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Not Your Usual Line in the Sand.

August 25th, 2008 by stephanie

Some of you may have seen the recent Obama/McCain Forum that took place at the mega church known as Saddleback in California.  The pastor of that church, Rick Warren, moderated the event.  For those that watched, you may recall an amazing story that John McCain shared about one particular Christmas while held captive in Vietnam as a prisoner of war in the 1960s.


Mr. McCain shared how prior to one holiday, a guard had entered his chamber, loosened his ropes, put a finger to his lips, then left.  Before the guard’s shift was over, he returned, re-tightened the ropes, and departed.  Sometime later, it was Christmas day. During roll call, this same guard approached prisoner McCain, took his foot out of his sandal and in the sand formed the shape of a cross with his toe. Calmly, he then erased it. “Just two men. Worshipping. On Christmas day.” I think is how the now Senator put it.


For those of you familiar with the Christian faith, you are aware that the shape of a fish was used similarly by first century Christians. They were known to draw symbolically in the sand to communicate their faith while under vicious Roman rule. A believer would draw a semi-circle.  If the receiver of the art was a believer as well, he would respond in kind, and complete the form. The finished product was that of a stick figure, but in the shape of a fish. Early Christians referred to it as the “sign of the fish.” (When you have a moment you might google it for some background info.)

The secret sign that was exchanged between the Vietnamese guard and the American prisoner some 2000 years later was much more blatant and daring. It was the sign of the cross.


As I walked my sweet, Labrador retriever this evening, I kept noticing the beautiful sky and continued to marvel at the perfect weather. Nearing the end of our walk, I looked up, as I had been doing, but this time noticed up in the blue the perfect shape of a huge stick figure fish.  Obviously made by airplanes as other white paths in the distance were visible. This blatant image, however, was too clear to miss.


I was struck. Now please know that I am not one to make a scene over such moments, but it was definitely special. I couldn’t help but wonder if the Lord was perhaps smiling down with a simple, “I see you. And I am here.”  I don’t know. But it was my moment, and I will keep it in my heart.  Maybe not as dramatically as that of Mr. McCain’s, but one that was meant for me to be sure.





Where Your Treasure is, There Your Heart will be Also.

August 24th, 2008 by stephanie

One of the definitions of the word “treasure”, according to Webster’s Dictionary, is “to value highly.” I have been impressed of late to take a deeper look at the people that I invest my resources in and spend time with.  Now, mind you, don’t get the wrong impression of my intent here. Let me divulge my wisdom of the ages (of late) upon you. If you will humor me.


Think about it.  If you are spending precious moments and energy with people who “need” you and do not invest back into you, I’d bet you are pretty tired at the end of the day or week.  If you find that you socialize mostly with people who drink heavily, you are probably finding that your bar tab is higher than you’d realized or even liked.  If your time on the phone consists mostly of those who see only the negative, you probably aren’t feeling too bubbly and chipper when the calls end.  You get my point.


Who we spend time with, invest in, and adore, really matters. Take the Olympic athletes for instance.  If they spent most of their time with people who eat junk food and don’t exercise, it would most likely limit their resources and their energy. I highly doubt that those fast–food friends would be the ones that drive them “closer to the gold.”  And so it is with you.  If your goal is to save money, and you find that your weekends are spent burning up the credit card out of mere peer pressure, you’re in for the shock of a lifetime down the road. You and I both know that.

 So, if you want to head in a particular direction, you really need to sit down and take stock of the people in your life that you invest the most time and resources in.  Make a literal list.  Write it out in front of you. And stare at it. Then make a a list of your passions, goals and dreams.  Are the the people that you are investing the majority of your time and resources in truly moving you farther down the path that you personally want, or know, that you should take?




Food for Thought.

August 19th, 2008 by stephanie

Had the distinct privilege of sitting in on the taping of an upcoming PBS special for Dr. Daniel G. Amen (of the book Change Your Brain, Change Your Life.) It will air this December.  I highly suggest it!  Wow. Talk about enlightening.  I had no idea people could scan your brain, diagnosis a situation, and then work with you to correct and improve it.  And what I am referring to is ADD, ADHD, Depression, Drug Addiction, Mental Illness and more.  It was amazing.  You can find what the brain needs in regards to repair, and actually assist the brain in the repairment process.  It was truly stunning. They are experiencing unbelievable results.

I realized that we take our little cranial organ quite for granted really. I have to admit, brain food now means more to me than it did 24 hours ago. I literally got into the car after the taping and headed to the grocery store. You should know the list I now held in my hand was not the one that matches what usually goes into the cart. And I eat healthy!  “Let me see, Zinc, Fish Oil, Sage, Lavendar Oil, Omega 3 supplements, Green Tea…” and down the list I went. (If you don’t have a Whole Foods…good luck! The Apple Farm didn’t quite cut it at 10pm at nite.)  But I digress.

One of my favorite lines from the evening was that Dr. Amen will require men who date his daughters more than 4 months to have a scan! That is awesome. Don’t you wish we could scan the men that come into our lives?  It would make life so much easier.  Well, Ok, maybe not. But it’s a GREAT thought.  Just think about it for a minute. The future of dating, (or social networking) could include a requirement (or option) to post the results of your scan!  That would limit your “connections” you can bet. Talk about weeding out!


For now, those of us not willing to shell out the $3,000 for the scan (and make the trip to his clinics) will have to wait until they are available at the local clinic or Red Box. (just kidding.)

Just some food for thought.



Embracing the Differences.

August 17th, 2008 by stephanie

I just wrapped up taking part in a taping for an upcoming television show this past week.  13 shows were taped in four days. Yep. It’s a bit crazy. A show is taped. You go and change clothes. And you start all over again. The star of the show is a marriage seminar leader and pastor from Wisconsin, Mark Gungar. (You really should check him out on YouTube).  Not nationally known, but most likely a very up and coming personality on the national stage. He was engaging, funny, and easy to listen to. If there is one thing this guy has down, it is getting the male population to “tune in” to what he is saying and connect!  And too, he makes some great points to the women in the audience.  Basically, we girls just plain don’t get men, as we know.  But what we forget, is that half the time, we punish men for not “thinking” like women, not “understanding” women, not “relating” to women, you get the picture. All the while forgetting they are NOT women.  🙂

It saddens me that my generation of women missed out on the tutoring from older women that men and women are different. And that it’s ok. That it is not something to fight, but rather understand and embrace. But nope. We were the generation of unisex haircuts and clothing. It was cool to be “likes”.  To prove that we were the equal. Differences were an “archaic” way of thinking. And we were above that.

We can see how well that worked.  The divorce rate and homosexuality skyrocketed during that period of time, families fractured, and the list goes on.  We were left wondering why and how this could have happened. What went wrong during this modern, intellectual way of thinking?

It’s pretty easy.  The Bible has lasted for a few thousand years.  Its principles (which were deemed outdated and unrealistic) were tossed out. We would find a better way. But we didn’t. 

My challenge to you this week is just to simply strive to notice the differences in men and women. Embrace them.  And work to understand them. It can be a beautiful thing.

Life’s good.  Let’s work to make it even better.


The Beauty and the Wonder of Fabulous Family and Friends.

August 10th, 2008 by stephanie

Well, it’s good to be back. Hard to believe so much time has flown by and gotten away from me.  And for the very long absence, I do apologize profusely. But, life happened, and so the silent departure. But now the grateful return.  In the days ahead I will attempt to get us all back on track with the Saga of the Solo Sisterhood. However, I just have to take a few moments to tell you briefly, that the last few months would not have been possible (and I probably would not even BE back) had it not been for the amazing family and friends that are in my life. From gifts of massages, to late night visits to my house to take the food from my freezer due to the power outage (caused by the tree that ripped out my power meter and fell on my roof), to the rides to and from the airport, the dog sitting, the lawn mowings, the dragging in of boxes left by the UPS, the watering of my flowers…I could go on and on and on.  These and a myriad of other tasks were graciously undertaken on my behalf by the wonderful people in my life while I was navigating the swirling waters of the last couple of months.  I truly was in awe of their generosity, their phone calls, their emails and text messages, and their cards.  Words could never express my gratitude to these incredibly dear people (and you know who you are!)  But a simple blog will have to suffice for tonight and a very heartfelt and sincere THANK YOU.  To all of you out there, please know that I am looking forward to getting back in the groove of our time together in the days ahead.

Hugs to you and chat soon!


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