Category Archives: Relationships

Mentoring – both Personal and Organizational


 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 good 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 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.

The personal mentor: Sometime during your lifetime, someone may take a special interest in how you are accomplishing a task. 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. 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; 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 very special, honored relationship.

A mentor can be rewarded by watching the mentee ‘grow’ in his mastery of overcoming or attaining the reason for the guidance. The mentee can be rewarded by achieving the self esteem and confidence of mastering what he overcomes or attains. I have to note that a mentor does not want to live the life for the mentee and should set the tone to make sure that the mentee does not become dependent on the mentor’s good will. A mentor should not have to listen to lamenting and negative inputs. The mentor is there to support and guide, not encourage ‘wallow and whine’.

The organizational mentor:  Wikipedia defines mentor as:

“Mentoring is a process for the informal transmission of knowledge, social capital, and the psychosocial support perceived by the recipient as relevant to work, career, or professional development; mentoring entails informal communication, usually face-to-face and during a sustained period of time, between a person who is perceived to have greater relevant knowledge, wisdom, or experience (the mentor) and a person who is perceived to have less (the protégé)” (Bozeman, Feeney, 2007).

It is actually an agreement between a less experienced worker (mentee) and a business guru (mentor) in the company. Both understand that the purpose is for the mentor, through his or her own job experiences, to supply support and guidance to the mentee to aid in his/her career development. This is accomplished through human resource procedures which include matching temperaments, sharing written expectations, schedule guidelines, written goals and performance feedback.

Since they are ‘gurus’ in the company, mentors may be department heads or V-Ps and are giving up a slice of time from their busy schedules. They have worked hard to acquire business acumen and their schedules should be respected and not abused. One must never forget or not show for a mentor/mentee meeting. If there is a conflict, his/her office should be notified timely. Nor should a mentee use the mentor’s time to complain about the company or their personal gripes. This is a business meeting and although personal info sharing may arise, it is a meeting to combine goals and ambitions into work performance and advancement.

Most mentors who agree to programs like this show a desire and a willingness to give up time to help others, maintain a positive outlook, and are able to be realistic. Some business gurus may have mentoring as an objective on their own goals from their bosses if they need ‘soft skills’ in communicating with employees. They may need to hone up on listening skills and will thus have a strong interest in their own growth and self-development as well as their mentee. Business gurus usually have success orientation. That’s why they are where they are.

During my career development activities, I designed, implemented and maintained a mentoring program. I worked mainly with a department that encompassed state of the art technically skilled employees. These employees, in order to acquire additional integral business skills, development and promotion possibilities, had a distinct need to explore inter-related business disciplines.

For those who had interest, mentoring exchanges were established with them and department heads such as Finance, Security, Legal, Logistics, Purchasing, E-Commerce, or wherever their interests were. It was very successful for those who were determined and focused. Some of them, with their sought-after technical skills were offered positions in the departments of their choice who had a need for the technical end of the specialized business. They are all inter-related at some point. And it helped the company reduce lay-offs by transferring valuable but excess tech persons to another discipline. A discipline that they were not only interested in, but had the background and experience of already knowing the company procedures. A win-win. This project was one of the most satisfying of all my projects to view first-hand, the many positive aspects and results of these relationships.

In another article on mentoring, I will outline the agreement arrangements between mentors and mentees and what each expects or should expect from the other.

© Marie Coppola  August 2014

Ending a Relationship with Forgiveness

 

 It is an unfortunate fact of life that we simply can’t get along with everybody. If we are lucky, we have good relationships with our family and friends and in-laws, but every once in awhile, there is someone who becomes a literal ‘thorn in our side.’ Sometimes, it is apparent why this happens. But other times, as much as we analyze and pick the relationship apart, conversation by conversation, we can’t understand totally why this happens. Call it karma, call it fate, call it ‘that’s life in the big city’ ~ it can play havoc with our lives. This is especially so, if it is a family member, a spouse, or an in-law. What do you do when it is a sibling, a parent or God forbid, a spouse?

I was immersed in a dysfunctional relationship where emotions on both sides overrode logic. I tried my best to avoid social encounters with this person. When I couldn’t or didn’t, I either bit my tongue in all conversations, held back lashing back to a minimum, or feigned sickness to avoid him. On occasion, I worked more, socialized less or buried myself in a book.

When he was present, I felt stressed and prayed that the day turned out okay and not into a fiasco. Others were counting on me to mend the gap and just ‘keep cool’ or ‘chill out’ or anything short of sitting on me and duct-taping my mouth. They told me silence was golden. Even silence was stressful.

I tried many different avenues of being civil, thinking it may work out. But, when it didn’t work out, there was always a ‘stress situation.

He was a ‘long-history person’ in my life. We simply were like mixing oil and water. We always were. Words spoken were not taken the way they were meant. Get togethers became strained. Attempts to make it better made it worse; and the chasm opened wide and threatened to swallow us.

This relationship caused additional spiritual stress for me: didn’t God tell us to forgive seventy times seven? Aren’t we supposed to ‘love one another as He loves us”? How could I reconcile this fractured relationship with my faith? How could I change into something I wasn’t or accept what I couldn’t. I knew I could not or want to change him. Over time, it was apparent it was futile and there was no solution.

One day, at church service, there was a vtisiting minister. His topic was “You Can’t Get Along With Everybody.” I was all ears. His sermon was loving, prayerful, scriptural and reality. He looked out at all of us and said, “You have to face the fact that you won’t get along with everybody in life – it could even be someone close, a loved one or even a child of yours or a parent. You simply will not have a good relationship with him or her.”

And then he offered, “Even Jesus did not get along with everyone. As a native Nazarene, he was not always welcome in his own neighborhood; people mocked him that “he was a carpenter’s son – how can he think he is a Son of God; we knew him as a child playing. Jesus left his hometown and started traveling with his ministry. And when he and/or the Apostles were not welcome in a town, he told them to ‘wipe the dust off their feet’ and move on.”

I talked with the minister after the service and told him how badly I felt about this relationship that I just couldn’t seem to embrace or change. He answered, “There are some relationships you can’t fix. Thank God they are few, but they simply will never be what they are supposed to be. Sometimes you have to walk away and leave them. Withdraw from them; they will eventually harm you. Wipe the dust from your feet and move on.” BUT, he continued….”Always ~ ALWAYS, pray for that person, forgive them and forgive yourself. But always pray for them.”

Please understand that this minister was not suggesting that I disregard any and all people that I had difficulty with and wipe them off like dust. Remember, we are all imperfect. And this wasn’t a case of one being right or one being wrong – we were simply incompatible.

I found a serene feeling of letting go that day. And I followed his advice. I also began praying for that person. And that was very difficult for me. The first few prayers were stifled and stiff and seemed to get stuck in my throat. It felt so insincere. But I kept at it and in time, sincerely meant the prayer. I pray for this person to this day. I pray for his peace; I wish him well-being and remind myself that he is loved as a child of God just as I am.

With my change in attitude and prayer, I feel differently about this person. We may never be close but the awful feelings of animosity and dread are gone. There is no judgment or blame here — it’s just that….”As one face differs from another, so does one’s heart.”

But even different hearts can learn to live in peace.

Marie Coppola June 2014

Do you Have …. or Have you Not?


 

When I graduated from college, someone asked me what was the greatest thing  I learned?   In truth, the greatest thing I learned was how little I knew about all there was  to know.

Faith works like that, too.   The more I learn about God, the more I feel  there’s so much more to learn and know about Him.

If you live in a country like the USA, as I do, the average person has a home, a car, clothes, and time to travel and to entertain.  If the average American wants something special for breakfast, he can go to a restaurant or a food store and buy it.   To people who live in poor countries, they might not have any of these things ~ they may not even know what or when they are going to eat from one day to the next.

How blessed we are.  Do you ever wonder, like I do, why I live here in comfortable conditions, when others live in poverty?

We know God through His Word, the Bible and His Reasoning.  Our Life Plans for us aren’t written in contract form. He does give us many mandates, commandments, parables, and teachings from His Son, Jesus, to give us a pattern and way of living. It doesn’t say anything in the Bible about having the biggest house or the best furniture or making the most money. He does tell us how to have traditional relationships in marriage and love; he tells us how to raise our children, and what makes us happy in life and what is good and what is not good for us. He is our Father.

He sent His Son, Jesus, so we would know what The Father is like so we can communicate with Him.

I ask why has God blessed me so?   I’ve had my share of trials and tribulations, but my faith in God has always sustained me.   He has given me an abundant life – why does He do that?   He loves everybody and we’re all equal in his eyes….why are some in unfortunate situations and others always griping they want more?   And why do some who have plenty want more and more?

What about you?   Do you live an abundant llife?   Do you always want that new car, latest technology, or fashion design?   Do you feel blessed?   Or are you OK with what you want and have but need something else to make you happy and fulfilled?

Perhaps a quiet time with Our Lord seeking his Will and Plans for you would put your life in a different perspective.   The more you get out of your time with Him , the more you will seek it and understand it.

© Marie Coppola June 2014

 

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Married and Thinking of Having an Affair? – Think Again….


”Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive”?

The statistics on the numbers of persons engaging in infidelity or cheating on their mate are not always conclusive because people simply do not tell the truth on surveys or when polled. Conservatively, 60 percent of men and 40 percent of women will have an extramarital affair – and the number of marriages affected is much higher – about 80 percent.

We all know or hear of someone who is not being faithful to their marriage vows and there are similar accounts and stories told that paint a picture when someone steps out of the marriage ring. And the picture is not a rosy one.

There are many variables why people look to others for their emotional or sexual happiness. Some of them are looking for particular traits that their mate lacks, some may be bored or unhappy with their partner’s looks, habits or attitudes, and others may like the variety and excitement in living on the edge and risking that they ‘may be caught’.

Affairs can happen in any neighborhood, company, workplace, schools, churches, between friends, with in-laws; anyplace where two people can meet and form an alliance. Almost 30 percent start on the internet in chat rooms or online conversations. Some men and women are more vulnerable than others; some are more needy than others, and some put their self interests above others.

In any affair, the commitment to the other person in the marriage is violated and dishonored. Temptations and/or attention from the opposite sex can happen in any of the circumstances above, but a committed, honest and strong marriage will override them. Besides the religious inference and family members involved, the dynamics and spirit of a relationship between husband and wife is seriously changed because of an affair, even if the marital union was strong and unified.

The down-side aspects of cheating far outweigh the excitement of forbidden love and heightened emotional feelings. Persons who have affairs say things like this:

“I’ve never felt like this in my whole life.

He’s/she’s my soul mate.

We have so many interests the same; we enjoy every minute we are together.

I would do anything for him/her.

If it wasn’t for the kids, we would be together.

My husband and/or wife is a great mother and wife, or a great father and husband, but this attraction is stronger than him/her.

We talk about everything; I’ve never been so open with a person.

I can hardly wait till I see him/her again; we call each other or email all the time.

It’s like an obsession that I can’t stop.”

You only live once, why fight it.

The sex is unbelievable”.

Persons who feel like this are caught up in the first excitement and feelings of attractions, which are emotional and physical and think about the other person constantly. The “couple” make plans for vacations or weekends or any time that they can be together. This euphoria peaks because it is novel and new and they are love-smitten like teen-agers. There is no responsibility for taking care of a house, caring for kids or pets, or paying bills together, or sharing bathrooms or helping the other through a bad cold at 3:00 am in the morning. The relationship is purely fun, sensual, light-hearted, flirty and non-committed. They are having fun, dressing up for a ‘date’, share great conversations and have no money, in-law or religious problems.

Starting the affair is the first step in deception. Deception creates lies and untruths; once it begins, it can and usually escalates. One of the ‘couple’ may start to feels stressed and/or hemmed in. Every time the phone rings or the chance when they are together of meeting someone who knows them is around every corner or in every restaurant. There are restrictions all around and one of them usually gets more frustrated than the other. If one is married and one is not, it is even more stressful; the single one will urge and push for them to be ‘together’ and to leave the married mate.

It is unrealistic and a play world where the real life is actually home in their separate houses. The ultimate goal of a committed couple is to be together forever.  And an ‘affair together’ is usually a broken string of stolen or hurried moments.

Eventually, one of the ‘couple’ starts to feel dissatisfaction. Maybe one is married and the other is not, or both may be married. One wants to be with the other more and starts to feel melancholy and depressed on birthdays and holidays. He or she is frustrated in not being with the ‘loved one’ on these special days and wants to be together more and more. The other one may want to be together, too, but this dissatisfaction is usually more one-sided. The other may not be ready to commit to leaving the house and didn’t plan on making commitments. There may be children to consider. And responsibilities. And relationships. And family and friends.

All kinds of scenarios can happen. They can get caught and it will come out in the open and everyone gets hurt, especially if the mate did not suspect. Even if the relationship of the married couple was a good one, trust and respect have been destroyed and can take a long time in being restored, if ever. Emotions change the euphoria of the ‘couple’ and it can get nasty and ugly. Accusations and hurt feelings can cause emotional see-saws and the erring couple may find out things about their new-found loved one that they did not know existed. Reality sets in. If there are children, they might be brought into the turmoil and everyone gets hurt.

Soon you hear remarks like this from the cheating couple:

“She got so manipulative; she was going to call my wife and tell her.

He follows us when we go out on family outings and it makes me nervous.

I can’t concentrate at work; my boss asked me if something was wrong in my personal life.

The office knows because he calls me constantly, especially since I told him it was over.

I’ve lost weight and can’t concentrate; I’m so confused.

All we talk about now is how we would live if we left our partners and started over.

My wife and I don’t talk much and when we do, we fight.

The kids aren’t doing well in school, my son started to smoke.

I feel like I’m married to two people and I don’t get along with either one of them.

I guess the ‘grass isn’t greener’ on the other side.

You know what you have – you don’t know what you’re going to get”.

Still thinking about it? Here are some statistics to think about:

About 10 percent of affairs are a one-time and one-day event;

About 10 percent last more than one day, but less than a month;

Approximately half of affairs last more than a month but less than a year;

The rest last longer than a year, but few last more than four or more years.

Very few end in marriage – in the office, only 3 percent of the men married their lovers.   Ref:  {Catalogs.com)

Adultery betrays the marriage covenant of faithfulness. One of the Ten Commandments is : “Thou shalt not commit adultery” And yet, by the statistics above, many people do. And some get married twice or three times. And some commit adultery over and over and say that once you take the first plunge, it gets easier the next time.

If you get tempted and in this fast-changing world, many of us do, watch the movie Fatal Attraction with Michael Douglas and Glenn Close. You might save yourself entanglements, bitterness and life-changing events in your life that you really didn’t mean to have happen.

© Marie Coppola  March 2014

 

 

Stalked by a Predator


It is difficult to remember when he took over and tried to possess me.

I paid him little attention when I first met him; he had a rather menacing look about his eyes. They were green in color – maybe attractive on someone else, but illuminating and piercing on him. He had an air about him that was disconcerting. At once furtive, and just as quickly attentive with an intense stare.

I met him at my friend Carly’s house. Carly, bless her, has all good intentions, but sometimes, bad judgment. I know she was trying to lift my spirits, which were down a lot lately. Like the song, ‘breaking up is hard to do’, it’s true – that it was. But it’s been four weeks already, so I was hoping I was over the worst of it. Tired of kind of dragging around, I really had no desire to go out and meet new people or even talk a lot. So I hesitated when Carly suggested staying by her for the weekend, she was planning on having some friends in I had never met and we could go tag and garage sale hunting, etc. She is very bubbly and very insistent. I don’t know why I agreed to stay with her, but I guess that was a good sign I was feeling better.

He was at the house when I arrived at Carly’s. His swarthy, somewhat weathered look added to his ominous nature, yet even in my funk, I had to admit he was quite attractive. He was as aloof as I was intimidated, so after introductions – his name was Tom – we kind of migrated into our own part of the room. Which was fine with me. I wasn’t feeling very friendly or interested.

When some of Carly’s friends started to come by one by one, the room became a little crowded. I noticed that Tom had slipped out of the room into the kitchen. Maybe he’s having heart trouble, too, I mused. Looking back, I did not notice him anymore that night until much later.

Carly’s friends were upbeat, and although I tried to mingle and make an effort, my heart really wasn’t into it. After a couple of hours and a couple of glasses of wine, I feigned a headache and said I needed to get some sleep. They all protested, of course; they were kind people, but I suspect they were getting a little tired of me, too.

Carly showed me to my room on the second floor – nestled in the back of the house. At least I was away from all the laughter and good times downstairs. My room was really delightful. It had a queen bed (surprise!) and a small TV on the dresser. There was a small bathroom adjoining it. Carly loved Victorian, and she did it up quite nicely with lots of lace, flowers and frills. No man fitting in here, I thought somberly. Isn’t that fitting?

But I wasn’t going to be alone for long.

I sat on the bed for a while, listening to the fun times downstairs and became melancholy. It seemed like a long time since I felt like that. The best thing to do would be to go to sleep; forget TV or reading. I changed out of my clothes and put on my pj’s. After brushing my teeth in the tiny bathroom, which also had ruffles and frills, I shut the light and slipped into bed. After my evening prayer, I turned off the bedside lamp. My mind was turning over events of the past few days. So into my reverie, that it was a few moments before I realized that there was an almost imperceptible movement in the room.

Now I was at full attention. I had shut the door and knew that it had not been opened since I did that. Nervously, I flipped the light back on. Nothing there, I must really be uptight or something. Or too much wine. I leaned back and shut off the light and my eyes. Then I heard and felt a rustle on the further side of the bed. My throat tightened up and my heart started throbbing. Who was there? The sound was so close to me that I couldn’t bring myself to turn and flip the light back on. I was afraid to turn my back on that noise. Afraid that would make me more vulnerable. If I screamed, would Carly and her friends hear me above the music and laughter?

I felt and heard the movement settle on the other side of the bed. My palms were sweating. Someone was there sitting on the bed. I could hear breathing. I was holding my own breath, as if by doing so, I would be not seen, not heard.

And then, even in the dark, I saw the eyes. Those green eyes were staring and bearing down on my face. They came closer and I could feel breath on my face.

Warmth and weight leaned into my body.

When Tom started to purr loudly, I picked him up and deposited him outside my door.

© Marie Coppola Revised March 2014

Do You Have a Guardian Angel?

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Marie Coppola Revised March 2017

The Miracle of You ~~~~~~~~You are Literally One in 250 Million

 

This is the life journey that we ALL took.  It is the miracle of YOU beautifully expressed through the act of conception. While the explanation I found is very detailed, I will give you a capsule view of what I consider is a miracle ~~how each of us is made.   Let’s call it: Conception 101~

After conception, only a few hundred of the 250,000,000 (that’s 250 million!) healthy sperm reach the egg. It takes about two hours to make the entire journey to the egg; however, some sperm are Olympic swimmers and can reach the egg in a half an hour. If no egg is available to fertilize, the sperm swim around patiently waiting to bump into one. Because there is no chemical or physical attraction of the sperm for the egg, the sperm literally must bump into the egg. The area of the egg containing the mother’s genetic contribution (chromosomes) and the area of the sperm containing dad’s genetic contribution combine to begin a brand- new, unique individual. About 24 hours after fertilization, the first division of the newly formed cell takes place. The dividing ball of cells continues to travel down the fallopian tube toward the uterus where it will implant and grow.

Each of us has had an ‘Olympic swimmer’ who obviously won the ‘gold’ because you and I, our parents, friends, loved ones, children, everyone we know here on earth each had an award-winning “Olympic swimmer’ in their lives. And that new unique individual is YOU. This is only a brief summary of the many conditions that must be present in order for there to be a pregnancy. You are literally One in a Million – make that One in 250,000,000!

You were no mistake or accident; God created you in His likeness. You are His child; His son or daughter. Ephesians 1:11, tells us “All things are done according to God’s plan and decision…” And God tells us, in “Jeremiah 29:11 “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.”

God has given us life, plans and a future. In embracing Him, through His Communicator, the Holy Spirit, we can accomplish much in our lives. It is our decision, through the free will that God has bestowed upon us, to prosper in the hopes and future that God envisions for us. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in developing the natural talents that you have. As you find your niche in life, your self-esteem will increase and you will find fulfillment. You are special, you are loved, you are precious to our Creator.

I come in contact with persons who sometimes have really low self-esteem. They weren’t born with it, so somewhere, they developed a poor image of who they are.

Maybe it is self-inflicted; maybe it was forced on them; maybe it was the result of many disappointments. If they aren’t blessed to have had someone build up their confidence or appreciate the talents that God has given to each of us individually, I hope they are reading this and realize that we are ALL special and we ALL have worth.

In God’s Book, he tells us ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you…’ (Jeremiah 1:5). Before we are born, God knows of our strengths and weaknesses; He knows what we are capable of and what our limitations are. We have to trust in God that He knows and will guide us in His Will through His Communicator, the Holy Spirit, who gives us wisdom and knowledge, if we only ask for it.

Marie Coppola February 2014

 

My Good Samaritan Angel

The Bible mentions angels frequently.   Angels are mentioned at least 108 times in the Old Testament and 165 times in the New Testament.   In the New Testament, the doctrine of angels is precisely stated.  Angels are everywhere — the intermediaries between God and man.   I was taught that everyone has a guardian angel based on references to them throughout the Bible.

According to the Bible, angels are spiritual (not physical) beings; and they can take on human form or appearance.  

I met one.  

It was the month my father took ill;  he had been admitted into the hospital for a respiratory issue.  After some days, we felt we could take him home, but suddenly he was placed on a ventilator.  After he was on it for a week, our consultations with his doctors proved negative and worrisome.  The doctors wanted to continue the ventilator, but our dad looked uncomfortable and weaker.   We wanted him taken off, and it was a tremendous conflict.

Driving home from the hospital one especially frustrating day, I passed by my church, which is always a great source of comfort to me.   Impulsively and driven by worry, I stopped to see if the pastor was there.   I was told he was not.   I went into the church and while I quietly sat there, a young seminarian came by and asked me if he could help me.   He was such a young priest-in-training, but his kind eyes and compassion affected me; I teared up and couldn’t talk to him.   He sat down by me and remained silent.  It was comforting just to have his presence.

When I got up to leave, he walked me to the door, introduced himself and gave me his card.   I had never seen him before or even knew that we had a seminarian.  I was a frequent visitor at the church as a volunteer and Bible class teacher.  I told him my dad was very ill and it did not look hopeful.

I also told him there were other issues in the family going on.  Dad’s ailment evoked some see-saw emotions and not everyone was themselves.  That in itself was disturbing and distracting.  We needed to be a family unit at this time.  He told me he had a similar situation in his own family and shared it.  He asked me where I lived which was a few blocks from the church.  He also asked me for my phone number and if he could visit with me at the church again or at my home.  We exchanged numbers and cards.

I got in the habit of stopping at the church each day after work or hospital visit, and the seminarian was always in the church.  He would smile and ask me how my dad and the family were doing.   We would chat by the door and he shared his death and loss experiences, which helped me understand my own.  He had a comforting style and always lifted my spirits after these visits.

Two weeks went by.  My father was still on the ventilator and the stress continued.   After one really wrung-out day, I didn’t even want to stop by the church.   I went straight home and just sat in my living room for a long time trying to deal with all the feelings that were almost overwhelming.  My doorbell rang and I stepped out onto the porch and there was the seminarian.  He asked me if I could come out and sit with him on my lawn bench.

I had just prayed and it was so comforting to see him.   We talked awhile and shared feelings about families and deaths.  Looking back, I don’t remember discussing any other subjects.  We only spoke  about death, prayers, the sick, loss feelings and our after-death beliefs.  He had such insights, stated them so beautifully – always with a relevant, strong spiritual aspect.   After such talks, I would think, “He has so much knowledge and he’s so young.”

From the time our dad went into the hospital and the time he left this life…it ended after 30 long days.   I visited with the seminarian almost every day until Dad died.

Our family planned the services immediately in our hometown which was 30 miles away from my own. Planning them, as most of us have experienced, took several days plus additional days of the services and funeral.   I was gone from home for almost a week.

Returning home, I thought of the young priest-to-be and felt so thankful for the guidance and friendship he showed during the past month.   Many insights he shared with me came to mind during the funeral service and highly emotional moments.   Again, impulsively, I pulled into the parking lot and went to the church office.   I asked if the young man was available, and the secretary said that he was done with his parish work here and was reassigned to another parish.  She wasn’t sure which one it was, but could check for me.

I told her it was not necessary.  He was an Angel and Heaven-sent.  I don’t believe in coincidences. He was there throughout my dad’s entire leaving-this-world process.   He never asked me for anything nor did he ever tell me any of his own issues or personal problems.   He solely helped me get through my impending loss.   And he did just that.  I was filled with gratitude for the daily comfort he brought.  He fulfilled his ‘assignment’ and moved on.

I never saw or heard about him again.   And I am grateful to God for sending him to help me through a bad time…….”For he hath given his angels charge over thee; to keep thee in all thy ways.”  Psalm 91:11

Marie Coppola June 30, 2014

 

Lending Money to Friends or Family; IOUs and Promissory Notes


“Before borrowing money from a friend, decide which you need more.”  A. Hallock

Desperate times call for desperate measures and borrowing money can be one of those measures. Most people do not like to be in the position of asking a friend or family member for a loan, but in these economy-challenged times, the prospect of making a loan looms as a possibility due to shortage of funds. Banks are now reluctant to make loans and many families are experiencing job loss or foreclosures. To meet monetary responsibilities, some may look to their families or friends to ‘make a loan’.

It has been said that if you decide to lend money to family or friends for whatever reason, to treat such a loan as a gift. Part of your decision to lend it, should carry the mentality that many people will simply not repay you. It is fair to assume that everyone reading this has borrowed some amount of money to a friend or relative, and never been repaid. Sometimes it’s a ten dollar amount and sometimes it is in the thousands.

It has also been said that all loans to relatives should be considered that it is indeed a gift. Since it is a close relationship and you may be aware of the personal circumstances surrounding the request for a loan, the relative may find relief in that it is money that does not have to be paid back quickly because you know what a bind they are in and will have patience until they ‘get on their feet’ to pay you back. It the repayment is put on the ‘back burner’ of the recipient for a long period of time, they may either ‘forget’ about the loan or simply feel that since it is in the family, it need not be paid back soon….. or ever.

It’s difficult to refuse to help a relative money-wise when times are going rough for them. If you prefer not to lend money, perhaps you could offer to help them out in some way — to pay for an expense that is due, or aid them in paying a household expense or other outstanding charges they may have. Again, because of the relationship with family, and also with close friends, it may be uncomfortable to ask them for an IOU [I Owe You] stating the amount and date of the loan.

An IOU is a written statement of a borrower’s obligation to pay back a loan or a debt, but makes no promises on how or when the loan will be repaid. If the IOU has the borrower’s name, signature, address, date, amount stated, it could considered a contract that could be enforceable by a court of law to be repaid. Note that State laws and statutes of limitations may vary on the conditions to do so. IOUs are not usually notarized, but it wouldn’t hurt if it is a sizeable amount and if something happened to the borrower and you needed to make a claim against his/her estate.

IOU SAMPLE:

I, [Borrower Name] , residing at ________________________________________________, borrowed $____________ [amount]

from [Lender’s Printed Name] ______________________________ on [Date:____________________] and promise to repay the loan.

Lender’s Printed Name & Signature __________________________________________

The difference between an IOU and a promissory note is that an IOU only states an amount that is owed to another party. A promissory note states the amount as well as the steps necessary to pay back the debt and the consequences if it is not. It may also be called a loan agreement or personal loan agreement.

A promissory note is a written promise to repay a loan or debt under specific terms. These notes could exist between any relationship consisting of two persons: parent and child, friends, co-workers, etc. This is usually defined by date, and specified series of payments, or simply paid back upon demand. It also verifies the borrower’s obligation to repay a debt [with or without interest].

As a note here: Interest is regulated by the state and there are laws regulating it (Usury is defined as the act of lending money at an unreasonably high interest rate, this rate is defined at the state level. Repayment of loans at a usurious rate makes repayment excessively difficult to impossible for borrowers. This is also called “loan sharking” or “predatory lending”. Ref: UsuryLaw.com)

The note contains the amount of the loan, terms of the loan, the interest rate – if applicable, the payment schedule and the rights and obligations of the lender and borrower. Promissory notes, like IOUs, do not have to be notarized in order to be considered valid. But again, it wouldn’t hurt and could ensure repayment.

Typically, promissory notes are kept by the lender until the amount of money has been paid in full, at which time the payee can request the right to retrieve the promissory note for his or her records along with a written and signed receipt. This should consider the debt paid in full.

Information that should be included in Promissory notes are: Full legal names of both parties, Address to which payment will be sent ;

Interest rate if applicable (see Usury note above); Due dates for payments of both principal and interest; Signatures of both borrower and lender.

There are persons who genuinely honor their obligations and repay their loans. They will keep you up-to-date on their ability to pay amounts and when and how the payments will be made. These persons are very appreciative of the trust you offered and are eternally grateful.

Sadly there are more of the other variety, who make excuses, sometimes end friendships before they repay their debt or simply seem to forget about the loan.

Marie Coppola © Revised January 2014

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. The reader should seek and employ qualified legal counsel and not rely on information presented here for any purpose.

 

 

 

 

Jesus Christ CEO – Leadership Exemplar – A Book Review


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-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   August 2013