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Did You Decorate a Soldier’s Grave Today?

May 31st, 2010 by stephanie

I remember as a young girl, my mom would tell me, “You were born on traditional Memorial Day.” She said that due to the fact that Memorial Day used to be May 30. (And that day just so happens to be my birthday.)
But then, the government decided to make it a federal holiday, and employees got a new 3 day weekend to add to their calendar. Thus, the last Monday in May officially became Memorial Day.

Even before that, Memorial Day was known by another name. It was called “Decoration Day”. And if you are over the age of 50, you remember what that day meant.

My grandmother tells me that she grew up observing Decoration Day. And, as her father was a vet of the Spanish American War, and her brothers were vets of WWII, well, it meant something.

So, just what was Decoration Day? Glad you asked:
Memorial Day (originally called Decoration Day) is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation’s service. There are many stories as to its actual beginnings. Quite a few cities and towns actually claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day. But it’s hard to tell the origin.

Women’s groups in the South were decorating graves before the end of the Civil War. And there is actually a hymn (published in 1867, “Kneel Where Our Loves are Sleeping” by Nella L. Sweet) that was dedicated “To The Ladies of the South who are Decorating the Graves of the Confederate Dead” (source see: Duke University’s Historic American Sheet Music, 1850-1920).

While Waterloo N.Y. won the honored position as declared birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in May 1966, it’s difficult to prove the real origins of the day.

And there you have it.
For more info (I know who you folks are!) here’s a source:
Memorial Day

Wishing you a happy Memorial Day. And well, a very happy birthday to me.
🙂
S.

Talented Teen Rocks It for all Time.

May 26th, 2010 by stephanie

At the age of 16, she was left behind to run not one, but three plantations! She was born in Antigua in the West Indies in 1722, attended a finishing school in England where she learned French, music and other studies “suitable” for women in those days. Not the kind of training that would prepare her for the bontanical and entreprenuerial life that lay ahead of her.

The family moved to a farming area just outside the quaint Charleston in South Carolina. Sadly, her mother died shortly after. If that wasn’t enough, Eliza Lucas Pinckney was informed by her father, a British Miliatry officer, that he would be returning to the Caribbean. The young teen, on the other hand, would be left behind to manage her siblings and run the three family farms!

But this girl was anything but intimidated. In her “spare time” on the farms, she began to notice that the growing textile industry was creating world markets for new dyes. Not one to be left out, she began experimenting with and growing her own indigo plants with big export plans for their lovely, coveted blue dye. In 1745, she had a taste of success managing to ship 5,000 pounds. Eliza, however, had big vision. She wanted the crop to benefit her neighbors too. So, she shared her plants, and within two years time 130,000 pounds of Indigo shipped out of Charleston. (A few years later, the number hit well over 1,000,000 pounds).

Indigo was the new hot commodity. It quickly became the #2 cash crop (right behind rice- as cotton came later). And Eliza kept going. She experimented with other crops, too. Another pet project was a large fig orchard. The plan was to export dried figs too. After that, she moved on to flax, hemp and silk, all before she was 22!

That’s when she finally married Charles Pinckney. He was a politician that traveled frequently who was thrilled by and supported Eliza’s every endeavor. Within five years of marrying Charles, she had four children.

The new babies prompted her move into early childhood education where one new theory caught her eye. It was called, the “tabula rasa”. John Locke was the man behind that movement and it went like this: a person’s mind at birth is a blank slate upon which personal experiences create an impression. Eliza poured those concepts into the raising of her sons who went on to play major roles in the American Revolution and America’s new government.

The British raided her property during the War of Independence leaving her ruined financially.
It didn’t matter. When she died in 1793, President George Washington requested to be one of the pallbearers at her funeral.

If you’re ever in Philadelphia, be sure to stop by St. Peter’s Churchyard. Look for her tombstone. It reads:
“Eliza Lucas Pinckney, 1722-1793, lies buried in unmarked grave. Mother of Two S.C. signers of Declaration of Independence.”
Not a lot about her on that marker, but then, who really reads or remembers your stone. They recall and talk about your accomplishments and your contribution to society. And I’d say, she rocked it on both of those accounts.

Just my thoughts. Yours?
S.

How Do You Handle a “Bully?”

May 18th, 2010 by stephanie

The frustrated individual sitting across from me was fuming by the erratic behavior of a caller that had just left them a message. “Ok, what do you do with a bully?” I asked. Hoping to calm them a bit and help them regain their composure if not perspective.

To be honest, I was recalling a particular person in my life that in truth is–a bully. During a recent gathering, I was a bit forward and held my ground when this particular person came at me in front of a room of people. In my opinion, I think they were surprised by my firm response. And I hope I sent a clear message. One that said: You don’t need to be rude and you need to check your facts before you bite!

Shortly after that incident, I came across a story that I found in a newsletter

It went something like this.

Back in the 1970s, crime had gotten so out of hand in New York City, that people actually began posting “No Radio” signs in their cars to ward off vandals. Mayor Rudy Giuliani and his Commissioner William Bratton finally declared that they had had enough. And when they came across the “Broken Windows” theory, they knew they’d found their plan of action.

The Broken Windows theory simply states that if a building has a broken window that is not fixed, the message is sent that no one cares. Vandals believe there will be no consequences for their bad behavior, and, worse behavior follows.

However, once the broken window is fixed, it sends a clear message that someone cares about their community and that people are watching, which deters crime.

Acting on the Broken Windows theory, Giuliani and Bratton transformed New York from one of the most dangerous cities in America to the safest big city in the country. How? Simpy by treating minor crimes like vandalism, prostitution, and loitering like broken windows.

They deployed police to where they were most needed and, instead of tolerating these crimes and showing weakness to criminals the police showed strength. They instituted a “zero tolerance” policy for so-called minor crimes.

As criminals saw what was going on, crime slowed to an almost frozen pace. Citizens and tourists felt safer walking the streets and taking the subway and they took more responsibility for their neighborhoods and helped make them safer in return.

By restoring order to the streets police didn’t have to spend all their time responding to crime. Their show of strength inspired citizens to take care of their own communities which deterred criminals from committing crimes in the first place.

So, the moral of the story is. Sit back, and the weeds will grow, and the vandals will come. Stand up, take action and keep order, and your part of the world can become a much better and safer place.

Just my thoughts. And, a bit from Proverbs too.
S.

Relief Fund Set Up for Single Gals.

May 13th, 2010 by stephanie

For those of you that watch the Weather Channel, you were quite aware, no matter what part of the country you live in, that during the first weekend in May, Nashville recieved 3 months of rain in a 48 hour period. DownTown Flood

I will never forget turning on the TV that Sunday afternoon, only to see the subdivision where one of my Single Gal friends lived was up to the roof tops in water! I was horrified. I kept flipping the channels while saying out loud, “This can’t be right.” I placed a few frantic calls to her — but no answer.

When I did finally hear from her the next day, the worst was confirmed. She had fled her condo. Her car was a complete loss, and so was the entire first floor of her home. I was in shock. “It happened so fast!” Was all I heard all over Nashville.

Later I learned of another single gal that too lost her car and her condo. Then, news came in of yet another single gal – that lost it all.

It’s hard to hear that news. Especially when the water stopped 100 feet from my basement. You feel guilty. And you wonder why you were spared. But then I realized perhaps why: to be in a position to assist those in need. And so, with that, the Chix Chat Club is proud to present to you the SOLO SISTER’S RELIEF FUND.

If like me, you are quietly amazed and grateful that you were spared, but looking for a way to assist, perhaps this will be the venue that you choose. We look forward to assisting these ladies. We hope that if you are able, you will join us. Stay tuned. We will keep you posted in the days ahead.

TO DONATE AND BE A PART: click here

or simply click on the RELIEF tab at the top of this page.

Best to you,
Stephanie

Good News for a Weary Soul.

May 12th, 2010 by stephanie

Spread the Word. The Gospel, that is.

There was one particular song I enjoyed that became popular in the 1990s that was by the band Whiteheart. It was called Say the Word. I just could not get enough of it. The words spoke directly to my heart. They were so simple and true. Basically, the song explains that you don’t have to do much, just speak the words of God (the Bible), and amazing things happen. After all, it is God’s Word. I think it can pretty much stand on it’s own.

Outside the written word, some people are just so full of the love and the Spirit of the Lord that their actions speak louder than any words that can be said. The Gospel shines through them on a daily basis.

With that, what it all comes down to is getting out the news about the Gospel. The Good News. And with the situation America is in today, I’d say that what this country could use more than any Stimulus package is a good dose of the Good News of the Gospel.

Just think, if instead of a mandate for tax payer dollars, Congress had signed into law a bill that stated we had to be honest, had to share, had to think of others first, had to give first, had to meet each others needs, had to pay our bills, had to pay on time, had to pay in cash, had to honor God, and had to live Godly lives, this world would heal up pretty quickly if you ask me.

But the answer isn’t money. It’s peace. Peace of mind. Peace of life. Peace of heart. Something that money just can’t buy. Without inner peace, all of the money in the world and the good life it can bring simply isn’t enough.

Sure, we only get one shot at this life. And there’s nothing wrong with wanting to make the best of it we can. But may we not forget, there’s a whole lot of living that comes in the hereafter. As a matter of fact, it’s called eternity. And that’s a really, really, really long time. With no end!

So, if you aren’t sure where to focus some of your time, money and energy this year, why not focus on clever ways to personally Spread the Gospel.

I know it’s been on my heart this week. And I hope it might be on yours as well.

Spreading the word…

S.

It’s Just So…Surreal.

May 4th, 2010 by stephanie

That’s the statement I keep hearing over and over again. Each time I look at a new email or text message, it’s news of loss. And it can be hard to take. If you haven’t yet heard, Nashville, TN received 3 months of rain in a 48 hour period this past weekend. And the city and surrounding regions paid a dear price.28217_393407042045_700762045_4635340_4398649_s

At the end of my subdivision is a branch of the Cumberland River. And so I wait.
In the meantime, many around me are experiencing a major change in their life plans. They had no idea they’d be without home, and many too, without cars this week.

It’s a good thing those folks aren’t too tied to their worldly possessions. But that fact never takes away the pain of loss, the shock, and the hassle of inconvenience. For some, it’s the reality of starting over.

It reminded me of some verses in the old book of Habakkuk. A gentle reminder that this life really isn’t all there is. And too, that the things we acquire while here are just that: things to help us in our earthly journey, and at times, things that bring us joy during said adventure.
With that, here are some words, penned thousands of years ago, that also remind us: things happen. And sometimes, they aren’t what we were expecting. They aren’t welcome, and they can leave us feeling as if we are living in a very surreal existence.

Hab. 3:17 Though the fig tree should not blossom
And there be no fruit on the vines,
Though the yield of the olive should fail
And the fields produce no food,
Though the flock should be cut off from the fold
And there be no cattle in the stalls,
Hab. 3:18 Yet I will exult in the LORD,
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.
Hab. 3:19 The Lord GOD is my strength,
And He has made my feet like hinds’ feet,
And makes me walk on my high places.

Selah.
Stephanie

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