Dec 15, 2006

December Traditions

Holiday Portraits

Carol & Barbara

The Paez Tribe

"Charlie, His Angels, and His Cherubs"
Grant & "His Girls"

The All Star Team at the Half-way Mark:
Back, L to R: Mai Rhea Odiyar (a.k.a May, a.k.a Ms. Odiyar), Barbara (a.k.a Babs, a.k.a. "The Boss Lady"), Britini Gleason (a.k.a. Brit, a.k.a. Miss Britni), Layla Cole (a.k.a Ms. Layla), Virle Gayatin (a.k.a. "Virl", a.k.a "Miss Virle"), Joielyn Verona (a.k.a Ms. Joie), Natalia Paez, Larene Delos Reyes (a.k.a. Ms. Larene).
Front, L to R: Heather Tucker (a.ka. Miss Heather, a.k.a "H. E. Double Tucker"), Jaribeth Carmona (a.k.a Jari, a.k.a Ms. Carmona), Grant Graves (a.k.a Mr. Graves, a.k.a. Graves, a.k.a G-Rant, a.k.a "Mr. Incredible"), Michelina Chamberlin (a.k.a Missy, a.k.a Miss Missy), Sean Maycock (a.k.a Maycock, a.k.a Mr. Maycock).
And just like that, the year is half way over. It seems only yesterday that the all star team swept into town ready to take on and take over the world. And what of them now? Are they still all stars?
Amazingly as the rigors of the year have borne down on them their glow has not faded, but shines stronger than ever. They still do amazing work at school and breathe life into everythin they touch, whether it be Pathfinders or Sabbath School or the volleyball team, the walka thon, the Christmas Program, prayer meeting, the basketball team. You name it, if they're involved, it's going to be just that little bit more exciting.
And here's the amazing thing! They remain remarkably balanced. I worried that these shooting stars might burn out, that their fire might blaze brightly then quickly reduce to gray ashes. How could they possibly keep putting out high-wattage service and still have energy to leap with a hearty laugh into the back of Rusty the pickup truck for the tank swim, a round of beach volleyball, a Sunday morning of scuba diving, the casual hike down to Forbidden Island (which for regular people is anything but casual). And it's true, that for many of them, beneath the veneer of devil-may-care spontaneity, is an undercoating of remarkable discipline. They go to bed early, and rise early as well. And the physical activity does seem to, in some mysterious way, re-energize them.
The second fear I had, was that as "real life"--the daily irritations, the personality quirks, the individual non-negotiables--began to set in, the all stars would splinter, fracture, and break. I'd seen it happen all too often before.
So are they still the close knit band of sisters and brother?
I would argue, essentially yes.
Yes, it's true that there has been a Saul and Barnabus type parting of the ways. . .two distinct groups of rock-stars with distinctly different--though arguably equally valid--approaches to the all-star life. But within those two groups it appears that friendships have deepened and solidified. And I'd like to believe that now that each group has the space to shine in their own way there might be at the very least some mutual appreciation for each other. Lord knows, I appreciate them all. I hope they realize how similar they are. Both "Grant and the Fantastic Four--Layla, Missy, Britni, and May" and the "Dynamic Duo--Heather and Jari" are beloved by the students they work with. Both get the job done. Both live to the fullest in their own unique ways. Both "shine like stars in the summer night."
Our staff this year--the rock stars that joined us this year and the stalwart veterans, are true gift from God.
The Best Christmas Pagaent Ever

It was both the title and the result of our school's annual Christmas progam held Thursday, December 14, at the Charley's Cabaret at the Pacific Islands Club resort just down the road from our school. Grant did a bang up job writing and directing an adapatation of the funny and heartwarming Christmas novella "The Best Christmas Pagaent Ever." He rehearsed the grade 5-9 students till they were performing like a well-oiled, multi-talented machine. That combined with some gorgeous music, and the blessing of the Holy Spirit led to one of our most emotionally moving and spiritually powerful Christmas plays we've ever done. Barbara chose some great songs from the City on a Hill Christmas album and led the K-4 choir in some lovely musical numbers throughout the production. And to kick things off, the pre-school classes charmed us all with their renditions of some songs of the season, memory verse recitations, and a reading of "Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See." All in all a wonderful evening!

Here in the climax of the play, Imogene (played by Tali Paez) the tough-talking, cigar smoking girl who insisted on playing Mary has her heart softened during the nativity scene. "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" tells the story of the Herdman's a band of poor, neglected, and trouble-making kids who muscle their way into the key roles in the churh's annual Christmas pagaent. As they encounter the love of a God who would come as a baby born in manager, they are changed. The play's concluding message: "Jesus didn't come for the good people. He came for you and for me. He came for the Herdmans."

Pre-school director Larene Delos Reyes and teacher Joielyn Verona lead the pre-schoolers

The K-4 choir, and soloist, ninth grader Ana Inos directed by Barbara

My brief cameo as the church pastor. (In case you couldn't tell). I was the assistant director (though really Grant and Missy & Layla who were in charge of costumes, props, and set design did all the heavy lifting) and was in charge of the sound and lights with able assistance of one of our 7th grade students Tekoi Nicholas.

The Pierson's, in their position of leadership at the SDA Clinic, have given the school countless gifts through their involvement with and support of the school. On Friday, December 15, Barbara and Britni took the kindergarten class down to the clinic to give their own gifts of love and appreciation for all the Clinic and the Piersons have done!

The Drs. Pierson with the SDA Kindergarten Class

"But wait," you say. "This is just a picture of a small group of people and an even smaller amount of food. What does this have to do with travel?" The answer is everything! This was our church potluck this Sabbath, December 16. This is all the people who attended and all the food we had to eat. Okay, I'm exaggerating. About three more people came. And they brought one more dish. Maybe. So where is everyone? Traveling, of course. Our church choir, which comprises something like a third of our congregation, along with the Pastor and Mai Rhea went to Rota this weekend to perform. Jari and Heather are vacationing in the Philippines and Palau. Grant and Britni are home for Christmas (and not only in their dreams). Missy and Layla are still around but didn't make it to potluck and will soon be taking off on a backpacking adventure in Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam.

So who's left? From Left to Right: Christian, a Frenchman who has recently moved to Saipan with his wife; Ayesha, the Pastor's wife; Sarah, a friend of the Pastor and his wife; Maki,Christian's Japanese wife; Crystal Pierson; Ken Pierson; Me; and Barbara (who is taking the picture. The ones with her in it were all blurry). Mai will be back after the weekend and her boyfriend Jerry will be coming to visit this week. Also this week a mission team from Korea will be coming as well so the church should fill back up by next Sabbath!


Shannon Gerber said...

Hi Sean and Barbara!
You can't imagine how excited I was to discover your blog, Sean. I was feeling very lonely for the Island, and was randomly googling "Saipan" and "SDA" and voila! There it was! I actually cried seeing some of these pictures of "my" people. :)
I hope that your Christmas has been filled with joy, and that you have been blessed this season!
Big hellos to all (especially to you two, and Mai Rhea!)
PS~~I'd love to hear from you guys, I'm a terrible emailer, but check it often and always reply!

Bev said...

Barbara and Sean,

Thanks for the yummy cookies!!! You guys are awesome!! Happy Holidays=)

grant said...


THanks for the update on the all stars. I loved the part about the fantastic four. Your perspective was great. I enjoy hearing about how people see us. Sometimes I'm too close to really get a feel for how good I have it. You, the girls, my kids, it is a truly beautiful life. Thanks for reminding me how lucky I really am. G-rant