Christmas  2014


Carol of Hope      

Each winter as the year grows older
we each grow older too.
The chill sets in a little colder;
The verities we know seem shaken and untrue.

When race and class cry out for treason,
When sirens call for war,
They overshout the voice of reason
And scream until we ignore all we held dear before.

Yet I believe beyond believing,
That life can spring from death;
That growth can flower from our grieving;
That we can catch our breath and turn transfixed by faith.

O Child of ecstasy and sorrows,
O Prince of peace and pain,
Brighten today’s world by tomorrow’s,
Renew our lives again; Lord Jesus, come and reign!
William Gay in With One Voice #628

Dear family & friends,

With the world in such turmoil, it's hard to celebrate, but hope is renewed as we honor the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  May you all enjoy peace and good will this holiday season, and sing with the angels of God's love for all mankind.

I haven't done any Christmas decorating at home, since it doesn't work out for the family to come here at Christmas time, but I did enjoy a couple special Christmas treats. Thanksgiving weekend Dot and I went to a gorgeous performance of the Nutcracker at the beautiful Valentine Theater in downtown Toledo. Then Friday, Dec. 12, sat next to friends for a wonderful presentation of Amahl and the Night  Visitors at Zoar Lutheran Church in Perrysburg. Amahl was a very talented 9 year old (I'm guessing at the age). He was perfect - really got into the part. I loved the shepherd dancers. They were so graceful. Amahl is such a special musical treat!

It's been a relatively quiet year for me. The garden, as usual, is quite peachblossoms44B.jpg (318961 bytes) productive. I still have tomatoes spread out on trays in the dining room, turnips and rutabagas nestled in compost in the chilly breezeway, and a surplus of Goldrush apples, which are tasty but pest ridden, making them hard to share. The tree didn't produce last year, so this year it was loaded and I didn't get the fruit protected or thinned. I hope to do better next year with little protective bags I saw in the garden catalogue. Take a little tour of my garden

There was some trauma when I discovered my website was gone from the Internet! Turns out that Time Warner quit hosting websites. Fortunately the company that I bought my domain name from  ( also hosts websites, so that's where I ended up. It's a more expensive, but with plenty of space, it's more convenient all round. Part of my website used to be housed on my network drive. If you are looking for something, search the site map.

I've continued with classes, and it's always rewarding when someone new comes and learns how delicious and healthy traditional foods are. This year's classes are listed here. Want strong healthy bones or know the place of salt in a healthy diet? Here are my Powerpoint class notes.  I and many others continue to hope that the medical profession will finally come to recognize that drugs and surgery are not the answer to vibrant health, but nutrition with good clean real food and clean living are essential. The battle over GMOs (genetically modified corn, soy, etc.) has awakened the public to be concerned about their food. Monsanto may have spent nearly $10 million this fall to defeat the labeling initiatives in Oregon and  Colorado, but you can just assume that most processed foods contains GMOs. The battle seems to have made Americans more "GMO Averse." The bad news is that there has been a large increase in the rate of many chronic disease in the last 30 years or so, whether from GMOs  or pesticides or overly processed foods or whatever. The good news is that you can avoid all these by choosing verified Non-GMO, certified organic, or trusted local whole foods, with plenty of good natural fats. Ignore the common recommendation to make everything low fat, as that tends to leave you hungry and unsatisfied.  So butter those veggies, use plenty of high quality olive oil on your salads, enjoy your wonderful homemade gravy made from your grass-fed meat drippings. Make lots of bone broth, the new thing. Your body will thank you!

Dots_birch35B.jpg (351312 bytes)I've made several trips to Lansing to visit Dorothy (aka 'Dot') and help out a bit. We've had some interesting escapades with her friend Charlotte, including a visit to a convent north of Lansing to see pages from The St. John Bible, a hand-written and hand-illuminated Bible commissioned in 1998 by St. John’s Abbey & University. Dot is a gardener at heart, and here are some pictures of her garden

Dot and I shared Thanksgiving dinner with Pete and Caryn at their house, along with Caryn's sister, Barb. Pete often invites his OB/Gyn residents for Thanksgiving dinner, but none of them could come this year. Pete does all the cooking, incidently. Caryn cleans up. He's teaching them some valuable nutrition lessons that they don't often get otherwise, like the health benefits of whole milk and eggs for young mothers. Then Friday Dot and I trotted over to Cleveland for turkey leftovers with Mark & family, including Will and Emily, and Jeanne's parents, who are living with them. Mark suffered the effects of the recession as the doctor he was working with lost the funding for ColorfulHorseB.jpg (185180 bytes) his research. Thanks to Will's interest in rocketry, Mark is now involved with a company that makes model rockets. Will is in 11th grade at University School and is turning in to quite a graphic artist - check out his creation to the right.  Emily is a junior at St. Olaf. She's headed for Morocco during this Interim to study math & art and practice her French.

We've had some interesting discussions in adult Sunday school this year on different religions, and were treated with a visit from a Moslim friend of our teacher. The need to understand others in this tumultuous world is so urgent. Every Sunday at the beginning of the service we confess our sins and ask for forgiveness. On the theory that it's hard to be repentant for sins we don't recognize, I offer a couple current opinion pieces about our nation's unfortunate involvement in the Mideast. How is it that we have a president who was awarded the Nobel Peace prize for his efforts, but now he's been hounded into yet another war? How do we extricate ourselves from a set of situations that we just seem to be making worse? Much food for thought in these opinion pieces.

On that sober note, I offer my prayers for peace and understanding for all, and wish you a very Merry Christmas, and blessings of the holidays to all!


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