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Spring is here!

March 20th, 2014 by stephanie



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“Spring is here…” Those were the opening words to one of the tunes I sang back in the day. That “Day” was when I was the front girl for a 17-piece stage band.  I loved my days with the boys. They were incredible musicians, and I was honored to be a part. More than that, I just simply LOVED jazz. That genre of music to me, Smooth Jazz, actually, is like a fresh spring breeze. To me, at least.

Though our friends in the northern regions may not be “feeling” it just quite yet, believe it or not, Spring begins today. March 20 to be exact.

Spring in our neck of the woods lasts only two months – March through May. During that short time, it gives us Easter, Passover and May Day to name a few special events.

In spring, science tells us that the axis of the Earth begins to tilt toward the Sun. The length of daylight increases if you’re the hemisphere closest to the sun. That hemisphere begins to warm up which causes  new plant growth to “spring forth.” Thus the name SPRING.

If you live in or travel to the southern states, one of the famous sites during this time is that of the blooming Dogwoods. If you’re a literature buff, you may recall they used to be called Whipple trees. (Think Chaucer’s Cantebury Tales.)

If you aren’t familiar with the flower that this tree produces, it’s quite fascinating. So’s the legend of the Dogwood.  As the story goes, Jesus was crucified on a cross made of it’s wood.  To remember his death, the flowers speak to that story. If you have ever seen the blooms you’ll notice that the flower’s four petals are cross-shaped (representing the four corners of the cross) and each bears a rusty indentation like that of a nail. In addition, the red stamens of the flower represent Jesus’ crown of thorns and the clustered red fruit represents his blood.

And there you have it. More conversation starters
for that next trip to the water cooler or board meeting.

Happy Spring!

Stephanie

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“We were orange,” he’d always say.

March 17th, 2014 by stephanie

Are you Green or Orange this St. Patty’s Day?search

When we see or think of St. Patrick’s Day, we think green. We wear green. We eat green things. Perhaps that’s due, in large part, to the fact that Green was the color of the Flag for Irish Catholics. But did you know that Orange was the color of the Protestant flag? It’s true. I learned that little tid bit from my grandfather. “We were orange,” he used to say. “And we came from County Cork.”

My grandfather would remind me about that history, without fail, each and every St. Patrick’s Day. Gramps wasn’t trying to make a point, he was just proud that he knew something about our heritage and he was pleased to pass that knowledge along to me.

But the tidbit of info in regards to the original St. Pat is what I love to remember each year as well.

Did you know that Saint Patrick was not a Leprechaun who danced in clover?

He was an actual son of wealthy British parents that lived in the 4th century. Here’s the scoop.

At the age of 16, Patrick was taken prisoner by Irish raiders who attacked his family’s estate. The bandits took the lad to the Island of Ireland where he spent his captivity working as a shepherd, outdoors and away from people. It was during this frightening time of isolation that he discovered Christ and developed a strong faith. Legend has it that he began to have dreams of winning the Irish to Christianity. Now, that’s what I call a heart for ministry!

After more than six years as a prisoner, Patrick made a run for it – and escaped. Believe it or not, there are actual writings of his that survived and exist to this day. He wrote of a voice, which he believed to be God’s. It spoke to him in a dream, telling him it was time to leave Ireland. And, boy did he.

Patrick walked nearly 200 miles from County Mayo to the Irish coast. After escaping to Britain, he recorded a second vision. This time, it was an angel in a dream, that told him to return to Ireland as a missionary! And you know what? He did just that. But much later.

Patrick first threw himself into studying his new faith. 15 years later, he became an ordained priest and was commissioned to Ireland. His mission? To minister to Christians already living in Ireland and to begin to convert the Irish.

And there you have it. When you hit that board meeting, coffee chat or water cooler today, hopefully you’ll have something new on which to dish. Perhaps your listeners will be “green” with envy. Who knows. 🙂

Here’s to St. Pat and his green, here’s to those of us that are Orange and here’s to my grandfather…who loved to remember.

Just my thoughts,

S.

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Black Smudges, Coffee and Fasting: Ash Wednesday.

March 5th, 2014 by stephanie

imagesIt’s Ash Wednesday. Heads up!

I was sitting in Starbucks chatting away with a colleague when, 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.  Thus my confusion. But back to our point…As you may know, today, Ash Wednesday,  marks the first day of Lent. The season of fasting in preparation for Easter.

The idea, as proposed by the Catholic church, was to set aside a time where we turn our hearts toward the Lord and his sacrifice on the cross. If He could give up His life, we could at least share a bit in that gift of suffering, by acknowledging something we cherish and abstaining for a bit. To remind us of His ultimate gift to us: His life. To bring eternal life to ours.

Folks around the globe will give up sweets, chocolate, soft drinks, and more during this 40 day fasting period as we move toward Resurrection Day.   I can assure you I probably will not give up coffee this season, or chocolate. But I do plan to set aside time to get my heart right, in shape if you will, as we move in the direction of Eastertide.

Do you think about or participate in Lent? If so, I’d love to hear from you. If you have fresh thoughts or any news twists to this tradition that you’d like to share? If so, we’d love to hear from you. Happy Fasting!

Happy fasting season!
S.

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Other Articles you might enjoy:

The Skinny on Fat Tuesday

Lent: Howz it workin’ for ya?

 

 

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