Observing The Birth and Resurrection of Christ

For those who have been around me for any length of time knows me well enough to know I do things differently. One of the things I have been doing and getting more and more excited to do is our Christmas at Easter. I didn’t realize how much I would like this until I started putting everything together.

ImageWe are going to be putting our Christmas tree up at the beginning of April. The actual name of the tree is called a Chrismon Tree. Most of the decorations are hand made and all of them are based on Jesus Christ. Each one means something different. The tree is special because it represents the life of Christ. All the ornaments has a special meaning that tells the story of the life of Christ. I included the meanings at the end of this post.

One of the things I have found by doing our Christmas at Easter is that it means so much more. The birth of Christ of course is extremely important. If Christ never came to us as a baby, we would have no hope. Christ came to save us from our sins. Jesus paid the price for my sins and everyone else’s.

As I make each of these ornaments, I see a story come alive. The story and life of Christ. Each of these ornaments are important in their own way. What I have found by celebrating Christmas in December is that the meaning is lost. Commercialism takes over and Christ gets put on the back burner. We hear all the time the “Reason for the Season is Jesus Christ”. I do wonder if anymore it is becoming a common saying and people don’t really understand why Jesus is the reason. I can’t say all people loose track of the true meaning. But society and the world has a way of making it about money and things.  I guess as a Christian, I look at things in a Christian way.

Christmas is one of the biggest holidays for businesses. And it gets me because most of the world celebrates Christmas. But they aren’t celebrating the Birth of Christ. The reason I say that is because I have many friends that are of all faiths or no faiths at all. They put up Christmas Trees, wrap gifts and do all the things that come along with Christmas. But when you ask them why they celebrate since it is a day for Celebrating Christ, they say it is about family. Or they think it is a fun day and they love to give gifts and receive them. Many times children think it is all about Santa Clause. When Atheists share pictures from their day and all the gifts, I get sad. Because I know they don’t celebrate the reason reason we have this day.

Now as a Christian, the nice thing about the Christmas Season is the music. That and Easter is the only times that it seems acceptable to since songs about Christ without someone boycotting something. Even though that does happen in some areas and even here in America.  Like I said earlier, I’m super excited to celebrate the Birth and the Resurrection of Christ in this way. I wish it was communion Sunday on Easter Sunday. We do that only for the first Sunday. But that would be awesome.

Mblack_friday_600y husband for many years hated Christmas. And I couldn’t grasp the thought that he hated it so much. What I came to find out over the years is that he didn’t necessarily hate Christmas. He hated all the stuff that went along with it. The frenzy that ensued on Black Friday to save a buck. The careless drivers and people doing whatever they could do to get what they wanted and willing to pay any price to get the bigger and better gifts. It was a keeping up with the Jones mentality. Even Christians got into the act of bigger and better. Christ was lost.

When I started working at Lin’s Marketplace here in St. George, I began to feel the way Chuck did on some things. We started with putting merchandise out in October. Christmas music and decorations went up. It wasn’t because the store was super excited to celebrate the birth of Christ. It was because they wanted to sale sale sale. They wanted to entice the buyers. And each year it comes out earlier and earlier. It rather frustrates me now. It would be nice if they would wait till after Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is just another day anymore too. All the talk around the table is who has the best deals to get on Black Friday. Now when people describe a holiday about family, I think Thanksgiving is that day. But society, stores and the world has taken the focus off the family time together and enjoying the company of our loved ones and friends, that it is gone.

Since Chuck hated the Christmas season so much, I tried a number of times to do different things. But I have to say that I would fall into the thought of getting my kids everything they wanted, no matter the cost. Then it came time to pay the bills, and realized I was being stupid when it came to buying gifts and spending money.

JesusStandsByHis-TombBut this year, I wanted to do something different. Many times Easter is kinda looked over unless you have young kids that love Easter baskets and such. And in reality the Birth and the Resurrection are the most important of all observances for Christians. I was playing around with the idea of merging the two for a couple of years and this year I decided to do it. And I am learning and enjoying this so much more. I don’t have to compete with others trying to run me over in the store. My daughters don’t have to decided where they are going to go for Christmas dinner and have to eat at the other families later on. Bills get paid and the focus is put on Christ. It’s a win win for all involved. And nobody is getting killed in order to save the almighty buck.

We are getting gifts for each person and exchanging them. It will be nothing overboard. We will be inviting friends to join us for dinner and I pray it will be an awesome day for all involved. And most importantly is that when everyone comes over after church on Sunday, they will be able to feel the presence of Christ in all things. From the tree, to the gift bags instead of Christmas Stockings filled with items to help them learn more about Christ. And there is candy, but the candy will also have verses and such on them. I’m super excited to be doing this and I’m thankful and blessed that my kids, husband and grand kids go along with my way of doing things.

On a personal level, I think doing this has been therapeutic for me. I spend so much time at home and having to be careful when it comes to not getting sick. So I try to find things to keep me busy and preoccupied with other things that don’t involve Dr’s, nurses and medicines. This project has done that. I think in the process of doing this, I have become closer to God and have learned so much.

Here are some examples;
Click here to go to a website that has the pictures of the decorations

  1. The Cross: Symbolizes  the crucifixion of Christ
  2. The Chalice: The cup symbolizing the sacrament of Eucharist or Communion; it also represents forgiveness and reconciliation with God.
  3. The Crown: A King’s Crown is the symbol of royal power and authority. It symbolizes Jesus as King of the Jews, in fulfillment of prophetic expectation, as well as the exalted Christ as King of Kings.
  4. Alpha and Omega: The Greek letters alpha (first) and omega (last) from Rev 1:8 and 22:13, symbolizing Jesus as the Christ who has come and will come again; it also symbolizes the continuity of God’s presence in human history
  5. The Descending Dove: The dove is a symbol of the Holy Spirit, recalling the Holy Spirit’s descent on Jesus as a dove at his Baptism. The nimbus, three-pointed rays around its head, is a symbol of the Trinity.
  6. Chi Rho: Two Greek letters which are the first letters in the Greek word for Christ.
  7. Jerusalem Cross: The crusader’s cross. Worn by the crusaders going to Jerusalem, it symbolizes the Four Gospels or the spread of the Gospel to the four corners of the Earth. The five crosses can also represent the five wounds of Jesus.
  8. HIS–Iota, Eta, Sigma: The three Greek letters are the first three in the Greek word for Jesus. We are reminded that Jesus died on the cross for us.
  9. Lamb of God: Judaism believed the lamb was an offering. Christians think of Jesus as the lamb of god who was sacrificed to forgive our sins
  10. The Butterfly: The butterfly symbolizes the transformation
  11. The Lamp: Represents Jesus as the light of the path for Christian through the world.
  12. The Star of David: The Star of David or the Creator’s Star. The six points represent six aspects of God: love, mercy, wisdom, majesty, power, and justice. In this form, the two triangles represent the Trinity.
  13. The Furca/Upsilon Cross”  From the Greek letter Y is also called The Thieves’ Cross from the two robbers who were crucified on each side of Jesus. From ancient times, the furca symbolized the choice between good and evil
  14. The Heart” The Symbol of Love
  15. The Manger” Christ was born in a manger
  16. 8 pointed Armenian Star: The eight pointed Armenian Star, the points symbolizing Christ; in the west, it is called the Bethlehem Star, symbolizing the world Jesus came to save; eight is the symbol of regeneration, often associated with baptism or resurrection.
  17. The Clam: The seashell or scallop is a symbol for Christian baptism or the baptism of Jesus. It is also a symbol for pilgrimage and the spread of the Gospel to the world.
  18. Pax: Peace in Latin representing  hope for peace in this world
  19. The Fish or IXTHUS: The Greek word for fish. This is an acrostic for the Greek words meaning Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Savior
  20. The Earth: A symbol that reminds us we are all of this one world.
  21. Natal Star Cross: Natal Star Cross: A natal cross, with a four-pointed Bethlehem Star representing the sign in the night sky announcing Jesus’ birth combined with a cross, symbolizing the salvation which the birth of this child brings.
  22. 5 Pointed Star: Medievel Christians believed the 5 points represented the five wounds of Christ and was believe to protect against evil.
  23. Trefoil: Three circles interposed symbolize the unity of the Trinity, yet the separate Persons thereof.
  24. Triumphant Church Cross: –The world (as seen by the latitude and longitude lines) with the cross on top, reminds us that Christ is triumphant over the challenges presented by living in the world.
  25. The Peace Dove: A dove carrying an olive leaf is a symbol of peace.
  26. Holy Bible: The inspired Word of God

Flu Shot or Not?

ImageFor me this is a no brainer. I don’t take the flu shot, pneumonia or the shingle ones, Some people are die hard fans of the flu shot and wait in long lines to get it so they won’t get sick. Well, for me that flu shot caused a horrible shift in my health back in 1980. This may be the one time of the year that I talk about my experience with Guillian Barre Syndrome and Myasthenia Gravis and that is because the flu season is around the corner. I was living in Texas at the time and suddenly I started to not feel good. I have always been very healthy for the most part. Yea, I would get the cold or flu, but nothing major. I was already in Texas with my now and always husband. Chuck was stationed at Fort Hood, so there I am. I was only 19 at the time. Physically I was in great shape. I would run on the average about 10 miles a day. I was in track and field in high school, cross country and a guard. I’m kinda short, so I wasn’t too good at that though. I loved sports and I especially loved running. It was my escape from all the bad going on in my world. Once I got to Texas, I got the flu shot. I was planning on going back to school since I quite in the 10th grade and to register there, I needed to get the shots. I should point out that I ran away from home and moved in with my husband Chuck. Thankfully that worked out. What didn’t work out is the flu shot. I received the shot and about a week later I was walking into town. It was only a mile away, so not a biggie at all.On my way home, I had to sit down and rest. My legs felt heavy and I was having a hard time breathing. Back then there were no cell phones and I didn’t know anyone anyhow. I did finally make it home in about an hour and I was having my doubts on if I would be able to make it back up the stairs to get into the house. It took me a few minutes, but I made it. I layed down for a while. Mary, Craig Carlocks wife then came home. We were rooming with Craig and Mary. She started getting upset with me because I was laying down. Following the walk into town, I have found I needed rest more and more. She was thinking I was trying to get out of helping clean and cooking and stuff. But I just couldn’t get up. My feet burned and it was like needles going through them. My legs were heavy and it was all I could do to go to the bathroom. About a week later, Chuck took me to Scott and White Hospital in Temple Texas. They wouldn’t see me since we weren’t married and I was a minor. So they sent us home. Things weren’t getting any better. We did move out a week later and got our own place. It was a very tiny trailer that was about 35 feet long and 12 feet wide. That ended up being a good thing. But we moved into that trailer and a week later I was on the floor and unable to get up and walk or call for help. I was there all day long. I couldn’t raise my arms, move my legs or anything. So off to the hospital again. This time we went to a different one. Once we got to the hospital in Killeen, Texas, the Dr seen me and the first question was if I had taken any drugs. I found out this was a common question for people that were young. I told him no and that I didn’t drink or smoke. That wasn’t stuff I was into. Don’t get me wrong, I tried it, but that was about it. But he called a neurologist in to look at me and they immediately put me into the hospital. I was never in the hospital up to this point. They did a spinal tap and a bunch of other tests that freaked me out a bit. They asked me if I have been around anyone sick or if I took the flu shot. I had the flu shot about 2-3 weeks earlier and there was a little girl that was sick around me. But it wasn’t close enough to me. They came back into the room and told me that I had what is called Guillian Barre Syndrome. That alone is a mouthful to say. They tried to explain it to me. All I knew is that I was 17, was in perfect health and now paralyzed from the feet up to my forehead. I couldn’t even blink and people couldn’t understand what I was saying. Guillain-Barre-Syndrome

  • Guillain Barre Syndrome is a rare and severe disease. It occurs after an acute infectious procedure. Guillain Barre Syndrome initially affects the peripheral nervous system. Normally it is acute form of paralysis in lower body area that moves towards upper limb and face. Gradually patient loses all his reflexes and goes through a complete body paralysis. Guillain Barre Syndrome is a life threatening disorder and needs timely treatment and supportive care with intravenous immunoglobulins or plasmapheresis. Unfortunately many people lose their lives without proper and prompt medical treatment. Dysautonomia and Pulmonary complications are the basic reason for death other fatal complications.

plasmapheresis-1The hospital in Killeen transferred me back to Scott and White Hospital in Temple, where they immediately snapped into action. I had to be on a ventilator and was completely paralyzed. I couldn’t even pick up a pencil, raise my hand, blink my eyes. There was nothing. They called my parents for permission to treat since Chuck and I weren’t married. We were planning on it, but wasn’t yet. My parents did give permission. But they didn’t give permission for the Plasmapherisis (Description at End of Post) or the IVIG.  It takes out the unhealthy anitibodies and cleans the blood.  It is a very costly treatment. I think it was a fairly new treatment option back then. But they declined that. My Drs did say that over 80 percent of those who get GBS fully recover. I would like to have a chat with those Drs now and let them know they are wrong. After a long time in the hospital I was released. My husband and I decided to move up the date for getting married. We got married on Oct 30th, 1980. We were going to get married on December 14th so that family could be there. Our thinking though is that we had no insurance and I was going to be spending a lot of time in the hospital. So we pushed it up so I could get covered. Every month I was in the hospital for days or weeks at a time. I ended up also pregnant at the same time. So life was not easy for me or Chuck.

During the day time when I wasn’t in the hospital, I had to go to someones house and my husband had to carry me into Lona’s home and he would lay me down on her sofa and when she woke up, she would assist me in getting dressed, try to eat and it took her and her husband to help me get to the bathroom. It was a good thing that I weighed only 98 pounds at that time.  I still couldn’t walk. It was months before I could stand on my own and write my name. I had to totally relearn it. If I would have had the plasmapheresis at the time, it would have shortened the healing process by months and I wouldn’t have the problems now. Or a good chance I wouldn’t. That little trailer that Chuck and I lived in was a God send. I was able to teach myself and Chuck was able to help me relearn to walk because I could hold onto the walls. the rooms was small and if I thought I was going to fall, there was something I could reach easily. He did all the cooking, cleaning and stuff for close to a year. Right before Jessica was born, I was able to do some things on my own and walk a short distance. I still got tired, but I could do it. I was afraid at the idea of having to take care of her and have the strength at the same time. All of this happened because of a flu shot that I received three weeks prior. Some people carry an antibody and when they get this shot, the pneumonia and maybe some others, it reacts with the antibody.

si2012_maGuillian Barre Syndrome is an auto-immune disease that attacks the healthy cells in the body. I will provide a couple links for anyone can read more about it. If you remember, I mentioned that about 80% of those who get GBS fully recover. I was not one of those 80% people. I ended up having the CIPD variant of GBS. It is the chronic form and has returned 3 times. Not as bad as the first time though. Thank God for that. It ended up destroying my immune system. I have many medical problems now and am on disability. I also have a second auto immune disease and from my understanding it is because my body fights itself and it is a chain reaction. But I also have Myasthenia Gravis. What I find interesting and I would like to have a pow wow with the Drs that said you fully recover, is that there are alot of people who end up with the CIPD and Myastenia Gravis. I think someone is doing research on that and why it is becoming more common. Now GBS hits about 1 in 300,000 people I believe. Not sure if those numbers changed. I have more problems with the Myasthenia now then the GBS. My Drs told me it is because of both of them, but Myasthenia is causing the havoc with my muscles around my lungs and heart. And those are needed so they pump blood right and to make sure there is enough oxygen of which there isn’t. There is a lot involved. One last thing and the MOST IMPORTANT- When I got GBS, I was not impressed. I couldn’t do what I wanted to do and have living my whole life this way. But I’m grateful that I had this at the same time. You may think I’m nuts, but hear me out. I don’t know where my life would have gone. Most people in my family has had problems with the law or are very unhappy.

god-strenghtBecause of me getting this I had to stay clear of drugs, cigarettes, alcohol and such. I have also had to learn to lean on God and trust Him. Without Him, I wouldn’t be who I am now. I have met so many wonderful people because of GBS and Myasthenia. I don’t see it as a curse or anything bad. It isn’t easy, but I know that God is there. Now granted there are times I have to have some one on one time with God and I get upset. I’m human and sometimes I don’t understand. But I know without a doubt that He has always been there for me. I don’t fear what might and could happen. I have peace because of my relationship with Him. I have a daily Bible verse affirmation that I say everyday and that is Psalm 46:1… It says ‘ God is our refuge and strength and ever present in times of trouble. I truly believe this. I believe that everyone has something going on with them. It may not be like what I have, but all have something. And I know that if I didn’t have my faith in Christ, I would never have been able to make it through. Who knows what tomorrow holds. My Dr’s didn’t think I would be around to write this post and all I can say is that only God decides when our time is done, when we have finished the race. Until then, GBS and Myasthenia Gravis or not, I will have to keep going. God has put many wonderful people in my life to help me with my struggles. I noticed this since I was very young.

0christian16There was this sweet lady named Mattie Bennett, she taught me to write poetry. Her son Harry Myers was my pastor in Willcox. His family was like my second home and his daughter Diane and I were best friends. I would love to see her again. I have my church family here in St. George. So many of them went out of their way and I thank them. I think of Chris B. Even when things were hard and everything was going crazy, she opened her house and she helped out in so many ways. Pastor Dean and Ruth pushing me and making me go to the ER to get help. Once there was just minutes to spare. I am pretty stubborn, but God knew I needed them at that point. My daughters and brother in law have come in a moments notice. They have family responsibilities and young kids, so I try to find others to come and save the day. God always seems to place the right people at the same time. My church family is my family… For those at church that may be reading this. I do want to thank a few people for going out of their way and helping. Those people would be Shirly Morganti, Sheryl Shaffer, Evelyn Roam, Lisa L (Cant spell her name), Barb Antrim, Sue and JP and so many others. My friend Jenn is there at the drop of a hat. Because of GBS and Guillian Barre Syndrome, I have had to learn to let others help. I’m not good at that and I thank God for that experience. I thank Him for always being there even when I couldn’t see I needed him and others. I guess my point is that no matter how bad things are, God has a plan. We may not always know what it is, but He does. As I leave this topic, I would like to say on the notion of flu shot or not. I don’t take it and I won’t risk taking it. My daughters don’t take it and never will. There are an awful lot of people who have died from complications from the flu shot or they have been paralyzed from it. Everyone has to decide for themselves if the risk is too high or not. I can’t answer that for anyone else but me. I have been dealing with all these medical problems, hospitalizations and so forth ever since that one flu shot back in 1980. It changed my life forever. I guess on a positive note, I didn’t get the flu that year. Links to Sites about GBS and Myasthenia Gravis- If you or someone you know has GBS- CIPD or Myasthenia Gravis. The Guillian Barre Foundation and the Myastenia Gravis Foundation will send free information out to your family and Drs if you request it. And it is free to get on the mailing list. The newsletter I give to my Dr because they always include information for the Drs in case there in an emergency. This has literally saved my life a couple of times.

inful_a01One last thing. Not all people get GBS from a shot. They can get it from a virus and other ways. If you are sick, please cover your mouth when you sneeze. Please wash your hands and stay home if you are sick. A person like me who has these problems can end up in ICU and completely paralyzed and worst case scenario die from what may seem like a harmless cold or flu. It can kill someone or make them very sick because people like me can’t fight the flu like everyone else and our immune systems can’t handle it. So be respectful and cover your mouth and wash hands. Stay home if you are sick. You don’t know who’s life you could save. I was in the hospital for 6 weeks, and 3 of those was in ICU because someone had the flu and didn’t think about not coming over to visit.

Terms:

  • Guillain-Barre syndrome is a serious disorder that occurs when the body’s defense (immune) system mistakenly attacks part of the nervous system. This leads to nerve inflammation that causes muscle weakness and other symptoms.
  • Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP) is a neurological disorder characterized by progressive weakness and impaired sensory function in the legs and arms. The disorder, which is sometimes called chronic relapsing polyneuropathy, is caused by damage to the myelin sheath (the fatty covering that wraps around and protects nerve fibers) of the peripheral nerves. Although it can occur at any age and in both genders, CIDP is more common in young adults, and in men more so than women. It often presents with symptoms that include tingling or numbness (beginning in the toes and fingers), weakness of the arms and legs, loss of deep tendon reflexes (areflexia), fatigue, and abnormal sensations. CIDP is closely related to Guillain-Barre syndrome and it is considered the chronic counterpart of that acute disease.
  • Plasmapheresis is a process in which  the fluid part of the blood, called plasma, is removed from blood cells by a device known as a cell separator. The separator works either by passing the blood at high speed to separate the cells from the fluid or by passing the blood through a membrane with pores so small that only the fluid part of the blood can pass through. The cells are returned to the person undergoing treatment, while the plasma, which contains the antibodies.
  • What is IVIG? IVIG stands for intravenous immune globulin; it is a sterile solution of concentrated antibodies extracted from healthy donors which is administered into a vein. IVIG is used to treat disorders of the immune system or to boost immune response to serious illness, and to treat immuno-suppressed recipients of bone marrow transplants.1Antibodies are responsible for defending our bodies from pathogens, such as viruses and bacteria.
  • Myasthenia gravis is a chronic autoimmune neuromuscular disease characterized by varying degrees of weakness of the skeletal (voluntary) muscles of the body. The name myasthenia gravis, which is Latin and Greek in origin, literally means “grave muscle weakness.”

My Thoughts on Halloween…

Halloween
Would Christ Approve? I say NO!

For those of you who know me, you know I do not celebrate Halloween… I have my own reasons for not celebrating this day… For me, I don’t because of the origins of the day… I will go into that more in a few…

I can’t wrap my head around the idea of how throughout the year, we tell our children to be safe and not talk to strangers… We tell them to not cross the road or accept candy from anyone that we don’t know without permission from the parents… For some reason all of that goes out the window on Halloween… We send our kids door to door to ask for candy treats…

This is something that gets me even more… Those who know the origins of Halloween will say that they know what it is about, but my kids love it so much… We don’t dress them up in scary costumes… We only dress them up as cute princesses or pirates or kitty cats… I have no problem with kids dressing up in costumes… The thing that bugs the heck out of me is that  even though they know the history and meaning of Halloween, they still participate…

I’m not going to come down on anyone who chooses to celebrate… But, me being a Christian and wanting to please Christ, I can’t see doing this… Even Christians try to justify sending their kids out collecting candy… They will rename it “Harvest Festival”… No matter what you call it, it is what it is… It is Halloween… It is celebrated on October 31st just like Halloween… Kids and adults dress up and go through the motions… You just don’t see witches for the most part or devils… Even though I have seen that at some Harvest Festivals…

My daughter Jessica and her Family…
My daugher Beckiah and her family…

I have been pretty darn proud of my daughters Jessica and Beckiah… Well their hubbies too… They don’t celebrate Halloween either… Now JJ, doesn’t understand why he can’t, but he will in time… Kids can dress up in costumes and have a party and still have fun and not have it be based around Halloween… I think many times when people say that kids are missing out it is more that they don’t get it… It drives me nuts when the schools do all the Halloween stuff and of course the kids who don’t has to participate… I think there needs to be other options for these kids instead of staying home… Others make them feel like they are missing out… The kids don’t think about it until someone will look down at the kids and tell them, “I’m sorry you can’t dress up and have fun like the other kids”… OK, now that person is the one making them  feel bad because they made it seem like they are being left out… This one gets me too and a family member is great at driving this home… When they look at the child and tell them that they have mean parents because the parents decided to tell the child the truth instead of lying to them about the holidays… For example, my daughters both told my grand-kids the truth about Santa and the Easter Bunny… But the kids know that those symbols are not the true reason for Christmas and Easter… They still enjoy it, but they don’t get lied too… Now when my girls were younger, I didn’t know all the history of the holidays… Once I gained the knowledge, we no longer took part in those things… I know I may be hitting a nerve… But I can’t just sugar coat what I think and what history says…

If people want to celebrate, then by all means do it… But I think there needs to be some respect to those families that choose not to… My grandchildren are very much NOT deprived of anything by not celebrating Halloween… To those who have a problem, then that is your problem… If my grandkids and their parent’s don’t, then it shouldn’t be a concern… What’s important to them and me is that we are pleasing God, not what the world thinks is an atrocity for not letting kids go door to door trying to get candy and treats…

As I said earlier, I will post what the history of Halloween is.. I will also include some followup links if you would like to read more about it… And if I have offended someone, well, “it is what it is”…

History of Halloween…. 

Halloween is one of the oldest holidays with origins going back thousands of years. The holiday we know as Halloween has had many influences from many cultures over the centuries. From the Roman’s Pomona Day, to the Celtic festival of Samhain, to the Christian holidays of All Saints and All Souls Days.

Hundreds of years ago in what is now Great Britain and Northern France, lived the Celts. The Celts worshipped nature and had

The Celts celebrated their New Year on November 1st. It was celebrated every year with a festival and marked the end of the “season of the sun” and the beginning of “the season of darkness and cold.”many gods, with the sun god as their favorite. It was “he” who commanded their work and their rest times, and who made the earth beautiful and the crops grow.

On October 31st after the crops were all harvested and stored for the long winter the cooking fires in the homes would be extinguished. The Druids, the Celtic priests, would meet in the hilltop in the dark oak forest (oak trees were considered sacred). The Druids would light new fires and offer sacrifices of crops and animals. As they danced around the the fires, the season of the sun passed and the season of darkness would begin.

When the morning arrived the Druids would give an ember from their fires to each family who would then take them home to start new cooking fires. These fires would keep the homes warm and free from evil spirits.

The November 1st festival was called Samhain (pronounced “sow-en”). The festival would last for 3 days. Many people would parade in costumes made from the skins and heads of their animals. This festival would become the first Halloween.

During the first century the Romans invaded Britain. They brought with them many of their festivals and customs. One of these was the festival know as Pomona Day, named for their goddess of fruits and gardens. It was also celebrated around the 1st of November. After hundreds of years of Roman rule the customs of the Celtic’s Samhain festival and the Roman Pomona Day mixed becoming 1 major fall holiday.

The next influence came with the spread of the new Christian religion throughout Europe and Britain. In the year 835 AD the Roman Catholic Church would make November 1st a church holiday to honor all the saints. This day was called All Saint’s Day, or Hallowmas, or All Hallows. Years later the Church would make November 2nd a holy day. It was called All Souls Day and was to honor the dead. It was celebrated with big bonfires, parades, and people dressing up as saints, angels and devils.

But the spread of Christianity did not make people forget their early customs. On the eve of All Hallows, Oct. 31, people continued to celebrate the festivals of Samhain and Pomona Day. Over the years the customs from all these holidays mixed. October 31st became known as All Hallow Even, eventually All Hallow’s Eve, Hallowe’en, and then – Halloween.

The Halloween we celebrate today includes all of these influences, Pomona Day’s apples, nuts, and harvest, the Festival of Samhain’s black cats, magic, evil spirits and death, and the ghosts, skeletons and skulls from All Saint’s Day and All Soul’s Day.

Additional Links to Other Sites: 

This link expresses all of my thoughts about Halloween… They put it into words perfectly… Click here to read more... 

One last thought… The only good thing about celebrating Halloween as a Christian would be that you can take this as an opportunity to witness to those who come to your door… It’s the one time of the year they come to you, lol…

Slave Days and Bullying

Since I did a piece on Bullying, I decided to share an experience with you… This isn’t as much about me, but about those I went to school with…

I loved my school and had many friends from all walks of life… That was great for the most part, but there were times it became a problem…

Our school had this ritual for freshman’s each year… What would happen was a two part thing…. First off there was Slave days… If you are wondering what that means, it is what it is… The upper class man would put the freshman’s on the block to be sold as slaves… Whoever bought you, you had to do that they said to do… Even if that meant humiliating yourself by wearing diapers or whatever unimaginable things… I was very lucky because my sister’s boyfriend or friend decided to spare me from having to do part two of this horrible ritual… So Brian bought me and that was that… He had a heart of gold and never made me do stupid things…

Before I continue I want to share with you the definition of what and who a slave is…

  1. (v. i.) To drudge; to toil; to labor as a slave.
  2. (v. t.) To enslave.
  3. (n.) A person who is held in bondage to another; one who is wholly subject to the will of another; one who is held as a chattel; one who has no freedom of action, but whose person and services are wholly under the control of another.
  4. (n.) See Slav.
  5. (n.) One who has lost the power of resistance; one who surrenders himself to any power whatever; as, a slave to passion, to lust, to strong drink, to ambition.
  6. (n.) An abject person; a wretch.
  7. (n.) A drudge; one who labors like a slave.

So, I will continue now!

Now if you didn’t get bought for Slave Days and made to do stupid things to embarrass yourself, then you were initiated for initiation days… That was even worse… They would have an assembly and those who weren’t bought would be ordered to do what they were told in front of the entire school…  I had a couple friends who had to go through the humiliation in front of everyone… When their names were called I told my friends they shouldn’t go… They did anyhow because they were afraid they would get in trouble… My one friend, no names mentioned was told to dress up as a dog and eat from a dog bowl in the middle of the gymnasium… Another guy was to wear his gym shorts with a rope attached to the back and then he had to climb to the top of the rope… I was ticked… I didn’t stick around after that… I left and told my friends there is no way they should have gone along with that… This was back in 1980 and I still remember how humiliated and demeaning that was for my friends… I remember the tears on the faces of the other classmates as they were being told what to do and be put on the auction block… I don’t know if Willcox High still does this ritual… But if they do, shame on them… A lot of the classmates thought I was being sensitive… OK! Yeah, I will give them that one… What is wrong with treating each other with some dignity…

I should add one thing too… On Initiation Day, somehow the list of kids who didn’t get bought got lost… They were guessing to some degree on who was on the list… One of the girls did come up to me and told me I was on the list… Let me say that my language was quite colorful and I was less than impressed… I’m sure there were a whole lot of students who heard my thoughts on that…

After 30 years when I think of my high school years, I always think of that first… There were good things like the Hot Pickles at Rays Market, El Taco, and McDonalds… I was there when that first was built… Us students were happy over that… I loved Carters and cruising… But in my mind the Slave Days and Initiation Days were the worst… Then the way they would pick on this boy named Stevie… He was large and a lot of students were horrible to him… He eventually lost weight, but I know he had some horrible times in school…

I went to Google to see if there were any pictures by chance of slave days or someone posting… And it was sad that there were links to questions on yahoo just recently asking for good ideas to embarrass the two slaves they bought on slave day… This was a post a couple years old… I can’t believe that schools still do this and they get away with it…  I know… I’m a party pooper… This is the post from someone named Deborah:

Tomorrow is Senior Slave Day at School…?

tomorrow is senior slave day at school and i need ideas as to what to make my slaves do… i have 2 slaves that i bought at a auction about two weeks ago and i don’t know what embarrassing things to make them do…… please help 🙂

I wish I was still able to comment or I would have said that it is a horrible ritual that belittles a person… I have also noticed when goggling this topic to find images that some schools will call it “Rent a Student”… OK! So the name has changed, but the purpose is still the same… Some people don’t see what the problem is, but knowing people who had to be put on display because you didn’t get bought on “Slave Day” is not fun, it is humiliating… I can’t even imagine what it would be like for the slaves’ way back when… They lived every day that way…

I hear some people trying to justify it as a way to raise funds and nothing is wrong with it… I find alot wrong with it and just because it is for a fundraiser or activity, doesn’t make it right…

Here is a link to a video of a young man that was sold as a slave in a classroom activity…

But I will get off this topic now… I could go on and on about this topic and how inappropriate it is…