Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Seder Meal

While at the Explorations in Antiquities museum, the main attraction was the Passover meal, or Seder. We participated in one of these several years ago, but would like to do one at least every few years so that as the kids get older, they will remember it. This one was beautifully laid out when we arrived, on a "reclining table"...I learned only recently that these were tables that were low to the ground so that people could lay down while eating. Thankfully, we had benches. (Sidenote: The kids let me know that they felt my previous instruction on the evils of eating in bed must have been very misguided.)

Unfortunately, I didn't get many good pictures here, it was a bit dark in the room. If you are not familiar, the Seder is the traditional Jewish meal celebrated during Passover, which Jesus would Himself have celebrated. The meal is eaten in tiny "courses", each symbolic of some aspect of the Israelites relationship to the Lord. I can't remember them all, but for instance the lamb bone (another thing to be thankful for: we used skewered chicken instead) represents the sacrifice of the lamb, made to put the lamb's blood over the doorposts when the Israelites were enslaved in Egypt. The "bitter herbs" symbolize the bitterness of their slavery. There is a thick fruit salad of apples, cinnamon and raisins that represents the mortar that they used to make the bricks while they were slaves in Egypt. It is very easy to see (especially once the guide explains it, haha) how all of the symbols are just as applicable, in a new way, to our relationship with Christ. The lamb now represents THE Lamb, whose blood was shed on our behalf. The bitter herbs, the sin that so easily entangles...you get the idea. It was not only very interesting but very solemn (except for the Hollinhead crew), and a very good thing for us all to experience. We will definitely do this again!

Explorations in Antiquity

It seems like the field trips that I dread the most (and I dread most of them, because I am a crusty old curmudgeon) are the ones that turn out to be the most fantastic. This holds true for our field trip, organized through Veritas, to the Explorations in Antiquity Center in Lagrange. I dreaded it... because it was a Saturday; because it was so far away; because gas is so expensive; because I knew I would have to pack us a picnic lunch; am I starting to sound really lazy? I will stop there. I will just say, it is a really neat place with great exhibits, but most impressive was the guide that walked us through the exhibits. He was not only knowledgeable, but his enthusiasm for helping others better understand the context of God's Word was captivating.
Here is a replica of a crane that would have been used to build Herod's palace, stone by stone:

A grain silo like what would have been used during the famine in Egypt when Joseph's brother's came to him for help:

A battlement on top of a tower that was used as a defense against enemies:

My little wanna-be Isrealite tent-dwelling butter churner:

A real, authentic "hedge of protection"...looks quite safe for a sheep, doesn't it?

A cross that is as authentic as they think they can get to one like Christ would have been crucified on:

A well, just because it has a real rooster on it (the very same rooster that attacked and pecked Abbie on the back when she would not stop bugging him later. Add roosters to her list of odd phobias.):

Will post soon on the Seder meal...

Monday, April 25, 2011

Gifts 36-43

36~ Squash plants that really came up this year!

37~ Making a little progress getting some household projects done...Matthew scrubbed down the front porch and painted the railing this week!

38~A beautiful day on Easter Sunday, spent relaxing with the kids and soaking up the fact that our Lord is risen, and has forever conquered death and the grave!

39~ "Momma Marigold" (Abbie named her) has a great big bloom!

40~ Carefree days at the playground, so mommy can actually finish my Bible study reading!

41~ Great friends to share a Good Friday meal with, hugs all around! (Didn't notice until Irene showed me, her & Grant are hugging in the background, didn't even see it when I took the picture!)

42~ Driving home from a fun flashlight egg hunt for the youth of our church on Saturday night, I passed this gorgeous sunset.

43~ Had to come back and add one more gift so that I could mention, my friend Carri let me leave ALL of the kids at the flashlight egg hunt (which explains why I could stop to see, or even notice a sunset!). I spent 2 glorious hours in quiet, which made me all the more thankful for the hugs I got when I came back to pick them all up!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Caterpillar Craziness

Abbie is going through a "caterpillar phase", if there is any such thing. We were getting an enormous amount of them on our plum tree in the front yard. I saw a few and told Abbie about them, because I thought she could have fun picking them off, and thereby saving our future plums. Win, win...right? She started out putting them in a mason jar.

We all soon realized that no mason jar was going to hold the volume of caterpillars she planned on farming, so I told her to put them in the watering can. Now, I think a fuzzy caterpillar is as cute as anyone does, but I must admit that when I see a swarm of 18 of them (yup, really 18 !) crawling around inside a watering can, I got a little creeped out. I am not really a "critter" person anyways, (just ask my kids how I feel about lizards and frogs) so I made sure Abbie knew to keep it outside! Sadly, the next day the caterpillar home was littered with caterpillar corpses, but one lucky fella did make his way into the spout to build a cocoon.

Irene is very concerned that the emerging butterfly is going to be kicking himself (if butterflies could kick themselves) when he realizes that he has wedged himself into a great tightness (as Pooh Bear would say). We hope he can make it out, we will keep you updated! (I know you're on the edge of your seat!)

On Debt and People-Pleasing

This post is a departure from my usual field trip and household mayhem fodder, but something struck a nerve in me so closely this morning that I had to put it down. You may or may not know that "people-pleasing" is a problem for me...I strive far too hard to make people happy with me . Not that there is anything wrong with pleasing and doing and giving to others, of course those are wonderful things and a fulfillment of our calling to love one another. What I am talking about is when I try too hard to make others think well of me, which is, at its heart (my heart) selfish. I was reading a note on a blog I follow about money management this morning. Strange how God can use any means to show something to us! He was discussing, basically, whether we should ever use credit cards. A quote from said blog:
Romans 3:8 says:
"Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. "(Romans 13:8 NIV)
As such, we ALWAYS live our lives in debt and indebtedness. We are in debt to Jesus Christ because he paid a price he did not owe, one that we couldn’t afford. Since he made this payment, he bought me so I now serve him. I am now obligated to serve others in a debt of love. If I make another agreement or commitment to obligate myself to someone else, then I am violating my previous obligation or indebtedness to Jesus. (link to full article)

Now back to me (haha):
I was just so struck by the applications of this to my people-pleasing. Every thing I do for a neighbor can be traced back to one of two motives: I either serve others because I am so filled with love and indebted to Christ for paying the debt I had no hope of paying, OR because I feel obligated out of a false sense that performing a good deed will chip away at that debt, or make me look "good". Being a person who bears the image of my Creator means I ought to be out to make HIM look good. When I serve with any motivation other than love, I serve another master, and bind myself up and trample the freedom Christ bought for me.

"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." Galatians 5:1


Friday, April 22, 2011

Rachel's Photo Shoot!

I am so thankful for the friends I have through my church family. I don't know how people make it as "lone rangers", because I am so comforted by the fellowship I have with the people from our church! That is a side note, but the point being that I am so thankful to my friend Jessica, who so graciously volunteered (okay, more like said yes to my shameless pleading) to take senior pictures of Rachel. Besides the prices of professional photographers being out of my league, I have a beef with the policies most of them have about releasing your digital photos to you (after that high price tag!)...but most importantly, I know Jessica is very talented and has such a great eye for catching the right snapshot. She generously spent all afternoon with us, patiently working with us Hollinheads, who have absolutely no flair for displaying a natural "moment"...we are so happy and here are just a few (randomly chosen) of the many, many great shots! Thank you SO much Jessica!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Gems, Fossils and Dinosaur Bones

We went on a field trip to the Tellus Museum in Cartersville, Georgia in early April. It was a great field trip, really a nice museum. I love field trips that let all of my kids still at home, aged 19 down to 5, enjoy something together ! I want to remember, imprint in my mind, that feeling of pure happiness that comes when I see them, not just in the same room, or side by side, but together. Sometimes, I will be honest, I forget the reasons why we homeschool. Not in a larger,philosophical sense, but just in the practical day-to-day. An example: on the days when I have not been able to get my coupons sorted and grocery list made because there is breakfast to make and clean up, then chores, then laundry to swap over, then school books to get out, always with the someone needing help with something (not just school, but where's my toothbrush, where's the odd sock basket??). And that is just on the days where they actually get dressed and brush their teeth. I don't mean that to sound like I am complaining, I say all of that just to illustrate why, when I actually get to the store and I see moms buying fruit snacks for their apparent offspring that are clearly not with them, and peacefully looking at produce...I ask myself WHY are they not in school???? Do I just enjoy inflicting pain and hardship on myself? But the clarity comes when the hubbub dies down...when I go to sleep at night knowing that I connected with each of them in different ways, where they had needs that day. And when we go places together like the museum and they enjoy being together, and they see that the whole world is truly their classroom, it makes my mama-heart stronger to face the next day. They are small moments of clarity in a sea of moments where I so easily forget, and sin so easily entangles me in the cares of this world, but God is so gracious and good to give them to me...always at exactly the moment when I am sure I have failed them all, He shows me we are exactly where He wants us!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Dear Diary...

"Dear Diary, it's been 2 weeks since I wrote in here, I promise to get better about this...." blah blah blah.....falling so far behind on getting pictures up reminds me of all the years in high school and beyond that I tried to keep a diary and never had much success. Wasn't that my New Year's Resolution? Or was it that I wasn't going to beat myself up when I didn't get them up? Either way, I have broken it on both counts! So I'm going to catch you up on the end of March and early April, minus a few things that still deserve their own post which I will (hopefully) get to soon!!!!

A walk in the evening, looking at all of the newly blooming trees and flowers...

Abbie and Irene paint some masterpieces:

Some great bubble blowing, thanks to Lucy's mama, Ms Kelly ! Lucy turned four and had the sweetest, cutest fairy birthday party ever, and gave the girls these bubbles as they left...

And last but not least, just a typical Tuesday (anyday) morning: what you see is how it really is in the trenches, complete with coffee, coupons, math blocks, gross dog bowls and, as you can see, Irene is the only one doing her schoolwork. Thank the Lord that I have one that likes to learn or else it would be tough to keep going!!

You may wonder to yourself why on earth would Mary put up pictures that reveal her home in such a state of disgrace? I looked at the table and saw that what happened to be on there at that particular moment spoke a lot about who we are at this point in our family's life, so I foolishly snapped the picture and then realized once I saw it what a wreck the house was. Oh well, as my friend Jessica says, we're "keepin' it real". I am thinking maybe I will start a new theme...I need a "Us in Real Life" label...completely unstaged, unfiltered moments. Sounds scary, huh? Maybe I will call it "Hollinhead Raw". A little too much???