These Are a Few of My Favorite Things – Christmas!

Today I was thinking about a few of my favorite things about Christmas.

One of my very favorite Christmas songs is O Holy Night, and each Christmas I try to hear it as many times as possible.  The last couple of years I have searched to find my favorite performance of it.  You can hear my last year’s favorite in the post linked here.  This year, I’m really liking this one (although I may find a new favorite version next year, who knows):


Also I was thinking about the Christmas program at church last Sunday, and fondly remembering one of the songs that the choir sang.  I was in the choir, and when we first started to rehearse this song, I had never heard it before.  But it quickly became one of my favorite Christmas songs.  I really felt touched by it, and I wanted to hear it again, so I searched for it on YouTube.  Unfortunately the performances of it that I found weren’t all that well done, but since I love the song so much, I’m sharing it here with you anyway.  See if you don’t agree that it’s a wonderful Christmas song (notwithstanding the quality of the singing – the composer is apparently singing it here; he’s a great composer):


And as I’m thinking about Christmas this year, I just looked over the first and second of my posts from last year around Christmas time, and I reiterate the same sentiments this year as well.

We hope to show Jesus that we really appreciate him for his birthday celebration (whether the traditional date is really the true date or not).  We’ll be including a birthday cake for Jesus in our Christmas feast.

I’m really looking forward to celebrating Christmas with family, and I hope you have an especially joyous and meaningful Christmas this year.


Self Reliant Living: How Many Wake-Up Calls Does it Take?

Car Troubles

Car Troubles

As I write this post, I’m experiencing a forced reminder about how Katy and I are not exactly having self reliant living.  I’m sitting in a Barnes and Noble bookstore, awaiting a call from a car repair shop, in a town about a four hour drive away from home.

Car Troubles

Last night we were on our way home from a Christmas visit to my mom and my sister, about eight hundred and fifty miles from home.  After we crossed the Blue Mountains on a snow-packed and slippery road, and we were safely near Kennewick, Washington, our car suddenly started running very roughly and the “Check Engine” light started coming on. The engine was very low on power also. Continue reading

The Birth of Jesus – Remembering His Gifts at Christmas

As we’re counting down the days till Christmas, and celebrating the birth of Jesus, we sometimes come across things that bring us some Christmas cheer, and when possible we like to share it with you.  Check out this video, in which Piano guys, Peter Hollens, and David Archuletta perform.  We think it’s great, how about you?

Gifts and Presents

We’ve also been thinking about a few issues around the whole Christmas tradition.  Like, what to do about gifts and presents.  In the last few years, Katy and I have felt a little bit like rebelling against the Christmas gift giving tradition, since we’ve seen some rather crass materialism, and a lot of nonsense, and a few over-the-top excesses around that tradition.  But we don’t want to be Old Scrooges and quit showing our love to those we present with gifts. Continue reading

The Reason for the Season

1859 Christmas, by Winslow Homer

1859 Christmas, by Winslow Homer

I’m counting down the days to Christmas.  I’m already celebrating.  The Reason for the season is such an great cause for celebration, I feel like celebrating all the time.  The Christmas season isn’t long enough.

There are so many great traditions around Christmas, I’d like to observe a few of the best of them.  At least, as many as I can fit in.

Sharing Christmas Joys

I’ve found a few special things for Christmas that I’d like to share with you here.  As the season progresses, I plan to add a few more as I discover them.

For starters, how about this video about the First Christmas Gift:

And, here’s Pentatonix performing Silent Night (probably my favorite version of it so far):

I think my favorite Christmas carol of all time is O Holy Night.  I even sang it as a solo in church a few years ago, because nobody else was going to do it and I really wanted to hear it.  I have a hard time deciding what’s my favorite performance of it.  I like this one by Celtic Woman, I really think it’s beautiful, and it resonates with my Celtic heritage.  But there are other versions I love too.  Anyway, see what you think of this one:

Celebrating the Reason for the Season

In our celebrations during the Christmas season, Katy and I will be keeping Christ in our Christmas, inasmuch as He is the Reason for the Season, after all.  He’s what we’re celebrating, even as we enjoy all the fun and festivities with family and friends.

Thanks for visiting.  As we remember the Reason for the Season, Katy and I are wishing you a Joyous as well as Merry Christmas!

Remembering Thanksgiving, Counting Down to Christmas

Our Pumpkins from Richard and Karen's gardenI’m still enjoying a warm Thanksgiving memory: roasted turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes, vegetables, and pumpkin pie.  And black olives, salad, and raspberry Jello with real raspberries added.  It was all delicious.  Katy is a great cook.  She made the pumpkin pies from these pumpkins (Way better than pies made from canned pumpkin!).

Our Pumpkin Pies for Thanksgiving - yum!

Our Pumpkin Pies for Thanksgiving – yum!

The pie with the darker crust was made with whole-grain spelt flour, since I discovered that I can eat spelt even though I have a sensitivity to wheat.

Memories of Past Thanksgivings

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Biscuits – My Gluten Free Recipe Experience, and a New Alternative

Biscuits and Honey - Mighty Fine Eating

Biscuits and Honey – Mighty Fine Eating

Like many of you, I have a sensitivity to wheat gluten.  I’ve had to find a gluten free recipe to substitute for numerous items where I would love to be eating the real thing.  But for me, many of the gluten free recipes and products leave a bit to be desired.

Good Taste – That Elusive Quality

I want foods that taste good.  Why is that so hard?  And, I want natural foods, without weird chemical additives and without hydrogenated oils (bad stuff!)  If it weren’t for the gluten-free thing, I would be eating mostly whole grain products, not white, highly processed and refined stuff (which is mostly what you get when you buy gluten free products).  And while I’m at it, did I mention that I would like it to taste good too, please? Continue reading

Happiness vs. Pleasure

Happiness vs. Pleasure - What Do You Think?

Happiness vs. Pleasure – What Do You Think?

I’ve heard it said that money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy whatever kind of misery you prefer indulging in the most.  That little aphorism kicks off my exploration of happiness vs. pleasure.  You mean if I get rich I may not necessarily be happy?  Yep, true story.  Happiness doesn’t originate from external things, but from within yourself.

Happiness – What Is It?

First I suppose we should discuss what the word happiness means.  Does it mean having a pleasant and fun time, like maybe at Disneyland (is that really the “happiest place on earth”)?  Does it mean getting what you want, and avoiding any unpleasant experiences?  Does it mean getting satisfaction?  Is happiness mostly about having fun, or what?  Is there such a thing as “true happiness”?

Continue reading

Autumn Reverie

Them Changes

Autumn in Layton - Our Old Home

Autumn in Layton – Our Old Home

I love the changes of seasons.  It doesn’t matter to me which season we’re leaving, and which one we’re entering, I love all the changes.  But autumn has special delights for me.

At the same time, I hate to let go of a beautiful season like the summer we just had.  In our part of the world, the summer of 2014 was one of the most beautiful and pleasant ones on record, especially since several recent summers here in the Pacific Northwest have been quite a bit too cool and gray.  It’s a little melancholy to see such a summer fade away. Continue reading

Homogenized Milk and Atherosclerosis – Connecting the Dots, or Not?

Welcome to Part 2 in my milk and health series.  This time I’m in really choppy waters as I discuss homogenized milk and atherosclerosis, as it’s really hard to get to the bottom line on what is fact and what is fiction in this issue.  But the implications for either your health or your diet could be pretty big, depending on where the actual truth may be found.

Lots of Health Issues Linked to Homogenization?

Homogenized Milk and Atherosclerosis

Milk – Good for you?
(image courtesy of Stefan Kuhn on Wikimedia Commons, under GNU Free Documentation License)

If you liked reading what I said in Part 1 about various serious illnesses, you’re really gonna love hearing about all the health damage I’m going to discuss here (In case you missed it, Part 1 was about the A1 vs A2 milk issue based on the claims that A1 beta casein is implicated in heart disease and other serious illnesses, expounded in the book “Devil in the Milk” by Dr. Keith Woodford).

This time the accusation is from the late Dr. Kurt A. Oster, MD and Dr. Donald J. Ross, PhD.  Dr. Oster was the head of cardiology at St. Vincent-Park City hospital in Connecticut.  He also held a master’s degree in biochemistry.  Dr. Ross was the head of the biochemistry department at Fairfield University.

Their research, which spanned more than three decades, says that homogenization of milk turns it into a major cause of heart disease / atherosclerosis.

Associated research also implicates it as a major factor in causing various other serious illnesses, such as:

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A1 vs A2 Milk – Is the Devil Messing With Your Milk?

DeHavilland Mosquito

DeHavilland Mosquito – made of wood and looking good – fastened with casein glue (from milk), top speed 400 + mph

Awhile ago, I was Googling about airplanes, and it led me off on an unexpected but really important tangent.  That is, the issue of A1 vs A2 milk.  There’s a health controversy here, and a story that might change your outlook on the white stuff in your glass.

Off on a Wild Tangent

Wow, jumping from airplanes to a controversy about milk, that’s a strange one.  But when I start Google searching, one thing leads to another, and before you know it I’m on a wild tangent, in search of new knowledge.

The Devil You Say

This time I found some terms I had never heard of like A1 vs A2 milk, beta casein, and things about politics and serious illnesses.  Oh, and something about the Devil in the Milk.   Hmmm, that sounded weird, which is just up my alley.  I don’t much like the Devil.   So when I saw something about him messing with our milk, I figured I should find out what that’s all about.

It turns out that “Devil in the Milk” is the title of a book by Dr. Keith Woodford.  It’s subtitled “Illness, Health, and the Politics of A1 and A2 Milk”.

Should I Care?

So what the heck is A1 and A2, and who cares anyway?  These are labels that scientists have given to two varieties of the beta casein protein found in milk, and if Dr. Woodford is right, A1 is evil.  Very evil.  And yes, this evil is probably affecting you. Continue reading