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Decoration Day: AKA Memorial Day

May 28th, 2017 by stephanie

Did you know that Memorial Day used to be called Decoration Day?

My grandmother and my mother were the ones who taught me that piece of information when I was a little girl. But there’s a reason for that.

Memorial Day used to be a special time set aside for Americans to visit the cemeteries. While there, they would decorate the graves of those who had given their lives in service to this country.

The national holiday or remembrance also used to be celebrated only on May 30, and, as that is my date of birth, each year my grandmother or mother would remind me of the holiday and it’s meaning. Which of course I loved. They would always say,

“You were born on Traditional Memorial Day.”

In time, it was decided that Memorial Day would officially become the last Monday in May so that federal employees could have a nice 3-day holiday.

For you trivia buffs, here’s more.

I hope this weekend finds you remembering, grateful and feeling very proud of those who have served and those who currently serve this great land of ours. #GodBlessAmerica

and…PS: Did you know the President (POTUS) has called us to prayer locally at 11am today? Will you join me?

—Stephanie

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Timing, Training, & Trust

May 21st, 2017 by stephanie

The Lone Marine

Imagine being informed that you are the one chosen to walk a very long red carpet, fully flanked by sword-bearing soldiers of another nation, while protecting the First Couple. It’s a long walk, and if anything happens to the president and the first lady, both of whom you are now solely responsible for, well, it’s just you to handle the situation. Hopefully, your inner Jason Bourne or 007 kicks in at that moment.

Now imagine the thoughts going through your mind, step by step…keenly aware…anything can happen. And for heaven’s sake, don’t stumble, trip or step on the robe of the guy in front of you. You basically hold your breath until you reach the carpet’s edge where friendly forces and personnel are waiting to join you.

Now, I realize that sounds a bit dramatic, but that’s exactly what happened for one lone marine in full dress uniform on May 20, 2017. Ironically, it was Armed Forces Day. That Marine will go down in history as the lone military personnel selected to walk the tarmac and whose charge was the first couple. An unknown man, forever entrenched in the optics and the imagery, he unwittingly found himself the poster child for this day to be sure.

His children, family, unit and more will brag on him, and that they knew him, for generations to come to be sure.

When you stop to think about it, what gets a person to this kind of appointment—or moment? How is the one who is chosen for that incredible, terrifying honor? How do you get there?

As much as we’d like to think he grew up with that moment in time as a goal, that would be highly inaccurate. No one could have predicted this trip or that scene. You just can’t write that stuff. It’s about timing, training, and trust. What do I mean?

Timing: you can’t predict being in the right place at the right time. Those things just aren’t in your control.

Training: the marine in that iconic photo is living the dream to be sure, but if you could sit down with him and hear his story, you’d probably hear about daily runs and grueling workout, hours and hours of weapons handling and skill work, battle study, and so much more. He would tell you of times where he almost broke, or quit—but didn’t. He made it one more step. That step that would take him closer to his historic appointed time.

Trust: his men, his colleagues, his leadership all must have trusted this man implicitly. He was the shoe-in for this spot. The perfect man for the job, or the man who had worked his way into this position, and when the protocol fell to him, he was ready. Very fitting, as Semper Fi, the Marine Corp Motto, means “always faithful.”

It’s a fitting tribute this weekend, as we pause to remember and thank those who have served and those who currently serve.

As you go through the coming week when the moments come that seek to stall you, frustrate you or beg you to quit. Don’t. You just never know, perhaps this is when the stars will align, and all of your efforts will fall into place and come to fruition.

Just my thoughts

—S.

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#marinecorp #unitedstatesmarines  #nomanleftbehind #SemperFi

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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Until the Cows Come Home

January 15th, 2017 by stephanie

Imagine looking up only to see something you lost awhile back, coming up your driveway, arriving on a cart that’s being pulled by cows. Sounds strange, but that’s exactly what happened to the children of Israel after they once lost the Ark of the Covenant in battle.

Long story short, while at war with the Philistines, which was quite often, during one particular battle, the bad guys captured the Ark. During its stay in enemy territory, this coveted piece of temple furniture, began to wreak havoc on its captors.

At one point, they placed it in the temple of their god Dagon. The next morning, when they came in, the huge statue of their god was lying face down on the ground. Seemed odd, but they weren’t too concerned, so they propped it back up. When they returned the next day, they found the stone idol shattered in pieces on the floor.

That’s when they began to worry. Boils, plagues, and a few other uncomfortable issues later, the Philistines realized they’d bit off more than they could chew. They were up against a God who was on a completely different level. Basically, they were out of their league and playing with dynamite.

That’s when they began strategizing a plan to return the now despised trophy. Here’s what they came up with:

  • Place the ark on a cart
  • Hook it up to some cows, then,
  • Point them in the direction of its original home
  • Pray they find the cows find their way there on their own

The result? It worked.

One day, some months later, the Jewish people looked up only to see their beloved ark coming up the drive with the cows “lowing as it went.” Quite a spectacle indeed!

Now of course, this is a very truncated version of the entire story, and you are certainly invited to do some careful reading on your own, but there truly is a point here to be noticed.

Maybe you made a mistake and you lost something in the process. Perhaps an enemy of yours was able to obtain something that was very precious to you. Or, on the flip side, let’s say you won a battle fair and square, but the consequences are now staring you in the face. Regardless of the situation at hand, you’re hurting and something that is rightfully yours is gone—or the victory isn’t working out like you planned.

Is it the end? Perhaps not.

If you feel that thing you lost can’t be restored, or what you won isn’t worth the cost…I hope this story will be an encouragement to you.

Let’s face it, the Israelites were beaten in their battle fair and square. What the Philistines didn’t realize is that they were tampering with God’s people. Not something for the faint of heart to try and do. God’s children are just that—his kids. And God protects his children. And if He gives them something and that He wants them to have, people who try to take it away from them should be careful. Life may not bode so well for the taker.

If you are the person with the loss here, again, may this story shed a new light on your situation and bring you a bit of hope. Battles between humans are one thing, but when a person throws a grenade at you and God steps in between? Buyer beware. Remember the god Dagon and his demise—the boils, the plagues, etc. Don’t be surprised if you find your tormentor one day saying, “Uncle. Here. Take it back. I’ll even send it to you.” Maybe it won’t return on a silver platter, but hey, if it were even to arrive via cows, I don’t know about you, but I’d take it.

Just my thoughts on a cold drizzly Sunday.

– Stephanie

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The Tomb

April 4th, 2015 by stephanie

Saturday: The Tomb

That’s where Christ was on this day.

Saturday. In the grave.

Saturday. In the grave.

Saturday was the Jewish Sabbath. No work would be done from sunset the night before until sunset this night. That is why there was such a rush to have Jesus prepared for burial and placed into the tomb by sunset Friday night (when the Sabbath officially began).

Sabbath was a sacred time set apart for contemplation and complete rest for God’s chosen people. (Luke 23:54-56)

Moment to Catch

Ironically, on this day of rest, the Jewish leaders, who should have been at home resting, were anything but quiet. They held a secret meeting and were strategizing…

Matt. 27:62-66

Now on the next day, the day after the preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered together with Pilate, and said,

“Sir, we remember that when He was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I am to rise again.’ “Therefore, give orders for the grave to be made secure until the third day, otherwise His disciples may come and steal Him away and say to the people,

‘He has risen from the dead,’

and the last deception will be worse than the first.”

Pilate said to them, “You have a guard; go, make it as secure as you know how.” And they went and made the grave secure, and along with the guard they set a seal on the stone.

Thot for today:

The men who schemed to kill Jesus knew He had powers. They were terrified He would rise. How interesting that they thought a stone could keep Him, the Creator of the Universe, in a grave. Is there an immovable situation or object in your life that you feel hopeless about? If you can work to find the understanding and belief in that same power Christ held that blew that stone off the next morning.

But back to Stone-Cold Saturday…

Not a sound was heard from the tomb. But Sunday was coming…

S.

Holy Week: Day 8

April 3rd, 2015 by stephanie

It’s Good Friday!

Good Friday.

Good Friday.

If you have seen the amazing movie by Mel Gibson The Passion of the Christ, you know that calling the day Jesus was crucified “good” seems a bit strange. But the fact is, if you know the story, it does have a happy ending.

Basically, in the middle of the night, (Thursday night) Roman soldiers captured Jesus. They arrested him then drug him to an illegal trial that the Jewish leadership set up in the wee hours of the morning.

After that, He was brutally beaten. Passed between Herod and Pilate, and was finally handed over for a terrible torture – crucifixion. Where he was hung between two thieves.
Jesus was put on the cross close to 9:00 am in the morning and hung there most of the day. At noon, the sky grew dark, and there was an earthquake. Close to 3:00 pm, He gave up His spirit and died.

Moment to Catch

One of my favorite parts, that you don’t hear much about, is that graves opened when that happened and the bodies of the saints came out and visited loved ones! If you don’t believe me check this out.

Matt. 27:52-53 The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many.

It was a very full and powerful day.

Thot for Today

Sometimes things that happen to us in life can, at the time seem anything but good. It’s only when we come out on the other side, that we can see the “good” that came of the situation.

I know we are all busy, but when you have a second, read the story. Matthew chapter 27 today.

In Remembrance of Him.

S.
Verses for Today:
Matt 27:1-61
Mark 15:1-47
Luke 22: 66- 23:55

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Hey! It’s Almost OUR Birthday!

June 29th, 2014 by stephanie

I love birthdays.

I think they should be special. And happy. But then, who doesn’t really want a true Birthday Bash that does them proud?search

As we get ready this weekend to celebrate the birth of our nation, I have to admit, I never cease to be amazed at the miracle of America. It’s beyond the imagination that we, as 13 struggling colonies, ever made it to this fascinating experiment that became known as the United States of America.

I have a friend born on the 4th, and we have always celebrated my grandmother’s birthday, which falls on the 7th as well. She will be 96 this year, and we are so blessed to still have her there to party with us.

Where EVER you are this Independence Day, be sure to pull out a flag or wear some of that ole Americana Red, White & Blue. Let’s add some spirit to the places we visit and the people we spend time with. I know our family will! My uncle will have on his July 4 shirt, no doubt, and I can’t wait to see it!

With that, here’s to faith, family and freedom.

And to you, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

A very HAPPY 4th to you. And…

HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA!

S.

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D-Day is June 6.

June 5th, 2014 by stephanie

It seems that from the end of May to July is quite the time to be Patriotic. In that span of time we have:snagbetty009_005

I love this time of year. You can put the flags up and keep them up! It’s so cool. There’s a story I never tire of sharing. I hope you enjoy it too. And don’t forget to pull out your Red, White and Blue if you haven’t already. 🙂

———–

Sitting in a hotel room on the coast of England, Allied Commander Eisenhower knew that a small window of opportunity was all that he had with which to work. 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.

The General’s 5000-vessel armada stretched as far as the eye could see. Over 150,000 men and nearly 30,000 vehicles were now making their way across the English Channel and were heading to France.
This amazing collection included:

  • Six parachute regiments with over 13,000 men. (These guys were flown from nine British airfields in over 800 planes.)
  • 300 planes that would drop 13,000 bombs over coastal Normandy (Before the parachute teams arrived in order  to prepare the way.)
  • Paratroopers that would drop at 1am. (But, would the weather hold? At a height of only 300 feet, in complete darkness, they would have to think and move fast!)
  • Men in PT boats who were racing towards the shore as well. (Many would get close. Some would fall short. As soldiers poured out into the waters, the 70 pound packs would sink and drown many who thought the sand lay directly beneath their feet.)

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

These were depression-era kids. Teens really. The scrappy boys that had learned to make it on their own. Those innate tricks of survival that only hard times seem to produce. Could there have been any better training ground to prepare them for the day ahead? Horrible conditions, impossible orders, and a ruthless world tyrant to boot. Truly, an awesome task. (Sometimes our current circumstances may merely be preparation for something in your life to come!)

Survivors of that day, and those wishing to remember, will gather once again on those French beaches on June 6. To honor. To think. It will be a very solemn day.

May we remember, as well.

Just my thoughts,

S.

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Memorial Day: May We Remember.

May 26th, 2014 by stephanie

Memorial-DayDid you know that today used to be called Decoration Day?

Few of us are aware of that nowadays, but that’s only because few of us have ever been told.
🙂
It may come as a surprise to some, however, Memorial Day used to be a special time set aside for Americans to visit the cemeteries. While there, they would decorate the graves of those who had given their lives in service to this country. (Love it!)

My grandmother and my mother shared that information with me when I was a little girl, so I am fortunate to have known that historic tidbit. But there’s a reason for that too.

You see, Memorial Day used to be celebrated only on May 30, and as that is my date of birth, each year my grandmother or mother would remind me of the holiday and it’s meaning. Which of course I loved. They would always say,

“You were born on Traditional Memorial Day.”

Apparently, as the story goes, the powers that be decided Memorial Day should officially become the last Monday in May so that federal folks could have a 3-day holiday. The rest of us have come to enjoy it too! And now, all of us know the rest of the story (Paul Harvey).

For you trivia buffs, here’s more.

Just my thoughts,
Stephanie

Ecclesiastes 3:8 ESV
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.

– Stephanie

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Holy Week: Easter Sunday

April 20th, 2014 by stephanie

He is Risen!

imgresHe is Risen Indeed.

It’s a familiar call and response to those in the church world. One person will say, “He is Risen,” to which the other will reply, “He is Risen Indeed.” Many of you will enjoy this exchange today in celebration of what happened over 2,000 years ago.

And it went a bit like this…
Matt. 28:1-9
Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave.

And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it.

And his appearance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow.

The guards shook for fear of him and became like dead men.

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified.

“He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying.Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you.”

And they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy and ran to report it to His disciples.

And behold, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him.

Then Jesus *said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and take word to My brethren to leave for Galilee, and there they will see Me.

MOMENT TO CATCH:

The Tomb was empty. And Roman soldiers standing guard couldnt’t do anything about it.

Thot for today:

I don’t know about you, but the power of One that can raise Himself from the dead? Now, that’s worth talkin’ bout.

He is Risen-indeed.

Happy Easter, my friend.

– S.

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