...and now I can sleep...
Actually, here's brief rundown (will feel like a repeat Cherie as I'm too tired to be more creative...hence the copy & paste job from my comment!):
had nightmares all week long that we were going to run out of food.
Turns out we figured perfectly, and the food came through (i settled my
self down each time thinking that the Savior fed thousands on 2 fish
& 5 loaves of bread...worked MOST of the time for me!) I'm
hoping other people will have pix, because my camera (along with my special Quinoa was forgotten at
home---which makes me VERY sad). Despite that, the night was perfect. Had a very organic
feeling, and as authentic as we could muster. So as many banquet tables as were possible were shortened as low as they could go to the floor, and each person was to BYOP (bring their own pillow for seating)! Icing on that cake was that it started snowing yesterday morning, so Daisy made a chalkboard sign requesting shoes & "robes" be left in the entry. The sign also looked like an old road sign with a "board" for Bethlehem pointed down the hall to our tax collector, and another "board" for Babylon pointed to the chaos in the kitchen! Lol, as a result there were piles on
top of piles of shoes & coats in the entry way which was delightful to behold! (and less soggy for those sitting on the floor in the gym)
People were lined
up to pay their "taxes" with our tax collector, Brother Robbins, and his custom tax collection box Mr LKP hand-crafted for the evening! The being taxed portion turned out to be more fun than I had imagined. (Thanks be to Jodi & Molly for countless hours of cutting!)
No one was to bring anything except their families, friends, & pillows. The ward provided the entire meal, with the manual efforts of some WONDERFUL SISTERS IN THE WARD (Nicki, Jenn, Cyndi, Vicki, Melissa, Tiffany, Sarah E., Sarah M., Jennis, Pam, Teri, Camille-you are all INCREDIBLE cooks let alone ladies! Also Necia & all my gals who served! Thank you all so very very much.) Then the line for
dinner was wrapped around the entire gym! SO much fun! In keeping with a middle-eastern/ancient Israel feel, Chicken
curry over couscous was served and was a huge hit! Turns our many people had never had couscous
before & the curry was perfect for even the pickiest eaters! (and, might I add, it was the easiest recipe ever!) Along with the curry dish we served green salad, grapes, olives, carrots, cut bananas, rolls & water to drink. Figured had we actually been journeying to Bethlehem that night of the first Christmas, by the time we'd have arrived the meal would have been filling but humble. So that's exactly what it was: humble. For dessert we enjoyed Cinnamon Flop (kinda like coffee cake, but no coffee). Considering we planned for between 225-250 people, we did REALLY well. Everyone was contently filled, we were able to offer some second helpings, and we had only a little left in the end! We didn't run out of utencils, napkins, plates, cups or ice for that matter! So, I
couldn't have dreamed for it to have all gone any better.
Good thing we did a TON of floor seating, because conventionally we'd have only been able to seat about 212 people. There were people EVERYWHERE, around every table in every possible way! (Even then there were still people standing for the program & some trickled into the hallways.) Each table was dressed in excess newsprint from the local Herald (which added a perfect subtle color & meekness to the whole ambiance---and cheap as each 100' remnant roll was $3.25!) Down each table was 18' garland (the rounds had an arrangement of garland/greenery. Strewn along the greenery were lightly scented pine cones, cinnamon sticks, and various other boughs/twigs/etc. Tea lights were placed EVERYWHERE! Our coloring
sheets rocked; the kids thoroughly enjoyed them. They were in baskets with crayons all over the room. Each table was set with papyrus scrolls with each song's lyrics for our program, which were tied with jute. At center-court was a 30" tall manger which Mr LKP again lent his woodworking skills to (he claims he missed his calling in life as a manger builder & may have to sell mangers on etsy or ebay or craigslist just to bring himself joy---it IS pretty cool. May wind up in my front yard it's THAT cool). In it was some some straw & swaddling material. It sat empty the entire night, until near the end of our program.
The program was fantastic as the
Spirit was SO STRONG as we read the scriptural account of the first
Christmas, mixed with Christmas hymns sung by each auxillary. One of our young women even did
me the favor of singing "Breath of Heaven" by Amy Grant while her
sister accompanied her (thank you a million times over Elizabeth & Kenley!). Those gals brought tears to my eyes. The Primary kids were
priceless, and truly nothing matches their sweet voices intertwined
with beautiful & simple songs of the Savior! Our Joseph, Mary & Baby Jesus entered the gym as the Relief Society was singing "Angels We Have Heard on High." (Thank you Mazariegos family!) It was quite perfect. Even our Young Men were brave & sang nobly "Once in Royal David's City". We closed with our
emeritus Stake Patriarch reading a poem about our own journey to the
Savior that a friend of my mom's wrote specifically for our night (thank you Karla!).
family left with a gift from the ward: a 5x7 print of the painting "Journey to Bethlehem"
with a copy of Karla's poem attached.
All in all it was fantastic & was
fun to see everyone participate either through reading, or singing, or
even sitting at our VERY shortened tables on their pillows on the
floor! Great night. Am tired. Love you all so much! Thanks for all your
help & support in making this Journey to Bethlehem a reality!
After receiving many requests, Karla Claybrook has been generous enough to grant her permission for the use of her poem for your own Christmas parties, FHEs, or Christmas gifts. Just please give credit where credit is due, and continued to include her byline. Also, please use her poem in its entirety. Thank you for your appreciation & your respect!