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Archive for August, 2012

Aug 28 2012

The Briens Rules

Posted by Mugs @ 11:11 am in Church,Family

The Briens stayed with us a full week, and it went by in a flash. Zeke came home from school on the day they flew back to Nicaragua with a sad face.

“I miss the Briens,” he said. “When I’m 18, I’m going to move to Nicaragua and live next door to them.”

It is great fun to live with or near the Briens, but occasionally I am compelled to establish new rules in my house that I never thought I would need.

Rule #1: No playing a hand held electronic game system with it plugged into the wall charger while sitting on the toilet.

Rule #2: No hiding socks in my car, under my couch, in the bedding, and upon my tables because your mum/wife makes you wear them and you can’t stand it.

Rule #3: No yelling out curse words while heeling across the front of the church while your Dad is giving a missions support update.

Rule #4: No eating your children’s/husband’s chocolate whenever they do not have a firm grip on it.

Rule#5: No looking at your laptop while the children are saying their nightly prayers.

Rule #6: No walking outside wrapped only in a towel into the front yard where I’m gardening and yelling out to all my neighbors, “Margaret’s neighbors, do not be alarmed! My wife is in the house!”

I do know I am wasting my time making these rules. The Briens live by only two rules:

“…Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and Love your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 10:27

They follow those rules quite well, but I do think on occasion it is helpful to adhere to:

Rule #7: When traveling from church to church raising support for the work in Nicaragua and you are asked by the pastor of a church if your mum drinks coffee for breakfast, do not reply, “No, she doesn’t drink coffee, she drinks wine.”


Aug 27 2012

No More Hippie

Posted by Mugs @ 12:48 pm in Family

School has started and the Manry boys, after months of no haircuts, are now sporting a different look. As always, it was hardest on Gabe who had grown his bangs long enough to cover the bridge of his nose.

Josiah, however, was the most shocking change. When his cut was done, the floor was covered with his curls and he looked like a different man.

A New Josiah

A New Josiah


Aug 19 2012

They Sing and Dance and Make Us Laugh

Posted by Mugs @ 7:13 pm in Church,Family

“No other family would live our life,” Francesca aptly told her Mum, Liz.

Briens and Manrys

Briens and Manrys

“It’s funny cuz it’s true,” I said.

The Briens live a crazy life for the Lord as missionaries in Nicaragua: giving away chickens, using a horse and cart for a school bus, training teen boys in street stunts, and fostering children they find on the side of the road.

They serve the Lord in a messy, chaotic, joy filled way full of faith and love and hope by reaching out to the poor and sick and hurting.

Please pray for them and the Lord’s ministry in Nicaragua. If you are able, please support them in any way you can.

Their website is


Aug 15 2012

They Arrive via Night Bus

Posted by Mugs @ 9:54 am in Church,Family

“The Briens are coming! The Briens are coming!” has echoed down the east coast of the US several times over the last month. They started in Rochester NY and made their way south by way of Minnesota and California. (Brien geography is a bit confusing.) After a brief excursion in the Big Apple, where they purchased the gear essential for all Brien travel “heelys” they boarded the night bus for their trip to DC.

Their expected arrival time was 0545 Monday morning at Union Station.

Jed Brien = 0545

Never thought I’d see the day.

I left the house at 0515 and arrived at Union station 0610. I exited the HOV lane just before 0600 and waived at the cop who was hoping I would stay on the HOV for 5 more minutes so he could give me a ticket.

Upon arrival at Union Station, I drove around and around and around the circle slowing down at the pickup area and searching vainly for our favorite Aussies. Clinging desperately to the Meloch family “I’ll pick you up at the curb” plan, I found myself back in Go Dog Go.

At 0645, a parking place opened up in the construction zone I had driven past 15 times. I thanked the Lord, parked and ran in to find bus arrival info.

The Briens, being from Australia originally and missionaries to Nicaragua lately, had no cell phone and Jed refused to use my “Ask any random American to text my phone number with your arrival information” advice. Therefore, I was forced to look for my friends instead of just text them. I had to get out of the car and wander around looking.

How dreadfully old school.

Thankfully, I found the bus company they were traveling with. Two buses were parked and more people than could ever fit on those buses were standing in a very long line. Everyone was holding a whole lot of luggage.

Being the rude and pushy Yankee that I am, I walked around the line and up to the woman with the walkie-talkie.

“Excuse me, can you tell me if the 0545 bus from New York has arrived?” I asked politely.

“We don’t know nothing about buses coming in. We only know about buses going out. NOW STEP BEHIND THE YELLOW LINE!” She yelled.

I stepped behind the yellow line.

Not seeing any Briens thereabouts, I decided to move the van to the parking garage above the bus deck. I now realized my “walk through Union Station with four kids and 10 bags of luggage so I don’t have to get out of my car or pay for parking” idea was obviously quite unhelpful.

After parking the van, I arrived back down onto the bus deck and saw Liz sitting on the deck with her back leaning against a giant concrete pillar in exhaustion and Raf curled up upon the concrete floor. After they saw me and knew their most horrible bus ride ever was over, They looked like this:

Liz and Sezni

Liz and Raf

The bus had arrived at 0700 while I was moving the van. After arrival, Liz and Raf stood guard on one set of luggage while Jed, Fran, Renzy, and Sez hauled the rest to the curb. After loading up Liz and Raf, I drove the van around front to load up the remaining Briens. When it was over, the van was packed so full that each Brien had his/her feet upon a piece of luggage.

This is how the party started.

Briens in the Car

Briens in the Van

Aug 07 2012

The List

Posted by Dale @ 12:38 pm in Family
The Listmaker

The Listmaker

Once again, The Commonwealth of Virginia graciously allowed us a weekend free of mandatory donations in support of the Commonwealth. (The first weekend of August is tax free here in Virginia on purchases of school supplies and clothing.)

The approach of this weekend is always proceeded by the Manry Clan scramble to consolidate the school supply lists. Standing with four kids and four different supply lists in a store full of exasperated parents and crying children is a most unpleasant start to the school year.

The best I can do is limit the duration.

When given a bit of advanced notice, Dale makes a high tech spreadsheet for us. When Abby is not at camp administering a dose of humility to Robin Hood, she consolidates the list.

This year as a result of procrastination and Abby’s absence, the list consolidation was handed down to the Manry family list maker, Zeke.

The boy loves lists and makes lists and lists and lists.

He makes lists of Ruff Ruffman contestants, people from church, food network stars, cousins, smurfs, games on roblox, football teams, etc.

This was his first master list consolidation.

“It took me two hours!” he complained.

Since he also loves to race against the clock, next year I’ll have to time him.