Today, December 31, 2013, we visited the mission at San Juan Capistrano. Jason got 11 complimentary tickets because the mission is a client of the graphic design company that he is working for. Tim worked a half day at Financial Tools. They picked him up in the van and we made the short drive down there.
The Mission was founded in 1776. They built the Great Stone Church which was the largest church at its time west of the Mississippi. Unfortunately an earthquake in 1812 destroyed most of the church. You can see the remains in the background.
The Mission had gardens, a vineyard, wine press, and much more.
They had a “hands-on” area for children to learn. They had blocks with instructions showing how to build a mission arch. As part of his work with the graphic design company, Jason designed the instructional graphic on the wall.
We spent a good part of Christmas eve wrapping presents. So we never got around to our “semi-tradition” of unwrapping one gift on Christmas Eve.
Because Financial Tools (Tim’s employer) was only open a half day on Christmas Eve, Tim worked the 6:00 AM to 10:00 AM shift (thanks to a co-worker who picked him up and dropped him off). So Tim and Jeri were up at 5:00 AM. Tim crashed on his bed around 10 PM.
Our church had a service on Christmas morning at 11 AM. So we didn’t have time to open presents before church. Getting home around 1 PM, we proceeded to have our Christmas Day dinner which was leftover Chinese carryout from the night before. We opted to skip the faux-turkey meal in lieu of something simpler. Hong Kong Express is a crowd-pleaser at our house.
After lunch cleanup was done, we had to take our annual Christmas photo. Here’s the picture.
Here’s Sarah in front of the tree.
Here’s Jeffrey with some of his presents. Note the top of the chip cans in the foreground.
On Sunday evening, December 15, 2013, our church presented a Christmas play called “A Christmas to Believe In.” Our family had some major roles in putting it together. It began a few months earlier when Elizabeth asked if we could do a play. Because Tim had directed a Christmas play at church a few years ago, he was reluctant to overcommit.
So Nicole and Joanna decided to give it a shot. They searched online and found a potential script. Pastor Steve reviewed it and had a few suggestions; his son, Justin Orman, revised it.
Next we needed the actors. Elizabeth easily recruited the her friends for the girl parts. When given a choice to playing in the Christmas recital or being in the play, Jeffrey decided to take a lead role in the play. Even though she wouldn’t have much time to rehearse until after her college classes finished, Joanna seemed to be a good fit for the other main role. Pastor Steve encouraged some of the buys and young men to help out. So our cast was set.
Rehearsals were Sunday afternoons. Because we didn’t start practicing until November and because this play involved younger children, it seemed like we might have started too late. Even one week before the performance, the play was far from being ready. However it started to come together during our final rehearsal (which was just hours before the performance).
Nicole was the director; Victoria was her assistant. Jeri helped coordinate miscellaneous details. Tim oversaw the production. Joanna, Jeffrey, Elizabeth, and Josiah all had parts. Josiah and another young boy were crowd favorites as they first played shepherds and sang “Away in a Manger.” Then later, they were wise men and sang “We Two Kings.”
We received a lot of favorable comments including one person who said, “That was the best play that the church has ever done.”
Here are some photos. Click on an image to see it full size.