Wednesday, July 23, 2014

If You Knew Tomorrow Might Not Happen What Would You Do Today?

If you knew tomorrow might not happen, what would you do today? Let me share with you what my sweet friend Monet did before she put on her angel wings last Saturday. I am posting the write-up about her life from her local newspaper. Allow it to cause you to examine how you spend your time every day. Are you doing things that really matter?


Early this week, Monet Armenia sat in her bed at her home in South Orange, N.J., writing out future birthday cards to her two sons, Aidan, age 9, and Jackson, age 7. "This one is for when Aidan turns 21," she said, looking perplexed. "Should I tell him to be safe, or suggest he order my favorite drink?"

She paused from her writing to reach for a hug from another friend who'd come to see her, some bringing her Italian cookies, some asking where they could put the folded laundry. She pushed the cards aside to find her iPad to buy Jackson the Nike shorts he'd been begging for all morning, a cross for Aidan to match the one his brother has, and her favorite blanket for both of them, which they will get at Christmas.

The doorbell rang again. This time it was the hospice nurse. 

Two days later, on July 19, 2014, Monet Rachelle Armenia (nee Caputy) died peacefully at home, surrounded by her family and close friends. She was 42 years old. 

Monet, who grew up in West Seneca, N.Y., was a top student, a Cornell graduate, a consultant at Ernst & Young, and the type of person who got every job she ever applied for, but she wouldn't necessarily want you talking about that. As Monet liked to say, "Why stress about work? It's life that really matters." 

This was just one of the lessons that Monet has instilled in the people she touched, in the countless number of close friends and family she's left behind, from Buffalo to Boston to Florida to New Jersey. Lessons like:
  • Always remember everyone is fighting their own battle. 
  • Take time each day to snuggle in bed with someone you love (preferably on high thread-count sheets). 
  • Always dress nicely, even for the doctor. 
  • Take long naps. 
  • Use Aveda hair products and good hand lotion. 
  • If there's something you really want to do, stop hesitating, and just do it. 
  • Things are better with red wine, potato chips, and onion dip. 
  • Nobody will be your strongest advocate but yourself. 
  • Buy organic. 
  • Lunch at Swiss Chalet is a must when in Canada. 
  • If Pink is in town, gather your girlfriends, get the tickets, and dance until you can barely stand. 
  • Don't wear ill-fitting jeans. 
  • If you can't decide between the pasta or the pizza, get both. 
  • Whatever it is you're going through - even if it's metastatic breast cancer - always ask others how they are, and really care about their answer. 
  • Your family is who you love, and true friendship is not always measured in years. 
  • It really does take a village, so do your part. 
  • If you show people love and kindness, you will get it back several times over. 
  • There is always hope. 
  • And cherish the things that really matter. 
Above all that Monet cherished in her life - her friends, her independent spirit, travel, good music, and long conversations - the thing she cherished the most was her family. She was an adoring, wonderful mother to Aidan and Jackson, and a loving wife to her soulmate and best friend, Joe Armenia. She is also survived by her adoring parents, Frank and Alison Occhino Caputy, and her two sisters, Deanie Newberry and Natalie Burns. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Tenth Amendment

Here it is! The 10th Amendment. This one says any power that is not given to the federal government is given to the people or the states. This wraps up our journey through the Bill of Rights. I hope you've learned as much as I have!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

Amendment 9 is pretty interesting. I would recommend some research on it. In quick summary, it was a compromise. It means there are other rights that may exist aside from the ones explicitly mentioned in the Bill of Rights, and even though they are not listed, it does not mean they can be violated. 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Courts Uphold Our Constitutional Rights

Some may be wondering why I have been spending time reviewing our first 10 amendments over this past week. This Jurist article from July 9th is just one of many examples of how some are trying to take our constitutional rights away from us. Kudos to the courts for this decision. 

The Right to a Speedy Trial

The right to a speedy trial, a public trial, a lawyer and more ... these rights are all yours simply because you are a U.S. citizen.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

We Have the Right Against Unreasonable Searches and Seizures

This is how the Fourth Amendment came about, according to an online dictionary. Interesting. Makes me grateful for this amendment.

The Framers drafted the Fourth Amendment in response to their colonial experience with British officials, whose discretion in collecting revenues for the Crown often went unchecked. Upon a mere suspicion held by British tax collectors or their informants, colonial magistrates were compelled to issue general warrants, which permitted blanket door-to-door searches of entire neighborhoods without limitation as to person or place. The law did not require magistrates to question British officials regarding the source of their suspicion or to make other credibility determinations.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Amendment III

On the 4th of July I felt a great deal of gratitude for being an American. Then, on July 7th, a story in the Sun-Times said 29% of Americans do not know any of their first amendment rights. Yikes! That got me all fired up about what a great country we live in. I'm letting that passion take me on a day-by-day review of our first 10 amendments. Here is the third.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Right To Bear Arms

Continuing on from yesterday's post ... here are our second amendment rights for your review!

Monday, July 7, 2014

29 Percent of Americans Can't Name Any First Amendment Rights

There was a story in today's Chicago Sun Times that said 29% of Americans can't name any of their first amendment rights. I'm sure that's none of us here, but it has been a long time since we first learned them, so let's review, anyway!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

In God We Trust

Today at Mass we heard from our priest, Father Gilbert, about the significance of the 4th of July to him. This year was only his fifth 4th of July in the US. He is originally from a village called Bwanjai in Tanzania.

He wanted to share with us what he thinks is the most unique thing about our United States. He said it is not our big buildings or big cities or big highways that make us unique -- he believes any country can build these things.

What makes the U.S. so unique is that our country was founded on FAITH -- so much so that our formal currency says, "In God We Trust."

He pointed out there are five references to God in the Declaration of Independence -- two in the first paragraph, one in the middle and two in the last paragraph.

It was a great reminder on this 4th of July weekend that our country was founded on Christian principles. I pray those in leadership positions in our country will remember this.