Mary’s hung on the manger!

There is nothing more stressful, headache-inducing, nerve wracking, “why me oh Lord?” or precious things to do than direct the children’s Christmas program at church. Takes nerves of steel and a sense of humor. Hats off to CrossPoint’s Mindy Stapleton for taking on the challenge. See, the thing with CrossPoint is we have a lot of kids. A LOT of kids. Like 3 kids per every adult or something like that.

Last Wednesday they had a dress rehearsal for the program. It was the first time they had worn their costumes and also the first time they used the props (a manger and a baby Jesus). Mindy was doing a fine job of directing and we had finished the Innkeeper’s (Landon) big scene where he shakes his head and tells Mary and Joseph “there is no room in the inn” – actually I think Landon just shakes his head and points to the “barn”. So Mindy’s telling Mary and Joseph (Anna and Ryan) to go to the barn and sit beside the manger. Mary (can’t blame her, she IS his momma) decided she wanted to hold baby Jesus so Mary (Anna, age 3) reaches down to pick up that cool looking baby doll, er, baby Jesus, from the manger and gets her costume hung on the manger (we have a REAL manger, cool huh?). Mindy’s already instructing the angels (we’ll get to that in a minute) to make their big entrance unknowing Mary’s hung on the manger. Finally Ken V. (who was doing a great job as a stagehand) sees Mary’s dilemma and yells out “Mary’s hung on the manger”. That along with the three wise men seeing who could shoulder shove the other the farthest, one of the shepherds letting everyone know he needed a potty break, and the little donkey (Paisley) doing a reggae-rap version of “Go Tell it on the Mountain” about two songs too early…it was a moment that defines Children’s Christmas programs. Hats off to Mindy.

Now back to the angels…Emma and Ava. Absolutely beautiful angels. Emma’s my little performer. She’s a natural on stage. Ava has that curtsy thing down pat. Very graceful. As one of the angels, Ava has a part where she steps forward and tells the shepherds about Jesus Christ being born. Well, Ava just steps forward…the narrator will tell the shepherds what’s going on. But anyway, Ava’s standing there in her little white robe and silver sparkler halo, with her little hands upturned at her sides (she and Emma have nailed this pose!) and the little shepherd boys all bowing at her feet. Nina pointed out the look on Ava’s face…hmmm…boys…bowing at my feet. I could get used to this.

It’s showtime!

Family Fun

Had a cookout yesterday at Garey and Ellen’s then all the kids went to the fireworks (I came home to write but my keyboard was tired of being ignored and decided to get revenge by simply not working). But anyway, Garey cooked brauts (did I spell that right? I had it spelled brats but thought that looked like he had cooked the kids) and roasted corn on the grill and it was delicious. Paisley’s a garbage disposal. The kid will eat anything. Or at least try it. She wanted to get down and go play with the other kids but Ellen told her she had to finish the rest of her corn (she had a half ear on her plate). Of course Paisley protested which struck Ellen as kind of odd because this kid is an eater. Her sisters and cousins could be doing the neatest thing ever and Paisley’s going to finish her dinner. So, Ellen tells her no, she can’t get down until she eats her corn. What Ellen didn’t realize was that Paisley had already eaten a full ear of corn – she ate Emma’s. Emma, meanwhile, looked like little Miss Innocent with an empty plate so she got to go play.

If you’re ever at a loss for entertainment, sit back and watch and listen to two little girls playing. Emma (4) and Ava (3) were playing store, post office, and probably a little princess thrown in there for good measure although the girls should know a real princess would never have to do her own grocery shopping! But anyway, Ava was the “mail person” (their words) and was trying to “deliver” mail to Emma. There was just one problem. Emma kept changing her name. Ava would say “I’m the mail person and I have mail for Emma Barkley (have no idea where she came up with that name!) and Emma would ignore her. Ava would repeat it and Emma would say “I’m not Emma Barkley.” But just a few minutes ago, she was Emma Barkley. Every time Ava would have a new piece of mail to deliver, Emma would change her name. It was priceless.

Today, me, Debbie, Nina, Garey, Ellen and Jeana all went to see Eclipse. I’m sorry Jeana, yes, Taylor Launter has abs to die for, and who wouldn’t fall for a guy that had the mystic of being part wolf—but I’m still Team Edward.

The Fish Won’t Hurt You

It’s not something you want to hear when you’re waist deep in lake water. Other than that little announcement over the PA system, it was a fantastic day! Went with Garey & Ellen and Nina & Allen and all five grands and Tony and Christy and their two boys, Tyler and Ethan to a “recreation” lake nearby. Think of it as the poor man’s Emerald Point water park minus the concrete and clear blue water. There’s something to be said for chlorine and concrete. Then there was the little “bump” thingy that kept “bumping” the back of my knee. After about the third time of getting “bumped”, it dawned on me what it was. Then shortly after, someone came over the PA system and said (I swear) “The fish won’t hurt you.” How comforting.

Missing mom

My mom passed 12 years ago today. Sometimes it feels like a million years ago and sometimes it feels like yesterday. I miss her voice. There wasn’t anything really special about, no heavy accent, no odd way of pronouncing different words – but it was special. It was her voice and I miss picking up the phone and calling in the middle of the day just to ‘check in’ and hearing it. It was comforting. It was something I didn’t fully appreciate until I couldn’t hear it anymore. I hurt that she never had the opportunity to hold Jeana or Landon or Emma or Ava or Paisley. But Garey and Ellen gave her one to hold when they lost Paul. Yep, she’s cuddling a great-grand and probably holding a sucker while he licked it like she used to do with Garey and Nina (Lord knows, if she gave it to them to hold they’d run with it and trip and fall – sort of like that Red-Ryder BB-gun theory in the Christmas Story). Maybe that’s why she and daddy went on ahead? So Paul would have a mawmaw and pawpaw to hold the sucker…

Fun, Fellowship, and the Emergency Room

What an exciting day it was! Pastor Scott preached great today, it was great to see Joan back in church so soon after her “spell” (as the old folks say), and we had a couple of visitors make a repeat visit – yeah! The fun really started after church when the men’s softball team held their first practice and most of the church turned out to cheer them on (or laugh as the case may be). The guys did great – there’s probably going to be some aching muscles tomorrow : ) It was kind of overwhelming to see my ex on the mound pitching, my son playing 2nd, his half-brother playing short and my son-in-law in left center – all playing with the same church team. How blessed is that???

Speaking of being blessed, we had a little accident during practice and Garey and Ellen ended up having to leave for a little bit to take little Emma to the Urgent Care Center. Poor little thing was playing behind the bleachers and tripped and fell against one of the crossbeams and split her forehead wide open. There was so much blood (and crying and screaming) it was hard to tell how bad it was at that moment. Turns out it wasn’t near as bad as we were dreading (that gorgeous little porcelain face scarred for life, concussions, brain damage – us grandmothers think of it all). The doctor didn’t even stitch it – he “glued” the skin back together (actually stitches cause scarring) and they were back at the field in time for daddy to get a couple hits and fielding practice.

I’ve got to say it though – I was really proud of my kids (and I include Ellen in that) in the way they handled the first trip to the Emergency Room. Ellen was super calm (Garey was a little panicky, but that was understandable – he did have to come flying at Superdad speed off the field when he learned it was Emma that had been hurt so his adrenaline was already pumped). But Nina was terrific – she jumped right in there and seemed to know exactly what to do. And this from the mom I’ve seen become nearly hysterical when her own kids are hurt (or Mocha their dog when she had a reaction to a bug bite). So I was very impressed. As a grandmom, it makes me feel even more blessed knowing my kids and kid-in-laws can keep cool heads in times of emergencies and have grown enough they don’t need mom to tell them what to do : )

And as the grandmother I learned something today (I already knew it but it was confirmed). My kids and kid-in-laws are great parents. When I first saw the blood and heard the blood-curling screams and realized they were coming from Emma, my first reaction was to grab her and run across the street to the fire department because I knew those guys are EMT’s and certainly we were dealing with a life and death situation (in grandma’s mind at least) and I had to get my little Emma help. But then her mommy and daddy and Aunt Nina jumped right in there and knew what to do and remained calm while doing it. When Garey and Ellen hurried her to the car to take her to the Urgent Care Center, there was a big part of me that wanted to go with them, to hold her hand and tell her she was going to be okay, to hold Garey’s hand and tell him his daughter was going to be okay, to hug Ellen and tell her not to worry. But I didn’t go. They didn’t need me to. Mommy and daddy had it all under control and little Emma was right where she’s supposed to be – in her mom and dad’s capable hands.

It hurts when they grow up. But what a blessing it is when they turn out okay.

Jake’s Gone

The Panthers released Jake yesterday. I’m sad. Sure he had a, um…bad season last year, but what’s the Panthers without Jake? I mean, other than possible Superbowl contenders. And Peppers is gone, too! Come on – where’s the loyalty? You don’t just throw someone under the bus because they had a bad season. Or two. I’ll always love you, Jake. Even if you did throw all those interceptions.

I did it!

I fulfilled my New Year’s resolution. I took Sam for a walk. Oh – you meant everyday??? We’ll start slow – how about every Saturday? But anyway, I took Sam for walk. And Molly. And Zoie. I’m so proud of Molly – poor little thing has dislocated hips and knees and I really didn’t want her to go because I thought it would be too painful for her, but she showed me. She was like that little train that thought he could: I think I can, I think I can… and she did. I tried to sneak out with just Sam but that was impossible. He was quite excited. Next thing I knew, me and Sam and Molly and Zoie were headed into the woods behind the house then onto a nice trail. After we had walked for a long while, like oh about ten minutes, and I was ready to head back and take a nap, Molly was my inspiration. She actually ran ahead, well, she wobbled ahead, and did not quit. She could because she wanted to. She put one foot in front of the other in small tiny steps and accomplished what she set out to do. She’s my hero today. I can learn a lot from her.

Getting the basics out of the way

Thought I’d get some of the basics out of the way – I’ll be referring to these quite often so I thought it might be a good idea to clue you in on who I’m talking about. Two kids – Garey and Nina and their spouses – Ellen and Allen. Five grands: Garey and Ellen’s: Jeana, 12, Emma, 4, and Paisley, 15 months, and one on the way. Whoo-hoo! Keeping fingers crossed and prayers to Heaven for a boy but if not…that’s okay too. I do want to be there, however, to see the expression on Garey’s face when they tell him either way. A boy – he’ll be all smiles. Another little red-headed girl – a dazed, blank stare. He loves ’em all though!

Nina and Allen have Landon, 6, and Ava, 3. Ava and Emma are BFF’s. Paisley gets knocked out of the way. But only for a minute. She’s one tough little cookie. Nobody’s gonna take her princess doll!

CrossPoint Baptist Church – a church not like many others. If you’re looking for quiet reverence, you might want to look elsewhere. If you’re looking for a place where you’re welcomed with open arms whether you’re in ragged jeans or Sunday best, pay us a visit. Especially if you have kids. We have more kids than a lot of day-care centers! We believe strongly in outreach and ‘being the church’. We’re small, but growing; we’re young, but established. We meet in the Level Cross Community Center every Sunday at 10:30; Wednesdays at 7 (we’re studying Spiritual Warfare- wow!) We also have several small group bible studies during the week for you to choose from. This year we’re sponsoring our first men’s softball team. Yeah! Go CrossPoint!

That’s all for now. Gonna take Sam for that walk (LOL). Then do some serious writing (or revising as the case may be).

Love God. Love your neighbor. Serve both!

Welcome!

It’s Saturday morning. I’m on my third cup of coffee. It’s going to be a beautiful day outside and I do plan on spending some of the day enjoying the sunshine and temperatures above 30degrees.

Is it too late to begin a New Year’s Resolution? It’s only March 6, right? I had ‘resolved’ to take Sam for a walk everyday. At that time, no one – not even Van Denton – could have predicted we’d be having record-setting low temperatures and snow every other day.

Just ‘do it’ right? Yeah. I’ll let you know how that goes.