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December Newsletter 2017:

STOP The Sleigh!! I Want To Get Off!!

Bringing Meaning Out of Chaos


 Christmas Traditions Around the World 


     While many of us are busy this time of year running to concerts, parties, shopping and preparing for the holiday, have you ever stopped and wondered how some of the traditions we hold dear ever began?  

When Advent begins –


In Western Christianity, Advent begins on the fourth Sunday prior to Christmas Day.  This year Advent begins on Dec. 03.  However, In Eastern Orthodox churches, which use the Julian calendar, Advent began earlier, on November 15, and will last 40 days, rather than 4 weeks.


The Advent Wreath -


Research by Prof. Haemig of Luther Seminary, St. Paul, points to Johann Hinrich Wichern (1808–1881), a Protestant pastor in Germany and a pioneer in urban mission work among the poor, as the inventor of the modern Advent wreath in the 19th century.  It is usually a horizontal evergreen wreath with four candles, sometimes with a fifth, white candle in the center.



Americans and those from numerous other countries like to reserve December 25th as Christmas Day for the opening of (most) gifts.  The first official mention of that date as a holiday honoring Jesus' birth appears in an early Roman calendar from 336 AD. But for quite a few nations, like Ukraine, for example, Christmas is celebrated every year on January 7th. This is based upon the date believed to be when gifts, of the later arriving Wise-Men, were given to Christ.  In Ukraine, the Christmas gift-bringer is known as 'Ded Moroz' or 'Father Frost' and is also called as 'Svyatyy Mykolay', which also means, St. Nicholas (Nikolaos of Myra).



Many of us have heard of “Boxing-Day” and wonder about its background.  Usually observed the 2nd day of Christmastide or St. Stephen’s Day, the British Isles tradition on Dec. 26th, is a time for giving boxed gifts to laborers in service industries.  Some believe it harkens back to servants not having Christmas day off, but being allowed the next day to go home to visit with family. In medieval times, master’s families prepared boxes of gifts, bonuses, and sometimes leftover foods.  Post-men, errand boys, and in South Africa (a former British colony) as recently as the 1980s, milkmen and garbage collectors all benefited by receiving a Christmas Box!

In America, there is the Tradition of SANTA CLAUS 


He has been known by many names: Santa Claus, Saint Nicholas, Saint Nick, Kris Kringle, Father Christmas, or simply Santa. Whatever you call him and whether you follow that particular tradition or not, the general feeling of cheerfulness and gift giving of this season is always welcome. Even parents who don’t teach their children to hang out their stockings “in hopes that Saint Nicholas soon will be there”, have often grown up with that tradition themselves.


Whether or not Santa is a current tradition in your home, in all the busyness and all the problems in our world, we all just want to believe in something good for a change. And that is the original “Reason for the Season” isn’t it? Gathering with family and friends and celebrating the greatest gift Himself, Christ the Lord.


Here’s hoping you and your family and friends enjoy Christmas. Take time to spend with those you love – sharing, not just gifts but, THE gift of Christ.


Merry Christmas!

Just Guess!!
Christmas History Quiz

Can you guess which one is false?


1. True or False:
The Magi who brought gifts were actually later in arriving and were not at the manger scene.  But historically, it is fine to position them as truly “being with Jesus.”


2. True or False:
Tradition tells us the first fir trees were used at Christmas in Northern Europe about the year 1000 but documented proof exists showing Latvia has two towns which argue who was first to use trees around the early 1400’s.


3.  True or False
Most of us have heard it is Christ’s Mass. The word Mass comes from the Latin word for dismissal.  And Anglo-Saxons borrowed that word from Latin.  Late Latin missa was then Anglicized into ‘Mass.’ 


4.  True or False:
The theological doctrine of the “Immaculate Conception” is the Christian Church’s way to describe Jesus’ birth.


5.  True or False
The first recorded date of Christmas being celebrated on December 25th was in 336, during the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine (he was the first Christian Roman Emperor).


6.  True or False
The traditional Christmas carol “Silent Night,” was first performed in Austria in 1818 using a guitar for accompaniment.




November Newsletter 2017:

Stories of Thankfulness: Healthy Gratitude and Eating


Parent Tips: Thanksgiving Nutrition

by: Sue Faulk

Planning that Thanksgiving Dinner? While many families have their traditional meals, it may be time to try introducing one or two new dishes. Instead of the traditional sodium and chemical-laden green bean casserole, consider serving up whole organic green beans. They can be quickly sautéed in a skillet with a little coconut oil (for high heat) or olive oil (for low heat) and garlic to provide fiber, nutrients and healthy fat.  Sweet potatoes can be cut up, placed in a baking dish with coconut oil, sprinkled with cinnamon, and baked at 350-400 degrees until done.  


Whole foods like unprocessed fruits, vegetables, whole grains, mushrooms, beans, nuts and seeds naturally contain fiber.  Foods with fiber release their carbohydrates slowly, providing a constant supply of energy.  Using whole foods in recipes also helps one avoid some of the negative aspects of processed foods which can contain sugar, artificial sweeteners, and flavorings (sometimes referred to as “spices” on the label).   These ingredients overstimulate nerve cells and interfere with their communication.  Additives like food colorings and preservatives can cause tumors and also hyperactivity in children.  For more info on this, check out nutritionfacts.org.


Make the change to using more whole foods one recipe and one meal at a time, so as not to stress yourself out. There are a host of internet sites which share healthy recipes.  One site which links to many healthy recipes is draxe.com.  Maybe you’ll find a flavorful new Thanksgiving dish!

Fall Newsletter 2017:

Homework SOS!!


A Discussion About Homework’s Value: 
OR Not!!

By R. Headley


At Debate.org the question was posed, Should Homework Be Banned? Since it was open to the public and school-agers, it is not surprising that 79% said YES! And only 21% said NO! One of the 21% said, “Sorry Kids. This is not how the real world works!” The discussion his here.


Another view is expressed at The Case For and Against Homework by Robert J. Marzano and Debra J. Pickering.  Their belief expressed here, is that teachers should not abandon homework.  They should, though, improve its instructional quality.


Finally, at The Great Homework Debate: Too much, too little or busy work? A CNN journalist weighed in by opening up a station Facebook page.  The immediate, intense, and passionate responses shocked Kelly Wallace who posted these videos and comments.

How Does Homework Effect Your Family?

By B. Ansley


Keeping in mind that not all students learn alike and any learning differences can greatly impact the ability and the time that it takes for a student to complete a task, should homework exceptions be made for these students?


Certainly. A diagnosed learning difference requires intervention to establish the building blocks that form a foundation for learning to take place. - That’s exactly what we work on at Discovery Therapies. Using a variety of techniques with one-on-one therapy, we help students gain the skills they need to become independent learners. But that takes time.  


The DTI program, using the National Institute of Learning Development (NILD) model, does, in some cases, assign homework. Why? Because repetition is very important for LD students. Founder and Executive Director, Donna Weston, has this to say: “[Homework is used] to continue stimulation from the therapy session, reinforcing what we’ve done. It does improve progress.


And, isn’t that what you’ve heard the main goal of homework is all about? - to reinforce what was taught in the classroom?  Yes, but if you have a third grader who is working for two hours on homework that should take 20 minutes every night - where’s the balance?


Your child may need a 504 plan or an IEP (Individualized Education Plan). Established through your child’s school Guidance Department it is often dependent upon an Educational Psychological Evaluation. This process can frequently take three months in the public-school setting. So, what happens meanwhile?


The bottom line is, if your child is spending two hours on homework that the teacher says should take 20 minutes, something needs to be addressed NOW.  Since learning differences often cause students more difficulty in completing a task, understanding what’s been taught, not knowing how to perform a task, or simply process information slowly, demanding performance with a task can be frustrating for the child (and the parent) and often produces an “I can’t do this” attitude.  You cannot expect a child who doesn’t have the tools to perform a task much less to finish well. Like, you can’t “ask a fish to climb a tree.” And that’s not what learning should be anyway – constant frustration, hurt, anger, avoidance. 


Remember that curious little 3-year-old who used to run around the house? You could never answer all their questions. We cannot allow “education” to kill that curiosity or the insatiable thirst for learning. There are answers for students who struggle to learn and if you or someone you know is living the homework nightmare, we can help.


So, what is homework like in your family?



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