Friday, April 22, 2011

Was That a True Story?

Do you know the Bunny Book? When I was a little girl, we used to read this at Eastertime. My mom would get all mushy and teary-eyed when she read it to us. And now I read it to my kids every year and get all mushy and teary-eyed.

You see, Bunnyville was founded by Daddy Bunny Bunny, who loved his wife and told stories to his children. He was a wonderful artist and just a really good bunny as bunnies go.

As time went by, Daddy Bunny Bunny became Grandpa Bunny Bunny and then Great-Grandpa Bunny Bunny. He knew that he would soon be going where all great-grandpas go when they get old. But before he left, he made sure he passed down all his stories to the children of Bunnyville. And he taught them to paint, so that they could continue his work after he was gone. The little bunny children soon graduated from painting Easter eggs to painting all the little creatures of the forest.

He taught them to paint the leaves in autumn...

...and shadows on the snow in winter. When the mommies and daddies would take their walks through the forest, they would marvel at the brilliant colors they found there. The bunny children would giggle to themselves, because only they and Great-Grandpa Bunny Bunny knew the secret.

The day came when Great-Grandpa Bunny Bunny had to go away. All the mommy and daddy bunnies were very sad, but the bunny children knew that they were about to see Great-Grandpa Bunny Bunny's greatest masterpiece.

And sure enough, as the bunnies looked up at the skies after a rain storm, they knew that Great-Grandpa Bunny Bunny had been at work again. Never had they seen such color in the sky before!

This book has become even more sentimental to me now that we have our own grandpa bunnies in heaven. My dad used to do a funny thing when we kids watched an obviously fictional movie like The Wizard of Oz, for example. As the end credits began to roll, he would turn to us with a quizzical look on his face and say, "Was that a true story?" We would roll our eyes and say, "Daa-aad!"

Now when I finish reading this book to my kids, I can almost hear him ask, "Was that a true story?" And my two older kids would most certainly roll their eyes and giggle and say, "Grandpa! Bunnies don't talk!"

Bunnies don't talk, and this is not a true story, but I can't help but think of the best true story when I read this book. It reminds me of the art I see every day in the world around me and of the Artist who painted it all:  the first bright green buds of spring, the brilliant colors of the goldfinches at my feeders, and the beauty of the sunrise.

And it makes me think of Jesus when He was here on this earth. He used to tell lots of stories! And He made everything around Him beautiful by doing things like healing the sick, forgiving the hopeless sinner, and loving the unlovable. And yet, while He did all the wonderful things He came to do, He knew His time was short. He knew that He would have to go away soon.

...Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.
(John 13:1)

He made sure He didn't leave without first teaching his disciples (and us!) how to carry on after He was gone. He wanted us to continue His work. He prayed to His Father about all of us who believe:

I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
(John 17:22-23)

And He did not leave us to continue His work alone! He gave us the Holy Spirit to help us in every way.

It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you...He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you.
(John 16:7, 14)

And now, I can't help but pray,

Lord, you are beautiful! You did such amazing things while You were here, but You left, knowing that you were about to do Your greatest work yet. You took the sin of the whole world on your back, died for us, and then, stronger than death, You burst out of that tomb with glory and with new life for me and everyone who would believe You. Thank You for the Holy Spirit and the Word that teach us how to live while we wait for your next big masterpiece! Teach us how to be like little children, full of faith and the expectancy of your promise to return. May we be united together in painting Your love and beauty in this world all around us. And while we do, we keep our eyes on the sky, not just because You paint wonderful colors there, but because we know that You are coming back! Come, sweet Jesus!

Happy Easter!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Of Marriage Proposals and Bleeding Hearts

This little dude wants to marry me! He declared it several times this past week.

I had to sit down and have a long talk with him. I told him that people who marry their mothers are either suffering from amnesia or are very, very sick. I told him that if he ever said that again, he wouldn't get any jelly beans for Easter.

I'm joking! Who would do that to a three-year-old? I have accepted every single proposal whole-heartedly with lots of kisses! He'll find out soon enough that Mommy is already taken.

I know...he'll be broken-hearted for awhile, but he'll get over it when some little cutie in pigtails gives him her sucker.

He'll get over it...but will I? I love my children with such intensity.

It's the bleeding heart kind of love. You know, the kind of love that hurts? When I first had a child and experienced that kind of love, I was amazed at its power. I wondered, "Does God really love me this much? Does He love me so much it hurts?" Yes, yes, He does! It's so hard to grasp this truth here on earth. It cannot be fully comprehended with these little brains of ours. But if I love my kids so much it seems my heart may explode into a million little bits, can you imagine how much it must have hurt for God to send His own Son to earth, knowing what He would suffer? For us! How much He loves us! How can it be? It is astounding.

My bleeding heart that blooms every year around Easter reminds me of the agony that Jesus suffered in the garden right before he was betrayed and taken to be crucified.

He withdrew...knelt down and prayed, "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done." An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.  
(Luke 22:41-44)

When I read that passage and think about Jesus praying in the garden, knowing what He was about to do, my heart goes out to Him. I just can't help it. It's the mother in me, I guess, that longs to go to Him in that moment, wrap my arms around Him, and make everything all better. The irony is that He did what He did to make everything all better for me. He did it for me and He did it for you.

He loves you with such a deep love. There is no beginning and no end to His great love for you. My prayer this Easter week is that you will experience His love in a very real way that is meaningful and special to you.

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
(Ephesians 3:14-19)


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Two Very Hip Winners

"JOY TO THE WORLD, THE LORD IS COME! LET EARTH RECEIVE HER KING!" Oh, sorry. I was singing what's stuck in my head. My crazy little kids...they've been begging for spring to come for weeks. But now that it's finally here, they're playing Christmas music.

So, speaking of spring, all of your beautiful descriptions of this season made me smile and say, "Yeah, me too!" We are all in different seasons of our lives. Some of us are grieving, some rejoicing. And yet the Lord allows us each to feel the warmth and hope that comes with spring. I wish I could take all your lovely words and images and put them in a mason jar. Then in the winter, I could unscrew the lid every now and then to breathe in a nice big whiff of you and spring. I just hope you're wearing deodorant.

I want to play the spring favorites game, too! Here are just a few of my faves:

and this passage from Song of Solomon:

See! The winter is past;

the rains are over and gone.

 Flowers appear on the earth;

the season of singing has come,

the cooing of doves

is heard in our land.

I guess we'd better get down to business now.

This just in: Floral has been stomped, pulverized, and whipped by Stripey. But the good news is, Floral is completely unfazed. She is much too elegant and lady-like to begrudge Stripey the badge of popularity.

So, after my random name drawing, the winner of the floral bag is Heather! I have written about the lovely Heather previously in this post. Also, it just happens that Heather recently wrote and performed a poignant prayer reminding us that God is the One who brings warmth and spring to our frozen, wintry hearts. To listen, click here. Congratulations, Heather! I know you will make this little bag beautiful just by wearing it. Just send me a message with your address, and I'll put her in the mail.

And the winner of Stripey is Jules! She joked about her fake points from a previous rather stupid contest working in her favor, and I guess they did! This bag is perfect for Jules who is bright, colorful, energetic, and a great mom! I'll be in touch with how to best get Stripey to you.

I'll be back soon. Enjoy the spring all around you and in your heart!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Spring Hipster Giveaway

Hi! You know what? I'm in a really good mood.

Look at my daffodils! I surely do love spring and sunshine and daffodils and tulips and Easter. I watched spring with one eye from my bed last year. It passed me right on by. I missed going to church Easter morning for the first time in my life. So, remembering what spring was like a year ago makes me all the more thankful and sort of giddy about it this year.

And look at my groovy sister! She is blooming with new life. After eight years of trying for a second baby, she's having a baby boy. Isn't that fun?

You know that scene in The Sound of Music when Leisl is singing "I am sixteen going on seventeen, innocent as a rose..." and Rolf is singing, "I am seventeen going on eighteen, I will take care of you..."? Well, remember when Leisl gets her first kiss, and she flings her arms out in the pouring rain and shouts, "WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!"?
Well, that's how happy I feel. I feel WHEEEEEEEEEEEE happy. By the way, if any seventeen-year-old boy ever tells my daughter that he'll take care of her, I might punch him. Rolf turned out to be a Nazi, so my point is completely legitimate, don't you think?

If you've been following along, you know that when I'm in a good mood, I give stuff away. Are you excited? I'm excited! 'Cause guess what? I made this hipster slingy bag out of a placemat. Yeah, that's right! I picked up the placemat at Pier One in the clearance section for 98 cents. Isn't that cool?

I had some vinyl scraps that I embellished with stitching for the strap. It has a magnetic closure inside.

And I'm giving it away to someone who needs a colorful springy bag. From me to you, with love.

But wait! You have choices. Choices are good.

This hipster is made from a Target placemat.
Isn't that pretty fabric? It has texture.

I made the strap out of a discarded curtain from my friend Jill.

This one has a zipper closure.

And if you don't want to wear it on your hip, you can just loop the strap and throw it on your arm, which means this is a hipster and a handster.

So, here's how it will work. Leave me a comment telling me if you would want the stripey or the floral bag. Also, if you want to tell me your favorite thing about spring, I wouldn't mind it. I like it when you tell me stuff. In a few days, I will put the stripey people together and the floral people together and draw a name randomly from each group. Sound good? Good. Get to it, baby.

avandia recall