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Keep It Simple.

April 27th, 2013 by stephanie

When I hear the word simple it usually brings up images of the Amish in my mind. I have had the pleasure to experience of bit of their world. I can tell you, there is nothing quite like the beauty of those gorgeous horses elegantly trotting down the lane as they pull sweet black carriages. Sitting inside you will see 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, as they wind their way through town. It is in a way a poetry in motion of sorts. I could sit and watch those and similar scenes over and over again when I am in “their” neck of the woods.

I remember a trip to Amish country with my mother. We watched the barefooted little boys in their straw hats and their blue shirts as they downed cans of Coca Cola at the produce auction.

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 in another area, negotiating prices and quality, while the women, in their dresses, stayed on the opposite side the of the building minding the little ones.

There is something soothing about simplicity and routine.

It really gets me to thinking. “Why do I 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’s very 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’.

So here’s a challenge for us this coming week. If we find ourselves stressing and straining over the “don’t haves”, let’s agree to pause and ask ourselves three things: Do I have clothes? Do I have food? Do I have a roof over my 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.

S.

Keep Moving Forward.

April 21st, 2013 by stephanie

Our country experienced some great losses this week. The Boston Marathon. The explosion in West Texas. Great loss. Leading to great pain. And the temptation to freeze, give up, do nothing…

I remember a conversation a few years back with a colleague. They had lost a person. Not through death. They simply were no longer a part of their life. At times like these, it’s easy to question everything you feel and believe. At least I have a tendency to do so.
Interestingly, a message came across my desk that read like this: Don’t try to open a closed door. Just leave it alone.
So hard. We don’t want to hear that. We try to fix the door. Or get it unstuck. Or…something! We argue with God, and question, and argue some more. Needless to say, the door, many times, does not re-open.

Maybe it’s a job, a friend, a family member…

There’s a verse that comes to mind.

Do not call to mind the former things,
Or ponder things of the past.
(Is. 43:18 NAS)

a more modern translation says it like this:

Forget about what’s happened;
don’t keep going over old history.
(The Message)

If we’re honest, most of us would admit that we struggle to let go of “what was”. Whether it’s our past or someone else’s. Sometimes, it’s just simply hard to move on. Perhaps it’s a grudge or a personal grievance that we feel quite justified in holding. Whatever the case, there is one piece of advice I think you’ll agree is good to not only hear, but to adhere. It goes like this: KEEP MOVING FORWARD.

Basically, let go of what was or whatever is holding you back and keep moving. Just because our path takes a detour doesn’t mean we should read it as a STOP sign. Keep moving. I know you’ll be glad you did.

Just my thoughts,
S.

Tomorrow’s Bread, Please. And, Thanks!

April 11th, 2013 by stephanie

“Give us this day our daily bread…”
Many of us recognize this line as coming from the most famous prayer of all time. The Lord’s Prayer. Found two different places in the Scriptures, (Matthew and Luke) one needs to realize that if it takes up that much space in the prime real estate known as The Bible, it must be pretty important.
In thinking about what today’s bread really means, I have had to admit of late that I have come to expect, and feel the need to know, where tomorrow’s bread is coming from as well. Unlike those birds of the air who Matthew reminds us are cared for, I kinda want some security in the “care” department.

Alas, thus is the journey of faith. If I always had tomorrow’s bread secured, I wouldn’t have to walk in true faith now would I.

Are you content with daily bread? Or do you struggle wanting tomorrow’s bread in the freezer for that rainy day like I do?

Just my thoughts on this gorgeous spring day.
S.
More here!

Lincoln’s Pocket watch: Just the facts please.

April 1st, 2013 by stephanie

The movie LINCOLN has been a massive hit in theaters over the past few months. Everyone seemed to be talking about it for awhile. The focus of the film was about the slavery issue. But some may not recall his Presidency with those particular facts in mind.

I remember painfully sitting through a High School Advanced Placement history class that for some reason I had tested into. To this day, I will never know how I ended up in there. The teacher certainly wondered too. I never quite got her points. And she let me know it. What I did get from her class was how intensely she had despised Richard M. Nixon. We heard about it almost daily, so I tended to tune her out. What I do actually recall from her class was the section on the Civil War.

Coming from a California education, the only information we received on that era was what we learned from our text books. To this day I can hear her pounding into our brains that the “War between the States” was merely about cotton. Economics. End of story. Turn to the next chapter. (Her opinion, or course.)

So you can imagine my bewilderment as my eyes scanned the page that illustrated the levels and the layout of the packed slave ships. I was baffled as to why this woman seemed so bent on making us believe it had nothing to do with slaves. Where was she getting her facts?

CNN ran a story once. Apparently, a Mr. Jonathan Dillon was repairing Lincoln’s watch in April 1861 when he heard about the attack on Fort Sumter, South Carolina. That day, he scratched a short note on the metal inside the watch. And, there it stayed, as a secret, for almost 150 years.

In a 1906 interview with The New York Times this same watchmaker, Dillon, reported that as soon as he heard the news about the first shots of the Civil War, he unscrewed the dial of the watch and wrote on the metal, “The first gun is fired. Slavery is dead. Thank God we have a President who at least will try.”

However…… The inscription on the watch was later found to actually read:
 April 13-1861, Fort Sumpter [sic] was attacked by the rebels on the above date… thank God we have a government, Jonth Dillon.

So, what the man wrote, and what he recalled to the world seem to have ended up being two conflicting accounts. Interesting, isn’t it?  Actual events and how we recall them later can be two very different things. Yet in our minds, we are so confident in “our” point of view. I guess that much, throughout history, hasn’t changed. The facts of a story and how they actually went down, sometimes, just don’t always match up.

Being commited to getting the facts is always a good plan of action to keep in our back pocket. Kinda like that famous watch that Lincoln kept in the back of his.

Just my thoughts.

S.

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