On Compassion

Compassion: From a Latin meaning “to suffer together”

Compassion: A sympathetic consciousness

Compassion: A feeling of wanting to help someone in need

Compassion: Mercy, tenderness, heart, clemency, sympathy, commiseration, feeling, empathy, care, concern, solicitude, sensitivity, warmth, love, tenderness, leniency, kindness, charity, pity, humanitarianism

Compassion: A worthy characteristic regardless of religious or nonreligious preferences

Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive. (Dalai Lama)

The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others. (Albert Schweitzer)

Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. (Albert Einstein)

Wisdom, compassion, and courage are the three universally recognized moral qualities of men. (Confucius)

Our human compassion binds us the one to the other – not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learnt how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future. (Nelson Mandela)

Compassion: An original composition for handbells by Jason Krug, performed by our handbell choir (Bells of Peace)

On Monday Style

Last weekend, those of us in the eastern USA were getting blasted by bitter cold. For us in Cincinnati, today was sunny and in the low 40s. What a difference a week makes!

We started the weekend expecting a low-key weekend. After time on the ballroom floor Friday night, we returned home to a message saying we have an offer on our house. YIKES! … we definitely weren’t prepared for that news.

Saturday involved errands, including a meeting with our realtor to develop a counter offer. Saturday night we stayed home and watched Jack Reacher.

Sunday morning was handbell time. Pavane is a slow piece with long notes, which makes it very vulnerable for a 14-member choir. Here’s a duet during the same piece. If that’s not enough, here’s a soloist … but it’s still a tricky song to place.

Shortly after lunch, our realtor called with the news that the buyers accepted our offer! So now we wait to see if the deal falls in place; plus time will tell how this affects may blogging routine. After all, demands have already taken a bite out of my visits.

How was you weekend? Tell us about it!

Celebrations for your week ahead.

  • (Week) Cuckoo Week, Dance Week, Letter Writing Week
  • (Mon) Clean Off Your Desk Day, Rubber Duckie Day, Coming of Age Day, Pubic Radio Broadcasting Day, Peach Melba Day
  • (Tues) Hot Pastrami Sandwich Day, Dress Up Your Pet Day, Poetry at Work Day, Organize Your Home Day
  • (Wed) Strawberry Ice Cream Day, Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice Day, Humanitarian Day
  • (Thurs) Appreciate a Dragon Day, Nothing Day, Fig Newton Day, Women in Blue Jeans Day, Get to Know Your Customers Day

Because it’s Cuckoo Week and Dancing Week, this is close enough to both. Enjoy and have a great week.

On Virginia and Santa Claus

Interfaith graphic by Justice St. Rain (Bahá’í Community) of Interfaith Resources

Interfaith graphic by Justice St. Rain (Bahá’í Community) of Interfaith Resources

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.

Yes, Virginia, when I was your age, I believed in Santa – then I questioned – and then I did not believe for a long time – but I was older when I realized Santa Claus is real.

Yes, Virginia, we link Santa Claus to a Christian holiday, but because of Santa, many celebrate Christmas who aren’t Christians.

Yes, Virginia, Santa is important because he is a spirit for all of humanity. He’s not White, Black, Hispanic, or Asian … He may be all of those or whoever someone wants him to be because Santa is for everyone.

Yes, Virginia, we link Santa Claus to St. Nicholas (a Christian saint), but the gift of giving and kindness is important to not just to Christians, but to Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Hindus, Atheists, Agnostics, Secular Humanists, and all the religions of all the people throughout the big, wonderful world.

Yes, Virginia, some loudly complain about a war on Christmas, buy they do not give Santa much credit.

Yes, Virginia, in the spirit of Santa Claus, I want to give gifts to my readers and anyone who visits this post because I believe there are so many good people throughout the world – and kindness is something all of us have in common.

Yes, Virginia, I want anyone to take as many gifts under this tree as the they want – as long as they tell me in a comment – and they can return as often as they want for more! Yes Virginia, giving is important.

To my fellow Christian friends, Merry Christmas – and we also know what else we are celebrating – and that is important to us to remember.

To all, may the spirit kindness of the holiday season touch each of you … and thanks for all of your doses of Santa kindness that you deliver to my little corner of the world throughout the year and in the time to come.

Yes, Virginia, Santa is about Peace on Earth and Goodwill to All!

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Many of us are grown up now, but Michael Buble shares a Grown Up Christmas List through clips of classic movies about the holidays.

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This Bing Crosby classic song is a wonderful tradition.

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Lights are one of the joys of the season, so here’s a house serving as a background to an acoustic guitar version of The First Noel by Trans Siberian Orchestra

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Several years ago, Lynn (Composer in the Garden) wrote Father Time, and this is a good opportunity to share her spirit of the season.

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To many, handbells are a sound of the season. Here is a fast-paced version of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen with interesting techniques that our choir is playing Christmas Eve. (Start at 1:15 in the video)

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Here’s some Christmas flavor from a local legend. Like her famous nephew George, the late Rosemary Clooney’s roots are Cincinnati. Her Christmas Mem’ries will rekindle your memories.

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I find Where Are You Christmas? by The Piano Guys to be special music that is fitting for this post.

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… and their Carol of the Bells is outstanding.

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For the dancers in the crowd, a spin around the floor to the Christmas Waltz promises to deliver smiles.

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A post like this must include on piece of humor, thus so cheers to the Star Trek spin on a holiday favorite.

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A Fire for You (John Boswell) delivers beautiful music to for the Winter Solstice and the season.

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The universe is a spectacular place, and its wonders continue to amaze me. Enjoy a trip through the universe through the Hubble telescope accompanied by a piano version of Oh Holy Night.

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Manheim Steamroller’s version of Silent Night is not only one of my favorite joys of the season, it is also very calming and accompanied by beautiful images.

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For those wanting to celebrate the sounds of Christmas through voices, Andrea Bocelli and Katherine Jenkins are wonderful together … and yes Virginia, I believe.

On the Season for the Crazed

Shopping, Christmas cards, parties, cooking, cleaning, travel, visitors, and more can turn the holiday season into a crazed whirlwind. Consider the later-than-normal Thanksgiving for Americans, and then top it with a death in the family, it is safe to say that the holiday craziness is shorter for us – although I’m not sure if that’s good or bad.

The purpose of this post is to provide several videos for the crazed season. Enjoy.

I have said for many years that the Christmas season doesn’t officially start until I see the Norelco commercial with Santa riding the triple-header. Yep – I’m thankful for YouTube, so the season has begun for me.

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Even though I didn’t shop on Black Friday and avoid malls/major shopping areas on weekends, this annual search for gifts makes me laugh. FYI: I have been picking gifts for my regulars, more to come.

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With the season for the frantic, this fast handbell rendition of Wizards in Winter by the Raleigh Ringers (one of America’s premier choirs) is one of my favorite holiday favorites. After seeing this video for the first time several years ago, my wife said she found watching to be exhausting. Watch the high-bell ringers on the left (especially toward the end) as they hold two different bells in each hand.

On Premiering a Fantasia

When a new handbell piece appears in my folder, I examine certain things for my own sake.

Image from Hope Publishing

Image from Hope Publishing

Who is the composer/arranger? Cool … it’s Kevin McChesney, he’s one of the best!

What’s the difficulty level? Hmmmm … Why isn’t this piece rated?

So, what publisher forgot the rating? Huh? There isn’t one!

Maybe it’s on the page? How long is this thing? What!!! This has twice as many pages as anything else we’ve ever played!

Is there a dedication? OMG! Someone commissioned this for our church and the approaching 50th anniversary celebration.

ForAllTheSaintsGlass

Stained glass at All Saints Episcopal Church (Jensen Beach, FL) from Wikipedia

Starting in late August, our choir worked hard to prepare Fantasia on “For All the Saints”, a lively take for handbells on the classic hymn For All the Saints (music by Ralph Vaughn Williams and lyrics by William How) … (and my part was quite challenging).

We would premier the piece at the 50th Anniversary celebration dinner of our congregation, as well as playing it Sunday morning. Fittingly, and seemingly coincidentally, it was also All Saints Sunday.

As time drew closer, I carried memories of this good friend who would have loved this piece, but was murdered … and this good friend and bell ringer who cancer quickly vanquished from us … and to other friends who I’ve met at church that we no longer see for one reason or another … and to members of my family. To top it off, a past pastor returned and delivered a wonderful sermon that reminded everyone that each of us as saints and sinners.

At the dinner, one of our handbell choir members introduced the piece. Her words were so fitting that when she read it at rehearsal earlier in the week, my eyes got a little watery – and the portion below is good for this post.

The text of the first verse is especially appropriate for any occasion in which we stop to reflect on a community of faith:

“For all the saints // who from their labors rest // who thee by faith // before the world confessed // thy name O Jesus // be forever blest. // Alleluia, Alleluia!”

At one point, you’ll be able to hear those Alleluias passed among several bells and intermixed with the melody.

We couldn’t imagine a more fitting tribute on this All Saints weekend, when we honor the saints who are in this room and the saints who have made 50 years of ministry and fellowship at Prince of Peace possible.

In time, publishers will make this piece available for others to play, but I can proudly say that I was in the first choir to play it and the dedication line indicates our church.

While you’re watching, observe many ringing techniques throughout the choir.  Enjoy the blog premier of Fantasia on “For All the Saints”.