Tag Archive | lifestyle

Let’s Do Some Math

There is a whole group of people in the world who work very hard…

And still live in poverty or in “near poverty.”

 

I’m writing to recognize and honor them.

They are almost never acknowledged when the powers that be talk about poverty and programs that help, so join me for a moment to consider them.

Many of these people get SNAP benefits and Medicaid…legitimately.

Many of them work at least two jobs, just to make ends meet.

 

They do things like:

Housekeeping at hotels, hospitals, resorts and malls

Pumping gas

Working in stores and restaurants

Care giving

 

They work for minimum wage.

Below is a link to show what the minimum wage in each State is.  Another good question to ask would be, “What is the cost of living in each State?”  That would paint a more thorough picture.

Just for kicks, let’s do some arithmetic here:

If John works 40 hours per week at $7.25/hour (the Federal minimum wage, what will his gross income be? Answer: $1290.50.  Now, take away about 30% of that…(that would be $387.15)  The final result: 903.35

That would be impossible to live on if John is an individual.  He might get a few dollars from SNAP; if his employer isn’t providing insurance, he would get a break under the ACA.  And so it goes.

Now, what if he has at least one child?

Hopefully, he is in subsidized housing; he definitely would get SNAP; Medicaid or help with insurance would be part of his support…

 

Even if John supplemented his full-time job with say another 15-20 hours (he does have to sleep sometime) he would be below the poverty line.  And nothing unexpected had better come up:  He won’t make it; he might even join the many homeless people in the land.

 

BTW:  Many homeless people work.  The challenge is, the cost of living is so high, they can’t get out of the financial hole.

 

https://www.dol.gov/whd/minwage/america.htm

 

Think of the people you know personally who work long and hard, only to struggle.  I am not talking about the ones who manage their resources poorly or refuse to work when they could.  They get too much attention as it is.

 

I know some:

Educational assistants – I have a neighbor who is doing that.  If she had to support herself, she would need a second job or some subsidies.

 

Fast food workers – Again, if there is a way to share expenses, maybe.

We need these people.  We need what they do.

Thank you, all who clean the motel room before I arrive, so that it is fresh, well supplied and clean.

Thank you, stockers at the grocery store, servers at restaurants and workers who make sure that the sheets on beds in hospitals and care centers are clean.

 

The next time you find yourself in a conversation about “the poor,” would you remind all involved that these are people…and countless numbers of them work?

Thank you.

Simplicity

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There is a kind of simplicity that is undesirable:
It’s the simple minded demand that all situations, no matter how complex they ar, be addressed with simple explanations and solutions.  “Don’t bother me with the facts,” such a person says.  “I don’t care about the details; they only confuse me.”  The lack of insight and engagement is both mind boggling and burdensome.

Soundbites and the opinions of talk show hosts will suffice for these shallow, unwise ones.  To think for themselves would probably give them a headache!

Then there is a simplicity that is beautiful and noble.
It is often quiet and unassuming; bathed in thought and prayer.
People who practice this lack of complication enjoy the good things of life; yet they are not in pursuit of prestige or extravagance.  A beautiful sunset delights them.  Time spent with family and friends is priceless.
One hallmark of such individuals is astuteness.  These ones think with both sides of their brains.  They question, explore and research; never settling for the status quo.  If you were to visit their homes, you would find shelves full of books, art and music in every room, along with creative endeavors.  They might not have the most uncluttered place you’ve ever seen.  That’s because they are busy with thought, creation and relationships.
Another quality is the very high amount of respect and honor these people have for the world:  Their fellow humans, animals, the environment, principles such as decency and generosity.
This simplicity is a paradox, filled with all shades of reality and nuance.
To know people who live this life is to be inspired and encouraged.
How very different these two kinds of simplicity are!  One word; opposite meanings.
That really describes our world, doesn’t it?  The Earth and her inhabitants are concentric systems, interwoven into complex patterns and relationships; yet there is a simple matter of watching, listening, tasting, feeling, smelling, enjoying and caring for all that is around us.

May you discover and appreciate the lovely, noble sort of simplicity that revives and nurtures you.

Spring Fever

spring_fever___feel_the_nature_by_manu34-d65zebwIt got up to 52 degrees F today.  I seriously considered going out to do some yard work.  If this were mid October or so and it reached the same mark on the thermometer, I would say it’s too cold to work outside.  The difference?  Spring fever.  True, 52 is warm, compared to say 21.  It’s also quite chilly after being bathed in 90+ degree heat.  But there’s more to spring fever than the change in weather.

There’s this urge to dig into the warming soil and inhale that wonderful smell.  Then, there are the fragrances of spring:  Blossoms of all sorts, freshly mowed lawns and rain washed air.  All of this is intensified by the desire to plant seeds and starts; then nurture them until they produce delicious yummies…or beautiful flowers.

The only cure for spring fever is to get outside.  Warm sun, fresh air, some hard work and accomplishment will surely bring improvement to the most avid gardener.

Happy planting, all.

Community

o-talking-to-kids-about-race-facebookIf you read through my blogs, it might become evident that I have a passion for building community.  Strong towns and neighborhoods are crucial for our well being, especially now, when prejudice, threat of deportation and the possibility of having vital services cut loom so darkly.  That has inspired the following:

Coming together as citizens;
Overcoming differences and fear;
Making friends out of strangers
Moves us to be more clear:
Unity builds strength and safety;
No one can bully us then.
It truly is impossible
To turn against the one
You have come to know and love as a friend.

WHAT DID HIPPOCRATES KNOW!

Hippocrates was born c. 460 bc , island of Cos, Greece.  He died c. 375 , Larissa, Thessaly.  He was the most famous ancient Greek physician who lived during Greece’s Classical period and is traditionally regarded as the father of medicin.
Here are some quotes from him.  Given our current knowledge, how would you say he did?

 

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.
Make a habit of two things: to help; or at least to do no harm.
Walking is man’s best medicine.
Natural forces within us are the true healers of disease.
Healing is a matter of time, but it is sometimes also a matter of opportunity.
It is more important to know what sort of person has a disease than to know what sort of disease a person has.
There are in fact two things, science and opinion; the former begets knowledge, the latter ignorance.
Life is short, the art long.
Wherever the art of medicine is loved, there is also a love of humanity.
Everything in excess is opposed to nature.
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I’d say he did quite well.
It’s amazing, how ancient wisdom turns out to be right on!

AMERICA IS GREAT…ALREADY AND STILL

Trump’s campaign Slogan:”Make America Great Again.”

There is a gigantic assumption in this statement:  America isn’t great.
Who says she isn’t?  Who gets to determine that?

I say America is as great as her people!  I say we determine that, not someone trying to get elected!
If we have problems, we get to solve them.  Any lack of greatness is up to us; it’s not China’s fault; it isn’t those “bad Mexicans” who come here looking for work and do the jobs caucasions refuse to do.

There are simple things that every American can do to make this nation even greater than it already is:

1.  Take care about who you listen to.
There is an old assumption that news organizations are objective and report without bias.  Not so.  First, they are run by people who have their own bents, just like the rest of us.  Next, they are owned by corporations who have invested interests in what gets said and how.  That it’s on the news doesn’t make it accurate or true.

2.  Build on what is good and right.
If you look for one positive thing each day – an accomplishment, an act of kindness, something built, a difficulty overcome, you will find it.  Celebrate; find a way to build on it in your own life and community.
When you meet someone whose attitude and demeaner exudes positivity, highlight and mimic it.  If you are that person, thank you.  Keep spreading the cheer.

3.  Look for solutions.
Complaining tears down.  It digs the hole deeper.
Finding a solution brings light and healing.

4.  See to your own self.
Or as my father used to say, “Tend to your own knitting.”
Blaming also tears down.  It promotes anger, bitterness, feelings of powerlessness and chronic dissatisfaction.
If you create or find just one small part of the solution to a challenge, you become a hero.  You build something strong and good.
Each of us is responsible for choices and behavior; no one else makes us think, feel or do anything.  Take that responsibility and run with it!  Use it to build a great life.

5.  A great nation begins with great individuals; build in your own life and community.
If you are concerned about unemployment, find a way to get just one person back into the work force.
If literacy is on your heart, teach adults to read or spend some time reading to children.  IF this isn’t for you, buy some books.
If the matters of food and shelter concern you, donate to the local food program or shelter.  If you have the time, energy and inclination, volunteer.
You get my point:  Do your part!

The wonderful thing about all of these suggestions is, you don’t have to have a pile of money!  Anyone from the most wealthy to the most impoverished can join in making a stronger America..or England, Cameroon, South Africa, Australia, …

America is great; let’s make her even stronger!

HOLD TO PROMISE

Promise is a wonderful treasure,
Precious and delicately formed.
She’s to be valued beyond measure;
Protected from theft and harm.

 

Plenty would seek to steal your blessing,
As innocent as they might seem.
So brazenly without redressing;
Unashamed of killing a dream.

 

Don’t let them come near your heart and soul
With their propoganda and lies.
It’s promise that helps to keep us whole;
To guard her is prudent and wise.

 

If you clothe Promise and Dreams in light
Of truth, reality and grace;
If you hold to what you know is right,
These treasures will come take their place.

 

Hold Promise tightly, embrace her;
Then listen to Dream’s hopeful word.
Pursue your heart’s longing without fear;
Rejoice when they begin to stir.