Giggle Giggle Toot Roar

Striving to answer the call to motherhood and wifeyhood with joy, Jesus, and crazy dancing.

A Case of the “I should really ought to’s” – A Sneaky Kind of Negative Self-Talk

You may know that in 2016 I have been focused on learning about positive affirmations, which provide a strategy to think and speak words of life to yourself. It’s more though than just repeating nice words to yourself to make you feel good. It is more about actually deleting any negative thoughts or beliefs that might be hard wired into your brain perhaps from past experiences or things people have told you about yourself.

Some negative self-talk is obviously negative.

For example, have you ever said anything like this to yourself?

“I look fat in these jeans.”

“Sara always has her act together and I’m a mess.”

“I’m so clumsy.”

“I’m terrible at remembering names.”

“Nothing ever goes my way.”

“I’m nothing before my coffee.”

“I’m getting so old.”

“I don’t really have any special talents.”

When we say these statements it’s pretty obvious that we are being hard on ourselves. If we heard a friend say something similar to one of the above statements about themselves, we would run to their rescue and convince them that they’re wrong and tell them not to talk about themselves that way.

But we do not usually run to our own rescue when we talk negatively about ourselves.

Since those statements are obviously negative, they’ve always been easier for me to identify and then work to correct.

I tend to lose my cellphone and keys a lot. Now, saying that I lose my cellphone and keys a lot will certainly help me lose my cellphone and keys a lot more, so a good affirmation would be, “I’m so organized, I always know right where I’ve left my cellphone and keys.”

A case of the I really should ought to'sWhen I’ve lost my cellphone in the past (usually right when I want to crawl into bed for the night), I would stomp around the house crabbing and desperately searching for it while whining, “Seriously, I do this every night, I’m such an idiot.” Whoa, if I ever heard my kids say something about themselves like that obviously I’d be upset! And it doesn’t set a positive example for them if they were to hear me talk about myself like that (they are asleep when I’ve been ranting). Why aren’t we upset when we say unkind things to ourselves?

Today, if I lose something, I literally say things like, “I am a smart successful woman. I am a college graduate. I’m a great mom. I will find my keys. I remember exactly where I put them. I’m so smart.” Those words may not help me find my keys any faster, but they sure make me feel a whole lot better than calling myself an idiot! And they make me and whoever is in earshot laugh.

There is a type of self-talk however, that I never even considered to be negative self-talk until coming across it in Shad Helmstetter’s book, What to Say When You Talk to Your Self. I call this type of self-talk a case of the “I really should ought to’s.”

Have you ever said anything like this?

“We should have coffee sometime.”

“I really need to clean out my car.”

“I ought to talk to my boss about a raise sometime.”

“I really need to get more organized.”

“I should really call my grandma sometime.”

“I ought to read more to my kids.”

These kinds of statements actually work against us. I was shocked at first, because surely these statements help us set goals don’t they? Nope.

Helmstetter refers to these kinds of statements as Level II self-talk and says that,

“Level II self-talk is characterized by words such as, “I need to…,” or “I ought to…,” or “I should…” Why does that work against us? Because it recognizes a problem but creates no solution. When you say to yourself (or to someone else), “I really need to get more organized,” what are you really saying? You are saying, “I really need to get more organized…but I’m not!”

Your subconscious fills in the blank with negative self-talk!

When I read this chapter, I took some time to identify where I might be using this kind of negative self-talk in my life. The first thing that came to my mind was my medicine cabinet in the kitchen. On one shelf in this cabinet I keep medicine, kid’s medicine, and all of my vitamins and supplements (I’m a Plexus gal, so that’s a lot!). I go in that cabinet a lot, because it also has cups for the kids and dishes that I use every day. I probably spent months opening that cabinet to have something fly out at me, because it was so packed full and unorganized. Every time I opened that cabinet, I would say or think, “I really need to clean this cabinet sometime.”

You know when I finally cleaned it? Probably months after it initially started annoying me when I finally read this chapter in Helmstetter’s book. I went right up to that cabinet, stared it straight in its beedy little cabinet eyes and said, “You know what cabinet, TODAY I am cleaning you out.” And then I cleaned it out. And the next day, I cleaned out my linen closet that had been puking blankets and towels out at me for months. And the day after that I cleaned out all of my desk drawers, which had been eating all working pens and secretly replacing them with inkless pens for months. And it felt AMAZING!

Some days I knew I couldn’t get to a task right then and there, but instead of saying, “I really need to call Suzy for coffee sometime,” I said, “I will call Suzy for coffee next week” and then I put a reminder on my calendar.

It’s amazing how bogged down this kind of negative self-talk had me and I didn’t even know it.

So, ask yourself, what have you been putting off lately? What’s been on your to do list for a while? What do you wish you could get done, but you haven’t even taken the time to add it to your to do list? Who have you been promising a coffee to or a date night with? Then explore the words you’ve been using about it and change your words into a powerful action packed statement with a deadline.

If you change these kinds of thoughts and words in your life, it just may help you in your productivity, in keeping your promises to people, and in unlocking your dreams and potential!

I hope you’re as inspired as I was to get over my nasty case of the “I really should ought to’s!”



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An Index Card Affirmation Exercise

We are under attack. Constant attack. From media. From society. From strangers and even from well-meaning (hopefully) friends and family. And we can even be under constant attack from ourselves.

I absolutely do not believe the old adage, “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

Today, in the world we live in, words can most certainly break us. I should say, negative words can break us, if we allow them to have that power over us. And we often do allow them that power.

You are enoughHave you ever received a compliment from someone that starts with, “Now this is a compliment…” You know immediately that whatever follows will most certainly not be a compliment. A few weeks ago after teaching (and rocking) a few songs in a friend’s Zumba class, someone came up to me after class and said, “Now this is a compliment…you are such a pretty girl, but you look so much better with your hair tied back and not in your face.”

On that particular day, I was having a good day, so I smiled, said thanks, and laughed it off in my head. Well, actually in my head I said, “Awhhh, thanks so much and you look so much better with your mouth shut.” (Hey, I’m not perfect!)

I didn’t allow those words to rule the rest of my day or week. BUT how many times do we allow words to ruin us.

How many times do we allow words to take us off course or totally wreck our confidence?

Too often.

Enough is enough.

Hawk Nelson has an awesome song called Words. Check out the entire song here: Words.

Here is my favorite part of that song:

“They’ve made me feel like a prisoner, they’ve made me feel set free. They’ve made me feel like a criminal, made me feel like a king. They’ve lifted my heart, to places I’ve never seen. They’ve dragged me down back to where I began. Words can fill you up. Words can break you down. Start a fire in your heart or put it out. Let my words be life, let my words be truth. I don’t wanna say a word, unless it points the world back to you.”

We can control how we speak to other people.

We can control the words we speak to ourselves.

We need to stop the negative thoughts floating around in our head.

Have you said any of these things to yourself either in your head or out loud?

“I’m a bad mom (dad, friend, sister, etc.).”

“Nothing ever goes right for me; I failed again.”

“I’ll never reach that goal or dream.”

“It’s too hard.”

“I’m just not good enough.”

“Susie is so much better at this.”

Enough is enough!

Speaking life needs to start at home. We are our home. We need to speak life to ourselves every day. We need to stop those negative words of doubt, anxiety, fear, and failure. We need to crush those negative seeds in our head before they have any chance to flourish and kill our confidence and significance.

Just this week I got an email that I allowed to get in my head. It was regarding the business I’m working on building. Someone more or less said “no” to me and I allowed myself to translate that no into “I don’t think I can do this,” “everyone will say no,” and “I don’t want to annoy my friends and family.” I felt the negativity and self-doubt threatening to take over, but I thankfully made it through with persistent prayer and perspective.

How easy it is to allow yourself to race down that rabbit hole!

Enough is enough.

My Index Card AffirmationsToday, I took an index card and wrote several affirmations on it that I plan to say out loud to myself every day, several times a day. I taped it to my bathroom mirror, so I will see it as soon as I wake up and throughout the day. I will speak those words of life to myself every day!

I will speak those words to myself, because I am loved. I am cherished. I am enough. And I’m human, so I need to be reminded.

I challenge you to do the same! Grab an index card. Write down affirmations to yourself. Put your index card in a place where you’ll see it throughout the day. Proclaim those words out loud to yourself, because you are loved, cherished, and worth it.

You are enough.

Your affirmations may be about attributes you are working on, how you treat other people, your role as a mother or wife, about your business or job, or about any other place in your life that you need to shine some light with your positive thoughts and words.

Here are some great examples from Joyce Meyer’s book, Change Your Words Change Your Life if you need a place to start:

“I do not have a spirit of fear, but of power, love and of a sound mind.”

“I do not speak negative things.”

“I am a positive encourager. I edify and build up, I never tear down or destroy.”

“I am a believer, not a doubter.”

“I have compassion and understanding for all people.”

Let’s speak life to ourselves and others.

Toby Mac’s song Speak Life offers more encouragement. Click here for the song: Speak Life.

Love, Natasha

PS: Doesn’t “ENOUGH” totally look weird spelled in all caps?

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10 Things To Expect from ZUMBA® Instructor Training

Last weekend was a whirlwind of fun packed with a bachelorette party and wedding shower for a friend, my nephews’ 3rd birthday party (twinsies), and a full day of training to become a ZUMBA® instructor!

I’ve been working out ZUMBA® style for about eight years and I’ve had becoming a ZUMBA® instructor on my bucket list for almost as long. It is such an amazing workout and it makes me happy (and laugh at myself).

When you do something you absolutely love for eight straight hours in one day AND check a major thing off of your bucket list, it is just so uplifting; you almost want to cry! Seriously, I was filled with joyful tears while dancing last Saturday many times and had to bite them back, so people didn’t think I was a weirdo!

If you haven’t tried ZUMBA® or you haven’t heard of it, it a “Latin-inspired, dance-fitness class that incorporates Latin and international music and dance movements, creating a dynamic, exciting, exhilarating, and effective fitness program.” (From ZUMBA® instructor’s manual.)

Put simply, it is an amazing dance-exercise party guaranteed to make you smile and sweat!

ZUMBA Training

If you’ve been considering becoming a ZUMBA® instructor and you’re apprehensive, because you aren’t sure what to expect, allow me to share some highlights from my training. Do it! Check it off your bucket list!

10 Things to Expect from ZUMBA® Training (Basic 1):

1.) You will meet other people that love ZUMBA® as much as you do! One of the things I love about ZUMBA® is that anyone can do it, regardless of your fitness level or dance experience. I was nervous for the training, because I thought I might be the sole dance-duckling in a sea of beautiful Latin ballerina-swans. Even in a small class, there was an eclectic group of ZUMBA® enthusiasts with a wide range of ages, dance experience, personality types, fitness levels, and plans of what to do after the training. It was great to meet and network with other future instructors and make new friends. Make sure to exchange emails and phone numbers, so you can keep in touch after the training.

2.) You will get inspired and crush your fears! One of my favorite parts of the entire training was the hour master ZUMBA® session we started the day with. What better way to start a ZUMBA® training than with an AMAZING ZUMBA® class taught by an amazing trainer! We worked up quite the sweat! About four songs in, our instructor motioned to another gal and me to join her up in the front. I almost peed my pants and shook my head no; I was not ready for that, I didn’t even know the song! BUT we got up there and for the first time, ZUMBA®ed a totally different way, as an instructor. It was the most non-threatening way to be eased into this and a moment I’ll never forget. Fear had been crushed!

3.) You will learn the history and “formula” to ZUMBA®. You’ll love ZUMBA® even more once you learn who and how it was birthed and grown into an international sensation. Also, once you learn the basic “formula” of how to place steps and songs, building your own playlists and classes feels less daunting!

4.) You will learn steps and practice them. I’ve been doing ZUMBA® for years, but I feel much more confident having been taught the basic steps and all of the variations. I was doing many of the steps correctly, but I definitely had a few adjustments to make to my moves! We also had fun practicing the steps in small groups and making up our own choreography!

5.) You will learn cueing. This was the toughest part to get used to, because I’m used to being a student and following cues, but I’ve never had to cue myself. ZUMBA® instructors are encouraged not to talk during their classes, so giving non-verbal cues to let the class know what moves are coming, how many repetitions, and in what direction we’re moving next is vital.

6.) You will practice the instructor role. When you are driving and following your GPS, you don’t always pay attention to exactly what roads you are turning on to and how many miles you’ve gone, you just follow whatever Sally the GPS lady tells you (or whatever you’ve named your GPS, you know you have!). That’s how it can be as a ZUMBA® participant. You might think you know every move of a song, but really you might be totally lost if the instructor wasn’t cueing you. Practicing the instructor role versus the participant role was eye-opening and a real confidence builder.

7.) You will learn the benefits of ZIN™. Once you complete the ZUMBA® training, you are considered a ZUMBA® instructor for a year or forever as long as you become an active ZIN™ member (there’s a monthly fee). ZIN™ membership provides you with an online account that gives you access to the latest music, choreography, clothing discounts, a personal website, and so much more. ZUMBA® instructing without ZIN™ would be like a steak dinner without the steak!

8.) You will learn about the different kinds of music used in ZUMBA®. ZUMBA® music is Latin and internationally inspired. You’ll learn how to build your playlist, so it flows well during your class and contains a diverse selection of songs. Salsa has always been my favorite, but an hour of only Salsa music isn’t a ZUMBA® class, it is a Salsa class!

9.) You will learn about logistics. I just want to dance, workout and help others feel the ZUMBA® party! Before this training, I didn’t think much about some of the logistics that are key to ensuring your ZUMBA®party is safe and a success. In training, you will discuss things like participant waivers, insurance, CPR and group exercise certification.

10.) You will come to understand every instructor has a different style. What if people come to my class and leave half way through? What if people with a ton of dance experience come (and are better than me)? I really want to teach like so-and-so. It is so important to BE YOURSELF as a ZUMBA® instructor. One of the many beauties of ZUMBA® is that every instructor has their own style. You will have people love your style and others that don’t. You have to learn to be at peace with that. You can’t please everyone. I know I will build a group of people that love “Natasha’s class” and others won’t and that’s okay! Be confident that “your” people will be there!

If you’ve had it on your mind and heart to become a ZUMBA® instructor, do it! Push your fears aside and dive in, because it really does have the potential to change your life!

Oh, and you might want to bring several changes of clothing with you to the training, just saying!

Good luck! ZUMBA®!!!





Whips, Chains, and Water Features

I had a really interesting encounter today. I swear, I am a magnet for these things.

The boys and I decided to walk around downtown and enjoy the sunshine-y morning after the gym. We made a quick stop at a coffee shop where mommy fueled up with some java and we shared a lemon-blueberry “cookie” scone (really just a scone, but I called it a cookie hoping they’d be satisfied with it instead of the real cookie they were begging for…50% of them were). Anyway, we continued on our walk to the center of the downtown, which houses a large grassy area where we could run around a bit.

Once we arrived, the first things that got the boys’ attention were the large water fountains spraying water into the air. I never really got these specific water features. Sure, they are “cute” and add something to the downtown, but are they for ascetics only or are kids supposed to play in them or are you just supposed sit down on one of the benches fixed directly around them and take in their understated glory? It’s no Bellagio show! Seriously, where are the “rules”?

Whips, Chains, Water FeaturesAnyway, the first thing that caught my attention was the twenty-something couple that entered the park and proceeded to lay down together in the center on the cement. The woman had what appeared to be a short chain-linked dog leash around her neck and the man was leading her around on it.

Enter my internal conversation: Huh, I must have just seen that wrong. right? I bet that was just a long necklace. Huh, nope, nope, he really is walking her around like a dog. That’s normal, right? Nope, nope, not normal.

The conversation in my head continued with my plan to keep the boys’ backs to the couple, because I really wasn’t in the mood to A.) explain to my toddlers why we shouldn’t walk another human being around like a dog or B.) see my toddlers inevitably walking each other around like dogs later that day.

Well, my plan worked. It worked until the couple came right over by us and the water features. One of my little boys was in the process of working up the courage to touch the top of one of the smaller water features. The other of my little boys was 10 feet away screaming at the lunacy of getting wet in the water feature.

Dog leash lady came over to us, shaved head and neck full of chrome, and asked my son, “Do you want to see something fun?”

My response while taking a few steps back was, “Like fun-fun or fun-terrifying?”

Her response: To rip off her coat (don’t worry she had a tank top on) and run back and forth through the fountains until she was completely drenched. I’m talking water-logged drenched.

One child looked on with utter delight and one watched in confused terror.

When she stopped running through the fountains, she came back over to us and while I pretended to act like this was all cool and normal, I said something to my appalled child like, “See honey, she had no fear!”

What I was saying inside was: “What the beep is going on and how do I get the beep outta here. And how does this weird stuff always happen to me?!”

Me looking at her completely drenched clothes: “Wow, I hope you don’t have to be anywhere anytime soon; your clothes are soaked!”

Her: “I just wanted to do something to cheer him up!” she said while pointing at my little guy who had been screaming. “I like to do anything to make children happy!”

Her Boyfriend: “Well, we do have that meeting with my boss in 45 minutes.”

We talked for a few more minutes and I learned that they were currently staying at the Salvation Army and that they have a four month old son in foster care that they are trying to get back. And that he works for a friend, who was “pretty cool” and probably wouldn’t mind if his girlfriend shows up to the meeting completely soaked.

I couldn’t help but ask about that dog leash though….

Me: “So, what’s with the dog leash?”

Her: “It’s an inside joke between friends, because I get lost easily. So, he has to lead me around.”

Me: “Oh, well, can I tell you what my honest first impression of it was?”

Her: “Sure!”

Me: “Well, honestly all I could think of was how it was so objectifying to women; I mean you are letting him lead you around on a leash!”

Her: With sincere surprise in her eyes like she had really never thought of that, “No, no.”

Him: “I didn’t like the idea of it at first either.”

Me: “Anyway, just thought I’d tell you my honest opinion. So…good luck with your little one and at the meeting with your boss. Thanks for trying to make my kids smile. My parking meter is almost up, so…..bye!”

And at that very moment my water loving child ran face first into the water feature and came running back to me shivering and smiling with delight.

I’m not going to lie, I judged the pants off these people and I tried to avoid them. Given everything scary that continues to happen in our world, in normal public places, in large cities and in small communities, I suppose my initial response wasn’t really that crazy.

It wasn’t until she told me that they were living at the Salvation Army that I felt something soften slightly in me and I felt my demeanor towards them change. It was that instance that I realized I was talking to Jesus’ people.

Maybe the woman who allows someone to walk her around on a leash and the man that “leads” her around are the tax collectors and prostitutes of today. Those were Jesus’ people then and these are Jesus’ people now.

I was pretty emotional actually on my drive home thinking about my interaction with these people. I felt like I not only interacted with Jesus’ people, but also with Jesus himself.

Was I kind to Jesus?

Did I care enough about Jesus?

Did I judge Jesus unfairly?

Did I cloth Him or feed Him?

Did I listen to Him?

Did I love Him?

You just never know when you’ll meet Him. Well, actually, you know exactly when you’ll meet Him…the next time you meet or interact with ANYONE. It’s just so hard to remember that sometimes.

Keep running through waterfalls,


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10 Ways to Share Holy Week & Easter with Toddlers

It’s never too early to start teaching our children that Easter is about more than candy, eggs, baskets, and bunnies. Holy Week carries with it heavy themes enough to make us as adults cry, so I obviously don’t want to scare my two and half year olds by sharing the week with them. However, kids always amaze me with what they understand and soak in, so I knew my boys would benefit from hearing about the events of Holy Week and Easter at least in a little lighter, kid friendly way. Below are some great activities we tried together and a few more favorites from the web.

I hope you enjoy and I’d love to hear how you share the real meaning of Holy Week and Easter with your family!

Here are 10 ways to share Holy Week and Easter with your Toddlers:rainbow feet 2

1.) Rainbow Feet: This activity helps you talk with your children about how Jesus washed His disciples’ feet. For set-up, I taped a large sheet of white paper to the floor and poured out onto the paper a bunch of finger paint. I asked the boys to sit down, take off their socks, and roll up their pants. Then I did my best to describe how Jesus washed His disciples’ feet in toddler terms of course:

  • Did you know that Jesus washed His disciples’ feet?
  • Where are your feet? How many feet do you have?
  • Jesus got down on His hands and knees and washed His disciples’ feet. Why do you think He did that?
  • He washed their feet, because he loved His friends so much and He was setting an example for them. If Jesus can wash His friends’ feet that means that we can wash each other’s feet too.
  • Now, let’s get our feet dirty in the paint, so we can wash them like Jesus did.

Rainbow feet 1Then they proceeded to have so much fun running and jumping on the sheet of paper making little footprints all over. Be careful, it can get a tad slippery. You will be left with a beautiful piece of foot painting art! I couldn’t help but be reminded too of the Footprints prayer.

2.) Check out this classic Jelly Bean prayer from

3.) Foot Washing Sink Style: This activity is to demonstrate how Jesus washed His disciples’ feet. After the foot painting, I filled up our bathroom sink with warm soapy water and got a towel ready. Then, with the help of my hubby, we carried the kiddos into the bathroom and let them put their feet in the sink. They of course got a kick out of this. Again, I tried to talk with them about what we were doing:

washing feet

  • Remember how we talked about Jesus washing His disciples’ feet? Well, Mommy and Daddy are going to wash your feet now.
  • As we scrubbed the paint off of those sweet little toes, we sang a verse of The Servant Song.

“Will you let me be your servant, let me be as Christ to you. Pray that I may have the grace to, let you be my servant too.”

4.) Check out these Resurrection Sets from Catholic Icing using toilet paper rolls and printable characters.

Bread5.) Baking Bread Together: This is a great family activity to do while discussing The Last Supper. Find your favorite bread recipe or try a new one. I picked one with simple, straight-forward ingredients and one where we didn’t have to wait for the dough to rise, because let’s face it, the boys’ attention span wouldn’t last that long (I used Deborah Madison’s, Irish Soda Bread with Bran and Oats). Have the kids help you get all of the ingredients together and measure everything out per the recipe. While you are making or kneading the bread, take the opportunity to talk about The Last Supper.

  • Who do you think was at The Last Supper? Jesus and His friends, we call some of His friends disciples.
  • What do you think they ate at The Last Supper? Good guess, but not chicken nuggets, they ate bread at The Last Supper. That is why we are making bread together.
  • What do you think they drank at The Last Supper? They might have had milk, but they for sure drank wine at The Last Supper.
  • What do you think Jesus said in His prayer before they ate? He told the disciples the bread and wine were His body and blood and He was sharing Himself with all of them. He blessed the bread and wine and gave it to His disciples to eat.
  • When Mommy and Daddy go up to get communion at church, we are receiving Jesus just like the disciples did. Some day you will get to receive Jesus this way too.

Then we marked a cross on the bread and I let them touch the loaf before I put it in the oven. They got a kick out of playing with the leftover flour on the counter. Once the bread was done, I fully expected to break the bread and share it with the boys in “a moment,” but by that time of the night, I was so exhausted I stood in the kitchen by myself slathering slices with butter and honey. Yum. They eventually saw me and helped themselves to several bites too.

6.) Check out this paper plate Cross Craft from Glitter Magic.

praying hands7.) Praying hands: For this activity, I traced the boys’ hands on paper and then cut the outline out and folded it in half. We marked, “My Praying Hands” on them and now keep them at the kitchen table as a reminder to pray extra hard this week.

  • We talked about how Holy Week is a special week for us to remember and pray about Jesus. The praying hands help us remember to pray, just like Jesus prayed in the garden before His death.
  • I reminded the boys that they can always pray to Jesus when they need help, if they are scared, or if they just want to say thank you.
  • Then we folded our hands and said a little prayer together.

8.) Stay Awake Flowers: This activity recalls when Jesus was praying in the garden and His disciples could not stay awake to pray with Him. To make the flowers, we used clothes pins that we colored with markers, paper to make the flower’s face and stem, and a plastic cover recycled from one of those little margarine containers, to give more support to the clothes pins. As the boys colored the clothes pins and pinned the clothes pin petals onto the flower, we talked about:

  • stay awake flowersJesus was praying in the garden and He asked His disciples to stay awake and pray with Him, but His disciples kept falling asleep.
  • This is going to be our “stay awake” flower. Our flower helps remind us to pray and to stay awake for Jesus.
  • We do not know when Jesus will come back to earth, but we need to make sure we are ready for Him. That’s why we need to try to be really good boys every day.

9.) This one is a classic. Check out these Empty Tomb Rolls from The Girl Who Ate Everything.

Res Reminders10.) Resurrection Reminders: This activity is a chance to talk with your kids about Jesus’ resurrection. Supplies include colored popsicle sticks and pipe cleaners. Twist the pipe cleaners around the popsicle sticks until the crosses are secure. Super easy! Make several and have your little ones hand them out during your family Easter celebration to remind people of the real meaning of the day. While making the crosses I told the boys: Jesus died for us on the cross, but He is risen, Alleluia!

What is your favorite Easter tradition?

How do share Holy Week and Easter to your children?

Have a blessed Holy Week and Easter!


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Holy Week Reflection: “The Literal Heart of Jesus”

In John Green’s book, The Fault in Our Stars (I haven’t seen the movie version yet), the main characters attend a cancer support group in the basement of a church. The meeting physically takes place in the center of a cross painted on the floor.

“We all sat in a circle right in the middle of the cross, where the two boards would have met, where the heart of Jesus would have been.”

The book’s characters mockingly call their support group meeting spot, “The Literal Heart of Jesus.”

Since Holy Week is upon us, there seems like no better time to contemplate the “literal body of Jesus.”

All year long we read and hear about Jesus’ ministry, the miracles He performed, and the message He shared. I don’t know about you, but I find myself getting rather swept up in His awesomeness and honestly forget sometimes that He was a man. A man that walked and talked and breathed and hurt and laughed and loved…just like us (or really us just like Him, since we’re made in His image).

As we walk with Jesus during Holy Week, it isn’t difficult to visualize Him as man.

Literal Heart of JesusCan you imagine His hands as He held up the bread and wine at The Last Supper, sharing Himself with His disciples?

Can you imagine what might have been going through His mind as He contemplated the fate He knew was close? Did He feel sadness when He was betrayed by one of His own followers? Was He afraid?

Can you imagine His head throbbing from the thorns pushed deep into His skin?

Can you imagine His face smeared with blood and sweat and spit?

Can you imagine how His arms and shoulders must have been on fire with the weight of the cross?

Can you imagine His bloody knees as they hit the ground for the third time?

Can you imagine how His legs must have been shaking, exhausted from the long journey to His death?

Can you imagine His feet breaking and bleeding as the nails were driven through them?

Can you imagine the excruciating pain in His lungs as He drew His final breath?

No, it isn’t difficult to imagine Jesus, the man, during Holy Week. His suffering (for us) was brutal and sadly easy to visualize.

As I read about “The Literal Heart of Jesus” in John Green’s book, I couldn’t help but think about how Jesus’ heart is the part of Him that might be the most difficult to visualize and understand.

Through all of the betrayal, the thorns, the spit, the beating, the cross, the crucifixion…through all of that…there was no hatred in Jesus’ heart. How is that possible?

We threaten to “kill” people when they cut us off in traffic. We “unfriend” someone when they say something that annoys us on social media. We give our spouses the silent treatment when they forget to do the chore we asked them to do five times. We yell at our children too easily. We won’t even lift our heads to acknowledge a passing stranger.

But Jesus, no. While every inch of Jesus was in human misery, He was not hating. While He hung dying on the cross, He was forgiving. That kind of unconditional love – in the midst of so much hate being shot at Him – is unfathomable. We can barely understand it as humans.

Cleary, His was the Most Sacred, most incredible heart that has even existed on earth.

As we enter into Holy Week, while we are heart broken by the pain our Lord experienced to save us, let us more so be in awe of and strive to embody His unconditional, incomprehensible love.

Wishing you a meaningful and blessed Holy Week.



What’s on Your Spring “Watering Can” List?

Do you have a favorite book?

I’ve read tons of books, some of which I love and some that I can’t even bring myself to finish. I’ve never been able to name a favorite…until now! I just finished the classic, The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Seriously, this book made me hungry for Spring.

While engulfed in its pages, I was a child, yearning for spring’s cool air to redden my face and liven my lungs.

What's on Your Spring Watering Can List?

What’s on Your Spring Watering Can List?

As the children in the book, dug in the dirt and planted for hours each day, I was with them; positive I’d have to wash my soil caked hands once it came time to put the book down.

As the children in the book, made friends with woodland creatures and communicated with robins; I watched my bird feeders with new attention, mesmerized by the same chickadee I’d seen a thousand times and desperate for a glimpse of the season’s first robin.

As the children of the book watched their hard work flourish with the help of sun and rain and found themselves similarly flourishing, I schemed reasons to be outdoors and vowed to take advantage of all spring has to offer!

So, I decided to make a Spring Watering Can List. (Yes, that is my ever so clever take on a “bucket” list, Spring style.)

Spring Watering Can List:

  1. Visit 3 greenhouses.
  2. Plant something from seed.
  3. Plant a flower I’ve never seen before.
  4. Go for a family bike ride.
  5. Have a family picnic.
  6. Go on a nature walk – treasure hunt.
  7. Make bug crafts with the boys.
  8. Make spring dirt cupcakes and deliver to people.
  9. Feed the ducks.
  10. But a new pair of shorts.
  11. Take a day to photograph spring’s beauty.
  12. Field trip to a garden.
  13. Enjoy the early spring Farmer’s Market.
  14. Go for an early morning outdoor walk.
  15. Watch the stars on a blanket with my hubby.

What’s on your Spring Watering Can List?

What is your favorite part of Spring?

Have you read The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett? What did you think?

I have to leave you with one of my favorite quotes from The Secret Garden. It’s long, but beautiful:

“One of the strange things about living in the world is that it is only now and then one is quite sure one is going to live forever and ever and ever. One knows it sometimes when one gets up at the tender solemn dawn-time and goes out and stands alone and throws one’s head far back and looks up and up and watches the pale sky slowly changing and flushing and marvelous unknown things happening until the East almost makes one cry out and one’s heart stands still at the strange unchanging majesty of the rising of the sun – which has been happening every morning for thousands and thousands and thousands of years. One knows it then for a moment or so. And one knows it sometimes when one stands by oneself in a wood at sunset and the mysterious deep gold stillness slanting through the under branches seems to be saying slowly again and again something one cannot quite hear, however much one tries. Then sometimes the immense quiet of the dark blue at night with millions of stars waiting and watching makes one sure; and sometimes the sound of far-off music makes it true; and sometimes a look in some one’s eyes.
And it was like that with Colin when he first saw and heard and felt the Sprngtime inside the four high walls of a hidden garden. That afternoon the whole world seemed to devote itself to being perfect and radiantly beautiful and kind to one boy. Perhaps out of pure heavenly goodness the spring came and crowded everything it possibly could into that one place.”

Have a blessed, inspired Spring.