Happy Last Weekend in January!

Jan 27th

I’m hanging out here on the computer, watching old TV shows (seriously, some of these shows from when I was a kid are so funny now that I’m an adult!) and procrastinating all the things I know I need to be doing.  I’ll get to them – no really! I will! I have a list and everything! In a bit . . . right now there are celebrations to check out!

 

 


Verse of the Day

January 27, 2018

Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

Ephesians 6:12-13

 

Thoughts on the Verse of the Day

How often do you forget that we are in a spiritual war? Our enemy is deceptively cunning — take away the immediacy of a threat and the danger appears gone. But he’s there, always. But rather than try to guess his plans and counter all of his moves, Paul reminds us to simply take up the tools God has given us and stand up to the evil one.

 

January 28, 2018

God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship him in spirit and in truth.

John 4:24

Thoughts on the Verse of the Day

Genuine worship is a gift. Since God is spirit, since he is holy, we cannot fully approach him without the gift and blessing of his Holy Spirit. As Christians who received his Spirit when we were baptized into Christ and born of God, we can now speak to him and worship him Spirit to Spirit.

www.verseoftheday.com

 

 

 

Food for Thought

I’m sitting here listening to music with my husband as I write today, some from when we were teens, but also some that just makes us feel good.  He popped in a Charlie Daniels CD and as always, I am profoundly impressed by this man, his talent and his love for our country.  As a proud Christian conservative, my heart rejoices when I hear someone else proudly declare their own love of our country and the principles on which she was built.  Standing tall and without apology for our nation, constitution and current leadership is something that isn’t always easy to do when the noise of the caterwauling from the left is so screeching and loud.  Turn off the mainstream news, really look at the good that is being accomplished by our President today and know that we are blessed in so many ways. Stop listening to the lies, the misdirection and the character assassination attempts because while you are distracted by these you are missing out on some pretty amazing stuff.  It’s true – if you ignore the Hollywood idiots, the talking heads at the alphabet networks and just take a good look, you’ll see we are in a better place than we were a year ago and at the end of this President’s time in the Oval Office, I pray that enough conservatives have seen what coming together can do that we elect another strong, patriotic, Christian who will continue the good work.  Is our President perfect? No. Is he someone we would have thought would make a great leader? Maybe not, but he is what we need in this time – someone who won’t play at politics as usual, gouging the American citizens in a quest for power and profit.  Ah yes, I am feeling pretty happy in this moment. Thanks Charlie – you really boosted my spirit.

 

January 27 –

A.F.R.M.A. Fancy Rat and Mouse Day – What is the AFRMA?  It is the American Fancy Rat and Mouse Association.  It is a non-profit, international organization founded in 1983, whose members work to promote the breeding of fancy rats and mice.  They help educate breeders the proper methods for raising healthy litters, and in the proper care and handling of these sweet little creatures, raising awareness of their unique qualities as companion pets.  They also sponsor competitive shows, sort of like dog shows, throughout the year and send out a newsletter for its members called Rat and Mouse Tales.   It’s a pretty official thing! Fancy rats and mice are very different than just your regular garden-variety rodents.  They have actually never seen a garden.  They are cute, domesticated little creatures looking for a caring owner who will give them a happy home.  They are bred to very strict specifications, not captured in a barn or field and sold in a pet shop.  So for the rodent naysayers, those of you who say “EWWWW they carry disease like the rats in the black plague”. Um, no they don’t. Those poor rats got a bad rap anyway.  They didn’t carry the disease, the fleas that were catching a ride on them did.  The poor rats just took the blame.  Have you ever given pet rats and mice a chance?  I had pet mice growing up.  Of course, I had never intended to have as many as I did . . . my Mom finally gave in to my begging and bought me 2 mice and the supplies as a birthday gift.  She specifically requested two female mice.  That wasn’t what we got.  No, just 30 days, or so (the gestation period is 20-30 days) after getting my sweet little pet mice, we had a litter of wiggly, pink babies.  (ugly little critters when they are born!),  We separated the mother and father as soon as possible, but it wasn’t long before I had the cage and two aquariums . . . supposedly one for the girls and one for the boys.  They can get pregnant as early as 4 weeks (which is dangerous for the girls and shouldn’t be allowed to happen)  Not always easy to tell which is which, and I suppose that’s why we were in that situation in the first place.  At first we took the babies to the pet store . . . but when I found out they were feeding my precious little babies to the snakes that stopped.  At one point I had well over 30 pet mice. I had my favorites, and they knew me and loved me.  They’d climb up my fingers up my arm and sit on my shoulders grooming themselves and observing the world.  Very sweet little pets in every way.  Poor things, it wasn’t their fault I couldn’t tell girls from boys until it was too late.  We finally separated everyone out properly, and over time they ran their short life spans, fat, happy and sassy, and I can honestly say I probably had the largest pet cemetery of any kid I’ve ever known.  Each had it’s own little box casket, its own Popsicle cross and its own little graveside ceremony.   When my son was a teenager he wanted rats, and I couldn’t argue against it.  He was responsible and knew it was his job to take care of them. We ended up with three girls.  They were litter mates and we couldn’t bring one home to be lonely, nor could we bring home two, leaving one at the pet store to be lonely.  No, we just got a bigger cage.  These girls were hilarious!  My son named them after the girls on the TV show “Friends”.  There was a beige rat with brown eyes that he named Phoebe, and honestly she was as much of a ditz as the character in the show.  He had a brown and white one that he named Rachel, because she was always grooming herself and had the shiniest, softest fur.  She was completely self-absorbed and literally spent hours preening – again, like the character in the show.  Lastly, and just as similarly, he had Monica.  She was dark brown, nearly black and she was absolutely obsessed with cleaning the cage.  We would put pieces of paper towel tube into her nest and she’d flip out and start dragging it all over to a trash pile near the door of the cage.  She was always fluffing up the bedding, and literally straightening up the mess near the food dish.  It was fascinating to watch!  They were friendly with the whole family, but these girls knew that my son was their person.  They would hear his voice and rush to the door of the cage, standing up on their little hind feet, stretching as tall as they could to see him coming.  He would open their cage and they’d rush out to him, crawling up to snuggle under his chin and be scratched and petted.  They were the cuddliest little gals!  They lived over 4 years, which is rather unheard of for pet store rodents.  So many people discount rodents as good pets, which I find to be sad, because those people are missing out on a very rewarding experience. I miss having a little critter in the house, but at this point in my cats lives, I’m fairly certain they wouldn’t adapt well to having a mouse or a rat in their midst.

 

Auschwitz Liberation Day – This year marks the 73rd anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz Concentration Camp survivors by the Soviet forces at the end of World War II. The only way to describe the experiences that most of these survivors had to endure at the hands of Hitler’s Nazis would be “horrific”, but even that is far too mild a word to use. Millions of people were forcibly removed from their homes and killed in the most cruel, unimaginable ways at several concentration camps around Europe.  Auschwitz was a network of Concentration and Extermination Camps that were operated by the Third Reich in areas of annexed Poland. In the beginning the camp held Polish political prisoners, who had begun to arrive in May of 1940, but later on Auschwitz II – Birkenau became the main extermination camps of Jews. Trains from all over Germany and occupied Europe started delivering Jews to Auschwitz’s gas chambers from early in 1942 to late 1944. They were killed with Zyklon B, which was a cyanide-based pesticide that was invented in Germany in the early 1920s. At least 1.1 million people were murdered at the Auschwitz Concentration Camp, and of those, about 90% of them were Jews. For some survivors who are alive today, the best revenge against what they went though, was to live a full life. This is something that the Nazis were trying to stop, through Concentration Camps such as Auschwitz. About 200 Auschwitz survivors will come back to face the horrendous memories of all that they endured all those years ago. All of the survivors will be marking their liberation, and paying tribute to all who did not make it out alive. There is nothing I can say that won’t sound dry or unemotional, when I am feeling completely opposite of that. The images I saw while researching this fill my heart with such grief at all that was lost, and all that was suffered at the hands of a little man with a cold, dead heart. May we never forget, may we hold these things in our hearts and never let history repeat itself in this way ever again.

 

 

Holocaust Memorial Day – (This is a cut and paste of the post I have done for a couple of years – I couldn’t think of anything I needed to change, or add)  If you ask many students today, they will look at you with a blank expression on their faces when you ask them what the Holocaust was.  Revisionist history would have them believe it either didn’t happen, or it didn’t happen the way their parents had been taught.  It is up to us, those who had families affected by it, those of us who remember what we were taught in school and those of us who realize that you cannot forget history or you risk repeating it again in the future, to keep this knowledge alive – no matter how painful it is.  The Holocaust was a horrifying time in our world’s history, when Nazi Germany, led by Adolf Hitler, and his collaborators, began the systematic state-sponsored persecution and genocide of the Jews of Europe along with other groups during World War II.  It sounds so dry when put that way, but estimates put the deaths of those to be considered racially inferior or undesirable; Soviet prisoners of war; the mentally or physically disabled; homosexuals; Jehovah’s Witnesses; political dissidents and criminals that estimates number at 9,000,000 – 11,000,000 people. International Holocaust Remembrance Day commemorates the date that Russian Troops liberated the prisoners at the Auschwitz extermination camp, where an estimated 2,000,000 people were murdered, including 1,500,000 Jews.  Today we remember those lives that were lost, the atrocities committed against them by a tyrannical government who would control the people through violence, fear and the genocide of innocents.

Please God, be with the families of those who remember loved ones who have gone on before, who were lost so tragically in the horrors of those days, and help us as a nation to never forget, so history does not repeat itself on our own soil. In Your name, Amen.

 

National Seed Swap – So let’s learn about swapping seeds.  What is it?  Well, it’s a day when communities across the country get together and swap seeds that will grown in their own areas.  Many communities encourage the participants to bring more than seeds to share.  They suggest bringing knowledge and experiences and spend some time getting to know other people who have a love of gardening to learn from each other and get to know one another.    Keep in mind, it doesn’t have to be just vegetables and herbs, swap seeds for flowers, exotic or rare plants, or even favorite fruits!  What an awesome idea!  This one always falls on the last Saturday in January – gives gardeners time to plan what they will be planting in spring.

 

Punch the Clock Day – My first thought when I saw this one was, “Well, I want to punch my clock EVERY DAY! What makes THIS day special?”  Of course, it wasn’t likely that THAT was what the creator meant . . . or was it?  It’s very likely that they meant punching the time clock, so maybe they were just happy to have a job?  They didn’t share any insights with anyone, just created the day and left it up to our imaginations.  Honestly, since I don’t punch a clock at work – not in any literal sense anyway – I think I’ll just keep it to punching my alarm clock.  It really annoys me! 🙂 Funny that this one landed on the weekend this year, since there’s no way I’m setting an alarm on a Saturday.

 

Soup Swap Day – For some reason this didn’t show up in either one of my celebrations lists, and it’s one of my favorites!  It was supposed to be last Saturday on the 20th, and as far as this one goes, late is better than never!  I think everyone should get together and do this with their friends!  Soup Swap Day started out in Seattle, I think around 2000.  The general idea is that everyone gets together, bringing enough frozen quarts of soup to the swap for however many people are going to be there – for financial and sanity purposes I’d suggest keeping to six couples or individuals.  It’s sort of like a cookie exchange, only with healthy, delicious, filling soup!  I’ve read different sites were people pick numbers and choose soups, leaving the lower numbers with the soup that wasn’t as popular, but I honestly think it would be better and more in keeping with the spirit of sharing the soup to have everyone get one container of each kind of soup so they have six different dinners to enjoy!  Everyone who brings soup should share what they brought.  It would also be fun to have crock pots of each kind of soup there to sample.  Throw in some crusty bread and a decent beverage or two, and you have the recipe for a really fun event with your friends!

Here is a list of possible suggestions to take to a soup swap . . . but really, don’t limit yourself.  There are too many different sorts of soups to count so just let your imagination and taste buds be your guide.

  

*  Chicken Noodle Soup

*  Thai chicken soup

*  Spicy tomato (bring crackers!)

*  Roasted garlic, kale and white bean minestrone

*  Creamy almond soup (I’ve never heard of this kind – sounds interesting!)

*  Vegetarian chili

*  Meat chili

*  Butternut squash soup

*  Potato Cheddar

 

Well, you get the idea – there’s just too many wonderful soups out there to even list them all!  This would be a wonderful new tradition to start!  I may have to make some soup today, and plan ahead for this one next year!

 

 

Thomas Crapper Day – When I was little someone told me that the guy who created the flushing toilet’s name was Thomas Crapper.  I was taught that the word “crap” was naughty, so of course I got embarrassed and had a fit of giggles at the same time.  You know how kids are, right?  As I got older I found out that that person, I think it was my Dad, was telling me the truth! (Dad liked to tease – so at the time I’m sure that is what I thought he was doing.)  We should be pretty thankful for Mr. Crapper though, shouldn’t we? Can you imagine life without a toilet?  I get a bit of what it would be like every time we go hiking or camping in the wilderness.  Seriously, life spent digging holes in the ground and filling them in again, would be a bummer!  We could do it, but would we really want to?  As with many things that have been invented, the flush toilet was the result of a whole bunch of minor improvements on a rudimentary idea.  I think, quite honestly, that this day should have a whole bunch of names to give credit for this invention that has simplified, and cleaned up, our lives so significantly.  I suppose that the most famous name, well, his name! Thanks Mr. Crapper!

 

 

Visit Your Local Quilt Shop Day – Quilt shops don’t get anything like the recognition they deserve for the vital role they play in supplying quilts. Visit Your Local Quilt Shop Day aims to change all that by bringing people together, in their local quilt shop, to celebrate all things quilty.

Let’s face it, a quilt shop is so much more than just a shop. It’s a place to hang out, have a cup of coffee, make new friends, and talk about quilts. Fabric shops of any kind can take part too, widening the scope of the day even further.

If you’ve never made a quilt, and surely that applies to one or two of you (and me), then maybe this is the time to start quilting. Why not go along to your local quilt shop and find out how it’s done? If you don’t have a local quilt shop, visit someone else’s – they won’t mind.

 

January 28 –

Grammy Awards – Who cares?

 

National Kazoo Day – Did you ever play a kazoo with the rest of the class in elementary school?  It was the one instrument everyone could play with a little bit of proficiency.  Remember how it made your lips tickle while you were playing it?  Ah memories.  People love kazoos, no matter their age, and today we celebrate the joy and childlike feeling that this instrument brings.  In the 1840’s a man by the name of Alabama Vest of Macon, Georgia thought up the kazoo, and explained it to Thaddeus Von Clegg, a German clock master, so he could make it to his specifications.  Commercial production of the Kazoo didn’t happen until many years later, in 1912.  Emil Sorg of Western New York started up manufacturing with Michael McIntyre, who was a Buffalo tool and die maker.  They moved production to Eden, New York where the factory museum still stands today.  So if you haven’t happened to ever play a Kazoo, do you know how to play it?  It’s quite simple!  You just hum a tune into the kazoo and you’re an expert! 

 

 

Space Shuttle Challenger – 32 years ago today, January 28, 1986, many of us were watching the live news footage as the space shuttle Challenger took its fateful launch.  We watched with our hearts in our throats and tears streaming down our faces, horrified as 73 seconds into the flight the shuttle exploded, killing seven people, including Christa McAuliffe.  Ms. McAuliffe would have been the first teacher in space, chosen out of 11,000 applicants.  The explosion was caused by a rocket booster failure that ignited the fuel tank. It just doesn’t seem that long ago, and watching the video of the launch and explosion bring it back like it was yesterday.  At the same time though, with the retirement of America’s shuttle fleet 3 years ago, it somehow feels a bit like ancient history as well.   In the past 28 years the Challenger disaster has been used as a case study in what NOT to do in engineering safety decision-making processes, discussions, and workplace ethics presentations.

To the families and loved ones of the crew that perished that day, we remember, and we honor them:  May the memories of the crew of shuttle Challenger flight TS-51L live on forever:

Mission Specialist Ellison S. Onizuka

Teacher in Space Participant Sharon Christa McAuliffe

Payload Specialist Greg Jarvis

Mission Specialist Judy Resnik

Pilot Mike Smith

Commander Dick Scobee

Mission Specialist Ron McNair

Remembering these events in our history, never letting them fade away, is so important.  God be with the families of these brave men and women, and may their memory and their sacrifice live on.

 

 

World Leprosy Day – All throughout the Bible, in the 68 times it was mentioned throughout, leprosy was a disease that encompassed many different skin afflictions, likely including certain molds and mildews.  Anyone who was diagnosed was sent away from their community, completely isolated to prevent them from infecting anyone else.  Since usually leprosy didn’t heal on its own – as this was a time before antibiotics – this ended up being a horrible, painful, lonely and very sad existence.   Today we know that leprosy is easily treatable with a cocktail of antibiotics, it still carries the ancient stigma with it.  I found an article that really moved my heart, please click the link to read it, but this community in India, where people afflicted with leprosy are sent to an isolated place to live out their lives alone – even though they have been treated and no longer carry the disease or any contagion – are given audio Bibles and these Bibles have ministered to their lonely hearts and souls.  The ministry that serves these people honors World Leprosy Day –  a day set aside to bring awareness that this disease still lives and affects lives – by taking donations to provide Bibles to these communities.  It is such a worthy cause and one that I know makes God smile at the love shown to these poor souls.

 

This Day in History

January 27, 1945 – The Russians liberate Auschwitz in WWII.

January 27, 1967 – Tragedy strikes the Apollo space program as a fire in the command module kills astronauts Lt. Col. Virgil “Gus” Grissom, Lt. Col. Edward H. White, and Lt. Cdr. Roger Chafee.

January 28, 1986 – U.S. space shuttle Challenger explodes 72 seconds after liftoff, killing the seven crew members. Among the crew was school teacher Christa McAuliffe.

 

 

Food Celebration of the Day

January 27 –

National Chocolate Cake Day – Originally “chocolate cake” meant a yellow or white cake with chocolate frosting. As baking techniques improved, chocolate cake became the favorite we know today.  I haven’t yet made our chocolate cake today, but this is the low carb option I am going to try.  My go-to favorite low carb cookbook author and blogger Carolyn Ketchum came up with this Low-Carb Chocolate Zucchini Bundt Cake, so this is on the menu for dessert tonight. I’m thawing out my shredded zucchini from my garden now! Yum!  There is literally a low carb alternative to just about anything. Sometimes it means keeping an open mind and having adventurous taste buds, but it’s still true!

Best Low Carb Chocolate Zucchini Cake – VIDEO

 

January 28 –

Blueberry Pancake Day – Every country has its version of flat griddle cakes, but blueberry pancakes are truly American — the berries are native to the Americas.  I am still looking for a pancake recipe that really appeals to me. Yesterday I read some great reviews on this recipe of Carolyn Ketchum’s from her blog All Day I Dream About Food.  It’s for Walnut-Flax Pancakes – I’m just going to toss some blueberries in for good measure.

 

I need to get myself busy putting things away – we still have a lot of Christmas stuff out that needs to get boxed up.  I finally gave up hoping that my son’s family would make it over to our side of the mountains for our celebration, so we have planned a trip over there next month.  It’s time to get the house in order. I have a lap full of Pepsi cat right now – she’s not long for this world.  Her 19th birthday is coming up and over the last few weeks her age is really showing.  I love her so much that I know I need to do the right thing by her and take her in to the vet so she can cross the Rainbow Bridge to meet up with our Tibbi Girl, but I start crying every time I think about it.  Poor little girl’s arthritis is preventing her from moving around much, she isn’t eating or drinking much, and she only truly seems happy when she’s snuggled up in my lap.  I hate to disturb her.  I’ll get to that point but not this weekend.  I can’t think about that this weekend. Right now I just need to focus on reclaiming my house, and tomorrow on playing in the kitchen. God bless you and I’ll see you on Monday.

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