Holidays

Father Patrick Tonry, a priest of forty years in the Diocese of Columbus, Ohio, has served as a pastor, military chaplain, prison chaplain, spiritual director, and editorialist.   I received "The Green Suit" recently which was written by him and have permission to share this St. Patrick's Reminiscence with our Irish brothers & sisters and those who have the Irish spirit.

As a young boy, there was one day I looked forward to with as much anticipation as Christmas.  No, it was not my birthday; the day I eagerly awaited was March 17th.

March 17th held special meaning in the Tonry household.   It was St. Patrick's Day, my parents' wedding anniversary and the day they immigrated to the United States.  My parents were married in 1927, in Ireland on St. Patrick's day.  Immediately after their wedding ceremony, they boarded a ship and sailed to the U.S. to begin their married life in a new country.

If the 17th of March fell dring the wk week, my father would take the day off work.  We kids had the day off, as did all the children who attended Catholic schools in Brooklyn and New York City.  To properly honor both my parent's wedding anniversary and the Feast of St. Patrick, we went to early morning Mass as a family.

My parents, my two older brothers and my little sister would dress in their Sunday best.  As the youngest son, I was given a special honor. I wore the color of the day    I had a beautiful emerald green suit with a matching tie. It was a source of pride for me that i was the only one in the family who had a green suit.  Naturally, I was only permitted to wear this suit on St. Patrick's Day.

After celebrating Mass, we would go back home and eat a big breakfast.  This special breakfast would keep us fueled for what seemed to me the longest journey ever:   the train and bus rides into New York City for the St. Patrick's Day Parade.

The train and buses were filled with families going into the city to watch the parade.  We would line up along Fifth Avenue and wait for the parade to begin.  It was thrilling.  I was awe-struck by the high school marching bands.  The sound of the drum lines would set my heart racing.  It was a beautiful sight to see the Irish dances come down the street, dancing in unison.

Some years, we would shiver because it would be so cold.  Yet, we stayed and watched the parade through the rain, wind, snow and sunshine.  We never left the parade until the flag of my mother's and father's country in Ireland passed.

Right after the parade, our family went to a small restaurant to have dinner.   My parents did not have much money, and they saved a little each month so the entire family could eat out on this day.  In fact, St. Patrick's Day was the only time we would ever eat out.  We always had dinner at home.

....These traditions in a family ceate meaning that makes family occasions more memorable.

The reason St. Patrick was special to my parents was because he gave his life in service to God and the people of Ireland.  His story begins in the early 400's.  Patrick was the son of a Roman official and at the age of 16, he was kidnapped and taken to pagan Ireland.  He lived in slavery for six years working as a shepherd.  During his enslavement. Patrick turned to God for comfort and companionship.  Patrick escaped, returned home and entered the priesthood.  Years later, he returned to Ireland as Bishop, his love of the Irish people drawing him back.  He traveled throughout the island, overcoming opposition from hostile chieftains and pagan Druids and converting most of Ireland to the faith.

...Today everyone can be like St. Patrick. a living reflection of the Gospel.   May the love of St. Patrick be with you and may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Father Patrick Tonry, SM  February 2017

 

 


It's that time of year again. Frost is in the air, the football season is in full gear and thoughts of the holidays from Thanksgiving to New Year are becoming more frequent.

Some years back, it was said that you can expect to gain 5 to 7 pounds during this time of the year.  Since we were expected to anyway, a lot of us figured ~ what the heck ~ gaining a little weight can always be turned into a New Year's Resolution to lose it. This 5 - 10 pounds holiday binge-out projection was changed a few years ago; it was 'trimmed' down to an 'average'  5 pounds weight gain BUT only for folks overweight to begin with.

So ~ here's the new facts for Overweight & Obesity Statistical Fact Sheet;
Adults  ~ Among Americans age 20 and older, 154.7 million are overweight or obese (BMI of 25.0 kg/m2 and higher):  They include:  - 79.9 million men and 74.8 million women.

Of these, 78.4 million are obese (BMI of 30.0 - kg/m2 and higher): ~ 36.8 million men and  41.6 million women.   Is there a good chance anyone reading here is in those stats?

Despite what many people believe, the average adult gains only about  one (1) pound between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, according to a study from the New England Journal of Medicine. The news isn't all good, however. Other studies have shown that people who are overweight to begin with gain as much as 5 pounds on average this time of year and, in either case, it's tough to lose that holiday weight during the rest of the year.

The thing is that most people will not lose that one or two pounds and will keep it, especially if they are older (ie, anyone out of college).  And those one to two pounds a year may hang on for a lifetime. Many 40 year olds will tell you that they are 10 pounds heavier than they were in high school.  And they are the average weight people.

Bottom line: You may not be able to get into that little dress or those cool jeans on New Year's Eve that you bought during the Thanksgiving sale. Along with weight gain, there is some bloat from all the extra salt on prepared foods and dining out. Even more importantly, with all the emphasis lately on diabetes and obesity, it is sensible to curtail the amount of food you chow down during this holiday season.

So is there anything we can do to avoid extra poundage that wants to make themselves at home on you for life?  Yes, there is.

  •  The first and most obvious to-do is exercise. If you are on a daily exercise program and are a good soldier, chances are you will keep up with your routine. If you are traveling or having a house full of company or eat out more than often, then you may not keep up with it as usual. It's important to move around, especially with all those cookies and goodies around. Try to take a walk for at least 10 minutes in the morning and again in the evening. Walk briskly; pump your arms; it will help keep your metabolism revved up, to work on those extra calories. A 30-minute walk is even better. And stay hydrated - drink water to help clean out your system.
  • The second most obvious to-do is the fact that:  As long as you take in fewer calories than you burn, you'll lose weight. You don't have to eat from every dish on the table or at a party. It is difficult because you want to sample everything, especially home baked goods. Try to choose from protein dishes - chicken, meats, fish, beans. Fill your plate with veggies - go easy on the dip. Forego the bread and butter and pasta dishes. And potatoes. Go easy on the carbs. Try to graze with your first-made plate; wait 20 minutes for your brain to tell you how full your stomach is - and you may not need that second (or third) plate. And as much as we don't want to think about it; yes, alcohol - wine, beer and mixed drinks do have calories in them. The more you drink, the more calories you'll take in.
  •  Dessert can be deadly and you don't need to 'have a taste of everything'.  Someone (skinny, of course)  once told me that "you only need one bite of dessert....that bite tells you what it tastes like and every bite after that is going to taste the same."   Pick something you like (chocolate pudding is my vote here - I make it at home with skim milk) and bring it along as my dessert contribution). I notice all the thin ones go for the pudding instead of the tiramisu.

When I tried a popular diet,  I was allotted 18 points ALL day. You can pick and choose what you eat and you CAN eat a satisfying, nutritious diet within those points. HOWEVER, one serving of tiramisu and one serving of fried calamari = 18 points - and would use up my all-day allotment of food!   I don't eat tiramisu anymore but I love calamari - but like my skinny friend said -- after eating a few, they're all going to taste the same. Now I have a few and not a whole plate. Portion control is KEY.  Even some fruits, in excess, can be fattening.

Another changed rule for dieting:  they used to tell you to weigh yourself only once a week. Now they are saying that you should weigh every day and skinny down your diet if the scale is showing 1 or 2 pounds over your daily normal weight.

If you find that you overeat at one meal, neutralize your daily intake by cutting back at the other meals. A light breakfast of a poached egg on a light English muffin or a lunch of yogurt with fruit; or a cup of soup or a salad can help keep your calories in check. And it's good to cut back and give your system a digestive rest rather than overloading it at each meal.  Use common sense.

If you indulge and enjoy more culinary delights than usual during the holiday season, don't be too hard on yourself.  It is a time of joy, sharing and being with friends and family.  Remember that you can always 'fix it' in January and February;  if you watch out for the pitfalls above, you'll have less weight to lose!

© Marie Coppola Revised November 2016

 

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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

 
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Why is it when friends socialize, the subject of weight usually rolls around?   This is especially true after the holidays when major over-eating takes place.   The guys seem to brag while they pinch their round bellies but the girls suck in their stomachs and say they gained 5 pounds - when actually it is 10.  

Excuses come forth while the ladies turn down dessert and the men call for another beer.   The ladies suggest these reasons for their weight gain:

"I had so much company, I didn't take time to eat properly.  
 I was so tired I didn't get to the gym or take walks.
My family gains weight easily.
I didn't gain that much - I'll wear my 'big clothes' until I lose it.

I'm bloated - it will go away."

The mens' excuses are nil - instead they say:

"Hey, I'm more loveable - feel these love handles.
I'll take it off in a couple of days
I haven't weighed myself in months.
What's a few pounds - you put it on - you take it off.
Hey, pass me another beer - it's good for diets."

 

The group good-naturedly decides to see who can lose weight before the next month's meeting.

All agree - the ladies express their best and tried way to lose pounds for the rest of the evening.  The men drink more beer and share sports stories and joke around.

 

At next month's get-together, it is disclosed:

  • The guys all lost 10 pounds each, don't know how they did and high-five each other.
  • The silent ladies aren't talking but are all still sporting their 'big'clothes.'

It ain't fair Miz Scarlett, it just ain't fair.    

Marie Coppola (C) May 2015

 

The Feast of the Holy Family is not just about the Holy Family, but about our own families too.

The main purpose of the Feast is to present the Holy Family as the model for all Christian families, and for domestic life in general. Our family life becomes sanctified when we live the life of the Church within our homes. This is called the "domestic church" or the "church in miniature." St. John Chrysostom urged all Christians to make each home a "family church," and in doing so, we sanctify the family unit. Just how does one live out the Church in the family? The best way is by making Christ the center of family and individual life. Ways to do this include: reading scripture regularly, praying daily, attending Mass at least on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation, imitating the actions of the Holy Family, going to confession frequently, and so forth, all done together as a family unit.

In addition to cultivating positive actions, the Church understands that various actions and behaviors are contrary to God's Divine plan for the family. These include abortion, contraception, embryonic stem-cell research, divorce, spousal abuse, child abuse, among other things. Catholic Teaching is that a marriage must be open to children. Anything artificial that prevents this is contrary to divine law, although spacing births for a just reason is permitted (and may be accomplished through "natural family planning").

Also, poverty, lack of health care, rights violations, government intrusion in the life of communities and families, and other justice concerns must be addressed by faithful Christians because of the negative effect these conditions have on the family unit. St. Paul gives us some advice on family life in Colossians 3:12-21:

"Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience, forbearing one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged". (RSV).

The Holy Family feast is a good time to remember the family unit and pray for our human and spiritual families. We also may take this feast to reflect on the value and sanctity of the family unit, and to evaluate our own family life. What ways may it be improved? What would Jesus, Mary, and Joseph do? Finally, we can use this feast to ask ourselves what are we doing to promote the family within our own cultures, neighborhoods, and communities.

David Bennett's Author Page

David Bennett is a Catholic High School teacher, writer, and speaker. He graduated with a B.A. in Psychology, and a Master of Theological Studies, and received a Post-Master's Certificate in Religious Education in 2009. He has been inducted into numerous honor societies, including Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Alpha Theta (history), Eta Sigma Phi (Greek and Latin classics), Psi Chi (Psychology), and Theta Phi (theology). He studied Psychology, classical Greek, Latin, Philosophy, History, Liturgy, and Biblical Criticism.

He started ChurchYear.Net in 2004 with his brother Jonathan, to provide accurate and easy-to-understand information about Christian holidays. He also operates other websites, and is a member-manager of multiple online businesses and informational outlets. You may connect with David on Google Plus.

Marie Coppola  December 2014

 

 

"Over the River and Through the Woods" is a well-known Thanksgiving song written by Lydia Maria Child. It was originally written as a poem, entitled "A Boy's Thanksgiving Day and celebrated childhood memories of Lydia Maria visiting her grandparent's house. Although it is sometimes substituted as a song for Christmas, our family never failed to sing this song in our unmelodic voices on our way to Thanksgiving Dinner at Nana and Grandpa's house. Usually driving over a bridge precipitates it and we break into song. It is a tradition that spills over into the grandkids. It goes:

"Over the river, and through the wood, To Grandmother's house we go; The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh through the white and drifted snow. Ohhh"

Over the river, and through the wood—Oh, how the wind does blow! It stings the toes and bites the nose , As over the ground we go."

Thanksgiving, like Christmas, is a traditional family gathering either at our parents, if we still are fortunate enough to have them, or a sibling or whichever family member does the cooking that year. The holiday conjures up memories of other Thanksgivings and more often than not, there is a big stuffed turkey, with lots of vegetables and trimmings. If you are Italian, or any other nationality, there is sure to be favored ethnic dishes piled high. We try to make sure we have room for the pumpkin, apple and mince pies - what is Thanksgiving without the memories of feasts we've shared?

The day, of course, is in gratitude for all our blessings and family members. As we gather round, we are grateful for the gathering and maybe some new additions to the family. There may also be some empty chairs for many reasons that once were filled, and we are grateful for the memories we hold for these family members, too.

We probably all have similar sayings and customs for this "Thank You Day" or "Turkey Day". I always say something which my mother always said when we sit down at 3:00 pm for dinner, "Do you realize how many people are doing this same thing right now?".....and most likely my daughter will say it someday when I'm not around in memory and fun. She does so already.

Here are some of our happenings on this special holiday.

  • After our first blessing, I ask one of the children to say grace. Children love to be part of an adult gathering and they love to say grace. They are thankful for everything, so make sure all the plates are covered against getting cold. The rest of the children want to add their thanks, too, and you get a good idea of what makes these little people the happiest. Anyone who wants to add a prayer, is welcomed.
  • After dinner, we always go round the table and each person tells everyone what they are most thankful for this year. The kids enjoy this part the most. This is always special as some people always joke; some always get very serious; some get emotional; and some articulate beautiful thanks to someone there who especially went the extra mile to help them. This part of the meal - while digesting - and before dessert - is very family-oriented. No hand-held video games, iPods, or cell phones are brought to the table.
  • During dessert, we ask if anyone wants to do the 'Christmas grab bag gift' idea. We started this when the family and kids and grand kids started to number 30. Instead of buying small gifts for everybody, we have a grab bag. Everyone's name goes in the hat and each person picks a name and buys a gift for that person and that person only. We put a price tag on it - one year it was $25.00 and that was a little too much for the teens and kids, so we settled on $15 or $10.

I wish you all a blessed and memorable Thanksgiving ~~~

"Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever." Psalm 107:1

Marie Coppola November 2013

 


 

 Why do we Celebrate Labor Day?

In the United States, Labor Day is always celebrated on the first Monday in September - the transition from summer to fall. As kids, we remember that Labor Day signified our return to school from our summer vacation. As adults, we put away our white slacks and shoes and prepare the grill for that last barbecue of the season. It is a looked-forward to three-day weekend from our chores or work, planning that last picnic or trek to the beach.

Labor Day originated in 1882 as a movement to recognize the efforts of the average working man. Although there is some discrepancy as to who gets credit for initiating the holiday, it was the Central Labor Union that held the first celebration on September 5, 1882 in New York City. Thus, it was designated that the first Monday in September as the official observation day and became an official holiday under a law signed by President Grover Cleveland.

Labor Day was originally celebrated by parades and demonstrations and rallies of workers banding together but today, it is celebrated by family barbecues, major department store sales, and the joy of a three-day week-end.

It is celebrated for workers' contributions of workers throughout America and Canada. Examples of accomplishments of the labor union movement include the eight hour work day, 2-day weekends, minimum wage, and decent working conditions. This is a far cry from the 58 hour week of old, although many people still work those hours!

Labor Day is a good day to reflect on the past summer and the advancing fall. Since it's the time in between these two seasons and a break from work, it's beneficial to just kick off your shoes and relax. We work hard all year and this day of celebrating and recognizing those efforts and the mantra of the day is R-e-s-t.

Rest is very important to our wellness and health. If you are working too hard or looking tirelessly for a new one job, and don't get enough rest, you compromise your immune system and open the door to illness and disease. As important as work is to our lives, rest is imperative, too.

God directs us to rest in His Book of Guidance and even He rested. God created the universe in six days and rested on the seventh. Thus, the Sabbath day; the anointed day of rest. Genesis 2:2-3.

It makes perfect sense that our bodies and minds require rest after periods of hard work; we are created in His image. It is for our own good that God gave us His example of resting and even commanded us to rest and be refreshed.

This Labor Day weekend, be kind to yourself. Put work in the backseat and enjoy your family, loved ones and friends. Refresh yourself. When the weekend is over, you will be ready to pick up your work again. Your rest will give you added focus and energy.

Have a wonderful, relaxing, and renewable weekend. Travel safe if you are going out of town.

©  Marie Coppola Revised August 2013

 

A few years ago, a good friend of mine, at 49 years of age, died of a massive heart attack. This vibrant woman, a champion of exercise and good health died after a workout. She had received her B.A. degree a month before with a grade point average of 4.0. It was later learned that her father had died around the same age of a genetic birth defect.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women 65 and older; it is the second-leading cause of death for women 45 to 64 and it is the third leading cause of death for women 25 to 44. In the United States, heart disease kills more women than any other health condition. All women of all ages should aware of heart disease -- its causes and risks -- whether it runs in the family or not. [See updated info below*].

Women's warning signs differ from those for men. The signs for women are not the typical heavy weight on chest, or heart-burn, shortness of breath, pain in arm or cold sweat. These symptoms are less likely to be a women's common first sign. Cause for concern in women are:

  • pain or discomfort in an unusual place such as: the jaw, elbow or even a tooth
  • an unexplained sense of dread, doom or anxiety
  • a feeling that something is not 'right'
  • a sudden weakness or heavy fatigue similar to 'flu symptoms' - more than 70% of women cited this one.
  • shortness of breath
  • nausea
  • indigestion
  • these symptoms may occur as long as a 'month' before an attack

A second attack could be completely different than a first heart attack.

Recent patterns in fatal heart attacks on both men and women, increase during the winter holiday season, especially around Christmas Day and New Year's Day. Research at the University of California, San Diego and Tufts University School of Medicine examined 53 million U.S. death certificates from 1973 to 2001. They discovered an overall increase of 5% more heart-related deaths during the holiday season.

Cold weather can add strain to the heart by constricting blood vessels which can raise a person's blood pressure. And there is more chance for blood clots to form. Cold weather can also mean more shoveling snow and adding increase strains on the heart. But even these reasons don't explain why there are 'spikes' of fatal heart attacks on Christmas Day and New Year's day. According to the Circulation study, “The number of cardiac deaths is higher on Dec. 25 than on any other day of the year, second highest on Dec. 26, and third highest on Jan. 1.” These spikes occur even in balmy, mild weather areas, where there is no snow shoveling.  [Ref: WebMD]

There are several lifestyle changes women can do to reduce your risk of heart disease:

  • Exercise 30 to 60 minutes a day on most days of the week.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Quit or don't start smoking.
  • Eat a diet that's low in saturated fat, cholesterol and salt.
  • Take prescribed medicines; ie, blood medications, blood thinners and aspirin
  • You may consider supplements, such as omega-3 fatty acids or fish oil tablets for high cholesterol
  • Stay at a healthy weight
  • a normal body mass index (BMI) is helpful; a BMI of 25 or higher can be associated with increased risk
  • If overweight, a weight loss of 10-15 pounds can help to decrease risk
  • Take a daily low-dose or baby aspirin.

Leading Causes of Death in Females United States

All Females, All Ages Percent*
1) Heart disease 24.0
2) Cancer 22.2
3) Stroke 6.3
4) Chronic lower respiratory diseases 5.9
5) Alzheimer's disease 4.5
6) Unintentional injuries 3.5
7) Diabetes 2.8
8) Influenza and Pneumonia 2.3
9) Kidney disease 2.0
10) Septicemia 1.6

© Marie Coppola December 2016

References: MayoClinic.com; WebMD; Circulation Study; LHS, Your Health


 

We all want to walk into a party and have a good time. Some of us are extroverts and have no problem doing this. But, others, a little on the shy side, or introverts, may have a problem opening up to people. With holidays, informal and office party settings, it’s a good time to mix and mingle with co-workers, friends and people we’ve never met before or only briefly.

Looking your best and feeling confident, approach a group of people with a friendly hello, but it’s a good idea - if you want to be invited back -to never say things like this……………

1) Never ask someone in a group how old they are, especially a lady. Her bristling stance and lip pursing should warn you that you shouldn’t have gone there, so don’t make it worse by starting to guess how old she is. Back up and away from the group because you’ve probably caused some heartburn. Yes, you did.

2) Never assume somebody is pregnant because she is wearing a big overblouse and it looks like she is at least six months’ pregnant. Don’t ask when she is expecting and pat her stomach. She may not be. The look in her eyes should give you the hint that she is mortified, so smile nicely and quickly add what a pretty blouse she has on, even if you don’t think it is and it does look like a maternity top. Don’t say that it does look like a maternity top. You’ve said enough.

3) Don’t rub a balding man’s head and say, "Nice hair". That’s like him patting you on your behind and saying ‘Big rear’. These are not good communicating skills. Comment or compliment him on his suit or shoes and if you have to say something, but leave his hair or lack of it alone.

4) Stay away from political discussions even if it is hard for you to stifle yourself. Never ask someone why on earth he or she voted for that ‘dumb idiot.’ A party isn’t the place to show how politically savvy you are. No one wants to hear how you would handle the deficit or what you would offer for health care. Either the crowd will ‘gotta mingle’ and disperse or someone will want to duel you to a shouting match over what you said and the hostess will probably make a note never to invite you again.

5) Same with religion. Jim, who has had half a bottle of vodka most likely, is not in the mood to repent over the filthy joke he just told the hostess’ teenage daughter. It won’t do any good to remind him of the Ten Commandments while he’s adjusting the lampshade over his head. There’s a time and place for serious faith sharing and this isn’t the right time.

6) Don’t ask the hostess where she got her drapes and how much they cost. It’s tacky. Ask her over coffee at another time; not when she’s handing out canapés and doesn’t want to tell you in front of all her guests that she bought them in a thrift shop.

7) Never, never ask anyone how much they make or what their salary is. People would rather tell you all about their sex life instead of divulging their personal info like how much they make. This is taboo and even family members are sometimes reluctant about sharing this with each other. Then people will offer comments and butt in with their views on what things you’re spending too much or too little on. No, no. Don’t go there. It’s none of your business.

#8) Don’t ask a man or woman how much they weigh. Again, folks, especially women, would rather tell you all about their sex life instead of telling you how much they weigh. If they do tell you, notice the rapid eye blinking (sign of fibbing) and deduct 15 or 20 pounds from what they tell you.

9) Don’t bring your cell phone to the party and talk on it all night. You came to a party for Pete’s sake and no one wants to hear you converse with someone else while they’re standing there trying to be sociable. The same goes for texting. Don’t do it. And your blackberry. And iPod. Don’t bring them. Did we cover them all? Leave them home.

10) Don’t gossip at a party. The odds are that someone will know the person you are talking about and it will be twittered and tweeted to 12,539 people who will know a secret that you weren’t suppose to tell anybody. It makes you look like a blabbermouth and others will avoid talking to you about anything other than the weather and how nice the house is decorated.

11) Don’t make flirty eyes at anybody’s boyfriend or girlfriend, especially if you are married. It’s no excuse that you had a bottle and a half of wine and are feeling frisky. It makes people uncomfortable and you could be sporting a black eye or a frosty partner the next day.

12) Don’t announce that you hate cats or dogs if the host’s pet comes into the room. The pet is probably more cherished to them than you are. And never be unkind to the pet or make fun of it. You can bet the pet will be at the next get together and you won’t.

13) Never try to guess who’s older, if two women or two men approach you and ask, "Which one of us is older?" This is a time-bomb question. You can only lose on the answer, but people love to ask this.  Just say you’re really bad at guessing ages and if they persist, ask where the bathroom is and jiggle around like you really have to go bad. Same thing applies if two women who resemble each other approach you, never, never say "You're the mother and this is your daughter, right?  If they’re sisters, you’re black-balled for the rest of the night.

14) Don’t give a dissertation on your personal life, your woes and problems. Chances are, everyone knows all about them anyway.

15) Never talk about your sex life. It’s really tacky and they probably know about it anyway.

16) Say nothing; practice your listening skills and head-nodding exercises. Say ‘mmmm’; ‘wow’ and ‘awesome’ at intervals. People will love you and invite you back.

 

© Marie Coppola June 2013

 

On Flag Day,  June 14th, several Sir Knights  had the privilege and honor to participate in a Flag Retirement Ceremony that was being held at our local VFW Post.

On Flag Day, we honor our Flag, and in addition, we retire those Flags, that may be torn and frayed, in a very respectful way. The VFW post was retiring their Flag, and they asked our Assembly to participate in it's retirement. Part of the retirement ceremony is to properly fold the Flag, by folding it 13 times.

We have all been to funerals of Veterans, where the Honor Guard folds the Flag that draped the Veteran's coffin, and handed it to the spouse or parents of the fallen Veteran. We probably never noticed that the Flag was meticulously folded 13 times, or even knew what each fold represented. I was part of the folding team, and before each fold, our team leader read the following so that all in attendance understood the significance of this ceremony.

The 1st fold of our Flag is a symbol of Life.

The 2nd fold of our Flag is a symbol of our belief in Eternal Life.

The 3rd fold of our Flag is made in honor and remembrance of the Veterans departing our ranks who gave a portion of their lives for the defense of our Country to attain peace throughout the world.

The 4th fold of our Flag represents our weaker nature, for as American citizens trusting in God, it is to Him we turn in times of peace as well as in times of war, for His divine guidance.

The 5th fold of our Flag is a tribute to our Country, for in the words of Stephen Decatur, "Our Country, in dealing with other countries, may she be always right, but it is still our Country, right or wrong".

The 6th fold of our Flag is for where our hearts lie. It is with our heart that we pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation, under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.

The 7th fold of our Flag is a tribute to the Armed Forces, for it is through them that we protect our Country and our Flag against all her enemies, whether they be found within our without the boundaries of our Republic.

The 8th fold of our Flag is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of death, that we might see the light of day.

The 9th fold of our Flag is a tribute to womanhood and Mothers. For it has been through their faith, their love, their loyalty, and their devotion, that the character of the men and women that have made this country great, has been molded.

The 10th fold of our Flag is a tribute to the father, for he too has given his sons and daughters for the defense of our Country since they were first born.

The 11th fold of our Flag represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon, and glorifies in the Hebrew's eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

The 12th fold of our Flag represents and emblem of eternity, and glorifies in the Christian eyes, God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

The 13th fold of our Flag, or when the Flag is completely folded, the stars are in the uppermost, reminding us of our Nation's motto, "In God We Trust".

After the Flag is completely folded, then tucked in, it takes on the appearance of a cocked hat, ever reminding us of the Soldiers that served under General George Washington, and the Sailors and Marines who served under Captain John Paul Jones, who were followed by their comrades and shipmates in the Armed Forces of the United States, preserving for us the rights, privileges, and freedoms we enjoy today.

In the future, you may see a Flag folded, and now you will know the significance of each of the steps.

Prepared by Joseph Morrone - June 14,  2013

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