Thursday, August 21, 2008

Friday Show and Tell - and Twin Update

Wow, what a week it has been for us - I am really tired, and have a little twin on my lap, keeping me company as I type. We'll have to see what happens here this evening!

This is #7, and probably the last episode, in my "I Used To . . . " series. When my kids were in the children's department at church, I realized that their cousins were having opportunities that my kids weren't because they were in a larger church. I could see how much fun they were having doing childen's musicals, so I decided that if we didn't have anyone filling that need in our church, I would take it on.

Our first attempt was small and very low tech. It was presented on Palm Sunday, and I still remember the thrill of the performance. This was before the days of even cassette accompaniment tapes - we had piano only. It was a wonderful story, and to this day I remember some of the songs. Two of them we used every Palm Sunday for years afterward.

I went to my favorite bargain store (predecessor to W*lmart, called Alco), and bought all varieties of cotton fabric, mostly striped. I made a dozen or so very simple costumes - just two straight pieces sewn together, leaving armholes and head opening. Add a simple tie belt, and you're good to go. I don't think I took any pictures of this first endeavor, or had anyone take them for me.

Then came the day that I went looking for those costumes for the next performance. They were nowhere to be found. After a considerable amount of sleuthing, I realized that boxes of used clothing being gathered for our Native American friends in Arizona and New Mexico had been gathered in the same room where I kept the props for the plays. I had a sickening feeling as I realized that our costumes had made their way to the reservation. I called the elderly woman pastor on our district, who had once worked with the Indian people and went down every year with the gifts, if she thought my suspicions were correct and the costumes had ended up down there. She said it could very well be, and if so, "Why, honey, they're probably wearing them and tickled to death to have them!" I knew I had to start all over again.

One year I thought it would be fun to have a choir performance instead of a play - I hunted high and low and finally found a pattern that would work for kids' choir robes. We had a marathon session of our young mom's Bible study group, where we cut out the patterns. Then we seamstresses each took about 6 robes home to sew. I was amazed at the difference in how they turned out - we made large bows for the girls, and small knotted ties for the boys.


Then one year we used the robes again for a smaller choir and a pageant on the side. That's one of my nephews doing the solo.


This isn't my favorite shot of myself, but I loved this outfit I made for the occasion. You seamstresses, please note the carefully matched plaid on the bias! And that's Kristen in the left background. She had accompanied at least one song with her flute.

The robes lived on for years as angel costumes, by adding gold or silver garland around the neck and bottom of the robes, when other leaders took over the musicals - as my children aged out of the children's group I stayed on for a few more years, then felt it was time for someone else to have the privilege! It's kind of like pregnancy - the performance is rather like the birth of the baby, where you forget all of the pain and labor. You swear you'll never do THAT again, but soon you are ready to "birth" another performance.

We did this next musical twice - it was so much fun. It was called "Get On Board, Children," and was the story of Noah and the Ark, with the premise of "What do you do on a rainy day in an ark?" if there are lots of children on board. You can see the replacement costumes I had to make for the ones that went on a trip to Arizona or New Mexico. The animal costumes were loaned to us by a church in Illinois. The kids provided their own footie jammies and brought the great variety of stuffed animals. I just noticed Pink Panther leaning against the baptistry in the back - do you think he was really on the ark?? (Oh, great - now I'll be singing that song in my mind all day!)

Here is Yours Truly doing a very rare solo as Mrs. Noah.

Another nephew designed the cover for the programs -

I found some really great cookie cutters in all sorts of unusual animal shapes, so the Bible study group again pitched in and made hundreds of decorated sugar cookies for a snack time after the performance.

I'll never forget the Christmas one we did called "Ebenezer, Jr.", which was a take-off on the Scrooge story, of course. We actually did this one twice as well. The second one ended up being my Swan Song - my last hurrah. My favorite thing to say about that play - if it is true that a lousy dress rehearsal means a great performance, this should have been the best ever. Kev was playing the teen-age lead and wasn't thrilled with the idea. He waited till the very last minute to learn his lines - and had to be prompted on a few, as I recall. The woman playing the mother in the story got sick that day and had to be replaced at the last minute - and we didn't exactly have understudies waiting to jump in with lines learned! But nobody else noticed all the problems.

It has been so much fun watching others take on the mantel and keeping children's musicals a big part of our church.

The twins got some new toys this week and have had so much fun experimenting and learning - and being happy for more than two minutes at a time!

For more Friday Show and Tell stories, stop by Kelli's blog,
There Is No Place Like Home.

Have a great week-end!


Sherry said...

Great pictures (especially Luke at the mic). Those smiles are adorable.

Diane@Diane's Place said...

Oh yes, I've had my trials by fire directing and performing in all kinds of church plays. I've made my share of costumes too.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, LOL! ;o)

Great pics of the kids. I especially like the last one of all 4 girls in the wagon.

Love and hugs,


Kathy said...

Dawn, the pictures are just precious and the robes are wonderful. You obviously loved what you were doing and the children obviously loved it too! Great post...Kathy

Anonymous said...

HOw neat. What a great ministry!

Carrie said...

Your efforts were blessed as you sought to bring enrichment to the children's lives.

Linds said...

I have not so fond memories of duck costumes in my past. And a myriad other dramatic crises too!But the memories are great fun!
Wow, the babes are really so cute, Dawn! I love those huge grins!

Hootin' Anni said...

Dawn....your grandbabies are growing so quickly!!! Love the photos you share of them.

And choir....ahhhh yes, the days of memories for me too. I really enjoyed reading all about this. And I love LOVE the program cover designed by your nephew!!!

Happy Show n Tell day

Chez Nous said...

What a wonderful entry and Praise God for precious servants like you who are willing to put their time, money, energy and talents into helping the children have a memorable experience.

A Hint of Home said...

Those pictures brought back so many memories of my kids in church plays. I've made everything from pig, sheep, and mice costumes for the plays.
Thanks for sharing.

Carla said...

First off, what beautiful children! I love them sitting in the wagon, and nothing is prettier than a baby smile! I have VERY fond memories of church performances, and still love to attend ones (I perfer low-tech). Kudos to you for taking on such a challege! (I didn't know Noah's wife was such a hottie:)

Needled Mom said...

What a wonderful project for you to tackle, Dawn. I know how boring all that "repetitive" sewing can be and that was certainly a lot of repeats. Very cute though! Yes, I did notice the matched plaids on the bias. I really hate seeing expensive clothing that does not match.

The girls are so big now. They look like such happy babies as they discover their new toys. The wagon picture is too cute.

Are you ready for all the excitement in CO nest week? Have a great weekend.

Jess said...

Well glad you can make up plays and be the director...I always was acting and

The twins are so cute!

Penless Thoughts said...

You seem to have the ability to excel at so much Dawn. What a blessing to so many.

Mike Golch said...

Dawn, sorry that I have not been visiting.I have had a lot of distractions. I hope that you are haveing a great day. Mike G. said that!

Judith said...

What a loving caring thing you did for all those children. Tucked away in their keepsakes must be lots of pictures of them in it.
Everyday things like practicing for the plays take on more importance because you took the time to care.

Those lively twins are growing so fast!

julie said...

Ooh, I still remember my line from the very first musical: "You should save that one for special occasions, Jason."

Yes. Line. That was the only one.

Chad's was: "He's an EATING MACHINE!"

Very fun memories.

nancygrayce said...

Well, of course pink panther was on the else would he have gotten here??? :) I love all those pictures and it reminds me of a kinder, gentler time in my own children's lives when they were in church plays! Thanks for the memories! The girls are precious and I especially love the one of all 4 in the wagon!

CrackerJacks said...

They are smiling!! Oh, how sweet they are! I just love your twin updates!

Thanks for sharing your musical memories as well.

Sharon Lynne said...

Great memories.

I also had a season of involvement in writing and directing a children's musical.

But I think you were more dedicated than I was...with the sewing and all. Those pictures of the kids in their "robes" and in their animal costumes are super-cute!

The twins look happy with their new toys! Hopefully it will buy you and Kristin an additional 5 minutes of "relax" time. Those are some great photos!

Christa said...

How fun working with the children, what wonderful memories. I understand what goes into doing a program, and it is a lot of time and energy.

The twins sure are cute, and alert.

Nancy said...

I'm learning so much about you and finding more ways that we are similar... I did Children's Ministry for 10 years at our church and the plays/musicals were a big art of it. You are such a blessing to your church and think about all the little lives you have touched!

The twins have grown. What a blessing!

Today is our twins birthday and I have some pictures up. It's hard to believe it's been a year.

Maine Mom said...

That was so nice of you to take on the children's musicals, so your kids and the other kids could have that experience. I'm glad the tradition is continuing.

The twins look so cute enjoying their new toys. :-)

Michelle (wife, mom, daughter, sister, friend, co-worker, and striving to be a Proverbs 31 woman) said...

Thanks for directing me back to your blog. As I read your and Kevin's story, I realized I had read it before. I read it again anyway. Then I saw my responses to your and Kevin's last (final chapter) posts. I remain inspired (and hopeful) as I did back then.
AND, it's great to see the "new news". I remember participating in a church play, but even more so all the "plays" I put on with my cousins for our families. I was such a matyr making them practice again and again. And my nephew was baby Jesus one year and "tooted" in the manger. I am sorry to say I didn't respond as Jesus would and instead got mad. What memories!
Thanks for sharing yours with us.

Teeny Tiny cabin said...

I really enjoyed reading about your memories as you served joyfully! Your pictures of the children in the plays and the lovingly sewed robes are wonderful!
And Oh how beautiful those twins are!
Blessings to you!
Claudia O.

Sioux said...

Love hearing about the church and the music. Isn't it wonderful to see what can be done...and without spending a lot of money!

The twins are really getting personalities, aren't they.

Have a Blessed Sunday!

Melissa Wertz said...

Dawn the twins are getting big! I remember the wood paneling that churches used to have. Now we have full stage productions. Our Children's Worship (1st-4th grade) is as large as the sanctuary of the church I grew up in. And has as much seating and ... has two services every morning!

We have a "Tween" Ministry for the 5th & 6th grades. And yep, Jr. High is separate from High School and are allowed to mingle together. Tweens are kept with kids. No parent wants their 6th grade DD (possibly over developed hormonal) anywhere near an 18 or possible 19 year old senior. Keeping the ministries separate has worked and we have seen so must grow from it. The children look forward to "promoting with anticipation and excitement"

Thanks for sharing. This brings back a lot of memories.

Mimi said...

I love to share all your memories!!!!!!!!!
and the twins are growing by leaps and bounds.....
your memory posts always bring back some memories of my own!!!

Melissa Wertz said...

With all the rich wood paneling? That is wonderful! Most churches have either painted over theirs or moved on. That is great!

Nadine said...

Great memories and nice pictures. You did a great job on that outfit you wore.

The twins are getting big. What an adorable family.

Susie said...

Hi Dawn,
I can't get over your many talents! Is there anything you can't do??
Those twin pictures are adorable and I especially like the four of them in the wagon!

nancygrayce said...

I have an award for you over on my site!