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December 30th, 2008 by stephanie

All high achievers plan their work and work their plan, for they are keenly aware that “luck” is most often being prepared to take advantage of a situation.

– Unknown

The Optimist’s Creed

December 30th, 2008 by stephanie

I don’t know about you, but I tend to find that more times than not, it is easier for my first reaction to a situation to default to the negative. I am not proud to admit that to you, but that simple fact is true. It’s just one of the thing on my personal list that I work very hard at overcoming.

So, I was doing a bit of research and came across this creed. It may be familiar to you, but I had not seen it in a very long time, or I just don’t remember seeing it at all. Can’t quite decide which of the two yet. However, wanted to share it with you as we approach our New Year.

Promise Yourself

… To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind;

… To talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person you meet;

… To make all your friends feel that there is something in them;

… To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true;

… To think only the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best;

… To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own;

… To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future;

… To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile;

… To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others;

… To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear; and too happy to permit the presence of trouble;

… To think well of yourself and to proclaim this fact to the world, not in loud words, but in great deeds;

… To live in the faith that the whole world is on your side so long as you are true to the best that is in you.

– Christian D. Larson “The Optimist Creed”

Here’s to a bit more positive outlook in 2009.



December 29th, 2008 by stephanie

The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, or not to anticipate troubles, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly.

– Buddha


December 29th, 2008 by stephanie

At the end of each year, my mother always laments having to watch every channel’s personal “Greatest of” or “Highlights”. She doesn’t want to relive the top ten murder cases, or the top rated shows or whatever the selection of choice by the presuming TV or cable station. So, in keeping with the trend, I couldn’t resist replaying one of my own blogs. All in good fun, of course. This one generated some good feed back to me personally. So it’s one I don’t mind re-visiting. Enjoy!


If I have this right, there is an old Chinese proverb that goes like this: Care about people’s approval and you will be their prisoner. (Tao Te Ching, ancient Chinese Philosophy).

I think we would be shocked if we really took a good hard look and noted how much of our day or week is spent in trying to please some one or some thing. It’s eye opening when you take a moment to realize that perhaps a lot of our time, energy, and resources might be going into or being invested in people, organizations, or things that really won’t matter down the road. Sometimes, a lot of unnecessary frustration is born out of this very basic scenario.

A friend and I were discussing this dilemma of sorts, and she quickly put it into easy-to-grasp terms for me. She was expounding on howm when a problem arose in her life that just didn’t sit quite right, she would stop and ask this question: “Will I still be attached to this situation, or know this person 5 years from now. And if not, will it matter?” I thought that was a great way to stop and evaluate any given moment where we feel a bit out of control. Basically, in five years, will that organization, or person, or job be in your life? And if not, will it matter?” Talk about some fast perspective. So I decided to stop and take stock of how much of my life I was pouring into things that might not even be there in the future. And too, if I was mostly involved in them for approval sake.

You have to be very careful with this one, but if you take it realistically, and honestly, (and in proper moderation) it’s some good brain work. Try it, and the next time you find that you are really upset or frustrated about something, ask the “5-year” question that my dear friend taught me. It might bring some much needed, immediate relief. See what you think.


Things aren’t life, and life isn’t about things.

December 28th, 2008 by stephanie

Such were the final remarks of the political show host as he closed out his hour. We all know his statement well. But it’s hard to live out that poignant truth.

A boat. A cabin. A motor home with car to match. A new house. Such were a few of the possessions that a person I knew once owned – all at one time. Some people simply hope to pay the electric bill. Others, as the one mentioned above, are blessed with “things”.

Now, let me be clear, “things” aren’t bad. They are, and can be, wonderful. Those who have them and enjoy them know the blessings they can be. Understanding this, they share their things with others in order to spread the joy.

However, things do not contain life. Nor are they life giving. Without people, they just sit. Like in a museum where they don’t really do much other than offer us something to look at and ponder. For those of you who have had the luxury of things, you know exactly what I mean. Things are meant to be used and to be enjoyed. The reality is, they’re fun and they do make life a bit less boring. (And at times a whole lot easier!)

King Solomon was a man who owned many things. The Queen of Sheba after her visit to his palace in Jerusalem was said to have noted that the stories she’d heard didn’t do justice to what she discovered during her actual visit. But Solomon was not always a happy man. The book of Ecclesiastes, written by Solomon himself, explores this portion of his life.

Sometimes we find that we have worked harder for things than we have for the things that matter most. Now, I realize this can vary from person to person, but the fact is, what we invest our time, our energy, and our resources in and on says a lot about who each of us really are.

Take a look this week and notice where you are investing most of yourself. If you find you are more focused in, or on, “things” why not see if you can’t make a few adjustments.

Life. It’s not about things. They’re just a part of it.


December 27th, 2008 by stephanie



Advertising is the art of convincing people to spend money they don’t


have for something they don’t need.


-Will Rogers


December 27th, 2008 by stephanie

While dialing the numbers to retrieve the update on my 401K, I noticed I was biting my lip.  I was not exactly sure that I wanted to hear the newest accounting from the other end, but as we all know, curiosity killed the cat, and it usually gets the best of this kitten. Thus the painful call that would soon leave me tolling that particular account’s financial death nell.


When the electronic voice cheerily chirped my latest losses, I squinted my eyes and gritted my teeth.  Even though I knew the reality of what was coming, inevitably I found that I was unrealistically hoping for a better result.


It’s sort of like the way we get when we watch a production of Romeo and Juliet or West Side Story.  Certainly, we know, that if we watch it one more time, this time, just maybe, our star-crossed lovers won’t die, but will all live happily ever after.


But alas. Nary tis it so.


And so goes the demise of my retirement fund.  Which I now wonder if I will ever have the luxury of even dipping into once I retire. Ah, life.


Life is a bit like the current stock market.  We keep thinking it will end up all right in the end if we just ride it out and hope for the best.  Interestingly, we spend a lot of time and energy when it comes to our investments here on this earth. Ironically, the risks we take in regards to the what-comes-after-this-life often times pale in comparison to the studies, and research and monitoring that we commit to our current portfolios.


There is one thing we can be sure of.  No matter how much we invest, when it comes to our eternal lives, there is a path that we have chosen. Inadvertently or not.  And any path, always leads to somewhere.


It’s not surprising that people focus on planning and caring for their current investments. But in case you were not aware, there are folks out there that truly live their lives investing in the life yet to come.

Like the Romeo and Juliet scenario, we can pretend all we want that this time the story will end the way we want, but inevitably, what is written will be

The Bible is very clear about the fact that our lives here are but a shadow in comparison to what comes after. It talks about heaven and hell and the paths that lead to both. And it encourages us to invest in the “then” more than our “now”. It’s a sobering truth, but one that we can’t just ignore or wish away.


Nope. The reality of mortality, and the anticipation of things to come are what we might want to take a good look at and invest stock in this year. In my opinion, that’s the best investment for 2009 that you and I could realistically make.

Speaking as a mere mortal, of course,



For Everything There is Season.

December 26th, 2008 by stephanie

A lot of people will tell you that the holidays can be a sad time. For those without or whose families are far away, it can be a tough season. And too, amazingly, so many people pass into eternity during the holidays. My family experienced that first hand as well. Christmas Eve was the last time I saw my father in 1971. A few days later he met his savior face to face on New Year’s Day of 1972.


As I read my email each day over that last few days, I am amazed at the illnesses and passings that have occurred of late. It’s during this season that I say to you, there is an old hymn that speaks wonders to a soul that may be sorrowing at this time. May the below bless you or a friend at this time of need.


“Be Still, My Soul”

by Catharina von Schlegel, 1697-?

Translated by Jane Borthwick, 1813-1897


1. Be still, my soul; the Lord is on thy side;

Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;

Leave to thy God to order and provide;

In every change He faithful will remain.

Be still, my soul; thy best, thy heavenly, Friend

Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.


2. Be still, my soul; thy God doth undertake

To guide the future as He has the past.

Thy hope, thy confidence, let nothing shake;

All now mysterious shall be bright at last.

Be still, my soul; the waves and winds still know

His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.


3. Be still, my soul, though dearest friends depart

And all is darkened in the vale of tears;

Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,

Who comes to soothe thy sorrows and thy fears.

Be still, my soul; thy Jesus can repay

From His own fulness all He takes away.


4. Be still, my soul; the hour is hastening on

When we shall be forever with the Lord,

When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,

Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.

Be still, my soul; when change and tears are past,

All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.


Hymn #651

The Lutheran Hymnal

Text: Psalm 46:10

Author: Catharine Amalia Dorothea von Schlegel, 1752, cento

Translated by: Jane Borthwick, 1855

Titled: “Stille, mein Wille”

Composer: Jean Sibelius, b. 1865, arr.

Tune: “Finlandia”


In Him,



December 25th, 2008 by stephanie

It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air. ~W.T. Ellis

The Christmas Story. For you.

December 25th, 2008 by stephanie

I think on this day of all days, nothing could be worth writing about more than the true meaning of this day. So, I leave you with the Christmas story as told in the book of Luke.

Luke 2:1 ¶ Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth.


Luke 2:2 This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria.

Luke 2:3 And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city.

Luke 2:4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David,

Luke 2:5 in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child.

Luke 2:6 While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth.

Luke 2:7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Luke 2:8 ¶ In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night.

Luke 2:9 And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.

Luke 2:10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people;

Luke 2:11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

Luke 2:12 “This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Luke 2:13 And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

Luke 2:14 “Glory to God in the highest,

And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”

Luke 2:15 ¶ When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.”

Luke 2:16 So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger.

Luke 2:17 When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child.

Luke 2:18 And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds.

Luke 2:19 But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.

Luke 2:20 The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.



Peace be with you. And a Very Merry Christmas.


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