Our Insights bring Etiquette back into Perspective.

An Ongoing Series of Informational Insights

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INTERVIEWERS BEWARE: 

THE ART OF PROPER INTERVIEWING

February 14, 2020

Written By: Shannon Grace

Hello Interviewers. 


It is that time again to do your favorite thing in the world. What is that? Wait a minute! It is called INTERVIEWING. OMG. You love it or hate it. Well, as a life coach that deals with business etiquette, I can give everyone some insight of how to properly interview with potential, new employees, even if you hire them or not. Before I discuss the do(s) and don't(s), I am going to ask everyone to be open-mined.


One, applicants are more nervous today to meet you because of needing a job. 

As jobs are growing in our economy today, it is still a stressful job market. The process of interviewing was never easy or a piece of cake. This is why staffing agencies come into play to assist with the burden of the interview process.


Two, applicants who have been searching for jobs for some time are trier of the process of interviewing. Interviewing is like a full-time job itself. It takes a lot of energy. Applicants can feel drained and self-defeated after awhile. When applicants get interviews, it's like receiving a Christmas bonus.


The Do(s):


1. Give a good greeting. When an applicant comes in for an interview, always greet the person with a friendly hello and a firm hand shake, along with introducing yourself in a respectful manner. This gives the applicant a good, first impression to feel comfort and respected in an interviewer's presence.


2. Preparing a good outline and questions. Before an interview, it always important to have some questions prepared ahead of time and read over the resumes of the selected applicants before interviewing. With that said, as an interviewer, it shows applicants that you are prepared and showing leadership in the interview process. Believe it or not, applicants really like when an interviewer knows how to lead in an interview, which sets a good tone to get to know professionally. Plus, by creating a good tone, applicants will sense a smooth flow to answer an interviewer's questions more confidently. Never have an applicant lead in an interview either, which is already stressful to be before an interviewer.


3. Always be in a good mood, remain positive, and stay professional. When applicants come in for interviews, I must stress to interviewers to always be in a pleasant mood and be positive. Better to be positive and give applicants a professional experience in the interview process. Applicants will always remember those that were kind and got to know them in a respectable way. Interviewers, it's also your reputations are on the line. Don't forget we are still human and connectedness is important to relate, especially with potential, new employees.


The Don't(s):


1. Never be condescending. Interviewers, there is a huge stress to never make applicants inferior and submissive during the interview process. This is a bad sign of poor, business etiquette and unprofessional leadership as an employer or in upper management. The last thought to leave with an applicant's mind is to feel disrespected and discriminated. Plus, when interviewing, never raise your voice to an applicant, especially to show a negative mood. It shows that an interviewer has a poor temperament and a sign of being difficult to work with. No one wants a horrible, future boss!!!!


2. To never speak negative of employees. Interviewers, please never speak poorly about your employees or co-workers when interviewing. When an applicant hears specific details of others, it leaves a negative, first impression of the work politics, especially exhibiting low moral, gossip, and drama. Never speak in full detail of how you are going to fire someone, when admitting that an employee has not been let go and doesn't know of it yet. This can become a tricky, legal matter and is unprofessional tact. Way your words, please!!! It holds lots of water they say.


3. Never waste an applicant's time. Interviewers, please never give applicants the impression in the middle of an interview of not really hiring yet or just interviewing a pool of people to see what is out there in qualified applicants. Never be dishonest or lying to applicants regarding the details of opened positions, especially with salary, leave, and insurance. Never show you are unsure of why you are interviewing at all because it shows poor management and communication skills. At the end, it's important to show applicants the respect of their time and search during the interview process. It is already stressful enough.


So here we are, I have provided some insights. Interviewers take some time to reflect on these suggestions. You may already know them, but they are good reminders. Put it this way, everyone wants a good experience in interviewing. Good luck.



DOWNvote the ONE up!!!!

February 14, 2020

Written by: Sarah J. 

Does it bother you when you talk to someone and it seems that they always have to “one-up” you? It bothers me too. However, in these instances, I find it best to just be the bigger person and go on with the conversation holding your tongue. An example would be if you say you are in pain and then the other person says oh I am too and trust me, my (insert ailment) makes it feel worse, or you don’t know pain is  like.   Another example would be if say you are suffering hardship and think things are probably worse for yourself than anyone. Around this time of the year, during the holidays I think the latter is often very present. Everyone has their own life and everyone has a different life. Until we can live a day in someone’s shoes, or we all end up living the exact same life; which news flash, that will never happen. We need to stop being so judgmental and quit the one-ups. Does either one really make us feel better anyway? I sure don’t think so, and I find both utterly annoying. How about in 2020 we all try to judge a little less, quit the one-ups, and remember that opinions are neither right nor wrong. I’m in, are you?



Hello Interviewer: I need a job...pretty please with a smile :)

Steps to be successful at a job interview if you get the job or not.

February 14, 2020

Written by: Shannon Grace

Wow!! You landed a job interview. 


Congratulations! Here are some successful steps in interviewing from my personal experience.  Oh Lord-We need to prep for the big day.


Give yourself some time the night before or a couple days before an interview to do the following:


a. Research the company, organization, and agency (state or federal government).  Knowledge is power. You look more prepared.


b. Find your best dress entire to look professional, especially at office settings or what is required to wear at an interview, like at construction sites etc. FYI: Don't be shocked if an interviewer tells you what to wear on the day of an interview, pending of where you maybe working.


c. Reflect on the reasons why you applied for a position. What motivated you? Money, career growth, benefits, or the company's culture and community involvement.


d. Be prepared when an interviewer asks you why you are job searching. Be specific and honest. Keep it real. No negative talk either. Prepare reasons why want to make the move. Keep your responses to the point.


e. Figure how to set yourself apart with your accomplishments before the interview. Why should an interviewer choose you for the position? What makes you unique than everyone else?


f. And most importantly, know your resume. Get familiar with it. Bring copies to give to the interviewer, which shows you are prepared. It is called brownie points or a good first impression.


THE BIG DAY....Let's go in with confidence:


a. First of all, politely introduce yourself and let the interviewer take the lead in starting out with questions. As you answer the interviewer's questions, describe your work history briefly and keep it in an orderly fashion.


b. Be prepare to respond to the interviewer as to why you are interested with the company. Think of a couple reasons why you want to be with them. Flex some knowledge power of what the company is about to the interviewer. It shows you did your research. High-five to you .


c. Don't sweat bullets when you cannot answer all of the interviewer's questions. Just always be honest and thoughtful. Also, ask for clarification and go from there. This is a way of how an interviewer can see your thought process in action. Remember to remain calm and be yourself.


d. Now, it is your turn to ask questions after the interviewer is done. The best questions are more of opinion-based questions, such as, "What is your favorite part about working at this company." It always good to ask questions that show how you evaluate a company.


e. Number #1: Convince you are the best candidate for the position. Go in with confidence and show how assure you are that you want the job. Talk about being present.


f. A few simple reminders at the end of an interview. Don't ask for feedback right away. Hold it. Remember, you are human and be easy on yourself. You got through an interview with grace. Always thank the interviewer (remember the person's name) at the end of an interview. This is gives a great impression that you were playing attention to details. After an interview, you may not hear from a company, just be patient on the answer if you got the job or not. Never be desperate, along with putting your eggs all in one basket.


One more thing about interviewing. Be upfront and use clear language. Be positive and not negative. Finally, make it about them (employer or company). Overall, what can you do for them with your background and skills. Your skills are a positive asset. An interviewer likes to know that they come first. Last, it's always good to follow up with a thank you email to the interviewer to show appreciation. This effort goes a long way even if you do not get the position.

A TRADITIONAL GERMAN'S PERCEPTION ON ETIQUETTE BACK IN THE DAY.

February 14, 2020

Written By: Herold K. Pratt

My name is Herold Karl Pratt, I was born in Hanau, West Germany on the 18th of June, 1949. I spend my first five and a half years raised as a German, with my father being an American soldier that was transferred to Korea in 1951. My mother worked in order to support my younger brother and myself. I lived basically with my relatives until my mother married my step father, Thomas Vasille Pratt, in 1955. I call him my father as he raised me and brought me to the United States in 1956. 


As I said I was raised as a German, not speaking any English except a few words I learned from the American GIs who adopted me in a sense as there little brother. When I first came to the United States,  I experienced culture shock. There were differences in what was expected in Germany and not in the U. S.


The following are some of the differences: 


 1.) When you walked down a sidewalk as a younger person, you were expected to walk on the outside and the older people walked on the inside. Even if you are just passing on the sidewalk, you were expected to walk on the street side. If you did not then the elders would let you know and shame you right then and there by loudly dressing you down. 


2.) If you were siting on a bus and an older person was standing, then you were required to get up and offer the seat to that older person. If you did not offer the seat to that individual, then the bus driver would stop the bus and throw you, sometimes for real, off the bus. 


3.) I mentioned the sidewalk, it is a law that once a week the sidewalk in front of the house/apartment had to be washed or a fine would be issued to whoever was responsible. If you were in an apartment, you could be evicted. 


4.) If you lived in an apartment house you would be expected to wash and wax the stairs. This was part of your lease and again failure to comply would be grounds for an eviction. 


5.) There was not any prejudice against the Africans as I found out when I came to the U. S.

 

6.) Unfortunately, many Germans did not care for the American, French and British as they were viewed as an occupying force. Therefore, my mother was not very popular with these people, as she was working and dating American. When we came to America we felt the same prejudice primarily because we came from Germany. 


7.) Private owned weapons were against the law. The only people that could carry weapons were the military, police and the Jagtmeister ( Forest rangers). 


8.) The big American cars were also different, most European cars were small with some having only three wheels. 


9.) The beer was served warm, but as time went on the beer started being cold. The older generation was able to warm their beer by means of a glass vile inserted in a silver holder and placed into the beer until it reached the desired temperature. 


 10.) The autobahn did not and still does not have a speed limit. You may be driving doing 120 miles an hour and get passed as if you are standing still. The German Polizie (Police) actually have Porches as there pursuit vehicle. Also, there is a law that requires you to move to the slow lane if another vehicle is driving faster then you. You could get a ticket if you do not get out of the way, if your lucky. I have seen accidents where the faster vehicle never slowed down. Of course that equated to fatalities. 


11.) Corporal punishment was a rule, the parent did not have to right to forbid that type of discipline. I have had a few of those when I was going to school in Germany. 


12.) West Germany had what we call in America states. The religious holidays and some of the laws depended which religion was dominant for that state. Therefore, you observed Catholic holidays in one state and protestant holidays in another. 


13.) When it came to relations with the police, they told you what to do and you followed their orders. There was no mollycoddling, if did not obey their directions you most likely will feel some pain and if you are lucky you will come away with just bruises. I have walked into an unruly demonstration by mistake and ended up with a bleeding head and bruises all over my upper torso. In other words, you cannot and will not get away with disrespecting the police as we have seen so many times in this wonderful country. 


14.) I love being an American citizen and I have been in many countries to really appreciate what our freedoms and rights that we have in this great United States.

HYGIENE & SOCIAL ETIQUETTE GUIDELINES FOR CONVID-19, 

WHILE LEARNING A LITTLE HISTORY.

Date: April 1, 2020

Written by: Shannon Grace

      Since CONVID-19 hit our nation, we are experiencing something extraordinary that will forever change our lives and how we interact as humans today. We are repeating history, just like in the time of the 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic. Hopefully, from the past, we can try to prevent this new virus from spreading rapidly with less deaths. Everything that happened during the Spanish Flu Pandemic gave us a wider perspective of how to react better around the world with hygiene and social etiquette.


     With that said, I wanted to mention that my great grandmother (my grandmother’s mother) served as a nurse in Baltimore, Maryland during the Spanish Flu Pandemic. Based on what my relatives told me about her service is that she happened to be one of the lucky ones to not get affected and was able to live to tell about it. Plus, she was honored with many awards for her great service.


     There are many similarities from 1918 to the present with the hygiene and social etiquette that we are practicing today:


1. No Hand Shaking. For the time being, take this opportunity to not shake people’s hands when greeting them. Even though, this practice is part of our culture, it’s best for now to break the habit to not spread the virus.


2. No Social Events. Back in 1918, social gatherings were banned with large crowds. There were no gatherings, such as, weddings, birthday parties, funerals, or any community events. Schools and churches were closed. It almost took from 1918 to 1920 for things to normalize after the Spanish Flu Pandemic. Today, we are doing the same thing with no social events, and it will probably be awhile too.


3. No Entertainment. Unfortunately, these types of gatherings from the entertainment sector including pubs, restaurants, or musical/leisure functions can draw large crowds and imposed high risk of spreading the virus.


4. Social Distancing. This important practice has been put into place to enforce us on keeping 6 feet or more when interacting with each other out in public places, especially at the grocery stores and the list can go on. Again, the purpose of this habit is to keep the risk of the virus low and from spreading.


5. Wearing Facial Masks. In 1918, wearing facial masks were very common, especially if you were sick or being around people who were infected. Also, it is the same necessity for today.


6. Washing Your Hands. One of the best ways to prevent the spread of any virus is to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Remember to avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. Last, any tissues used, please throw in the trash.


7. Becoming Sick. It is advised to stay home at all cost, except to seek medical attention.


     Folks, please consider all the options to seriously protect yourself from COVID-19, while setting a good example in society of how to act and be. At the end, we are all in it together to make a difference to flatten the curve of the virus and having less deaths.  Last thought, over 17-50 million of the world population (maybe as high as 100 million) were killed during the 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic, which is more than what happened during The Great War, known as World War I. Now, that is food for thought.


For more information on the CDC guidelines on COVID-19, please go to: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fprepare%2Fprevention.html

For more information on the 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic, please go to: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_flu  


The Vietnam Era: A Veteran’s View

Date: April 1, 2020

Written by: Herold K. Pratt 

Serve in the U.S. Army from 07-18-1970 to 02-08-1972 (RA)

     The Vietnam Era veterans where given and still are given a raw deal by the Veterans Administration (VA). It was bad enough that when the soldiers returned from serving their country, they came home and were spitted on. They also were called baby killers and fools for not going to Canada in order to escape the draft.


     They returned to a society that wanted to forget what had happened  during those long years that we were in Vietnam. They claimed that the Vietnam War is the only war that we have lost. We did not lose that war! The politicians lost that war. Our military won every major battle that was fought in Vietnam. Our soldiers should have come home as heroes, instead of being reviled by some many in our country. Our government tried to forget our military and therefore ignored those that served our country.


     The VA with their bureaucracy added to the insult that our soldiers who were discharged from the military had to endure. If you were trying to get the benefits that was due to us, we encountered roadblock after roadblock. For example, if a soldier wanted to get medical treatment, even for a prescription refill, that individual would have to put aside the entire day. That is how long it took for any medical appointment. Getting benefits for any medical maladies that were as a result was nearly impossible. Most of the time the request was arbitrarily declined.


     Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) was not considered as a condition at that time also. Those personnel that needed psychiatric treatment for mental conditions, as a result of their service were not given any real consideration.


     Although PTSD is recognized as a service-connected disability today and the medical treatment given to our veterans has improved. The Vietnam Era veterans are still facing obstacles today. Again, trying to get the benefits is fraught with nothing but bureaucratic paperwork. The opinion of many of our veterans is that the VA is either waiting for them to give up or die. Unfortunately, many have given up or died while waiting for their benefits that was due them.


     Please take the opportunity to thank the veterans for their service, regardless of what time period or war they served. They did it for our great country and freedoms. God Bless America and have a blessed day.



Hello 2020: Survival Manual: Maintaining Healthy Relationships.

Date: May 16, 2020

Written by: Sarah J.


     Considering today’s current events, I have chosen to talk about maintaining relationships. Right now, most of us are staying home more than we used to, and it is important now more than ever to keep ourselves mentally well. After all relationships cannot be healthy ones if we are mentally unhealthy.


     Now as we all know, it is difficult to keep the fun and spark going in a relationship. Today’s current events will certainly challenge that even more. Couples end relationships for many reasons, but most of the time it is because they have become bored of each other. This is being seen a lot more in today’s society because we have so many appealing options at our disposal. I would like to offer some advice and a simple solution to help you out if you are in a rut.


     Often a couple will morph into one person and each person slowly forgets their own identity. Sometimes it just feels safer to go along with what the other wants as well. Alone time allows us to regain our identity. Alone time is not self-indulgent, it is necessary for our self-intimacy and not everything can be solved as a couple. Sometimes we must fix our personal problems, ourselves. Maybe you have noticed your other half is bored or has started making comments about appearance etc. Having time alone to reflect on what was said can help us to understand the other persons view better before charging at them like a runaway horse a later regretting some choice words. It is possible that a comment resonates negatively with you because you know you need a change of some sort, maybe you have lost confidence in yourself, or it could just be that you have not done anything alone in a long time and you have to find yourself again. You are not going to do either by being around someone else all the time.


     By keeping your own identity, you can keep your relationship alive and new. What I mean by identity is, your personality, what you like to do, and what you do not like to do. Contrary to what many thinks, it is possible to be a couple and not like absolutely everything your significant other does. Yes, it is good to have similarities, but it is also good to have differences. I would even bet that a few differences your significant other mentioned when meeting them is one of the reasons you decided that you liked them, and vice versa. So, if you want that spark back, remember it is not always about date night. Make sure that you enjoy your personal hobbies, watch a show or movie YOU like, read a book, take a bubble bath, do whatever YOU like to do. Remember 1+1=2, and rainbows may look beautiful, but they are only beautiful because of all the single colors that they are made of. 

The Practice of Patience, Kindness, and Connecting During the Convid-19 Pandemic.

Date: May 16, 2020

Written by: Shannon Grace


     Wow! First, I must say I am living in a time of great uncertainty since the Convid-19 pandemic entered the world. Everything that we knew has changed drastically and rocked our liberties and how we interacted as a society. What is most disturbing is how the virus has changed the global economy! In the United States alone, my country has been hit with its’ worst unemployment rate ever since the Great Depression.


     As Americans, we have been trying to survive with the shutdowns of our states and adhere to social distancing guidelines, which left many of us stuck at home to work remotely and attend to our children’s online schooling. Plus, depending of what state you live in, everyone is trying to make heads or tails of what is the next move to reopen the economy at a full capacity. 


     People are not sure of the outcomes even with all the safety measurements that were implemented for protecting essential workers and soon for returning workers to their jobs. We are not even sure how much longer we need to adapt the CDC requirements when we go to the stores, restaurants, medical facilities, pharmacies, banks, and gas-stations. It is important to comply with some moral obligation of wearing a facial mask. What about resuming back with churches and community events that have larger gatherings? Oh, we cannot forget the impact of sporting and entertainment events, too.


     Throughout everything, I came up with a few conclusions that can be good reminders of how to make our transition easier, while we move forward with life and hope things get back to normal, which may take a year or two. Who knows?


     CONCLUSION #1: Incorporating more patience when it comes to today’s setbacks, sufferings, and shortcomings. Presently, we are learning to slow down more than ever since becoming a face-paced society. We are reminded of the good old days of how things were done to a degree and before technological advances. Certain advantages that we enjoyed are on hold. We are experiencing additional challenges that need more patience to understand the process of things and finding calm resolutions in our circumstances. With patience comes compassion. It makes the world a better place.


     CONCLUSION #2: With more kindness, we attract more quality of having things done right and better. Within three months, we are seeing more backlog of how things have been processed. Anything from paying our bills, making appointments, receiving our mail, dealing with the school systems, shopping at stores, and understanding what is going on with our governments. When we deal with people in general, it is good to know that everyone is trying to keep up with the high demands at a slower rate. We may not get the fast-paced service as we once did. Although, this is temporary, but still very frustrating. People are doing their best. Everyone is embracing more awareness of what needs to be done with social distancing and other CDC requirements to better protect our wellness and health. Whoever crosses your path to perform a service for you, just remember that kindness goes along way to communicate in a respectable manner. We are all in it together.


     CONCLUSION #3: Take the time be more connected with your family and friends. Since being stuck in our houses and limited places to go, we are given more opportunities to embrace how to re-connect and relate with others liked we did back in the 80’s and 90’s before internet, cell phones, laptops, and of course social media, etc. As much as we need technology, things have gotten distracting, misleading, and entitling, so we missed out more with the human connection and how to really communicate one-on-one without a veil and less ego. Nothing like having more family time with sit down dinners, playing board games, talking about life in general, and getting used to the time of slowing down without the fast-paced fuss.


     It is an adjustment, but worth it, if we can embrace a little more patience, kindness, and connecting for the greater good.

HOW CONVID-19 VIRUS

CHANGED SCHOOLING TO HOMESCHOOLING IN 2020

Written by: Sarah J.

Date: July 13, 2020

     Though some students are already taking classes online, with the current COVID-19 pandemic going on school from primary to college has been forced to being online. 


     Obliterating the student’s choice of how they want to learn. Though some have discovered that they are preferring being home schooled by parents, and college students are learning that online classes are not so bad.


     Homeschooling has many advantages and disadvantages. For the sake of simplicity, I will discuss 3 of each. Advantages include flexibility in scheduling, being able to easily adapt a lesson to how the child learns. Lastly homeschooling allows for more real-world experiences, such as for the subject, science. The number one disadvantage of homeschooling is unfortunately the cost associated with it. While parents can find free resources online, those resources often fall short of academic material needed to fully teach the child. The second disadvantage is parent burn out. Parents who homeschool their children do not get a break from them. Brick and mortar schools provides parents with a needed break. It is not an awful thing to want or need a break from children; children can be very exhausting, and parents need to regain their energy to properly take care of them. This brings me to my last disadvantage, and that is not enough patience. Teachers are a special kind of people, the amount of patience they have is well above the average person. That is why they always hear, “Oh I don’t know how you put up with him or her, and I don’t know how you manage to teach a class of umpteen kids.” Parents, are parents, yes, they are responsible for teaching their children how to walk, talk, etc.… but it is not their job to teach them Math, Science, English, etc.


     Change is inevitable, and normally does so with each decade as patterns show us. In the case of education, I do think that we will be seeing a learning hybrid of online and brick and mortar schooling in the future though. As some parents have become quite alright with it, and many have commented on a positive difference in the mentality of their children when it comes to learning.


     To all parent/guardians who have been forced to become their child’s teacher I commend you. Stay strong, and patient! 

Ready to Play in the Sandbox Together:

The Art of Compassionately

Listening, Reacting, and Responding

Written by: Shannon Grace

Date: July 13, 2020

     Since the death of George Floyd, the United States (US) has experienced a catalyst of major events that has opened old wounds with much needed attention to history again for great healing and change, so we, as Americans, can live together in better harmony. With that said, the pandora box on topics of racism, police brutality, defunding the police, white supremacy and privilege, removal of confederate statues, rioting and looting, black on black crime, hard-core party politics and anything else that needs addressing is being mainstream in today’s media with such a fast-paced force that has become deeply overwhelming to adapt and critically think, while fearing of being shamed and judged in the US.


     As an observer, I noticed many Americans wanting people to choose a side to speak and stand up on important matters that would make a difference in our government infrastructures on a local, state, and federal level. It seems a culture war is breaking out on so many levels that no one seems to know how to agree to disagree with discernment while having a decent conversation anymore. People are using anger and hate as a vehicle to make a difference for quick change, along with placing major demands without coming to the table with an appropriate and open dialogue to exchange thoughts and ideas to do things in a more peaceful and legal way. Remember, it is all about setting the tone in communication to make things work and for balance in society.


     Words can be like swords. We tend to forget that they have lasting impacts on our perceptions within our realities. We never realize the true causes and effects of our words, along with our actions until the aftermaths are over, especially when it is to late.


     You cannot go back in time but move forward with hope. Our manifestation of our future is happening in the NOW. We need to plant the seeds of peace and not hate. Bottom line, peace always wins in the long run. We need to learn to respect different opinions and perceptions and come back to the sandbox with openness and peace.


     Recently, I had a conversation with a friend on the 4th of July. We were discussing about our country’s changes and both of us agreed that people need to come together in a more healing space within their hearts and give time to reflect.


     One, it is wise to learn how to compassionately listen to both sides of different ideas and opinions. I always say that there are three sides to the truth; the third is God as being the center of truth or I call it being in the grey. Second, as we hear the opposite of people’s views, we must learn to hold back our overreaction of hate to things we don’t like, resonate, nor want to hear and compose ourselves in a more compassionate reaction in order to position our minds to hear different aspects of life, while learning to agree to disagree. Three, the most important step is how we respond to different truths. Usually, people have a choice to respond with hate or peace. When people respond with peace, everyone can be in a state of being more compassionate and understanding of how others feel, which is called empathy.


     Are you ready to come back to the sandbox and make peace?

A GERMAN COOK: MEMORIES OF MY MOTHER

WRITTEN BY: HEROLD K. PRATT

DATE: OCTOBER 16, 2020

Let’s start by saying that most of us have been lucky enough to have pleasant memories of our mothers. Moreover, thank God that I was fortunate enough to say that I have nothing but pleasant memories of my mother.


My mother was born and raised in pre-war Germany and during the terrible years of World War 2 (WW2). Towards the end of (WW2), she had to endure being bombed almost every day. Before the war, around 1939, she was scheduled to be euthanized as an undesirable by the Nazi regime, but that is one time that the German people stood up to the Nazis and demanded that this practice of euthanizing their own citizens stop. However, I digress; I just wanted to illustrate how strong of a woman my mother was. I know that’s not a good memory, but this is what my mother’s strength was as she passed it onto me.


In Germany, when a young girl finishes elementary, the state makes the decision whether you go to the university or to a special school for young girls. The curriculum centers around what was consider necessary for a young woman in those days, such as, baking, cooking, sewing, and proper etiquette.


There I was lucky, my mom learned to be an excellent cook and baker. Although, I loved everything about my mother, her cooking was to die for. For example, two of my favorite meals consisted of Eintopf (one pot) and Frikadellens (German prepared hamburgers).


EINTOPF

• First boil either fresh potatoes or 3 or 4 cans of diced potatoes.

• Diced potatoes will be easier to mash.

• Add 3 to four cans of carrots.

• While that boils, fry some bacon, crisp the bacon.

• Put the bacon on the side but save the bacon grease as you will be adding this in the end for taste.

• Once your potatoes and carrots are boiled to a soft consistency then in the same pot mash them together.

• You should drain some of the water off so that you do not end up with a soup.

• Once everything is mashed add your bacon, chopped, and then add some of your leftover grease for taste.

• The last step is to put some corn starch in a cup adding water until it is the consistency of soup, make sure that you mix it completely, so you don’t end up with lumps.

• Add the cornstarch to your mixture until you get the consistency of mashed potatoes. Also, add salt and pepper for taste.


FRIKADELLENS

Start with pound or two of hamburger.

• Add one beaten egg.

• Add chopped up onions, depending on taste.

• Add salt, pepper, and paprika to taste.

• Prepare a plate with a beaten egg.

• Separate plate spread bread crumps.

• Make your hamburger paddies about 3 inches by 1 and half inch thick.

• Now dip your hamburger paddy first in the egg mixture then in the bread crumps.

• Fry you hamburger on either medium heat or slightly higher so that the outside is slightly crisp.


Lassen Sie uns gut essen! (LET US EAT GOOD in German.)

SCIENCE ISN'T SCARY: IT'S NECESSARY!

WRITTEN BY: SARAH J.

DATE: OCTOBER 16, 2020

When did we become a society that is vehemently anti-science?   In my opinion, the catalyst for this type of thinking was caused by the 1998 study conducted by Dr. Andrew Wakefield on vaccines being linked to autism (ASD). Specifically, the MMR vaccine. The study concluded that no causal relationship was found between ASD and vaccines. It was later determined that his conclusion was incorrect, and his study was not credible because it was fueled by his own patent for a new vaccine and being paid by lawyers who were seeking lawsuits against vaccine companies. In 2010, he was stripped of his U.K. medical license. That did not stop him from traveling to Texas to spew the same myth with an anti-vaccine campaign. Unfortunately, our country listened, and still listens to him, even though the study was debunked, redacted, and proof of vaccines and autism from many studies after concluded no such effects.


Enter the media, to shove lies into our faces daily. I cannot even count how many times I have seen the anti-vax rhetoric all over my social media accounts. Yes, science is not without its' flaws. That’s why multiple studies are done on the same subject. Year after year. Decade after decade.


Change is inevitable, especially in all things’ science related. It is hard for some people to decipher what is real and credible, and what is not. I find this to play a big part in the generational gap between those who grew up having to learn about technology, and those who have been born into the era of technology.


Sure, it is a lot easier to believe the easy to read lies, rather than think critically about a topic, especially when you are getting information from a social media source. We all need to be scientists and teachers though and use the critical thinking skills we have been taught.


We must think about others, and not just ourselves. We must analyze our reading materials and learn how to decipher texts better. Most importantly, we must think critically for our society to thrive, for our children to have a fighting chance, and for the world to change for the better. Change is good, and we all need to remember that. 

SURVIVAL TIPS: 2020 MERCURY RETROGRADE FROM OCT. 13th - NOV. 3rd

WRITTEN BY: SHANNON GRACE

DATE: OCTOBER 16, 2020

With Mercury retrograde, it is a transit in which the planet Mercury slows, and it appears to be more backwards. However, Mercury’s movement is just a strange optical illusion, which does have a powerful impact on us energetically.


What’s the forecast for this Mercury retrograde? Its’ timing is not so good, especially when it hits our schedule-oriented, tech-obsessed modern society. It may feel like a doom feeling, but with some preparation we can survive and benefit from this retrograde. As we navigate the murky waters, we find ourselves dealing with the emotionally intense sign of Scorpio and how it is overlapping with the ultra-frustrating Mars retrograde period, which will be running through the 2020 United States Presidential Election.  Here are some tips to help during this retrograde: 


DO: Time to get in touch with your emotions. So far, we are going into our third water sign Mercury retrograde for this year. So, brace yourself with Scorpio, it will bring out more of your feelings and emotions. If there are feelings that you are holding back or trying to hide, do not avoid them; it is an opportunity to work through them.


DON’T: Watch for overacting and being judgmental in your emotions with others in conversations, along with dealing with those technical glitches (vibration interferences) that can interrupt how we communicate via phone, text, email, facetime, or social media. Be extra, extra mindful of how communication can get misinterpreted.  The inner Scorpion stringer can cause lots of confusion and misunderstandings when dealing with others. There will be more moments of sensitivities that bring out the worst in people. Just be extra prepared of how to react in a situation that you do not know why everything went backwards. Remember, vulnerability will be more amplified with people’s emotions, please look at the bigger picture, so you will not be completely thrown off guard.  Bottom line, do not take everything to personally or there could be regrets.


DO: Be more diligent with how you make plans, sign off on contracts or agreements, and most importantly, the voting season. Please give yourself some extra wiggle room to prepare more thoroughly with the details. It does not matter what you do with your activities, just give some more time, preparation, and breathing room to know that everything will come together the right way. Again, Mercury rules over information sharing and things can get confusing.  If there are decisions to be made, try to hold off for a little while. Better not to rush. Sometimes, the universe throws curveballs or puts on the brakes with plans, so the bigger picture is exposed to understand the reasons for WHY.  We cannot forget this voting season. To make some things easier, just fact-check your sources when it comes to the presidential candidates, the polls, and the news before sharing and trusting it. Give yourself some extra time to mail in your ballots early or in your schedule when voting at the polls. FYI-with Mercury retrogrades, the energy has been known to cause some major delays.


DON’T: Please do not run from your past. The truth has a way of finding you or releasing itself. With Scorpio, the energy will be extraordinarily strong in finding out the truth, even how painful it maybe. Do not outrun it. Better to be honest with your soul and take responsibility for any wrongdoings. Also, please aware of any well-kept secrets you have and who you trusted with that private information. Do not let the game of telephone get out of hand. You are responsible of what you put out into the universe and how it comes back to you later. It all about accountability.


DO: Revisiting and correcting past mistakes. With most Mercury retrogrades, they say to hold off from starting new projects. Well, in this case, there is nothing wrong with revisiting past projects or coming into consciousness with a new perspective to become productive or open minded. When it comes to saying “NO” to past business opportunities, jobs, dates, or anything that was important, it is a good time to reflect on what you regretted or turned down. There are life lessons in those moments that can bring renewal and wisdom in making better choices.


DON’T: Wake up! Do not run from your problems in relationships. Things will be extra, emotionally sensitive and be in a reactive state. Please be super mindful of how some relationships may end if on the edge or others will become stronger. It is all about what is going to make or break a relationship, personally or professionally.  Good new! At the last week of this retrograde (October 27th), Libra will be coming in with balance to help work through any issues that maybe bothersome and bring in more energy to have resolution. Just hang in there and take the opportunity to work on things that matter. 


THE INFORMATION FOR THIS ARTICLE COMES FROM MY OTHER WEBSITE: SERENEGRACE13.COM AND WRITTEN BY ME.  I WANTED TO INCLUDE THESE REMINDERS ON MY ETIQUETTE WEBSITE BECAUSE I THOUGHT THE INFORMATION WOULD BE USEFUL DURING THE REST OF THIS YEAR. 

DEVELOPING YOUR WINE PALATE:  SIMPLE TIPS FOR WINE TASTING.

WRITTEN BY: SHANNON GRACE

DATE: OCTOBER 16, 2020

I love to wine with a smile. One of my enjoyments in life is having a glass of wine to un-wind after a hard day at work. Wine brings culture and a refinement to people. Wine is part of happy hours, parties, holidays, weddings, and the list goes on. Last, I cannot forget, what about wine tastings at vineyards. Overall, wine adds to the experience of having good conversation, good company, and good food. WINE IS, “JOIE DE VIVRE,” (ENJOYMENT OF LIFE-FRENCH).


Now, you ask yourself, how do I properly taste wine. Tasting wine has become an art in the world. There is so much knowledge and history that goes behind the origins of wine. I need to begin somewhere; however, I am going to keep it simple with the five stages of wine tasting.


SET THE STAGE: Make sure your room is cleared of strong cooking aromas or perfume. Have the correct glass to have wine for variety, along with the glass being cleaned. Make sure the wine is being served at the correct temperature. Double check if the wine has been decanted, if necessary.


LOOK: Color and clarity are important to check in wine. Trying to discern your wine and what type it is? Well, look at the side of the glass at a tilt, it will give you more clues as to the varietal. Want to see if the wine is clear? Give your glass a swirl and notice if the wine forms “legs” that run down the side of the glass, which is an indicator of good wine.


SMELL: Just swirl the glass. Sniff by placing your nose, just at the rim of the glass. Take a few short sniffs to identify the flavors. With red wine, you could smell vanilla, herbal, spicy, raspberry, or earthy. White wine has citrus, tropical fruits, or floral smells.


TASTE: Sip from your glass. Structure and flavors are two main components to a wine’s taste. Structure includes sweetness, body, acidity, and tannin. Flavors is what you identify while sniffing the wine (spicy, floral, earthy, etc.). Please note you may taste different or additional flavors when you take a sip or two.


Another note is on length and finish of the wine. Length is how long the wine taste lingers on your palate (long, moderate, or short), after swallowing. Finish describes the last texture or flavor in your mouth at the end of a sip.


REFLECT: With wine tasting, it gives you a lot to experience and think about. What flavors did you like and were they balanced? What did you think of the structure of the wine? What was your favorite wine overall? Many things to think when dealing with wine; however, it is an enjoyable process.


Remember wine is a different experience for all. Everyone has a different palate. A person could experience different flavors than you with a particular wine. There is never a dull moment when learning about wine. Again, wine brings people together and creates a good atmosphere for learning something new and break the ice for good conversation.


WINE & FRIENDS ARE A GREAT BLEND-ERNEST HEMINGWAY.

LET’S TALK: COMMUNICATE WITHOUT BEING DEFENSIVE!!

Written By: Shannon Grace

Date: October 16, 2020

What a year! That's an understatement. 2020 has become a very chaotic year in the United States (US). Lately, a trend has taken place more as to speaking our minds, while using our freedom of speech and assembly to make an evolutionary impact for greater change. While this movement for change has become very overwhelming and powerful, it comes with much responsibility as to how we relate and treat one another with respect and dignity, while making sure that our opinions, views, and facts are heard and not overlooked. With that said, it seems these days that people must take a side or else there will be serious consequences for not doing so.


Just to put it bluntly! People just forgot how to communicate and be considerate at the same time. Plus, technology has not helped our society to communicate better, except having a sense of entitlement and being more judgmental to react to quickly.  To have a decent conversation today (especially with the upcoming US elections in November), here are some simple reminders:


Letting go of the EGO and being SECURE in who you are: Nothing wrong with self-confidence, which comes with some practice. Being secured in your own skin is healthy.  To be secure within yourself, you must let go of ego and realize you are not perfect. Also, being secure, you will be less likely to get defensive or hurt over something that means a lot to you. Plus, you become more flexible when dealing with people.  Being confident helps with harsh criticisms, broken promises, or miscommunications. You will be less likely to jump to conclusions and to calmly talk things out. Overall, the world is never going to agree with you entirely, especially when you see things differently with right and wrong.


Learn to LISTEN and STOP retaliating in conversations: This goes back to my concept of compassionately listening and responding. Better to listen then to keep talking. It gives you a clue of how people are perceiving you and how you make them feel heard and important.  If you have a different opinion than someone, just listen on what is being said, you never know if there is valuable information that can be beneficial in the future.  If even you are wrong about something, just take the opportunity to explain yourself without getting defensive.  Having a conversation is a two-way street if you think about it.


It is OKAY to use the “I” statements: Using “I” in your conversations is healthy. Do not let people tell you differently. When you get defensive in a conversation, it is wise to use “I,” so it allows you to stay focused on your feelings and prevent unfair accusations. Plus, it gives people an open window to comprehend your emotions better.


Think LONG-TERM in your emotions: Let’s be careful of not being impulsive in conversations. There are those sayings, “Think before you talk,” or “Think before you act.”  In a debate, take a deep breath and give yourself some space to pay close attention to your emotions and how you choose your responses with people. “Don't put your foot in your mouth,” with your emotions in the moment.  Do not be quick to judge others. Never be the one to, “Cast the first stone.” It doesn’t have to be ugly without compromising yourself.  However, in the long run, your emotions can have a lasting effect. Emotions can help or deter people’s thinking. Always be mindful of the influence that your emotions have over others.


Learn to RECEIVE criticism: Ever had moments where you received harsh criticism when you did not want it? Receiving criticism is never an easy task.  Again, we are human, and we try to find fault with everything. When people give negative feedback, just take the time to listen and observe. Ask why they feel the way they do. Information is knowledge. Knowledge is power.  It is wiser to learn to be the bigger person with people and knowing when to walk away. It is better to take a situation from being negative and turning it into something positive.


Admitting that you were WRONG: No one can be right all the time.  When debating with people, it is always good to give yourself and others permission to be wrong and being more accepting of not getting everything right. It is not failure, except an opportunity to learn and grow.


At the end, everyone wants to be heard. It is all about having balance in your conversations without getting defensive. A little extra patience and consideration goes a long way. NOW, LET'S TALK!

HOW EMILY POST INSPIRED 

THE INSPIRING PEACOCK POST

WRITTEN BY: SHANNON GRACE

DATE: DECEMBER 22, 2020

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I am glad for 2020 to be over with soon; however, it has been a growing year for me to anchor myself to expand more with my intuitive life coaching business and the creation of my etiquette website called THE INSPIRING PEACOCK POST.


Much has changed in my life, but with such incredible healing and inspirations. I am very blessed for the opportunities and look forward to seeing what 2021 will bring into my life. I am keeping myself positive and optimistic. So, roll out 2020 and bring in 2021 baby! I AM READY TO SHINE MORE!


When I was growing up, I had the name of Emily Post brought to my attention in a very fascinating way. One Christmas, I received from Santa the ETIQUETTE  book by Emily Post. At first, as an eight-year-old, I did not know what to make of this gift. Throughout the years, I kept this book and when I became a teen, I was more interested in learning about etiquette and manners, which helped shape my personality today.


Emily Post lived from 1872 – 1960. She was born in Baltimore, Maryland and died in New York. She was the American authority on social behavior where she crafted her advice by applying good sense and thoughtfulness to basic human interactions. She believed, "Whenever two people's lives come together and affect one another. You have etiquette. Etiquette is not some rigid code of manners; it's simply how people's lives touch one another."


Her life started in the age of the horse and buggy, witnessed the beginning and end of the prohibition of alcohol, lived through the Great Depression, and ended with peace, love, and a legacy. She was known as a prominent New York society woman in the early 1900s and was the daughter of the famed architect named Bruce Price.


Her legacy grew into becoming famous for her practical and humorous advice on etiquette. Emily Post was a very modern woman. She divorced her husband at a young age and used her writing skills to support herself as a single mother of two boys. She supported many causes and loved to live life to the fullest. Her experiences gave her the courage to step into her power to write more about etiquette when she was 50.


In 1922, Emily Post’s book, Etiquette, topped the nonfiction bestseller list. Later, the phrase “according to Emily Post” soon entered the American lexicon, as the last word on social conduct. Also, Etiquette ranked as the second book most likely to be stolen from public libraries, (the Bible ranking number one). Her book was 627 pages. Etiquette became more modernized with each edition (19 of them to date). Her focus and backbone were on consideration, respect, honesty, and practicality.


Before she died, Emily Post was liked by Americans as this elderly figure who made them laugh, gave people confidence, and enriched such a quality of consideration and awareness in etiquette that anyone from any background can be inspired.


Her legacy produced numerous books, a syndicated newspaper column, and a long running network radio program in Americans’ homes. At the end, she was a figure of national stature and importance throughout her life. Within her spirit, her mission was to make people’s lives more connected and create a bridge how people could relate better to each other in society.


In 1946, The Emily Post Institute was founded. Today, the institute is now run by the 5th generation of the Post family. Her family continues to carry on her legacy. At the Institute, there are a large collection of books ranging in topics from children and parenting, wedding, business, entertaining, and as well as online learning programs and in-person seminars. Plus, there is so much more.


To learn more about the Emily Post Institute and the Post family, please visit www.emilypost.com.


Now, you got some history on Emily Post. She is my backbone of learning the qualities of etiquette and giving me the inspiration of creating THE INSPIRING PEACOCK POST. She said, “Good manners reflect something from inside – an innate sense of consideration for others and respect for self.” Overall, consideration and respect go a long way.


THANK YOU AND LET 2021 BE BLESSED.

FEMALE POWER & AMERICAN POLITICS

WRITTEN BY: SARAH J.

DATE: DECEMBER 22, 2020

Over the years, we have seen an increase in the number of women taking on important political roles. For so long, women have been lesser than a man in the workforce, particularly in government positions.


Not anymore! In fact, President-Elected Joe Biden, has recently created a senior communications team comprised entirely of women. Fifty-seven (57) women have served on the Senate, and currently, twenty-five (25) women hold seats. To go along with this, there are one hundred and one (101) women in the House of Representatives as of November 6, 2020. They represent thirty-four (34) states.


What is the big deal about women having important political roles, you ask? Well, this allows women to rightfully have a voice on important topics such as domestic violence and inequality in the workforce, along with the ongoing controversial Roe vs. Wade and contraception.


I think that in the years to come we will see even more women come into politics, and government positions because of this new acceptance. I greatly support and hope for this! 

A CHILD'S MEMORY OF CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS AS CELEBRATED IN GERMANY

WRITTEN BY: HEROLD K. PRATT

DATE: DECEMBER 22, 2020

The Christmas traditions in Germany varies from our traditions here in the United States. I remembered as a child that they are different primarily in the way we celebrated the Christmas season.


During the month of December, we had an advent kranz (wreath) with a candle for each week till Christmas. We lid a candle every week until Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve was different from our American Christmas Eve traditions. We did not have to go to bed and wait for Santa Clause to come and deliver our presents.


Instead, the Christ Child delivered our presents and Christmas. Our parents, then set up and decorated the Christmas tree. The children did not see the Christmas tree until we could come and see our presents under the Christmas tree. Here is the big difference, we received and could open our presents on Christmas Eve. We did not have to wait for Christmas morning.


American traditions said that Santa Clause keeps a list of who is naughty or nice. If you are naughty, then he will not bring you any presents, but if you are nice then you get lots of presents.


In Germany on December 5th, our naughty or nice tradition had Nicholas and Krampus coming to all the good and bad little boys and girls. The night of the 5th we put our shoes out our front doors. If you were good, you would get fruit, cookies, and candy in your shoes. But, if you were bad, then you would get coal and switches in your shoes. Now, if you were super naughty, then Krampus would come in and stuff you in his sack and take you away to his lair.


I hope you enjoyed a little history of having a German Christmas. Frohe Weihnachten (Merry Christmas in German). 

IT'S HOLLY-JOLLY TIME: 

UNIQUE CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS

WRITTEN BY: SHANNON GRACE

DATE: DECEMBER 22, 2020

Christmas Day is almost here. We look forward to 2021 with lots of smiles and with open arms. As you noticed, many people started to decorate early in November. Radio stations started to play our favorite Christmas music to brighten our moods and spirits.


I do know people are done with 2020. We all need a huge dose of holiday cheer. So, bring on the festivities and some eggnog, while social distancing


To enlighten our minds, I like to share four unique, Christmas traditions that has much history to them. Here are the brief descriptions and links:


The Christmas Pickle: It is a little, green pickle-shaped ornament hidden somewhere within the branches of a Christmas tree. The person who finds the pickle gets to open the first present, and gloat about it until the next year. Check the entire legend at: www.jacobschristmas.com/christmas-pickle-tradition/.


The Rockettes: In 1925, first known as the Missouri Rockets, this iconic dance troupe has been kicking up its heels, officially becoming the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes in 1934. They performed at movie openings to entertaining troops to making TV appearances. They are best-known for their annual Christmas Spectacular Show. Please review the Rockettes’ history at: www.rockettes.com/history/.


Yule Log: They were part of ancient winter solstice celebrations. Later, Americans turned the wood burning into must-see TV. In 1966, WPIX-TV in New York City aired a continuous 17-second loop of a fireplace for three hours along with holiday music. Today, you can view the yule log on demand and on the web. Check out the history on the Yule Log at: www.christmas-day.org/yule-log.html.


Gingerbread Houses: They have been a favorite Christmas tradition for many decades. The Germans are responsible for the claim of starting the gingerbread house tradition. German Brothers Grimm wrote “Hansel and Gretel,” and there a new holiday tradition was born. Today, the edible decorations are available in a slew of pre-packed kits. See the history at:

www. bestgingerbreadhouses.com/gingerbread-house-history/


You would be surprise of what you can learn of your favorite holiday traditions and incorporate them more into your life. 

Every good thing counts, so MERRY CHRISTMAS WITH MANY BLESSINGS!

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