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My Latest Anti-Aging Tip

March 5th, 2017 by stephanie

While on the phone with a teammate the other day, I found myself laughing at her take on certain projects we were currently navigating.

Her ways of thinking and how she expressed her response to the challenges at hand simply tickled my funny bone, as they say, to no end. I realized how fortunate I was to have so much laughter in our work environment. And happiness. I recall days in my corporate life where I was miserable, and so were the people around me. I don’t miss that world.

It was comforting to know that I currently live and work in a peaceful place. We work to remove and keep out the toxic and negative. It lifts my soul and more. And, as a result, I simply feel good.

We’ve all heard the phrase, “Laughter is the best medicine.” We also know the one that says, “You just have to laugh.” (Either that, or cry, right?)

Perhaps you’ve heard of studies where the ill or aging were told to watch funny movies or read funny books only to experience a “healing” of sorts in their conditions after they carried out the prescription. Throughout the Scriptures one reads where we are encouraged to “be joyful in all things.” There must be a reason, or something deeper behind that, I figured.

So, I was quite pleased when I learned a statistic that actually backs up this train of thought. Not only that, it proves that laughter, happiness, actually makes you “young!”

Here is what I discovered…

Every time we laugh, the “Youth Hormone” increases by 87% in our bodies. This is the hormone that slows down the aging process. It keeps us younger, revitalized, and fresh.  

(Forget the anti-aging cream, I think I just found my new youth serum.)

It got me to thinking. People who don’t laugh much, or who tend to be cranky, are usually not the type of company I find myself wanting to hang out with. If you consider the people in your world who perhaps take life a bit too seriously, or have to be “good” all the time, or feel the need to work hard and not goof off in any way shape or form, you may have found they just aren’t fun to be around. We tend to avoid those folks. They make the surroundings uncomfortable. Tense. They’re usually complaining about something, or making a negative comment about someone, and well—it’s just tiring.

If truth be told…I bet they tend to look a bit, well, old?

Think of the people you know who just look “young”. If you really take a moment to consider them and their lifestyle, I bet you will find that they are happy people. Or, at the least, they work to make the most out of life and to take the high road even when things get somewhat low. Angry, bitter, uptight people, however, just don’t seem to have that youthful glow.

Just another proof, I’d say, that the Bible is full of truths that we don’t always understand upon first reading. For instance:

King Solomon said, “A happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.” (Proverb 17:22, Amplified)

I have read this passage all my life, it’s nice to see some science that explains it in further detail.
With that, I hope you begin to notice how often, or little, that you laugh, or smile even, this week. I also hope that you will take a look at those you tend to spend time with. Are they smiling? Telling a joke? Saying nice things and or being encouraging? If that’s the case, make a commitment to more time with them. Add them into your routine. It will be your fountain of youth, per se, if you do.

The best part about this regimen? It’s free of charge! It will only cost you the time you invest in, well,…HAPPY!

Just my thoughts.

S.

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Happy May Day! Did you know?

May 1st, 2013 by stephanie

I wonder how many of you were aware that the first day of May used to be called “May Day”. I asked my grandmother to recall what she could about this particular long lost special day.

“We use to make up little baskets of flowers and put them on people’s porches then run.” This is what she shared with me while recalling the memories of yesteryear. “It was fun when they would open the door and see their flowers but they never knew who brought them. I don’t think they do that anymore.”

She’s right, I don’t think I have ever found a bouquet of flowers on my doorstep at any point in my life. Well, on May 1st, at least. “If you knew another elderly person besides your grandmother, “she chided, “I bet they would remember.”

If you have someone over the age of 75 in your life, ask them what they know about May Day. I would love to hear what stories you learn.

Happy May Day to you!

Just my thoughts.

S.

June 6. D-DAY. MAY WE NEVER FORGET.

June 6th, 2009 by stephanie

“The sheer improbability of what happened here makes this so memorable” – President Obama. 

These are just a few words that would be spoken at the 65th anniversary of the storming of the beaches at Normandy. Known to most simply as D-Day.

Sitting in a room on the coast of England, the allied commander, known as Eisenhower, knew that a small window of opportunity was all that he had. Weather was terrible. But if it broke, as they had been notified it might, 150,000 Allied soldiers would be deployed to land on the shores of Normandy. 

“An invading army had not crossed the unpredictable, dangerous English Channel since 1688 — and once the massive force set out, there was no turning back. The 5000-vessel armada stretched as far as the eye could see, transporting over 150,000 men and nearly 30,000 vehicles across the channel to the French beaches. Six parachute regiments — over 13,000 men — were flown from nine British airfields in over 800 planes. More than 300 planes dropped 13,000 bombs over coastal Normandy immediately in advance of the invasion.” (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/dday/sfeature/sf_info.html)

Paratroopers would drop at 1am. Would the weather hold? At a height of only 300 feet. In the dark. The wet. Think fast. 

Men in PT boats would race toward shore. Many would get close. Some would fall short. As soldiers poured out, the 70 pound packs would sink and drown many who thought the sand lay directly beneath. 

By nightfall,  more than 9,000 Allied soldiers would be dead or wounded, but more than 100,000 would make it ashore, securing French coastal villages previously held hostage by Hitler’s regime.

These were depression kids. The scrappy boys that had learned to make it on their own. Those innate tricks of survival.  Could there be a better training ground to prepare them for the impossible? Amidst perilous conditions? And a ruthless world tyrant to boot?  Truly, a fearful task.

Those who made it through the depression learned to have a great deal of resilience and learned how to make due with what they had or could find. Older men today, if you spend time with them, are proof still that people back then were able to make the most amazing things our of the littlest stuff.  What they were able to come up with was nothing short of impressive. No wonder we call them The Greatest Generation. Shaped by The Great Depression 

One vet, Jim Norene, a member of the 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division, had come alone for one last anniversary, despite having stage-four advanced cancer. Though gravely ill, he  was determined to make it back to France for the 65th anniversary of D-Day. Just one more time. After he landed (in a fashion much different then his first landing), he was able to visit the American cemetery the evening before Saturday’s ceremony. Jim never made it to the ceremony, that night, he passed away in his sleep.

This man, who returned to remember and honor his buddies would not have wanted it any other way. How poignant that he was able to return to the same shores where he and his pals had said good bye only to have the ironic privilege of rejoining them from the same soil that had prematurely taken their very young lives.  Now, this ailing veteran and his band of brothers could truly rest in peace. Together.

May we remember.

S.

When You Just Don’t Know What to Say.

March 13th, 2009 by stephanie

As I sat with a dear saint suddenly bed ridden, so weak and frail, I have to admit, it hurt to watch. This person has stormed the throne for countless individuals, whether she knew them or not. For years. Though she ran her own company, each morning, she spent over an hour in prayer. Her list was so long, she admitted it took closer to 90 minutes to get through it.

So I had to ask, “Lord. Why does this precious prayer warrior have to suffer so? She has been so faithful? Quietly. For so many people and for so many years.” There was no answer. But the reality of the sinful world we live in became very clear. We are faced with sin and death. The curse that we inherited back in Genesis brought us aging and disease. And it is painful.

With that, I knew that the only place I could turn was the Scriptures. When you are hurting, many times, there are no words. So, for those times that you just don’t know what to say, may I suggest the beautiful poetry of the Psalms. I turned to Psalm 34 for this particular situation. I now leave it with you

Psalm 34

The LORD, a Provider and Deliverer.

1 I will bless the LORD at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
2 My soul will make its boast in the LORD;
The humble will hear it and rejoice.
3 O magnify the LORD with me,
And let us exalt His name together.
4 I sought the LORD, and He answered me,
And delivered me from all my fears.
5 They looked to Him and were radiant,
And their faces will never be ashamed.
6 This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him
And saved him out of all his troubles.
7 The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him,
And rescues them.
8 O taste and see that the LORD is good;
How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!
9 O fear the LORD, you His saints;
For to those who fear Him there is no want.
10 The young lions do lack and suffer hunger;
But they who seek the LORD shall not be in want of any good thing.
11 Come, you children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
12 Who is the man who desires life
And loves length of days that he may see good?
13 Keep your tongue from evil
And your lips from speaking deceit.
14 Depart from evil and do good;
Seek peace and pursue it.
15 The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous
And His ears are open to their cry.
16 The face of the LORD is against evildoers,
To cut off the memory of them from the earth.
17 The righteous cry, and the LORD hears
And delivers them out of all their troubles.
18 The LORD is near to the brokenhearted
And saves those who are crushed in spirit.
19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
But the LORD delivers him out of them all.
20 He keeps all his bones,
Not one of them is broken.
21 Evil shall slay the wicked,
And those who hate the righteous will be condemned.
22The LORD redeems the soul of His servants,
And none of those who take refuge in Him will be condemned.

Very Superstitious…

March 7th, 2009 by stephanie

While sitting with my grandmother as she lay recuperating in the hospital, I surfed through my emails and landed on an online daily devotional. The pastor who wrote it was talking about people and their superstitions. So, ever the curious family member, I leaned over and asked Grandma if she had ever been superstitious.

“Your great grandfather was.” She said adamantly. “’Don’t rock an empty rocking chair.’ That was one of the many things he used to say.”

I was floored. I had never heard this part of our family history and was quite amazed by this new found revelation. So, as usual, I went to work. Here are a few superstitions I was able to unearth in order to share with you my loyal readers:

Superstitions and Old Wives Tales

o Playing with frogs will give you warts

o If you step on a crack, break your mother’s back

o A Cat can steal a baby’s breath in crib

o If you cross your eyes they will stay that way!

o If you drop any silverware, then guests will be coming.
o Knife=man. Fork=woman. spoon=child

o Sitting on concrete can have dire consequences

o Putting olive oil and pepper on a piece of cotton ball and putting it in the ear for ear aches

o Eating cookies gives you worms

o For single women–when peeling an apple, peel all in one piece from top to bottom or visa versa,(it has to be the whole peel), and then throw the peel over your left shoulder. When it lands on the floor look for a shape of a letter–it will be the letter of your future husband!!

o If your palm itches, you will receive money

o Throw salt over the shoulder if you have spilled it

o If you have hair on your stomach while you’re pregnant, you’ll have a boy.

o If you ate burnt toast it would give you curly hair

o Frowning causes wrinkle

o One can catch a cold just by being outside in the cold with a wet head!!!

o Sitting to close to a TV or video screens will make you go blind.

o If you play with fire you will wet the bed

o Eat an apple a day to keep the doctor away

o Don’t rock an empty rocking chair. Or you will have bad luck.

o Don’t do laundry on New Year’s Day, or someone in the family will die.

o If you drop a knife on the kitchen floor, company will be arriving from whichever way it is pointing.

o If you put a ring on a string and put it over a pregnant woman you can tell the sex of the unborn child!

o When you breastfeed you can’t get pregnant. (not true!)

o Wash blankets in May, you’ll wash someone away!

All I can say is, wow. Who knew?
S.

So, I Have This Idea…

February 21st, 2009 by stephanie

A wonderful mentor of mine used to say to me, “Talk processes. Not people.”  I always thought that was so smart. And such great advice.  When I would be very frustrated, I would remember those words and try to default to that idea. Rather than talk about the people that were being unreasonable or driving me crazy, I would work to focus on the process at hand.  How best to address it. What needed to work better. Could we change it?  Could we fix it?

 

Then I came across this little saying:

 

Great minds discuss ideas;

Average minds discuss events;

Small minds discuss people.

 

It’s so true.  I have met people that live small lives, and I don’t mean simple lives.  There are just people –you know the ones. They really aren’t too in tune with the rest of the world. When you are in conversation with them, you will find they do tend to talk more about people. Rather than current events. And rarely are they up for discussing new ideas.

 

I knew a couple that seemed to tell and re-tell the same stories.  The memories revolved around a certain few time periods and were usually about a certain group of people.  They rarely moved on from these stories, events, and people in all the years that I knew them.  It wasn’t until one of them died that I finally heard new stories. Stories that included events I had never heard about before, people that had not ever been mentioned prior and even a few new and interesting ideas.

 

It was sad to me.

 

On the other hand, there is a woman I know that always talks about or wants to fill me in on the best new idea or information that she has just come across.  She cuts articles from newspapers and mails them to me.  If she has an idea or hears of something she thinks would help me, she emails it or mentions it to me when we talk on the phone.  She doesn’t’ really talk about people. She talks about ideas and information.  At 91, she has a great mind. She usually starts off our conversations with, “I was thinking…”

 

So, I thought I’d take a look at myself for awhile and see what it was that I talk about.  I certainly got a bit nervous when I turned the mirror on myself.  “Gee.  Do I discuss people more than events?  Do I discuss events more than ideas?”  I’d sure like to think I have a great mind. But you know, I’m not so sure I want to hear the answer to that question. If truth be told.

 

It’s not rocket science, and I would definitely not base my life on that little saying, but I would have to tell you this, it certainly got my attention. So, this week, I am going to conscientiously focus on ideas.  If you catch me discussing people in the days ahead, feel free to point me back to my blog, will you?

 

Processing,

S.

 

ORIENTAL WISDOM FOR A WESTERN WORLD

December 29th, 2008 by stephanie

At the end of each year, my mother always laments having to watch every channel’s personal “Greatest of” or “Highlights”. She doesn’t want to relive the top ten murder cases, or the top rated shows or whatever the selection of choice by the presuming TV or cable station. So, in keeping with the trend, I couldn’t resist replaying one of my own blogs. All in good fun, of course. This one generated some good feed back to me personally. So it’s one I don’t mind re-visiting. Enjoy!

————

If I have this right, there is an old Chinese proverb that goes like this: Care about people’s approval and you will be their prisoner. (Tao Te Ching, ancient Chinese Philosophy).

I think we would be shocked if we really took a good hard look and noted how much of our day or week is spent in trying to please some one or some thing. It’s eye opening when you take a moment to realize that perhaps a lot of our time, energy, and resources might be going into or being invested in people, organizations, or things that really won’t matter down the road. Sometimes, a lot of unnecessary frustration is born out of this very basic scenario.

A friend and I were discussing this dilemma of sorts, and she quickly put it into easy-to-grasp terms for me. She was expounding on howm when a problem arose in her life that just didn’t sit quite right, she would stop and ask this question: “Will I still be attached to this situation, or know this person 5 years from now. And if not, will it matter?” I thought that was a great way to stop and evaluate any given moment where we feel a bit out of control. Basically, in five years, will that organization, or person, or job be in your life? And if not, will it matter?” Talk about some fast perspective. So I decided to stop and take stock of how much of my life I was pouring into things that might not even be there in the future. And too, if I was mostly involved in them for approval sake.

You have to be very careful with this one, but if you take it realistically, and honestly, (and in proper moderation) it’s some good brain work. Try it, and the next time you find that you are really upset or frustrated about something, ask the “5-year” question that my dear friend taught me. It might bring some much needed, immediate relief. See what you think.

S.

But Enough About Me…

November 6th, 2008 by stephanie

“And do you know who was there and made that event happen?” Asked the person standing before me.

“That would more than likely have been you,” I responded over the receiver of the phone I was speaking into. I tried to smile, but it was getting difficult.

Though I was engaged in cellular conversation, this individual continued leaning over me chatting about their accomplishments. It was all I could do to stay polite. This poor soul had, over the past few days, been reminding everyone within earshot of all that they had seen and done over the past years. It ranged from what they had accomplished to who they knew.

There were eyes rolling in the room, but the “sharer” never clued into the mood they were affecting. I cringed for them deep down inside. “How sad.” I muttered to myself. But there was no stopping them from their self-ruination. As far as they were concerned, they were establishing their legacy.

So, my point? Usually, if we stand back and take notice, we come to find that the loudest voice in the room (and I don’t mean volume), is generally coming from the neediest soul. For example, this particular person I mention above doesn’t have much to boast of personally. Now, don’t get me wrong, they happen to be independently wealthy, but after that, there’s not a lot to write home about.

I got to thinking about it while sitting in rush-hour traffic, and it made me realize, those people do need a listening ear. Not a sarcastic retort. No matter how much they get under your skin, they are not going to change. Their problem is from the inside out. You and I can do nothing to change that.

For some reason, they are not feeling loved, needed or relevant. Thus the reminder of their expertise and more. They are frightened they will be shoved aside and worst yet, forgotten. They need to acknowledged and appreciated, and as we can see, they will go to great lengths to secure both.

We bystanders too, need to be careful to watch for that tendency in ourselves. There is a Proverb that says it best. It goes like this:

Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips. (Proverbs 27:2)

I think I am going to focus on that one for awhile. But enough about me…

S.

Go To the Ant, O Sluggard.

October 13th, 2008 by stephanie

So besides the squirrels in my basement and my kitchen, I have had an ant issue of late. I think I finally have that situation under control. However, the process was a tad interesting and thought provoking to say the least.

As much as I was determined to see the slew of insects depart from my bathroom, I, in a sense, hated to see them go. I was so mesmerized by their deliberate and orderly precision and work ethic, that at times, I felt myself just staring and watching in amazement. Let me explain.

One night, before heading to bed, I noticed, in amazement, that a certain team of ants had returned to “clean up”. I had accomplished a massacre of sorts in the early afternoon, but by evening, the little ant soldiers came for their dearly departed and carried them off to the nether regions of my wall.

I was stunned. I don’t know about you, but I am not so sure that if you passed out, that I could lift you up and walk with you above my head a few miles. But these creatures completed the task with such orderly dignity, that it was all I could do to lay the new trap down on the floor and wait for it to claim its new victims.

All that said, I was amazed at the responsibility factor of these tiny but mighty creatures. I mean, think about it. How many of us truly clean up after ourselves, let alone our team, or our kin? Now that is something to consider is it not? We live in a culture that is so “me” centric, that I don’t know if people even remember the song He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother let alone understand it’s meaning.

So, I got to thinking. Maybe I am my brother’s keeper after all to some extent. I mean, think about it. When you and I are in need, how precious it is when a kind soul comes alongside to assist, or meet our needs. I hope you have not lost that wonderful caring spirit. If you have, may I suggest you consider carrying your weaker brother, if even for a few feet, this week. It’s not too much to ask. Knowing that at some point, you may ultimately, desperately, need for them to return the favor.

For a bit of extra homework, check out Proverbs chapter 6.

or try this:  http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=1905
S.

You Just Have No Idea.

May 28th, 2008 by stephanie

Have you ever been in a situation where you really needed to connect with someone who fully understood your current situation? Maybe it was a critical moment on your part. Hopefully the right person came through for you just in the nick of time. If not, perhaps there was no one within immediate reach. And that happens.  In a way, the last week represented a bit of that scenario for me.  My precious, 94 year old grandfather, usually the picture of health and a delight to be around, suddenly fell severley ill.  Having outlived all of his children (my father included) and his wife as well, it fell to me to care for him and be near him in his time of need.

When I arrived at the hospital, I found his situation grave indeed. But it was the fight for information (with the medical staff) that ensued that was beyond belief.  Here I was, his sole heir and the person that would care for him, yet the hospital refused to even let me know his temperature!  I had no idea as to his condition, the treatment he had received, what tests had been administered, what medications he was being given, or the current diagnosis. Even though I held the Power of Attorney (for health) in my hands as well as a Hippa Release (medical release signed by my ailing grandfather himself) the staff refused to allow me ANY information. It was beyond surreal. Unless the doctor was present, I would receive no information. Period. Whatsoever. And if I didn’t ask him the right questions, he didn’t have to answer. It was bizarre to say the least.

Once my grandfather was discharged, I found myself his full-care nurse.  In his tiny apartment back at the assisted living center where he lived independently it was just him and me.  On our own. I cared for him 24/7.  With no medical back ground and no help (due to the holiday weekend) I was left to my own devices. It was a daunting task. But I was determined to be there for him, no matter what the need.  

He didn’t sleep. So we were up around the clock. I napped when I could. I changed the bandages and I administerd the nebulizer treatments.  All he could do on his own was make his way to the bathroom or sit up to eat a meal.  All else fell to me.  But I cherished the job.  This was a person I enjoyed being with, and no task was too difficult. When you love someone, it just comes easy. 

People that called in to check on me or my grandfather meant well, but in reality, they truly had no idea of the moment or the life I was now struggling to survive.  Paperwork. Insurance. Bank visits.  The will. Power of Attorney. Car title. Bills due and when. Accounts and their access. Trying to keep my full time job back home afloat. Nursing without training. Assisted living decisions. Home Health decisions. Doctor reports and visits. Future guesses. It all fell to me, and I felt inadequate.  But there was no time to doubt. You do what you have to do in those moments. And regardless of your experience, you have to perform.

But, as a single person, you do it alone.  As well meaning as people are, unless they have been there personally, they simply have NO idea of the gravity of the situation. Or the exhaustion. I remember one day, when I finally had a nurse to cover for me, I was able to slip out and get away.  I remember just driving and wondering where I was going. I didn’t care. I just needed to get out. And there I was.

That said, when you find someone that has “been there done that”, in those situations you realize that they are a complete gift from God.  And the Father up above sent one of those very people to me when I was at my lowest and least expecting it. As I lay down for a quick nap one afternoon, my phone rang. I was so exhausted, that when I saw the caller ID, my brain could not even register the person that my phone was showing as calling. But I answered anyway.

“You have been on my mind so heavily, I just had to call. I was listening to your CD, and I knew I had to call. So, here I am. How are you doing?”  The person on the other end had absolutely no idea where I was or what I was going through. But she was the one person who completely understood this type of situation. She had personally experienced the very thing I was dealing with at that very hour. “Not good.” I replied.  “And to be honest, if you had not called, I don’t know that I would have even admitted that out loud. But since you are on the line and asking, here it goes. ” And unload I did.

God sends to us the people who “have an idea” about what’s going on, or “get it” right when we need them. At least, He does in my life and in the lives of those around me.  All I can say is, what a beautiful thing it is to have someone at those amazingly difficult times that completeley understands. When we go through difficult times, or trials, they may be hard to figure, but let me assure you, someone down the road will need you and your experiences. And you will help them survive their moment of crises. Trust me.

I am so grateful for a God in heaven who not only sees me, but sends people my way just when I need them most. People who have walked the road I currently trod, if you know what I mean.  In return, I realize too that I will someday be able to come alongside someone who will need me.  What I have been through this past month is not in vain.   I just  have no idea yet as to how it will bless some future friend. But I look forward to that day.

Best to you.

S.

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