Well here we are in December! Can you believe it? It seems like just yesterday I was at the pool and enjoying flip flops and sunshine and now it's.... Well it's still sunshine and flip flops, but with a Christmas tree in my living room. We've had crazy warm weather in the 'hood lately and quite frankly I am grateful. I get terrible seasonal blues and I feel like this is a reprieve and answer to some uttered prayers from a couple of weeks ago. I know my ski bum and shredding friends are itching for the white stuff but I'm good.
So for December I'm going to showcase my favorite holiday songs and traditions. I'm a sentimental fool with a big heart and most of the things I will talk about stem from a very blessed, yet simple childhood. I hope you enjoy my holiday musings.
Last week was quite the anomaly for my non-profit work. It just so happened that I had two really important events centered around organizations that help kids at risk or those who have been in abusive situations or both. As I reflected back on both events it got me thinking about my favorite Christmas carol: "Away In A Manger." When I looked up the history of the carol its origin is unknown and there are numerous versions and melodies. This carol is so moving to me. One of the things I love about it most is the third verse, which I quoted in the graphic above. It becomes a lullaby and it's blessed. Bless all the dear children in thy tender care. Sigh .... This time of year tends to be especially challenging for me because I haven't been blessed with motherhood yet. I've really worked hard this year to channel those mamma bear instincts through my community involvement with the Weber-Morgan Children's Justice Center. This continues to be one of the most rewarding and equally humbling tasks I've ever committed to. Some of my readers may be recovering abuse victims and to you I say, never give up and let your voice be heard. The statistics are staggering for those who are textbook victims, but never do anything to get the help and justice they deserve. And I will also say, listen to your children and those around you and be very sensitive to what they talk to you about. If you have any reservations towards certain individuals around your children, talk to someone about it. The worst thing anyone can do is to not speak up.
We hosted a holiday open house this week at the Children's Justice Center and I had extended the invitation to a couple of people. One of them was my friend who will be part of a donation effort in the spring. I wanted him to see first hand what really went on at the center so that it made sense when we had the event. I'm always really humbled by people's reaction when they walk into the first interview room and it sinks in what actually happens within those four walls. I was one of those people not that long ago and it was the kind of humbling that causes a lump to get stuck in your throat. This time was no exception and my friend asked questions and I answered them. We then made our way into the recording room with the director who is a former child crime investigator. This room is where the computer system and recording equipment is housed for the investigators to watch as the interview is happening with the child. Shit gets real oh so quick when you realize the magnitude of purpose that occurs on a daily basis. Now I've been exposed to it for awhile, but my friend had not. I just stood there and watched as he took it all in and asked questions to the director giving us the tour. The point was made and I could tell that he was moved and inspired. This is why I do what I do... For the kids... The kids who, at no fault of their own, have been thrown into a terrible situation and need those advocates behind them.
The second organization I met with for le day job was The Christmas Box House. The director also happens to be one of the VanLadyLove mammas so that was fun too! The organization's motto is "every child deserves a childhood." To think that this is NOT the case for so many of our youth breaks my heart. As Lisa and I were visiting I told her that I've always said I would raise the whole neighborhood if it meant they had a safe place to eat, sleep and be kids. That still stands true. The Christmas Box House provides temporary shelter for kids who have lost their home for whatever reason. They are doing incredible things for these youth. They offer so many programs for them that helps them become functioning adults against all sorts of odds.
So how can we connect this beloved carol and these two awesome organizations? Really simple... Watch out for the children and protect these dear babes who are in your life for whatever reason. And especially those who you know have been dealt a terrible hand and you can shift their future for the better. And most of all don't forget to pray. Pray to your God for the victims of the poor choices of selfish adults. Bless those sweet young humans all around us.
The moral of the story: life isn't a lullaby for everyone, but with a little effort and prayer we can bring a song to the hearts of children all around us.
Here is my absolute favorite rendition of "Away In A Manger" sung by Katherine Jenkins.
Until next time my lovelies!