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 imagesbhwzg6k1Tidings of Comfort and Joy

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?

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.

Creating a holiday plan will help:

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.

Communicating with 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?

“Surviving the Holidays” seminar on November 13, 2016:

A GriefShare Surviving the Holidays seminar, to be held November 13, 2016  at Our Lady Star of the Sea Church, 8th Avenue N, North Myrtle Beach, SC from 3:00 PM to 5:00 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 find out more about GriefShare Surviving the Holidays, call Fran @ 843-399-8196.

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

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

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

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

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

Use a minty or peppermint spray on the hair every morning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

When you were told I was a girl, you said you will call me Hope, after your grandmother's name,   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 haf months inside you - my brain now has a billion nerve cells. If a sound is especially loud, it makes me jump - can you feel me?   I have increased seven times in weight and almost doubled in height.

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

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

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

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

Marie Coppola Copyright June 2016

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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

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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.

A Lousy Cop

Author: Anonymous

Marie Coppola March 2016

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

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

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

In its broadest sense, this unity or cooperation may refer to a worldwide religious unity; by the advocation of a greater sense of shared spirituality across the three Abrahamic faiths of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Most commonly, however, ecumenism is used in a more narrow meaning; referring to a greater cooperation among different religious denominations 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.


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

Some voice the reason as mental illness; others mention religious persecution; 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



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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.

Image result for selfies

Image result for photobombing

Marie Coppola Revised October 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

• have completed a year of service; and

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Marie Coppola © Revised July 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

©Marie Coppola  Revised September 2016


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How times change. There was a time I would never have thought of getting 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 a 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 giving my gifts to others - it's technically 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 Christmas designs on them. I happily took them home and when I unfolded them, there was actual 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, 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. Always new tags on them.

Same with colognes and perfumes. 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 - 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 make you wince as you say, "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; tree trimmings - I'm overbooked on the tree; Santa figurines and dishes; holiday tablecloths, ceramic holiday boxes, glasses, etc. 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 - 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 a hostess gift 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 and there are lots of them that do. 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 and that's not a gift. I get lots of books because I love to read, and I never re-gift them. Some people do - in fact, I got one, with the title page carefully torn out on top where it may have been inscribed. Tacky. Although my books are in great shape - they are like family members to me and I hoard them anyway - 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 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 am a giver rather than a receiver. I love to give gifts to people. My re-gifting allows me to give more gifts to more people. Sometimes, it the pest sprayer, or a new tray with cookies to the nurses in the doctor's office, or wrapped under the tree with tag of what it is in case someone stops over and brings me a gift and I don't have one for them. 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.

Be sensitive; look at all angles, but do it rather than not.

Some thoughts on Giving:

The manner of giving is worth more than the gift. ~Pierre Corneille, Le Menteur

It isn't the size of the gift that matters, but the size of the heart that gives it. ~Quoted in The Angels' Little Instruction Book by Eileen Elias Freeman, 1994

The Ten Most Regifted Gifts

10. Booze

9. Gift cards

8. Fruitcake

7. Candles

6. Cookbooks

5. Jewelry

4. Picture Frame

3. Gift Basket

2. Housewares

1. Clothing

Gail Gedan Spencer

Marie Coppola Revised December 2013


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How did April Fool's Day Get Started?   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's Fool 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 fooling.

Here is a partial list of the article titles -- are they real or not?

"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 - 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 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 2015

I was asked today how I could ever support Trump after the comments he made over 11 years ago about women and if I would still support him if he made those comments to my daughter? My response was this....If he had put our nations security at risk, I would not vote for him. If his organization received large donations from countries that killed women and gays, I would not vote for him. If he boasted 30 Years of government experience, but still could not discern if an email was classified or not, without someone letting him know if it was or not, I would not vote for him. If he boasted about how he has defended children his entire life, but is for abortion, (even late term, when the child can feel pain) I would not vote for him. If he wanted my 3 year old Granddaughter to go to restrooms with men dressed as women, I would not vote for him. I have taught my daughter and will teach my granddaughter to disregard sexist remarks and move on, especially when they were made so many years ago and, also to forgive those who say they are sorry. If he caused lives to be destroyed in Benghazi and then lied to the faces of the parents as they stood at their child's casket, I would not vote for him. If people who came against him mysteriously turned up dead, I would not vote for him. If he suddenly developed a southern accent when he was in the South, campaigning, I would not vote for him. If he continually broke the law and that was ignored, I would not vote for him, but right now, the only person who does all these things is Hillary. Right now, the fact that Donald made these remarks over 12 years ago, does not move me. I'm bigger than those remarks and we all have said stupid things throughout our lives. To me, the fact that Hillary lies continuously, is a much bigger problem. We can see the effects of her lies by the state of our poor country right now... Rant over... Still voting for Trump.



McClatchy reports: "Group Pushes Debate Moderator To Ask Questions Submitted By Public."

Turn on images to see Adam Green and Grover Norquist together at Fox News.Watch tonight's debate live on PresidentialOpenQuestions.com.

And, vote on questions for New Hampshire's U.S. Senate and gubernatorial debates next week at OpenDebateQuestions.com.

If you think debate questions should reflect the will of the people, please make a donation toward the organizing needed to make Open Debate the norm in American politics.

McClatchy reports: "Group Pushes Debate Moderator To Ask Questions Submitted By Public."

Fresh off of the Open Debate Coalition being cited as a source of questions in the second debate, two coalition leaders met with the moderator of the next debate, Fox News' Chris Wallace.

They delivered petition signatures -- now over 20,000 strong -- urging Wallace to ask questions in tonight's debate that rose to the top of PresidentialOpenQuestions.com where 3.6 million votes were cast on over 15,800 questions. Wallace said our bottom-up questions are on his radar (and called us "very persistent," which we'll take as a compliment.)

Wallace then announced the topics he'll ask the candidates about -- including three areas in our top questions: Social Security, immigration, and the Supreme Court.

Here are three next steps we can take toward achieving our goal of making Open Debates -- where questions are submitted and voted on by the public -- the norm in American politics.

1. Watch tonight's debate at 9pm ET on PresidentialOpenQuestions.com -- and if you're on Twitter, follow us at @OpenDebate. Let's hold Wallace accountable for asking questions the public cares about.

2. Go vote on questions for New Hampshire's U.S. Senate and gubernatorial debates next week at OpenDebateQuestions.com. We announced a history-making partnership with the NH1 TV station. Half of the questions their moderators ask will come from the Top 30 voted on by the public for each race. These debates will be broadcast nationally because New Hampshire could decide which party controls the U.S. Senate and the ripple effects of the competitive governor's race could influence the next first-in-the-nation presidential primary. Go vote at OpenDebateQuestions.com.

3. If you use Twitter, continue urging Chris Wallace and his producers to ask the questions below that rose to the top of the Open Debate Coalition's voting site. Urge Trump and Clinton to answer them too.

Thanks for helping us organize debates that reflect the real concerns of Americans.

Lilia Tamm Dixon, Director
Open Debate Coalition

#3 question:
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#7 question:
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#8 question:
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#9 question:
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#43 question:
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A project of the Open Debate Coalition -- comprised of groups ranging from the Progressive Change Institute to Americans for Tax Reform, and Silicon Valley leaders such as the founders of Wikipedia and craigslist. Two leaders in the Open Debate Coalition have agreed to process donations to fund our next debates. Click here to make a donation of $5, $10, or more through the conservative Americans for Tax Reform. Or, click here to make a tax-deductible donation of $5, $10, or more through the Progressive Change Institute.

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Shaping the New You

by Fran Signorino

The only reason I would take up jogging is so I could hear heavy breathing again.  ~  Erma Bombeck

When I tell people that I’ve been “doing Richard” for more than 10 years, they look at me funny. My affair with Richard started the way many relationships begin — I was troubled and depressed. My parents had passed away within six months of each other. After that most stressful time, my blood pressure rose from normal to high. My doctor, believing that the condition was temporary, did not feel that I was a candidate for medication. He suggested instead that I exercise — preferably an aerobic exercise — of the low impact variety.

At that time, the last thing I felt like doing was jumping around. But because I am a lover of dance, I purchased a “swing along” with Richard Simmons tape and so began my daily encounters with him.

Richard’s screaming and carrying-on irritated me somewhat on bad days, but his movements and “c’mon, get up — you can do it — I know you can” soon had me infatuated. Hey, you can’t have everything in a relationship. On the plus side, I didn’t have to travel back and forth to a gym; I didn’t have to force myself to get up early to walk. I could meet him on both our terms. And in my own home. I quickly learned his routines as if I were appearing in a Broadway show. He was a steady and driving teacher.

I even got a perm during this period to save me time not fussing with my hair. Alas, it came out a little too curly, and lo and behold, now we looked alike. I had Richard Simmons’ hair. Not by choice, but there he was looking back at me in the mirror.

The exercise outfits I bought brought me closer to his “look.” My kids started calling me “Richard.”

Within a month, my blood pressure stabilized, although my life did not. My daily workout with Richard helped me vent the stresses piling up each day. It was during one of these “workout” hours, intense on my part, that someone called me on the phone. I answered it, breathing heavily. “I can’t talk now, I’m doing Richard.”

“Scandalous,” the caller replied.

Whenever I answered the phone totally out of breath, my callers would say, “I’ll call you back — you’re doing Richard.” My son gave me a new workout tape for my birthday. He said, “New positions for you and Richard.”

So now Richard and I could move while Sweatin’ to the Oldies, and Dance Your Pants Off! while we were Groovin’ in the House.  And we got down with Tonin’ Downtown.  Richard and I went on company trips and vacations together.  I brought Richard to the shore.  He always wore the same clothes.  We still had matching hairdos.  Richard and I have been together longer than some of my past relationships.

I anticipate his every move and we mutually experience heavy breathing and sweating.  This also beats some of my former relationships. Yes, I admit after all these years, I still “do Richard” and I’m now a grandmother.  He’s always there for me, he’s always in a great mood, he always smiles and boy can he make the moves.

And judging from the assortment of tapes in the stores, it’s been as good for him as it’s been for me.


> Think, all of this in less than 8
> years – just think about it!!! Before Obama, there was
> virtually no outlandish presence of Islam in
> America.
> • All of a sudden, Islam is
> taught in schools. Christianity and the bible are banned in
> schools.
> • All of a sudden we must allow
> prayer rugs everywhere and allow for Islamic prayer in
> schools, airports and businesses.
> • All of a sudden we must stop
> serving pork in prisons
> • All of a sudden, we are
> inundated with lawsuits by Muslims who are offended by
> American culture.
> • All of a sudden we must allow
> burkas to be worn very where even though you have no idea
> who or what is covered up under them.
> • All of a sudden Muslims are
> suing employers and refusing to do their jobs if they
> personally deem it conflicts with Sharia Law.
> • All of a sudden the Attorney
> General of the United States vows to prosecute anyone who
> engages in “anti-Muslim speech”.
> • All of a sudden, Jihadists who
> engage in terrorism and openly admit they acted in the name
> of Islam and ISIS, are emphatically declared they are NOT
> Islamic by our leaders and/or their actions are determined
> NOT to be terrorism, but other nebulous terms like
> ‘workplace violence.”
> • All of a sudden, it becomes
> Policy that Secular Middle East dictators that were benign
> or friendly to the West, must be replaced by Islamists and
> the Muslim Brotherhood.
> • All of a sudden our troops are
> withdrawn from Iraq and the middle east, giving rise to
> • All of a sudden, America has
> reduced its nuclear stockpiles to 1950 levels, as Obama’s
> stated goal of a nuke-free America by the time he leaves
> office continues uninterrupted.
> • All of a sudden, a deal with
> Iran must be made at any cost, with a pathway to nuclear
> weapons and HUNDREDS of BILLIONS of dollars handed over to
> fund their programs.
> • All of a sudden America
> APOLOGIZES to Muslim states and sponsors of terror worldwide
> for acts of aggression, war and sabotage THEY perpetrate
> against our soldiers.
> • All of a sudden, the American
> Navy is diminished to 1917 Pre-World War I levels of only
> 300 ships. The Army is at pre-1940 levels. The Air Force
> scraps 500 planes and planned to retire the use of the A-10
> Thunderbolt close air support fighter. A further drawdown of
> another 40,000 military personnel is in
> progress.
> • All of a sudden half of our
> aircraft carriers are recalled for maintenance by Obama
> rendering the Atlantic unguarded, NONE are in the Middle
> East.
> • All of a sudden Obama has to
> empty Guantanamo
> Bay of captured Jihadists and let them loose in
> Jihad-friendly Islamic states. He demands to close the
> facility.
> • All of a sudden America will
> negotiate with terrorists and trade FIVE Taliban commanders
> for a deserter and Jihad sympathizer.
> • All of a sudden there is no
> money for American poor, disabled veterans, jobless
> Americans, hungry Americans, or displaced Americans but
> there is endless money for Obama’s “Syrian refugee”
> resettlement programs.
> • All of sudden there is an
> ammunition shortage in the USA.
> • All of a sudden, the most
> important thing for Obama to do after a mass shooting by two
> Jihadists, is disarm American Citizens.
> • All of a sudden, the President
> of the United States cannot attend the Christian Funerals of
> a Supreme Court Justice and a former First Lady because of
> previous (seemingly unimportant) commitments.
> • All of a sudden the President
> of the United States won’t attend the funeral of a
> flag-rank Officer (Gen. Greene) killed in action; he played
> golf. But he sends a big delegation to Michael Brown’s
> funeral. He sends a minor delegation to
> Margaret Thatcher’s funeral. He won’t acknowledge Chris
> Kyle’s murder but he’ll fly the Flag at half-mast for
> Whitney Houston.
> • All of a sudden, I’m sick to
> my stomach. I’m not sure the majority of Americans
> recognize the seriousness of the situation and how much
> progress” has been made by Islam these last 7 years, a
> very brief time compared to a 75 year lifetime!





Our brand new Saint "Mother" Teresa was on display at Holy Family Church at Hilton Head Island this past Sunday - Always on her knees humbly doing her servitude.... Her sayings on the statute are:



A gift from caring persons associated with Hilton Head.

Thank you for this beautiful message.

Marie Coppola  September 2016

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This is based on Alinsky’s eight steps from Democracy to socialist society.  Obama Quotes him often in his book and Hillary did her thesis on Alinsky.



There are 8 levels of control that must be obtained before you are able to create a socialist/communist State.  The first is the most important.


1. Healthcare:  "Control Healthcare and you control the People"


2. Poverty:  Increase the Poverty level as high as possible."  Poor People are easier to control and will not fight back if the government is providing everything for them to live.


3.  Debt: Increase the National Debt to an unsustainable level."  That way you are able to increase Taxes, and this will produce more Poverty.


4.  Gun Control:  Remove the ability to defend themselves from the Government.  That way you are able to create a Police State - total local control.


5.  Welfare:  Take control of every aspect of their lives (Food, Livestock, Housing, and Income).


6.  Education:  Take control of what People read & listen to, take control of what Children learn in School.


7.  Religion: Remove faith in God from the Government and Schools. ALMOST THERE!!!

8.  Class Warfare:  Divide the People into the Wealthy against the Poor.  Racially divide. This will cause more discontent and it will be easier to Tax the Wealthy with full support of the voting Poor.


The bases are all covered!  We are ripe!  Fundamental Transformation is happening to our Great Country.

Saul David Alinsky (January 30, 1909 – June 12, 1972) was a Jewish American community organizer and writer. He is generally considered to be the founder of modern community organizing.  He is often noted for his 1971 book Rules for Radicals.

In the course of nearly four decades of political organizing, Alinsky received much criticism, but also gained praise from many public figures. His organizing skills were focused on improving the living conditions of poor communities across North America.

Time magazine wrote in 1970 that "It is not too much to argue that American democracy is being altered by Alinsky's ideas. Conservative author William F. Buckley, Jr. said in 1966 that Alinsky was "very close to being an organizational genius.  (Ref: Wikipedia & Internet Email).

Editor’s note. The Vatican confirmed that Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta will be canonized in Rome on Sunday, September 4. I constantly remind myself that every day our movement adds new pro-lifers, many of whom are young. They may not know what a great–GREAT–champion Mother Teresa was of unborn children. The following ran in a slightly different form February 5, 2010. The setting was the National Prayer Breakfast. Hillary Clinton was then Secretary of State.

March 22, 2016 (NationalRighttoLifeNews) -- President Obama, as has his predecessors, delivered a prepared speech. But, to be honest, I found the remarks of his fellow pro-abortionist, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the same dais, much more intriguing.

Judging by what Clinton said today and previously, she appears to have been genuinely moved by her meeting with Mother Teresa. In 1994 Mother Teresa delivered a no-holds-barred pro-life speech at the National Prayer Breakfast in front of Clinton, her equally pro-abortion husband, then-President Bill Clinton, and Al and Tipper Gore.

Hillary Clinton talked about being summoned afterwards by Mother Teresa and working with her to establish the Mother Teresa Home for Infant Children. It takes nothing away from what Hillary Clinton may have contributed to this noble project to remember what Mother Teresa said to the many power brokers assembled at the Hilton Hotel 16 years ago.

But I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child, a direct killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself.

And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another? How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion? As always, we must persuade her with love and we remind ourselves that love means to be willing to give until it hurts. Jesus gave even His life to love us. So, the mother who is thinking of abortion, should be helped to love, that is, to give until it hurts her plans, or her free time, to respect the life of her child. The father of that child, whoever he is, must also give until it hurts.

By abortion, the mother does not learn to love, but kills even her own child to solve her problems.

And, by abortion, the father is told that he does not have to take any responsibility at all for the child he has brought into the world. That father is likely to put other women into the same trouble. So abortion just leads to more abortion.

Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion.

I was not there, but author and Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan was. Here’s what she later wrote:

Well, silence. Cool deep silence in the cool round cavern for just about 1.3 seconds. And then applause started on the right hand side of the room, and spread, and deepened, and now the room was swept with people applauding, and they would not stop for what I believe was five or six minutes. As they clapped they began to stand, in another wave from the right of the room to the center and the left.

But not everyone applauded. The president and first lady, seated within a few feet of Mother Teresa on the dais, were not applauding. Nor were the vice president and Mrs. Gore. They looked like seated statues at Madame Tussaud’s. They glistened in the lights and moved not a muscle, looking at the speaker in a determinedly semi-pleasant way.

I claim no insight into Hillary Clinton’s heart or soul. But as she made clear yesterday she takes her Methodist faith seriously, especially John Wesley’s famous admonition to

“Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
in all the ways you can,
in all the places you can,
at all the times you can,
to all the people you can,
as long as you ever can.”

Secretary Clinton quipped, “That’s a tall order,” followed by (alas), “And of course, one of the interpretive problems with it is, who defines good?”

I thought of that “what is truth?”-esque statement as I read the remainder of her speech, especially the part where she observes, “All religions have their version of the Golden Rule and direct us to love our neighbor and welcome the stranger and visit the prisoner.”

I would never be so foolish as to rank Jesus’ parables. I would only say that the parable of the Good Samaritan is my favorite, the one that has taught me the most.

Maybe everybody else but me already realized this, but it was not until a few years ago that I really got a handle on a hugely important truth. Jesus never responds to the expert in the law’s question, “And who is my neighbor?”

Instead, Jesus turns the question back on him–and back on you and I. “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

The question was not whether the man beaten by robbers “qualified” as his neighbor–someone he had a moral obligation to help – but whether he (and we) takes on that obligation by acting as a neighbor to him.

We can, if we wish, walk around (in this case) the unborn child, pretending that he/she is a stranger and therefore someone we have no obligation to try to protect. We can, like Secretary Clinton, twist ourselves into knots (over abortion) by telling ourselves the question is, “who defines good?”

But if you are, like Clinton, reared from infancy in a community of faith, you cannot choose to act like the priest or the Levite of Jesus’ parable.

You–we–must choose to be the Good Samaritan.

Reprinted with permission from National Right to Life News.