10 05, 2021

National Leprechaun Day is Coming!

By |2021-05-04T09:03:07-05:00May 10th, 2021|Holidays, Make Me Think Monday|0 Comments

May 13th is celebrated as National Leprechaun Day. No one knows the origins of the holiday. I’m guessing one of the tiny creatures came up with the idea for a day in his honor.

Being a bit Irish meself, I think it’s delightful to have a Leprechaun celebration separate from St. Patrick’s Day.

Leprechauns are portrayed  as sly and sneaky elves who dress in waistcoats and hats in Irish folklore. While they are small in stature, they are quick as a whip and masters of practical jokes.

They are also keen musicians who play tin whistles, the fiddle, and even the Irish Harp and love to dance. It’s said, they love dancing so much, they wear out their shoes and constantly have to make new ones.

You might see a leprechaun if you go to Ireland. Tis been known to happen.

For sure you’ll see one if you go to the Leprechaun Museum in Dublin. I know it’s a fun and interesting place to visit.

But catching one of the mischievous pranksters is another matter entirely!

The wee people hide because, if someone finds a leprechaun, then the leprechaun has to either give his pot of gold to the finder or grant him or her three wishes.

These devious little creatures should never be trusted. They will do anything to escape once caught.

If you do happen to catch one, be aware the leprechaun will use all his magical powers to grant you three wishes in return for his freedom. He might even offer you a pot of gold, but he’s also likely to trick you. Best to follow these tips on How to Catch a Leprechaun.

Most people celebrate this day for fun and luck by:

  • organizing Leprechaun hunts,
  • throwing Leprechaun parties,
  • playing practical jokes, and
  • eating and sharing gold foil-wrapped chocolate coins

Happy Leprechaun Day!

3 05, 2021

Busy, Busy Month of May

By |2021-05-02T12:59:07-05:00May 3rd, 2021|Make Me Think Monday|1 Comment

May and December always seem busier months than the other ten.

December is busy with all the holiday preparation and gatherings.

May signals the beginning of summer and all those fun outdoor activities start–cookouts, swim parties, ball games, etc.

Plus, May hosts lots of end-of-school/graduation ceremonies, weddings, and Cinco de Mayo parties, if you live in Texas.

If you have a military background, you know May is also filled with lots of military-centered observances. I’ve listed six below.

May 1 – Silver Star Banner Day – Per Congressional resolution, it is an “Official Day to honor wounded, ill, and injured Veterans”.

May 7 – Military Spouse Appreciation Day – A day that recognizes the service and sacrifices of military spouses.

May 8 – V-E Day – This date commemorates the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany to the Allied forces in 1945, ending World War II in Europe.

May 13 – Children of Fallen Patriots Day – A day to honor the children left behind by the brave men and women who gave their lives while defending our freedom.

May 15 – Armed Forces Day – This day pays tribute to men and women currently serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.

May 31 – Memorial Day A solemn occasion to honor the men and women who died while serving in the military.

I’ve accented the difference between Armed Forces Day and Memorial Day. It’s an important distinction I think.

Armed Forces Day on May 15 honors active-duty service members. It’s the day to say thank you to those who willingly signed a blank check payable to “The United States of America,” for an amount of “up to and including their life.

Memorial Day on the last Monday of May honors those who gave their lives.

Celebrations on both days sometimes expand to include all public service servants like firemen and police officers, but the origins of the days were military-based. Let’s not forget.

This year May will be especially busy around our home. Thanks to the lessened pandemic restraints, we’ll once again have our traditional family gathering for Memorial Day along with three high school graduation celebrations.

How about your May, will you be busy?

12 04, 2021

Hills and Highways are Alive with Wildflowers in Springtime

By |2021-04-10T16:06:26-05:00April 12th, 2021|Make Me Think Monday|0 Comments

Hills and highways are alive with wildflowers in the Spring is a yearly rite of the season, especially in Texas. The seas of color along our roadways vary every year. Bluebonnets signal Spring has arrived.

April has done an outstanding job this year painting the roadsides in the blues, reds, yellows, and pinks with bluebonnets, primroses, Indian paintbrush, and buttercups. Bluebonnets are a particularly gorgeous deep blue this year thanks to the winter’s awful blizzard and freeze.

We can thank two women for the beauty we enjoy.

The  origin of bluebonnets, the Texas state flower, involves a young Indian girl named She-Who-Is-Lonely. It’s a familiar tale for most Texans.

She-Who-Is-Lonely lived when Indians roamed Texas. According to legend the weather was not kind to the natives. Winters were harsh, Spring brought catastrophic flooding, followed by a summer drought. Food was scarce. The tribe appealed to the Great Spirit for help. She-Who-Is-Lonely overheard the Great Spirit tell them selfishness had brought on their plight. She took matters into her own hands.

She offered her most prized possession to the Great Spirit, burning her beloved doll in a fire. Once the fire cooled, she then took handfuls of ashes and turned north, south, east, and west letting the ashes fall from her hands as she spun.

When the tribe awoke, the barren landscape was covered in lush blankets of blue and green. The Great Spirit had forgiven them. The tribe renamed the little girl “One-Who-Dearly-Loves-Her-People.”

Tomie dePaola wrote and illustrated a fabulous picture book based on the legend. It’s available here.

The other woman is Lady Bird Johnson, wife of President Lyndon Johnson, who made it her mission to improve the landscape along our interstate highways.

She convinced states that wildflowers were good at erosion prevention along the roadside and suggested strongly that mowers skip cutting the wildflowers until after they had dispersed their seeds. She even requested that mowers scatter flower seeds the last time they mowed in the fall.

Former Texas Governor John Connally offered free packets of wildflower seeds to Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, and anyone who wrote to him. Other states followed with their own wildflower programs for their roadways.

Lady Bird’s efforts provided the wildflowers we see on so many roadways when we travel each Spring. Funding cuts over recent years have eliminated many seed sowing programs, but the show happens every year.

This year in Texas the show is magnificent and from the pictures appearing on social media I think it’s a good blooming year for the hills and highways everywhere.

Bluebonnets are even blooming in my neighborhood.

29 03, 2021

March – Lion or Lamb?

By |2021-03-28T07:18:06-05:00March 29th, 2021|Make Me Think Monday|1 Comment

Briton Rivière, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

March Comes in like a Lion, goes out like a Lamb. This proverb has been around since its mention in a 1732. Such weather proverbs and sayings have many origins. This one probably came from observations and a desire for accurate weather predictions.

Trouble is March can arrive as a lamb then turn lion-like in the end making the proverb an unreliable forecasting guide.

Historically Old Man Winter reluctantly allows Spring its turn at the climate. That’s because March is a pivotal meteorological month with an unpredictable seasonal pattern.

While the adage most likely refers to the weather, other sources trace its origins to the stars. If you look to the western horizon this time of year, you can see the constellations of Leo the Lion and Aries the Ram (or lamb).

Leo the Lion rises from the east in early March, meaning the month is coming in “like a lion.” By the end of the month, Leo is almost overhead, while Aries the Ram (lamb) is setting on the western horizon. Hence, the month is going out like a lamb.

Another theory claims the saying is biblical and the animal references symbolic. Jesus’s first appeared as the sacrificial lamb but returns as the Lion of Judah. Problem with that theory is the lion appears first, which is theologically inaccurate.

Perhaps the best solution to what the saying – March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb – means is to take it at face value. March may well start with fierce weather, but it’s always a clear signal spring is on its way.

Our March has been like a roller coast. One day warm and sunny (think 80s), the next wet and chilly (highs in the 50s), and another both cold and rainy the same day when one of those Texas northers comes through. Lion one day, lamb the next, or both in the same day. Old Man Winter is definitely fighting Springs arrival.

How’s your March weather?

Want to know whether you can expect lion or lamb weather in your area during these last days of March? You can find the Farmer’s Almanac long-range weather forecast, here.

22 02, 2021

Blogging Anniversary  

By |2021-02-21T17:42:50-06:00February 22nd, 2021|Blogging Anniversary, Make Me Think Monday|1 Comment

This week is the blogging anniversary for View from the Front Porch.

The first blog posted on February 29, 2012. You can read it here. https://judythewriter.com/one-word-wednesday/

We can’t celebrate on the exact day—there’s no February 29 this year. So, we are celebrating today.

Nine years! WOW! Hard to believe.

The next year Chicken Wrangler Sara joined me.

Miller Farm first post was Friday, August 10, 2012. Read it here: https://judythewriter.com/friday-on-the-miller-farm-episode-1-rooster-rescuers/

From 2015 to 2020, Chicken Wrangler Sara and I have…

published 1,162 posts

had 24,855 views

received 1,524 comments

and logged 175 subscribers.

The first three-year statistics were lost when we switched from hosting with WordPress.com to hosting on my Judythe Morgan website.

We’re so pleased. Those numbers are AMAZING. Beyond anything Chicken Wrangler Sara and I could ever have imagined

And it’s all because you subscribe and visit View from the Front Porch, and comment.

15 02, 2021

President’s Day – The Beginnings

By |2021-02-04T14:09:41-06:00February 15th, 2021|Holidays, Make Me Think Monday|1 Comment

There are still a few of us around who remember celebrating both George Washington’s birthday on February 22 and Abraham Lincoln’s on February 16 instead of a single President’s Day.

Back then, the original emphasis for a President’s Day was our first president George Washington’s birth. In 1800, a year after his death, it became a perennial day of remembrance named Presidents’ Day.

At the time, Washington was the most important figure in American history. In fact, the 1832 centennial of his birth and the start of construction of the Washington Monument in 1848 were national celebrations.

It wasn’t until 1879, when President Rutherford B. Hayes signed the law that initially only applied to the District of Columbia, that Washington’s birthday became a designated federal holiday. In 1885, the holiday expanded to the whole country.

Gradually the George Washington emphasis shifted to others who had ever served as president.

Then, in 1971, with the enactment of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, President’s Day became another three-day weekend for the nation’s workers.

Several states still have individual holidays honoring the birthdays of Washington, Abraham Lincoln and other figures, but for the most part Presidents’ Day is now popularly viewed as the day to celebrate all U.S. presidents, past and present.

Four chief executives were actually born in February—George Washington, William Henry Harrison, Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan.

Presidents’ Day never falls on any of their birth dates. Rather it is always celebrated on the third Monday of February.

Probably more than you wanted to know about President’s Day. But isn’t history interesting?

18 01, 2021

To Think About on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

By |2021-01-17T15:16:03-06:00January 18th, 2021|Holidays, Make Me Think Monday|0 Comments

Today is a day set aside to honor  Martin Luther King, Jr. and his accomplishments. It is also a federal holiday dedicated to a day of service.

Dr. King’s attitude on service was clear.

Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.

King’s  words offer introspect and inspiration to find a project that forwards his vision and participate. While today’s coronavirus restrictions and lockdowns disrupt plans for many in-person celebrations and volunteering efforts, there are plenty of safe virtual activities available.

This NYT article has suggestions from several different areas of the country. A Google search using your locale will bring up local opportunities.

If you’re into parades, Houston offers their annual parade virtually on January 18, from 10 a.m. to noon on HTV and via Facebook on the Original MLK Day Parade page.

Dr. King’s nonviolent activism during the civil rights movement changed things. He passionately believed

“We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.”

MLK, Jr. Day offers an opportunity to reflect on the past, think about the present, plan for the future, and remember what is truly important–We are all in the same boat now.

Let’s make this boat we’re in a better place.

11 01, 2021

That Time of Year Again

By |2021-01-09T13:12:37-06:00January 11th, 2021|Make Me Think Monday|0 Comments

2020 is gone at last. It’s time to face a new year and make new year’s resolutions.

Resolutions to do this or that, don’t do well for me. BUT I do like goals. Goals solidify intangibles into tangible. To-do lists have always governed my personal life.

When I taught, goals, called lesson objectives, were an integral part of my days. Once I quit teaching, transitioning lesson goals to my writing career was a logical, easy progression.

A pandemic and civil unrest in our 2020 world caused my goals to fluctuate, some to fail. There were days I struggled to simply focus. I think we all did.

We’re a week into 2021 and it’s been a doozy of a week. While I didn’t expect what used to be normal would magically materialize on January 1, I did hope for a better year. Unfortunately, this first week was a reminder that we –you, me, this country– still have a bumpy road ahead.

As a writer, I view 2021 as a book with blank pages to fill any way we want. No goal plan required, but it could help. Whether you choose to write resolutions or specific, measurable goals or fly uncharted ahead with nothing at all planned, that’s up to you.

Me, I’m setting writing year goals/objectives. Personally, I’m determined to hang onto hope.

Hope fuels creativity.

Hope motives through the dismal days.

Hope is a choice that requires courage and action. With hope, we find a well from which to draw grace and kindness for daily living.

Juliet Marillier’s 2013 New Year’s blog post, directed toward writers, is filled with ideas for finding focus. What she labels focus, I’m calling hope. I especially like her #9:

Breathing.

Step away from your screen regularly. Go outside, look at something beautiful and breathe slowly for a few minutes. You live in the real world; it is the source of your inspiration. Honour and respect it with all its flaws.”

Finding Hope on Psychology Today’s blog suggests:

Turn to your faith.

Your faith can be a strong ally in holding on to hope. Sometimes your faith offers the support of not being alone and trusting that a higher power is with you. If you are questioning your beliefs, then talk with someone in your faith whom you respect. Others have encountered difficult times, and they will understand. Voicing your questions is a step toward resolving your confusion and also a step toward hope.”

I believe grace and kindness are what we’re gonna need to weather this new year 2021 . It’s starting out to be another 2020-version 01. Find your well of hope.

30 11, 2020

Observing Christmas with an Advent Wreath

By |2020-11-29T14:47:40-06:00November 30th, 2020|Holidays, Make Me Think Monday|1 Comment

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade signals the beginning of Christmas preparations and traditions around our home. The Advent wreath also triggers the start of our Christmas celebrations too.

If you attend a traditional liturgical church, you lit the first candle of an Advent wreath yesterday. Or, under COVID-19 quarantine, watched the lighting via video like I did.

Unfamiliar with the tradition of Advent? Let me explain.

Advent comes from adventus meaning “coming” or “visit” and includes the four Sundays before Christmas ending on Christmas Eve. Advent also serves as the beginning of the liturgical year for churches.

Modern-day Advent services feature a garland wreath with four candles.

First candle, the “Prophet’s Candle,” symbolizes hope. The prophets of the Old Testament foretold the Messiah’s arrival. The purple color symbolizes royalty, repentance, and fasting.

Second, the “Bethlehem’s Candle,” represents faith. The prophet Micah foretold the Messiah’s birth in Bethlehem. The second candle is also purple to symbolism preparation for the coming king.

Third, the “Shepherd’s Candle,” symbolizes joy. Angels announced the Christ child’s arrival to shepherds. The rose (pink) color rose signifies joy and rejoicing.

Fourth candle, the “Angel’s Candle,” signifies peace. The angels announced that Jesus came to bring peace. It’s also purple to represent the culmination of love through the Messiah.

The (optional) fifth candle, “Christ’s candle,” stands in the middle and represents light and purity of Christ. It is lit on Christmas Day.

You can read more about the symbolism of the advent wreath here.

Individuals sometimes incorporate advent activities into their home holiday traditions when their church does not formally recognize a season of Advent. You can purchase wreath rings and candles. Or, with our COVID-19 holiday restrictions, you might consider constructing your own Advent wreath. Here’s a how-to video.

Observing Advent with an advent wreath is a great way to remember the true meaning of Christmas.

Advent Candle from Unitarian Universalist Association
16 11, 2020

Piglet and Pandemic Gratitude

By |2020-11-12T14:55:09-06:00November 16th, 2020|Make Me Think Monday|0 Comments

Winnie the Pooh was a favorite of my youngest daughter, the older edition, not the Disney character. At nap time we read a chapter from A.A. Milne’s book and then at bedtime we re-read the same chapter.

The stories never got old. Ernest H. Shephard’s illustrations always brought the tales to life.

The wisdom of Pooh and his companions was sometimes beyond her young experience, but Milne’s never failed to impress me with the compassion and insight his characters imparted with humor.

In the midst of this coronavirus pandemic and election mess, I needed something to cheer me up and thought about those Pooh books I’d read to my daughter. I decided to dig out the books.

My daughter’s a grown woman with grown boys herself now. I’m grateful I saved them all these years. I’m also grateful A.A. Milne wrote Winnie the Pooh. Reading it again has sure perked up my attitude.

You know what I discovered?

Piglet’s wise words about gratitude are just as true today as all those years ago.

In fact, in this chaotic world we’re living in right now, I think filling our hearts with gratitude can be key to getting through the days.

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