Thursday, December 11, 2014

God is not dead nor doth he sleep - Powerful lyrics from "I heard the bells on Christmas Day"

Christmas music is very much a part of my soul. "I heard the Bells on Christmas Day" is my favorite. I have written several pages on Christmas Carols and since this is not self-promotion on my part, the pages are listed at the bottom but they are not required reading.

However, I want to share the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Ed Hermanns telling of the story behind Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem. It is about the human spirit and the most powerful of all the songs that are sung at Christmas. If nothing else, watch the video which is excellent.

If you are so inclined, you can also listen to the Johnny Cash and June Carter version. It is my favorite.

Besides, I heard the bells on Christmas Day  this is the list of my other pages on Christmas music.

Deck the Halls - My way of explaining the lyrics to my child. Do you know what "Don we now our gay apparel" means?
Silent Night - Simple tune, simple melody.
Away in the Manger - Generally the first carol that kids learn.
A Soalin' by Peter, Paul, and Mary - The story behind the song and some of my other favorite Peter, Paul, and Mary tunes.
Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy - An unlikely duet with two very different people, David Bowie and Bing Crosby.
Christmas with the Beach Boys - I'm a California girl and the Beach Boys were very much part of my youth.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Charity begins at home

"Charity begins at home" is one of the most misused quotes of all times so who am I to use it correctly. Like all the others who misuse it, I am going to use it to mean that there is hunger everywhere but it is much closer at home.  This is day three of the Effectively Human blog - web food drive started by M. J. Joachim to increase awareness of this growing need. 

Food banks nationwide are dealing with an enormous task to feed the hungry. Some of them limit the daily allotment of food to the first 25 people in line. What gets media attention is the Thanksgiving and Christmas meals provided to families but the day to day operation goes unnoticed. 

This is a very personal subject to me and I don't tell people that we have been one of those people at number 26 and were turned away. For a few short months, food was an issue. We have been blessed and are now in a position to give back but we know what it's like to worry how to provide food for the family.  

Riverside California Free Food Sources is a website listing all the places in Riverside County, California where families can go to get food. All of these places welcome donations of food or money. 

Giving can be even easier of you have kids in school. Participate in the school's food drive. My child raided the pantry a couple of weeks ago and filled a box with canned and packaged goods. He doesn't remember when food was hard to come by but has a giving heart. 

One a personal note, a heartfelt THANK YOU goes to all those people who work tirelessly to provide food. They spend hours sorting food, packing boxes, and soliciting for donations. It's a monumental task trying to keep enough food on hand. But even more so, thank you for your loving hearts that cheerfully deal with the people who do not want to be there asking for a handout.

There are children starving worldwide but there are children who are going hungry in your own neighborhood. Please help feed them because charity begins at home. 

Friday, December 5, 2014

"Spark of Love" Toy Drive Tournament - Once again, baseball related because that's the only thing we do

The goal of M. J. Joachim's Holiday Food Drive on her blog "Effectively Human" is to share local programs that feed the hungry. These are the people who make a difference on a daily basis and need our support. But for Day 2 of the Holiday Food Drive, I am going to change my focus just a bit.

It's December and everyone is out shopping. It's almost sad to see how products are pushed for children who now must have the best and the most of everything. What if you are a child in foster care who may not get anything? Los Angeles County has a trust fund to make sure all the children in their care are not only eligible for scholarships but during the holidays make sure they are included in the festivities of the season.

The Spark of Love Toy Drive is one of those programs. Their mission (from the website) is:

“Spark of Love (SOL)” is a toy drive and distribution campaign that includes a number of related holiday events benefiting foster youth and caregivers. The 22 year-old initiative is managed by a Planning Committee comprised of ABC’s Channel 7, Children’s Trust Fund, representatives from the Los Angeles County Fire Department, and Metrolink. 

Within Los Angeles County, these efforts are also supported by volunteers, representatives from the Board of Supervisors and employees from the Department of Children and Family Services. Approximately 50,000 toys are collected each year. The toys are distributed to the community through the work of ABC7, the Children’s Trust Fund, and Los Angeles County Fire Department.

We are well aware of the toy drive because it's been around for many years and we have donated toys, dropping them off at the fire station. However, this year there is a baseball tournament in Fontana where collecting toys is part of the entry fee. Each child playing will bring a toy.

I grant you this is not a food drive. However, feeding the soul is every bit as important and our players are excited to help. Not only do they get to play baseball, they are part of something bigger where giving is the focus.

If you are in Fontana on December 6-7, drop off a toy at Jack Bulik Park or Bill Martin Park. Come watch the kids play baseball and enjoy the time with us. Help us teach our kids not only good sportsmanship but giving to others. It's food for their souls and the kids who will get the toys.

"Spark of Love" Toy Drive Tournament in Partnership with
RC Bulldogs
.Dec. 6-7, 2014 8u, 9u, 10u, 11u, 12u, 13u, 14u, 16u
Jack Bulik Park, 
Bill Martin Park, 
Fontana, California

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

eHow, Helium, and Squidoo all shut down. It's time to move all the articles on HubPages to the blogosphere.

I can string words together and have fairly good grammar. I have ideas and information to share. I started with eHow and learned a lot there but they shut us down. So, I moved some of my articles to Helium.

I liked Helium and had a very good time with new writing friends. I practiced my craft at article writing and actually made some money but they also shut down. I moved some of those articles to my computer and the rest found their way to Squidoo. I have enough articles on camping to write my own book which I may do someday.

I had a great time on Squidoo but we were told that they were closing their doors too. It was discouraging but Squidoo had made arrangements with HubPages to take all our lenses and make them hubs. Before the transfer, I deleted more than 50 articles because I knew they weren't going to make it on HubPages. That left about 150 which I edited to conform with their rules. I was enjoying my time until yesterday when all of a sudden some of my hubs became "unfeatured" for quality. I took a hard look at the three of them and could see where they needed to be updated.

However, I am tired of trying to fit what I want to say into other people's rules. It appears that the hubs that were former lenses are being dealt a deathblow. We (those from Squidoo) think HubPages is regretting its decision to take our lenses and this is their way of weeding them out. I updated a healthy lens today only to have it drop into unfeatured for quality. It's about baseball with lots of original photos and even more information on how to be a good baseball parent, including what not to buy.

That will be the first one that I post here next week. Our grandson has been playing baseball since he was five and now that he's got one more year in Junior High, we know a great deal about youth baseball. That information is worth sharing for other parents who might be starting out.

I will not spend any more time complaining about eHow, Helium, Squidoo, and HubPages. What I post now is only me sharing what I know and saying what I want to say.