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1st World Problems

March 22nd, 2015 by stephanie

Namaste

Cleansing Breath…

I was driving down the road when she called. Having blue tooth in the car is a blessing, and I touched the “answer” button in anticipation of what was coming next. She’s always so bubbly and energetic, her conversations fill my emotional and mental “tank” if you will, so they are always a welcome treat.

“Ok, I know I shouldn’t complain…this is such a 1st world problem….” I had to laugh…but those words struck me. She was so balanced. So aware that the things that most likely bother us on a daily basis might be mundane and inane. If you think about it…when people are being beheaded and tortured by modern-day, 3rd-world barbarians just a few thousand miles away? I think you know where I’m going with this…

But alas, this was “her world” and she was living it and needed to vent. I have to admit, it was still a bit delightful in how she did it. I have much to learn from her.

In all honesty, there are days when I simply need an image of the holocuast to flash by a screen…and it’s enough to remind me, “Now, what was I just upset or thinking about?” Those moments of reality jar me out of my minutia and cause the dust to settle once again around me.

If I am truthful, I have so little to complain about it. Do I have a roof over my head? Yes. Do I have a food? Yes? Do I have clothes? Yes. (Oh, my, word…you should see my closets…but back to topic…) It reminds me of the verse

If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.

1 Tim. 6:8

Think about it. Some people right now, somewhere, just want shelter, a clean bed and a hot meal. That slaps me with some quick perspective.

Now, do I mean to verbally beat up those of us living in a 1st world country? Nope, but it does help to adjust the panic or frustration of the moment. Sometimes, I just have to stop and say, “Cleansing breath…namaste.” It does, if even for a moment put a smile on my face.

Whatever is frustrating you today, I hope that this little blurb gave you a mental “breath” or “vacation” to just stop and think. It’s bad, yes. What you’re feeling is valid and yucky. But, maybe it’s survivable? I don’t know. It’s worth a shot.

🙂

Just my thoughts.

S.

It’s Valentine’s Day Week. Make it work for YOU.

February 10th, 2014 by stephanie

I had the opportunity to write an article for the February issue of Mature Living magazine. It’s called The New Dating Game. I’m sure many of you have noticed lately the ads on TV that promote dating sites for people over 50?

005075227Dating later in life is quite common and happening more than people realize these days. As with the Olympics that kicked off this week, with Valentine’s on our door steps, we might rightly say, “Let the games begin!” The season of romance is upon us.  It’s Valentine’s Day…week.

So, Happy Valentines Day…almost. How will you be approaching this holiday of the heart in the coming days?

MEN:
If there is a special lady in your life, may I suggest that you have something planned. Even if it’s a very low budget situation for you. If you can’t do the 5-Star restaurant this year, don’t worry. A nice cozy, inexpensive place will do to make your gal feel special. Women love to be taken to dinner. Just make sure it’s an environment where you can “chat”. Ask about her week, her life, her family.  And try to touch on subjects that your “girl” would like to talk about. Or, talk with her what you did this week. Yes. What you did. She likes to know. And flowers? Even some of the grocery stores have some amazing, inexpensive bouquets. Whatever the case, do try to give her some posies.

LADIES:
I know this may be a tough one, however, try to be understanding and try not to be too demanding and expect too much. 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 be creative in his way and do as best he can and then have the grace to praise him for it.

ARE YOU SINGLE THIS WEEK?
No movie alone at home and a gallon of ice cream for you. Nope. You may feel that the cards are against you, but the odd statistics you may not know? Many of those in a relationship, their expectations will not be met and they will be disappointed. And, well, things just happen.

But for you dear savvy, single friend, this is your night to enjoy, and appreciate, those in your life that truly are there for you when the chips are down. Speaking of chips, grab a few of your favorite bags, some salsa perhaps or dip, and a couple of movies you’ve been wanting to see. Now, call those extra special friends over for some good ‘ol “friend” time.
Perhaps hitting that favorite hole-in-the-wall Mexican place with your favorite pals is the perfect solution.

Whatever the case this year, here are my highly overrated tips for you:
1. Make plans now. They don’t have to be grand. Just make them.
2. Pick your absolute favorite person or pals.
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 Friday.
🙂

Just my thoughts.
S.

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Is There a Bully in Your Life?

May 29th, 2013 by stephanie

As we watched the TV show together while munching on pita chips and hummus, my friend and I kept hearing this one character on the show complaining about the fact she was continually being “bullied”.
Ok, I thought to myself. How do you handle a bully?

To be honest, I was recalling a particular person I knew that in truth is a bully-type of person. During one particular evening, I was a bit forward and held my ground when this particular person came at me with intent to harm. In my opinion, I think they were surprised by my firm response. And I hope I sent a clear message. One that said: You don’t need to be rude and you need to check your facts before you bite! Those two things seem to be a common thread with a bully. 1) They love to intimidate and get in your face, and 2) They rarely search for, let alone get, the facts straight. They just like to punch!

There’s a great true story from New York City that might help you deal with the current bully in your life.

Back in the 1970s, crime had gotten so out of hand in The Big Apple, that people actually began posting “No Radio” signs on their dashboards to deter thieves from breaking car windows and stealing them. Mayor Rudy Giuliani and his Commissioner finally decided one day that they’d had enough. That’s when they discovered the “Broken Windows” theory.

The Broken Windows Theory simply states that if a building has a broken window, that doesn’t get fixed, the message is sent that no one cares. Vandals don’t see any consequences, so they continue to destroy.

However, once the broken window is fixed, it sends a clear message that someone does care and that people are watching. And that deters crime. Using the Broken Windows theory, Giuliani and Bratton transformed NYC by treating minor crimes (vandalism, prostitution, and loitering) like broken windows. Instead of tolerating these issues they instituted a “zero tolerance” policy towards them. As criminals caught on, crime lessened. Citizens and tourists felt safer walking the streets and taking the subway and in turn took more responsibility for their own neighborhoods by getting involved.

So, the moral of the story is, let the bully know that they do not have the authority or the permission to mess with your part of the world or change your way of life. That’s the power they want and they’re determined to get it. If you and I sit back, and let the weeds grow, the vandals of our lives will continue to come. But if we stand up, take action and keep order, then… our part of the world can become a much better and safer place.

Just my thoughts. And, a bit from Proverbs too.
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.

Confucius say….

March 1st, 2013 by stephanie

There’s an old Chinese proverb that I just love. It goes like this: Care about people’s approval and you will be their prisoner. (Tao Te Ching).

Stop and think about that. I imagine we’d be pretty shocked if we realized just how much of our day or week might be spent in trying to please or impress some one or some thing. Or, to discover that perhaps our time, energy, and resources might be going into or being invested in people, organizations, or things that possibly won’t matter (or even be there!) down the road.

A friend and I were chatting about this, and she quickly put it into perspective for me. When a problem arises in her life or, when something doesn’t sit quite right, she stops and asks this question: “Will I still be attached to this situation, or know this person 5 years from now. And if not, will it matter?”

What a great way to step back and evaluate when we feel a bit out of control or confused. Basically, in five years, will that organization, or person, that situation, or job be in your life? And if not, will it matter?”

You have to be very careful with this one, but if you handle it with some sensitive realism 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, or someone, ask yourself the “5-year” question. It might bring some much needed and immediate perspective, strategy or relief.

Just my thoughts,

S.
Is. 40:7 ¶ The grass withers and the flowers fall,
because the breath of the LORD blows on them.
Surely the people are grass.
Is. 40:8 ¶ The grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of our God stands forever.”
1Pet. 1:24 For, ¶ “All men are like grass,
and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall,

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?

Lofty Aspirations.

September 25th, 2012 by stephanie

“…loving kindness, good humor and self-awareness…These are the things to which we aspire in all areas of our lives”.
Such were the words our yoga instructor chose to close out our class that morning.
As I attempted to release my ankle from my thigh, rotate my shoulders back to their normal position and successfully re-locate my feet I began to work toward re-entry into the real world. Those final words really struck a chord with me though and rang heavy in my ears as I gathered and packed up my gear.

“Hmmm.” I muttered to myself while exiting the torture chamber, (er, studio). What a concept those few words posed. As I trapsed past the water dispenser I could imagine the various scenarios that take place, and how differently they might play out if that simple phrase became action.
For example, when that annoying individual enters our personal space, instead of looking up with that “make it good and make it fast” glance that we are prone to shoot, what if we truly stopped and thought loving kindness, good humor and self-awareness as they crossed the threshhold into our domain? The outcome of that momentary connection could be radically different to be sure.

Passing the treadmills and heading towards the door, I was embarrassed as I thought back on the many times I have showed my annoyance or arrogance in certain situations. How difficult would it truly have been in those moments, no matter how tired, irritated or whatever I was, to simply have mustered up a light smile, offered a heart-felt laugh or realized how I was coming across during that interaction. Why? Because that is what they will remember most about our time together.

If truth be told, we do tend to think a bit higher of ourselves than we ought on most days. It’s not something I like to admit. But it’s true none the less. It then struck me that the self-awareness part of the mantra is what wraps up the entire little phrase.
Maybe that being self-aware part should be placed at the beginning of our day everyday, to get our attention, I mused. If we started there, think of how differently our day could go. Or, if it’s not too late, still can go for you or me. It’s definitely something to aspire to? Namaste. 🙂

Just my thoughts.

S.

Silence is Golden

August 13th, 2012 by stephanie

I was watching a new campaign ad that had just been released. As the images faded in and out, I realized there was only music…no words. The only message was the one that was written on the screen matching each image. It was pretty powerful.

I am often amazed at the power of silence. A power I truly wish I personally fully understood and harnessed. But alas, my words usually find their way across my lips and into the world as we know it.

Do you ever notice that when someone sits silent, there’s a tendency to think they might just know something we don’t know? It’s like they are holding some grand secret that will be disclosed only at the proper place and time. And we await the resolve with baited breath.

Then, there is also the person who, whatever comes into their mind generally exits their mouth. Those folks don’t always realize it, but many times, the expression of their thoughts is simply dismissed by their hearers.

How many times have I heard that little voice deep in my own heart warn me, “Keep it to yourself.” But, alas, my pride or whatever it is at the moment gets the best of me.

It you are just dying to say something today, but that warning system seems to quietly be beeping deep down inside, might I suggest, “Save it.” For a better time. A better place.

There’s an ancient proverb, or two, that backs up that tidbit of advice for today. See what you think:
Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise; when he closes his lips he is considered prudent. Proverbs 17:28

I like this one as well:
A time to tear apart and a time to sew together; a time to be silent and a time to speak. Ecclesiastes 3:7

Just my thoughts, well, and again, my words…
S.

Know Anyone That’s Single?

November 3rd, 2011 by stephanie

So… an online magazine in Canada was kind enough to do the nicest review of my book…

If you hadn’t heard by now, yes, I wrote a book. And I wrote it to give the Single Person a smile, a laugh and a pat on the back. It’s a fun read, or so…I am often told. 🙂

As we enter the holiday season, this a great, considerate, encouraging gift for that single person in your life or that friend who is struggling with the Single Season they are finding themselves in. Maybe it’s you.

Whatever the case, the book touches on most every area of life. From how to make a new group of friends and keep them, to dealing with family over the holidays. Pets that are our “kids”, caring for the elderly while “alone”…and it that’s not enough, I’ve included an entire section on YOU and your goals and dreams. I have some little tests or worksheet type things that make you take a real look at where you, where you’d like to be and where you should be going.

I hope you will share this book with a friend, even if you only read it for yourself. It’s a FAST, fun read. I promise.

You have some options:

Paperback at Amazon

KINDLE VERSION

NOOK VERSION

And here’s the kind Canadian review. Be sure you find it on page 32 if you get lost in linkville…

Thanks again to so many of you for your amazing support of this project. Appreciate you!
Hugs,
S.
Faith Filled Familly Review:
http://issuu.com/michelledanko/docs/fall_2011anniv/32#print

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