Category Archives: Understanding

What Happens When the Easter Bunny Forgets His Job

I knew our family had changed when I awoke early on Easter morning and realized that the Easter bunny had not come. Our family was so focused on the real meaning of Easter on Holy Saturday that even the Easter bunny forgot to do his job. As I crept past my youngest who had found her way onto the couch, trying not to wake her, I realized what an amazing change this was for all of us. On the counter was my youngest daughter’s favorite plastic bunny with a note hanging around its neck that read: “Dear Easter bunny, Wishing you the blessings and joy of Easter!”

As I frantically put together baskets as quietly and quickly  as I could, praying all the while to my youngest’ guardian angel to keep her sleeping while I did my duty, I realized that while Easter bunnies are signs of Hope, my family understands that Jesus Christ is the real Hope. By the time the family dog heard my scrambling and woke my daughter, the Easter bunny had safely delivered his baskets once again.

Fast forward to today. I think my son had it right. I told him this morning that he has soccer practice tonight. His response was, “On Easter Monday?” Because we celebrate the Season of Easter in our family, we take Easter week off. Yes, you read that correctly. Easter is not just Easter Sunday. It actually is a season that lasts 50 days. My son asked, “Why would they schedule practice during Easter Week? That doesn’t seem right.” Let me be clear, he loves to play soccer and never grumbles about practice. My response, “No one knows or they don’t care. But we do, so we have to both celebrate and offer up these crosses for them.”

Many Christians I know don’t even realize Easter is a season. They ask me, “Why 50 days?” Well, there’s this really important thing that we celebrate on day 50. It’s called Pentecost. That’s 9 days after the Ascension which is another celebration during the Easter Season. Of course, the Blessed Mother and the Apostles prayed for 9 days to prepare for Pentecost. That would be the first Novena! And the Pentecost is the founding of the Church. So, we have Easter Sunday, the day of our Lord’s Resurrection, followed by Divine Mercy Sunday, then the Ascension and it all culminates in Pentecost when the outpouring of the Holy Spirit was so immense that a group of fearful, tentative followers began to share the Good News so profoundly that it changed our world forever!

If you have never celebrated the Easter Season, I suggest you find some resources about these next few weeks and learn more about how to glorify our good God and to prepare for the Holy Spirit coming into your life on Pentecost. It may fundamentally change the way you and your family will celebrate Easter.

 

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The Difference Between Good and Nice

This has been bothering me lately–the difference between “good” and “nice.” The other day, my husband was telling me about a situation at work. He kept referring to a certain co-worker as a “nice guy” but then would go on to tell me of some awful things this “nice guy” was doing. After about the third time my husband called him “nice,” I just couldn’t take it any longer. I stopped him and asked, “Why is he a “nice” person if he is doing all of these things?”

Like I have mentioned, I have been listening more this Lent. I have come to realize that people use the term “nice” to mean that the person they are referring to is willing to tolerate just about anything so as not to rock the boat. Yes, they are peacemakers in a sense, but they also choose to overlook some very key issues. Their ability to deny the reality of the situation is a bit astounding to me. In fact, I would argue that at times they are participating in the evil around them simply by keeping their mouth shut because they are so “nice!”

I have been rolling these two descriptive adjectives around in my head for a couple of weeks. I have decided that I prefer people who are “good” to people who are “nice.” Good people are the ones who speak up when something wrong is happening. They are the ones who call their friend to accountability on an issue that their friend has been dodging or denying. They are sometimes called “mean” by the “nice” people. But I don’t think they are mean. They have courage. They have integrity. They are accountable to God and their neighbor. They love, so they suffer.

My closest friends are “good” people and true friends. They don’t always just tell me what I want to hear. They tell me what I need to hear. I do not think they are mean. I think they love me and want the best for me. I do the same for the them.

So, if you are nice, and you are reading this, I am sorry because you probably think I am mean. That’s easier to believe and makes you have to do absolutely nothing. If you are good, you know what I am referring to in this post. Keep up the good work!

How to Accept Gifts With Grace

Graciously accepting gifts is harder than it sounds. In my family, accepting a compliment was like bragging. If you were gifted in any way, that was obvious and so it didn’t need to be mentioned. Since I was raised in this type of environment, I didn’t even realize that I had a problem graciously accepting gifts, even as small as a compliment. So this post is for those of you out there like me, who need some ideas on how to be a gracious “receiver” of the gift.

First, let me help you identify if you have this problem. Here are some of the ways it might manifest in your life:

Situation #1:
A co-worker gives you a simple compliment such as, “I like your new haircut.” You immediately respond, “Oh, well, I think it’s too short for what I really wanted and I’m not sure I can even manage to style it right.” That is not the way to accept a compliment.

Instead, you should say, “Well, thanks!” It’s as simple as that. How I came to realize this is a co-worker told me that I would never accept her compliments and it bothered her. She gave me specific examples, and I realized she was right. I have learned to say, “Thank you,” although if feels like my mouth is full of rocks.

Situation #2:
While visiting a neighbor’s house, she offers you a bottled water or something to eat. You immediately say, “Oh, I’m fine.” And you may have just had lunch and are truly full. That is not the way to accept your hostess’ gift.

Try this instead: out of courtesy, accept the water or food. You do not have to finish it and that is not wasteful. Breaking bread together (or drinking water) is a simple way to show you are friends with someone.

Situation #3:
A  friend points out that you have a natural talent at (fill-in-the-blank). You laugh it off and say, “Oh, I am not really that good at (fill-in-the-blank). That is not the way to accept your God-given gifts. 

God does not make junk! You were given some amazing gifts that only you have. They are irreplaceable and there is no one on this planet who can come close to being you! I suggest you respond with, “Why, I never realized that before now. I am so glad you pointed that out because you are right, I am good at (fill-in-the-blank).” Then thank God the next time you pause in prayer!

 

Side-seat driver

I’ve been teaching my son how to drive these past few months. I definitely have let my husband do the lion’s share of the teaching. My husband is much more patient than me and can communicate clearly when it comes to immediate action needed. This is really helpful when our young driver is about to run a yellowish/red light! In these moments, I go into “soup” mode. That’s what I call it. I want to respond quickly, but feel like I am swimming in soup. What comes out of my mouth doesn’t even make sense.

All this driving got me to thinking about God. Okay, let me catch you up. When my son is driving, I’m focused on remaining calm and keeping my voice level and easy. I am blessed with a pretty cautious son, so things usually don’t get too challenging, until I insert myself. For example, I needed to mail a letter, and at the last minute said, “Turn here,” forgetting that he needs ample time and space to accomplish this. Yikes! Being a side-seat driver didn’t help him at all. Suddenly, I realized that I’m like that with God. I let Him drive most of the time. But right when things get going well, I insert myself and demand immediate turns, sometimes in the totally wrong direction.

Here’s the good news. I’ve learned a thing or two.  God used to only be my side-seat driver. I had the steering wheel and my own navigation system, although who knows where I was heading. He would just yank the wheel to avoid immediate danger. So, although I have plenty of room to improve, I am sure thankful I am no longer driving that car. But don’t let me fool you– it sure was hard letting go of that steering wheel!