Thanksgiving morning walk in our neighbourhood
"I'm keeping my hands in my sleeves so they stay warm!"
Our church - just a five minute walk from our house!
A magpie - they are popular around here. I find that they are pretty birds - black and white with some shiny dark blue feathers.We went to friend's house for supper. The weather was perfect for playing in the backyard! I meant to take a photo of dinnertime, but forgot!


Why We Don't "Do" Halloween

by Cassandra Dorman. Reposted with permission.

Every year, I look forward to the Harvest season. The apples, the pumpkins, the gourds, leaves changing and falling, Thanksgiving, crisp, cool days for walking along a painted path, the 'new' feeling that comes with September and the following months. It's all so wonderful - likely my favorite time of year.

And then, there's Halloween. I've actually had requests to write a post on the topic of Halloween - so I'm writing this. But I'm doing so with a bit of reluctance, as I know our family stands with only a small few in our stance against Halloween. (Wow, us? There's a shocker. Ha.)

I find it interesting that Halloween is one of the biggest holidays of the year, and yet, very few people know its origins, why we celebrate, and what the day actually acknowledges and glorifies.

The Origins of Halloween (in a nut-shell)

The celebration of what we know today as Halloween can be traced way back to the 700s (and earlier), to the practices of the ancient Druids. The Druids were a highly educated or 'priestly' class of the Celts of the time. The Celts worshiped many gods, including, the sun god on Beltane (May 1), and the lord of the dead on Samhain (October 31).

It was (and is) believed that on October 31st, "the lord of the dead would gather all the souls of the evil dead who had been condemned to enter the bodies of animals. He then decided what animal form they would take for the next year. (The souls of the good dead were reincarnated as humans.) The Druids also believed that the punishment of the evil dead could be lightened by sacrifices, prayers, and gifts to Samhain (the god of the dead)."*

It was taught that evil spirits roamed the earth on this night and the people had many practices to scare them away. They would light huge fires, dress in grotesque masks and costumes, and make both animal and human (usually infant) sacrifices in hopes of appeasing the gods and keeping their families safe. Sacrifices like these are still made today in many Pagan circles, although it is seldom talked about or revealed.

What about 'Trick or Treating'?

One possible origin for 'Trick of Treating' is the idea that many witches traveled villages stealing goods for their Halloween celebrations and festivals. It is also true that many ancient pagans would beg for and steal items for their great fires (which included sacrifices to the god of the dead). The Druids knew this day was sacred day for Pagans, Wiccans, and Witches alike, which still holds true for modern day pagans.

The idea of 'Trick or Treating' is also related to ghosts of the dead in pagan and even Catholic history. Among the ancient Druids, the ghosts that were believed to haunt people's homes on Halloween night were met with a banquet table full of 'treats' to satisfy them. At the end of their 'feast', masked and costumed villagers would represent the souls of the dead, and paraded the town, leading the real ghosts and spirits away from their homes.

Another connection to the practice of trick-or-treating is to the evil spirits who roamed the night, playing tricks on the living.

When children "Trick or Treat", they are taking part in the playing out of a very real Pagan belief. Evil spirits roamed the villages, going from house to house - if they were not appeased by 'treats' and sacrifices, they would haunt and torment the living. When people offer treats to the children, they are acting out the tradition of offering sacrifices to evil spirits, or, Satan.

What about dressing up on Halloween?

Along with many of the reasons listed above, Halloween costumes also originated from a time when costumes were used to hide one's attendance at pagan festivals or to change the personality of a person to allow for better communication with the Spirit world. The Celtic Druids also wore large animal heads at rituals, in an attempt to pull energy sources out of that particular animal. Costumes are most largely used in Halloween tradition to either ward off evil spirits, blend in with evil spirits, or appease evil spirits.

What about Jack-o-Lanterns?

There are a few theories about the origins of the Jack-o-Lantern. The first is that the idea stemmed from the tradition of Witches using skulls with candles in them to light the way to their coven meetings. Another is the Irish legend of "Irish Jack", a stingy drunk who tricked the devil into climbing a tree for an apple, but then carved the sign of the cross in the trunk to stop the devil from climbing back down. Jack then forced Satan to promise never to come after his soul, to which the devil reluctantly agreed. When Jack died, he was turned away at the gates of Heaven and was sent to the devil, who also rejected him. Jack was then condemned to wander the earth. As he was leaving hell, Satan pitched a piece of burning coal at him. Jack put the coal inside a turnip and was forced to forever roam with no resting place, holding only his 'Jack o' lantern' for light. The turnip was eventually traded for a pumpkin, and there you have the legend, passed down through generations.

It is important to note that many people think Halloween is actually a 'religious' holiday, linked to the Catholic belief in All Souls' Day. In the Middle Ages the Catholic Church tried to appose the paganism in the Samhain festival by making November 1st All Saints' Day and November 2 All Souls' Day. These days were dedicated to prayer for and to the dead Saints and souls and the dead still suffering in purgatory. The belief that the living can somehow aid the dead is still prevalent among many Catholics.

Why we don't 'do' Halloween...

Many people (including a whole lot of Christians) will argue that Halloween is "no big deal". They feel that by completely rejecting the holiday and refusing to celebrate it in any way, our family is being 'over the top' - reading too much into it, over-reacting. For us, the question lies in, "who does this holiday glorify?". The roots of Halloween are wickedly pagan, the past and present-day associations are directly connected to Satanism.

But, if that's not enough reason, we can look directly at the premise of Halloween. This is a greed-based holiday where children parade around, mimicking evil practices and beliefs. Halloween is the SINGLE most important day to many people in groups linked straight to the devil. We need to wake up.

I have given only a sampling of the truth behind the origins and present-day practices of and on Halloween. If you take time to do further research, there is no doubt that this holiday is incredibly evil. For us, it is vital we weigh Halloween with great care. Our family's spiritual health is incredibly important. In fact, it is everything. Our faith in Christ is what makes us who we are. He is our guide. He is the Light for our path, just like so many followers of Jesus.

Friends - if you are a follower of Christ, you need to be closely examining your involvement with this highly Satanic celebration. By celebrating Halloween, I believe we are mimicking evil practices, giving credence to (honoring) the most important day in the world of Satanism, and we are exposing our children directly to spiritual darkness. If this topic is confusing to you, I suggest getting in God's word and praying strongly that God would give you wisdom and clarity about Halloween.

Some scripture to consider:

"Hate what is evil; cling to what is good." Romans 12:9

"Avoid every kind of evil." 1 Thes. 5:22

"Do not imitate what is evil." 3 John 11

"Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deed of darkness, but rather expose them..." (Eph. 5:8-11)

Should your family participate in Halloween?

To help, here are 12 very good, straight-forward points to consider.
Taken from"The Facts on Halloween"

1. It is the most sacred day of many religions that are connected with evil spirits and Satan.
2. It was and is believed to be the day of the year on which the devil's help could especially be invoked for a variety of things; it remains a special day to Satanists.
3. Human sacrifice of children and adults has often been practiced on this day.
4. It has and will continue to encourage non-Christian spiritual activity on the part of both children and adults. Halloween is growing in popularity and decadence.
5. It is a special day to call on spirits through various spiritual practices that are often promoted as innocent and fun. For example, children try out a Ouija board or participate in seances.
6. It is a day historically known for divination.
7. It helps support pagan philosophies and practices such as reincarnation, animism, shamanism, and Druidism.
8. It is of help to the practices and beliefs of mediums and psychic researchers by encouraging people's interest in things such as ghosts and poltergeists.
9. It can unequally yoke Christians and pagans (see 2 Cor. 6:14).
10. It is likely that no Halloween activity or symbol can be found that does not go back to a non-Christian religious source.
11. Christian participation in Halloween can in many ways be dishonoring to God.
12. "Everything that does not come from faith is sin" (Romans 14:23).

I pray every person who reads this post will measure it with the Word of God and the convictions in their own hearts. (hugs) Cassandra

*Small excerpt taken from "The Facts on Halloween" by J. Ankerberg, J. Weldon, and D. Burroughs



The winner of the My Memories Suite Giveaway is...

Mrs. Bob! Congratulations, and have fun with your new software! For my other readers, you can still purchase My Memories Suite with my $10 off coupon code STMMMS23143 . With this code you also get a $10 store credit for any extras you would like to purchase!

Happy scrapping!


New Sweaters!

Gorgeous sweaters made by one of our aunts in Ontario! As soon as I took them out of the box, I knew that a photoshoot was in order. Thanks, Aunt Johanna, for your time and talent in creating these warm and cozy sweaters for the boys! They love the toys you tucked in the box too.

I love at all the different textures and patterns - so neat!
One of only two non-goofy shots of C-note.
Looking at the neighbour's cat.
...then he came over to play.


Sour Cream Cake

Yummy cinnamon swirl coffee cake.

Cake Batter

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sour cream (1 500ml tub)

Cinnamon Filling
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
2 Tbsp cinnamon
1/2 cup brown sugar

Combine filling ingredients in a small bowl, set aside. Beat butter with sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in sour cream. In a seperate bowl, combine the flour and baking powder and baking soda. Stir gently into sour cream mixture until just combined. Spread 1/4 of the cake batter into a greased bundt pan. Sprinkle with 1/4 of the filling. Continue to layer batter and filling, ending with filling. Bake at 350 degrees for 75 minutes.

Bye Summer

Bye fresh flowers for my table and fresh BC cherries!
bye soggy beach bums...
bye dragonflies...see you next year summer robot pjs!
bye puddles!

See you later sunny park picnics!


Roast Chicken with Gravy

You need pepper, salt, two or three cloves of garlic, split, half of a cooking onion, chopped, and your herbs of choice (rosemary, sage, parsley, etc... or "poultry seasoning")
Season the cavity with salt, pepper, and herbs, and throw in your garlic and onion.Cut a little slit in the skin on each side of the opening.
Tuck the ends of the legs through the opposing slits so it closes the cavity. Especially handy if you stuffed the chicken. Season the outside of the bird.

Place in a roasting pan. I add about a half of a cup of water to keep the chicken moist. Roast at 350 degrees for a half an hour per pound.I roast with the lid on, and still get crispy skin. I find that leaving the lid on keeps it moist. If you find that near the end of cooking time the skin is not brown, you can take the lid off and crank the heat up to 500 degrees, or broil, for a few minutes.
Remove the chicken to a platter and cover. Strain the juices into a saucepan. Carefully scoop off most of the fat (it floats on top) with a spoon. Taste the drippings and adjust the seasoning to your liking. You can fortify it with chicken stock, if need be. In a small glass mix equal parts cold water and corn starch or white flour. Whisk slowly to boiling drippings, just adding enough to thicken. Serve with roast chicken and mashed potatoes.
If you don't wish to make gravy, don't throw away the cooking juices!  Strain and pour into an ice cube tray.  Freeze and store in a resealable container and add it to your homemade soups, sauces and even when cooking rice for a boost of flavour and nutrients.  If you make your own stock from the bones of the chicken, add the cooking juices as it's full of nourishing gelatin that has already cooked out of the roast.