Fun Facts about Daylight Saving Time

It’s one of my favorite weekends of the year! Daylight Saving Time! This means winter is ending, and spring is about to begin. The days are longer, we have more sunshine and the winter cobwebs are being swept away. Parish Giving thought since we’re all dusting our cobwebs away that we’d share some fun facts about Daylight Saving! Here are just a few!

Fun Fact #1

We can all thank Ben Franklin – Yes, it’s true. When he was living in France, he noticed how the sun was up at 6am. He thought to himself that if you are up with the sun, and go to bed earlier at night, that you would be saving more energy and save money on candles. I suppose this is another spin on Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.

Fun Fact #2

Your state is not required to follow Daylight Saving Time – Arizona and Hawaii are two states that do not follow it.

Fun Fact #3

Arizona doesn’t follow Daylight Saving due to extreme heat. They want to preserve the cooler evening hours so people can enjoy time outdoors.

Fun Fact #4

But the Hopi Reservation which is surrounding by the Navajo Nation observes Daylight Saving Time. Always a loophole!

Fun Fact #5

The English first thought of Daylight Saving Time, but the German’s were the ones who implemented it.

Do you have any fun facts about Daylight Saving Time? Feel free to share them with us!

Mardi Gras: The Food before Fasting

It’s the Tuesday before Lent which means it is Mardi Gras! Mardi Gras translates to Fat Tuesday. It’s the day we use up all of the fatty, sugary foods prior to the first day of Lent. For the next 40 days, we try our best to stay away from rich foods and to fast whenever possible. Different regions of the world have different ways to use up all of their fattening foods. Parish Giving wanted to share some of theirs!

Fastnacht

This is Jill’s way to celebrate Fat Tuesday! It’s a Pennsylvania Dutch tradition which is a German word that means “Fasting Night”. What you are supposed to do is eat as much rich and delicious foods as you possibly can before the Lenten fast. Today we have Fastnacht donuts in which we enjoy. There are three different kinds:

    -Fastnachts made with baking powder

    -Fastnachts with yeast

    -Fastnachts with potato and yeast

No matter how you make these delicious donuts, they all contain butter or lard, flour, powder sugar and are deep fried. Some contain jelly or cream in the middle. Either way, they are delicious and melt in your mouth! You can see why Jill enjoys this tradition every year!

King Cakes

The traditional King Cake is usually eaten during Epiphany, but now is also seen during Mardi Gras! For Fat Tuesday, the cake is typically made of brioche colored with traditional Mardi Gras colors such as green, yellow and purple. The colors are seen in the cake and in the icing.

What makes King Cakes special is the figurine that is baked inside of it. The porcelain figurine represents Jesus, and the person who has him in their slice is responsible for next year’s cake! The lucky few who have the Jesus figurine can also be seen as the King or Queen of the party! I think I like that tradition better!

Shrove Tuesday

This is how I celebrate Fat Tuesday! For dinner, my family always celebrates with a big stack of pancakes, butter and plenty of maple syrup! We usually have bacon or sausage with it too!

Shrove Tuesday is derived from Shrovetide, which is a biblical term for the last day of the liturgical season. The eating of pancakes on this day has dated back to the 16th Century for British Christians. Many churches still ring the Shriving Bell (Church bells) to sound when people should begin frying their pancakes.

We’d love to hear how you and your family celebrate Mardi Gras each year! Fat Tuesday has so many different traditions all around the world!     

What to Give Up for Lent

Lent is the time of year in the church in which we reflect and prepare for Easter. We are asked to give up something that means a lot to us for 40 days as a way to represent Jesus’s sacrifice during his journey through the desert for that amount of time. Some people give up chocolate or other delicious treats, but what about giving up things that are not as traditional? Here are some items you could be giving up during Lent rather than just meat on Friday’s.

Caffeinated beverages

Whether it is coffee, tea, or soda, the common factor is that they all contain that lovely chemical caffeine that we use to wake up in the morning. You just have to put it in the big picture – what is 40 days in comparison to the other 325 days of the year? Absolutely nothing. Why not try a nice herbal tea or green juice instead? They tend to give me a nice pick-me-up in the afternoon when I notice myself nodding off.

Items from your closet

I recently read an article online explaining how we should take an item from our closet each day during Lent, and at the end of the 40 days donate it to Goodwill. This could be anything from clothing you never wear, shoes that are no longer your style, or accessories/bags that you never use anymore. There are plenty of people out there who would love and appreciate your unused items. It’s a win-win for both!

Smartphone

Now I’m not saying to give up your iPhone, but perhaps give up the “smart” part of your phone. That is the part we are most addicted to. Has anyone emailed me about my resume? Did you see the latest cat video on YouTube? Use your phone for what it was meant for – to call people!

Paper Waste

I tease my colleague that she is a “tree killer” because she uses the office printer constantly! Don’t worry – she knows it’s a joke! But one thing you can do is waste less paper and make an impact on the environment. Parish Giving can help with that! Save your church envelope and paper check, and sign up for e-giving instead.

Parish Giving also has graphics to put in your weekly church bulletin to advertise your parish’s e-giving program. That means you no longer have to contact us, ask for a certain amount of inserts, wait for them to be delivered in a cardboard box, and hand them out to parishioners. Now you can just paste it into your bulletin and not use any extra paper!

Remember that Lent is a time to sacrifice and accomplish something you didn’t know you could. These are just some examples of what you can give up. Just try to commit to something for 40 days and see what you can accomplish!

Preparing for Lent

Waking up this morning and I could smell spring trying to emerge. The birds are out chirping, but the weatherman is still predicting another snow storm. March is on the verge of arriving, but we are still stuck in February. This does mean that Lent is around the corner and we should begin to prepare for it. The only thing is how do we prepare for Lent? Well, I have come up with a couple of ways in which we should begin to prepare for the Easter season.

What does my heart and soul need?

This is a question I ask myself daily. All of our hearts and souls need to be nourished differently. For some, it may be daily meditation, and for others, it may be quietly listening. Either way, it should be able to help us focus on the Lenten message. This year’s message is about heart and soul. Pope Francis reminds us that the other person is a gift, sin blinds us, and the Word is a gift. Keep this in mind when you are listening to your heart and soul.

What about my life makes me happy?

We all have things in our lives that make us unhappy. Why don’t we for once focus on what makes us happy? For instance, we should be happy to have our health, a roof over our head and food on the table. There are plenty of people who would love to have one of the items mentioned. Find something about your life that makes you happy and focus on it. Not only will it make your day better, but the positivity can be contagious.

Stop and listen.

This brings all of the Lenten preparation together. Think about what Pope Francis told us about in his message: Lent is a new beginning… and you should be using it to deepen your faith and friendship with Jesus. He is our gift, helps us refrain from sin, and we should live His word.

The best way to Stop and Listen is to attend mass during Lent with a renewed thirst for Jesus. You are being led on how to love and listen which is what the season is all about. Remember, the most important thing is to attend mass, and you are able to give your offering online with Parish Giving. You just worry about listening and worry less about checks, envelopes, and cash. We can take care of that for you.      

Love One Another A Follow-up to #SelfloveSunday

I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. John 13:34

We often associate this time of the year with Valentine’s Day. For some, the hunt is on for a significant other if they do not have one already. For others, it is time to look within themselves. We know we have to love ourselves before we can love someone else, but what about our neighbor?  Just keep in mind, it is all about love.

Who is your neighbor?

We often ponder the above question. Who is our neighbor? Is it strictly the person next door, or is it people who live around you? Well, your neighbor is anyone you interact with. The woman who is at the grocery store hoping her check doesn’t bounce when buying food; it’s the man driving around in the fancy car; it’s the kid’s playing outside in their tree house. All of these people are your neighbor.

Ways to love your neighbor.

There is no right or wrong way to love your neighbor, but there are multiple ways you can show your love. Some ways are:   

•    Giving Blood – the American Red Cross is always looking for all blood types. Don’t wait for a natural disaster to donate.

•    Say please and thank you and mean it. They go a long way and make people feel good when you use them.

•    Recycle. Whether it is just rinsing out a jar of peanut butter, or using reusable bags, we should all do our part in keeping our community nice. This also means keeping litter off of our streets. If you see some, pick it up! No one enjoys driving down roads and seeing trash along the side of it.

•    Adopt a soldier. Think about if your son or daughter was far away from home – wouldn’t you want them to have a family to visit for the holidays? If you live in a military enriched community, think about having some young recruits over for a Sunday dinner. I’m sure they’d appreciate a home-cooked meal.

•    Volunteer at Vacation Bible School. Parish Giving is a big advocate for VBS! So much so that we have online forms to make those who work and volunteer at the parish lives much easier. We keep you organized so you can focus on educating young minds.

Why should we love our neighbor?

If we want to live in an enriched community, love is always the first step. You need to love yourself and love your neighbor. Once you have done that, volunteer your time (if you have any available) to help deepen the lives around you. Spread the word of loving your neighbor because if you do not, then who will?

Love Yourself First #SelfloveSunday Series

Some of us are familiar with the hashtag #SelfloveSunday. People take pictures with their coffee in their comfiest sweats and profess their self-love. Well, what if there is more to loving yourself than drinking a fancy pour over in their designer sweats that you worked so hard for? What if loving yourself has more to do with how you approach viewing yourself and having the world see you? What if it meant loving your imperfections and finding strength in them? That is what #Selflove is about.

Maya Angelou once said, “You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody”. Sometimes knowing yourself can be mistaken for being overly confident or conceited. Reciting Maya Angelou’s quote allows us to see that this is not true. Knowing yourself and loving yourself is pretty powerful, and not many of us can say we do.

So this made me think, how do we learn to love ourselves? I have 5 steps that will lead to some real #SelfloveSundays that are more Instagram ready than fancy lattes in bed.

Have Grit

Grit is a word that has multiple meanings to multiple people. Grit is similar to gumption – go out and get it. Take that solo adventure, go out to dinner by yourself, or apply for a promotion/school that may be out of reach. Prove to yourself that yes, you can do it. Take pride in yourself and see what you can do. Be daring. Once the adventure is over, you will have more respect for yourself, and therefore more love.

Find Happiness

We’ve all been in a rut. Our life is sometimes on autopilot. We get up, drive to work in the same traffic, go through the same motions, and come home. We do this five days a week. It becomes a bit monotonous, which can also mean boring or dull. When I’m bored, I find myself lacking happiness. I have to break out of the everyday rut, and find my own joy.

It’s sometimes difficult breaking out of your rut, so you sometimes have to be a bit creative. I enjoy taking a different kind of workout class during evenings after work. From aerobics to yoga, I have tried it all. Another way to find happiness is to wear an article of clothing (or accessory) that makes you glow from the inside. I have a pair of bowtie oxfords in pink and purple. When I put them on, I feel as though I can take on the world! That is pure happiness to me.

Meditate

Sometimes you need 5 minutes for yourself. Working 8-hour days, driving in traffic to work each day, and then coming home to family and noise; you just need 5 minutes to recover. Just sit cross legged and breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Try not to think about anything while doing this. You will feel the weight of the world being lifted off of your shoulders with regular practice. With less weight, you feel lighter and happier.

Cater to you

If you are like most of us, you put yourself last. Stop. You are no good to others if you are not your own priority. Just like you need your 5 minutes of meditation at the end of each work day, you also need to put yourself first. Do not think of this as being selfish, but rather love. Loving yourself allows you to love others around you.

Mass

As usual, I save the best step for last. Just sitting and listening helps to calm our nerves. When you listen to someone preaching about love, it becomes second nature to love yourself.

If you find yourself at mass without your church envelope, do not fret! You can go home and sign up for Parish Giving. In the back of the church you can find cards that state, “I participate in the ‘Electric Giving Program’” in case you feel the need to put something in the offertory basket.

Remember #SelfloveSunday this weekend. Enjoy your coffee in your sweats, or your time at mass. Either way, use that time to find love within yourself.      

How to Rid Yourself of the Winter Blues

Finally, February is here! The shortest month in days, but the longest in winter; February brings the harshest snowstorms and frigid temps leaving us with cabin fever. The most difficult part is coping with the freezing temps and keeping everyone entertained. Here are some ways you can rid yourself of the winter blues.

Get Out There

“Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.” (Elle Woods, Legally Blonde). One of my favorite movie quotes of all times rings true this time of the year. Yes, many people share the New Year’s Resolution of losing weight and going to the gym, but what you may not realize is that regular exercise DOES make you feel better!

If you are not able to join a gym, consider taking a walk during your lunch hour, or if it’s too cold, take a lap around the building or go up and down flights of stairs. Any type of moving helps with the winter blues, so get out there and take a lap!

Prep your Spring Cleaning

We are all fans of the Marie Kondo show on Netflix here at Parish Giving. She is teaching us how to clean our closets, and clean up our lives. If it doesn’t bring us any joy, we are tossing it. Once your closet is cleaned out, you can dust and donate.

This also applies to items around your house. If you have an old vase collecting dust, or some picture frames without pictures in them, why not put them in a box and donate them to your local Goodwill? Not only are you de-cluttering your life, but you are also helping out those who are not as fortunate.

Eat Healthily

I know, I know… it’s difficult to find good, fresh produce during the middle of winter. Eating healthier will make you feel better. Aim to have either one fruit or one vegetable with each meal. Berries with your breakfast, salad for lunch, and steamed spinach for supper is just an easy way to squeeze in produce. Once spring and summer hit, you’ll be craving seasonal treats like peaches and tomatoes!

Let there be light!

Vitamin D is a necessity. It helps us feel good and feeling good means looking good. With the short winter hours, you may want to invest in a lightbox. You are then able to set the lightbox to act as a sunrise, so you feel as though the sun is rising as you are waking up (as in spring, summer, and fall…).

If this is something that is not in your budget, then try to go outside for a couple of minutes each day. Breathe in the fresh air, and try to do it when the sun is out. Even short bursts of Vitamin D are better than no Vitamin D.

Parish Giving

Yes, Parish Giving is able to help with your winter blues! If you are lucky enough to travel somewhere warm over President’s Day weekend, then remember to use our online giving services to remember your parish. Also, this is not just for when you are on vacation. In case your area is pummeled by snow this month, and your streets are too icy, you can give online and watch mass streaming online. Isn’t the internet a wonderful thing?!

Just remember, spring is just a few short weeks away and so is Daylight Savings Time! We’ll be waking up with the sunshine soon enough! Keep warm and stay safe for the remainder of winter!

Catholic Schools Week 2019

It’s hard to believe that Catholic Schools Week is upon us once again. This year it is from January 27th to February 2nd. Each day is used to celebrate an important theme for those involved in Catholic education. The themes are vital to CSW (Catholic Schools Week), and to those who in which they represent. Let’s explore some of them and see how they can be celebrated during CSW 2019!

Sunday: Celebrating Your Parish

This seems an appropriate choice for Day 1 and Sunday. What better way to start CSW than to celebrate your schools parish. Students and their families celebrate mass at their schools parish, so many of them will be at church already. A great way for students to celebrate their parish would be to introduce them and inform the other parishioners as to why they advocate for Catholic schools. It’s always nice to hear it from the student’s themselves as to why CSW is important.

Monday: Celebrating Your Community

The stronger the church, the stronger the community; this also applies to the churches school. Our student’s help to build the community and what better way than with service activities. Sometimes having the pupils focus on the community outside of school is the best way to help celebrate the area. Why not visit a retirement center and have a sing-a-long? Or why not host a dance-a-thon or walk-a-thon to help raise money for those in under-served communities. After all, giving back is at the core of Catholic schools.     

Tuesday: Celebrating Your Students

Without the students, there wouldn’t be CSW. Show them how much they are appreciated by allowing them to donate $1 to a cause and allow them to dress down for the day. Why not continue celebrating the students with fun activities like hosting a scavenger hunt, or conduct some fun STEM experiments! Who said that learning can’t be fun?!

Wednesday: Celebrating the Nation

Since CSW is nationwide, it only makes sense to celebrate the nation for making it possible. To know that not only your Catholic school is taking part in CSW, but also schools from California to Idaho to Florida are also celebrating. Some great ways to celebrate on Wednesday is to take notice of the hashtag #CSW19 to see who and where is celebrating.

Thursday: Celebrating Vocations

We often wonder when we hear our calling. This isn’t necessarily for religious vocations, but our life vocation. Thursday can be used as a career day for school children. Have parents come in, as well as religious clergy, to discuss what their career entails. With the different vocations, children are better able to decide what kind of career path they may choose in the future.

Friday: Celebrating Faculty, Staff and Volunteers

These are the people who make every week in Catholic schools happen. Why not celebrate them with something extra special: a nice continental breakfast, some gourmet coffee, their students taking the time to write thank you notes as to why they appreciate them, and so on.

Saturday: Celebrating Families

What a great way to wrap up CSW! There are so many ways to celebrate family! Why not have a board game night in the parish auditorium along with a pizza party? A nice family ice cream social is also a great idea.  So long as it includes the whole family, you can’t lose!

As you can see CSW is a celebrated week by all who support Catholic schools. Parish Giving is a huge supporter in Catholic schools; we even offer a tuition service for schools. You can read about all of our services on our website, or contact us by email to see about a meeting! We look forward in hearing from you!

Service for Martin Luther King Jr. Day

As we all know, Martin Luther King Jr. Day is this Monday. It is more than just a day off for some; it is a day about service. It is service for your community, service for the homeless, service for the less fortunate. Here are a few ideas if you are able to volunteer your time this coming weekend.

 Hygiene Kits

This is often overlooked by many people. Many homeless men and women (and children) are not able to afford the basic necessities. To the fortunate, going out and purchasing a toothbrush and toothpaste is not a big deal. For some, it is a difficult decision to choose food or hygiene.

What you can do is collect toothbrushes, travel sized toothpastes and mouth washes, wash clothes, small bars of soap, shampoo, and donate them to your local St. Vincent de Paul. They are always in need of these items.

Collect stuffed animals

Do you have some old stuffed animals collecting dust in the attic/basement? Why not donate them to children in need? Many times homeless shelters will accept gently loved stuffed toys, or contact SAFE (Stuffed Animals for Emergencies) and start your own stuffed animal drive. Both places will make sure children who are in need of a stuffed animal receive one.

Donate food

Let’s face it, after Thanksgiving and Christmas, food banks tend to take a back seat to other charities. People still have to eat though. This weekend when you are at the grocery store, keep in mind that your local food bank or St. Vincent’s could use some non-perishable food donations. Canned foods, pancake mixes, boxed mac and cheese, peanut butter, jelly… the list goes on. On your way back from the store, you just have to drop it off at your local church in the donation box.

Do a good deed

I’ll never forget when I was walking down the street and saw someone handing out McDonald’s cheeseburgers and fries to homeless people sitting on street corners. He handed them a burger and fry and sat and had a conversation with them while they ate, and continued to do this until he ran out of food. Not only did you give someone a hot meal, but you also gave them a chance to talk to someone who was not judging them for their life choices. Showing that they still matter is the good deed, and the burger and fries is just the bonus!

If you are amongst those who have to work, have bad weather, or have other obligations this weekend, you can always donate using Parish Giving. All you have to do is put your zip code in and see what churches are in the area. There is even a selection for St. Vincent de Paul Society so you can donate to them. A good deed such as this never goes unnoticed.

New Year’s Resolution

Lose weight. Be healthier. Be more organized. Plan that trip of a lifetime. Make more me time. Exercise more. These are some of the most common New Year’s resolutions people make every year. Why not try something different? Be more spiritual. Attend mass more often – not just Easter and Christmas. These are just an example of what your resolutions could be.

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