Happy Father’s Day

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I know I posted this picture last father’s day but this moment is certainly worth remembering.  Because they live across the country from each other, our fathers may actually never be in the same room again.  However, they did get to be together when Ryan and I said ‘I do’.  I love this candid shot of us right after the ceremony each greeting our new dad.

Happy Father’s Day to the best dads we’ve ever had:-)

Preparing for Holy Week

Lent began with Ash Wednesday on February 18th.  Another local church marks this season with soup dinners and Lenten services.  I’ve been attending (Ryan works that night of the week) and I have enjoyed the community as well as learning about the Lord’s Prayer. At home for Lent Ryan and I have been reading daily and remembering the season, focusing on Christ and the cross.  My favorite reading so far, that I think encompasses the spirit of Lent, is called The Mourning.  It is part of a Lenten series that can be found on Redeemer New York‘s website. We began this season with seven lit candles which you can see here in my February 19th post: Lent and Remembering.

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But now there are only two candles lit in anticipation of Holy Week.  Each Sunday we blow out another candle and read from this devotional called Lenten Lights from Desiring God Ministries.  Tomorrow is Palm Sunday, the Sunday where we remember Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem.  At that point we will have only one candle still lit.

At some point this week, I will make hot cross buns.  I’m not really sure when, where and why hot cross buns started being made for the Easter season but I do know that they are delicious and another sweet reminder of the cross.

Ryan and I are excited to celebrate another sweet remembrance of the Last Supper on Maundy Thursday.  We will be driving up to Santa Barbara to connect with our church community there as we share a Christian Seder meal.  The Seder is the meal that is traditionally eaten at Jewish passover.

And on Friday, the 3rd of March we will attend services for Good Friday.  Good Friday is the day we remember Christ’s death on the cross.  This solemn occasion isn’t fun but it is a pivotal part of the Christian faith. Without Christ’s death, his resurrection is meaningless.  On Good Friday we will also blow out the final candle symbolizing our final descent into the darkness of sin and death.

But darkness doesn’t win.  Hope remains because we know how the story ends.  Christ defeats death and comes back to life. (Luke 24:6-7)  On resurrection Sunday Ryan and I, along with Christians across the globe, will celebrate Christ’s resurrection from the dead.  At home we will light all the candles again as a symbol of light reigning over darkness.  We serve the creator God, the one who endured death on a cross for our sins but was not defeated, instead he won the battle and rose again.  Easter is the celebration marking the fact that Christians serve a living God.  He is Risen indeed.

Moving towards Australia in 2015

Part of me wishes I could say that Ryan and I will be moving to Australia in 2015.  But a larger part of me is thankful that there is a time for everything and this year is for preparation.  Stay tuned for more details and tentative timeline to come.  It’s very exciting to be anticipating all the changes that this year could have in store for us.

IMG_0661And there are lots of ways for us to prepare even before we get to Australia.  I received a book, Why Warriors Lie Down and Die, for Christmas that I can’t wait to get into it.  We also received our very own copy of Rabbit Proof Fence.  Ryan had never seen it and now we can lend it out to anyone who wants to know more about Australian history and the Stolen Generations.  And of course we will continue expanding our Australian tastebuds.  I’ve had this cookbook for awhile and it’s fun to page through and get ideas.  Ryan and I both get to try new things and I get to try my hand at even more new recipes.  This includes meatpies, other vegemite recipes and sweet yumminess like sticky date pudding.  It’s going to be a good year.

Christmas Eve

IMG_0637It’s Christmas Eve but since we already celebrated with my family, the only gift I opened tonight was from my husband.  He made me this fun pop-up card.  Isn’t he creative!?  We enjoyed a meal together but the main event this evening was our church service held in a park in the middle of town.

IMG_0635It was wonderful to celebrate in the park this evening and enjoy the California Christmas weather.  We worshipped under the lights and heard a message about Jesus coming down to earth and dwelling among us.

CandlelightSunsetWe lit candles as the sun set over the park.  It’s very beautiful and my favorite part of any traditional Christmas Eve service. Candle light and singing Silent Night.

IMG_20141224_170148I hope you all enjoy your night even if it isn’t so silent.  Merry Christmas everyone!

Ryan’s 12 Days of Christmas

IMG_0614Traditionally the 12 days of Christmas are the 12 days between the celebration of the birth of Christ and Epiphany.  Epiphany marks the day celebrating that Christ is indeed the son of God.  In some countries Epiphany is celebrated with visitation from the Magi or the Wisemen.  When I was in Germany Epiphany is the day that the churches star singers would go house to house, sing and I believe, collect money for charity.  It’s been awhile so I don’t quite remember all the details.  But for many americans I think it’s safe to say that our memories and knowledge of the 12 days of Christmas comes straight from the song, partridge, pear tree, 5 golden rings and all.

I’ll write more about the religious symbolism in the 12 Days of Christmas song closer to the beginning of January but all that to say, I use to think that the 12 days of Christmas were simply the days leading up to Christmas.  But instead they lead to Epiphany, however either way it’s all about anticipation.  It’s the reason I like advent so much.  Anticipation.  I like anticipating what’s next otherwise Christmas, birthday or any other celebrations seem to come and go too quickly.  Or we get caught up in the un-festive trappings so that we can’t wait for it to end.  I like having reminders to keep me happily anticipating in the right way.

So last year for advent I gave Ryan a stack of cards.  One for every day in December.  Since we weren’t always together this was a little something for him to anticipate us being together on Christmas.  This year, doing something every day seemed a little excessive and time consuming so I decided to put together 12 gifts leading up to Christmas.  Ryan’s 12 days of Christmas include all sorts of goodies which I can’t divulge here because we don’t want to ruin the surprise for him.  But i’m excited for him to start opening a gift every day in anticipation of Christmas.

I hope this season is filled with joyous anticipation for everyone.

Packing Can Be Fun!

Ok so maybe that exclamation point is a little much.  But packing doesn’t have to be a chore or a headache.  Ryan and I are learning how to pack together and in order to get that done we need a list, suitcases and good communication.  Thank you once again to everyone who bought or contributed to the buying of these suitcases.  It’s great to have two awesome non-black luggage sets.  I’m sure there may still be people with our same bags (hence the bright green add-ons) but if you’ve ever looked at a typical luggage carousel, looking for green and purple makes finding our luggage a whole lot easier.

IMG_0552We did our pre-pack on Thursday and we will do our final pack on Saturday.  Pre-pack is something I like to do in order to make sure we didn’t need to do another load of laundry or a quick trip to the store.  (Both of which needed to happen today.)  It’s also nice to find out sooner rather than later if what you’re planning to bring will or won’t fit in the suitcase.  And in case you were wondering, no we aren’t taking all the suitcases but they are all out to make sure we have the right sizes.  Since Ryan is bringing his skateboard, we were testing out how the board would fit.  Verdict: kitty-corner.

Just a weekend ahead of us and we’re off to Australia!