Monthly Archives: February 2012

February 29: National Surf and Turf Day

February 29, besides being leap day, is also National Surf and Turf Day. Surf and Turf has been a steakhouse standby for years. It consists of some type of steak (the turf part) and a seafood entree (there’s the surf). The seafood is usually lobster or shrimp. Sounds delicious, right?

He provides food for those who fear him;
he remembers his covenant forever.

Psalm 111:5

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February 28: Public Sleeping Day

February 28 is the annual Public Sleeping Day. That means today, wherever you are, sleep, nap, doze, snooze, rest your eyes, inspect the back of your eyelids or watch a movie on the inside of your eyes. Today is your day!

I will lie down and sleep in peace,
for you alone, O LORD,
make me dwell in safety.

Psalm 4:8

February 27: St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrow

“Remember your Creator
in the days of your youth,
before the days of trouble come ”

Ecclesiastes 12:1a

St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrow was born as Francesco Possenti in 1838. It seems he was rather popular as a child and young man, taking great pains to always look his best. He was known as “the dancer” and had several “romantic entanglements.”

At age 13 he became very sick and vowed to become a priest if he became better. He got better, but didn’t change his life. Two years later the same thing happened. A little while later his sister (who had raised him after their mother died when he was just four years old) died during a cholera epidemic.

After this, Gabriel/Francesco began to think more seriously, and determined to begin his priestly studies as soon as possible. His father and many other relatives attempted to change his mind, but at age 18 he entered the novitiate of the Passionists.

For the next few years he lived as a clerical student, working, writing, and studying to become a priest. During this time, Gabriel developed tuberculosis, and died quietly, even joyfully, a few days before his 24th birthday.

His devotion proved inspirational, especially considering his youth and the other opportunities he had. As a result, Gabriel was canonized in 1920 as the patron saint of the youth, students, and particularly those studying to become a priest.

How can a young man keep his way pure?
By living according to your word.
I seek you with all my heart;
do not let me stray from your commands.

Psalm 119: 9 & 10

February 26: Tell A Fairy Tale Day

February 26 is Tell a Fairy Tale Day. It’s a great day to make up your own or tell an old favorite.

Here are a few of my favorites: the original Beauty and the Beast, Han’s Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid, and the brothers Grimm’s surprisingly gruesome Cinderella. Of course, I enjoy the Disney movies as well, but take a moment to read their inspirations. You might be surprised.

Many fairy tales (including The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast) feature good people placing another person’s needs above his (or more often her) own. It seems to me that there’s definitely something to learn from these short, easily dismissed children’s stories.

“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.”

Romans 12:10

February 25: Aethelbert of Kent

Aethelbert was king in Kent, a region of today’s England, from around 580 to his death in 616. He is best known as the first English king to become a Christian. He was converted through the efforts of his wife, Bertha, who was raised as a Christian, and Augustine of Canterbury, a Benedictine monk (not to be confused with Augustine of Hippo who wrote the Confessions of St. Augustine). Although many (most?) of his people remained pagan during his lifetime, his conversion opened the door for others to spread the gospel.

“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.”

Colossians 4:2-4

February 24: National Tortilla Chip Day

Happy National Tortilla Chip Day! Today is the day to celebrate the lowly tortilla chip – cheap, delicious, and perfect for keeping customers from charging into every restaurant kitchen to see why their entrees aren’t out yet.

Tonight, I believe I shall celebrate with homemade taco salad. Here’s my favorite dip ever:

Easy Microwave Queso: Melt a package of Velveeta (or similar cheese) in the microwave. (Microwave a few minutes at a time and stir in between so that you don’t burn the edges.) Add salsa (I like medium Pace or a can of Rotel) to taste and add milk until the consistency feels right.

Stick any leftovers in the fridge, add milk and microwave for take 2 (or 3 or 7 or however long it lasts).

Today’s verse comes from Genesis 27:28, when Isaac blessed his second son, Jacob.

“May God give you of heaven’s dew
and of earth’s richness—
an abundance of grain and new wine.”

February 23: Polycarp of Smyrna

Polycarp of Smyrna was a second century Christian, known as the bishop of Smyrna. It is said that he studied under the apostle John.

An ancient (2nd or 3rd century) writing called The Martyrdom of Polycarp records his death. As an old man, Polycarp was ordered to deny Christ. Some say that the proconsul knew Polycarp to be an old and honorable man, known for good works, and that he didn’t want to execute him. Apparently the proconsul told him he would be freed if he would simply renounce his belief in Jesus. Polycarp’s response has become legendary:

“For eighty and six years have I been his servant, and he has done me no wrong, and how can I blaspheme my King who saved me?”

As we go through this second day of Lent, let’s remember those Christians who, like Polycarp, have given up their very lives for the sake of the gospel.

Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.

Luke 9:23 & 24