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Happy Arbor Day. And just what exactly is it?

April 29th, 2010 by stephanie

As we walked the sidewalk back to our corporate offices, I can remember being so impressed with this colleague of mine who had actually, at one point in his life, gone to work in Manhattan each day. I was fascinated by his stories and couldn’t get enough. It was the stuff that made for television scenes and movie episodes that not only danced in my head but are familiar to us all.

Little did I know, that one day, I too, would be stepping in and out of Manhattan on behalf of the company for which I worked at the time. I loved that job. It was my all-time favorite to this day. But alas, all good things, as they say,”must come to any end.” And so they did.

During those fabulous trips to the Big Apple, I marveled at the concrete culture the city dwellers seemed to revel in if not literally-cherish. I, on the other hand, as I headed out for each trip up north, would take in the vast green lawn and the squirrels skipping about as I backed out of my driveway. In addition, I would suddenly catch myself saying out loud to my house and those beautiful 40-year old towering trees, “Stay right there. I’ll be right back!” It became a private tradition of sorts. And, a few days later, I always kept that promise, celebrating it on my deck with Ole Judge, while looking out at the foliage that takes up the entire embankment of my backyard.

Sure. New York was great. But there was just something about the green, and the grass and the…trees. Even a job possibility that came my way in that “city that never sleeps” couldn’t quite lure me, and the dog, to the apartment lifestyle of “The City.”

That’s why ARBOR DAY, I guess, is such a big deal to some folks. Those of you Alaska dwellers, or Michigan and Colorado types, might not quite relate to the importance of such a holiday. But for those folks in the land of pavement, you can see how it can be a pretty big deal.

ARBOR DAY (the Final Friday in April) is actually a real holiday- if you didn’t know. But it’s not, as you might think, only celebrated in the USA. Nope. It’s pretty international. And it’s not too new. It was actually founded in 1872 by J. Sterling Morgan of Nebraska. It’s a Civic holiday, mind you. A tidbit for you info pros. And, here’s some trivia to take with you to that upcoming board meeting or coffee chat: On the first Arbor Day, April 10, 1872, an estimated one million trees were planted.

And there you have it.
Just my thoughts.

Are You a “Cock-Eyed Optimist?”

April 25th, 2010 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 things 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 will truthfully admit that I had not seen it in a very long time. Or, if I had, I just don’t remember seeing it at all. But in the spirit of keeping things positive, see what you think. The Optimist Creed:

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”




April 23rd, 2010 by stephanie

We are so glad you are able to join us today…

If this is your first time to visit the site, please take a few moments to click around on the tabs above.
and if you missed the interview click here!

At this website you will find:

– Stephanie’s Blog
– Information about the Chix Chat Club (Join us on Facebook)- Click Here
– A Store where you can buy Stephanie’s Book: When You Grow Up & Get…Single – Click here
– Music from Stephanie – click here!
– A Chix Chat Club Store click here
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As a special offer for you viewers, and guests today, here’s a link to the first 9 chapters of Stephanie’s book. For your viewing pleasure. We hope you enjoy!
Click Here for sample!

Stephanie was honored to have the opportunity to be a brief part of BETTER NASHVILLE today. It’s truly a super show. And we have no doubt you enjoyed the entire show if you were able to tun in. If you missed the interview, catch it here: Click here

C U Soon!

Guest Blog this weekend. Please help me welcome: Nancy Reece

April 17th, 2010 by stephanie

I met Nancy at a meeting where I was speaking. She was a delight and was very willing to give me feedback on my presentation. Which I thought was very thoughtful. And I appreciated it. Nancy is a speaker herself, a writer and a new author. I asked Nancy to write a GUEST BLOG. Here it is. Enjoy!

A Call to Women: Redefining Happiness

By Nancy Reece

”Are women really less happy?” is the question asked by Naomi Wolf in the March 2010 edition of More magazine. Having observed that women were “happier” in the 40’s and 50’s when they were focused on the greater good, Wolf comes to three conclusions as to why women today are less satisfied:

1) Women have developed a habit of seeing and talking about what’s wrong because feminism taught women to be discontent.

2) French existentialism in the feminist movement promoted self and personal choice as the source of life’s meaning, and

3) We need to redefine happiness today as using one’s fullest capacities in the service of the larger good.

Unfortunately, Wolf left out of her discussion a key issue – faith. If existentialism teaches that there is no inherent meaning in life and so it’s all up to us, I would expect women to feel less satisfied or happy because they have been convinced “It’s all about me”. This is diametrically opposed to what Christ teaches –that we are here to love and serve our fellow man and woman – putting others first before ourselves. Wolf got it right in one respect – we do need to redefine happiness, but doing so without Christ in the center will only lead to more frustration. There is a better way! “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13 ESV

Just Nancy’s Thoughts. Yours?


Happy 100th Birthday, IRS.

April 15th, 2010 by stephanie

Hard to believe, but the 1040 form turns 100 years old today. Back then, the tax instructions were one large sheet. Today’s 1040, with instructions, totals 176 pages. And, only 7% of Americans paid any taxes.
Here’s how that looked:
-Only 1 percent on incomes between $20,000 and $50,000. (big incomes for their time, in today’s money, $50,000 is $1.1 million).
– The top bracket paid 6 percent (but that only applied to people who earned at least $11 million).
-Anyone who made less than $400,000 paid no income tax…

As they say, we’ve come a long way baby. And, it’s not to late if you thought about sending the IRS a Birthday message. Who knows, maybe you can find them on Facebook.
Just my thoughts,

It’s the Simple Things…

April 11th, 2010 by stephanie

Many of you may be familiar with the once popular reality TV show that was called The Simple Life. It featured Paris Hilton and her BFF Nicole Richie. They would travel to the more rural areas, at times, and experience life outside of the Gucci and Prada set.

Now, I have been to, and pass through, Arkansas quite often, a place the TV show also visited. But nothing is as truly “simple” as the areas where you find the Amish folk.

My mother loves to devour any fiction book that features the Amish in its theme, so, when she was visiting me once, I figured it would be fun to take her down to the Amish community a few miles away.

I can tell you, there is nothing quite like the beauty of those gorgeous horses elegantly trotting down the lane as they pull those sweet carriages. Sitting inside are very quiet, composed riders. If you are fortunate enough to catch a quick glimpse as they pass, when you look at their faces, it appears as if their thoughts are miles away, while their ride methodically makes its way through town. It is in a way a poetry in motion of its own. I could sit and watch those and similar scenes over and over again when I am in “their” neck of the woods.

As we spent some time at the produce auction, we watched the barefooted little boys in their straw hats and their blue shirts as they downed cans of Coca Cola.

The teen-aged boys huddled in a back corner off to the side. And I bet you money they were talking about girls in those hushed tones that we heard wafting over the warm breeze. Men huddled, negotiating prices and quality, while the women, in their dresses, stayed on the other side the of the building minding the little ones.

When we headed out to leave, we decided to take a drive down the dirt roads and past their homes. This was when we noticed that it was laundry day. “Wash on Monday” as the old saying goes. That made sense. Sabbath was over and it was time for a fresh new week. Gardens needed tending, food needed preparing. What they had done last week, they would begin anew during this one. They knew the drill. Season after season after season. There is something soothing about simplicity and routine.

It got to me. “Why do we feel the need to be so busy?” And, more than that, I got to thinking, “Why do I need so much stuff?” These people are truly of the “…with food and clothing, with these we shall be content” crowd. It was at the least – inspiring.

I don’t know about you, but the more I am around money, or those who have it, I find that I too need, well, more. Why? I have no idea. I have food. I have clothes. But suddenly I feel that I need that special new handbag or that condo at the beach. However, when I step away, even for a short time (like I did for those few hours that day in Amish Country) to where the simple life is led, it’s amazing the perspective that comes washing over me. These people require very little. And their lives seem healthy and whole. Perfect? No. But there’s something to be said for the simple life, I’m just sayin’.

Tell you what, if we find ourselves stressing and straining this week over the “don’t haves”, let’s agree to pause, if you will, and ask ourselves three things: Do we have clothes? Do we have food? Do we have a roof over our head? If you and I can answer “yes” to each of those questions, for today, I’d say we’re doing pretty good.

Just my thoughts.


Did You Catch the Red Egg in that One Movie Scene?

April 5th, 2010 by stephanie

I  remember the first time I visited and toured a Greek Orthodox church. It was during the annual Greek Festival in my city and I was amazed at how little I knew of the Eastern Orthodox faith. Saints in those churches are a really big deal and the art in the building and the paintings are simply stunning. But, as usual, once the spiritual portion of the day was complete, I could be seen pushing my way through circles of dancing greeks yelling “opa!” as I made a beeline for homemade baklavah.

Iconography is a strong part of that denomination of Christian faith. But I must admit, I never did catch the very prominent portratit of Mary Magdalene holding the red egg. It wasn’t until recently that I was even aware of such a work. Neither did I notice that one particular scene in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, where the guests are holding up and “klinking” their red eggs! Did you?

Apparently, the red egg (during Roman times) symbolized life arising from a sealed chamber and was a symbol that would have been very meaningful and understandable to Roman citizens.

There are multiple versions of the legend:

One says that Mary Magdalene was bringing cooked eggs to share with the other women at the tomb of Jesus, and the eggs in her basket miraculously turned brilliant red when she saw the risen Christ.

A different tale boasts that after the Ascension of Jesus, Mary went to Italy to share the Gospel and was granted a meeting with Tiberias Caesar. She greeted the Emperor of Rome with “Christ has risen,” whereupon he pointed to an egg on his table and stated, “Christ has no more risen than that egg is red.” After making this statement it is said the egg immediately turned blood red.

Whatever the legend or the case, I have to admit, I had never heard of the Red Egg until a cousin of mine sent me a link about it during Holy Week. But now, both you and I, and some of you orthodox or high church types, are all on the same page. Whew!

And that, my friend, is the legend of the Red Egg. You’ll never watch that movie that takes place in Chicago about the family that owns Dancing Zorba’s the same again.

Just my thoughts.

For further research, check out wikipedia.

Thanks for Joining Us!

April 5th, 2010 by stephanie

We hope you enjoyed following with us here this week as we walked through the last week of Jesus’ life as a human.

If you weren’t able to join us, we began following the popular 1st Century healer and teacher from Friday before Palm Sunday to Good Friday.

We then wrapped up with his resurrection on Easter Sunday. 

It was a fascinating week, and for those of you able to follow along, thank you for letting us be a part of your lives.

Don’t be a stranger. We have some fun things in store and coming your way. (Spoiler alert: we have a guest blogger later this week!)

Mark this blog as a bookmark and subscribe. 

C U tomorrow!


He Is Risen!

April 4th, 2010 by stephanie

He is Risen Indeed.

Holy Week. Easter Sunday.

Such is the call and response that is very familiar to those in the church world. One person will say, “He is Risen,” to which the other will reply, “He is Risen Indeed.” Many of you will enjoy this exchange today in celebration of what happened over 2,000 years ago.

It was the 3rd day. If you’re counting in Jewish time.

Day 1: Friday. (Thursday sundown to Friday sundown.)

Day 2: Saturday. (Friday sundown to Saturday sundown.)

Day 3: Sunday. (Saturday sundown to Sunday sundown.)

And it went a bit like this…

Matt. 28:1-9

Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave.

And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it.

And his appearance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow.

The guards shook for fear of him and became like dead men.

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified.

“He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying.

“Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you.”

And they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy and ran to report it to His disciples.

And behold, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him.

Then Jesus *said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and take word to My brethren to leave for Galilee, and there they will see Me.”

He is Risen-indeed.

Happy Easter, my friend.


But Sunday was Coming…

April 3rd, 2010 by stephanie

Holy Week. Day 7. Saturday. (The Jewish Sabbath)

In the grave.

That’s where Christ was on this day. Stone cold. Deathly silent.

It was the Sabbath. No work would be done. A day of complete rest for God’s chosen people. Thus, the rush to have Jesus prepared for burial and placed in the tomb by sunset Friday night when the Sabbath officially would begin.

Luke 23:54-56

It was the preparation day, and the Sabbath was about to begin. Now the women who had come with Him out of Galilee followed, and saw the tomb and how His body was laid. Then they returned and prepared spices and perfumes. And on the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment.

Meanwhile, back at the the roman palace, the Jewish leaders, who should have been resting and worshiping at home, were anything but quiet…

Matt. 27:62-66

¶ Now on the next day, the day after the preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered together with Pilate, and said, “Sir, we remember that when He was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I am to rise again.’ “Therefore, give orders for the grave to be made secure until the third day, otherwise His disciples may come and steal Him away and say to the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last deception will be worse than the first.”

Pilate said to them, “You have a guard; go, make it as secure as you know how.”
And they went and made the grave secure, and along with the guard they set a seal on the stone.


Matt. 28:11-15 “Now while they were on their way, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all that had happened. And when they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, and said, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came by night and stole Him away while we were asleep.’ “And if this should come to the governor’s ears, we will win him over and keep you out of trouble.”

And they took the money and did as they had been instructed; and this story was widely spread among the Jews, and is to this day.”

They knew Jesus had powers. They were terrified He would rise. How interesting that they thought a stone would keep Him, the Creator of the Universe, in the grave.

Not a sound was heard from the tomb. But Sunday was coming…


Verses for Today:

Matt 27:62-66

Luke 23:56

And for extra credit, you studious types can enjoy these!

1 Peter 3:18-33 and 4:6

Apostles’ Creed

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