LET’S SPARKLE!

Written By: Shannon Grace

Date: November 25, 2021

Happy Holidays! 2021 became a revelation for everyone around the world. The world as we know it will never go back, but we can move forward with optimism and hope.


With The Inspiring Peacock Post, it has been a pleasure to be a bridge of bringing etiquette with perspective back into your world. To me, it did not matter if my audience was small or big.


My main goal was to experiment with the idea of having my own etiquette website and to bring a variety of interesting topics that reflected on how the times have changed from past, present, and into our future.


For the world, 2021 was a huge transition year to find hope again, and understand this purging-upside-down effect of seeing things for what they are and letting go of any old ways, mindsets, or institutions that no longer serve humanity’s higher purpose.


It is our chance to change for the better. As humans, we tend to resist to change at first; even though, we know better and need to grow for our evolution and our own good. The world is still on a learning curve, so we need to pay attention.


2021 was an interesting, one step forward and twenty big, steps backwards year for me. Things that I wanted to do were detoured, but I learned in the process of being more still and patient to see the bigger picture of what God wanted me to step into as my blessings and higher calling. I still had some purging to do and healing from my past and continue to do so. 


With that said, I realigned myself and cleared more of my slate, so I would not hold myself back. I did not want to do that; I had to wake up more. But I am also still human and needed to be humble and gentler with myself as I grow into my new beginnings. Everything in life is a work in progress.


Now, for 2022, I got some impressive goodies coming up that will bring more sparkles in my line of business. God paving my way to see what’s going to benefit me with the resources to help the world. Everything in my life is in phases to evolve and improve the wellness of others that need inspiring and seeing their sparkles.


I WANT TO INSPIRE MORE SPARKLES IN ALL. Everyone has a sparkle in them. Sometimes, we get off our paths because of the burdens of life, and it is apart of human nature.


We are spiritual beings having a physical/human experience. Not the easiest experience, but it is part of our spiritual advancement back to our higher selves. 


We are all part of God’s divine spark and plan, so the universe gives us many opportunities to find our way back with love and compassion so we can sparkle again. Talk about shining with the best intention.


So, look out for future updates, articles, events, videos, podcasts, and anything that brings more sparkles to inspire and empower to live your best life ever. I am here to show the sparkle in everyone.


Let 2022 be our sparkling year. Blessings!

WISHING YOU A VERY DIVERSE CHRISTMAS!

Written By: Shannon Grace

Date: November 25, 2021

Merry Christmas! Who is ready to be done with 2021? A big AMEN here! As this year is winding down (and yes, I am also enjoying a nice glass of wine as I draft this article), we have the Christmas holidays coming up with much renewal and hope for better days to come. It is a good closure for this year and having some Christmas cheer will brighten our days until the New Year.


Christmas is one of my favorite holidays and right next to Halloween, of course. What I love about Christmas is the diversity of how different countries celebrate it! Every country has unique traditions that makes Christmas more special to celebrate and bring people together. For modern times, it is one of those holidays on Earth that most people are interconnected with, which is beautiful.


So, I researched and picked several countries to share their unique, Christmas traditions. Let’s get our celebration on!


The Philippines- Maawain Pasko (Merry Christmas)

Every December, the Giant Lantern Festival is held in the city of San Fernando in the Philippines. Light is highly symbolic for Filipinos, who think of the star as a sign of hope and the most important symbol of the Christmas season.


Japan-Merikurisumasu (Merry Christmas)

Japan has a very unique Christmas tradition: they eat KFC. The whole thing was thought up by Takeshi Okawara, who owned the first KFC restaurant in Japan. In 1970, he began selling a Christmas barrel of chicken inspired by the American Christmas dinner.


Ireland-Nollaig Shona (Merry Christmas)

In Ireland, an old tradition says to leave a tall candle on the sill of the largest window of the house. The candle is lit after sunset on Christmas Eve and is supposed to burn all night long. It represents a welcoming light for Mary and Joseph.


Norway- Gledelig Jul (Merry Christmas)

The julebord means "Christmas table." They serve traditional Norwegian foods, like seasoned pork belly and sauerkraut. After the meal, most have late-night parties and dressed up in formalwear. Also, the birthplace of the yule log was in Norway. The ancient Norse used the Yule log in their celebration of the return of the sun at winter solstice. “Yule” came from the Norse word hweol, meaning wheel.


Italy-Buon Natale (Merry Christmas)

One of their most unique traditions is La Befana, which dates back to the 13th century. It's celebrated on January 6. The night before, on the 5th, La Befana (an old witch) travels on a magic broom to each house in Italy bringing gifts to the children. Like Santa, she climbs down chimneys and gives candy to good kids and black coal to naughty kids. Children leave their Christmas stockings for her, and they even write notes to her. She's the Italian version of Santa Claus!


Colombia-Feliz Navidad (Merry Christmas)

A big tradition is the Day of the Little Candles. It's celebrated at sunset on December 7th, and it lasts all night long. It marks the unofficial beginning of the Christmas season. People decorate their windowsills with paper lanterns and candles or on porches, balconies, sidewalks, parks, and streets. The lights are supposed to honor the Virgin Mary and the Immaculate Conception. Also, homes fly white flags with the Virgin Mary's picture. There are also fireworks, feasts, and more. Talk about a celebration!


Mexico-Feliz Navidad (Merry Christmas)

In 1828, the American minister, Joel R. Poinsett, brought a red-and-green plant from Mexico to America. As its coloring seemed perfect for the new holiday, Interesting enough, the plant’s coloring was perfect for Christmas, which later on we would call them poinsettias after Poinsett, which began appearing in greenhouses as early as 1830. In 1870, New York stores began to sell them at Christmas. By 1900, they were a universal symbol of the holiday.


England (UK)-Happy Christmas

Christmas festivities in the UK are terribly similar in the US. They have a midday feast on Christmas Day, kids put out stockings and cookies for Santa, and families decorate with mistletoe. One English tradition that is popular in the US is the Christmas cracker. At dinner, everyone pulls a cracker open, and they get small gifts, a paper hat they wear all night, and a riddle to read to everyone. Plum pudding is usually served, and there is a silver charm inside. Whoever finds the silver charm has good luck for the upcoming new year.


Australia-Merry Christmas or Happy Christmas

In Australia, it's summer. Because it's beautiful out, many families spend Christmas outside, doing outdoor activities like swimming, sailing, or riding bikes. For dinner, they typically barbecue outside (which they call "barbie"). As for decorations? They opt for ferns, palm leaves, and colorful flowers that bloom in the summer.


Ghana-Afishapa (Merry Christmas)

Christmas in Ghana is a well-deserved break, coinciding with the end of the cocoa harvest and beginning on December 1st, four weeks before Christmas. Families decorate their homes and neighborhoods using lights, candles, and sparkly ornaments. On Christmas Day, things really kick into full swing, starting with a family meal, which consist of goat, vegetables, and soup, and followed by a church service for the whole community and a colorful holiday parade.


Ethiopia-Melkam Genna (Merry Christmas)

The holiday is celebrated on January 7th. Traditionally referred to as Genna, an Ethiopian Christmas typically begins with a day of fasting, followed by church services and a feast that includes stew, vegetables, and sourdough bread. Though most friends and families do not exchange gifts, communities gather to play games and sports, and enjoy the festivities together before returning to work. Also, Father Christmas is referred as Yágena Abãt in the Amharic language.


Jordan-Admiladmeged (Merry Christmas)

Christmas cake making begins in the first week of December. It is made by soaking dried fruits in cognac, brandy, and rum. The cake is baked later using eggs, flour and baking powder and is served during the Christmas Eve dinner.


Lebanon- Admiladmeged (Merry Christmas)

Lebanese families enjoy kibbeh, a lamb-rice dish, and burghul with tabbouleh, a popular parsley salad, at the grandparents’ or eldest son’s home for the traditional Christmas lunch. People also celebrate with the beloved dabkeh, a traditional Lebanese dance where people join hands to form a circle or semi-circle and dance to native percussion tunes.


Bethlehem-Chag Molad Sameach (Happy Festival of the Birth in Herbrew)

It is the birthplace of Jesus Christ. Various Christian factions, including Catholic, Protestant, Syrian and Greek Orthodox, and Armenian churches, celebrate masses in different languages simultaneously in different parts of the Church of St. Catherine of Alexandria, echoing the Christmas sentiments of peace, harmony, and unity. What is really wonderful is the Palestinian Christmas feast! It includes roast lamb or turkey, sweets made with nougat and sesame seeds, semolina pancakes stuffed with cheese and nuts, and a hot drink made with sweetened rose water.

WONDERFUL ALASKA

Written By: Sarah J.

Date: November 25, 2021


First, I will tell you about the ever, popular Anchorage. Anchorage does not get as cold as Northern Alaska and is home to beautiful sights. Anchorage is home to beluga whales, seals, sealions, and many other extraordinary marine life. If you are a lover of Salmon, then you must travel to Kenai Beach when they have their Annual Salmon Catch where people use dipnets to catch all they want.


I live in Fairbanks, Alaska, and let me tell you I love it here. Yes, it is very cold, and we do not have much sunlight in the winter but in exchange we get the Northern Lights and a Winter Wonderland! In the summer, we get extended hours of daylight, and a week of activities called Golden Days, which includes the Midnight Sun Festival, and people go out and enjoy this time of the year as much as possible. It is common to see people out and about past midnight on the weekends when they have more time to enjoy their hobbies.


In the summertime, you will see residents enjoying Chena Lakes, having a barbecue, or soaking up the sun and swimming. If you are into kayaking, canoeing or other water sports, I suggest visiting Tanana River. These parts of Fairbanks are also accessible during the winter with the proper vehicle, and those who can make it there, can run, walk, snowmobile, or icefish on the froze lake or river.

Part of Alaskan native culture is dog mushing. Balto did travel from Anchorage to Nenana for vaccines, a town about an hour outside of Fairbanks.


Another cool thing Fairbanks puts on during the winter is the World Ice Art Championships, and they stay frozen all throughout the winter, so everyone can visit them and marvel at their beauty. If you travel an hour to Chena Hot Springs, you will find the hottest tourist attraction for the summer and winter.


North Pole, yes you heard me right! North Pole, Alaska, 30 minutes outside of Fairbanks is a town that is very much devoted to Christmas. Street signs and light poles are Christmas themed, as well as many of the shops. The best part about visiting or living in North Pole is that you can visit Santa Claus' House year-round, but Christmas is very special because that is the time when you can get your picture taken with Santa’s reindeer and of course, Santa and Mrs. Claus.


Regarding native culture of Fairbanks, Alaska, it is the home to Athabascan people, and they call themselves “Dena” (The People) pronounced “Denay.” Fairbanks is a mix of cultures, but Alaskan native is a great majority of its’ residents that is prevalent in Fairbanks, Chena, and Tanana.


Unfortunately, Alaskan natives were not always welcomed in Alaska, including Fairbanks. They were not seen as citizens, and “No Indians” signs were posted all over town. Poldine Carlo, an Athabascan Native Elder saw the discrimination and took action by creating the Fairbanks Native Association (FNA) in 1967, which it is still a non-profit organization under the state laws of Alaska. Founding members included Poldine Carlo, Bill Carlo (her husband), Ralph Perdue, and Nick Gray. The FNA provides employment assistance, helps members maintain sobriety, celebrates culture, and provides education.


Fairbanks is also home to the World Eskimo, Indian Olympics. There are multiple museums in town dedicated to providing historical information. The most popular is the University of Alaska Museum of the North that provides an overview of how Alaskan Natives migrated to Fairbanks and information on all Native Alaskan tribes in Alaska.


Pioneer Park brings history and culture to life and provides shopping opportunities from local residents. For an interesting and fun time, just venture to the Fairbanks Ice Museum and Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center. If you are into antique cars, Fairbanks has the Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum, which should be right up your alley!


Please check out the links below for more information to learn about Alaska. It is a beautiful state. I look forward to making Alaska my new home for a long time. Let the adventure begin! 


https://www.kenai.city/parksrec/page/kenai-north-beach

https://www.uaf.edu/museum/

https://www.weio.org/

https://www.alaska.org/detail/pioneer-park

https://www.morristhompsoncenter.org/

http://fairbanks-alaska.com/fairbanks-ice-museum.htm

https://chenahotsprings.com/ice-museum/#

https://www.fountainheadmuseum.com/

https://www.fairbankschamber.org/golden-days 

LISTEN UP: CAREER TRANSITION INSIGHTS FOR 2022!

Written By: Shannon Grace

Date: November 25, 2021

WOW! 2021 has been one step forward, then twenty steps backwards year, especially if you have been trying to interview for a new job or just transiting out from an old career into a new one. It is about keeping things steady and with some hope and an open mind!


As you know, the pandemic has changed the global economy with new job trends and a huge turnover of people not working by quitting their jobs for something better or just because. Many career paths are becoming more outdated from new technologies with build-in Artificial Intelligence. Medium and small businesses are suffering because of a labor shortage where people don’t want to work for certain wages anymore and had to cut back on services and hours to balance out expenses to stay open and survive. Also, out of fears to stay open, there are companies that pay higher wages to hire employees with no skill sets in certain fields. There also are price hikes with higher demand in supplies and goods. These factors are changing our infrastructure in how we operate daily in society, which requires more patience to maneuver around to get things done. In the United States, we call this “The Great Resignation,” or“Nationwide Reassessment of Work.”


With that said, there is a huge gap between certain generations of how certain job trends are affecting them and having a domino effect on the economy. One, the baby boomers are retiring more now, and their jobs are just disappearing nor being replaced with new workers. Second, the millennial generation are now quitting jobs in search for new career paths that have a better work/life balance, along with secure benefits, career growth, and higher purpose. Please note there is a higher percentage of millennials that are quitting their jobs to be care takers for sick relatives or be at home with their children because childcare has gotten more expensive. Last, there is Generation Z of having the mindset to influence and having a huge impact in the world. They strive of wanting a better work/life balance without sacrificing their time and energy with long, burned out hours. They want to work smarter by unitizing more advanced technologies while working from home. They want to feel more appreciated and respected, while given career growth and better wages and benefits.


Lately, when people look for jobs with potential employers, the process of applying has become more time consuming and stressful to get an interview, even if there are thousand jobs available to fill. It seems like employers like to use digital technologies with the hiring process. This is called automation. It is supposed to save employers time with narrowing down and selecting potential applicants. There is a double edge sword to the process. It has been discovered that many applicants get overlooked for their skills for potential jobs, which is discouraging to them. Nothing like falling through the cracks.


Now, let’s switch gears. There is this new trend of applicants “ghosting” potential employers. For instance, someone applies for a job and gets an interview with an employer. That potential applicant never shows up for the interview nor gives the courtesy to let the employer know of canceling the interview.


Ghosting a potential employer can create a bad impression. If an applicant applies for a different job with the same employer in the distant future, then the employer will more likely remember you and may not entertain to give an interview. Talk about burning your bridges! Don’t ever ghost a potential employer.


Here is another side note. People want to have more control of their careers with having more creative outlets and freedoms without having an employer micromanaging all their activities from home with remote working. During the pandemic, people had no problem with being more productive from home. The setting from home made things less restrictive and comfortable in a personal setting. However, employers got more involved of monitoring every step of employees’ activities within their homes. It created very low morale and much burn out for people to leave those jobs. At the end, people were saying, “My life is my life,” and “My job is my job.” It has even made people go into business for themselves.


So, if you are looking for another job, transiting your career to a new one, or wanting to start a business, here are some insightful tips to make the process more encouraging and be taken seriously:

• Venture outside of your comfort zone.

• View every person you meet as a door that may lead you to a new opportunity.

• Show up early for interviews and never be late for them.

• Think of yourself as a lifelong learner.

• Search for a mentor that gives good feedback.

• Cultivate perseverance; never give up on your goals.

• Do what you say you’ll do.

• Ask the important questions.

• Don’t be afraid to speak up.

• Dress for the job you want.

• Find a job you enjoy.

• Have a job to transition to another job.

• Think before you leap before leaving a job.

• Make sure to have some savings if you decide to start a business and resign from your job.

• Say yes to the things that scare you.

• Set realistic goals.

• Let go of perfection.

• Follow your effort.

• Don’t settle for less.

• Remember that a job doesn’t give your life meaning.

• Every job will have unexpected inconveniences.

• There is opportunity in chaos.

• Become a mentor.

• Be confident, yet humble.

• Embrace failure.

• Take a life coaching course.

• Get a job recruiter to help with your job search.

• Work smarter than those around you.

• If you need help, ask for it.

• Empower your strengths more.

• Take your weaknesses and learn from them as life lessons.

• Nothing wrong with having a healthy work/life balance.

• Be willing to sacrifice some things to build the career you want.

• Live your life, not someone else’s.

• Learn to become more of a compassionate listener.

• If you are looking to start your own business, have a business plan that is flexible with your goals.

• Speak with an accountant for understanding the process of setting up a company.

• Never dismiss a new connection, if you don’t feel it is right for you now. You never know later on.

• Speak to a financial advisor for financial assistance or advice.

• Every interview experience is a learning experience.

• Be honest and specific in your goals.

• Be grateful for what you have and always say thank you.

• Learn to separate your personal life from your professional life.

• Don’t tell everyone your business, filter what you say to people, so nothing is used against you.

• Keep your inner circle tight; know who to trust and count on.

• Use and trust your intuition, never second guess yourself.

• Be a team player; however, never compromise your values.

• Be your own leader to lead YOU.

• Do a vision board once a year with your goals.

• Sometimes, you just got to go for it.

• What is meant to be will be.

• Have faith in the universe, which everything happens at the right timing.

HELEN, GEORGIA: MY GERMAN EXPERIENCE!

Written By: Herold K. Pratt

Date: November 25, 2021

Frohe Feiertage! (HAPPY HOLIDAYS in German)


In August, my daughter and I had the pleasure of visiting Helen, Georgia. The weather was perfect. My daughter, Shannon Grace made this visit a time to remember. We were only in Helen for a weekend.


I came away with a pleasant memory, not only for the present, but also from my past. Briefly, I was born in Germany and spend part of my youth in Bavaria (Bayern). So, when I say that Helen is a Bavarian style town, I can say this from my experience.


I also visited Ober Ober Amagau, Bavaria while I was in the army and that is a genuine Bavarian village. So is Helen, it had the same look and feel you get when you are in Bavaria. The people were friendly and some even spoke German.


Most of the people working in Helen are Americans from the surrounding areas from Helen. If you like to walk, please be advised that streets and building sit on hills, therefore you will either be walking uphill or downhill. Therefore, you will get plenty of exercise, but it is worth it. There is an open bus you can take that offers rides and tours of Helen and the sights in and around it. White water rafting was going on while we were there, but we did not have time.


Before I go on, you need to be in Helen for more than two or three days, especially to eat at all the restaurants and cafés. Let me say this, you must experience all the delicious German foods that they offer. I only had time to eat one meal while I was there, and I had the Yaeger Schnitzel (Hunter’s Schnitzel), which was delicious.


The only complaint I have is that there was not a German Ompa band playing German music. The food made up for it, but it would have been great to rock out with a genuine German Ompa band. I was told that comes around mid-September when the Octoberfest starts, then there will be plenty Ompa bands.


Unfortunately, I live in Maryland currently, but my heart is in Georgia. I hope to relocate to Georgia soon. There are so many sights that I wish Shannon and I could have seen and done; therefore, we are coming back to Helen for at least three days or more so that we can experience Helen as it was meant to be experienced. The song “Georgia On My Mind” is one of my favorite song, but now you can add Helen is also on my mind.

FASCINATING FACTS: THE DON'TS AND DO'S OF WHAT TO FEED TO YOUR CATS!

Written by: Shannon Grace

Date: November 25, 2021


I am a huge cat lover. I always had cats as my companions. My cats are my furry babies, which I loved and cherished if they were my own children.


In 2017, my last cat, Jazzie died the day after Christmas. She lived for 17 years. Most of my cats lived for 17-20 years. I always made it a priority to make sure they always had a healthy diet and the best veterinary care. Interesting enough, I have not had the opportunity to get a new cat in my life. It seems when one passes away, the next one will come along within 5 years. Plus, my cats found me, or I inherited them.


As for Ms. Jazzie, she was my singing cat. Boy, she had a set of lungs and could sing like Marah Carey. Not kidding you! This cat even talked and said words like, “Mommy,” “Hello,” or “I love you.”


She also had a devilish way of getting into things and started munching on plants, balloon strings, ribbons, cords, rubber bands, and the list goes on. Her favorite thing to do was to be clever to sample human food and drinks unexpectedly. Last, she loved eating my toilet paper as a treat too.


As a furry mommy, I always was hawk-eye with my Jazzie. Never a dull moment! With that said, here are some insightful tips on some DON’TS and DO'S of what to feed to your cats.


FIRST THE DON’TS:


GARLIC and ONIONS: Cats cannot eat garlic and onions. Garlic is five times more toxic to cats than onions, and thus should never be fed to them. Garlic and onions can cause anemia in cats. It also contains thiosulphate, which destroys the cat’s red blood cells and can lead to death.


CHOCOLATE: Never fed cats any chocolate that contains ingredients called theobromine and caffeine which are toxic to cats if consumed in large enough quantities. Theobromine absorbs much more slowly in cats than it does in humans so even a small amount of chocolate can be toxic to a small cat.


​CAFFEINE: Any form of caffeine in drinks, tea, coffee, or soda can be harmful to cats and cause heart problems and troubles for them.


ALCOHOL: It should never be given to cats. This includes beer, liquor, wine, whiskey, etc. Alcohol has the same effect on a cat’s liver and brain as it does on humans. However, it takes far less of it to do damage to a cat as it would to a human.


A LIST OF THE DO'S:


For cats, here is a list of foods that they can have and will not harm their health in small quantities:


Lettuce as a small portion and good for hydrating.


Strawberries as a small portion and watch for any allergic reactions in cats.


Watermelon as a small portion.


Cucumber as a small portion.


Broccoli as a small portion.


Carrots as a small portion and avoid being raw.


Green Beans as a small portion as fresh or organic, but no canned.


Peas as a small portion and in moderation and no canned.


Pumpkin as a small portion, but pure pumpkin with no spices or seasoning.


Spinach as a small portion, but make sure to avoid feeding cats with any kidney/bladder problems.


Winter Squash as a small portion, but best served pureed.


Apples as a small portion, but make sure to remove any seeds that have cyamid which are poisonous.


Bananas as a small portion, but at minimum.


Blackberries as a small portion and never enormous quantities so a cat does not choke.


Blueberries as a small portion and on occasion.


Cantaloupe as a small portion and to deseed so the cat will not choke.


Honeydew as a small portion and as an occasional treat.


Raspberries as a small portion and only in feed moderation and never in bulk/large amount because of getting to much xylitol.


Brown Rice as a small portion and cooked brown rice is okay to offer to your cat if is plain. With too much rice, it can cause extreme constipation, so make sure to have veterinarian’s oversight.


Barley as a small portion and good for digestion.


Corn is in pet food.


Millet is in pet food.


Oatmeal as a small portion and prepared as similar as you would make it, but no salt, butter, or milk. It is only for occasional treat. 


Wheat is in pet food.


Fish like salmon, trout, herring, mackerel, tuna, and whitefish.


Red and White Meat like chicken, pork, turkey, pheasant, and beef.


Eggs are in pet food but can be served in small quantities cooked with no salt, butter, or milk. Avoid raw eggs.


Cheese as a small portion and served as an occasional treat.


Milk as a small portion, but unsweetened and unflavored.


With a cat’s diet, it is always important to check with your veterinarian, if you have any additional questions. Better safe, than sorry. 

PEARLS OF MY MOTHER'S WISDOM: Dedicated to my Mother, Florence M. Cropper


Written By: Catherine J. Pratt

Date: May 9, 2021

When I was growing up, my mother told me about, “Silence Is Golden.” If you speak your piece, people will know what you said, when you said it, and why you said it. People will judge you by your words and what you said. Instead by being silent, you appear wiser and can always walk away. People can make their own conclusions. The ones that hold their tongues and listen instead of talking, always appears to be more intelligent. I have used this concept my entire life. Sometimes, I would regret not having said something, but most of the time, it turned out that, “Silence is Golden.”

My Mother’s Sacrifice for Her Children’s Future: Dedicated to my Mother, Cecilia Lina Pratt


Written By: Herold K. Pratt

Date: May 9, 2021

Mothers all over this world make sacrifices for their children. My mother was no exception. She sacrificed a lot to give my brother and me a good life and prepare us for adulthood. My mother, Cecilia Lina Pratt (Lind) was born and raised in Germany during the Nazi period, and she experienced the horror of war firsthand.


Our hometown, Hanau near Frankfurt, was bombed day and night as it was a military town. In addition, when her mother died, she was abandoned by her family and put into a home for undesirables. At one point, my mother and a girlfriend ran away from the home and after about a week, seeing there was nowhere to go, they returned to the home.


As it turned out, the Nazis were killing their own people that they considered undesirable by driving them into the woods and into the back of a paneled truck. Once in the woods, they fed a hose from the exhaust to the back where the girls were and gassed them to death. On the day, my mother ran away, she and her girlfriend were scheduled to be gassed. God had another purpose for my mother.


After the end of the war, my mother ended up working for the Americans in their mess hall to feed and take care of my brother and me. Unfortunately, her family still disrespected her, and my brother ended up in a foster home after the state took him away from her. I was fortunate as my mother was able to pay her family to take care of me.


My mother met my stepfather, Thomas Vasil Pratt in the mess hall. I do not call him my stepfather as he earned more respect than that for raising two boys that were not his own. My mother married him to give us a father, and I am very thankful for her motherly love to consider us and marrying my father. Furthermore, my mother worked extremely hard to get my brother out of that home and back with his family. My mother and my father were raised Catholic, but because the Catholic Church would not allow my mother to marry an American soldier, she and my father changed their religion to Protestant.


The German people were not too kind to her for marrying an American. In 1957, we moved to the United States, and the American people looked down on her for being German and marrying an American. She had to endure hate in both countries.


However, she endured and in 1959, she became a citizen of the United States of America. My mother had the foresight to have my father naturalize my brother and me, although our natural birth fathers were German. Also, my father gave his last name to us when we got adopted by him.


Throughout my childhood, she was always there when I needed her. Both my mother and father raised me to be a loving and responsible adult and father. At my mother’s side, I learned how to cook, clean, and face the world with hope and love.


Thank you, Mom from your loving and appreciative son who will always remember the good life that you made possible for my brother and me.

Filling Your Own Cup First!

 

Written By: Jennifer Halcame

Date: March 15, 2021

In celebration of National Women's History Month, I wanted to talk to you about someone very dear to me. My hero, my inspiration, and for better or worse, my greatest teacher...my Mom.


Shelby Halcame 1938-2020. She grew up one of five children in the poorest part of Aiken, South Carolina. They lived in a three room house with an outhouse, and her parents ran a little country store.


Even though, she had very little. She had always felt a responsibility to help those less fortunate than herself, especially the children. So, she studied hard and graduated top of her class at 17 years old. She became the first person to go to college in her family.


At the University of South Carolina, she met my father. Soon, they fell madly in love and got married. Well, back then women were expected to stay home and take care of the family. So, she sacrificed her dreams to take care of us. She was an amazing mom who loved me and my brothers every day.


I was the youngest, so when I went to school, she decided it was time for her to fulfill her own dreams. She worked three jobs to pay for it, while raising three kids, taking full-time classes, and caring for her household. All while maintaining a 4.0 GPA. She was superwoman to me!


When she graduated with her master’s degree in Psychology, she was faced with a choice. Open a private practice or work with under privileged kids. She once again chose to sacrifice her own needs so others could thrive, and she took a position working with children at the state mental hospital.


With my mother's selfless sacrifices, she forgot to teach me the most important lesson of all. She forgot to fill her own cup first!


In my own life, this was a hard lesson learned. After many 70 hr. weeks and trying to be everything to everyone, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease in 2005. After many years of healing and learning how to first fill my own cup, I was finally able to heal my disease. I am happier and so is everyone around me.


So, as you go about your day-to-day routine, and being in service to those around you, do not forget to take care of yourself first. If we do not, we will be unable to take care of anyone else. Here are some insightful tips for better, self-care:

*Take a hot bubble bath.

*Practice daily self-care.

*Take a walk in nature.

*Eat healthier.

*Practice some form of meditation.

*Exercise daily.

*Positive affirmations.

*Laugh whenever possible.

*Dance like no one's watching.

*Give and receive as many hugs as you can get.

*Be ok with saying "No, this is not mine to do."

*And many more.


This article is dedicated to one of the most extraordinary women that I have ever had the privilege of knowing, my Mom.  We are all beautiful, amazing women out there. We are blessed as we have much to celebrate in March.


With much love, honor, and many blessings 🙏 Namaste!

HOW TO OBSERVE NATIONAL WOMEN'S HISTORY MONTH!


WRITTEN BY: SHANNON GRACE

DATE: MARCH 8, 2021

Salutations to 2021! Talk about a rough start into the New Year! The good news is we can turn it around with something positive and focus on the month of March with honoring and celebrating the amazing accomplishments of strong, determined women.


In the United States, March is recognized as National Women’s History Month. Also, on March 8, 2021, it is International Women’s Day, and this year’s theme is called, “Women in Leadership: Achieving an Equal Future in a Covid-19 World.” It celebrates the tremendous efforts by women and girls around the world in shaping a more equal future and recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.


The world should be excited to learn more about the achievements of many amazing women and their stories of how they triumph over obstacles to rightfully earn their places in the world and fight for the advancements for women. Every steppingstone that a woman took in history helped prepare the younger generation of girls to embrace their higher selves to courage them to shape a better future for them.


As women, we have come a long way, but there is still more work to be done to have a stronger co-existence with everyone in today’s world. To live as a whole race (humanity altogether), we need harmony.


I say, “Our past is our anchor and teacher, our present is our motivator and liberator, and our future will be our victor and greatest witness for living in a brighter world.” So, let us get started with different ways to learn and observe National Women’s History Month.


Studying up on women’s history: Look for museums that have women’s exhibits, which are dedicated on accomplishments of women. Also, you can research for other venues that celebrate and provide history on National Women’s History Month.


Since being indoors more during the pandemic, please take the time to research on your favorite women that you are drawn, too, and can learn from their achievements. For instance, it can be Michelle Obama, Mother Theresa, Tina Turner, Jackie Kennedy, Helen Keller, Princess Diana, Oprah, Madeleine Albright, Anne Richards, Karen Carpenter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elaine Chao, Aretha Franklin, Sonia Sotomayor, Condoleezza Rice, Sarah Palin, Janet Reno, Mary McLeod Bethune, Gloria Estefan, Victoria Woodhull, and many more.


Get creative and write: Think of a woman that you admire. She can be someone personal and a public figure. Take the time to write a letter describing her impact that she had in your life and send it to her. A thoughtful gesture is a heartfelt and powerful statement of love, which would be highly appreciated and remembered.


Get together for a girls’ day: Grab your family members or your besties (whoever is important to you) to join you on a wonderful girls’ day out. Maybe catch up for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, but wait maybe do a high tea gathering or just a spa day. Take the time to reconnect and embrace the moment of being in each other’s presence, while sharing interesting stories and learning something that you never knew before. One-on-one time with ladies that you love is an honor and great memory to create.


The importance of having National Women’s History Month is the backbone to help us remember the past endeavors of how women fought for our rights and opportunities to be equal. Currently, women are still fighting on many levels to create a better world for us.


Also, women need to be given credit for the important discoveries and conquests that were made in history. Men wrote many historical documents for centuries. There is so much history to be discovered that showed how women played many roles throughout time.


What is fascinating is that women of history stood up for their rights and fought what they believed in. Women have the motivation to come together and become a force of nature to move mountains. Therefore, you hear the saying that women are “the backbone of society.”


With National Women’s History Month, let us take the opportunity to put a spotlight on all the wonderful things that women accomplished every day. From working full-time jobs, being mothers, pursuing education and our dreams, owning businesses, making important discoveries and advancements in religion, science, art, and writing etc., along with caring for the elderly, fighting wars, and governing countries, we all can say that women are the rock of society and play a major part of being the backbone of bringing back peace and balance into this world. 


 Amen to being a woman, we all have something to celebrate and honor within ourselves. CHEERS TO US. 

ELIZABETH BLACKWELL: A WOMAN WHO WOULDN'T TAKE NO FOR AN ANSWER! 


WRITTEN BY: SARAH J.

DATE: MARCH 8, 2021


I want to talk to you about a woman that helped change the medical profession from University to being a practicing physician. A woman who was on a different path and did not even want to read a medical book but discovered a passion and ran with it.


Elizabeth Blackwell was the first woman to receive a medical degree in America. She moved from Bristol England with her family in 1832. She first became a teacher, as it was the most respected career for women. She turned to medicine after hearing from her dying friend that her suffering would have been less, if the physician were female. As a woman, I can relate with how her friend felt at the time. She became intrigued about medicine and asked many physicians if it was a good idea to go into medicine.


They all agreed that it would be, but also impossible. She said that “If it’s a good idea, then it is possible.” So, she decided to pursue medical studies. She applied to countless medical universities, and even got accepted into Geneva College as a joke, but that did not stop her from attending. She was ridiculed, separated from important lab work, but graduated first in her class.


She went back to Europe to continue training in London and Paris hospitals. She started to emphasize the importance of hygiene, as she noticed the doctors she worked under, did not wash their hands in between patients. Eventually, she returned to New York. She applied for a job as a physician in the Women’s Department of Large City Clinic but was rejected. From there she did not back down, and her passion pushed her forward.


She opened a clinic to treat poor women and later, she opened a New York infirmary with her sister, Dr. Emily Blackwell, to treat women and children. She not only wanted to help women and children who came from poverty, but she also wanted to create opportunities for women to practice and learn, who wanted to be physicians. 

An Inspiring Author: Emily Post (Author of Etiquette)

Written By: Shannon Grace

Date: March 8, 2021


National Women's History Month is in March. We have a lot to celebrate on the history of women's accomplishments and advancements.  The Inspiring Peacock Post will be posting many things in honor for women. To start with, I like to share again my  favorite author, Emily Post and some of her inspiring history. 


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.


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.


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


The  information for this article came from my December 22, 2020 article, which it was in honor for Emily Post.  Blessings to her.