Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I Heard the Bells ...

A few years ago, my husband and I attended an amazing Christmas concert with Steven Curtis Chapman and Mercy Me. During the concert, as a deep base beat and the melody to "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" played ever-so-softly in the background, they shared with the audience a glimpse of the events that had inspired the lyrics to this song, written by American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow so very long ago on Christmas Day in 1864.

I was completely unaware of the origin of the song before that night.

After the concert, I investigated further, seeking more detail to the story. I learned that, in a very short time span, Longfellow had lost his wife to a tragic accident in their home, and his son had returned - critically injured - from the American Civil War that was devastating his beloved country.

I can only imagine that his faith was being tested beyond measure and his hope for peace - in his country and his own life - was weak.

Something changed on Christmas Day 1864 when Longfellow penned the poem, originally titled "Christmas Bells". Maybe it was the re-election of Abraham Lincoln and, with that, the possible end of the terrible war; maybe it was the relief that came from his son surviving; or maybe it was the churches that - during the war - would ring their bells on Christmas as a call for ceasefire, bringing peace to the nation, if only for a day.

Knowing the history behind the words has made this song become even more beautiful, sorrowful, haunting, and hopeful.

In many ways, it is a call for peace. Something we all hope for.

So, as the holiday season kicks off, I've been listening repeatedly to this very song .... take a listen to the Casting Crowns version, from their 'Peace on Earth' CD at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7670CXvPX0&feature=related.

Wishing you peace this holiday season!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Have a blessed one!

"Turkey" by B, November 2008

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day Tribute

Our children's school holds the most amazing and inspiring tribute to our Veterans with an annual Veteran's Day Chapel.

The children, ranging in age from 5 to 15, sing patriotic songs with such passion and might, it takes my breath away and makes me smile. Here is just a sampling ... the 1st through 3rd grade choir (including my son!):

A song, "Letters from War", and accompanying video by Mark Schultz is played ... take a look @ http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6534897612011365856&hl=en# but grab a tissue first (pssst ... the ending is happy!).

Each branch of the military is honored and applauded, as they ask Veterans and active-duty members to stand and be recognized.

A list of wars, including the number of individuals who participated and the precious souls who were lost is read ... and those who served in those wars are asked to stand and be thanked with applause.

And, an active-duty Air Force Lieutenant Colonel, also a parent at the school, speaks ... words of such wisdom for our youth, who are being made aware how very lucky we are to live where we live.

The ceremony opens and closes with a moving bagpipe solo.

All of it, quite frankly, has by heart leaping into my throat ... tears welling up in the corners of my eyes, as the human cost of all these wars and how thankful I feel settles into my brain.

Wouldn't it be nice if all the world believed peace to be the answer?

Thank you to all the men and women who serve, and thank you to the families of those who serve, including my sister and brother-in-law. You sacrifice - in so many ways - for the sake of our freedom.

Be safe.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Pumpkin Faces

Children's imaginations never cease to amaze me. They think big ... they have no limitations ... they aren't bound by reason.

These lovely pumpkins were created by my hubby, 5-year old daughter, and 8-year old son. See the one in the middle ... the one with two faces (puppy faces, mind you!) ... that was the creation of the 5-year old. She actually wanted to do three faces on her pumpkin, but it was a bit too small.

My hubby thought the idea was brilliant. After all, why does a pumpkin have to have only one face? He's got it all planned out for next year ... three faces carved into one large pumpkin ... which is then placed on a spinning, lazy susan-like tray!

So cool ... and, all because of a 5-year old's imagination.