Home Plays

The people started sitting down on the other side of the curtain as the director rushed around frantically making sure all of the cast was ready.

“Okay, so is the house prop out on stage?” she asked one actor. “Is your hat fixed?” she asked another. The youngest actor stood shyly against the backstage wall looking fearful. “You stay back here until scene two, then come out. After she’s finished talking, come backstage until scene four. Do not worry, you will be fine. You will do wonderfully!” Then she turned toward the curtain manager and called, “Open the curtain!” the curtain opened and the show began.

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Okay, so you are probably wondering what I am talking about. I was talking about myself, the busy director, before a home play. Today I am going to share about home plays, something that I really enjoy. This is how I do them.

1. Find a cast
You can not do a play if you do not have actors, period. You have to have people to play the parts. Usually my cast is my siblings and a friend.

2. Find a story
The next step in a home play in getting a good story. I use stories from movies, podcasts, or my own imagination. Stories from books also could work, if you have enough people in your cast to do it.

3. Characters
Now it is time to decide who gets each part. This is tricky, but here are some steps I use.
a. Is she the same age as the character?
b. Is she as tall or short as the character?
c. Does she act like the character?
Once you have found a good fit for each character, it is time for the next step.

4. Lines
I am the director because I love to take command. I am in charge of delivering scripts to the cast, so I carefully write down each line for every character. (Some might find this task boring, but I find it fun. I love every aspect of plays and acting.) Once carefully copied and edited, I give the lines to the cast for them to practice.

5. Costumes
Have you ever done costuming? It is so fun! I raid all of my sister’s closets searching for the perfect clothes for each character. Not only does the outfit have to look right, it has to fit right as well. It would not look good if all of the actors were on stage in oversized clothes! You also need to decide how each actor’s hair will be styled at showtime. Once you have completed this challenge, it is time for…

6. Props
Now it is time to get all of the props you will need onstage. There is no telling what all you will need, maybe a house, a bush, a shelf, or anything under the sun! There also is no telling what you will make the props out of either. I have used hard paper, soft paper, a dry erase board and markers, blankets, and much more. Props are so very fun to make, especially when they turn out looking very realistic.

7. Timing/Scheduling
Once all of the actors have their lines memorized, it is time to get a date for your show. The sooner the better in my opinion! Sometimes it is hard working around lots of schedules, but it is well worth it! Decide exactly what time of the day the play will begin and invite any guests you want to come.

8. Showtime!
Make sure you have all the props in place and costumes on by showtime! Oh, and remember, when it comes to plays, never give up. After all,

The Show Must Go On!

Ta Ta,

Faith

God Has Shown Me

God has shown me
That I need to let go
Of the things I can’t see
Of the things I can’t know

God has shown me
That I need to trust Him
In the shadows, in the darkness
In the place where it’s dim

God has shown me
That if Him I pursue
He’ll light my way
And show me what to do

God has shown me
That I need to understand
His ways aren’t my ways
His plan’s aren’t my plans

The Outdoors Are Calling Me

The outdoors are calling me
A call I can’t refuse
So I run out
And dash about
Whichever way I choose

The outdoors are calling me
Saying, “Come outside and play!”
So I play in the dirt
And listen to the birds
To every word they say

The outdoors are calling me
To come out and breathe fresh air
So I go and feel the breeze
Blowing through the trees
Oh, how I love it out there

The outdoors are calling me
They have called to me since old
They call to me
With the sky and the trees
I love the outdoors more than gold.

Snow

A gentle wind blows
Outside my window
But it is all forgotten
Because the snow
Lies below
Just waiting to be trodden

I pull on my coat
Hardly any skin shows
I stomp across the floor
I gaze out
I look about
Then I dash out the door

White and clean
Rarely seen
I cannot help but run
The snow I greet
Crunches under my feet
Snow days are so fun

The snow I see
Makes me so happy
Cold air greets my face
I let out a shout
As I run about
Across the field I race

Every snow dune untouched
I enjoy so much
Hardly any is left alone
Thank you, Yahweh
For this wonderful day
Thank you, Yah, for snow.

Snow Day!

Yes, we Alabamians got snow! Yesterday I heard snow was coming across the Southeast. “Will we get some snow?” I asked my dad.

“Maybe,” he said. I hoped we would. When I woke up this morning I had forgotten all about it until I saw the snowy scene outside. We got about five inches of snow, the most we have ever received since we moved to Alabama. My sister and I ran outside before we even ate breakfast! We took a walk with the family that lives next door and then we all made a snowman! We had so much fun. Now for some pictures!

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The pictures above are of our backyard, and my neighbors’ houses. 🙂 Isn’t the snow gorgeous? Below is a picture of my little black kitten Texas playing in the snow on our back porch, cute as can be. Can you see the little kitty paw prints? If you want to see a picture of my calico cat Georgia, look at my profile picture at the top of the blog.

Above is the snowman. He is nearly seven feet tall, honest! Below is a picture of all of the snowman builders, my family and my neighbors, by our work of art. I am the second from the right in the red hat.

All in all, it has been a delightful snow day!

-Faith

 

The Reverend’s Daughter, Chapter 3 “Sundays, Songs, and Surprises”

The trumpeter and the crowd held out the last note of a hymn, and the Saturday night street service came to a finish. Five-year-old Marilyn was used to all of the noise, for she went to the street services every week. Dad held them on Main Street in Greensburg, right outside McCurry’s Five and Ten Cent store. Many people were shopping because the stores were open late on Saturday night. Some shoppers would stop and listen to Dad preach. Marilyn looked around at the swarm of people. Suddenly she saw her friend Delores with her family at the other side of the crowd.

“I am going to go see Delores, Mother!” she called, and ran through the crowd. “Delores!” she called.

“Hello, Marilyn,” Delores said. “Are you excited for tomorrow? I am!”

“Oh, yes!” Marilyn said happily. A few weeks previous, Dad had agreed for Marilyn and Delores to sing a duet one Sunday. Tomorrow was the day it would happen.

Then Marilyn heard Dad call, “Marilyn, it is time to go home!”

Marilyn’s family had moved from the storefront apartment to a basement apartment. It was nice, but damp. Marilyn was constantly sick with asthma there, so they had moved yet again to another apartment. Marilyn fared much better in this one.

When they arrived home, Dad turned to her and said, “Marilyn, something very sad has happened.”
“What happened, Dad?” Marilyn asked.
“Your Uncle Bill and Aunt Vivian are divorced.”
“Oh, that is not good,” Marilyn said, her blue eyes looking into his. She did not know what divorce meant, but she could tell by Dad’s expression that it was bad. Thinking about singing in church the next day with Delores made her feel better though.

The next night Marilyn and Delores were ready to sing. Once everyone had filled the pews, Dad went to the pulpit and said, “We have a special song by Delores Gray and my daughter Marilyn. They are going to sing ‘You’ll Never Know Real Peace ‘Til You Know Jesus.'” Marilyn and Delores went up to the front. Then they started to sing in harmony–Marilyn soprano and Delores alto.

You’ll never know real peace till you know Jesus,
No matter how or where you try;
For life is but loss without Him–
Jesus, Jesus.
He died on Calv’ry’s cross to win our pardon,
He rose to justify;
He is coming soon to take us,
to reign with Him on high.

When they finished, everyone clapped. The girls went back to their seats and the service continued. The girls were so happy and proud of how well they had done.

Finally, after a full day, Marilyn and her parents went back to their apartment. She rocked her doll while Dad turned on the radio. News of the war crackled into the room. They had been listening to news of the war ever since one sad day back in December.

On that sad day, Sunday, December 7, Marilyn and her parents were at her grandparents’ house after the morning service at church. Marilyn had lain down to take a nap on the couch in the big dining room. The phone had rung and Mum had picked it up. She talked briefly in hushed tones to the caller, but when she hung up, she told everyone, “We are at war.” Marilyn’s life was different once World War ll had begun.

Now, as Marilyn sat in the living room rocking her doll, Mother came in with a worried expression on her face. “Charles, I just got a call,” she said to Dad. “Aunt Eva and her children are coming to visit next week!”

Aunt Eva (Evelyn McWilliams) was Mother’s aunt. She had two girls and three quite destructive boys. Whenever they came to visit, Mother would hide all of the toys because the boys would break things and tear things apart. Mother was an immaculate homemaker, so it was always quite a challenge for her to have them visit.

The next week, all of the toys were hidden when a knock sounded at the door. Mother went to the wooden front door and opened it. The three rowdy boys ran into the house. Then Aunt Eva and the two girls entered. Aunt Eva was a  very short, plump lady with a big smile and a loose brown bun. She was wearing a frilly cotton dress colored yellow and orange. Marilyn thought it looked like an outfit a clown would wear, but of course, she did not say so. “Hello Mabel, hello Marilyn,” she said. “Oh, and you too, Charles,” she added as Dad entered the room.

“Hello,” they all replied.

“Oh, Mabel,” Aunt Eva said. “You will not believe what happened two nights ago!”

“What, Aunt Eva?” Mother asked.

“Two nights ago I went to town and I told my husband James to keep an eye on the boys. Well, when I came home, I got stuck to the floor of the kitchen. Those boys had had a jelly fight! I managed to get upstairs to their room, and when I came in, they all sat up in their beds with their hair sticking up on end from the jelly! I was so angry at the mess the house was in. James said he was too. So he had dealt with it by sending them to bed.”

Thus it was every time Aunt Eva came. The boys would run around, the girls would do as they pleased, and Aunt Eva would talk. There was always cleaning to be done after they left.

 

The Reverend’s Daughter, Chapter 2 “One Sunday Night”

One day, four-year-old Marilyn was in her room when suddenly she heard Mother call, “Come, Marilyn! We have to eat supper before church starts!” Marilyn hurriedly changed into her white church dress with lace on the edges. She ran down the stairs and quickly grabbed her apron, knowing she would spoil her dress if she did not wear it.

“Please tie it, Mother,” she requested.

“You should have waited until after supper to change your dress, but regardless–” her mother said, tying it for her. Marilyn happily sat down and Dad said grace. As soon as supper was done, she pulled off her apron and ran to her parent’s bedroom. She opened a door at the back end of the bedroom which opened to a hallway. She ran through the hallway, opened the door at the other end, and entered the church.

The church, which Dad had started not long ago, was in a storefront. Dad had finished his supper before her and was already in the church preparing for the service. Marilyn walked toward him. “My little Marilyn,” he declared, as he scooped her up in his arms, “are you ready for church? The place is bound to be be packed tonight.”

“Yes, Dad, I am ready,” Marilyn said. Then her grandparents came. “Mum! Pa!” Marilyn called, squirming out of her Dad’s arms and running to them. Dad chuckled as Marilyn received warm hugs from her grandparents. Soon other people started to enter. Lester and Grace Gray came in with their daughters Delores and Dorothy. Marilyn ran to Delores, who was only three weeks younger than her. They were good friends. The two girls went to the pew in front of Mother. Once every pew was filled, Dad went up to the pulpit and led everyone in singing hymns.

O victory in Jesus,
My Savior, forever.
He sought me and bought me
With His redeeming blood;
He loved me ere I knew Him
And all my love is due Him,
He plunged me to victory,
Beneath the cleansing flood.

Then the accordion started and they sang another hymn.

What have I to dread, what have I to fear,
Leaning on the everlasting arms?
I have blessed peace with my Lord so near,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

Leaning, leaning,
Safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

Marilyn and Delores both loved to sing, and they sang loudly. Then it was testimony time.

“Who has a testimony they would like to share this evening?” Dad asked loudly.

One man, who did not always think through things well, stood to his feet and said bluntly, “I’m on my way to church, and this guy comes up to me and he’s drunk. And I said, ‘Why don’t you come to church with me?’ He did not want to, so I thought of the song, ‘Leave It There,’ so I left him there.”

All of a sudden, Marilyn heard Mum exclaim, “Ohhh!” Marilyn turned quickly to see Mum with her hand over her mouth to keep from laughing as she fell sideways onto the pew. “Leave It There” was a song they often sang.

Leave it there, leave it there,
Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.

Marilyn could not help but laugh at Mum. Mother gave her a ping on the head with her finger for laughing in church. Then it was time for Dad to preach the message.

“I do not usually give my sermons a name,” Dad said with a chuckle. “But I want to name this sermon ‘Saved, Sanctified, and Filled With the Holy Ghost’ because that is what we, as Christians, should be. Now everyone please turn to the Book of John, chapter fourteen.”

When the pages stopped rustling, he began speaking again. “First we should be saved through Jesus’ redeeming blood. We should confess our sins and believe in Him. As Paul and Silas said to the jailer in the Book of Acts, chapter 16, verse 31, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

“Salvation is the only way to heaven, as Jesus said in the Book of John, chapter 14, verse 6, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.’

“Being saved is the start of a true relationship with God. If you are not saved, then you are bound for hell. That is how important salvation is. We can not go to God except through Jesus. Jesus can save us because of what He did at Calvary. He died to take away our sins and bring us to God. He came to seek and to save, as it says in the Book of Luke, chapter 19, verse 10, ‘ For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.‘ If you believe on Him, you can be saved too.

“Then you need to become sanctified. Sanctified means holy. It is when you become, or try to become, more like God and less worldly. You become different than the world when you start acting differently than the world–when you live for God and not yourself. Living for God sanctifies you because it takes you even closer to God. John chapter 14, verse 23 says, ‘Jesus answered and said unto him, “If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.”‘

“Also, in verse 15, ‘If ye love me, keep my commandments.’

“All in all, sanctification is when we obey God’s commandments and draw closer to Him.

“So now, do you know what Jesus will do after you are sanctified? Verses 16 and 17 say, ‘And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.’

“We can receive the gift that the world does not understand. We can be ‘filled with the Holy Ghost,’ as I said in my sermon title. The Holy Ghost will comfort us and guide us in the vicissitudes of life. The Holy Ghost will also help us to know what to say when we are uncertain. In the Book of Matthew, chapter 10, verses 19 and 20, it says, ‘But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.”

Then Dad invited anyone forward who wanted to receive the gift of salvation or the Holy Ghost. As always, Marilyn went forward with tears of penitence streaming down her face.

 

Something in the Sky

Something in the sky looks promising
In a strange and marvelous  way
Something in the sky looks promising
And it brightens up my day

Something in the sky
Shows me God’s glory
Something in the sky
Shows His creativity

Something in the sky reveals knowledge
Though it does not truly utter speech
There is not a person in the world
The heavens do not teach

Something in the sky shines
From one end of the earth to the other
To show that there is one God
None other like our Father

Something in the sky
Those without belief rebukes
Because God’s work is clearly seen
They are without excuse

Something in the sky reminds me
That everything will be okay
Because my Creator’s beside me
He is with me in all of my ways

Something in the sky
Reminds me that I am His own
Something in the sky
Reminds me that He’ll never let go

-Scripture References-
Psalm 19:1-3+6
Romans 1:20

No Man’s Land

A boy yearned for adventure
To see the Great Unknown
So he got ready to leave
The place that he called home

“Where will you go, son?” his father asked
with a quiet, cautious tone
“To No Man’s Land,” the son replied,
“To find a place of my own.

“I will go out there
And make myself a name.
I might get riches,
Maybe even fame!

“Not only am I going to that land unknown,
I myself am No Man’s Land.
Ruling my life is a job my own
I do not obey any command.

“I am brave! I am strong!
I do not need help.
Look at me! I am bold,
I can do it all myself.”

Foolish boy! Do you not see
The dangerous path you’ve trod?
You are indeed No Man’s Land,
You belong to God.

The Reverend’s Daughter, Chapter One “Marilyn Elaine”

This is written in memory of my grandma, Marilyn E. Williams (October 1936 – November 2017) and based on stories she told us.

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One October day in 1936, as the leaves started to gently change color in the Appalachian mountains, a little girl was born in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. Her parents, Reverend Charles V. Elliott and his wife Mabel, were going to name her Laura Catherine after her two grandmothers, but her grandmother Laura said, “You’re not gonna call her Laura.” She went out from the house determinedly and sent out birth announcements that a baby by the name of Marilyn Elaine Elliott had been born. Thus her story began.

Marilyn’s father Charles and his twin Robert were child number ten and eleven in their family of twelve children. Marilyn only met four of them because they all moved out of town. Their mother, Catherine, thought she was going to die when she birthed the twins because she was a tiny woman and the babies both weighed about eight pounds. They grew up to be totally opposite. They couldn’t have been more different. Charles was jovial, outgoing, and athletic. Robert (Bob) was thin and very shy. He would never talk.

Their mother was Welsh and Scottish. Their father, Thomas, was a miner of Irish descent. Unfortunately, when Charles was only four years old, his father was killed in a mining accident, so Marilyn never knew her Grandpa Elliott.

Marilyn’s mother Mabel was born to William and Laura Black. When William was ten years old, he quit school and started working at the glass factory. He carried his lunch pail, a black rectangular bucket that had a rounded top on it like a loaf of bread, to work each day. He was short for his age, so his bucket almost touched the ground. Years went by and he married Laura Soles, who was of German descent.  They had two sons, William (Bill) and Crawford. Their next two children died during birth, but after that, Mabel was born. Mabel was spoiled, but she turned out well anyhow.

Marilyn often visited Grandma (Laura) Black, who she called “Mum.” There was a couch in the large dining room along the side wall. Crawford would lie on the couch to take a rest. When Marilyn was a toddler, he would let one leg fall off the side of the couch and say, “Help. I’m falling. Help me get back up.” Marilyn would happily come over and struggle to get his leg back on the couch. Then he’d say, “Oh, thank you.” But as soon as Marilyn walked to another part of the room, she would hear her Uncle Crawford call, “Help, I’m falling.” She would come back to help him over and over. It was a funny game, since he was quite capable of getting his leg up by himself.

Laura’s mother was Molly Soles. She was a tall, severe-looking, gray-haired German woman who was very stern. She would make Laura and her sister go out and get themselves a switch. It didn’t matter what they did; they got a whipping every day. When Marilyn visited her great-grandmother Soles, Grandmother Soles would flick her long, bony finger and hit Marilyn’s head as Marilyn walked by her chair. This made Marilyn cry, and Uncle Crawford got very angry at Grandmother Soles. Laura grew to be the opposite of her mother. She did not want to lay a hand on any of her children.

Marilyn’s Grandfather (William) Black, known as Pa (pronounced puh), took her to the park one Saturday afternoon. She swung in the swings and he took pictures of her. With a loving, godly family, this little blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl was ready to see what the years would unfold.