Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone who celebrates (more on Valentine’s Day below) and to those who don’t, I hope you have a great day in spite of restaurants being full, flowers being marked up to unrealistic prices, along with cruddy candy prices going through the roof too. Advice, skip the candy and flowers today, then hit the local store and get those bad boys for 50% off tomorrow. I know I’ll be checking out the flowers tomorrow!
Verse of the Day
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
Thoughts on the Verse of the Day
How do you recognize Jesus’ followers? How do you find Christians? Jesus said they love each other just as he loved the disciples. In the immediate context this means he is willing to give sacrificially and extravagantly by dying for them at the cross, and he is also willing to love selflessly and practically by washing their feet. His ministry reveals he will do almost anything in between extravagant and practical. Imagine if we all read the Gospels and committed to love each other in the same way Jesus showed his love to his disciples!
Food for Thought
I saw an article the other day that didn’t irk me at the time, because it made some sense, but right now makes me feel sad for the person who wrote it. In the article he was saying that people treat their pets like they are people, and they treat people with less consideration and love than they do pets. To some degree, this is true. And we should all put the people in our lives ahead of the pets if their lives are on the line. However today I know I am facing the last few hours, and if a miracle happens days, of my Pepsi cat’s life, and my heart is hurting. She has been here for snuggles, giving unconditional love for 19 years, and I know I am going to miss her as much as I miss Tibbi. It hurts that our animals are not here in our lives for as many years as the people, but I suppose in a way t hat is a good thing. We take care of them and love them, and for the pets that are left behind when their owners pass away, they are left in a sort of limbo waiting for a forever home. My little girl needs to cross the Rainbow Bridge very soon, and I face either her last moments at home, or taking her to a doctor to help her along. I’m not sure which is going to be worse for me, but I am not looking forward to either option. Hug your furbabies, hold them close and let them know every single day that you love them. Their lives are so short and they deserve to be loved for all of the love they give us first.
Sadly, she is a mere shadow of the kitty she was here. She’s so thin and her eyes don’t sparkle like this. My heart is so happy to have had these years with her, but so sad over losing her. I am confident that wherever it is God has our special animal babies go, that she’ll be with Tibbi. They loved each other so much – you can actually see Tibbi’s toes in this picture. They loved to hang out together as they grew up, and I know they’ll love it again. I just have to get through however many hours or days she has left.
Ash Wednesday – In Western Christianity, Ash Wednesday marks the first day, or the start of the season of Lent, which begins 40 days before to Easter (Sundays are not included in the count). Lent is a time when many Christians prepare for Easter by observing a period of fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline. During some Ash Wednesday services, the minister will lightly rub the sign of the cross with ashes onto the foreheads of worshipers. Not all Christian churches observe Ash Wednesday or Lent. They are mostly observed by the Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian and Anglican denominations, and also by Roman Catholics. Eastern Orthodox churches observe Lent or Great Lent, during the 6 weeks or 40 days preceding Palm Sunday with fasting continuing during the Holy Week of Orthodox Easter. Lent for Eastern Orthodox churches begins on Monday (called Clean Monday) and Ash Wednesday is not observed. The Bible does not mention Ash Wednesday or the custom of Lent, however, the practice of repentance and mourning in ashes is found in 2 Samuel 13:19; Esther 4:1; Job 2:8; Daniel 9:3; and Matthew 11:21. I wasn’t raised observing this day, but the symbolism is beautiful and would serve as a lovely reminder of what this season is all about. Take some time today to put your thoughts towards Jesus, what He sacrificed for us, and search your heart for what you need repentance for today. I know for me, this is a big job – as I’m sure it is for all of us.
Ferris Wheel Day – Today we honor the man who made the first Ferris Wheel – George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr., who was a civil engineer. He made the very first one for the World’s Colombian Exhibition in Chicago in 1893. If you have easy access to a Ferris Wheel, and have no issue with heights, maybe go on a ride today. I know they have a really big one on the waterfront in Seattle – but I am not thrilled with how high it looks, so I’ll admire it from afar.
International Book Giving Day – I didn’t know anything about this one and either missed it last year, or it’s a new one. It’s a good one though! This day is dedicated to getting as many books into the hands of as many children as possible. Celebrating it is as easy as giving a child a new, used or borrowed book. Finding a room where kids are stuck waiting and there are very few, if any, good books available, and leaving it there for them. I’m sure we’ve all been to doctors offices that have nothing decent for kids to look at while they wait. Wrap up boxes of books that your kids have outgrown and get them into the hands of children who could really use a book or two. Maybe donate them to your local second hand store, library, children’s hospital or shelter. Share this with other people to encourage them to do the same, and let’s get those books into the hands of the children.
Pet Theft Awareness Day – This is not one to celebrate, but to be aware of so that we can take precautions to avoid at all costs! It is a very real threat that can affect any pet owner that does not take the proper steps to protect their pets! I’ve heard of a scam from years ago where a family would purchase a new puppy, take him home and get him settled into his new place. The seller was running a scam where they would sell puppies, get the buyer’s information, then go steal the puppy back so they could sell it again. How awful! It doesn’t matter whether you live in a city or the country, whether you just bought your pet or have had your family pet for years, you could be a victim of pet theft. So what can we do to protect our furbabies? Being aware is the first step. Knowing that it’s out there and a threat is very important. If you see any strangers hanging around for no reason, be suspicious, and if necessary, report them. If you are buying a pet, do so from a reputable source. Make sure your pet is supervised when you are there, and secure when you are not. If your pet is outdoors, make sure their enclosure is in a spot that isn’t easily visible from the road. Don’t leave your pets unaccompanied in public places. Get them a microchip or a tattoo. Why do people steal pets? It’s just so mean, right? Well, there are several motivations for this. Sometimes it is to sell them for profit. Often pets are taken and sold to research facilities – which is horrifying. And sometimes it’s because criminals are bad people who are doing bad things for whatever reason motivates them the most. Protect your animals, keep them safe and close to you. They mean so much to us and deserve the best care we can give to them.
National Organ Donor Day – today we are all encouraged to sign up to donate our organs in case there is an accident that takes our lives. It’s very uncomfortable, and a touchy subject, to think about our own death, especially if it is an early one. However, accidents happen so think about it. You could save lives by your very generous donation, and you won’t be using them anyway! Yes, it’s a macabre subject, but one that we need to seriously discuss.
Valentine’s Day – Are you ready to celebrate the one you love today? All across the United States and other countries around the world, this is a day of exchanging flowers, candy, gifts and cards, all in the name of Saint Valentine. It is a day that most women hope their guy remembers and cares to get them a gift or card, and a day when hopefully she is doing something for her guy. (hey, statistically guys buy the most on this day, and it takes two to make a couple! Be fair!) So here we are, celebrating this month of romance, but what is it all about REALLY? Where did it all start? Who is this saint? Are you ready? This is interesting and you may actually re-think celebrating it afterward . . . well, maybe not . . . but you’ll never have another Valentine’s Day without at least having it cross your mind! Valentine’s Day has bits of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition in it. The trouble with the Christian portion of it is that the Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine, or Valentinus, all of them martyred. According to information on www.history.com, one legend says that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. He performed marriages when it was outlawed by Emperor Claudius II, who had decided that single men without families made better soldiers. When it was discovered that he was performing secret marriages, the Emperor ordered that he be put to death. There was another story that suggested that Valentine may have been killed for trying to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons where they were being beaten and tortured. One other legend says that an imprisoned Valentine was the one to send the first “Valentine” greeting after falling in love with a young girl who may have been the jailer’s daughter. It is interesting that some people believe that Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the middle of the month to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine’s death, others say that the Christian church decided to place the St. Valentine’s feast day in the middle of February in an effort to “Christianize” the pagan celebration of Lupercalia, which was celebrated during the ides of February, or February 15. Which of course begs the question, what was Lupercalia? WELL. . . glad you asked. There was a big feast of course, as all festivals in those days would have . . . but since this was a fertility festival, the “games” were about fertility related, um, celebrations. For example, all the young women in the city would place their name in an urn, and the city’s bachelors would draw a name and pin it onto his sleeve. The two would be paired up for the year, and often they would get married at the end of the year. This is where the expression “wearing your heart on your sleeve” comes from! I didn’t know that! Lupercalia survived the initial rise of Christianity, and was later outlawed right around the end of the fifth century when Pope Gelasius declared February 14th to be St. Valentine’s Day. During the Middle Ages, in England and France, February 14th was thought to be the beginning of birds’ mating season. It wasn’t until much later that the holiday was connected with human love and romance. The oldest known Valentine still in existence today is a poem that was written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans. He wrote it to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London after he was captured at the Battle of Agincourt. The poem is now a part of the manuscript collection of the British Library in London, England. By the 18th century it was common for friends and lovers to give each other handwritten notes, or tokens of affection. In the 1840’s, Esther A. Howland started creating and selling the first mass-produced Valentine’s in America and she became known as the “Mother of the Valentine” for making elaborate creations with lace, ribbons and pictures. She would probably be happy to know that, according to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated one billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year, making Valentine’s Day the 2nd largest card selling holiday of the year. Christmas comes in first. So, did you know that while 75% of chocolate purchases are made by women all year long, during the days and minutes (I giggled at the minutes being added in with this one) before Valentine’s Day, 75% of the chocolate purchases are made by men? hahaha! Over $1 billion of chocolate is purchased for Valentine’s Day.
This Day in History –
1929 – The Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre occurred. Mobsters, dressed as policemen, gunned down seven members of a rival gang.
Food Celebration of the Day
Cream Filled Chocolates Day – There is such a special spot in most of our hearts for chocolate, and when you fill them with a delicious cream filling, they are just about irresistible. When you combine that with a special day such as Valentine’s Day, you have a sure fire winner! I searched for an easy to make cream filled candy, and thought you may like to try it out for yourself! Here is a link to a lovely blog called oursevendwarfs.com and an easy recipe featured there. I took a candy making class once, and this is very similar, so if you give it a shot I think you won’t be sorry. I’ve found a few different low carb candy recipes, but haven’t decided on one to try yet. I’ll let you know.
I am going to go spend some time cleaning up my Pepsi girl, brushing her and letting her know I love her. Today is her birthday and since it is her last one, I want it to be as sweet as possible for her. God bless you and I’ll see you tomorrow.