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Revisiting Leap Day : An Extra Day to Experience the Fullness of God Day!

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Hi Friends,  I hope you enjoy this post I edited from the archives.   In a last-minute attempt to have some fun with Leap Day I whipped out a batch of healthy muffins so I can pull together an edible clock for the family. How about some cornbread muffins with your chili tonight?  Reading this too late to make it happen today?  Just go ahead and celebrate tomorrow by reflecting on how today went.

cupcake clock

I am curious if you ever have the following thoughts…. “If only I could make the clock stop ticking for just a little bit”.  Or  “if only I could make time stand still.”  Or ” if I could just squeeze a couple more hours out of my day”.  Any of these sound familiar?

Personally, I’m not particularly interested in having more time when I make a statement such as this, rather I am sincerely wishing that the world would actually be put in some sort of freeze frame while I get to busily work along, unhindered by interruptions and obligations so that I can catch up! I have to be the only one with this privilege so that I can actually accomplish some things while the rest of life waits on me!

So technically Leap Day doesn’t’ exactly help out with this…it’s just another day added to the calendar year for everyone.   So really, what’s there to celebrate?   Surely, Lord, there must be something of significance for me and my family to focus our attention on during this special day that shows up once every 4 years.  Here’s what the Holy Spirit keeps bringing to my thoughts and what my heart seems to be setting on : to be thankful for the very gift of time, and more importantly, for the gift of another day to be in His presence.

I hope to start off our family conversation about the gift of time by enjoying an edible clock!   Last year I made a non-champagne copycat version of a super cute cake I found at cupcakestakethecake.blogspot.com  and served at our New Year’s Dinner ( love it when you can stretch an idea into multiple themes!)  As usual, food and celebrations go hand in hand in this family and hopefully this edible clock will set the stage for deeper conversation about time, God’s plan for our lives, and making the most of that precious gift of time.

I want for us to talk about our day, perhaps even our week, and to spend some time in thanksgiving, praising God for the gift of all the moments, whether they were spent well or not.  Whether they brought us pleasure or not.   We will simply thank God for the gift of time, literally for the days in this life he has given us!  It’s that simple.  In the beginning, He spoke and He made something beautiful and wondrous out of the black, the void, the nothingness.  And then if that wasn’t enough, the He made US and gave us the gift of existing and living life – not only in his amazing creation – but also in His glorious presence.

We will eat of some bread (cupcakes) and then eat of the Bread of Life.  We will  simply read from the Word.  Psalm 90 has a hold of my heart.  At first read, this Psalm might seem like an odd one because it’s really more of a lament from the Israelites.  I’m not sure exactly which of their many trials they were going through but it obviously was not a happy time.  Yet, in their misery they still recognize God as the Giver of the gift of life, of time, and the One who determines how many days we will have.  They also turn to Him to ask for His wisdom so that they might make better use of the time that is left to them! Perhaps you recognize some of these often quoted scripture passages:

Psalm 90:12  Teach us to number our days, that we might gain a heart of wisdom.

Psalm 90:17  And the let the beauty of the Lord our God rest upon us, And establish the work of our hands for us; Yes, establish the work of our hands.

For years I’ve prayed these verses as I’ve made my daily “to-do” lists or as our family has been working through the myriad of options of ways we could focus our time and energy.  “Lord YOU establish the work of our hands…”  But I want these prayers to go even deeper to focussing on enjoying the days spent WITH our precious LORD.

To quote Eugene Peterson in his book Praying with the Psalms,

“Every moment counts, not in the sense that we have to be constantly busy in order to prove our worth or make a mark in the world, but in the sense that ALL TIME IS MATERIAL THAT GOD USES to love us, guide, us, correct us and redeem us.”

Ahh…something more to be celebrated about an extra day added to the calendar year. An extra day for our relationship with God to grow.  Another opportunity to be in His presence and to experience His love, His guidance, His correction and Oh, praise Him, His redemption!

“Day by day, dear Lord of thee three things I pray: to see Thee more clearly, love thee more dearly, follow Thee more nearly, day by day” (by extra day!) Amen

(Richard of Chichester)

Happy Leap (extra time to experience the fullness of God) Day!

Blessings,

Susie

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Celebrating Purim : the Story of Esther… by Susie

RDR holiday roots banner

I’m especially excited to share today’s post with you. Why? Because this family devotion time requires nothing more from you than to curl up with your kids on your favorite sofa with a great story. Add in some cookies,  hot chocolate and tea and you’ve got yourself a great way to spend time in God’s word with the whole family.  I recommend this style of family devotional  for families with significant age spreads among the kids in particular.  Don’t let your big oaf of a teenager fool you.  He wants to lounge out with the family and eat cookies and have tea just as much as your preschooler does.  He’s just not going to be so obvious about it, and he might even pretend he’s not listening 😉

haman_hats

I’ve been enjoying exploring the church calendar over the past few years, and whereas I used to only pay attention to the standard Christmas and Easter holidays, I’ve since discovered what many of our more liturgical brothers and sisters have known for centuries.  There is a beauty in the rhythms of life, the seasons, and in revisiting certain themes in the Christian faith during the course of the year. For example, our family had started enjoying the season of Epiphany in January and focussing on Christ the Servant King.  Lent too has begun to have new meaning for me as I’ve spent time focussing on a season of examining my heart, more intentional confession, and in anticipation of Christ’s ultimate saving work on the cross.  Every year around this time our Jewish friends celebrate Purim.  This joyous festival is a reminder of when God used an unlikely Hebrew slave girl turned Queen to intercede on behalf of the entire Hebrew nation.  Yes, it is the story of Esther!  The exact date depends on the Hebrew calendar but for 2015 Purim falls on March 4th.

Reading the book of Esther from your favorite Bible is such a suspenseful read that I doubt you will have trouble keeping the attention of your kids.  Of course, you might prefer to select a faithful retelling from a children’s Bible if you have preschoolers or early elementary aged kids, but otherwise most kids will find it hard to quit before the story is over.   From one page to the next, and as every detail unfolds, we are drawn into this drama, riveted with anticipation wondering how the drama will turn out!

However, sometimes mixing things up a bit can be fun and last year my family enjoyed listening to the Bible account using an audio version. Our family are huge fans of the Focus on the Family radio production called Adventures in Odyssey.  WE LOVE THEM!  There are close to 20 years of radio broadcasts.  We buy the CDs and listen to the stories in the car.  My favorite by far are the Bible Eyewitness ones.  Click the image below for a link to buy your own copy of the series or to simply download the Esther story alone in MP3 version for $1.99 {Scroll down to product items 19 and 20, entitled Bernard and Esther.  Make sure you purchase parts 1 and 2!}

AIO esther

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also LOVE LOVE LOVE the Word of Promise Audio Bible.  This audio Bible is awesome. Let me simply quote for you the publisher’s description:

Hear the Bible come alive!  This multi-voiced, scripted dramatization of the New King James Version (NKJV) features a star-studded cast of actors, an original music score, and incredible feature film quality sound effects. This world-class production creates a dramatic audio theater experience that makes you feel like you’re really there with Jesus and His disciples. Listen in your car, on your MP3 player, or with your family or small group to gain a new perspective of the Bible.

We’ve had the New Testament for many years now and I was so excited to discover that they have now published the entire Bible including the Old Testament!  I bought this for my husband for Christmas this year but really its a gift for the entire family.  Put in the CD with the Bible reference of Esther, let your kids sit on the floor and play Legos or color in their coloring books while you enjoy hearing anew the amazing story of Esther.
word_of_promise

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you want to take things a step further, your local library will likely have a selection of books set out already in anticipation of Purim.  A couple of years ago I  found this adorable book in our public library. We read it as a bed time story one evening around Purim.  It’s a great re-telling of the Esther story in an easy reader version and in keeping in with Jewish Purim traditions, the story reads like a play.  Sure enough, the next day I found my kids “play acting” out the story of Esther!

shushan

 

Now I promised you that the point of this post was to simply listen to the story of Esther. BUT….  you may find that the story is so riveting that your family is actually interested in discussing some of the exciting points of this Bible story!  Some themes you may choose to explore could be:

My place in God’s Big Picture : For Such as Time as This.  My heart is always stirred deeply whenever I read Mordecai’s exhilarating speech to Esther.  “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”   Esther 4:14.  Where has God planted you? What might your fresh new day hold? You may not be waking up to ideal circumstances, and you may not be in a place you would have chosen for yourself. But wherever you are today, whoever fills your life today, and whatever happens to you today, remember that it is God’s plan for you in His larger picture and bigger purposes. It is for SUCH A TIME AS THIS!

Community : The gift of Godly people in our lives.  Not only did Esther have the gift of  loving, wise Uncle Mordecai to advise and encourage her, but she  also had community that stood by her and prayed and fasted with her during her time of deep need.  As part of a faith community we need to practice life together, support and encourage each other, including seeking God through fasting and prayer together.

Worship : It can be costly. Mordecai would not bow down to Haman or anyone else.  He worshipped the One True God regardless of the danger it brought him.  If your kids are aware of ISIS and other groups hitting the news headlines recently, this could be an excellent way to deepen your discussion about the plight of persecuted Christians around the world.

Bravery and Sacrifice:Risking one’s life for others. In this story we see God gave Esther courage to act regardless of personal cost.  The call of God upon our life is a call to self-sacrifice and service to others. This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.”  1 John 3:16

Coming back to the Esther story every year at Purim is a great way to explore an amazing story of God’s rescue of his people and a call to each one of us to join him in his kingdom work.   I’ll admit,  there are also some very adult themes in the story,  but that’s another reason why I love the idea of revisiting this story every year.  As my boys mature, we can take in more and more of the story and explore more and more of what God has to say to us through it.

Cookies! I almost forgot about the cookies!  You may notice that around this time of year, these jelly filled triangular cookies show up in the bakeries around town.  They are known as Haman’s Hat cookies ( or Hamastaschen)  Here is a link to a wonderful recipe!

They are delicious!  I’m not much of a baker and look how great they turned out!

haman_hats

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So Happy Purim dear friend.  Enjoy delving into the word of God with your kids, complete with cookies (store-bought or home-made) and may the Lord bless you as you do so!

For such a time as this,

Susie

 

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Did you pack a box? …by Susie

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I’m sniffling a little right now.  Happy sniffles from a heart that has been blessed.  I received an email a couple days ago informing me the that the Operation Christmas Child boxes we packed this Thanksgiving ended up being sent to the Philippines!  Boom!  Instant family devotional night!  We watched this video  and rejoiced over knowing our boxes were on their way to the Philippines as part of the ongoing recovery effort from the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan last year.  Samaritan’s Purse continues to work to meet physical and spiritual needs through offering shelter, clean water, hygiene education and Bibles and discipleship programs – and of course through the giving of Christmas boxes filled with love and toys for the children!

OCC_logo

We then moved on to watching the Operation Christmas Child TV special we had recorded a few weeks earlier.  A TV Special you ask? Why, yes, yes yes!  A whole 30 minutes!  Now in case you missed it…guess what?  I have a link here for you !

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE TV SPECIAL!

I’d love to offer you a set of follow-up question to ask your kids after you watch the special, but I think your kids will have lots to say and have a bunch of questions on their own.

If you did track your Operation Christmas Child box on line and found out which country your box was going to, why not take a minute and do a little research about your country so your family can pray for the people of the country of your box’s destination.  A great resource is the book Operation World:The Definitive Guide to Prayer for Every Nation.    

Operation World

You can also refer to the Operation World Website.

Finally, it is not too late to participate!  You can still join in the Shoebox fun and make difference for eternity in the life of a child by Building a Box online!  Check it out!  You, your kids and a child somewhere around the world will be blessed!

Did you pack a box?  If you did and you tracked it…please tell us where it went.  We’d love to see how far and deep and wide the love of Christ has gone out into this world of His this year.   Let us know in the comments where your box went!

Blessings,

Susie

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Raising Deep Roots – Our exciting News…

RaisingRoots_Announcement

Tada!!

We did it!  We are so excited to share our new website with all of you!  We’ve been dreaming of this day for over two years now!

Isn’t it pretty?  HUGE shout-out to our beloved new blog partner Adrienne who designed our new logo and these fantastic graphics you see displayed.  Kellye and I always loved Adrienne’s designs but now we are convinced she is a creative genius!  Check out her graphic design website to see more of her fabulous work  at www.adriennesweetser.com and you can get acquainted with Adrienne on our ABOUT US page.

Faithful Followers!  Please re-subscribe by email! We cherish all of you and would love to stay in touch!

We’d love to invite you to take a tour of the new site!  Please take a moment to refresh yourself with our OUR MISSION and we can’t wait to get our  RESOURCE page up and running for you!  If you scroll down further on the left you’ll see we have narrowed down our categories into 5 simple topics: Mom roots, Kid roots, School Roots,  Resource Roots, and our ever popular Holiday Roots.   Keep it Simple Sisters!

We invite you to poke around and search for some old post favorites!  Please leave us a comment letting us know what your like and if you discover anything glitchy!  Stay tuned for a few blog giveaways just in time for the New Year!  Yippee!

Blessings!

Kellye, Susie, and Adrienne

 

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Celebrating Purim: The Story of Esther…by Susie

RDR holiday roots banner

I’m especially excited to share today’s post with you. Why? Because this family devotion time requires nothing more from you than to curl up with your kids on your favorite sofa with a great story. Add in some cookies,  hot chocolate and tea and you’ve got yourself a great way to spend time in God’s word with the whole family.  I recommend this style of family devotional  for families with significant age spreads among the kids in particular.  Don’t let your big oaf of a teenager fool you.  He wants to lounge out with the family and eat cookies and have tea just as much as your preschooler does.  He’s just not going to be so obvious about it, and he might even pretend he’s not listening 😉

haman_hats

I’ve been enjoying exploring the church calendar over the past few years, and whereas I used to only pay attention to the standard Christmas and Easter holidays, I’ve since discovered what many of our more liturgical brothers and sisters have known for centuries.  There is a beauty in the rhythms of life, the seasons, and in revisiting certain themes in the Christian faith during the course of the year. For example, our family had started enjoying the season of Epiphany in January and focussing on Christ the Servant King.  Lent too has begun to have new meaning for me as I’ve spent time focussing on a season of examining my heart, more intentional confession, and in anticipation of Christ’s ultimate saving work on the cross.  Every year around this time our Jewish friends celebrate Purim.  This joyous festival is a reminder of when God used an unlikely Hebrew slave girl turned Queen to intercede on behalf of the entire Hebrew nation.  Yes, it is the story of Esther!  The exact date depends on the Hebrew calendar but for 2015 Purim falls on March 4th.

Reading the book of Esther from your favorite Bible is such a suspenseful read that I doubt you will have trouble keeping the attention of your kids.  Of course, you might prefer to select a faithful retelling from a children’s Bible if you have preschoolers or early elementary aged kids, but otherwise most kids will find it hard to quit before the story is over.   From one page to the next, and as every detail unfolds, we are drawn into this drama, riveted with anticipation wondering how the drama will turn out!

However, sometimes mixing things up a bit can be fun and last year my family enjoyed listening to the Bible account using an audio version. Our family are huge fans of the Focus on the Family radio production called Adventures in Odyssey.  WE LOVE THEM!  There are close to 20 years of radio broadcasts.  We buy the CDs and listen to the stories in the car.  My favorite by far are the Bible Eyewitness ones.  Click the image below for a link to buy your own copy of the series or to simply download the Esther story alone in MP3 version for $1.99 {Scroll down to product items 19 and 20, entitled Bernard and Esther.  Make sure you purchase parts 1 and 2!}

AIO esther

 

We also LOVE LOVE LOVE the Word of Promise Audio Bible.  This audio Bible is awesome. Let me simply quote for you the publisher’s description:

Hear the Bible come alive!  This multi-voiced, scripted dramatization of the New King James Version (NKJV) features a star-studded cast of actors, an original music score, and incredible feature film quality sound effects. This world-class production creates a dramatic audio theater experience that makes you feel like you’re really there with Jesus and His disciples. Listen in your car, on your MP3 player, or with your family or small group to gain a new perspective of the Bible.

We’ve had the New Testament for many years now and I was so excited to discover that they have now published the entire Bible including the Old Testament!  I bought this for my husband for Christmas this year but really its a gift for the entire family.  Put in the CD with the Bible reference of Esther, let your kids sit on the floor and play Legos or color in their coloring books while you enjoy hearing anew the amazing story of Esther.
word_of_promise

If you want to take things a step further, your local library will likely have a selection of books set out already in anticipation of Purim.  A couple of years ago I  found this adorable book in our public library. We read it as a bed time story one evening around Purim.  It’s a great re-telling of the Esther story in an easy reader version and in keeping in with Jewish Purim traditions, the story reads like a play.  Sure enough, the next day I found my kids “play acting” out the story of Esther!
shushan

 

Now I promised you that the point of this post was to simply listen to the story of Esther. BUT….  you may find that the story is so riveting that your family is actually interested in discussing some of the exciting points of this Bible story!  Some themes you may choose to explore could be:

My place in God’s Big Picture : For Such as Time as This.  My heart is always stirred deeply whenever I read Mordecai’s exhilarating speech to Esther.  “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”   Esther 4:14.  Where has God planted you? What might your fresh new day hold? You may not be waking up to ideal circumstances, and you may not be in a place you would have chosen for yourself. But wherever you are today, whoever fills your life today, and whatever happens to you today, remember that it is God’s plan for you in His larger picture and bigger purposes. It is for SUCH A TIME AS THIS!

Community : The gift of Godly people in our lives.  Not only did Esther have the gift of  loving, wise Uncle Mordecai to advise and encourage her, but she  also had community that stood by her and prayed and fasted with her during her time of deep need.  As part of a faith community we need to practice life together, support and encourage each other, including seeking God through fasting and prayer together.

Worship : It can be costly. Mordecai would not bow down to Haman or anyone else.  He worshipped the One True God regardless of the danger it brought him.  If your kids are aware of ISIS and other groups hitting the news headlines recently, this could be an excellent way to deepen your discussion about the plight of persecuted Christians around the world.

Bravery and Sacrifice:Risking one’s life for others. In this story we see God gave Esther courage to act regardless of personal cost.  The call of God upon our life is a call to self-sacrifice and service to others. This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.”  1 John 3:16

Coming back to the Esther story every year at Purim is a great way to explore an amazing story of God’s rescue of his people and a call to each one of us to join him in his kingdom work.   I’ll admit,  there are also some very adult themes in the story,  but that’s another reason why I love the idea of revisiting this story every year.  As my boys mature, we can take in more and more of the story and explore more and more of what God has to say to us through it.

Cookies! I almost forgot about the cookies!  You may notice that around this time of year, these jelly filled triangular cookies show up in the bakeries around town.  They are known as Haman’s Hat cookies ( or Hamastaschen)  Here is a link to a wonderful recipe!

They are delicious!  I’m not much of a baker and look how great they turned out!

haman_hats

 

So Happy Purim dear friend.  Enjoy delving into the word of God with your kids, complete with cookies (store-bought or home-made) and may the Lord bless you as you do so!

For such a time as this,

Susie

 

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