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IceStormSo, I’m not much into the holidays. If it were up to me, I’d leave the country the day after Thanksgiving (which is my high holy day because, ahem, it’s all about the food and company) and go someplace warm until March 1st, and just skip the whole debate about whether we should put Christ back in Christmas. (If this holiday has significant religious meaning to you, I genuinely respect that. I’ve read some really moving pieces on the four weeks of Advent this year. Just leave me out of your “lets see how far we can get people to share this” messenger messages.) Read the rest of this entry »

DogsOnColumbia

Rossi, Gideon and I, overlooking the Columbia River a few days ago.

I’ve never been a religious person, in any kind of traditional organized way. My religious views could best be described as Secular Humanist. I believe that people are capable of morality and ethics without  the threat of an all-seeing, all-judging God to keep us on the straight and narrow. In fact, I think when we can choose this path without the fear of reprisal from a deity pointing a finger, we are much the better for it. I believe that human kindness (to animals, to each other, to ourselves, to the earth) is the most powerful force in the universe. I believe that there is power beyond ourselves, and that we are sometimes able to tap into it to profound effect. But celebrating the birth of Jesus, rampant consumerism and obligatory gift giving…not so much. Read the rest of this entry »

I have a bit of a love hate relationship with Christmas. On the one hand, I understand the feeling of belonging, joy and contentment everyone is striving for, and at times, have experienced them myself. But the mish-mash of obligation, sentimentality, rampant consumerism, outright greed and a religious story I simply do not buy into (no offence meant to those who do) often leaves me understanding what Scrooge meant by “bah, humbug”.

What I DO love, of course, is the cooking. Nothing like a great pot of soup on the stove and cookies baking in the oven to make me feel all warm and snug and allow me to share my love with others in, what to me, is a genuine way. One of my favorite holiday traditions is drinking wassail, which really just means a hot mulled cider of some sort. Read the rest of this entry »

Jennifer Kleffner

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