Thursday, 30 April 2015

Mother's Day History

Defining the role of 'mother' is neither exhaustive nor universal and any definition of 'mother' may differ based on how social, cultural, and religious roles are defined. A 'mother', whether biological, adoptive, or stepmother (other mother), is usually the primary caregiver, fulfilling the main social role in raising the child(ren).

One of the more famous mother's in history, is Mary, Mother of Jesus, also known as Saint Mary or the Blessed Virgin Mary. The New Testament describes Mary as a virgin who conceived her son miraculously by the command of God. This took place when Mary, at the age of 12 or 13, was already betrothed to a carpenter named Joseph and was awaiting marriage. The angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and announced her divine selection to be the mother of Jesus. After marrying Joseph she travelled with him to Bethlehem, where Jesus was born.

Although Mary's life held great honor, her calling would demand great suffering as well. Just as there is pain in childbirth and motherhood, there would be much pain in the privilege of being the mother of the Messiah.

Mother Teresa is another well known 'mother'. While not a 'typical' mother in the sense that we have come to define, was a Roman Catholic sister and missionary who lived most of her life in India. Mother Teresa was widely admired by many for her charitable works, giving wholehearted free service. She ran hospices and homes for people with HIV/AIDS, leprosy and tuberculosis; soup kitchens, mobile clinics, children's and family counselling programs, orphanages and schools. She was, in every sense, a mother to the poorest of the poor.

Mother's Day is a celebration honoring motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society.

In England, during the 1600's, Christians celebrated a day to honor Mary, the mother of Christ. The holiday, celebrated on the 4th Sunday of Lent, was later expanded to include all mothers, and called 'Mothering Sunday', which included a cake called the mothering cake. Servants would have this day off and were encouraged to spend the day with their mothers.

As Christianity spread throughout Europe the celebration changed to honor the 'Mother Church' and over time the church festival blended with the 'Mothering Sunday' celebration with people honoring mothers as well as the church. This tradition slowly ceased with the passage of time.

In the United States, Mother's Day was loosely inspired by the British day and was first suggested after the American Civil War by social activist Julia Ward Howe. Julia, born to Wall Street stockbroker, Samuel Ward III, was a prominent social activist and poet, and the author of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic", which she was inspired to write in November 1861 after she and her husband met with Abraham Lincoln at the White House. It quickly became one of the most popular songs of the Union during the American Civil War.

After the war Julia decided to become active in reform and focused her activities on the causes of pacifism and women's suffrage. She founded many women's clubs and associations and in 1870, became president of the New England Women’s Club and founded the weekly "Woman’s Journal", a suffragist magazine which was widely read. That same year, she wrote her "Appeal to womanhood throughout the world" to rise against war, later known as 'Mother's Day Proclamation', asking women from around the world to join for world peace. In 1872, she asked that "Mother's Day" be celebrated on the 2nd of June; however, her efforts were unsuccessful.

Mother's Day was first celebrated in 1908, when Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother in Grafton, West Virginia, honoring her own mother by continuing work she started and to set aside a day to honor mothers. Her campaign to make Mother's Day a recognized holiday in the United States began in 1905, the year her mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, died. Large jars of white carnations were set about the platform where the service was conducted. At the end of the exercise one of these white carnations was given to each person present as a souvenir of Mother's Day.

Anna, preferring to remain unmarried, spent many years looking after her ailing mother. When her mother died in Philadelphia on May 9, 1905, Anna missed her greatly and felt children often neglected to appreciate their mother enough while the mother was still alive.

Anna's mother was a peace activist who cared for wounded soldiers on both sides of the Civil War and created Mother’s Day Work Clubs to address public health issues. Ann Marie Reeves Jarvis, a young Appalachian homemaker who, starting in 1858, had attempted to improve sanitation through what she called 'Mothers Friendship Day'. In the 1900's, at a time when most women devoted their time solely on their family and homes, Jarvis was working to assist in the healing of the nation after the Civil War.

Due to Anna's campaign efforts, several states officially recognized Mother's Day, the first in 1910 being West Virginia, Jarvis’ home state. In 1914 Woodrow Wilson signed the proclamation creating Mother’s Day, the second Sunday in May, as a national holiday to honor mothers. It soon crossed national boundaries into Mexico, Canada, South America, China, Japan and Africa.

By the early 1920's, Hallmark and other companies started selling Mother's Day cards. The commercialization of Mother's Day soon caused Anna to become resentful and angry that companies would profit from the holiday. Jarvis became so embittered by what she saw as misinterpretation and exploitation that she protested and tried to rescind Mother's Day.

The holiday that she worked so hard for was supposed to be about sentiment. Jarvis organized boycotts and threatened lawsuits to try to stop the commercialization. She crashed a candymakers' convention in Philadelphia in 1923, and two years later protested the American War Mothers, which raised money by selling carnations, the flower associated with Mother’s Day, and was arrested for disturbing the peace.

In 1933, Roosevelt’s first year in office, Mrs. H. McCluer of Kansas City, a past National President of the American War Mothers, put forth the idea of having a special stamp for use in conjunction with Mother's Day mail. After presenting her idea to President Roosevelt on January 25, 1934, was informed on February 16 that her request had been granted.

President Roosevelt, known to have been devoted to his own mother, personally sketched his idea for the stamp.

Jarvis's holiday was adopted by other countries and it is now celebrated all over the world. According to the National Restaurant Association, Mother's Day is now the most popular day of the year to dine out at a restaurant.

Mother's Day continues to this day to be one of the most commercially successful occasions.

Monday, 27 April 2015

Italian Herb Bread


1 Loaf French Bread
1/2 cup margarine
2 tbsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp savory
1 tsp celery salt
1/2 tsp rosemary
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp chervil (or parsley)
1/2 tsp basil
1 tsp sage
3 tsp parsley
1/2 tsp oregano


Combine all ingredients, spread on sliced bread. Wrap in foil. Heat in 350 deg. Oven for 30 minutes.

Feed Shark

Monday, 20 April 2015

Roasted Vegetable Medley

Serves 8


1 large butternut squash (1.5 lbs)
1 pound carrots
1 pound parsnips
1 small rutabaga
1 pound shallots
3 tsp dried rosemary
3 tbsp olive oil
Sea salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 450° F. Peel and remove seeds, cutting the squash into ½ inch wedges. Peel and cut carrots and parsnips into 2 inch lengths. Peel and cut rutabaga into ½ inch wedges. Peel shallots and cut into halves, if large.

Combine the vegetables and rosemary in a large bowl. Drizzle with oil, sprinkle with 1 tsp salt, and season with pepper. Toss to combine and spread in an even layer on parchment lined baking sheet.

Roast until vegetables are tender and golden in color, tossing occasionally (approximately 40-50 minutes). Serve warm.

Sweet Potato Wedges with Sesame-Soy Dip

Serves 6


4 sweet potatoes
1 ½ tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
1 ½ tsp sesame seeds
Sea salt


Preheat oven to 425° F. Toss potato wedges (cut into ¾ inch wedges) with olive oil and ¼ tsp salt. Spread in an even lay on a parchment lined baking sheet. Roast approximately 30 minutes, until tender and slightly browned, turning halfway through.

For dipping sauce, stir together soy sauce, vinegar, and sesame oil in small bowl.

Transfer potato wedges to a serving dish, immediately sprinkling with sesame seeds. Serve with the dipping sauce.


Italian Bean and Artichoke Salad

*Be careful not to marinate the beans and artichokes more than half an hour, or the green color will turn dull.
Serves 6


3 ½ cups green beans (or two pkgs 10 oz frozen), cooked and diced
2 cups (10 oz pkg frozen) artichoke hearts, cooked and diced
¼ cup diced pimento
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp onion juice
½ tsp salt
½ tsp oregano
¼ tsp crushed rosemary
1/8 tsp pepper


Cook green beans and artichoke hearts separately according to label directions; then drain and cool. Add pimentos, cover and chill. Make dressing separately by combining olive oil with wine vinegar, onion juice, salt, oregano, rosemary and pepper. Lightly toss with bean mixture and chill well. To serve: drain beans and artichoke hearts from the dressing, using a slotted spoon. Mound on serving platter. Serve extra dressing alongside, if desired.


Friday, 10 April 2015

The Tears of a Cow

Cows are amongst the gentlest of breathing creatures; none show more passionate tenderness to their young when deprived of them; and, in short, I am not ashamed to profess a deep love for these quiet creatures. ~Thomas de Quincey

The term cattle, a word borrowed from the Anglo-Norman French word catel, itself borrowed from medieval Latin capitale (principal sum of money, or capital) is a variant of chattel (unit of personal property) and closely related to capital (in the economic sense) which originally referred to movable personal property, specifically livestock of any kind.

Domesticated since at least the early Neolithic period, cattle occupy a unique role in human history. In many cultures, they are raised for meat, dairy products, hides, and also used as draft animals. Some consider cattle the oldest form of wealth, with cattle raiding consequently being one of the earliest forms of theft.

In Hinduism, the cow is thought to be sacred or very holy, whereby most Hindus don't eat beef. The cow represents strength, and is respected by Hindus for her gentle nature which embodies the main teaching of Hinduism. Having great respect for the cow, and like other animals, Hindus believe that all life has a soul in which God resides, thus killing it would be a crime.

The cow was possibly revered because Hindus relied heavily on it for dairy products and for tilling the fields, and on cow dung for fuel and fertilizer. Thus, the cow’s status as a caretaker led to identifying it as an almost maternal figure. In earlier days, cattle being limited to select few fortunate folks, enjoyed the status that gold or money enjoys today.

How does it come to be that one culture considers a certain species of animal to be a mere commodity, whereas another culture will revere the same species as sacred?

Is it arrogance or is it conditioning that leads us to make the choices we make? Speciesism is a term that was coined by Richard D. Ryder, a British psychologist, in 1970, and refers to the idea that being human is a good enough reason for human animals to have greater moral rights than non-human animals … that all other species of animals are inferior and may therefore be used for human benefit without regard to the suffering inflicted.

Most of us who have ever had dogs as pets, include them as part of the family … man's best friend. Therefore, we are appalled and disgusted by the practice of dog meat consumption in Yulin or Jinhua, or wherever.

According to Jinhua's website, folklore states that the tradition of dog meat consumption originated when, in the 14th century, Hu Dahai, a rebel battling the Yuan Dynasty, ordered all dogs in Jinhua to be slaughtered because their barking had warned rebels of his army’s approach. His soldiers were then treated to dog meat, and it has since been a custom at temple fairs.

Whether there is any truth to this story or not is really of no importance. The importance lies in asking ourselves the following questions. Have I actually taken the time to question all outdated concepts and superficial values? Am I still just blindly following along with ideas based on the whim of another person many centuries before me? Am I truly the person I thought I was?

I considered myself to be a true animal lover. After all, I had many pets in my life: dogs, cats, birds, fish, etc. I visited petting zoos with the kids. I admired the picturesque beauty of horses and cows out to pasture as I drove by. But was I truly an animal lover, or did I pick and choose which animals deserved my moral consideration? There was a time I could walk into a grocery store and purchase meat without giving any consideration to the fact that it once was a beautiful living soul. I came to realize that I was a speciesist!

Waking up doesn't always happen in one full swoop, but in a series of smaller awakenings. This realization was big … and I had been hitting the snooze button far too long. When one is witness to the tears of a cow before she goes to slaughter, or cry out in anguish when her calf is taken away from her, it changes a person. It tore at my heart and opened my eyes with a jolt. How could I have missed this? How could I have been so blind?

If I was to consider myself an animal lover, immediate changes were to be made … and so they were. It wasn't a gradual removal of things off the grocery list either, but all meat and animal by-products were no longer an option. How could they be?

Cows form bonding relationships with other cows, just as we do with people. They have favorite or best friends and have a strong maternal bond with their young. And like us, if a cow is separated from their friends or their young, they become stressed. When allowed, a mother cow will remain close with her young for life.

In all factory farms, cows are artificially impregnated for milk production. After giving birth, they are almost immediately separated from their babies. Female calves will follow the fate of their mothers, while the males will suffer a worse fate with the meat industry.

After a calf is taken from his mother, she cries out for him with longing and heartbreaking distress.

Cows spend most of their lives bearing calves and giving milk. When their milk capacity ceases they are no longer of use, therefore disposed of in lieu of the high cost of keeping them.

Cows have the ability to express many emotions, and joy is one such emotion. Usually, cows are happy when they are let out to pasture in the spring, but these cows are happier than the average dairy cow because they no longer have the stress of giving milk in their lives, until their body is leached out, or from losing their babies. Here you can feel their joy, after these cows were rescued!

“When I look into the eyes of an animal, I do not see an animal. I see a living being. I see a friend. I feel a soul.” ~A.D. Williams



Monday, 6 April 2015

~ This Hot Little Tamale Is An Aphrodisiac ~

~ Turn on the HEAT 
 Spice up your love life with
Cayenne Pepper ~

Cayenne pepper, named for the city of Cayenne in French Guiana, is also known as the Guinea spice, cow-horn pepper, red hot chili pepper, bird pepper, and in its powdered form, red pepper. The fruits are generally dried and ground, then sifted to make the powdered spice of the same name, which is used to flavor dishes. Relatively high in vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, riboflavin, potassium, and manganese. However, it's nutrient contribution is minimal due to the small amount consumed in a serving.

Aphrodisiacs have been sought since the beginning of time. A mixture of chocolate and chili peppers were reserved strictly for the pleasures of Aztec Royalty, leading them to believe it had SPIRITUAL and MYSTICAL qualities, it was considered a mood enhancer.

Capsaicin is an active component of the chili pepper, which produces a sensation of burning in any tissue with which it comes into contact, giving cayenne pepper it's claim to fame as an aphrodisiac. There are other spices that fit the bill as aphrodisiacs as well, but cayenne pepper ranks the top of the list as the all time 'hot' favorite.

The capsaicin in peppers heats up the body and increases blood flow to all major organs. The brain also releases a feel-good chemical called endorphins. This internal "endorphin rush" combined with the external effects of flushed skin and kissable swollen lips, leads to sexual desire.
Other than its use as an aphrodisiac, cayenne pepper has many other powerful health benefits as well. Due to the high amounts of capsaicin, consuming cayenne pepper causes the blood vessels to dilate which increases energy and speeds up metabolism, in turn causing weight loss.

It has also been shown to regulate high blood pressure, promote healthy liver function and tissue production.

Please note, however, the capsaicin capsules may cause stomach irritation and pain. If you have ulcers or heartburn you should talk to your doctor or health care provider before using capsaicin. People who are allergic to latex, bananas, kiwi, chestnuts, and avocado may also have an allergy to cayenne.

Feed Shark

Saturday, 4 April 2015

The True Meaning of Easter

Chocolate is undoubtedly one of life's great pleasures, and without fail, shopping malls will be landlocked with parents and grandparents purchasing their lot of the chocolate bounty.  A staggering amount, alone, will be purchased and consumed for this weekend's Easter holiday. According to the National Retail Association, Americans spent $16.8 billion on chocolate last Easter.

So what's the deal with the bunny and the egg at Easter? Well let's take a moment to reflect on the true meaning and symbolism of Easter:

The Easter Bunny or Easter Hare, as a symbol of Easter, is depicted as a rabbit bringing Easter eggs, originating among German Lutherans. The "Easter Hare" originally played the role of a judge, evaluating whether children were good or disobedient in behavior at the start of the season of Eastertide.

In Christianity, for the celebration of Eastertide, Easter eggs symbolize the empty tomb of Jesus. An egg appears to be like the stone of a tomb. A bird hatches from the egg with life; in which the Easter egg, for Christians, is a reminder that Jesus rose from the grave, and those who believe will also experience eternal life.

In A Course in Miracles, Jesus tells us that the crucifixion is not as important as the resurrection. The crucifixion was a demonstration to us that the horrific assault of the ego does not matter. Easter is a celebration of victory of acceptance and truth; and for us to not to brood over the crucifixion, but instead to celebrate his release.

"This week begins with palms and ends with lilies, the white and holy sign the Son of God is innocent. Let no dark sign of crucifixion intervene between the journey and its purpose; between the acceptance of the truth and its expression. This week we celebrate life, not death. And we honor the perfect purity of the Son of God, and not his sins. Offer your brother the gift of lilies, not the crown of thorns; the gift of love and not the "gift" of fear. You stand beside your brother, thorns in one hand and lilies in the other, uncertain which to give. Join now with me and throw away the thorns, offering the lilies to replace them. This Easter I would have the gift of your forgiveness offered by you to me, and returned by me to you. We cannot be united in crucifixion and in death. Nor can the resurrection be complete till your forgiveness rests on Christ, along with mine." (T-20.I.2)

Jesus became a model of rebirth; a realization which is already in our minds, in the form of the Holy Spirit. Jesus' resurrection is our reawakening to the Truth.

"It is in your power, in time, to delay the perfect union of the Father and the Son. For in this world, the attraction of guilt does stand between them. Neither time nor season means anything in eternity. But here it is the Holy Spirit’s function to use them both, though not as the ego uses them. This is the season when you would celebrate my birth into the world. Yet you know not how to do it. Let the Holy Spirit teach you, and let me celebrate your birth through Him. The only gift I can accept of you is the gift I gave to you. Release me as I choose your own release. The time of Christ we celebrate together, for it has no meaning if we are apart." (T-15.X.1)

A poem by Helen Schucman, scribe of A Course in Miracles, which was one of the last poems Helen wrote.


        You think Him dead Who rose again for you,
        And so you cannot see the shining light
        In which you are delivered. Come, My child,
        And judge Him not. He is not dead. So bright
        His radiance that nothing still remains
        Obscured from Heaven in the doubt of night.

        So still the birth you did not understand
        Who came to you. Before your frightened eyes
        The Lord of light and life appears to fail
        His promises of Heaven's grace, and dies
        Forever on a cross. Nor can you see
        The Child of hope Who in a manger lies.

        The wise are silent. Stand you by a while
        And let the wise men show you what they see
        That came of you from stillness and from peace
        Which rest in you, but speak to them of Me.
        And then be comforted. The living Lord
        Has come again where He has willed to be.

        Wait now for morning. In the silence hear
        The winged whispering that hails the Son
        In quiet certainty and lovely calm
        Whom death released to life. He is the One
        For Whom you wait. Then look again on Him,
        And join His benediction, "It is done."

Friday, 3 April 2015

Luscious Lemon Love ~ Body Spa

A small evergreen tree native to Asia, bearing it's yellow fruit, has been used for culinary and non-culinary purposes throughout the world, primarily for its juice. The origin of the lemon is unknown, though lemons are thought to have first grown in a region in northeast India, northern Burma, and China.

The lemon was introduced to the Americas in 1493 when Christopher Columbus brought lemon seeds on his voyages. Spanish conquest throughout the New World, helped spread the lemon seeds. It was mainly used as an ornamental plant and for medicine. In the 19th century, lemons were increasingly planted in Florida and California.

In the mid 1700s, though vitamin C was not yet known, James Lind's experiments on seamen suffering from scurvy involved adding lemon juice to their diets.

Lemon oil may be used in aromatherapy, which does not influence the human immune system, but may enhance mood. The low pH of juice makes it antibacterial, and in India, the lemon is used in Indian traditional medicines.

Take time to pamper yourself ~

Everyone needs a little me time, and setting aside a little bit of time for yourself isn't too much to ask. Take the time to pamper yourself - treat yourself well! Here are some ways to pamper yourself with Luscious Lemon Love.

Note: Some people may have a severe chemical reaction when their skin is exposed to lemon juice and sunlight (called phytophotodermatitis). Lemon juice should not be left on the skin for extended periods of time. When using lemon juice and other skin-lightening products, always use sunscreen and avoid unnecessary time in the sun.  If careful about how long the lemon juice is left on the skin, and in what conditions it is applied, you should find lemon juice to be a pretty effective skin lightener.
Lemons move from kitchen to bathroom ~

Compared to a multitude of products we might purchase from the beauty counter, lemon juice is easily obtainable and relatively low in cost. Lemon juice has many benefits when applied directly to the hair and skin.

Hair Lightener - Spending time in the sun is an easy and effective way to naturally highlight your hair. The process of highlighting your hair brings out its natural golden hues. If you want to speed up the process, lemon juice applied to your hair before sun exposure will give you natural looking sunny highlights.

  • Squeeze the juice of one lemon into a bowl, or spray bottle with an equal amount of water - shake well.
  • Spray the lemon mixture concentrating on a few strands, or for a more precise application you can dip a cotton ball into the lemon juice and rub it on a few strands. The more you apply, the lighter your hair will get.
  • Sun-dry your hair for approximately 20-30 minutes, then wash and condition, thoroughly rinsing .
  • (Note: due to the acidity in the lemon juice, bleaching your hair too often can damage it by drying it out.)

Dry Scalp - Lemon juice has antibacterial properties that will alleviate dry and itchy scalp and dandruff. Apply it liberally, leaving in for 5-10 minutes, then shampoo.

Teeth Whitener - Mix approximately 1 good teaspoon of baking soda with just enough fresh lemon juice (or water) to make a paste. The mixture will bubble. Wipe your teeth and any extra saliva off of them with a paper towel. Put a good amount of paste onto your toothbrush and apply. Leave the paste on for 1 minute, then rinse to avoid the acid effecting the enamel. If you are using just water you can leave it on for up to 3 minutes. Do this once a week.

Lemon juice is rich in alpha hydroxy acids ~

Use lemon juice, or diluted lemon juice, as a toner or astringent, applying it with a cotton ball to the facial and neck area, followed up with a moisturizer.
Diminish Scars and Age Spots - Applying lemon juice to the skin can diminish discolored areas caused by scars and age spots, and some skin disorders. Apply directly to the discolored area(s) at bedtime, leaving the lemon juice on the skin overnight, and washing it off in the morning.
Combat Wrinkles - By massaging lemon juice into fine lines and wrinkles, the acidity helps skin look brighter and younger, replenishing the skin's depleted vitamin C levels.

Acne and Blackheads - Lemon juice has a natural antibacterial property that unblocks clogged pores,  fighting acne, and reducing the frequency and severity of blackheads, as well as helping to prevent further breakouts. The antioxidant L-ascorbic acid in lemons is also the same active ingredient in store-bought acne products. If you leave lemon juice on the acne and blackheads over night, be sure to wash it off in the morning.

Tone and Brighten Oily Skin - Other benefits of using lemon juice on the skin besides brightening or lightening the skin, include moisturizing and toning oily skin. Apply lemon juice to the oily areas, then rinse with cool water.
Exfoliates - Lemon juice can be used as a natural "skin peel", since the citric acid gently removes the top layer of dead skin cells, resulting in a smooth complexion when regularly used.
Relieves Sunburn - Gently washing the face with lemon juice and equal parts of water can be a remedy to relieve the pain of sunburn, cooling the burn. It also promotes healing and acts as a disinfectant preventing peeling and blisters.

Full Body Treatment - Add approximately 1/2 cup of lemon juice to a warm bath and soak for 15-20 minutes. Unless your skin is extremely dry, it is not necessary to rinse afterwards.