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The Girl Who Got Her Own Holiday.

February 22nd, 2013 by stephanie

I’m pretty fortunate. I will admit. My boyfriend decided shortly after we began dating, that I deserved my own holiday. Now, in all honesty, what gal doesn’t wan to hear that? I can say he has now kept the tradition and I do thoroughly enjoy it. But my holiday will never be as famous as one particular gal’s…

Here’s the story:  There was this king in ancient Iran who was angry with his Queen. Apparently, she didn’t show up in front of the drunken party he was throwing when he called her to the banquet hall. So, the royal advisors suggested he throw her off the throne for her disobedience. Which he did. She’d had the nerve to tell the king “no”, and, hey, other women might hear about it and follow suit with the men in their lives. Right? It had indeed been a humiliating event for the King to say the least. So, off she went.

In time, the King grew very sad, and his personal staff grew worried. It was time to find a new lady for the lonely monarch. So, they came up with a plan. It was decided that a nationwide beauty pageant-type-search would be put underway. And it was so. In a short amount of time, all of the lovely virgins from regions around were brought to the harem and prepared for their “audition”. Which translates as: you get one night with the king. Get the picture?

When it was all said and done, it was one exceptional creature that finally won the King’s heart. Her name was Esther. But there was a secret situation. Unfortunately for our new heroine, she was Jewish. Now, that’s not a problem in itself, except that a particularly powerful person, who had the King’s ear at that time, hated members of the Jewish race and he wanted to spread that hate. It wasn’t looking good for Esther or her people. It wasn’t long before this evil man, Haman, figured out a way to get rid of “those Jews”. But the plot was foiled, and the Hebrew people were, in the end, saved. And they all lived happily ever after. Hooray! In the end, it was the bravery of our lovely new Queen Esther who put her life on the line when it came down to the wire.

In case you didn’t know, this very story is remembered and celebrated as a holiday to this day, every year, by the Jewish people. It’s called Purim and it happens this weekend!

There will be food and festivities for two days (with some fasting before). And well, as you may know, if there’s a holiday or event that  has anything to do with food…I am so there. 🙂

Just my thoughts.

Stephanie

PS: They did a great movie on this story. It’s called One Night with the King.

Check it out!

 

Black Smudges, Coffee, and Fasting.

February 20th, 2013 by stephanie

Ok. We’re a week into it. How ya’ doin’? But first…

Last Wednesday I was sitting in Starbucks with my CPA chatting away. Suddenly around the corner came a gal with a huge black mark on her head. I literally took two double takes…I am embarrassed to admit. Of all people, I should have known! I blog on it for heaven’s sake. But the smudge on her forehead was no longer in the shape of an Ash Wednesday cross, it was a horrible mess that looked like a very big personal problem.  But back to our point…As you may know, that was the first day of Lent.

Folks give up sweets, chocolate, soft drinks, and more during this 40 day fasting period in preparation for Resurrection Day.  It reminded me of a particular gal who once took a very “outside the box” approach on the matter. Here’s the scoop…

“I just decided for Lent I was going to write a hand written note to people in my life for the next 40 days. I prayed that God would show me who needed their spirits lifted and then I got your email [about that person who needed encouragement]. How wonderful! I will write him today. Please let me know if you know anyone else that needs lifting up.”

I remember thinking, “Why didn’t I think of that!” But I didn’t. She did. And I am glad!  I can assure you I did not give up coffee. 🙁 So what did you give up for Lent? Anything? Or, any news twists to this tradition that you’d like to share? If so, we’d love to hear from you. Happy Fasting!

Just my thoughts. Yours?
S.

 

Fish Is on The Menu!

February 18th, 2013 by stephanie

Have you noticed all of the fast-food FISH commercials and specials lately? They started this past week…

20081210-filetofish-sandwich
It reminded me of an article in TIME magazine I came across and never forgot. Apparently, the Filet-o-Fish sandwich from McDonald’s was a result of a religious tradition. It showed a time line with all of the menu changes over the years. It was the 1960’s section that caught my eye.

People may not be aware that Catholics (and other similar denominations) don’t just give up something for Lent. They used to also only eat fish on Fridays as well. On that day of the week they avoided meat. They “fasted from it”, in a way. The idea was to focus on “giving up”. Sacrificing. In honor, of sorts, for what Christ did for them. His sacrifice on the cross.

This tradition used to be such a part of Western culture, that Fish Fridays became a common option on most, if not all, menus.

But back to McDonald’s. A man by the name of Louis Groen, of Cincinnati, Ohio, owned a McDonald’s franchise. One day, he contacted corporate headquarters with a concern. He told them that he needed help if he was going to keep his Catholic customers–who wouldn’t eat meat on Friday. He was well aware that Catholics (for centuries) only ate Fish on Fridays, and that this tradition was affecting his sales.

The solution? The creation of the Filet-O-Fish sandwich in 1962.

And so, now you know.

Knowing that we’re in the midst of Lent, perhaps you have given up something, not just on Fridays, but during this 40-day fasting period. But for today, it’s all about the fish factor. Something for your water cooler chats this week. Or, perhaps you could plan for sushi this Friday.

Just my thoughts.

S.

#mcdonalds #filetofish #lent #fasting

Fat Tuesday…Eat up!

February 11th, 2013 by stephanie

Pancake Day. King Cake. Thoughts about what you’ll give up for Lent… If any of these are on your mind, it’s probably because they’re all going down this week! For those of you wondering what this blog post has to do with anything, these traditions/holidays have been around for centuries. And, holidays mean food…and I am alllll about the food.

What do Pancakes, King Cakes and giving up something for Lent have to do with each other?
Well, you may have heard of it. It’s called…

What is MARDI GRAS?
AKA Shrove Tuesday/Fat Tuesday. Also known as Pancake Day.

Basically, the last chance to party hearty before the Season of Fasting (Lent) begins. Which is this Wednesday – ASH WEDNESDAY:

Just what is Lent?:
It’s a time to reflect on, and prepare hearts for, the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. It’s when people give up something, like chocolate or ____ (fill in the blank).

When does Lent end?
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.

We’ll dish a bit about these feast and fast days as we begin our journey towards Holy Week! Hey, if you’re smart, you’ll find a way to ask for time off during one of these “religious” holidays. If you’re an atheist, however, it might be a bit tricky to pull off. (wink)
Just my thoughts,
S.

Ready for Valentine’s Day?

February 6th, 2013 by stephanie

Well, ’tis the season. This is the month that all good couples are encouraged, no, let’s face it, expected, to focus on the following:
-Cards
-Chocolate
-Flowers
-Hearts
-Sentiment
-Perhaps Dinner Out
-Perhaps a Gift
It all depends on who is in our lives as we approach this holiday of the heart.
images
MEN:
If there is a special lady in your life, may I suggest that you have something planned. Even if it’s recession-friendly. So you can’t do the 5-Star restaurant this year. Not to worry. A nice cozy, in-expensive place will do. Just make sure it’s a good place where you can “chat”.

LADIES:
I know this may be a tough one, but for the good of the order: Don’t be too demanding. It just isn’t necessary and it doesn’t make love, well…love. Love is about who the two of you are when you’re together. A good match. Hopefully. So, let him figure out what to do for the evening, plans and all, let him do the best he can and then with grace, praise him for it. 🙂

SINGLES!
This is your night to enjoy those in your life that truly are there for you in and out of season. Grab a few of your favorite bags of chips and a couple of movies you’ve been wanting to see and call those extra special friends over for some good ‘ol “friend” time.

Whatever the case this year, perhaps these tips are for you:
1. Make plans now. They don’t have to be grand. Just make them.
2. Pick your absolute favorite person or pals plural.
3. Do something you really love to do and ask them, today, to join you.

Pretty simple. And with that, we should all have a very happy Valentine’s Day.
PS: Guys, Valentines Day is THIS Thursday.
🙂

Just my thoughts.
S.

Where Your Treasure is…There Is Your Heart.

February 4th, 2013 by stephanie

As I clicked on the TV late one night, Suze Orman could be heard offering up her wisdom to those in need of financial advice.

Her voice drew me in, “As I tell you every Saturday night: People first. Then money. Then things.” Interestingly, I had just been working on a grid I use to help determine my priorities for any given day, or week for that matter. Her words were like cold water in the face. I immediately grabbed my grid and took a good hard look. Was I truly putting people first? Or, had I scheduled my own selfish needs and desires first today? Or, this past week for that matter?

Sometimes, it takes an outside influence to point out that the to-do list or what is currently important to me isn’t really as pertinent as that family member, that quality friend or that volunteer opportunity. I have to admit, Suze made me stop and think. Maybe I could tweak my priorities just a bit more this week. And perhaps, revisit where I am investing my time, my energy and my resources.

May the challenge to you this day be: where is the best place for you to invest your time, your energy and your resources this coming week? They are yours to give. And yours to give alone. Be sure you give them to a worthy and credible force in your life.

Just my thoughts,
S.
Where is your treasure?

Happy Ground Hog Day!

February 2nd, 2013 by stephanie

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

My family tree has some Pennsylvania Dutch in it, so, you can imagine my interest when I learned that Ground Hog Day is a Pennsylvania Dutch (German) custom dating back to the 1700s.

For you trivia buffs, February 2nd also coincides with the Catholic Candlemas…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 to it was actually found in an 1841 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, however the last two days brought us snow! One never knows what the weather usually holds. I guess we’ll have to wait to see what the Ground Hog had to say.

And there you have it.

Just my thoughts,

S.
HAPPY GROUND HOG DAY!

 

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