Well-Being

Prescription drugs can help sufferers of medical problems by alleviating their symptoms of chronic pain. But the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has come out and advised that addiction to prescription painkillers has become an undisclosed epidemic -- and it kills thousands of Americans each year.

This alarming news which include morphine and codeine has actually tripled.   Deaths from overdoses used to occur from illegal drugs like heroin and cocaine but now prescription painkillers have taken the lead. There are as many reported deaths in country areas as there are in cities. Over 100,000 Americans a year are taken to emergency rooms with overdose issues.

Americans are abusing painkillers and they are not hard to obtain. As Americans get more sedentary and have obesity problems, they are experiencing more back pain and damage to their joints and are in chronic pain. They seek out something to dull the pain and turn to painkillers. Doctors are prescribing relief from pain in the form of pain pills to about five percent of Americans in a months' time. Use of pain pills can cause a feeling of well being and patients on them tend to abuse them and depend on even after the original pain they were taking them for - has disappeared. Patients mistakenly feel that because a doctor has prescribed these pills, that they are 'safe' to take and don't realize the danger when they increase the dosages on their own.

When the prescription refill expires, users go to other or new doctors for new prescriptions, or ask friends or family members to share theirs or go on the internet to find them or can even find them on the street. Although some states have databases which track who takes what drugs, they do not yet share that information with other states. People will cross state lines to get the drugs they can't get in their own state.

Problems begin when a person in pain does not find relief in the prescribed amount. They take extra pills to overcome that pain and become psychologically dependent or addicted to the higher amount. In the prescribed amount, the pills are safe to take, but higher doses can cause a person to stop breathing. An even bigger problem to one's health and can be fatal to the user is when they combine this higher dosages with other drugs they may be taking or taking them with alcohol - both of which increase the risk of overdose and death.

Doctors are advising that persons with chronic pain combine an anti-inflammatory drug and/or muscle relaxant and other methods such as patches or injections. The focus should be on being functional without increase in dosages and pain management awareness that they may always have some level of pain.

From 2000 to 2014 nearly half a million Americans died from drug overdoses. Opioid overdose deaths, including both opioid pain relievers and heroin, hit record levels in 2014, with an alarming 14 percent increase in just one year, according to data published in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Report.

The most commonly prescribed opioid pain relievers, those classified as natural or semi-synthetic opioids such as oxycodone and hydrocodone, continue to be involved in more overdose deaths than any other opioid type. These deaths increased by 9 percent (813 more deaths in 2014 than 2013).  Increases in prescription opioid pain reliever and heroin deaths are the biggest driver of the drug overdose epidemic. Deaths from heroin increased in continuing a sharp rise that has seen heroin overdoses triple sincel 2010. Deaths involving illicitly made fentanyl, a potent opioid often added to or sold as heroin, also are on the upswing.

“The increasing number of deaths from opioid overdose is alarming,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “The opioid epidemic is devastating American families and communities. To curb these trends and save lives, we must help prevent addiction and provide support and treatment to those who suffer from opioid use disorders. This report also shows how important it is that law enforcement intensify efforts to reduce the availability of heroin, illegal fentanyl, and other illegal opioids.”

Here are the facts:  Drug overdose deaths are up in both men and women, in non-Hispanic whites and blacks, and in adults of nearly all ages. Rates of drug overdose deaths were highest among five states: West Virginia, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Kentucky, and Ohio.The findings show that two distinct but intertwined trends are driving America’s overdose epidemic: a 15-year increase in deaths from prescription opioid pain reliever overdoses as a result of misuse and abuse, and a recent surge in illicit drug overdoses driven mainly by heroin.

More than six out of 10 drug overdose deaths involved opioids, including opioid pain relievers and heroin. The largest increase in opioid overdose deaths involved synthetic opioids (not including methadone), which were involved in 5,500 deaths in 2014, nearly twice as many as the year before. Many of these overdoses are believed to involve illicitly-made fentanyl, a short-acting opioid. In addition, heroin-related death rates increased 26 percent from 2013–2014, totaling 10,574 deaths in 2014. Past misuse of prescription opioids is the strongest risk factor for heroin initiation and use—especially among people who became dependent upon or abused prescription opioids in the past year. The increased availability of heroin, its relatively low price (compared to prescription opioids), and high purity appear to be major drivers of the upward trend in heroin use, overdoses, and deaths.

How to stop the epidemic:  The new findings point to four ways to prevent overdose deaths:

Limit initiation into opioid misuse and addiction. Opioid pain reliever prescribing has quadrupled since 1999. Providing health care professionals with additional tools and information—including safer guidelines for prescribing these drugs—can help them make more informed prescribing decisions.

Expand access to evidence-based substance use disorder treatment—including Medication-Assisted Treatment—for people who suffer from opioid use disorder.

Protect people with opioid use disorder by expanding access and use of naloxone—a critical drug that can reverse the symptoms of an opioid overdose and save lives.

State and local public health agencies, medical examiners and coroners, and law enforcement agencies must work together to improve detection of and response to illicit opioid overdose outbreaks to address this emerging threat to public health and safety.

CDC works with states, communities, and prescribers to prevent opioid misuse and overdose by tracking and monitoring the epidemic and helping states scale up effective programs. CDC also improves patient safety by equipping health care providers with data, tools, and guidance so they can make informed treatment decisions. Learn more at www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose.

Black bears, the largest land mammals of South Carolina, once roamed the entire state. As human populations increase and development encroaches on their territories, there is more the likelihood of bear & human encounters.

Black bears are excellent climbers and good swimmers.     Bears prefer large expanses of forestry containing hardwoods, shrubs, blackberries, and pokeberries.  Wetlands such as swamps and bays also provide good habitat.   However, black bears are adaptable.  As long as they can find adequate food sources and have suitable den sites, black bears can be found in a variety of habitats..  They will feed on whatever is readily available.

Their natural diet consists of berries, nuts and plant matter (over 80 percent) as well as insects and meat (less than 20 percent). Bears use their incredible sense of smell to find alternative food sources such as garbage, bird feeders, outdoor pet food, agricultural crops, etc., which can result in them becoming nuisance bears. A shortage of natural food sources and lack of rainfall can cause home ranges to vary greatly. Black bears will travel large distances to find adequate food sources. In addition, juvenile bears, especially the males, must disperse to find new home territories. Dispersing juvenile bears have been sighted in many counties in South Carolina. These bears are usually transient and do not stay in the area for long.

Male black bears are generally larger than females. An average adult male can weigh between 150 - 350 pounds while the female averages between 100 -250 pounds. However, when food is plentiful, older bears have been documented at weights above 400-500 pounds. The largest black bear recorded in South Carolina was 609 pounds.  Their average life expectancy is 18 years in the wild.

Tammy Wactor, wildlife biologist with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, said there is an estimated 800-1,000 black bears across South Carolina, with most found in the more heavily forested and mountainous Upstate region, and a smaller population of 300-400 bears in the coastal areas (as of July 11, 2015).

Bears emerge fron their dens and come out looking for food in the spring ~ the peak of their breeding season is June, July, sometimes early August. They are most active at this time of year, and that, combined with habitat depletion, makes it more likely for humans to encounter them, and vice versa, said Kayla Brantley, a state bear biologist based in Horry County.

A state Department of Natural Resources official said it’s not a surprise that a bear was spotted crossing a street near homes just north of Myrtle Beach.

Black bears are not generally aggressive even when confronted by humans. However, due to their size, they need to be respected. No injuries or deaths have been attributed to black bears in South Carolina.

If you encounter one in your back yard like someone In the area of old Route 17 did recently when the bear was investigating their backyard cook-out (they left it and retreated into their home (and the bear had a gourmet meal).     If you find yourself in this situation, don’t corner the animal or make it feel threatened.   Stand your ground, and some say to raise your arms to appear larger.   Don't run.  Slowly back up, keeping your eye on the bear (not eye contact)  and try to put more space between you and the bear.  Talk calmly so that it can identify you as human.   A good way to steer clear of any run-ins with a wild animal is to secure trash, take down any type of animal feeder at night and keep grills clean.

Marie Coppola  January 2017


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© Marie Coppola Revised November 2016

 

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Shaping the New You

by Fran Signorino

The only reason I would take up jogging is so I could hear heavy breathing again.  ~  Erma Bombeck

When I tell people that I’ve been “doing Richard” for more than 10 years, they look at me funny. My affair with Richard started the way many relationships begin — I was troubled and depressed. My parents had passed away within six months of each other. After that most stressful time, my blood pressure rose from normal to high. My doctor, believing that the condition was temporary, did not feel that I was a candidate for medication. He suggested instead that I exercise — preferably an aerobic exercise — of the low impact variety.

At that time, the last thing I felt like doing was jumping around. But because I am a lover of dance, I purchased a “swing along” with Richard Simmons tape and so began my daily encounters with him.

Richard’s screaming and carrying-on irritated me somewhat on bad days, but his movements and “c’mon, get up — you can do it — I know you can” soon had me infatuated. Hey, you can’t have everything in a relationship. On the plus side, I didn’t have to travel back and forth to a gym; I didn’t have to force myself to get up early to walk. I could meet him on both our terms. And in my own home. I quickly learned his routines as if I were appearing in a Broadway show. He was a steady and driving teacher.

I even got a perm during this period to save me time not fussing with my hair. Alas, it came out a little too curly, and lo and behold, now we looked alike. I had Richard Simmons’ hair. Not by choice, but there he was looking back at me in the mirror.

The exercise outfits I bought brought me closer to his “look.” My kids started calling me “Richard.”

Within a month, my blood pressure stabilized, although my life did not. My daily workout with Richard helped me vent the stresses piling up each day. It was during one of these “workout” hours, intense on my part, that someone called me on the phone. I answered it, breathing heavily. “I can’t talk now, I’m doing Richard.”

“Scandalous,” the caller replied.

Whenever I answered the phone totally out of breath, my callers would say, “I’ll call you back — you’re doing Richard.” My son gave me a new workout tape for my birthday. He said, “New positions for you and Richard.”

So now Richard and I could move while Sweatin’ to the Oldies, and Dance Your Pants Off! while we were Groovin’ in the House.  And we got down with Tonin’ Downtown.  Richard and I went on company trips and vacations together.  I brought Richard to the shore.  He always wore the same clothes.  We still had matching hairdos.  Richard and I have been together longer than some of my past relationships.

I anticipate his every move and we mutually experience heavy breathing and sweating.  This also beats some of my former relationships. Yes, I admit after all these years, I still “do Richard” and I’m now a grandmother.  He’s always there for me, he’s always in a great mood, he always smiles and boy can he make the moves.

And judging from the assortment of tapes in the stores, it’s been as good for him as it’s been for me.

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Dear Mr./Mrs. Citizen,

Well, I guess you have figured me out. I seem to fit neatly into the category you place me in. I'm stereotyped, characterized, standardized, classified, grouped, and always typical. I am the lousy cop.

Unfortunately, the reverse isn't true. I can never figure you out.  From birth, you teach your children that I am a person to beware of.  Then, you are shocked when they identify me with my traditional enemy....The criminal.  You accuse me of coddling... juveniles, until I catch your kid doing something wrong.   You take an hour lunch, and several coffee breaks each day, then point me out as a loafer if you see me have just one cup.   You pride yourself on your polished manners, but think nothing of interrupting my meals at noon with your troubles.

You raise hell about the guy who cuts you off in traffic, but let me catch you doing the same thing, and all of a sudden I am picking on you. You know ALL the traffic laws, but never got one single ticket you deserved.   You shout "Abuse of Authority" if you see me driving fast to an emergency call, but raise 9 kinds of hell if I take more than 30 seconds responding to yours.  You call it "Part of my job" if someone hits me, but yell "Police brutality" if I strike back.  You would never think of telling your dentist how to pull a badly decayed tooth, or your doctor how to take out your appendix, but you are ALWAYS willing to give me pointers on how to be a police officer.

You talk to me in a manner, and use language that would assure a bloody nose from anyone else, but you expect me to stand there and take your verbal abuse without batting an eye.  You cry, "Something has to be done about crime," but you can't be bothered to get involved.  You have no use for me what so ever, but of course, it's OK for me to change a tire for your wife, or deliver your baby in the back seat of my patrol car enroute to the hospital, or save your sons life with CPR and mouth to mouth resuscitation, or even forsake time with MY family working long hours overtime trying to find your lost daughter.

So, dear citizen, you stand there on your soapbox and rant and rave about the way I do my job, calling me every name in the book, but never stop a minute to think that your property, your family,  and maybe your life might someday depend on one thing....ME.

Respectfully,
A Lousy Cop

Author: Anonymous

Marie Coppola March 2016

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

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

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

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

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

Try to Save Money

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

Lose some weight

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

Quit smoking

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

Read more books

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

Go green

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

Stay informed

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

Eat less fast food

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

Manage your stress

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

Managing your debt

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

Be charitable

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

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

Have a happy and blessed New Year!

© Marie Coppola Revised December 2016

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Tony Perkins says it all about leadership

History will criticize George W. Bush for plenty of things, but his ability to lead will not be one of them. "I have a different vision of leadership," the 43rd President once said. "A leader is someone who brings people together." Whether or not Americans agreed with where President Bush was leading, they had no doubt that he was.

Seven years later, under a vastly different administration, the nation is in serious turmoil. And the strong, decisive leadership it once knew, is gone. Like his predecessor, President Obama has had his share of crises. From Sandy Hook to Boston, the tests of leadership have been significant -- but the response far different. After the horror in Charleston, a weary Obama stood at the podium and acknowledged, "I've had to make statements like this too many times."

Unfortunately for America, rarely have they inspired the same reassurance and resolve the country has known from his predecessors. Too often, President Obama has sown division in place of solace, agenda in place of understanding, and rhetoric in place of action. Yesterday's speech was no different. We agree with the President that "there is something particularly heartbreaking about a death happening in a place in which we seek... peace."

But the irony of that statement is that he makes it as the leader of an administration that has done everything it can to create a culture -- not of violence -- but of hostility to the very religious expression he now memorializes. No one should be afraid to go to church to celebrate their faith or leave church to practice their faith in their community. "[W]e know," the President went on, "the hatred across races and faiths pose a particular threat to our democracy and our ideals."

Sadly, Americans no longer have a concept of what true hatred is. Thanks to the twisted distortions of the Left, the very meaning of the word has been diluted from what it really is -- animating senseless murder and violence -- to political dissent. This is hatred -- gunning down men and women in cold blood -- not the act of disagreeing over moral views. Liberals fail to see the difference, instead recklessly labeling opponents "hateful" simply for believing differently than they do.

Hate is what motivates men like this to slaughter innocent people. It's what drives such a disrespect for humanity that men like Floyd Corkins can walk into FRC with the intent to kill as many people as possible. While the White House bemoans our culture of animosity, it continues to inflame it through policies that accelerate moral decline and family breakdown. But instead of recognizing the root cause of moral breakdown, it blames the violence on a familiar scapegoat: gun control.

As Americans, we must have the honesty to step back and examine the real issues, even if the President continues exploiting these tragedies to accomplish his ultimate goal: expanding government at the expense of personal freedom. "The real work of reducing violent crime is the work of rebuilding the family," FRC's Dr. Pat Fagan has said. Yet the President continues to seize on the moment to place blame where it does not belong. "[W]e do know that once again, innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun."

The reality is, someone who wants to inflict harm will find a way. Ask the amputees in Boston, or the Christians in Syria. Is ISIS using guns to behead its victims? No. The government can't make us safer until it recognizes that the problem isn't the instruments of violence -- but the environment of it. Stronger gun laws wouldn't have prevented the deaths of those nine people in South Carolina, any more than it would have stopped Floyd Corkins from walking into our lobby and shooting Leo Johnson. "The heart of the matter is not guns," Dr. Ben Carson told Fox News's Megyn Kelly yesterday. "The heart of the matter is the heart."

What happened in the basement of that Charleston church should be an opportunity for earnest soul-searching in this nation -- not an excuse to push an agenda that at best ignores America's problems, and at worst, exacerbates them. It's time to recognize that the cure for violence, for racism, for hatred isn't in Washington. It's in pulpits just like African Methodist Episcopal's, where real reconciliation is possible. The church must lead. And this President must step away from his assault on faith and let it.

 

Marie Coppola. June 2015

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Be still in a quiet place and you will know God if you listen to what he is telling you. When you are quiet, you will open your heart and soul to Him.

"Be Still and Know That I am God". How often do we sit still? We have cell phones hanging out our ears, the iPods are going, the TV is on - so is the fax machine and the computer.  Someone's chatting on Skype.   Lots of noises going on .....How do we get 'still'?

You say "Hey, we're busy ....lots of things going on."

Even Jesus in His ministry got still with God. He would go out in the desert and pray to God and in 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 don't have time for that", or "God doesn't value me" or "I'm simply not religious". Those things are not important. 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, and everything else that's on your plate. Knowing God will give you extra strength and wisdom to do the things you do and you even might do things a little differently. And it will give you benefits you can't get anywhere else. They're guaranteed.

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. 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 that you are not now if you are not speaking to God. You will add joy, love, kindness, forgiveness and acceptance of who you are. He made you and loves you no matter what you are, say or have done. Who else can you say that about?

Try it. Go into a quiet room, shut the door and turn off all technology.  Be still and get to know God. Listen in silence to what you will hear.  You will be astounded.   It will change your life.  It's guaranteed.

Marie Coppola © Revised March 2015

 So you've decided you've had it with all the friends you had all these past years - you've outgrown them.  You have nothing in common anymore.   You say, "Some live far away - others are too busy with their lives to keep in touch and there's lots of new friends to make in this big old world and this definitely appeals to me right now".   You think?

You continue:   "So what if she was my maid of honor at my wedding and he was the baby's Godfather.  That was then and this is now...My oldest 'friend' I met when we were both three years old - we're related somehow.  Now he's a liberal and I'm a conservative.  My best friend all through junior high and high school has different interests, friends and activities from me.   It's time to turn a leaf and make new attachments."  You think?

Many of us have busy active lives, even more so if we have kids and/or still work.   New friends are interesting and fun at lunch or for a night out or a dinner or movie together.  We may have similar interests; our jobs, friends of friends, neighbors, etc.

Imagine a life-changing event comes up or an important decision you have to make.   Or a family issue.   Can you turn to that fairly new friend to offer solutions or advice on what they would do in your shoes?   But how long have they lived in your shoes?  Do they know your revolving family history and the key players?  Do you know them as intimately as a 10, 15, 25 or 30 year friendship?

Many of us can call a long-time ago friend after a substantial time lapse and tell him or her what you're going through.  These friends can fill in your life blanks themsevles     They know your past actions, family relationships and personal history as well as your patience, endurance and value quotients.   You don't have to start from the beginning of your life to explain your present situation and fill in the blanks like you do have to with newer friends.  Perhaps there are tentacles to the situation that you don't wish to share with someone you don't know well.  Long-time friends pretty much know a lot about you. There 's so much  you would have to explain about your life events that an old friend already knows.  Who better to assess what is before you - your problem and offer solutions?    They know you - how you react- how you see things - what's most important to you.

Here's a test:  stop reading this and call an old friend.   You can  interface with them no matter how long it's been since you last spoke together.  You go right back from where you left off and feel comfortable with it.  You cannot duplicate that gift.  You've been through many things together - things a new friend hasn't shared with you .  And will they repeat it to someone else?  You already know which friends are trusted ones.

Now wait just a minute - do you really want to ditch your old  friends?   Having relocated myself and meeting new 'friends' I enjoy the friendships, but it lacks the strength of time that old friends give you.   By the way, keeping tabs on life-long friends can extend your life span.   Click here:   http://www.rodalenews.com/friendship-and-long-life

© Marie Coppola  February 2015

 

 

Every now and then we all have computer problems. It’s a bummer. You can’t get onto the Internet and you need to do that ASAP. Sometimes, the screen gets all wiggly or gives you a message that it is shutting down and you scream, ’NO, I didn’t save it yet - wait! Aghhhh. Why didn’t I save it?"  Bang head against computer.  It may turn it on again, or you may have created a more serious computer problem.

We all know how we feel when we can’t get to a site we need to right away OR you have someone on the phone–and the computer, for the first time in weeks, decides to s-l-o-w-l-y t-u-r-n o-n and slug along while someone is waiting on the other end tapping his or her fingers while you say the old cliche, ‘my computer is really slow today.’ Not fun for your nimble fingers itching and ready to pound the keys that won’t let them. Is the server down? or is the system having problems?  the views are not working right? — #@%?>#

What do you do when these problems come up at work and the administrators are trying their best to fix them? They know and hear that the user is getting mighty frustrated. Here are some tips & suggestions for those days when this inevitably happens to everyone.

1. DON’T vent your frustrations out on on the Help Desk employees. They are trying their best to fix it.  Word will get around how unreasonable (yes, they will say that) you are - not to mention your boss hearing it.  In the scheme of proper and improper behavior, let’s not 'bite the hand that feeds you’ and/or ‘don’t air dirty laundry’ to the public. They may be amused at first, but that gets old quick.

2. DO "keep in your department what happens in your department"- don't blame others - your glitch may not be their fault. Otherwise, it starts to sound like "As the World Grumbles" or "Family Feud".

3. Try to be patient. No one likes to have to wait for things or not be told what is going on. When things aren’t quite up to par technically, some of you want to hit the Panic Button, and do; others wait patiently for the air to clear and haven’t said a word.  Shalom.  It is duly noticed by others in your group how you react under stress.

4. Read any article that explains systems problems, especially those dealing with adding on servers and LAN’s and how traffic is intricate and inter-related. You will see that they take time to develop, time to test and time to implement. Plus, it takes time to get the bugs out. We all know about bugs; we’ve all had them - the computer kind, that is.

5. Try to imagine the worst thing that could happen - like your company could put you totally in the dark, and you could get ERROR messages on everything that is out there. All of your reports and work articles could be frozen out there somewhere forever.  They may not be backed up and lost forever.   See, things could be worse. If you can get some screens, although that isn’t warm and fuzzy, it should be somewhat comforting.

6. While you’re pounding the keys harder than what they were made for, remember that you have the advantage of having a job and it is usually OK - except when the server is not working right?  Yes, I do hear you and validate you - you know some really bad words -- normally, you do like what you are doing. Come on, admit it, or you wouldn’t be so frustrated. That’s better. Now try to smile a little.  Come on - that’s a smile?  All right, forget about it.

7. Do not give in to the urge to sweep the computer off the desk onto the floor. Big mistake. Think of something pleasant instead.  You can if you try.

8. Stop putting even  more phone messages on the Help Desk line.  They’ve already been inundated with questions asked and re-asked. Breathe in and out and think. Get up and go for a walk.

9. You look better. Uh Oh, your eyebrows are knitting together again. Relax. Think happy thoughts; remember, you'll make up this time Somehow, Somewhere. Isn't that a Barbra Streisand song? Oh, come on, that was a joke - stop throwing things.

10. Whoops, you’re pounding away again - not good for the keyboard.   And another call to the Help Desk -- tsk tsk.   You already ‘aired’ that annoyance twice already. Stop calling them. Yes, Stop.

Oh, look, the system is up now. And they have fixed all the glitches. Now, admit it -- wasn't it kind of nice to take a little break? OK, OK, I’m out of here.

 

 

 

(C) Marie Coppola August 2014