This Christmas

Photograph: David Hedges/SWNS.com

Christmas was always a big deal for my family. Tree decorating, watching specials together, wrapping presents, driving around town to look at the Christmas lights… so many things we always did together. For me, Christmas is a time of happiness, warmth, love and excitement. My Honey didn’t get the same experience growing up. He remembers fights over decorating, lots of stress… with some good things thrown in, thankfully. But still. Christmas is supposed to be a time of joy and love.

This Christmas season has been very out of the ordinary, at least for me. Illness and finances have kept us from doing a lot of the things we wanted to do to celebrate Christmas. The tree we bought has very sparse decorations, but it hasn’t mattered. Seeing the cheery green, well-lit tree has been a great source of joy for us. The two year old and I colored Christmas cards for a few people, and then enjoyed coloring a picture of a Yule log to hang on the fridge. We haven’t done any Christmas baking (much to my chagrin). There aren’t any presents under the tree. But those things really don’t matter, not once you stop and really think about them. More

What’s the Big Deal with Hair?

Excellent! Excellent! Excellent!!!

Link

Just when you think you’ve heard it all/considered all the angles, you discover something new. There’s always another side to every story. Life is not black and white.

Excellent.

ValerieTarico.com

Love, violence

My friend Li is an Evangelical Christian and, in keeping with her family values she keeps an eye on what her children view and read. In the summer, she took her 12-year-old daughter to the Hunger Games. “It’s the perfect movie for her,” Li commented. “No swearing and no sex.” No swearing; no sex. Just people stalking and killing each other.

The Motion Picture Association of America agrees with Li’s priorities. So did the writers of the Bible.  Our love-hate-love affair with violence goes way back.

It also appears to be changing. In his 2011 book, The Better Angels of our Nature, Stephen Pinker lined up information from a wide variety of sources to show that human societies are less violent now than ever in recorded history. Violence dropped precipitously with the agricultural revolution, and then again with the Enlightenment and more recently, with the emergence of universal human…

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More Guns = Peace? No Way!

The NRA has made its statement about the Newton shooting. A few good things were said, but for the most part it sounded like an effort to sell more guns and services that the NRA is eager to provide. Why am I not surprised?

All blame was placed on everything but guns and current levels of gun control. Are guns to blame? Not really, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t part of the problem. Society certainly does need to focus on life rather than death and violence, but at the same time, a balance must be struck between portraying reality and glamorizing violence. Kids don’t need to be totally sheltered from what happens in the world, including violence. Death is a naturally occurring things that we will have to accept and experience one day. There is a difference between that and stylizing crime and violent deaths. Do kids need to be aware of criminals and what they can do? Yes! How can you avoid something if you don’t know what it is? Ignoring crimes is not going to prepare us for what we will face in our lives. More

Medicine Update

It’s been 9 days since I posted that I was going off of my medicine, Metaxalone. I did take it once, at night, after 2 days of being off of it. Since then, however, I have taken only tylenol when my pain levels spiked. Things have gone much more smoothly than I expected. I’m not sure if it’s just taking my body awhile to work out the accumulation of medicine, or if I have done some healing since I last was without Metaxalone. I sincerely hope it’s the latter.

Since I went off the Metaxalone, I have had some issues, but I’m not sure if they are related in any way to the med. I’ve had dizziness, nausea, and a buildup of gas that has made me need to burp a lot (really bizarre). Otherwise, I’ve felt more alive and clear-headed! I hope that I can continue to function without needing anything that makes me drowsy.

ValerieTarico.com

Winter Solstice spiralFor a variety of reasons, the birth story of Jesus may not be something that you personally embrace or want to celebrate with friends and family.

Fortunately, the need to celebrate life and light at the darkest time of the year is something that long predates Christianity, and many of the yummy and playful customs of the season are rooted in cultures that have merged and morphed and been shared freely for millennia. Here are twelve traditions with ancient roots. If they have been adopted and adapted by those who choose this time of year to celebrate the birth of Christianity and so the birth of some of Christendom’s darker angels, don’t let that put you off. They can just as easily be adopted and adapted by those who have moved beyond belief.

  1. Celebrating the End of December.
    Winter solstice sunAll across the Northern Hemisphere our ancestors marked the winter solstice with festivals that acknowledge the…

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