Archive for March, 2011


spring has sprung

Ella’s preschool class went to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center today.  Just another beautiful spring day!

a little vintage coloring
had to get the bluebonnet picture!
chasing tadpoles with a leaf
jake and ella

Resurrection Day traditions

Resurrection Eggs are a great tool for teaching kids about the meaning of Easter, but my kids are kinda getting bored with them, and I’m looking for more!

I’m big on traditions.  Traditions – especially those that children can see, hear, feel, smell and taste – provide vivid impressions on which parents can build year after year. There are so many which can enrich your own family’s celebration of “Resurrection Day.”

Noel Piper’s Lenten Lights-Eight Biblical Devotions to prepare for Easter, to be used weekly during Lent OR daily during Holy Week

We are going to do this for one family night soon:

Love this beautiful Advent/Lent wooden “wreath”

We are going to take out our Jesse tree that we used at Christmas and turn it into a Resurrection Tree!

I found this idea of three wreaths displayed during lent. The first is made of wheat to symbolize the bread of Christ’s body that was broken for us. The second is thorns to represent his suffering. The third is made of purple ribbon that symbolizes his resurrection and Lordship. Display each for two weeks in that order during lent.

I also love this: “sinning stones and blessing baskets”.  Each day of lent focus on a scripture verse and each day choose a sin that God forgives us for daily. Write that sin on “sinning stones” (paint a bunch of rocks black on Ash Wed.) At the end of lent you have a whole basket full of sin and we talk about how those sins led to the Jesus’ death. Then on Easter Sunday, God has replaced all our sins (stones) with the blessing of Christ-our Easter baskets!  (We are going to try this idea soon, you don’t have to start on Ash Wednesday.)

These great ideas are from Thriving Family magazine, which you now can subscribe to for free!  (My favorite is the white carnation idea-another family night activity for sure!)
This is a crazy cool website that has pictures of all the Bible stories including the Crucifixion from PlayMobil sets! Pretty cool visual for little kids if you ask me!

We made Resurrection Rolls last year for breakfast! Yum!  MUCH tastier than Resurrection cookies if you ask me!

The night before Easter, write with a dry erase marker on every mirror in the house, “He is risen!” the next morning wake the family up with Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus blaring throughout the house and the children run and check all the mirrors!  (I am thinking of using Wiki Stix to write “He is Risen” on the walls too.)   🙂

Bake your own pretzels. Pretzels originated as early Christian Lenten treats, designed in the form of arms crossed in prayer.

Foot Washing: This Maundy Thursday event speaks volumes about Jesus’s desire for us to serve. Read John 13. Wrap a towel around your waist, as Jesus did, and wash your children’s feet.

New clothes (I knew there was a good reason to buy new clothes every Easter!): New converts were traditionally baptized at Easter, wearing new white garments to symbolize their new life.

Eggs:  they can become a subtle way of sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ. Like seeds, eggs are very much a symbol of new life.

Bunnies:  see this previous post how you can use the Easter bunny to teach about Jesus.

Rilyn’s first Easter


my new photography blog!!!

Now it’s a work in progress, but I wanted to get it up and running since I had my first official paying customer photo shoot yesterday!  What a blessing to be able to do what I love for other families!  As of now, I have another photo shoot booked for May and 4 other interested customers!  Wow!

Last summer, while reading A Praying Life by Paul E. Miller, our wonderful “facilitator” encouraged us to pray for something that we never would think to take to the Lord because it seems too selfish.  But God wants to be part of all the decisions we make in our life. So my request was to pray for a photography business one day, not because I need to get a job, but because I love taking pictures and editing them!  For pure enjoyment!
And now, here we are 9 months later, and God is opening the door for me to step in!  Honestly, I never would of attempted to start anything right now because I feel like Austin has so many wonderful, creative photographers and there isn’t room for one more!  But God had other plans.  A sweet blog reader of mine left a comment and asked me to take their portraits and I just couldn’t say no to that!  Seriously flattering!

So, please, go on over and check out my new photography blog!  It even rhymes-JulieP Photography! Heehee!

Here is a “taste” of the photo shoot from yesterday, no pun intended.  (well, maybe it was.)


sweet thing!

to serve

Matthew 20:28a  even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve.

Don’t we serve our kids all day everyday?  How can we begin to show our (especially young) children to serve others?  Our missional community group (made up of three families) at church has been thinking on that and one simple idea we had was to pass out bags to the homeless in Austin filled with food, soap, and other goods (James printed out a list of shelters, education centers, rehab facilities, etc. to go in each bag too.)

We gathered at our house last Saturday morning and James is reading to them Matthew 25:31-46

Then we had all the kids make cards to put in each bag (each family made 5 bags to pass out.)

I had to take pictures of some of these cards because they were just precious.

Levi’s card:

From Levi to a homeless person   🙂  Jesus loves you!
inside Levi’s card:  I love you!  Jesus has your heart!

Cole’s card was more thought provoking to the person who reads it:

You can’t see from the picture but it reads, “Jesus loves me?”  🙂

Rilyn’s card (she found and chose this verse herself in the Bible):

Rilyn wrote Psalm 5:3  “Lord, every morning you hear my voice. Every morning, 

I tell you what I need, and I wait for your answer.”

I love this verse for this occasion!  The Holy Spirit guided her to the perfect verse!

After we made all the cards, we had the kids go around our table and fill the bags.

Ella and Anna filling bags

Then we all drove off in different parts of town as families and gave out the bags.

Was this a particularly impactful service project for the city?  Probably not.  Unless we went out every weekend and started to form relationships with the same homeless folks.  However, our goal was to show our kids ways to serve.

That even as children, they can serve.  1 Timothy 4:12  “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.”

We prayed this over Rilyn this morning before school.  For her to have a servant’s heart.  Ephesians 6:7  “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men.”


Asher’s turn!

Finally Asher gets a turn to ride on some carnival rides!
Do you see the only heads popping up from the ferris wheel in the center of the picture? That is James holding up Asher. And yes, the carny told him to put him down and no, James did not listen.

It makes for a good picture though.
Was I a little fearful that Asher was going to fall out?  Yes, yes, I was.
love these brother/sister moments
high flyin’ fun
Rilyn in the front row, Asher in the 4th row.  Daddy taught him to hold his hands in the air and yell.
gotta love the wobbly bridges!

carnival cuties

When we went to the carnival, Asher started crying because he didn’t get to ride all the rides his sisters went on.  How do you explain to an almost 3 year old he doesn’t meet the height requirement?  Here are the “big kid” rides:

roller coaster time!
Ella loves to pose for the camera
again, Ella with the faces
this was Rilyn’s favorite “ride”
and she looked like this all the way down all 

10 times she went down

this was Ella’s face each time down, very serious and 

concerned.  She rode about 3 times and was done.

I have to credit James with this great shot.  (Although I put the camera on just the 

right settings for him to take this action shot!)  😉

After this ride, James said, “No more spinning rides…I’m too old for this.”


more rodeo

Next up at the rodeo was watching the “Cattle Dog Trials.”  Basically a dog chasing cattle into a pen about 10 different times to see if the dog would get a qualifying time for the Cattle Dog main event(?)  It’s a whole different life at the rodeo.  We were intrigued for about 10 minutes.


We walked around “Old MacDonald’s Farm” in which Asher was content because all the animals were behind bars.

Rilyn showing us her “horns down” sign in front of a longhorn

Then we went to the Swifty Swine pig races.  That was pretty cute.  Little pigs racing for an oreo cookie!  That is what the girl’s remembered the most from the last time we went to this part of the rodeo (2 years ago) and they couldn’t wait to cheer on their favorite pigs!  They even had a Big 12 race and an A&M pig who raced!   Sadly, Texas Tech won, but as Rilyn said, “At least Texas A&M came in second and beat the longhorns!”  Sadly, none of my pictures of the pig races turned out.

The Austin rodeo-where weird meets western.

After I saw this picture, it bugged me that Rilyn is wearing her cowboy hat while 

the cut out is holding a cowboy hat.  I’m into the details people!

Next up? The carnival, where the kids spent the best part of their day!

asher, rilyn, and ella

petting zoo personalities

From the pony rides we move onto the petting zoo.  We knew Asher wasn’t going to like going in, but his fear is a little ridiculous, and well, you know us.  It was interesting to see the three kids personalities shine through in the petting zoo.  Rilyn was nervous and worried, Ella was in charge and confidant, and Asher was a cry baby (we’re hoping to work on this!).

both Rilyn and Asher show some nerves
you can’t escape, sorry buddy
I like how James is practically dragging him around.
future nightmares for Asher?!?  I like how James is just smiling.

The only way Asher would calm down is if the goats were not making eye contact

with him and then James could take Asher’s hand and pet them.  But as soon as

that goat looked at him, he would break out the drama.

the goat made eye contact

Ella would swat animals away if she didn’t like how pushy they were being, and would pick and choose who she was going to feed.

I don’t think so Mr. Deer, I’ve got my eyes on another.
I can feed with both hands.
Rilyn got nervous and her cup of animal food got eaten 

up in the first 30 seconds she got in. A goat grabbed

her cup and she let go!


rough ridin’

Yesterday we went to the Austin rodeo.  I took 250 pictures.  I kept 50 of them.  Why so many?  Poor Asher had a rough first time at the rodeo, and it was easy to snap away because he gave me so much good blog material!  😉  Today’s post will be about the pony ride.

First thing we did when we got there was the pony ride, and if you know Asher, you know “animal lover” is not how you would describe him!  I was surprised at how he got on the horse without crying.

You can tell he is hesitant, but no tears yet!
all three riding

Then something happened. A realization that he was riding an ANIMAL.

Here comes the look…I’m about to cry
Get me off
GET ME OFF!!!!!!!!!
Daddy to the rescue who got Asher off mid-ride
Rilyn riding
Ella is a natural

at the end of the rainbow

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Ella, Asher, and Rilyn wearing their green!

If you have no clue what is going on behind the kids, click here.

My photography business!

March 2011