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Call the question, will ya?

January 29th, 2017 by stephanie

When I first moved to Nashville, in an attempt to meet more people and at the encouragement of my grandmother, I joined a club. Those people were a wonderful group who not only became friends, in time they became like family. We shared many happy and amazing memories together, and there were moments where we had the privilege of experiencing and witnessing some very historic events.

But to my point. I ended up on the board of this illustrious group and I must admit, many times their talents and abilities left me feeling quite inadequate. Not only could they debate, quite well, they knew Robert’s Rules of Order. Parliamentary Procedure was something I had heard of often in my life, but as to what it truly was, or how to follow it in a meeting? I had no clue!

At some point, during any of our meetings, there would always be a moment when someone would “Call the question.” For years, that term alluded me. We are sitting here discussing a decision that needs to be made and people are arguing both sides. What on earth is the question? I would think to myself. My brain just couldn’t seem to wrap around the meaning. Those were my thoughts. Until lately.

The power of that simple “rule” hit me recently. Isn’t it funny how years later, dots just seem to connect and things that once weren’t clear suddenly make sense? Yeah, that happened.

So, Calling the Question? It’s a moment in discussion that is truly a remarkable blessing given to civilized nations.

Basically: when discussing a topic, at some point, debate needs to end. You need to agree to end the debate and move toward the vote. You vote to end the discussion. Then, after the vote, that is when you ask the question: “Will we or won’t we do, or agree to, this or that?”

In regards to the topic at hand, you are asking which of the two options on the table are best. Unfortunately, when these rules aren’t followed, one person in the room usually ends up pushing their opinion and demanding their way. Or, pouting when they don’t get it.

These days, we could use a bit of decorum, or at least a return to structure, in our conversations or dialogues. It seems we have forgotten how to share our point of view in a pleasant or positive way. Protocol or discernment seems to be a way of the past. But more importantly, rather than asking questions, people just state their opinions. No one “asks” the other person to explain. Then, allows them the time and dignity to do so.

What has truly been lost is looking at an entire situation at hand, weighing the facts on both sides, having healthy debate, then, deciding what is the best decision…for the good of the order. “Should we go with Option A or is Option B best at this point in time?”

I’m reminded of situations in my life where I wish I would have asked for more facts before rushing to judgment, or where I wish the person angrily sitting across from me had acquired some truthful information before making their attack on me.

You may know what I’m talking about. You may even be in the middle of a situation at this time that drives this lesson home or at least brings it to mind.

All Ears!

With that, let’s commit this week to:

  • Not jumping the gun before truly looking at the facts,
  • Not pushing our viewpoint on someone before we ask for the other side,
  • And not blocking out or ignoring the opposing party when it’s their turn to talk.
  • Then, once all of the facts are on the table, and all sides have thoroughly been heard…

—let’s call the question.

The best answer, at that point, might actually surprise us.

—Just my thoughts.

S.

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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 Presidents Day!

February 16th, 2015 by stephanie

Presidents Day.

The Wisdom of Washington.

Presidents Day:

A day off from work…for some. Sales for others…a day to remember our Commanders-in-Chief.

Our nation’s citizens used to celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday and George Washington’s separately and on different days. Not combined into one, as we do today.

  • Lincoln’s birthday was February 12th and
  • Washington’s actual date of birth is the 22nd.

Interestingly, in the 1950’s there was an actual Presidents Day Committee (that came out of California) whose goal was to turn the day into a celebration of merely the office of the Presidency.

We went from celebrating President Lincoln’s Day and President Washington’s Day to simply that of, President’s Day. Then we went to Presidents  (plural-in general) day. Clear as mud?

Anyway…wherever today finds you, perhaps this bit of wisdom from Washington will give you some advice for your week, or Presidents’ Month perhaps.

It reminds me of an ancient Proverb as well

Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin. – Proverbs 13:3

Just my thoughts on this icy, Presidents Day in the South.

– S.

We’ll be talking about Mardi Gras, Ash Wednesday and Lent in the coming weeks…so don’t miss it. We’ll send the latest to your inbox if you like..Just sign up here!

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How’s Your 40 Days Coming?

April 2nd, 2014 by stephanie

If you’ve been doing lent, 40 days can seem like a looooooong time. And then, at other times, 40 days can go by searchquickly and you wonder where time went. For those you of you that caught the new movie out, NOAH, you’re reminded in the story that it rained 40 days and 40 nights. Interestingly, did you know that 40 days is a bit symbolic?

Hard to believe, but the number 40 is mentioned 146 times in Scripture, and, it generally symbolizes a period of testing, trial or probation.

———————————

THE NUMBER “40”

Of all the types and shadows of the Old Testament, none is as noticeable as  in the relationship between “forty,” and the fulfillment of promises.

  • The rains (in Noah’s day) fell for 40 days and nights (Genesis 7:4).
  • Israel ate Manna for 40 years (Exodus 16:35).
  • Moses was with God in the mount, 40 days and nights (Exodus 24:18).
  • Moses was again with God 40 days and 40 nights (Exodus 34:28).
  • Moses led Israel from Egypt at age 80 (2 times 40), and after 40 years in the wilderness, died at 120 (3 times 40; Deuteronomy 34:7).
  • The spies searched the land of Canaan for 40 days (Numbers 13:25).
  • Therefore, God made Israel wander for 40 years (Numbers 14:33-34).
  • 40 stripes was the maximum whipping penalty (Deuteronomy 25:3).
  • Israel did evil; God gave them to an enemy for 40 years (Judges 13:1).
  • Goliath presented himself to Israel for 40 days (1 Samuel 17:16).
  • Saul reigned for 40 years (Acts 13:21).
  • David reigned over Israel for 40 years (2 Samuel 5:4, 1 Kings 2:11).
  • The holy place of the temple was 40 cubits long (1 Kings 6:17).
  • The sockets of silver are in groups of 40 (Exodus 26:19 & 21).
  • Solomon reigned same length as his father; 40 years (1 Kings 11:42).
  • Elijah had one meal that gave him strength 40 days (1 Kings 19:8).
  • Egypt to be laid desolate for 40 years (Ezekiel 29:11-12).
  • Ezekiel’s (symbolic) temple is 40 cubits long (Ezekiel 41:2).
  • The courts in Ezekiel’s temple were 40 cubits long (Ezra 46:22).
  • God gave Nineveh 40 days to repent (Jonah 3:4).
  • Jesus fasted 40 days and nights (Matthew 4:2).
  • Jesus was tempted 40 days (Luke 4:2, Mark 1:13).
  • Jesus remained on earth 40 days after resurrection (Acts 1:3).
  • Women are pregnant for 40 weeks (time of testing).
  • (there’s more, but I think you get the idea.)

40 seems, says scholars, to represent a period of testing or judgment. Or, others say it like this:

 – the length of time necessary to accomplish some major part of Gods plan in his dealings with various portions of mankind.

If you notice, after 40, something good usually happened. Like Lent. Not only is it time to celebrate Easter and the beauty of what Christ did on that Sunday, you get your chocolate or whatever back. (wink).

Whatever the 40 has been in your life, we’d love to hear. Drop us a line and, especially, share what good came on the other side.

– Stephanie

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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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Keep it Simple. And Then Enjoy.

October 19th, 2013 by stephanie

Life doesn’t have to be difficult. If we have a roof over our head, food to eat, and someone to love, (and be loved by) that should be enough. Sadly these days, for many people, it just isn’t.

There’s a song that was quite popular in the Christian radio scene during the 90s. It was called The Basics of Life and was recorded by the group 4Him. Basically, the message went like this:

We need to get back to the basics of life.

They say that after the Great Depression the American public emerged appreciating the simple things in life while focusing on a return to the basics.  After the recent Government shutdown and more, I’d say that’s not a bad idea.

We’ll be heading into the holidays soon. Some folks enjoy them. Some dread them. It’s all in how you approach it, really.  I like entering them with anticipation, but I also work to pace myself in the process.

For those of us involved in organizations or projects, the best thing we can do is pull back, take a good look and make sure the basics are covered first before we widen the scope. Here are a few quotes I gathered randomly that popped up in conversations. They show that no matter what the topic, the basics always apply:

Our power play has been struggling scoring as of late and we just need to get back to the basics.

People think there is nothing that they can do, that obesity is inevitable. This is not rocket science: It’s all about how many calories you’re putting in yourself, and how many are getting out. We need to go back to the basics.

We need to go back to the basics, and give the arts community something on a smaller scale to get it going again.

Whatever it is we find ourselves committing to or involving ourselves in this season, basically, you and I just need to get back to where it all began and dig deep into what it’s all about.

As the trees around us are shedding their leaves, perhaps we too can learn from them.  Let’s shed the things that don’t really matter. Let’s un-clutter our thoughts and minds and perhaps, take a fresh look at what matters most. Let’s focus on those things that simply…make like good. Then, let’s celebrate them and enjoy!

Happy upcoming Holidays.

May All Your Dreams Come True.

Bascially,

Stephanie

 

One of These Things is Not Like the Other.

August 24th, 2013 by stephanie

I had the privilege a few years back to be a part of the taping for a television show they were creating about men and women. 13 shows were taped in four days. Yep. It was crazy.
The process goes something like this:
A show is taped. You go and change clothes. And you start all over again.

The star of the show was a marriage seminar leader and pastor from Wisconsin, Mark Gungar.. Not a household name, as yet, but hilarious. He was engaging, funny, and easy to listen to. If there is one thing this guy has down, it is getting the male population to “tune in” to what he is saying and connect! And too, he makes some great points to the women in the audience.
Basically, we girls just plain don’t get men, as we know. But what we forget, is that half the time, we punish men for not “thinking” like women, not “understanding” women, not “relating” to women, you get the picture. All the while forgetting they are NOT women.

It saddens me that my generation of women missed out on the tutoring from older women that guys and gals are different. And that it’s ok. That it’s not something to fight, but rather understand and embrace. But nope. We were the generation of unisex haircuts and clothing. It was cool to be “alike”. To prove that we were the equal. Differences were an “archaic” way of thinking. And we were above that. hmmmmmmm

We can see how well that worked. The divorce rate and homosexuality skyrocketed during that period of time, families fractured, and the list goes on. We were left wondering why and how this could have happened. What went wrong during this modern, intellectual way of thinking?

It’s pretty easy. The Bible has lasted for a few thousand years. Its principles (which are often deemed outdated and unrealistic) were tossed out. We would find a better way. But, I do wonder. Have we?

My challenge to you this week is just to simply strive to notice the differences in men and women. Embrace them. And work to understand them. It can be a beautiful thing.

Life’s good. Let’s work to make it even better.

S.

Get Real. Is It True?

August 12th, 2013 by stephanie

I have to admit. Reality shows get the best of me. As an old friend of mine used to say, “it reminds me I’m not crazy, THEY are!” So true. But the truth is, I am stunned that people seem to be ok with living in this drama and turmoil that they create on a weekly, if not daily, basis.

A devotional writing came my way, and I couldn’t resist sharing it with you. I didn’t feel it was random. Enjoy.

A Sweet, Winsome Melody
by Charles R. Swindoll

Whatever is true, whatever is honorable,
whatever is right, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is of good
repute . . . dwell on these things.
Philippians 4:8

Let me urge you to take charge of your mind and emotions today.

Let your mind feast on nutritious food for a change. Refuse to grumble and criticize! Let your life yield a sweet, winsome melody that this old world needs so desperately.

Fix your attention on these six specifics in life:

Not unreal far-fetched dreams, but things that are true . . .

Not cheap, flippant, superficial stuff, but things that are honorable . . .

Not things that are wrong and unjust, . . . but that which is right.

Not thoughts that are carnal, smutty, and obscene, but that which is pure . . .

Not things that prompt arguments and defense in others, but those that are agreeable . . .

Not slander, gossip, and put-downs, but information of good report, the kind that builds up and causes grace to flow.

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Wisdom for the Way (Nashville: J. Countryman, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2001). Copyright © 2001 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Here’s a verse from antiquity that is quite appropriate I feel as well:
Neh. 6:8-9
I replied, “There is no truth in any part of your story. You are making up the whole thing.” They were just trying to intimidate us, imagining that they could discourage us and stop the work. So I continued the work with even greater determination.

Wow. Talk about living truth. That talks! What say you?
S.

Butteryfly’s Are Free to Fly…Fly Away.

July 5th, 2013 by stephanie

It was a group of gals, just talking about Heaven and such, and the topic of Butterflys and the various personal sitings they had experienced. Afterward, I figured it was time to pull out the laptop and do some research.

As many of you may already know, the butterfly is quite symbolic to many peoples and cutltures. Apparently, the Mandarin Chinese say the insect symbolizes long life. 70 years, actually. They also feel it is telling of young men in love.

The Japanese see it as a sign for young maidens and marital bliss.
In Germany, butterflies having once hovered around the butter churn became known as “stealers of the cream”.

Greeks saw the butterfly as a symbol of the soul. They even considered white butterflies as the souls of those who had passed away and gone on to the great beyond.

In Western culture, the creature has become a symbol of Freedom.
According to a Blackfoot Indian, the butterfly brings us our dreams. A tribal member might say after the fire burns low and the people began to make up their beds about the lodge, ‘Well, let us go to bed and see what news the butterfly will bring?” Interestingly, The Native American Indians also use a cross, similar to a Maltese cross, as a sign for the butterfly.

Which brings us to the topic of the butterfly and its connection to the Resurrection in the Christian realm. I was surprised to learn that butterflies were actually engraved in the stones of many a Christian’s tomb centuries ago. A sign that the person who had, having died and entered the tomb, had now departed their earthly cocoon only to have experienced release into life eternal.

Regardless of your particular thoughts on butterflies, one thing we can all agree on is that they truly symbolize change. A massive transition. From an, earthbound groveling worm to a free-flying, creature of beauty.

In truth? I’d love to think something wonderful is heading my way. But for now, it’s enough to be reminded of the freedom I do cherish and enjoy. Both here on my native soil and the freedom that I will someday enjoy in heaven above.
Just my thoughts.

Yours?

Stephanie

Don’t Mess with Mr. Inbetween.

June 23rd, 2013 by stephanie

Some of you may remember a very clever song that Bing Crosby made famous. If you haven’t heard it, try googling it and give a listen. It talks about getting rid of the negative in our lives. If you find yourself around negative people or downer types, you’ll very much appreciate the tune.

The lyrics go something like this:
You’ve got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
Don’t mess with Mister In-Between

All of us have those folks in our lives that seem to focus on the bad, or are judgmental and critical, full of gossip, or just plain seem to always find the sad side of life. They can really drag you down. (And in all honesty, it’s easy for ANY of us to fall in that direction. I know I do!) Spending time with people that are uplifting, fun and encouraging is just what the doctor ordered–if we want to live healthy and happy lives.

With that, here’s a thought. Let’s commit to taking stock today in our lives and see in just whom it is we are investing our time, energy and resources. Then notice if they fall into the negative side or the affirmative side. Once we do that little exercise, it’s pretty clear to see where the adjustments, if any, probably need to take place. Who is making YOU a better, happier, healthier person? “Latch on” to them…as the song says. Make extra time to be with and invest back into them. Then remind yourself…as often as able…
Don’t mess with Mister in-between!

Just my thoughts,
S.
Phil. 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

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