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Special Forces: Old School Style

September 25th, 2017 by stephanie

Special Forces 5th Group

Special Forces, 5th Group

I have had the privilege recently to become friends with some precious families. Mostly the gals, and, of course—the adorable kiddos. The husbands’ day job? Well, you know how it goes…”I’d tell ya’, but I’d have to kill ya,'” kinda thing. Sounds dramatic, but as I get to know these women, it’s dead serious. You keep your mouth shut about those things.

It’s been an honor to be a part of their semi-inner sanctum. For them to invite a “civi” (civilian) like me to even “come to the table,” if you will, means more to me than they can know. You have to understand, I can’t even get through the song when Lee Greenwood sings I’m Proud to Be An American and I cry at the Star Spangled Banner as well.

Ironically, the first Titans game that I had the pleasure of attending this year featured the very group of this band of brothers as the team that rolled out the huge American flag on the field during the National Anthem portion of the game. (A tradition in our country that is quite in the news and under fire of late due to NFL players “taking a knee” during that special tribute time.)

Ladies of Leisure? Ummmmm, no.

But back to the women. These gals say goodbye to their husbands, and many times have no clue where he will land. Today, they can text and communicate while they are at opposite ends of the world, but still, when you are left for months with small children, a house to maintain, the bills, two pit bulls, a ferret, and a snake (all named after famous Americans by the way—you can’t make this stuff up—so SF!) …it’s just as tough a job as that of the boys who are managing somewhere in an undisclosed location.

One of my sweet friends, whose husband is stateside long enough to leave her with child each time before he deploys, recently miscarried. He was not able to be there with her through this part of life’s journey. Life goes on. Tough.

These guys and their “occupation” aren’t actually new. The equipment and technology may be, but the elite warriors have been around for centuries. Many folks may not know that the Bible actually records one amazingly spectacular special forces team of its own. In case you missed it, David’s mighty men (known simply as The 30) were more than 007 for their time, and they were notorious enough to make the Holy Scriptures. And, as we all well know—that is some pretty prime real estate.

So, I leave you today with a few thoughts:

  • You will certainly want to check out the amazing story of these valiant warriors.  Find it here in two different books: Here and Here.
  • Their women didn’t get mentioned. Well, except for the fact that one of the men was Uriah. Yes. THAT Uriah. And, well, we all know what happened to him and to his wife. (I can assure you, these ladies and their men that I know are fiercely loyal and have what I think are fantastic marriages. At least, the ones I have met.)
  • Say a prayer today for those men, and their families, if you will. They would never ask for you to do so, but I can assure you, they would privately be more than grateful. As you can imagine.

Just my thoughts on this early fall day.

Best!

Stephanie

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Moments that make you wonder…

April 2nd, 2017 by stephanie

I’d never heard of the university. It had an odd name, and I thought the request for my client to speak there was something that would fade away. An interesting gentleman who kept calling and emailing our offices, however, had other plans. He persisted, worked his contacts, and in time, the date was scheduled and our flights were booked.

That week, Gonzaga University would make the cut for the playoffs in the Final Four. As I packed my luggage for our trip the next morning, I was able to watch the very game that the Zags would not only win, but that would send them to Phoenix. It was exciting.

This was all happening during March Madness. And it was historic. Since opening their doors in 1887, Gonzaga U had never had a national championship. It was a miraculous time for them, to say the least.

Once on their campus, I enjoyed absorbing the environment that had produced this stellar team and student body.”Why would I have the privilege of being a part of this amazing week for them?”  And too…”What is God doing or thinking when moments like these, so serendipitous, occur?” I knew I would jot down my thoughts as soon as my schedule calmed down.

Upon returning home, I was able to watch them win again. This game now sending them into the Final Two. As we had received some lovely “swag” from the university upon our arrival, I could now cheer them on in style.

Earlier that morning, the lawn service had come to the house. I had randomly googled, then called, a company the day I returned home from my trip. They said they could come on Saturday as they would actually be in my area. Imagine my surprise when after finishing my yard, they also mowed the house two doors down to my right, and then another house two doors down to my left before heading off to their next rounds. Ironic? Serendipity again? I think not.

I am truly amazed at those moments where God intervenes quietly, and I have no idea how or why. But I just know that He did “it” or handled something for me. Not because I was a good girl that week, but simply because He chose to show His power—and I may never know the answer as to the “why?”

One thing I do know, it’s an opportunity to be reminded of how big He is, how indiscernible He is, and to simply offer gratitude and thanks.

If you experience a “God” moment this week similar to what I have described above, why not write it down? Make note of it. And if you can, continue to make note of those moments in the coming days. I have a lovely journal that I simply jot a line in when those moments occur.  I try to write down at least one or two each morning. I list those things that I know only God could have orchestrated. And to simply give thanks. It’s a wonderful way to start the day. Just so you know, I call it my Book of Gratitude. I hope you will consider starting one of your own. Even if it’s a google doc on your cell phone. 🙂

Just my thoughts.

S.

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It’s Just Not Right!

March 19th, 2017 by stephanie

We were simply working through the preparation stage of the editorial process with an author when we learned some very unexpected news. Apparently one of the catalysts for the book we were reviewing came from a disturbing situation. The author had learned that for 8 of the 10 years they had been married, their spouse had been cheating on them.

Other than expressing the usual, “Oh, I am so sorry…” we just didn’t know what to say.

It’s just not right. It’s a statement that you and I probably say out loud at least once a week. But I have to admit, I say it more these days then I did when I was young. It seems the world has gone plumb crazy.

That same week as a friend and I squeezed into a tiny table at a small Italian eatery, she poured out her heart. I was saddened to hear her latest business connection, whom she had known for only a week, had offered to take her to Paris as recompense for not returning her call in due time. He was so sorry, and this was his attempt to make things right. Bizarre. Presumptive. No words.

With that, I had to remind myself that this would-be-new-phenomenom of “odd behavior” is simply just not that—new! Things haven’t been “right” for quite some time.

Take this story for instance: imagine being anointed king of a country, while the current one is sitting on his throne just a few miles away. That’s what happened to David centuries ago. Just a shepherd boy at the time. You know he had to wonder…

Then, to turn around and learn that after he had lived in the palace, at the king’s invitation, had been good to the king’s son, and had served both well, the king wanted him dead—and made orders to that effect.

It just wasn’t right.

But that’s what happened.

First of all, the sitting king must have said when he found out, “Why would God do that to me? It’s just not right. I am the King!”

The young boy would say, “Why does the king want to kill me when I have been nothing but kind and obedient? And let’s be clear, I didn’t ask for this. It’s just not fair.”

But the truth is…everyday life is like that. And for some reason, when things go wrong, we act as if we have been stunned by the event. We feel as if things should just, well, be “fair” in life. That things should be “right.” People should behave. And you know, they can and they should. Sadly, they don’t.

Human nature and life events tend to collide. We can’t explain it, and we can’t control it. We simply have to buckle up and ride it out.

It reminds me of a time, years ago. I was driving around town with my grandmother who had come for a visit. It was very dark at one particular place where we were. The lighting was very poor. When I turned out of the parking lot into what I thought was the lane, we learned suddenly it was a huge ditch. My amazing  grandmother reached over, grabbed onto me, and commanded, “Ride it out, honey! Just ride it out.” We did. We survived. And, thankfully, so did the car! To this day, I don’t know how we got out of that ditch in the pitch black. That was truly a ride of a lifetime, and one I hope to never repeat.

You can’t control life. Even if you want to. And we certainly can’t understand what God sees or what he is doing when we are in the dark and life hits us squarely in the face.

God reminds us in His Word:

Isaiah 55:8-9New Living Translation (NLT)
 “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
“And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways
and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”

Now let me be clear. I am not saying in the least that we sit down and let wrong persist. We should fight for what is right. When it is, however, in our power to do so. You may be familiar with the phrase, “Evil persists when good men do nothing.”

What I am talking about here, is, when things that you can not control happen, and just do not seem fair, when you wonder if justice will ever be served…fighting and fretting those moments…is not the answer. I would suggest prayer is the best prescription at that point. Ask for wisdom. Ask for protection. Ask for direction. And hold on for the ride.

I promise, you’ll come out on the other side. You are going to be OK. This too shall pass…just.hold.on.

—Just my thoughts,

S.

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Southern Snow

March 12th, 2017 by stephanie

As Bosco and I made our way to the kitchen for our morning ritual, I flipped the switch on the coffee pot and reached for the dog bowl in order to prepare his breakfast.

When I opened the cabinet to extract my coffee cup and looked out the window, it started. There it came…snow…in March. Big, fluffy, lovely snowflakes fell to the ground and began covering my deck and yard. It was just as my neighbor had predicted the night before.

As I stepped outside to take it all in, the birds began chirping at me as if to say, “Hey, lady, you’re going to need to feed us today. It’s snowing, you know.”

When you think of the South, the first thing that comes to mind is definitely not snow. It does, however, grace us, but not enough for the state to warrant purchasing, maintaining, and storing a fleet of equipment to manage the roads and more. With that, snow in the south is taken very seriously. At least, here in the Nashville area. One inch has been known to shut down certain areas of the city.

But snow in Spring is just not known to happen. So when it fell on the blooming tree outside my window, I decided to light the candles, grab my laptop, and settle in for a lovely, what we call here, “snow day.” Bosco seemed to agree with the idea.

And then, as quickly as it came—it left. By 2pm it had melted and the dreamy, grayish morning had morphed into a sunny afternoon.

It reminded me that life events are like that. Some good. Some not so good. “Things happen,” is a common saying these days. When they do, we can either shut down, get upset, or simply settle in and ride it out. The sun will eventually come out. It’s just a matter of time.

I experienced that exact situation on my snowy morning. The day I had planned was hijacked by a “moment.” I fretted and strained, only to realize later that afternoon it was working towards resolution due to the graciousness of a third party. Just like the snow that was melting on my deck, the problem at hand was slowly disappearing as well.

I wish I didn’t let “life” get to me like it does. I am old enough now that I should know better. However, human as I am, I find myself still working on the “basics.”

If you are stressing over something today, I hope this passage will encourage you.

By the way, I didn’t feed the birds. They’re out there now in full force, and they seem to be doing just fine.

Selah.

—Just my thoughts.

S.

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Delays and Disruptions: Divine Appointments/Hidden Blessings?

February 26th, 2017 by stephanie

Heading over to the gun range, I was a bit excited, and apprehensive, at the same time. Having not practiced for what seems to be about a year, I knew my familiarity with my Bersa 380 and my skills were both quite rusty. But my basket was packed and was holding my pink eyewear, my gun case, and my rolled up targets. I at least looked like I belonged. I think. Somewhat. I imagine the pros could spot me a mile away and were thinking to themselves, warning: rookie on deck. 

It was a new location to me. However, when I saw the lounge, the free coffee, the cold beverages and the big leather chairs, I knew I’d come to the right place. I headed to the counter to reserve my range, settled in for the safety video, signed the online waiver, and then waited.

Once all of the above were completed, I realized the clock was ticking and I’d better head over to select my ammo. After a nice chat with the man at the counter, I headed back to the lounge. And waited some more. I took that opportunity to watch some YouTube videos on my particular gun piece, some loading tips, and then realized…I have been here an hour and a half. What’s up?

With that, I headed back to the reservation area. “You can remove my name from the waiting list,” I stated. The not-so-eager or helpful assistant asked my name a couple of times and seemed to be annoyed. It was then he realized in his system how long I’d been there. “Oh,” he suddenly offered, “I can get you in now.”

Really? Why now? I mused.

“No thanks. I need to go,” I replied rather flatly.

With that I turned to head to the ammo area to return my would be purchase. That’s when he stopped me and said, “Wait!” He was scrambling for something and was offering it to me. “Here’s a free range hour on us.”

I paused, then received the small card. “Ok, thanks.” I then left. I was not a happy camper.

That’s when it hit me.

Why are you upset? Sure, you waited. But you just got a free trip to the range! That’s cool You may have spent your time today in a way you hadn’t planned, but you got quite a bit accomplished during your visit. (The ability to work remotely on our phones these days can be a blessing for moments such as these.)

The steam began to cool and my shoulders lowered as I drove away talking myself into a namaste calm.

That’s when the point was driven home.

Why do we get upset when delays or disruptions happen? It doesn’t solve the problem at hand. And, too, showing our emotions can, and often does, ruin the moment. Or the relationship.

I was reminded of a story where a couple that were moving a mattress were in the elevator heading down to the street when it stopped. They were delayed over an hour waiting for help to come. When they finally got outside, they looked up only to see a 3-year old playing on a balcony above them. They tried to talk the toddler inside, but the autistic child could not understand their words. He came tumbling down—right after they’d hurriedly moved the mattress under his playing area, only to catch him—just in time.

Now, if they’d fumed, and demanded their way, or been ugly, imagine how silly they would have felt only to realize, that exact delay was what turned into an opportunity to save a child’s life.

Coincidence? I think not.

The point?

Maybe delays and disruptions aren’t something to look at as negative or so awful. Maybe we need to just ride them out and look forward to something good to happen on the other side.

For me, staying calm, at least on the outside that day, landed me a free trip back to the range. If I’d thrown a fit, that may not have happened. And truth be told, I needed time to check out the new facility, learn the ropes there, and get reacquainted with my neglected firearm anyway.

For that couple who were moving, they unexpectedly kept a family from tragedy.

I hope this thought will carry into this week with you. If you have a divine delay or disruption, I’d love to hear about it.

Email it to: info@stephaniehuffman.org

—Just my thoughts.

S.

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“I Could Squish You Like a Bug!”

December 4th, 2014 by stephanie

Bosco on Paver Patio

Bosco

Just obey me.

I joke that my new puppy thinks his name is “Bosco, ‘No’.” For the first five weeks in my house, that’s about the only words he heard.  Those, and of course the other ones that I utter each time he defiantly disobeys me. I lean over him, look into those adorable eyes, and while trying to get my message across (without laughing) blurt out,  “I could squish you like a bug!” Doesn’t he know I could wipe him off the face of this planet in one swoop?

Why not just obey me and avoid any repercussions let alone the consequences? At times, I get so frustrated. If I could only speak doggie and get through to him…But alas, I can’t.

We’re turning a corner of late. I’m finally able to have some cuddle time where he doesn’t bite and gnaw on me 24/7. I’m actually experiencing moments of peace (when I’m not chasing him down the hall with yet another shoe). In those new quiet minutes, I have begun to think, I sure hope God looks at me that way—when I am being nothing short of a brat. I hope He says, “But she’s so dadgum sweet and cute.”

I wonder if He’s able to adore me when I continue to miss the point, or when I snap back at Him each time I don’t get my way? Does He still look at me lovingly when I do the same things, over and over again? Does He get exasperated having to repeatedly remind me, “Stop it. Don’t do that!”

Though He could truly “squish me like a bug” (and in one breath blow me into eternity)…I hope in those moments He looks at me the way I look at my new puppy.

When I look at Bosco, I see a sweet, innocent creature, that just doesn’t quite yet get it. He tries—he really does. I can see it in his eyes. He simply can’t help himself. He wants to be good, but that intense puppy instinct overrides my rules and reprimands that ask him to go against his nature and adjust. And alas, he does the exact opposite of what I ask or want.

Being good isn’t easy. Obeying when we just don’t understand why we should (or when it doesn’t make sense to us) is tough. But like Bosco, we don’t speak God’s language. And too, we really don’t know much about this immense and complex world out there that we live in—and we never fully will. That’s why God asks us to not question—just simply obey.

I’m grateful to know The Lord understands that I just don’t get it. But I try…I really do. Maybe someday I will grow up, and behave, and just rest peacefully on the porch of life and not fight for my own way all the time. Wishful thinking. Who knows. We’ll see.

Just my thoughts,

S.

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Deuteronomy 30:15-16New Living Translation (NLT)

15 “Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster. 16 For I command you this day to love the Lord your God and to keep his commands, decrees, and regulations by walking in his ways. If you do this, you will live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you and the land you are about to enter and occupy.

 

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