A (relaxing) and busy Easter weekend

I returned home from Nashville for the weekend on Good Friday. I had the best weekend with my sweet husband and lovely babies. I put a few pictures here. But, basically my relaxing weekend went like this:

Landed in Houston on Good Friday

Husband and 2 children picked me up from the airport

Met Grandmother (my momma) and 2 youngest children to pick them up

Went to Minute Maid Park for Opening Day of the Astros

Stayed for Friday Night Fireworks!

Put all the tired ones to bed…

Saturday morning I cooked a giant breakfast- homemade pancakes, eggs, bacon, the works

Then, oldest Els had a tee-ball game with their dad and I had Easter worship rehearsal with the youngest Els.

After rehearsal and the game, we had a family lunch at Pappadeaux.

Then, playtime and family time at home mixed in with all the laundry for the week…which kind of piles up for 6 people. And, my in-laws came by to see the kids for Easter with baskets of Easter presents.

That evening, we had a wedding celebration dinner for our friends who were in town from Hawaii

The next morning was EASTER morning! So, the Easter bunny visited Saturday night and Trinity and I headed off to church at 730am, while the other children slept a little more.

Our church service started at 845. It was a beautiful celebration of Easter. He is risen! He is risen indeed! My parents- grandfather and grandmother and my sister, Aunt Melinda, joined us for the service and celebration.

Afterwards, there was a church family brunch, butterfly release in the courtyard and an Easter egg hunt.

I’ve hosted Easter for both of our families for the last three years. This year, because of my recording schedule, I couldn’t host. I didn’t have time to roll grape leaves on Saturday or make my house presentable for our large family. But, I feel really passionately about having Lebanese Lamb and Rice filled Grape Leaves on Easter. It’s a middle eastern dish. The vine is a very significant point of imagery in the bible. Jesus said “I am the vine and You are the branches. If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit.” I just love this verse. Knowing that we are called to be the branches, bearing fruit, reaching out, making a difference. The lamb is also symbolic of Jesus. In John 1, John the Baptist “saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”” Having lamb and rice filled grape leaves for Easter has become a tradition that I really hold tight to.

So, while we were still with our church family, I started hearing this voice that said ,”Go to Phoencia and make grape leaves today.” I’m not sure who was speaking, but I answered. As we left church, I leaned over to Moustapha and said ,”I want to make grape leaves today.” So, we left church and he drove me to Phoenicia (which is now conveniently located downtown). I picked up everything I needed- ground lamb, lamb shanks, 2 16 oz. jars of grape leaves, lemons, green onion (I forgot mint), rice and I grabbed Labneh, fresh arabic bread and chick peas (to make fresh hummus for the week).

The kids had lunch at home and I spent the next 3 hours doing more laundry and rolling grape leaves. Our small family of 6 gathered around the table at 7pm that evening and we had the most amazing dinner. We celebrated, we prayed, we thanked God for Jesus and we loved on each other.  The truth is, I felt completely recharged when I returned to Nashville on Monday. Being with my husband and children and family and keeping busy all weekend didn’t leave me feeling drained, but rejuvenated and excited to sing my heart out this week. So, that is what I am doing now. I am singing my heart out. I am Praising God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit all week. What a blessed way to celebrate Easter!

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