20 April 2018

Putting on a Community Nativity Event

In the spring the Stake President asked me to be in charge of a community nativity exhibit to be held on two days in December at our church building. I said "yes", little realizing what I was getting myself in for!! It was a huge job and took literally hundreds of hours of my time to take care of all the many details.
This was the professionally produced flyer and small postcards that we distributed to the wards to advertise the event.
I wanted to have black nativity scene silhouettes to put on the walls in the hallway of the church building.
Kent and I went over to the church to trace them on the back of the paper. (It was white on the back and black on the front.) Other people cut them out for me.
At the last minute Kent and other men in our ward (the missionaries are pictured) ended up building the stanchions that would keep people from getting too close to the displays. They were made from PVC pipe and put into wooden stands-also built by men in our ward-to hold them up.
Here are a couple of shots of what our family room looked like the day before we were taking things to the church to set up.
We dubbed it "Nativity Event Central."
This is the only picture of me that was taken during the 40 hours I was at the church--setting up and staying at the exhibit for the entire time it was open.
It actually snowed (rare for December in Virginia) on the second day the exhibit was open, but the roads were pretty clear. The exhibit was open from 7 to 9pm on Friday and from 2 to 8pm on Saturday.
Kent cut out the wood for the "Welcome" signs and I used my cutting machine to cut the letters out of vinyl, which I put on the boards. I put one on either side of the building,
 Here are how the silhouettes looked on the walls. I'd ordered the paper online and it was flimsier than I expected it to be.
 These camel silhouettes turned out to be the largest.
 This was the easiest one to cut out and put up! We used painter's tape to put them on the walls.
This view shows how big they were--about four feet high. They were pretty fragile.
I made two wreaths with gold ribbon and added some gold leaves. 
This picture doesn't really capture the magnitude of the pile of glitter that was on the floor after I made the wreath!! My clothes were covered with glitter, too.
Fortunately, I'd bought two gold wreaths, too. I put the four gold wreaths  on each of the doors into the cultural hall.  
 Here are views of one side of the room.
I divided the space by continents.
 The area above was Central America.
This was the Asia and Hawaii section.
Opposite side view of the Asia section.
 We had display tables in the middle of the cultural hall, too.
 Some of the larger sets were displayed on the round tables in the middle.
I also had one table with only white and glass nativities, which was very pretty.
We hung twinkle lights up above and twenty-four large paper stars hanging from them for decorations.
 This was the Africa and Middle East section, which ended up being a bit sparse.Not surprisingly, I brought my nativity set from Nigeria and it was the only one.
 This photo gives a good view of the stanchions Kent made. The cloth is cafe curtains that I ordered on line and had to unpick a seam on all of them so they would fit on the PVC pipes.
This was our North America section.
It was by far the fullest section, though technically I think many of them were made in China! 
 I displayed the nativity cross stitch that I made many years ago,
and also this nativity wall quilt I made.
I did one whole table of nativities from Germany, and brought many of my own things to display.
 This was our Peru section. A sister is our ward is from Peru and brought most of them, though the one in the boat is mine that I bought when we were in Peru in April.
This is a close up of the Asia section. The Samurai nativity in the back was one of my favorites.
The Relief Society room was set up with cookies and water for refreshments.
There was also a children's room with nativity themed activities for the kids
 This cool backdrop was painted by a talented sister in our ward. The kids could dress up and take pictures in front of the back drop.
This was the craft the kids could make in the children's room.
I don't have a picture of it, but an idea I saw on pinterest that I did was to make an "I Spy" sheet for people to look for different figures in the nativities. It said "Find a nativity where the stable is an igloo", for example. People really seemed to like that.
I was physically exhausted by the time it was all done. I didn't get as much support as I'd hoped to set up, which is one reason I spent so many hours at the church from Wednesday evening to Saturday evening. That's seems to be the story of my life, expecting people to show up to help and being disappointed because they don't! 
I received many compliments on how it all turned out. Fifteen nonmembers that I invited actually came, which is one reason why I stayed there the whole time it was open. I really feel like I received inspiration from the Lord to help me, since I'd never done anything like it before.

14 April 2018

A Relief Society Activity and A Christmas Concert at Constitution Hall

Due to scheduling conflicts, our Relief Society Christmas dinner and program was held on November 16th. It was actually nice to have it done before the month of December. The theme was "Angels Among Us". For the program I referenced Jeffrey R. Holland's talk in the October 2008 General Conference, "The Ministry of Angels".
"My beloved brothers and sisters, I testify of angels, both the heavenly and the mortal kind. In doing so I am testifying that God never leaves us alone, never leaves us unaided in the challenges that we face. “[N]or will he, so long as time shall last, or the earth shall stand, or there shall be one man [or woman or child] upon the face thereof to be saved.”13 On occasions, global or personal, we may feel we are distanced from God, shut out from heaven, lost, alone in dark and dreary places. Often enough that distress can be of our own making, but even then the Father of us all is watching and assisting. And always there are those angels who come and go all around us, seen and unseen, known and unknown, mortal and immortal."
 I decorated with a gold and white color scheme, using gold wreaths, paper fans,
 and some ribbon angels I'd made.
 I always splurge to get nice paper napkins that fit my color scheme.
The centerpieces were a large angel surrounded by gold tulle with lights underneath.
I made these angel centerpieces with angel head ornaments I'd made about ten years ago, then used lacy fabric over a glass bottle as the body and a gold ribbon as wings.
I'm holding this one to show how big it was.
 I also made about forty of these small angels, which the women were able to take home as ornaments.
They were made with three kinds of ribbon and a painted wooden bead for a face.
This is the other side of the room after the activity, so the small angels had been given away.
 On the 2nd of December we attended a free Christmas concert given by the Army band at the Daughters of the American Revolution's Constitution Hall.
Kent and I went with Jim and Susan Burkett and Jennifer Johnson (center). Sadly, it was one of Jennifer's last outings. Just three weeks after joining us for the concert, she succumbed to the cancer she's been battling for many years, and passed away.
 The concert was fantastic, with a nice blend of instrumental and vocal Christmas carols.
 The Army Fife and Drum Corps even made an appearance.
And Santa took a turn leading the band. It was a very enjoyable evening and a great way to kick off the Christmas season!