Category Archives: Life in General

Miscellaneous observtions on Life

Christmas Actions Have Reactions

We are in the ‘Christmas Rush’ also known as shopping, mailing. wrapping gifts, sending greetings. making cookies, decorating the house inside and out, and having company or visitors.   As we exhaust ourselves getting all these things done, we sometimes miss the opportunity to worship and celebrate the birth of the Christ Child, the Reason for the Season.

Considering all the technological communications we have available to us today – phone landlines, cell phones  with message recorders, call waiting, call forwarding, smart phones, texting, emails, internet and pagers & faxes, so we can be sure to get that important message one way or another.    We don’t want to miss anything.   But are we missing the most important message  of all — God’s message to us?

He’s tried messaging through  prophets, angels, a humble, but full of grace Jewish maiden and finally by her son, Jesus Christ, our Savior, who is the Christmas Spirit we rejoice.  The Light of Jesus has transformed those who had walked in darkness.   “I am the light of the world, whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”   John 8:12

Do most people listen to this Good News? Or are we too busy wrapping packages, making our list and checking it twice.   Maybe we have every day on the calendar filled with social events but have we included Jesus?  Can we have a party without the Guest of Honor?   Many of us do.    How can we include Christ and keep Him in Christmas?   What can we do to keep him in our hearts & minds?

We can forgive someone we are at odds with.   Or send a letter of forgiveness to someone whom we are angry and/or stopped talking to.

Could we make amends for some miscommunication or a bad attitude? Can we have our own epiphany over some matter that we saw only our side on?  Can a ‘light of revelation’ be found in the actions of others and our reaction to them?  Can we cause a chain reaction of kindness through our actions?  We might gather balm for others as well as for ourselves if we see matters in another “Light”.     You can be a “light’ to others by your actions, giving to charity, helping someone through a bad time or simply smiling and being kind.   It might be the only smile a person receives all day.

Once I had a dream in which God told me He was sending me a gift.  It was a very pleasant dream and shortly after, I received two meaningful gifts on the same day which could only be from God.  I wondered which one of them was the gift of my dream.   Off and on,  I wondered about this.

But which one was my ‘dream gift’?  They were equally wonderful.   One day, much later, I had an epiphany.  They were both from God as are many other blessings He has bestowed upon me,  Every thing good that He sends me is a gift.  And in His Wisdom, I felt He sent me two together, knowing I would ponder and wonder about it.  It took me awhile, but I got it.  All good things come frm God and All are His Gifts and I gave gratitude not just for one ~ but for all.   Your small gift or action can multiply by others’ reactions.

Christmas gifts don’t have to be expensive or big – they can be given from the heart with love and appreciation for the gifted.    I have read that the majority of us have issues or health or heavy matters surrounding them – a small gift to someone in need may instill like gifts to others.

Actions have reactions.  Also – no actions can have reactions.   Fix something in your life that is broken;  mend broken relationships or quietly aid others with  kindness or sharing good will or prayers for them.  If you want to keep it private, have a homemade prayer box and fill it with prayer requests for those in need – near or far.   You will have sent them the Light of Christ.

Pass along an action that an unsuspecting someone will react to with happiness ~especially if it will be a surprise.  It will be balm for both of you.

Will you read this and pass Him by — on your way to  preparing for the holidays?  Or will you pause, stop and share your heart and mind to the Light of Jesus and welcome Him into your life?  If you do, you will truly have a Joyous and Merry Christmas!

{C} Marie Coppola December  2017

 

Santa Claus to Our Rescue

It was an exceptionally busy year that Christmas.   Most young families experience a hectic month of December, especially if they have a toddler, a baby and holiday visitors.  We were no exception, and having a last-minute list to fill, we talked about taking a quick trek one early Christmas Eve afternoon to the grocery store, for much needed staples.

Normally, doing so would be just that – a quick trip – but we lived high on a hill overlooking a large lake. Because of hazardous driving conditions in snow and ice this time of the year, winter trips were monitored carefully. We listened to the news regarding snow activity, and snow was not predicted that evening – but possibly on Christmas morning.   My cousin was willing to go for a ride, and we bundled up the toddler and the baby and brought them with us.

At the store, we shopped, ooh-ed and aah-ed at Christmas displays, and were more than startled upon leaving the store to see heavy snowflakes coming down. The parking lot was already covered. We quickly brushed off our small car and loaded it with our groceries & packages.  We then  slowly slipped and slid the 4 miles to the bottom of our large hill of a street.

There were no other cars on the roads and as we approached the bottom of our hill, we could not see the top of it for the powdering of snow coming down like confectioner’s sugar coating everything. I cuddled my baby daughter close to me and my son, the toddler, was excited at seeing the snow. After all, he knew Santa was coming later that evening.

After three attempts to put the car in gear and make it up the hill, we could only go up about a quarter of the way, and then we would slip backwards, sliding side to side. I was starting to get somewhat alarmed and taking my cue, the baby started to cry;  it was also near the time for her feeding.   Although grateful that I had taken a bottle with me for her, my thoughts were on the groceries in the car and how in the world would we get them home?  Even more worrisome – how could we try to walk up this long, slippery hill with two small children?  (There were no cell phones back then.)

After about 20 minutes, when I began worrying if we would run out of gas trying to keep the car warm, we heard a chugging sound… and an old large, black sedan with chains on the tires was coming up the hill. The car stopped (which amazed me that it could do that on this slippery hill) and a tall, large man with white hair and white beard (I kid you not)  got out of the car. He had on a navy wool knitted hat, a plaid heavy flannel shirt, black knee-length boots and suspendered pants.  I couldn’t believe that I could even think the thoughts I was thinking in our worrisome predicament.  He offered  that he, the ‘stranger’, would take my daughter and me up the hill to our house and then go back for the rest and the car.  I did think it was strange, too, that we knew almost everyone in this lake community, but had never seen a white haired, white bearded man. I put aside any thoughts of anyone abducting us in this weather and reluctantly went with him. I didn’t feel I had a choice.

We easily made it up the hill to our house. Our house was 40 steps up from the street and the stairs were completely covered with snow. The stranger carried my daughter with one hand and helped me up with the other up all those stairs – I had no boots on. Once we got inside the warm house, I watched the stranger from our front bay window go down the steps, disappearing in swirls of snow and drifts. It seemed and looked surreal to me.

Some time later, I heard the two cars chugging; the stranger had put chains on our car, too. They parked the cars, and my cousin and the stranger carried up all the groceries and one little boy.

We talked for a few minutes, thanked him and shook hands – the stranger refused any nourishment or a drink.  As he left,  I stood at the bay window with my almost three year old son in my arms watching the bearded stranger walk down the steps with the spotlights on him amidst large pellets of snow tumbling down around him. As if the man was aware we were watching him, he turned around and waved, and then I laughed and said, “Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.’ And to my son, I asked, “Do you know who that man is?” And without missing a beat, my toddler said, “That’s Santa Claus”. And I nodded, and said, “Yup, that’s who he is.”

Marie Coppola – A True Story – December 2017

What Happened to Us?

From December 2000 to 2013, 1,043 people in the United States were wounded or killed by “active shooters” attempting to kill people “in a confined and populated area.”   Although there were more to date that are not  listed here of multiple deaths, you may sadly  remember these:

April 1999 – Two teenage schoolboys shot and killed 12 schoolmates and a teacher at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado.

September 1999A gunman opened fire at a prayer service in Fort Worth, Texas, killing six people.

October 2002 – A series of sniper-style shootings occurred in Washington DC, leaving 10 dead.

March 2005 – A man opened fire at a church service in Brookfield, Wisconsin, killing seven people.

October 2006 – A truck driver killed five schoolgirls and seriously wounded six others in a school in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania.

April 2007 – A student shot and killed 32 people and wounded 17 others at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia, making it the deadliest mass shooting in the United States after 2000.

December 2007 – A 20-year-old man killed nine people and injured five others in a shopping centre in Omaha, Nebraska.  February 2008 – A man opened fire in a lecture hall at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois, killing five students and wounding 16 others.   March 2009 – A 28-year-old laid-off worker opened fire while driving a car through several towns in Alabama, killing 10 people.  March 2009 – A heavily-armed gunman shot dead eight people, many of them elderly and sick people, in a private-owned nursing home in North Carolina.

April 2009 – A man shot dead 13 people at a civic center in Binghamton, New York.

July 2009 – Six people, including one student, were shot in a drive-by shooting at a community rally on the campus of Texas Southern University, Houston.   November 2009 – US army psychologist opened fire at a military base in Fort Hood, Texas, leaving 13 dead and 42 others wounded.   January 2011 – a gunman opened fire at a public gathering outside a grocery in Tuscon, Arizona, killing six people including a nine-year-old girl and wounding at least 12 others.

July 2012 –  The most injuries — 58 of them — resulted from a Colorado movie theater -12 people were killed.  Masked gunman opens fire at midnight cinema screen.

August 2012 – Gunman kills six people at Slkh temple in Wisconsin.

December 2012 A man forces his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. He kills 20 first-graders and six adults. Before arriving at the school, he had killed his mother at their home.

April 2013 – Two homemade bombs detonated near the finish line of the annual Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring several hundred others, including 16 who lost limbs.

June 2015 – A shooting in a historic black church in Charleston, SC kills nine people.

June 2016 – 49 people were killed by a heavily armed gunman at a popular Florida bar and wounded 53 others during a rampage.

October 2017 More than 50 people were killed and at least 500 others injured when a gunman opened fire at a country music festival near the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip, authorities said.

November 2017 – 27 people were killed; including 12 to 14 children in the massacre in a Texas church on  the highest death toll for the smallest Americans since 21 kids were gunned down in Sandy Hook.

The statistics are staggering and there were others.   Listed together, one realizes the magnitude of carnage produced by mass murders in the USA.    It has been noted that ‘deranged, and mentally ill people’ perform these horrendous acts.   Others say that guns are to blame even though guns alone cannot kill – humans shoot them.   And others say ‘we’ve always had violence and murders’.   Yes, there was, but isn’t it different now than it was in the mid-50s?   Yes, there are many more incidents.
In the 50s, 60s, 70s & 80s, there were occasionally like situations but not like the increase we are experiencing now.   Memories of playing outside with friends  blocks away but making sure you got home before dark.   Leaving babies on open front porches to nap in the fresh air – who would even think of anyone ‘stealing your child’?   Walking a couple of miles with same age friends at age 9 to attend religious class.    Neighbors looked out for each other.  People felt safe.
Today,  gatherings of large groups for concerts, sports, holidays, movies & performances create a possibility of harm doing.   Authorities are telling us to “always be on alert in big groups – be aware – look around.”   What happened?   Are we increasing in mental illness or derangement?   Or has our culture changed?   Or both?
Culturally, our family structure has changed from family units to single parent or same sex parents.  Marriage is redefined.  Family is redefined.   Large percentages of fathers are absent; many mothers are, too.   Having babies is redefined from ‘blessed events’ to ‘mistakes’ or ‘abort them’.   Life itself is redefined.    Mothers can legally put their wombed babies to death.  Grown children can put their aged parents to death.   People get offended over another’s values and demand they change them.   If you don’t, you are a ‘hater’.  If you don’t recognize someone as the opposite sex they prefer to be one day, you can be fined in some states,   If a family member exhibits mental problems or styles of derangement, is the family, a friend or neighbor there to warn the proper authorities about it?   Or ignore it?  Or not notice?  What happened to us?
We have taken God & His Commandments out of many schools.   With many absent or working parents, who is teaching young people about rules, be they secular or religious?  It is not uncommon to see people discard God or our nationalism.  They attack our law officers and applaud sick routines of comedians.    Instead of rules and healing faith building, everyone has cell phones that don’t teach them about close, warm relationships.   Sending group holiday greetings is not the same as a personal card with feelings expressed or a bonding visit.  Even a special phone call.   Respect is at an all-time low – and selfies are at an all-time high.   Narcissism & ‘anything goes’  has replaced sharing and caring about others’ feelings.    Even the horrendous slayers are reported without their names  as it sometimes is found  they wanted to ‘get their name in print and be glorified’.    Really?   What glory is there in murdering babies, young children or people you don’t know?    What happened to us?

 

 

 

 

 

Holidays Trigger Tough Emotions

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A GriefShare Surviving the Holidays seminar, to be held on Sunday, November 5th, 2017, at Our Lady Star of the Sea Church, 8th Avenue N, North Myrtle Beach, SC from 1:45 PM to 4:00 PM, offers practical, actionable strategies for making it through the holiday season. At this biblically-based two-hour seminar, you’ll view a video featuring advice from people in grief who’ve faced the holidays after their loss. You’ll hear insights from respected Christian counselors, pastors, and psychologists. You’ll receive a Holiday Survival Guide with practical strategies, encouraging words, helpful exercises, Q/As, and journaling ideas for daily survival through the holiday season.

You will meet with other grieving people who have an understanding of what you’re going through. They won’t judge you or force you to share, but will accept you where you are and will offer comfort and support. It is a confidential, compassionate and safe environment.   Your holiday season may not be easy and may ambush you at times. But you can choose to walk through this season in a way that honors your loved one and puts you on the path of health and healing.

To register call Fran Signorino at 843-399-8196 or if you want to find out more about a GriefShare Surviving the Holidays location nearest you, go to www.griefshare.org and insert your zip code.   There are thousands of GriefShare programs throughout the world.

Stop Murmuring & Disputing

 

Do you habitually complain, whine, argue and grumble? Do you know anyone who does not? It seems to have become a habit for many of us. By the way, the word “murmurings” refers to the complaints of the Israelites during their wanderings. You may know murmurings as being critical of others, bitterness, bickering, protesting or being unsociable. Pessimism. Negativity. In the New Testament, Paul said: “Do you do all things without murmuring and disputing?” 

Have you noticed that many people get caught up in heated and unending political discussions? — lots of murmurings going on there. Our change in government has caused new policies and procedures being enacted or offered – big time murmurings at home and the office. Don’t forget the economy or loss of jobs grumble – layoffs are increasing – homes are foreclosed.  There are countless things to whine and be bitter about and protest against. It hasn’t been easy for anyone.

Paul the Apostle, in his ministry while traveling and visiting many countries, cites in one of his directives, a Letter to the Philippians, (2:14) — “Do all things without murmuring and disputing”.

You may not be aware of Paul of Tarsus, also called Paul the Apostle, who really was a Hellenistic Jew who called himself the “Apostle to the Gentiles”. Along with Peter, the Rock upon which Jesus’ church is built, he was among the most notable of early Christian missionaries.

Paul’s conversion to a follower of Christ is a profound story of faith. He spread Christanity by accounts of his travels which are found as Letters in the New Testament of the Bible and are full of expositions of what Christians should believe and how they should live.

What do we do in answer to Paul’s instruction – not to complain in all things. Sometimes it’s hard not to vent. Sometimes it feels good to get it off your chest. It’s hard to comply with the old adage, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at a ll.”  How can we tweak that?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fill your spirit with Paul’s teaching: “Do all things without murmuring and disputing”. It can work and all you have to lose are your frown lines.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jeannie ~ My Wake-Up Angel

I met Jeannie when I was 9.  She was 12.   She lived behind my cousin’s house in a 2nd floor apartment.  My cousin and I were the same age and were together often until I met Jeannie who had authentic red hair, blue eyes and loads of freckles.   My cousin didn’t understand why she wasn’t included when we were together, but we didn’t play like cousin and I did ~ Jeannie played religious school with me.

She attended a Catholic school in the next town; about 1.5 miles away.   Although I was born a Catholic and by age 9 had received First Holy Communion, our family then were Easter and Christmas attendees.  Every day Jeannie wore a gray plaid jumper uniform to school unlike my outfits to public school.  What stands out most about her is she would go over all her papers from school with me which always had her initialed cross on the top.  I learned as much from Jeannie about God, the church and its sacraments as  I did for a year at faith classes.  She instilled a love and reverence about God and the Bible I hadn’t had before.

Her love of faith included coming to my house at 8:00 am every Sunday morning for the 9:00 am children’s mass.  I was always asleep and my mom would yell, “Jeannie’s here for church”.   I always went.  We walked there together every Sunday where I learned about being in God’s House for the Sabbath.

We moved when I was 12 and I didn’t see much of Jeannie after that.  Saw her when I was in my 20s – she was married & with her husband.  We talked about getting together but we lived a distance away.

Many years had passed when I was attending a faith sharing class and we were asked who was our foundation in faith?  I immediately thought of  Jeannie.  I thought about her all that day and tried to call her through her brother who was the only name listed locally.   He remembered me and told me the sad news that she had recently passed – having had a weak heart since childhood.  I never knew she did.  We both cried.  I remembered her birth date and told him I would have a mass said for her and would send him the notice.

The only opening my church had on that date for her mass was not held at the church; it was in the Catholic school where masses are said one day a week.   I made the date for her birthday at the school mass at 8:00 am which the school children usually attend.

But on that day several months later, I had forgotten the mass date.  Since I didn’t usually get up that early, I had not set the alarm that day.

Early that morning in the still darkness the day of her birthday,  I woke up suddenly out of my sleep and next to my bed was a white brightly shining figure standing next to me.  I was stunned but not afraid.   It looked like an angel and I had never had any visions or hallucinations my whole life.  Or was it a dream?  The vision was bright but not frightening. Then I saw red hair on this figure; immediately I said, “It’s Jeannie’s mass today”.

I jumped out of bed waking my husband up and we scurried to the school.   I was still stunned by the apparition .  We were there on time and when the mass started, the school children walked down the aisle to sit in the front and they had on uniforms.  The girls wore gray plaid jumpers.  Just like Jeannie’s.

I felt Jeannie’s presence there that day; the uniformed children were a special treat which would not have happened if I had the mass said instead at our church that day.   I found that more than coincidental that I could remember and pray for her by going back in time when she was that age.   Remembrances of her from others recall how kind and giving she was to all.  She lived her faith.   She took care of her ailing father and the night he died, she died also that night.

Do I believe it was Jeannie who woke me up for her mass?  Yes, I do.  How fitting my dear, sweet friend would come to my house at 8:00 am  to take me to church.

 

 

 

No Expectations ~ No Disappointments

 

Expectations for prosperity caused great disappointments during recessions and depressions.  We can say those circumstances were beyond our control and yet, they cause disappointments. Big, major disappointments.

What if we added all big ones to all the little disappointments we experience each day? If we depend on circumstances to gauge our happiness, we are in jeopardy because circumstances are constantly changing. And like the big ones, they are beyond our control. You might say you don’t do that. In a day’s time you may do it more than once. I know that I have done it more than once.

I have felt expectations when a great promotion was coming up that I just knew I was ready for; it was ‘my time’ in the department to move up, and I ‘sensed’ that I would get it — and I didn’t. I ‘expected’ the school to close due to the bad weather, but it didn’t, and I had two teens bored from being indoors with ‘nothing to do’ while I had made my own plans for that day. I expected’ that I would get an “A” that I worked on diligently in my writing class, and instead, I got a “C.” No way! I expected my best article ever to be selected for a contest, and it didn’t. I set myself up for these disappointments because I ‘expected’ them.

When I placed my expectations on people, again I was usually disappointed.  Someone repeated something I asked them not to.  Someone didn’t invite my best friend to a party they were having.   Crushed expectations; big disappointments. Life and people may and do change; the unexpected happens to us all.

I know that men and women can never fulfill all of each other’s needs. Only God can.  But at times, I used to expect them to and in those expectations of them, when they didn’t or couldn’t, I was disappointed. Disappointment is ‘the first seed of doubt’ and can lead to defeat or depression.

So how did I finally learn not to expect things from others, not to lean on others for my joy or happiness? Can one unlearn the emotion of expecting others to fulfill our needs and do the things we think they ought to do?

Yes, I believe we can.  There is no commandment saying, “Thou shalt expect others to fulfill our needs and do what we want them to do.” Actually, the commandments are a compilation of honoring and doing good to others; not expecting them to do good for us.

I had a tremendous expectation turn into disappointment with my teen-age son.  It was a turbulent time and I loved him, but did not like him much, how he looked or how he dressed. The disappointed expectation turned into a life role play where I was the mother of expectations and he was the child of disappointments. I had visions of what he should do with his life and he had much different views of what he wanted. So much so, that it affected not only our relationship but included the whole family.

Frustrated, I finally went to a trusted family counselor and gave him my story. He wanted my son to come in to hear his view. That being done, he then told me my son did not have to come back, but I did.  What?  Is there some mistake here, I am paying for this session and I’m the disappointer?

I did return and he explained that my son was fine and perfectly happy with himself, his choices for school, work and his future. I had different expectations for him and that was my problem. His remedy was that I should learn to love my son as he was and to compliment him each day on something he did that was good. That would help us communicate without friction.  told him there was nothing my son did that pleased me. And his answer was, ‘If he takes the garbage out, that is good – thank him.’

Which is the only thing I could do and the garbage taking-out WAS good and I did genuinely thank him. I’m happy to say that I did follow the counselor’s advice, I thanked my son for all the good things (and there were many I had overlooked) and downplayed what I thought was bad.

Within a week, the tension subsided and we were talking and smiling to each other. The mother of expectations and the child of disappointments were no more. I took stock of what the doctor told me and found that once I lost my expectation of what I believed was ‘good’ for my son, I found what was ruining our relationship.

I practiced making a habit of gratitude instead of expectation.  Expectations can become habit-forming and sometimes the more you expect, the more you want. Then you have to deal with more disappointments.

Today, I am so blessed to have such a close and endearing relationship with this man – my son, who has done well in his life and succeeded without my expectations. Instead, he had my support, love and encouragement.

What is Universal Healthcare & Single Payer?

Universal Health Care (UHC) which is also known as universal care, universal coverage or universal health coverage is a term that is used to address a health care system which provides health care and financial protection to every citizen of a specific country.  It addresses:   Who is covered?  What services are covered?  How much of the cost is covered?

 

Universal health care was first started in Germany in the year 1883 and spread through other countries especially the rich countries of Europe. America does not practice this type of health right now.  Sometimes the universal health care system is referred to as free health care (in Canada). In a real world, there is nothing like a free health care, somebody is actually paying for it.

 

The Pros of UHC:   *This is perhaps the greatest advantage of universal health care, every member of the society that practice this type of health plan can be able to access health care no matter his social status.   Since no single human life is greater to another, the poor can be able to receive exactly the type of health care that could only be afforded by rich men under normal circumstances. This type of health care does not discriminate against anyone. It puts all the legal members of the society on the equal pedestal.  It also improves public health, has less paperwork, stops medical bankruptcies, benefits businesses, boosts economy and is seen as a human right.

 

The Cons of UHC:  *This is perhaps the least advantage:  Long Wait Time. This type of health care system often results in long wait times for patients and not everyone may receive the type of care that they need. Since this type of system is run by the government there can be a lot of red tape and bureaucracy.

 

It Leads to A Socialism State.  Bernie Sanders has been criticized that his universal health care plan is such an un-fetched dream. To make this happen, he admitted that he would have to increase taxes to every citizen, which can plunge United States into a socialism state where government controls the distribution of goods and services. It could be a first step towards government controlling other aspects of the economy.

 

The universal health care will reduce the amount of money doctors can make thereby reducing the attraction in the practice. This could create shortage of doctors in the long-run.Those with higher incomes may complain that their money is going to pay for the health care of other citizens when it should be going to pay for their own health care. Medical Abuse (unnecessary visits by patients)  can lead to Rationing  and cause backups in office visits.

 

There Is No Free Lunch  There will be an increase in taxes.  If there is no competition between choosing a doctor, there may be no Innovation thereby reducing the attraction in the practice. This could create shortage of doctors in the long-run.  And it takes time to put this new system in place; to get there, may take a long haul in time.

 

**Increase Government Debt:  This is probably the biggest argument against universal health care. Implementing a single payer health care system causes an increase in taxes as the system needs to be paid for. The overall costs of the system can be draining on a country and causes large debts & would amount to enormous growth in government spending and debt.   Governments aren’t that great at running large systems and the fact that the government runs health care can lead to a lot of problems. To run the health care system there may need to be cuts made in other areas of the government.

 

Universal care coverage and single payer system may be confused for one another because they are closely related concepts however they are two separate things.

Universal healthcare coverage refers to a system where every individual in the United States will receive health coverage. Under universal coverage, the over 46.6 million Americans who albeit have no health insurance will receive coverage

Whereas, a single payer system is the type of healthcare plan where one party mostly the government, will be responsible for paying all healthcare claims. Currently, the type of health care system in place in United States is the one where separate private insurance companies are charged with paying for the healthcare claims of the rich few who were able to afford the insurance while federal and state government pay some special  healthcare care claims through the programs known as Medicaid and Obamacare.

Usually, universal healthcare coverage and single payer health insurance system go together since in most cases, the federal government will be the one responsible for the administration and payment of health care system that provides coverage for millions of people. On the other hand, it’s possible to have a universal healthcare coverage in place without having a single-payer system. In theory, it is possible to have a single-payer system without universal healthcare coverage however the possibility of it is extremely unlikely since such a system will undoubtedly be managed by the federal government.  Source: https://www.formosapost.com

Marie Coppola July 2017

Older Workers – a Plus at Work

 

 

 

It’s a fact – the older you get, the wiser you are.   Now that’s a comforting thought. According to the daily news media, research supported by the Russell Sage (no pun intended) Foundation, the National Institute on Aging and the National Science Foundation Grant, indicates that socially, older folks, more than younger or middle-aged ones, are more apt to recognize and accept different values, acknowledge and accept uncertainties and changes in one’s life and to acknowledge others’ point of views.

So, mind and hire your elders!  It’s not as important in life and work  to know how the SEO works or how to program the DVR or how to text someone as it is to handle ‘social wisdom’ – how to get along with people and handle disagreements.

Researchers found that age affects wisdom at every social class, level of education and IQ. Even though older people don’t have the technological wisdom that younger ages have in computers and everyday technology, they do have the advantage of analyzing and solving social problems.

Demographic splits of groups numbering almost 300 — ages 25 to 40, 41 to 59 and 60 plus were given hypothetical situations regarding finance, economic growth, customs, and world problems. The researchers analyzed the results, not knowing which individual or group age the responses came from. Ratings were based on social interchanges such as compromise, flexibility, seeing the other viewpoint and mediating conflict resolution.

Then over 200 of the same groups participated in a second hypothetical area and yet a third comprising scholars, psychotherapists, clergy and counseling professionals.

The results of these tests concluded that economic status, education and IQ were related to having increased wisdom, but academics were no wiser than nonacademics with similar education levels. Researchers were surprised at how much wisdom the groups showed in disputing societal problems. Richard Nisbitt, one of the researchers said, “There is a very large advantage for older people over younger people for those (issues)”. Another researcher, Lynn Hasher remarked that “the study is the single best demonstration of long-held view that wisdom increases with age.”

She continues, “What I think is most important…is that it shows a major benefit that accrues with aging…rather than the mostly loss-based findings reported in psychology. As such it provides a richer base of understanding of aging processes.” She also cited the critical importance of workplaces providing the opportunity for older employees to continue to contribute.

Many work places do the opposite and retire aging employees and replace them with younger employees at a lower salary, compromising the experience and life situations these employees can contribute to the work force by their ongoing and diverse experiences.   More advantages:

1. They have good leadership skills. Older workers make good leaders because they often have stronger communication skills than their younger colleagues.  They remember a time when communication wasn’t dominated by email or texting.

2. They know what they want.   Older workers are more stable to stay at a job than to try to ‘climb the ladder” or job hop.

3. They’re loyal. Since older workers are typically more satisfied with their jobs, they also tend to stay.

4. They have a good work ethic. 90 percent of the respondents who were older said that being “ethical” is “extremely or very important” to workplace culture, the highest percentage of age-workers.

5. They have strong networks. Older workers have been in the workforce longer and they’ve had more time to meet people and network along the way.

Marie Coppola  Revised July 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be Still and Know God

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This past week, I was reminded by three different sources to be still and know God.  I consider this a Godwink so I will pass this important message on.  God talks to us in Psalm 46:10 and says, “Be Still and Know That I am God”.  How often do we sit still?  We have cell phones, IPods &  Androids vying for our attention.   The TV is constantly on – so is the fax machine and the computer.  Company is coming. have to pick up the grandkids later and someone’s beeping to chat with you on Skype.   Lots of noises going on …..How do we get ‘still’?

We say “Hey, we’re busy…who has time to sit still?”

Let’s look at Jesus.  Even in his busy ministry he got still…with God.  He would go out alone in the desert. He would pray and be still with God.  Doing so, he was refreshed and renewed.

Anyone can get refreshed and renewed with God.  It is important to be still and know that He Is God. You might say, “I’m way too busy to do that” or “God doesn’t value me” or “I’m simply not religious”. If you want to know God, you have to make some time for Him just like you do for your family, your kids, your dog, your job, technology and everything else that’s on your plate.   Knowing God will give you extra strength and wisdom to do the things you do and even do things a little differently.  And it will give you benefits you can’t get anywhere else. They’re guaranteed.   “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”  Jeremiah 29:13]

Some say, “I don’t know what to say to God”.   God made you and He knows all about you already. Just talk to Him in plain language.  You don’t have to use thys, thees and thous.  He’ll be happy just to hear from you. And he will change your life. This is not a wish. This is a fact. You will become aware of life in a way different from how you are living it now.  if you start speaking to God, you will add joy, love, kindness, forgiveness and acceptance of who you and others are. He made you and loves you no matter what you are, say or have done.  Who else can you say that about?   Jesus will become your best friend.   Who will never forsake you.

Try it. Go alone into a quiet room, shut the door and turn off all technology.  Be still and focus on Him alone and not the things you have listed to do that day.   You may start by thanking him for all the good things in life He has given you — yes, there are far more than the problems you are facing which overshadow them.  Get to really know God.   Listen in silence to what you may hear or think about.  When you are quiet, you will open your heart and soul to Him. 

God tells us through His Words,  “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”    It will change your life.  Not only is it guaranteed;  the warranty will last forever.

Marie Coppola © Revised July 2017.