A Markel Family Easter, Isolation Edition

I think we can all agree that Easter was weird this year, right? Without our normal church commitments like choir, acolyting, and serving on altar guild, Holy Week and Easter Sunday fell a bit flat. But whether we were at church or not, we still had reason to celebrate, so I tried to make this time at home as special as possible.

On Maundy Thursday, we enjoyed some beautiful weather while we were out for a walk in our neighborhood before we “went” to church, which we watched from the comfort of our living room.

We were a little busier on Good Friday, with some baking (including homemade hot cross buns for the first time!), and another walk, before we once again watched the church service from our living room.

We were especially busy on Holy Saturday. We did some more baking, including these amazing rosemary dinner rolls, one of my favorite new recipes that I’ve tried:

We also made our new Paschal Candle for the year, as we usually do on Holy Saturday…it was disappointing not being able to take it to the Easter Vigil, though!

We had a fairly last-minute change of Easter dinner plans, because Beast Craft BBQ announced that they were going to be selling hams, so Ryan went and picked that up Saturday afternoon. It smelled amazing, and there was great restraint on the part of everyone in the house, because we left it alone until Easter dinner!

I dug out some extra candles so we could really feel like we were participating in the Great Vigil of Easter:

But once again from our living room:

We always get hot fudge sundaes at McDonald’s on the way home from the service, so I tried to recreate that experience, as well:

We didn’t “need” Pop-Tarts for breakfast this year (do you ever really need Pop-Tarts?),, because we didn’t have to get up as early for the sunrise service, but tradition is tradition!

I was very happy to get to sing my favorite Easter hymn at the first service, which we attended from, you guessed it, our living room!

We always have Easter breakfast at church between services, so I tried to replicate that experience, too. Homemade biscuits and sausage gravy were the star of the meal (both of which I prepared on Saturday), because that’s what they serve at church, plus sausage patties, eggs, orange juice, and mini donuts:

I always take pictures after breakfast, and this year was no different. Yes, we all got dressed up, even though we were at home!

I really missed taking photos of the children by the baptismal font, but at least I got pictures of them on Easter, right?

I already shared the details of my Easter outfit, but here’s one more picture, with Ladybug, because this was her first occasion to wear a dress from Pinup Girl Clothing!

Back inside, and back to the living room for the second service, where we sang another favorite hymn:

The church part of the day was over much quicker than usual, which was sad. I did have plenty of time to prepare our Easter dinner, though, starting with setting the table with our china and spring table linens:

On the menu: ham, mashed potatoes, a trio of green vegetables (Brussels sprouts, asparagus, and green beans with almonds), cherry Jell-O, and rosemary dinner rolls. It was a delicious meal!

For dessert I made the same lemon cheesecake with lemon-rosemary shortbread crust that I made last year:

We’re not done, yet, though! Since Easter is a celebration that keeps on going, and since our dinner plans had changed after I had already bought what was supposed to be the main course of Easter dinner, we had another special meal tonight…rack of lamb with some new sides (roast potatoes and cauliflower), plus some repeats (Brussels sprouts, green beans, Jell-O, and rolls), plus more cheesecake for dessert!

So there you have what was the strangest Easter I have ever experienced. Of course, our reason for celebrating never changes, but just the same, nothing felt quite right, and I truly hope we never have another Easter like it!

Good Friday–The Reproaches

“For behold, by the wood of Your cross joy has come into all the world.”

Thus says the Lord: What have I done to you, O My people, and wherein have I offended you? Answer Me. For I have raised you up out of the prison house of sin and death, and you have delivered up your Redeemer to be scourged. For I have redeemed you from the house of bondage, and you have nailed your Savior to the cross. O My people.

Thus says the Lord: What have I done to you, O My people, and wherein have I offended you? Answer Me. For I have conquered all your foes, and you have given Me over and delivered Me to those who persecute Me. For I have fed you with My Word and refreshed you with living water, and you have given Me gall and vinegar to drink. O My people.

Thus say the Lord: What have I done to you, O My people, and wherein have I offended you? Answer Me. What more could have been done for My vineyard than I have done for it? When I looked for good grapes, why did it yield only bad? My people, is this how you thank your God? O My people. Lutheran Service Book

A Markel Family Easter, 2019 Edition

Christos Anesti! Alithos Anesti!

It may be hard to believe, because this year, it seemed like Lent lasted an eternity, but it’s time for another Markel Family Easter celebration! As always, it was a four-day affair, beginning with the Divine Service on Holy Thursday, where we got to hear Moose and Ladybug’s choir sing.

On Friday, we had the opportunity to experience a worship service that was new to (most) of us…the Good Friday Tre Ore service, which was a circuit event hosted at a church in south St. Louis, where once again, Moose and Ladybug’s choir sang…and this time, Bunny also joined in. We stayed for one of the three hours, and we really enjoyed the solemnity of the segments of the service we participated in.

We spent our Good Friday afternoon walking around the Missouri Botanical Garden and Forest Park. It was a blustery, but beautiful, day:

In the evening, Ryan, Turkey, and Bunny sang with the adult choir for the Good Friday Chief Service.

Holy Saturday is always a busy day. There was cooking, rehearsing at church for the Easter Sunrise Service, cooking, and the making of the family Paschal Candle:

Of course, the highlight of Holy Saturday is my favorite church service of the entire year, The Great Vigil of Easter!

After the vigil, we always stop at McDonald’s to get hot fudge sundaes for the Fab Five:

We never get enough sleep on Holy Saturday night, but the promise of Pop-Tarts before the Sunrise Service helps get the children out of bed.

This year, since Easter was so late, the sunrise was a little farther along than we’re used to!

Bunny, Moose, and Ladybug got to dress up and help with the outdoor reenactment before church:

Our sanctuary always looks especially beautiful for Easter!

After the first service, we enjoyed Easter breakfast in the church basement…I love the biscuits and gravy!

Of course I had to take pictures after breakfast:

I also had Ryan take a picture of me, because I love this year’s Easter outfit!

Did I mention I like to take pictures?




We had the privilege of serving on Altar Guild for the Divine Service:

And Moose and Ladybug got to acolyte, and all four of “The Bigs” participated in the processional:


Following an afternoon of watching movies, we had a nice Easter dinner. I made sure that the table looked extra pretty, since I failed in that department at Christmas.

Our rosemary-themed feast included leg of lamb (marinated in garlic and rosemary), rosemary smashed potatoes, sautéed asparagus, roast carrots and Brussels sprouts, rosemary dinner rolls with rosemary-garlic butter, and cherry Jell-O “salad.” We also had multiple options for both sparkling grape juice and wine, since I couldn’t decide what I wanted to serve.

I think this might be the best Easter dinner I’ve ever made!

For dessert, we had lemon cheesecake with a lemon-rosemary shortbread crust, and it was delicious!

After dinner, we watched My Big Fat Greek Wedding, which is one of my favorite fun Easter traditions!

I love the way we celebrate Easter…it’s a been a busy, exhausting four days, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Good Friday–The Reproaches

Thus says the Lord: What have I done to you, O My people, and wherein have I offended you? Answer Me. For I have raised you up out of the prison house of sin and death, and you have delivered up your Redeemer to be scourged. For I have redeemed you from the house of bondage, and you have nailed your Savior to the cross. O My people.

Thus says the Lord: What have I done to you, O My people, and wherein have I offended you? Answer Me. For I have conquered all your foes, and you have given Me over and delivered Me to those who persecute Me. For I have fed you with My Word and refreshed you with living water, and you have given Me gall and vinegar to drink. O My people.

Thus say the Lord: What have I done to you, O My people, and wherein have I offended you? Answer Me. What more could have been done for My vineyard than I have done for it? When I looked for good grapes, why did it yield only bad? My people, is this how you thank your God? O My people. Lutheran Service Book

A Markel Family Easter

I’ve shared a lot about what Markel Family holidays look like over the last few years, but I don’t think I’ve gone into any detail about a Markel Family Easter yet. It’s definitely a big event…while most of our holidays are celebrated over two (and occasionally three) days, a Markel Family Easter is a four-day event, because the Great Triduum cannot be separated from Easter Sunday!

Our observance of the Triduum always begins on Holy (Maundy) Thursday. Because the children were singing with their choir in St. Louis, we were not at our home church, but at one of our sister congregations. It was a beautiful service!

We were feeling especially ambitious on Good Friday. We started the day at another sister congregation in Waterloo, where we participated in a Karfreitag service, which is a German Good Friday service. We may not have understood all of the words, but the meaning was clear!

We then attend the Chief Service with our congregation, where we were privileged to receive the Lord’s Supper.

And that evening, we were back in St. Louis, where we again participated in the Chief Service, but this time with Schalk’s “The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ According to St. John” sung by the choir.

Much of Holy Saturday is a day of preparation, where I attempted to make as much of our Easter meal ready as possible. I baked bread and made a cake, and trimmed the lamb for our dinner. Once all that was done, we turned our attention to our big Holy Saturday tradition…the making of the Paschal candle for the year:

We then took our candle to the Great Vigil of Easter at another sister congregation, where we had it lit for the first time at the beginning of the service. This is definitely my favorite church service of the year, and it’s always over far too quickly. We did stop for hot fudge sundaes at McDonald’s on the way home, as we have for close to a decade, though, to keep the celebration going!

And that brings us to this morning, where we were up very early on the first day of the week for the Easter Sunrise service.

Bunny was not only the acolyte but the crucifer!

After the service was one of my favorite breakfasts of the year…our church makes great biscuits and gravy!

I have to take pictures after breakfast:

And then it’s time for the Divine Service. We were privileged to serve on the altar guild this morning, and we took extra care trying to make sure things were just right for this festival of festivals!

All four of The Bigs were able to assist in this service. Moose and Ladybug were acolytes and torchbearers, Bunny carried in the much-missed Alleluia banner, and Turkey was the crucifer:

After church and lunch at home, I got started on our Easter dinner:

This recipe for lamb stew was started on the stove top, and then finished cooking in the oven:

We had some beautiful new tables linens this year courtesy of my generous in-laws. The children loved being able to choose their own napkin color! I loved how spring-like the table looked!!!

Our dinner of lamb stew, homemade French baguettes, cherry Jell-O “salad”, and sparkling apple cider was a fairly simple holiday meal in some ways, and yet it was something everyone wanted and something I don’t usually make, so in the end, I think it was the perfect holiday meal!

Did I mention it was also delicious?

For dessert, we had a sponge cake soaked in lemon syrup, filled with lemon curd and filled and frosted with a lemon mascarpone cream:

It was also delicious!

It has been a busy, reverent, exhausting few days. But I wouldn’t want it any other way, and I’m so happy to celebrate our Lord’s resurrection the way we do!

Good Friday–The Reproaches

Thus says the Lord: What have I done to you, O My people, and wherein have I offended you? Answer Me. For I have raised you up out of the prison house of sin and death, and you have delivered up your Redeemer to be scourged. For I have redeemed you from the house of bondage, and you have nailed your Savior to the cross. O My people.

Thus says the Lord: What have I done to you, O My people, and wherein have I offended you? Answer Me. For I have conquered all your foes, and you have given Me over and delivered Me to those who persecute Me. For I have fed you with My Word and refreshed you with living water, and you have given Me gall and vinegar to drink. O My people.

Thus say the Lord: What have I done to you, O My people, and wherein have I offended you? Answer Me. What more could have been done for My vineyard than I have done for it? When I looked for good grapes, why did it yield only bad? My people, is this how you thank your God? O My people. Lutheran Service Book

Good Friday–The Reproaches

Thus says the Lord: What have I done to you, O My people, and wherein have I offended you? Answer Me. For I have raised you up out of the prison house of sin and death, and you have delivered up your Redeemer to be scourged. For I have redeemed you from the house of bondage, and you have nailed your Savior to the cross. O My people.

Thus says the Lord: What have I done to you, O My people, and wherein have I offended you? Answer Me. For I have conquered all your foes, and you have given Me over and delivered Me to those who persecute Me. For I have fed you with My Word and refreshed you with living water, and you have given Me gall and vinegar to drink. O My people.

Thus say the Lord: What have I done to you, O My people, and wherein have I offended you? Answer Me. What more could have been done for My vineyard than I have done for it? When I looked for good grapes, why did it yield only bad? My people, is this how you thank your God? O My people. Lutheran Service Book

Good Friday–The Reproaches

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Thus says the Lord: What have I done to you, O My people, and wherein have I offended you? Answer Me. For I have raised you up out of the prison house of sin and death, and you have delivered up your Redeemer to be scourged. For I have redeemed you from the house of bondage, and you have nailed your Savior to the cross. O My people.

Thus says the Lord: What have I done to you, O My people, and wherein have I offended you? Answer Me. For I have conquered all your foes, and you have given Me over and delivered Me to those who persecute Me. For I have fed you with My Word and refreshed you with living water, and you have given Me gall and vinegar to drink. O My people.

Thus say the Lord: What have I done to you, O My people, and wherein have I offended you? Answer Me. What more could have been done for My vineyard than I have done for it? When I looked for good grapes, why did it yield only bad? My people, is this how you thank your God? O My people. Lutheran Service Book

The Reproaches

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We all have our traditions…sharing The Reproaches on Good Friday is one of mine:

Thus says the Lord: What have I done to you, O My people, and wherein have I offended you? Answer Me. For I have raised you up out of the prison house of sin and death, and you have delivered up your Redeemer to be scourged. For I have redeemed you from the house of bondage, and you have nailed your Savior to the cross. O My people.

Thus says the Lord: What have I done to you, O My people, and wherein have I offended you? Answer Me. For I have conquered all your foes, and you have given Me over and delivered Me to those who persecute Me. For I have fed you with My Word and refreshed you with living water, and you have given Me gall and vinegar to drink. O My people.

Thus say the Lord: What have I done to you, O My people, and wherein have I offended you? Answer Me. What more could have been done for My vineyard than I have done for it? When I looked for good grapes, why did it yield only bad? My people, is this how you thank your God? O My people. Lutheran Service Book

Good Friday

Thus says the Lord: What have I done to you, O My people, and wherein have I offended you? Answer Me. For I have raised you up out of the prison house of sin and death, and you have delivered up your Redeemer to be scourged. For I have redeemed you from the house of bondage, and you have nailed your Savior to the cross. O My people.

Thus says the Lord: What have I done to you, O My people, and wherein have I offended you? Answer Me. For I have conquered all your foes, and you have given Me over and delivered Me to those who persecute Me. For I have fed you with My Word and refreshed you with living water, and you have given Me gall and vinegar to drink. O My people.

Thus say the Lord: What have I done to you, O My people, and wherein have I offended you? Answer Me. What more could have been done for My vineyard than I have done for it? When I looked for good grapes, why did it yield only bad? My people, is this how you thank your God? O My people. Lutheran Service Book

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