A Birthday Blog with hardly any mention of the Birthday Girl

Another Monday has come upon us, and I find myself unready. Weekends never seem to contain enough hours to do what I need to do. I had hoped to work on our Christmas newsletter, to wrap (and mail off) presents to out-of-town relatives, do several hours of work, and pay some bills; yet none of these things happened. I guess those tasks weren’t as important as I thought. I rarely seem to do a good job in managing my time … procrastination seems to be my destiny. Of course, this is a time of year when most people feel the squeeze … I suppose it is nice to know that I am not alone.

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Sarah aspires to a career as a vocalist.

Yesterday we re-visited the Lake City church … I still find myself holding on to the church we have been attending for the past month or so. We attended a Sunday school class as well as the worship service. The longer time in the nursery was apparently hard on Sarah and David … when I came to pick them up after church, Sarah looked like she was ready to cry at any moment. Usually our kids are so comfortable and easy in nurseries … it made me sad to look at her tragic little face, even though I know it was mostly an act. I’m guessing there was some kind of altercation with another child … when I checked on them earlier, Sarah and David were both scowling blackly at a little girl who sat next to them during Song Time. It is funny to see David be so protective of his little sister … I guess, like brothers everywhere, he bitterly resents anyone poaching on his exclusive prerogative to beat up on Sarah.

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David often ‘reads’ to Sarah — he is a good brother, no matter how I may malign him.

We had Leanne over for the weekend, which always shakes up our family dynamic. Rachel doesn’t do well when she gets tired, and the girls do tend to stay up late, talking. Leanne is so gracious and easy to be with, sometimes we hardly notice that she is there. Joshua complains, though: “If you had to ‘adopt’ another girl, did you have to pick one that is taller than me?” I guess a couple of inches make quite a difference.

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Leanne and Rachel, thick as thieves.

Come to think of it, I recently had a similar experience. Before attending the annual Scrooge musical at a local church (a near-Broadway production, with 100+ in the cast) we attended a Christmas party at a nearby friends’ home. When I walked in the door, I immediately noticed that all of the men present were taller than me by a good three inches, at least. Honoring a house preference, I had taken off my shoes, so I was bereft of even that half-inch advantage. At 5’11″ and over 200 pounds, I don’t usually consider myself a small person … it was strange to be so comparatively short, if not particularly less bulky.

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Two of my girls, in the days before Big Blue (our new double-recliner) was delivered.

The Scrooge Musical presented by Covenant Celebration Church in Puyallup was glorious, as usual. Rachel says that since we have now attended three years in a row, this has become a “Tradition”. The performance is a distinct departure from some of the more secular interpretations of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol — there is a strong (almost heavy-handed) Christian message in the play that only the most determined could overlook. Although I am very fond of Dickens’ original work, I think that the Christ-centered version is a considerable improvement … long-term change in Scrooge’s character is only believable within the context of a changed heart and the power of the Holy Spirit. This year there were few surprises, and I found that much of my enjoyment came in observing my children. Joshua, in particular, seemed to deeply savor the performance, frequently laughing so loudly that I could clearly hear him over the sometimes-deafening music. The simulated snow falling on the audience at the end of the performance was a big hit with kids and grown-ups alike … there is something magical about snow, even the soap-bubble variety.

Friday night we attended a local amateur production of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, a charming story about a church Christmas pageant that is transformed by the participation of a family of un-churched thug-children. Smoking cigars in the ladies room and guzzling the communion grape juice, the six Herdman children end up playing all of the major roles in the pageant. As it is unveiled to them, the Herdmans react to the Christmas story in ways that seem funny to those of us more familiar with the story … Joseph wants to threaten the innkeeper, and the three wise men make plans for a commando raid on Herod’s palace. But it is the oldest Herdman girl, playing Mary, who experiences the deepest change, holding the plastic doll tenderly as she comes to grips with the awesome vulnerability of the Savior. It was a very poignant moment, and I was privileged to see it. Thanks, Mom and Dad, for buying our tickets and watching Sarah and David!

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