Tag Archives: easter

The Easter Ball Hunt

Tsk.  Bad grandparents.


We had the kiddos over for the traditional Easter Ham Dinner on Sunday.  And we didn’t have any eggs to hide.

Now, all of them had attended Easter Egg Hunts Saturday and earlier Sunday and had collected more eggs than any of them needed.  We sorta thought their parents would bring the ones they had for hiding and hunting and they sort of thought we would have some…and well, poor bebes.


We had just bought a spring stash of big, colorful bouncy balls to see them through the warm days of spring and summer ’13.  Resourceful little boogers that they are, Gemma and Averi devised an Easter Ball Hunt for the other kids.  They tucked the giant spheres here and there among bare-branched shrubs and then called to everyone “Come and find them.”  How cute.


Back to this ham thing…

Isn’t it weird and odd that we Christians chose ham (aka pork, aka pig), to eat for the Resurrection Celebration feast?  I mean, true, we were set free from that dietary tradition long held by law-keepers when the New Covenant kicked in, but it doesn’t mean we should just throw caution to the wind, does it?  It seems sort of bold, like saying, “Hey – we don’t have to follow Jewish tradtion anymore, because Jesus (a Jew, btw), has set us free from that.  So keep your deliciously-spiced-and-herbed slow-roasted lamb!  We choose pig.”

I just don’t know.  This may be a case of our liberties being lawful but not necessarily expedient.

Oooohhhh…Who put their peep-stick back in the bunch?

peeps on sticks

It was Rocky, of course.  He made fun of me for asking that strange question so incredulously.

easter at jeanierhoades.com

He is risen.  Risen indeed!

The Traditional Candy Bar crosses…in miniature


The Ladies Willing Worker Band at the Kokomo Church of God taught me to use full-size Three Muskateers Bars for making and selling candy crosses at Easter.  I made them for years.  But who really ever even eats Three Muskateers?  Anyway – I got the “snack size” and they make these very tiny versions.  It is hard to tell, but they are on 4 x 6″ photo paper for a serving tray.  That is how tiny they are.

easter jeanierhoades.com

I made 8 of everything just in case Baby Girl Rhoades came in time.  :(

a peek in the easter baskets
Being the amazing Nonna/Nonni I am, yes, there was candy, but mostly fun little toys (clothes for Kai) and salty snacks to counteract all the sweetness of the day. Stuffed animals, peel off nails and colorful hair and Guini got her whoopie cushion (she is so silly) and they all got their crosses, for heaven’s sake!

Lined up and waiting for seven sweet grandbebes on Easter.  Gavin (9.8); Hunter (8.5); Guinivere (7.75); Gemma May (5.83); Averi-J (5); Amelie Belle (3 on the dot) and Baby Kai (12 weeks).

Easter is THE day and I got to spend it with THE people I love so much!  How did you celebrate this year?  What are your traditions?

The Saturday morning before Easter

There is a coconut cake* in the oven and the doors and windows are open wide to let the spring air flow freely.  I hear something (?) in the neighborhood – is some one mowing already? 

The washer and dryer are at their rumbly-sounds work and my dining room table is lined with colorful Easter bags, each designated for one amazing grandbebe or another, as I busily prepare for THE day, the day more important than all the rest of the days ever – the one celebrating what Jesus did.  Easter.  Resurrection – the complete and finished work.  New life, the new birth, the fulfillment of all longing.  I can’t help humming, singing, contemplating

Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe

Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow

And we are rejoicing for we have a Savior and we are also waiting, longing for the new little bebe who will join us soon.  Jovan and Rocky were “due” on Friday and so, as every woman who has ever gone past her due date will attest, the longing increases to almost unbearable heights for birth, for what has been carried, to see the baby who has been hidden, being knitted by the very hands of God, right here, right now in our arms, in our sights, please, Lord!  From womb to waiting arms.  From darkness to light.  From will-this-ever-happen to the miraculous she is here!  From waning, worn-out hope to bright-light joy!

jovan pregnant

Mommy and daddy are ready!  Mommy is really really ready, doing the hardest of the work.  :)

All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.  Romans 8.22-25

We are enlarged in the waiting!  Oh, my goodness, our expectancy is JOYFUL!

jovan pregnant

So we are remembering Jesus, all He did, what His suffering and death on the cross gave us – while we were still actually sinners {don’t give up on this evil world, my friends and family – what Jesus did was enough and is enough for even these troubled days, for all men, for all times}.  Jesus is all.

And we are looking ahead with joyful expectancy for this new little girl, Baby-Girl Rhoades and we are blessed, so blessed.

So pray for Jovan if you think about it.  Pray for that promised strength to deliver (Isaiah 66) and Have a blessed Easter.

Jesus died.  But He conquered death and rose. And His blood washes white and His wounds brought us healing and what He has done means everything.  So be blessed on Easter!

I hear the Savior say, “Thy strength indeed is small; Child of weakness, watch and pray, Find in Me thine all in all.

Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe

Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow”


*About the coconut cake…Pure decadence.  I have been delivered of the very luscious, yet too-many-steps-from-scratch recipe I used to make to Heather’s delightful use-a-mix-and-you’ll-never-go-back-deliciousness.  It is a wonderful cake.  Maybe I will share the recipe with you!  Soon.

as promised {CLICK HERE} for cake recipe

Take Me Back

Ohmygoodness, I L O V E D late 60s/early 70s soul music like the Stylistics and the Four Tops; give me some Marvin or Stevie or even Smokey; but wow-o-wow for the Supremes, the Chi-Lites or Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, mm-mm-mmm.  A Motown Label on an old vinyl in a thrift store still sets me heart to beating fast.

It wasn’t just love songs and radio pop soul music that I loved, though, for since as far back as I can remember, I have loved-loved-LOVED music that brought the Presence of God into the room.

Andrae Crouch.

Oh, yes, Andrae Crouch.  L O V E him.  Wrote about him before HERE.  And HERE. And as far back as HERE.  Reeeeeeeeeeeeeeally wanted him for Heaven Fest this year, but breakdown in communication or something?  And he parted ways with the guy we were working through.  Sad!  *sniff, sniff

But he was just the power-and-Presence-of-the-Holy-Spirit music to me in my early teens and on.  Got to see him in person and LIVED on Andrae Crouch: Live at Carnegie Hall and later Live in London.  Had 8-tracks, cassettes and record albums.  My dad loved him, too, so there was always a lot of Andrae in the 70s for us!  This 5 or 6 minute sampler on Amazon.com – ahhhhh.  Just click on number 1 and let-er-play.  And-why can I not play the piano like that?

Ephesus Girl.

I also love the book of Ephesians.  Just always thought: now Paul knew how to communicate with these people.  It mixes the right amount of richly-romantic and mystical Bride-of-Christ imagery with just the right amount of practical here-is-how-it-is-done language.  He speaks of mystery and marriage and a spotless bride and husbands loving their wives like Christ loved the church all that.  Go get ’em, Paul!


Sometimes the mystery and magic, though, gets muddied, lost.  Sometimes we have “seen enough to know we have seen too much” and we are dirtied and poisoned and broken and bleeding, just sitting in the yuck-of-life getting hard-hearted because tenderness leaves us too vulnerable.  An innocence stolen, a trust broken, a love damaged.

And then we remember – there is a place where those things were taken into account before I knew I would even have needed them to be.  There is a place. It is where resurrection happened, where Jesus rolled away the stone and darkness and death that had held our hearts.  Jesus had hung on a cross, yes, wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities.  His blood had  flowed freely to cover the wrongs done to me, the wrongs I have inflicted on others.  He bought my freedom.  He took the keys of death, hell and the grave.  He rose again and it was a done deal.

Jesus set us free and somehow the enemy managed to dupe us and has stolen our freedom and our hearts.  We sigh and say ‘Life….’

Makes me think of Gal. 3.1…O you foolish Galatians…

Or as The Message puts it~

You crazy Galatians! Did someone put a hex on you? Have you taken leave of your senses? Something crazy has happened, for it’s obvious that you no longer have the crucified Jesus in clear focus in your lives. His sacrifice on the cross was certainly set before you clearly enough.

How did we get here?

The Ephesians weren’t much better.

Despite the love letter God had given them through Pul the Apostle,  in John’s Revelation, God rebuked them,  He saw their works, knew they hated evil – He could see all that.  But He pointed out that they had fallen so very far, left their ‘first love.’  He didn’t leave them hopeless, though. He reminded them to return to that love, to remember the height from which they had fallen and go back and do the first things again. New life, new love, restoration!  Fresh.  Clean.  Whole and holy.

Sometimes you just need your spiritual innocence restored, don’t you?

As we have walked through Holy Week, I have not been  a bit interested in observing religious dates on given days of the week for the sake of remembrance alone, but I have cried out for a return, a restoration of my heart to flesh.  Transformation.  I am open to God renewing and restoring to me the JOY of my salvation {Search me, O God and know my heart} and I am praying for the resurrection power, that same power that raised Christ Jesus from the dead, to give life to my heart. 

Take Me Back


Enter Andrae on Easter week.  A song from my way-back-in-the-day past.  Just remembered it.  Started singing it.  “Take me back – to the place where I first received You, where I first believed…” I have been singing this as a prayer all week.

Romans 8.11 Amplified   “And if the Spirit of Him Who raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in you, [then] He Who raised up Christ Jesus from the dead will also restore to life your mortal (short-lived, perishable) bodies through His Spirit Who dwells in you.”

So, Happy Easter. May Easter (the high holy day of every Jesus follower) 2011 be for you a very holy and set apart day.   And may you be made  new and alive because what Jesus did was enough, more than enough.  And may your heart be softened and trusting again.  Return to your first love. Sing with me and Andrae, if you want. And Danni Belle Hall, “Take me back…”  yeah-let’s go remember the height from which we have fallen.  Back – not to a cross on a hill, but to the open grave of a risen Savior, where we first believed…

Happy Birthday, Stephanie

Happy 27th Birthday, Stephanie May – as in  May-Day-baskets-of-lilacs-and-tulips-and-dancing-around-with-streamers-in-celebration-and-rejoicing!


(picture taken by Tredessa at church on Easter Sunday…Guini-almost 4, Gavin almost-6, Gemma-almost 2, parents-still twenty-somethings)

A full 5-weeks early in your arrival, who could have known, as they pronounced a mere 30% chance of survival on you and your severely underdeveloped lungs – that you’d be home in 12 days?  That you’d defy the odds and in answer to our heart’s cries and the mercy of the Lord, you’d breathe in and out until you were whole?

We named you for one of my Biblical heroes (Stephen – a man of wisdom and grace,  full of the Holy Spirit) and because three of our favorite TV actresses back in the day had the name (Stepfanie Kramer aka Detective Sgt. Dee Dee McCall in “Hunter”; Stefanie Powers aka Jennifer Hart on “Hart to Hart”;  Stephanie Zimbalist aka Laura Holt in “Remington Steele”).  I am sure I read in the baby name book at the time that your name meant “crown, or garland, festooning” yet I couldn’t have comprehended then how true that would be about you.  We added “May” in the middle in celebration of the beautiful spring month in which you were born.  You were our tiniest baby with a big, long name. 

Then you grew.  And you were funny and a singer and had a helpful heart.  And you developed a very unique sense of style and you played basketball and now guitar and you worship and you married Tristan and produced these 3 adorable kids.  And you amaze me constantly.  I did not know what an incredible wife and mommy you’d be.  I didn’t know how much I’d learn from you about following Christ and serving my family.  You are the Proverbs 31 woman, Stephanie! In every way – you are!

“Many women have done wonderful things, but you’ve outclassed them all…The woman to be admired and praised is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God.  Give her everything she deserves!  Festoon her life with praises!”  Proverbs 31, The Message

zoo13 img_5040-2 may-days-1081

Twenty-seven wishes for Stephanie on her 27th Birthday~

  1. I wish for you to be rewarded for the wonderful and wife and mommy you are – to receive the fruit of the seeds you have planted into your family’s lives.
  2. I want you to get the needed time to develop your May-Dae biz with Stormie.
  3. May the creativity flow in full force for all you put your hand to as you remain o-so-close to the Creative One.
  4. I wish and pray for the smile of the Lord to be on your life.
  5. I am asking the Lord to make you aware of how He sings and delights and dances over you, crowning you with His goodness.
  6. I pray those 3 children will receive everything you have to place in their hearts as their mommy.
  7. I pray Tristan will always be blessed by you, always ravished by your beauty, both inside and out.  And may the wild romance blossom profusely and continuously.
  8. May the song of the Lord pour from your heart and mouth and please Him.
  9. May the Holy Spirit instruct you in the song of the Lord (1 Chronicles 25.7) and may you become a highly skillful musician for His glory!
  10. I wish for this next year to be full of the joy of the Lord (your strength) and for it to start with the best summer you have ever enjoyed – fun times with the people you love.
  11. I wish for you to discover new abilities and skills as you Exec. Direct a whole “Pod’s” worth of people!  What an impact you are having!
  12. For all the times the Lord has miraculously healed you in both body and mind, I pray that you will lay hands on the sick and that they will recover and that your fervent and effective prayers will produce wonderful results and many healings!
  13. I wish for you to have peace on all sides, to have favor with both God and man.
  14. I wish friendships for you that were long-ago planned by God, to enrich you and bring encouragement.
  15. The new “old” house of your dreams – I am wishing that for you!  And all the antique-and-funky stuff to fill it you could ever desire (including the music studio!!).
  16. Songs – the ones you write…when do we get to hear some?
  17. I want your lilac bushes to bloom profusely!  Because they so remind me of you – all purple and deliciously-scented.  So they should..profusely…bloom!
  18. I wish for you to know your value in our family – that you are a crown to us.
  19. I pray that you will understand what a blessed representation of our love you were to us, that to guard your life and cherish it was a symbol of all that was to come.
  20. I want you to know how much I love you and admire you and how proud I am of you, not only for the woman you have become, for the person you have always been.
  21. I am praying you can receive the praises and festooning we are bestowing upon you on the occasion of the celebration of your birth because you deserve them, you do.
  22. Be courageous.  Don’t be afraid.
  23. Be bold.  Don’t hold things in.
  24. Be you.  That is a gift to us all.
  25. I wish you laughter daily and tears when you need a good cry.
  26. I wish for all your dreams (the ones we know and especially the ones we don’t) to come true.
  27. And I pray you will take your place – the one God had in mind for you before you were even one day old (Psalm 139),  take the place, the ministry, the arena, the position – God has called you to and don’t ever let self-doubt or man’s opinion stop you.  You are the crown.  You are the garland that celebrates and decorates the Head.

I festoon you with my love.  I festoon you with my praises.  Twenty-seven years ago today, I got to touch a miracle – and you remind me of God’s faithfulness everyday of your love-filled life.

Happy Birthday, Stephanie… Mom

NOTE TO SELF:  Am I blessed or what?  This girl is one of the most interesting, multi-faceted and surprising human beings on earth, the spice of my life.

Happy Easter ~ Joyous Easter!

Matthew 28: There is nothing to fear here. I know you’re looking for Jesus, the One they nailed to the cross. He is not here. He was raised, just as he said.


With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation.

The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death.

God went for the jugular when he sent his own Son. He didn’t deal with the problem as something remote and unimportant. In his Son, Jesus, he personally took on the human condition, entered the disordered mess of struggling humanity in order to set it right once and for all.

Romans 8 The Message

The cross


I already knew that for Easter, I wanted to talk a little about the cross because of this beautiful photograph my great friend, Amy Jo Becker, recently took.  One foggy morning in late March on her way to work, she spied this display near 120th & Sheridan in Westminister, CO (Victory Church) and thought to capture it for us all to ponder.

Even now, 2000 years after Jesus’ death on the cross, this representation evokes such such gratefulness and awe in my heart.

Childlike faith…

Imagine my delight when, this past Thursday, Gavin, my 3-year-old grandson, ran into the kitchen, suddenly dropped to his knees on the tile floor and began to exclaim, “Look, Nonna, it’s God…it’s Jesus!” 

I thought for a split second we were going to have to open our house for tours because it seemed he had discovered an Easter miracle on my floor. I just hoped it wasn’t the form of Jesus in a sticky dirt spot or something for all the world to see. But then I watched him as he took his finger and traced between the ceramic tiles, first up and down, then side to side: he drew a cross.

How excited, I can tell you, a nonna becomes when she realizes her toddler grandson has become aware of the cross of Jesus Christ, something one writer called “the dividing symbol of all history.”

Then Gavin and I went around the house and looked for the cross anywhere we could find it: between the panels on doors, on my old school-house window coffee table.  He excitedly “discovered” my cross collection and became especially excited by my very small replica of the “Christ the Redeemer” statue which stands high on the Corcovado Mountain in Rio de Janeiro.  “It’s God!  It’s Jesus!  It’s the cross!” Gavin would squeal with every new discovery, exhibiting more understanding than many full-grown Christians, I thought.

A little later, Gavin came out of the bathroom having found on a shelf the beautiful tiled cross my friend Marilyn had given me and reverently showed me his “find.” He carried that cross around with him for the rest of his visit while he played.

Max says it so well…The Cross by Max Lucado

It rests on the timeline of history like a compelling diamond.
It’s tragedy summons all sufferers.  Its absurdity attracts all cynics. 
It’s hope lures all searchers.  History has idolized and despised it,
gold-plated and burned it, worn it and trashed it.  History has done
everything but ignore it.  How could you?  How could you ignore such
a piece of lumber?  Suspended on its beams is the greatest claim
in history.  A crucified carpenter claiming to be GOD on earth.
Divine.  Eternal.  The Death-Slayer.  Never has timber been regarded
so sacred.  No wonder the Apostle Paul called The Cross event the
core of The Gospel (1 Cor. 15.3-5).  Its bottom line is
sobering: if the account is true, it’s history’s hinge.  Period.
If not, The Cross is history’s hoax.
As you ponder Christ on the Cross, what are your thoughts?…

The cross stands against the skyline of all time as the greatest symbol of the central fact of Christianity – the death of Jesus Christ in our place.  Yes, He died.  Yes, He was buried.  But that is only a part of the good news.  He didn’t stay on that cross, He rose from death, and oh – what was won in that victory for me – for me!

It’s God!  It’s Jesus!  It’s the cross!  Yaaaay!!!

Joyous blessings to you today as we celebrate a risen Savior, Jeanie

NOTE TO SELF: See the cross.  Ponder it.  Understand it.  Thank God for it.  Sing some Matt  Redman: You led me to the cross and I saw the face of mercy in that place of love…Now that I’m living in Your all-forgiving love,  my every road leads to the cross..