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Archive for the ‘safety’ Category

         This is not going to be good.  We are supposed to be getting a series of heavy winter storms.  We are being told we are getting 6-12 inches of snow  by friday evening…then another storm on saturday-sunday with snow-ice mix which could total up to 20 inches of snow…then on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday up to 80% chance of snow.

           For many people on fixed income this kind of weather is devastating.   One thing is staying warm.  This is when we hear many stories of people who die in fires or of people who freeze to death.  Another issue is heart attacks from people trying to remove snow by shoveling.  Then there are all of the car accidents.  Another issue is the extra expense of having to have the snow removed by snow plows & home heating costs. 

          It is a huge concern here in Michigan where people are struggling just to survive financially with all of the job cuts and job losses.  You have to have heat…but, what do you do when you can’t afford to heat your home?  The agencies that help those in trouble are overburdened and are turning people away.  Businesses who supply the fuel for home heating need paid too…but, many can’t afford to pay. 

          I hear all of the time from people in other states who are feeling the financial pinch these days…but are truly surprised when they hear how “depressed and oppressed” Michigan residents are just in the quality of life.  Keep everyone in prayer.  The whole midsection of the US is going to have a very rough weekend of weather…let’s keep everyone prayed up for safety and warmth.

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       Here in Michigan, we have had more than our share of wild and wacky weather of late.  We received, in a couple of days time, well more than 18-20 inches of snow in one dumping.  It was beautiful but destructive.  Now, we are going from an overnight temperature of a (unusually warm temperature) of 44 degrees…down into the teens today, with well over 40 mile an hour winds, this after rain and snow melt all night. 

          This will produce great danger of ice and travel difficulties.  Other states have been hit with the arctic blast of winds, snow, sleet and rain; many people loosing their electric and ability to heat their homes. 

            In the best of situations, people can be prepared for these types of situations.  This time it has caught me a bit unprepared.  I am sure that i am not the only one.  However, we are going to settle in and do our best to stay warm and dry.  It is important to take safety measures when you live in winter wonderland areas during this time of year!

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      Julianne Hough left dancing with the stars this week and she won’t be back…at least not next season.  She is going to be concentrating on her music.  So…what does that mean for the competition next season…Julianne is one of the favorite professional dancers to the viewers.  Julianne has two talents…singing and dancing; but singing is her passion.

       She’s talented as both a singer and as a dancer; and, no one wants to see her go…but, at the same time, no one wants to hold her back with her singing career.  Dancers careers are sometimes short-lived due to injury; as we have seen this season alone, there have been many injuries to the couples on the dance floor this season.

        Is Dereck Hough the next to leave for greener pastures?  He also is involved in music and has a band.  Dancing with the stars might be the very catalyst that launches the next generation of entertainers.  Best wishes to all those who strive to do their best in their areas of talent.  We will miss you Julianne!

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       For those of you who have been following the tragedy of the murders in Jennifer Hudson’s family and the kidnapping of her young, seven year old nephew; think about this, what happens when your safe place, your place of foundation has been invaded or attacked?  This family is going through a nightmare of epic proportions and because of fame, they are having to do it publically.

       Jennifer and her sister Julia have lost their mother, Darnell Donerson and their brother, Jason Hudson; and, Julia’s son Julian is missing.  This home that the murders took place in was Jennifer’s refuge from the crush of the world that she stepped into as a celebrity when her star began to rise from her singing and her acting over the last several years.

       The Hudson family was and is a family of faith.  Jennifer has said that she grew up in that home, that neighborhood and her home church.  It is an integral part of her support system.   It is part of who she is.  Her mother did not want to move when her daughter became famous…they didn’t want that celebrity to change who they were as a family.  Their home was the center of their family.  It was where all things sprouted for them.  Where they came to; to be together.  It was a safe place.  A place of nurturing.

        What happens now; other than trying desperately to get answers to where Julian is….and what happened to their mother and their brother?  Julia and Jennifer are on automatic pilot i am sure at the moment.  Trying to make sense of things…hoping and praying for the safe return of Julian.  But, their safe place has been invaded.

        How will they ever be able to look at that home and feel what they once felt.  Will it ever feel like home again?  Or will they always feel loss and hurt when they look upon the face of the place that has so many memories for their family.  What about Julian when he comes home…did that poor baby witness the murder of his beloved grandmother and uncle?  Will he ever feel safe there again?  Will he ever feel “at home” somewhere else?  What does this kind of trauma do to a human mind and soul? 

         Many people experience such traumas in their lives…it is something that can be overcome…but, it does shake the foundation of a person/family to rebuild that sense of trust and safety.  Please pray for the Hudson family…as well as, anyone else who has had to go through something so violent and traumatic.  Their faith in God will help them through this time.  However, they are human…and will go through much before they are able to recover and overcome.  Have you ever gone through a trauma that has made your safe place feel violated or unsafe to you?  How did you handle it?

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       Slavery exists even today; i know that that sounds like an inflammatory statement but it is true.  It is just not talked about in any kind of real, life changing way.  I read a book recently which opens up a whole new way of looking at the world.  It is rather frightening.  Slavery exists today in what is called, modern day slavery….human trafficking.  People are bought and sold all over the world…but, it is not a subject that has been addressed in the fullness that it needs to be; to face it and, attempt to overcome it.

        The book is called, A Crime So Monstrous; it was written by author Benjamin Skinner; published in 2008.  He has traveled to places around the globe to educate and inform the world of the human injustice that is perpetrated against those who are vulnerable, and can not fight back without help.  It is a moral call to action.  Once your eyes have been opened up to the extent of the evil that is human trafficking…you will never look at the world in the same way.  Children, women, men, young and old…it doesn’t matter…crimes against humanity should never be tolerated.

        So what is modern slavery-human trafficking?  It is the forced sale of human beings to be used and abused.  There are many forms of it…from sexual slavery, prostitution, forced labor, to forced child marriages and the list goes on.  There are very real networks that cross continents buying and selling humans against their will; it impacts well over 800,000 individuals a year.   Sometimes repeatedly; without concern for the well-being of those who are being transferred like a piece of property.  It is illegal, it is immoral and it doesn’t stop there…sometimes, in many cases it is multi-generational.  In those cases, debt forces multiple generations to work to pay off debts…doing hard labor, with little or no pay.  In conditions not suitable for proper human living conditions.  Often, violence is used to coerce people to do things against their will.  They do not get proper food, shelter, health care or healthy human interaction.  It is not right.  Many of the victims are the most vulnerable in society…the weak, the poor, the disabled, the homeless, and those who are without protectors.

        Do you think it doesn’t affect you?   What if it was happening in your town?  What if it was in your neighborhood?   What if one of your loved ones came up missing?   Missing family member…what if they have become one of the invisible slaves bought and sold for someone else’s gain and pleasure?  People who patronize the prostitutes on any street, in any country, around the world did you ever wonder if …are they doing it because they want to?  Or, are they being forced to perform as a prostitute because they are in fact, someone’s slave?  If you purchase their services…you could be part of the problem. How about people who purchase the servant to cook, or clean in their business or home, especially those  individuals not legally present in that country; are they working for them willingly, or have they been bought and paid for?  

         Our country, the United States of America, is involved in war.  Our military men and women have seen things in other countries that would shock you.  In some of those countries, when war breaks out…rape is used as a tool to destroy cultures and to break down the resistance of the opposing fighters.   Our military men and women have seen what happens to the women in those countries that have been warring with one another when they have gone in to establish some kind of peace-keeping.  Women and children, as well as men, are raped and used horribly.  Some of them never recover, physically or emotionally.   This is unacceptable behavior…no matter what country it takes place in.  These are issues to think about.  No-one is guaranteed safety from these predators.  http://www.humantrafficking.org/updates  This is a global issue.  It affects us all.  If you met one of these individuals in person… how you could be unaffected?  Yet most of us live our lives unaware of their plight.  Their stories of abuse would horrify you. 

         Many of the hotbeds in the modern day slavery networks, are on the news everyday…either they are points of travel destinations, or glamour spots that the rich and famous travel to and from…others are known for their sexual tourism…PLEASE STOP FEEDING THE MONEY MACHINE.   Someone’s “tourism” is someone else’s nightmare!!!   Do some research…don’t travel or support countries that are known for trading the services of human beings, illegally, for money.  Governmental leaders must take a stand and enforce those who would disregard the value of human lives by their inaction.  We must expect legal consequences and demand it from the authorities who can make a difference.

         Ben Skinner’s book, A Crime So Monstrous, touches on some of those people and their situations.  It breaks your heart.  And yet, you know that it is just a way of outlinning the scope of the problem.  You can find out more about the book here:  www.simonsays.com  It is also available as an e-book.  Take the time to educate yourself…read it; and, understand how this affects us all.  We need to stand up and demand that our leaders help to wage a war against those who would commit crimes against humanity in such a vile, and dehumanizing way.  Thank you to those who fight the fight against such inhumanity in our world.  

See possibly related story:  http://abcnews.go.com/TheLaw/WireStory?id=6081857&page=1 or http://abcnews.go.com/TheLaw/story?id=6121646

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       Every year in the United States approximately 2,500 babies die of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).  Even though those numbers have come down substantially over the years…even one death a year from SIDS is one infant death too many.  So, research on ways of preventing those deaths is very important.

       A new study is suggesting that having a fan, in the room of an infant, can greatly reduce the possibility of death by SIDS by up to 72% according to the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine.  Check it out here: http://archpedi.ama-assn.org/   Invited to a baby shower?  Show your love and concern by gifting the new parents with a fan and a printout of the reasons of the importance of the gift regarding the health of their baby!  Educate parents, first time parents or teenaged parents, grandparents of the new research; empower them with the newest safety information. 

        While the understanding of the role of the fan, in the prevention of deaths of infants from SIDS, is not clearly understood…it was found that rooms that were heated to above 69 degrees benefitted by the use of a fan in the prevention of death from SIDS.  It is thought that overly warm temperatures increase the potential of death by SIDS. 

         Another possible benefit of using a fan in the infant’s room is that the fan helps to circulate the air flow around the baby.  Babies who are put to sleep on their backs do better as well, because babies who sleep on their stomachs have less airflow in the early months of life; when their necks are too weak to lift their heads if the airflow is not sufficient for healthy breathing.  There has been a big campaign to educate parents to use the BACK TO SLEEP plan for this reason.  Babies who sleep on their stomachs also have a larger incidence of rebreathing in carbon dioxide that they have exhaled.  A fan can help to circulate the air around babies.  Still, putting an infant to sleep on their back is a better solution to keeping the airflow open around baby.  Important:  Just remember that when using a fan…keep the cords away from small hands that could pull the fan down and cause injury. 

         What else can a parent do to keep their newborn infants safe from SIDS?  First of all, putting a baby to sleep on their backs in a crib with a firm mattress is an important part of the equasion.    The crib must have the side rail bars or slats spaced 2 3/8 inches apart or less; so that a baby does not get trapped between the bars.   Next, comes the idea of dressing the baby with adequate clothing to keep the baby warm; but, not so many articles of clothing as to overheat the baby.  Keep the crib free from toys, from blankets or pillows or even bumper pads that cannot be firmly attached to the side of the crib.  It is important to keep all items away from an infant that doesn’t have the ability to turn it’s head or to push away from anything that can block it’s airflow.

          Never lay an infant to sleep on an adult bed or extremely soft or conforming surface.  Cuddle time is important…but, doing so in an adult bed could allow the adult to fall asleep.  It is not worth the risk of falling asleep with your infant beside you, when you are not awake enough to keep watch over your young infant.  No one wants to live with regrets on a tragedy that could be avoided by remembering that safety comes first regarding your baby.

          If you are leaving your child in the care of a grandparent or a caregiver…it is wise to include this new information on the best way to keep your baby safe.  Take the small fan with you when you are entrusting others to care for your small child.  Make sure that they follow your direction in the way that you wish your child to be cared for.  It may be different than they have previously cared for other young babies…but, it is never too late to learn.  If they wish to care for your child…express the need for them to follow this guideline of using the fan and not bundling your child up with unneccessary blankets and clothing.

           Many years ago, i knew a young family that lost an infant daughter to SIDS.  It was a horrendous event in their family life.   In fact, their marriage didn’t survive more than another couple of years after the death of their child.   I can’t help but wonder, if this information was available then…would their child have lived?  How many babies can be saved with this new information?

          Here is a great site that can offer more tips on infant safety for parents of young infants regarding SIDS prevention:  http://sids.org/nprevent.htm  Did you learn anything new in this blog post that you felt was beneficial to you; or, someone that you know who has a young infant?

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My good friend, Ken McArthur is standing in a circus tent today
asking 2,000 people to spread a message of hope to teenagers who
don’t think that life is worth living.

I think it’s a great message of hope for anyone and would love to
see all of my readers think about spreading it today.

Here’s Ken’s simple message for for giving hope (and maybe saving
someone’s life!):

G – Greet and meet: talk to others, smile, say hello, ask
someone how they are doing

I – Involve yourself and others: find a cause you can support,
volunteer, pledge resources. Get the people around you
involved, especially if you see someone beginning to
withdraw. Invite them to participate in some activity, to
“get out” of their comfort zone

V – Validate others: tell others that they matter – especially
family members and friends that you tend to see daily but
may take for granted, give genuine complements

E – Empathize: be a listening ear, take time to be fully
present, don’t try to solve – just acknowledge someone’s
feeling/hurts.

Spread this message today!

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        Another family has made the news by dropping off their children, 9 of them from ages 1 to 17 at a hospital in Nebraska.  It is in my mind, in cases of abandonment, almost as if the children are treated like a litter of unwanted puppies.  In mid July, Nebraska made its own news headlines by instituting a “safe haven law”. 

         Most states in the US have some sort of a safe haven law which is designed to protect children who are either unwanted; or, in unsafe environments regarding living conditions, or in situations of neglect or abuse.  The safe haven laws are meant to allow a safe place for children to be left such as a hospital or a fire station.  What is unique about the new law in Nebraska is that it doesn’t clarify who has the authority to drop off said children…it could be a baby sitter, grandparent, parent, neighbor or what have you.  Another important point, most of the states that implement safe haven laws usually are set up to protect infants.  Nebraska made headlines by not limiting the reach of the safe haven laws to infant only drop offs…it basically says “minors”…leaving the new law open to interpetation.

         The courts will have to clarify the definition of the safe haven law so that the protection of the children and the people who abandon them is more clear.  At the moment, anyone under the age of 19 is allowed to be dropped off in a safe haven.  There will be no legal repercussions as long as abuse or neglect is not involved.  In some ways, this may help those situations where we read about newborn infants born to teen mothers who are dumped in a garbage can or left outside alone.  Maybe in those cases, some children will be saved…but, this new law opens up a whole new set of issues regarding children and their families.

         I know that the law was set up in good faith…to protect the children.  However, you have to wonder about the psychological damage to those same children who are old enough to understand that they have been abandoned by the people most trusted in their lives.  An infant does not comprehend the abandonment until they are older and the information is presented to them…an older child certainly does understand the idea of abandoment and there certainly will ensue emotional and psychological damage.  However, i will say an infant may not understand the full scope of abandonment; but, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t affected by it; when they are affected, it is often called an attachment disorder…where the baby has trouble bonding with their caregivers, either giving or receiving love…sometimes, it is even turned into a failure to thrive.  All human beings deserve to be loved and wanted.

         Studies have been done on babies or infants who have been abandoned in other countries and left in orphanages…if they do not get enough human interaction that shows love or caring…those children can actually die from the lack of human, loving touch.  Don’t think that when an infant is dropped off, even at a safe haven…that they won’t know the difference between being wanted and unwanted.

         People who find themselves in desperate circumstances may be tempted to go the route of the safe haven in a moment of extreme duress.  However, the long term consequences make me wonder whether this is a viable option.  People who abuse or neglect their children willingly or freely are not going to be so very concerned about making sure that the place they abandon their child is considered a safe place.  It would be better to put into place programs that facilitate helping families who are in danger of imploding. 

         Not to mention, those parents or caregivers who are feeling desperate…say…in a financial crisis…they can’t afford to feed or house their children…may think that this safe haven is an option for them.  The consequences of such an action could be considered permanent…even if their circumstances change in time.  Their custody could be forever impacted by that one moment of temptation to abandon the children in a safe place. 

         I wonder if other options are being given as much media & legal attention, such as making a short term placement with social services; for short term foster care in cases where, say a housing or financial need is threatening the ability to keep a family together? 

          Children aren’t like litters of animals…not that animals should be abandoned either!  Being a pet owner or a parent is a huge responsiblity…the demands are serious.  People should not enter into the role of a pet owner or parenting without alot of thought!  Parents need to take their commitment to parenting seriously. 

          If a parent is considering abandoning their children…wouldn’t it be better to work with an agency and make a permanency plan such as adoption?  Definately, if that were the case, doing it in infancy is better than waiting until a child is old enough to be scarred by an emotional and physical abandonment by their parents or caregivers.  At least by making sure that the child/children were placed in a safe and loving home…a child would have a chance to grow up and to be nutured in a loving environment. 

          No one should ever be made to feel unwanted, unloved or unprotected.  Abandonment leaves permanent scares that impact their young lives and often, other generations of lives as well.  What are your feelings on the safe haven laws?

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        Did you ever stop to think about the ways in which a driver can be impaired?  I mean besides the obvious impairment of drinking or drugging, and then driving?  I read a very sad news story recently about an elderly driver who ran a stop sign and killed another person.  That elderly man has recently had to go before the court on charges of killing another human being.

         Did that driver intentionally kill the other person; no, he did not.  However, it is alleged that because of his age…his driving skill was impaired.  It is said that his reaction time was greatly diminished and he should never have been driving.  This man is in his 90’s and will possibly, upon sentencing…be serving time in jail.  He didn’t mean to cause the death…but still, someone else’s loved one died. 

          It is a fine line in knowing when a persons driving is impaired because of age, disability, irresponsibility, or illness.  I think about all of the young men and women who have physical or mental disability who see their peers hitting the milestone of turning 16 and getting their driver’s licenses.  I know their heart aches to do the same. 

          It is up to the parents to decide when and if their child is able to drive and make appropriate choices when doing so; whether that child is disabled or not.  If they are disabled physically, emotionally, or mentally; and, it will impair their driving skill…it is up to the parents to withhold the priviledge of driving.  It is hard to deny them that priviledge but sometimes necessary.  It is better to have them dissappointed or angry than to have them dead or causing the death of another person.

           The same holds true when it comes to being the adult child of a parent who is past the ability to drive safely.  No one really wants to give up their freedom to drive when they have done so throughout their adult years…but, when an elderly person has gotten to the point to where their driving skills are in question…it usually falls to the adult child to have a discussion about giving up the right to drive.  Maybe there is a medical condition that causes concern…or a medication that hinders safe driving.  Precautions must be taken for everyone’s sake.  This is a delicate subject; care must be given to not treat the person as a child.  Alternatives have to be considered for how that elderly person is going to come and go in their everyday lives.  Think about how they feel…get their input on how to resolve the situation. 

            That is not an easy conversation to have with an elderly parent.  It is not an easy conversation to have with a child who has disabilities.  It is not an easy conversation to have with anyone who is impaired by anything that affects the drivers safety or the safety of others on the road…yet, it is a conversation that must take place if you care about that person.

             Back to the elderly person in the news who now bears the responsibility of having taken a life with his driving.  The picture of that man in the police booking photo would break your heart.  It is the picture of a broken man.  It is terribly sad to look at that photo and put anyone that you care about in that picture frame.  It is sadder yet for the person who lost a loved one to such a situation. 

             Please take the time to evaluation the decision to allow the people you care about to drive.  If your teen wants to drive but makes reckless decisions…wait a while longer until they prove more responsible.  They might be angry…but at least they wont be in the position of that elderly man.  If your disabled loved one is not ready to drive…don’t let them just because they are of age.  It is a burden they might not be ready for.  If you know someone who is consummed with road rage…talk to them about not driving.  If you know someone who is constantly distracted on the road…they should not be driving.  If your aged love one is past the age of safe driving; and, is making mistakes on the road…have that conversation with them in a caring way.  Respect them…but, be sure to explain your concerns.  Take their feelings into account and think about how you want to be treated in the same situation when the time comes.

           It is hard…but, if you know that accidents are happening that shouldn’t; and, you don’t do or say anything to them…and something horrible happens…can you live with the consequences of death or jail time that will affect that person? 

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         A very sad news story this past week has brought to mind how important it is to have integrity in all that you do.  Thousands have been made sick in China due to the greediness of milk producers who added the chemical melamine to the raw milk used to produce milk, yogurt, and baby formula.

         Adding the chemical to the raw milk used to produce the powdered baby formula appeared to fool the quality checks as to the content of the milk.  This chemical can cause kidney stones, irritation to the eyes and to the skin, and it can also cause ulcers in the urinary tract of the individuals who ingest the tainted dairy products.  There have been over 4 deaths to babies and well over 6,000 are ill from the effects. 

           These concerns are in the short term…what about long term effects?  What about people who will discover health problems down the line from kidney stone formation or other effects?  China’s population has been devastated in the past year by the severe earthquake, flooding from the after affects of the earthquake, the collapse of schools during the earthquake; and now this tainted milk disaster.   The future impact on China remains to be seen from all of these losses. 

           Parents have a right to be angry and fearful for the well-being of their children.  Adults are being advised that drinking 2 liters of milk a day or less will not produce ill affects in healthy adults.

           We used to talk about the milk of human kindness…lately, we seem to see more of the greediness in individuals; and, it isn’t limited to China.  People need to exhibit integrity in their day- to- day actions; and, realize that what they choose to do affects others around them.  There have been arrests in this recent disaster relating to the tainting of the milk.  Those involved in the decision to add the chemical could actually face the death sentence for the choices that they have made. 

            In the meantime, the tainted products have been pulled from the shelves in China…but, some of the products have been exported to other countries.  It is imperative to check the labels of any products that used milk products, that have come from China, at this time for the safety and well-being of those who would consume the products purchased.

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