Well, I did it. On Monday I turned in my resignation to my current employer. She took it better than I thought she would, but seriously, what could she really say? I am going to a position that will be, from the sounds of it, somewhere I can grow professionally. I haven’t had that for a very long time, so I’m pretty excited. One more week of notice to go, then I’ll be starting the new job! I wish I could have had a few days off, but it just wasn’t to be. I’ll have to do the best I can with the weekends!
After I put in my notice, I was mentally just exhausted. I have fallen asleep in my chair right after dinner for the last three nights. My brain just wasn’t interested in thinking, much less doing so coherently.
Verse of the Day
October 24, 2019
Woe to those who go to great depths to hide their plans from the LORD, who do their work in darkness and think, “Who sees us? Who will know?”
Thoughts on Today’s Verse
Aren’t we so very silly sometimes! We try to hide what we’ve done and what we’re planning from the Lord. Of course, we’re only fooling ourselves. At first glance, God’s knowing our plans and seeing our actions is threatening. But after a little time to think it through, isn’t it nice that God does see everything, including our motives and thoughts? This insures justice will be done and our mess-ups will be evaluated in terms of our intentions, not just our failures! On top of that, it also means that those who plot to do us harm will have to answer to God, and we don’t have to worry about “settling the score” or “getting even.”
Halloween is coming, so let’s talk a bit about some of the history surrounding this holiday.
Today we are going to talk about the Celts and Samhain celebrations. The Celts lived 100s of years ago in what are now the countries of England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland and northern France. This was about 800 B.C., and the Celts were commonly sheep and cattle farmers, bringing their animals down from the hills to pastures close to home when the weather got colder. The winter months were very difficult ones, mostly spent indoors or close to home, fixing things, spending time together, sewing and doing whatever they could to avoid going outside. Outside was where someone could freeze to death, get sick or be killed and eaten by large, hungry animals. As the days got shorter and colder, and the last harvest was in, it was time to celebrate Samhain (Sow-en) and the Celtic New Year. Samhain translates to “end of summer”, occurring at the end of October, as the seasons changed. The Celts believed that times of change had magical properties, and this celebration marked two major changes, a change in the weather and in life. This magical time was also believed to create an opening for the dead to come and travel among the living. The people would gather to sacrifice animals, fruits and vegetables, lighting bonfires to honor the dead and help them on their journey back to the otherworld, and to keep them away from the living. On this day they believed that ghosts, fairies and demons walked among them, so it was important to keep the bad spirits at bay and keep the good ones happy.
After the crops were all harvested and put into storage for the winter, on October 31st the cooking fires in the homes were put out. The Celtic priests, the Druids, would meet on the hilltop in the dark oak forest – oaks were valued for their size and strength. Mistletoe remained green in the winter and had berries in the cold, which was considered to be sacred. The Druids lit new fires and offered sacrifices of thanks and to appease the gods of the coming winter. The next morning, they would give a hot ember from the fires to each family, who took them home to light their home fires again. This was a huge deal, having put out the fire the night before, because their fires kept the homes warm and free from evil spirits. This festival lasted for 3 days, with people putting on costumes made from the skins and heads of animals to represent the gods of nature.
I was not raised Catholic, so this is a foreign concept to me, but Catholics canonize saints after death. They are given a special status of holiness and held up as role models. They believe that God performs miracles on earth through the saints and call upon the saints to help them and guide them in daily life. While many saints have their own day to be honored, there are so many saints that there just aren’t enough days to give them all their own, so Pope Boniface IV officially designated All Saints’ Day to honor all of them at the same time. Originally, All Saints’ Day was on May 13th, but in 601 A.D., Pope Gregory the 1st ordered his missionaries about the beliefs and customs of the people they wanted to convert. Instead of trying to get rid of the native peoples’ customs and beliefs, he told the missionaries to include them. So, essentially if a group of people worshiped a tree, instead of cutting down the tree, he told them to bless it and dedicate it to Christ and let the people to continue worshiping, only now they would be worshiping Christ. In 835 A.D. Pope Gregory III changed the date of All Saints’ Day to November 1st so they could take over the pagan holiday. The official documentation shows that the Church picked this date as the papal dedication of a church that honored the saints. It’s not a generally accepted view, since the church had such a history of including non-Christian holidays with their own. One example is Christmas – the church set it up on December 25th so it would correspond with the pagan winter solstice festival. We know this because shepherds didn’t watch their flocks by night in the winter, because the flocks would be inside, or they would die in the cold. Though the connection between Samhain and All Saints’ Day is less certain, it is generally accepted as a combination of the holidays. The result of moving All Saints’ Day to November 1st is that many of the pagan traditions were brought into the holy day’s activities, which may have helped bring descendants of the ancient Celts to Christianity. It did create some problems for the church though. Many of the Samhain traditions were centered around the dead, supernatural and the spirit world, which doesn’t have a place in Christianity. The saints were recognized and were indeed dead, but they weren’t creepy or supernatural like spirits walking the earth at midnight. Young men were now told to go door to door begging for food for the poor, villagers dressed up in costumes as saints, but now instead of dressing up to chase away the evil spirits and celebrating the pagan beliefs, they were dressing up to honor saints. Small distinction really, and nobody seemed to care much about the distinction.
Food Day – This one is pretty great! We, as a nation, eat some pretty cruddy food. Much of what we see on the store shelves is filled with sugar, processed ingredients, far too many carbs, chemicals and disgusting things that we can’t pronounce, all covered in a lot of salt! This celebration tries to put the focus on healthy, affordable fresh foods that are produced with care for the environment, and the food grown or raised in it. One great way to celebrate this one is to shop the perimeter of the store, which is where the fresh foods are. The center of the store is where the shelves of processed fake foods live, so now you know how to avoid them!
Food Celebration of the Day –
National Bologna Day – Properly spelled Bologna, it is sometimes spelled “Baloney”. It is pronounced like the latter spelling. Bologna is a sausage that is commonly used as a lunch meat. When I was little, we often had it in our house for my Dad’s lunch. Though we often only see one sort of bologna in the lunch meat section, there is actually a variety of them – there is “regular” bologna, German bologna, beef bologna, kosher bologna and many more. Depending on what kind you are talking about, they could include pork, beef, chicken and spices. When I was little, and even as a young mother with a limited budget, I loved fried bologna. I know, for many people who don’t eat it, this sounds gross, but really, it’s quite tasty. It gets a crispy caramelized texture and is great with eggs for breakfast! Honestly, I haven’t had bologna in years. The memory just brought a smile to my face.
National Good and Plenty Day – Do you like things that are licorice flavored? I don’t. I hate this flavor – it gives me the shudders just thinking about it! Gross! Apparently, lots of people DO like it though because today we celebrate the oldest branded candy in the U.S., an American version of the licorice pastilles that have been made and enjoyed in Europe for hundreds of years. If you don’t know what Good and Plenty candies are, they are narrow little tubes or capsule shapes of sweet black licorice that is covered in pink and white candy shells. It all tastes the same, the colors just make them pretty and easily identified. In 1893 the Quaker City Confectionary Company in Philadelphia, PA – though the brand is now owned by Hershey – came out with Good and Plenty candy. It has been enjoying great popularity for all of these years, but I have to tell you, I don’t get it. I really don’t.
I’m going to get my day started, ending my 1st week of notice to my job before I move on to my new employment adventure. Usually this would be a bittersweet process for me, but seriously, all I’m feeling at this point is the sweet!
God bless you! I’ll try to see you tomorrow.