11 But Mary was standing outside the tomb weeping; and so, as she wept, she stooped and looked into the tomb; 12 and she *saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been lying. 13 And they *said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She *said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” 14 When she had said this, she turned around and *saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus *said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing Him to be the gardener, she *said to Him, “Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” 16 Jesus *said to her, “Mary!” She turned and *said to Him in [a]Hebrew, “Rabboni!” (which means, Teacher). 17 Jesus *said to her, “Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene *came, announcing to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” and that He had said these things to her.
My resurrection weekend was spent on the east coast in the company of some of my nearest and dearest. It is now the home of my fousins and while I miss them immensely, I do love that I've been able to see new places with my trips to visit them. My weekend started rather leisurely with an americano and hazelnut cookie sandwich at a local coffee shop and a rare siting of the Easter bunny.
We quickly kicked it into high gear with a massive marathon shopping spree where we hit up not one, but three grocery stores in search of all the necessary ingredients for the huge Easter dinner they were hosting the next evening.
We did manage to get a little down time before we headed to the Saturday night Easter Vigil service. As we walked up to the church, we were met with this jaw-dropping gem of a tree and of course, had to take pictures. Can you believe those lush pink blossoms? It overwhelms me even looking at the pictures now on my screen.
After a beautiful service, filled with the truths of the scripture and the hope that is our new life in Christ, we kept the joy and merriment going right on into celebration mode. It was past midnight and high-time to cheers with a little champagne toast and lots of chocolate (for the fousins).
Resurrection Sunday greeted us with sun and blue skies. We warmed up with a little Sandy Patti as we put on our Easter best and headed out the door for church. The line to get into church snaked around the entire building at all entrances. We belted out "Christ the Lord has Risen Today" with all our might and I think our voices might have been louder than the rest combined. I couldn't help but lift my voice and I really wanted to clap. It was tough, but I refrained.
Elisa and I took advantage of the car ride home to test out the flip view camera function on my phone.
Ed, Sophia and a very pregnant Lianna joined us for an Easter brunch of migas, muffins, cinnamon rolls and the ever-present, always dependable grapefruit mimosas. Lianna was looking radiant and it was such a gift to be able to see her just days before giving birth to a new life. How very appropriate it is to be welcoming new life right in the thick of spring. Obviously, life is always welcome, but I don't really think I had previously reflected on how very fitting it is to give birth around the time of Easter, when we all celebrate the gift of new life (rebirth) in Christ.
Since Sean had gifted each of the girls in the house a lovely bouquet of tulips and since we consistently feel the need to have adequate photo documentation of every single moment, we took the opportunity to have a little tulip photo shoot after our Easter brunch had concluded. I absolutely love tulips and there is nothing that screams spring more to me than bright bouquets of tulips, whether adorning the home in mismatched vases or lining the streets and neighborhoods in garden beds.
However, as positively lovely as those bouquets were, nothing could have prepared me for what I would like to call "Rachel and Elisa in Easter Wonderland." After doing some baking (key lime pie and homemade rum cake) in preparation for our grand Easter dinner, E and I decided to take a stroll down the floral-lined neighborhood streets of their quaint little suburb. I think this might be my most favorite thing I did my entire trip because what started as taking a short walk around the block quickly turned into a 2-hour photo shoot of magic, whimsy and glorious beauty. Forgive the veritable onslaught of pictures, but believe me when I tell you, I actually trimmed down to include only my favorites.
Once we were certain every angle was captured and every possible Kodak moment was snapped, we continued our journey up and down the streets bursting with vibrant blooms on every corner. Everywhere you looked, there was a new type of flower to beheld and a new color to marvel. I mean, would you get a load of that lamp post encased with a bounty of floral? How perfectly picturesque is that? It looks like it is straight out of a movie, of the fairytale variety. All the floral magnificence was almost too much for me to handle. It blew my mind and knocked my Easter socks right off.
We could have soaked in the beauty until the sun set, but unfortunately, after essentially pouring pollen all over our faces in an attempt to capture the perfect petal cascade pic, Elisa suffered a massive allergy attack of epic proportions and that is no exaggeration. We scurried our way back to the house, but I'm afraid the damage had been done and there was no turning back.
I would like to say that I went into dinner prep mode and working right alongside Chef China to prepare a gourment feast; however, that would be a lie. While I contributed with a fruit and cheese plate, a key lime pie and assisted in a rum cake with rum butter cream icing, I'm afriad that was the extent of my culinary contributions. China, on the other hand, worked fast and furiously prepared bacon-wrapped dates, roasted pork loin, cherry gravy, brussel sprouts w/bacon and chorizo cornbread stuffing. Add to that the guests' offerings of scalloped potatoes with leeks, roasted asparagus, two types of salads, grilled vegetables, homemade bread, spinach ravioli and probably a ton more that I cannot recall at this time. The place was packed, 18-deep but it was a wonderful Easter dinner full of life and love.
The day was easily one of my best Resurrection Sundays to date. I was surrounded by so many who were truly focused on the life of Christ, the way He humbled Himself and became a man -- I just cannot even begin to truly grasp the weight of that and the magnitude of the reality that He died for me. Oh glorious day, oh miraculous truth.
"But God demonstrates His own love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
P.S. a wrap up of the rest of my trip is yet to come.