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2 | ~Issue 4 2016 All Images Editorial L.Bogedin Editor Lou Jasikoff Publisher Contributors Lori Bogedin, Melody Dareing, Karmic Divine, Brittney Lopes, Chris Montgomery, Donna LaBar, Jamie Hearn and TruthSeekers Staffers Marketing Buffalo Head Media Advertising & Subscriptions Visit or Contact Lou Jasikoff 570-677-2607 Write to: PO Box 214 Factoryville, Pennsylvania 18419 Phone: 570-836-4771 GRAPHIC DESIGN

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A Must Read!


What was the object that crashed in Kecksburg?


Available at Amazon NOW! One Woman's Journey to Find Stability only to Discover that Peace Moves Within Us All.







Christmas is full of light and miracles

with Donna LaBar


The Simple Similarity of Jewish and Christian Holiday Celebrations


Phone: (570) 344-1088 Fax: (570) 344-1081 Email:

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A Note From the Publisher Go Quietly, a Christmas Thought Commentary by Louis R Jasikoff

The news can be depressing and worrisome, and here in our own communities things can seem futile at times. We worry about gifts to be bought and money being tight, and that there is just not enough time to get done what we seem to think needs to get done. Ah, this is the season of hustle and bustle! But, it should also be a time to reflect. A time to be kind to yourself and take time to find your peace. For me, it could be a simple walk in the woods. White pines have always been my favorite. Is it the soft needles, clean underbrush, or pleasant smell? I don’t know and can’t say for sure, but I do love the peace I find walking amongst these trees. For you, perhaps tranquility can be found in a walk on the beach, or in curling up and reading a good book. Growing up I was blessed with great parents, and to this day the gifts that I remember as being the best were the simplest. The fancy gifts are long gone, but the simple ones still remain on my wall, desk, or mantle to enjoy. I would like to share one with you. Consider this as you fret over what to put under the Christmas tree: a small plaque given to me as a youth with a personal inscription, in the words of my father, reading, “I would like to think these were tried and tested and passed down thru the ages from those so great to those we love.” I would like to pass the same on to you. In the crazy world in which we find ourselves today, try to find a little time to be alone with your thoughts. Enjoy the day, and share it with the ones you love.

21 “Desiderata” Anonymous Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let not this blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore, be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams; it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

“Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.”

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WHAT WAS THE OBJECT THAT CRASHED IN KECKSBURG? by Melody Dareing It has been 51 years and there is still divided opinion regarding what exactly crashed in Kecksburg. An object, described by witnesses as a fireball, soared through the skies over Canada, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania on Dec. 5 1965. Some said he had intelligent control because it changed direction at times. The object crashed in the woods shortly before 6:30 p.m., near the home of Frances Kalp in Westemoreland County. She called into WHJB radio and stated she and her children got within a half mile of the object and saw where it resembled a “four-pointed star.” The official word, published later, was the object was a meteor. However, witnesses claim the night’s events didn’t match that explanation. John Murphy, a WHJB employee, called Pennsylvania State Police and rushed to the site. As police emerged from the woods, they told Murphy they were calling in the military. Murphy was eventually instructed to go the State Police Headquarters in Greensburg for an official statement. He was surprised by military presence there and even more surprised at the statement. “The Pennsylvania State Police have made a thorough search of the woods. We are convinced that there is nothing whatsoever in the woods.” The military presence, combined with the denial statement, was the beginning of cover-up suspicions. While Murphy said nothing at the time, his widow later said he had pictures of the object but officials confiscated them. There were more oddities during the investigation, according to Murphy. The area was sealed off by the military and all civilians were banned. However, that doesn’t mean that no one saw what was in the woods. A few people managed to get into the woods before the military. They said they saw a copper-bronze, saucer-type object that was around 12 feet long. It had a gold band around the bottom and what appeared to be

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Egyptian writing on it. Military personnel took it away in a flatbed, the witnesses stated. Other witnesses at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in neighboring Ohio came forward years later to describe the object entering the base and being investigated in a hanger. They gave the same description as the witnesses. Local firefighters said in 1980 interviews they saw an object on the ground after it crashed through the trees. Research Stan Gordon tracked down an original witness, James Romansky, in 1990. He was 18 years old and a firefighter when he crash happened. He said he was called to duty when a crash was reported and remembered seeing a bronze object shaped like an acorn and being around 12 feet long and 25 feet in diameter. “It had writing on it, not like your average writing, but more like ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. It had sort of a bumper on it, like a ribbon about six to 10 inches wide, and it stood out,” Romansky told Gordon. While some still believe the crash was only a meteor, those who witnessed it and their families insist there must be more to the story. NASA released around 40 pages of documents related to the Kecksburg incident in 2003. Those files can be found on

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A CHRISTMAS IN TIME by Deborah L. Courville ©2015

“Oh, you are here, you are here, you are finally here!” exulted Elizabeth, flinging her arms wide to hug her dear friend and sister in law. She wore a high waisted dress in navy and tan plaid wool, a creamy fichu filling in the low cut neckline. An ivory wool shawl with elaborate patterning and fringe accessorized the dress. As she drew back to look at Izzy, Elizabeth’s blue eyes sparkled in her slender face, and two pearl ear bobs peeked from under her soft blonde hair and lacy cap. The wood-planked front door had swung open just moments before to reveal the long awaited visitors just alighting from their coach on the snow-covered flagstone terrace that filled the space between the Susquehanna River and the front of the Sam Sturdevants’ home. Izzy hugged Elizabeth back with much happiness: not only to be, at last, at their house, but to have completed the long journey safely. Although the three story black walnut sided home by the river was Elizabeth’s and Sam’s residence, Izzy considered it hers in a way, as well. What only Izzy and Josh knew was that Izzy had been acquainted with that same dwelling in her own, twenty-first century time. Called ‘The Oldest House’ because it had been built in 1781 and was still standing as the oldest frame dwelling in four surrounding counties, the home had been run in modern times as a living museum, by the Oldest House Historical Society in what had become Laceyville, PA. Izzy had worked as a volunteer tour guide and display coordinator at the House, and so had developed a deep affection for it. Once she had stumbled through that time portal one hot August afternoon and found herself in the past—which was the House’s past, too—the rooms and halls she had come to know so well in her own time were welcome, familiar things, even if much of the eighteenth century world was not. And, of course, the House was where Izzy had met Josh. For all these reasons, the House was much beloved by Izzy, who now gave Eliza-

beth a last hug and stepped inside, looking around at the ground floor Keeping Room in which she found herself, and smiling. Like the ‘Great Rooms’ fashionable in Izzy’s own time, the Colonial and post-Colonial ‘Keeping Room’ was where much of the family’s life was conducted. Some cooking, baking, spinning and so on were done here. Children had lessons here and played here. Foodstuffs were stored here and in the summer, because it was cool, families sometimes slept here. Conversely, in winter, the Keeping Room was always warm, and so sometimes families would spend the night before the fire rather than brave the chilly bedchambers or dormitories upstairs. Now, the Oldest House’s Keeping Room was welcomingly bright and cozy. White pine branches from the nearby woods and hand dipped candles tied with red and green ribbon decorated each of the room’s windows, and more pine boughs were draped across the huge black walnut mantel of the front fireplace. Sprigs of holly, bright with crimson berries, occupied a large earthenware vase on a sideboard. A large ball of mistletoe tied with more green and red ribbon hung suspended from one of the hand hewn rafters overhead. Oil lamps glowed from the rustic wooden table, and a bowl of apples there perfumed the air, as did the flames crackling merrily in the fireplace, and whatever hung simmering on the iron swing arm nearby. A large spinning wheel in one corner held skeins of creamy wool on their way to being yarn, and along the fieldstone walls were earthenware crocks and tightly woven baskets containing all manner of grains and root vegetables. Shelves along the other side of the Keeping Room held row upon row of pickled vegetables and preserved fruit in various sized crocks that shone a deep chocolate brown, and colorful hand stitched quilts draped and decorated the wooden chairs throughout. Tibbsy, the Sturdevants’ black and white cat, also decorated a chair, curled up atop a few burlap sacks, nose in his tail, apparently asleep, but with one eye slitted to spot

movement by any vermin who dared enter his domain. Tibbsy was a superb mouser, and Martha—the Sturdevants’ cook and housekeeper—rarely had problems with rodents getting into the food. Overhead, hand-hewn beams held a variety of cook pots and house-hold equipment, along with drying herbs, long strings of dried beans and stone fruits, and fat ristras of bronze onions and deep red peppers. Izzy knew that the cold larder in the northwest corner of the house kept all manner of salted and cured meats and fish as well as eggs, milk and some fresh items that needed to be kept chilled. Next to it, on the western side, the root cellar was where gourds, tubers and the like were warehoused to see the family through until spring. Both spaces had been dug into the bank of earth up against which the house was built and, along with insulating straw, kept things quite cool. Ice, gathered in winter, helped the process and Izzy had been surprised to learn that ice from March might still be hard and cold the following August, if insulated properly. Something delicious was cooking, no doubt keeping warm in the rear of the double fireplace, and Izzy’s mouth watered. It had been a very long journey, and their mid day snack of bread, cheese and ale at the Red Lion Tavern in Tunkhannock, when they had also changed to their final team of horses, had been a very long time ago. Sam, Josh’s brother and Elizabeth’s husband, clattered down the stairs into the Keeping Room at this juncture, and swept his twin up in a bear hug. Then he gave Izzy a slightly more delicate embrace of welcome, and beamed at them. “You have arrived!” he announced as though he didn’t quite believe his eyes. Sam wore the traditional brown knee breeches, light hose, and black buckled shoes with a full-cut ivory shirt, neck cloth, and an embroidered dark brown | 9 leather vest beneath a charcoal colored wool jacket. His hair, the same raven black as Josh’s, was tied back in a small queue, and his sky blue eyes were merry. “Aye, we have, brother,” Josh confirmed, his grin nearly as huge as his brother’s. “And is this young Nicholas, then?” Sam asked, looking at the just awakened toddler clinging fiercely to his father’s neck and looking around him in bewilderment. “Aye, ’tis he,” Josh replied, and made introductions. Martha had bustled forward to take Josh’s great-coat and Izzy’s cloak and pelisse, and Sam now eyed his twin’s long ‘pantaloon’ trousers with curiosity. Paired with a navy frock coat, embroidered vest, shirt and stock, the trousers gave Josh’s slim build an elegant line that his brother could not help but remark on. “Aye, ’tis the coming fashion in Europe and England,” Josh told Sam with a grin. “And Mr. Jefferson wears them almost exclusively now, saying they are sober and restrained: the right clothing for the rational man,” Josh explained. Sam merely raised his eyebrows and noted that the style was a good looking one, if strange to the eye of someone who was used to men in breeches and hose. Meanwhile, Elizabeth was exclaiming over Cordelia, who slept in her mother’s arms, not bothered in the least by the dismount from the coach, the enthusiastic hugging, or all the exclamations and chatter. “She is an angel,” Elizabeth breathed, her brown eyes shining. “Oh, I should so like to have a daughter,” she added hopefully. Izzy smiled, and then Sam had to have a turn admiring Cordelia while Elizabeth met her nephew. “I’m so happy to see you looking so well,” Izzy told Elizabeth, giving her another long look. “And you!” Elizabeth returned. She reached out and felt the cuff of Izzy’s empire-waisted, long-sleeved woven jacquard dress in a deep mulberry wool. “So very soft,” she murmured. “There is an excellent draper’s shop very

near us,” Izzy explained, “who has the most wonderful woolens and silks, especially.” She tucked a couple of wayward russet curls back under her embroidered cap as she spoke, hoping she didn’t look too disheveled after the long journey. A young girl, Becky, with skin the color of caramel, brought two little boys downstairs a moment later: John and Peter, the Samuel Sturdevants’ two young sons. Becky was the younger sister of Martha, and had assumed the function of nanny and housemaid once Elizabeth and Sam’s first son had been born. Martha’s son—she was a widow, her husband having been killed in the Revolutionary War—Ephraim was now in his teens, and worked alongside his mother and aunt in keeping the Sturdevant home running smoothly. He was also currently apprenticed at one of Sam’s sawmills. “I can’t believe I am meeting you at last!” Izzy told her nephews. John, who was three and a half and looked like a small version of his father, shook his aunt’s hand solemnly while Peter, who wasn’t quite two, gazed placidly from Becky’s arms at the stranger with round blue eyes that were his mother’s.

While these introductions were being made, Martha welcomed Roger and Belinda and took care of the luggage that had been fastened to the rear of the coach. Then everyone settled down at the long wooden table, and Martha poured fragrant mulled cider into little pewter cups and passed them around. Sam raised his cup to make a toast, but Joshua stayed his hand. “I am afraid, brother, we bring with us sad news out of Virginia,” Josh announced solemnly. “I do not think you will have heard, yet, as the news met us while we were traveling through New York,” he began, looking at his wife as though for confirmation. Izzy nodded. Elizabeth looked worried. Sam frowned. “President Washington has died,” Joshua said. “So, let our first toast be to him, his achievements in freeing this great country, and for guiding its nascent steps as its first President.”

A Christmas in Time

Read the highlyacclaimed series of fact-based historical fiction based on Laceyville Pennsylvania's Oldest House!

The story of Izzy, a modern woman suddenly and inexplicably transported to the late 18th century also transports its readers to a world that is centuries past, yet still accessible through the history of The Oldest House. Author Deborah L. Courville combines the intriguing tale of her 21st-century heroine struggling to live in a time very different from her own with the equally absorbing story of life in early rural northeast Pennsylvania. Glimpses of manners, customs, and dress of the actual people who lived in ‘Braintrim’ before it became ‘Laceyville’ along with the ways they might have felt about and been affected by events in their own community and in the wider world bring this series to life in a memorable way. Proceeds from the sale of these books benefit The Oldest House.

Available on Amazon in Kindle© and Paperback —just in time for the holidays!

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hristians celebrate December 25, as the actual birth of Jesus Christ. To many others, it is simply a time to share in Christmas cheer with family, friends and, of course, Santa Claus. But did you know that the origins of this time-honored holiday are more than the birth of the renowned spiritual figure and savior to many, Christ? The diversely celebrated time of year is all related to the process. First, however, let us look at why the December 25 date came to represent the birth of Christ. The Roman holiday "Saturnalia," a week-long observance of the winter solstice, allowed for seven days of lawlessness. From December 17 to December 25 Saturn was honored during which no punishments would apply for breaking the laws. Saturnalia did not follow Christian principles, so in 4 A.D. Christianity set December 25 as the birth of Jesus hoping to convert Pagans to Christianity. The date of December 25 was picked because the days leading up to it marks the winter solstice, the longest night and shortest day of the year. Late dawns, early sunsets,

short days, and long nights are what we in the Northern Hemisphere will experience. Meanwhile, on the day of the December solstice, the Southern Hemisphere has its longest day and shortest night. Many people view the spring and fall equinoxes, as well as the summer and winter solstices, as the sun’s cycle or Mother Earth's promise to her children that we will always be cared for. Mother Earth's never-ending cycle also has come to represent our soul’s growth in awareness along with our continual search for illumination. Imagine, if you will, that in the spring as the sun moves closer to warm the earth allowing for the newness and reawakening of the Earth that your soul is also being reawakened or born. Having enjoyed spring’s rebirth and summer’s long, productive days, the sun and your Soul begins its slow descent into the next season, fall. As the days start to get shorter, the decrease in sunlight helps the Earth prepare to rest as does our soul. Trees drop their leaves, plants rest, animals hibernate, and seeds take to the ground, waiting for the cycle of rebirth to begin again. Your soul takes this same journey as it releases

its physical presence and makes its ascension back to Source to start its renewal cycle over and over again. The winter solstice is a very spiritual time as the Earth readies for its rebirth, so it represents our rebirth out of darkness. For three days, the Sun seems to stand still in the skies, which symbolizes the | 11

Winter Solstice occurs on December 21, the same time that the planetary keynote changes from Sagittarius to Capricorn. On the date of the Winter Solstice, the light currents submerged within the core of the Earth reverse and change course, just like the Sun, which is changing its southward course and turning northward. A reverse movement of any planetary body creates a powerful force until the new motion or path stabilizes. Therefore, from December 21 to midnight on the morning of December 25th, there is a powerful force ďŹ eld of light and radiation enveloping the Earth. We can minister to our own personal psychology if we attune ourselves to the inuences of the different radiances of light falling to Earth each month and during the solstices and equinoxes. sacred number three. As it begins to move again, the light starts to shine brighter, bringing with it the promise of renewal, more glorious days and a time to create. The sun delivers the light to create the warmth of sexual energy, birth, resurrection. The birth of Christ brings with it the promise

of the golden light of creation, a passion for life and all others. Mainly, it brings a time for personal transformation. Adepts of mystery schools and practitioners of the occult sciences can also attest to the cosmic currents and life force of each season. The following excerpt from Esoteric (Soul) Astrology best explains this process:

Light waves descending to, and ascending outward from, Earth are an occult fact, meaning an inner reality not seen by most. Those of us desiring a more complete communion with spiritual forces must come to intelligent terms with this reality, for it is the movement of these everchanging currents of light poured upon Earth that provide our evolutionary growth.

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Christmas is a time of miracles and of angels. It was the angel Gabriel who announced to Mary that she would be the mother of the Christ-child, if one believes Luke 1:26-28 in the Bible. It was Gabriel who also told Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, that his aging wife would bear a son and that his unbelief would render him mute until the birth. It was a choir of angels that sang of the birth to shepherds in the field at night. But most don’t know much about angels. Largely, the main source of information about angels, the Bible, doesn’t say a lot about them. They are listed throughout the Old Testament from Genesis through Revelation. But what are they? Below are some answers. | 13

What Does An Angel Look Like?

Isaiah had a dramatic vision of the angels honoring God, writing they had the face of a human, but with four faces, four wings, cloven hooves and area shiny bronze. However, all other cases listed in the Bible describe angels as looking just like a human. In fact, many people they interacted with thought they were people – at least at first. Scripture from Hebrews 13:2 exhorts to be kind to strangers because you could be entertaining an angel and not be aware of it. There are angels with a masculine look and others who look like women, as in Zechariah 5:9. Where did Angels Come From?

God created them. According to Scripture, God created everything so that would include angels. If you believe Scripture, God created angels with a will. The Book of Daniel writes of angels being cast out of Heaven for rebellion against God. They decided to rebel, so they had a will.

One purpose of angels is as warriors to fight for us spiritually. Paul speaks of this in Ephesians 6:12 saying the real battle is in the spiritual realm. Hebrews 12:22-23 states the church (the general concept of believers) has a multitude of angels watching over it. Do Angels Have Names?

Yes, but the only two mentioned in the Bible are the two archangels Michael and Gabriel. Raphael is also considered an archangel in the major faiths of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, but is not directly mentioned in the Bible. Some think Raphael is the angel mention in the Gospel of John at the healing pool of Bethesda. Because of this, this angel is typically believed to be a healing angel. Do Angels Have a Hierarchy?

Yes, there are clearly archangels and other lower angels. All information from the Bible and other faiths indicate angels operate much like an army, each with specific duties and particular geographic areas of work, under God’s command.

What is the Purpose of Angels?

Do Angels Help Us Today?

God created angels for three basic purposes: to glorify Himself, to give messages to humans, and to serve and protect humans. Isaiah writes of seeing angels in Heaven praising God. Angels gave messages to Abraham that he would have a son by Sarah as well as Mary in the New Testament.

Yes. The Bible indicates angels are eternal and are meant to continually help humanity, so there is no reason they wouldn’t still guard and protect us. Noted author Doreen Virtue certainly believes that as she has written numerous books on guardian angels, deciphering messages from angels, and how the archangel Gabriel has interacted with humans in modern day.

Angels have helped humans, according to Scripture, by comforting Hagar, the slave of Abraham and Sarah when she is cast out by Sarah. They also helped to protect Lot and his family prior to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, issuing him a warning and telling him they needed to leave. A fourth person was seen by palace officials in the burning oven with the three Hebrew men known as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They were released unharmed.

Does Everyone Have a Guardian Angel?

While the term “guardian angel” is not mentioned in Scripture, the Bible clearly states they are all around. The Psalms state that God commands angels to “encamp all around us” and King David wrote in that book that angels keep humans from getting hurt and have always been with us, strengthening us and ministering to us.

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Donna LaBar

There have been, not just one, but millions of cases of miraculous healing documented through the centuries! So why can’t that be you??? If you were suddenly scratched today, in a few days the scratch would be scabbed over and in a few weeks it would for the most part be gone. This is part of the miracle - the body not only can heal itself, that’s part of it’s design! Supporting the body’s complex bio chemical ability to heal, BODY, MIND AND SPIRIT, is not difficult, in-fact it’s easy! Your body does all the complicated stuff automatically given the right ingredients. Start today, your body will gladly cooperate. After all, if you give it exactly what it needs when it needs it, you will never find anything on the planet that operates as keenly and efficiently as the human body. Our body with 50 - 100 trillion cells, works constantly to clean, maintain and also to replace every cell.

The body has the amazing ability to maintain a temperature of 98.6 degrees, maintain an alkaline/acid pH balance of 7.365, regulate blood sugar levels, regulate fluids, make enzymes and hormones, digest and absorb nutrients to nourish cells, regenerate healthy cells, anticipate what is good and bad for us, plus remove toxins and waste. The body is fully equipped to recover from illness or injury and heal itself. The most amazing pharmacy is the human body! Our health is affected by three environments which we provide. First, the food we eat to nourish our cells to maintain normal body functions. Second, the thoughts we think that either make us feel good or make us ill. And, third, our surroundings, where we live, work, play and create. Our choices and how, good or bad, they predict much of our health experiences and future.

How we nourish the body is very important in relation to what it has to offer back to us for mental and physical leverage. Like a computer, garbage in garbage out. We must have some basic knowledge of good maintenance for the body to get the most out of it. It’s exciting for me to provide some cool information and thoughts that have helped many people make all difference in their lives! One very important fact that few know about is that our body needs to maintain a pH balance between 7.365 in order to remain healthy blood pH. When we are born our body is alkaline and as we are exposed to the elements like food, environment and stresses, the body can become acidic. This simple fact is one of the most common reasons we see so much illness today. Once the body drops below 7, an acidic state, health begins to decline see next page

16 | and eventually disease is present. This process can be slow and goes from a state of just uncomfortable bouts of inflammation, heartburn or acid reflux, insomnia, etc., in which case the individual will take over the counter drugs such as pain killers, stomach and digestive aids, stool softeners and laxatives or sleep aids. Eventually, it will be necessary to step the process of decline to the level of more complex medicines from a doctor for worsening symptoms. The person doesn’t look at their diet or lifestyle or thoughts at this point, they just consider this normal non-life threatening health issues or a stage of aging. As the body continues with no sustenance for maintaining normal alkaline/ acid levels, inflammatory issues ensue and diseases like cancer, diabetes, MS, lupus, arthritis, fibromyalgia, etc. become common diagnosis.

Cancer for instance does not grow in an alkaline base, however it does grow easily in an acidic environment. If an individual is trying to prevent or slow an ailment or disease, or is receiving treatment for cancer, it is very important to provide the body with a diet that is 75% alkaline foods and 25% acid foods to support the body through the process to recovery. This can be as easy as looking at an alkaline/ acid food chart and making choices that leave your plate filled with 75% of alkaline- forming foods you have chosen and 25% of acid- forming foods. There is a basic alkaline/ acid food chart attached to help you make this assessment. It’s not just common sense, so a chart will be helpful until you are comfortable. For instance, a lemon is acidic in it’s natural state, however, once ingested becomes alkaline-forming and is therefore and excellent

choice. On the other hand, a banana is alkaline in it’s natural state because of its high potassium content, however, becomes acidforming once ingested because of its high sugar content. Alkalinity in the body happens as a result of the mineral content in our foods. The primary minerals that have an alkalizing effect are calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese and potassium. In order to support the body to keep the alkaline state, eating foods rich in the primary minerals is the key. These minerals are all very important for pH balance and all of them have different health benefits. It is imperative to have a diet rich in plant based, low sugar content foods to provide the balance needed for the proper function of all of our organs and natural healing. Our complex bio chemical system | 17 creates our enzymes and hormones, fluctuates our fluids, runs our organs and repairs and replaces cells non-stop, gets what it needs to perform from our food and water.

problems in spite of a good diet.

yellow strip reveals acidic urine and a medium/dark green color strip is alkaline. It is best to check urine as opposed to saliva because it’s best to test after the body has ingested the food.

Another place that acidity can show up in spite of a good diet is through extreme exercise. I have read about soda doping, where an athlete will drink water with baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) to get their lactic acid level down after an extreme demand on their body from physical exercise. It is said that it can have a significant effect on endurance and speed due to the alkalizing effect of the blood pH. The goal of all of this is to create and support the perfect environment in our body to function properly. This supports our body’s ability to utilize and produce enzymes. The most vital performer in our existence.

I mentioned environments effecting our alkaline/acid balance. Your food choices do have a huge impact on health and so do your thoughts. Anxious thoughts and worry naturally make the body produce cortisol and adrenaline. These secretions are acidic. If this state becomes constant, or a way of life, the individual can experience acidity and possibly hormonal

Enzymes, without them, we would not be alive. We need them to eat and breath. Our body does produce a staggering number of different types of enzymes, which is awesome, except it does not do this infinitely and especially without the right conditions. A poor diet and accelerated aging can cause the decline in the bodies ability to produce enzymes. The more

If you are curious to know where you stand, buy a pack of alkaline test strips for urine testing. Tear off a strip and dip it in your urine stream and check the color it turns again the chart provided with the strips. Generally, a

conscious a person is about getting enzymes in their diet the healthier and energetic they become. Enzyme richness will dramatically slow the aging process and the progression of disease. When food is cooked beyond 116 degrees Fahrenheit the enzymes are destroyed in the process. Eating uncooked, unprocessed food is the best way to ensure your body is getting a steady supply of enzymes. Having enzymes active in food allows it to digest easily without as much work for the body because the food contains the necessary enzymes for digestion. A change as simple as being mindful to eat a live component with every meal will quickly improve digestion, reduce acid and provide better elimination. As a result of improving the digestive process you are rewarded with more energy and increased mental clarity. The great news is that you experience all of this fairly quickly. The body responds graciously when it has the right materials to work with.

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Life for a shelter animal waiting to be adopted is full of hardships but diet will no longer be one of the struggles with the help of a new food donation program. Stately Pet Supply, Clarks Summit, joined forces with True Friends Animal Welfare Center, Montrose, to create Operation Full Belly. When Stately Pet Supply opened in October 2014, owner Rebecca Martino decided to run a promotion where she discounted all pet food to encourage donations. “It got a great response and we were able to take a truckload of food up to True Friends. I thought it was unfortunate that it only happened when promoted and thought how

can we get this on a more frequent basis,” said Martino. With Operation Full Belly, donors have the chance to maximize their donation dollars by receiving 25% off of any pet food purchases if they are donating the food to True Friends. The food stocked on Stately Pet Supply’s shelves is all natural brands and provide more nutritional value for animals. “Often times shelter dog’s bellies don’t do well with the processed food, they need nutritionally enhanced food. I hope the public will see this as an opportunity to get nutritionally dense, welldone recipes into these shelter dogs who may be the most in need of some TLC and pampering,” added Marino. | 21

True Friends Animal Welfare Center is a non-profit, no-kill organization that depends on donations. According to Dory Browning, Executive Director of True Friends, food donations are crucial since they care for 120 animals at all times. “The nice thing about Rebecca’s store is she only sells quality food, we have a couple of senior dogs that depend on it. It’s nice to be able to feed them something that will enhance their quality of life,” said Browning. While all food donations are appreciated, feeding the animals a more structured diet eliminates numerous digestive problems,

particularly since shelter animals all come with different histories. “Animals come in faster than they’re going out,” she added. Last year True Friends saw over 400 dogs and cats adopted out, Browning is hopeful the number of adoptions grows with the exposure from Operation Full Belly. Donations to True Friends Animal Welfare Center can be made through the Operation Full Belly program or by visiting their website at: http://www.truefriendsanimalwelfarecenter. com.


True Friends

Animal Welfare Center Open Daily 16332 SR 706, Montrose, PA 18801

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CHRISTMAS CELEBRATED AROUND THE WORLD by Brittney Lopes Christmas is the time of year when families get together, exchange presents, share meals, and help create a magical time of year for children. Christmas trees, carols, presents, and Santa are everywhere you look during the holiday season. The same can be said for many other cultures; however each has its own twist on our classic American traditions.

“One of our family members dresses as Santa to hand out presents. We also sing Christmas songs and on the 25th we visit family and friends to wish them a Merry Christmas,” added Engel.

The holiday season has a different meaning for each of us and exploring how other cultures celebrate the Christmas holidays may even bring on new family traditions in the United States.

Approximately only 5 percent of the Chinese population celebrates Christmas. Those who do normally have a plastic tree decorated with paper chains, paper flowers, and paper lanterns. On Christmas Eve, people will exchange apples wrapped in colorful paper since Christmas Eve is called “Ping’an Ye,” which translates to “peaceful or quiet evening”; this has also been translated into the popular carol ‘Silent Night.’ “Jingle Bells” is also a popular carol sung in China.

In Australia during Christmas, people can be found barbequing their dinner on a beach. Their holiday lands at the beginning of the summer holiday. An Australian summer holiday starts in mid-December until early February. In many other ways their celebrations are very similar to America’s. There are carols sung and Christmas pageants. However, Santa Claus uses kangaroos to pull his sleigh and people are more likely to see him in shorts and sunglasses than a red suit. Similar to Australia, Christmas comes during the summer months in South Africa. In South Africa, Christmas is largely influenced by the British, according to Tunkhannock resident, Desiree Engel, who grew up in South Africa and spoke of her own Christmas traditions. “Christmas for us is next to the pool; December is summer in South Africa. On the 26th we celebrate Boxing Day which is a British tradition, nobody works on that day of rest before going back to work.” Santa in South Africa is the same as in the United States and, while there are still Christmas trees, they are all artificial as the climate does not allow the real thing to grow.

Merry Christmas for the population of China is “Sheng Dan Kuai Le”.

A few countries over, in France, Nativity scenes are a popular Christmas decoration. Local towns and cities, such as Marseilles, have fairs that cater to Nativity figures and displays. Besides the typical figures one would normally see in a Nativity scene, France adds a butcher, a baker, a policeman, and a priest. A popular custom is to leave a Yule log and candles burning all night along with food and drink in case Mary and the baby Jesus visit during the night. In eastern France, Father Christmas, also known as “Pere Noel” is sometimes accompanied by “Le Pere Fouttard”, a man dressed in black. Jolly Saint Nicholas is painted in quite a different light in Germany’s Christmas celebrations. In some parts of Germany children will write to the “Christkindl” asking for presents. The “Christkindl” translates to “The Christ Child,” but most Germans describe the child as a young girl with “Christ like” qualities.

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Every year in Nurnberg, a young girl is chosen to participate in a parade as the “Christkindl” where she will wear a long white and gold dress and sometimes angel wings. Although letters requesting presents are written to the “Christkindl,” it is Santa Claus that brings the main presents on December 24th. A darker part of Germany’s traditions is the legend of Krampus, a horned monster clothed in rags that carries a switch to punish misbehaving children. Krampus only accompanies Santa Claus on St. Nicholas day December 6th. Advent is a large part of the German Christmas traditions and their Christmas market opens on the Friday before Advent starts. Several types of Advent calendars are used and a candle is lit each week until the end of Advent. Germany’s Christmas market is well known for its food and decorations, in particular the hand-blown glass ornaments.

To wish someone in Germany a Happy/Merry Christmas, one would say “Frohe Weihnacten.” Russia seems to have the biggest contrast in traditions when it comes to Christmas. During the days of the Soviet Union, New Year’s Day was more important than Christmas. Today, Christmas is celebrated on January 7th. The reason for the date change is because the Russian Orthodox Church uses the “Julian” calendar for religious celebration days. Also, their Advent season is 40 days long. On Christmas Eve, some people choose to fast until the first star is visible in the night sky. When it is time to eat, the popular meal is “sochivo” or “kutia”, a porridge made from wheat or rice served with honey, poppy seeds, fruit, nuts, and sometimes fruit jelly candies. A Russian tradition is to throw a spoonful of porridge up to the ceiling; if it sticks it is throught to bring good luck and a good harvest the next year. | 25 Instead of Santa Claus, Grandfather Frost, in Russian known as “Ded Moroz” brings children presents. Grandfather Frost is always accompanied by his granddaughter, Snegurochka. On New Year’s Eve children will hold hands, make a circle around the Christmas tree, and call for Ded Moroz or Snegurochka. When both appear the lights on the tree are said to light up. Celebrating Christmas in Spain starts with music. After midnight mass, people walk through the streets carrying torches, playing guitars, and banging tambourines and drums. A popular saying is, “Esta noche es Noche-Buena, Y no es noche de dormir” which translates to, “Tonight is the good night and it is not meant for sleeping.” Many families eat their main meal on Christmas Eve before attending church services. The customary dinner is turkey stuffed with mushrooms or seafood.

There is a festival in Spain that is apart from Christmas, but celebrates the Christmas story. It is called Epiphany and is celebrated on January 6th; the festival of the Three Magic Kings. Epiphany celebrates when the three wise men brought gifts to the baby Jesus. According to tradition, letters are written from children to the three kings asking for toys and, on the night of the Epiphany, they leave shoes on windowsills or balconies to be filled with goodies. Children receive presents on Christmas Day, but normally wait to open them until the Epiphany celebration. Instead of cookies and milk, children leave three glasses of Cognac for each king, some walnuts, and a bowl of water for their tired camels. Whichever way Christmas is celebrated it is still clearly a time for family, friends, and creating new memories and traditions.

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SHARING THE LIGHT OF THE HOLIDAYS THE SIMPLE SIMILARITY OF JEWISH AND CHRISTIAN HOLIDAY CELEBRATIONS by Melody Dareing A visit to any googled website relating to similarities between Hanukkah and Christmas yields only one answer: there aren’t any. The only similarity most theologians or otherwise experts list is the two holidays occur at the same time of year. But is that all there is to it? A deeper look at both traditions shows there are two definite similarities. And it may not be a coincidence.

Hanukkah (Chanukkah) The holiday is to remember the re-dedication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem after they were successful in battling the Syrian-Greeks. There is a deeper story to this, however. The Syrians-Greeks took over the Temple in 168 B.C. and dedicated it to their god, Zeus. This was just the | 27

worship the Greek gods, attempted to force them to bow to a Greek idol, and also tried to force the villagers to eat pig – which goes against Jewish dietary law. One particular target was the Jewish High Priest Mattathias. The Greeks knew if they could force Mattathias to submit, all others would follow. The priest refused on all accounts. Another villager came forward, trying to resolve the situation peacefully, and offered to do the forbidden acts in place of the High Priest. Mattahias became angry the villager was willing to defile his faith and submit to the Greeks, so he killed the man with a sword. Then, the High Priest lashed at the Greek officer and killed him. This moment created an opening for Mattathias’ five sons and others to launch an assault of remaining Greek soldiers and left all dead. Mattathias and his family went into hiding in the mountains. Soon, word spread and other Jews found them, wanting to fight the Greeks and take the land back. This group, known as the Maccabees, were successful and recaptured their land from the invading armies. Their return to the Temple was saddened by the fact the Temple was defiled by the pagan practices of the Greeks. It had to be purified. There were certain Jewish troops set to return it to its former spiritual glory. To do this, ritual oil must be burned in the Temple’s menorah for eight days. There was just one problem. The group only had enough oil to last one day. In faith, they decided to go ahead with the menorah lighting. Then a miracle occurred. The one day’s worth of oil lasted eight days. All eight candles were lit and burned the entire time.


beginning of atrocities committed against the Jews. Syrian-Greek emperor Antiochus ruled in 167 B.C. that maintaining Judaism was punishable by death.

Most Americans know the story of Christmas. An angel came to Mary to tell her she would be the mother of God’s child. Joseph, incredibly skeptical of Mary’s story at first, decided to maintain the engagement after being visited in a dream and the two traveled to Bethlehem from Nazareth to be counted for taxation.

There was a village near Jerusalem, Modiin, that became a hotbed of persecution. In that village, Greek soldiers gathered the people to tell them they must

There was no room at any of the inns, so they were given a stable by an innkeeper where Mary gave birth to Jesus.

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4. Light

The Greeks committed evil against the Jewish people and, although they suffered, they were victorious over their enemy. In the Christmas story, Jesus as the Christchild was sent to defeat evil and offer believers a way out of the penalties of sin, giving those who follow him victory.

In the Hanukkah story, the lighting of the candles is incredibly important because lighting the eight candles for eight days was the only way to purify the Temple from the Greek’s use of it. Light, in essences, saves and restores.

2. Victory from an Unusual Source In the Hanukkah story, the first claim to victory came from the High Priest Mattahias. Since priests are from the Judaism line of warriors, the Greek soldiers never expect him or his sons – also in the priestly line – to initiate an attack. No doubt, it took them completely by surprise. The Christmas story has victory coming from a baby born to common Nazareth parents. He was a carpenter working out of Joseph’s shop. Most thought the Messiah would come from some other more elite status. In fact, people challenged Jesus and his followers on this point as he started his ministry. “What good came come out of Nazareth?” Yet, Christian teachings demonstrate that this carpenter, a commoner from a ill respected town, was the won who held the keys to the universe and ultimate victory.

3. Miracles The Hanukkah story has the miracle of the one day of oil lasting eight days. With the Christmas story, the miracle is the pregnancy of a virgin to birth the savior of the world.

With Christmas, the wise men followed a star – an extremely bright an unusual light – to find the baby. Light is an important theme of Christmas. Jesus, the Christ-child, is called “the light of the world,” as it was his destiny to guide humanity to God. Some Christian traditions for Christmas are to put up holiday lights and decorate trees with lights and all that sparkles. It is interesting that both celebrations come during the darkest time of year. The days are short and winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, is Dec. 22. Perhaps, both societies focus on light in their celebrations because it is recognized as something desperately needed and longed for during the winter season. Jesus said two things that are important about light. One, that each person has a light within and how brightly it shines depends on that person. The other is that a person’s inner light affects, draws others, and exposes the darkness. Perhaps, as both Jews and Christians celebrate this year, all can let inner lights shine a little brighter in a world that seems to be – at times - dark both physically and spiritually.

Red Rose Dinner | 29


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by Brittney Lopes The holiday shopping season is only a few short days away and what better place to start, or finish, than downtown Tunkhannock. Tioga Street is home to more than a dozen locally-owned shops and restaurants, offering unique options for gifts in all shapes and sizes. One of the newest stores on the block, Kaleidoscope, has an array of vintage antiques, jewelry, and home accessories. Home accessories feature a wedding section and a farm-kitchen section, which includes one-of-akind plate settings. Beads and Baubles is the one-stop shop for the jewelry lover on your list. Ranging from locally crafted earrings to fine jewelry, there’s something sparkly for everyone. Besides jewelry, Beads and Baubles offers exactly what the sign says: baubles. Mixed throughout the store are wooden signs, picture frames, and other gifts. There is also a clothing and winter accessories section.

In the midst of the stores is Paradise, a Christian gift shop offering books, gifts, and delectable homemade chocolate truffles. The truffles are the work of the owner’s wife and are created with chocolate bought in Vermont by the shop owner; perfect as a stocking stuffer. Monzie’s Floral Design is the town’s go-to for fresh floral arrangements as well as an eclectic mix of gifts. In Monzie’s adjoining store, Friends, Art, and Unique Gifts, shoppers can find funny and inspirational signs, vintage pictures, and a children’s section. The children’s section contains a vast amount of gifts for newborns to the kids at heart. Soft, plushy stuffed animals on a wooden bench wait to be taken home and newborn clothes and booties are housed on a vintage shelf. Monzie’s is also the perfect place to pick up a hostess gift of a fresh floral bouquet or centerpiece to bring to any holiday dinner or party. Offering other floral arrangements is Mayflower Florist, located half a

block down from Monzie’s. Mayflower offers a wide range of flowers, suitable for any occasion, and is a perfect stop for a centerpiece to bring to a family gathering. A few steps down from Mayflower Florist is Ebb’s Candy Jar. Ebb’s features classic candies as well as the usual favorites to fill any stocking. Add some ‘spice’ to presents this year at Tunkhannock’s Spice of Life Shoppe. The shop includes various spices and teas to stock up your cupboards at home. One can also find antique jewelry and paintings done by local artists. A few stores up is Eclectic Heart which offers a variety of vintage furniture, antique jewelry, and country home accessories. The finds in this store reflect the name: eclectic. There is a section dedicated to lake living with fisherman knick-knacks and signs, various home-goods ranging from platters for a Thanksgiving turkey to everyday plates and silverware. Several items are already on sale and prices are reasonable. | 31 A perfect gift for the person that has everything can be found at the Dietrich Theater where holiday gift bags come complete with everything for a night out at the movies. The gift bags are filled with two movie tickets, two popcorn bags, and two concession candies, all tied in festive red and green wrapping. The Dietrich also offers ‘Poppers’ which have one movie ticket, one concession candy, and one popcorn bag, and make a great stocking stuffer. Both the gift bags and the poppers allow for free refills on the popcorn. Occasionally a Christmas gift can be a large purchase, such as furniture or a car. Fernwood Auto Sales in Nicholson is offering specials on pre-owned cars as reasonable prices. Greenwood’s Furniture can help find the perfect recliner for that special someone to relax in after a long day.

Gay’s True Value, located next to Brick’s Market, is a one-stop shop. Not only does it offer heavy-duty equipment needed to conquer winter weather conditions, it also has sleds and children’s toys to have some fun in the snow after shoveling it. Gay’s sells locally-made jams and honeys provided by Lori Gramberg’s Country Delights. Honey from J&J Apiary, along with Loch’s Maple Syrup, also adorn the shelves. Look no further than Gay’s True Value when shopping for the men on your Christmas list. Its wide selection of tools and outdoor equipment is sure to make someone’s holiday happy. Sales can also be found on various items throughout the store. Hunters can find all the necessities for a happy outdoor season at Gay’s, including specialty Remington calendars on sale, as well as Remington rifles and ammunition. There are many dining options within walking distance after a long day perusing the stores, and you’ll

want to encourage those on your holiday list to enjoy a night out with gift certificates. Something for everyone can be found at Twigs, the Tioga Bistro, Downtown Deli, Remington’s or just a short drive away is Purkey’s Pink Apple or the Fireplace, which offers a cozy atmosphere on a cold day. For those wanting to venture out a little more, Nimble Hill Winery is just a short drive east of Tunkhannock and there is no better way to end the day than with a wine tasting. A bottle of wine festively wrapped from Nimble Hill also makes a nice hostess gift. Nimble Hill also features its brewing company and has Christmas baskets already assembled for shoppers. The brewing company baskets include an empty growler for patrons to fill at Nimble Hill, two glasses with their logo, and some snacks. The holidays seem to fly quickly every year, so before the Christmas season becomes too hectic, set aside some time to spend in the Endless Mountains for shopping, dining, and an old-fashioned feel.

Bridge Street MarketPlace

(570) 836-4456

61 Bridge St, Tunkhannock PA 18657

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GIVING HELPS YOUR BODY, MIND AND SOUL by Melody Dareing Some may groan throughout the Christmas season, known as a time of giving. Buying gifts, agonizing over the bills and standing in line to mail items to far away family and friends are just part of the stress many experience. However, all research indicates that giving is good for you in several ways. It can even help you live longer.

Giving Prevents Depression Volunteering time, donating money, or even giving gifts to family and friends re-establishes a social connection that sometimes gets lost in the world of Facebook and Twitter. Dr. Frank Lipman who wrote an article on the subject, said being around others lowers a risk for depression. Additionally, giving leaves you with a type of high, similar to the same feeling when you participate in sports. It releases oxytocin, which lessens stress and anxiety as well as generates positive feelings.

Giving Helps Reduce Illness Giving does directly affect your health. There was a study conducted by Doug Oman of the University of California, Berkley, in 1999 that showed elderly people volunteering for several charities or organizations increased their chances to live

over a five-year period. The study suggested they were 44 percent less likely to die over their non-volunteer peers. Another 2003 study by Stephanie Brown of the University of Michigan had similar findings. The idea is that giving, whether it’s in time, practical needs or money, reduces stress. Another 2006 John Hopkins University, done in cooperation with the University of Tennessee, showed those who took an interest in others had lower blood pressure. Research done by Corporation for National & Community Service in Washington D.C. in 2009 proves giving of yourself actually makes your heart stronger. Volunteers have fewer heart problems overall, but even those with heart disease, and surviving a heart attack, can live longer by volunteering, according to the study. Those people saw less

depression and that helped them live longer, according to the study. Volunteering also had a side benefit of getting you moving and away from the television. Moving physically helps in improving your overall health.

Giving Helps Your Career This can happen in several ways. According to a Forbes article, those looking to expand their skills can easily do so by volunteering at charitable groups. The opportunity also offers a chance to network for a career job. Many employers are now looking for people who have desires to give back and are offering more options to fulfill desires to volunteer. Employers are finding offering those opportunities motivates employees and keeps them loyal. That leads to better retention. Employees are

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happier and are more productive at work, which improves their chances of promotion. Giving back also shows a boss a personal side and demonstrates an employee’s values.

Giving Prevents Depression Some of this is biological. The National Institutes of Health conducted a 2006 study, which concluded that giving activates part of the brain associated with trust, social connection and pleasure. Giving also releases endorphins, which are linked with happiness. It also ends with either expressing or instilling gratitude and that also produces positive feelings. The Research Project on Gratitude and Thankfulness co-directors Michael McCullough and Robert Emmons discovered that cultivating gratitude in college students resulted in more exercise, more optimism and a more positive outlook about their lives. Once a person starts giving, it is common for others to follow suit. There was an incident at a fast-food restaurant over the past year where one person decided to pay for the meal of the person behind them at the drive-through. The fast-food clerk working the drive-through said the person receiving the free meal then offered to pay for the person behind them. This was repeated for an hour and a half. So, while buying gifts, writing checks to charities and spending time doing something for your community during the Christmas season can be exhausting, the benefits are worth the effort. Besides, deciding to gift during the holiday season could very well create a positive habit that will have long-term benefits.

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Most Americans today look forward to the Christmas season with all its lights, sounds, smells. Christmas songs, dinners with family, gifts, parties and twinkling lights seem to be something everyone can enjoy even without the religious aspect. For the faithful, Christmas has a deeper meaning as it is a time to reflect on Christ’s birth, church services, helping others and trying to be a better person the next year. This is not how Christmas started in America. Today’s Christmas is an evolution of some holdover traditions from England, legends brought to this country by immigrants and a lot of media influence. The truth is the real war on Christmas began in the mid-1600s in England. It was as much a political war as a religious one and that battle carried over to the colonies for decades. The English celebration of Christmas was known for its raucous behavior more than anything else. It wasn’t a religious holiday at all, but amplified the Roman tradition of drinking and partying during the season and typically only celebrated by the rich. One English tradition evolved where the rich would open their homes to the poor on the holiday, giving them food and drink. Even that wasn’t from a positive place in their heart as they awarded the poorest man in the community with the title of “Lord of Misrule.” Puritans advanced their power in the 1600s and, led by Oliver Cromwell, took over England in 1845. They ended Christmas celebrating, calling it decadence. While that only lasted a few years until King Charles II was returned to the throne, the political move had a far-reaching impact on the American colonies. Many early colonies were established by Puritans who believed that Christmas was evil. Their reasoning was theological in that it began as a Roman pagan holiday and historical in that they believed Jesus Christ was born in September. The colonists’ views were also practical. They believed the season gave rise to sin like drinking, carousing and other vices.

36 | “Men dishonor Christ more in the 12 days of Christmas than in all the 12 months besides,” Hugh Latimer, a 16th-century clergyman, wrote. Many of those fleeing to America were coming here because, as strict Puritans, they no longer fit in English society. So, they held even stronger anti-Christmas beliefs than Cromwell. Colonists not only didn’t celebrate the holiday, but they punished anyone who did. Everyone was expected to work on Dec. 25 and those who did faced legal ramifications. This happened when some Puritan men decided to play a ball game, an early form of baseball, on Christmas day in the second year of settlement of the Plymouth Colony. Gov. William Bradford issued their punishment saying his conscience “cannot let you play while everybody else is out working.” These rules varied from settlement to settlement because Capt. John Smith said the Jamestown settlement did celebrate the holiday without controversy. It was a different story in Boston. The city banned any celebration of the holiday in 1659 and would fine anyone not working or feasting five

shillings. English rule began to issue a heavy hand on Massachusetts in the 1680s and a Christmas Day service was organized in 1686. However, service attendees were protected by British soldiers out of fear of violent opposition.

York, with most of that happening during the Christmas season. There was also a lot of class conflict. Powerful society members thought revamping the holiday to be more family-oriented and focusing on giving would help.

More settlers began to filtrate different colonies, resulting on some celebrating the holiday with religious piousness and others celebrating it as a time for revelry. The Puritans continued to hold onto the anti-Christmas attitudes throughout much of New England as an official stance even when others celebrated.

Washington Irving assisted in the effort when he published The Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon, gent., in 1819. The book contained fictional stories about Christmas in an English manor house. While the stories were not true, Irving succeeded in convincing people the holiday should be a peaceful day that unites people.

Christmas once again lost colonists’ favor as the American Revolution ensued and a new country was born.

A poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” (later becoming Twas the Night Before Christmas) by Clement C. Moore was published in 1823 in New York. Its success also helped rebrand the holiday.

The reasoning, again, was political. The holiday was considered an English custom and those in the new country wanted none of that. The newly-formed U.S. Senate worked on Christmas Day in 1787, as did the U.S. House in 1802. America’s elite began changing the idea of Christmas in the early 1800s. The reason was a common-sense solution to an ongoing problem. Unemployment was high and there was gang rioting in places like New

Alabama became the first state to make Christmas a legal holiday in 1836. However, the North and | 37

the South were heavily divided on the subject with Northerners still believing celebrating Christmas to be a sin. This continued throughout the Civil War, President Ulysses S. Grant declared Christmas to be a holiday in 1870. Christmas became the holiday Americans now celebrate largely due to the media. The effort started after the Civil War and holiday traditions were widely encouraged with new publications of children’s books and women’s magazines, all which encouraged things like tree trimming, decorating, baking and family activities. By the end of the 1800s, Americans were entrenched in the Christmas holiday with cooking,

decorations and, yes, shopping. Advertisements in the early 20th century continued to establish Santa Claus as a firm figure of the holiday and promoted the holiday as an economic necessity. Today, Christmas is largely what people make it. Some choose to spend it valuing the religious aspect while others look at it to encourage humanitarian efforts. Some enjoy the busyness of the parties and festivities while others spend it solely with family. Traditions from other countries, along with American-created traditions, have been incorporated into the holiday season to make it truly a day the whole nation can celebrate something that unites its citizens in peace, love and joy.

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THE POWER OF CHIRSTMAS MUSIC by Chris Montgomery | 39


t’s been said music has the power to soothe the savage beast. So, adding the joy of the holidays can create one fantastic stress reliever! After all, whose heart isn’t warmed at the sound of carolers on a cold winter’s night? Who doesn’t enjoy decking the halls and drinking egg nog to Elvis Presley and Burl Ives singing yuletide classics? Even the Grinch sang “Welcome Christmas” with Cindy Lou Who once all was sang and done. The original meaning of the word “caro”l meant to dance to something. It also means a song of praise and joy. Carols were historically chanted to celebrate throughout the year. Early Christians took these pagan songs and patterned them exclusively for Christmas. These conversions fell under the scrutiny of the early church, which sparked the proliferation of the first hymns. Most of these were highly unpopular and resulted in a 13th century reform led by Saint Francis of Assisi. He is credited with allowing songs to be sung in languages other than Latin. This gave way to a more mainstream approach, deviating from an established and sacred tradition. Another roadblock came at the hands of the Puritans, who did not believe in any type of Christmas song, religious or otherwise. The mute button would be engaged for another two centuries until a volume of Christmas carols was finally published in England. Hymns like “What Child Is This?” and “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” would later pave the way for secular selections like “Jingle Bells” and “Winter Wonderland”. More popular versions emerged by way of film and radio. Country western and rock and roll continued the trend with hits like “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “Blue Christmas”. Regardless of history, most carols are crafted to mirror the genuine glee we all should be experiencing during the final month of the year. The website, breaks the idea down even further by asking listeners for details of the many popular carols. For instance, in “We Three Kings”, how did the wise men find baby Jesus? Or what were the roles the angels played in “O Holy Night”? While these are fun trivia, the health contributions attributed to Christmas music is unprecedented. It manifests an unparalleled emotion. It is capable of sending us back in time, help recall specific events or strike our senses in a special way. In addition to lyrics, Christmas music offers soothing tones and harmonies. Frequencies and vibrations can also be attributed to the way a person feels or acts. Christmas music provides these accolades, increasing our energy levels and promoting mental stability. see next page

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Cell phone technology has allowed many of us to customize our seasonal playlists. Downloads of covers performed Mariah Carey, Clay Aiken and even Jimmy Buffett can be referenced with a single keystroke. Of course, they are simply taking cues from past generations of recording artists - Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra to name a few. According to Women’s Day magazine, here are the all-time top 25 classic Christmas albums: 1. Frank Sinatra, Christmas

13. Nat King Cole, Merry Christmas

2. Elvis Presley, Elvis’ Christmas Album

14. Amy Grant, A Christmas Album

3. Beach Boys, Christmas with the Beach Boys

15. Michael W. Smith, Christmas

4. Carpenters, Christmas Collection

16. Harry Connick, Jr., When My Heart Finds Christmas

5. The Vince Gauraldi Trio, A Charlie Brown Christmas

17. James Taylor, At Christmas

6. Mariah Carey, Merry Christmas

18. Bing Crosby, White Christmas

7. The Chipmunks, Merry Christmas from the Chipmunks

19. Frank Sinatra, A Jolly Christmas from Frank Sinatra

8. Jackson 5, 20th Century Masters-The Christmas Collection: The Best of Jackson 5

20. The Temptations, Give Love at Christmas

9. Barbara Streisand, A Christmas Album 10. Ray Charles, The Spirit of Christmas 11. Stevie Wonder, 20th Century Masters-The Christmas Collection: The Best Stevie Wonder 12. Luciano Pavarotti, O Holy Night

21. Phil Spector, A Christmas Gift for You 22. Johnny Mathis, Merry Christmas 23. 23. Kenny G., Miracles: The Holiday Album 24. 24. Josh Groban, Noel 25. 25. Celine Dion, These Are Special Times | 41 But the popularity of Christmas music can cut both ways. Retail outlets have been known to manipulate tunes to increase profits. Studies show slower renditions keep shoppers in the store longer, ultimately purchasing more. Conversely, faster melodies move consumers through shops at a quicker pace, minimizing sales. There was reported backlash when retailers begin celebrating too early. Radio stations have also caught the bug, playing otherwise appropriate holiday music more than a month before the designated holiday. Internet stations like www. play Christmas music 365 days of the year while

counting down to the exact day of Santa’s yearly visit. Still another reason for the genre’s longevity is a lack of competition. No other holiday set list comes even close. That’s not for a lack of trying. “Jingle Bells” was first written for Thanksgiving, while Handel’s “Hallelujah” chorus was written with Easter in mind. Both would be later compromised as Christmas holiday classics. Many different countries share the tradition of Christmas music. Another website, www.europeanmama. com offers a variety of cultural car-

oling. The website also offers some interesting tidbits including, carols are known as parrandas in Puerto Rico; “Silent Night” a.k.a. “Stille Nacht” was composed in Germany; “Oh, Come All Ye Faithful” is also known as “Adeste Fideles.” In all, Christmas and holiday music help bind us together at an important and much anticipated time of year. It reinforces the idea we are more alike than different - and it proves human kindness can be truly obtained for a song. Feliz Navidad. And to all a good night!

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NEW TECHNOLOGY OPENS UP IDEAS FOR THEORIES by Melody Dareing | 43 Stargazers have often wondered exactly what was the bright star that directed the wise men to the town of Bethlehem where they could worship Jesus, the Christ child. There are lots of theories, but most fall short of either matching science of the ancient times or the description listed in the Bible. The Book of Matthew describes the star as the wise men told King Herod about it. “For we have seen his star in the east and are come to worship him,” Matthew 2:2 states. To understand the star, one must understand the wise men and Jewish prophecy. According to archeologists and theologians, the wise men likely came from Persia. They were astute in the science of astronomy and likely understood religious prophesies as well, including Jewish prophecies regarding the Messiah. The best records for keeping track of ancient astrological events come from the Chinese, for they recorded their views of the night sky to create horoscopes and calendars. The problem is those records is two-fold. Some of the events don’t match the time of Jesus birth, officially listed as between 8 and 4 B.C., and many of the events listed are common enough that astute Magi, such as the wise men, wouldn’t see them as special. Others suggest the star was a comet because it moved with the wise men, but comets are typically a bad sign in the ancient world. Others have theorized the Bethlehem star was a planet, but again, the Magi would be able to tell the difference. This had to be something special. There is also the theory of a

planetary conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in 7 B.C. The idea was there was a period where there were three different times where the two planets came close to each other. From Earth, it would look like they were conjoined. This would have happened in the constellation of Pisces, which is symbol of the Jewish culture. However, the theory falls short because this type of event only lasts a few days and the Bethlehem star supposedly led the wise men for months to find the child. The other problem is a much more significant triple conjunction occurred early in 66 B.C. There are some other attributes in the Bible that pose problem for scientists. Not only does it last for months, but the star hung in place over the city of Bethlehem. Stars and planets don’t hang. They don’t stop.

So, what was the Bethlehem star? There is a lawyer who thinks he’s found the answer. Frederick Larson produced a video “The Star of Bethlehem” in 2007 after his curiosity prompted him to explore the subject. He said any theory he developed had to make sense scientifically and fulfill the Biblical description. His first conclusion is scientists have been using the wrong date for Jesus birth. He said centuries-old math was excellent and correct in math laws, but computers today have perfected it to exact precision. Astronomers had looked for the star in the wrong year of 4 B.C., Larsen said. Larson said the wrong date of King Herod’s death was to blame, as most use the king’s death to estimate the year of the birth of Jesus. The earliest Jewish manuscripts infer King Herod’s death was actually

44 | in 1 B.C. instead of 4 B.C. Larson’s other theory is that the star had to be something the wise men could see back home, in the east, and was also something that rose in the east. Scientists have already suggested this and this would narrow options for the star. However, Larson adds it also must have been something that wasn’t visible in Jerusalem because King Herod, and presumably those in the palace well versed with the skies, hadn’t seen it. The king asked the wise men when the star first appeared. The wise men headed five miles south of the great city to Bethlehem and the star stopped. Contrary to popular belief suggesting the Christ was a baby in a manger when the magi arrived, Jesus was a toddler and his family were living in a house by the time the wise men found him. That indicates the length of the journey. Larson used clues found in the Book of Matthew, along with the

prophecies to decipher the mystery. Micah 5:2 states Bethlehem will produce the ruler of Israel. Larson began looking at the retrograde motion of Jupiter. Retrograde motion is, in layman’s terms, the illusion of a planet moving backward. This visual is caused by the way the Earth moves past the outer planets in their orbits. Using Chinese astrological records and a computer program that simulates the night skies in ancient times anywhere in the world, Larson sets the place as Bagdad since the wise men were believed to have been from that area or Persia. He sets the time as late summer near the Jewish New Year. There is a Jupiter retrograde in the constellation of Leo. In the retrograde, Jupiter circles the top of the star Regulus three times. Larson explains the importance. Regulus a star system known is the king star, crowned the holy number of three times by the king planet of Jupiter in the constellation of the

Lion. The Jews are represented as a Lion. This was special, especially since it occurred around the holiest of times for the Jewish people. The next finding excites Larson even more. The impending birth of Christ was written by John in the Book of Revelation as he “sees in the heavens.” Jesus was already born and had died before John wrote this book, but the disciple’s vision was of the birth. “And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet and upon her head a crown of twelve stars,” Revelation 12:1. Larson points out the next constellation after the retrograde is Virgo, the Virgin, rising on the Jewish New Year. Looking at the constellation on the computer program, the constellation of Virgo is there with the sun shining on it and a crescent moon is at her feet. Twelve stars are above her head. He said this is what John saw.

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189 E. Tioga St. Tunkhannock, PA 18657 This is also what the wise men saw. Those two events occurring in that manner is what prompted them to understand there would be a king of the Jews born soon. Larson begin to theorize that many this was the announcement of the conception rather than the birth. Larson moves forward nine months, which there is a triple conjunction of Venus, Jupiter and Regulus in the Leo constellation. So the king planet joins what is known as the mother planet around the king star. This would signify the actual birth of Jesus, Larson said. The three together would create an incredibly bright star to the naked eye. This immediately follows the constellation of Pisces, as others speculate relates to Jewishness. The world had a view of the exact conjunction in June, 2015, prompting a new round of speculation about its significance. Astronomers

said the last time this particular conjunction occurred was 2,000 years ago. Viewing with the naked eye lasted only a few days, but the conjunction could be seen for more than a year with a of telescope. That would certainly accommodate for the time frame for the wise men to make the long trip.

the next December because of another Jupiter retrograde. In this scenario, Jupiter retrogrades again, causing it to appear to pause to those watching it from Earth. The interesting, and ironic, part of Larson’s explanation is this retrograde happened on December 25, according to the computer program.

The theory of Johannes Kepler, a 1600’s studier of the stars, differs with Larson on the time frame of the conjunction. Kepler’s theory is this happened at the beginning of the Jewish New Year rather than in the spring. Kepler’s theory regarding the Virgo constellation being the image mentioned in Revelation, as it follows Leo, matches Larson’s theory.

The final part of the constellation story is the constellation after Jesus death. According to the computer program, including other identifying factors from weather and events in Jerusalem at the time of Jesus’ death, the constellation of Virgo appeared again. This time, the virgin had a full, red moon – sometimes referred as a blood moon – at her feet.

Both theories suggest it is the triple conjunction that prompted the wise men to travel. They knew the promise had been fulfilled. Larson believes they arrived in Bethlehem

Larson said this is a picture of the fulfillment of the life and death of Jesus.

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Learning the nutritional science of the human body has been an interest of Donna LaBar’s for most of her life, but she was unaware that her thirst for natural healing knowledge would prove very beneficial. As a Nutritional Healing Coach who resides in Tunkhannock, LaBar has helped people from all over the region towards better health. Her wealth of experience was wellknown when a friend finally told her she should write a book about the journey to wellness. After a sample of the book was sent to various publishers, she set out to complete the full book. It was a labor of passion that took four years and was completed in September of 2012. Her book, Simple. Natural. Healing. has been well received since it hit bookstore shelves on September 20. “It’s not about dieting, it’s about how the body works to maintain and heal itself. People can easily incorporate it into their life without

much upheaval,” added LaBar. On her quest to change other’s lives with her book, LaBar’s has changed drastically as well. She is sought out by different organizations to host presentations as well as teaching workshops and organizing retreats. “It feels pretty amazing; it’s really been fun to have people enjoy my book so much that they want me to come out. I’ve had a huge amount of people reach out for me to do it,” added LaBar. Labar became interested in the inner workings of the human body when she was a teenager when LaBar’s friend, Catherine Garbus, told her that her father fell ill with stomach cancer, LaBar pursued her research with new vigor. “I started working with him and how he could get nutrition so we started discovering how enzymes work to help with the digestive process,” said LaBar.

Along with how to get nutritional value into the body, she also learned how alkalinity plays a role in decreasing inflammation. After several years of studying various ways to help the body heal itself, LaBar tailored a program to fit his needs and saw him live to the age of 93. “My dad always thought illness could be solved, he enjoyed sharing his passion for understanding the body’s ability to heal itself given proper nutrition and supplementation with Donna,” said Garbus. Today, LaBar is certified through the Integrated Institution of Nutrition as an Integrated Health Coach and strives to help others with terminal diagnoses and illnesses. “ “I started working with people who were having difficult diagnosis and showing them how to eat during these illnesses so they could support their body in recovery,” she added. Her primary focus areas are the | 47 importance of pH balance in the body, the role of enzymes, improving sleep, and reducing stress to substantially improve one’s health.

and Tunkhannock, invite healing practitioners to gather together and share their ideas and methods with the public.

“My hope always is that once we figured out what’s wrong my approaches can keep them there for the rest of their life and give them a quality life,” LaBar explained.

“There are just super things out there that can get us on the track to healing faster,” she said.

Another outlet LaBar has used to spread the word is the Natural Health Clinic’s she has organized since 2014. The clinics, which have been held in Clarks Summit

Her new book delves into ways to help the body heal faster and better as well as how it can fully recover from various illnesses. The most crucial chapter that LaBar hopes everyone pays attention to is the chapter on supporting the

body with more alkaline forming foods which will stop inflammation and digestive problems. If people incorporate more raw foods into their diet the body will create more enzymes which aid in digestion. “I go on to talk about cancer, diabetes, thyroid, chronic inflammation illnesses, things that help and hinder so people have a broader awareness,” said LaBar. Her hope is the information in her book helps more people live longer, more quality lives.

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The Seeker Magazine ~ Open the Door  

What is our place in the cosmos? What do we actually know about the world around us? Is life as we understand it only what we see? Or is the...

The Seeker Magazine ~ Open the Door  

What is our place in the cosmos? What do we actually know about the world around us? Is life as we understand it only what we see? Or is the...