Mother’s Day

This year, Mother’s Day in the U.S. falls on May 14. Some look forward to this day as a time to honor a beloved mother. Others have less fond memories of their mothers, and for some, whose mothers are gone the holiday reminds them of that loss. Regardless, this is the day set aside to remember our mothers.

According to history.com, “Celebrations of mothers and motherhood can be traced back to the ancient Greeks and Romans, who held festivals in honor of the mother goddesses Rhea and Cybele, but the clearest modern precedent for Mother’s Day is the early Christian festival known as ‘Mothering Sunday.’” It traditionally falls on the fourth Sunday of lent, and the mother originally meant is the mother church (or Mary, the mother of Jesus) when people returned to church for Easter. It still is celebrated on this date in the UK and Ireland but is now much more in tone like the U.S. Mother’s Day.

In the U.S. Julia Ward Howe tried to start a Mother’s Day. In 1870, she wrote the “Mother’s Day Proclamation,” a call to action that asked mothers to unite in promoting world peace. In 1873 Howe crusaded for a “Mother’s Peace Day” to be celebrated every June 2. It didn’t go anywhere.

Anna Jarvis organized a day to honor mothers in 1908. She began campaigning for it to become an official holiday because she felt that holidays were biased towards male achievements. Woodrow Wilson signed the papers to make the second Sunday in May an official holiday in 1914.

Jarvis had conceived this holiday as a time for families to attend church together, or to visit ones mother. But of course, florists and card makers jumped on the holiday, and soon it was a big day for them. This disgusted Jarvis, who tried to uncommercialize the day to absolutely no success.

Quotes about mothers

But behind all your stories is always your mother’s story, because hers is where yours begin.–Mitch Albom

Did you ever meet a mother who’s complained that her child phoned her too often? Me neither.–Maureen Lipman

God could not be everywhere, so He made mothers.–Jewish Proverb

I love old mothers–mothers with white hair
And kindly eyes, and lips grown softly sweet
With murmured blessings over sleeping babes.–Charles S. Ross

I think, at a child’s birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift would be curiosity.–Eleanor Roosevelt

In the years since I began following the ways of my grandmothers, I have come to value the teachings, stories, and daily examples of living which they shared with me. I pity the younger girls f the future who will miss out on meeting some of these fine old women.–Beverly Hungry Wolf

A mother is never cocky or proud, because she knows the school principal may call at any minute to report that her child has just driven a motorcycle through the gymnasium.–Mary Kay Blakeley

A mother’s example sketches the outline of her child’s character.–Mrs. H. O. Ward

There’s no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one.-—Jill Churchill

Any mother could perform the jobs of several air-traffic controllers with ease.–Lisa Alther

The debt of gratitude we owe our mother and father goes forward, not backward. What we owe our parents is the bill presented to us by our children. –Nancy Friday

I think it must somewhere be written that the virtues of mothers shall be visited on their children, as well as the sins of their fathers.–Charles Dickens

It’s easy to pick children whose mothers are good housekeepers; they are usually found in other yards.—Anonymous

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National Nutty Fudge Day

May 12 is National Nutty Fudge Day. There are many stories about how fudge was created. Some claim the first known reference to it was in an 1886 letter Witten by Emelyn Battersby Hartridge who wrote that a cousin of a schoolmate made it and sold it in a store in Baltimore for forty cents a pound. However, the Scots claim they have an earlier reference in a book called The Household Book of Lady Grisell Baillie written in the seventeenth century. You can still buy a reprint of it at Amazon, if this has whetted your appetite, so to speak. A delightful story about fudge’s origins says that a young apprentice caramel maker was left stirring the pot while the boss was out serving customers. By the time he returned, the caramel was so grainy it was ruined – but the customers loved it, and named it Fudge after the apprentice who mistakenly made it. Another is that someone was trying to make toffee, and the heat wasn’t high enough.

Whatever the background, fudge is now a well-loved treat. One of the earliest memories I have of cooking is standing on a stool, stirring fudge as it heated. We always put walnuts in ours, but you can use pecans or peanuts (& peanut butter – yum!) or whatever nut suits your fancy. If you want to make some fudge or just try a new recipe, The Nutty Scoop, has links to such treats as Rocky Road Fudge, Caramel Pecan Fudge, Maple Walnut Fudge, and Peanut Butter Explosion Fudge.

In Europe, fudge is made from just sugar, cream, and butter, but here in the US, we are more likely to add chocolate. Of course!

For anyone who watched the science fiction show Warehouse 13, you will remember one of the questions asked to determine the level of danger was “Do you smell fudge in places where there is no fudge?”

One of the best things I came across while looking up information on this yummy holiday is a cartoon featuring an older woman in a rocking chair, named Aunty Acid. It said, “Life is like chocolate. Sometimes you gotta deal with nuts.” I leave you with that philosophy before adding quotes about fudge.

When I was a child and the snow fell, my mother always rushed to the kitchen and made snow ice cream and divinity fudge-egg whites, sugar and pecans, mostly. It was a lark then and I always associate divinity fudge with snowstorms.–Eudora Welty

Everyone needs fudge, Hildy. It’s how God helps us cope.–Joan Bauer

North America was ready for something other than a vanilla cooking show and we were providing the double dark chocolate fudge.–Nadia Giosia

That pipe just so happens to lead to the room where I make the most delicious flavored chocolate covered fudge.” Then he will be made into strawberry flavored chocolate covered fudge, they’ll be selling him by the pound, all over the world!” No, I wouldn’t allow it. The taste would be terrible. Can you imagine Augustus flavored chocolate covered gloop? Ew. No one would buy it. (from Johnny Depp movie version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)

If someone has a lot of work to do, put a piece of fudge in a glass container (so they can see it) and let them know that if they accomplish their tasks, they can eat the fudge. You’ll definitely get a reaction!–Michael Scott

If I were thin, I’d never say ‘I am powerless over fudge.’ a) I can’t believe I actually ever said that. b) Which, of course, isn’t to say that I do have any power over fudge. Particularly if it has nuts.–Camryn Manheim

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National Teacher Appreciation Week

Since 1984, the National PTA has designated the first full week in May as a special time to honor the men and women who lend their passion and skills to educating children. I would also include those who teach students at university level and those who teach adults. A teacher is a teacher. This is the week to thank them.

I recently saw a meme on Facebook that said, “If you can read this, thank a teacher.” For most of us that is very true. I shared an apartment with a teacher for several years, and I can say that she not only cared for her class deeply – not only what they were learning but the children themselves – but that she put in hours and hours of work outside of school to make their learning experience exciting and memorable. And because her school, like so many others, was always pinched for resources, she spent a lot of her own money seeing they had the materials they needed, as well as spending hours at the local library finding books to share with them.

I’m sure most of us can think of at least one teacher who inspired us, whether that was in elementary school, middle school, high school, or college. My first memorable teacher was in the primary grades. She held me back after school one night because she could tell I wasn’t feeling well. She drove me home – can you imagine that happening today? Turns out, I was coming down with chicken pox! Next, I remember a Latin teacher in high school that I loved (so alright, I’m a nerd), and an English teacher who took the time to work with us individually, instead of teaching the entire class the same thing.

I also appreciate those who weren’t official teachers, like my Dad, who taught me I could be anything I wanted to be, as well as other mentors who gave me encouragement when I needed it.

So please, appreciate a teacher this week, and for those of you who are teachers, we appreciate you!

Quotes about teachers

The best teacher is the one who suggests rather than dogmatizes, and inspires his listener with the wish to teach himself.–Edward Bulwer-Lytton

Inspired teachers … cannot be ordered by the gross from the factory. They must be discovered one by one, and brought home from the woods and swamps like orchids. They must be placed in a conservatory, not in a carpenter shop; and they must be honored and trusted.–John Jay Chapman

A good teacher is never done … always trying to reinvent, improve and inspire.–David Carlson

I am not a teacher, but an awakener.–Robert Frost

The good teacher makes the poor student good and the good student superior.–Marva Collins

I never teach my pupils, I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.–Albert Einstein

Good teachers empathize with kids, respect them, and believe that each one has something special that can be built upon.–Ann Lieberman

The job of a teacher is to excite in the young a boundless sense of curiosity about life, so that the growing child shall come to apprehend it with an excitement tempered by awe and wonder.–John Garrett

In a completely rational society, the best of us would be teachers and the rest of us would have to settle for something else.–Lee Iaccoca

One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary new material, but the warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.–Carl Jung

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Goodwill Industries Week

The first full week in May is Goodwill Industries Week. Goodwill started back in 1902 in Boston. A Methodist minister named Edgar J. Helms wanted to help the poor in that city by other means than charity. From the Goodwill page: “Helms collected used household goods and clothing in wealthier areas of the city, then trained and hired those who were poor to mend and repair the used goods. The goods were then resold or were given to the people who repaired them. The system worked, and the Goodwill philosophy of ‘a hand up, not a hand out’ was born.” There’s a short video (just over a minute) about Goodwill and their history on YouTube. I encourage you to watch it. After a few seconds of telling who they are now, they talk about their beginnings, with pictures from that time.

Besides the stores, which are the public face of Goodwill, there is a lot going on behind the scenes. They provide workforce connection centers, vocational and employment services, day service programs, skill training in business careers, food service, and light industrial. Some are involved in Meals on Wheels for seniors. They also work with sailors, especially at the Navy’s boot camp on the Great Lakes. They may be involved in quality control services for both local and larger companies.

I love Goodwill. They were a source of clothing for me during a time in my life when I was poor enough that buying a $3.50 jacket there was a major decision. But even now when I am much better off, I love going in, not only for the clothing but also for all the other things. As a crafts’ person, I love perusing the aisles of knick-knacks for inspiration for making gifts. I also admit to the occasional purchase of something frivolous, such as a plush polar bear who called to me as I walked by him, wild socks, and a cup from Crater Lake with my name on it.

A couple of quotes about capital G Goodwill, and more about small g goodwill

I like Goodwill and the thrift stores. I don’t like going into a store and picking from a bunch of cute stuff that’s already been found. One of the best parts is finding it myself.–Kreayshawn

I grew up with not a lot of money and I definitely shopped at Goodwill. But even in my most unfortunate state, I was really blessed compared to a lot of the rest of the world. I had a really great chance to follow my dreams and have them actually come true.–AnnaLynne McCord

I just believe in the goodwill of people, the power of people to do something positive.–Eddie Izzard

Goodwill toward all beings is the true religion; cherish in your hearts boundless goodwill to all that lives.–Gautama Buddha

Nothing that I can do will change the structure of the universe. But maybe, by raising my voice I can help the greatest of all causes — goodwill among men and peace on earth.–Albert Einstein

Seeds of kindness, goodwill, and human understanding, planted in fertile soil, spring up into deathless friendships, big deeds of worth, and a memory that will not soon fade out.–George Matthew Adams

Affirm divine calmness and peace, and send out only thoughts of love and goodwill if you want to live in peace and harmony. Never get angry, for anger poisons your system.–Paramahansa Yogananda

We can work together for a better world with men and women of goodwill, those who radiate the intrinsic goodness of humankind.–Wangari Maathai

Our experience has taught us that with goodwill a negotiated solution can be found for even the most profound problems.–Nelson Mandela

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International No Diet Day

We celebrate International No Diet Day on May 6. It is not as it sounds, a day to pig out and forget all the rules of sensible eating. No. According to Cute Calendar, Mary Evans Young created this holiday in 1992. After personally experiencing anorexia, she worked to help people appreciate themselves for what they are, and to appreciate the body they have. The National Eating Disorder Information Centre reminds us that health care professionals can also use this day to encourage people to engage in healthy lifestyles and to expose incorrect beliefs about food and weight.

People are coming to realize you don’t have to look like a Hollywood model to be beautiful. Dr. Kim Dennis, a psychiatrist, and CEO and medical director of Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center, has this to say. “We have a false belief that thinness equals power, thinness equals beauty, and thinness equals success. And not only thinness, but emaciation. And, for most women, the body type they strive to emulate is far from their natural, beautiful, God-given body type.”

There are various ways to approach healthy eating, such as mindful eating (see the book of the same name by Jan Chozen Bays. Another is the slow food movement. Their 2013 book is called Slow Food Nation and is an interesting read. The author, Carlo Petrini urges us to stay away from fast food, rather eating natural food grown locally. Another good person to read is Michael Pollan, with such books as In Defense of Food.

Finally, Days of the Year, has this advice. “Celebrating No Diet Day is best done by recognizing that your own body is beautiful exactly as it is. De-emphasizing your efforts to shed weight to look a particular way, it is far better to celebrate the holiday with efforts at beginning to live a healthier lifestyle altogether.”

Quotes about health and healthy eating

To insure good health: eat lightly, breathe deeply, live moderately, cultivate cheerfulness, and maintain an interest in life.–William Londen

To keep the body in good health is a duty, for otherwise we shall not be able to trim the lamp of wisdom, and keep our mind strong and clear.–Buddha

Don’t eat anything your great-great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.–Michael Pollan

Today, more than 95% of all chronic disease is caused by food choice, toxic food ingredients, nutritional deficiencies and lack of physical exercise.–Mike Adams

It’s bizarre that the produce manager is more important to my children’s health than the pediatrician.–Meryl Streep

What the public expects and what is healthy for an individual are two very different things.–Esther Williams

You only get one body. Show yourself some respect. You and your body deserve the best so make it a priority to keep it clean. Eat unprocessed foods that are high in nutrition. If you treat your body right it will treat you right. In the long run your body will either be your best friend or your own worst enemy. It’s all up to you!–Adam Pegg

All people who live their lives on a diet are suffering. If you can accept your natural body weight and not force it to beneath your body’s natural, healthy weight, then you can live your life free of dieting, of restriction, of feeling guilty every time you eat a slice of your kid’s birthday cake.–Portia de Rossi

Sorry, there´s no magic bullet. You gotta eat healthy and live healthy to be healthy and look healthy. End of story.–Morgan Spurlock

In my food world, there is no fear or guilt, only joy and balance. So no ingredient is ever off-limits. Rather, all of the recipes here follow my Usually-Sometimes-Rarely philosophy. Notice there is no Never.–Ellie Krieger

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Audrey Hepburn

Audrey Kathleen Ruston-Hepburn was born on May 4, 1929, in Brussels, Belgium. She was, of course, an actress, model, dancer, and humanitarian. Her mother was a Dutch baroness, and her childhood was privileged. That stopped when the family lost their money during World War II. After that, she started ballet lessons, first in Amsterdam, and later in London. She began her career as a chorus girl in West End productions, but finally, she got her first big break, being cast as the title character in the play Gigi. Her first starring role in a film was in Roman Holiday opposite Gregory Peck. For that, she won an Academy Award, a BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts), and a Golden Globe award, all for best actress. She went on to star in films opposite such leading men as Humphrey Bogart, William Holden, Fred Astaire, Mel Ferrer (to whom she was married for a while), Henry Fonda, Burt Lancaster, and Cary Grant, among others. For me, at least, I will always remember her roles as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and as Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady.

But will all the critical acclaim of her career, it was as a humanitarian she was best known in later life. She became a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF. Making more than 50 trips, Hepburn visited UNICEF projects in Asia, Africa, and Central and South America. Unlike so many celebrities who are looking for a photo op, she was genuinely concerned about the plight of children. She won a special Academy Award for her humanitarian work, but she did not live long enough to receive it. Hepburn died on January 20, 1993. Her work goes on even today through the Audrey Hepburn Society, at the US Fund for UNICEF.

And no, she is not related to Katharine Hepburn, which I had always assumed until working on this blog.

Quotes by Audrey Hepburn

I have learnt how to live…how to be in the world and of the world, and not just to stand aside and watch.

The most important thing is to enjoy your life – to be happy – it’s all that matters.

For attractive lips, speak words of kindness. For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people. For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry. For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone. If you ever need a helping hand, you’ll find one at the end of each of your arms.

The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mode but the true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives the passion that she shows. The beauty of a woman grows with the passing years.

Nothing is impossible; the word itself says ‘I’m possible!’

Never regret anything that makes you smile.

For me the only things of interests are those linked to the heart

Laughing is the best calorie burner.

To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.

Since the world has existed, there has been injustice. But it is one world, the more so as it becomes smaller, more accessible. There is just no question that there is more obligation that those who have should give to those who have nothing.

My greatest victory has been to be able to live with myself, to accept my shortcomings. I’m a long way from the human being I’d liked to be, but I’ve decided I’m not so bad after all.

Let’s face it, a nice creamy chocolate cake does a lot for a lot of people; it does for me.

Giving is living. If you stop wanting to give, there’s nothing more to live for.

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Brothers and Sisters Day

This day is celebrated May 2, but there are several, probably unrelated, holidays celebrated around siblings. There’s a Brother and Sister Day, created by “a woman who realized too late when her brother died, that she had never let him adequately know how much he meant to her.” We celebrate this on the last Saturday of March. There is also a Sibling Day, celebrated on April 10, a Sister’s Day, on the first Sunday of August, and a Brother’s Day on March 24. Whew! What a lot of days you can choose from to celebrate a sibling!

These days are meant especially for members of your family, but often it is the sisters and brothers we find as we leave home and go out into the world that can become closer than blood ties. Of course, we don’t always want to celebrate our siblings. There’s no one like a sister or brother to drive you crazy. I missed most of the really annoying things from my siblings because I was six years older than the next youngest. But I remember taking care of them when my mother was gone, and how unfair it felt when they did something wrong, but somehow it was all my fault. Oh well! Happily, things change as we get older and can laugh about the old times.

On the other hand, I’m much more like my brother who is much younger than I am. They used to call us twins that were born fourteen years apart. We are the democrats of a republican family. We are both writers. We at least used to like (and especially dislike) the same foods. The big difference is he’s smarter than me.

Anyway, today is a day to celebrate your siblings, whether they are biological or dear friends. Do let them know how much they mean to you. (Yes, that’s your homework for tonight!)

Quotes about brothers and sisters.

Brothers and sisters are as close as hands and feet.–Vietnamese Proverb

To the outside world we all grow old. But not to brothers and sisters. We know each other as we always were. We know each other’s hearts. We share private family jokes. We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys. We live outside the touch of time.–Clara Ortega

We shared. Parents. Home. Pets. Celebrations. Catastrophes. Secrets. And the threads of our experience became so interwoven that we are linked. I can never be utterly lonely, knowing you share the planet.–Pam Brown

Back in time it seemed that having a sister were a tragedy. Instead it is one of the best presents my parents could have ever given me.–Sara Anzellotti

Big sisters are the crab grass in the lawn of life.–Charles Schulz

If you don’t understand how a woman could both love her sister dearly and want to wring her neck at the same time, then you were probably an only child.–Linda Sunshine

Our siblings. They resemble us just enough to make all their differences confusing, and no matter what we choose to make of this, we are cast in relation to them our whole lives long.–Susan Scarf Merrell

I, who have no sisters or brothers, look with some degree of innocent envy on those who may be said to be born to friends.–James Boswell

I don’t believe an accident of birth makes people sisters or brothers. It makes them siblings, gives them mutuality of parentage. Sisterhood and brotherhood is a condition people have to work at.–Maya Angelou

The highlight of my childhood was making my brother laugh so hard that food came out his nose.–Garrison Keillor

Our brothers and sisters are there with us from the dawn of our personal stories to the inevitable dusk.–Susan Scarf Merrell

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