Sunday, May 21, 2017

Ryan's Confirmation

Ryan's year long process to be confirmed in our church, ended on May 21, 2017.  I am so very proud of his effort and commitment.  There were times that he wanted to throw in the towel, but he didn't.  He stuck with it.  He did many things to make this happen.

There were 17, 8th graders who participated in the confirmation this year.  17 is the most we have ever had in one group.  This group has always been a big one.  When they were in 2nd grade (our first year at our church) they were all given bibles.  At that time there were 22 of them.  They have since lost several kids to different churches and different things, but have always remained a large group. 

To kick off their confirmation, they had an overnight retreat at the church.  Fun was had by all!!  They shopped for ingredients and prepared breakfast the following morning for their chaperones. 
Group picture after shopping

Worship Service during retreat

They had to serve their church on several different occasions.  Ryan served during a session meeting. He served when we prepared and served Worship Snacks as a family and he did worship snack with his mentor.  He poured the baptism font water two different Sundays and had to attend several church meetings with his mentor.  He had to present a statement of faith that he wrote with the assistance of his mentor.  Plus he had to attend all of the confirmation classes which were typically two Sundays a month.  Finally, he attended a session meeting where they voted to accept the confirmands or not.  He was accepted. 

Another way he served the church is by playing the drums during a song at church one Sunday.  The choir director asked if he would mind playing and he played along with another young man who is also a percussionist.  It was fantastic!!

The confirmation group was asked to do various things throughout the year.  Massanutten Cares is a program in which our church, Massanutten Presbyterian, participates in cleaning up the church area and our neighboring Presbyterian camp and home (Sunnyside) as needed.  Ryan's group ended up at Sunnyside cleaning out an outdoor/covered sanctuary.  The girls and I were at the Sunnyside chapel at the same time.  We were rehearsing for the "Middles" youth group service at Sunnyside the following Sunday. 

The sanctuary cleaning crew--Ryan is off to the right, next to Jan--an advisor.

Ryan spent most of his time sweeping the billions of leaves that had blown in the sanctuary over the winter.
Ryan and Adam having a little cleaning break time.

Hungry youth chowing down on pizza at Vitos.  Ryan is on the right side of the table next to Adam (kid in green shirt)
Ryan participated in many of the activities that the Confirmands were asked to participate.  They had to do a certain amount of things, but Ryan did more than he HAD to do.  I am so proud of his service and his strength in the Lord. 

The Confirmation ceremony was very emotional as I became aware of how my child is getting older.  I know logically that he is almost 14, but the things he does to show me he is 14 is always a wake up call for me.  I still often think of him as a 5 year old.  :) 

Here are pictures from the confirmation ceremony.  In July he leaves on his first Mission Trip to Greenbriar West Virginia.  The confirmation group will be staying in a church in Greenbriar and will be helping in rebuilding the damage done by the floods. 

Each Confirmand was required to pour the baptismal font water at least twice.  Ryan did once with his mentor and then they all poured as a group the morning of the confirmation ceremony.  Here are all 17 of them coming to the front of the sanctuary so they can all participate in pouring the water.

In order for them each to "touch" the water, they passed the pitcher of water around the circle and the last confirmand actually poured it in the baptismal font.  This is the group of them standing and passing the water pitcher.  Ryan is on the other side of Zach who has the lime green shirt on.  Adam (in the blue shirt) is passing the water to Abby (in the pinkish dress).

Here is the group filing back down the aisle to go sit while they waited for their part of the service.

This is Ryan's mentor, Don Enslin, putting the cross around Ryan's neck.  This happened after he was blessed and they were official members of the church.  This part was particularly emotional.

This happened a little prior to the cross hanging.  Pastor John went to each one of them and blessed them individually.  Saying their name and declaring that they are now part of the church family.  Not just as they are attached to their parents.  In the back ground you can see Mike and Emily.  My parents and nieces were able to come as well and Lydia is there somewhere.  I think in the pink beside Emily.  It was so cute, when Ryan walked out with the group to pour water in the baptismal font, Penny (my brother's youngest daughter) said "There's Ryan!!", but in an excited whisper.  It was cute.

The group was so big so they were kind of crammed up there.  It was funny, the other side of the front of the church barley had any kids in it.  Not sure why this side was so packed.  Obviously this was during a prayer.

Ryan with his Mentor.  Don was really fantastic with Ryan!!  As it turns out, Don worked at Dunham Bush with my dad for many years.  I am pretty sure that everyone who resides in Rockingham County Virginia and is over the age of 35, worked at Dunham Bush at one time or another.  Myself included.  I think the only exceptions are my mom and Mike.  :)

This is the whole confirmation group, their youth pastor (John Dull--middle of the picture with glasses) minus two of them who could not be there that day.  Front Row-L - R--Adam, Emily, Ryan Munsey, Kaci, Anissa, Ryan Washington, Garrett.  Back row L - R -- Zach, Gretchen, Nick, Youth Pastor John, Jillian, Ansley, Sarah, Grace, Abby.

Confirmation group candle "Live the Light" back in the winter

Lydia and Emily's "Middles" youth group "Live the Light" back in the winter.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

School Sports ARE GREAT!!

I have discovered that kids who are able to do sports through their school, make things so much easier on their parents!!  Ryan has participated in track and field the last two years since he has been in middle school.  It has been great as the bus gets him TO practice and I just need to get him home.  SO NICE!!  No taking him to practice and sitting there while he practices and then taking him home.  I have been encouraging all three of them to do something within the school whenever they can.

  This year he tried his hand at wrestling.  After he busted his knee Knee Post, he was not able to start when everyone else started.  So his practicing started later and he was not able to participate in matches for a while after the season started.  Therefore, he didn't do as well as he probably could have since he was so far behind everyone else in learning.  He was able to be at the practices even though he couldn't participate, but watching is never as effective as being able to wrestle. 

Ryan's first match.  He is shaking the hand of his opponent's coach.  He didn't win a match this year, but was only able to participate in three of them.  He will get them next year!!

Lydia and Emily participated in Track and Field this year with Ryan!!  All three kids did shot put, but Emily also branched out to do the 100 meter (Ryan has done that in the past) and the long jump (Ryan has done that in the past).  For some reason Ryan didn't want to do more than the shot put this year.  Lydia didn't either, but then regretted not trying the 100 meter herself.  By the time she decided to do it, they had one meet left and the championship.  The last meet was rained out so she was not able to do the 100 meter for the championship. 

Ryan, of course, has participated in East Rock High School Marching Band the past two years.  He will be participating this year as well.  He is going into his Freshman year as a 3rd year band member.  His sisters are debating on joining the color guard at ERHS this year.  The color guard is not a crazy advertised program at ERHS so there are not a lot of members.  They are liking it so far so we shall see how things work out.  This is a picture of one of their "open gym" sessions a few weeks ago.  I think it would be really neat to see all three of them do this together.  Lydia is a little short for the flag.  She has a harder time turning it because it hits the ground so easily.  We will see how it goes.

Sydney is the color guard captain.  She is facing the line of girls.  Emily is the 3rd one back with the mulit-colored work out pants on.  Lydia is the shortest one out there.  She is in the pink shirt with black pants.  The girl in front might be her size too??  She is also a middle school student.  The other girls are high school I believe. 

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Goin to Busch Gardens on Tax Day Weekend!!

We purchased 5 "semi season" passes to Busch Gardens and Water Country in March.  These passes allow us to go to either Busch Gardens or Water Country as many times as we want between the end of March and the end of September.  On tax day we took our first trip to Busch Gardens.  It was SUCH a fun weekend!  As a result of the distance from home, we decided to stay overnight so we went down on a Friday and came back on a Sunday.  It was so fun!  We have yet to be able to go back again.  Hopefully soon!!  We want to hit Water Country while the weather is still warm.

I think this was the first time we had been to Busch Gardens as a family.  The kids and I had gone with a friend (Theresa) when her company went. We were her guests.  It was a long time ago.  Mike didn't go. 

This was a fun ride.  It was a little boat that you could ride in their little "bay."  There were different animals to see as well as a different perspective of the park itself.

Train ride.  There was a train that went around the entire park.  We rode this thing three times and never made it all the way around the park.  Kept stopping at different places to get to rides, etc.

View from the train.  Several of the roller coasters in the park.

Swings are always fun!!

 Park Wildlife. 
Lydia and Emily on a ride.  Ryan and I are in the car behind them.
 This was a roller coaster that was pretty tame.  Bad thing, we carry a backpack with us and one of us had to stay back.  It ended up being me.  Typically it is Emily and myself as we are not fans of roller coasters.  AT ALL!  I was willing to go on this one and encouraged Emily to come too.  We were headed there when we found we couldn't take the backpack with us and didn't want to pay for the locker to hold it.  So, Emily went on.  As you can see in the picture above, she was a little nervous.  Needless to say, she survived.  We still go back to our bad choice as parents to put her on  Space Mountain when she was 4.  It still haunts her.

These turkey legs are in every amusement park we have visited.  They must be pretty popular.  And there must be a lot of turkeys looking to lose their legs.  ;)  We split two of them as a lunch in the middle of the day.

 I think we rode this same ride about 6 times.  Both days.

The other turkey leg.

This was Lydia's favorite ride.  The Skytram.  She LOVED it!  We rode it several times.  To different parts of the park.  She has been on them before, but seemed way more excited about them this time.  Mike and Ryan are in the car in front of us.

Here is a link to a YouTube video of the kids and me riding Pompeii.  It is a long one, but pretty neat.  A fun day!!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Ryan's "Coach Kendall"

Ryan's friend, Kendall has been snowboarding for a couple of years.  He has asked Ryan to snowboard with him a few times, but Ryan's mom has never wanted to sink money into lessons.  :)  Kendall's mom explained that he took just a couple of lessons and didn't like it.  That he is basically self taught.  So, we talked to Kendall about teaching Ryan.  He was definitely up for it. Unfortunately, we were only able to make one day work out for him to snowboard this past winter, but are hoping to get a season pass and snowboard a lot this coming winter.  He really enjoyed himself and wants to go back!!  His Uncle Paul was a big fan of skiing so I am guessing it is a family trait.  :)  Hopefully there will be more pictures to come as he continues with this potential passion.  Thank you Kendall!!  We will be hitting you up again next winter!

The pictures are not that great as I was far away and using a phone.  The day was beautiful though!  They closed the place down. 
These pictures are from so far away and on a phone--this one almost looks fake.  :)  It really is Ryan!!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Live Nativity

A local Camel Farm and a local church host this each year.  We went for the first time this year.  Beautiful!!  We were able to view from a loft in the camel barn.