Christmas Bells – The Sound of Pure Love

Bells for hundreds of years have served many purposes.  Bells call people to worship and prayer.  They sound warnings and alarms.  They beckon ships to safe harbors.  They celebrate birth and new life, and they peal in announcement of death.  They are rung during Christmas to announce the arrival of the season, to proclaim the birth of Christ.

I loved this description from the website, www.HolidayInsights.com     

Ringing of bells can be traced back to pagan winter celebrations. During those times, noisemakers were used to scare away evil spirits in the night. Among those early noisemakers were bells. People had fun ringing the bells and making noise. It was too much fun to just use bells to scare demons away. So over time, bell ringing was incorporated into other events and activities. Bells are rung at churches to call people to gather, as warnings, and to bring people together to make announcements.

From these ancient roots, the ringing of bells began to be used in the Christian Christmas season. The soft, cheerful tones blended well and enhanced the sounds of the season. Today, they play an important, traditional role during the holiday.

Carolers soon began bringing bells to accompany their voices, both hand bells and jingle bells were used.  It became such a tradition, a song was written about it.  In this video, Nat King Cole sings a smooth-as-butter version of  “Christmas Bells are Ringing”.

In the classic Christmas movie, It’s a Wonderful Life, a ringing bell is associated with an angel earning his wings – sharing the idea that it is a celebration of personal growth.  You might incorporate that idea by having a bell in your home that is rung whenever anyone in the family achieves personal growth.

Here in our midst, as well as around the world, there are many who struggle every day.  The bells they hear at Christmas brings them hope, in Christ, and in some much needed help from those who can give.  Mary Chapin Carpenter wrote a song “Bells Are Ringing” to help draw our attention to those in need.  It is a beautiful song, and a touching video.

When you hear the bells of the Salvation Army, keep in mind that each of those people ringing the bells are giving of their time to be there, and that the money raised is as important NOW as it has ever been. 

Let the sound of the bell ring in your heart as the sound of celebration, the sound of hope, … the sound of pure love.

Build Connections and Peace through Music

In so many ways, music allows us to connect, within ourselves, our family, our community, and our world.  That’s why I do what I do.  See my philosophy for creating Music Connections .   My “Summer Series” blog postings will feature unique ways to connect to through music  – for everyone.  The tab at the top will link them all.

This video highlights the ability for music to make global connections, and the discussion encourages what you can do with  it to further connect with your family, and the world, through music.

A street musician in California, Roger Riddley, was just playing for change, but he played his heart out and offered music that uplifts the soul.   He didn’t know it would inspire a worldwide movement for peace through music.

This beautiful rendition of Stand By Me (by Ben E. King) was recognized for its potential to connect.  The recording of Riddley’s music was offered to musicians (see headphones)  around the world (names & countries included), and their unique voices and instruments were added to the original sound track to create a truly amazing feeling of unity.  

When you watch this video with your children, consider engaging them with some of these options:

  1.  Point out the instrument that each musician is using (including their voice).  You can even pretend to play that kind of instrument.
  2. Read the names of the musicians and where they are from.  If you have a map of the world, jot down all the countries and try to find them on the map.  Place a little piece of playdough on each country, and see how far this music connected people.
  3. Learn the words to this song and sing it along with your family.  This song can actually become a ritual in your family, and its ability to connect you to each other may be able to help through tough times.  Due to copyright laws, I cannot provide the words here, but they are online at LyricWiki.
  4. Learn about PLAYING FOR CHANGE, a “multimedia movement created to inspire, connect, and bring peace to the world through music”  This introduction, http://www.playingforchange.com/journey/introduction , shares the story, and connects you to their website so you can learn how to be a part of this amazing movement.  The video on this page explains the heart of the movement and includes one of the best versions of Bob Marley’s “One Love” (I cried because it was so heartwarming.)
  5. Watch this cute video of how baby Eli responds to the music as he is watching the Stand By Me video.

How does YOUR child respond to this music and video ?

GREEN is the color to BE

GREEN has been my 4 year old daughter’s favorite color for at least 2 years now, but little does she know all of what GREEN is starting to mean.  Even in this FALL season, I am amazed at how much GREEN is springing up all around us.  It has been marvelous that Polk County has made our recycling a lot easier over the past few years, and that grocery stores are now offering reusable bags for carrying home our purchases, but really GOING GREEN is a LOT more than that.

 

Did you know?  Recycling just 1 aluminum can saves enough energy to operate a TV for 3 hours.

 

NEWSFLASH !!!  Kindermusik International is Going GREEN – in a BIG WAY !!!  So customers will see some changes in the packaging of their home materials. (AND they are looking for your feedback in this process.) 

 

 

kindermusik-green

 

In ways not so visible, they are undertaking some seriously responsible actions at KI headquarters.  It is more than just reducing, reusing, and recycling.  For example, all our teacher’s guides will be available online to licensed educators.  This is a HUGE investment in green, coming from a Publishing Company.  As another significant move, they are purchasing Renewable Energy Certificates in a Palm Springs Wind Farm, to offset the energy costs of doing business.  WOW! 

www.kindermusikgreen.blogspot.com – This blog highlights their efforts, and provides some great information, and inspiration, for families trying to go GREEN.

 

This REALLY HITS home that Kindermusik International is whole heartedly committed to creating a special world for children NOW, and for the future, that includes harmony and sustainability.

 

Did you know?  There are 60 billion single-serving plastic bottles made each year.  Only 20% of them are recyled.

 

At Lakeland Montessori, where my daughter attends school, all the students are involved about learning how to be more GREEN at school and at home.  Based on their research, and my subsequent research on this topic, I am creating a posting on my Music Connections Recommends… blog that will list several resources for excellent and unique GREEN products.

 

Did you know?  Over 500 billion plastic bags are consumed worldwide each year.  Each bag takes up to 1000 years to decompose and leaches toxic chemicals while doing so.

 

If you are interested in keeping up with all the aspects of becoming GREEN, check out:  http://www.thedailygreen.com/  – a website that is “the consumer’s guide to the green revolution”.  Includes blog postings with creative & inexpensive ways to “be more green”.  And there is a newsletter to which you can subscribe. 

 

I thought their gift ideas were quite unique!  For example, check out these websites for plantable paper, handmade paper that can be planted, and wildflowers will grow.

 

http://www.plantablepaper.com/index.htm 

http://www.swallowtailfarms.com  (click on Plantable Paper)

 

How cool is that?  It would even be more cool if I could actually grow anything – I do have the brownest thumb in the universe.  Well, at least the REST of me is going GREEN !  And I LOVE it!

 

Good Luck with your GREEN efforts!

Eight families lose everything in fire nearby

At this time, I am not approaching you as a Kindermusik educator, but as a concerned neighbor.  I would just like to share with you an immediate need that we have in our community. 

Paddock Club FireAs you may, or may not, be aware, EIGHT families, living in Building #5 at the Paddock Club in North Lakeland, FL., lost most everything they had in the fire that ravaged that building.  There are 18 adults and 19 children between the 8 families, and one of the ladies is in a wheelchair with her arm in a sling.  This picture from The Ledger is of that building as the fire fighters were starting the clean up process.

RIGHT NOW, these folks need financial help desperately.  They aren’t getting it from anywhere else.  An outpouring of gift cards or donations, even as little as $5 or 10 from each person who can find it in their heart, could make a HUGE difference in these families’ lives right now.  Find out more about these families and how you can help at the following website: 

http://jhollen.weebly.com  

Adults  Most families have been able to be relocated, and much has been donated to them in the way of clothes and furniture, and even some food.  My current Kindermusik families have been kind in their donations, and so far, 5 full loads have been delivered from my van directly to these families, as well as two trailers full of furniture and other items.  The victims are extremely grateful for what they have recieved. 

But the families have an even more important need at this time.  All of their money has gone into this re-location process.  Starting over, from nothing, is an overwhelming task and financial burden – not one that can be taken care of fully from a monthly salary. 

childrenThese families are in dire need, as they are not being able to purchase medications for their families.  Some folks are going without their medication RIGHT NOW because they don’t have the funds to purchase them.  These families also need to purchase household supplies, for cleaning and laundry, and personal care items (things that are not typically donated, and are more about personal choice).

This is NOT some general organization trying to raise funds for a general cause.  This is one person, a good friend, who is trying to help these specific people get back on their feet.

Jessie Hollen, who lives in building #6, has been a close friend of these families for years.  She saw, first hand, the devastation that the fire has brought to these people.  And she has been working tirelessly one on one with each of these families to help meet their specific needs.  Donated items are taken directly to the families who need them.  You can read more about her efforts, and how to get your gift cards or donations to her, on a website she set up specifically for this cause.   Her goal is to collect $5000 in 7 days.  These folks REALLY need it.  She has some good ideas for how inspired individuals can really rally to gather these needed funds and send them along to her.

She makes copies of every financial donation she recieves, and personally sends Thank You messages to as many as she has addresses or emails for.  But the really important part is that Jessie is truly dedicated to making sure that these families get the help they need as soon as it comes through her door.

Please help us help them.

Merry Melodies,
Debbie Mondale