Thursday, March 31, 2016

Half Marathon, Holy Week and Happy Easter 2016

WARNING: This blog post is jam packed with lots of stuff because well, lots of stuff has happened since my last blog post :)  If you have been following my blog's Facebook page, Instagram, or Twitter pages, you know our family has been busy :) So sit back, relax and enjoy "A Slice of Smith (most recent) Life."

First, Happy Easter!  Alleluia! He is Risen!  Just like Christmas is a season and not just one day, Easter is also not celebrated in just one day in the Church's liturgical calendar, but rather Easter is a season called Eastertide.  So keep celebrating for 50 days until Pentecost!  And if you are looking for ways to celebrate the 50 days of Easter, be sure to visit Nicole's post 50 Ways to Celebrate the 50 Days of Easter With Your Children

I'm jumping way ahead of myself now...more on how we celebrated Easter 2016 in a bit.   It's time to back track to the beginning of Holy Week, Palm Sunday, March 20, 2016.

I ran my first half marathon in March 2012.  And you may or may not know that I have been training for my second half marathon since late December 2015.   I won a "Challenge" where I was one of 2 people to win a free race registration and free 12 weeks of training and coaching!  I've had awesome coaching with great and encouraging team training workouts to prepare for the March 20th race!  It was great to run the race to raise money for seminarians in our diocese!    It was also the first race where I got a blessing from our parish priest the night before the race after the Saturday vigil Mass. :)

The Quintiles Marathon/Half Marathon Weekend on Sunday, March 20, 2016 came fast!  I woke up at 3:30 AM the morning of the race with little to no sleep due to excitement, nerves and stomach "issues."  The race began at 6:40 AM and I, along with about 3,000 other runners, lined up at the start line in the dark each ready to reach our personal goals, despite the cold winds and light rain.  I finished the race strong and achieved many goals!  One goal of mine was to finish 13.1 miles under 2 hours (my time was 1:59:07 to be exact)  It was a very fun race and I was grateful to race with friends and see my parents and family at the finish line!  My college-aged niece also ran the race and finished ahead of me by 2 minutes. :) Here's some photos from race day:

This year we didn't have our traditional bread making gathering and big celebration for St. Joseph's feast day for several reasons, but our family did get together with my parents and friends to have a big lunch after the race and pray the Litany of St. Joseph on Sunday afternoon. Oh it was so good to enjoy good food after the race!  St. Joseph's feast day is on March 19th, but we celebrated it a day late because of the race schedule. 

On Tuesday morning of Holy Week, we visited the "Via Cruces" (Way of the Cross) which is a beautiful prayer garden made by a couple that attends our parish.  It has a lovely wooded path in their side yard and the Stations of the Cross can be prayed as you walk.  This is the third year we have visited this garden and it has become a beautiful way to reflect on the meaning of Holy Week.   

In the middle of Holy Week, our family received a pleasant, unexpected Easter blessing when our mail lady left a pink plastic egg in our mailbox with a little note inside and a small bottle of bubbles.  Our 2 year old loved playing with the bubbles!  It was just so sweet and kind of her to remember the families on her route.

Wednesday of Holy Week is called "Spy Wednesday" because it's the day Judas betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.  We read Matthew 26:1-16  then I hid 30 coins (last year it was quarters, this year it was dimes) and my kids have to go find the coins.  Below is also a photo of the "Spy Wednesday" page from the Holy Week in Handprints book a few of my children made last year.

On Good Friday we had our Good Friday symbolic lunch, a tradition we started in 2014.  It's a tradition our family looks forward to now.

After the Good Friday service at my parent's church, we saw the live reenactment of the Lord's passion, death and resurrection again which is something my kids remember from when we first went several years ago.  It is put on by the Hispanic youth and adult community at the parish and although we don't understand the Spanish, you certainly know what is going on.  It's a very powerful presentation as the audience followed the presentation to the various stations and locations around the church grounds.   There were "guards" taunting Jesus as they kept the crowd away from where Jesus was walking.   This year there were real horses which made a big impression on my children. 

Like many years before, Holy Saturday was filled with egg dying...

The salt dough crown of thorns with toothpicks that we used during Lent was painted once again with gold paint and jewels were placed on the crown to symbolize that Jesus is the King of Kings after making sacrifices for Him during Lent. 

We made chocolate birds' nests.  Very easy and fun Easter dessert! 

My children look forward to making resurrection rolls each year too!  They are really yummy and it's cool how they resemble an empty tomb after the marshmallow melts away while baking.
And for many, many years we have made Easter Story Cookies which tell the story of Jesus' suffering while you mix the ingredients, then you seal the tomb (put tape over the oven). The next morning you remove the tape and see that the cookies are hollow inside like an empty tomb.

For the first time since 2006 our family attended the Easter vigil at our parish. The last Easter vigil we attended was when my husband and his cousin came into the Catholic Church in 2006.  This was a first for the Smith family since we usually go to 7:30 AM Mass on Easter morning.   It was such a blessing that our parish had the nursery available for our 2 year old.  Something tells me she would not have lasted through the 2.5 long vigil mass.  Congratulations to all the newest members of our universal Church! 

Easter morning brought many smiles and photo opportunities as everyone checked out what was in their baskets and saw how our sacrifice beans "turned" into jelly beans.

Easter Sunday we had lunch at our house and my Mom came over to eat with us, while my Dad stayed home due to illness :(   This year I made a buttered lamb for the first time to decorate our table thanks to Jen's inspiration and instructions at Faith and Fabric.

In the evening on Easter Sunday, we traveled to my in-laws house for dinner and my 2 youngest daughters decorated the annual bunny cake and we also had an egg hunt in the house since it was a very rainy Easter Sunday.

We had a wonderful Holy Week and Easter Sunday with family and friends!  May you continue to have a joyous and faith-filled Eastertide!

Easter blessings from our family to yours!
Be sure to read other #WorthRevisit posts during the rest of the week, hosted by Allison at Reconciled To You and Elizabeth at Theology Is A Verb. So many great posts!  


Billie Jo said...

Your space here is a wealth of information, ideas, and inspiration.
Thank you for sharing your traditions!
Have a Blessed Easter Season. : )

Chris said...

Wow, what a full and fun post Tracy!!

Even tho I've seen some of the pics on FB I so enjoyed reliving the season as well as the race with you again....and all those treats! Fantastic ideas. i think I'll make the nests next Easter!

The Way of the Cross event in your friend's yard seems like an amazing experience! How wonderful that they set it up for all!

Thanks for sharing Tracy Loved this

Mom2Seven said...

Happy Easter, Tracy! I do not know how you do as much as you do! The Easter Vigil is a tradition for our family... the kids would not want it any other way. It is such a beautiful Mass... my favorite of the year. <3

Loved seeing all the ways you marked Holy Week! And how wonderful that you made it to the Easter Vigil. Happy Easter!

Thank you Billie Jo for your visit and comments! I hope you are having a blessed Easter season!

Hi Chris!

Thanks always for stopping by! The chocolate nests are so easy and yummy too! Hope you get a chance to make them one year! Hoping you are having a blessed Easter season!

Thank you Rita! I hope you had a blessed Easter, as well! Thank you for stopping in!

Hi Annita!

It was so refreshing to attend the Easter Vigil after not attending for sooo long! I hope it can become a family tradition each year for our family also! Thanks always for your visit! May your Easter season be blessed!

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I'm Tracy. I love my faith, family and on most days, homeschooling my 5 blessings. When I'm not busy baking cakes for my family or making memories in real life or dreaming I had a housekeeper or professional chef, I enjoy documenting a slice of Smith life in blog land.

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