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Nov 30 2016

Junie B Jones Reprise

Posted by Mugs @ 11:47 am in Family,Music Print This Post Print This Post

For Zeke, this Autumn has been filled, once again, with Christian Youth Theater. He took a stage combat and stunts class which he loved. We all gasped during the showcase when he sent a broken board flying to the ceiling. He auditioned for the Junie B Jones production by singing “Putting on the Ritz.” Much to our surprise and delight, he was cast as Junie B’s friend Herb. He learned lines and harmonies and dances over the course of nine weeks on Friday nights and Saturdays.

The entire cast was between the ages of 8 – 14. The director set high expectations for them and they stepped up to the challenge – even moving the set pieces throughout the show. Zeke loved the rehearsals and anytime the cast met to skate, do a radio promo, or eat pancakes. He just loved being with this group of kids. They were all very encouraging and supportive of one another throughout.

My favorite part of the show was when Zeke sang the duet, “You can be my friend,” with Junie B. aka Belle. It was so sweet and showcased their underlying character trait of kindness. Every time I saw the scene, it always made me smile. I also loved the creepy scene where Junie B realizes she needs glasses. Being in one bizarre scene each play is becoming a strange pattern for Zeke.

Gabe found the costume transformation of Chasqui, complete with mustache, into Mr Scary highly amusing. Gabe even bought a button in support. The tap dancing lunchroom scene, the slow mo chest bump, the bus driver, and the physical comedy of Sheldon aka Craig all brought smiles and laughs. Junie B (Belle) was terrific in all shows.

Zeke got to stand in the line to give autographs. (I found this hilarious, and the line was long for each performance.) The bio board was terrific with pictures of the performers presently and back in first grade. Zeke’s favorite performances were the ones they did for the second graders of Stafford County Public Schools. When Junie B said she was most likely going to marry Herb some day, the second grader’s reacted with a loud “Eeew!” which really made Zeke laugh.

(Photos courtesy of Amber Trementozzi CYT photographer and friend to all. She does a great job at the shows.)

The behind the scenes photos aren’t quite the same quality, but they make me smile.

Nov 28 2016

Mom Brings us Joy and a Song

Posted by Mugs @ 10:12 am in Family,Music Print This Post Print This Post

Mom, Josiah, and Abby came to see Zeke’s show and I was blessed. Being the youngest, Zeke has cheered all of his siblings at multiple races, games, concerts, and competitions. When he took his bow after his first Junie B Jones performance and saw and heard the Manry Clan and Grandma cheering loudly, the joyous smile on his face gladdened my heart. A moment together united in support – common before, now suddenly rare as we are seldom together in one place. I wanted to capture the moment and hold it tightly, record its preciousness.

Junie B Jones ends with the song “Writing down the stories of our lives.” Each time the cast sang it, I was reminded of Dale’s request when he deployed years ago. He asked me to write down the Manry Clan adventures and capture precious events in words and pictures. Sometimes I did, sometimes I did not.  “When this sorrow is past, I’ll get back to it;” “When I finish this project, I’ll get back to it;” “When I feel better, I’ll get back to it;” “When everything is happy, I’ll get back to it.”  An entire year goes by with nary a story.

The stories I love make me laugh, but also make me cry; make me hope, but also make me despair. I have been unwilling to show such vulnerability in the stories of my life. When life gets too hard, I grow silent. I cherish the time to laugh, not the time to weep.

Life has been hard for Mom since Dad’s stroke, yet Mom keeps plugging along, bringing joy to me and those who need encouragement. She attended a coping skills class and was encouraged to keep learning new things. She began taking music lessons with the goal of learning to sing in tune. While visiting, she performed to the great admiration of the Manry Clan. Thankfully, I captured it.

Nov 26 2016

The Faithful Trotter

Posted by Mugs @ 2:45 pm in Family,Running Print This Post Print This Post

I’m very thankful for the faithful trotter in my home. Year in, year out for the 31+ years I have known him, no matter where he resides, he has run. He has run along the hills of the Hudson, in the mountains of Colorado, during the snowstorms of Wisconsin, along the river in Seoul, beneath the wide open sky of Canberra, behind the barbed wire in Iraq, and through the monuments of DC. Running slumps have been few and far between.

In the meantime, I will jump on the wagon, fall off the wagon, get run over by the wagon, or chase after the wagon halfheartedly. Faithfulness to fitness is not my strength – hence the admiration.

Dale ran the 5k turkey trot again this year, and as with all his races, had a goal. He wanted to finish in under 23 minutes. He achieved his goal with a time of 22:38. He was rewarded with a doughnut and cheers from his fans.

 

Oct 15 2016

A Ferry Ride, A Fearless Leader, and a Sugar Plum Fairy

Posted by Mugs @ 9:38 pm in Church,Family,Nature,Sightseeing Print This Post Print This Post

Where can you find a ferry ride, a fearless leader, and a sugar plum fairy? At the women’s retreat, of course. This year we returned to Eastover Manor courtesy of our favorite ferry across the James River. The first question the team asked upon arrival was, “Where is Marie? We need Marie.” Last year, my sister Marie was our unofficial 4th team member who organized the fridge, set meal items out, started the fire, and did everything else that needed to be done well and not in my haphazard way. I cannot imagine why Marie wouldn’t want to come back. Maybe she believes a retreat should be relaxing. (Thankfully, Sondra and Mary Johns picked up the slack.) We missed Mom too, but understood her desire to fulfill the roll of supportive Grandma for Zeke’s performance in November. Happily, Abby joined us this year and brought Kathleen with her to bring us some youthful outlooks.

We were blessed to have Kristen’s dear friend, Jen Oshman as our speaker. She taught us from the book of Colossians on the preeminence, supremacy, sufficiency, and attributes of Christ. She exhorted us to grace driven effort and to holding fast to the future grace that awaits us. We were all privileged to witness the recitation of the book of Colossians by Jen and her sweet friend, Alivia. It inspired us all to grasp hold of Psalm 119:11 “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”

Alivia was a gift from God to us. Helping us to see God at work among us – encouraging, exhorting, praying, finding scripture, making us laugh with her tourist antics. I met Alivia and thought, “We’ve just met, but I know you. We are sisters in the Lord.” If you ever need an energy boost, ask God to send you Alivia on a redeye flight.

Kristen and I were once again determined to beat The Fearless Leader in the pajama parade. Our efforts, however, were to no avail. When Mary dresses like a chicken and does the chicken dance, what can we do but lose again? There were four categories of winners – Mary Johns’ normal pjs were a hoot, Abby (as usual) was cutest, but it was Genean as the sugar plum fairy who stole the show. My and Kristen’s consolation prize was winning reverse charades despite the opposition’s fabulous totem pole.

Amy was a walking comedy routine throughout the weekend whether she was battling wooden bedposts, forgetting the bridge every time in “May the Peoples Praise You,” or making trash bags suddenly appear. If we were laughing, it was most likely because Amy was up to her antics. She was a great distraction from the pouring rain and howling wind. God granted us a clear arrival and a clear departure, but our fireside chat had to move indoors. The MKM Rappers made their one and only appearance complete with a limousine, broken hearts, shooting the moon, buying a break, and a whole lot of promises. Rapping in front of a crowd – The Fearless Leader leads the way.

As always, God was faithful to meet with us and His Holy Spirit uplifted us. With Christ in our hearts uniting us, we were able to encourage one another in the faith. Each year, God moves among us and every year I am reminded how very precious the retreat is in my life.

Sep 10 2016

A Picnic Baptism

Posted by Mugs @ 5:29 pm in Church,Family Print This Post Print This Post

To escape the one hundred degree July heat, the Church Picnic moved to a new date, but thankfully, stayed at the same place. We all love going to Bob and Denise’s home every year to eat, swim, and play games together. This year, a baptism was added in to encourage our hearts in the Lord. We were all blessed to witness Kerri and Amy’s proclamation of faith in Christ.

You’ll have to look in the background of the photos in order to find Denise. She was busy, as usual, working throughout the entire event. Bob, after completing his grill duties, was goofing off.

The kids had fun playing Ted’s latest game creations – noodle soccer and wet sponge attack. Sophie Grace and Elijah were all in, determined to get the ball in the goal (the opponent’s goal or their own goal – either would suffice.) Jeff Singley was the big loser in the wet sponge attack, having received the most hits via wet sponge. I’m fairly certain that it is an essential part of church operations for the youth leader to periodically be pummeled by his unruly flock.

The ribs and chicken were delicious as were all the sides and desserts. (High praise goes to Genean’s peach cobbler.) Because the Manry Clan lost at cornhole (we’ve been slacking off in our bag toss skill training), Dale was forced to give up bragging rights for the year.

Nine years ago, the Manry Clan landed in Virginia, and was welcomed as family by New Life Community Church. Each year, Denise and Bob host this picnic for our family of God, gladly welcoming and feeding all who will come. Their gracious hospitality has been a testimony to me of what it looks like to “love your neighbor as yourself.”

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