I let St. Patrick’s Day fly by without so much as a pinch…no green, no fun…dang it!  Am I just growing out of the “fun mom” stage?  Or are my kids just too big to be bothered by things like that?  I think both, but that’s kinda sad I have to say.  I love all the ideas to make holidays like that fun.

I will say though, we’ve stepped up our game over here in the Easter category.
Yes, I know, completely different level of a holiday, that’s for sure.  But I’m grateful for the way our family traditions surrounding Easter have evolved over the years….there are so many great resources out there to help!

I love that these yellow laminated cards that I got in a “Family Home Evening” group years ago deck our wall every “Holy Week” and that we get to spend some serious time contemplating such sacred events leading to the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ as we study the scriptures surrounding that last week of Christ’s ministry.

Do you like that picture of Lucy being ambushed by the palms we used for Palm Sunday up there?  Ha!  That girl is into that stuff I tell you!

And here are our remnants of our FHE lesson on that good day.

We watched this video to prepare us for what we’d be studying during scriptures this week (and another one that combined the whole week but I can’t seem to find it right now!).
I love that the last few years we’ve been able to use two of my sisters’ ideas (HERE) to take our morning devotionals up a notch learning more about Christ’s miracles and teachings during the couple weeks leading up to Holy Week (so many great ideas in that document!).

I love that we could sit at the Easter Pageant a couple nights ago and that Lucy, snuggled up at my side, kept whispering little comments into my ear about the order of things she now knows so well as they were portrayed up on that stage.  “Oh, this must be Monday” (when Jesus cleansed the temple), and “Now this is Thursday” (The Last Supper).

But my favorite comment was when she asked who the “actor” was who was portraying Jesus.  (Our neighbors are Adam and Eve this year, and she knows a few of the other people in the pageant so she wondered about Jesus.)  When I told her I didn’t know, she said, “well whoever he is, he should be pretty proud of his self!”

Yes Lucy, you’re right 🙂  Something like that would sure help you prepare for Easter in so many ways!

I have nothing prepared for Easter baskets and I have a lot to do for my assignments for our extended family Easter dinner, but we sure have worked to study the events of Holy Week better this year than we did last.  And better last year than the year before that.  I love how it helps in the process of all of our ongoing individual conversions to Christ.

This year I think the of video clips of Christ’s life on lds.org have been extra powerful for us for some reason.  Although I really never feel like they can get Christ quite right (no one could), they still bring so much insight and thought as they bring different parts of the scriptures to life.  There are a bunch of them HERE if you want to check them out.

I love the Easter clips the church has done many years.  I love the “Prince of Peace” clips that really make me think, and love the other ones too.  Find links to all of them HERE, but one of my favorites is below.  Turn up the sound and try not to cry as you watch.

I’m also SO excited that General Conference for our church happens to fall the same weekend as Easter this year.
Starting tomorrow we get to listen in to so many wonderful words of wisdom.  You can join us if you’d like…you can listen live or later recorded.
Click HERE for all the information.
We have a new prophet and will get two new apostles and I’m so ready for all that guidance and love to wash over me and my family.
Back to Easter though…we definitely don’t have this holiday perfected by any means, and never will.  There’s just so much to learn!
I love coloring eggs and our Easter strings to lead to Easter baskets and Cadbury eggs, but I’m just so grateful for the tools above to help the miraculous reason for this holiday sink in.

“He is not here.  He is risen.”

Perhaps the most joyful phrase in the history of the world.
He changed the world and each one of us with it.
And I’m so very grateful for that!

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  1. Sorry Tabby, just erased your comment here in an effort to keep things more positive in the comment section. I'm sorry that what I write here is often disappointing to you and do think you'd be happier and not so worried if you don't visit as often but of course that choice is yours. I do love some of the interesting things you've brought up in the past…thank you for making me think so much over the years. But I really do think if how we live our life is bothering you it may be not the best use of your time to continue to come here. Just my opinion.

    Happy Easter! I hope you have a good one!

  2. I've been reading your blog for a long time and though I've been moved to tears many times by your posts, especially your parenthood posts, I've never commented. You have a beautiful family and are a positive voice on this sometimes negative internet space, and I love reading about your family and your life. I felt compelled to comment today because of the Holy Week post. I'm a former Mormon, and left the church over 20 years ago when I was about 20 years old. In all my years at church I never remember celebrating Jesus life during the week before Easter. I remember all the focus being on the resurrection but not the actual story leading up to how he got there. It wasn't until I married into a Catholic family that I was introduced to Holy Week. I'm not Catholic myself, still technically Mormon actually, but I do take issue with all the ways the Mormon church has co-opted Catholicism without giving credit. I'm all for creating a bigger circle, and giving space to all kinds of spirituality but when the Mormon church incorporates so many Catholic traditions without acknowledging where they got the idea, it just feels gross. It's obviously a new trend or whatever for Mormons to honor the traditions of Holy Week, like Palm Sunday so why not acknowledge it, like say the Catholic Church has been doing this for centuries or it's common in the Catholic Church to observe these days, etc, etc.? and I think it's really cool the Lucy was making connections of the story of Christ's last week with what she's learned during your Holy Week celebrations but catholic kids already know these stories bc they learn and live them in church. I wonder why the Mormon church doesn't teach these stories or why the cross is looked at like a sacreligious symbol but it has no problem co-opteing other catholic traditions as something trendy to do. I wonder how many Mormons even realize that these are centuries old traditions long observed by other religions? We went to Mass on Palm Sunday and everyone who wanted grabbed a few palms that were then blessed with a sprinkling of water by the Priest. The mass started outside and then after the priest said a few words and blessed the palms, the procession moved indoors. My daughter then fashioned her Palm into a cross that she put in her room as a reminder and symbol (and blessed by a priest) of Jesus entry into Jerusalem where he made the ultimate sacrifice. Which makes me wonder how a Mormon observes Palm Sunday? So much about the Mormon church and trends have changed in the 20 years I've been away and I'm honestly curious when they started observing Holy Week?

    1. It is not my intent to be confrontational- I know in writing one cannot always tell tone, so I worry about that, but I guess I was unaware that the Catholics "have claim" on how individuals want to honor and celebrate Holy Week. From my understanding, all Christians believe in the Bible and all the events that happened during what is known as Holy Week. I know not all religions have "observational rituals" for Palm Sunday, the Passover, etc. like B Robinson mentioned, but I personally, always go through each sacred day of Holy Week, thinking about what the Savior experienced during each day. Palm Sunday is actually the day Christ entered Jerusalem and was greeted with palms, branches and cloth–Catholics may have special traditions for this, but any Christian could celebrate, or decorate with palms to remember Christ's entrance into Jerusalem without it being seen as stealing traditions from the Catholics. These accounts are in the Bible, not created by the Catholics. I guess this is where I wonder how it is "gross" to have personal and family traditions that honor Holy Week?

  3. Hello Unknown, your comment was interesting (in a good way). In the Mormon church we definitely don’t have a lot of “observational rituals” like many other churches do around holidays. Generally that is left up to each family to decide how best to celebrate each season/holiday. That has evolved over the years for my family as my children have grown and I’ve learned more about the sacredness and background of many holidays I celebrate.
    In this day and age the internet influences so much of our lives for good and bad. In my many “Easter Tradition” searches I have come across so many good ideas to bring the true meaning of Easter better into our home. I love how many Catholics do celebrate Holy Week and we have incorporated many of those ideas into our own family traditions. I’m sorry that you feel like this is trendy or stealing in some way. I feel grateful for every place that I find good ideas to bring the spirit into our home.
    Our former neighbors were Muslims and we have “copied” many holy traditions that they have (that are universal to our religion) because it feels right to our family.
    I think incorporating others religious traditions brings people closer together, and helps us focus on all of the things we have in common instead on those differences that can be dividing.

  4. Yes, totally the internet is where I've grabbed all these ideas too. I'm Mormon, but we certainly don't get the ideas to do these things while at church. It's all the internet. Lots of mormon moms just happen to like Pinterest. 😉

  5. We visited a Methodist church in Washington state (we are Mormons not from Washington state) where we heard their young children sing “I Am A Child of God” during their Sunday services. So I think the sharing of good religious things goes both ways

  6. I misspoke when I said, "gross" so I apologize if I offended anyone with that. And you're right that no one owns Holy Week. But Catholics are the religion that started Holy Week and that's just a fact. While the story is in the Bible, the tradition of commereating each day of Holy Week (and the entire Lentin season) is a Catholic tradition and has been for hundreds of years. I guess having been a member of the Mormon church all my life until my 20's and literally never observing Holy Week at church, I do see it as a trend to take those catholic traditions as ones own without context to where they've come from. And maybe that's a criticism for the LDS church that it's not steeped in much tradition, or good at teaching religious history, or good at religious traditions, and not for families who are trying to bring more meaning to Easter. Though I married into a Catholic family, I'm still an outsider and from this perspective totally appreciate these religious traditions that were not celebrated in my own Mormon church growing up. These stories are not taught in the Mormon church in the same way bc as Shawni pointed out, Lucy made those connections bc she celebrated Holy Week and not bc she learned about it in primary class. And Holy Week isn't a creation of moms on Pinterest, or a tradition in the Bible. It's a Literal thing created by Catholics way back in the day, so why not mention that or give credit from where the idea came? It's like when kids think a song cover is actually the original creation of whatever pop star is making it popular, instead of knowing it's a cover of an original song first written and performed by someone else. Does that make sense?
    In the scheme of things, it's not that big of deal bc it seems all religions borrow from each other. But if Mormons ever start observing Ash Wednesday or performing the stations of the cross, I will be back with more questions as to where that idea came from and why 😹Hope you all have a nice weekend!

    1. As a Catholic, I know where you are coming from when you see elements from the Liturgical year being coopted without any credit or acknowledgement of their origin given. However, when I see non-liturgical churches or individuals beginning to incorporate parts of the liturgical year celebrations into their lives I see it as them slowly gaining and understanding of the value of the liturgical year and how it draws us closer to Christ.

      The purpose of the Liturgical Year Calendar is not to mark the passage of time, but to celebrate and understand more fully the entire mystery of Jesus Christ, from his incarnation and birth until his ascension, the day of Pentecost, and the expectation of his return in glory. During the course of a year, the Paschal Mystery: the passion, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus, is viewed from different angles, in different lights. While the Resurrection is the central Christian event, every moment of the life of Jesus is a revelation of the nature and character of God. For this reason, we need not merely Sunday worship but the entire Christian year. The Church year is structured around the life of Jesus. It pursues Him from the first signs of His coming in Advent to His birth at Christmas, to His trials in Lent and death on Good Friday, to the wonders of His Easter Resurrection and Ascension, and finally catches an apocalyptic vision of Him enthroned as King in glory. As the Catechism explains, “The Church, ‘in the course of the year … unfolds the whole mystery of Christ’” (Catechism of the Catholic Church No. 1194). The Church leaves nothing out and skips no days; she asks us to meditate on Jesus at all times and in all circumstances.

      The liturgical calendar reminds us that we are a people set apart, and as such our lives aren’t oriented around nominal civic holidays and observances. It distinguishes our holy days from their secular knock-off celebrations. It organizes and shapes our lives by the Christian story, instead of the things the kingdom of the world holds valuable.
      It reminds us of the parts of the Gospel story we often forget or neglect.

      The liturgical calendar, then, possesses the potential to transform the way we see the world. If we were truly sensitive to its patterns, we would view our own lives, other people, the Bible, human history and the passage of time itself differently.

    2. That’s a beautiful and thorough explanation. As a Southern Mormon I would say we are always looking for traditions of other religions to complement and deepen our own beliefs. My mother taught me imitation is the highest form of praise. I feel we are saying Catholics have this right and we want to take from them what we can to deepen our own understanding. We do these things as a family. We do believe in teaching our children ourselves very much and don’t depend on the church to teach them which is probably why this happens randomly from family to family.

  7. Alix, my guess is that because the Morman church is new it's celebrations and traditions are still being defined/created. Catholicism and Judaism, for example, have thousands of years of holy traditions to draw from. While these religious traditions continue to evolve they are still firmly based in the traditions of our ancestors; not true for LDS since it's only been around for such a short time in comparison. I get what you mean about "co-opting" since it feels really weird to me as a Jew that in many born again Christian circles it has become trendy have Easter time celebrations they call "Passover seders." And don't even get me started in the Eyrealm xmas eve "Jerusalem
    Supper" where they pretend to be Jews by eating hummus and covering their hair in shawls.

  8. I think this was wonderful to read. Thank you for sharing Shawni. To those who critique her way of celebrating the last week of Jesus' life that is certainly your prerogative. I don't pretend to speak for Shawni but I am a lifelong Mormon of over 40 years of age and have always celebrated the Holy Week in a similar manner. Mormons believe in the bible and worship Jesus as our Savior and the Son of God and we know that he was a practicing Jew. We strive to be like him. We believe that our religion is a restoration of the true religion that God has preached since the beginning of the world. As such, we see ourselves as a part of the continuation of both the Jewish and early Catholic traditions. But we also see God in the practices of all faiths and strive to learn from all people. Hopefully blog readers can determine for themselves whether that is something worthy of praise or derision but that they will respect the faith traditions of this family who shares very openly their practices and convictions.

  9. Wow Shawni,
    I just came across your blog randomly and have never had a big following or anything but wow. You are brave and courageous for sharing your life. I am stunned by all the scrutiny of your life, but maybe your used to it by now? From one mother to another you keep living and loving and nurturing those sweet children and doing the best you can. Thank you for proclaiming the gospel and God no matter what.

  10. Thank you so much for this positive and constructive discussion, and the good points made. I'm so very grateful for the Catholic church and for every religion that shines good examples and traditions that we can all gain from. I'm grateful most importantly for the ability to really delve into the Bible…the most substantial thing that can help us gain a better understanding and awe and gratitude into Christ's life. I'm so grateful someone in my Family Home Evening group (where we made duplicate family home evening lessons for each other each month) nearly twenty years ago, who put together this Holy Week lesson plan (the one with the yellow cards for each day) that we use every year. I'm grateful for the Internet that helps spread so many good ideas as to how to gain a better appreciation for sacred events. I'm grateful my Jewish neighbor brought me over part of her Passover meal and we had the opportunity to discuss how she celebrates Easter. It's so great to have the opportunity to learn from so many good people out there who are doing their best to be good, to shine their lights. Thanks to all of you sharing lights in these comments.

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