Jaren's Blog

December 28, 2010

New Site

Filed under: Jaren's Writings — Jaren @ 10:25 am

I will keep this blog site open as it has a great deal of traffic, yet I have moved content to: http://jarenldavis.com/ If you are a follower of my blog please use the new site and pass it around for me, thx!


December 13, 2010

Naïveté at the Nativity – Revisited

Filed under: "The Gonzo Mama" — TheGonzoMama @ 9:07 pm

This is one of my favorite holiday posts, because it demonstrates so perfectly the dynamics of my family. In fact, it may just become an annual post. Enjoy, and please feel free to share your holiday program mishaps… You know, so I don’t feel so dysfunctional and whatnot.

My kids make up eighty percent of the children and youth in our church, so there’s little question that they will be cast in the Christmas production each year. The competition for roles is—what’s the word I’m looking for? Oh, yes… “nonexistent.” In fact, it’s not unusual for a single child to play two or thirteen different roles in each year’s program.

In 2006, a three-month-old Snugglebug made her stage debut as baby Jesus. During rehearsals, we’d placed her in the wooden manger (filled with shredded paper instead of hay, due to her asthma) several times so that she wouldn’t be startled by the sensation. There was some discussion of a song that would be sung during the manger scene, but we never ran the scene with the music. Our director said things like, “This is where everyone is gathered around baby Jesus in the manger. Is the baby in the manger? Okay. Now, there will be music here, so everyone will just be still and look at the baby, okay? Okay! When the music is over, the curtains will close, and the baby can come out of the manger.”

We actually didn’t hear the music until the performance. Mr. Wright and I were backstage, assisting with costume changes. There were many. Shepherds became angels who became sheep who became shepherds, and so on. Snugglebug was napping in her infant carrier, and I held out hope that she’d stay that way through her big scene. Naturally, just before her cue, she woke up, hungry and fussy.

A volley of urgent whispering took place behind the drawn curtain, with Princess (“Mary”) asking, “What do I do? She’s crying. I can’t take her out there while she’s crying,” and me thrusting a bottle into her hand and directing her to “wing it.”

Nestled into the manger with Princess holding the bottle for her, Snugglebug calmed down, and no one even brought up the anachronistic use of the plastic bottle that fed the infant savior. Then, the song started. It was “What Child is This?” With two verses down and just the slightest discontent stirrings from Snugglebug, I thought we were in the clear. I prepared for the curtain to close, planning to whisk her offstage before she let loose with any serious wailing, but the music went on. And on. There must be thirty-seven verses of “What Child is This?” that I have never heard.

Snugglebug began making the small whimpering sound I recognized as the prelude to full-volume, fist-clenching, rage-filled screaming. Mr. Wright heard it, too. We looked at each other. “What do we do?” we mouthed.

As luck would have it, I married a genius. Mr. Wright grabbed a pair of donkey ears from the pile of costume accessories, put them on, and entered the stage. What’s one more donkey, in a manger scene?

It did raise a few eyebrows when the large donkey stole the baby Jesus from the manger, but I’m sure the wisemen would have called in an Amber Alert if they truly thought there was cause for alarm.

This year, Curlytop and Snugglebug couldn’t wait for their cue to enter as angels and followed “Joseph” and “Mary” on the road to Jerusalem. “Oh, look!” a chuckling Joseph ad-libbed. “The Lord has sent guardian angels to watch over us on our journey. God is so good!”

The unscripted guardian angels appeared in several scenes, including the manger scene. When Snugglebug saw her Cabbage Patch doll resting in the wooden trough, she shouted, “That’s not baby Jesus!” over the playing of “Mary Did You Know?” With haste, our precious cherub yanked the doll from the manger and tossed it across the stage.

Taking note of the empty manger, Curlytop pulled off her wings and crawled inside. “I’m not baby Jesus,” she announced to those who may have been confused. “I’m not an angel now. I’m a little girl. I’m gonna use the baby Jesus bed, okay?”

In fact, the only scene Curlytop and Snugglebug didn’t participate in was the Choir of Angels scene they were cast in. Instead, they ran, screaming, down the aisles of the church. It’s tough raising divas.

Call me naïve. Call me an optimist. Call me out of touch with reality. The fact is, the church Christmas program only happens once a year. That means I have ample time to forget everything that went wrong with the previous year’s program, and get excited about the current year’s performance.

Merry Christmas, and may the Lord richly bless you in the coming year!

Be sure to check out my site to order your copy of my book, Everything I Need to Know About Motherhood I Learned from Animal House, the perfect stocking stuffer or office gift exchange item at just $10.00!

December 3, 2010

I am sacrificing for you… make something of yourself!

Filed under: Jaren's Writings — Jaren @ 1:27 pm

If you are much like me when you hear the name Nevil Shed, you may not know anything about the person; you might even think he is an Englishman, or at least of Caucasian decent; right?  Perhaps this is a common response as you will see.  The Nevil Shed I now know is 6’ 8” tall, a talented basketball player, and was recruited by over 100 collegiate basketball teams.  These were all on full ride scholarships offered during the 1960’s.

Sadly, Nevil soon learned the offers had come from coaches who were unaware he was black.  Of the 100 plus letters piling up on his kitchen table with more coming in daily; there were only 12 schools that would even consider a “colored” man on their team!

This wasn’t necessarily shocking to Nevil or his parents; they were living during an era of intense discrimination.  Nevil insisted with his mother that he would go to some of the colleges which were offering him scholarships, even though they had misinterpreted his color.  She didn’t want him too, but he did anyway.

What Nevil experienced next brought home how horrible intolerance was in other parts of the country.  Electing one night to go to a movie, Nevil approached the ticket booth with everyone else.  As he handed over his dollar for entrance the employee pushed it back to him.  Unaware there was a separate entrance for colored people, he innocently handed the dollar back.  It was pushed back again with no communication whatsoever.  Then suddenly someone grabbed Nevil by the arm, showing him where “his” entrance was.

Nevil walked down a dark scary alley to dreary doorway.  There he was granted access, but found he had a special location, away from other guests, which was upstairs.  Nevil wanted popcorn and a drink to enjoy during the movie, yet he was afraid of what may be put in his food.  While approaching the drinking fountain he clearly witnessed another bias toward him, place on the wall were two fountains; one for whites, and the other for colored people.

His story of becoming a member of the first team to win the NCAA national basketball championship, with an all black starting lineup, in 1966 I will save for a different story.  What I want to share with you is the story Nevil shared with me last night.  This is what started him on his path of success.

Nevil’s father worked in a train station helping traveling passengers disembark from passenger cars and loaded their luggage.  One day Nevil went to work with his father and there witnessed some of the pressures his father had to put up with at work.

Those who reached out their hand for assistance or those who required help with baggage referred to Nevil’s father as “boy.”  This troubled Nevil deeply as he knew the term wasn’t being used respectfully toward his dad.  On one occasion Nevil assisted his father by placing suitcases in line on the floor; this was done to position them out of harms way, and allow easy access for the travelers.

One passenger took his belongings and moved them a few feet from where Nevil placed them as the train was leaving.  When the train went by, the steam from the engine sprayed all over the man’s luggage as it proceeded down the tracks.  This angered the man terribly.  He immediately yelled at Nevil’s father to correct the wrong.  Nevil’s dad hurried over, knowing the fault lay in this mans actions, and apologized while cleaning the bags with his handkerchief.

To Nevil’s surprise the wife of the man who had moved his own luggage commented “It is no ones fault but yours, you placed the bags in the way.”  Nevil remembers the man arguing with his wife as he continued to belittle his father by using “boy” throughout his remarks.

That night, at home, Nevil who felt ashamed of his father, not understanding why he wouldn’t stand up for himself, yelled at him commenting “Why don’t you stick up for yourself!”  To Nevil’s surprise the next thing he remembered was that he was up against the wall with his father pushing him in the upper chest.

“I will not have you act like this.  I put food in your stomach (pointing at Nevil’s midsection), clothes on your back (pointing at his chest), and a roof over your head (waving his hand over Nevil’s head) with this job!  All I need from you is to make something of yourself so you don’t have to ever find yourself in my position.”

All 6’ 8” of this teenager found himself humbled and dedicated to honoring the gift his father so graciously gave; his all!  From that moment on Nevil never looked back, he took the talents God blessed him with, and the love of his parents, to became a major contributor and success in life.  Someone his father truly was proud of!

This father’s son enabled our current athletic world (perhaps all society) to benefit from the equality we enjoy today.  He did this while suffering through tremendous trials!  Nevil must carry his father’s spirit.

To fathers and mothers all over this beautiful world; those who carry enough love in their heart too further the lives of their children, thank you.  To my mother and father, thank you for what you have given me.  And too my children, my hope is I, with your mother, have opened doors of opportunity for you.  Now go out and make a difference in our world!



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