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Do you habitually complain, whine, argue and grumble? Do you know anyone who does not?  It seems to have become a habit for many of us.  You may know murmurings as being critical of others, bitterness, bickering, protesting or being unsociable.  Pessimism.  Negativity.   In the New Testament, Paul said: "Do you do all things without murmuring  and disputing?"

By the way, the word "murmurings" Paul refers to the complaints of the Israelites during their wanderings.

Have you noticed that people get caught up in heated and unending political discussions? -- lots of murmurings going on there. Our government's administration has caused new policies and procedures being enacted or offered - big time murmurings at home and the office.   Our culture is changing and we have continuous big time murmurings and complaints.

What do we do in answer to Apostle Paul's instruction - not to complain in all things. Sometimes it's hard not to vent.   Sometimes it feels good to get it off your chest.  It's hard to comply with the old adage, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." How can we tweak that?  It seems niceness, politeness and respect are slowly moving down the tubes.

We could say, "If you can only say something negative, don't say anything at all".   Negative begets negative.   Positive begets positive. It's difficult to be positive when things are looking bleak and/or scary, but does it help to heap more negativity onto the pile?

It can become a habit to view everything with a sour outlook which becomes a bitterness and creates more murmurings. There's little worse than facing each day with doom and gloom. Becoming embittered won't change the political problem of the day or create a new healthcare plan.

Listen to yourself and see how you approach these subjects. Do you always say things like, "I'm afraid that...." or "I know that things are going to get worse before they get better".....or "I hate this or I hate that or I hate them or I hate him ...." or "That's BS" or "they're stupid" or "they are such a bunch of #&%$'s.  And the beat goes on and the words become more heated and your murmurings may keep you from sleeping well at night. Your fear and hate will become self-fulfilling. You become what you think.

We can offset these complaints by offering words of hope and compassion. Change your heart and you will change your attitude.  Kind thoughts and acts will replace your habits of negative thoughts. Negative and Positive thoughts cannot share the same space in your mind. Crowd out those negative ones. God is still in control and local, national and world events are not as hopeless as we make them.  Many others before us have lived through challenging times.  Bad times seem to be cyclical and eventually change from bad to better.

Be an agent for change. They say if you force yourself to smile, you will feel uplifted. 'A smile is the lighting system of the face'...it sure beats the frowns and growls.  Smiles beget smiles.   Maybe your co-worker or spouse or friend is tired of 'murmuring' or listening to yours, too, and you can make the difference to change that.

Don't get bogged down by the signs of the times. If you are spiritual, try to maintain a cheerful, willing mind, as we do what God has instructed. "Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life..." (Phil. 2:14-16a).

Fill your spirit with Paul's teaching:  It can work and all you have to lose are your frown lines.

Marie Coppola (C) Revised February 2019

 

 

 

 

 

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Like most mothers with newly married daughters, it wasn't long after the wedding ceremony that I obsessed on becoming a grandmother.   Being Italian, it was very important to join that rank of becoming a  "Nonna".    It was two years and 6 months later that my daughter and son-in-law  dropped by and announced that they were expecting.   By July 4th, the anticipation day, I would be holding my first grandchild.  Such excitement!

The day came a little early, June 29th which was my father's birthday.   More excitement!   We waited for the 'good news' (a boy or a girl?)  but did not expect that  our first grand-baby -- a boy -- was in one of our finest hospitals - in the NICU.   I didn't know what that was but quickly learned it meant a neonatal intensive care unit, also known as an intensive care nursery  specializing in the care of ill or premature newborn infants. Neonatal refers to the first 28 days of life. Neonatal care, as known as specialized nurseries or intensive care, has been around since the 1960s.    Here we were in 1995.

Our new baby, named Daniel. was a small being covered in wires, tubes and other apparatus in a small incubator.   A blood disorder was the suspected cause; only family members were allowed in the room lined up with other incubators.  Mandatory clean linens and masks were distributed to be in that room - and immediate family only.

Daniel's parents were there all the time.   She was nursing Daniel and brought him her colostrum, the first secretion from the mammary glands after giving birth, which is rich in antibodies and very good for infants.  She continued to do this every day.   The traveling back and forth, the worry and stress from not bringing a baby home after it's birth is tiring and disturbing to a new mother.   It is a challenge to all mothers who have everything in place except the baby.

The Fourth of July arrived five days later .  Normally,  this holiday is a big family picnic day affair,  but  there were little changes in little Daniel.   We all talked the new mother into attending the picnic - a much needed change of scenery.   We all attended and it did help.   After a couple of hours I excused myself and left.  To get home,  I had to go past the hospital.   I parked and went into the NICU.  There was little traffic that holiday afternoon and less in the hospital.  Since  it was a holiday, the hospital was  small-staffed that day.   A baby was crying in the isolation room when I arrived and the nurse, who recognized me,  told me  that was my grandson.

She said since the NICU was under-staffed and Daniel had come off all his attachments, he had been crying on and off all morning.   I asked if I could hold him - I never had that pleasure yet.   She got a hard chair for me to sit on in the middle of a small unused room.  She left me and then returned and placed Daniel in my lap.   He was so precious and beautiful without his wires, I became overjoyed with tears.   He drew in a big breath and sighed loudly.  Almost sounding relieved.   I pressed his papoose-wrapped blanketed little body close to my own heart and hummed lullabies and rocked him until he fell asleep.

He slept while I held him for the next 3 hours.    The nurse came by and asked if she could take him and put him back.   Reluctantly, I said OK.   He didn't wake up;  he had kinda worn himself out.  She thanked me for helping out and said, "Have a good day".   I answered, "I already have".   When  she took him, I felt the very warmth of his body still next to  my heart.

That feeling of warmth and love for Daniel has never gone away - I still feel it after 23 years.

Marie Coppola  March 2019

 

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I met Jeannie when I was 9.  She was 12.   She lived behind my cousin's house in a 2nd floor apartment.  My cousin and I were the same age and were together often until I met Jeannie who had authentic red hair, blue eyes and loads of freckles.   My cousin didn't understand why she wasn't included when we were together, but we didn't play like cousin and I did ~ Jeannie played religious school with me.

She attended a Catholic school in the next town; about 1.5 miles away.   Although I was born a Catholic and by age 9 had received First Holy Communion, our family then were Easter and Christmas attendees.  Every day Jeannie wore a gray plaid jumper uniform to school unlike my outfits to public school.  What stands out most about her is she would go over all her papers from school with me which always had her initialed cross on the top.  I learned as much from Jeannie about God, the church and its sacraments as  I did for a year at faith classes.  She instilled a love and reverence about God and the Bible I hadn't had before.

Her love of faith included coming to my house at 8:00 am every Sunday morning for the 9:00 am children's mass.  I was always asleep and my mom would yell, "Jeannie's here for church".   I always went.  We walked there together every Sunday where I learned about being in God's House for the Sabbath.

We moved when I was 12 and I didn't see much of Jeannie after that.  Saw her when I was in my 20s - she was married & with her husband.  We talked about getting together but we lived a distance away.

Many years had passed when I was attending a faith sharing class and we were asked who was our foundation in faith?  I immediately thought of  Jeannie.  I thought about her all that day and tried to call her through her brother who was the only name listed locally.   He remembered me and told me the sad news that she had recently passed - having had a weak heart since childhood.  I never knew she did.  We both cried.  I remembered her birth date and told him I would have a mass said for her and would send him the notice.

The only opening my church had on that date for her mass was not held at the church; it was in the Catholic school where masses are said one day a week.   I made the date for her birthday at the school mass at 8:00 am which the school children usually attend.

But on that day several months later, I had forgotten the mass date.  Since I didn't usually get up that early, I had not set the alarm that day.

Early that morning in the still darkness the day of her birthday,  I woke up suddenly out of my sleep and next to my bed was a white brightly shining figure standing next to me.  I was stunned but not afraid.   It looked like an angel and I had never had any visions or hallucinations my whole life.  Or was it a dream?  The vision was bright but not frightening. Then I saw red hair on this figure; immediately I said, "It's Jeannie's mass today".

I jumped out of bed waking my husband up and we scurried to the school.   I was still stunned by the apparition .  We were there on time and when the mass started, the school children walked down the aisle to sit in the front and they had on uniforms.  The girls wore gray plaid jumpers.  Just like Jeannie's.

I felt Jeannie's presence there that day; the uniformed children were a special treat which would not have happened if I had the mass said instead at our church that day.   I found that more than coincidental that I could remember and pray for her by going back in time when she was that age.   Remembrances of her from others recall how kind and giving she was to all.  She lived her faith.   She took care of her ailing father and the night he died, she died also that night.

Do I believe it was Jeannie who woke me up for her mass?  Yes, I do.  How fitting my dear, sweet friend would come to my house at 8:00 am  to take me to church.

 

 

 

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It's a fact - the older you get, the wiser you are.   Now that’s a comforting thought. According to the daily news media, research supported by the Russell Sage (no pun intended) Foundation, the National Institute on Aging and the National Science Foundation Grant, indicates that socially, older folks, more than younger or middle-aged ones, are more apt to recognize and accept different values, acknowledge and accept uncertainties and changes in one’s life and to acknowledge others’ point of views.

So, mind and hire your elders!  It’s not as important in life and work  to know how the SEO works or how to program the DVR or how to text someone as it is to handle ‘social wisdom’ – how to get along with people and handle disagreements.

Researchers found that age affects wisdom at every social class, level of education and IQ. Even though older people don’t have the technological wisdom that younger ages have in computers and everyday technology, they do have the advantage of analyzing and solving social problems.

Demographic splits of groups numbering almost 300 — ages 25 to 40, 41 to 59 and 60 plus were given hypothetical situations regarding finance, economic growth, customs, and world problems. The researchers analyzed the results, not knowing which individual or group age the responses came from. Ratings were based on social interchanges such as compromise, flexibility, seeing the other viewpoint and mediating conflict resolution.

Then over 200 of the same groups participated in a second hypothetical area and yet a third comprising scholars, psychotherapists, clergy and counseling professionals.

The results of these tests concluded that economic status, education and IQ were related to having increased wisdom, but academics were no wiser than nonacademics with similar education levels. Researchers were surprised at how much wisdom the groups showed in disputing societal problems. Richard Nisbitt, one of the researchers said, “There is a very large advantage for older people over younger people for those (issues)”. Another researcher, Lynn Hasher remarked that “the study is the single best demonstration of long-held view that wisdom increases with age.”

She continues, “What I think is most important…is that it shows a major benefit that accrues with aging…rather than the mostly loss-based findings reported in psychology. As such it provides a richer base of understanding of aging processes.” She also cited the critical importance of workplaces providing the opportunity for older employees to continue to contribute.

Many work places do the opposite and retire aging employees and replace them with younger employees at a lower salary, compromising the experience and life situations these employees can contribute to the work force by their ongoing and diverse experiences.   More advantages:

1. They have good leadership skills. Older workers make good leaders because they often have stronger communication skills than their younger colleagues.  They remember a time when communication wasn't dominated by email or texting.

2. They know what they want.   Older workers are more stable to stay at a job than to try to 'climb the ladder" or job hop.

3. They're loyal. Since older workers are typically more satisfied with their jobs, they also tend to stay.

4. They have a good work ethic. 90 percent of the respondents who were older said that being "ethical" is "extremely or very important" to workplace culture, the highest percentage of age-workers.

5. They have strong networks. Older workers have been in the workforce longer and they've had more time to meet people and network along the way.

Marie Coppola  Revised July 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Black bears, the largest land mammals of South Carolina, once roamed the entire state. As human populations increase and development encroaches on their territories, there is more the likelihood of bear & human encounters.

Black bears are excellent climbers and good swimmers.     Bears prefer large expanses of forestry containing hardwoods, shrubs, blackberries, and pokeberries.  Wetlands such as swamps and bays also provide good habitat.   However, black bears are adaptable.  As long as they can find adequate food sources and have suitable den sites, black bears can be found in a variety of habitats..  They will feed on whatever is readily available.

Their natural diet consists of berries, nuts and plant matter (over 80 percent) as well as insects and meat (less than 20 percent). Bears use their incredible sense of smell to find alternative food sources such as garbage, bird feeders, outdoor pet food, agricultural crops, etc., which can result in them becoming nuisance bears. A shortage of natural food sources and lack of rainfall can cause home ranges to vary greatly. Black bears will travel large distances to find adequate food sources. In addition, juvenile bears, especially the males, must disperse to find new home territories. Dispersing juvenile bears have been sighted in many counties in South Carolina. These bears are usually transient and do not stay in the area for long.

Male black bears are generally larger than females. An average adult male can weigh between 150 - 350 pounds while the female averages between 100 -250 pounds. However, when food is plentiful, older bears have been documented at weights above 400-500 pounds. The largest black bear recorded in South Carolina was 609 pounds.  Their average life expectancy is 18 years in the wild.

Tammy Wactor, wildlife biologist with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, said there is an estimated 800-1,000 black bears across South Carolina, with most found in the more heavily forested and mountainous Upstate region, and a smaller population of 300-400 bears in the coastal areas (as of July 11, 2015).

Bears emerge fron their dens and come out looking for food in the spring ~ the peak of their breeding season is June, July, sometimes early August. They are most active at this time of year, and that, combined with habitat depletion, makes it more likely for humans to encounter them, and vice versa, said Kayla Brantley, a state bear biologist based in Horry County.

A state Department of Natural Resources official said it’s not a surprise that a bear was spotted crossing a street near homes just north of Myrtle Beach.

Black bears are not generally aggressive even when confronted by humans. However, due to their size, they need to be respected. No injuries or deaths have been attributed to black bears in South Carolina.

If you encounter one in your back yard like someone In the area of old Route 17 did recently when the bear was investigating their backyard cook-out (they left it and retreated into their home (and the bear had a gourmet meal).     If you find yourself in this situation, don’t corner the animal or make it feel threatened.   Stand your ground, and some say to raise your arms to appear larger.   Don't run.  Slowly back up, keeping your eye on the bear (not eye contact)  and try to put more space between you and the bear.  Talk calmly so that it can identify you as human.   A good way to steer clear of any run-ins with a wild animal is to secure trash, take down any type of animal feeder at night and keep grills clean.

Marie Coppola  January 2017

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When you’re grieving the death of a family member or friend, you may dread the holiday season. Thoughts of social gatherings, family traditions, and obligations leave you anxious and overwhelmed. Your sadness can seem unbearable. You may wish you could skip these next two months and go straight to the routine of the next year—but you can’t. What can you do to lessen your stress and loneliness?   The holidays trigger tough emotions.

You can start by learning what emotions are normal and to be expected when facing the holidays without your loved one. “If you’re feeling overwhelmed as this holiday season approaches, that’s very normal,” advised psychologist Dr. Susan Zonnebelt-Smeenge, whose husband died. “You’re probably wondering how you’re going to handle this and are unsure of what course to take. I want to assure you that you can get through these holidays, and hopefully you can even find moments of joy.”

When you know what to expect, you won’t be rendered helpless as holiday events trigger unexpected emotions. Make a point to spend time talking with people who have experienced a past loss and have already been through a holiday season without their loved one. They can help you have an idea of typical emotions and emotional triggers to expect. These people can also provide much-needed comfort and support.

Create a holiday plan.    Another important step in surviving the holidays is to create a healthy plan for the coming season. “Planning does help you to have a little control, even when you feel totally out of control,” said Dr. Zonnebelt-Smeenge. A healthy plan involves making decisions in advance about traditions, meals, time spent with others, holiday decorating, gift-giving, and commitments.

You will likely not have the energy or the interest in doing as much as you have in past years. Decide ahead of time which invitations you’ll accept, and let the host or family member know that you might leave early. Consider whether your decorating will be different this year: perhaps a smaller tree or simpler ornaments. If you cook or bake, cut back.

Make a list of every holiday tradition you can think of, from music to presents to outings. Then decide which traditions will be too difficult without your deceased loved one, which traditions you’d like to maintain, and what new traditions you can start this year.

Communicate with your family and friends.    What’s also helpful in facing the holidays is to communicate your specific concerns and needs with your family and friends. People in grief are often tempted to put on a mask and pretend things are fine, especially over the holidays. “I didn’t want to put on a damper on anyone else’s joy,” shared Mardie. “So I put on a happy face and tried to be the sister, the daughter, the aunt, that everybody wanted to see. Putting on that happy face was a heavier burden than I was emotionally able to carry at the time."

Your friends may want you to “cheer up” and “have fun,” when that’s the last thing you want. Others will avoid you because they don’t know what to say and don’t want to make you feel worse. Some family members will give you wrong advice in a misguided attempt to help. All of these people likely mean well, but will only end up hurting you if you don’t communicate what you truly need from them.

As difficult as this may be, it’s important to tell people what they can do to help and what they are doing that isn’t helping. And if you don’t have the energy or inclination to talk to people face-to-face, then write your thoughts, concerns, and needs in a letter or email. What’s important is that you are being honest and gracious in your communication.

In describing the first holiday dinner after she was widowed, Dr. Zonnebelt-Smeenge said, “It seemed like no one wanted to talk about my husband. I kept waiting for somebody to bring up [his name]. After a while I couldn’t stand it anymore. I excused myself and left and bawled all the way home. Later I decided maybe they were waiting for me to decide if it was okay to talk about him; maybe they were afraid if they said anything, they’d make me feel worse. From that time on when I went to an event, I found a way to let people know I wanted to talk about him and I wanted to hear their stories.”

So where can you find out what emotions to expect over the holidays, how to create a healthy plan and how to communicate with family and friends these coming weeks?

A “Surviving the Holidays” free seminar on this coming Sunday,  November 4th, 2018  at  Our Lady Star of the Sea Church, 8th Avenue N, North Myrtle Beach, SC from 1:45 PM to 4:00 pm, offers practical, actionable strategies for making it through the holiday season. At this two-hour seminar, you’ll view a video featuring advice from people in grief who’ve faced the holidays after their loss. You’ll hear insights from respected Christian counselors, pastors, and psychologists. You’ll receive a Holiday Survival Guide with practical strategies, encouraging words, helpful exercises, Q/As, and journaling ideas for daily survival through the holiday season.

At GriefShare Surviving the Holidays, you’ll meet with other grieving people who have an understanding of what you’re going through. They won’t judge you or force you to share, but will accept you where you are and will offer comfort and support. “When I went to GriefShare,” said Marion, “I realized there are different ways to grieve."  It is a confidential, compassionate and safe environment.

Your holiday season won’t be easy; your emotions may ambush you and suck you under at times. But you can choose to walk through this season in a way that honors your loved one and puts you on the path of health and healing.

To register or to find out more about GriefShare Surviving the Holidays, call Fran @ 843-399-8196 or Our Lady Star of the Sea Church @ 843-249-2356.

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Reports show 42 out of 48 states tested are overrun by this so-called super lice, according to the Journal of Medical Entomology.  In these 42 states, reported by  NBC's Today Show,  100 percent of the lice tested were resistant to over-the-counter treatments. the critter has developed a resistance to commonly used over-the-counter treatments, like Rid and Nix.  The products that are over the .counter have been out for 30 years. Just like germs build up resistance to antibiotics, lice build up resistance to these products just from overuse.

For over-the-counter lice medication, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends taking products like A-200, Pronto, R&C, Rid, Triple X and Licide, all of which contain pyrethrins combined with piperonyl butoxide.

Some things one can do to it lice or nits are found in hair:

Use a lice comb and go through the hair strand by strand to remove all nits.

Have girls wear their hair in a pony tail or braided.  (Now I know the reason all four of us sisters had braided hair in elementary school.)

Use a minty or peppermint spray on the hair every morning

Check your child's hair once a week to catch it early.   {A Compilation of various media sources & Coastal Lice Center).

Kids often transfer lice to each other while playing together, on the athletic field or locker room, or gymnastics class.

The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a report which recommends schools eliminate their “no nit” policy, which required a child be free of nits before they can return to school. Under their recommendation, if a child has head lice, they should finish the school day, get treatment and return to school.l00

It should be understood that acquiring head lice is not a result of poor hygiene. The reality however, is that lice are human parasites that require human blood to survive and are transferred from head to head.

The lice eggs, or “nits,”themselves are not contagious, but it’s the adult active lice that are. Once the eggs are laid— on the hair shaft, close to the scalp— they have 7 to 10 days until they hatch. If they’re not removed before they hatch, baby lice or nymphs become adult lice within 1 to 2 weeks and leave the eggshell behind.

Although you can see the eggs, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to see the live lice unless there’s a severe infestation. The eggs are clear or white and unlike dandruff, you won’t be able to pull it off with your fingers.

Additionally, although many children will scratch the back of their heads or around their ears, many show no signs of lice because they’re not allergic to the lice saliva which causes itchiness

If you can find lice early, it’s much easier to get rid of them quickly and prevent it from turning into a large infestation, check your child’s scalp at bath time or when brushing her hair with a special nit comb. Also, ask your child’s school to notify you if there are reported cases of head lice.

If you choose to treat your child at home, you must remove both the lice and the eggs.  Although there are over-the-counter products and prescription medications available, there is not one product on the market that has 100 percent ovicidal effects on the eggs, meaning it will kill all the eggs.

You’ll need a nit comb with microgrooves that can wrap around the hair strands and drag everything off. You also have to comb the hair strand by strand for two weeks to make sure all of the nits are completely gone.

There are however, nearby professional centers that offer natural, effective treatments and do all of the hard work for you.

Head lice can survive off the scalp for up to two days. Don't go into a cleaning frenzy, but you may vacuum carpets, couches and car seats. Since lice don’t burrow like bed bugs, you can put a sheet on your couch for 24 hours to create a barrier.

Extreme heat and cold temperatures kill lice, so throw pillows, blankets, stuffed animals and hats in the dryer for 30 minutes in high heat. Wash and boil hairbrushes, combs and hair clips and put helmets in a bag and leave it in the freezer for several hours.

Although there is a stigma attached to head lice and many parents and kids are embarrassed to admit they have it, it’s important to tell other parents to keep it from spreading.  The problem, according to the Today show, is that lice have mutated, making it more difficult for the chemicals in over-the-counter treatments to lock on to the lice and eliminate it.  It is more likely resistance lice than not.  Try to get rid of the infection by using over-the-counter treatment twice.  {A Compilation of various media sources & Coastal Lice Center).

Marie Coppola  August 2016   {Ref: A Compilation of various media sources & Coastal Lice Center).

 

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You may not even know yet that I am growing in your womb - I'm just 18 days from when you conceived me.   My heart has begun to beat with my own blood.  I hope you are happy when you find out I'm inside you.

I'm a month old now and my eyes, ears and tongue are formed.  I have muscles , arms & legs forming.  Soon my fingers and toes will develop, too and I will start moving around.

I feel new things every day.   At almost 8 weeks - only 2 months - I have hiccuped, can frown, squint and yawn and make sucking motions.  I started to suck my thumb at 9 weeks.  I have eyelids now to protect my eyes.

It's  10 weeks and every organ is now present and my heartbeat is steady.  My kidneys are forming as well as my taste buds.  At 10 weeks my body is sensitive to touch.  I have practiced breathing and hope to breathe air at my birth - the thought of being with you at that time makes me smile.

You haven't felt my movement yet at but  I move a lot reaching my 3rd month - even my sex is known - I'm a girl!  If you could take a picture of me now you would see my eyes, ears and face characterstics .  I can kick, turn my feet, curl and fan toes, make a fist, move thumbs, bend wrists, turn head, open mouth and press lips tghtly together although I am only about 3 inches long and weigh about 2 ounces.

When you were told I was a girl, you said you will call me Hope, after your grandmother.   In just another week I will weigh about 3 ounces and am starting to resemble you!   A very small you!  You still can't feel me but I feel comfort and safety within you.

I turned 4 and a half months old in your womb. and you felt me move!  I felt you touch me where I moved - it was joyous to connect so intimately with you.   I am just as excited as you are.  My ears are functioning well now and I can hear your heartbeat - it is so wonderfully comforting.  I can even hear music that you play and it is wonderful.   I hear and recognize your voice!

I'm 5 and half months inside you - my brain now has a billion nerve cells. If a sound is especially loud, it makes me jump - can you feel me?   I have increased seven times in weight and almost doubled in height.

So excited for my 7th month - just 26 weeks from conception - I can tell which voice is yours!   You sing to me!  My wonderful, precious, life-giving mother - I sense your moods.

I know the difference between waking and sleeping.  I use four of five senses - vision, hearing, taste and touch!  I can't wait to touch you and see you.

At 8 months - just one more month and we'll be together!  You'll be as glad as I will be since my space has become cramped and I know I am heavy - you get tired a lot - I'm sorry.  Also sorry my kicks are stronger - but I hear you laugh about it.   I swallow a gallon of amniotic fluid each day - can you hear my hiccups?  Sometimes I move my heel or elbow and I rejoice as you follow it along with your hand.   So lovingly.

It's 9 months/33-40 weeks - I'm ready to travel down the birth canal and finally get to meet the mother I've been connected to for 9 months and hopefully for the rest of her life.

Marie Coppola Copyright June 2016

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TWENTY TIPS FOR FACING AN UNPLANNED PREGNANCY

Emily Brown is director of American Life League Life Defenders, the outreach arm of ALL building a culture of life with a new generation.  While reading a post entitled 20 Tips on Your First Abortion, Emily reacted to what the author had to say - "I could really feel her immense pain. So, I decided to respond to this gruesome article with a positive, empowering, and upbeat message about pregnancy. We do not need more people shaming women into abortion, rather we need positive messages that affirm the immense empowerment that bringing a human being into this world has on women.”  

Reality just slapped you in the face. You’re pregnant! What does that mean? A teeny tiny human being is growing inside of you. So, now the freak out begins.

It’s completely normal to feel terrified, worried, and completely shocked. After all, you might have been relying on some sort of birth control.  However, you knew none gave any guarantee that you would not become pregnant. So here you are.

Don’t let your worries take over! It’s very easy to be in panic mode for a few weeks or even months. Look beyond the insecurities and worries. You are strong!

Look for loving support. You need someone who will hug you and comfort you, not someone who wants to shame or belittle you. Sometimes you just need a little affection, and this is definitely one of those times!

Know you are not alone. Every day, hundreds of women discover they are pregnant. Other women are in your same situation!

After you have turned to someone for support, it’s time for information.  Learn what the heck is happening inside your body! You can find websites or books on fetal development and medical articles to learn about the tiny human you have within you.

After reading information on fetal development, come to the realization that you’re a pretty big deal! After all, you are now carrying and protecting a little human being.

While you’re on the internet,  search your area code, along with “crisis pregnancy centers.” Find the closest one and make an appointment ASAP, for you definitely have loads of questions.

Unlike abortion clinics, crisis pregnancy centers do care about your welfare and they understand that your surprise pregnancy is a BIG deal. They will treat you with the loving care and respect you deserve!

The time between making your appointment and going can be a terrifying period. You are scared and a million things are rushing through your head, like how to afford a child or how to raise a child alone. Take a deep breath and believe in yourself! You are stronger than you think.

While you’re waiting for your first appointment, learn more about this person growing inside your body. Watch a 4-D ultrasound of a preborn baby growing. Find the stage you are in and marvel at this tiny human.

The appointment day has come. While in the waiting room, focus on the positive messages. Take a look at the brochures, pictures, or wall art and remember that only good can come from this appointment. Nothing here will harm you!

It’s FREE! What? Yes, crisis pregnancy centers’ services are free! They can offer pregnancy resources, prenatal vitamins, pregnancy tests, and services such as parenting classes, counseling, baby supplies, and other financial aid.

While at your appointment, you will not have “pain like someone sucking or pulling out your insides.” Rather, you will feel comfort and support—two of the things you need most.

You will be reaffirmed that you are a strong independent woman! You are more than a pregnancy; you are a mother.

Remember every time you believed you weren’t strong enough, smart enough, happy enough, pretty enough, and so on, and stomp those falsehoods into the ground. You are empowered—empowered with a newfound sense of reason and the ability to care for another human being.

You will not let your empowerment be diminished by people telling you that you are not ready or fit enough to be a mother.

Even after your appointment at the crisis pregnancy center, you still find many moments when you are scared to death. It’s okay; that’s normal. You have a human growing inside of you and you just found out. That’s a huge deal!

Do not let those fears and worries take control of you. You have the opportunity to bring a new life into this world. Do not take this for granted! Many women try their whole lives to have a child.

This is a time to start fresh. Take advantage of that and flourish!

 Submitted by Marie Coppola. March 2016

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Dear Mr./Mrs. Citizen,

Well, I guess you have figured me out. I seem to fit neatly into the category you place me in. I'm stereotyped, characterized, standardized, classified, grouped, and always typical. I am the lousy cop.

Unfortunately, the reverse isn't true. I can never figure you out.  From birth, you teach your children that I am a person to beware of.  Then, you are shocked when they identify me with my traditional enemy....The criminal.  You accuse me of coddling... juveniles, until I catch your kid doing something wrong.   You take an hour lunch, and several coffee breaks each day, then point me out as a loafer if you see me have just one cup.   You pride yourself on your polished manners, but think nothing of interrupting my meals at noon with your troubles.

You raise hell about the guy who cuts you off in traffic, but let me catch you doing the same thing, and all of a sudden I am picking on you. You know ALL the traffic laws, but never got one single ticket you deserved.   You shout "Abuse of Authority" if you see me driving fast to an emergency call, but raise 9 kinds of hell if I take more than 30 seconds responding to yours.  You call it "Part of my job" if someone hits me, but yell "Police brutality" if I strike back.  You would never think of telling your dentist how to pull a badly decayed tooth, or your doctor how to take out your appendix, but you are ALWAYS willing to give me pointers on how to be a police officer.

You talk to me in a manner, and use language that would assure a bloody nose from anyone else, but you expect me to stand there and take your verbal abuse without batting an eye.  You cry, "Something has to be done about crime," but you can't be bothered to get involved.  You have no use for me what so ever, but of course, it's OK for me to change a tire for your wife, or deliver your baby in the back seat of my patrol car enroute to the hospital, or save your sons life with CPR and mouth to mouth resuscitation, or even forsake time with MY family working long hours overtime trying to find your lost daughter.

So, dear citizen, you stand there on your soapbox and rant and rave about the way I do my job, calling me every name in the book, but never stop a minute to think that your property, your family,  and maybe your life might someday depend on one thing....ME.

Respectfully,
A Lousy Cop

Author: Anonymous

Marie Coppola March 2016

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We all have our own preferred faith but sometimes we venture out of our comfort area to participate or engage in others’ religious practices.

It could be a Wedding, a Baptism, a First Communion, Confirmation, Bar Mitzvah, Bat Mitzvah, Bible studies, or engage in Witnessing. The common denominator is God. Each religion worships in their own way – what happens when you cross paths with some other religion?

Wikipedia defines “Ecumenism", as initiatives aimed at greater religious unity or cooperation.

In its broadest sense, this unity or cooperation may refer to a worldwide religious unity by the advocation of a greater sense of shared spirituality across the three Abrahamic faiths of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Most commonly, however, ecumenism is used in a more narrow meaning; "referring to a greater cooperation among different religious denominations".  These three faiths are all monotheistic: meaning the belief that there is one and only one God.

My own personal ecumenical experiences revolve around different faiths.   I was born and raised in the Catholic faith and experienced the traditional Sacraments.   I embrace this very beautiful religion which is centered around Jesus and the Eucharist, which has special meaning for me.  In my formative years, when religious instruction was memorizing a Catechism to attain the Sacraments, I was blessed at age 9 to be invited to attend a Presbyterian Bible Summer School.  Surprisingly, my parents agreed I could go and I was introduced to the additional concept that Jesus is my Best Friend, a concept that is with me to this day. We spent that summer singing lots of hymns to Jesus and making crafts with Him in mind. It was pure and natural to me. Children do not have built-in prejudices against the differences in their lives; they are taught them.  Children are accepting and nonjudgmental.

When I was 13, we moved to a predominantly Jewish neighborhood and I was introduced to bas mitzivahs, bat mitzvahs and the closely knit Jewish family.  All members of the Jewish family participated during the readings at the temple. I found they were very much like our family. They believed in the Old Testament like we do, and were very religious. I experienced the Passover Seder and on sad occasions, gave condolences at Shiva. Did this confuse me?  Not at all.  Although I was entrenched in Christianity, I was experiencing the religion that My Best Friend, Jesus, embraced while on earth. It enlarged my religion by bringing me closer to Him. Now I experienced what He did and added His religious background  to my faith.

In high school, a family member joined the Jehovah’s Witnesses. I always marveled at how they went from house to house witnessing their faith. They still do. The Bible calls us to do that, but not many people do it. There were differences from how the Witnesses practiced their faith from mine, but I did become more aware of their Bible studies and eventually attended Bible classes at my own church.    I learned many Scripture passages that I never knew and became a student of the Bible.  I am ever grateful for that awakening of Scriptures.

In my adult life, I have very dear friends who are Baptists. They are Bible-study enthusiasts, also. When we visit them, we attend their Sunday service with them – it usually encompasses most of the Sabbath Day.  At their service, there is a choir that could sing in Carnegie Hall. They are praise-singing people of faith and I find joy and peace listening to their hymns. They even have video screens with lyrics  in the church during service where you can sing along and the whole congregation joins in. We attend their Bible School immediately after the service and partake of their fellowship.  They are faith sharing and caring people. I credit the Baptists for my love and joy of praise songs.

In my working days, a group of us were asked to give a career seminar to members of a Lutheran church. Before we started the seminar, we gathered in the church and had service. My other presenters were not faith-based persons and did not know the words of  songs sung that  I learned  from my ‘ecumenical sharings .' When they broke into “Lord I Lift Your Name on High”, I joined in loud and clear even though I have a Lucy Riccardo voice.   After the church service, the church members hugged me and were surprised that I knew the song. That bonding moment was a successful vehicle to engage in seminar objectives – a shared faith feeling that overlapped into our discussions.  And bonded new friendships.

I love ecumenical bridges. I find new paths and avenues from them to explore God and His Word. I find that although others may worship differently from me, we have many common threads in our tapestry of faith. Recently I learned that the Muslim faith honors only one woman in their Koran.    That woman is Mary, the mother of Jesus.  They  devote a full chapter of their Koran to her.

I don't seek the differences in these folks and their faiths; I seek the sameness we have in loving God, expressing that Love and sharing our different ways to live it.

 

© Marie Coppola, 2009, updated November, 2019; rights reserved.

 

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Someone asks at every horrific memorial service, “Why do we have so much violence?”  “When will it change?”

Some voice the reason as mental illness; others mention religious persecution;  political figures blame it on the gun who has no mind of its own.   I say it is in the minds of our culture.

In little more than a half century, our culture has changed from “happy is the average family with two children living in the suburbs”.   Elvis was banned on TV & and shown only from the waist up so his pelvic motions weren’t viewed by the kids.   His gyrations were 'disgraceful'.

Newlyweds planned for the ‘blessed event’ and the word ‘abortion’ wasn’t ever said out loud; it was rare and ungodly.   Dads worked and brought home the bacon and Moms were the rule of the roost, making a home for the family and was there when the kids got home from school.

God was an integral part of life;  even in public school, students took turns reading Scripture from the Bible in homeroom before they said the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag and started their day.   The family structure usually had a faith base, took their annual vacation together and sat down each night, together, to share dinner and the day’s events.  Patriotism – God & Country - were staples of life.   Kids were happy, played outside, had friends and a safe place at home.  Girls could be tomboys and boys could take dancing lessons - they grew up and emulated their Moms & Dads who were their role models.    They are the grandparents of today.  If you ask them, they will tell you they had 'happy childhoods".

Over years, our culture changed; many folks changed during the 60s and 70s.  Drugs, free love and the Vietnam War.  People rebelled against the ‘establishment', family structure, and the ten commandments.  "Do what feels good."

Many of the folks from that era are now integrated in our government today and hold high offices.   President Obama, who was indoctrinated in Indonesian schools, didn't say the Pledge of Allegiance to America or sing the Star Spangled Banner.  Over years, our culture changed.

Today, Hollywood has evolved from "disgraceful" pelvic motions to nudity, progressive- liberal lifestyles, profanity and easily accessible porn.  Hollywood supported legalizing same-sex marriage, transgenders & abortions.  These are our new generations’ role models.   Babies are no longer ‘blessed events’ – they are ‘mistakes’ and ‘women’s right’ to abort them – 87% of them aborted for ‘inconvenience’.  Some abort them for gender selection.   We have morphed into the desensitization of aborting and gone the extra step of cutting & hatching still breathing infants to sell their body parts.    Life has ceased to be sacred - what's the difference between hatching or killing babies or shooting down students?   What are we saying to the next generation?

Due to seven elected judges who decided to allow same sexes to be married - now we have Dads & Dads and Moms & Moms.  Many at some point break up and change their minds and then become Dads and Moms again – and these are our new generations’ role models.    The government has supported gender change, and some of our young teens are able to ‘change’ their sex without parental permission.  You are allowed to be a different gender at any time if you 'think' it.  And culture is allowing & suggesting people to end their own lives.  These are our new generations' role models.

Technology came about in the 1980s and has transformed our newer generations into human robots who are computer & cell phone addicted.  One of the effects of obsessive use of cell phones is narcissism - multiples of selfies posted on social media - coupled with loss of communication - less conversation, personal interface and abbreviated messages called texting.    They don’t speak much to each other or their family or their parents.   These young people will be the role models of the next generation.

Breakdown of the family through the growing self-interests of busy parents and uncommunicative children coupled with the breakdowns of faith and emergences of government-initiated different lifestyles has fractured family life as we knew it.   Members of the same family frequently spend holidays or special occasions separately with 2nd or 3rd generation step-parents and not the orginal family.   We are morphing into a culture where love, caring, sharing, loyalty and family values are replaced by overlapping of different values, interests and mindsets.

Our changing culture is consistently becoming nasty if you are not (in their view) politically correct – and you are labeled a ‘hater’ ‘bigot’ ‘racist’ or worse.

Government and celebrities do this.  If you value faith, you are called superstitious, a Bible Thumper, a radical right-wing or worse.   Your traditions, beliefs and actions are criticized as offensive, but atheists, and these name-calling persons are protected by the  communistic-founded  ACLU.   It is OK for them to be offensive to faith people but we must satisfy them and not God & common sense?   So who and what are we, anymore?   Do we want no God, no Commandments of right and wrong?   Are we our own mapmakers of our destinies.   Where's our voices?

Marie Coppola. Revised February 2020

 

 

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Did you receive any family pictures of babies, nieces, nephews or grandkids for Christmas in a photo card?  It used to be very popular. Or did you get an email copied to numerous 'friends' with photo attachments or on Facebook in lieu of a phone call, card or mailed photo?   These photos remain on your computer or cell phone & not in a picture frame or in your wallet.

When you have a lunch date or attend a party, do people show you pictures in their wallets or flash their cell phone to slide over the pictures?    Generation G overlaps into Generation Alpha from 2013 to 2025  - the generation reaching adulthood in the second decade of the 21st century, perceived as being familiar with the Internet from a very young age.  

Do you hear things like this - especially from the grandparents who may not be resident 'digital natives' 

  • This is my grandson when he was 10 - he is now 18.  His parents haven't sent any recent photos.
  • Her wedding album was online - no, we didn't get any photos.  And I was in the wedding.
  • There's lots of pictures of the kids on Facebook.   But we don't do Facebook.
  • We bought a bunch of photo albums on sale but we don't have any pictures in them.
  • No, I didn't see her cell phone pictures - we don't have that feature on our cell phone.
  • I never learned how to download or open pictures or send them on the cell phone.
  • Once I learn how to do it, it will become obsolete & changed and will have to learn all over again.

Wikipedia also offers:  "Most of the traits that will define this generation have yet to emerge. However, many are highly connected, having had lifelong use of communication and media technology like the World Wide Web, instant messaging, text messaging MP3 players, mobile phones and tablets,  earned them the nickname "digital native.".    Pew Research tells us the percentage of cell phone owners who use their devices to access the Internet has more than doubled since 2009, and '82% of  cell phone users take pictures with their cell phones over cameras'.  (And that was 11 years ago)!   Since then, we now have Instagram and Cloud Storage.

Our family has many photos from the early 1900s through the late 1900s.  They are wonderful memories and eventually passed down to the kids.  Some of them are on our walls and mantels, giving us ever-changing look-a-likes of families or scenes within them.   Sometimes they look like different family members over time, they remind us of the time and place they were taken.   Sometimes we notice things we missed the first time we saw them.

Photographs are priceless.   Some people put them in safes or vaults for protection against fires - that's how much they are valued.  Sadly, they are decreasing quickly.  How do we protect photographs on CDs or DVDs which eventually may become obsolete like much technology ends up or access them from a broken computer or disabled cell phone?

Today's digital natives are into selfies and photobombing.     Not my photo album kind of memories.   Photographs themselves are duplications of memories, good times and remembrance of loved ones.

Marie Coppola January 2020

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It's always amazing to me how many people do not take advantage of two important benefits offered at many workplaces.

One is the employer matching plan for a 401k distribution. Some companies are shying away from this form of savings but many still implement them and have replaced their pension plans with them. Briefly, participants of an employer-match program will receive a dollar for dollar match on money taken out of each of their paychecks up to a certain percentage that is then placed into a sponsored retirement plan (401k or 403b). Sometimes it is matched up to 12 or 20% of their pay. You can't beat the compound interest these plans generate.

Working in human resouorces, I found there were many employees who lamented that they could not afford to take even 2% out of their salary - they were on such strict budgets. In truth, they cannot afford to miss this opportunity to save and compound their nest egg for retirement. It is difficult for the first month or so to allocate this percentage in one's budget, but it usually is compromised swiftly, especially if a later bonus or merit raise or cost of living raise equals it and offsets the contribution.  I've written about 401ks before, but, my focus here is on tuition reimbursement from your employer.

Even in these economy-challenged times, most employers want to invest in the employees they have and increase their investment in them by increasing their skills and value to the company. Many employees do not investigate or take advantage of this generous benefit either because they 'don't have the time to continue their education' or they 'don't think their supervisor would approve it'. And again I say, they cannot afford not to participate in this truly gifting program.

Having done this myself, I can vouch that although the company does benefit from an employee learning and increasing their knowledge in the relative discipline subjects and also in other subjects that round out their learning curve and experience, the benefit for the company can terminate if the employee moves on to another company.  For the employee, the benefit is with him or her for their entire lives. Please repeat that last sentence - it is that important. Continuing education, especially if it results in a degree or certification, is equal to getting a raise at work - it puts dollars in your pocket and represents a life-long achievement.

If your company provides tuition reimbursement, and you have not pursued this avenue, make an appointment with Human Resources (HR) today and find out what you have to do to participate. Generally, I can offer some provisions although they might differ among different companies and disciplines. Investigate - but here is some legwork you can do beforehand.

1] Decide what discipline you would like to be specialized in. If you want to pursue legal, look into paralegal or business law courses. If you are in technology, perhaps you would like to take courses for the next level - routing, international analyst, technology engineer or site administration. If you work in accounting, perhaps you would have an interest in CPA or payroll administration.

2] Look into the different courses and colleges that offer these courses and what their entrance requirements may be. You should find this all online or at the library. Also, you can check on in-house courses (traditional classroom) or on-line or distancing courses that you can take at home. Find out if the school offers them.  On-line education is very popular today; some even get masters and/or doctorate degrees on them.

3] It's important to have a plan of what you want to do and a possible avenue of options. This will give you more credibility of ambition with both your supervisor and HR when you approach them that you would like to take advantage of this opportunity.

It is helpful if you list the reasons why you want the additional learning and what courses you feel would accomplish it. Do this if you want just one course or if you have a degree in mind.  Your ambitions may change midstream.

4] Approach your supervisor first. He or she has to approve your application. Appeal your case, explain your justification of how it will help both you and the company.

**Keep in mind, that companies rarely turn down requests for continuing education. This includes a one-course class or a specified degree. This is a benefit that they offer. You are responding - not asking for special favors.

5] With your supervisor in agreement, submit your approved application to HR. I always suggest making an appointment with an HR rep to do this; their job is to help you in your career development and they may have good suggestions on courses and schools. Check out your HR website; a good one will have suggestions and instructions under 'Continuing Education' or 'Tuition Reimbursement'.'

6] When your application is approved, you are either ready to sign up for the one-time course, certification, or call the college of your choice for an interview and plan your curriculum.

There are some qualifications and guidelines that your employer may require for you to be eligible for tuition reimbursement:

• You may have to be a full-time employee; (some offer to permanent part-time employees).

• have completed a year of service; and

• Be on the payroll when the course is completed. (if you are let go or outsourced by the company during that time, they usually reimburse for that semester but not if you quit or leave the company on your own).

  • Most companies will reimburse employees for all tuition expenses - most include entrance fees, books, and supplies).
  • There usually is a maximum of how many credits a year for which they will reimburse (anywhere from 3 to 6 courses a year - some companies will allow 3 courses a semester or 12 total courses for the year including summer couses). *NOTE: Credit fees are the highest costs associated with returning to school and vary according to college. This is where you are getting a big 'raise'.

I recommend no more than 3 courses a semester if you are working a full-time job. I also recommend one heavy-duty course (Statistics) and a required medium-duty course (Psychology) and an elective (something you like that is included in your requirements, ie, Art, Music, Philosophy, Poetry). It is important to keep in mind that you don't want to be overwhelmed or overworked; you have to PASS the course to be reimbursed.

The company will reimburse employees at the conclusion of a successfully completed course; sometimes they reimburse as long as you pass the course; others have a stipulation similar to this:

• For an "A" grade, the Company will reimburse 100% of the tuition cost;

• For a "B" grade, the Company will reimburse 75% of the tuition cost;

• For a "C" grade, the Company will reimburse 50% of the tuition cost;

No reimbursements will be made for grades lower than a "C" grade and no reimbursement for Fail.

Certifications, Associates, Bachelors and Masters degree programs are part of reimbursement if they are business or job related. All courses, required and elective, which are related to an employee’s work or which lead to a business-related or job-related degree will be reimbursed. Most companies will reimburse as long as you PASS with ANY GRADE.

*Note: Many employees start with courses related to their present discipline or department they are working. Sometimes they are courses offered at a certification seminar or at a community college or even online. As the 'student' seeks additional courses, they may seek courses at a university or college. Once they matriculate, (admitted or accepted by a college or university for a defined degree course), the employer WILL accept variety of courses. The major will usually be business; and the minor may not be business-related, but part of the overall courses needed for the degree. Most companies do accept these unrelated courses as part of the degree program and reimburse for them.

Upon completion of the pre-approved course, the employee must submit a copy of the "Request for Tuition Reimbursement" form to the Human Resources Department, along with an official transcript of grades and proof of payment.   Requirements vary among companies.

I hope I have encouraged you to jump-start on your continuing education program. It is one of the best deals your company is offering you. Personally, I took advantage of this opportunity and completed two degrees in 8 years; the cost to the company was $50,000. The out-of-pocket cost to me was reimbursed upon completion. It's free education and you can't get better than that. This is an offer you simply can't refuse.   Here is a partial list of well-known entities that offer tuition reimbursement opportunities:   http://www.businessinsider.com/companies-that-will-pay-for-your-tuition-2014-6

Marie Coppola © Revised July 2016

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So now our throw-away culture has evolved into disowning people.   There are articles in Google – how to disown your relatives, family, your parents, your mate, your siblings, and even your child.

Now, how do you do that?   Some instruct to write down all the things that you don’t like, for example, if they don’t like your lifestyle or your friends or your beliefs or you don’t like theirs ~ simply tell them what their boundaries are and if they don't stay within them, they will be disowned.

I’m so glad God has told me He would never disown me. 

I’ve lived through bad relationships, bad friends, even bad relatives, and some bad situations, but I’ve never felt ‘disowned'.  I always had God.  Life was sometimes hard enough – who needs dismemberment?  Cut off from the folks in our ilife who gave us life or us them?   Cut them out of your life and life events?   If we all did that, very few of us would have a social life or even talk to one another.   How do you disown a son, daughter, parent, or a child?   You might say well, if they are a drug addict and would steal everything you own to buy drugs or she is always borrowing money – is always broke, or my mother is always meddling in my life….and the beat goes on.

Does disowning them make them change or stop? Does it change their DNA or their personalities?   Isn’t that son the one who likes to drink and is ‘just like you'.    And isn’t that daughter you complain about having one affair after another because you did once and felt you did nothing wrong?    What about that little sister you don't talk to because she's been married three times just like you are?   Ever think you may be the role model that they turned into? 

So...you want disown them.   How? 

Change her bloodline or DNA?   Rip up his birth certificate?  Take them out of your will? Move across the country?  No more birthday or Christmas presents for them?  How?   By not attending any family celebration parties?   Does disowning them make you never think about them on those days?  

We all live in a fast obsolescence society.   If it doesn’t fit, discard it.   If you want to go to Hawaii on vacation and your husband wants to go to South America, then get a divorce.  If your son sits around playing video games all day at age 26 and doesn’t work,  just disown him.  

Could you possibly play a part in any of these ill-fitting scenarios?  Are you or were YOU ever disowned?   Loyalty and steadfastness are old-fashioned terms in this age.  We are increasingly becoming selfies In our lives as well as in cell phone photo-taking. If something doesn’t fit well with us – just chuck it or disown it.  **(I need to add here that I'm not referring to  severe situations with others that can be very hurtful or unhealthy to all and these may need outside counseling, arbitration and/or if not changed - -withdrawal.)   

Think about the person you’re chucking or disowning.   That person has feelings, too.   Ever think of alternative ways to solve the badness between you and others?   Rather than disowning and breaking all ties, try compromising, helping, forgiving, offering solutions or praying for others which can be more effective and what we all need.   Withdraw temporarily, if need be ……but don’t disown.   God never disowns us;  He calls us to offer the same steadfastness to others.  Try turning the other cheek as He instructs  - it's so much more beneficial to your stress and health.  

Have discussions and discard bad attitudes;  agree to disagree.   Discipline your anger, dispose of past hang-ups,.  Dismiss the disease of unforgiveness, and display forgiveness - you may rediscover  the person or child you once loved.   And it may just change your lives.   If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got.   Disown the past and move into the future.

Marie Coppola© Revised January 2018

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Soon!   On your very own computer - the newest social media - called 'Frackbook'. You'll never want to use another social media. Well, you won't be able to because once you sign on, your membership is locked in until your death and you can't ever end it.  We are working on after-death memberships.  We're the first!

Some of the newest features which are uniquely yours and will continue to be yours once you sign our privacy statement  and don't worry - it's not one of those small-type print unending documents - it's one sentence!

"My agreeing to be a perpetual member of Frackbook relinquishes all my personal information, persona, DNA, fingerprints, including wills, IRS statements, banking info, and medical records to Frackbook for my life entirety which may be used on other third-party sites at Frackbook's discretion or sold to terrorists, prisons, porn sites, and insane asylums".    Yes, one sentence - he he.

Neat-o. Right!   Aren't you fracked?  Now you can find out anything about anybody. Betcha can't wait! YASNY - You ain't seen nothing yet.

Here are some of the disclosed perks you can get -- without asking or knowing about. FREE!!

1) Disclosure to the world (we are in all countries) of what you eat all day, how many times you poop and peeps, what kind of sex you enjoy and with whom, your dislikes of famly members and annoying habits of the people or persons closest to you. Watch their faces when they see what our closed cameras zoom in on while you are online.   Tell others secrets and your own secrets!   Be exciting - Online.

2) A FREE GPS chip is provided that you will be seen at all times, in any state or country or what your daily routines are - you no longer have to type all this info - it will be flashing on your screen!   Everyone will see you - you will be a household name!

3) You'll love the new "Awesomes"   When you click on "Awesome", it will be twittered to all computers cell phones, movie screens and home TVs.   You will be famous for really dumb things.   Anyone who passes the 1,000,000 Awesomes mark, is a candidate for a partial lobotomy which will aid you in clicking Awesome more on really dumb things.

4)  Selfies page.   You will be given your own Selfie page which can be updated every 3 minutes.   Hey, we age every 3 minutes - why not capture it?   There is no limit to how many Selfies you can put on Frackbook - aren't you just psyched?  Your pictures can be sold by Frackbook to third parfties like the ACLU, IRS, FBI, major political parties and major terrorist groups.  Be seen and heard!!

5)  For you protection, Frackbook is generously providing a CAM chip which will capture your home, or any space you come in contact with or visit.   We just ask that you don't pick your nose or behind, it will be captured and shown to other Frackbookers.   Now you can share your showers and bedrooms and family fights.   When you shaved your legs and dyed your hair.  Tweezing your eyebrows or having pissing fights.    Or how bombed you get each night.  You won't have to write about them - your friends and/or some demented folks, too, will enjoy the spontaneity.

6)  To keep it pleasant on Frackbook, there are no opinions, remarks, or making faces (we're watching you on your reverse cam) about the government, religion, schools, newspapers, culture, military, guns, other countries, intellectual or scientific happenings in your life, any breaking news, or any news, church, work, travel, house or families.'   Be awesome and entertaining.   See how many different outfits you can provide in selfies and how many poses or faces you can make.   Or tell about your health check-up or last dental appointment in detail.   Or anything meaningless in detail.   Frack us while we Frack you!

7)  Keep it light, and keep busy with your selfies, Awesomes, jokes, stories about animals, kids, grooming, cooking and health.  (No comments on politics - you will be ejected see below).

8)  Ejection notice.   If you don't abide by the rules above, yes, you can be ejected from the computer with an apparatus that is so fast and efficient it cannot be detected by humans.   Don't ask how it works.  It's copyrighted.  Just follow the rules or you won't be eligible for the soon to be offered 'after death' sign-up.

9)  If you don't care to join Frackbook at this time, you may be arrested and put in an old big store vacated warehouse in an undisclosed location.   Sign up today.    Make new friends - after only one day of watching spying, listening and sighing, you will feel like you've known them forever.

10)  A 300-page sign up form will automatically come forth from your printer when you log off.   Don't ask how it works - everyone has had their printers tampered with while you were busy with your selfies.

If you are ready - send in your 300 page sign-up form.   A military tank will be coming by mornings at 8:00 am and evenings at 8:00 pm to pick them up.  Your info will be secure.  Be one of us.    You have no choice ~ if you don't want to be left out.

©Marie Coppola  Revised September 2016

 



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How times change. There was a time I would never have thought of receiving a gift and in turn giving it to someone else as a gift. That just didn't seem right. If I received something that I absolutely couldn't live with, I either gave it away to a family member with practically a contract that they would never tell anyone that I did so.

It's very different today, especially in these frugal times. I put gifts that I will probably never use or wear in a special place in my closet. After all, they are brand new and still in their original boxes. The thing that changed my mind about not giving my gifts to others -- it's technically called re-gifting -- happened while I was at an aunt's house and she wanted to give me some Christmas towels that she 'never used'. And she hadn't. They were the loveliest red with crocheted red trim with embroidered gold Christmas designs on them. I happily took them home and when I unfolded them, there was  deterioration going on from being in her closet so long. I decided then and there that I would find a home for my aberrant gifts.

Some of the items that I decided to give to others:  Sweaters and/or blouses that either were not my style or too big or too small. Some of these were presents from Italy (little likelihood this one would be uncovered by the ReGift Police).  All had tags.

Purses that were too big or too small. Handbags or purses are individual choices and you are either a big bag or smaller bag lady. How it fits on your shoulder is important, too. I would not give a handbag as a gift UNLESS I was with the person I bought it for and she had made drooling over it. Otherwise, it can be regifted or donated. Always new tags on them.

Same with colognes and perfumes which are even more of an individual choice. I use my favorite ones and am happy when I am gifted them; but sometimes I get powder sets, perfume, or cologne that I know does not go with my body chemistry and I try to regift them ASAP because they change in time and sometimes evaporate, so this is a necessary regift or donation - always in original box and not opened. Not even peeked at.

Umbrellas, scarves & hat sets, gloves, silk or polyester scarves (lots of these), Christmas socks, aprons, any apparel that is not 'you'. Always in perfect new in the box condition with tags. The big yellow dots on green background scarf that appealed to the giver, may have made  you wince as you said, "Thank you, it's lovely."

I receive lots of planners, calendars, many picture frames, pen sets, figurines, vases, bedside clocks, manicure sets, and personal items that I already have lots of, and they are in my closet, too. I try to find a home for them.

This is a BIG one. Christmas gifts in the shape of cookie jars - I have 4 already packed away and tree trimmings - I'm overbooked on the tree; Santa figurines and dishes; holiday tablecloths, ceramic holiday boxes, glasses, etc.  I have these in the attic - they would take up the whole closet. They are up there year after year and why?  Someone could be enjoying them, especially young families with kids who may not be able to afford them. These are still in original boxes - never used  and look like they are from the store.

Jewelry. I have enough Christmas pins to wear different ones a couple of times a month. I do have favorites and will never part with them, but many of them are still in their presentation boxes ready to belong to someone new.

It seems strange giving something I did not buy to someone else as a gift.  It was hard at first.  I gave re-gifts as hostess gifts when we are invited out to dinner; hospital visits (cologne or powder); neighborhood shower gifts; thank you gifts;  birthday party gifts; and Christmas visit or grab bag gifts.

If the gift was a more expensive and inappropriate for the re-gift occasion, I donated it to a charity that asked for donations for auctions. I also have donated them for tricky-tray events and door prize gifts. I would have bought something at the store so why not donate something even nicer than what I would have bought.

I make sure that I am careful who I re-gift to. I put a sticky on the gift when I got it and who gave it to me, because you can forget. And that would be a disaster if you gave it to someone in that same family or worse, back to the person. I try to give it to someone from a different group and even a different state. The gift has to be in 'bought in a store' condition with pristine box and and pristine condition. Otherwise, it's not a gift. I never re-gift something from a thrift store or garage sale, because you just don't know who donated it to them.  I get lots of books because I love to read, and I never re-gift them. Although my books are in great shape - they are like family members to me - but a used book may have a stain somewhere through it if it were already read and then - it's not a gift. I never give anything away that has been used. It has to be new and waiting.....for the new person to get it.  Do I ever tell people it's a re-gift. No - they don't have to know.

My most fun gifts to give away are the holiday ones. Especially with young children in the family who love Christmas dishes and candy dishes which I give with an additional gift of candy to fill it. I usually add something to each of my regifts, like this, maybe to feel like it is really a gift from me. Sometimes I add an ornament to the wrapping, or candies, or small trinkets that I wrap the gift in. Never give a regift in the original wrapping paper. Always make it look like a brand new gift which it is.

Sometimes I get a gift that looks like a re-gift. You can tell because it is not anything you ever used, or talked about or had in your house or wore on your body. It is so off mark that it has to be. I always receive it gratefully - after all, it is a gift. And you don't always know what financial situation the gift-giver is in, so, be gracious and sincere. It is a gift nevertheless. If it is something that I think can be given again, I do the sticky note and closet thing. If it is something that I truly find untasteful or would never give as a gift, it gets donated to the thrift shop. Make sure you take any tags off of that one and find a thrift shop that is not near your house, just in case. Someone else may love it and it's better than its getting deteriorated in your closet.

I enjoy giving gifts to people. My re-gifting allows me to give more gifts to more people. Sometimes, it's a new tray with cookies to the nurses in the doctor's office, or kept wrapped under the tree with tag of what it is in case someone stops over and brings me an unexpected gift.  These aberrant gifts are gifts in themselves; they are a blessing in disguise when a gift is necessary ASAP or simply a pick-up for someone who was not expecting one.

The Ten Most Re-gifted Gifts  #10. Booze;  #9. Gift cards;  #8. Fruitcake;  #7. Candles;  #6. Cookbooks;  #5. Jewelry;   #4. Picture Frame;   #3. Gift Basket;  #2. Housewares;  #1. Clothing

Marie Coppola Revised December 2016

 

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Most of us are aware that Christianity has its roots in Judaism. One of many similarities in observing holidays and festivals was brought up recently, in an ecumenical faith sharing I attended. I became aware for the first time, of a Jewish holiday season called Sukkot (pronounced 'Sue Coat').

Sukkot is an eight-day holiday, with the first day celebrated as a full festival with special prayer services and holiday meals. The remaining days are known as Chol HaMoed ("festival weekdays"). The seventh day of Sukkot is called Hoshana Rabbah ("Great Hoshana", referring to the tradition that worshippers in the Synagogue walk around the perimeter of the sanctuary during morning services) and has a special observance of its own. Outside Israel, the first two days are celebrated as full festivals. Throughout the week of Sukkot, meals are eaten in the sukkah and the males sleep there, although the requirement is waived in case of rain. [ A 'sukkah' is a temporary hut constructed for use during the week-long Jewish festival of Sukkot. It is topped with branches and often well  ].  Every day, a blessing is recited over the Lulav and the Etrog [ palm and citron bound together ]. Observance of Sukkot is detailed in the Book of  Nehemiah and Leviticus 23:34-44 in the Bible, the Mishnah (Sukkah 1:1–5:8); the Tosefta (Sukkah 1:1–4:28); and the  Jerusalem Talmud (Sukkah 1a–) and Babylonian Talmud (Sukkah 2a–56b).

The Festival of Sukkot begins on Tishri 15, the seventh month of the Jewish year, during which many important holidays occur. This holiday falls on the fifth day after Yom Kippur, one of the most solemn Jewish holidays. Yom Kippur is a day of atonement which includes fasting, depriving oneself of pleasures, and repenting from the sins of the previous year.  This year, Sukkot begins at sundown on October 16th and ends at nightfall on Sunday, October 23rd.   This holiday is also known as the Feast of Booths, the Feast of Tabernacles, and the Feast of Ingathering.

In vivid contrast to the solemness of Yom Kippur, Sukkot is so joyful that it is considered the longest and happiest holiday season of the Jewish year. This 'Season of our Rejoicing' holiday commemorates the end of the Jews wandering in the desert. and finally reaching the land that God promised.

When they did finally reach the land that God promised them, they became farmers and grew olives, wheat and grapes. When they harvested their crop, they built wooden huts near their fields where they lived until the harvesting was completed.

Then and today, Sukkot is a celebration of the end of the 40-year wandering for the promised land, and for the harvest of their crops. Praising God for His protection and peace, the holiday was and is celebrated by a time of feasting and of thanking God for their harvest. Many historians believe that the Pilgrims fashioned their Thanksgiving from their readings of Sukkot in the Bible. The first Thanksgiving celebration fell in October and lasted for three days.

Marie Coppola Revised October 2016

http://www.jewfaq.org/holiday5.htm; The Family Treasury of Jewish Holidays, M. Ducker.

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How did April Fool's Day Get Started?   Why is April 1st - April Fool's Day?

Some people lie in wait to "trick" or 'surprise' their friends and family with some made-up tale or joke.  Some get away with it all day and others see it coming and know it's an April Fool's joke.  How did this all come about? There are many theories, but the majority of them center around the Calendar-Change Theory.

The most popular theory about the origin of April Fool's Day involves the French calendar reform of the sixteenth century. The theory goes like this: "In 1564 France reformed its calendar, moving the start of the year from the end of March to January 1. Those who failed to keep up with the change, who stubbornly clung to the old calendar system and continued to celebrate the New Year during the week that fell between March 25th and April 1st, had jokes played on them. Pranksters would surreptitiously stick paper fish to their backs. The victims of this prank were thus called Poisson d’Avril, or April Fish—which, to this day, remains the French term for April Fools—and so the tradition was born." [Ref: Museum of Hoaxes]

Children and young adults have loved  to play these first day of April jokes on people - sometimes all through the day - so you never know what is a joke and what is true.

I thought April Fool's Day would be a good day to share with all of you some titles of articles that I am thinking of writing.....it's up to you to decide if I'm telling the truth or giving the day its due and April fooling you.   Are  these  real Articles or April Fool's?

"How to Text a Message While Having Your Teeth Cleaned".

"How to Make Cell Phone Calls from Prison".

"Product Review of Foods that are Past their Expiration Dates".

"How to Secretly Give Your Depression Away to Someone Else".

"How to Make a Memorable Shopping Experience with a Very Small Child Who Didn't Have a Nap"."

"How to Fix Your Hair After Accidentally Spray-Starching It.".

"How to Get your Pet Skunk to Make Breakfast for you in the Morning".

"Assembling a Space Shuttle in your Backyard Shed".

"Places to Travel on Vacation From Where You May Never Return".

"Why Our Marriage Works Even Though we Live on Different Continents"

"How to Make a Nuclear Bomb From Things Around the House".

"How to Cheat at Bingo".

"DIY Medical/Surgical Procedures To Practice at Home".

"Sure-Fire Ways to Annoy or Aggravate your HOA"

"Book Review: "Plastic Surgery for Dummies"

"How to Invite  Liberals & Conservatives to a 'Share Feelings Quietly' meeting."

Marie Coppola Revised March 2018

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December 8th is observed in the Catholic church as the Immaculate Conception of Mary, the Mother of Jesus Christ.  The church teaches that this observance should not be confused with Christ's Virgin Birth.  It is the belief of the faithful that because of the fall of Adam and Eve, that each of us comes into the world born with original sin. The church teaches that this is true for all of us, except Mary, who from the grace and privilege of God is exempt from original sin and came into the world preserved and exemplified from any stain of sin.   She was conceived and born without original sin.

That is the meaning of the "Immaculate Conception" --- it is in observance of Mary's birth - that she was free from original sin at birth or conception.   The determination of this special grace was because God had selected her to become the mother of His sinless Son.  Although this was believed within the Church for many centuries, it was formally declared by Pope Pius IX in 1854.

The names of Mary's parents, Joachim and Anna, appear in the "Gospel of James", a book dating from the 2nd Century AD, not part of the authentic canon of Scripture.  According to this account, Joachim and Anna were also beyond the years of child-bearing, but prayed and fasted that God would grant their desire for a child.

Mary was a young girl, probably only about 12 or 13 years old when the angel Gabriel came to her.  She had recently become engaged to a carpenter named Joseph.  Mary was an ordinary Jewish girl, looking forward to marriage. Suddenly her life would forever be changed when she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit.

Her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to send her away.  But as he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins."  All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:  "Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel" (which means, God with us).' Ref: Woman of Faith & Family

The Holy Family, consisting of Jesus, his Mother, and his foster father, Joseph, was one of perfect unity and harmony; a model for all Christian homes.  Mary is the model of Christian and Muslim women as she surrendered her will to God when the Angel announced to her that she would become a mother.  Scripture tells us that Mary said:  "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word."   She acknowledged it would be done, according to God's Will.

Scripture does not reveal a great deal about Mary.  It does tell us about her journey and birth of her son, and her presence at his death. She was also with Jesus at his first miracle, the Wedding Cana, and at her request, Jesus turned water into wine.  It was common to drink wine at weddings inGalilee. At some point during the wedding reception they ran out of wine.

Mary was a guest accompanied by her son, Jesus, and told him this.  She encouraged Jesus to begin to show his power as the Son of God.  Although Jesus knew that it would be much later in his ministry before he would do his greatest work of salvation on the cross, yet, he chose to do his first miracle at this wedding. {John 1:1-11}.

It is for this reason, that Catholics pray to Mary for intercession through asking her, son, Jesus, to grant them special favors and intents.  Many pray to Mary to ask God for peace and intentions through the prayers of the rosary which are prayers to Mary to intercede for them.

Many people may be surprised that Muslims honor Mary, too ~ the mother of Jesus.  In the Quran, no woman is given more attention than Mary.  Mary receives the most attention of any woman mentioned in the Quran and of the Quran's 114 chapters, she is among the eight people who have a chapter named after them.

Muslims also believe in the Virgin birth of Jesus and Mary plays a very significant role in Islam. She is an example and a sign for all people as she is in the Catholic religion.  In the Quran, Mary's story begins while she is still in her mother's womb. The mother of Mary, said: "O my Lord! I do dedicate into Thee what is in my womb for Thy special service: So accept this of me: For Thou hearest and knowest all things." (Quran 3:35).

© Marie Coppola,  Revised December 2017

We aren't a nation adrift. We are a nation divided.

I read Mr. Lee H. Hamilton's articles of August 27 and September 3rd and would like to comment on them. Mr. Lawrence is a long-serviced, awarded Democrat from Indiana and served 1964 to 1999. Thank you for your service. You must have seen a lot of changes in the government and I am commenting on some of your statements below:

LHH - "I’ve lost track of the times over the years I’ve heard a politician say, 'This is the most important election of my lifetime.' In fact, I’ve said it myself. And I’m sure we all believed it at the time. But in my case, at least, I know I was wrong in the past. Because this year’s election is the most important of my lifetime."

MC - I concur.  This election will either bring us together or separate us as we have never before been separated.  We can remain a Constitutional democracy or become a socialistic country which as we have seen in history never works - for the people.

LHH - "Americans’ trust in the election process is at best unsettled. Many are worried about foreign meddling of the venerable absentee ballot, and who talks constantly about “corrupt” elections. or otherwise compromised”.

MC - I agree with corrupt or compromised  - I have friends who worked at elections and are aware that 'major mistakes' can and do happen.  They happened in past elections and setbacks have already materialized in some states.

The Democratic party under Nancy and Chuck, et al, wasted three and a half years of Trump's presidency by impeachment proceedings and so began the division of our country .The same time waste happened at the Justice's hearings.  As Chairman of House Foreign Affairs Committee from 1993 to 1995 you must have been aware of some of these allegations.

LHH - This is actually one of the remarkable things about the American political system — the degree to which Americans over the centuries have placed their faith in election results, win or lose.

MC - This wasn't true in the last election. Hillary Clinton's defeat is still reverberating through the Democratic party who still lament the outcome.   Our president and his many accomplishments and his timeless energy are appreciated by everyone except the progressive, liberal government folks. This has caused division by progressive liberals aligning themselves with the media - who chant the same opinionated lies from channel to channel. They are blatant and speak against him.  Americans are tired of this destructive bad attitude and many Democrats agree with this. We need to give the Sitting President - whomever they may be - a man or a woman - respect & manners. He's given us many pluses - more than most who have been in office - and he needs Dems to work with him and not against him.

LHH - "Now, it’s not uncommon to hear charges of voter fraud, but study after study has found that actual voter fraud in the US is rare. It’s possible in a city or town, but if you think about how our national elections are run — in 50 states, each with its own rules, and each locality controlling the electoral process — it’s hard to see how fraud could take place on any sizable scale."

MC - I, personally, have received numerous emails from a Progressive Democratic group saying that my post office has been shut down by Donald Trump and if I give $$ to the Democratic party, they would reinstate it. Our post office is intact and working. What do they do with the money? I have asked many times to take my name off their list - only our Lord knows where they got my (and others') addresses.  I did report this to the post office administrator.

It has been said that whichever 'side' wins in this coming election, there will be "war in the streets". This is added to the fears from gossip and lies that Trump is not a good leader in the virus pandemic - he gives updates consistently and tries to give us faith and not fear in what is happening. It is the media, reporters & fake news that has caused much of the disruptions that are taking place in our wonderful country - and so-called 'peaceful protesters' rioting, looting, taking down statues, burning life-long businesses, killing seniors and children blatantly - happening in Democratic-states - why? It doesn't change anything they are against - why do they want the police defunded? Trump didn't do this - he offers aid but is turned down by state officials, The Dems can bring up that he doesn't wear a mask but they never talk about our past history and cities being destroyed - why not? This is what the media tells us daily - death, lock-downs, riots, murders, and virus statistics which have been found and verified as incorrect. Trump aims to keep up spirits and lessen fears.

We need to bring our country together - not apart. We are a capitalistic democracy - we do not want a socialistic or communistic government.  We don't want to be added to the infanticide list.  Many of us worked long hours & sacrificed to buy a house in the suburbs - we don't want them taken away to replace them with high rise buildings which can promote damage & harm from rioters/protesters.  A socialist government will take away our freedom of life and speech.

Influenza pandemics occur very rarely; there have been four pandemics in the past 100 years.

The phrase "New Normal" is a phrase that is used in many psychological, life transformations or any situation that changes the old way you did things to the new ways - hence 'the new normal'.   In our church ministry, it is used in grief situations after the loss of a mate or loved one - and the mourner is advised to seek a 'new normal' environment to adjust to their loss.  It is a successful tool. 

Here we are in the 3rd month of trying to find a 'new normal' during this first for us - a pandemic.  Praise God that Influenza pandemics occur very rarely; there have been four pandemics in the past 100 years. 

Sometimes the 'new normal' of the one we are experiencing now feels like it's been here for 100 years.  Has life changed?  Has anyone's life not changed from the Guidelines we are given?   

We have masks, gloves and Clorox wipes in plastic bags in our cars & pocketbooks.  We avoid contact if we are to be in the company of others, especially if one happens to sneeze.   [Don't wipe your nose with the Clorox wipe.]   Churches were shut down and now open - there are brave ones who sit a pew apart and pray that no one coughs or sneezes.   There are televised church sessions that many attend.   The fear of actually acquiring this or Influenza pandemics occur rarely; and hence the yearnings for Old Normal arise.   Like haircuts and doctor visits.  And going where you want with whom and how many.  And so many more. 

If someone wants to drop something off, you kinda detective question where the person was - how old they are - and do they mask & glove?  How are they feeling?   Can I leave it on the doorstep - they can ring the bell?   How's everyone in the family - oh the kids just got home from Disney?  Well, we aren't available that day.

The younger generation thinks it's all over, what's the big deal about getting the flu & aren't you over-reaching your safety?   The senior generation stays 'put' and goes out only for emergencies such as eating - and they cross-examine anyone who enters their home.   I am not making fun - because I am in that senior category.   So much so, that I convinced my husband that he is capable of 'cutting my hair' which was growing down my back.  He did it very well and now he is my hairdresser.   Well, for a little while anyway.  The salons are re-opening.  So are other businesses.   It is so great to see neighborhood kids riding their bikes and waving again.  Life goes on.   

If you know me, you know that I am a hugger.  Alas. hugging is not in the New Normal.  I get it about the new handshake - It just isn't the same offering my elbow to their elbow.   It rejects the 6 foot distancing as hugging does.   There was a news item showing two women hugging who had on plastic shower curtains.  Imagine if this becomes a New Normal?   We would have to Clorox down the shower curtains many times.  And one size will fit all?   Now I fully understand what "The Good Old Days" means.   Please come back!

 

Marie Coppola  May 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Without much warning, we are encased in a situation that may cause disorder or death.   If we follow the critical guidelines handed down from our government administration to contain the situation, we may,  therefore - have less fatal consequences.

COVID-19 is disease caused by a coronavirus, a common virus that can cause what doctors call a respiratory tract infection. It can affect your upper respiratory tract (sinuses, nose, and throat) or lower respiratory tract (windpipe and lungs). Most coronaviruses aren’t dangerous.

In early 2020, following a December 2019 outbreak in China, the World Health Organization identified a new type of coronavirus. Officials named this new virus severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). This is the virus that causes COVID-19.

Droplets from coughing and sneezing and close human contact likely transmit the coronavirus. The respiratory droplets are probably absorbed into the body through the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose, and eyes. The virus is likely to remain active in the environment for several days.   How can it be transmitted?

This could be through:  Hugging and kissing
Sharing utensils for eating and drinking
Speaking to someone within a distance of 3 feet
Touching someone directly

A person with the virus can spread the infection by leaving respiratory droplets on objects, such as door handles, doorbells, and telephones. These are then picked up by someone else.

In our North Myrtle Beach area, there are many seniors who have always lived here and those that have retired here.   According to Prevention Magazine the majority of deaths from coronavirus have been in the elderly.   Dr. Adalja says. “Above age 50 is when you start to see more severe complications,” he explains, adding that older patients have a harder time recovering, similar to  the flu.  Common flu complications in high-risk groups include bronchitis and pneumonia, which have also been reported in patients with COVID-19.

During the initial outbreak of coronavirus-related deaths in Washington state, a majority of patients were residents of a nursing facility and over the age of 70.  People with underlying health conditions

How are younger adults dealing with COVID-19?
People in their 20s, 30s, and 40s seem to have a lower risk of novel coronavirus complications, Dr. Adalja says. “It’s very unlikely for young people to have severe cases,” but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen, Dr. Adalja says, especially if you have direct or frequent contact with the disease or an underlying condition.   What about the COVID-19 risk in children?   Unlike other respiratory viruses like the flu, COVID-19 has not been severely impacting children in the United States, Dr. Adalja says. “It’s not that it’s impossible,” he explains, “but we haven’t seen it yet.”

With all these factors, much rhetoric is heard in the media about our country becoming under a dictatorial government trying to over- control  our lives  OR praising the government for the steps they are taking to protect us.   Arguing and pointing fingers at each other will not stop this virus.   It is time we came together and fight  this health hazard together.

It could get worse - it has in Italy.   We have friends there and it is a complete shutdown.  They don't have medical facilities as we do.  The people in the country can go outdoors, but the people who live in the village where homes are connected together, cannot leave their homes unless they obtain a permit from the government to do so.  They cannot go to piazza uptown to gather with friends.   The solitude is quite evident.   I found a video of their quiet streets with no one outside but then some Italians came out on their balconies and sang some beautiful tenor songs to break the silence.  It was emotional to see and hear them.   But they are making the best of what they have.  It is improving.

We need to do the same.  We need to follow the guidelines that are set forth - and not complain and bellyache that we can't do what we want to do.   It is for our best and especially for the seniors among us.  Lots of them.  Italy's death rate is high due to their high senior age population.

We started earlier with guidelines and hope to save lives with them.  Common sense, following the guidelines and praying can do a lot - for you and the grandmas & grandpas in your life.

Marie Coppola  March 2020

 

 

 

 

 

It's interesting that seniors can't immediately remember everyone's name or face at times, but have no problems drifting back through years of memories in detail.

I vividly remember that at age 4, my parents (probably needing a break from their parenting  of 5 children) signed me up for kindergarten earlier than the final registration date they should have.  I was off by 8 months (too young by public school age standards).   As a result, I spent 2 years in kindergarten.  This was good and bad.   Bad because the kids never let me forget it up to 6th grade until we went to junior high.  They said things like "You stayed back in kindergarten."  But, it was good because I had kindergarten (K) nailed down in my 2nd year and knew all the procedures and was 'picked' daily by Mrs. Hayes, our beloved teacher to 'help' her in lessons and activities.  Everyone thought I was her "pet" but I just knew the program.

One of the 'chores' Mrs. Hayes gave to me was to sing  solo - "Silent Night" at the Family Christmas Party.  I didn't know the words and my 4 years older sister spent much time teaching them to me.   She did a good job and I wish she could have taught me how to carry a tune, but knowing the words were enough.   My mother was especially thrilled at this and bought me a pink linen lace-trimmed dress and new patent leather shoes AND a golden heart locket (for good luck).   And...my father came to the Christmas party!  He was a hard-working man for his family of 7 and he rarely missed work.

I wasn't overly nervous about doing this; my sister taught me well and I remembered we did the same program the Christmas before.  Just with different kids.    I remember I was a little worried because I felt a cold coming on --my annual colds were usually around Thanksgiving or Christmas complete with the runny nose, the stuffed up feeling and worst of all -- The Cough.

Sure enough, I did break out in my annual cold the day before the program.   I practiced singing the song in between coughs (I held my breath longer to control it).   I told my sister I was afraid I would cough and she said "No, you won't" - and I believed everything she told me -- still do.

I sang the song well - took the holding breaths in between - didn't cough once and saw my Mom & Dad clapping with smiles.

The topper of that day was that Mrs. Hayes told me the day before the program that right after I sang, the next act -- the 'K band' -- consisting of tambourines, piano and triangle  played by members of the K class  would play Jingle Bells - each of them would do a "solo" when pointed to.   Mrs, Hayes put me right next to her piano and when she whispered the instrument I was to conduct them and wave the baton and just point to them as she whispered.    One can't lose doing this bandleader act.   My mother was astounded - she hugged me afterwards and said, "I didn't know you would lead the band!"   (A puppy could learn to do this.)

When I think of this at my age now, I am so grateful that I lived at a time when a public school of all different races & religions sang Silent Night together for a Christmas play.  Would that happen today before someone got offended by it?    I won't go into what the kindergarten kids are being taught today - things way before their time that are not necessary and/or should be taught by their parents.

I'm happy with my memory of that day and pray that our children and grandchildren grow up with similar memories.

Marie Coppola © December 2019

 

 

 

We all love hand-made personalized gifts.  They are very special and one of a kind.  We think of the giver every time we use them or see them.

My personal favorite is to make a memory book for children or grandchildren.   You can buy some really nice memory scrapbooks for $10 or less; make sure it is a nice sturdy one.

When our family all relocated around the same time, I found tons of old report cards, school pictures, mementos, certificates and cards that I had saved in the attic.   When each family member packed things up, no one wanted the ‘junk’ as they called it. I couldn't leave all these cherished memories, and put everything in one big box and moved it with me.  After the move, I went through the ‘junk’ box, which were really family memories of the kids’ growth and accomplishments.  I sorted them into 3 piles, one for son and one for daughter–and one for combined memories of their formative years (grandparents, parents, pets, house pictures, etc.)  I recopied some of them to a smaller size so the book would not be so voluminous!   The whole project took me 3 months and I worked on it a little each day: I have to say I looked forward to creating it each day, reliving those memories.  I made each book differently.

• In the beginning of each book, there were pictures of grandparents & parents weddings, dates, pictures, and houses. I brought the pictures I wanted to use to a store to copy them or you can copy them at home if your copier does a good job.  It might cost about the same.

• Both books had the same beginnings of history until it came to the part when each was born.

• The next portion was of their own history from my pregnancy to birth including photos. Then their school years.  I selected specific award letters, or special reports or school activities about each one and copied and reduced them so I could fit many in places on the pages.

• I copied quotes and special readings from the internet or scriptures and pasted them alongside pictures and events and awards.

• Each portion of ‘personal’ notes were for each book & them personally.

• The last section was ‘where they were now’ and included degrees, special interests, new houses, new babies, etc.

It helped my own project that I sent a book to my sister because it was fun to do and for her to make one for her daughter. She and I shared this memory-lane project and she found pictures I didn’t have and vice versa. I was able to discard the ‘junk’ box once I had copied and pasted all the memories in the book.

Although I knew both my son and daughter would enjoy receiving this ‘memory’ and collection of family pictures, I had no idea how revered and special it would become to them. They showcase them and take these books out all the time to look at old pictures–aunts and uncles and old cars and houses we lived in.

The last gift selection is not a DIY, but a gift idea. Hand-made items such as needlepoint and yes, they are special gifts from the heart and hands, and cherished. I do not do needlepoint, crochet or knit. What I do, is attend our own as well as other church craft fairs where neighbors and or friends portray their handiwork for sale at most reasonable prices. I have purchased a hand-knit sweater ($8.00) and a matching shawl ($8.00); hand-knit bags ($10.00) and many other lovely scarves, aprons, baby clothes, blankets, home and holiday gifts for $10 and under. Don’t pass by church craft sales – stop and shop; they are one of a kind and professionally hand-made. These ladies know their trade.  Happy gifting!

© Marie Coppola Revised November 2019

 

 
 


If you are having little success looking for a job, you may consider volunteering. Whether you are unemployed, looking for a career change, are a recent college graduate or transitioning back into the workplace, this can work out well for you for many reasons.

Besides learning new skills and/or investigating what field you have the most interest in, volunteering enables you to test a job environment without a long-term commitment.

Volunteering provides a benefit also found also in temporary assignments -- it is a way to 'test the waters' of a career choice. It also gives you a head's up on the organization's job openings. You learn how the organization is run, what the employees and managment are like and if you would be comfortable working there.  I worked at a temp agency that  placed me in a job where I was offered employment -- for 25 years.

If your work ethic is a good one and you have performed your volunteer job tasks successfully, you may be considered as a prime candidate to fit an upcoming position. Many people began successful careers as volunteers. Your age or experience won't matter as much as how you get the work accomplished. And your performance 'on the job' is your best resume.

You, as a volunteer, can find out first-hand about the organization's mission, which is usually a nonprofit entity. Search for one that you would like to work for - especially one you have an interest in or passion in what they accomplish. In "Excuse Me, Your Job is Waiting: Attract the Work you Want", it is said, "It's a passion that sends out good vibrations. When somebody is passionate about what they are doing, they are doing their best. The people around them see them at their best and want to work with them.....and come to mind when a paying job is available."

If your passion runs super high and you 'really want a job there' be careful not to press too much. Repeated reminders to the staff about how important it is to 'work a real job' and make countless inquires into what's available is a turn-off and you may not be considered for a job there if one does come up.

Some opportunities can arise if you volunteer one, two, three times a week or even one day a month.  There are temporary agencies who can even give you a good reference and you will get paid, too!   Even if you don't get the job where you volunteer, you can investigate a new field, add new skills to your portfolio as well as acquire valuable networking contacts that may help your job search. If you did your best as if it were a paying job, you can procure an excellent letter of recommendation.

Marie Coppola October 2019     Ref: Quintessential Careers: Sharon Reed


Using Ancient Wisdom for Visionary Leadership 

Many books have been written about good examples of leadership. The book, Jesus, CEO; Using Ancient Wisdom for Visionary Leadership by Laurie Beth Jones is well-written, and a highly useful example of the characteristics of biblically-based leadership applicable to our management world today. Her book brings together the hard and soft skills of love, inspiration and good will into any organization's leaders or team leaders.

A preface in the introduction of this book states: "One person trained twelve human beings who went on to so influence the world that time itself is recorded as being before (B.C.) or after (A.D.) his existence.

 

This person worked with a staff that was totally human and not divine...a staff that in spite of illiteracy, questionable backgrounds, fractious feelings, and momentary cowardice went on to accomplish the tasks he trained them to do. They did this for one main reason - to be with him again.

His leadership style was intended to be put to use by any of us." Much can be learned from Jesus’ visionary leadership style today as much as it was 2000 years ago.

The author, a successful businesswoman, believes that Jesus' management style incorporates the best of masculine and feminine leadership styles, by harnessing spiritual energy, so that both males and females can become empowered leaders. She explains that this can be done by using three categories of strengths: 1] the strength of self-mastery; 2] the strength of action and 3] the strength of relationships.

The chapters are easily read and translate the process by which Jesus performed the above categories of strengths. Some of the chapter titles are self-explanatory and to the point of each chapter.

Self-Mastery

His Statements are What he Becomes

He Kept in Constant Contact with his Boss

He Stuck to his Mission

He Believed in Himself

He Guarded his Energy

He did not Waste Time Judging Others

He had a Passionate Commitment to the Cause

He Worked through his Fears

Strength of Action

He took Action

He had a Plan; He formed a Team

He Broke Ranks; He Came from Left Field and Branched Out

He Trained his Replacements

Strength of Relationships

He Clearly Defined their Work-related Benefits

He Treated them as Equals

He Held them Accountable

He Set an Example for Them

He Looked out for the Little Guys; He Served Them; Defended Them and Gave Them Authority

He Loved Them to the End

This book is described as a must-read for college business courses. It exhibits the core competencies of training and soft skills.

© Marie Coppola   Revised October 2019

Many folks retire to our southern states and South Carolina is one of them.   Our demographics show that we have many seniors in our area.  Seniors can bring a wealth of ideas and  experience, as well as  time and efforts towards a community.

One thing seniors have in common that is in their future: one of them will lose their life-long partner.  It is a joy to share our golden years with someone we have been together with for decades.   Suddenly being without them makes one not function as they did at their pre-loss capacity.   But you can take steps to ensure your life doesn't fall apart while you are in the midst of it.

Grief is a complex situation.  And when you are in the throes of it, one may find it difficult to do almost anything else.   Many people just want the pain to end but are convinced it never will.   Reaching out to others and accepting support is often difficult when you are hurting so much.  It's best to seek those persons who will 'walk with", not "in front of" or 'behind" you in your journey with grief.

There is a free grief program called Grief Share where the members will walk 'with you'.   We have many such groups in our area - you can find one online at www.griefshare.org   Put in your zip code and you will find these wonderful programs that are mostly held in our church communities.   They are offered free to the whole community and are Biblically-based  concepts  to cope with grief ; they are nondenominational.  GriefShare addresses the loss of spouses, children, family members and close friends.  The program right now is not designed for divorces or pets.   All faiths  and atheists are invited.

The program consists of 13 sessions [one day a week for 13 weeks].  Each session consists of a video seminar featuring  grief recovery experts.   A small support group discussion follows.  There is a workbook journal & exercises for each session.  Workbooks cost $15 - the only cost to you and you don't have to purchase it.

The atmosphere is friendly and supportive.   It is a 'safe environment' where confidentiality and bonds are formed.

Often,  friends and family want to help you but don't know how.  That's the reason Grief Share was formed.   The groups are led by caring people who have experienced grief and have successfully rebuilt their lives.    We understand how you feel because we've been in the same place.  We will walk with you on the long path of grief toward healing and hope for the future.   Our groups in SC are part of a network of 12,000+ churches worldwide that offer GriefShare support issues.

Many new bonds and friendships are formed at the meeting; healing results from shared experiences and ways to cope with one's loss.

But you will have begun the process.  And the only way forward is to put one step in front of the other.   GriefShare helps to do that.   This newspaper and church notices/bulletins will announce when these sessions will take place.

Marie Coppola    October 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are times in life when a good friend, a family member or even a mate can hurt your feelings by mistake, on purpose or thoughtlessness.   Sometimes their bad behavior could be spiteful, selfish, or just being in a mean mood.   On the high end, someone could have personality disorders, drug interactions or just plain retaliation or 'place in family'.   In today's world, it could be interactions about political issues.   You might take time off from these challenges of differences, or say you are finished with this person(s)  and even hold a grudge.

I read recently that forgiveness is important in one's life.   Actually, it is good for you.  On a health note, forgiving someone can improve your cholesterol levels, make you sleep better, reduce your risk of heart attack, lower your blood pressure and improve your relationships.   On the dark side if you hold onto that grudge & anger, you can have heart problems, raise cholesterol, boost hypertension and even lead to depression and more stress.

A University of Michigan School of Medicine recent study showed that 2,000 middle-aged men showed that those who dealt with their anger had half as many strokes over a 7-year period as those who didn't deal with their anger.   How did they do that?

Forgiveness helps you take control again; it doesn't mean you aren't expected to trust the hurtful person or even continue your relationship with them.

But you can try some 'Forgiveness Strategies' that help you manage your anger & hurt.

  1.  Reframe the situation in a different light:  Don't dwell on why the hurt was done to you but rather ask yourself "Why am I letting this hurt me?"  And try to stop  going over and over the initial hurt.

2.  Give yourself time to come to grips with the hurt.   Feeling the hurt allows healing to take place.   It will feel like one step forward and one step back but take that one step forward & try not to go back.

3.  Ask yourself questions as you would to a friend..."Did you play a part in the hurt situation or was the other person wrong?'  Is there another side to look at?   What would or could you have done differently?  If you can't 'see  it', ask a friend valued d or a fair family member for their feedback.

4.  Did the other person involved have any idea what they did and how much it hurt you?   Could it possibly have been a misunderstanding?

5.  When remembering the incident makes you feel hurt again, focus on all the good things in life that you enjoy and neutralize the bad feeling.

6.  I am adding one of my own ways to neutralize hurt.   Pray for the person who hurt you and ask God to forgive them as He forgives us.   It is somewhat difficult at first to pray for one who has hurt you but it becomes easier and the bad feelings do go away.   Prayer works.

Some thoughts to ponder:  Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years and chose to forgive his captors.

In 1981, Pope John Paul II was crossing St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City when an attempt was made on his life.  Two bullets struck the pope in his lower intestine, one in his right arm and one in his left index finger.  The Pope met and publicly forgave the would-be assassin.

Jesus, dying on the cross after mistreatment, severe scourging, beatings & whippings,  said the prayer, "Forgive them, Father; they know not what they do".

In a book by Mark Miller, he states that the people who did best in tragic relationships were those who found "forgiving was a way to restore balance and peace in their own lives even if they did not condone the misdeeds."

Sometimes the person who is hardest to forgive is oneself.   Forgiveness helps you to take control again of your feelings.  Give the hurt to God and don't take it back.

Marie Coppola September 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you sit more than you stand or exercise?  In these technological times, many hours are spent sitting in front of a computer or tablet.   You probably sit at your desk answering emails, paying bills, or going on media news or Hollywood news to see who did what to whomever.

We order clothes and gifts online and send greeting cards online.  We even do our social life online – checking out 450 friends on Facebook or Instagram.   There's many social aspects online;  connect with old friends, reminisce and/or get reacquainted, make new ‘friends’, catching  up on personal messages and post pictures of your mates and kids and compare your photos to others' selfies.  People complain that Facebook has taken over their lives but  considering how popular it is, it is a choice they choose.  And we  sit and sit and take it all in.    When you are done, you may spend more time sitting  with  other PC-related video games and enough apps to keep you busy trying them all.

Add our cell phones to the above and we sit again - even if in groups or at the dinner table - with cell phones in everyone's hands and typing away in conversations while humans are next to you typing away in conversations, too.   You could talk to those next to you, but they are busy in their own world just as you are.   You get tired of sitting so much at the computer, so you put on the TV and sit some more.

These folks’ are living what are called 'sedentary lifestyles’.

A sedentary lifestyle is a medical term used to denote a type of lifestyle with a lack of physical exercise.  We have morphed into a society that spends many hours sitting down.   Being sedentary makes you more susceptible to diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity and other health conditions such as high blood pressure, COPD and more .   Surprisingly, all this inactivity also makes you tired, sluggish, and mentally inactive.   You need to move around, get your circulation going and rev up your metabolism.   If it’s raining, go to a mall and walk – not shop.

It’s even more important for youngsters to get fresh air and get outside – not spend hours with video games or their cells.   Get them interested in a sport program; it is an all-rounded plus.

How much time do you spend living your life sitting down ?

Do you exercise regularly?   Do you walk at least 20 minutes to a half hour every day as cardio doctors always suggest?   Why not make exercise a part-time job that you do at home?

It is habit forming and more effective if you ‘report’ to your part-time  'job’ the same time everyday.   Tell friends and family that you took on a part-time job every day from 11:00 pm to noon or whenever is convenient to ‘do the job’.   It may be that there is an exercise program on TV that you can work out with. If not, put on your sneakers and go for a walk or dance to your favorite music.   You may even lose some poundage.

Besides exercising,  it’s important everyday to get up from your chair, stretch and walk around for a few minutes – even if it is to get a glass of water.   Don’t leave water by your desk; get up and get a drink.   Exercise your eyes by rolling them from side to side and look out the window at a distance since you have been working close up and in a glare.   If you have stairs inside or outside - use them - they are a good exercise.  After using your legs,   you’ll feel better and can continue  to use those legs to go outside, get the mail and take time to smell the roses.   Pick some.   Walk down the street and give them to a neighbor.  You don't have to stop and chat - look like you are busy and going somewhere In a hurry.   You are.  You are in a hurry to improve your health.

Get up and shake your booty.  Walk or exercise – it will make you feel better and can be a life-saver.

Marie Coppola  September 2019