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Pancake Day & Lent. It’s Feast or Famine for this Calendar.

January 28th, 2010 by stephanie

Are you one of the few people who know that there really is a Pancake Day? Maybe too, you’re one of those that is looking forward to eating that King Cake in a few weeks. Meanwhile, others of you are worrying about what you’ll give up for Lent this spring.

But to the rest of us, that aren’t up to date on what has been known for centuries as the Liturgical Calendar, those last few lines might produce a “That’s Greek to me!” kind of comment. And rightly so.

If you aren’t familiar with, or don’t frequent a high church setting, unless you get the scoop from a friend or informed source, it’s a foreign topic all around.

But for some folks, those festive days and traditions are “dead serious’. Allow me to divulge.

Believe it or not, The Church (mostly Catholic in nature) has it’s very own calendar. Days, even weeks, feasts and more are carefully organized, spelled out and planned. They even come with their own COLOR that determines how to decorate during their “time.”

Here’s a sampling.

Did you know that Advent begins 4 Sundays before Christmas?

Or, that Christmastide (and the 12 Days of Christmas) actually begins on December 25?

How about the celebration of Epiphany on January 6 (a tip for some to take their decorations down) which celebrates the Wise Men’s visit to the Baby Jesus and kicks off the feast of Jesus’ Baptism.

So what does that all have to do with Pancakes, King Cakes and giving up something for Lent?

Mardi Gras ring a bell anyone?

Yep. That’s right. Here’s some future party conversation for you:

Shrove Tuesday/Fat Tuesday- MARDI GRAS:

Also known as Pancake Day, this is the last chance to party hearty before the Season of Fasting (Lent) which begins on the next day – Ash Wednesday.

ASH WEDNESDAY:

The Season of Lent begins. Preparation for the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. It’s when people give up something, like chocolate or…

It all ends in a massive celebration, called EASTER (the day Christ rose from the grave.)

Now, in all honesty, you won’t find any of the above “celebrations” or “traditions” (or any of their specific names or days) in the Bible, but that’s for another conversation. 🙂

In the meantime, stick around. We’ll dish a bit about these feast and fast days and more in the weeks ahead. If anything, you’ll sure sound smart at that next meeting, dining experience or church service. Or, if you’re smart, you’ll find a way to ask for a “religious holiday” or two? Well, maybe not. If you’re Agnostic, it’d be tricky to pull off.

🙂

Just my thoughts,

S.

Boston, Paul Revere, and a Horse Named… “Brown”?

January 24th, 2010 by stephanie

Most Americans are aware that the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth in Massachusetts.

And who doesn’t remember learning about that famous revolutionary rebellion in Massachusetts–the Boston Tea Party.

Some might even recall the story about Col. Knox transporting the guns (canons) from Ticonderoga over ice and snow on sleds and how the Patriots took Dorchester Heights in the middle of the night shocking the British the next morning (who’d been sleeping at Boston’s harbor below). That is a story made for movies.

And who doesn’t enjoy the historic tale of Paul Revere and his amazing Boston ride. In our minds we see him swinging the lantern and calling out as he dashes through the countryside, through the creeks and down the village streets. “The Red Coats are coming!” Or,maybe we remember it as, “The British are coming!” Whatever the case, the ride was immortalized by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in his poem titled Paul Revere’s Ride. The poem has become one of the best known in American history and was memorized by generations of schoolchildren.

There is no actual record of Mr. Revere’s words or message as he rode, but apparently, there is tell of the horse upon which he rode that went by the name of Brown Beauty.

Last week, another “Brown” rode through the streets of the Bay State. But this time, it wasn’t a horse. It was a man, with a dream, and a truck, in a race that would lead to a U.S. Senate seat. Just like the small, unruly band of farmers, fishermen and store owners that were determined to take on the Super Power of the world, Scott Brown accomplished nothing short of a miraculous ride himself that ended not in Lexington, but the Capitol building in Washington D.C.

In truth, the state of Massachusetts continues to play a dramatic role in America’s history and her politics. With voters numbering one Republican for every three Democrats, what happened on January 20th came as quite a shock. To not only our nation, but to the world.

I hope that these stories will help you take a fresh look at whatever great power or unthinkable odds you might be facing today. If folks who took the challenge 200 years ago (let alone last week) could beat the odds, so can you. The journey will not be easy. It usually isn’t lined with gold or convenient refreshment stands to greet you every mile, but if you just hold on, and fight to the end, the victory can be yours.

Just my thoughts.
S.
clips that received over 500,000 views the week of this particular election
It’s the People’s Seat
other clips…
New York Times clip
Chris Matthews clip

What does “You’re Kidding” have to do with goats?

January 21st, 2010 by stephanie

While perusing a blog that was chatting up Christmas in the Pacific Northwest it surprised me when the writer took a turn in subject and started talking about his herd of goats.

Apparently, a guest to his home had noticed that one of this writer’s female goats (called a doe) was about to give birth and began to inquire as to when the time of “baby goat ‘s” arrival might occur. I came to a complete halt in my reading when the blogger responded that his she-goat “would be kidding” in a few months.

Then, it hit me. “When, and where, on earth did we take a phrase that refers to goats giving birth and apply it to making sport, or joking?” I had to know. So, off to the google world I went.

Apparently, what I found most was the comparison that read: “If you have ever seen young goats playing, you may understand why.” hmmmmmm

We had a goat when I was a little girl during the time we lived in Quartz Hill, CA. His name was Chocolate Hunt. He used to butt me off the picnic table my mom would place me on as she hung up the laundry outside on the line to dry. But I digress…

How did we get from human children playing like goats to joking? In 1811 to kid meant “to coax, hoax or humbug” in thieves’ slang, and by 1839 it had softened a bit (and expanded from the circle of thieves) to mean “tease playfully, talk jokingly”.

Whatever the true origins, I had trouble tracking them down. And if you know them, please let us know! One thing I do know, today we simply say something we really mean and then quickly follow it with “I was just joking!” or, “Can’t you take a joke?” or the “Just kidding!” Sometimes, we really are kidding, and sometimes, the receiver of the joke understands that. But that is not always the case. And we do need to be aware of that reality.

It suddenly occurred to me, that you can actually find this topic addressed in the Scriptures. The Bible. I list them here.

Gen. 19:14 ¶ So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were pledged to marry his daughters. He said, “Hurry and get out of this place, because the LORD is about to destroy the city!” But his sons-in-law thought he was joking.

Prov. 26:18, 19 ¶ Like a madman shooting firebrands or deadly arrows is a man who deceives his neighbor
and says, “I was only joking!”

Eph. 5:4 and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.

Funny, but the idea of kidding around and joking have been around awhile. It’s how we handle ourselves during the giving and the receiving that truly matters at the end of the day.

Just my thoughts,

S.

Source: www.coffeeblogger.org

http://www.takeourword.com/TOW199/page2.html

Lived to tell…

January 17th, 2010 by stephanie

As I watched the CNN correspondent wrap up his story of the morning’s events, the most fascinating part of the moment to me was when he threw it back (as they say in t the biz) to the anchor at the news desk. What intrigued me most was that he was reporting about the morning church services that the Haitians had held while were living out the nightmare. It wasn’t a mosque, it wasn’t a synagogue, it was a church report. On CNN? Interesting. To the chagrin of many, and the anchor at the news desk, as I would soon witness, those that were leading the service apparently were calling out to God declaring that the disaster was in fact God’s hand of judgment on their sins

I was stunned. And, the female cable news anchor was not amused, I could tell. In fact, as the on the scene reporter signed off and handed it back to her, the camera caught her with an almost irritated, dumbfounded look of disbelief. She wasn’t sure she liked the report and she didn’t know what to say. It was awkward to say the least.

As I continued to watch, it struck me: these people, in the midst of horror, were meeting in the rubble of their church, singing praises to God, reading from the Scriptures and stating publicly that this week’s trauma was God’s hand in response to their sins.

In truth, it’s not what we moderns are used to hearing these days. That type of talk is what the ancients believed and heralded. Not us intellectual, techno types. But, it was so. And the report continued inspite of the oddness.

You can imagine my surprise, when I opened up my devoional for the day and read these words from the book of Isaiah 38:17:

Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish. In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all my sins behind your back.

But it didn’t stop there. I read on:

1John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
1John 1:10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.

Mic. 7:18 ¶ Who is a God like you,
who pardons sin and forgives the transgression
of the remnant of his inheritance? ¶ You do not stay angry forever
but delight to show mercy.

Jonah 2:7 ¶ “When my life was ebbing away,
I remembered you, LORD,
and my prayer rose to you,
to your holy temple.

Psa. 40:1 ¶ I waited patiently for the LORD;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
Psa. 40:2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.

With that said, myriads of Americans, as well as other souls from abroad are reaching out to this country, whose government never planned for, nor could handle, this type of catastrophe. God knew it was coming. And if His people in Haiti feel He is speaking to their culture and people, then so be it. But you and I know, those who survived this horrific event are loved by Him. And they are in our thoughts and prayers at this time.

Just my thoughts.

Yours?

S.

Tebow: Outside the norm, never to conform.

January 13th, 2010 by stephanie

In August of 1987, deep in the Philippines, Bob and Pam Tebow (who were serving as Christian missionaries at the time) were expecting the birth of a baby boy. During her pregnancy, Pam had been diagnosed with a life-threatening infection. Drugs were used to rouse her from the coma she had fallen victim to, and, to treat her dysentery. Those drugs caused the baby inside of her to experience a severe placental abruption. Doctors warned that a stillbirth would be likely and abortion was suggested in order to save her life. She said “No,” however, and carried Timothy to term. Both mother and baby survived.

In time, the Tebows returned to the states and moved to Jacksonville, Florida. Timothy began to show an amazing talent for football, but as a homeshooled child, it appeared his options might be limited. To their surprise, Florida passed a law in the late 90’s allowing students of homeschooling to participate on the team of the local school in the school district in which they live. While the rest of his family continued living on a farm, Tim and his mother moved to town and took up residence that would make him eligible to play for the football team at Nease. His abilities were soon being noticed.

In both his junior and senior years, he was named the state of Florida’s Player of the Year with an amazing memory being that of his finishing of a game on a broken leg. During his senior season he led the Nease Panthers to a state title, earned All-State honors, was named Florida’s Mr. Football and a Parade All-American. Tebow finished his high school career with 9,810 passing yards, 3,186 rushing yards, 95 passing touchdowns and 62 rushing touchdowns.

But there’s more. Not only is he known for painting those now famous Scripture references on his cheekbones for games, he’s been known to turn some heads off the field as well.

He attended the ESPNU College Football Awards recently and had the privilege of walking the red carpet. Take a look at who he invited to take that walk with him. He is definitely a man who not only beats the odds, but goes against the flow and — in style.
Thank you, Tim. For being such a class act in the midst of great talent. May you inspire others to do likewise.

http://www.brittonchurch.com/2009/12/14/you-cant-be-hatin-on-this/

 

Just my thoughts.

S.

Are You What You Seem to Be?

January 9th, 2010 by stephanie

As we sat chatting, catching up with each other, having just returned from being away for the holidays, we each took our turn in sharing what had transpired in our lives over the past few weeks. Stories, laughs, frustrations, memories. All came pouring forth as each took our turn. For some reason, the conversation took a shift at some point. I don’t remember when or how.

“He isn’t what he seems,” said one of my friends. And the room grew quiet. I was saddened to hear it. But it reminded me of a situation I recalled from my past and felt led to share. I expressed how a colleague of mine had been in contact a few years back with a well known celebrity that appears “wholesome”, “good”, “kind.” But I could not forget that co-worker’s words one sunny afternoon as we discussed the notable individual, “He’s not what he seems,” came the somber reply . I was truly surprised, and dismayed.

Having finished reading David McCullough’s 1776 in November, and now half way through his John Adams, I was truly surprised when I caught the tidbit about Benjamin Franklin that I had not remembered hearing in history class back in school. “…his illegitimate son William Franklin became the last Loyalist governor of New Jersey. Faithful to the British crown, the son left New York along with the British troops, and settled in England — never to return.” I was stunned. This father of our American Revolution had fathered a child out of wed lock who not only turned to the “other side” but rejected his native homeland.

It was interesting even more so, in that, I truly was intrigued by the 13 Virtues that Franklin had penned at the tender age of 20 (in 1726). You may recall them. I list them here:

  1. “TEMPERANCE. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.”
  2. “SILENCE. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.”
  3. “ORDER. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.”
  4. “RESOLUTION. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.”
  5. “FRUGALITY. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.”
  6. “INDUSTRY. Lose no time; be always employ’d in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.”
  7. “SINCERITY. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.”
  8. “JUSTICE. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.”
  9. “MODERATION. Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.”
  10. “CLEANLINESS. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.”
  11. “TRANQUILLITY. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.”
  12. “CHASTITY. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.”
  13. “HUMILITY. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.”

But my thoughts weren’t on Franklin as my friends and I relived our holiday vacations for each other. The statement “He’s not what he seems,” stuck with me. I truly hope I can become and remain the person who is what I seem to be. I want to be real to my friends and my colleagues. Not a character that I create and wish to portray. But the real deal.

As we begin this new year, are you what YOU seem, my friend? Do you have one persona in public, but live out another in private? Do you work hard on an image, but find yourself a dichotomy when you step behind your front door? It’s something to chew on – perhaps.

Just my thoughts,

Stephanie

Is it a Feast Day Yet?

January 6th, 2010 by stephanie

“Everything this family does centers around food!” my uncle declared with a laugh. As he motioned with his arms to show our party of 15 seated at long tables taking up the entire center of the restaurant. That wasn’t really much of an “epiphany,” as much as it was simply the truth. It was the holidays, and like most families, we like to get together. And when we do, there is always food. Really GOOD food. And lots of it.

With that, I had to admit, not only do I consider myself a “foodie,” I love holidays and festivals. And if you know the background to most of them, they, not surprisingly, usually center around food.

Take today for instance. Did you know that today was Epiphany? Do you even know what that is? If not, rest assured, today, January 6, is a Feast Day. For those of you that follow this blog, you are aware that the 12 Days of Christmas actually began on Christmas Day. Yesterday, was the 12th Day. In tradition, today, the day after, is the day that the Wise Men found and called on the Baby Jesus.

Epiphany, in Greek, means “appearance”, “manifestation” and it is has been known for centuries as the Christian feast day which celebrates the revelation of God made Man in the person of Jesus Christ.

There is actually record of a sermon that was delivered on December 25, in the year 380, by St. Gregory of Nazianzus. In it, he referred to the day of Epiphany as ta theophania (“the Theophany”), saying that it was a day to commemorate the holy nativity of Christ.

In Italy, children, on the eve of January 6 fill their socks with candy and presents if they are good or a lump of coal or dark candy if they are bad.

Over in France, people eat the gâteau des Rois in Provence or the galette des Rois in other regions. This is a kind of king cake, with a trinket (usually a porcelain figurine of a king) or a bean hidden inside. The person who gets the piece of cake with the trinket becomes “king” for a day.

In a letter to her sister back in Massachusetts, Abigail Adams (wife of John Adams), recorded and wrote of one particular occasion in Paris where her family was eating a King Cake while excitedly looking for the bean (during their stay in France on behalf of America). The future President Adams got the bean that day much to the dismay of their son, John Quincy Adams.

For many of us, it’s not about the bean or the baby king. The word “epiphany” is what we have come to know as the word defined in Webster’s that means: a moment of sudden realization or insight.

Perhaps this bit of info today was an “epiphany” of sorts for you. If anything, the real epiphany for all of us is that we face the reality of a New Year. May it be a good showing, or appearance, in your life this year. And keep an eye on those feast days and holidays. You can be sure that I will do as much.

Best to you!

Stephanie

Happy New Year to You!

January 1st, 2010 by stephanie

As we say goodbye to 2009 and welcome in 2010, I want to thank you loyal readers, who have been so gracious to visit this blog whether daily, weekly or monthly.  Your comments and support have been nothing short of a delight. And I am grateful to call you friends.

For those of  you that are new friends, welcome. And may you come back often for some laughs, some trivia, a bit of history now and then, but most of all, some well deserved encouragement.

This blog wouldn’t be here without you, so again, thank you from the bottom of my heart and from the team at www.stephaniehuffman.org.

When you have a moment, leave a comment and tell us (and your fellow readers here) what state or country you are from. We’d love to hear from you too!

May God Bless You Richly. And, may God Bless America.

Best!

Stephanie

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