Wednesday, November 28, 2012

I Heard the Bells ...

Five 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
Wishing you peace this holiday season!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Way Too Long ...

Oh my goodness, it has been way too long since my last post. Trees were bare of leaves when I last posted in February .... oh, wait ... they're bare again! Well ... not ours. Here's the view from my office window (sorry for the 'through the screen' photo). See our tree to the left ... completely green! Across the street, you see one neighbor with a tree completely void of leaves, and the other with gorgeous red fall color! Ours will start turning yellow soon ... and we'll be done raking leaves sometime near Christmas! :-) Happens every year ... we have a tree with a schedule all its own!

Life has definitely happened this year ... some things expected, and some very unexpected. Ups and downs. Our always-healthy son having hernia surgery; my mother's passing after a long, brave battle with breast cancer; me completing the Komen 3 Day/60 Mile event, in memory of my mom, with a meniscus torn just two weeks before the event; knee surgery and recovery after the event was over; closing a business ...

Every so often, when I look back over the year, I've let myself think, 'I'm ready for 2012 to be over ...'. But, just as quickly, I reverse that thought when I simultaneously recall all the wonderful things that have happened ... and remember that this has also been a very special year. One that has filled me with gratitude for how wonderful our friends are and what a sweet and loving little family I've been given. Supportive ... caring ... helpful ... generous ... thoughtful ... these words don't even begin to describe what I've learned about the people I've been blessed to have around me.

So, I will savor the last six weeks of 2012, and look forward to a wonderful 2013 ... which hopefully will include a published picture book and MUCH more regular blog posts! :-)