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Divine Appointments: Do You Know Them?

July 29th, 2011 by stephanie

It was a cold crisp day in Manhattan. Winter in the Big Apple can be really miserable when you have to walk. So, as I exited my business meeting and stepped out onto the sidewalk it was a treat to find that there was no wind, rain, or snow in sight. The only thing I was sure of was the looming Macy’s sign ahead – my next destination. Shopping! There’s just something nostalgic about that historic, nine- story department store with the wooden escalators on 34th street. A by-gone era of New York to be sure. And when I am in The City, it’s priority!

After taking a few steps, for some reason I turned my head to the right. Squeezed inbetween two buildings, and the next street over, I could see the name of a large book store chain. It was not a location on my list, but I was intrigued none the less. I realized that I did actually have a gift I needed to buy, and I could find it there, so why not give it a whirl.

Once inside I randomly headed for an information booth to begin the quest for my upcoming purchase. As the sales clerk searched the database, a young female customer approached the counter. A very hard to understand accent tried to ask in English, “Do you have any Christian books with verses?”

At that moment, I just knew. Here was a woman deep in the heart of New York looking for a Christian book, in a secular big city book store. That’s about like asking for fresh fish at Scotty’s Castle in Death Valley. When she said the word Christian, I calmly looked around to see if any Wicca members had suddenly passed out cold on the tile. But no such incidence seemed to be taking place, so I waited for her to finish. Once I caught the expected deer-in-the-headlights look from the clerk, and the wistful face of the shopper, I thought it might be OK to step in.

“Hi. I am in the Christian book industry. Maybe I can help you. They don’t have a large selection here, and I don’t know that we will find what you need, but I sure would be happy to try. Would you mind if I tried to assist you?”

An hour later, we had located two books that she could use, found information for one that she could order online once she returned home, and even managed to track down one lonely Christian bookstore in the city. To top that off, when I asked her name, she said, “Stefanie.” Well, how do you like that.

There are times when I wonder if I am in the right place and doing the right thing. Wondering if the road I have taken in life was of His doing or of my human choosing. I was actually mulling that very question over in my mind as I was walking toward that Borders bookstore that day.

Funny, God can lead me directly to a lonely soul in the heart of the Big Apple searching for truth, but I seem to feel He can’t find me or see me or meet my needs when I’m hurting. This thought truly hit me as I walked, no floated, really, out of the door of that store. I was deeply moved by all of the many details of timing that the Creator of the Universe had to bring together in order to orchestrate that haphazard meeting. And I was convicted that many times, I doubt that His eye is on me, navigating my path, guiding me along the way. Oh, me of little faith. Adventures like the one above should drive that home you’d think. At least for awhile. But alas, I tend to forget.

May we not only choose to remember, but believe in our hearts, that the One who made the spheres can certainly make them collide and interact at His bidding.

Just my thoughts,
S.

What Does the Butterfly Mean?

July 28th, 2011 by stephanie

A friend asked me the meaning of the butterfly. And I recalled this blog I wrote awhile back. I thought you might enjoy it too…

Does the Butterfly Bring Us a Message?

A few weeks ago I was sitting in a glass lobby and noticed a butterfly alight on the door outside. I can’t say as I have seen that happen before. Or, if I had, not sure why this particular occasion stuck with me. A week later, as I was pulling up to a stop light, I noticed a butterfly land on the passenger side window. Again, I took notice. Since then, I have had numerous other butterfly sitings. So, I knew it was time to pull out the laptop. Perhaps it was simply Butterfly season?

As many of you may already know, the butterfly is quite symbolic to many peoples and cutltures. Apparently, the Mandarin Chinese say the insect symbolizes long life. 70 years, actually. They also feel it is telling of young men in love.

The Japanese see it as a sign for young maidens and marital bliss.

In Germany, butterflies having once hovered around the butter churn became known as “stealers of the cream”.

Greeks saw the butterfly as a symbol of the soul. They even considered white butterflies as the souls of those who had passed away and gone on to the great beyond.

In Western culture, the creature has become a symbol of Freedom.

According to a Blackfoot Indian, the butterfly brings us our dreams. A tribal member might say after the fire burns low and the people began to make up their beds about the lodge, ‘Well, let us go to bed and see what news the butterfly will bring?” Interestingly, The Native American Indians also use a cross, similar to a Maltese cross, as a sign for the butterfly.

Which brings us to the topic of the butterfly and its connection to the Resurrection in the Christian realm. I was surprised to learn that butterflies were actually engraved in the stones of many a Christian’s tomb centuries ago. A sign that the person who had, having died and entered the tomb, had now departed their earthly cocoon only to have experienced release into life eternal.

Regardless of your particular thoughts on butterflies, one thing we can all agree on is that they truly symbolize change. A massive transition. From an, earthbound groveling worm to a free-flying, creature of beauty.

In truth? I’d love to think something wonderful is heading my way. But for now, it’s enough to be reminded of the freedom I do cherish and enjoy. Both here on my native soil and the freedom that I will someday enjoy in heaven.

After I wrote that, I can tell you that I did experience a life change of sorts. And it was very good.
Just my thoughts,
S.

Don’t Burn Your Bridges…or so we’re told.

July 24th, 2011 by stephanie

Have you ever watched someone throw a tantrum? Maybe you have a tendency to burst out yourself. Most of us at one point or another have had the um…shall we say, pleasure?

Maybe you have recently been on the receiving end of someone’s temper. Those moments, along with the people who inflict them, usually wreak havoc on whoever is in the room. You see, when a person loses their cool, they leave a path of destruction. And it’s usually right before they storm off– supposedly never to be seen or heard from again. I have found it interesting however, that Ironically, without fail, they come back! After repeated incidences, where we observe them acting out, then taking their marbles and going home, you’d think they’d finally make good on their promise and simply stay away. But nooooo. They usually return–just like the tide.

The amazing thing to me, is the “how” they return. When you least expect it, out of the blue, they reappear. Usually unannounced. All happy and ready to start fresh as if nothing ever happened. You and I, on cue, are then supposed to play along. Smile. Make nice. One thought here: Elephant in the room!
Strange if you ask me.

I always wonder what goes on in the minds of these people. I wonder if it even dawns on them that they have hurt people that are in their radius. But if you think about it, I wonder if they really care. Or, perhaps I should say, I don’t think they can care. You can’t act like that and care about anyone other than yourself. Stranger still, I have come to notice that they generally rationalize their behavior. I guess they want you and I to just “accept” the fact that they are supposedly “passionate”, emotional people? It’s all good– in their minds. Sure. Whatever…

A friend of mine admitted to me that she has been known to throw tantrums. She confided in me that the times she has “acted out” in life were the times she didn’t really know how to properly “act” during a crisis or difficult moment. Her ugly behavior was her way of trying to get people’s attention. To let them know that she was deeply hurting and needed help. Very understandable. I can appreciate that. But it doesn’t make for the best plan of action. Either for the person throwing the fiery darts or for those left to brush off the ashes.

So, what is one to do when we encounter those who (after the storm has blown over and we have forgotten all about them) drag back in like the dog? I guess the best response might be this–no response at all. They will continue to be who they are. They don’t necessarily see the need or a reason to change. Therefore, it is not our job (nor are we truly able) to “fix” them or the problems that come with them.

Perhaps, the best thing to do is to simply smile and go about our business. And perhaps a bit of healthy distance wouldn’t hurt. These folks will continue to burn bridges. You and I might as well stand back and watch the smoke from afar. Remember, where there’s smoke, there’s fire. And no one likes to get burned.

Just my thoughts.
S.

The Optimist Creed.

July 22nd, 2011 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”

Best,

S.

Paul Revere & His Historic Ride.

July 4th, 2011 by stephanie

One if by land, two if by sea. I certainly hope that line means something to you. If it doesn’t, here’s your homework: google it and report back.:)
Here are some clues: Boston, Paul Revere, and a Horse Named… “Brown”.

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.

But how familiar are folks these days with 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 cobble-stoned 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. (I hope you’ll look it up!)

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.

I hope a review of these stories will help you take a fresh look at whatever great power or unthinkable odds you might be facing today. If simple farmers and townsfolk who took the challenge 200 years ago to take on the super-power of the world could beat the odds, so can you. The journey will not be easy. Why? Because 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.
#beatingtheodds

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