Tag Archives: love

The Three Persons in the Happiest Marriages


I truly love weddings. There’s something about wedding ceremonies that invoke emotions of love and commitment to celebrate the joining of two people into a new life path. Sometimes the couple express their feelings towards each other, in a spiritual or scriptural setting. The blessing asks for happiness, joy, commitment, sharing, and always love.

It is sad that many marriages break up – between 40% and 45% of them. But, what about that beautiful wedding and all the emotions that got stirred up? Where is that couple who vowed to love each other forever, forsaking all others? Where and why did 40 to 45% of them falter?

They may have forgotten something. They may have left Someone out.

The traditional wedding ceremony usually involves a religious setting, asking God to bless the union, free it of jealousy, anger, infidelity and selfishness. Church weddings include God in the service and He is a part of the day’s happiness and union. A large part. One in which the entire family partakes.

It has more chance to succeed if they remember to include God in their relationship from the very beginning. We did just that. And we have been blessed with a happy, loving marriage.

Having God in your marriage is like being part of a tripod. It won’t stand on just 2 feet. It needs the 3rd foot for balance. It is an essential accessory for holding a marriage steady at slow-moving speeds or when we plan long, hoped-for ranges. A God-tripod is the best way to prevent a problem marriage. Otherwise, it may cause out-of-focus problems or topple over and have to be discarded.  With God in the tripod loop, it is certain to photo many happy, shared memories.

We attend and work at church activities together. Doing so keeps us aware of keeping God in our marriage. Scripture heard at mass reminds us to: Accept one another; Care for one another; Carry each other’s burdens; Forgive one another; Encourage, build up one another; Spur one another on to love and good deeds, Confess your sins to one another; and Pray for one another.

Pray together. It is difficult – almost impossible – to feel anger or not forgive someone when you pray with him or her. We work at not ‘holding on’ to any anger overnight – it will still have embers that may flare up in the morning. “In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.”

Taken all together, these Scriptures are a blueprint for a happy marriage. Include God in the blueprint, and you will be blessed with a mate who will love you as much as you love him/her.

A happily married couple once told us their secret: You have to feel that both of you are giving 125%. Include God in that percentage and your odds will go way up.

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy… husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies…….each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. (Ephesians 5:25-33)

© Marie Coppola June 2013

 

How to End a Bad Relationship

You can get along with all of the people some of the time; you can get along with some of the people all of the time but you can’t get along with all of the people all of the time.    A spin on the old adage.

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.  It can be someone we are close to and see frequently; or it can be someone we’re not so close to and see infrequently. The latter can be spaced out in visits (if you have to visit them at all) and can be managed. Somewhat.

But, what do you do when it is a sibling, a parent or God forbid, a spouse?

If and when you are immersed in a dysfunctional relationship, emotions can override logic. If it is a parent or sibling, we are talking a major challenge. If it is a spouse, it can be catastrophic.

    

What do you do? Do you bite your tongue in all conversations, hold back lashing down to a minimum, feign sickness to avoid them? Work more; socialize less, bury yourself in a book?

Or do you join in when they are around, feel stressed out and pray that the day turns out ok and not into a fiasco. Others are counting on you to ‘join’ in the group and just ‘keep cool’ or ‘chill out’ or anything short of sitting on you and duct-taping your mouth.

Well, there are many variables here.  In a family matter – a parent, a sibling, a child – there is a history here and lots of interchanges. Some issues are so interchangeably tangled, that unless the ‘diametrically-opposed players’ come to a prayerful compromise and exchange of promises and a sincere heart change, there is little hope that they will link arms and have a drink together. In fact, drinking may make it worse.

A spouse you don’t get along with is much more challenging. This is a life commitment you both made. Serious and truthful conversations, role playing (perhaps with a third party), and a sincere desire to change the situation is warranted if you want to right it. It’s not going to go away by itself. One person can’t change it; it needs both. Make that three – add God. Positive actions, prayers and verbal affirmations help to get issues out in the air and looked at.   Three steps forward and two steps back – but keep forging ahead and praying while you do it.

It may work out.  It has worked out.  And made relationships stronger. But it also hasn’t worked out.  And relationships end.

I had such a person in my life. This was a ‘long-history person’. We simply were like oil and water. Things said were not taken the way they were meant; get-togethers became strained with stress; 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?   I tried and tried and couldn’t and didn’t .

One day, at church service, there was a visiting 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 be someone close, a loved one or even a child of yours. You simply will not have a good relationship with them.” 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.

Please understand that this minister was not suggesting that you disregard any and all people that you don’t get along with and wipe them off like dust.  Remember, we are all imperfect.

Life is a compromise with almost everybody. It is usually a loving compromise and returned as such. Sometimes people have life changes and within those changes, people temporarily behave differently and relationships change with them. They may be going through a rough time; and they need your patience and love. I’m not talking about these kinds of ‘not getting along’. They are transient and natural in all our lives.

I’m talking about the constant, never-ending, always-the-same negative and destructive relationship that causes stress every time you connect.

I talked with the minister after the service and told him I felt bad about this relationship that I just couldn’t seem to embrace. 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. 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 always, always pray for that person, forgive them and forgive yourself.   But always pray for them.”

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.  But I kept at it and in time, sincerely meant the prayer. I pray for this person to this day. I pray for her peace; I wish her well-being and remind myself that she 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 are gone.

There is no judgment or blame here — it’s just that….”As one face differs from another, so does one’s heart.”

©Marie Coppola  Revised May 2013

Father~Jesus~Love~Peace~The Holy Spirit

Pastor Bob delivered a beautiful homily at church today;  I will try to recreate the message he shared with us.

He reflected on the past three Sundays Readings and Gospels which give the accounts of Jesus’ visits with his disciples after his resurrection and before his ascension into Heaven.

He  noted that Jesus did not go into the teachings of his past three year’ ministry with his disciples, reviewing with them all the facets of the faith he spoke through his Father. It would seem he would warn them or remind them of parables addressing the continual harassment by the scribes and Pharisees who constantly badgered him.

Instead, Jesus spoke simply to the disciples of the Father, his Love , Peace and the Holy Spirit.  Twice Jesus told them, “If you love me, you will ‘keep’ my words” and the Father will reward that person by making his home with them.

When we become like Christ, we automatically do the right thing.

Then he told the disciples that the Holy Spirit would dwell within them and would enable them to remember the words and incidences of Jesus and to record them for future posterity. The promised Holy Spirit would enable the apostles to discern the truth, clarify the doctrine and encourage the new believers in faith, the Gentiles.

The priest explained how in the First Reading, some were teaching that ‘unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” (Acts 15: 1-2, 22-29.) They were preaching from their previous teachings.  Even Paul at one time believed that all new believers should convert to Judaism before they became Christians, relying on previous teachings.  With aid of the Holy Spirit, Paul and Barnabas sent men out to maintain Jesus’ doctrinal purity.

Today is the same: we are guided by the Holy Spirit to maintain doctrinal purity by the Magisterium, the Teaching Authority of the Church. It consists of the Pope and Bishops. Christ promised to protect the teaching of the Church: “He who hears you, hears me; he who rejects you, rejects me, he who rejects me, rejects Him who sent me”. (Luke 10.16)

In the Gospel Reading today (John 14:23-29) Jesus tells us,  “If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.   He who does not love me does not keep my words; and the word which you hear is not mine, but the Father’s who sent me.”

“These things I have spoken to you, while I am still with you.  But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.   Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you, not as the world gives do I give to you.   Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

Simple faith – simple words.  Do not add or take away from them ~ This is our faith:

Father ~ Jesus ~  Love ~ Peace ~ The Holy Spirit

Have a blessed week.

Marie Coppola

Ref: http://emmausjourney.org/reflecting

 

The Lost Art of Handwritten Letters


“To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without moving anything but your heart.” ~Phyllis Theroux

Changes in the world aren’t limited to fast-evolving technology. Many people communicate today by sending email or texting messages. What impact do have these forms of communication have on our interpersonal skills today and how do they change our relationships?

The increase in text messaging has increased over the past few years. It’s quick, hip and fast. Emails are similar. You get one and instantly return a reply just as quickly. You get right to the point and feel that you have “communicated”. Most times it’s a short reply answering what the e-mailer asked or a brief acknowledgement that you received it; a few sentences that don’t seem to convey or warrant a thought process.

The thought behind text-written sentences is hidden even more by the cryptic codes and abbreviations that texters and even those using IM, SMS, emails, cell phones, iPhones, Blackberries, etc., all use when sending brief messages. Acronyms play a big role and this “shorthand, online jargon, and leetspeak” are a language onto themselves. “Emotions” can be expressed usually by smiley face emoticons or “shouting” which is not proper etiquette – expressed by typing in ALL CAPS. For example, I was waiting at the store, and YOU NEVER SHOWED UP. 🙁

Imagine Robert Browning sending text love messages to Elizabeth Barrett Browning when he became interested in her poems. What if Robert had texted to Elizabeth: “CUL8R CUZ ILY 4EAE” which means for those who don’t text, “See you later because I love you forever and ever.” I wonder if their relationship would have progressed into one of the most famous courtships in literature history.

What has happened to handwriting as a communicative tool? It’s a sad fact today that children usually are not taught cursive writing in schools. USA Today reports that penmanship is left behind as states assign dominate class time for literacy ~~  handwriting is not a priority. Many children today cannot read handwriting let alone write it. Although 90 percent of teachers surveyed said that they do teach handwriting, they say they spend 60 minutes a week or 15 minutes a day teaching it.

Anyone who has been taught the Palmer method of handwriting spent more time than that learning to write. The Palmer Method was developed by Austin Norman Palmer around 1888 and became the most popular handwriting system in the early 1900s. It lasted until displacement by the movement to teach printing instead of cursive as the dominant handwriting style for students. And they all print today.

Besides being a deterrent in not being able to sign and write out a check or sign a will, handwriting is a personal signature reflection of a person. What would handwriting experts do without them?

The lost art here is the personal, intimate handwritten note or letter. There are directives today in busness to add a special touch to your customers so that a ‘relationship’ is formed for future or referral business. In these down economy times, an added word of concern or personalization makes you feel that someone in business is looking out for your welfare. Notes or brief letters to customers have become an ‘in’ thing to do. They do make a difference even though you are aware that it is a business ploy since a handwritten note on your birthday or on a holiday adds a specialness even to the business relationship.

Even more so is this intimacy enjoyed through people we love as well as friends, acquaintances or budding relationships. A hand-written note is a personal reflection from someone expressly centered on you.

 A posted hand-written letter received by you can lift your spirits on a congratulatory event, enjoying appreciative thanks for something, an invitatin to a special gathering, or commisserating with something you have lost. You might have a milestone birthday or anniversary, have been recognized for something out of the ordinary, or simply receive something that someone thought you might want to know about. When you receive these special remembrances, you usually leave them out on the mantel for some time and relive the special, good feeling you got when you received it. As Liz Carpenter remarked, “What a lot we lost when we stopped writing letters. You can’t reread a phone call”.

There are many reasons to revive letter writing. Anyone who has letters from a loved one tied together with a ribbon, or a shoebox of notes and letters from the past, or letters written during a separation relive the experience of visiting them once again. I save every handwritten note that was ever written to me. A few were the last communication I received from a person, and some were recognition laurels I didn’t realize I had done and some were silly, past experiences that still bring a smile to my face. They are all special to me.

“What a wonderful thing is the mail, capable of conveying across continents a warm human hand-clasp”. ~Author Unknown

There is hope in bringing back handwriting as the Palmer method is experienceing renewed attention. Because the Palmer method has a focus on shoulder and arm movements, it is helpful for many with limited movement of the fingers.working in facilitated communication for the disabled. The focus on shoulder and arm movements, it is helpful for many with limited movement of the fingers.

Perhaps, too, it will help others with limited use of conversational communication to again express words of intimacy.

“The best time to frame an answer to the letters of a friend, is the moment you receive them. Then the warmth of friendship, and the intelligence received, most forcibly cooperate”. ~William Shenstone

© Marie Coppola May 2013

 

Jesus is Looking for a Long-Term Relationship With You

 

.

 I am a male seeking friendship and love in a committed relationship.

Age, gender, size, race, ethnic background not important. I’m seeking someone who will share my love, trust and devotion. I offer friendship, companionship, stability, loyalty, patience, kindness, and understanding. I will share the good and the bad with you and promise to always tell you the truth in all things.

I love people, family, children, animals, and all living creatures. Family is very special to me especially my saintly mother and my loving father, who is my mentor, protector and guides me in all things. I enjoy mingling with crowds but I also have times when I like to be alone. I like to take walks up in the mountains and also in the desert. My time is usually spent with my friends, especially, Peter, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. I live my life to treat others as you would have them treat you. And I would lay down my life for my friends. As I will for you, if we become soul mates.

Pastimes? I enjoy fishing and spending time by lakes and the water. Work? I am a carpenter by trade, but have also worked as a rabbi, physician, healer, counselor, and teacher. All these positions have introduced me to many people, whom I helped with their problems, and taught them what I learned from my father. I could tell you miraculous things about these people. I will when we meet. Some of these miracles are written up in a book that is a best seller. Honest, I would never lie to you.

It would be wonderful if we could meet somewhere and get together. Perhaps you would like to meet me, too, and get acquainted. We could break bread together and have some wine; and you can tell me all about you. You can pick the time and place; I’m available all hours of the day. And I am willing to travel to any place in the world. You should know that worldly things like what you look like or how you dress, or what car you drive and what kind of house you have or neighborhood you live in, don’t matter at all to me. Same thing with money and jobs; they are superficial to who you are, what you’re about, and what your heart desires. I’m hoping that it is me.

I am a good listener. You can tell me your plans, your desires, your joys and your grief. If you let me, I can share all your joys and share all your fears and problems. If you have worries or am depressed or feel lonely and alone, I promise that I can make you feel better. If you desire it, we could have a strong, binding relationship; maybe even be soul mates for a long and committed time; hopefully, forever. I won’t pressure you; you take your time. But you should know, that If you open your heart to me, I will always be there for you. I will never leave or abandon you. That’s a promise. My love for you will be forever – eternally.

I’m looking forward to becoming someone special in your life; maybe a best friend, maybe even more. I’ll let you decide who I can be in your life. I will treat you like the special and unique individual that you are. If you ask anything of me, I will answer you and God willing, give it to you.

I hope you will call me soon.  At any time.  I’m always around and I will always make time for you.  If and when you call, there will be no waiting for me to answer or the chance for the call to go into voicemail; I will personally answer on the first ring. I want you to feel secure that you can always reach me whether in an emergency or just to chat or say hello. By the way, when you do call, my phone number is the same as my name 5-3787 — Jesus.

I will be so very happy to hear from you.

 © Marie Coppola March 2013

 

Why Faith is Important to You & Your Family ~


Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Faith is defined in Wikipedia as “Faith is hope, belief or trust in an entity or idea that is not based on material proof.”

Many persons received their personal faith in God or a higher power by being handed down through the generations in their families. When family unity is strong or intact, the beliefs of their family and extended family generally follow the next generations’ belief system. Some families believe in ‘let them choose faith themselves when they are older’. Faith is hard to establish without early seeds of planting the basics of faith. You can’t just ‘choose’ something you’ve never experienced.   Many people with no faith want to know how to get it or help them get it.   It’s simply opening your heart to acceptance of it.   A blueprint or background helps them understand better.

Whatever the denomination or religious belief the family follows, it usually encompasses rituals, beliefs, and traditions based on reverence, devotion, loyalty to beliefs and good works and lifestyles. There are numerous faiths in our world, and my aim here is to appeal to parents to instill their faith, or beliefs or good values or morality and ethics to their children. If these virtues are learned as a child, the seeds will be planted and take root.  A conscience will develop to the good or virtues in life and avoid the bad.

How can parents do this?    By teaching them the values they themselves learned as children and share these gifts with their children when they are very young. Talk to your kids about what is right and what is wrong.  Foster friendships with families whose family life you respect and want to imitate.  Take your kids to a place of worship. Children love the unity of sharing faith with family and this unity rewards all family members.

We live in a fast-changing world.  Technology can be a good thing and sometimes it is not. Everything is speeded up; even games. Especially video games. A friend mentioned to me that her grandchildren get bored with movies like Bambi, Cinderella, Lady and the Tramp – the Disney Classics, etc. because they are ‘boring’, ‘too slow’, and ‘not exciting. They missed  the ‘messages’ these movies taught about loyalty, love, and good vs. evil.

These values need to be taught and brought in the home, but many times, today’s families are fractured, maybe led by a single parent, or perhaps some families are caught up in endless activities, working and school sports or clubs.

So where do the younger generations learn about morality, ethics, respect, and fair play if everyone is too busy to be role models or teach them? From Hollywood and pop stars? Our politicians? Who ARE our kids’ role models? Are you?   Do you teach them about spirituality, the Bible, the Ten Commandments, Rules to Live By or any doctrines?   How will they learn to love one another, forgive others, and respect others?   By your example and by your faith.

Where do they learn about bullying, hurting people who they ‘don’t like’ or thinking about blowing up the school to get back at someone. Did they ever learn that murder is wrong or revengeful gossiping can hurt people or it isn’t right to publicly insult people on Facebook that some kids have committed suicide?. Or teaching them that wanting and needing every new tech device or latest fad instead of thinking about helping someone less fortunate than themselves. Are they Numero Uno in all they do? Chances are, they always will be, if they are not taught otherwise.   And that will affect their parents’ future relationships with them.

Schools don’t teach social skills or moral values. Or how to play fair, love fair or how not to priortize their interests to the detriment of others.

Your house of faith, temple, or churches do teach these values.  Bring your kids to your house of worship. Yes, it’s annoying when small children get cranky or noisy, but they quickly adapt. And they will grow up and take their own kids. You will reap a bond with your children through your common beliefs and traditions. Your faith will help your family through turbulent times, recession hardships and personal malfunctions. It is sorely needed today and sorely absent.

Faith brings people and families together. A family that prays together usually stays together. Couples, too. If a person disappoints you, knowing that you share the same faith can bring you close again. If a person deeply loves you, faith can bring you even more the best joy in life you’ve ever had. If you are alone, faith can provide a path and blessings that you never experienced. Faith isn’t a crutch or a substitute – it’s a blessing that will stay with you forever and multiply its blessings.

“Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” ~Galatians 6:7    Sow some good seeds today and plant them in your children.    They will become the fruits of your labor.

© Marie Coppola   February 2013

 

A Valentine to You from God ~

By Ron Quinlan, a special guest writer. 

A Valentine to You from God  

My beloved child,

Yes, you are my beloved child. I know this is hard for you to believe. You see all your mistakes and failures, all the times you lost your temper, all the times you’ve hurt people, all the times you stayed away from me. You look at yourself and see your failures.

I look at you and see your beauty. I see the love you’ve given to those you encountered in your life. I see the times you tried to love others, all the times you’ve given of yourself. I see a beautiful person struggling to become the person you were created to be.

There is a beauty and love deep inside of you. Right now you may not see it but someday the whole world will look at you and see this rare beauty, someone very special and unique, a gift to the world, my gift and my beloved child.

So often you’ve been afraid of me. You run and try to hide, hoping that I won’t notice your mistakes. You run, doing everything you can to stay busy, too busy to think, to talk to me. You run but I long for your company. I long to shower you with my love, to pour my blessings upon you. I yearn to comfort and console you, to be there for you in your pain. My desire is to take care of you. My passion is for you to come to me, seeking me, to know and love me.

I want you to know that I know everything you ever done and I love you with a passion so intense that human words can not describe it. Your past is forgiven and forgotten. I remember nothing you confessed. I passionately desire to forgive you everything. All you have to do is repent and confess.

Come to me; come so that I may pour my blessings upon you. There is so much I want to give you. I want to do so much for you. I want you to know my peace. I want to set you free from the guilt that robs your joy; from the fear that plagues you, from the worry and anxiety that is tearing you apart. I want you to know my joy, to know my freedom and love.

Come, now! There is nothing you have to change or do, no improvements you have to make before you come to me. Come as you are. I love you exactly as you are. Just, come!

Marie Coppola  February 14, 2013

One Last Christmas

Ron Quinlan, a writer and member of our church, wrote this poignant article on what is important at Christmas time.  

 

WHAT IF THIS WAS YOUR LAST CHRISTMAS?  

Last December I heard a song once that I couldn’t forget, One Last Christmas by Matthew West. The title really makes one think. What if you knew you only had one last Christmas? What would you do?

What if this Christmas was your last Christmas to come back to the Church?

What if this was your last opportunity to tell people you loved them?

What if it was your last Christmas to spend with your Mom or Dad, the last one with your siblings, spouse or children?

What if this Christmas was your last opportunity to go to Mass with your parents?

What if this Christmas was your last opportunity to tell people how much God loves them?

What if this Christmas was your last opportunity for reconciliation with one of your children, parents or siblings?

How would this Christmas be different? What would be your priorities? Who would you see or call? What would you do? What would you say?

So often at holidays we waste time fretting about unimportant things, high prices, long lines, a perfect house, the perfect meal, decorations, the electric bill, traffic.

We spend so much time preparing for Christmas Day that we’re exhausted. Rather than being the best we can be, the loving people we want to be, we are negative. We complain and sometimes criticize. That dress is horrible, what did you do to your hair, you really don’t need a second helping, you’re already too fat. Why did you buy that? The color is all wrong.

Often at Christmas our concern is directed to what we did or didn’t receive. We pay more attention to the gifts than we do to the giver and the love behind the gift.

We spend our day playing with the latest gizmo or watching sports.

Do we really want someone’s last memory of us to be our complaining, negativity or criticism?

Do we want to let this Christmas pass without trying one last time to model Christ’s love, to share God’s love with our family and friends?

Wouldn’t we prefer to leave behind memories of the way we loved others rather than our own anger, negativity or self-centeredness?

How can we be sure this isn’t our last Christmas or the last Christmas with our parents and loved ones? We can’t be sure who will be here next year. I was fortunate to be with my Mom at her last Christmas but I didn’t have a clue at the time.

We need to live this Christmas as if it is our last. We can’t count on next Christmas to return to the Church or to tell our loved ones how much we love them. We can’t put off to next year to tell our children and grandchildren how much God loves them, how much Jesus yearns for them to come back to Him. Now is the time God has given us. This Christmas is the time we have to do the things that are most important.

WHAT IF IT WAS YOUR……………………..?

 

 

 

 

 

Why Grandparents are a Blessing

 

Sandwiched between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are Grandparents.  What would we do without grandparents?

I remember a story about a young man who was very close to his grandmother.

On her deathbed, when he went in to say his goodbyes, his grandmother took his hand and told him, “I believe in you. You will be very successful one day”. This young man always remembered her prediction and went on to become successful in work, family and life. He believed what she told him and it became self-fulfilling.

Plagiarizing Jesus’ Beatitudes on the Sermon on the Mount, I offer and dedicate Beatitudes for Grandparents, celebrating grandparents and why we are so thankful to have them:

1) Blessed are the grandparents, who lovingly and joyfully come to the aid of their children and grandchildren in times of joy and in times of needs. Especially blessed are those senior parents who live some distance away, and bond with their little ones by phone, letters, e-mails, tapes and videos. The warmth from these communications lessens the distance between them.

2) Blessed are the grandparents who comfort their grandchildren in times of trouble, sorrow, disappointment, and maybe just for not making the football team or cheerleader squad. Grandparents’ comfort in caring for them gives them extra assurances of love. A kind and understanding word goes a long way, and is most special from a grandparent.

3) Blessed are the grandparents who instill confidence and self esteem to their grandchildren by appreciating and acknowledging their achievements – educationally, athletically or spiritually. Extra blessings for those grandparents who live nearby and attend school functions, class trips or school plays. Their presence lights up their grandkids’ activities. Attend a school lunch or a midget football game and watch how happy kids are that their grandparents are there!

4) Blessed are the grandparents who mentor their grandchildren with ethical issues, honesty in all things and offer themselves as examples of what kind of adults they should aspire to be. A grandparent’s fine example is better than reading a book about it. Kids emulate their parents and their grandparents.

5. Blessed are the grandparents who are patient with their grandchildren, especially if there are issues of fighting, misbehaving or argumentative displays between siblings. Especially blessed are those grandparents, who use tactics of understanding, forgiveness, and persuasion to bring calm waters to a stormy situation. Sometimes, a grandparent’s input is listened to more than a parent. A grandparent can be a great equalizer.

6. Blessed are the grandparents who act as peacemakers, not only with their own children and their family, but between grandchildren, too. It is a blessing when there is no finger pointing or taking sides or adding fuel to a fiery situation during family arguments. Grandchildren recognize grandparents ‘having some clout over their own parents’ actions; and that ‘clout’ is directed towards unity and not divided-ness.

7. Blessed are the grandparents who can overlook the young grandchild’s honest remarks about them; ie, you are old; you look fat, you look skinny, you aren’t as good on the computer as my mommy ; you walk funny; why is your hair gray? – and are serene enough to remember they are children and do not mean disrespect. Blessed are the grandparents who can make a joke or gloss over ‘truthful remarks’. Parents especially are thankful for this.

8. Blessed are the grandparents who are young in spirit and ‘play’ with their grandchildren. Kids LOVE to play and grandparents who usually have more time than their own parents to play board games, watch them on PlayStation [very boring, but kids love for Gramps or Nana to watch them] or even games you played when young. Kids love bingo, scrabble, monopoly, checkers, etc. or you can teach them card games or chess. Playing and having fun makes a strong bond between generations. Both enjoy these activities. Kids are very competitive and extra-blessings to grandparents who allow them to win sometimes.

9. Blessed are the grandparents who attend church functions with the family. Even if visiting on a trip and Nonna lives far away, going to church with the grandkids brings an extra bond in relationships. Kids listen to Grandma’s input on spiritual matters as well as others, and they will ask her questions they won’t ask other adults. She listens to them and answers them as best she can. A spiritual bond is a lasting bond.

10. Most blessed are the grandparents who show affection and love to these small people – and most find it very easy to do. The grandkids know how important Mimi and Pop-Pop are to the family unit, and how their unconditional love is the only one they will know besides their parents’. They know it and bask in it. Maybe it can be that one day these children may live with their grandparents or they with the kids or grandkids, and the love element will allow that to happen with more ease and naturalness.

There are countless ways that we are blessed with these ’surrogate parents’. Some are latch-key caretakers; some take the grandkids on vacations with them, or take them shopping which turn into memorable jaunts, or to the movies the grandparent really has no interest in going to, or simply reading and learning together. Grandparents are there for school vacations or extended visits. Grammy makes the best cookies and lets the grandkids help. Grandpa puts the miniature trains together and teaches anyone who wants to learn how to fish.

The best gift that grandparents give is the gift of themselves; they make some of our best adult memories. If we are fortunate to still have them, we are ever so thankful.

Copyright © Marie Coppola Revised November 2012

Give a Little Love from your Heart

 

Love and kindness are never wasted. They always make a difference. They bless the one who receives them,and they bless you, the giver.” Barbara De Angelis

How do YOU communicate kindness and love?

No, we’re not talking about greeting cards here. Although, Hallmark makes a good profit on all those cards most of us send to loved ones. Just for the greeting card record, here is a list of the top 5 holidays, excluding Christmas, for sending greeting cards:

#1: Valentine’s Day -144 million greeting cards (It’s also the 2nd most celebrated holiday in the U.S. after Christmas)

#2: Mother’s Day – 133 million cards

#3: Father’s Day – 94  million cards

#4; Easter – 54 million cards

#5: Halloween – 20 million cards

Sending greeting cards can express the card’s sentiments for you – but you can communicate love and kindness in other ways. Here are some ways to give the best you have because you care.

1) Visit a friend in need, who could really use a visit and LISTEN to what he or she is telling you. Just listening, without interrupting, is one of the best ways to care about someone. Don’t offer advice or opinions. Just listen.

2) If someone tells you a juicy tidbit of gossip, don’t repeat it. Let it die with you. Gossip is hurtful and serves no purpose to repeat it. The old adage, ‘Don’t believe anything you hear and half of what you see’ is a good one.

3) Make a phone call to an ill, homebound person and just say hello. It will mean much to them and willl uplift them. Better yet, stop in and see them – and bring them a treat; a flower or a sweet. Or bring along some home-made chicken soup. The real treat is seeing you and having company.

4) Help out a frazzled mom and offer to take her kids to the library or some other function. It’s an hour or two out of your time; it will mean the world to her.

5) Visit one of the nursing homes and bring some travel toiletries or small gifts. Some of the live-ins there may not have had a visitor like you for years.

6) Listen patiently when your next-door senior neighbor complains yet again about barking dogs. It may be the only communication he has had all day.

7) Give the woman in church who is celebrating her 80th birthday – a hug. She may not have been hugged in a long time. It’s a gift she will remember. Elderly seniors who live alone are usually in need of affection and hugs.

8) Write a heartfelt letter to someone who has done a kindness for you. Don’t email or call your thank you. Write him or her a note or letter – hand-written messages are becoming a rarity – and are special to the receivers.

9) Invite a recent widow or widower over for dinner. They are not used to eating alone and will welcome the invitation.

10) Check your pantry for extra cans that may be expiring in the next months. Donate them to a Helping Hand or Outreach program. These organizations pass foodstuffs quicker than they will expire. You may end up throwing them away — and someone will be extremely grateful for them.

11) Surprise a special child or your own or grandchild and plan a drop-in lunch visit at their school. Watch their eyes light up when they see you walk in. Small children thrive when you show them special attention.

12) Valentines come in packages and contain just a happy greeting – no mushiness. Buy a couple of packs and send them to everyone you know who is alone, divorced or widowed. Valentine’s Day can be a lonely one for singles and unattached folks. It will uplift them. And you, too.

Small acts of kindness may be the best that you can give.  – it costs very little when you care and share your love.

© Marie Coppola,  January  2017 revised