Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Angels

At 12:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning, a young mother, Amanda Buckland, lost her home, her belongings, her husband Charles, her 9-month-old daughter, Emma, and 4-year-old son, Joshua to a fire. She was saved by a neighbor who put a ladder up to her bedroom window. Her 12 year old step daughter also made it out on her own. The neighbors tried to put a ladder up to the children's window, where their father was trying to save them, but were unable to due to the smoke and flames. (The home did not have working fire detectors). The fire department was able to remove her husband and children from the home within 10 minutes of arriving, but they were already gone. (Officials said the fire was caused by an overloaded power strip in the back of the home.)


Please take a moment to consider her loss as she copes with this terrible tragedy. You can go to her friend's blog to donate to her, for she has lost everything. Perhaps, sacrificing the funds on extra stocking stuffers, or an extra gift this year would mean little to your family, but any help at all would help her tremendously. You can read the news story here and donate here.

You can also send cash or other physical donations or gifts to her employer:

Ullenbruch's Flower Shop
C/O Amanda Buckland
1839 Lapeer Ave
Port Huron, MI 48060

Then, please go and check your fire detectors, power strips and outlets, and run an evacuation fire plan with your families. Lots of great fire safety information here, on building emergency kits, making an exit plan, teaching your kids about fire safety, and activities like puzzles and coloring pages and games that teach children how to stay safe from fire.

This reminds me of the great poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. His wife's dress caught fire as she was sealing locks of her children's hair in envelops with a wax melt, and he tried to snuff out the fire using a rug and his own body, but she died the next day. He suffered burns as well which led to his famous beard later in his life due to difficulty in shaving from the scars.  For the next two years, he listened to the Christmas chimes at his church and they held no meaning to him anymore.

Longfellow wrote "Christmas Bells" on Christmas Day 1863 in the midst of the American Civil War and the news of his son Charles Appleton Longfellow having suffered wounds as a soldier. Following his years of sadness from his wife's death, the Christmas bells had no joy or meaning to him, but his perspective changed as he felt the spirit during the chimes and he went and wrote the poem "Christmas Bells" which was later turned into the famous carol, "I Heard The Bells on Christmas Day". After hearing his story, and singing the song at church on Sunday, it took everything I had not to silently cry.

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

I thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head:
"There is no peace on earth," I said,
"For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men."

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men."

Till, ringing singing, on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,
Of peace on earth, good will to men!

My heart goes out the the Buckland family, and may these little angels, get their wings with the ringing of the Christmas bells.

'It's a Wonderful Life' - "everytime a bell rings, an angels gets his wings"- zuzu bailey


The Boob Nazi said...

I saw this on Cake Wrecks. How terrible would this be!? My heart goes out to her and her step daughter.

Kristie said...

Thank you so much for sharing Amanda's story. Plus all the extra time you put into fire prevention and awareness is just great!

I had never heard the story behind the "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" before, but I will probably cry each time I hear it from now on.

Thank you again!

Kristie said...

By the way-you have a beautiful family! Your kiddos are the cutest! Be sure to give them extra hugs big hugs today :-)

Janean said...

i cannot even imagine...thank you for sharing her great need.

JMay said...

This just breaks my hearts, I will def. help out-thank you for posting!

Btw, I am in love with your Twilight jewelry!

Priscila said...

Wow what a caring and sweet person you are! I will defiantly be praying! I enjoy your blog so much! You are such an amazing person and I think it comes through every post!

I wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas!!! I hope your week is going great!

I was wondering if you could do me a favor and vote for my blog:

you have to sign up (which is quick) but would really help me! I would love it if you spread the word also!

Just put in your favorite blog as :

thank you sweetie!

Kristina P. said...

What a tragic story. My heart goes out to her and her family.

It really puts things into perspective, doesn't it?

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