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My story
In January 2007, at the age of 51, I joined a 12-step program and began my recovery from food addiction, losing 75 pounds in the process. Read more…

In January 2011, at the age of 55, I began my recovery from a multi-trauma accident, 36 fractures, damaged lungs, and post traumatic stress. Read more…

I am deeply grateful for all the kindnesses, large and small, offered to me in recovery. Here I am... alive… still making progress … still not perfect … finding a new way forward in a growing community of women and men who share a lot in common around food and life.

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A Cup of Kindness

Open Heart Project


Have no fear…



Yesterday I attended our Friends Meeting for Worship Christmas Pageant. Every year it makes me cry.

The young First Day children sit on the facing bench in their homemade costumes, and raise their wooden doves, cows, sheep and stars on sticks at key moments as we sing each Carol. The older children sit with them and take turns reading the Lessons. A lively musical band of Friends plays the Carols, including Monroe on his washtub bass and Mike on the Irish bodhrán drum.

Young teenagers play Mary and Joseph and they enter carrying a newborn baby. It’s the Christmas miracle that starts me crying every year. How is it that we always have a new baby in our Meeting at Christmastime? How is it that, for the whole hour, the baby never, ever cries, but just opens its eyes and gazes at us?

As the story unfolds, child-shepherds guide into the Meeting House two real, live sheep and then two real, live llamas. I cry then, too, and I’m glad that I no longer eat large animals.

This year I noticed something new. The Carols all say “have no fear” in one way or another. Some mention fear and some only mention antidotes to fear.

O Come, All Ye Faithful invites us to be faithful, joyful, adoring, singing in exultation, and happy.

O Little Town of Bethlehem offers the hopes and fears of all the years are met in the everlasting Light, with angels keeping their watch of wondering love, and singing great glad tidings and praise to peace on earth.

Angels We Have Heard sweetly sing of joy and jubilee, gladsome tidings, a heavenly song, praise, and raising our hearts in love.

While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks, the angel comes in glory and tell us fear not. No more mighty dread to seize our troubled minds. There are glad tidings of glory and peace on earth.

Away in a Manger describes a sweet baby, asleep under the stars. And when the cattle low and the baby awakes, he doesn’t cry. He is loved.

The Friendly Beasts remind us that, even though this baby was humbly born in a stable, there was much help. The donkey carried his mother safely. The cow gave him a bed of hay. The sheep gave him wool for a blanket. The dove cooed him to sleep. They all gave their gifts with love.

We Three Kings brought gifts, too, of prayer and praising and redemption.

A Star Filled the Sky calls to us, “Little children, little children, the starlight’s within you. Keep it shining, brightly shining, and your heart will be free.” It says to walk gladly, speak truth in a loving way, teach peace to the people and bring joy to the world.

This is what I need to practice every day… to be not afraid.

Love & Light,







11 Comments to Have no fear…

  1. Theolyn's Gravatar Theolyn
    December 21, 2015 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    Again, beautifully written, Valerie. The beautiful Christmas story as told by the carols.
    May your Christmas be truly blessed and joyous!


  2. Bob's Gravatar Bob
    December 21, 2015 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

    The theme of fear, and how to let go of fear, has been on my mind a lot lately. This is a very timely post. I have been thinking it is fear (or any number of its relatives, such as insecurity and anxiety) that is driving us away from compassion. It gets in the way of joy. I makes people react in hateful ways to the suffering of their fellow beings. So I am with you, I will try to let go of fear, and let in love, joy and compassion. You’re setting a good example, once again, Valerie. Fear not.

  3. Bob's Gravatar Bob
    December 22, 2015 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

    You know I love Nat King Cole.

  4. Em's Gravatar Em
    December 23, 2015 at 2:37 am | Permalink

    Valerie –

    What a lovely post. And the picture is just perfect.

    It’s funny, I’ve been thinking about going to a midnight service this Christmas Eve. Something is making me nostalgic for all those years my sisters and I got dressed up in our matching black velvet dresses with the tie-on lace collars (who knows what my brother wore?!), and we all headed off to our little Episcopal church to hear Mom sing in the choir and be part of the oh-so-traditional service. As unreligious as I am, it is a memory that brings a sense of well-being. And yes, those carols are a big big part of that feeling.

    Thanks for sharing this.

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