Pots n Pinwheels

updated 3.24.16

I know they’re just pots, but they do more than hold dirt. They retain memories and are a symbol of intentionality for our family.

6 Easters ago, we set up a scavenger hunt. The final clue led to our neighbor’s trampoline, which we had piled with four giant plastic pots, bags of soil, flats of flowers, gardening gloves, shovels, trowels, and a four unique pinwheels.

Each child thoroughly enjoyed filling their pot with a lower level of rocks, then some dirt and some carefully, some exuberantly, arranging and planting the flowers they had chosen.

We wanted these planters to be a visual reminder of the fact that Jesus died for us, that his body was placed in the ground, but that he rose again and something beautiful came out of that wondrous event.

Two years later as we packed up our belongings to move from Michigan to Georgia, I could not leave those pots. And it was a dilemma because if we wanted the pots, we had to get rid of the flowers.

I came up with a solution that seemed the best thing we could do with both. We unplanted the flowers from the pots and took half to my sister-in-law’s house and planted them in various spots around her garden and planters–hopefully they would be a sweet memory of her nieces and nephews. We watered those plants in tears that day–such a beautiful bittersweet goodbye.

The other half we took to dear friends who had just moved into their new home and added them to what we called a “friendship garden”. It colored up their back yard beautifully and we enjoyed taking a picture of the 6 “friends” in front of their newly planted friendship garden as a sweet memory before saying our goodbyes to them as well.

I emptied the big pots of their dirt and debris, washed and dried them in the sun, then made sure they–along with the pinwheels, gloves, shovels & trowels–made it into the pod for moving.

POTSOnce we unpacked, I thought the pots ought to be used for a bit more than giant baskets in a ball-toss game on the lawn. Our new house needed to look like us.

After cruising all the ads online to find the best prices, we drove to a few places and gathered a handful of plants and a few bags of dirt. We got out the pots, the gardening gloves, shovels, trowels and watering cans and we planted. Once planted, each child proudly placed their pinwheel in their garden then skipped away in glee.

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It’s been 6 years since we started planting flowers for Easter. Two moves later, our kids are still looking forward to the tradition of planting something new and beautiful in their pots.

I know they’re just pots, but I hope they will last forever. That for the Great Scotts–who have more than graduated from being the Scotts Tots–these will be a constant reminder that no matter where we go, we too, are just a vessel for something beautiful that is alive in us because of Him.

 

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Every Easter

This morning I woke up early. I wanted to get up and write, but with 7 kids mercifully asleep I didn’t dare risk getting out of bed lest they all be awakened from their slumber.

So I began to pray. As I thought and prayed about all I hadn’t gotten done yet on my list, the one I was most bothered by was the fact that I hadn’t finished the kids’ devotions for the month of April, including the Easter story. I felt a storm cloud of guilt and failure begin to build and head my direction, but I continued to pray and God lead me to think back on why I cling so desperately tightly to this particular holiday season.

My mind returned to Easters past–of me in my childhood in Haddon Heights, New Jersey shivering in the dell and sitting on freezing cold concrete slabs with my pink foam curlers in my still-slightly-damp hair listening to the pastor preach about Jesus rising from the dead as we watched the sun rise and turn the grey morning into a glorious yellow triumph.

I remember the year the dell wasn’t available for some reason, so the disappointed but die-hard church members piled into the stands of the public high school football field while our pastor stood on the track and preached to us. It was a little less climactic than being down in the dell…and a whole lot less artistic and natural, but we still went.

In Colorado one year my dad researched a route, timed and mapped a hike for our family that ended at the  top of a mountain where we drank Sunny D and white powdered donuts from our backpacks and watched the sun rise, each of us reflecting in our own silent way on the resurrection of Jesus and what it meant to us. How we looked forward to that sunrise–counting down the minutes, seconds, searching for tiny glimpses of light at the edge of earth-meets-sky, waiting for that first sliver of sun to spill over the dark crest of the mountaintop below us.

But this morning as I sleepily sifted through all of those sweet memories, I felt tears slip of my cheek and heard them quietly plop onto my pillow. I had no idea how poignant those memories from my elementary, tween and even teen years would be to me today at age 35. With little people of my own for whom I am crafting their childhood memories of Easter, and feeling like such a failure this year.

My eyes continued to quietly gush tears of how I long and yearn for a place to go take my family to eagerly await the sun rising on Easter morning they way I did as a little freckle-faced girl, and to talk about those years so long ago when God’s plan and Jesus’ sacrifice actually played out on this earth. But I feel  so unfamiliar with my new “hometown” and surroundings, that I don’t even know where I could or would go to make that beautiful memory happen.

Re-living those memories, I think understand now what I didn’t understand then. Why all the frail, little old gray-hairs in our church would get up so early to dress in their best, top it off with a winter coat and drag along a woolen blanket to sit on at such an early hour in the morning. Because they must have known then what I am starting to realize now.

Marrying, saying goodbye to familiar homes, taking and leaving jobs, birthing a firstborn son and two sparkly gigglesome daughters, adopting a big-brown-eyed little boy, saying shaky hellos, squeaking tear-riddled goodbyes, enduring depression, making hard choices, forging incredible memories, being hurt, having to ask for help, visiting third world countries, reveling in the mirth of family and friends, basking in the excitement of new adventures, persevering without context, crying and hugging around caskets, celebrating new births, smiling in proud parenthood, taking on challenges, committing to finish or leave well, and keening in the silence of loneliness, Jesus rising from the dead means more to me now than ever.

Easter devotions for my kids

My church is gracious enough to share their curriculum with me so that I can write devotions for my kids each week that go along with what they’ll be learning in church on Sunday. I’ve been doing this since January, and my kids and I are LOVING it. Here is this week’s devotional leading up to Easter Sunday.

Memory Verse: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

From the story of the Crucifixion and Resurrection in Mark 15:21–16:16a, decide whether the following statements are true or false. Tell a parent why the FALSE answers are wrong.

True or False:

T F Jesus did something very bad and his punishment was to be hung on a cross until he died.
T F It was God’s plan for Jesus to die.
T F Jesus could have gotten off the cross, but He did not.
T F The soldiers were very kind and caring to Jesus.
T F Jesus died on the cross.
T F Everyone is going to heaven when they die.
T F Jesus’ friends took his body and laid it in a tomb.
T F Thieves stole Jesus’ body from the tomb.

Easter is one of the most important holidays for a believer. It’s a time that we stop and remember that our sin separated us from God, and that sin doomed us to a hopeless life and an eternity in hell. But God loved us too much to let sin win. He made a plan that hurt His heart, but that would rescue each and every person who wanted to know and love God. He sent His only son to die on a cross and pay the punishment for our sins…YOUR sins…MY sins…everyone’s sins were paid for that day. Jesus’ death on the cross, burial and glorious resurrection changed our future and made a bridge over the giant hole that sin had made separating us from God. God LOVED us so much that He gave us an escape from death into life! We’ve been rescued–hallelujah!

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