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Home | Tag Archives: steven cottingham

Tag Archives: steven cottingham

Still Going Somewhere: Steve’s New Year Journey

The most popular resolution made on New Year’s Day is to get in shape, to get fit. That’s followed by eat right and take care of our bodies. Health, and getting in better health leads the way for 2019.

After a few days or weeks, those resolutions are forgotten as we feed our need for some quick to eat, or just simply thing we don’t have the time to ear right or exercise.

We all take our health for granted until we end up in the emergency room.

That’s what happened to me this past week, a trip to the ER that led to some discoveries about my health. That, of course, let to further talks with my doctors.

Now, as you are reading this, I am undergoing a procedure at a hospital here in town. Nothing too serious, or so my doctor says.

Yet, when they decided to “go in,” I think that’s serious enough.

I didn’t make any resolutions to better my health or my diet. I’ve had my doctor tell me, time and again that I’m going to end up in an emergency room or the back of an ambulance and the cause will be something with my heart. He was right. I hate to admit it, but he was right.

Heart disease accounts for up to twenty-three per cent of all deaths. That number averages to about 635,000 people per year. For the most part, it’s preventable.

Heart disease is most common among men, but the number of women who are experiencing some type of heart-related issue is on the rise. It’s also common among those who are overweight (I’m in this category), or obese. People who are over the age of fifty-five (I’m only forty-eight), and those who have a history of heart disease, or heart-attacks in their family.

I don’t smoke; I’m not yet in my fifties, so why me? Why did I have to have this issue, and now of all times?

For me, it’s my diet. I don’t eat a healthy diet at all. Fast food is usually the answer to “what’s for dinner,” often because of my long hours working. I can recite the menus of several fast food restaurants.

Tufts University, the University of Cambridge, and Montefiore Medical Center discovered that almost half of all deaths, caused by heart-related issues, stem from a poor diet.

Sugar-sweetened drinks, processed meats and sodium intake are just some of the key factors. Think about, how many times do you reach for that can of Dr Pepper rather than a bottle of water or orange juice? What about those chicken nuggets, or the processed foods on that dollar menu you’re looking at for a quick meal?

My doctor tells me that I need to give my diet a major overhaul. I need to eat more vegetables and fruits, he said. I’m also told to eat more nuts and fish – and not the fish sandwich from McDonald’s. I’m also told I need to cut out the sugar-sweetened drinks and lay off the salt. (The food linked to the most deaths? Salt).

It’s hard, changing your diet after decades of eating almost anything and everything when you are running around chasing a story.

Other advice he had for me?

I need to exercise for at least thirty minutes per day. Walking is a good place to start. It’s a good place for all of us to start! I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve driven to Walmart to pick something up, rather than walk. Seriously, I only live about a half-mile from Walmart, I should walk it if I’m not doing a lot of shopping.

How many times do you catch yourself walking from your house to the car, and then the car to wherever when you could have walked it without a problem?

I remember seeing a movie with Steve Martin, I think, where he got in his car to drive five houses away to visit someone. Sadly, that seems to be what most of us are doing when we could literally walk and add some years to our lives.

I also need to lose weight. A lot of weight he says. I’m just a slap away from 300 pounds. This morning, when I was weighed, I was 278 pounds. Seeing that was sort of a “what the hell” moment for me. I have no idea how I weigh so much.

“Diet and not exercising,” said my doctor.

Here I am, forty-eight years old. I’m out of shape, I eat anything, and everything I can and I’m having a blockage removed from an artery.

Take a bit of advice from me, if you made a New Year’s Resolution to eat better, to exercise, to improve your overall health, keep it.

Don’t find yourself on the receiving end of a heart attack.

Have a story you want to share? Get in touch with Steve at or call 915-201-0918.  Follow Steve
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Video+Gallery+Story: El Paso Cookie Quickly Becoming Borderland Favorite

I love to eat. My ever-expanding midsection bears testament to my love of food. Like most people in El Paso, I have my favourite restaurants for different types of food. For example, if I’m craving enchiladas montadas, it’s off to El Roble on Alameda and Padres. If I’m after a killer chilli relleno, then I head to the Westside of El Paso and El Rincon.

But if I am looking for baked goods, or killer chicken and waffles, then I head to El Paso Cookie, Inc.

El Paso Cookie, Inc is the coolest little bakery out in East El Paso. They have it all – cookies, cupcakes, challah. They even have breakfast and lunch, and that’s where the chicken and waffles come into play.

I first encountered El Paso Cookie when I was doing an interview with Nikki Gonzalez for Geek-A-Palooza. We picked El Paso Cookie as sort of a mid-point between Nikki and myself.

El Paso Cookie is owned and operated by Sally Schwartz.

“I decided to open up my place, I moved home exactly like two years ago actually,” says Sally, who is a native El Pasoan. “When I moved home, my parents encouraged me to open my place.”

For Sally, her path took her away from El Paso. She worked with other chefs, gaining experience along the way. Eventually, like most people who leave the city, she decided to come back.

“Everyone,” says Sally, “has to come here hungry, and roll out of here. Then go home and take a nap.”

From El Paso Cookie I’ve eaten more than a few items. I’ve had the chicken and waffles, which is amazing! When I lived in New York City, one of my favourite dishes was chicken and waffles from this soul food place on 125th. Since leaving NYC, I’ve been on a quest for something, anything to fill the gap. What Sally makes is better than anything I’ve ever had.

There are cupcakes topped with homemade ice cream – New York Cheese Cake Ice Cream that has homemade cookies mixed into it. The best one is the Chocolate Heritage Cupcake – it’s made with a recipe from World War Two!

There are cookies like the peanut butter and marzipan. Or the Abuelita chocolate cookies, which are my favourite cookie from Sally’s kitchen.

“I have something for everyone,” says Sally. And, she does. There are the vegan cookies and cakes, tarts, cakes, and more.

El Paso Cookie, Inc is more than a bakery. They also offer wedding cakes and consultations, as well as private dining and catering, cooking classes and more.

In my quest to find the best of everything in El Paso, I am adding El Paso Cookie, Inc to my list. She is a hit for chicken and waffles, the cupcakes and homemade ice cream, and those Abuelita cookies! Why not take a trip and treat your taste buds to an unforgettable experience? You’ll be glad!

So, out of my rating system of adding one to four notches on my belt, I give El Paso Cookie, Inc four full notches!

Visit them at 3020 Trawood Drive, Suite F (in the corner). You can also call them for more information at 915-525-5653

Follow El Paso Cookie, Inc on Facebook, Instagram, or online.


If you have a story to share, I would love to tell it! You can reach me at, or call me at 915-201-0918. You can also connect with me on Facebook or Twitter and Instagram.

Audio+Gallery+Story: Confirmation Saturday at Our Lady of Guadalupe

Everyone was silent. As parishioners walked in, they dipped their fingers into Holy Water before making the Sign of the Cross on themselves, or their children. In silence they find their way to a pew, most often kneeling in prayer once they found a seat.

From outside I could hear the drums and chanting of the Matachines as they danced in the courtyard, to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe.

As I sat at the back of the Church, watching people enter, I noticed the those who were to be confirmed in their faith come in and out. Some would stop to say a prayer before the Crucifix found inside the front door of the Church. Others would petition St. Francis for his help.

All of them would then take the time out to greet family, or friends that were in the pews.

As ten o’clock approached, the crowd began to swell. The Knights of Columbus were ushering people to open spaces and the Catechumens to the courtyard. Father Juan Antonio lit the candle, that I later learned was the Paschal Candle.

I was then told that the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of El Paso was outside and was about to greet the Catechumens.

Bishop Mark Seitz, in his comments to a group of anxious and nervous teenagers and adults, were calming, inspiring. Then, after a blessing, the Mass was set to begin.

I am sure many of you have attended many a Mass. The prayers, the Psalm that is read, with the refrain said by the congregation. There is the reading of the Gospel and the Homily.

“Peter shows how the Holy Spirit is at work in his life,” the Bishop said during his Homily.

Confirmation, I came to learn, is about just that, the Holy Spirit.

In the life of the Catholic Church, there are seven sacraments: Baptism, First Communion, Confirmation, Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick, Marriage, and Holy Orders. In the sacrament of Confirmation, one is infused with the Holy Spirit and its gifts.

“If you stay tuned,” said the Bishop, “when you come to Church, you will hear the Spirit mentioned all the time.”

The Bishop then told everyone present that the same Spirit that was working in Peter back then is in the same Spirit that is working in them.

“We heard about two amazing miracles,” said the Bishop, referring to the scripture readings for the day, “that were performed through his [Peter’s] intercession.”

In the readings you have Peter curing an individual that was sick, that had been bedridden for eight years because he was paralyzed. As Peter was brought to Aeneas, he spoke to him. “Aeneas,” said Peter in Acts, chapter 9:31-42, “Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and make your bed.” This is the first healing Bishop Seitz was referring to in his Homily.

The second healing was in Joppa, when he was called upon to help a woman who had “fell sick and died.” Two men were sent to bring Peter to where Tabitha lay. As he entered the room, he sent everyone away.

I can almost imagine the scene. The room is finally empty, still, quiet. The only ones there are Peter and the body of Tabitha. Peter settles, kneels next to the bed, where she is laying. Raising his eyes to heaven, he prays. Then, without a single doubt in his mind, he turned to Tabitha and told her to “rise.” She did.

According to the Bishop’s Homily, these two events are the work of the Holy Spirit working in, and through Peter. The same Spirit, he said, that was working with Christians today.

This past Saturday, members of Our Lady of Guadalupe, teenagers and convert alike, received the gifts of the Holy Spirit. And, according to tradition, according to the world of Jesus, they will be able to do the works He has done, and more.

Saturday’s Confirmation was the culmination of two years of preparation, study, prayer, and retreats. I’ve discovered that they do not enter Confirmation lightly. It’s not some mundane event in their lives, like receiving a certificate for completing classes. For the faithful within the Catholic Church, it’s much more.

Delores Cortinas is the person responsible for teaching Catechism.

“During these two years of Confirmation formation, they can reaffirm their faith, and we also prepare them to go forward and speak for Jesus,” says Delores.

This is not something to take lightly!

I also asked about why the Bishop called everyone by the name of a Saint during confirmation. The answer gave me additional insight as to how serious Confirmation is.

“They are asked to choose a Saint at the beginning of their formation,” Delores says, “so that they can follow, or pray to that Saint, and follow the path of the Saint to holiness and Sainthood.”

Delores’ husband, Deacon Carlos Cortinas joined us in our conversation. (I love how the Deacon and Delores are a team on this. And, in the next two weeks they will be celebrating FIFTY years together in marriage!)

I had asked Delores what she would like to say about Confirmation, and she reminded me of the letters the Bishop read during his Homily. These letters were written by those about the be Confirmed. Each letter read expressed a hope that they would be able to serve G-d and follow in the footsteps of Jesus.

After the Mass, I asked Bishop Seitz why Confirmation was important.

“It’s important for several reasons,” the Bishop said. “It’s a major step in the initiation of a person into the Catholic faith. So, it’s very important for that reason. It’s extremely important for Parishes because when we confirm a person, we are asking G-d’s spirit to animate them, to make them not only a child of G-d but a person that is using the gifts that He’s given them for the service of G-d and the Church. The service of His people.”

The Bishop also pointed out that the work one does isn’t ours. It’s G-d’s work, the work of His Spirit.

“We confirm that faith that we have, that it is G-d that wants to use us for His work,” said the Bishop. It’s an important moment for these young adults, the Bishop pointed out, that these young people relate to the Church in a way that will resonate with them.

“The Sacrament of Confirmation,” he says, “and its preparation gives us an opportunity to work with these young people and help them to bridge the time between childhood and adulthood.”

As the Bishop said, if you listen to the audio above (and you should listen to it), it may seem that the Church is losing members, but this day’s activities counters that. Over forty young men and the woman took a stand for their faith, expressed faith publicly, and are ready to become examples and faith leaders within their community.

I have to say: I was amazed at what I found at Our Lady of Guadalupe. The spirit of the congregation, the hope they have in receiving the gifts G-d has for them. The desire that they must follow in the footsteps of their Savior.

As a final note, this is not the typical style in which I write my articles. I guess this one would fall into the category of sharing how I felt, how I viewed the Mass, and what I thought of it overall. I hope I’ve not offended anyone, as this was the first Confirmation service I have ever attended.


I am doing a series called A Year of Faith where I am visiting with different churches, ministers and denominations. If you would like to be a part of this series, do give me a call at 915-201- 0198. Or, email me at

Time To Look Back, Time to Tell Your Stories

In the early 90’s I lived in New York City. During that period of my life I was trying to find myself, my voice and my place in this world. It was during this time that I met some amazing people.

There was Geoffrey Owens, of the Cosby Show. I was sitting outside the Lincoln Center one Thursday afternoon, and I met Geoffrey. We began talking, and over time we became friends.

There was the time I met John Cardinal O’Connor. I had been spending a few days at St. Patrick’s, thinking about my life, and writing. That’s when a priest, Fr. Nelson noticed me and asked me if I was doing alright. We began speaking, and I started meeting with him for counseling. It was during those meetings that I met Cardinal O’Connor.

Like Fr. Nelson, Cardinal O’Connor became a friend. As he would read my writings, he would share with me his journey of faith. Both Fr. Nelson and Cardinal O’Connor were amazing men.

Then, I met Doug Simmons, who was then the editor of the Village Voice. We spoke about my desire to be a writer. He gave me some wonderful advice.

“Everyone has a story,” he told me. “Your job is to find the story that people want to tell, that the world wants to ready.”

Shortly after that conversation, I began to look for those stories. In New York City, there is a saying which comes from an old television show, “There are eight million stories in the naked city.” For me, there was no shortage of stories.

I began with the local churches, Masjids, Temples, wherever anyone went to worship.

Where we worship tells a story. It tells a story of a community joined together in a common purpose, a common sense of self. Depending on how old the structure they worship in is, those stories can go back centuries. Communities of faith became one of my two favorite subjects to write about. I’ve gotten away from that, and I don’t know why.

Living in New York, for the longest time, I lived at 124th and Lexington. I was a block away from the famed 125th . In Harlem, there were latterly a million stories. On the weekends, all up and down 125th , people would set up shop on the sidewalks. They would like
sale whatever items they had made by hand.

These were items you would find in the countries they hailed from. Others would sale times they bought for sale to make a little extra cash for their families. It was there that I discovered that everyone has a story. It doesn’t matter who we are, where we are from, or where we’ve been, we all have a story. That is where my love for sharing the stories and experiences for others began.

Now, I want to tell your story. Writing here, for the Herald-Post. I have shared some interesting stories about some interesting people.

There was the story of Sister Maria, of Fr. Yermo School; I ran into her at Target and just had to talk to her. Then there was the week I spent with the El Paso County Search and Rescue. Theirs is a story of helping the community when called upon.

Don’t forget about Yvette Macias of Chewy’s Animal Rescue. It was with them that I say the second half of that bit of advice from Doug Simmons play out. “Always give the person you are interviewing the last word,” Doug said. “By doing that you may discover an entirely different story.” With Yevette, I did find another story.

One of my favorite stories was of Oscar J. Molinar, a local actor who had to overcome a stroke to fulfill his dreams.  Oscar’s story has inspired me to no end!

Of course, I have also shared stories about some of our local churches!

There was the story of the first ever Mormon Chapel in Texas, and that is right here in El Paso. There was one story I did, El Paso’s Churches, Relics, and Faith, that told you about some amazing hidden treasures here in El Paso.

I want to share your story! I do. We have some much here in El Paso, Las Cruces, and Juarez. There is the history, the communities, the people and their personal stories and histories- all of it would fill volumes! I want to share it.

If you have a story you want to share- a personal story, history, family tradition- call me. If you know of someone who has an incredible story to tell, call me.

The El Paso Herald-Post is a local news outlet. We are not based in some far-off city with ninety percent of what we post written by a wire service. We are your hometown “paper.” I hope you will allow me to hear, and share your stores.

You can call/text me at 915-201- 0918, of if you would like to e-mail me, send me a message at

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