Monthly Archives: October 2014
Halloween is not exactly a typical holiday. Other holidays, like Christmas and Shavuot, celebrate an event. Halloween celebrates a lot of things, including the lives of people who are no longer with us.
The history of Halloween is not entirely a clear one. Here’s how (it’s believed) it started:
Many hundreds of years ago, a people called the Celts lived in Europe and on the British Isles. The Celts believed that the souls of the dead visited Earth on the last day of October. They had a festival in honor of these souls of the dead, and they called it Samhain.
In time, the Roman Empire conquered the Celts and took over some of their beliefs as well. This included Samhain. The Romans combined it with their own festivals. And since the Roman Empire spread across a great part of the known world, the idea that the souls of the dead visited Earth on the last day of October spread far and wide.
Many ideas from the Roman days still survive in the United States and in other Western countries. Halloween is one of them.
But how did we get the name Halloween?
In the 8th Century, the Catholic Church declared November 1 to be All Saints’ Day. The church calendar had a number of days honoring saints already. November 1 was picked to be the day to honor all saints who didn’t already have a day named in their honor.
And the mass that the Catholic Church celebrated on November 1 was called Allhallowmas. This meant “mass of all the hallowed [saintly people.]” It was commonly called “All Hallows’ Day.”
And somewhere along the line, the night before became known as Allhallowe’en, which was short for “evening before All Hallows’ Day.” It was then shortened to what we now call it, Halloween.
One last question: Why do people dress up as ghosts, goblins, vampires, and other scary creatures? The people who started all this Halloween business many years ago believed that if they appeared scary, they would scare away the spirits of the dead who were roaming the earth on All Hallows’ Eve. These people also carried food to the edge of town and left it there, hoping the spirits would eat that food and not come raid the village.
Almost 40 years ago when I was 8 years old at Cedar Tree Baptist Church shortly after my mother passed away I was sitting in church like any other sunday before and this day was different, it was the day I heard no one, not the pastor, not the congregation singing, not even the silence of prayer. What I heard was the voice of Christ speaking to my heart so loud that it was impossible to ignore. Every day and night I prayed the same prayer not ever realizing I had not ever really spoken to God until that glorious day when I kneeled before the pew I was sitting in beside my aunt and was deep in conversation with God. Since that moment I have lived, loved and experienced more life than some will ever even imagine and one thing I am certain of is that through the years of sleepless nights with God as my counselor, the hours on my bicycle with God listening and pushing me through the mountains and the countless opportunities to give back with a feeling of gratitude to those who gifted me by accepting a hand up that on judgement day the lord Jesus will ask one question and only one question: Did you believe that I loved you? That I desired you? That I waited for you day after day, that I longed to hear the sound of your voice? The real believers will respond, I believed in your love and tried to shape my life as a response to it. Many of us, faithful to our ministry, our practice, and church going, will answer, no Sir, frankly, I didn’t believe it. That’s the difference between a real believer and a nominal Christian bound in churches across the land. No one can measure, like a believer, the depth and intensity of our God’s love. Then again, no one like a believer can measure the effectiveness of our gloom, pessimism, low self-esteem, self-hatred and despair, that block God’s way to us. That’s why it’s so important we lay hold of this basic truth of our faith, because you’re only going to be as big as your own concept of God. When we see God in our OWN image, He ends up being as fussy, rude, narrow minded, unloving, and unforgiving as we are. God is too small for most believers, He is not the God of the word, he is not the God who has been revealed to them by and in Jesus Christ who comes at this very moment to your side and says I have a word for you I know who you are, I know your whole life story, I know every skeleton in your closet, I know your every sin and your every kindness, I know your every shame, I know your dishonesty and degraded love that has ever darkened your past, right now I know your shallow faith, your feeble prayer life, your inconsistent discipleship, and His word to us is this: I dare you to trust that I love you JUST AS YOU ARE, not as you should be, because none of us are as we should be and we never will be because we are human. The best we can be is a better version of ourselves as we continue to grow in Christ’s image. we are all battling darkness. A ragamuffin is not ashamed to be a ragamuffin, he is a beggar at the door of God’s mercy, realizing he is a lover and seeker of God. Boast in your weakness and God will be your strength. As for me I am just a girl, a child of God who realizes that I fall short of Gods grace everyday and I recognize that God gives it to me out of his amazing grace. I am blessed each day that I awake and choose to share it with all of God’s children…
I was inspired to write this when someone dear to me said this to me… “How can I honor the one who loves me so deeply when I display the character that I do for I am only human, how can I display any other character than I do when it is who I am, only God can change me for I cannot change myself as all I can do is choose to surrender to his grace and even surrender seems challenging sometimes and I realize it is through his amazing grace that will continue to carry me through to brighter tomorrows”. I realize everyday I awake I fall short of God’s grace, I also recognize God blesses me with his amazing grace each and everyday through his eternal love and everlasting life…
~Lisa Christine Christiansen
Mark 11:25 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”
In 2014, an estimated 232,670 new cases of invasive breast cancer were expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 62,570 new cases of non-invasive (in situ) breast cancer.
About 2,360 new cases of invasive breast cancer were expected to be diagnosed in men in 2014. A man’s lifetime risk of breast cancer is about 1 in 1,000.
Breast cancer incidence rates in the U.S. began decreasing in the year 2000, after increasing for the previous two decades. They dropped by 7% from 2002 to 2003 alone. One theory is that this decrease was partially due to the reduced use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) by women after the results of a large study called the Women’s Health Initiative were published in 2002. These results suggested a connection between HRT and increased breast cancer risk.
About 40,000 women in the U.S. were expected to die in 2014 from breast cancer, though death rates have been decreasing since 1989 — with larger decreases in women under 50. These decreases are thought to be the result of treatment advances, earlier detection through screening, and increased awareness.
For women in the U.S., breast cancer death rates are higher than those for any other cancer, besides lung cancer.
Besides skin cancer, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women. Just under 30% of cancers in women are breast cancers.
White women are slightly more likely to develop breast cancer than African-American women. However, in women under 45, breast cancer is more common in African-American women than white women. Overall, African-American women are more likely to die of breast cancer. Asian, Hispanic, and Native-American women have a lower risk of developing and dying from breast cancer.
In 2014, there were more than 2.8 million women with a history of breast cancer in the U.S. This includes women currently being treated and women who have finished treatment.
A woman’s risk of breast cancer approximately doubles if she has a first-degree relative (mother, sister, daughter) who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. About 15% of women who get breast cancer have a family member diagnosed with it.
About 5-10% of breast cancers can be linked to gene mutations (abnormal changes) inherited from one’s mother or father. Mutations of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are the most common. Women with a BRCA1 mutation have a 55-65% risk of developing breast cancer before age 70, and often at a younger age that it typically develops. For women with a BRCA2 mutation, this risk is 45%. An increased ovarian cancer risk is also associated with these genetic mutations. In men, BRCA2 mutations are associated with a lifetime breast cancer risk of about 6%; BRCA1 mutations are a less frequent cause of breast cancer in men.
About 85% of breast cancers occur in women who have no family history of breast cancer. These occur due to genetic mutations that happen as a result of the aging process and life in general, rather than inherited mutations.
The most significant risk factors for breast cancer are gender (being a woman) and age (growing older).