Saturday, December 16, 2017

10 steps to a really good Christmas pageant

Over the next several days I want to share some of the ideas/strategies we used for our Christmas pageant.

While this may come across as a 'how to', it is really specific to our church but adaptable to yours.

1.   Choose the best story.  While The Greatest Story Ever Told has already been taken as a title, the best story ever is worth telling again and again and again.  And again.

As mentioned previously, we chose this pageant.

It has a clear script, is narrator-driven which helps those with speaking parts know when to say their lines.  It has ideas for set decorations; some we took, some we didn't. 
It lasts 15-20 minutes which is perfect to perform during a worship service while still allowing the pastor time to make a few remarks or do a devotional.

It has traditional carols included which the congregation is encouraged to sing with the cast.

It is faithful to Scripture (the Best Story!) although my kids were really bummed - especially the three who played the various innkeepers - to learn that there are no innkeepers mentioned in either the Matthew or the Luke accounts.  Of course, 'no room in the inn' implies innkeepers.

2.  Pray.  There is really not much point in presenting a pageant unless it is bathed in prayer. 
 Pray for your kids who are preparing, 
Pray for those who will be attending.
 Pray for this to not add one- more -crazy -Christmas- time -thing -to -schedule, but that it would be a respite from the chaos and a reminder of the true meaning. 
Pray for your ministry team.
Pray for your children.
ESPECIALLY pray for the single parents of your kids.  I know this added extra stress to some of our single parents.  We need to affirm and support our single parents.  Sometimes ex-spouses can try to thwart the good intentions of others so we gave extra grace to these children (not making practices mandatory for them, etc.)

3.  Have a great team.

Our pastor is our greatest cheerleader. I appreciate him so much. 

 Our associate pastor was also a great encouragement.  He is my son and I appreciate him too.  Smile.

 The senior pastor's  wife is the children's ministry director and I am in charge of children's church.  She and I have totally different personalities and energies levels.  I am old enough to be her mother.  IMO we made a great team.  Her energy combined with my phlegmaticism (is that a word?) helped us get things done without as much stress as there could have been.  Was there stress?  Yes, but not between the two of us.

We have amazing builders in our church One of them built a bullet proof door (kidding, but it took 3 of us to lift it) for the innkeepers to pop in and out of.

Our stable was 9 feet tall at the peak and on wheels to make it easier to move around and on and off the platform.  It was amazing.  I hope Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus had as good a quality stable as we did.

We are in a new sanctuary this year.  It is modern.  The rustic/modern trees the decorating committee had built were a perfect backdrop to the stable.

Our tech team is second to none.  They blow me away everytime.  They think of things I would never think of in a million years.  Not only could folks hear what was going on, they also added special lighting to great effect.

We have a great team of children's church workers and nursery workers.  Our nursery crew brought 10-15 little 1-3 year old lambs up to the front of the church during each performance.  No one threw up, no one cried, no one pitched a fit.  It was so sweet.

AND we could not have done this without our junior helpers.  We encourage our junior high/high school kids to help.  And they do!  They seem to love it.  A few of them will often pop in to children's church to ask me if I need help. They are incredible kids.  


This is getting kind of long.  More tips next time!

Friday, December 15, 2017

Christmas pageant part 1

I'm recording here, mostly for my own benefit the process we went through this year in preparing our Christmas pageant.

It happened this past weekend and I couldn't be more thankful for the way it turned out.

We used the script from The First Christmas Pageant.   We actually had performed this last year on a Sunday evening.  Those in attendance were primarily parents and grandparents.  But this year our pastor asked us to perform it during our worship services.  We have a service on Saturday night and Sunday morning.  FOR THE WHOLE CHURCH.

The dual services presented us with our first challenge.  I will address that in future posts.

I recommend this pageant.  It is simple, stays true to Scripture.  We did it with about 20 kids last year, but this year had twice that.  It uses traditional music, nothing new to learn.

It faithfully tells the old familiar story of how much God loves us.  So much that He sent His only begotten Son to earth as a vulnerable baby.  

Though so familiar, it never ceases to amaze me.

Sunday, October 22, 2017


Today, after church, we had our first choir practice in about 5 years.   We for have only been here 4. 

But I have the exciting privilege of directing our Christmas choir.  We are only singing two songs, but I am inordinately pleased about this opportunity.

My musical experience started as a young child.  Mom made sure to take me to children's choir practices.  As a teen I joined the adult choir.  I was in band from late elementary on.  I took several years of piano lessons.  A singing group in high school and college.  College music theory and conducting classes.  Choir and worship team experiences throughout adulthood.

I talk to my dad every morning.  He lives in assisted living.  My mom is his roommate.  She has had Alzheimer's for 12 years now and her care needs are very different than Dad's. 

But I asked Dad to pass this message along to her as it includes both of them.

Thank you:

  • for taking me to children's choir
  • for buying me a clarinet
  • for buying us a piano
  • for getting me clarinet lessons
  • for making sure I had to piano lessons
  • for 'reminding' me to practice
  • for driving me to rehearsals, concerts, marching band practices/games
  • for attending concerts and games
For giving me the gift of music.  It is such a privilege and I do not take it for granted.  Mom and Dad.  Thank you.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

not a food blog

Emboldened by Rachel's guest post on Annabel's blog, I decided to try my hand at homemade ravioli.

Although Rachel's instructions were very complete, I decided to leaf through my cookbooks and look for a ravioli recipe.  Unbelievably, the only cookbook that had one was my 1943 copy (formerly my mother-in-law's) of Joy of Cooking.

 Ravioli can be a carrier for almost anything.  Meats, cheeses, veggies.....
 I made a ricotta, egg, parsley and garlic filling.
 Brush with water.
 Cut with a pizza cutter.  I took a picture of the filled noodles boiling in water, but figured you didn't really need to see that.

I need to make this again.  First of all, I have more filling left and more cheese.  Secondly, although I got my pasta dough pretty thin, I think with practice, I can improve.  I might try a pesto topping as well.  Love pesto.

Even though I do not want to turn this into a food blog, there will be occasional recipes on here.

This was not as difficult as I thought and much more flavorful than the stuff in a can!

Upcoming recipes will be gluten free and dairy free.  Both my daughter -in - love and my granddaughter are gluten and dairy intolerant and other members of the family prefer to eat that way.

So please check back!  Have you ever made homemade ravioli?

Thursday, September 07, 2017

say it with coleus

I bought this handsome fella as a nod to my sweet  paternal grandmother who always had a cement toad (frog?) on her porch steps.  My sister has it now.  Fond memories.

Early in our marriage I discovered the joys of coleus.  A versatile plant.  Easily propagated.  At home outside during our summers, comfortable inside during the winter.

I haven't had any coleus for years now and this past spring went a little crazy, buying four plants.

There are so many different varieties and the colorful leaves have grown more striking as the years have gone on.

They are super easy to propagate.  Simply snip off (above two opposing leaves) a stem or five, put in a glass jar of water and wait.  They grow roots and then you plant them in a pot.

So my new venture is to become the crazy plant lady.  I have now potted up many cuttings and am on the hunt for more pots.

Apparently my brother in law has bought up all the pots at the antique/thrift stores in town, so I'll have to get up earlier in the morning to beat him.  :)

 Why so many coleus, you ask?

I'm glad you asked.    Flowers are expensive.  I have decided to add color to our garden and home by these  beauties.  AND...a pot of coleus taken to a sick or grieving friend will help brighten a little corner of their room.  Also suitable for birthdays or just because.
Always ready, frugally purchased, easily transportable and longer lasting than flowers, I think these make a perfect gift.

I've also had success rooting sweet potato vines and impatiens.

 How about you?

Monday, September 04, 2017


The seasons are changing.  There is a crispness in the morning air when I walk now.  Once in a while, I come across visible evidence of fall.

 And then more evidence.
A very close friend, who had moved away was in town recently.  We wanted to spend time with each other, but I knew that I couldn't be selfish, so I invited several other close friends.  All but three were able to make it.
 Speaking of seasons.  We have been through the seasons of life together.  Some of us knew each other before we were parents, as young marrieds.  Some of us knew each other before we knew Christ.

 Some of us made a plan.  We loved these gals and we gathered together as young moms.  We, for the most part, didn't work outside the home.  We also didn't have any disposable income. So we started a babysitting co-op and exchanged children instead of money.  ~smile~
 We had a point system to keep things fair.  As we watched each other's kids, we became closer, our kids became closer and the next part of our plan was put into play.
 Those of us who knew and loved Jesus, invited those who didn't know Him (yet!) to come to church.  We held Bible studies in various homes.   And  one by one these precious gals came to Christ.
 So, we began a season of growing together spiritually.  What a privilege.  I cannot begin to tell you how blessed I am to have these women in my life.
 As the years went on, our children grew closer.  Many of them still stay in touch..  Two of them got married.  :)  Some of them went to college together.

 And now, as I work in children's ministries at our church, I have the great honor of teaching some of these ladies' grandchildren.

We have grown up together.  In the LORD, in our marriages, in difficulties, in good times, in plenty and in want.  I am so blessed to have these women as friends.

We don't get together often enough. The year's melt when we are together.  Laughter and tears abound.  We are so blessed to share Jesus as our Savior. And lots of memories.

Now as we are in the season of grandmotherhood together, there are new stories, new difficulties, new blessings.

But we are still together, thanking God for His hand on our lives.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

meal plan part 2

 Just a couple of quick words about my meal plan.

First of all, calling it a meal PLAN, might be a bit generous.  We still basically fly by the seat of our pants around here.  But having been through a few situations, most memorably, my shattered elbow,
I like having food to spare.
That's easy to prepare.
Anytime, anywhere.
(Sorry, couldn't resist the rhyme..
.I was raised by Mother Goose,
 but that's a story for another time.)

Some of what I have could be easily heated up if one or the other of us is sick or other wise incapacitated.  If we get home later than expected and are hungry, we know we don't need to swing through the drive-through, we can just heat up a can of soup.

I'm not really preparing for the zombie apocalypse here, just ready for the everyday apocalypses.

One thing I have not done yet, because there are other things higher on the priority list, is to figure out exactly how much food we have.  As in how many meals.  For example, as you can see in the picture below, I have 11 cans of kidney beans.  Each can of kidney beans has 3.5 servings.  So, there are 38.5 servings of kidney beans available in my pantry.  Now, I prefer to eat them in chili, but if hungry, I would certainly not turn them down.

I have more green beans than anything else. 52.5 servings.  Since they are so plentiful, I would serve them more often.

With the variety of meat (except beef!!!) we have in our freezer and the fruits and vegetables on hand as well as some dairy and grains I could build a pretty varied meal plan.  And some day, perhaps I shall.

But for now, I've got a meeting to go to.  Homemade pizza dough is rising on the counter.  The sauce is made and the cheese is shredded.  When I get home at about 5:30 it will be easy peasy to assemble the ingredients and pop them in the oven for a hearty homemade deep dish pizza.


What do your pantry plans look like?


All these things were bought on sale.  Our little hedge against inflation.  Also...we can afford to be generous.  When a new family arrived in our church last month and were undergoing difficult circumstances (toxic black mold in their new home - yikes!!), we were able to quickly step in and provide several meals-without going to the store!).