The Christmas Truce of 1914

December 4th, 2014


This year marking the 100th anniversary of World War I, this December also marks the anniversary of 1914’s Weihnachtsfrieden, or Trêve de Noël, or in English, Christmas Truce. This was a period of time from Christmas Eve until Christmas day (longer in some areas), where the front-line troops on both sides began a spontaneous, unofficial cease-fire, much to the chagrin of their commanding officers. Though not universal—some areas continued with hostilities right through the holiday—the event was very broad in scope, with multiple regions independently coming to the same non-violent decision.

The truce primarily happened between French/British and German forces, though there are also reports of an Austrian-Russian truce at the same time.  The United States, which officially joined the war in three years after in 1917, obviously wasn’t in a position to participate.  Most areas affected by the truce sang Christmas carols across the trenches to one another. In some areas troops were so bold as to venture out into no-man’s land to exchange food and souvenirs. There are also accounts of at least three different football (soccer) matches broke out as well at various locations.

While it seems like a very surprising, not to mention quaint story, according to Tony Ashworth’s book “Trench Warfare 1914-1918: The Live and Let Live System,” informal regional truces were not uncommon at all. They would form complicated agreements not to attack each other at tea or meal-times and patches of the front line would sometimes go days without any casualties at all. According to Ashworth’s book, the most remarkable thing about the Christmas Truce was how widespread it was.

1915 saw a similar, albeit smaller, Christmas Truce and evidence submitted to the University of Aberdeen in 2011 shows reiterations of the Christmas Truce happening as late as 1916.

In subsequent years, perhaps influenced by increasingly violent tactics used (phosphine gas saw some use in 1915, but 1917 saw the widespread use of mustard gas); or perhaps because of the attempts by military officers to keep strict control over their troops in the face of a very gentle mutiny, the Christmas Truce waned into a cheerful historical curiosity.


Grieving, Not Alone

December 1st, 2014

If you have ever grieved anyone you are probably familiar with the sense of isolation it can bring. Even if your support system involves an endless supply of neighborly casseroles, and friends and family available to talk at any time of day (or night), bereavement often carries with it a sense of loneliness. Part of it may be the sudden silence in your life that your loved one occupied, but a great deal of this sense of isolation is due to the fact that everyone’s experience of grief is different.

But just as grief is unique in variety, it is also a shared human experience. Everyone has at least the capacity for it, even those people young and fortunate enough to not know grief personally, and with that capacity is a type of unity. No one is truly alone in grief; we are all singing the same song, we just sing it in different dialects.

If you’re grieving, invite a close friend out for coffee, or dinner, or a park. Tell them in advance what you would like to talk about. It’s an easy mistake to assume a dear friend will intuit that you need to have   a real, deep-tissue conversation about a topic such as mourning. Think of it as telling a pilot which runway they will be landing on. It will make the conversations easier and put the pilot more at ease.

If grief is a song, support is the song’s harmony. If you know someone who is grieving, invite them for something uncommon but comfortable, just the two of you (and something that you can talk over!). Take the hassle out of it as much as you can, and work around their schedule, and of course be ready for the conversation to turn to grief. The novelty will both feel nice and help foster novel conversations.

And of course, whether or not you have a support system built out of friends and family, please avail yourself of a therapeutic resource in your area, be it individual therapy or a support group. Help isn’t a weakness and it isn’t something designed for other people. If you’re suffering then you are specifically who it is designed for—you can figure out how to coal-walk on your own, but the advice of a professional coal-walker might keep you from singeing your toes.

Grief and Bereavement Support Services

Our grief-support resources can be found here with persistent email support here

There are also many, many excellent support groups everywhere in the country and certainly in your area. Some of them specify in a particular type of tragedy but if you aren’t sure where you fit, there are also more open support resources available to you.

Providence Hospice of Seattle offers a wide variety of support services to adults and children alike. (many are free, some are open to drop-ins too):

The Compassionate Friends is an support network specifically dedicated to helping parents, siblings and grandparents of deceased children, no matter their age (completely free, drop-ins always welcome):

Swedish Edmonds also offers a wide variety of bereavement support groups from  suicide survivor’s groups to those in the early days of grieving, to ongoing grief at many different locations. (completely free, most groups open to drop-ins):

If none of these seem like they quite fit, here is a megalist of groups in the King County area, from the University of Washington:


Comfort Food: Tomato-Basil Gnocchi with Sausage

December 1st, 2014
edited photo by flickr user Ewan Munro

edited photo by flickr user Ewan Munro

We’re now in that awkward time between one feast-holiday and another. But just because you’re struggling with cooking fatigue is no reason to eat ketchup sandwiches. Behold!  The easiest, most delicious meal you’ll ever make.

4 ingredients, zero measuring. 20 minutes start-to-finish. Feeds 4.


  • 1 package cherry tomatoes
  • 1 package flavored sausage (what flavor and what meat don’t matter)
  • 1 package gnocchi
  • Handfulish fresh (or frozen) basil


  • Cut the sausages into disks.
  • Fry them in a large frying pan (medium-high heat) until they’re browned.
  • Boil water with a pinch of salt in a small pot.
  • Dump the cherry tomatoes in with the sausage. Stir it around a bit. Cover.
  • Put the gnocchi in the water and reduce the heat.
  • Once the gnocchi start bobbing to the surface, they’re done. Drain them, and dump them in with the sausage and the tomatoes.
  • Dump the basil in. Stir it around a bit. Cover.
  • It’s done once the tomatoes are bursting. (Any unburst tomatoes will be very hot inside, so make sure you mash them with a fork before you take a bite).


Don’t have gnocchi? Just pick any pasta. It’ll work.

Don’t have fancy, flavored sausage? Don’t sweat it. Still tastes great.

For the advanced version of this recipe, add 1-2 cloves of garlic (minced or just smashed) when you add the tomatoes.

If you want the extra-challenging, super-difficult version– if you think you can handle it– sprinkle parmesan cheese on top after serving.


Thank you Veterans Day Volunteers!

November 21st, 2014


Veterans Day 2014
We’d like to thank the many volunteers– scout troops, veterans’ organization, churches, families and neighbors– who helped us in honoring our veteran’s at our Veteran’s Day flag placement as well as those who attended the ceremony after.  You made this year’s services both possible and excellent.

Flag Placement, Veterans Day 2014

Flag Placement, Veterans Day 2014

Flag Placement, Veterans Day 2014

Flag Placement, Veterans Day 2014

Color Guard - Veterans Day 2014

Flag Placement, Veterans Day 2014

Guest Speaker Cpt. Ed Hrivnak, Veterans Day 2014

Veterans Day 2014

Flag Placement, Veterans Day 2014

Veterans Day 2014

Flag Placement, Veterans Day 2014

Doughboy, Veteran's Day 2014

Photos by Brian Braathen and Sandy Matthie.

Pink Day!

October 31st, 2014


This photo was taken at the end of Think Pink Week, our annual fundraiser for Breast Cancer Research.


Recipe: Amazing Kumquat-Cranberry Sauce

October 29th, 2014

Cranberry sauce photo - flickr user Nomadic Lass

photo by flickr user Nomadic Lass


Preparation Time: Total Time: 1 1/2 hours; Actual Work Time: 30 minutes.

Makes: About 2 1/2 cups

2 cups kumquats (or 9-10 ounces), trimmed
a 12-ounce bag of fresh or frozen cranberries (or, about 3 1/2 cups)
3/4 cups water
3/4 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

First up: Removing the kumquat’s natural bitterness.
Prick the kumquats 2-3 times with a fork. In a saucepan cover them generously in cold water and bring to a boil.
Drain and rinse with cold water.
Repeat this process 2 more times.

Next step: Getting the kumquat flavor.
Put the kumquats, suger and water together over high heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.
Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally.
Remove from the heat and allow it to cool for about 20 minutes.
Move the kumquats with a slotted spoon to a bowl, but keep the syrup in the saucepan. (You now have kumquat flavored syrup and kumquats for little flavor bursts in the final product).

Next: the Cranberries.
Add the cranberries and 1/4 teaspoon of salt to the sugar/water syrup.
Bring the cranberries/syrup mixture to a boil over high heat.
While they cook, quarter the kumquats, discarding the seeds as you go.
Once the cranberries are at a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 8-12 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally
(You know it’s cooked when the cranberries start to burst).
Stir the kumquats into the cranberry mixture and transfer to a bowl. Cool completely, stirring occasionally– should take about 30 minutes.

The final step is the most important step of all: Enjoy!

Recipe from the November 2007 issue of Gourmet Magazine.


Interested in a truly excellent follow-up recipe? Check in at our facebook page next week!
And as always, join our newsletter or click here to keep up-to-date on all our upcoming events.



Todos los Santos

September 19th, 2014

Working in close collaboration with the International Drop-In Center (IDIC) and special participation by the Filipino Community of Seattle (FCS), the management of Evergreen-Washelli invites you to attend the annual observance of Todos los Santos.

One of the most significant Philippine faith traditions Todos los Santos, or All Saints Day, is a day of remembrance for religious figures as well as ancestors and other loved ones.

The event will begin at 3:00pm, and will include a special interfaith ceremony. Families will have the opportunity to light candles and offer flowers to departed loved ones, whether their final resting places are in the U.S., in the Philippines, or elsewhere.

There will be a light snack of pancit and lumpia provided.

For more information check out or facebook page, and stay up-do-date with our events calendar.


Captain Ed Hrivnak Speaking at 65th Annual Veterans Day Service

September 19th, 2014
Captain Ed Hrivnak

Captain Ed Hrivnak

Join us Tuesday, November 11th for a concert and  Service of Remembrance at the 65th Annual Veterans Day service in Veterans Memorial Cemetery located on the grounds of Evergreen Washelli Memorial Park.

Our special guest speaker will be retired commissioned officer Captain Ed Hrivnak.

Captain Hrivnak enlisted at age seventeen, rising through the ranks to a commissioned flight nurse.  He is a veteran of Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom, as well as several peacekeeping missions. His wartime experience compelled him to write WOUNDED, A Legacy of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The memoir details valiant accounts of battle, followed by the challenges of caring for the injured, and how soldiers persevere.

Hrivnak retired after twenty years in the Active Duty and Air Force Reserve, and continues to serve his community as an assistant fire chief for the fourth-largest fire department in Washington State, Central Pierce Fire and Rescue. A strong believer in volunteering, Captain Hrivnak donates his time as a civilian pilot for Snohomish Helicopter Rescue Team. His awards include; the Aerial Achievement Medal, for evacuating 800 casualties without a single loss of life in-flight, the Mountain Rescue Association’s life saving award, for his aircrew’s rescue of eight victims in the first hours of the Oso mudslide, and Pacific Lutheran University’s 2014 Alumni Service Award.

Veterans Day Program:

7:00am - Flag placement at the Lower Veterans Memorial Cemetery

10:30am –  Music by the Eagles and Letter-Carriers Band

11:00am – Service of Remembrance

To stay current on upcoming events, visit our events page, or visit our facebook page.



Breast Cancer Awareness

September 9th, 2014

Pink-RibbonOctober is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month! National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is designed to educate everyone, especially women, about the importance of early detection. Since the program (NBCAM) began in 1985, mammography rates have more than doubled for women age 50 and older and breast cancer deaths have declined. According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation one in eight women will be diagnosed positive at some point in their lives and, while less common, approximately 2,150 men are diagnosed each year as well.

The week of October 13th to 17th, as part of our Think Pink Week, Evergreen Washelli will be raising funds for the National Breast Cancer Foundation. We would like to invite the community to join is in donating to this important cause. You can donate to the foundation at their website.



8th Annual Chili Fest

August 31st, 2014