Stop Murmuring and 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.  You may know murmurings as being critical of others, bitterness, bickering, protesting or being unsociable.  Pessimism.  Negativity.   In the New Testament, Paul said: “Do you do all things without murmuring  and disputing?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Marie Coppola (C) Revised February 2019

 

 

 

 

 

I Found My Thrill in the NICU


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Marie Coppola  March 2019

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 After Loss

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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).

 

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.

Image result for 1950s photograph

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

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

Can you Disown Family Members?

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

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

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

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

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

So…you want disown them.   How? 

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

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

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

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

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

Marie Coppola© Revised January 2018

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

 



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.

wordpress counter

Catholics Revere Mary, the Mother of Jesus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© Marie Coppola,  Revised December 2017

DIY Personalized Gifts

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© Marie Coppola Revised November 2019

 

 
 

Volunteer – You May Land a Job!


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Marie Coppola October 2019

http://www.volunteermatch.org/search/index.jsp?l=Charleston%2CSC&k=nonprofit+organizations

Ref: Quintessential Careers: Sharon Reed http://www.quintcareers.com/volunteering_to_new_career.html

Leadership Exemplar CEO – Jesus Christ


Using Ancient Wisdom for Visionary Leadership 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Self-Mastery

His Statements are What he Becomes

He Kept in Constant Contact with his Boss

He Stuck to his Mission

He Believed in Himself

He Guarded his Energy

He did not Waste Time Judging Others

He had a Passionate Commitment to the Cause

He Worked through his Fears

Strength of Action

He took Action

He had a Plan; He formed a Team

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

He Trained his Replacements

Strength of Relationships

He Clearly Defined their Work-related Benefits

He Treated them as Equals

He Held them Accountable

He Set an Example for Them

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

He Loved Them to the End

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

© Marie Coppola   Revised October 2019

Coping With Loss of a Loved One

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Marie Coppola    October 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

Forgive and Forget

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Marie Coppola September 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stop Sitting and Get Up

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Marie Coppola  September 2019

A Wise & Trusted Counselor

A lot of people have gone further than they thought they could because someone else thought they could. ~ Unknown

Can you remember a time when someone gave you support, or important counsel, sound advice or positive reinforcement on something you were doing?

Encouragement is an important support and guidance motivation given by a more knowledgeable person (such as a mentor) in helping a less experienced or knowledgeable person (mentee) to develop in some capacity.

Many times, parents are mentors. They have the experience and know-how in “How the World Turns”. They may have gone to college, experienced love relationships, had children, bought houses, paid taxes, and countless other things.  Hopefully, they are good mentors who encourage, support and guide their children in their everyday challenges.   Sometimes, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, or  family members are mentors.  They are the ones to go to when one needs to know what can be done about a special issue; they either give good advice or advise options on how to work at it.   We are indeed blessed if we have mentors in our lives.

What if we don’t have a mentor? There are many occasions when ‘two heads are better than one’ and additional input is needed. How does one acquire a mentor? Are there different avenues or vehicles for finding one?   Yes, there are.

There are personal mentors and organizational mentors.
How can a  personal mentor help you?    Sometime during your lifetime, someone may take a special interest in how you are accomplishing a task or trying to.  It may be in a teacher or principal in school.  It could be a leader or coach in an activity in an athletic or after-school activity. Or a girl or boy scout leader in a social club. Or perhaps a pastor or spiritual leader in a church affiliation.   It could be a family member who has the same interests or experiences in what you are trying to master – a job interview;  which courses or schools you could attend to pursue a career; what career choices would you be best suited for.

A mentor is usually someone older and more accomplished in the task you are endeavoring. He/she will give you feedback on how you are accomplishing so far;  give you advice or hints/solutions on how to continue;  or reinforce how you are progressing. This is a one-on-one relationship which lasts over the time of the task’s duration.

You might even seek someone out and ask them to be your mentor on a task.  It doesn’t hurt to ask. Most people like to help and may feel honored that you chose them.  If the person is agreeable, you could set up a schedule to go over the progress of what you are doing and the mentor can advise plusses and minuses. Depending on the personalities, this person could become a life-long mentor who can aid you in further tasks.  Sometimes it evolves into a mentoring over a variety of life’s issues. Such an arrangement can benefit both the mentor and the mentee.   And form a special, honored life-time relationship.

Marie Coppola  August 2019

School is Re-Opening

The first day of school for Horry County students is Monday, August 19.   In the past, I covered some suggestions for students returning to middle school; today I will focus on the teens.

Whatever the grade or year,  the upbeat reason to return to school is to acquire wisdom, knowledge, and skills that will allow creativity and thought-provoking processes as well as behavioral and social experiences.  These can be sometimes challenging and/or frustrating — but it can also be fun times with clubs, sports, class trips, and special activities.  Also on the plus side, there are friendships formed that can last a lifetime and even short friendship spurts that teach versatility and diversity in getting along with others.  Having a  ‘special’ teacher can be an influence or mentor in future endeavors.

Guidelines and rules for school behavior are similar to those that students’ parents may have had, but here’s some extra tips to return to school starting with a really good attitude. I offer the following – for the returning students.

1) “Rules” cover a multitude of guidelines that all schools set forth for their students. Everyone must follow them if there is to be order and learning. Rules are important because you will be asked to follow rules all your life.  And it causes stress and problems if you don’t abide by them. This is as true in school as it is in your life now or will be in your adult life.

2) You will follow rules better if you have plenty of rest.   You will succeed better in school.   Try to have at least eight hours of sleep on a school night.   This is especially true if you have after-school clubs or sports and need that extra energy.

3) Speaking of extra energy, eat a healthy breakfast (yes, you have the time) to last until lunchtime.  Even some fruit, cereal or a protein bar  will help.   If you don’t like the lunches, pack a sandwich or snack.

4) Using cell phones, iPods, and other electronic devices are usually strictly prohibited during the school day. Yes, that includes texting. Cell phones are distracting not only during class but in the halls.  If you can’t control yourself – then leave them home or silenced.  An extra thought on cell phones:  I’ve noticed with  my teen visitors this summer – they stay on their cell phones way into the night (undercover) and have trouble getting awake in the morning.   You can’t sleep until noon when you are going to school.   If you can’t resist – shut them off and leave them in another room.

5) Although we all get colds or sick, try to attend class regularly and be on time. It is important to ‘keep up’ with new lessons and equally important to be on time so that your tardiness does not take away from class time.  Besides, it will affect  your school record which won’t matter to you now but may in the future.

6) Do your homework and check it twice. Homework done hastily or while playing video games can affect your grade if it is incorrect. Give it your best efforts – it reflects who you are and what you know and how you express it.   Prepare a place to do your homework; prepare what you are wearing the next day; and if you are making your lunch, prepare it at night so you won’t be rushing to get the bus or that ride early in the morning.

Hint:  How you set up a schedule of what you are expected to do (when & how)  will help you when you are looking for a job after graduation.   Being prepared  will naturally assist you in your work habits and style.

7) Try to be friendly to all. Avoid ’cliques’ or being rude to other students who may be different. It can escalate to bullying or cyber bullying or discrimination which are detriments to all.   Two out of three kids who are bullied become bullies themselves.  Worse yet, a bully is 6 times more likely to be incarcerated by age 24.   Tell your parents or the school admin if you are being bullied; they will come to your aid.

If you follow the rules, you can have a pleasant learning experience that will prepare you for adult life.  If there are situations that arise that are against school rules or are questionable in safety to you or others, don’t hesitate to notify a teacher or the principal. They want everyone in their school to have a safe environment.

I added this next thought for the middle school and will here, too.  ‘Take a  slogan from the Army — Be All That You Can Be.’ It doesn’t mean living up to anyone else’s standards or trying to get a better grade than Amy, Juan or Tawanda – it’s  simply doing the best work you can to your ability and being the best kind of person you want to be.   It’s all up to you.  Have a great and successful school year.

© Marie Coppola, August 2019

Did Mother Teresa Teach Hillary a Lesson?

Being pro-life, I keep a file on its struggles to save babies from a gruesome death.

In a Vatican ceremony on September 4, 2016, Pope Francis conferred sainthood upon Mother Teresa, the Albanian-born nun who famously devoted most of her life to ministering to the poor in India until her death in 1997 at the age of 87. He described her as a “model of holiness” and “generous dispenser of divine mercy,” citing, among other qualifications, Mother Teresa’s unwavering opposition to abortion in any form. “She was committed to defending life,” the Pope said, “ceaselessly proclaiming that ‘the unborn are the weakest, the smallest, the most vulnerable.’”

For Americans, the canonization of Mother Teresa coincided with the home stretch of the 2016 presidential campaign, in which the two principal candidates delivered prepared speeches.  Their remarks were not as intriguing as pro-abortionist, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the same dais.

She appeared to have been genuinely moved by her previous meeting with Mother Teresa.  In 1994 Mother Teresa delivered a no-holds-barred pro-life speech [in quotes below] at the National Prayer Breakfast in front of Hillary Clinton, her equally pro-abortion husband, then-President Bill Clinton, and Al and Tipper Gore:

“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.”

Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan was present.   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.

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?”

July 17, 2019

 

Easter in the 1950’s

 

Looking back and reminiscing about Easter times,  it is remembered as a different holiday culture than it is today.   Sometimes there was the arrival of a real rabbit or baby chicks.   They were pampered and soon argued over who would take care of them.   They were never cooked and eaten  – but were found new homes as they grew older.

On Easter Sunday, the ladies would don their Easter bonnets – straw hats, felt hats, big hats, mantillas or any head covering.   Even the men & boys wore fedoras to go along with their suits and ties.   The ladies dressed in pastels or navy blue dresses or suits.   New spring outfits were purchased for the newness of spring .  The only other time we all got new attire  was for the first day of school.   New outfit, new shoes – the works – along with some hand-me-downs.   If you lived not far from the ocean, and the weather was warm and spring-like, jaunts were taken to the beach (also known as – the shore) to walk the boardwalk with other Easter bonnet and fedora dress-ups.

The only ones who may not have been fully dressed in newness were the youngest of the family – they wore the past-Easter outfits of their older sisters or brothers and it was not unusal for some Easter picture remembrances showing a new navy coat covering a slightly longer dress underneath – an almost fitting  Easter dress passed down.

The parents were dressed up, too – suits, hat and ties – and don’t forget the white gloves and black patent leather shoes.   Some of these were passed down through the family, too.

When we woke up that morning, we all ran to the table where there would be Easter baskets with bright green plastic grass holding  treats which we were not allowed to eat until we came back from church.

The dressed-up family went to church as a unit.  For other families – the only time they did that was attending church  for Christmas.

After church, we would go home and seek out the hidden colored Easter eggs the Easter Bunny (our Mom & Dad)  left for us –  some of which we had ‘eyed’ before we left for church.   After they were all collected – Mom always knew exactly how many there would be.   For breakfast, we cut and ate  the Italian Easter Egg Pie – my favorite.

Traditional Easter treats were also consumed during the day: They were eaten at ‘dinner’ around 3:00 pm which included  artichokes, roasted lamb, a special sweet bread called “Colomba” (which means dove, and it’s made in the shape of a dove) and chocolate eggs, which almost always are hollow and have a special prize inside.   Of course, there was also the ‘prima piastra’  or ‘first plate’ which was a pasta of some sort – lasagna or ravioli.   Red wine was offered to all – even sips to the youngest.   That may seem strange, but when teen classmates made a big deal about getting wine or beer to drink. we weren’t interested – we had sampled it at home.  None of us became ‘drinkers’.

Easter became a favorite holiday along with Christmas.   Christmas was a vehicle for getting presents from Santa Claus and when we were older-  we focused on the celebration of Jesus’ birth.

Easter was getting new clothes and Easter baskets from the Easter Bunny;  when we were older,  it was a vehicle for the love and gift of Christ’s gift  of Himself to us for our sake.

Marie Coppola April 13, 2019

 

 

personal blog