Family Currents: Seder + Birthdays + Easter

We had the opportunity to attend a Seder (Jewish Passover) presentation and found the symbolism in the tradition so insightful. The children were able to ask questions and eat the different components of the meal. Because the gentleman presenting was a Messianic Jew, his excitement for the elements in the Seder meal that point to Christ was inspiring and a blessing. He walked us through the Scripture passages that reference the Passover beginning with Exodus 12, then read Matthew 26. We enjoyed such an encouraging time and were grateful for the educational and edifying opportunity!

Two pretty girlies celebrated birthdays too! Their anticipation building for weeks, it finally was their special day. Nora and Providence glowed with elation. How fun to be 6 and 4, and eat strawberry cake, and open little gifts, and wear fairy wings!

Easter is truly becoming more deeply meaningful in our family. In years past, it came and went with hardly more than a hurried weekend’s nod. This year, as a family, we purposed to have special readings and hymn singing each night leading up to Easter. We also were able to host dinner after Easter services! The meal was plentiful and the cousin time exuberant!

with love. Damaris

On Holy Week

As I was reading the Matthew 27 account this week, I couldn’t help but imagine which of the characters I would be or would want to be. I concluded that the most enviable would be the women. The women had front row seats, after all – they were at the foot of the cross, they were at the burial, and they were right there at the resurrection! They didn’t miss it – any of it. Neither do we?

Not only for these women disciples, but even for small children, Holy Friday – this Good Day, is a high point in the cadance of our faith. It is the pinnacle of “good news” to everyone on earth. It is redeeming news. This brilliant shock of news following the smear of darkness which had fallen across the quaking earth forever marked the day God fulfilled His promise of eternal goodness to mankind.

“For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.” (Romans 5:19)

Following those poignant, sober days, the resurrection was a surprise – a most jubilant experience for those women who believed! It proved to them, as it proves to us now that our faith is not in vain (I Corinthians 15:17).

God allows us to celebrate a Resurrection Sabbath and worship because there is hope and deliverance in the words “He is not here. He is risen.” Jesus’ resurrection empowers the gospel – it completes it. It is the power of God for our salvation.

As much as Easter was a momentous surprise to those ladies in the garden, it is also radically altering for all the children of Adam who have come since.

On Sunday His body was glorified at day break, now we pray that He breaks into our daily lives with His glory; that we grow in intimacy with God; that we are surprised by His sacredness and see Him sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up. So that we may bow the knee and proclaim: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” (Isaiah 6:1-6)

He is Risen. He is Risen Indeed – that we may live.

with love, Damaris

Pear Cake with Rosemary Infused Maple Syrup

Maple syrup isn’t just for pancakes.

This weekend we wrapped up boiling and bottling the last of this year’s syrup, and it’s making an appearance in many dishes. Traditionally we think of the maple flavor as a fall staple, but the syrup is freshest in the spring when it is harvested.

This delightful and fragrant cake will be just the sweet addition to your Easter brunch. The textures in this light cake will surprise you. The buttery creamy pears and the coarse crumb of the cornmeal will please every bite. Frosting is just too much for brunch, so this pear cake is glazed with rosemary infused maple syrup. If you don’t have time for the infusing step or you don’t like the flavor of rosemary, brushing the maple syrup over the cake is still so special. The beautiful sheen will moisten the cake even more than the ripe pears alone, and you’ll enjoy a perfectly-sweet morning treat.

I hope that maple syrup occasionally finds its way into other things in your recipes!

Pear Cake with Rosemary Infused Maple Syrup*

  • 1/2 cup oil

  • 1 1/4 cups flour

  • 1/2 cup cornmeal

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1/4 teaspoons baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (or milk with a little vinegar)

  • 2 eggs

  • 2 ripe pears, cored and sliced

  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

  • 1 or 2 sprigs rosemary

  • freshly whipped cream or yogurt for serving (optional)

Heat oven to 350° F. Heat the rosemary and ¼ cup maple syrup in a small pot over very low heat (or in the microwave). We’re not really trying to evaporate any liquid, so look closely that it doesn’t come to a boil. Remove from heat after it becomes fragrant and cover. Let it sit for 30 minutes or overnight.

Grease a 9-inch springform pan. Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar in a large bowl. Add the buttermilk, eggs, and oil and whisk to combine. Fold in the pears. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 45 to 55 minutes. Discard the rosemary sprigs. While the cake is still warm, brush the top and side with the rosemary maple syrup. Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream or yogurt if desired.

*Inspired by this recipe in a magazine issue years ago. It soon became a family favorite!

with love. Damaris

A Spring Book Basket

Hello Spring! I know, not officially, but we’re close enough to call it – yes?

When I was growing up and until I had children, autumn was my favorite season. But now I look forward to spring like a caravan in the desert searching for the next oasis. The joy in the kids faces at the first daffodils and the sounds of a full creek are contagious. Probably my favorite early spring surprise is the hyacinth’s aroma. I cut them as soon as I can and bring them inside. The dainty size and feminine scent make me smile for days.

Our society glorifies busyness, but moving so fast through our days hampers reveling in a delightful illustration or whisper-reading until we giggle. New books in a book basket means adventurous afternoons and wonder filled minds. The children and I have been reading about quiet eggs, baby bunnies, fuzzy ducklings and the festivities of little mice. We’ve also incorporated into our spring book basket all of our favorite Easter books.

Spring Story – The mice of Brambly Hedge keep themselves very busy, and in the spring, there is opportunity for celebration and, of course, a great feast. We love the delicate paintings and rich language of this little book collection (one for each season)!

I Am a Bunny – Is A Golden Book, and such a classic! Nicholas bunny introduces himself and takes us through the simple and colorful adventures of his days throughout the seasons of the year.

Mr. Rabbit and the Lovely Present – Tells the story of a little girl in search for the absolutely perfect present for her mother’s birthday. She asks the very clever Mr. Rabbit for assistance. Even the youngest readers will enjoy!

First Delights: A Book About the Five Senses – We love all Tasha Tudor Books! In this story, Sally lives on a farm, and she experiences the things that happen in the year’s turning through seeing, smelling, hearing, touching and tasting. The vintage illustrations and details are darling!

A Time To Keep – This is another Tasha Tudor book. This book is a collection of delightful monthly events that give rhythm to the year. You’ll want to pull this book out many times throughout the year. It’s a charm! The Welsh Corgi on every page will keep the children engaged!

Spring: An Alphabet Acrostic – Written in little rhymes, this book is perfect for early readers because they discover the acrostic, and that each page begins with a letter of the alphabet. We have the book for each of the seasons, and everyone enjoys the very colorful illustrations.

Home For A Bunny – is also A Golden Book. A delightful book with happy pictures that tells the coming of spring with wonder and joy.

The Tale of Peter Rabbit – Is the most popular of all the little books in the Beatrix Potter series. All of them are worth owning for their rich vocabulary and lovely art. Little Peter is one of the siblings in a sweet bunny family and gets into some mischief. Even adults delight in reading this little treasure!

The Golden Egg Book – Yet another classic from Golden Books. We love all Margaret Wise Brown books! A little baby bunny finds an egg and ends up making a friend. The beautiful classic illustrations will draw even the youngest toddlers.

The Egg is Quiet – The poetry and nature inspired book introduces the children to more than 60 types of eggs and many egg facts. This book will fill the children with the wonder and beauty of God’s creation through the egg and the new life that they represent.

The Easter Egg– Is written and illustrated by Jan Brett, and all of her books are favorites at our house! In this story, the rabbits decorate eggs for a competition, but Hoppi can’t decide what kind of egg to make. He goes into the woods, and this lovely bunny hero’s plans take a most unexpected turn.

On that Easter Morning – Is a wonderful retelling of the Easter story beginning with Jesus’ glorious arrival in Jerusalem. The book teaches the sequence of events of the week of Jesus’ crucifixion and brings the joy of His resurrection. It is a helpful book in understanding the week of Easter.

The Story of Easter – This book explains how and why people have certain Easter traditions all over the world. It begins by telling the biblical accounts of Jesus’ ministry, death, and resurrection, and then it explains hot cross buns, new dresses, egg decorating and other traditions associated with the celebration of Easter. The book includes a couple recipes for these classic traditions at the end!

Benjamin’s Box: The Story of the Resurrection Eggs – Is a sweet tale of the treasures Benjamin is collecting. When Jesus arrives in Jerusalem, Benjamin decides to follow him and find out who he really is. Each page can be read as a little daily devotional as we approach the Easter season, and it includes a Scripture reference of a short section relating to story of the day. It culminates with a very clear gospel call to salvation. “Jesus said, ‘I tell you the truth, unless you change an become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.'” (Matthew 18:2-5)

I’m always looking for new titles to add to our springtime collection. What are your loved seasonal books?

with love. Damaris