December 5, 2006

Ringing the Bell

It is cold in Minnesota by most normal standards, which means most people in Minnesota are still in denial that it is cold since this can be normal for us. It was just above double digits in real temperature and below zero with wind chill factor. Lucky for our little family that today was our scheduled day to ring the Salvation Army Bell.

We had swimming and dance lessons this morning and then we bundled up. I am talking snow pants, boots, scarves, hats, mittens full bundling up and headed to a nearby store to take our shift at the kettle. Our homeschool group organized a day of volunteering and we had a short shift in the middle of it.

Thankfully when we arrived at the store we were blessed to discover they had moved the kettle indoors in between the exit and outside sliding glass doors. We were still thankful for our warm clothes though hats and scarves were removed mittens were still needed and we were thankful for the extra warmth as the door opened continually. But we were sheltered from the bitter wind and for that I am thankful.

This was our first year ringing for the Salvation Army and I am thankful we had the opportunity to do so. The kids enjoyed it - we were only there about 45 minutes or so and that was about the right amount of time any longer and they would have been weary of it I think. Sirah started wearing down about 10 minutes from when we stopped. They took turns ringing the bell and we sang Christmas carols, loudly.

We did find that the Christmas carols seemed to make people smile and thank us or stop and make a comment and we definitely received more donations when we sang. One woman who worked at the store even said "How can I miss this opportunity since you are singing so well." The kids were excited at each donation and said "Thank You" and "Merry Christmas" each time. They too noticed that the singing seemed to bring more donations and it kept them excited to sing.

We sang several songs but soon discovered that the 12 Days of Christmas was our best song and it was a nice long song that we knew all the words too and it seemed to make people smile so that is what we sang for most of the time. The poor cashier working right inside the door probably does not want to hear that song again for awhile. Especially since my Ciaran loves to sing loudly and really only has one volume when it comes to singing.

I recommend taking a turn at the kettle if you have an opportunity to do so. The kids enjoyed it and I think people liked seeing children there ringing the bell. We talked a bit about the salvation army and who they help and why we were doing what we were doing. We spent family time together serving in an easy way and we of course went out for hot cocoa afterwards.

Every month we try to do a service project together either through church, our homeschool group or just on our own. During the holidays we tend to do more than one a month. This was one of two service projects we are doing this month. The kids enjoyed it and it is one I think we will do each year going forward.

To volunteer to ring the bell for the Salvation Army go here as a start. By the way the child in the photo is not mine but I thought it was a cute photo.

Peace in Christ,


  1. What other service projects do you do with the kids? I think that's such a wonderful idea.

  2. I live out in California. When I think about it being cold in Minnesota I remember this contrast:

    40 Californians shiver uncontrollably, Minnesotans go swimming.

    35 Italian cars don't start.

    32 Water freezes.

    30 You can see your breath. Politicians begin to worry about the Homeless.

    25 Boston water freezes. Cat insists on sleeping on your bed with you.

    20 Californians weep pitiably, Minnesotans eat ice cream. You can hear your breath.

    5 N.Y. City water freezes. Politicians begin to talk about the homeless.

    12 You plan a vacation to Mexico.

    10 Too cold to snow

    5 You need jumper cables to get the car going. Cat insists on sleeping in your bed with you.

    3 You plan a vacation in Houston.

    0 Too cold to skate. American cars don't start.

    -5 You can cut your breath and use it to build an igloo.

    -10 Too cold to think. Politicians actually do something about the homeless.

    -15 Cat insists on sleeping in your pajamas with you. You need jumper cables to get the driver going.

    -20 You plan a 2-week hot bath.

    -25 The mighty Monongahela freezes. Japanese cars don't start.

    -30 Californians disappear, Minnesotans button top button...