Bookish Valentine ?

Emily Dickinson wasn’t given over to writing love poems in the truest sense of the word but she did pen a few that not only tug on the heart strings but also illuminate the trials that love can cast upon a yearning soul. It was her own experience she brought to the ‘love poetry’ table and it is viable, palpable and inevitable especially in the modern world from which she was never a part or to witness. Her genius of love resounds the same today as it did to her ears so many years ago, I imagine. Here are a few such examples. The Castle Lady

Success

Success is counted sweetest

By those who ne’er succeed.

To comprehend a nectar

Requires sorest need.

Not one of all the purple host

Who took the flag today

Can tell the definition

So clear a victory,

As he, defeated, dying,

On whose forbidden ear

The distant strains of triumph

Break, agonized and clear.

 

The Duel

(published in 1896, a decade after Emily’s decease)

 I took my power in my hand

And went against the world;

’Twas not so much as David had,

But I was twice as bold.

I aimed my pebble, but myself

Was all the one that fell.

Was it Goliath was too large,

Or only I too small?

 

Untitled

I had no time to hate, because

The grave would hinder me,

And life was not so ample I

Could finish enmity.

 

Nor had I time to love; but since

Some industry must be,

The little toil of love, I thought,

Was large enough for me.

Here’s something unique to share with everyone !

https://ascholarlyskater.com/2015/10/24/heart-shaped-books-day-twenty-three-of-medieval-manuscripts

 

Would you like to know more about Emily? I recommend this biography:

Emily Dickinson by Cynthia Griffin Wolff

published by Knopf in 1986

The Castle Lady

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Everything Old is New Again

  Not only is my title from a very popular old song but it seems to be the way of the world concerning fresh beginnings. Wouldn’t it be a great name for a company that uses recycled materials? There may be a certain amount of wisdom in it but it is also a cynical world view as well, which doesn’t quite mix with the philosophy of just two weeks ago when we were supposed to be celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, savior of the world.

If you ask people what Christmas means to them in the current world view, most will tell you that it signifies a time to be with family or of good will toward people in dire need. (And by the words dire need, I do not mean an Xbox for little Timmy or another doll for Suzy, by the way!) While I might think that the former meaning is necessary and welcome or the latter is a given care for those who understand want and poverty, I am taken quite aback at the lack of understanding of what holidays should mean to us all.

     Sharing your faith with others is a nearly obsolete diversion in the year 2020. Ministries are getting very clever about how to get the word out about their faith and I applaud them for it. Necessity of these tactics, however, may be missing their mark. We all have faith in something or none of us would get up in the morning and the human race would have died off a long time ago without it. Not being quite aware of it, each person harbors a certain amount of faith in themselves or the world. What circumscribes your faith however, is much more important for you than you might think. It’s when we take the time to ask ourselves the really tough questions that we realize we should have good answers to those questions but we often don’t or won’t face those answers head-on.

     For instance, if we say we don’t really believe in God but are willing to pray for someone when they’re ill or in trouble, what (or better yet, who) are we praying to and why? Many people have pared down prayer to just having a solid minute of silence. I suppose keeping that sustained silence any longer than a minute might clear too much nonsense out of the mind and they might start asking themselves those deep questions. Those things we find difficult to face are our fears- the opposite of faith.

  In the Bible, the message to ‘fear not’ is conveyed more than a hundred times so the message is clear that belief in God and faith to stand by him is not only in our best interests but is a standard by which we can measure our faith. 1 John 4:18 tells us that perfect love casts out all fear and this makes sense considering that God is also love (1 John 4:16). If this is the season of love as we sing (or hear sung) each year around this time, then it is actually a time to shed our fears and start building our faith. Focusing on Jesus will help us understand what it all means. Greater love hath no man than this, that he would lay down his life for a friend…John 15:13

Faithfully and courageously,

The Castle Lady

 

Dreams are what guide us, art is what defines us, math is what makes it all possible and love is what lights our way.

Mike Norton

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Time to celebrate…

     Hanukkah finales can be quite an occasion with more celebrating going on than most of this lengthy holy week. Very few people know that it became a part of the White House traditions in 1951, when Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion presented then-President Harry Truman with a chanukia. However, it wasn’t until 1979 that our president (who happened to be Jimmy Carter), took part in a public Hanukkah candle-lighting ceremony on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. and was followed many years later with the first official lighting ceremony at the White House itself, presided over by President Bill Clinton.

  In 2001, fifty years after the Prime Minister’s gift was presented, President George W. Bush held an official public Hanukkah reception in the White House in conjunction with a candle-lighting ceremony, and has since been an annual tradition attended by Jewish leaders throughout the U.S. By 2008, Bush linked the occasion to the 1951 gift by using that same menorah for the ceremony, with grandsons of Ben-Gurion and of Truman lighting the candles!

     For a momentous Hanukkah occasion, November 28th of 2013 will probably never be outdone. That year the first day of Hanukkah happened to coincide with Thanksgiving. It did not escape Barack Obama’s attention and he remarked, “For the first time since the late 1800s – and for the last time until some 70,000 years from now – the first day of Hanukkah falls on Thanksgiving. It’s an event so rare some have even coined it Thanksgivukkah. As we gather with loved ones around the turkey, the menorah, or both, we celebrate some fortunate timing and give thanks for miracles both great and small.”

    What he didn’t mention, and may not have known, was that until that day Hanukkah had never been a feast holy day. Normally, there are seven Hebrew feasts throughout the year. In 2013 Hanukkah became a feast day along with Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Passover, (among four others) making eight in all! Just a coincidence? That it occurred during a time when we had welcomed, for the first time in the United States history, a man of color in the Oval Office of the White House adds to this happy convergence a sign of hope, acceptance and approval from up above. People used to say that truth is stranger than fiction but I tend to think that something fell in accord at just the right time. It’s just like God to give us a sign in the form of a miracle. Praise God!

Tomorrow night we will celebrate the onset of a New Year of 2020.

May the year bless you beyond measure!

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Merry Christmas to One and All 2019

     A time when the Lion of Judah will unite with the Lamb of God. Shalom Aleichem! Amen! Isaiah 42

The Castle Lady

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The True Miracle of Hanukkah

John 10:16 Other sheep I have which are not of this fold;

them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice,

and there shall be one fold and one shepherd.

 

    Not only has winter officially arrived, it has coincided with the first day of Hanukkah which began Sunday night at sundown. I have put up other entries occasionally to recognize the holiday but this time I wanted to give a little more comprehensive overview of what Hanukkah is about historically and symbolically, especially this year. More importantly, I wanted to give my readership a basic idea of what Hanukkah means to me as a Christian. Many Christians do not know what I’m about to impart because it involves a part of the history of the Jewish people which is not covered in the Bible but the Talmud. Because of this, people may think the two faiths are mutually exclusive but in truth, that isn’t possible. Never before in history have both schools been more intrinsic because of impending prophecies to be fulfilled and this is why I decided to write about it.

    I don’t know how many gentiles (non-Jewish persons) know the difference between a regular menorah and a hanukiah but most of what is known by people, in general, about the Jewish holy days- which, in this case, lasts exactly eight days- is immaterial fluff such as Hanukkah gelt (chocolate medallions wrapped in gold foil) for children and spinning a dreidel, which actually is a teaching toy for kids learning the Hebrew alphabet.

 

 

(Ironical traditions for an ancient religion continuing to struggle for public relevance in a world bent on trivializing all religious observance. I’m not saying that those two traditions don’t have their place, either! As a matter of fact, during this Festival of Lights, specific songs and hymns are sung, the candles are blessed before lighting with prayers and some participants have unique family traditions in the strict orthodox community.) I would impress on anyone who is concerned about showing respect for all religions that this information is very important; Christians, Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus, Catholics and Methodists alike should sit up and take note. Non-Christians are not exempt if they wish to show respect for people of faith.

    A standard menorah is depicted as a part of the coat-of-arms of Israel which I’m sure many people have seen on postage stamps. It consists of seven vessels on top of seven candleholders with the elongated servant lamp in the center and three semi-circular branches which adds up to seven candleholders, total. The servant (Shamash) lamp denotes the precedence of the Messiah. You will see the Shamash, always, on all menorahs. On Israel’s modern coat-of-arms the menorah is flanked by two long olive branches attached to the Hebrew word for Israel underneath the base of the menorah. They are ‘rooted in the word’ and this is important because it is meant to imply the oil from them continually supplies fuel for the lamps (or candles). Those olive branches are chronicled in Revelation 11:4 and Zechariah chapter 4 for those who think there is no correlation between Jesus and the messiah.

    The hanukiah is a special menorah which has nine lamps- consisting of a Shamash and four semi-circular branches (eight, total, on either side of it) – originally a commemoration of events of (ca.) 163-165 BC. when Antiochus IV Epiphanes, King of Syria, attempted to suppress the Jewish people by forbidding them to practice the rituals of the Law of Moses. He issued decrees against observance of the Sabbath, all feast days, circumcision and many important Jewish rites. His most crushing act was destroying copies of the Torah publicly. That’s not all.

     His next act was to set up one of his own idols in their temple- that of Zeus- for them to worship and placed at the altar where the Jews made burnt offerings to Jehovah. He went himself to offer the meat of a pig which would desecrate the altar and the temple. Afterward, he ordered them to make the same offering on the 25th of every month which would coincide with his own birth day. These actions set off what is historically known as the Maccabean Revolt in which they annihilated his armies.

   

 

Afterward, on the 24th day of Kislev (usually part of December; in 2005 it landed right on Christmas day) of 165 BC the Temple was cleansed and rededicated. This became the Jewish feast of Hanukkah. Presently, the House of Shammai hanukiah tradition is to light the Shamash and one other candle on the first night and then an additional candle is added each night until, after eight days, all of the candles are lit for the final night totaling nine as opposed to the usual number of seven with a regular menorah. The Hanukkah miracle centers on the lack of supply of consecrated oil available on the first rededication of the temple, so many years ago. Even though it was only enough for one day, the oil supply lasted for eight days, until new oil could be obtained and consecrated for the temple. In the Jewish faith there is no such thing as a minor miracle (Zechariah 4:10). Also, the anointing that the oil supply and menorah signify gives both Hebrew and Gentile believer great hope through a dynamic which is referred to as grace.

     “Who art thou, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it.” Zech. 4:7

     In the blockbuster book entitled, The Mystery of the Menorah it states that the promise of the headstone refers to Jesus the Christ and the stone which the builders rejected, which also appears in Acts 4:11, is obvious in the sacrifice Jesus endured on the cross. Through his rejection and sacrifice at Calvary a new covenant (Matthew 26:28) was instituted ushering in the Covenant of Grace. Jesus spoke of the arrival of the Holy Spirit, part of the Trinity, which was recorded in Acts 2 (:4) before he ascended to Heaven in the first chapter of Acts (1:8). Verse 10 and 11 affirms this with two spiritual witnesses who spoke to the apostles after they witnessed Jesus ascension. In Revelation prophecy, two spiritual witnesses show up, again, in chapter 11 with the 3rd and 4th verses.

   Many scholars believe these two witnesses (the two olive branches) correspond to the Law and the Prophets exemplified by Moses and Elijah. It is truly a revelation to see that these two exalted offices are poised for temple building, just as in the days of Zerubbabel and that they again take on the role of exhortation and empowerment. This time the dynamic will be in opposition to the antichrist who will claim sole right to the temple and the throne of God! They will stand against him as a protection to the remnant of Jehovah’s faithful and in opposition to the antichrist after losing their lives against the beast (antichrist). As living symbols of Israel’s modern shield these are the two olive branches depicted on Israel’s coat-of-arms. (These are not the only appearances of the two witnesses recorded in the New Testament.)

Unique hanukiahs

    In conclusion, it is easy to see how much meaning and promise envelops both the Jewish and Christian faiths in the Hanukkah tradition, especially in the present day. This tradition points to bringing all the faithful, Jew and Gentile, together as a body of believers in Jesus as the true Messiah. This is not only actually happening currently, it has been going on for decades! Check out the following ministries: Jews for Jesus (ifcg.org), which was founded in 1983 by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein. Rabbi Schneider has a T.V. ministry called The Jewish Jesus in a similar vein and a particularly spiritual ministry and outreach is a decades-old show hosted by Sid Roth, a former Jewish agnostic! Another is Jewish Voice hosted by Jonathan Bernis. The 15th chapter of Revelation heralds this movement with the words: “And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God and the song of the Lamb, saying, “Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty, just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.”  

Be blessed during these holy days!

Recommended additional reading:

Matthew 5:3-11, Galatians 5:22  (Nine beatitudes, nine fruits of the spirit)

                The Mystery of the Menorah and the Hebrew Alphabet

by J.R. Church & Gary Stearman

ISBN 0-941241-13-0

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78 Years Remembrance of Pearl Harbor

     Parades and honorary memorials to the servicemen who died and those who survived the bombing of Pearl Harbor have been a tradition and official national holiday for many years now. My morning news featured and honored one Commander Lou Conter who is 98 and is wheelchair-bound but can smile as well as any baby and seemed very humble as the Pearl Harbor survivors often are- he was obviously only 20 years of age when it happened!

     Back in June of 2006 my pictorial historical book on Robinson and Crawford County in Illinois was released to the general public for sale online and on Crawford County bookshelves. In the book I placed numerous pages on James Jones (author of From Here to Eternity) who was born and raised in Robinson. Although James started out writing poetry, the work for which he is most famous was his first novel and is a marvelous account of what happened at Pearl Harbor being a witness and survivor. Though novelized (to protect identities, in those days) the book was a best seller, made into a Hollywood movie and happens to be considered a classic. He went on to write many more best sellers and non-fiction as well but passed away May 9th of 1977 leaving behind his bride of twenty years- Gloria née Mosolino and a son and daughter. Gloria died on the morning that my book on Robinson came out at the age of 78. His daughter Kaylie who was born in Paris in 1960 is an author as well with numerous books published. You can read more about her and her work at www.kayliejones.com

     If you are interested in seeing photos and lore about the city and county of James Jones childhood, his family and several other celebrities that hailed from there, you can check it out at…

http://www.arcadiapublishing.com/9780738540290/Robinson-and-Crawford-County

Robinson and Crawford County

by Evelyn M. Wallace

with Sue Jones

Images of America series   ISBN 0-7385-4029-3

LCCCN : 2006927508  

Arcadia Publishing Christmas discount at $14.29 (down from 21.99) currently !

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The Elves

Jakob and Wilhelm

Jakob Ludwig Grimm and his brother Wilhelm Karl were born in the years 1785 and 1786 respectively and wrote and published collections of European fairy tales and folktales as adults, being German language scholars, in the first half of 19th century Germany. They literally wrote their way out of poverty, as their father died while they were children. Familiarly, they wrote Rapunzel, Rumpelstiltskin, Little Red Riding Hood and Hansel and Gretel among the plethora of the most well-known stories and fairy tales. This obscure story came from their first collection which was originally titled Kinder- und Hausmaerchen which literally means Children and Home (Folk) Fairy Tales. A well-known English translation was done by Margaret Raine Hunt. Be aware that these stories were passed down through generations by word of mouth, originally, rather than made up by the Grimm chroniclers. Perhaps it’s why they continue to endure, to this day, in pop culture all over the world. – The Castle Lady

Potsdam, Germany

a Christmas story by The Brothers Grimm

1812

A shoemaker, through no fault of his own, discovered he had become so poor that, finally, he had nothing left to work with but leather for one pair of shoes. In the evening, he wearily cut out the shoes which he wished to begin to make the next morning and as he had a good conscience, he lay down quietly in his bed, commended himself to God, and fell asleep.

   In the morning, after he had said his prayers, and was just going to sit down to work, the two shoes stood completely finished on his table. He was so astounded that he was speechless. Taking the shoes in his hands to observe them closer, he found they were very neatly made so that there wasn’t a single bad stitch in them. It was as if they were intended to be matching masterpieces. Soon after, a buyer came in and the shoes pleased him so much, he paid more for them than was customary. With that money the shoemaker was able to purchase enough leather to make two pairs of shoes. He cut them out at night, again, and the next morning was about to set to work with fresh courage; but he had no need to do so, for, when he got to his workshop, they were already made. More buyers came along who gave him money enough to buy leather for four pairs of shoes! The following morning, too, he found the four pairs made; and so it went on for quite some time and constantly. Each night, what he cut out in the evening was finished by the morning. He soon regained his common sense of enterprise and became a wealthy man, at last!

    Now it so happened that one evening, not long before Christmas, when the man had been busy cutting out the next bunch, he said to his wife, “What would you think if we were to stay up tonight to see who it is that lends us this helping hand?” She liked the idea, and lit a candle. Then they hid themselves in a corner of the room, behind some clothes which were hanging up there and waited and watched.

     When the clock struck midnight, two handsome and sprightly little naked men came, sat down at the shoemaker’s table, took up all the work which was cut out before them and began to stitch and sew and hammer so skillfully and quickly with their little fingers that the shoemaker could not turn away his eyes for amazement and astonishment. They did not cease their work until all was done and stood finished on the table. They ran quickly away.

    Next morning the woman said, “The little men have made us rich so we really must show that we are grateful for it. They run about so, with nothing on and perhaps are very cold. I tell thee what I’ll do: I will make them little shirts, coats, vests and trousers. I’ll even knit them both a pair of stockings each. You will make them two little pairs of shoes.”

     The man replied, “I shall be very glad to do it.” So one night, when everything was ready, they laid their handmade presents all together on the table instead of the cut-out work and then concealed themselves to see how the little men would react. At midnight they came bounding in and wanted to get to work at once but as they did not find any leather cut out but only the brand new little articles of clothing, they were at first amazed and then seemed very delighted.

    With great rapidity they dressed themselves with the wonderful clothes and sang, “Now we are men so fine to see, We should no longer cobblers be!”

  Then they danced and skipped and leapt over chairs and benches. At last they danced out the doors. From that time forth they came no more but as long as the shoemaker lived all went well with him and all his undertakings prospered.

The End

 

If you are searching for something unique to gift a child this Christmas, in the form of literature, may I suggest a late 20th century discovery of a story written by Wilhelm Grimm, in letter form, to a little girl in 1812? This story remained in this girl’s family’s possession for over 150 years before it was brought to light to the general public on September 28, 1983. It was translated into English by Ralph Manheim and published in English in 1988 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux with marvelous art renderings by Maurice Sendak. The title of it is, Dear M i l i and is a beautiful story of redemption and hope along with the finest art renderings for children’s literature I’ve ever seen.

wishes you a lovely holiday!

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Thankful for Every Moment

When one reads the newspapers, turns on the nightly newscast on T.V. or talks to people, in passing or at length, about current events it’s rather common to get a little discouraged. In this country we seem to be focused on the negative side of controversies and calamities. It’s not to say that there isn’t reason for concern. Personally, I’m more worried than ever about the State of the Union. When the smoke clears, however, I perceive that we are still more privileged, autonomous and affluent on-the-whole than most countries of the world, especially by comparison. Any U.S. citizen who has traveled extensively outside this country will tell you that- no matter where they’ve been in the world- and we really should be thankful just for what we have here.

 

     My title for this entry is a truncated reiteration of a quote by Al Green which I’ve kept with me everywhere I go for many years now and I can repeat it with honesty again and again. Gratitude is a game changer and a perspective adjuster so this quote reminds me that circumstances are always colored by attitude. When we expect the worst isn’t it ironic that everything turns that way? It’s not just ironic; it becomes inevitable the more we ride on that negative track. Depression is an alarming epidemic in the U.S. and is spreading across the globe and I believe that this is a direct result of hanging onto discouragement, repeating negativity and agreeing with greed rather than being satisfied with our obvious wealth.

     If you want to turn the daily news around, take a look around you, roll up your sleeves and begin to make a difference in the lives of people who you perceive or know to be less privileged than yourself. You don’t have to donate funds to change a life but you can make life better for many people just by donating your time to a cause or outreach, sharing and sometimes just caring for others, in general. Taking the time to listen to someone who tells you that no one ever listens to them is a start to a better day for all of us and it may surprise you how much your general outlook on life and our times improve when you give of yourself. The truth is, to a stranger, you are the world! Does it matter to you that you are a representative of the entire world when you cut someone off in heavy traffic? Somewhere down the road it will matter to you eventually, even if it doesn’t now!   

     This also works two ways, you know. When I look around me and see how much I’ve been given or have acquired in my life it really almost overwhelms me at times and I know when I feel this way that a lot of these blessings are meant to be shared, not just for the need itself, but also because we need each other more than anything else. We need each other more than we need more things. When you think of someone first before you think of yourself you have reached a new level of thankfulness that will make you internally wealthier than you ever could have imagined. Your soul bank account is what you bring when you arrive at the pearly gates and not a smidge of the worldly old, acquisitive accounts will get past those gates. This is right and fair. Think about this last paragraph a lot and see how much your life will change as you continue to think this way. You’re not just part of a village; you’re part of a galaxy where you are a guest, a visitor or someone passing through.

I shall not pass this way again…

The Castle Lady

 

www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VgyL6VmWiA

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A Queen’s Halloween

When most people, and especially Americans, think of or celebrate this enigmatic holiday they think of costumes for children and adults alike, prepare themselves for trick-or-treaters by buying more candy than they could ever consume in a year and/or decorate the exteriors of their homes with the accepted jack-o-lanterns, ghosts, witches and anything on the accepted spooky or creepy list. This has not been an accepted holiday in England for centuries but is, in more recent years, starting to take on a life that looks a bit like the conventional American holiday.

    It might surprise many folks to find out that Halloween, as it is celebrated in the present, had its true beginnings in Scotland and that the celebration was quite different than anything Americans might do. I found my proof of this while reading Queen Victoria’s 19th century diary this summer. The following is an excerpt from it which describes the festivities back in 1866 when she happened to be visiting her summer home, Balmoral Castle, two October 31st s in a row:

 

October 31, 1866-1867

    While we were at Mrs. Grant’s we saw the commencement of the keeping of Halloween. All the children came out with burning torches, shouting and jumping. The Protestants generally keep Halloween on the old day, November 12, and the Catholics on this day; but hearing I had wished to see it two years ago, they all decided to keep it today. When we drove home we saw all the gillies (a gilly was a male servant, usually a gamekeeper) coming along with burning torches, and torches and bonfires appeared also on the opposite side of the water. We went upstairs to look at it from the windows, from whence it had a very pretty effect.

 

    On the same day in the following year, viz., Thursday, October 31, 1867, we had an opportunity of again seeing the celebration of Halloween, and even of taking part in it. We had been out driving, but we hurried back to be in time for the celebration. Close to Donald Stewart’s house we were met by two gillies bearing torches. Louise got out and took one, walking by the side of the carriage, and looking like one of the witches in “Macbeth.” As we approached Balmoral, the keep and their wives and children, the gillies and other people met us, all with torches; Brown also carrying one. We got out at the house, where Leopold joined us, and a torch was given to him. We walked round the whole house, preceded by Ross playing the pipes, going down the steps of the terrace. Louise and Leopold went first, then came Janie Ely and I, followed by every one carrying torches, which had a very pretty effect. After this a bonfire was made of all the torches, close to the house and they danced reels whilst Ross played the pipes.

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Week

Of all the desserts on the planet for which I could have a weakness, you probably wouldn’t think a chocolate chip cookie would be one of those but you’d also be wrong. It’s a great solution for a sweet-tooth with lots of health benefits. I never thought anyone could mess up its greatness until very recently. It seems as how the gluten-free brigade have stuck their nose into my only non-guilty pleasure but I can tell you that I’m not going to allow that- for sure!

http://www.verybestbaking.com/products/tollhouse/history.aspx

     You might be saying, “Health benefits? Chocolate chip cookies?” Yes. That’s right; it’s actually healthy to have one or two without worrying about your weight, whether you can sleep at night or if you’ll break out. There are a lot of myths about this healthy snack but I’m going to start by telling you all the positives you might never have guessed at or thought would be true.

    First, the chocolate chips themselves need to be dark or semi-sweet chocolate. Both are great for enhanced brain function and secondly, the risk of heart disease is reduced by 82% from cocoa powder’s high concentration of polyphenols which act as a natural anti-inflammatory, protecting the heart. (Milk chocolate dilutes this effect.) In addition, cocoa can enhance the role of endorphins which are naturally produced by your own body when you run, fast walk- or, do anything aerobic. This is because of a wonderful hormone, serotonin, which chocolate promotes to release in your brain. It’s one of the reasons that chocolate makes you feel good like no other dessert.

   Thirdly, the calories in one or two cookies are quite minimal in comparison to other really rich desserts. With the feel good factor you will not be tempted to overeat as a fourth support, unlike the chances that are ordinarily connected with most other desserts. It should be easier to control yourself and avoid the second and third helpings which derail many.

    Now, about that unnecessary gluten-free mix: If you are one of the people that have gone gluten-free as a dietary restriction for diabetes or just to lose weight, I would have you know that going gluten-free could cause you serious problems. Unless you are one of the less than 5 percent (usually only children from the age of 6 months to 6 years) of Americans who can’t have gluten for digestion problems associated with celiac disease- you are doing something that will backfire on you if you think you will lose weight by avoiding gluten. As a matter of fact, the small amount of gluten (wheat, rye or barley protein fiber) you would ingest in a regular chocolate chip cookie might reduce blood pressure and inflammation. To remove the small amount of gluten that is normally in a cookie is taking away some of the health benefit.

     There is another reason why I’m down on the gluten-free fad diet. I found out that any commercially prepared and packaged gluten-free product often has more sugar and fat than the normal products on the market, are more expensive and to top it off, are often quite disappointing in how the product actually turns out. For example, a gluten-free brownie mix may turn out soggy because of the extra amount of water the ‘alternative flour’ requires in order to mix. I like moist brownies but come on!

   To be blunt and direct, I know that many healthy people who couldn’t possibly have celiac disease are going gluten-free in the hope that they will lose a lot of weight. They are only deluding themselves and playing Russian roulette with their health. Isn’t it bad enough that your chocolate chip gluten-free cookies will fall apart when you’re trying to eat them!? They may, eventually, make you fat! How’s that for a lose-lose?

     Save your money. Make your cookies the old-fashioned way and you’ll actually be keeping yourself healthier in the long run. By the way, if you make your chocolate chip cookies in an oatmeal batter you’ll automatically reduce the amount of gluten to keep your children who do have celiac disease in better shape. Oatmeal naturally has no gluten and neither does sorghum or millet.

Gluten all the way! Woo-hoo!

kisses from

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