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“Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind.  To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.”  Calvin Coolidge

Black Friday.  Everyone goes shopping on Black Friday!  Well, everyone except us!  I won’t be caught anywhere near a shopping mall between now and the New Year!  The frenzy and madness are just too much . . . Christmas is not about the best gift I can buy for someone . . . it’s about the love and caring and sharing of spirit between you and the people you love.  We’ve just become a society too caught up in commercialism . . . and have forgotten what it is to give from the heart.   Today we spent time with family at a local “farm” that was a pumpkin patch and corn maze just a month ago, but is now decked out for Christmas with snow slides, horse rides, and many other fun activities for families to enjoy.  The snow is all machine made because it really doesn’t snow here in the Central Valley of California.  

That doesn’t matter though – because the spirit of Christmas is in our souls, not in our surroundings.  If we are lucky, we carry that spirit with us all year round.  We just celebrate it more at Christmas.  I’m not a religious person, so I put this all in a context of the goodness that each and every one of us has the potential to share with one another.  It’s all about choice . . . and maybe, just maybe – the goodness and loving spirit that I share with everyone I cross paths with has a positive ripple effect on the very fabric of human kind.  

That’s my hope anyway.  

Let the Christmas Season Begin!

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“The golden rule is that there are no golden rules.”  George Bernard Shaw 

I love where I live, and I love this time of year.  

The days are getting shorter and soon we’ll be complaining about how cold and wet it is.  For now, this is what I get to enjoy every evening looking out on my back yard.  You can just see the leaves starting to turn on the Katsura tree, but everything is still so green and beautiful.  

It’s my second favorite season to Spring.  

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Old Fashioned Raspberry Jam Recipe: Food Network (click for recipe)

There just really is nothing like fresh-picked raspberries thrown in to the pot and cooked up in to yummy raspberry jam!  These are pretty much the last of the berries to be picked this year – there may be a few stragglers for a little nibble here and there.  But they are pretty much done for the season.  I made up a nice double batch of jam to put away for the winter, and to share with a few family and friends.  I have frozen some, for smoothies over the course of the next year till we are able to start the cycle all over again.  

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