I love new beginnings, whether it’s a year, a month, a day or even a minute. Each one holds endless possibilities. Yesterday ended a journey of a little over a year at a job that I needed at the time, but I didn’t really enjoy. Monday starts a new job journey that promises to be very exciting. Today though, today we have the beginning of a new month and all of the beauty and fun of the holiday season before us. How exciting, right? I’ve spent the morning working on a few things to get my new job started with more organization here at home. It all works together to make things work more smoothly and with less stress! That is my goal anyway.
Verse of the Day
November 1, 2019
I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me.
Thoughts on the Verse of the Day
The order of obedience is always the same: God reveals himself, God blesses us, and then God asks us to respond. In other words, God blesses us first, and then asks us to obey. God is all-powerful and supreme. He could demand our obedience just because of who he is, but he doesn’t. He has chosen to reveal himself through Scripture, through nature, and through his acts of salvation. He wants us to know him and respond to him. Our obedience may be difficult. Our call to obey may sometimes be hard for us to understand. However, we know it comes from a Father who has paid an enormous price to redeem us and who has already proven himself faithful.
All Saints’ Day – The way that the official, and long lasting, holidays came to be really fascinates me. All of our Christian holidays seem to be tied in with old pagan holidays in one way or another, up to, and including our Christmas festivities. I know so many people who do not celebrate Halloween because of its pagan roots, yet have no problem celebrating Christmas with a tree, or Easter with a basket of eggs and bunnies. All are pagan symbols interspersed with our Christian traditions to make them more palatable for all, as the popular pagan rituals were being crowded out by the church. Nobody in church leadership wanted to outright ban pagan religious celebrations for fear of backlash, and it was decided that if the two faith’s holidays were combined, that eventually the pagan rituals would die away. Some have, but some haven’t. Today is a good example. Today we have the Christian holiday of All Saint’s Day, which honors and recognizes all of the saints of the Christian church, many of them martyrs. The church set aside this day to celebrate over 10,000 recognized saints. All Saints Day was also known as Hallomas. Originally All Saints Day and All Souls Day were observed in May, but they were moved to November 1st and 2nd in an attempt to downplay the pagan holidays of Halloween (All Hallow’s Eve) and Dia de Loss Muertos. Religious leaders thought that those holidays were just too popular to come out and ban and hoped they would eventually just stop being practiced. For the most part it has. Yes, Halloween is still observed, but certainly not in the way that it was originally intended and has turned into more of a Hallmark type holiday, with the focus being on the commercial sales of costumes and candy, and fun for the kids. For many years I kept my kids from celebrating Halloween, while cherishing my memories of going out trick-or-treating with my friends, dressing up and going on absolutely fantastic outings with our church youth group. I began to feel hypocritical about it, the older I got. I regret doing that to my kids because they missed out on a lot of fun. I know that we didn’t celebrate this holiday with the macabre in mind, but with fun and light-hearted enjoyment. By the time I got into Jr. High and High School, our church youth group always started and ended the evening festivities with prayer, and a focus on what was really important. I can’t help but think that it’s all where the heart and spirits are, rather like with the Christmas tree. I don’t enjoy it as a pagan focal point in our living room, but with the love for the beauty of the tree and what it represents in our Christian home. Everyone has to decide for themselves what is best for them, for their beliefs and for their families, so no judgment from me on the issue. I just think the origins and what we have done with the evolution of these holidays is really quite fascinating.
Author’s Day – Back in 1928 a woman by the name of Nellie Verne Burt McPherson was the president of the Bement Women’s Club. She was a teacher and an avid reader throughout her life. During WWI she was recuperating in a hospital and wrote a fan letter to fiction writer Irving Bacheller, telling him how much she enjoyed reading his story, “Eban Holden’s Last Day A’Fishin”. Bacheller sent her an autographed copy of another story he wrote. This thrilled Nellie so much and realizing that she could never adequately thank him for his gift, that she came up with the idea to show her appreciation by submitting the idea for a National Author’s Day to the General Federation of Women’s Clubs. They passed a resolution setting aside November 1st as a day to honor American writers. In 1949 the day was recognized by the U.S. Department of Commerce. I can’t imagine many authors today actually taking the time to respond to a fan letter, much less to send them something free. My goodness, times certainly have changed.
Autistic Speaking Day – a number of years ago there was a group in Australia that called for a communications shut down, asking people to turn off social media to “experience the silent” that people with autism live with, which was ridiculous and in many ways very offensive. Obviously, these people have never truly understood anything about autism, or known anyone who has had to live it. Autistic Speaking Day calls for people with autism to share with each other, reach out and communicate their lives, raise awareness and understanding for those in the autistic community. Their challenges are not understood by so many people, but if each of us tries, even a little bit, perhaps the world will be a better place for all involved. I know I didn’t delve into a great deal of detail on this one, because it’s a very deep topic, but perhaps this will encourage you to look more into it when you have the time.
Dia de Los Muertos – I am writing about this one for information only, but I will add a disclaimer. All Soul’s Day is a Christian holiday, but it is not one that the doctrine I was raised with follows. The purpose of All Soul’s Day is to pay respect and remember the souls of friends and loved ones who have died and gone to heaven. Upon death, some believe that the souls have not yet been cleansed of sin, so prayers for the souls are said in the hopes of removing the stain of sin, thereby allowing the souls to enter the gates of heaven. This observance started in the year 998. OK, now for my disclaimer: Anyone who is a Christian accepts that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. In the Bible it clearly teaches that we are responsible for our own salvation and seeking forgiveness for our sins is something we can only do for ourselves. Nobody else can pray for, and get, forgiveness for our sins on our behalf. Celebrating this holiday may make the living feel better about those who have died, but we won’t know if they took care of their own salvation needs until after we have also passed away and made our way to either our reward, or our punishment. Daily communication with God, persistently seeking His grace and asking forgiveness for our sins should be as automatic for the person who follows Christ as it is for us to breathe.
Give Up Your Shoulds Day – Regrets. What an incredible waste of time they are, right? Regrets are stressful, and stress shortens our lives, damages our health, and impedes our focus. Today is the 8th Annual Give Up Your “Shoulds” Day. For one day you are invited to give up a “should” on your list that brings you stress, guilt, misery, or any sort of sadness. An example of a “should” may be: “I should clean the house”, “I should go to the gym”, “I should be making more money”, “I should lose weight”, “I should be getting more work done”, “I should stop eating the leftover Halloween candy” . . . etc. There are any number of “should” we impose on ourselves. When you give yourself permission to give up one stressful “should”, it allows your mind to relax, and lift the weight that’s been sitting on your shoulders. People who give up some “should” actually live calmer and more fulfilled lives. They give themselves permission not to be so rigid, which can lead to a healthier life. Now something important to remember is that giving up a “should” isn’t necessarily tied to what you do. For example, you can give up your “should” about giving up sugar, but still not eat sugar. It isn’t about what you do, or what you don’t do, but about the thoughts and the beliefs that you are hauling around with you.
National Go Cook for Your Pets Day – Our furbabies are so special to us, aren’t they? Today is a day we can celebrate our special four-legged family members by keeping their health and nutrition in mind and cooking their food for them. It’s important to know what is our pets’ food, just like it is important to know what is in ours. Especially lately, with all of those toxic ingredients finding their way into our pet’s food supply, causing horrible illness and death! If you aren’t sure what to cook for your pet, you can find recipes at DoggyDessertChef.com . Always remember there are foods your dog or cat should never eat. Here’s a list from the ASPCA to remind you what they are:
- Chocolate in any form
- Coffee (grounds, beans, chocolate-covered espresso beans)
- Yeast dough
- Grapes and Raisins
- Tomato leaves and stems (green parts)
- Potato leaves and stems (green parts)
- Rhubarb leaves
- Moldy or spoiled foods
- Alcoholic beverages
- Be careful with milk and other milk-based products, as they can cause diarrhea or other digestive upset.
Plan Your Epitaph Day – It’s a good thing to always be prepared, and there’s nothing MORE prepared than already planning or writing your own epitaph! How do you want to be remembered? Here are some funny ones that have been found on real gravestones in the United States:
* “I told you I was sick!” (Found in a Georgia cemetery)
* “Here lies the body of Jonathan Blake. Stepped on the gas instead of the brake. (Found in a Uniontown, Pa., cemetery)
* “Here lies an Atheist … All dressed up and no place to go.” (Found in a Thurmont, Md., cemetery)
So, how do you want to be remembered? This is a tough question!
Prime Meridian Day – We all learned in school that the world is divided into different latitudes and longitudes, right? And this makes sense because we need to use the numbers connected with these longitudes and latitudes to communicate about, and map, the different locations on the planet. Did you ever stop to wonder who actually decided how to divide it up, and choose where those meridian lines were to go? When people explored different parts of the world, even back in ancient times, they would draw maps of what they saw on their travels. They often would number or letter the lines running horizontally and vertically to help them find, and talk about, different features on their maps. Problem was that different mapmakers used different systems, and that could get confusing. The wealthiest and most powerful nations in the world used some of their wealth and power to explore faraway places, so the systems they used because widely used. Still, with many different nations counting their longitudes with different starting points, it made a different “prime meridian” for all of them. A good example of this would be, in France they counted the line of longitude running through Paris as the Prime Meridian. At the same time, geographers in England counted the line of longitude to be running through Greenwich, which was just outside of London, as the prime meridian. That was completely confusing. Everyone thought it was obvious what the latitude should be – the equator, which runs midpoint through the “waist” of the earth. There just wasn’t as obvious and objective a spot to start for longitude. Should it be the line that intersects Tokyo, Japan? Cairo Egypt? New York, United States? Any one of them would have worked, so how did they choose the Prime Meridian? Well, on November 1st in 1884, representatives of 25 nations met in Washington DC to discuss and set up a standard latitude/longitude system, and also the standard time zones. Through discussion, and a vote, Greenwich in Great Britain was chosen. Haiti voted against this, and Brazil and France refused to vote, but the other 22 “yea” votes carried the motion and the world finally had one standard Prime Meridian.
Food Celebration of the Day
National Bison Day – Have you ever purchased a buffalo steak or burger from the grocery store? I have and found it to be delicious. I just found out that I was mostly likely buying and eating bison, and not buffalo. I did not know until today that the animals we see in pictures and have been calling buffalo aren’t buffalo at all! Mind . . . blown! The animal that lives in North America is a bison. Buffalo is from either the African or Asian buffalo families that are native only to Africa or Asia. The bison is the largest land mammal to roam North America since the end of the Ice Age. It descends from ancient animals that migrated across the Bering Strait land bridge an estimated 300,000 years ago. Historians think that the species was called buffalo because early European explorers were familiar with that animal. Makes sense. Even though we now know that this is not the proper name for it, people have used the words buffalo and bison interchangeably since that time. At one-point bison were near extinct on this continent due to over-hunting, but they’ve made a comeback since that time and now there are about 500,000 in the United States, about 40,000 being slaughtered each year for consumption. When you compare that to the 125,000 beef cattle that go to market each day in the US alone, that’s not much. Of course, bison are much bigger . . . but there is barely room for comparison there, in my mind. What I didn’t know is that bison are much smarter than cattle, being highly intelligent, curious, playful and very powerful. They may seem gentle, but they are definitely not domesticated. This makes them harder to handle and more powerful than cattle. Even though they are very bulky, they are also very nimble and apparently have been said to have be as agile as goats. I also thought it was very interesting that bison can have a life span of 30 years! Their cows weigh about 1000 to 1200 lbs at full maturity, and the bulls weigh about 1500 to 2000 pounds. That’s a big animal! Bison meat is healthier than beef, being less fatty. Bison has 2.42 grams of fat, 143 calories and 82 mg of cholesterol per 100 grams (3.5 oz) of cooked meat, where beef has 3.5 times more fat per 100 grams of cooked lean meat. One last little bit of information that I thought was fascinating, is that Yellowstone National Park is the only place in the US where bison have lived continuously since prehistoric times, and this herd is one of the few that remains genetically free of bovine genes.
National Calzone Day – Mmmmm . . . pizza smells amazing when it is baking, doesn’t it? Well, calzones are just as aromatic, just packaged a bit differently. Aromatic garlic and tomato sauce, gooey melted cheese with a combination of meats and vegetables all tucked into a crust shaped into a hand pie. Seriously, doesn’t that sound good? I need to go raid my fridge and freezer to see if I can find enough ingredients to throw together to make some of these. YUM!
National Deep-Fried Clams – There are two main varieties of clams, or bivalve mollusks – hard shell and soft shell. I didn’t know there were soft shell clams! I knew about crabs, but not clams. Interesting. Clams are named based on their size, where they are from, and occasionally even the personal decision of the vendor selling them. Clams come in various sizes from 2 inches across (about 10 to a pound) to the largest being the quahog, which measures about 3 inches across. Now I am not an expert on clams by any means, however I DO know that I really enjoy a nice pile of deep-fried clams. One of the local casinos serves some of the biggest, meatiest clams I have ever had. Delicious. Oh, nice, I am now craving clams.
National Pâté Day – Have you ever had Pâté? I don’t think I have, unless it’s been in something and I was unaware of it. What is it? It’s a mixture of cooked ground meat and fat minced into a spreadable paste. It can be served hot or cold and is thought to have its best flavor when it has been chilled for a few days. It can be baked in a crust, in a terrine, or as its most famous rendition, as a foie gras – which is made from the livers of fattened geese. I admit I feel a little bit of gag happening in the back of my throat at the thought. Depending on the region it isn’t limited to goose though – it can also be made from chicken, fish, venison, ham or pork with a big variety of spices and other additions. I MAY have had pate on my Vietnamese Bahn Mi sandwiches, but I’m not sure. They were delicious so I’m not sure I want to know!
National Vinegar Day – It can pickle and preserve foods, add flavor to your favorite dish and some varieties can even be used to clean your house — is there anything vinegar can’t do?! There are so many varieties and flavors it boggles the mind, though most people limit their usage to only a few. We regularly use various flavors of balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, white vinegar, red and white wine vinegar, coconut and rice vinegar . . . well, let’s just say I have a LOT of bottles of vinegar in the house.
World Vegan Day – I don’t think I could ever actually adhere to a vegan way of eating. I could see myself being able to survive as a vegetarian – since they can eat milk, cheese, honey and eggs – but I just don’t think I could give up those extra, wonderful food items. With that said though, I have actually had a few very delicious vegan dishes that I like on occasion . . . not for always.
I have spent quite a bit of my last Friday in front of the computer, but I really do have a lot to do, so I’d better get to it! The sun is shining, the air is crisp and cold, and I need to get this house straightened up, for tomorrow we begin decorating! I know, we are early, but seriously I am late! I usually like having this all ready – except the tree of course – by the end of Halloween! Have a wonderful day! God bless you and I’ll see you soon!
Celebration list sources: