Happy Friday and welcome to November! We can celebrate Friday AND race into full on holiday mode! Planning for Thanksgiving, family, cold weather and, for me, the start to my favorite time of year can commence. In all of the chaos, noise, bustle and hurry, I am absolutely in my element. I may utter a fuss once in awhile about being tired, but underneath it all I absolutely love it. My Mom has asked me for years, why do we go to so much effort and trouble for Thanksgiving and I have to honestly say that I love it. Hubby and I both do. We plan the dishes we want to make, we both have our specialties and we set about making them. I do the baking and a couple of the side dishes, but he does the main meal. We work well in the kitchen together and the happiness we get from having family and friends gathered around our table is all the reward we need for all the work. Well, that and all of the leftovers of course! For me this month is extra special because in 12 very quick days I will be performing my son and his beautiful fiancée’s wedding ceremony, and expanding our family to include both our new daughter-in-law and her wonderful son, who we already love as if he’s been our grandson from the moment he was born. Yes, this is my favorite time of year and I am looking forward to savoring every moment of it.
All Saint’s 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.
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 6th 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 of the 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 more calm and 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 as you live your life.
National Authors’ 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.
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 can 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.
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.
This Day In History
1914 – The Bra was patented.
Food Celebration of the Day –
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?!
- Quick Cider Vinegar Dressing
- Strawberries With Balsamic Vinegar
- Pork Chops & Vinegar Peppers
- Grilled Chicken Breasts in Raspberry Vinegar Marinade
- Fried Eggs With Coriander, Cumin & Balsamic Vinegar
- French Chicken in Vinegar Sauce
- Chile-Vinegar Sauce
Well, November’s off to a great start! It’s going to be a GREAT month! God Bless You and I’ll see you tomorrow!