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Do You Celebrate Feb 2nd?

January 25th, 2012 by stephanie

There’s a holiday, of sorts, that many of us probably won’t celebrate too wildly.

How Ground Hog Day managed to find its way to “holiday” status is a mystery to most humble Americans.

Where the day originated from, I truly didn’t know. A little time searching the internet however, uncovered Ground Hog Day as a Pennsylvania Dutch (German) custom dating back to the 1700s. Our European ancestors, it seems, brought the tradition with them to the new world. Apparently, in the “old country”, a badger or “sacred bear” was the original weatherman.

For you trivia buffs, February 2nd also coincides with the Catholic Candlemas, and, it once also marked a Celtic holiday by the name of Imbolc. But back to our burrowing critter…

Punxsutawney Phil, is a superstar these days. His appearance from his hole now involves social events, food, speeches and entertainment. Crowds of up to 40,000 in attendance have been known to gather in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, since 1886.

The earliest American reference has been found in the diary of storekeeper James Morris (Berks County, Pennsylvania) :
February 5, 1841
“Last Tuesday, the 2nd, was Candlemas day, the day on which, according to the Germans, the Groundhog peeps out of his winter quarters and if he sees his shadow he pops back for another six weeks nap, but if the day be cloudy he remains out, as the weather is to be moderate.”

This winter has, overall, been pretty mild…so far. At least for those of us here in the South. But that doesn’t mean anything just yet. February could bring some interesting surprises. One never knows. I guess we’ll have to wait to see what the Ground Hog has to say.

Just my thoughts,

S.
HAPPY GROUND HOG DAY!

Isn’t that a “Christian” thing?

January 20th, 2012 by stephanie

As we stood in front of the large screen TV in the conference room, I was simply stunned and amazed. Without fail, each time I was scheduled for a particular women’s event, there seemed to be a severe Thunderstorm and Tornado in my area. Rain would pour. Trees came down. Streets flooded. Trucks overturned and traffic would be backed up for hours and on end.

As the chief-in-charge of the event, my cell phone would begin ringing off the hook about 3 hours before the event’s start time. All of the attendees who were to come would call, multiple times and text.

“Is it still on?”, “I’m not sure where I am. Can you help me?” “The sirens are going off here.” “What are we going to do?” “I’m not coming.” And so the calls would continue steadily for three hours.

Meanwhile, a friend of mine (not a person of faith by any means) who was monitoring the weather system with me on the TV, was watching me field calls and texts at a frantic pace. Listening in as caller after caller kept cancelling, at one point he stopped and said, “Isn’t your event a ‘Christian’ thing? Aren’t they supposed to have ‘faith’?” I was stumped. He was right. I certainly did not want any of my girls to place themselves in harms way, but he had me there.

I knew others would make the trek regardless, as they were even driving in from other states for this one particular evening.I had to be there for whoever showed up. I knew I had to keep moving forward. But his words haunted me.

I was sharing with a family member, before all the chaos ensued, about how this situation always happens. The bad weather hits about 3-4 hours before our event’s start time. Once the event begins, the weather is usually fine. The day before the event is always nice, and the day after is dandy too. What’s a girl to do?!

Just about the time I was going to be heading out the door, my grandmother sent an email…

“We were watching the Weather Channel today… and one of us said ‘Nashville is going to have really bad weather tonight. We will have to pray for your event that everyone gets there safely and back. So, whatever happens, you know we are praying for you. Ps 121: 8 ‘The Lord will protect your coming in and going out!'” So off I went.

That’s a Christian thing. Nuff said.

S.

It’s Carnival Season. Know Much about It?

January 9th, 2012 by stephanie

For those of you that have been following with us, we talked about how Carnival Season began this past Friday. If you want to know more, you can check out my last blog update.

Carnival period, as it is known, begins around Epiphany (or Twelfth Night/January 6) and ends on Ash Wednesday (the day before Lent begins.) This year, Lent begins on February 23.

The most famous holiday, however, that  is best known and associated with this season is, drum roll please.…Mardi Gras.  And it is played out mostly in two very famous cities: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and New Orleans, Louisiana.

What you may not know is that Venice, Italy is actually home to one of the most famous Carnival celebrations in the world.  Carnival of Venice ring a bell?

What is so cool, is that records of festivities can be found dating back to the year 1268! For example, in 1294 A.D., Comte de Provence Charles II, Duc d’Anjou attended Carnival festivities in Nice, France. Carnival even back then included balls, masquerades, bonfires, jugglers, mimes, and more. There was a catch however, if you wanted to take part you had to show up in costume with a mask!

And there you have it. Some interesting tid bits of trivia for that hallway conversation or meeting ice breaker.

Happy Carnival!

Just my thoughts…

S.

Let ’em Eat Cake!

January 6th, 2012 by stephanie

Just so you know, the 12 Days of Christmas ended today. But don’t be sad, today starts something else. I might be the first person to wish you HAPPY CARNIVAL SEASON.

Most of you may be thinking, “But it’s too cold for a fair.” Nope. Not that kind of amusement, but the kind of carnival season that leads up to Mardi Gras. And believe it or not, it’s already in full swing.

In case you didn’t know, Carnival Season officially kicks off today, January 6. The day known as EPIPHANY, or Twelfth Night. And, if you have a New Orleans connection, you most likely had a piece of King Cake to kick off the festivities.

What I find fascinating is that this celebration occurs every year but few know what’s really being celebrated. Here’s the break down:
1. Epiphany (Twelfth Night) celebrates the visit of the three Wise Men who journeyed to worship the baby Jesus.
2. On that day a King Cake is made with a tiny baby figurine hidden inside.
3. The cake is decorated in three colors.
3. When the cake is cut, whoever gets the piece with the baby Jesus is “king” for a day.

For me, like any festival, it’s all about the food. And for those in the Deep Southern states, who do the Mardi Gras thing, it’s all about the King Cake or Twelfth Night Cake. Supposedly, the Wisemen’s journey lasted 12 days and found them arriving on January 6-Epiphany. Coming together for you a bit?

This cake is similar to the All-American cinnamon roll, topped with icing or sugar, usually baked in a ring shape, and, frosted or iced with the three colors of Mardi Gras: gold, green, and purple (symbolic of power, faith, and justice). And of course, in honor of our three kings.

The baker of the King Cake hides a surprise in the cake, usually a dried red bean or a figurine of a baby representing the Christ child. When the cake is cut whoever gets the piece with the hidden treasure is said to enjoy good luck for the coming year. Tradition used to be that you were king for a day. Nowadays, you have to bake the King Cake or throw the Mardi Gras party next year.

Whatever the case, I am always amazed, that if you look deep enough into most holidays or festivals (at least those created prior to the 1900s) you will find a religious connection or symbolism.

And now you know. I’ll share more on Carnival itself later.
Just my thoughts,
S.

January 4th, 2012 by stephanie

I would have to admit, 2011 was a nice year for me. I leave it feeling good about it rather than the usual, “Boy, I sure hope 2012 is better.” I was pleased with last year. It wasn’t perfect. There are things I would have changed about it. But, overall, it was a good year. I do, however, hope that 2012  is even better. That is only human.

Here are my thoughts for the New Year…

No matter who you are, or where you are: don’t ignore your dreams or your passion. My wish for you  is that you realize what your dreams are and that you summons up the courage to act on them. That you will look for what is in your heart, as long as it is healthy and helpful, and realize that it is worth finding a way to achieve your goals.

All it takes to start is one baby step in the direction that your heart is leaning. Baby steps will take you farther than you think.

I see the next 40 years of my life as an opportunity. I want to take the life I have been given and do the best with it that I can. I want to be responsible with the gifts and talents that I have been given and I want to invest in them to the best of my ability. I would have to be honest and say, I am not exactly sure what that looks like, but I can assure you, I will do my best to learn how I can invest in them wisely.

Think about the God-given gifts you have. What could you do that would take you in the direction of making the best of your talents in 2012. Don’t worry about a complete plan, just begin thinking and pointing your heart and mind in that direction.

In the meantime, why not take a look at Psalm 139. I think you will be pleased to find that your Creator thinks you are pretty special, and that His thoughts toward you are good thoughts. And, if you want to know how God feels about your future, you’ll want to take a look at Jeremiah 29:11.

Just my thoughts for a healthy and happy you in 2012,
Stephanie

Wishing you a wonderful 2012.

January 2nd, 2012 by stephanie

As we say goodbye to 2011 and welcome 2012, 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.

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

May God Bless You Richly.

Best!

Stephanie

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