Hike Fun Forward – Special Days: August 22-28

August 22 – Be an Angel Day

Trail Angels on the AT

Be An Angel Day encourages good deeds and kindness to others. Supporting those in need, a kind word, a needed hug, comfort for the grieving and hurting, a light in the darkness around us – these are the actions and attitudes to be exercised on August 22 (and every day of the year). I am glad that there is a day like this that is highlighted on our yearly calendars, but this truly should be a world-view, a lifestyle commitment, and an all-encompassing mindset.  If we acted like angels (the word literally means, messengers from God) and brought the grace, forgiveness, and love of God to those around us, the devastating aspects of our society driven by greed, selfishness, and ambition would disappear.

The first thought that came to my mind as I saw this day, was the trail angels I met along the Appalachian Trail. Sometimes the angels would set up grills and tables along the trail and cook hamburgers/and hotdogs with all the sides for the thru-hikers coming by. Sometimes the angels would offer free rides into the nearby towns so the hikers could resupply and find a good night’s sleep. Sometimes, there was a cooler filled with Gatorades and power-bars sitting in the woods with no one around to thank. The focus was not on the angel but on the kindness. How thankful I was every time I encountered these random expressions of support and thoughtfulness.  I want to respond like an angel every day in August, September, October…. you get the idea.

August 23 – Cuban Sandwich Day

Celebrate today with a sandwich that was born in Cuba, but grew up in Florida. Traditionally this sandwich is made of ham, roast pork, swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard on Cuban bread (a light bread, usually made with all white flour with a very thin crispy crust and a soft interior). If you are interested in making your own instead of making a trip to Cuba, check out Chef John’s Cuban Bread | Allrecipes, for a good recipe.   

August 24 – Waffle Day

August 24th is the anniversary of the first waffle iron patent issued. Celebrate by savoring your favorite kind of waffle! On August 24, 1869, Cornelius Swarthout of Troy, New York, received his patent for the waffle iron. While waffles existed long before then, the invention of this special iron made waffles easier to make and a popular breakfast item.  Grab some batter, some soft butter, and some maple syrup, or strawberries and whipped cream, or peanut butter and jelly, or powdered sugar and cinnamon, and have a smorgasbord of waffle delights. 

Great Smoky Mountains

August 25 – National Park Service Founders Day

On August 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed what is now called the Organic Act. It established the National Park Service. As part of the Department of Interior, the National Park Service protects 400 areas in each of the 50 states, U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia totaling 84 million acres.

Take some time today (or sometime soon) and look at the National Parks. Look up some photographs of the different parks. Take a virtual tour of some of the incredible spots across our country. Take special note of some places you want to see up close and personal. While you’re online, discover some of the history of the US as you explore the context of these national parks.

During my thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail, I hiked through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Shenandoah National Park. Both parks were very different in terrain and yet both were spectacularly beautiful.   

August 26 – National Women’s Equality Day

The United States Congress passed the 19th Amendment to the Constitution granting women full and equal voting rights on August 26, 1920. Think about that for a few minutes. The emancipation proclamation was issued on January 1, 1863, ending slavery in America – it was 57 years later before women of any color got the right to vote in the United States. The women’s sufferance movement is a sad story of diligent women who would not give up. Many like Elizabeth Cady Staton (died 1902) and Susan B. Anthony (died 1906) labored for the vote but died before their dreams were realized.

Consider contacting the influential women in your life and let them know about their impact. Teachers, doctors, mothers, lawyers, scholars, scientists, astronauts, authors, musicians, illustrators, coaches, mentors, etc. In my personal life, women have played such an important role and have shaped me in my philosophy, ethic, career, lifestyle, and worldview. Make a quick top-12 list and send them a text/email to let them know of their impact and your appreciation.

August 27 – Just Because Day

Just Because Day offers up an opportunity to do stuff…just because. There is a danger in this day because it can lead us to selfishness and negative spontaneity. But it also has the potential to be creative and use our freedoms to express God’s love to other people. Think about ways you can serve others…..just because you can. Stop and take a look around you – see a need, meet a need, just because you can and just because you were created to love. I have thought of several ideas for myself, but I am not going to share them, but rather encourage you to develop a list for yourself. How can you serve others and touch the lives of those around you…just because you can.

August 28 – Thoughtful Day

I think August 27 and 28 should combine into a two-day celebration that really spills over into a daily routine and a constant way of looking a life. Being thoughtful in word and deed toward those around you will able you to meet needs and change the lives of others. Being thoughtful can manifest itself in simple ways: a quick word of encouragement, a short note of inspiration, a small token of appreciation. Being thoughtful usually involves our actions: buy some groceries, fix a meal, bake a pie, make a visit, take a kid/grandchild to the park, pick up your room.

May this Thoughtful Day be the beginning of many thoughtful days. Use today to make a list of thoughtful things you can do over the next several weeks/months. Just to prime the pump and get the creative juices flowing, here are a few ideas:

Mail a handwritten to friends you haven’t seen for a while.

Bake some cookies and deliver them to friends and family and neighbors. Look for an opportunity to sit and visit for a while.

Bring fresh flowers to someone who blesses you.

Invite someone over for tea.

Now it’s your turn to add to the list and make it your own.

Photos: Angel – Free Cartoon Angel Cliparts, Download Free Cartoon Angel Cliparts png images, Free ClipArts on Clipart Library (clipart-library.com); Cuban Sandwich – Recipe: Cuban Sandwich | Kitchn (thekitchn.com) Waffles – buttermilk waffles – price comparison – discount99.us; Just Because – Stationery – Just Because… (justbecauseuk.com); Thoughtful – 7 Habits Of Considerate People | HuffPost Life; All others from the Rough Collection

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