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Features

  • After being rained out Friday and Saturday, Beach Assembly of God presented Bethlehem Live for the first time on Sunday,     Dec. 6.

    About 500 people attended Sunday night despite the cold. The church had more than 2,500 people make reservations to attend one of six      performances.

    Performances are set for Friday, Dec. 11, Saturday, Dec. 12 and Sunday,     Dec. 13.

    To make reservations, or for more information, call the church at 579-9701.

  • Plant nerds and even casual gardeners always want to be the first on the block to have the latest, greatest plants. As your resident plant nerd, I feel compelled to offer my list of some must-have plants for the coming growing season.

  • All it takes is a little light, warmth and water to coax an amaryllis bud out of the big bulb’s belly. No ultimatums required. Pop up the softball-size bulbs now so the immense, trumpet-shaped flowers will grace your holiday décor. The bud rides upward 1-2 feet on a hollow but thick-skinned stalk before bursting into spectacular bloom.

  • We’re almost there. Christmas is just around the corner. Many of us are so focused on what is not yet here we miss the reality of the present moment and the wonder of all that has occurred in the past.

    Advent helps us to embrace the three stages of our faith journey: Christ has come. Christ will come again. Christ is here now.

    It is difficult to embrace those three “presences” simultaneously, unless we remember our own human lives are filled with that trinity.

  • Morning rain didn’t delay Shallotte’s annual Christmas parade, which proceeded down Main Street promptly at 10 a.m. Dec. 5.

    The rain clouds parted just long enough to allow the hour-long procession to continue as scheduled from Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse onto Main Street.

    “I think there was a lot of praying going on,” said parade organizer Cindy Babson with the town of Shallotte.

  • Calabash's Christmas tree lighting Dec. 4 was a life-size rendition of the cozy ceramic villages sold at Callahan's, the local store where the annual event took place.

    As holiday music played, townspeople gathered outside the gift shop to await the golf cart parade, which proceeded down Beach Drive and River Road to the delight of children and adults gathered on the sidewalk.

    Folks lined up for free popcorn from an old-timey vendor. There also were hot dogs, coffee and cocoa.

  • No holiday would be complete without a performance of “The Nutcracker.”

    But in Brunswick County this holiday season, that calls for tradition with a bit of a twist—performances by the newly formed Brunswick Ballet Company dancing nimble steps to a coastal version called “Nutcracker Under the Sea.”

  • SUNSET BEACH—Seaside United Methodist Church Choir will present its annual Christmas cantata in two performances this Sunday, Dec. 13.

    The cantata, to be performed by 95 choir members, is “One Small Child” by Tom Fettke, choir director Kathryn Parker said.

    A 12-piece orchestra, some from the Wilmington Symphony, is providing accompaniment for the performances set for 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the church at 1300 Seaside Road in Sunset Beach.

    The ensemble also includes a harpist from Southern Pines, Parker said.

  • The Shallotte Junior Women’s Club will present its second annual Stand Up For Charity benefit comedy show featuring comedian Bobby Collins at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 2, in Odell Williamson Auditorium at Brunswick Community College.

    Collins’ brand of humor is described as heartfelt and witty, engaging audiences with a “clever blend of characterizations and hilarious observations.”

  • For little ones wishing to receive a response from Santa Claus by Christmas, they’re asked to bring their letters to Santa of the North Pole Mailbox at the Museum of Coastal Carolina by Dec. 18.

    Scott Kucera, executive director the Ocean Isle Museum Foundation, which includes the Museum of Coastal Carolina at Ocean Isle Beach and Ingram Planetarium at Sunset Beach, says children who bring their letters by the museum by Dec. 18 will be able to have their letters sent to the North Pole and back, all in time for Christmas.

  • For Mary Brown, becoming a minister was a journey from a life of poverty, drugs and incarceration to a new life.

    That’s what led the West Virginia native become active in ministry in Shallotte and to move beyond her old life into a new one—starting a small church and providing inspiration to those in need.

    Two years ago, Brown started House of Deliverance Worship Ministry on Tryon Road in Shallotte, and although the church has a small number of regular visitors, she continues to do what she feels God has called her to do.

  • Winter is on the way. Autumn is fading. If you look around, you will notice the trees have shed their bright fall colors and the grass is turning brown.

    Birds are once again visiting backyard feeders for a meal. Christmas decorating is at a frenzied pace with everyone decking the halls.

  • Ask most folks about a plant at Christmas and they’ll mention poinsettias or Christmas trees. Both of those are traditional parts of our holiday celebrations, but neither usually sticks around much past early January.

    If you want a great Christmas plant that will do great year after year, consider what is now called a “holiday cactus.” These natives of the tropical rainforests of Central and South America boast colorful blossoms in shades of pink, red and white at the tips of each arching stem.

  • It is that time of year again when most of us have either bought or received a poinsettia for the holidays.

    First, a little history lesson. When Joel Poinsett was ambassador to Mexico in the early 1800s, he saw these beautiful plants and decided to bring them back to the United States. This is how the poinsettia came by its name. This plant is now one of our most endearing holiday decorations and has produced a business into the millions.

  • When I heard the buzz about “Precious,” a movie based on the novel “Push” by Sapphire, I was determined to view it. I also decided I’d not do any previewing or surfing the Internet for reviews so my own insights would not be unduly influenced by those of others.

    All I knew was the movie’s focus was on an overweight, under-educated 16-year-old—Clareece Precious Jones—a girl who wished to be identified by her middle name, Precious.

  • The town of Shallotte has scheduled its annual Christmas tree lighting and parade for Dec. 4 and Dec. 5, officially ringing in the holiday season in town.

    The town and the Brunswick County Chamber of Commerce will sponsor the annual Christmas tree lighting beginning at 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4, at Rourk Gardens.

    The event will begin with welcomes from Shallotte Mayor Gerald Long and chamber president Cathy Altman.

  • The holidays are a great time to stop and reflect on the things that have happened over the previous 12 months.

    While the economy has struggled, 2009 wasn’t a bad year in the garden. Rainfall and temperatures were close to normal. We weren’t pounded by any tropical storms. So, what plants were the winners and losers this year?

    Two new Knock Out roses were released in 2009—Sunny and Whiteout. After planting several of each in different locations including my own garden, my initial impression of these proved correct.

  • For many, real Christmas trees and poinsettias are basic ingredients for a successful Christmas season; however, buying right and then caring for your trees after they enter your home is critical for the success of this recipe. Yes, poinsettias are small trees. Our goal is to keep the trees looking good for as long as possible.

    Christmas trees

    With a real tree, you can smell and feel its presence compared to an artificial one. The magic ingredient to prolong this feeling is water, whether the tree is cut or live with a root ball.

  • One of the most profound questions one can ask or hear is this: “Who are you?”

    There are days when I look into the mirror of life and am astounded at what I see. I stare curiously at an image I cannot believe is real and ask: “Who are you?”

    Who is this person who has reacted with swift and sure anger at a remark innocently made or a question naively asked?

    Who is this woman who speaks confidently of non-judgmental, unconditional love and then becomes perturbed when things do not go as planned?

  • LONGWOOD—For the fourth year in a row, trains are pulling into the station—the one encompassing the Grissettown-Longwood Volunteer Fire Department, to be exact.

    The department’s annual Christmas Train Show is set for 6-9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5; and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6 at the station at 758 Longwood Road.

    The annual yuletide whistle-stop at the rural fire station has grown since the first one in 2006, when a couple of model railroads were set up on tracks in a training room.