Monday, December 22, 2008

The Meaning of Christmas

I have never taken the time to do research on the hymns and carols for Christmas like I have during the last month. My reasearch gave me some great tidbits about the songs and I really enjoyed listening to them. However, there was a greater benefit . . . I truely gained a greater appreciation for the spirit of Christmas. Taking the time to read the words to the music and learn lessons from them helped keep Christ in my Christmas experience this year. This is why we celebrate it . . . Christ.

So, here is the immortal lesson that Linus taught us while Charlie Brown was trying to discover why we celebrate Christmas. Enjoy. . . and Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

My brain is frozen. I need your help.

Actually, I'm just functioning with half a brain. I've known for some time now that I am becoming more and more forgetful (just ask Marge L.) and can't recall information at the drop of a word like I use to. Heck, every so often I completely loose my head trying to figure out how to spell the word "when." My brain is currently frozen. Well, not really because I can obviously type and that takes some brain power.

This is what I need help with. I am putting together a dvd for my family with pictures of my siblings and myself growing up. I need ideas for what music to set it too. I would even consider a country song, so don't count those out. Here is what I have so far:

1. Little Wonders - Rob Thomas

That's all folks. I have many, many pictures of my sibling brew and need more songs! Anything that would be suitable will be considered. If you help me out with this little conundrum I might just be tempted to leave a sweet on your doorstep.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Okay . . . There is one country Chirstmas song I can handle

While channel surfing in my car (radio channels that is) I stopped on this one Christmas song that I forgot that I like. To my horror, it was COUNTRY! So, alas, there is at least one county song I can stomach during the holidays. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Top 10 Christmas Melodies

My issue with Christmas music is just about solved! I seem to have progressed passed the retching phase I went through for a couple years after having Sam. I guess I should explain that.

I was pregnant with Sam during the Christmas holiday of 2004. I started the morning sickness the end of November. I am NOT the happy pregnant woman type so I was often found lying on the floor or on my bed with my eyes closed waiting for the green light to get up and move. The moments of "I really don't want to throw up again" thoughts were often accompanied by Christmas music being played in my house. To deal with it I pulled a pillow over my head to drown out the merry tunes. If I didn't have one close enough I would have to suffer through the torture of the music. The worst was that blasted Country Christmas CD that the kids played over and over and over and over . . . .

The Country Christmas CD met some friends in the trash a couple years ago and time as proven to be my friend. So, at last, I can now say I enjoy Christmas music again - anything but country.
If only I could test out the time theory on the quilt I was quilting for Lanette during the same time . . . . but that's another story.

So, to celebrate my new found enjoyment of Christmas music, here are the top 10 favorite Christmas songs. It was hard to choose - so go ahead and mention your favorites and my top 10 might change!

10. The Little Drummer Boy - The lyrics tell the story of a poor young boy who, unable to afford a gift for the infant Jesus, plays his drum for the Savior of the World with his mother Mary's approval. Miraculously, the baby, although a newborn, seems to understand and smiles at the boy in gratitude. I love the imagery of a child knowing who the Savior is and has an innocent and pure desire to offer his own greatest gift to him.

9. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen - This carol carries with it words of hope and peace. Many Christmas carol have the same message - I just really enjoy the minor tune of the one. It was also sung in Charles Dickens "A Christmas Carol" which I watch every year - yeah I own it. The lyrics are some of the oldest Christmas Carol lyrics known. I listened to a Christian rock station in PA that I really like. One of the versions I'm posting reminds me of the music I listened to on that station. So, here are two versions of it. One has more metal in it - of which you all should know by now, I love.

8. Rockin Around the Christmas Tree - Come on! Who doesn't like a "get up and shake that booty" song like this! Brenda Lee's rendition is a perinnial holiday favorite. It's just a feel good song!

7. Carol of the Bells - Originally composed to be sung acapella, this Christmas song has been given the makeover year after year. I love it in every form. Again - the minor key thing. I researched it a little and found this funky tibit to share - The song is based on a traditional folk chant whose language was thought to have magical properties because of the manner in which it manipulated the number 3. The original Ukrainian text tells the tale of a swallow flying into a household to proclaim the plentiful and bountiful year that the family will have. The title is derived from the Ukrainian word for "bountiful." Cool.

6. Away in a Manger - I have always loved this song, sung with either tune of "Cradle Song" or "Mueller" (more common). However, I have become even more enchanted with the melody and words since our Young Women sang it for the Christmas Carol program we had in Relief Society this past Sunday. They did such a fabulous job! I heard it was Karli that came up with much of their parts and use of the song. Way to go Karli - you rock! I wish I could have a recording of it to play!

5. White Christmas - Bing Crosby really is my favorite for this one. This is another Christmas movie I endulge in every year. In a time when movie musicals were made to show off dance and song talent, here is one with a "feel good" story woven into the scenery. Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye used their comic relief to teach us that kindness and motivation matters. Acts of the heart. I love the finale and enjoy all the dancing and funnies. It's just a great show with good music.

4. Silent Night - This is simply one of the best Christmas carols. It's is also one of the most popular. Translated in hundreds of languages and dialects, the song was sung simultaneously in English and German by WWI troops during the Christmas truce of 1914, as it was one of the few carols that soldiers on both sides of the front line knew. The word "silent" is used throughout the song. Silence is a way of expressing reverence. The whole song speaks of showing reverence for our Savior. I'm posting two versions because I couldn't decide between the two - I'm a sucker for acapella.

3. Do You Hear What I Hear - This song was originally written as a plea for peace during the Cuban Missle Crisis. Noel Regney said he wrote the words "Said the night wind to the little lamb, 'Do you see what I see?' " and "Pray for peace, people everywhere," after watching babies being pushed in strollers on the sidewalks of New York City. As you listen to the song you can see how he moves the understanding of the message of peace froma lamb to a child delivered all the way up to a king. Interesting.

2. What Child is This? - Another minor key song - imagine that! I love this song because it speaks specifically of the Nativity scene. I learned that the gentleman that wrote the lyrics to this song was confined to his bed because of a serious illness and wrote this song during Ephiphany day (celebration of God appearing on Earth in the mortal form of Jesus Christ.) It is set to an old English tune with original lyrics that are not very good. The meld of the tune and these new words to create what we know as "What Child is This" make for enjoyable listening. I'm posting an instrumental version - it's quite pretty.

1. O, Holy Night - by far my favorite Christmas song EVER! The words are so calming they stopped the Franco-Prussian war - at least for one night. On Christmas Eve, 1870, overcome by thoughts of home, a Frenchman jumped from his trench and began to sing "O, Holy Night." His voice reached the German lines and the fighting ceased for the night. In this song, the singer recalls the birth of Jesus Christ. I love the part, "Fall on your knees! O, hear the angels' voices!" I imagine that is how those who have met the Savior have felt in his presence.

Please, please feel free to tell me what your favorite Christmas songs are. I am so happy to be able to enjoy them again I just can't get enough!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A funny email from Carson

I get these kind of "answer the questions and pass it on" emails sometimes. I seldom answer them and forward it to anyone else. HOWEVER, I got one from my son Carson last week that gave me a good laugh. It's truely insightful as to why Carson is one of my favorite people to hang out with. There is often laughter when he is around.

Here is an interesting email I got from josh. I hope you answer the q's and enjoy it.

Carson, your amazing beastly ninja son.

Have you;

1. been on TV? Yes, but you never saw me. (I’m a ninja)
2. walked 5 miles? No. I never walk. I run. Several hundred miles at a time…
3. received a C or F in school? not on a report card

4. kissed someone? Yes?
5. killed someone? Yes. (I’m a ninja remember)
6. put a hole in a fence? Of course! But even though it was a huge hole, I fixed it before you could even go out into your backyard.
7. played poker? yes for keeps

8. been in a gang? Yes. Ya don’t mess with my homies…
9. broken a window? Yep.. almost ten separate windows (repeats don’t count do they?)

10. passed notes in class? yes. . . . . a lot. . . . . . but none have been mine
11. seen a purple-people-eater? Seen it? I won it in the poker game I played for keeps. I OWN IT!
12. driven a car? Yep. I’m too tense…
13.What are you doing right now? Checking my e-mail. (Isn't that a wee bit obvious?)

14. Who are you thinking of?my mom (because im ganna send it to her/you)
15. What is your greatest fear? That I won’t be able to kill one of my victims. You can never have enough weapons…
16. If you had a million bucks, what would you buy first? Well first, I would pay my tithing. Then, I would give 100,000 to a charity, Then I would by an invisible dirt bike (those are the only ones that ninjas can have.
17. favorite food: a ninja can stomach anything except sushi.

18. your age: 15 - 16 in may
19. What you have always dreamed of doing? See that’s the problem. There are no dreams. Ninjas do everything they want!
20. Your favorite vacation spot: Pennsylvania. No question
21. favorite sport to play: Soccer, rugby, and football. Also bloodball on the occasional off day.
22. your most embarrassing moment: Ninjas have no embarrassing moments. Even if we had some, we would have to kill you if we told you.
24. your favorite place: any place I can see my next victim..
25. whose response are you looking forward to get?my moms

I laughed that he would make sure he paid tithing and not so much that he is a killing machine. Here is my response:

Have you;1. been on TV? I can't remember
2. walked 5 miles? I use to. Now I drive it.
3. received a C or F in school? Um, never?
4. kissed someone? It was always hard to keep the guys away . . . 5. killed someone? I ran over a rabbit in California.
6. put a hole in a fence? Do you really think I'm that strong?
7. played poker? Your Dad taught me
8. been in a gang? Yes. The sampson gang, the mellott gang, the girl's night gang . . . .
9. broken a window? Yes, but never in anger.
10. passed notes in class? I had a naughty one taken by a teacher in 4th grade. The whole class had to stay in for recess.
11. seen a purple-people-eater? I would love to meet one someday.
12. driven a car? Often
13. What are you doing right now? Answering Carson's email
14. Who are you thinking of? Carson - still laughing after rereading this email you sent.
15. What is your greatest fear? Something bad happens to one of my kids.
16. If you had a million bucks, what would you buy first? Of course I would pay tithing, then redo my house and pay cash for everthing. Oh yeah, I would buy some chocolate covered strawberries.
17. favorite food: fresh fruit - any kind
18. your age: old enough to have a 15 almost 16 year old
19. What you have always dreamed of doing? Visiting Italy
20. Your favorite vacation spot: Pennsylvania. No question
21. favorite sport to play: I like racquetball when I played sports. I think I still would like it.
22. your most embarrassing moment: Do you really have the time for this - there are too many to pick from.
24. your favorite place: home or a quilt shop
25. whose response are you looking forward to get? Just sending this to you Carson.