Monthly Archives: December 2015

Table Rock – A Peaceful Get-a-way, Winter or Summer

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If you love the outdoors, are seeking a peaceful, out of the way vacation with lots of options, Table Rock Resort in Pickens, South Carolina is the place for you.
Some background:  Beautifully located four miles SW of Table Rock State Park on the Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway (SC Hwy 11) the drive there from Low Country at the beach changes majestically with the high, blue-hue (it actually is!) thrilling mountainous roller-coaster roads up to the sky. The Cherokees called these heights the “Great Blue Hills of God.” Following an ancient Cherokee path, this beautiful two-lane road arcs through peach orchards and villages, past Cowpens National Battlefield and over Lake Keowee.

The Blue Ridge contains the highest mountains in eastern North America. About 125 peaks exceed 5,000 feet (1,500 m) in elevation The highest peak in the Blue Ridge (and in the entire Appalachian chain) is Mt. Mitchell in North Carolina at 6,684 feet (2,037 m). There are 39 peaks in North Carolina and Tennessee higher than 6,000 feet (1,800 m); by comparison, only New Hampshire’s Mt. Washington rises above 6,000 feet (1,800 m) in the northern portion of the Appalachian chain.

The Blue Ridge Parkway runs 469 miles (755 km) along crests of the Southern Appalachians and links two national parks: Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountains. In many places along the parkway, there are metamorphic rocks (gneiss) with folded bands of light-and dark-colored minerals, which sometimes resemble a marble pound cake.

Arriving at our destination, the 18-Hole Scenic Golf course overlooking The Rock at Jocassee surrounded by the Blue Ride mountains, the first thing you see is the equestrian center. Guests abound atop trail horses, exploring the scenery and many nearby waterfalls.

Along with golf, there are tennis courts, fishing, boating and hiking, a swimming pool (open Memorial Day to Labor Day and just good old plain fresh air and beautiful scenery plus skiing in the winter.

In our two-story 2-bedroom unit equipped with all modern conveniences and a fireplace, we found a pamphlet entitled “A Homeowner’s Guide Living with Bears”. [Okay.]  Natural Resources officials say the number of black bears in South Carolina has gotten so large that the animals are boldly looking for food in residential areas. Black bears can get up to 600 pounds. [Mouth open on that one.] If one does approach you, the booklet tells you the ‘thing to do’ is make yourself look as large as you can possibly can by waving your arms. It’s difficult to look ‘that big’ if you are only 5’2″, so I looked over my shoulder a lot. The locals told us that they haven’t seen a bear in the resort area for over 12 years, and we didn’t see one either. The guys were disappointed somewhat.

Cell phones do not work in these elevated areas, so bring a phone card. Also, the Wi-Fi works in the club house, but not in the rooms. This was disappointing at first, but the blood pressure drop and serenity feeling overlooked the loss almost immediately. Accommodations are immaculate.

The restaurant at the Club House was better than anything locally (within 10 miles) and we dined there every night on fresh caught trout, crab cakes roasted stuff chicken, and wonderfully fresh garden salads, all cooked in gourmet style. Veggies, ice cream and bread were all fresh and delicious. We enjoyed visiting with the chef, and owners each night after dinner and they gave us many insights as what to see and where to go.

It was unanimously agreed among our group that the locals in neighboring (10 miles or less) local towns were the friendliest people we’ve ever met. Down-to-earth, congenial, happy, and helpful, from the waitresses to the owners to the other guests. This is a Mayberry, NC-like town seen on the Andy Griffith Show. We visited homegrown honeybee stores, the largest flea market ever on Wednesdays, and Greenville, the third largest city in the state of SC, is only 20 miles away – one half hour if you have to have city.

We took a couple of day trips: one to Biltmore, American’s Largest Home in Asheville, NC – about an hour and a half ride – 70 miles away. You can spend the whole day there and have lunch at their extraordinary buffet amidst an outside garden. And wine tasted at the Biltmore winery.

We also visited the Cherokee Reservation’s Harrah’s Casino – about a two and a half hour ride from the resort. No one won anything, but it was a hoot.

One very pleasurable lunch – just up the road a couple of miles from the resort is the Victoria Valley Vineyards. Overlooking a Tuscany Terrain look-alike with terraced vineyards, we enjoyed a Bistro lunch after another delicious wine-tasting and wine tour. This beautiful facility, known for its scenery and good food, is a popular venue for weddings, receptions, or any kind of celebration. The day we lunched there, the only other group was a small wedding party of about 6 people.
I brought many books with me – and I never read one. The entire time was pleasurable, relaxing, fun and memorable. A great place to go with a golf group, a family, or as a couple. If you like solitude, even alone. There are people all around in the middle of the mountains and the bears know their place;  they never visited.
Table Rock Resort in the Foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, South Carolina 144 Sliding Rock Road, Pickens, SC 29671,
864-878-3942

The Top Ten Reasons to Believe in God

There are a lot of publications and articles about personal power and how each of us, as an individual, is part of the universe.  As part of the universe, they say one may  attain “Universal Truth” and the attainment of the highest individual human potential.  This say this can come from a combination of cosmology, astrology, esotericism, alternative medicine, music, collectivism, sustainability, and nature.  This spirituality is characterized by an individual approach to spiritual practices and philosophies, while rejecting religious doctrine and dogma.

I’ve never seen a guidebook or blueprint of how you combine these universal attainments to pursue happiness or fulfillment.   It is true that, as individuals, we can attain a self-actualization of our talents, as described in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.   But is this the Universal Truth?   We can combine all of the ‘ologies’ above, but is this the Universal Truth?   Isn’t there a broad interpretation of Universal Truth and different ways for different folks to embrace it?   Or define?   Or live it?   Who created the universe?

God has made it very simple for us in terms of Universal Truth.   In His wisdom and guidance, He has provided a Guidebook and Blueprint for us to find and embrace the Way, the Truth and the Light — God’s Universal Truth.

God, through inspired men, and the Holy Spirit, and in His mercy and wisdom, has made it possible for us to learn about Him.   God has passed onto us, his instructions for life and happiness, His laws and His commandments. The universe, which God Himself created, stands silent.  Silent.  What is beyond the universe?   God is.  Our Father blessed us with the Bible, His communication with us.  His Word.   Many people try to undermine it or interpret it differently, or add things to it, or condemn it.   If these same people  studied the Bible, they would see that it is a masterpiece that fits together unquestionably.   All they have to do:  is read it.   The universe is barren, cold, and limited.   God is all encompassing, warm in His Love for us, and unlimited.   The universe cannot promise what God promises us.

The Top Ten Reasons To Believe in God:

10. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your heart be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27

9. “The Lord will guide you continually, watering your life when you are dry and keeping you healthy, too.” Isaiah 58:11

8. “For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.” Psalm 100:5

7. “The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace”.Psalm 29:11

6. “For nothing is impossible with God“. Luke 1:37

5. “Give your burdens to the Lord and he will take care of you.” Psalm 55:22

4. “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears  us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of him.” 1 John 5:14-15

3. “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11

2. “But remember, that the temptations that come into your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can’t stand up against it. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you will not give in to it.” 1 Corinthians 13

And the top reason to believe in God is because, He promises…..

1. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you.” Jeremiah 29:11

Marie Coppola  December  2015

2017: Change Your Life with 10 New Year’s Resolutions

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 What the New Year brings to you will depend a great deal on what you bring to the New Year.” — Vern McLellan

For the new year, many of us resolve to make changes in our life.  Forty to 45% of American adults make one or more resolutions each year. It is believed that the Babylonians were the first to make New Year’s resolutions and early Christians believed the first day of the new year should be spent reflecting on past mistakes and resolving to improve oneself in the new year.   As 2017 begins, we may resolve to make changes in our life.

Here are the statistics on how many of these resolutions are maintained as time goes on:

– 75% of new resolutions get past the first week:   – past 2 weeks: 71%; – after one month: 64%; and – after 6 months: 46%.

If you are among the 25% that have already forgotten your resolutions or pushed them aside in the past, you are not alone. At least you tried to make a difference somewhere in your lifestyle. Some of us feel badly or defeated when we haven’t ‘stayed with it’.   Make it simple and don’t try to change everything at once…some suggestions:

Try to Save Money

Saving money requires two things – planning and willpower. Even if it’s a small amount, try to put some in a savings account. Don’t misuse your credit or debit cards – paying the ‘minimum’ on your monthly bills is running up the interest and costs you more in the long run. Try to manage your credit cards so you can pay off the amount due each month.

Lose some weight

Weight loss is probably the most common resolution in history. Shedding anywhere from a couple pounds to a hundred pounds has frustrated people for years. Go slow – no quick fixes – watch your calories and portions and eat nutritious meals. Do an exercise you really enjoy; walking and dancing are great weight watchers. The only way to lose weight sensibly is to take in less calories and exercise calories out.   And portion control.

Quit smoking

Easily one of the hardest resolutions to keep is quitting smoking. You’re fighting an addiction, which is never easy. There are many methods to help you do this.  Yes, it can be done.

Read more books

While it might not be a common resolution, it is one that can help a lot. Reading is beneficial for anyone of any age. It might be hard to find time in a busy schedule for reading, but not as hard as one might think. Find a good book and read ~ one chapter a day.   [*Reading the Bible is a super plus].

Go green

Going green not only helps the earth, it also can save you some money. There’s lots of ways to cut down on unnecessary items or include new habits to offset the bad.

Stay informed

In this era of immediate information it’s surprising how few people actually watch the news and make the effort to stay informed.  Listen to the news ~ watch more than one news outlet – watch unbiased news outlets, or at least watch a little bit from every angle. Read a newspaper – and make sure that you don’t only utilize one source for your news.  Bias is rampant. The more sources you get your information from, the more complete a picture you will get or the truth.  Find as many sources as you can from as many viewpoints as you can, and make informed choices based on all the information you take in.

Eat less fast food

Fast food is unhealthy especially if you eat it every day. Pack healthy snacks or find healthy snack bars. Taking a little time in the morning to prepare some food for the day ahead can save you money at the fast food place and at the doctor’s office.  And benefit your waistline.

Manage your stress

Some tips:  Move around doing cardio exercise;  stationary bikes while watching TV; or sign up at for an exercise program at a salon or gym. Get a hobby – something you like to do.  Writing, reading, volunteering or join a social group. Talk it out with a friend or confidante. It relieves stress.  So does going to your place of faith or re-connecting with God.

Managing your debt

Use a debt management service which can be available online and over the phone, but do research to find out which ones are reliable and trustworthy. Paying bills on time and paying as much on the principal as possible is a good way to slowly reduce your debt. There’s no quick and easy way, but try not to get overwhelmed, and attack it head on.   Cut down on credit cards.

Be charitable

Charity has a plethora of benefits, including tax deductions, a sense of pride, and of course the fact that you have just made someone else’s life better. There are literally millions of charities, and a myriad of ways to be charitable.  Find something you can get emotionally involved in. Like animals? Look into wildlife conservation groups. Have a soft spot for kids? There are plenty in other countries that could use some support. Find something you can get involved in and stick with it. If it means something to you, then your work for the charity will be that much more rewarding.  (Ref: CafePress)

Another aspect of charity is extending yourself for the good of others.  It is truly rewarding to both giver and recipient by reading to a shut-in, sending cards of encouragement to those in need, taking a widow or widower to lunch or volunteering in outreach programs.  Look around, there’s many good works you can do.

Have a happy and blessed New Year!

© Marie Coppola Revised December 2016

Canada’s Top Ten List of America’s Stupidity

“Of course we look like idiots …. because we are.

Number 10.   Only in America could politicians talk about the greed of the rich at a $35,000.00 per plate Obama campaign fund-raising event.

Number 9.   Only in America …could people claim that the government still discriminates against black Americans when they have a black President, a black Attorney General and roughly 20% of the federal workforce is black while only 14% of the population is black 40+% of all federal entitlements goes to black Americans – 3X the rate that go to whites, 5X the rate that go to Hispanics!

Number 8.   Only in America…could they have had the two people most responsible for our tax code, Timothy Geithner (the head of the Treasury Department) and Charles Rangel (who once ran the Ways and Means Committee), BOTH turn out to be tax cheats who are in favor of higher taxes.

Number 7.   Only in America…can they have terrorists kill people in the name of Allah and have the media primarily react by fretting that Muslims might be harmed by the backlash.

Number 6.   Only in America…would they make people who want to legally become American citizens wait for years in their home countries and pay tens of thousands of dollars for the privilege, while they discuss letting anyone who sneaks into the country illegally just ‘magically’ become American citizens (probably should be number one).

Number 5.   Only in America….could the people who believe in balancing the budget and sticking by the country’s Constitution be thought of as EXTREMIST’S.

Number 4.   Only in America…could you need to present a driver’s license to cash a check or buy alcohol, but not to vote.

Number 3.   Only in America…could people demand the government investigate whether oil companies are gouging the public because the price of gas went up when the return on equity invested in a major U.S. Oil company(Marathon Oil) is less than half of a company making tennis shoes (Nike).

Number 2.   Only in America… could you collect more tax dollars from the people than any nation in recorded history, still spend a Trillion dollars more than it has per year – for total spending of $7-Million PER MINUTE, and complain that it doesn’t have nearly enough money.

And Number 1.   Only in America…could the rich people- who pay 86% of all income taxes – be accused of not paying their “fair share” by people who don’t pay any income taxes at all.”