Jeannie ~ My Wake-Up Angel

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.

 

 

 

Older Workers – a Plus at Work

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be Still and Know God

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This past week, I was reminded by three different sources to be still and know God.  I consider this a Godwink so I will pass this important message on.  God talks to us in Psalm 46:10 and says, “Be Still and Know That I am God”.  How often do we sit still?  We have cell phones, IPods &  Androids vying for our attention.   The TV is constantly on – so is the fax machine and the computer.  Company is coming. have to pick up the grandkids later and someone’s beeping to chat with you on Skype.   Lots of noises going on …..How do we get ‘still’?

We say “Hey, we’re busy…who has time to sit still?”

Let’s look at Jesus.  Even in his busy ministry he got still…with God.  He would go out alone in the desert. He would pray and be still with God.  Doing so, he was refreshed and renewed.

Anyone can get refreshed and renewed with God.  It is important to be still and know that He Is God. You might say, “I’m way too busy to do that” or “God doesn’t value me” or “I’m simply not religious”. If you want to know God, you have to make some time for Him just like you do for your family, your kids, your dog, your job, technology and everything else that’s on your plate.   Knowing God will give you extra strength and wisdom to do the things you do and even do things a little differently.  And it will give you benefits you can’t get anywhere else. They’re guaranteed.   “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”  Jeremiah 29:13]

Some say, “I don’t know what to say to God”.   God made you and He knows all about you already. Just talk to Him in plain language.  You don’t have to use thys, thees and thous.  He’ll be happy just to hear from you. And he will change your life. This is not a wish. This is a fact. You will become aware of life in a way different from how you are living it now.  if you start speaking to God, you will add joy, love, kindness, forgiveness and acceptance of who you and others are. He made you and loves you no matter what you are, say or have done.  Who else can you say that about?   Jesus will become your best friend.   Who will never forsake you.

Try it. Go alone into a quiet room, shut the door and turn off all technology.  Be still and focus on Him alone and not the things you have listed to do that day.   You may start by thanking him for all the good things in life He has given you — yes, there are far more than the problems you are facing which overshadow them.  Get to really know God.   Listen in silence to what you may hear or think about.  When you are quiet, you will open your heart and soul to Him. 

God tells us through His Words,  “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”    It will change your life.  Not only is it guaranteed;  the warranty will last forever.

Marie Coppola © Revised July 2017.

Caution: Prescription Drugs Can Kill You

Prescription drugs can help sufferers of medical problems by alleviating their symptoms of chronic pain. But the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has come out and advised that addiction to prescription painkillers has become an undisclosed epidemic — and it kills thousands of Americans each year.

This alarming news which include morphine and codeine has actually tripled.   Deaths from overdoses used to occur from illegal drugs like heroin and cocaine but now prescription painkillers have taken the lead. There are as many reported deaths in country areas as there are in cities. Over 100,000 Americans a year are taken to emergency rooms with overdose issues.

Americans are abusing painkillers and they are not hard to obtain. As Americans get more sedentary and have obesity problems, they are experiencing more back pain and damage to their joints and are in chronic pain. They seek out something to dull the pain and turn to painkillers. Doctors are prescribing relief from pain in the form of pain pills to about five percent of Americans in a months’ time. Use of pain pills can cause a feeling of well being and patients on them tend to abuse them and depend on even after the original pain they were taking them for – has disappeared. Patients mistakenly feel that because a doctor has prescribed these pills, that they are ‘safe’ to take and don’t realize the danger when they increase the dosages on their own.

When the prescription refill expires, users go to other or new doctors for new prescriptions, or ask friends or family members to share theirs or go on the internet to find them or can even find them on the street. Although some states have databases which track who takes what drugs, they do not yet share that information with other states. People will cross state lines to get the drugs they can’t get in their own state.

Problems begin when a person in pain does not find relief in the prescribed amount. They take extra pills to overcome that pain and become psychologically dependent or addicted to the higher amount. In the prescribed amount, the pills are safe to take, but higher doses can cause a person to stop breathing. An even bigger problem to one’s health and can be fatal to the user is when they combine this higher dosages with other drugs they may be taking or taking them with alcohol – both of which increase the risk of overdose and death.

Doctors are advising that persons with chronic pain combine an anti-inflammatory drug and/or muscle relaxant and other methods such as patches or injections. The focus should be on being functional without increase in dosages and pain management awareness that they may always have some level of pain.

From 2000 to 2014 nearly half a million Americans died from drug overdoses. Opioid overdose deaths, including both opioid pain relievers and heroin, hit record levels in 2014, with an alarming 14 percent increase in just one year, according to data published in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Report.

The most commonly prescribed opioid pain relievers, those classified as natural or semi-synthetic opioids such as oxycodone and hydrocodone, continue to be involved in more overdose deaths than any other opioid type. These deaths increased by 9 percent (813 more deaths in 2014 than 2013).  Increases in prescription opioid pain reliever and heroin deaths are the biggest driver of the drug overdose epidemic. Deaths from heroin increased in continuing a sharp rise that has seen heroin overdoses triple sincel 2010. Deaths involving illicitly made fentanyl, a potent opioid often added to or sold as heroin, also are on the upswing.

“The increasing number of deaths from opioid overdose is alarming,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “The opioid epidemic is devastating American families and communities. To curb these trends and save lives, we must help prevent addiction and provide support and treatment to those who suffer from opioid use disorders. This report also shows how important it is that law enforcement intensify efforts to reduce the availability of heroin, illegal fentanyl, and other illegal opioids.”

Here are the facts:  Drug overdose deaths are up in both men and women, in non-Hispanic whites and blacks, and in adults of nearly all ages. Rates of drug overdose deaths were highest among five states: West Virginia, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Kentucky, and Ohio.The findings show that two distinct but intertwined trends are driving America’s overdose epidemic: a 15-year increase in deaths from prescription opioid pain reliever overdoses as a result of misuse and abuse, and a recent surge in illicit drug overdoses driven mainly by heroin.

More than six out of 10 drug overdose deaths involved opioids, including opioid pain relievers and heroin. The largest increase in opioid overdose deaths involved synthetic opioids (not including methadone), which were involved in 5,500 deaths in 2014, nearly twice as many as the year before. Many of these overdoses are believed to involve illicitly-made fentanyl, a short-acting opioid. In addition, heroin-related death rates increased 26 percent from 2013–2014, totaling 10,574 deaths in 2014. Past misuse of prescription opioids is the strongest risk factor for heroin initiation and use—especially among people who became dependent upon or abused prescription opioids in the past year. The increased availability of heroin, its relatively low price (compared to prescription opioids), and high purity appear to be major drivers of the upward trend in heroin use, overdoses, and deaths.

How to stop the epidemic:  The new findings point to four ways to prevent overdose deaths:

Limit initiation into opioid misuse and addiction. Opioid pain reliever prescribing has quadrupled since 1999. Providing health care professionals with additional tools and information—including safer guidelines for prescribing these drugs—can help them make more informed prescribing decisions.

Expand access to evidence-based substance use disorder treatment—including Medication-Assisted Treatment—for people who suffer from opioid use disorder.

Protect people with opioid use disorder by expanding access and use of naloxone—a critical drug that can reverse the symptoms of an opioid overdose and save lives.

State and local public health agencies, medical examiners and coroners, and law enforcement agencies must work together to improve detection of and response to illicit opioid overdose outbreaks to address this emerging threat to public health and safety.

CDC works with states, communities, and prescribers to prevent opioid misuse and overdose by tracking and monitoring the epidemic and helping states scale up effective programs. CDC also improves patient safety by equipping health care providers with data, tools, and guidance so they can make informed treatment decisions. Learn more at www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose.

The Bear Facts if You Encounter One

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

Surviving the Holidays – GriefShare

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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” seminar on Sunday,  November 5th, 2017 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.

Lice Alert Compilation of Tips & Facts

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).

 

A Baby’s Thoughts from the Womb

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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

“I’m Pregnant…Help!”– 20 Tips for Facing It.

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 birth control, condoms, the IUD, or something else. 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 Google. Learn what the heck is happening inside your body! Google 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 Google, 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 give a $#%@ 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

A Lousy Cop speaks out – Anonymous

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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

Crossing Paths with Other Religions

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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 of a single one of these faiths.”  These three faiths are all monotheistic: meaning the belief that there is one and only one God.

My own personal ecumenical experiences revolve around Christianity and Judaism.   I was born and raised in the Catholic faith and experienced the traditional Sacraments.   The Catholic Church has changed little in formation and dogma, yet it has evolved into a more humanistic and personal faith religion over the years.  I embrace this very beautiful religion which is centered around Jesus and the Eucharist, and 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 and attend a Presbyterian Bible Summer School. My parents agreed I could go and I was introduced to the additional concept that Jesus was 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. Left alone, 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 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 screens 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 work 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 name of the songs sung, but I knew from my ‘ecumenical sharings ’ when they broke into “Lord I Lift Your Name on High”, I joined in loud and clear. 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 engaging in seminar objectives – a shared 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 one woman – Mary, the mother of Jesus, and devotes a full chapter of their Koran to her.

I never see the differences in these folks and their faiths; I only see the sameness we have in loving God, expressing that Love and sharing our different ways to live it.

 

© Marie Coppola, 2009, updated February, 2016; some rights reserved.

 

The World Makes its Own Violence

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; and the president and 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”.

Things changed during the 60s and 70s by the Beatles, 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.   Our president, who was indoctrinated in Indonesian schools never said the Pledge of Allegiance to America or sang the Star Spangled Banner.  Over years, our culture changed.

Today, Hollywood has evolved from “disgraceful” pelvic motions to nudity, progressive lifestyles, profanity and easily accessible porn.  Legalizing same-sex marriage and transgenders.  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 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 we are allowing people to end their own lives.

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 speal 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.   Even our 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?   We are our own mapmakers of our destinies.   Where’s our voices?

Marie Coppola. Revised August 2016

 

 

What’s Wrong with This Picture?

 

Picture?   What picture?  If you are referring to photographs, I wonder if you’ve received any pictures of babies, nieces, nephews or grandkids lately.  Or did you get an email with attachments that you leave on your computer or cell phone?   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?  Or do you hear things like this – especially from the grandparents who may not be resident ‘digital natives’ from the Z Generation?

  • This is my grandsom when he was 10 – 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.
  • 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 and will have to learn all over again.

In 2012, USA Today sponsored an online contest for readers to choose the name of the next generation after the Millenniums and it was suggested that some might call them Generation Z” rather “off-putting” and a name that is “still in-the-running.   Some alternate names were proposed including: iGeneration, Gen Tech, Gen Wii, Net Gen, Digital Natives, Gen Next, Post Gen, and Plurals. 

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 7 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 the people 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.

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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.

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Marie Coppola Revised October 2016

Tuition Reimbursement at Work is a Bonus

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

How Do You Disown Someone?

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 never told me He would 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.  

Of special interest to me – 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 is ‘just like you”.    And isn’t that daughter you complain about having one abortion after another because you once did and are pro-abortion?  What about that sister you don’t talk to because she’s married 3 times just like you are? 

So…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 divorce him.  If your child sits around playing video games at age 20 and doesn’t work, 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 photo-taking. If something doesn’t fit well with us – chuck it or disown it.  (*I need to add that there are some 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 to others.  Try turning the other cheek – it’s so much more beneficial to your stress and health.

Marie Coppola© Revised March 2017

A Spoof on Social Media Sites – “Frackbook”


 

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

 



Do You Have a Guardian Angel?

 

The most memorable angel in the movies is the Christmas classic, ‘It’s a Wonderful Life where Jimmy Stewart plays George Bailey in the fictional town of Bedford Falls shortly after World War II – a man whose imminent suicide on Christmas Eve gains the attention of his guardian angel, Clarence, who is sent to help him in his hour of need. ‘And whenever an angel gets his wings, a bell rings.’ A great movie.

I’ve always believed that we all had guardian angels; angels who protect us from that close call while driving; or making us aware of things that could be harmful to us or simply keeping us from doing wrong.

The Bible mentions angels frequently. Angels are mentioned at least 108 times in the Old Testament and 165 times in the New Testament.   Only two angels–Michael and Gabriel–are mentioned by name in Scripture. These two names are masculine in gender.

According to the Bible, however, angels are spiritual (not physical) beings. Although they can take on human form or appearance (as they do at times in Scripture), they do not have physical bodies like humans and so are neither “male” nor “female” in gender. Angels are essentially “ministering spirits”.  Jesus declared that “a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have”.

The English word “angel” comes from the Greek ‘angelos’, which means ‘messenger’. The Bible tells us an angel is a pure spirit created by God and although the word “angel” in the Bible, meaning a messenger, nearly always applies to heavenly beings, it can occasionally apply to human messengers.

In the Old Testament, there is mention of belief in angels: the name is applied to certain spiritual beings or intelligences of heavenly residence that were employed by God as the ministers of His will. These ministers or messengers carried out His requests, and special commissions, regarding men and ordinary matters. There is no special teaching in the Old Testament; but the doctrine is expressly laid down in Maccabees. However, in the New Testament the doctrine is precisely stated. Angels are everywhere — the intermediaries between God and man; and Jesus set a seal upon the Old Testament teaching: “See that you despise not one of these little ones: for I say to you, that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father who is in heaven”. Matthew 18:10.

It also tell us in the doctrine : ‘even little children have guardian angels, and these same angels are within the vision of God and they have a mission to fulfill on earth.’ There are a whole range of spirits whom God has created, including both good and evil angels, and special categories such as cherubim, seraphim, and the archangel. We are familiar with archangels Gabriel and Michael.

Although the Scriptures give us no indication of the precise time of the creation of angels; their existence is assumed at the earliest times. While the Scriptures themselves give no definite figures, we are told that the number of angels is very great (Daniel, Matthew & Hebrews.) There are many places in the New Testament that allude to ministering of angels: Gabriel announcing the good news of Jesus to Mary; the angel in the Garden of Gethsemane ministering to Jesus; and the angel who delivered St. Peter from prison. They are sometimes in the form of men and their purpose is very meaningful.

Angels in the Bible never appear as cute, chubby infants! They are always full-grown adults. When people in the Bible saw an angel, their typical response was to fall on their faces in fear and awe. Some Bible passages picture angels with wings. Other verses talk about angels flying, and we assume that the wings would be useful for that flight. But others say that angels may be able to move around without having to depend on wings, somewhat like clouds do. Most references to angels in Scripture say nothing about angels having wings and yet, Daniel and John both refer to angels as ‘flying’ by.

Our Lord often spoke of angels; in the New Testament – and because of this, the Church teaches that everyone has a guardian angel based on references to them throughout the Bible. “That every individual soul has a guardian angel has never been defined by the Church, and is, consequently, not an article of faith; but it is the “mind of the Church”, as St. Jerome expressed it “how great the dignity of the soul since each one has from his birth an angel commissioned to guard it.” (Comm. in Matt., xviii, lib. II). “No evil shall befall you, nor shall affliction come near your tent, for to His Angels God has given command about you, that they guard you in all your ways. Upon their hands they will bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.” “For he hath given his angels charge over thee; to keep thee in all thy ways.”

Some of the activities done by angels are: Worship and praise – This is the main activity portrayed in heaven. Revealing – They serve as messengers to communicate God’s will to men. They helped reveal the law to Moses and were carriers of much of the material in Daniel and Revelations. Instructing – Angels gave instructions to Joseph about the birth of Jesus, to the women at the tomb, to Phillip and to Cornelius. Providing – God has used angels to provide physical needs such as food for Hagar, Elijah and Christ after His temptation. Protecting – Keeping God’s people out of physical danger, as in the cases of Daniel and the lions and in the fiery furnace. Getting God’s people out of danger once they’re in it. Angels released the apostles from prison. And don’t forget – we all have one protecting us – that’s lots of angels. Strengthening and encouraging – Angels strengthened Jesus after his temptation and encouraged the apostles to keep preaching after releasing them from prison and gave Paul information about his shipwreck. Answering prayers – God often uses angels as His means of answering the prayers of His people. Caring for believers at the moment of death – In the story of Lazarus and the rich man, we read that angels carried the spirit of Lazarus to “Abraham’s bosom” when he died.

So – “Do you believe you have a Guardian Angel?” I know I do. I can be very klutzy and he or she has prevented a lot of mishaps in my life! I use to say ‘Wow, that was lucky’ and now I say thanks to my angel and to God for providing him. For those of you who do believe there is a spirit out there watching over you and protecting you from most things, I found this little prayer…. A Prayer to the Guardian Angels My good Angel, You come from heaven; God has sent you to take care of me. Oh, shelter me under your wings. Lighten my path, and direct my steps. Do not leave me, stay quite near me and defend me against the spirit of evil. But above all come to my help in the last struggle of my life. Amen

Marie Coppola Revised March 2017

Re-Gifting or Shopping in Our Own Closets

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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

 

Sukkot – The Jewish Precursor of Thanksgiving

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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April Fool’s Day Started in France

 

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 love 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.

Here is a partial list of the article titles — are they real or April Fool’s?

“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”

“The Secret to Making a So-So Fruitcake for your In-laws for the holidays out of Luau Leftovers.”

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

“Why Capricorns and Leos Do NOT get along and WILL NEVER get along and Why It’s ALWAYs Leo’s Fault”.

“Delicious Cheesecake Recipe without adding any kind of Cheese, Sugar, Milk or Cream”

“How to Get your Pet Skunk to Make Breakfast for you in the Morning”

“Assembling a Space Shuttle in your Backyard Shed”

“Great Exercises for Under-developed Pinkies While Watching a Football Game”

“Unhealthy Foods and Why They Taste So Good and How to Get Them All Out of Your Fridge and Hide Them.”

“DIY High-Stye Hair Cutting Instructions for Beginners”

“How to Make a Convincingly Desperate Hair Salon Appointment”

“Places to Travel on Vacation From Where You May Never Return”

“Why Our Marriage Works Even Though we Live on Different Continents”

“Tell your teens: What you Never, Ever, Never, Never, Ever Do on a First Date”

“How to Make a Nuclear Bomb From Things Around the House”

“How to Cheat at Wii Games”

“Cheap Vacation Ideas or Staying at the In-Laws”

*Secrets to Getting to Your Man’s Wallet During Football Games”.

“DIY Medical/Surgical Procedures To Practice at Home”.

“Sure-Fire Ways to Annoy or Curb your HOA”

“Book Review: “Plastic Surgery for Dummies”

“The Best Way to Clear a Crowded Store When You Go Shopping”

Marie Coppola Revised March 2017

Why Catholics Observe the Immaculate Conception December 8th

December 8th is observed in the Catholic church as the Immaculate Conception of Mary, the Mother of Jesus Christ.

The Catholic 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 – 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 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.  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, to ask 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 2016

What Happened to Us?

From December 2000 to 2013, 1,043 people in the United States were wounded or killed by “active shooters” attempting to kill people “in a confined and populated area.”   Although there were more to date that are not  listed here of multiple deaths, you may sadly  remember these:

April 1999 – Two teenage schoolboys shot and killed 12 schoolmates and a teacher at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado.

September 1999A gunman opened fire at a prayer service in Fort Worth, Texas, killing six people.

October 2002 – A series of sniper-style shootings occurred in Washington DC, leaving 10 dead.

March 2005 – A man opened fire at a church service in Brookfield, Wisconsin, killing seven people.

October 2006 – A truck driver killed five schoolgirls and seriously wounded six others in a school in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania.

April 2007 – A student shot and killed 32 people and wounded 17 others at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia, making it the deadliest mass shooting in the United States after 2000.

December 2007 – A 20-year-old man killed nine people and injured five others in a shopping centre in Omaha, Nebraska.  February 2008 – A man opened fire in a lecture hall at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois, killing five students and wounding 16 others.   March 2009 – A 28-year-old laid-off worker opened fire while driving a car through several towns in Alabama, killing 10 people.  March 2009 – A heavily-armed gunman shot dead eight people, many of them elderly and sick people, in a private-owned nursing home in North Carolina.

April 2009 – A man shot dead 13 people at a civic center in Binghamton, New York.

July 2009 – Six people, including one student, were shot in a drive-by shooting at a community rally on the campus of Texas Southern University, Houston.   November 2009 – US army psychologist opened fire at a military base in Fort Hood, Texas, leaving 13 dead and 42 others wounded.   January 2011 – a gunman opened fire at a public gathering outside a grocery in Tuscon, Arizona, killing six people including a nine-year-old girl and wounding at least 12 others.

July 2012 –  The most injuries — 58 of them — resulted from a Colorado movie theater -12 people were killed.  Masked gunman opens fire at midnight cinema screen.

August 2012 – Gunman kills six people at Slkh temple in Wisconsin.

December 2012 A man forces his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. He kills 20 first-graders and six adults. Before arriving at the school, he had killed his mother at their home.

April 2013 – Two homemade bombs detonated near the finish line of the annual Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring several hundred others, including 16 who lost limbs.

June 2015 – A shooting in a historic black church in Charleston, SC kills nine people.

June 2016 – 49 people were killed by a heavily armed gunman at a popular Florida bar and wounded 53 others during a rampage.

October 2017 More than 50 people were killed and at least 500 others injured when a gunman opened fire at a country music festival near the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip, authorities said.

November 2017 – 27 people were killed; including 12 to 14 children in the massacre in a Texas church on  the highest death toll for the smallest Americans since 21 kids were gunned down in Sandy Hook.

The statistics are staggering and there were others.   Listed together, one realizes the magnitude of carnage produced by mass murders in the USA.    It has been noted that ‘deranged, and mentally ill people’ perform these horrendous acts.   Others say that guns are to blame even though guns alone cannot kill – humans shoot them.   And others say ‘we’ve always had violence and murders’.   Yes, there was, but isn’t it different now than it was in the mid-50s?   Yes, there are many more incidents.
In the 50s, 60s, 70s & 80s, there were occasionally like situations but not like the increase we are experiencing now.   Memories of playing outside with friends  blocks away but making sure you got home before dark.   Leaving babies on open front porches to nap in the fresh air – who would even think of anyone ‘stealing your child’?   Walking a couple of miles with same age friends at age 9 to attend religious class.    Neighbors looked out for each other.  People felt safe.
Today,  gatherings of large groups for concerts, sports, holidays, movies & performances create a possibility of harm doing.   Authorities are telling us to “always be on alert in big groups – be aware – look around.”   What happened?   Are we increasing in mental illness or derangement?   Or has our culture changed?   Or both?
Culturally, our family structure has changed from family units to single parent or same sex parents.  Marriage is redefined.  Family is redefined.   Large percentages of fathers are absent; many mothers are, too.   Having babies is redefined from ‘blessed events’ to ‘mistakes’ or ‘abort them’.   Life itself is redefined.    Mothers can legally put their wombed babies to death.  Grown children can put their aged parents to death.   People get offended over another’s values and demand they change them.   If you don’t, you are a ‘hater’.  If you don’t recognize someone as the opposite sex they prefer to be one day, you can be fined in some states,   If a family member exhibits mental problems or styles of derangement, is the family, a friend or neighbor there to warn the proper authorities about it?   Or ignore it?  Or not notice?  What happened to us?
We have taken God & His Commandments out of many schools.   With many absent or working parents, who is teaching young people about rules, be they secular or religious?  It is not uncommon to see people discard God or our nationalism.  They attack our law officers and applaud sick routines of comedians.    Instead of rules and healing faith building, everyone has cell phones that don’t teach them about close, warm relationships.   Sending group holiday greetings is not the same as a personal card with feelings expressed or a bonding visit.  Even a special phone call.   Respect is at an all-time low – and selfies are at an all-time high.   Narcissism & ‘anything goes’  has replaced sharing and caring about others’ feelings.    Even the horrendous slayers are reported without their names  as it sometimes is found  they wanted to ‘get their name in print and be glorified’.    Really?   What glory is there in murdering babies, young children or people you don’t know?    What happened to us?

 

 

 

 

 

Holidays Trigger Tough Emotions

 

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?

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.

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.

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 GriefShare Surviving the Holidays seminar, to be held on Sunday, November 5th, 2017, 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 biblically-based 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.

You will 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. It is a confidential, compassionate and safe environment.   Your holiday season may not be easy and may ambush you 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 call Fran Signorino at 843-399-8196 or if you want to find out more about a GriefShare Surviving the Holidays location nearest you, go to www.griefshare.org and insert your zip code.   There are thousands of GriefShare programs throughout the world.

Stop Murmuring & Disputing

 

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. By the way, the word “murmurings” refers to the complaints of the Israelites during their wanderings. 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?” 

Have you noticed that many people get caught up in heated and unending political discussions? — lots of murmurings going on there. Our change in government has caused new policies and procedures being enacted or offered – big time murmurings at home and the office. Don’t forget the economy or loss of jobs grumble – layoffs are increasing – homes are foreclosed.  There are countless things to whine and be bitter about and protest against. It hasn’t been easy for anyone.

Paul the Apostle, in his ministry while traveling and visiting many countries, cites in one of his directives, a Letter to the Philippians, (2:14) — “Do all things without murmuring and disputing”.

You may not be aware of Paul of Tarsus, also called Paul the Apostle, who really was a Hellenistic Jew who called himself the “Apostle to the Gentiles”. Along with Peter, the Rock upon which Jesus’ church is built, he was among the most notable of early Christian missionaries.

Paul’s conversion to a follower of Christ is a profound story of faith. He spread Christanity by accounts of his travels which are found as Letters in the New Testament of the Bible and are full of expositions of what Christians should believe and how they should live.

What do we do in answer to 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 a ll.”  How can we tweak that?

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, but does it help to heap more negativity on 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 price of gasoline or bring the prices down. It won’t change the politics 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 are what you think.

We can offset these complaints by offering words of kindness and compassion and hope. 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 good.

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: “Do all things without murmuring and disputing”. It can work and all you have to lose are your frown lines.

 

 

 

 

 

 

No Expectations ~ No Disappointments

 

Expectations for prosperity caused great disappointments during recessions and depressions.  We can say those circumstances were beyond our control and yet, they cause disappointments. Big, major disappointments.

What if we added all big ones to all the little disappointments we experience each day? If we depend on circumstances to gauge our happiness, we are in jeopardy because circumstances are constantly changing. And like the big ones, they are beyond our control. You might say you don’t do that. In a day’s time you may do it more than once. I know that I have done it more than once.

I have felt expectations when a great promotion was coming up that I just knew I was ready for; it was ‘my time’ in the department to move up, and I ‘sensed’ that I would get it — and I didn’t. I ‘expected’ the school to close due to the bad weather, but it didn’t, and I had two teens bored from being indoors with ‘nothing to do’ while I had made my own plans for that day. I expected’ that I would get an “A” that I worked on diligently in my writing class, and instead, I got a “C.” No way! I expected my best article ever to be selected for a contest, and it didn’t. I set myself up for these disappointments because I ‘expected’ them.

When I placed my expectations on people, again I was usually disappointed.  Someone repeated something I asked them not to.  Someone didn’t invite my best friend to a party they were having.   Crushed expectations; big disappointments. Life and people may and do change; the unexpected happens to us all.

I know that men and women can never fulfill all of each other’s needs. Only God can.  But at times, I used to expect them to and in those expectations of them, when they didn’t or couldn’t, I was disappointed. Disappointment is ‘the first seed of doubt’ and can lead to defeat or depression.

So how did I finally learn not to expect things from others, not to lean on others for my joy or happiness? Can one unlearn the emotion of expecting others to fulfill our needs and do the things we think they ought to do?

Yes, I believe we can.  There is no commandment saying, “Thou shalt expect others to fulfill our needs and do what we want them to do.” Actually, the commandments are a compilation of honoring and doing good to others; not expecting them to do good for us.

I had a tremendous expectation turn into disappointment with my teen-age son.  It was a turbulent time and I loved him, but did not like him much, how he looked or how he dressed. The disappointed expectation turned into a life role play where I was the mother of expectations and he was the child of disappointments. I had visions of what he should do with his life and he had much different views of what he wanted. So much so, that it affected not only our relationship but included the whole family.

Frustrated, I finally went to a trusted family counselor and gave him my story. He wanted my son to come in to hear his view. That being done, he then told me my son did not have to come back, but I did.  What?  Is there some mistake here, I am paying for this session and I’m the disappointer?

I did return and he explained that my son was fine and perfectly happy with himself, his choices for school, work and his future. I had different expectations for him and that was my problem. His remedy was that I should learn to love my son as he was and to compliment him each day on something he did that was good. That would help us communicate without friction.  told him there was nothing my son did that pleased me. And his answer was, ‘If he takes the garbage out, that is good – thank him.’

Which is the only thing I could do and the garbage taking-out WAS good and I did genuinely thank him. I’m happy to say that I did follow the counselor’s advice, I thanked my son for all the good things (and there were many I had overlooked) and downplayed what I thought was bad.

Within a week, the tension subsided and we were talking and smiling to each other. The mother of expectations and the child of disappointments were no more. I took stock of what the doctor told me and found that once I lost my expectation of what I believed was ‘good’ for my son, I found what was ruining our relationship.

I practiced making a habit of gratitude instead of expectation.  Expectations can become habit-forming and sometimes the more you expect, the more you want. Then you have to deal with more disappointments.

Today, I am so blessed to have such a close and endearing relationship with this man – my son, who has done well in his life and succeeded without my expectations. Instead, he had my support, love and encouragement.

Mary ~ Jesus’ Mother


Some people question and many ask about Mary, Jesus’ Mother, being born without Original Sin. They say, that since Mary refers to her Redeemer and Savior, would she do that if she were without Original Sin?

Some reply that Mary probably did sin in her life – if she didn’t, then she would be considered a god like Jesus.

The church teaches Mary was free of Original Sin. How does the church come to this conclusion through scripture?

Mary is seen as the Ark of the New Covenant ~ a spotless vessel who carried a sinless Jesus ~ and that Ark would be sinless, too ~ of original sin.  God chose Mary among women, unblemished of sin, and full of grace to carry the baby Jesus in her womb.

There are many references which tie in this dogma to Scripture.  I found a Catholic interpretation and will repeat it here:   This is only one of the many ways it is explained ~~~~

“It seems clear that Luke has used typology to reveal something about the place of Mary in salvation history.”  God the Holy Spirit overshadowed and then indwelled Mary.  At that time Mary’s womb became the dwelling place of the presence of God”  [Luke 1:35].

In the Ark of the Old Covenant, God came to his people with a spiritual presence, but in Mary, the Ark of the New Covenant, God comes to dwell with his people not only spiritually but physically, in the womb of a specially prepared Jewish girl.   [Exodus 40:34-35] says “God the Holy Spirit overshadowed and then indwelled the Ark. The Ark became the dwelling place of the presence of God”.

“The Old Testament tells us that one item was placed inside the Ark of the Old Covenant while in the Sinai wilderness:  God told Moses to put the stone tablets with the Ten Commandments inside the ark [Deut. 10:3–5].  Hebrews 9:4 informs us that two additional items were placed in the Ark: “a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded.”

“Notice the amazing parallels:

  • In the ark was the law of God inscribed in stone; in Mary’s womb was the Word of God in flesh.
  •  In the ark was the urn of manna, the bread from heaven that kept God’s people alive in the wilderness; in Mary’s womb is the Bread of Life come down from heaven that brings eternal life.
  • In the ark was the rod of Aaron, the proof of true priesthood; in Mary’s womb is the true priest.

In the third century, St. Gregory the Wonder Worker said that Mary is truly an ark—

  • “gold within and gold without, and she has received in her womb all the treasures of the sanctuary.”

 

© Marie Coppola, Revised December 2012   

Reference: http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/2005/0510fea5.asp

 

What is Universal Healthcare & Single Payer?

Universal Health Care (UHC) which is also known as universal care, universal coverage or universal health coverage is a term that is used to address a health care system which provides health care and financial protection to every citizen of a specific country.  It addresses:   Who is covered?  What services are covered?  How much of the cost is covered?

 

Universal health care was first started in Germany in the year 1883 and spread through other countries especially the rich countries of Europe. America does not practice this type of health right now.  Sometimes the universal health care system is referred to as free health care (in Canada). In a real world, there is nothing like a free health care, somebody is actually paying for it.

 

The Pros of UHC:   *This is perhaps the greatest advantage of universal health care, every member of the society that practice this type of health plan can be able to access health care no matter his social status.   Since no single human life is greater to another, the poor can be able to receive exactly the type of health care that could only be afforded by rich men under normal circumstances. This type of health care does not discriminate against anyone. It puts all the legal members of the society on the equal pedestal.  It also improves public health, has less paperwork, stops medical bankruptcies, benefits businesses, boosts economy and is seen as a human right.

 

The Cons of UHC:  *This is perhaps the least advantage:  Long Wait Time. This type of health care system often results in long wait times for patients and not everyone may receive the type of care that they need. Since this type of system is run by the government there can be a lot of red tape and bureaucracy.

 

It Leads to A Socialism State.  Bernie Sanders has been criticized that his universal health care plan is such an un-fetched dream. To make this happen, he admitted that he would have to increase taxes to every citizen, which can plunge United States into a socialism state where government controls the distribution of goods and services. It could be a first step towards government controlling other aspects of the economy.

 

The universal health care will reduce the amount of money doctors can make thereby reducing the attraction in the practice. This could create shortage of doctors in the long-run.Those with higher incomes may complain that their money is going to pay for the health care of other citizens when it should be going to pay for their own health care. Medical Abuse (unnecessary visits by patients)  can lead to Rationing  and cause backups in office visits.

 

There Is No Free Lunch  There will be an increase in taxes.  If there is no competition between choosing a doctor, there may be no Innovation thereby reducing the attraction in the practice. This could create shortage of doctors in the long-run.  And it takes time to put this new system in place; to get there, may take a long haul in time.

 

**Increase Government Debt:  This is probably the biggest argument against universal health care. Implementing a single payer health care system causes an increase in taxes as the system needs to be paid for. The overall costs of the system can be draining on a country and causes large debts & would amount to enormous growth in government spending and debt.   Governments aren’t that great at running large systems and the fact that the government runs health care can lead to a lot of problems. To run the health care system there may need to be cuts made in other areas of the government.

 

Universal care coverage and single payer system may be confused for one another because they are closely related concepts however they are two separate things.

Universal healthcare coverage refers to a system where every individual in the United States will receive health coverage. Under universal coverage, the over 46.6 million Americans who albeit have no health insurance will receive coverage

Whereas, a single payer system is the type of healthcare plan where one party mostly the government, will be responsible for paying all healthcare claims. Currently, the type of health care system in place in United States is the one where separate private insurance companies are charged with paying for the healthcare claims of the rich few who were able to afford the insurance while federal and state government pay some special  healthcare care claims through the programs known as Medicaid and Obamacare.

Usually, universal healthcare coverage and single payer health insurance system go together since in most cases, the federal government will be the one responsible for the administration and payment of health care system that provides coverage for millions of people. On the other hand, it’s possible to have a universal healthcare coverage in place without having a single-payer system. In theory, it is possible to have a single-payer system without universal healthcare coverage however the possibility of it is extremely unlikely since such a system will undoubtedly be managed by the federal government.  Source: https://www.formosapost.com

Marie Coppola July 2017

A Coincidence or a God Wink?

 

 

Some time ago I read a book entitled  “When God Winks at You” by SQuire Rushnell. It is a great, little 232-page book of short stories about famous and not-so-famous persons who experience what they believe are “special messages from God ~ a Godwink ~ to let them know that He’s there and that He’s listening”.  And maybe telling you something.

Sometimes it’s directed to a person and sometimes it’s through others.  We all experience these moments – a connection through someone or a chance occurrence that makes one think, “that was strange.” We can learn to recognize and appreciate them as messages – if we only keep our minds, eyes and heart open to them.

I experienced one.  A good friend who was going through a stressful time wasn’t  thinking clearly and felt that God wasn’t listening to her or giving her any paths to follow.  I told her about the Godwinks book – how it was comforting – and said I could get a copy for her.  She was agreeable.

Later that same day, I was going to a thrift shop to drop off some things.  When I got there, my eye spotted a necklace at the jewelry booth.  It was a rose replica of  the exact design, color  and material of a pin that my mother used to wear many years ago.  It was given to me after her death.  I had kept this special pin for many years and recently gave it to my sister because her middle name is Rose ~ the same as our mother’s name.  I looked at the necklace a long time and then put the necklace back on the display thinking that I would come back and buy it after my drop off.

When I was finished, I turned around and noticed a books for sale table and the first book I saw was “When God Winks at You”.  Thinking this was a Godwink as I had just mentioned it, I purchased it for my friend.  Behind me was the jewelry  booth  and I decided to look at the necklace again.  It was off the display where it had been hanging.   Feeling disappointed and turning to leave, for some reason, I looked down and there was the necklace at the tip of my shoe. I picked it up and marvelled that it was not only still there ~~ but right in front of me. I just stared at it.

 

The seller looked at me and asked if something was wrong.   I said, “This is just like the rose that my mother used to wear.”  She told me to enjoy it as a gift from her.

Feeling uplifted, I put the necklace on thinking  it wasn’t just a coincidence that I had ‘found’ it.   I stopped by my friend’s house to give her the book.  When she opened the door, she looked at me and my necklace and exclaimed, “That’s the necklace I donated to the school’s fund-raising project!!”   A double Godwink?

I never think about getting something in return when I give, but it always happens in some way. I gave my sister my mother’s rose and I got my mother’s rose back.   A coincidence or a Godwink?

Marie Coppola  © July 2017

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About Marie Coppola

Marie Coppola A long-time human resources administrator and paralegal (B.S. in Business Administration/ Psychology, Certified Paralegal), Marie writes to aid employees with positive career options and resources, and to assist in career development solutions for students and employees; counsels on resumes, securing employment, and being successful with promotable possibilities. Marie finds inspiration in her faith, which she enjoys passing on to others, and finds gratification in helping others wherever she can. Got a question, need advice? Marie can be reached at mcopp@ymail.com