It’s a new month, and hopefully a new schedule that will let me share all the fun celebrations, some thoughts and ideas, sometimes some rants, without burning out and just letting things go. I find myself missing all of you, and the celebrations. Thank you again for your patience while I found my way back to a semblance of a schedule. I’ll collect my thoughts and actually have something to chat about next week – who knows! Maybe sooner!
Verse of the Day
August 1, 2019
Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched?
Thoughts on Today’s Verse…
I don’t know about where you are, but this time of year, it’s really hot in Austin, Texas. You don’t have to worry about hot coals; just try the sidewalk. But this reminder about scorching coals is sure good for me. We get to feeling so strong inside spiritually, or we get seduced by a “favorite” temptation, and we decide we can flirt with what is sinful. But the Holy Spirit reminds us through the Wise Man that when we flirt with evil, we’re eventually going to get burned.
August 2, 2019
You gave abundant showers, O God; you refreshed your weary inheritance.
Thoughts on Today’s Verse…
Dryness, whether spiritual or physical, is sapping to the spirit and wilting to all living things. Let’s join our hearts together today, ten of thousands strong, praying that God will do two things: (1) that he bring rain and refreshment on those lands that are parched and where times are hard; and (2) that he will refresh all of his servants who are discouraged and close to giving up in their difficulties, challenges, temptations, discouragements, and failures. Let’s pray for today to be a day of refreshment and the beginning of revival in our world and among God’s people!
August 3, 2019
On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture said, streams of living water will flow from within him.”
Thoughts on Today’s Verse…
Streams of water — living water for dying hopes, cool water for parched hearts, refreshing water for those tired and weary. This is, of course, much more than a liquid we can drink with our lips. This is the ultimate water of the soul that God longs to give to us, his children. Let’s spend the month of August, refreshing ourselves with the promises of Jesus and trusting that, as we draw close to him, the Spirit will restore our soul.
August 4, 2019
Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
Thoughts on Today’s Verse…
“Come away.” We do need to withdraw — not once-in-a-while, but often, daily! What is incredible is that Jesus invites his disciples (today that’s us!) to withdraw with him to a quiet place and rest with him. The little childhood prayer is appropriate here: “Now I lay me down to sleep and pray the Lord my soul to keep.” Only this isn’t just about a good night’s sleep; it’s about taking time in the middle of our wild and crazy days to join him for a few moments of grace, rest, and refreshment. Let’s make these daily stops in God’s Word more than quick e-mail viewing; let’s let it be a time to withdraw with the Savior and take a few minutes of rest!
Thursday – August 1
Girlfriends’ Day – Where would we be without our friends? (ladies, I’m specifically talking to you right now) Girlfriends are there for each other, through thick and thin. We can laugh together, cry together, and even be angry at each other and know – if it’s TRUE friendship – that none of that matters, and when the air clears, we’re still there for each other. We each know who our real friends are, so celebrate them today! They are precious and to be appreciated.
Lughnasa or Lughnasadh – I don’t typically focus on non-Christian holidays, but sometimes they have a certain historical significance that I find to be quite interesting. Lughnasa is a Gaelic festival marking the beginning of the harvest season. Historically it was observed throughout Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man. It was originally held on July 31- August 1st, which was about halfway between summer solstice and autumn equinox. Over time though the celebration shifted to the Sunday that was closest to this date. Lughnasa also corresponds to other European harvest festivals, like the Welsh Calan Awst and the English Lammas. Named after the god Lugh, this celebration is mentioned in some of the earliest Irish literature and to be of pagan origins. There were huge gatherings for the festival that included religious ceremonies, athletic contests, feasting, matchmaking and trading.
Some of the religious rituals involved sacrifices on mountain tops. These customs were kept up until the 20th century – being known by various names like ‘Garland Sunday’, ‘Bilberry Sunday’, ‘Mountain Sunday’ and ‘Crom Dubh Sunday’. The custom of climbing hills and mountains for Lughnasa has survived in some areas, but it is now called a Christian pilgrimage. Interesting how so many pagan holidays have been re-vamped as Christian to make them more acceptable to the general public and have been since Christianity was born.
National Mahjong Day – I’m sure most of us have seen this game as a part of the Microsoft software on our computers. How many of us know the history of this game though? I know I didn’t! This game of strategy was created in the 19th-century, and by the 1920’s was popular in the United States. It is a lot like rummy, but it’s played with tiles instead of cards. The players match tiles designed with Chinese characters and symbols to earn points. This game has traveled great distances and become familiar to many different people from many nations. Because of that it breaks down barriers in communication and in some cases, even brings together communities and neighborhoods. People of all ages play, so it’s one of those games that can bring together people of different generations.
National Mustard Day – Mustard is considered to be the “King of Condiments”, but did you ever wonder how mustard got to the place it holds on our condiment shelf in the fridge? Every food has a humble beginning from somewhere, and someone thought it was a good idea to eat it. I’d like to start by reminding everyone that the humble mustard seed, the tiniest of all seeds, holds a very important place in the Bible. There are multiple verses about it, but Matthew 17:20 is the most famous one. The New King James Version:
“20 So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief;[a] for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.”
The lesson in that is so profound when you truly consider how small a mustard seed truly is.
So, what IS mustard? It is a member of the Brassica family of plants that bears tiny round edible seeds and tasty leaves. Its English name, mustard, comes from a contraction of the Latin mustum ardens, which means, burning must. This refers to the spicy heat of the crushed mustard seeds and the French practice of mixing the ground seeds with the must,which is the young, unfermented juice of wine grapes. At first, mustard was used as a medicinal plant, not a culinary one. In the sixth century B.C., Greek scientist Pythagoras used mustard as a remedy for scorpion stings. About one hundred years later, Hippocrates used mustard in a variety of medicines and poultices to “cure” toothaches and a number of other ailments. Much like the prepared mustards we use today, prepared mustard dates back thousands of years to the early Romans. They used to grind mustard seeds and mix them with wine into a paste for a variety of uses. As I mentioned before, the mustard seed is a prominent reference for those of the Christian faith something small and insignificant, but when planted, grows in strength and power. Pope John XII was so fond of mustard that he actually created a new Vatican position – grand moutardier du pape(mustard-maker to the pope) – and promptly gave the position to his nephew. In 1866 the founder of Colman’s Mustard of England – Jeremiah Colman – was appointed as mustard-maker to Queen Victoria. He perfected the technique of grinding mustard seeds into a fine powder without creating the heat which brings out the oil. The oil must not be exposed, or the flavor will evaporate with it.
Today we mostly use mustard in cooking. It is a must have for hot dogs, sausages and many types of sandwiches. It is also an important ingredient in many recipes. It is among the most popular of all condiments and has been used to spice up meals for thousands of years. How’s that for longevity? Mustard has diversified over the years – it isn’t just plain yellow anymore – though that is definitely the most popular version. You can get a huge variety of commercially prepared mustard, including honey mustard, bold and spicy, sharp and creamy and of course, Dijon. In my fridge I have all of those, plus cranberry mustard, jalapeno mustard and even horseradish mustard. As you can tell, it’s a condiment that I truly enjoy in a variety of enhanced and delicious flavors.
Respect for Parents – This day isn’t so much about celebrating parents as it is showing them respect. It must have been rather important for God to have included it in the Ten Commandments, right? We are to give them honor and respect for the positions they have in our lives as our parents. And don’t get me wrong here – this is not a day to absolve parents of any wrongdoing they do to their children and demand that kids (even adult ones) overlook those wrongs. It is to remind us that our parents are to be treated with respect for the position they hold in our lives. I know that for myself, my parents have given up a lot over the years so that my brother and I could have the things that they didn’t have themselves as children. It’s just something that parents do – or should anyway – sacrifice for their kids. It’s part of the job. The least they deserve from us in return is respect and honor – after all, it’s something God told us very specifically to do!
Rounds Resounding Day – We’ve all either heard songs being sung in a round, or we’ve been a part of a round, and let’s be honest, it just makes even the most basic of songs so much fun! It’s pretty too! Today we sing the praises of Rounds Resounding Day. If, by chance, you don’t know what singing rounds is – it’s when you sing songs, or parts of songs, with different voices taking up different parts of the melody. Popular songs to sing in a round would be Three Blind Mice and Row, Row, Row Your Boat. They are often sung while sitting around a campfire at a kids camp. It isn’t just for kids though – serious composers have written many songs in this format, with the oldest published English part-songs dating back to the 17th century. Recently you may have heard a cappella groups and barbershop quartets putting a fun and different spin on singing in the round. This celebration was started in 1987, specifically to promote singing in harmony! Have fun with this one! How can you NOT have fun when singing songs this way?
Spider-Man Day – There are a lot of kids out there who would have absolutely no idea that Spiderman didn’t just materialize in the movies but started as a comic book character about 50 years ago! Over the years the character has evolved and is recognized around the world for being a crime-fighter and is now a member of The Avengers! Go Spiderman!
US Air Force Day – This day was set up on August 1, 1947 by President Truman “in recognition of the personnel of the victorious Army Air Forces and all those who have developed and maintain our nation’s air strength”. August 1 was picked to mark the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the Aeronautical Division in the Office of the Chief Signal Officer of the Army in 1907. Air Force Day immediately came into being after the National Security Act of 1947 was signed, even though the status of the air element of the military wasn’t certain, so even though this day is called Air Force Day, the very first celebration was staged by the Army Air Forces, and not by the US Air Force.
Friday – August 2
National Coloring Book Day – Have you noticed that coloring has become very popular among adults again? Today was declared to be National Coloring Book Day by Dover Publications. Here’s a link to their website where you can sign up for a mini-coloring book. The idea behind this day is that coloring reduces stress and allows people to show their creativity through coloring – just like when we were kids. Some people are even having coloring parties. Whether you celebrate this one alone, with your kids or grandkids, or in a party, everyone will have a very good time.
National Water Balloon Day– Oh my goodness, don’t you just love water balloons? Or at least you loved them when you were a kid??? On these hot days of summer there is something so amazing and fun about filling up those balloons and tossing them at your friends or family, and of course, having some tossed back at you! What a fun way to cool off!
Take A Penny/Leave A Penny Day – I cannot find any one reference to what this one is all about as far as celebrations go. I guess I can just put my own spin on it though. We have all seen those trays in the stores at the check-out counters – usually in quick marts – where you can take or leave a penny to either make up the difference if you’re short or help the next person in line. Those little trays of pennies always fascinated me as a kid. I couldn’t wrap my mind around leaving a penny since I collected them in a bowl at home. In my mind 100 pennies made a dollar, which meant they all add up, so I wasn’t leaving any of mine behind! Whenever my Mom sees a penny she stops and picks it up. Eventually it turns into multiple pennies, and that, in turn becomes dollars. That’s all well and good, but to me, this isn’t what is important about pennies. Think about it a moment. What is on each penny – on each of our coins actually? “In God We Trust”. Isn’t that beautiful? It’s a reminder with each coin we see that we are not alone – God is with us. Now, if the squalling minority voices have their way, this will disappear from our coins, but I sure hope they don’t get their way. I love seeing this on our money, and it is an extra reminder that when we are stressed or worried, we can see those words and it brings to mind that we truly have Someone walking by our sides, with us every step of the way. Pick up the next penny you see, look at those words and take them to your heart. In God We Trust . . . what a wonderful reminder!
Twins Day – (2nd through 4th) – First full weekend of the month – I have to say, I bet there is a lot of deja vu in Twinsburg, Ohio this weekend! This incredible festival is open to all people from multiple births – identical, fraternal, young and old, twins, triplets, quads and more! There have been as many as 2000 sets of twins at this festival at a time before! How incredibly fun is THAT? I always wished I’d either been a twin or had had twins. Chaos, yes, but what fun and happy chaos, right?
Saturday – August 3
Friendship Day – Today is the day to nurture relationships, whether they are new or old. It’s a very easy and fun day to celebrate because it can be as simple as just getting in touch with some old friends. A simple phone call, email or even an E-Card are great tools to do that. See if you can make plans to meet for coffee or lunch soon but make the invitation today so it honors this celebration. No matter what way you choose to follow the spirit of the day, if you put your whole heart into it, it will be a wonderful day. Happy Friendship Day to Everyone!
National Clown Day – This is International Clown Week, and this is Clown Day . . . which lands on the last day of Clown Week. It was started to give recognition to the funny clowns that make us laugh and smile. Apparently, there are over 10,000 clowns in organized clown groups in the United States, and over 20,000 clowns worldwide, with the goal in mind to make people happy. Ummmmm . . . ok, that may be the intent, but if you ask people you will find that MANY people find clowns to be rather creepy. I know I do! They are the subject of many horror stories and seriously, we can understand why, can’t we? Creepy people hiding behind costumes and make-up. Oh wait! You can find them reading to kids in many libraries these days – only they aren’t using the title clowns. Yikes!
National Disc Golf Day – Our neighbors got what I thought was a sculpture and set it in the middle of their yard. I felt rather silly when I found out that it was actually a target for disc golf. It really is sort of cool looking when you see it as a sculpture though, so really, I guess it wasn’t that bad of a mistake to make. The game of Disc Golf takes less equipment than traditional golf, but they do share the common goal of reaching each target with the fewest number of strokes or throws. Instead of clubs and a ball, the only thing you need in Disc Golf is a disc, or a Frisbee. You start from a tee pad (which is usually a rectangular area made of anything from rubber, to cement or even brick), and the player progresses down the fairway after each throw. From where the disc lands, the player throws again and keeps doing that until the disc lands on the target. Like in traditional golf, the total throws a player takes is equal to the score for the hole. This game has been played since the late 1960s and became a formal sport in the 1970s. In the beginning targets were things like trees or posts put into the ground, but as it got popular those were replaced with metal baskets with chains, with the chains helping to catch the discs. I’ve never played, but I can see why people would enjoy it. Maybe find some friends and give it a try this weekend!
Sandcastle Day – Do you remember making sandcastles at the beach when you were a kid? Usually beach visits were done in warm weather, so the warm sun was kissing our skin, the cool water was washing over the sand and your feet. Building a beautiful castle that we knew was going to disappear soon, washing away on the tide, was magical because the sand left a clean slate for more castles. Likely, people have been making sandcastles for thousands of years. In recent years though, they have become an art form. From 1989 until 2009 there was a World Championship in Sand Sculpture competition held in Harrison Hot Springs in Harrison, British Columbia, Canada – also known as Harrisand. Other countries had their own competitions, but this one was one of the most well-known. The world’s tallest sandcastle was built on Myrtle Beach in South Carolina during the 2007 Sun Fun Festival – it was nearly 50 feet high and took 10 days to create using 300 truckloads of sand. Most of us won’t ever create a structure this big, but we can still celebrate this day by heading to a local beach with a bucket and shovel and have some fun in the sun!
Sunday – August 4
American Family Day – Most of us will say that our families are the people we love most in this world and may even say they are our best friends! Today is the perfect day to spend the day with your family, focus on nurturing your relationships, enjoy a walk down memory lane, some laughter and a good time. Life is so busy and filled with hurrying here and there for work, business, etc. that getting caught up in that takes precedence over spending quality time with our families. While I may be of the opinion that family should ALWAYS be a priority, I know that not everyone puts that first on their list over work.
Coast Guard Day – The US Coast Guard honors the military branch that protects our waters and shorelines, and today we celebrate all Coast Guard personnel and their families. When my son joined the USCG when he was 17, leaving for basic training 3 days after his 18th birthday, I was under the mistaken impression that he would be performing his duties on our own shores. Apparently, I was wrong. That day was one of the most difficult days I’ve ever experienced. Watching my boy walk away, knowing that in my heart that he was leaving a boy and would never be the same. The man I saw at basic training graduation had grown up, thinned out and matured. My heart swelled with pride, but it ached for the child I’d lost. Many people don’t realize this, but the Coast Guard is part of Homeland Security, and wherever we have Navy ships, we also have Coast Guard. In the first 4 years my son was performing his service he was sent to Cuba, Haiti and Kuwait. So much for having him close to home, right? So, when was the US Coast Guard formed? On August 4, 1790, the Revenue Cutter Service was created by the U.S. Congress. Congress authorized the construction of ten cutters, which were built to enforce U.S. tariff laws. The Revenue Cutter Service was the predecessor to the U.S. Coast Guard. The name “Coast Guard” was first used in 1915. It always bothers me when people make fun of the US Coast Guard, or in any way indicate that they aren’t as important as other branches of the military. They ARE a very valuable part of our armed forces and I ask that everyone give them the respect they are due. Thank them when you see them, for they put their lives on the line just as surely as any other military member does. Thank them, not just today, but every day, for the service they perform for our country.
National Kids’ Day – We have Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and days for everything else, and though some people say EVERY day is Kid’s Day, those aren’t official, and this one is! On the first Sunday in August the kids across the nation have their own special day! Today spend some special time with your kids or grandkids (I wish I could!), and encourage other adults to spend more meaningful, quality time with their children. This day was created in 1994 by KidsPeace, which is a national charity that was started over 130 years ago! Happy National Kid’s Day!
National Psychic Day – I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that there is a holiday set aside for psychics, since there is one for everything else. This day is the start to National Psychic Week. It was started as a publicity stunt by Richard R. Falk in 1965. He was a Broadway press agent who managed some well-known celebrity psychics. He figured he’d create this holiday to get some more business. I don’t know that I believe in psychics, but I know that some people are very intuitive in a way that cannot be easily explained. Personally, I wouldn’t say no to something like that being possible since we don’t know everything the human brain is capable of doing. For myself I have had some very odd dreams that do sometimes seem to come true . . . of course most of the time my dreams don’t do anything but wake me up, but sometimes they do make me pause and wonder what might happen next. Take this one as you will, I just wanted to let you know it was happening.
Sister’s Day – If you have a sister today, celebrate her! Sisters are truly special and unique, or so I hear. I do not have any sisters but know plenty of people who do! Sure, you may argue and fight with your sister, but when it comes right down to it your sister has your best interest at heart and would likely do anything for you. Celebrate today by spending time with your sister, making it special for both of you. If you are far away from your sister, give her a call. I’m sure she will appreciate it. By the way, Hallmark has August 7th listed as Sister’s Day. They are only correct once every 7 years. It is the 1st Sunday in August – so now you know!
Food Celebration of the Day –
National Raspberry Cream Pie Day – Well my goodness, yesterday was Raspberry Cake Day and today is Raspberry Cream Pie Day! I honestly think the pie sounds better than the cake. Here’s a good looking recipe from www.tasteofhome.com that you may enjoy! It certainly looked like one I’d like to try, so I did!
National Ice Cream Sandwich Day – I love ice cream sandwiches. I love the ones we usually find in the stores with the chocolate rectangular cookies with vanilla ice cream in between, and I like the kind I can make at home with homemade chocolate chip or oatmeal cookies, or even peanut butter, with the ice cream of my choice in between. The idea of sandwiching ice cream between cookies isn’t new. Good Humor was the first to introduce packaged ice cream sandwiches in the 1920s. America isn’t the only country that appreciates this fancy frozen treat. In the Philippines sweet vendors sell ice cream sandwiches using hamburger buns instead of the cookie or cake sandwich pieces that we are familiar with. I can honestly say that this type of ice cream sandwich just doesn’t sound all that appealing! These are pretty easy to make low carb – by making a batch of low-carb chocolate chip cookies, and your own vanilla ice cream, you can put together some of your own sandwiches and have them on hand for when a craving for something sweet hits – without the guilt!
National Watermelon Day – Now HERE’S a fruit that deserves its own special day! Sweet and tasty, watermelons are one of summer’s favorite fruits. It is a must have at picnics and BBQ’s. Watermelon is over 90% water and it sure does taste wonderful! Stores carry watermelon all year long, but they are the very best when they are actually in season during the summer. They have a richer, sweeter flavor. Mark Twain even made this famous quote, “When one has tasted watermelon, he knows what the angels eat.” Obviously, he really loved watermelon!
Apart from their wonderful flavor and thirst-quenching abilities, watermelons are very nutritious. Almost every part of the watermelon is edible, from its inner flesh, to its seeds being roasted as snacks and its rind being pickled or stir fried in certain regions. Even the thick outer skin can be used, along with the flesh, while making juice. I’ve never heard of roasted watermelon seeds until looking up this celebration, but I have heard of pickled watermelon rind. I think my Grandma used to make that.
Rich in water low in calories, watermelon has considerable amounts of vitamins A and C. It is rich in carotenoids and is free of fats and cholesterol. It is thought that watermelons kept at room temperature are more nutritious than those kept in the refrigerator – but for the life of me I can’t figure out how cold watermelon would change much from room temp. This nutrition table is based on 100 grams of raw fruit:
Vitamin C – 8.1 mg Calcium – 7 mg Vitamin A – 569 IU Potassium – 112 mg Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) – 0.045 mg Magnesium – 10 mg Vitamin B1 (thiamin) – 0.033 mg Phosphorous – 11 mg Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) – 0.021mg Iron – 0.24 mg Folate – 3 mcg Sodium – 1 mg Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) – 0.221 mg Fluoride – 1.5 mcg
100 grams of this fruit amounts to 30 calories and contains 91.5 grams water, 0.15 gram fat, 7.55 grams carbohydrates, 0.4 gram dietary fiber, 6.2 grams sugar and 0.61 gram protein. Seeds of watermelon also contain certain nutrients in trace amounts. 50% of watermelon seeds consists of oil and the other half includes 35% protein and 5% dietary fiber.
There’s a LOT more nutrition information about this wonderful fruit – but I didn’t want anyone to fall asleep while reading. While buying watermelons, select the ones with smooth skin, which is dark green. Go for the ones that are heavy and with a white or yellow patch as a sign of ripening. The seeds should be dark black, and the flesh should be dark pink or red. You can hear a hollow sound, while thumping a ripe watermelon. Hubby has a knack for picking out the perfect watermelon every time. Me? It’s hit and miss.
Lloyd Bright of Arkansas holds the world record for growing the heaviest watermelon in 2005. His melon weighed almost 270 pounds! That’s a BIG watermelon and at the average .69 per pound, an expensive one!
National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day – There are some things that bring a happy memory from childhood, and chocolate chip cookies are one of those things. The sweet aroma as they bake the warm chocolate melting on our tongues with the first bite – that is typically far too soon so it is far too hot – made even more delicious when we dip them into an icy cold glass of milk. Oh my, this just puts a smile on my face. We have Ruth Graves Wakefield to thank for the creation of chocolate chips in 1937. She wondered what chunks of chocolate would taste like mixed in with sugar cookie dough, and a star was born. I like mine with nuts, and oddly, my Mom and daughter like their WITHOUT chocolate chips. I’ve told them both they are a bit weird, but they like the chocolate chip cookie part without the chocolate. Whew! I’m glad that preference skipped over me! I LOVE the chocolate in them.
Well, it was nice to be back today, and I hope that this advance notice on some of these may help you plan – especially for the food celebrations. We all have to eat, right? God bless you and I’ll see you next week!
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Celebration list sources: