Tag Archives: Humanitarian

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    puerto rico

    US Puerto Rico: Still Desperately Needing Aid

    Category:HumanitarianTags : 

    Puerto Rico is not even a third world country, but now they look like they are. It is estimated that nearly 1/2 of Puerto Rico’s housing (about a million homes) were built illegally (shantytowns). Add on top of that, the destruction Hurricane Maria inflicted on the tiny island, and you have a humanitarian housing crisis, animal, food, and water crisis. There is nothing left but rubble in many areas.

    It’s been months!

    Hurricane Storm Maria made landfall on September 20, as a nearly Category 5 hurricane that lasted approximately 30 hours. A combination of elements caused Maria to transform from a disaster to a “catastrophic event”, meaning it wiped out nearly most of the infrastructure on the small US territory island.

    According to news sources, Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico with the equivalent of a 50-mile wide tornado; Puerto Rico took a direct hit. FEMA and government response didn’t reach those in distant locations immediately after the hurricane. Some didn’t see any type of aid upward for a month or more. When aid did finally arrive, most of that aid came from community organizers and not government aid.  People were hiking in to deliver groceries and even some medicines.

    Over 300,000 evacuees transcended into Florida after the hurricane. The aid for these evacuees living in hotels will begin to run out.  On the island, there is also now a growing Mental Health Crisis, and the increase in suicides is escalating. People are desperate for help.


    With the largest US blackout ever recorded, many Puerto Ricans still don’t have electricity today. Only 75% electricity has been restored. Another 1/3 of the population is still without power. No electricity means no power to pump water into homes, no water to bathe or flush toilets. Freshwater is scarce.

    Freshwater is scarce

    While disaster recovery aid packages are in the works, the US Puerto Rican territory was already bankrupt before the storm. It’s not just infrastructure that will need to be restored, it’s the billions of dollars they were already indebted.

    With a poverty rate of over 44%, devastated Puerto Ricans are badly in need of proper food, clean water, and housing. FEMA money is also scheduled to run out in Mid-March for the tiny US Territory.  There are community organizers on the ground taking computers to remote locations to try to get as many people signed up with aid as quickly as possible – but it’s a daunting task. Many cell towers were knocked out in the storm, so communication is at a very low capacity still. Reaching the people, and the people being able to reach out is difficult.

    Probably half of American’s do not even know that Puerto Rico has 3.4 million US citizens living there. Citizens who are entitled to the same government response as any state, like New York, Washington, or California, etc. But half of Americans don’t even know that.

    Housing & FEMA

    The island is dependent on U.S. relief from FEMA, the SBA, and HUD.

    In the impoverished area of Puerto Rico, many people have no title to their homes, and most were constructed without permits. These squatter community homes range from one room shacks to family homes (Informal homes).  However, one of the rules of FEMA eligibility is that the owners need to prove property ownership.

    FEMA states that it will now help those owners of “informal homes” if they can prove some sort of residency. The cap for disaster aid is $33,000 to individuals, but awards are often much lower than that.

    Another compounding problem is that applicants are giving up on FEMA aid. The application process first has to go through the SBA loan process. No one can afford a loan, so applicants just give up. Even though they aren’t required to follow through on the SBA process – they can’t qualify for FEMA aid unless they do. It is only after the SBA denies the applicant that FEMA will provide a grant. There are organizers on the ground to try to help educate people about this. But it is a slow process.

    There is a need to “Build back better,” say’s Puerto Rico, Governor Ricardo Rossello.

    “Build back better”

    A little knowledge goes a long way. I found this description from Odyssey:

    “Puerto Rico has been a commonwealth of the United States since 1898 during the Hispanic-American War. The result of the war was that the United States ended up with Puerto Rico, Philippines, and Guam. This means that Puerto Ricans ARE American citizens. It also makes Puerto Rico a territory of the United States”.


    While a Puerto Rican can fight for the United States Government – If they live on the island they cannot vote in US Presidental and Congressional elections! They can only vote in the primary elections. If they live on the mainland US, then they can vote in all the US elections.

    Puerto Ricans have been citizens of the United States since 1917 when President Woodrow Wilson signed the Jones-Shafroth Act.

    Ways to Help

    Spontaneous volunteers are needed to help build housing and schools. One group called All Hands and Hearts – Smart Response has been bringing in teams of volunteers to work on building secure homes and community structures. Their motto is “Come Early and Stay Late”.

    Other organizations coming to the call of Puerto Rico (just to name a few)

    AAMAAQDGAAgAAQAAAAAAABEpAAAAJGRlZTA5Mjk5LTY2YzctNDVkYi05YTlkLTc1MDc0YTFkZmJhMg US Puerto Rico: Still Desperately Needing Aid


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    What’s on Your Bucket List? Any Chalk, a Plant, Crazy Glue, Birdseed?

    Category:LifestyleTags : 
    AAEAAQAAAAAAAAQAAAAAJDM2Y2I2MWYyLWY3MWQtNGY0NC1hMzY4LWNhMjk1YmQyY2YwYQ What's on Your Bucket List? Any Chalk, a Plant, Crazy Glue, Birdseed?

    What's on Your Bucket List? Any Chalk, a Plant, Crazy Glue, Birdseed?

    Watching the grandchild learning a new word and then trying to put meaning to that word was an experience that left me wondering.  How fast our minds rationalize thoughts, and place information into neat little containers of knowledge, is a miracle in and of itself.  Have you ever thought about a thought? Explain a thought to a 6 year old. I dare you.  I double dare you. 

    Have you ever thought about a thought?   

    As we grow older being told something isn’t right, or learning we will have to do something differently isn’t generally what we want to hear. Change sucks.  I know many of us have gotten so busy that we just tend to do things all by ourselves.  Maybe someone else could of made a process easier for us, maybe not.  But we won’t know because letting go of a situation or work event isn’t something we are used to doing.  Let’s face it, our day planners are full.     We go a little zombie like,  and then we don’t know how to climb out of that mode.  

    Learning is a different process for everyone.  Some are just faster than a whip with everything they lay their hands on. Others like to take things one bite at a time.   You can’t force the unwilling to learn, and nobody wants to listen to the know it all's.    People need to be motivated to learn or change.  As I’ve aged, motivation I have
    cc What's on Your Bucket List? Any Chalk, a Plant, Crazy Glue, Birdseed? discovered is in short supply.   Those who once motivated me, now sound like a broken parrot “right”, “you know what  I mean”, “right”, “right”.  Ugh! 

    Age  changes  how you learn.  I find that I’m just not interested any longer in those ideas I thought were so cool in my younger days.  Those items that used to be on my  ole bucket list have  already been checked marked off.  Sure there are things I want to do – but not the things I wanted to do ten or twenty years ago.  My bucket list looks more like a shopping list for a leisurely day at the pool -rather than a vacation to some far away resort.  Although I would go to the resort if someone buy me a ticket.  Please buy me a ticket.  But then I regress.

    I sat down with my grandchild to try to discover if I could see into the mind of a 6 year old and come up with an answer to my lack of motivation, and my empty bucket list.  What I forgot to notice until after she had gone home with her family was how much she motivated me just to want to stay in one place.  I like peace and quiet.  I was motivated to get back to that - the stillness of the day.  In our search for items to put on our bucket lists, don’t leave off peace and quiet.  Those really are motivating factors to help you gain a better perspective on life. 

    Bucket List Items that might not be on your list, but could be:

    1. Fall in love again
    2. Grow a plant and not kill it
    3. Burn your day planner (you can burn your bra too – but by that age who cares)
    4. Seek peace and rest
    5. Read a book, heck read a couple book, a whole library of books
    6. Save some time to draw stick figures on the concrete with a 6 year old
    7. Say you are sorry to someone who would never see it coming
    8. Be there when you say you will be – and watch someone’s eyes light up
    9. Dream again
    10. Sleep with no clothes or more clothes on – what ever you want
    11. Don’t be afraid to ask questions – worst someone can say is no
    12. And number twelve, volunteer. Give of yourself and your bucket will always be full

    I am off to draw stick figures on the side walk.  We have to draw a full scale ranch with horses and cows.  Could take up to four or five concrete sections.

    My bucket list is full

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    What Ever Happened to the term “A Gentlemen’s Agreement?”

    Category:HumanitarianTags : 
    AAEAAQAAAAAAAAOoAAAAJDA2MWE3NmE4LTFiNmUtNDk5MS05OWNkLTNkMzEyMzJlZTdhYg What Ever Happened to the term "A Gentlemen's Agreement?"

    What Ever Happened to the term "A Gentlemen's Agreement?"


    There was a day when men shook hands and agreed a  gentlemen’s agreement between two.  A man’s word was his honor.   Nowadays attorneys draft up legal documents that  are crafted to look for deception and deceit.   Where has honor gone? pop What Ever Happened to the term "A Gentlemen's Agreement?"Speaking the truth should never be hard to do.  Many preach about truth and justice, yet they drag out an attorney when the truth is directed at them.


    Along with honor comes respect.  Respect for your fellow man or woman.  Meeting a call to justice to help someone in need.  Believing in others, and relying on a friendly hand.  Honor, respect, and  dignity, are the strength  and the armor that uphold  strong men and women. AAEAAQAAAAAAAAREAAAAJDM1YzI1YTI3LTQ2MjMtNDk2Ny05YmQwLTAzOGQ4MTlmOTAwNA What Ever Happened to the term "A Gentlemen's Agreement?"


    Integrity - the truth. Integrity is becoming a rare thing.   Yet it is something worth fighting to hold on to.  No matter how weak your voice may be,  you may be the only voice someone else has.   Injustice can overwhelm an individual soul quickly – but  with many there is triumph as they come together.  Speak the truth.  Value integrity above all.

    Not every argument can be won in a court of law.  Sometimes a simple “I’m sorry” is all that is needed.  Waging war over trivial pursuits never ends well, if at all. 

    Sometimes a simple “I’m sorry” is all that is needed.

    What is important is that you stand up and your  voice be heard.  Speak about those passions you hold dear inside.  Especially when others would keep your voice from being heard if they could.  Don't let fear or intimidation keep you from doing what is right.   Your voice might be all it takes to change an empire, regain a friendship, mend a broken heart.  But unless you stand up and let your voice be heard – others will steal the soil out from under your feet - the very ground you walk upon. AAEAAQAAAAAAAAMCAAAAJGRmY2IyZmNjLThhMmQtNGFmZi04MzUwLTYzN2FlMzBhZmUzZA What Ever Happened to the term "A Gentlemen's Agreement?"


    Rise up, ever so weak – yet strong because you decided to take a stand. Integrity, respect, and honor – there really isn’t any amount of money that can buy those attributes.  As human as these attributes are, they will give you a greater sense of value about life, and grace you with a  peaceful mind.  Without them – anxiety, crippling envy and stress take the very life from your own hands.  What are your gains if you aren't around to enjoy them, or can't feel satisfaction for the things  that you tried to build?  Fake friends will praise you in the morning, and damn you in the night.  

    Life is simple.  Live with a giving hand, a kind shoulder to lean on, and stand up when integrity demands a voice.  Stand up, let your voice be heard.AAEAAQAAAAAAAAKvAAAAJDY4NjFmYzA1LThhMDUtNDRmNi1hMGI5LTE0MmY2ZWM5YmZkMQ What Ever Happened to the term "A Gentlemen's Agreement?"

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    When Happiness Catches Your Eye

    Category:Wellness and FitnessTags : 

    When Happiness Catches Your Eye

    Taking life one beautiful step at a time, and allowing happiness to catch your eye - what a great way to live.  We have to pull away from those moments of doubt and confusion and focus our thoughts on our true purpose.  

    We have to allow ourselves to be generous, kind, and forgiving.  When we really search out those things that give us joy we find a new meaning, a new purpose - a reason to go on. 

    When happiness catches your eye, linger on the moment without jumping to the next moment.  Spend time relaxing and drinking in the calm.  Live in the moment. 

    Live in the moment

    We have to practice happiness.  I found this video on  the surprising science of happiness - something to ponder on.  





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    Risk Takers

    Category:LifestyleTags : 

    Risk Takers

    Risk Takers

    How long has it been seen you have felt the Adrenalin pumping through your veins as you landed your first big deal,  sold that property, or made the biggest financial score of your life time?  What risks do you remember taking?  Would you take them again?  Would you advise others to take the same risks? 

    Risk Takers


    I happened upon a group of young adults  this past weekend who were enjoying themselves by swinging off the walking bridge that spans the width of the Colorado River, just outside of Moab Utah.  With nothing more than a rope and true grit, each young man took their turn toppling off the side of the bridge holding onto a rope about 8 to 10 feet long.  The rope they were swinging from wasn't a bungee cord either, so once  their bodies weight hit the end of the rope, their shoulders would have to take the full force of the blow. But the thrill - it'll get yea, and that is what these young adults were after.

    But the thrill - it'll get yea.

    Risk takers, thrill seekers.  As their bodies are swinging in  mid-air, there is the additional thrill of knowing you have to let go of the rope and drop your body into the wild and muddy Colorado below you.  Then you will need to swim out of the river and hope you don't get caught in an underwater eddie.  Then there is the potential that the cops will be called and your mom will have to pick you up at the police department.  Putting caution to the wind - you take that risk anyways.

    ..you take that risk anyways.

    Some opportunities in life and in business don't come along very often.  Even when they do, we forget to take those risks, and instead favor the easy route - or easy chair.  Age refines us,  and defines us.  We no longer want to jump in feet first without seeing the bottom of the pool.  If  you want to see whats at the bottom of the pool, that is perfectly fine.  It just means you've learned a little along life's highway. A good dose of business savvy has set it's mark upon your life.

    You may no longer be that dare devil you were in your early years, or that  thrill seeker who just couldn't stop to ask "is thing safe?"  But It is still very important to make sure that you never allow yourself to be defined by others.  There are still some risks out there for you.

    The risks you take now days depend on your level of physical and mental preparedness.  We know how fun it is to win, but our journey through life teaches us lessons.  Lessons that help us define our own character and balance our daily living. I do have to admit, that if I were years younger I would be joining those very same young men for a dive into the river.  I'd be crazy not too!

    Let the young be young - even in their 50's, 60's, and beyond.