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I spent the weekend moving my blog over to its own domain. Things are still a little buggy over there, but come check it out!
I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.
I thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.
And in despair I bowed my head:
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men.”
Till, ringing singing, on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,
Of peace on earth, good will to men!
(Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882), 1867)
My husband and I lost a very dear friend just this past week. His name was Michael, and he endured a ridiculous amount of hardship in his life. He was one of the bravest people I knew, and I’m so honored to have known him. Michael was incredibly creative, not only did he create through drama and performance, he also spotted incredible talent in his friends and encouraged them to pursue the creative. Just recently he asked my husband to partner with him in a new adaptation of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Michael was working on the script, and he wanted Tyler to write the music. Tyler wanted to take on the job, but he was reluctant to accept because of the uncertainties of our life in finding a new job and house. Michael hadn’t worked with Tyler in years, but he was sure Tyler was best for the job. He urged over and over – assured of Tyler’s abilities. Such a true friend.
Michael was always doing that. In college, all theater majors had to direct a play or a show for their senior project. Several friends did smaller productions in the university’s smallest theatre. Some directed musicals with a small cast. Michael first pitched Into the Woods, a full stage Broadway Musical (incredibly ambitious) and wanted it performed on our campus auditorium that housed 4500 people. He was turned down.
Undeterred, Michael settled for the second largest venue in the school and directed Songs for a New World by Jason Robert Brown, a musical that doesn’t really have a plot; rather, the show loosely connects the varied characters through theme. Each character sings about a point in life when a huge decision has to be made. They’re all at a turning point in life, and they have to face life’s greatest questions all in one moment. It’s incredible – with stories ranging from American explorers to distanced lovers to a flag maker to an expectant mother, and everything in between, including Santa’s disenchanted wife.
Looking back, that was the perfect show for Michael to direct. He sought out the best of the best for the cast and crew. Everyone involved in the show knew afterwards they had experienced something life changing. And yet, this show also stands as the perfect embodiment of Michael’s life. Life threw him several, “What are you going to do?” moments, and he made a wide range of decisions. Sometimes he shook his fist at the world. Sometimes he ran far away from those who knew him. Finally, he came home. He embraced life and the power of redemption, and he started creating again. It’s a beautiful story really. One that ended too quickly.
I write all of this in order to offer a challenge. Whatever else you do in life, I urge you to embrace the creative.
Find creative people. Make things. Sing things. Play things. Write things. Love things.
The creative holds transformative power. The creative, more than anything else, connects us closer to The Creator. Because when you learn to create, you learn to love, and then you start to realize how you, a product of creation, can be so loved.
We love you, Mike. See you soon, buddy.
My friends, how I have missed you so! My husband and I have been on a wild ride this past month. After spending three weeks in Arkansas for our vacation/summer job, we moved to a new area of Texas. My husband accepted his new position a day before we left on vacation, so we found a new house, packed, moved, and unpacked all just under 3 weeks. It’s been insane. Needless to say, my brand new blog got pushed to the side. I’m ready to start writing again, and I’m hoping to get my space switched over to its own domain very soon.
In the meantime, I’d like some feedback from you guys. When I started the blog, I originally intended it to cover a wide range of topics; however, I found my writing to keep going back to book reviews or tips about organizing books, etc. So, I’d like to know what you would like to see in our new space.
Would you like book reviews for you or for your children? Do you like the posts about organizing or utilizing the library? Would you like more posts about parenting or recipes? We are also starting to homeschool with my oldest very soon, so I could write about our journey with that if you are interested – maybe a review of curriculum or something. I’m going to tell random crazy stories, whether you like it or not. Let me know via Facebook, Twitter, or here in the comments section.
I’m hoping to get a writing night outside of the house within the next week, and we visited our new library today. I will have some more book reviews ready to go soon, and I have some ideas for a new series or two. Keep reading and have a great weekend!
My baby girl is almost 2. In her honor, I would like to present my favorite ABC books. Learning the alphabet is a gateway to words, which is, of course, the gateway to the world. I want my littles to love to read and learn, so I started giving them those fundamental tools early. Along with saying the letters and playing with magnetic letter sets and drawing letters in sidewalk chalk, I also love to read ABC books with my kiddos. My youngest shows her pride at knowing the letter on the page just like her big brothers. It’s a big deal. Also this. I love when this happens:
Grab a copy of one of these at your local library, or click the links here and have Amazon deliver them to your door.
1. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. The best ABC book ever. My kids LOVE shouting Chicka Chicka Boom Boom at random times throughout the day. Such a fun and creative rhythmic book.
2. The City ABC Book by Zoran Milich. I love, love, love this book. The creator captured black and white photographs of every day city scenes and architecture. Then, he highlighted each outline of the alphabet letters in red. My kids eat this book up. It’s a puzzle. It’s learning. It’s beautiful.
3. Alphabet City by Stephen T. Johnson. Much like The City ABC Book, this Caldecott-winning book captures the everyday still life of a city and transforms the photographs into gorgeous letter pictures.
5. Dr. Seuss’s ABC Book: Who doesn’t love Dr. Seuss? No one. That’s who. Rhyme, rhythm, learning, silliness all wrapped up in one book, typical of Dr. Seuss and why all humans adore him.