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Posts Tagged ‘families’

Wow, that is a mouthful for the title of this blog post…but, it is what it says it is.  The National Association of Letter Carriers have committed themselves once again to their annual food drive.   They do this to help combat hunger.  In the last two years in the United States, more than 50 million people have found themselves living in homes that don’t have enough food.  This is outrageous, we can all do something to help.  No one should go hungry in a country that supplies other nations with food from our surplus produce that farmers work so hard to grow.

You may say, I am only one person…what can i do?  You can support the National Association of Letter Carriers help stamp out hunger by leaving a bag at your mail box, on Saturday May 14, 2011, with non-perishable food items.  That is only 2 days from now.   Make sure that the items you are donating are not out of date or in danger of expiring any time soon.   Don’t have a lot to give; give what you can.  If you are blessed enough to have the means to give…give generously; we all have a responsibility to share our blessings with others.

Support businesses and organizations that sponsor the annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive.  This is an amazing grass roots program that blesses your local food banks.  All the food collected by your local mail carrier stays in your local area.  The people you help may be your own friends, family or neighbors. With the economy being so challenging in recent years more people are affected by not having enough to eat.  The numbers of children in homes without enough food is rising.  The elderly are having a harder time making ends meet.  Young wage earners are finding themselves without steady income to support their families sufficiently.   Natural disasters have hurt many families and those people still need to eat.  Churches can’t do it all…they need our help to provide food for those who are struggling with hunger!  Won’t you help?

Would you like to learn more?  Visit their website here:  Stamp Out Hunger and if you happen to have a Facebook account or a Twitter account…then Like them or Follow them to lend your support.  Spread the work online and off.  Tell others about the food drive…encourage others to donate.

Remember to thank your mail carrier.  They are dedicated to helping people stamp out hunger in your community.   Do you know someone who has had to use food from a food pantry or food bank?  Tell them about my friend Connie who heads up a website that teaches people how to eat healthier with the food that they bring into their homes through SNAP, food pantries, commodities, and farmer’s markets.  She does this in a way to help people stretch their budgets and to encourage the people who visit her website to form a community to share tips and ideas with one another.  Her site isn’t just for food stamp users…but for anyone on a tight budget who wants and needs to eat well.  Food Stamp Cooking Club

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Have you ever met an individual that is so rare and special that you could compare them to a valuable gem?  Let me tell you about such a person, Jessica Angelique, who has a passionate mission in life to shine a light on life changing non for profit organizations.  Jessica has had an interesting life full of ups and downs and because of that she has dedicated her life to making the world a better place.  Her heart has been drawn to organizations that help build people up and educate them; which allows them to positively impact the world for the better.  She is in need of help to continue to expand her ability to impact the world by educating them through a wonderful opportunity called the Pepsi Refresh Project.

Pepsi is offering up an opportunity to win a $250,000 grant to those who win the most votes in their category.  Jessica Angelique is the creator and executive director of Definitive Voices.   She is also an author who has written of her life’s journey; navigating through the challenging foster care system into a positive, purpose filled adulthood.   She uses her voice to empower people and organizations to be aware and proactive in their communities to build up those in need.

Through Definitive Voices Jessica uses social media to shine a light on individuals and organizations that are doing their best to help people improve the world through education, awareness, and hands on action that is changing the lives of those they encounter.  Jessica needs your help by getting you to go to this link and vote for her Definitive Voices so that she can expand her ability to positively impact the lives of others.  It only takes a couple of seconds once you register and sign in using an active email and a Pepsi password.  Here is the link to cast your vote daily until the 28th of February: http://www.refresheverything.com/definitivevoices(more…)

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Today I did an interview with Louise Sattler who is the creative owner/operator of  http://www.signingfamilies.com.   Louise is an expert trainer at workshops and classes that teach American Sign Language to help people communicate with one another.  She is also a certified school psychologist who has an awareness of the importance of the need for families and community leaders to learn sign language.   Sign Language opens doors and bridges gaps for people who are hearing impaired, or who may have developmental delays or special needs.  Communication is something that many people take for granted.

Put yourself in the position of a person who is hearing impaired, or a person who lives with special needs; and, consider some environments they they may experience differently than you; such as a trip to the hospital or emergency room.  How different would the experience be for you if you were the one who had difficulty making your needs known to the health care professionals.  Or say you are an elderly person who is experiencing hearing loss…how are you going to communicate with other residents or say the staff?   How about shopping or getting educational services at college or in elementary school?   How about ordering a meal in a restaurant?   Do you see how the quality of life can be improved for people impacted in this way?   Can you see how sign language could open doors for people if others in the community took the opportunity to learn it from someone like Louise or through her DVD’s?

Click on Image to listen to Interview Click on Image to listen to Interview

If you are interested in learning more about Louise and her educational services please listen to the interview here:  http://www.rapidcashmarketing.com/lorrainesinterview/signingfamilies.htm

I have moved to a new Url here: WriteWhereYouAre if you are interested in reading more of my blog posts!

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        There is a debate brewing about whether news media should have access to photograph the coffins of returning military men and women, killed in the line of duty, when their bodies are returned to Dover Air Force Base.  There is strong controversy about whether this should be allowed or not.  In 1991, President George H. Bush enacted a ban on the photographing of the coffins.  It just was not allowed to happen, by the order of the President.

         This has been a matter of contention.  Some people believe that allowing  the photographs could make an impact on the  minds of the citizens of the United States as to the cost of war; as the death toll rises from the wars in recent years.  There are many who feel that by not seeing the evidence of the coffins, people would not understand the depths of the sacrifice that our service persons were making.  In effect, out of sight…out of mind.  (more…)

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      This week we celebrated two very special things here in the United States: one was Monday, November 10th which was the Marine Corps Birthday…and yesterday, which was Veteran’s Day.  Both dates give honor to our military men and women.  We should celebrate our armed forces because they sacrifice so much for us.  We have men and women who are seperated from their families, often in dangerous situations; defending our country and those in other countries who need defended.

       We have some pretty awesome troops who need support.  I have heard about a wonderful program that does just that.  It is a program that would be a wonderful project for school children or teen youth groups across the nation.   Activity directors in nursing homes would also be a great source for this project.  Even former Veterans can continue to serve their country by reaching out to those who presently serve our great country in the Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force and the Marines. 

       The idea behind http://www.make2tell2.com is to make 2 cards of love and tell 2 others about the project.  They can be holiday cards or just cards that express respect and caring.  This is a great way to lift the spirits of those serving our country when they need an emotional pick me up.  These cards can express patriotism, faith, gratitude, caring, support, encouragement, and communicate comfort to those who need it!

         Please spread the word…get involved…support our troops today.  It doesn’t take much effort and it can mean so very much to the individual who receives it.  After you make the cards…please send them to:  Make 2 Tell 2, 991 Road
325, Harvard, NE 68944  This is also a great way to teach young people about service and about community.  We all need encouragement at times…this is a wonderful way to do that for our troops overseas; it can have a tremendous impact on our military personel.  Thank you!

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      Now that the historic 2008 election for the President of the United States is over and Barack Obama has won…there will be great expectations.  Obama really ran on the platform of “change”.  As the agent of change…he will be watched and judged in a way like no other before him.  Everyone is expecting miracles; and miracles, is what this nation needs.  Families are looking for stability in their lives.

       As we have demonstrated to the world over the last few months…we have to get our finances as a country and as a world under control.  We must heal the breakdown of credit and the housing industry…the buying, selling and foreclosure of homes.  We must address the nations dependency on oil from foreign countries.  We must investigate and explore alternative forms of energy.  We must address the dwindling funding that forms the foundation of education in both lower and higher education.  We must find a way to insure those who have no medical insurance.  We need to apply some solutions to the social security flux which will drain the funds because of the aging population.  We must repair relationships with countries around the world that have been badly damaged over the last 8 years.  We must continue to protect ourselves and others who are under siege from terrorists around the world.  We must insure that our children have opportunities before them that children from other countries have. 

        I say we meaning, African Americans and all Americans, Democrats and Republics, conservatives and liberals, men and women…it doesn’t matter who you are…we are in this thing called life together…and that is how we have to approach solutions to the problems that we face as a country.

        With an unprecedented stacked deck of Democrats in the House & Senate, as well as a Democratic President, we will have great expectations from Barack Obama as leader of the United States. Republicans have taken the heat for the condition of the United States for quite some time…now it is time for Democrats to prove their worth as they lead our citizens.  

         Is President elect Obama up to the task?  He had better be…because it is unacceptable to think about the alternative; and, the impact it will have on this country if he fails at any one of the aforemented issues; as well as many, many more issues which are in need of major renovation to become healthy once again.

         Hopefully, we will not, in our zeal to affect change in this country, continue to attack the basic values of conservative America.  We are seeing escalating legal attacks on the defination of traditional views of marriage and family.  We have people who are determined to stretch the defination to include gay marriages as a legally recognized state of marriage.  There are those who seek to further liberal ideas such as legalizing marijuana and prostitution; or expanding the limits of abortion.  It seems that traditional values in this country are being turning upside down…what has been considered to be right is now viewed as wrong and is prone to challenge.

        There is some real resistance against such change, from those who consider themselves conservative; to fight and stand up to those challenges; by those who not only believe in a liberal view of rights and responsibilities but, those who seek to change how we govern ourselves regarding those issues.  So is Barack Obama up to the task of effective leadership of such diverse approaches to life?  Time will be the judge! In the meantime, citizens of the United States have a right to great expectations.

       

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       It can’t be helped; tonight, i am going to miss Dancing With The Stars.  It is my guilty pleasure to watch this show.  I look forward to the season; when it is out of season.  I need to run to the airport to pick up my hubby from a business trip.  He is more important than watching television…but, on the other hand, i am glad that Dancing With The Stars always has a recap on Tuesday nights, of the show the night before.  This way, i can catch up…since i am going to miss it tonight.  I hate to have to miss it; in it’s first showing…but, at least i will get to see the stars in action tomorrow night.

        Since this is the second week of the season, i hope that they haven’t changed their formula from the previous season…or, i will be very disappointed.  The early stages of the season…it is supposed to run fairly predictable with who leaves week by week according to skill or lack of skill…although, some have fallen for Cloris Leachman’s personality; and, kept her on a week or so longer than they should have in my opinion.  No matter, in a few short weeks, the true competitors will be in place and you will begin to see real growth in those who remain in the competition.  In the meantime, the show is an enjoyment for the most part. 

          In having Cloris, the oldest competitor in the history of Dancing With The Stars…maybe they should have called it Risky Business!  After all, a fall could be serious business for someone who is in their 80’s.  It is somewhat inspirational to have her set an example of remaining active in body and spirit when we age; however, Cloris has set a bad example with her behavior and her salty language.  

          Maybe Dancing With The Stars should have a clause in their agreement with the entertainers on standards of behavior allowed on the television show; since it is watched by families with young children as audience members. 

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        Titanic, the US economy & rescue boats; what do they have in common?  Much!  Do you remember seeing the pictures of the Titanic ship as she prepared for her maiden voyage?  It was large, it was the ultimate in luxury and it was celebrated as “unsinkable”.  The US economy has sort of lived in luxury even if it has been on “borrowed/credit” monies.  I think many thought the structure of the US economy was unsinkable as well.  We now know differently because of the financial crisis that many have been working so hard to “rescue”.  It is common sense, if you live outside of your means to pay for it…you will loose it all.

          While i think we will probably be saved from the fate of most of the passengers and crew of the Titanic; there are some who will definately suffer.  This morning on the news programs it was announced that the biparisan effort to “fix” the economy has reached a tenative agreement on the way to do that.

           What we need to do is wait to see the methods that are employed in this fix- it solution.  Waiting feels a bit wrong because things are so very important and desperate for many Americans.  There has been suffering already.  Some of the suffers have already been in extreme situations…loosing their homes, filing bankruptsy, working more than one job trying to make ends meet; some have been successful in changing their financial direction and some were not.  Hearing that taxpayers are going to have to fix this problem with more taxes when they are already pushed against the wall is terrifying.  So, some quick explanations of this “bailout”  is very important to calming the fears of the public.

           It is going to be crucial to learn lessons from the Titanic experience.  Even now, knowing that it sunk, knowing that lives were lost…do you think that if the passengers and crew on that ship had each had a bucket and a will to survive that they would not have made the trip up and down the stairs to make an attempt, several times over, to try to bail out the water in the bowels of that ship?  Of course they would have. 

           Had that ship had more lifeboats (rescue boats in our case) would more lives have been saved?  Certainly.  So, What does the Titanic ship and the US economy have in common…they both needed rescuing, they both carried movers and shakers, people had a vested interest in saving them both, lives were and are at stake in both situations.  Can the US economy survive when the Titanic ship did not?  It is possible!

          Let’s pray that the bi-partisan plan has figured in enough rescue boats to save not ONLY the large banking systems, the mortgage companies, the credit card organizations; but, the people at the base of each of those situations…the taxpayers…the recipients of those services.  The little people who are drowning in the flood as we speak need their own rescue ships; or, the overall plan will fail. The future impact of this bailout is not only important to the US but to the global economy as well.

         We must not forget that any of those businesses cannot possibly make a comeback if the little people can NOT afford to make use of those services…and, they can’t do that if they are loosing their jobs, their homes, their families to the high cost of living!  We all want and need to survive…the will to survive is there; if there are enough rescue ships in this plan, we may just be able to keep the ship of the US economy floating long enough to make it healthy again.  We all may be traveling at a lower level than luxury or first class…but, that is alright…at least we will have the chance to recover.  We just have to adjust how we think and make choices in our day to day lives that are within our means to pay for them…what a novel idea!

            

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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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     Nine years is a relatively short amount of time to change lives, community, and environment.  Luckily, Franklin D. Roosevelt didn’t let that thought stop him when he created the Civilian Conservation Corps through his impactful New Deal which created over 59 agencies that worked to help America get out of the Depression Era.

      The Great Depression was a devastating period of time in America that impacted every facet of family life.  Food was in short supply, jobs were scarce, families were large and hope was wanning. 

       The year 1933 began to change that…the Depression had already dumped four years of hardship on families and the country.  Franklin D. Roosevelt became the President and promised the country a New Deal.  He created many agencies that would ultimately turn the country around…but those things took time. 

         When he created the Civilian Conservation Corps it was intended to take young men out of the city who were on the “help” line or what would today be called welfare.  The CCC did in fact help many young city men to leave the city life and got plenty of young men out of an environment of trouble.   When some of the young men/boys didn’t want to leave the city…boys from the country also went.  If the young men couldn’t work during this time, they were a drain on the family food supply; the CCC provided a solution to that by sending the young men to the camps…not only didn’t their families have to feed them…they could in turn, send home money helping to support their family at home. The requirements were such that the young men were supposed to be 18 years of age, collecting help or welfare benefits, and were willing to leave their families to go to the CCC camps.

         The work was hard.  The environment was sometimes empty lands that the “boys” had to clear and build their own shelters that would eventually become the camp barracks.  The discipline was tough because it had to be.  The camps often were blending boys from city life with boys from country life.  The times were tough…and many men and boys came without much clothing.  The camps provided uniforms to wear, food to eat, a place to stay, and a purpose for the young men and boys during a time when left to their own devices, many were prone to get into trouble.  The uniforms helped to instill pride in the work that they performed…for their families, their communities, and their country.

         The work that the CCC did was varied around the country…but, basically, they built roads, dams, installed telephone lines, paved roads, built state and national parks, built dams, constructed fire breaks to help control fire damage, planted forests and so much more.

          In return for the priviledge of being clothed in uniform and taking pride in the work that they were able to accomplish, the young men had to agree to the payment plan.  That payment included three meals a day, housing, clothing, and $30 dollars a month…the men were allowed to keep $5 dollars of that money and the rest was sent home to help their parents; or, if they were married with dependents, then they sent home the $25 to their spouse to help take care of their responsibilities.  Many of the young men had to not only leave their homes but some even had to go to camps out of their home states.

          This program, the CCC was wonderful at rebuilding a sense of pride in young men who did not want to take help from the government…it allowed them to feel as though they were once again restoring their families by the manual labor that they did.  At the same time, the CCC used the young men to construct projects that impacted the country in ways that; to this day, we are able to reap the rewards from.  The work ethic that the men exibited during this time was to set a standard for generations to learn from.  It was run with a military type environment…not quite a boot camp…but strong discipline and lots of physical labor.  Often, the men went on to join the armed forces and used the skills they learned through the CCC to help the military in other areas around the world. 

          Many of the parks and dams still exist and are enjoyed.  The CCC camps lasted 9 years; this year honored the celebration of its 75 anniversity.  The CCC put over 2.5 million young men and boys to work.  They planted over 200 million trees…my own grandfather was a part of that.  In the area where he worked…they planted pine trees that still stand to this day.  In the area where he worked…those trees were instrumental to helping to stop the progression of a 10 acre parcel of desert which turned into over 1000 acres before the trees were able to do their job.  That gave farming families a chance to regain their farm land which provided their families a place to live and plant their food supply.  

          All of the men who joined the CCC did work to be proud of.  They worked hard, they sacrificed time away from their families and they provided for other members of their families by doing so.  Many formed long lasting friendships with their co-workers and all had stories to tell when their time was done.   It is a legacy that should not be forgotten.  All of the work was important and should be honored. Many of the workers are gone now…some are living still and to them all…we owe a big thank you!   Do you know anyone who worked for the CCC?  How did it impact their life?  How does it affect the environment where you live today?  Should we organize something similar today to help our economy, our youth, and our country?  https://writeasrain.wordpress.com/2008/07/30/impact-action-team-makes-a-difference-in-the-world-through-boot-camp-training/

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