This is such a busy day for celebrations! Some are fun, some are serious. A part of me feels bad sometimes when there are multiple serious ones in a day, because I don’t want to make people feel bummed out when they should be happy about celebrating life. Life isn’t all happy though, sadly enough, and we really need to put our attention on the serious stuff if we wish to improve things that are bad, create awareness of things that are not understood, and make the world we live in a better place for all of us.
Holy Humor Month – Joke of the Day
The Christian Horse – There’s this guy who had been lost and walking in the desert for about 2 weeks. One hot day, he sees the home of a missionary. Tired and weak, he crawls up to the house and collapses on the doorstep. The missionary finds him and nurses him back to health. Feeling better, the man asks the missionary for directions to the nearest town. On his way out the backdoor, he sees this horse. He goes back into the house and asks the missionary, “Could I borrow your horse and give it back when I reach the town?” The missionary says, “Sure but there is a special thing about this horse. You have to say ‘Thank God’ to make it go and ‘Amen’ to make it stop.” Not paying much attention, the man says, “Sure, OK.” So he gets on the horse and says, “Thank God” and the horse starts walking. Then he says, “Thank God, thank God,” and the horse starts trotting. Feeling really brave, the man says, “Thank God, thank God, thank God, thank God, thank God” and the horse just takes off. Pretty soon he sees this cliff coming up and he’s doing everything he can to make the horse stop. “Whoa, stop, hold on!!!!” Finally he remembers, “Amen!!” The horse stops 4 inches from the cliff. Then the man leans back in the saddle and says, “Thank God.”
International Children’s Book Day – As an avid reader, who has loved books from the first moment I learned how to sound out the letters in words, this is a really great celebration! It encourages reading and the love of books in a children’s lives. The best and fastest way to develop our young children into intelligent adults is by teaching them to read and instilling in them a love of the written word. Encouraging reading promotes a lifetime of learning and growing! Today libraries will be celebrating with story telling hours and other events for kids. An awesome way to celebrate this one is by giving a new book to each of your kids. If they aren’t yet old enough to read, spend time reading stories to them. It is an amazing bonding time and something they will remember for the rest of their lives as being a special time between you. If I had it to do all over again I would read to my kids while I was pregnant with them. Experts say that babies can hear us when we talk to them, and they actually pick up what we read to them while they are developing in the womb. What a beautiful bonding time!
Reconciliation Day – Relationships are interesting, aren’t they? No matter how good a relationship is – whether is it between spouses, parents and children, siblings, friends or co-workers they are each unique and sometimes all is not sunshine and roses in each of them. People, being different from each other, sometimes butt heads, and that can lead to harsh words, bad feelings, and distance between people who usually care about each other very much. Today is a special day to patch relationships and make amends if you’ve had distance from someone special in your life, and you aren’t sure how to make it right. The intention is to re-establish the relationship that means a lot to you, but you haven’t been able to make the first move to talk and work it out. Truth is that life is too short to hold grudges against people you love. The old saying “it’s never too late”, isn’t necessarily true. We don’t know what will happen from day to day, so it really COULD be too late and you’ll live with regrets for the rest of your life. Take that first step today. Reach out to the one you love and start the healing process. You’ll be glad you did.
National Day of Hope – The fact that there is a NEED for this awareness program just breaks my heart. The month of April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and this first Wednesday is “Childhelp, National Day of Hope”. Today we remember all the children in America who have died, or are dying, at a rate of five per day as a result of abuse and neglect. Let that number sink in – 5 kids each day are dying each day from abuse and neglect. What a sobering and heart breaking number. Here are some statistics that you may not know, and that will infuriate you if you are a decent, loving, NORMAL human being: About 80% of the children who die from neglect and abuse are under the age of 4; There are approximately 3.3 million reports of abuse each year; The actual incidence of abuse and neglect are estimated to be THREE TIMES GREATER than the number reported to authorities; About 30% of children who are neglected or abused will grow up to abuse their own children; in 2008, the estimated cost to the U.S. resulting from child abuse and neglect was $124 billion. So what can we do to help shed light on this horrifying problem, and possibly prevent it from happening? How can we help save these children? We can learn the signs and symptoms of abuse and report them, over and over if we have to, to authorities. You can become a “Child-Helper” and donate to become and advocate for hope and healing, while meeting the needs of children who are abused, neglected and at risk. Click this link to go to the Childhelp website and find out more ways to participate and help the children who need someone to stand up for them when they can’t stand up for themselves. If I could, I would take them all in and nurture and love them, show them that they are valued and precious. Since that isn’t possible, let’s all come together to do what we can, as much as we can, and as often as we can.
National Sexual Assault Awareness Month’s Day of Action (SAAM) – The Month of April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) in the United States. The goal of SAAM is to raise public awareness about sexual violence, to educate people about it and to focus on preventing it. This is such a dry way to describe a horrifying, life altering event in someone’s life! I do not know the specific statistics, and I’m sure I would be shocked by them if I did know them, but look around you. Chances are you know someone, maybe several people, who have been victims of sexual violence and abuse. It could be that they were sexually molested as children, it could be that it was during a dating experience, it could be a random act of violence, and as difficult as it is for some to believe, it can happen within marriages when one partner wishes to exert control over the other. It happens to both sexes, so don’t close your mind and eyes and limit it to an issue that happens to women only. Sexual violence isn’t isolated to when it is actually happening. It replays when the victim closes their eyes to go to sleep. It creeps into their dreams, turning them to nightmares. It sneaks up when someone unexpectedly reaches out for an innocent hug, or in a raised voice, a raised hand or just seeing something or someone that reminds them of the person who hurt them. It resonates in their ability to go about life normally, and it is in the secret hidden in the heart. It is difficult for a victim to talk about, especially if it happened within a family setting, and they either are afraid of hurting the rest of the family, or of the backlash when the perpetrator cries LIE! Sexual assault is something that needs to end, it needs to stop leaving destroyed lives littered along life’s path. By working together we can highlight sexual violence as a major public health, human rights and social justice issue, and reinforce the need for prevention efforts.
National Ferret Day – Ferrets are cute! These weasel-like critters are the 3rd most common un-caged pet in all of North America after dogs and cats. Today, in honor of National Ferret Day, these little polecat pets have a chance to shine in the spotlight and win people over with their playful personalities and sweet little noses. Here are 10 ferret facts that may put a smile on your face, surprise you, or convince you that maybe a ferret should be a part of your life:
* The thought of having a ferret as a pet might be new to you, but these furry creatures have been loved by humans for centuries. They have been popular companions for such a long time that you can even see them in famous paintings like DaVinci’s “Lady with an Ermine” and Queen Elizabeth’s I’s “Ermine Portrait”
* If you have had a ferret, you may know the difference between a hobs and a jill. No, they aren’t just a name, they are terms for different kinds of ferrets. Jills are fertile females, and sprites are neutered females. Hobs are fertile male ferrets and gibs are neutered males. Kits are babies that are younger than 10 weeks old.
* Ferrets came to the New World over 300 years ago. Early English settlers brought them on board the ships to help with rodent extermination – which of course is a good segue to the fact that ferrets are NOT rodents!
* Ferrets are strict carnivores. Their digestive systems are biologically designed to digest ONLY meat. The do not have a cecum, which is necessary to digest plant materials. In spite of this there are ferret owners who have introduced non-meat foods into their ferret’s diets.
* Ferrets are very playful and friendly, and domestic ferrets are unafraid of humans.
* Ferrets are very intelligent, and they actually have been put to work! According to the Daily Mail, Ferrets helped to lay and string television cables so that Prince Andrew’s wedding could be broadcast to the rest of the world in 1986. They also strung the cables under the stage for a millennium concert in Greenwich Park. How you ask? I have no idea, it’s just a fact I found that I thought was interesting.
* Ferrets are easily excited and they make it obvious when they are happy and having fun. When they are happy their behavior is called “Weasel War Dance” and often happens after a time of playing with their owners. The dance consists of sideways and backwards hops and results in them arching their backs and whipping their tails. Here’s a video of a ferret named Mocha showing her moves. You’ll see her start her little dance about 39 seconds in. Very cute!
* Ferrets have competitions just like dogs and cats do! They participate in breed shows where the most well-groomed ferrets battle it out for best coloration, shape, health and demeanor. There are even ferret races, and athletic competitions that have them running through tunnels, swimming and climbing through mazes.
* If you are looking for a cuddly pet that can stay calm and quiet, a ferret may be the pet for you! They sleep up to 20 hours a day. Their natural time to sleep is during the day, but they are very adaptable and will adjust to the schedule of their owners and start sleeping at night so they don’t keep you up all night.
* There are even famous movie ferrets! Ferrets featured in at least three famous movies – Beastmaster, Kindergarten Cop and Along Came Polly! I only saw Kindergarten Cop and the ferret was a hero!
As with any new pet in your life, research everything you need to know about owing and taking proper care of a ferret before you bring one home. It’s not fair to get an animal just to return it later because it wasn’t what you expected. This stands true for ANY pet, not just a ferret.
National Love Your Produce Manager Day – Do you appreciate the produce manager at your local market? You should! They work hard to bring you healthy, beautiful fresh fruits and vegetables every single day. Today we celebrate National Love Your Produce Manager Day. They are truly unsung heroes of the healthy eating world and deserve our applause. I know we have all shopped at stores that have substandard produce, and we’ve all shopped at stores that has AWESOME produce – we have our produce manager to thank for that. There are only two stores I get produce from most of the time – unless I am going to use it THAT day. I know that it is the freshest it could possibly be, and if I get it home and something is wrong with it, those stores will take it back and replace it without any questions. I can plan a few days worth of meals ahead while buying produce from those stores, while others I feel I must use it on the same day or it will just be worthless. Sad waste of money, so I spend a little more up front and guarantee fresh, beautiful food for the table. So a big thanks to our Produce Managers today!
National Walking Day – It’s time to get healthy! Today we celebrate WALKING! This day was started by the American Heart Association and on this day companies, organizations and individuals across America are going to put on their walking shoes and take 30 minutes to walk and pledge to live heart-healthy lives. So many of us spend so much more time at work, chained to a desk must of the day. The unfortunate side effect of sitting so much is that we are becoming an inactive nation. This is a big problem when you consider the fact that physical inactivity doubles the risk of heart disease. On National Walking Day employees are encouraged to wear sneakers to work and take at least 30 minutes out of their way to get up and walk. Employers who wish to put together a wellness team event can download the National Walking Day toolkit, which can help design one day walking events, or six-week programs to help get employees and bosses alike more active. Getting out and walking helps reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, some forms of cancer and other medical conditions, and walking also helps relieve work stress and gives employees a chance to recharge for the rest of the work day. Today’s as good a day to start as any! Get out there and walk!
Whole Grain Sampling Day – In the interest of good health and making our food choices count each day, today we celebrate adding whole grains to our diets. This one was organized by Boston-based, non-profit Oldways, and its Whole Grains Council. Today we have the third annual, nationwide Whole Grains Sampling Day. The goal is to nudge us along to make at least half of the daily grains servings to be whole grain choices like whole wheat bread and pasta, oats, barley and popcorn. According to the Journal of Nutrition, whole grains may help lower our risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and even better manage our weight. I thought it was interesting that researchers don’t exactly know what it is in whole grains that give them this ability, but it is most likely a combination of its healthy components such as vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals working together to give us the health benefits that they do. Many restaurants and food companies are starting to feature whole grains, and have these nutritious options on their menus, such as: California Pizza Kitchen serving whole wheat pizza crust, whole wheat pita and quinoa-arugula salad; Bon Me Food Trucks have their whole grain Vietnamese rice bowls with brown rice and soba noodle salads (that sounds delicious!); Clover Restaurants and Food Trucks have their whole grain soups, salads and pita bread; Dunkin’ Donuts always has whole grain and multigrain bagels as a healthier option for breakfast. What will YOU have today that will give you a healthy serving of whole grains?
World Autism Day – Today we put focus and attention on World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD). This was first held in 2008, after a United Nations resolution that was proposed by Quatar and supported by every member state. I don’t usually feature U.N. sponsored celebrations because I have a personal problem with the U.N. as an organization, but this one is worthy. Basically the resolution established that the 2nd of April would be designated as WAAD, and the month of April happens to also be Autism Awareness Month in the United States. This has been adopted in the UK as well. So, what IS WAAD? As the name suggests, it raises awareness. Autism is still a very misunderstood condition, in spite of recent figures released in the United States that suggest that, on average, 1 in 68 children are on the Autistic Spectrum. Until a few years ago many people’s knowledge of the condition came from the movie “Rainman” from 1988, which featured Dustin Hoffman starring as an Autistic man with an extraordinary ability to calculate numbers and count objects. Many people believed that this was the case for anyone on the spectrum, but that isn’t true and is in reality very different. Recently there has been an increase in awareness and understanding of autism, but there are still many myths and misconceptions that surround the condition and raising awareness of the facts will help people understand more about this very complex and varied condition. The biggest misconception is that those on the Autistic Spectrum don’t like being around other people and prefer being left alone. This idea comes from the view that they appear to show no interest or attention to the world around them, and it is commonly believed that this shows that they don’t want to interact with other people. This is not true! For those on the spectrum this is a very damaging view! They actually care deeply about those around them, such as their family and friends, but they do not understand how to show these feelings or thoughts, and that can be misread as those feelings not existing at all. We can raise awareness in many ways, but the biggest is the Light It Up Blue Campaign, which is a global event held on WAAD. There are many other things too. There are fund raising events being held, and there are those who will come forward to talk about how they live with Autism and how they feel about it. Though I can’t find out why, it seems the color blue is the most common color associated with ASD and is why the Light It Up Blue theme came about. Another symbol of Autism if the puzzle piece, which to me seems like a beautiful symbol for this condition! Autism is a bit like a piece to a jigsaw puzzle. I read this analogy somewhere else and I had to share it – so don’t think it was my original idea. I’m just learning about Autism and wouldn’t have thought about this one without some prompting. But as every jigsaw puzzle piece is different, no two pieces being the same, they each have a place in the puzzle, no matter. Without that puzzle piece, the puzzle can’t be completed. Isn’t that beautiful?
This Day In History –
1792 – Congress passes the Coinage Act and the U.S. Mint is born.
1801 – Napoleonic Wars: Battle of Copenhagen – The British destroy the Danish fleet.
Food Celebration of the Day –
National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day – No need to suffer from arachibutyrophobia — the fear of getting peanut butter stuck to the roof of your mouth — in a PB&J. Jelly is always there to help smooth the way. I do have to giggle at this as a fear, but I suppose it could be disconcerting to folks who have it. I discovered not all that long ago that one of my favorite sandwiches is a Peanut Butter and Jelly Panini? YUM! It’s like dessert on bread – though be careful – that jelly gets hot and will put blisters on the roof of your mouth if you’re not careful! Let it cool!
Grilled Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich
Peanut Butter & Jelly Muffins
Jelly-Filled Cupcakes With Peanut Butter Frosting
Peanut Butter & Jelly Chip Sandwich
Peanut Butter & Jelly Thumbprint Cookies
Whew! I told you there was a lot going on today! And now, being Wednesday, I really need to get my to-do list ready! There is a lot I’d like to get done, and if I schedule my time wisely I may even be able to call my Dad to see if he wants to go for a walk with me. I’d better hop to it if I want that to happen! Maybe you can schedule a walk with someone you love too! It’ll do you both a lot of good. God Bless You and I’ll see you tomorrow!