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Are You Feeling Civil? Here’s #80-89!

October 13th, 2010 by stephanie

Our Rules of Civility and Behavior challenge continues. If you aren’t familiar with what we’ve been up to, be sure to check out all the other posts like this! Here’s our next round. You know the drill. Pick one virtue listed below and work on it this week!

80th Be not Tedious in Discourse or in reading unless you find the Company pleased therewith.
81st Be not Curious to Know the Affairs of Others neither approach those that Speak in Private.
82nd Undertake not what you cannot Perform but be Careful to keep your Promise.
83rd When you deliver a matter do it without Passion & with Discretion, however mean the Person be you do it too.
84th When your Superiors talk to any Body hearken not neither Speak nor Laugh.
85th In Company of these of Higher Quality than yourself Speak not til you are asked a Question then Stand upright put of your Hat & Answer in few words.
86th In Disputes, be not So Desirous to Overcome as not to give Liberty to each one to deliver his Opinion and Submit to the Judgment of the Major Part especially if they are Judges of the Dispute.
87th Let thy carriage be such as becomes a Man Grave Settled and attentive to that which is spoken. Contradict not at every turn what others Say.
88th Be not tedious in Discourse, make not many Digressions, nor repeat often the Same manner of Discourse.
89th Speak not Evil of the absent for it is unjust.

Remember: If our 1st President could do these, you can definitely do one a week. Go get ’em.


Geo. Washington’s Rules of Civility: 11-20

August 15th, 2010 by stephanie

Our series continues. For today…here are rules 11-20.  Which one will you work on this week? 🙂

11th Shift not yourself in the Sight of others nor Gnaw your nails.

12th Shake not the head, Feet, or Legs rowl not the Eys lift not one eyebrow higher than the other wry not the mouth, and bedew no mans face with your Spittle, by approaching too near him when you Speak.

Painting detail, "Highlife Below Stairs" 1763, by John Collet, CWF acc. no. G1991-17513th Kill no Vermin as Fleas, lice ticks &c in the Sight of Others, if you See any filth or thick Spittle put your foot Dexteriously upon it if it be upon the Cloths of your Companions, Put it off privately, and if it be upon your own Cloths return Thanks to him who puts it off.

14th Turn not your Back to others especially in Speaking, Jog not the Table or Desk on which Another reads or writes, lean not upon any one.

15th Keep your Nails clean and Short, also your Hands and Teeth Clean yet without Shewing any great Concern for them.

16th Do not Puff up the Cheeks, Loll not out the tongue rub the Hands, or beard, thrust out the lips, or bite them or keep the Lips too open or too Close.

17th Be no Flatterer, neither Play with any that delights not to be Play’d Withal.

18th Read no Letters, Books, or Papers in Company but when there is a Necessity for the doing of it you must ask leave: come not near the Books or Writings of Another so as to read them unless desired or give your opinion of them unask’d also look not nigh when another is writing a Letter.

Print of a lady as "July," CWF acc. no. 1988-291,719th let your Countenance be pleasant but in Serious Matters Somewhat grave.

20th The Gestures of the Body must be Suited to the discourse you are upon.

Ok. So, Just How Civil Are You?

August 12th, 2010 by stephanie

It was the cutest, thin, red book. I loved it. But I can’t find it anywhere. Doesn’t that just get you when that happens. This little gem was something truly valued. Yet, now, nowhere to be found. And just what was that special gem you ask? It was my very own personal copy of what has become known as Washington’s 110 Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation.

Now, granted, he didn’t invent these. But how many 16 years-olds do you know that actually take the time to copy by hand this type of information, carry it around, and practice the advice? Sadly, I doubt there are many.

Some of you may have forgotten that these rules were actually composed by French Jesuits in 1595. And others of you may be witnessing them for the very first time. With that, let’s begin our next venture: to take a gander at all of them over the next few weeks. Here’s your first grouping. See if you can’t work on one, or two, or…
The Rules:
1st Every Action done in Company, ought to be with Some Sign of Respect, to those that are Present. [Treat everyone with respect.]

2nd When in Company, put not your Hands to any Part of the Body, not usually Discovered.
[Be considerate of others. Do not embarrass others.]

3rd Show Nothing to your Friend that may affright him.

4th In the Presence of Others Sing not to yourself with a humming Noise, nor Drum with your Fingers or Feet.

5th If You Cough, Sneeze, Sigh, or Yawn, do it not Loud but Privately; and Speak not in your Yawning, but put Your handkerchief or Hand before your face and turn aside.

6th Sleep not when others Speak, Sit not when others stand, Speak not when you Should hold your Peace, walk not on when others Stop.

7th Put not off your Cloths in the presence of Others, nor go out your Chamber half Dressed.

8th At Play and at Fire its Good manners to Give Place to the last Commer, and affect not to Speak Louder than Ordinary.

9th Spit not in the Fire, nor Stoop low before it neither Put your Hands into the Flames to warm them, nor Set your Feet upon the Fire especially if there be meat before it.

10th When you Sit down, Keep your Feet firm and Even, without putting one on the other or Crossing them.

Come back soon. Our series continues! And who knows, we all might be a bit more civil by the time we’ve finished!
Just my thoughts.

Icebreakers. Part II.

July 29th, 2010 by stephanie

So, here we are. And I am back with PART II of this week’s ICEBREAKER series. Hope you enjoyed our first installment. (Scroll down below.) Here is round 2 just for you.

11. I don’t make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.– Will Rogers

12. If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it’s free!– P.J. O’Rourke

13. In general, the art of government consists of taking as much money as possible from one party of the citizens to give to the other.– Voltaire (1764)

14. Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you! – Pericles (430 B.C.)

15. No man’s life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session. – Mark Twain (1866)

16. Talk is cheap…except when Congress does it. – Anonymous

17. The government is like a baby’s alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no responsibility at the other. – Ronald Reagan

18. The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the blessings. The inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing of misery. – Winston Churchill

19. The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin. – Mark Twain

20. There is no distinctly native American criminal class…save Congress. – Mark Twain

Just their thoughts…yours?

Icebreakers for Your Week.

July 26th, 2010 by stephanie

We can all use a little levity from time to time. And, if not that, some fresh perspective now and then never hurts. Do you have any meetings scheduled this week? Gatherings perhaps? Socials? If so, here is Part One of a two-part blog that I wanted to share with you.

When you walk into that board room, perhaps you just need a little something to ease the tension. Why not try one of these out for size? Or, perhaps you have a family gathering coming up and will find a moment where you feel the need to enhance, or even change, the subject?. Maybe one or two of the below can assist. Enjoy!

1. In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm and three or more is a congress. – John Adams

2. If you don’t read the newspaper you are uninformed, if you do read the newspaper you are misinformed. – Mark Twain

3. Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But then I repeat myself. – Mark Twain

4. I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle. – Winston Churchill

5. A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul. – George Bernard Shaw

6. Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner. – James Bovard, Civil Libertarian (1994)

7. Foreign aid might be defined as a transfer of money from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries. – Douglas Casey, Classmate of Bill Clinton at Georgetown University

8. Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys. – P.J. O’Rourke, Civil Libertarian

9. Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else. – Frederic Bastiat, French Economist (1801-1850)

10. Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it. – Ronald Reagan (1986)

Just their thoughts. Yours?

Those Rolls with the Cross that were Outlawed.

March 22nd, 2010 by stephanie

It was a gloomy, misty morning. A perfect setting  for a Good Friday, if you were to ask me. And I was hot on the trail for the best Hot Cross Buns I could find. Out of the house and into the car with The Judge (my faithful pup), we headed out to find the most delectible assortment available.

After a morning of  trekking, purchasing, and sampling, I came to the conclusion that Panera Bread’s assorments won hands down. I will be there again this year, you can be sure! In case you didn’t know, you can only find these tasty treats at Easter. And I readily await their arrival.

I was surprised to learn they are quite a long standing tradition. As a matter of fact, a first sighting was about 40 years after Christ’s death. The discovery was in Italy!

When archaeolgists excavated the ancient city of Herculaneum in Southwest Italy (which had been buried under volcanic ask and lava since 79 A.D.), they found two small loaves, each with a cross on it, among the ruins.

Hop across the pond, as they say, and these day, over in England,  Hot Cross Buns are served at breakfast on Good Friday morning. They are small, spiced buns whose brown sugary surface is marked with a white icing cross. Old English tradition believed that hanging a Hot Cross Bun in the house on Good Friday prevented bad luck in the coming year. According to superstition, crossed buns and loaves baked on Good Friday also never went moldy.

For a long time bakers, by law, were only allowed to bake and sell the buns at burials, on Good Friday, or at Christmas. There was actually a decree issued in 1592 (during  Queen Elizabeth I) showing that exact ruling!

It’s hard for those of us in today’s Western cultures to believe, or imagine, that religion and faith used to be so much a part of people’s everyday lives. Especially that it resulted in a legal mandate.  But it’s true. Rules were actually created that  protected the stature and remembrance of that simple little bun & its meaning. To the extent of baked good sales, no less! Talk about government intervention.

With that, you might want to build the locating, and eating, of Hot Cross Buns into your upcoming Easter shedule and  festivities. If anything, to revive the tradition in your home, to spread the good news or to simply start that unique conversation.

Just my thoughts.


Extra thot for today: That Christ be remembered, no matter how creative the method or means, is always a good thing.

Pancake Day & Lent. It’s Feast or Famine for this Calendar.

January 28th, 2010 by stephanie

Are you one of the few people who know that there really is a Pancake Day? Maybe too, you’re one of those that is looking forward to eating that King Cake in a few weeks. Meanwhile, others of you are worrying about what you’ll give up for Lent this spring.

But to the rest of us, that aren’t up to date on what has been known for centuries as the Liturgical Calendar, those last few lines might produce a “That’s Greek to me!” kind of comment. And rightly so.

If you aren’t familiar with, or don’t frequent a high church setting, unless you get the scoop from a friend or informed source, it’s a foreign topic all around.

But for some folks, those festive days and traditions are “dead serious’. Allow me to divulge.

Believe it or not, The Church (mostly Catholic in nature) has it’s very own calendar. Days, even weeks, feasts and more are carefully organized, spelled out and planned. They even come with their own COLOR that determines how to decorate during their “time.”

Here’s a sampling.

Did you know that Advent begins 4 Sundays before Christmas?

Or, that Christmastide (and the 12 Days of Christmas) actually begins on December 25?

How about the celebration of Epiphany on January 6 (a tip for some to take their decorations down) which celebrates the Wise Men’s visit to the Baby Jesus and kicks off the feast of Jesus’ Baptism.

So what does that all have to do with Pancakes, King Cakes and giving up something for Lent?

Mardi Gras ring a bell anyone?

Yep. That’s right. Here’s some future party conversation for you:

Shrove Tuesday/Fat Tuesday- MARDI GRAS:

Also known as Pancake Day, this is the last chance to party hearty before the Season of Fasting (Lent) which begins on the next day – Ash Wednesday.


The Season of Lent begins. Preparation for the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. It’s when people give up something, like chocolate or…

It all ends 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. 🙂

In the meantime, stick around. We’ll dish a bit about these feast and fast days and more in the weeks ahead. If anything, you’ll sure sound smart at that next meeting, dining experience or church service. Or, if you’re smart, you’ll find a way to ask for a “religious holiday” or two? Well, maybe not. If you’re Agnostic, it’d be tricky to pull off.


Just my thoughts,


What are You Celebrating this Christmas?

December 14th, 2009 by stephanie

“I don’t remember seeing commercials growing up where people gave each other cars for Christmas.” Such were the words I heard as I turned to see the bemused thirty-something commenting on how the holidays might be getting a bit out of hand. I had to admit, she had something there. It’s supposedly the season of giving and of joy, but how often we hear, or are even personally reminded about, how lonely and difficult the holidays can actually be.

If a loved one has passed away this year, their absence will be sorely felt at the holiday table. Some have experienced the loss of a relationship. Many have lost jobs. I personally know some folks that have had a difficult and painful 2009. “What’s there to celebrate?” they might rightfully ask. You know, good question. It depends on what they celebrate at Christmas. And why.

When I thought it over a bit, I realized that regardless of situations, the expectations of the season (whether real or imposed) not only seem to be upon us, they seem to build with each passing year. Once again, the questions are raised: what are we truly expecting in return this holiday, and, why are we really doing this?

How did we get from the story of a baby in a manger with angels and shepherds to fruit cakes, cookie and gift exchanges, travel plans, decorating, shopping, wrapping and more? When, too, did we come to feel that the season owes us happy memories, warm conversations and amazing gifts? If you ask me, isn’t that just a bit much to put on one simple day out of 365 every year? It’s something to consider.

What if we simply allowed Christmas to be little more, well, simple this year? Or, perhaps, what if we not only cut ourselves some slack, but our expectations as well. You know like, let Uncle Joe tell that corny joke, and expect Aunt Martha to make that inappropriate comment. Accept the fact that Bob and Linda may start an argument at the table right after you bow to give thanks. And if your sister does insist on bringing that one special dish she feels you all can’t live without, so be it. What if that person you were counting on doesn’t propose to you and produce the ring? What if that gift isn’t the right size, color or style? Or, what if you really don’t get much in the way of gifts this year at all? Will it truly be the end of the holiday spirit as we know it? Will it really spoil the entire day?

I guess it boils down to: what are you celebrating this season? And why? Is it a chance to get off work and hit that resort? Is it lights, and tinsel and Santa Claus? Is it carols and food and that notorious office party? Or is it, perhaps, something a bit more.

Only you know the answer to that question. Let’s take a moment to ponder it together this December, shall we? Maybe putting the Merry into Christmas needs to be something we take a fresh look at this time around. Who knows. Maybe I’ve watched It’s a Wonderful Life too many times over the years. Or, maybe, just maybe, we’re on to something here.

Wishing you even a little Merry this Christmas. Regardless of what has been, is, or what is to come.

Just my thoughts.


A Smile for Your Day.

June 3rd, 2009 by stephanie

There are some things, moments, or incidences in life that just give you that warm all over, happy, fuzzy feeling. When I came across this video clip, it was just one of those moments that I knew I had to share with you.

If only we went into our world and found a few more ways to do a little bit of this.





If you can’t click through, paste the above into your browser. Then turn up the volume, and wait for a very nice surprise.



Plan The Work and Work The Plan.

May 27th, 2009 by stephanie

I can’t recall the first time I heard that pithy saying, but I do know that it stuck with me.


As I took on the project of my back yard and the landscaping it so desperately needed, I was amazed at the man hours, the planning and the calculating that would be involved. With that, I decided that I might want to take the plan in phases.  How do you eat an elephant? (One bite at a time.) And off I went.


So you can imagine that these words from a devotional by Chuck Swindoll caught my attention. Pastor Chuck was talking about work. Finishing what needs to be accomplished.  And I like what he had to say about taking stock before you dive in. I thought I’d share it with you. Here are some questions he posed that you ask first:


  • What does the job require? 
  • What do you expect of me? 
  • What is the deadline? 
  • What are the techniques? 

Or, you can ask the “how”  questions:

  • How does it work? 
  • How long will it take? 
  • How much does it cost? 
  • How fast can it go? 
Whatever project or to-list you are working on this week, why not take a look at the above, then take another good look at what it is exactly that you need  or would like to accomplish. There has to be something, even if it’s cleaning up the kitchen!
Best to you!
Go get ’em.
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