Tag Archives: Easter

The Word Became Flesh: Lenten Advent Calendar

14 Feb


I have written again and again and again about our wonderful Christmas Advent Calendars. Those advent calendars have become such a significant component of Christmas for our family. I longed for this same Scripture-rich, God-honoring, daily-reading family activity… for Easter.

Thankfully, 3 years ago, my dear friend, who first introduced me to the Advent Jesse Tree, wrote a book, The Word Became Flesh, which is a devotion used as an Easter Advent calendar during the 40 days or Lent. In addition to the daily devotions designed to use with your family, Faye, a gifted artist, has included hand drawn sketches that can be photocopied and used as “ornaments” much like the Advent Jesse Tree. We participated in an ornament swap and hang our ornaments on a grapevine wreath. This is a peek at what ours looks like.


To read more about how The Word Became Flesh works and has impacted our family, read these two previous posts here and here. When I first wrote about The Word Became Flesh two years ago, Faye’s book had not been published and was, therefore, only available to purchase from Faye. Last year, Faye was able to get her book published (wahoo!!!), so you can now buy it from Amazon and have it arrive just in time to start next week on Ash Wednesday, February 18.

I can’t wait to hear how this book blesses your family and leads you to focus on Christ this Easter!

This post contains affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure policy here.

Easter Traditions Pep Talk

13 Apr



Happy Palm Sunday! I’m reposting from last year’s Easter archives. Here’s the article from last year. It’s a pep talk to get you ready for being purposeful and celebrating Christ with your family this week. You can do it, and have fun!! 🙂

Praying that your family will have a wonderful week celebrating Christ’s death and resurrection. He is risen!


HeartFELT Truths Easter Banner (& a Coupon Code!)

18 Mar


Whitney from HeartFELT Truths graciously gave our family an Easter Banner to use last year. Awwwwwwwwwww, we love it!

The Easter Banner is for use during Holy Week. Day One begins on Palm Sunday, and the Easter Banner concludes on glorious Easter Morning! For more detailed information, aka “the girl version,” read my review of the HeartFELT Easter Banner.

Here’s the finished product with all pieces on the banner:


Whitney has multiple options for her Easter Banner.

Option #1: You can download FREE instructions for her Easter Banner on this blog post (Scroll to the bottom of the post to see “Free Instructions” in a downloadable .pdf form.)

Option #2: You can order the complete Easter Banner or a DIY Easter Banner kit from her Etsy Shop. Suzanne Shares readers get 10% off when you use this coupon code (expiration: 3/27):


If you have problems with the coupon code working, mention it in the “Order Notes” box and Whitney will refund them the difference after your purchase.

I love having this wonderful resource to purposefully engage our family with Scripture during the Easter season! I’m excited to share this resource with you!

Easter Advent Calendar: The Word Became Flesh

5 Mar


With today being the first day of Lent, our family is starting my friend’s book, The Word Became Flesh, which is a devotion journeying through the life of Jesus during the 40 days of Lent. I wrote a summary about it last year, you can read it here. It works similarly to the Advent Jesse Tree that we use at Christmas. There is a Scripture to read each day, and you can make ornaments to go along with each day’s reading. (My boys love this part! We hang ours on a grapevine wreath.) It is a wonderful, focused time of daily Scripture reading with our family anticipating Easter, and I LOVE IT! 


Last year, I had the books available for purchase through my blog, and the good news, this year, is that you can now purchase the book from Amazon! Follow this link to do so.


We have a second Easter Advent Calendar that we use during Holy Week. I will be writing more about it soon as well! To make sure that you don’t miss a single post, go “LIKE” Suzanne Shares on Facebook or sign up to receive blog updates via email on the right hand side of my blog, “Follow Blog Via Email.” Exciting, exciting stuff going on at Suzanne Shares! YAY!

This post contains affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure policy here.

Easter Traditions-Is your Easter Advent Calendar ready? If not, I’m here to help!

23 Mar

Tomorrow is Palm Sunday, which kicks off the Passion Week. This is one of the most significant weeks of the year for followers of Christ. This is a wonderful week to dive into Scripture with your family. Are you like I usually am–wishing you could do something this year but don’t have everything ready to “pull it off?” If not, no sweat! I’m here to encourage you to go for it! Just like the pep talk I gave us before Christmas Advent started (Yes, I needed it, too!), I thought an Easter Advent pep talk would be good for us as well!


DIY EASTER BANNER–You can do it!
Maybe you decided that the Easter Advent calendar #1 (journeying through the 40 days of Lent) was too much for this year, but guess what? There’s another option–Easter Advent calendar #2 from HeartFELT Truths! I reviewed her Easter Advent calendar here. It’s wonderful, amazing, hands on, and perfect to use with children! This will be our first year to use it, and I’m sooooooo excited! On her site, Whitney shares the patterns and instructions (FOR FREE!) so that you can DIY your own Easter Banner (isn’t she the BEST?!?!? Thank you, Whitney!). To find the instructions go here; you’ll find them by scrolling to the bottom of the post. All you need is a little felt and glue! She designs her using a dowel rod which enables you to hang it up for use and display. However, if that’s too much or too complicated, use clothes pins and hang them on a clothes hanger, which you could hang from a doorway or on a nail on the wall. I promise your children won’t care if it’s mounted to a dowel rod or clothes pinned to a hanger. They’ll simply love the time that you’re spending together as a family reading Scripture together.

One of my readers used the HeartFELT Truths Christmas Advent calendar. She wrote to me and indicated that there is no script to read along with the Easter Banner (unlike the Christmas Advent calendar). So, one option is to read each story directly from Scripture. I, also, thought that you could use your favorite Children’s Bible to read along with the stories highlighted in the Easter Banner. Of course, my first thought was the Jesus Storybook Bible, which is currently $1.99 for the Kindle version on Amazon (offer expired. Current price is $3.99)!

DIY Easter Banner–Option #2
If making the Easter Banner out of felt is intimating, make your own! Buy a piece of poster board, make your own ornaments based on the events of the Passion Week. Have your child tape them daily to the poster board as you read each story from Scripture! My new friend Shannon had the cutest idea for making ornaments for the 40 Day Easter Devotion Guide that I featured on my blog. You could even use Shannon’s ornament idea to incorporate into a Passion Week Easter Banner.

DIY Easter Banner–Option #3  Resurrection Eggs
So, if you’re not crafty or don’t have time to create an Easter Banner, another wonderful option is Resurrection Eggs. No time or craftiness required! You can find them at a local Christian bookstore or order them here from Amazon. We used these when my boys were younger, and they absolutely adored them! The set that we bought included a pamphlet with a instructions for which passage to read daily to go along with the eggs. We actually made our own in my 3 and 4 year old Sunday School class two weeks ago, and the children were enamored with them! Here are instructions for DIY Resurrection Eggs. This is another great option for a daily, reading together as a family Easter tradition.

Easter Traditions Pep Talk
You have options, so never fear! So, if this is the year that you’ve wanted to start an Easter tradition, go for it! For all of you perfectionists out there (like myself), don’t feel like you have to have your Easter Banner completely made by tomorrow. Remember that you can make one ornament a day, and you’ll be fine! You can even include your children in the “ornament making” experience, so the pressure won’t completely be on you. (I promise they’ll love it!) If making an Easter Banner is intimidating or not possible this year, run out to your nearest Christian bookstore and buy Resurrection Eggs! No matter what you chose to do this week, enjoy Passion Week with your family! Even if you don’t have anything “crafty” or “hands on,” that’s okay! Giving our children the opportunity to daily hear Scripture is enough. When you think about the power of God’s Word to make a dead sinner’s heart come alive, isn’t reading Scripture together one of the greatest, most powerful gifts that we can give our children?

May you make and enjoy sweet memories with your family as you center your hearts, minds and thoughts on Jesus Christ this week!

One generation: Judges and a renewed vision as a parent

18 Feb

mosley 40

“One generation. One generation. One generation.” If you could get into my brain and eavesdrop on my thoughts, you would hear this refrain repeated frequently throughout my day. It’s my attempt at being my own cheerleader as I move forward second by second, minute by minute with motherhood and parenting.

Why am I shaking proverbial pompoms in my brain, pepping myself up and repeating these two words again and again and again? Well, it all started when I decided that I needed a “refresher” on some Old Testament history. I feel like once the children of Israel make their exodus from Egypt, my brain gets a little foggy. I jumped in and started reading the book of Joshua and have made it to Judges. As I’ve been reading through Judges the past several weeks, I am taken aback at how quickly Israel turned away from God.

And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD and served the Baals. And they abandoned the LORD, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt. They went after other gods, from among the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed down to them. And they provoked the LORD to anger. They abandoned the LORD and served the Baals and the Ashtaroth…Yet they did not listen to their judges, for they whored after other gods and bowed down to them. They soon turned aside from the way in which their fathers had walked, who had obeyed the commandments of the LORD, and they did not do so.”(Judges 2:11-15, 17 ESV)

The children of those who had entered the Promised Land turned away from the One, True God and pursued the false gods around them. It only took one generation before Israel turned away. They turned away from the One who had faithfully kept His promise to give their parents the land of Canaan.

This story keeps running through my head. Many of this first generation Promise Land dwellers would have been young children when they entered the Promised Land. They probably understood some of what was going on, but clearly not all of it nor its significance. Whose job was it to instruct them in the significance of the events? Whose job was it to remind them that God kept His promise to them? Whose job was it to acknowledge to their children that it was Yahweh who was allowing Israel to defeat each tribe living in Canaan? It was the parents.

I pray that I would have been faithful to have done those things if I had been a Promised Land Parent with my family. I can’t say what I would have done. I, also, don’t “Tisk, Tisk, Tisk” and shake my finger shaming those Promised Land Parents who, clearly, failed to do so. I know the depth of sin in my own heart, so I know I’m not any better than they were. However, I have walked away from my readings in Judges with a renewed vision as a parent. It has caused me to examine my heart and ask myself the following questions:

  • Am I being faithful to remind my children of God’s faithfulness in our family and the generations of those who’ve gone before us?
  • What am I teaching my children?
  • Do they know the beauty, richness, majesty of God? Have I shared those things with them?

It only takes one generation for a family to turn, forget God. Humbling, isn’t it? This I know–I don’t want this to be true of my family. So, I will continue walking around my house repeating “One generation, one generation, one generation” to myself. I will pray and ask for God’s grace and mercy to strengthen me to be proactive, diligent, intentional about telling my children the truths of God. I will pray often that my laziness will not be a hindrance, road block to my children’s hearing of His great and marvelous deeds. I will pray and ask the Holy Spirit to aid me in showing Christ, evidencing the fruit of the Spirit to my children and husband. I will acknowledge my weakness before God, knowing that I need His help with this weighty responsibility of instructing my children in the ways of the Lord. I pray that He will help my greatest joy to be Christ Himself so that my children can see that He is my greatest treasure. Lord, help my sons be a generation that stays with You, walks with You, worships and glorifies You. Make me, as their mother, faithful to You in the midst of parenting them.

I leave you with Psalm 78 as a prayer for you, for me, for us as we seek diligently to help our children find their greatest joy–Christ Himself. This is a beautiful, glorious passage reminding us again of our weighty responsibility as parents. Help us, O Lord not to hide your goodness to future generations.

Give ear, O my people, to my teaching;
incline your ears to the words of my mouth!
I will open my mouth in a parable;
I will utter dark sayings from of old,
things that we have heard and known,
that our fathers have told us.
We will not hide them from their children,
but tell to the coming generation
the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might,
and the wonders that he has done.
He established a testimony in Jacob
and appointed a law in Israel,
which he commanded our fathers
to teach to their children,
that the next generation might know them,
the children yet unborn,
and arise and tell them to their children,
so that they should set their hope in God
and not forget the works of God,
but keep his commandments;
and that they should not be like their fathers,
a stubborn and rebellious generation,
a generation whose heart was not steadfast,
whose spirit was not faithful to God.
(Psalm 78:1-8 ESV)

Need some next steps and ideas as you repeat “One generation, one generation, one generation” to yourself? Here are 2 ways (here and here) that we’re spending time together in the Word as a family leading up to Easter. Here are our favorite children’s Bibles. Here are our favorite cds–Scripture set to GREAT MUSIC. Lord, show us ways to creatively anchor our family in You and Your Word.

Easter Advent Calendar–Examples of first 10 ornament

11 Feb

Easter Advent.First 10 OrnamentsOne of my faithful readers (Hello, Lisa!!) sent me this picture today! She and her kiddos have made the first 10 ornaments for their Easter Advent calendar. Since many of you have ordered this resource and are, most likely, making your ornaments, I wanted to share it with you. Hopefully, this will get your creative juices flowing!

PLEASE share with me during the next 40 days about how this Easter Advent calendar is being used and impacting your family! Would love to share with my readers. I’m soooooooooooooo excited for all of the families who will be circling around and hearing God’s Word together during Lent this year.

Also, don’t forget about the other Easter resource I reviewed–the Easter Banner from HeartFELT Truths. Don’t feel like your family is up for a 40 Day Easter Advent? The Easter Banner is used from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, and it is fabulous! My post includes a coupon code especially for Suzanne Shares readers! 🙂

Easter traditions: Advent Calendar #2 (and a coupon code for YOU!)

8 Feb

As promised earlier in the week, here’s a second Advent Calendar that can be used with Easter! If you missed, the previous post for Easter Advent Calendar #1, go here.

I stumbled upon HeartFELT Truths this fall when I was looking for the script that goes along with our Noel Piper Advent Calendar. Sadly, that particular Advent Calendar is no longer sold anywhere. When so many of you fabulous blog readers were writing and asking for Christmas Advent Calendar help, I was determined to find a solution. Thankfully, google led me to HeartFELT Truths, which sells an Advent Calendar based on the Noel Piper Advent Calendar. I quickly shared this fabulous resource on my blog, and reading my News Feed on Facebook over Christmas was one of my daily highlights. I saw so many of you using the HeartFELT Truths Advent Calendar; I loved all of the sweet pictures of cute little kiddos putting baby Jesus in the manger!

I love finding and sharing resources that help parents be intentional about teaching their children truths about God and His Word! I’m so excited because I’ve found another one thanks to HeartFELT Truths! Whitney from HeartFELT Truths emailed me several weeks ago and asked if I would be interested in reviewing her Easter Banner. It took me about 2 seconds to reply back with a hearty “YES!!” I received my Easter Banner this past week, and I could not be more pleased with it! It truly is a treasure!

How it works
Here’s a quick overview of how the Easter Banner works.

  • The HeartFELT Truths Easter Banner is designed to be used daily during Holy Week–Palm Sunday through Easter Sunday.IMG_7872
  • The Easter Banner comes with a Story Text Packet, which contains New Testament readings to coincide with the events of Holy Week.
  • Each day you will read the Story Text together and place the corresponding symbol(s) on the Easter Banner.IMG_7869
  • On Good Friday, nails are put on the cross and Jesus’ wrapped body is placed inside the tomb. Then, the large black felt piece is put over the Easter Banner.


  • On Easter morning, Jesus is removed from the tomb and a bright yellow felt  piece with the words “He is Risen!” is pulled over replacing the black felt piece. Jesus is alive!

My Review of HeartFELT Truths Easter Banner: A Parent’s Perspective
My one sentence summary: We love, love, love it, and I wish it was Holy Week already!

My more detailed summary (for those of you, like me, who LOVE detailed descriptions):

First impressions are everything, right? When I opened the box, my first thought was, “Wow! This is really well done.” This is an impressive, excellently-crafted product! No random hot glue strands or thread hanging wildly, which would be the case if I had tried to make this! It truly is beautiful! The banner and symbols are made with high quality, durable felt to ensure that you can use it for years to come.

The Story Text packet comes in a folder with clear, concise instructions about how to use and care for the Easter Banner. The Story Text contains a short narrative and Scripture Reading for each day. My sons are 3, 5, and 7, and I like the length of the narrative and passages selected for each day. They seem appropriate to the ages of my children–not too long and not too short. The Story Text is, also, open-ended enough that my husband and I can add questions or additional thoughts as we read and discuss together. It gives you structure for each day, but it’s not overly structured.

I also love the Scripture passages and Holy Week events that Whitney’s highlighted through the Story Text and Symbols. They are Palm Sunday, Jesus Anointed with Perfume, Passover (The Last Supper), Jesus is Betrayed, Jesus on Trial, Jesus is Crucified, A Day of Silence, and the Resurrection. Each of these stories are key to understanding the whole story of Easter. This was an important to me: I want my sons to know all that led up to Good Friday and Easter morning. Thank you, Whitney, for not oversimplifying this significant event of Scripture. Using the Easter Banner will be an interactive, memorable tool to help our family celebrate the miracle of Easter! It will also keep us in the Scriptures each day during Holy Week; I can’t think of anything more important! I love that we have a new Easter tradition in our home!

Impressions from a child’s perspective

The above thoughts about the Easter Banner were all, primarily, from my perspective as a parent. Now, just a few impressions thinking from my sons’ perspective. I can already tell you that there will be a daily fight about who puts the symbol on the banner each day. (It happens every night with our Christmas Advent Calendar, so Easter will be no different!) My children love having something to hold in their hands and a picture to symbolize what we’re reading about in the Bible. Putting the symbol on the banner will be one of their favorite parts of the experience.


Aren’t the real nails a fabulous added touch?

I can, also, predict their favorite symbol–the 3 nails. The kit includes three real nails. There are three tiny slits in the cross where each nail is to be placed. My boys are going to love it. As a parent, I love that the nails will be a physical reminder of the pain that Jesus endured for them on the cross.


Son #2 wouldn’t stop playing with the tomb the day we got our Easter Banner!

They’re also going to love the tomb. It is beautifully cut into the Easter Banner forming a ‘pocket’ to hold Jesus’ wrapped body. It will be evident to them on Sunday morning that the tomb is empty. I love it! This Easter Banner will, truly, help the events of Easter come alive to my boys! So excited!

Order your HeartFELT Truths Easter Banner (and a coupon code!)
One thing that I love about HeartFELT Truths products, including the Easter Banner, is that there are multiple options for your pocketbook. You can buy the Easter Banner from her Etsy shop. She sells a couple of different options of the Easter Banner at different prices. The first option is the Complete Kit, which includes everything pre-sewn, cut out and assembled. There is also a No-Sew DIY Kit, which is slightly cheaper. Everything that requires sewing is completed, but some cutting out and assembly is required. Or, Whitney generously offers the patterns and instructions for her Easter Banner as a free download on her website. That shows you the heart behind HeartFELT Truths; Whitney desires most of all to see parents and children reading God’s Word and celebrating Easter together. LOVE IT!

She’s also graciously given a coupon code for Suzanne Shares readers, so go visit the HeartFELT Truths Etsy shop and snag this great product today:


for 10% off any order valid through MIDNIGHT CST 4/10/13   

So, take advantage of this great resource and use it with your family this Easter! If you use the Easter Banner, I would love to see some pictures! I might even feature them on the blog!

Easter traditions: Advent Calendar #1

5 Feb


Do you notice the mustard seed in the center of the cross?

I wrote a lot before and during Christmas about our family’s wonderful Advent Calendars that we use to prepare our hearts for Christ’s birth. I had a faithful blog reader email me a couple of weeks ago asking if I had any similar resources for Easter. I am excited to share with you…that I do! So, if you’re looking ahead to Easter and wondering how to make it more purposeful and focused this year with your children and family, great news! I have two wonderful Easter Advent Calendars to share with you! The first one goes through the 40 days of Lent, so I am going to share it first since Ash Wednesday is next week. (Is it just me or is this year flying by in speed-of-light fashion?!?!) The second one is used during the Passion Week (Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday), and I will share about it on Friday of this week. So, here’s the first one…

As our family grew to love the tradition of our 2 advent calendars at Christmas, I longed for something similar for Easter. After all, Easter is just as significant as Christmas to a Christian, right? I loved that both of our Advent Calendars involved daily readings from Scripture. In the busy chaos of December, I loved that each day with our Advent Jesse Tree readings or Noel Piper Advent Calendar my heart, mind and soul were taken back to God’s word. This beautifully re-centered me in Christ each day; I needed it. “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love. It takes my heart less than 24 hours to move away, away, away from Jesus.” (Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing)

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have the same daily Scripture readings leading up to Easter? I was like a giddy schoolgirl the day that one of the elder’s wives at our sending church told me she’d written an advent devotion for the 40 days leading to Easter Sunday. She, too, was deeply impacted through using the Advent Jesse Tree at Christmas and wanted a similar devotion for Easter. That conversation with my friend, Faye, was 2 years ago. For the last 2 years, our family has used and loved her Lenten Advent devotion, The Word Became Flesh. The devotion starts with the birth of Christ and goes through his life, ministry, crucifixion and resurrection. It is such a sweet journey through the life of Christ during the 40 days leading up to Easter. Always encouraging and convicting is the exercise of reflecting on His miracles, compassion when relating to the sinners He came to save, great love that He possessed for His Father, and perfect obedience. Of course, anytime we’re spending time in the Bible, we will be drawn deeper into our love for and relationship to God. The Word Became Flesh will help you do that this year leading up to Easter.
One of my other favorite aspects of The Word Became Flesh is that you can use ornaments with it just like the Advent Jesse Tree! When Faye first introduced the devotion to several of us, she also organized an Ornament Swap. There are 40 days of Lent, so the book contains 40 devotions. Thus, there are 40 ornaments. At the Ornament Swap, each of us chose one ornament, and we brought 40 copies of the same ornament. We swapped ornaments that night and each left with a complete set! We display our ornaments on a grapevine wreath, shown above, during the 40 days leading up to Easter. The wreath reminds us of the crown of thorns that Jesus wore on the cross. (I picked up the wreath at Michael’s, by the way, and of course, I used a 40% off coupon! yay!) Here are 2 of my favorites (in addition to the cross with the mustard seed above.)

Don’t you love this little piggy ornament?!?!? Bible trivia here. Which New Testament parable would be represented by this cute little piggy?

This cute little boat made of cork board, a tooth pick and paper is for the story of Jesus calming the storm at sea.

If you’re not super crafty or don’t have time to organize an Ornament Swap, no worries! My friend Faye, well, God’s given her amazing talent! Faye is an amazing artist, specifically a brilliant painter. Not only did she beautifully pen the words to each devotion, her hands brilliantly sketched amazing pictures to go along with the day’s devotion. Here are two examples from the book. These pictures below are for the story of Zaccheus (sycamore leaf) and the story of the Prodigal Son.

You can photocopy the pictures, mount them on cardstock or scrapbook paper, and your set of 40 ornaments is done!
I love the structure of each day’s devotion. Faye calls this a “devotion guide” rather than a “devotional.” For each day, there is a passage to read, a list of suggested songs to sing, 5 or 6 questions to answer together after you read the passage, and a prayer. Faye truly laid this out as a guide for you, not her own thoughts written down for you to take in and believe. Each day is structured in more of an inductive style so that you can read the passage and discuss the questions together. She gently guides you into the focus for the day by leading you to the Word, and then, she leaves you at the Word. This creates room for the Holy Spirit to enter in, instruct, convict, and draw you nearer to your Father God. I love that! I love how I’ve seen the Holy Spirit draw me in as we’ve read the passage together. I love how this process of reading, digging deeper into the Word for ourselves is being experienced and learned by my sons. I love, most of all, the 40 day focused time in the Word, preparing my heart, soul, mind for Easter (and my family’s too!).

I will confess that the thought of 40 days was daunting and overwhelming the first year we did this as  a family. I’m a perfectionist, so I hate to not perfectly follow a plan. Thankfully, the Lord has helped me shed a great deal of my perfectionist trappings through our church planting experience. So, now if we miss a day, I just tell myself, “Well, we’ll start again tomorrow and won’t quit the whole thing!” (A HUGE step for me!) So, don’t freak out that it’s 40 days. Just start it and take it one day at a time. (This is my pep talk for all perfectionists reading this post!). Honestly, once we started the 40 day journey and got into it after the first week or so, I saw the spiritual fruit in my own life as a result of the daily, focused time in the Word. I didn’t mind it after all and was actually quite saddened to see the 40 days end.

I’m excited to share that you can now order The Word Made Flesh from Amazon. Ash Wednesday is next week–February 13, so order in time to begin this journey to Easter with your family. _______________________________________________________

Want to hear more about Easter Advent Calendar #2?!?!? Come back on Friday to Suzanne Shares to learn more about it! For my readers who read my Christmas traditions posts, I’ll give you a hint about the 2nd one. It has to do with FELT! 🙂

This post contains affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure policy here.