes these words regarding song. When we’re alone at prayer singing reminds us that we are not really alone. The unseen fellowship of the entire church is with us in that prayer; we hear it in the church’s song placed on our lips to sing. In either public or private, singing adds a third dimension to prayer. The mouth and the heart are involved in all prayer. But in singing, the whole body gets to join in; the prayers and praises originating from the heart reverberate through muscle, bone, and cartilage.

What should I use to help form my prayer life? I’ve seen some wonderful suggestions from our ladies. Which one to choose?

Hear Dr. Senkbeil once more. This is where prayer books come in handy. They provide a framework for prayer that can see us through the thick and thin of our spiritual lives. The idea of using a prayer book might seem artificial at first but there’s a lot of wisdom in it. No one would seriously think about taking a trip through unknown territory without consulting a map. Why shouldn’t we consult a spiritual guide when we set out to pray? Please don’t be concerned that the use of “set prayers” will stifle the prayers of your heart. Properly used, you’ll find that prayer books actually prompt the heart to greater depth of prayer.

Anyone who wants to get in shape physically gets set for a regimen. Physical conditioning demands discipline; muscles must be exercised in order to gain tone and strength. But muscles don’t exercise themselves; bodies would rather sit than get up to run or life weights. You know the old saying: “No pain, no gain.” Why should it be any different with our spirits than with our bodies?

He goes on to suggest the Prayer Office. He also reminds the reader that Jesus is ALWAYS praying for us. That is probably my greatest comfort as I struggle with prayer.

Ladies, you encourage me. Just yesterday I began my spring training regimen for my own physical health. I did some exercising. Perhaps this is a good time for me to also work on my spiritual health.

Friday, April 1, 2011

More on Prayer

*In continuing our discussion on prayer I had this to add. Long post alert, sorry!

As a Christian I want to pray more. And we know, as Christians we are commanded to pray. It isn't optional. But I find myself thinking that way about it. Here is what Luther says about prayer.
"Prayer is therefore as strictly and earnestly commanded as all other commandments: to have no other God, not to kill, not to steal, etc."

"there stands the commandment, Thou shalt and must do it, so also here it is not left to my will to do it or leave it undone, but prayer shall and must be offered at the risk of God's wrath and displeasure."

"This is therefore to be understood and noted before everything else, in order that thereby we may silence and repel the thoughts which would keep and deter us from praying, as though it were not of much consequence if we do not pray, or as though it were commanded those who are holier and in better favor with God than we; as, indeed, the human heart is by nature so despondent that it always flees from God and imagines that He does not wish or desire our prayer, because we are sinners and have merited nothing but wrath."

"In the second place, we should be the more urged and incited to pray because God has also added a promise, and declared that it shall surely be done to us as we pray, as He says, Call upon Me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee. Ps. 51:15 And Christ in the Gospel of St.Matthew Ask, and it shall be given you. For every one that asketh receiveth. Matt. 7:7 Such promises ought certainly to encourage and kindle our hearts to pray with pleasure and delight, since He testifies with His [own] word that our prayer is heartily pleasing to Him, moreover, that it shall assuredly be heard and granted, in order that we may not despise it or think lightly of it, and pray at a venture."
Since having babies I have fallen into the habit of not making prayer a daily habit, so this is not easy stuff for me to hear. But what my flesh needs to hear. The flesh that must drown and die daily. So what do I pray? How do I pray?

Luther says in the Large Catechism,
"there is no nobler prayer to be found upon earth than the Lord's Prayer which we daily pray."
This is the prayer I say most when I can't find words or when I'm exhausted and at my wits end. It is the prayer that God loves to hear and, Luther again,
"which we ought not to surrender for all the riches of the world."
Use the prayer our Lord taught us!

In addition to the Lord's Prayer, I wanted to share a wonderful resource that I have begun to use. It's called Starck's Prayer-Book. I highly recommend getting this book (in the original 1921 English translation I'll add). The author, who lived during the 17th & 18th centuries, has the most beautiful and seamless way of weaving Holy Scripture into these prayers giving them a richness that other prayer books I've used have lacked. It provides prayers for each day of the week, morning and evening, along with a short exhortation for that day and a hymn. The book goes on to include:

Prayers for the Festival Seasons
Prayers for Spiritual and Bodily Blessings
Prayers for the Afflicted, the Sick, the Dying and for Special Occasions (Birthdays, War Time, Weather and Travel etc.)

I know prayer books aren't everyone's "thing", and at one point in my life I believed that the prayer that wasn't from your heart (prayers that were written by others) wasn't real prayer.

But I have come to learn how very helpful these written prayers can be, especially during times I just don't know what to pray or how to pray, or worse don't even want to pray.

The link I've provided to find the book is to Emmanuel Press. A printing business that is putting out some great resources. Poke around the site and take a look. Also, note that they have published a book of prayers for mothers; Starck's Motherhood Prayers for All Occasions (which is found as an appendix in Starck's Prayer-Book) as a separate volume.

While there is a prayer of parents for their children in this book, most of these prayers are for those expecting a child or who have recently delivered a child and they're wonderful. Not all of you are in this situation of course, but I have been told by several mothers not in either of these stages of life that the prayers are useful to them as well.

So, do you use aids when you pray? What do you use? A book? A list? A journal?