Monthly Archives: March 2015

Week 6: Hosanna…


Here is this week’s lent box activity! Happy Palm Sunday!

3/29 Lent Week 6: Palm Sunday

Where to find it:

A Child’s First Bible: p.218

Jesus Storybook Bible: There is no story for Palm Sunday, but p.280 “Washed with tears” show how precious Jesus was to the people.

Bible: Matthew 21:6-11


Today is the sixth and last Sunday of Lent.  It is also the beginning of Holy Week.  Holy Week is the last week of Lent leading up to Easter.  Today is also known as Palm Sunday, the day when we remember Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey.  The families and children, old men and women, waved palm branches in the air and laid their cloaks on the ground so Jesus wouldn’t get dusty.  It was a parade for their very precious king.  They said, “Hosanna, hosanna in the highest!” Here was the king the people had been waiting for!  He had finally come!

Lent box activity: 

Have a family member place the token for week 6 in the sand.  It could be a palm branch, leaf, or you can cut out colorful strips of paper to represent cloaks.  Everyone could lay down a cloak at the foot of the cross.

Beginning questions:

What holidays and events do we celebrate with parades, shouting, and dancing?

If a king was going to come rescue you what weapons or armies do you think he would bring?

Did Jesus come with swords, guns, or armies?

More questions:

What did Jesus come to fight?  

If Jesus is king of our hearts how do we celebrate, sing, lay down our cloaks for him in our hearts?

Family Question: 

Is there anything we can take off the throne of our hearts to make room for Jesus to be king?  

Family Activity:  

Make open spaces this week in activity and busyness for God to speak to you and your family.  You may choose to forego a usual activity or spend a special time in nature.  You may decide to forego TV, music, or social media for the week.  You may chose to abstain from using  electricity for one hour before bedtime every night.  Ask that God uses the time to speak to you and prepare your hearts for the celebration of Easter.

Family Prayer: 

“King of Kings, God of Peace, who came to rescue us in our place of deepest need.  Thank you for being the king we need and not the king we want.  Thank you for demanding nothing less than the whole throne of our hearts.  We have seen your works and know they are wonderful. We celebrate you and shout Hosanna to our precious king! Amen” 

Lent Week 5: The Ministry…


Happy and Holy Lent to you.  It’s been a bit of a crazy morning.  My daughter already got a time out for shoving her way into the bathroom when she was asked to wait.  The baby got a hold of Dad’s glasses, which he left by his bed, and mangled them thoroughly.  And the kids, tired of waiting for me to get breakfast, prepared their rye toast and raisin bran by themselves.

But Jesus is God of this morning.  And as many different ways and times that he healed people he will heal us today.

So we’ll go to church with the masses to worship our Lord and for a chance to touch the hem of his garment.

You can find the previous Lent activities here:

Ash Wednesday

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

And here is this week’s family Lent activity:

3/22 Lent Week 5: Jesus’ Ministry

Where to find it:
A Child’s First Bible: p.182, p.188, p.190
Jesus Storybook Bible: p.214 “A little girl and a poor frail lady”
Bible: Matthew 15:29-31, Mark 10:46-52

Today is the fifth Sunday of Lent. Today we read about some of the good work Jesus did while he was alive on Earth. There are many stories of Jesus feeding hungry people, making blind men see, and lame men walk. Jesus healed many different people in many different ways. And he didn’t just fix their bodies, he fixed their hearts, too. Did you know that Jesus told his friends the apostles that they would do even greater things than these? John 14:12 says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.”

Lent box activity:
Have a family member place the token for week 5 in the sand. It can be a bandaid or a small square cut out of a gauze bandage, something to represent Jesus’ healing.

Beginning questions:
If Jesus were to heal you of one thing what would you like it to be?
If Jesus were to heal our whole family of one thing, what would it be?

More questions:
What are some examples of people now who heal others, feed others, and preach to others just like Jesus did?
In what ways can we do the same works of Jesus?

Family Question:
How do we as a family help to feed the hungry, heal the sick, and preach the good news of Jesus?

Family Activity:
This week pick a service project for your family to participate in. It can be this week or a month for now. It can be a new project or one you’ve done before. Decide as a family and commit to it.

Family Prayer:
“Healing Jesus, we thank you for not leaving us in our sickness. We thank you for how you have healed us and for healing us every day of our bad habits, bad thoughts, and all our sins. Thank you for using us to help people just like you did. Help us to know how to help others that are hungry, hurting, sick, and dying. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

An Old Story Again…


This post was originally written in March of last year. So, I guess I’ve been blogging for over a year! I was sharing this with someone today and thought I would post it again. It will always be one of my favorite stories about my Dad.


The Day My Dad Began Painting

If anyone asked me when I was younger what my father did, I knew to say, “He works for a billboard company.”

I knew he left for work every day in a tie. I knew his title was “manager”. I found out he had a secretary, which validated his importance as nothing else had so far. And I knew he brought home reams of letterhead for me to write on, which corporate theft I appreciated greatly.

One day I went to work with him.

I was little; my memories, therefore, are tinged more with impressions than details. We got to his office through that of his secretary. It was a close little room, made closer still by the filing cabinets against the walls. The flyaway papers that lined the room in stacks and racks were white, like everything else under the fluorescent glare, and gave the general sensation that the room was peeling, a symptom of a slow, weary degeneration. I remember my father’s tie and his brown hair the only color floating in the room.

And then there was a subtle lift in mood. He took hold of a small door in the wall behind his desk and gave me a sort of anticipatory smile. I approached with much the same motivations as Alice at the looking-glass and followed him through.

We stepped out of the bright and into the soothing dim of an industrial warehouse. It had the cool feeling of old concrete and held a popping bombardment of color. Behold, what magic! It was as if some merry giant had plucked up every billboard in the county and hidden them away here in his cave. And an army of little men on mechanical lifts had been left to work on them with their brushes. How startling to realize that the signs I saw every day were not photographs at all, but paintings.

Billboards are huge enough, but even more so to a little girl looking up from the ground. These men painting silver cars and womens’ slick lips eating yogurt seemed like so many commercial Michelangelos suspended in front of their individual Sistine Chapels. It was awesome to me. And my Dad knew all of them. And they all knew my Dad.

This was to be the day I learned that artists were ordinary people and that genius had names like Mark and Jerry. They were balding, overweight, wearing splattered sweats, and jonesing for cigarettes. Yet they were painting that great thing, from only a tiny photograph.

My Dad then took me to the paint mixing room, which was equally industrial and unromantic. Quarts of oil paint in hues like jewels being mixed to stern exactness were then slopped into whichever old tin cans or plastic tubs were available.

Dad could talk in detail about the process of mixing paints. Driving around town he could point out who had done which boards by the way the eye highlights were done. What I did understand of his job was enough for me to doubt his need to be so well acquainted with these artists. I just thought he liked it there. Who wouldn’t, in the cavern, outside the white box?

Now, let me say, I never saw my Dad draw. I never saw him sketch. He didn’t have an unusual attraction to museums or galleries. In my mind his identity was firm and unchanging.

But one day, years later, he came home with an air of victory. Under one arm he carried a plastic wrapped canvas and under the other he carried a small cardboard box. The box was filled with some of those old tin cans and plastic tubs half filled and crusted over with dried paint.

I remember watching my Dad sit down in the garage and prop the canvas up on a box, the plastic wrap thrown to the ground. I remember him cutting through the crust of dried paint to get at the wet underneath.

He painted a tree against a blue sky. I remember being surprised that he knew how to do this. He was absorbed. He was dissatisfied with his attempt. He was glorious. He got impatient at how long it was taking to fill the canvas and took a narrow paint scraper and began scraping black like an obsidian cliff below his tree. He used the paint recklessly.

No one cuts black paint over a canvas like that on a whim. One cuts black paint over a canvas like that to memorialize a fight. There was something there all these years, underneath, like his crusted tubs. He just had to decide to dig, to cut through and get at that malleable inside.

I was in junior high when he started to paint. I hold that up as a reminder to myself that there is time; that it’s never too late to knife through resistance. He worked through the remnant cans of used paint until the industry switched to digital printing. Then he started to buy it, but he never stopped using it recklessly. His canvases got bigger and bigger so I think he would’ve loved the chance to paint on one of those huge billboards. He sketched on slips of paper and while watching TV. He was prolific. He was a painter.

It was so much of who he was. How could anyone have missed it?



Well, I put myself out there. I applied for a job that I was super passionate about but for which I was a little short on experience.

So many interviews and meetings later and I’m, well, short on experience.

My friend told me last week about the lady who started Spanx. If the junk email in my box is any indicator, she’s doing pretty well. My friend told me that every night at dinner this lady’s father used to ask her how she had failed, what she had learned from it, and what she was going to do next time. In this way failure and risk were normalized for her.

I tried it a couple of nights ago. It didn’t work because no one had failed at anything all day long except me losing my temper briefly before dinner. But today I had a doozy.

“Well, kids, Mommy failed at something today.”

“What did you fail at, Momma?”

“I applied for a job that I really wanted. But I didn’t have enough experience. They’re probably right, but it would’ve been fun. I’m glad I tried.”

I don’t know if they were paying attention, but I hope something sunk in.

The other week my husband and I attended a family class on anxiety after church. The therapist running the class told a story about taking his friend’s daughter to the playground. While this little girl played and climbed he heard her repeating to herself, “Be careful, be careful.” When it was brought to the father’s attention he had to estimate that he said “Be careful” to his daughter up to fifty times a day. He wasn’t even aware.

So, I’ve made note and stopped saying “Be careful” so much. And I’m talking about failure at the dinner table. And I took a chance, failed, and talked about it in front of my kids.

Because if there’s one thing I don’t want, I absolutely do not want my kids going through life being careful.

Lent Week 4: In the Desert…


Happy and Holy fourth week of Lent to you. The Easter displays have appeared in the supermarket. Daylight savings time has made it feel more like summer. And the beautiful San Francisco spring has been kissing me pink this week. I am being peppered liberally with requests to begin purchasing the chocolates and bunnies we “need” whenever we see them. We’re getting close to Easter.

Here is this week’s Lent box activity for those of you following along with us.

The previous weeks can be found here:
Ash Wednesday
Week 1: Nativity
Week 2: Boy Jesus in the Temple
Week 3: Jesus’ Baptism

3/15 Lent Week 4: Temptation in the Desert

Where to find it:
A Child’s First Bible: There is no story of the temptation. You can read p. 10 (Adam and Eve)
Jesus Storybook Bible: p.208 “Let’s go!”
Bible: Matthew 4:1-11

Today is the fourth Sunday of Lent. Today we read the lesson of the temptation of Jesus. Before he was even born as a human baby Jesus chose God’s plan. In the desert he was given more choices by the old enemy. Jesus could have chosen to be fed instead of hungry. Jesus could have chosen to have power instead of being obedient to God. He could have chosen to have all the riches and money of the world instead of the treasures of heaven. But Jesus chose God’s plan again and again. Jesus believed God.

Lent box activity:
Have a family member place the token for week 4 in the sand. It can be a stone or a small pebble from each family member to represent the stones in the desert.

Beginning questions:
Do you ever want to do something that you know is wrong or unhealthy?
Who can help you chose the right thing?

More questions:
Is it easier to give into temptation when you are hungry, feeling weak, tired, or scared?
Is God strong enough to help you make the right choice?

Family Question:
In what ways is your family choosing the riches of the world over the treasures of heaven?

Family Activity:
This week chose something that you usually spend money on, a class, a snack, a treat, or a dinner out. Then chose a charity or organization to donate that money to.

Family Prayer:
“Precious Jesus, you are our treasure and Earth has nothing we desire above you. We thank you for becoming human that you can understand the hunger of our bodies and the weakness of our spirits. Thank you for choosing God’s plan over and over again. Help us to choose God’s plan even when we feel scared or powerless. Help us to value the true and lasting things over the immediate and comfortable things. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”