Ponderings Posts

Horrors and Helpers

Horrors and Helpers

The horrors depicting the wrath of Hurricane Harvey have  had us glued to our televisions this past week. Now we’re seeing segments depicting ordinary people rescuing, helping, and reaching out.

We seem amazed at these stories of people caring for strangers. Impressed. But why? Have we become so isolated in our self-sufficient society that serving strangers in need is now outside the norm?

I read one account from someone in the flood-ravaged area. “Today was an exhausting day, trying to help the community, but also inspiring, as those that could, helped those in need. Mothers were driving up and down the streets, delivering sandwiches, water, etc., men were hauling furniture to the sidewalk, football players were carrying broken furniture, and junior high students were carrying clothes to their homes (that were okay) to wash for people, and some were just hugging each other and crying!”

We’re hard-wired to help. It’s what makes us human. And yet, other than our immediate social circle, we do it so rarely it’s become an anomaly, a one-off from normal day to day living.

The question then is, does helping matter, beyond just the recipient? I think it does. Helping, serving with no thought to personal gain instills a purpose bigger than ourselves. Junior high students taking a stranger’s clothes home to launder them? This is purpose, action with a meaningful outcome. Purpose means our life has value.

Toddlers desire purpose naturally, begging to help, to be part of the family’s tasks. But we, as a society, focus on teaching so the child can be left to do things on his own. Independence is our god. As a result, when everyday opportunities to serve arise, we see them as interfering with our plans, draining our resources, or as people taking advantage because, really, if they tried harder they’d be able to manage on their own, wouldn’t they?

One outcome of a catastrophic natural disaster such as Hurricane Harvey is to remind us that we are made to serve one another. Pressed to reach out beyond ourselves provides opportunity to experience the fulfillment that comes from altruistic purpose. Perhaps if we reincorporated such practices in our ordinary lives, we wouldn’t need disasters to bring our purpose to light.

Sometimes I wonder: If a person does a kindness but no one captures it to post on Facebook, does it really count?

Photo Source: New Yorker 08.26.2017

How to Move a Senior, or Help a Senior Move

How to Move a Senior, or Help a Senior Move

Mom needed to move from her house to an Assisted Living apartment. She knew it. We knew it. Everyone knew it. We, her kids and grandkids, were prepared to do the work, but that didn’t matter. Mom still felt responsible to make the decisions, supervise the packing, arrange for movers, deal with the utilities, and stay on top of all the details. It was overwhelming. Every time she broached the subject, we began to psyche ourselves up, only to have her back off again. We were ready to scream! But then we got an idea.

Lets do it backwards.

First Mom settled on the Assisted Living center of her choice. We visited the place a few times, made the decision, did all the paperwork, got the required medical, set up direct withdrawal – all that was a big job, but doable on its own.

A move-in date was arranged. Next decision? What to take? Over a few days we helped Mom put stickies on all the furniture, pictures, linens etc. she wanted to take with her, while everything was still in its usual place. We didn’t agree with all her choices, but we let her stay in control. Things could be changed out later.

My brother drove down for packing and moving. Not much was going, so this piece wasn’t hard at all. We rented a truck and the deed was accomplished in one trip.

I’ve read that it takes a senior about four months to adjust to a new living situation. That was certainly true in Mom’s case. She needed time to change her mind, as well. Knowing the house was still there, still livable, helped her not feel this was an irreversible decision.

Gradually Mom began to feel safe and secure. She liked being able to go to the dining hall and have hot, cooked food served. She liked having people to chat with. House-keeping and occasional home care help took the pressure off. She was actually beginning to like this!

Mom needed the freedom to change her mind. She did want the end table she’d left at the house. Where was that lovely picture from the hallway? Why isn’t it here?  No, I don’t need this quilt, or that lamp. They can go.  With each visit we moved a few things back and forth which was pretty easy.  During this period we were all catching our breath, getting ready for the next step.

The grandkids lived out of town, so we took photos of all the items we thought family members might want and posted them online with the agreement, “First claimed, first served”. The grandkids each picked something they liked. Grandma was thrilled!

Now to reduce the rest of the clutter. Instead of the usual garage sale, we chose to have an open estate sale. My brother drove down again for this event. Nothing was priced. Nothing was packed. We let people wander through the house, take what they wanted, and pay us what they felt was reasonable. They were amazingly fair, and it was really low-key.

Anything left over was divided between Goodwill and The Dump. We hired a guy with a truck and paid him out of the estate sale proceeds. Again, very low-key.

Finally we put the house on the market.

We were thankful that we could afford to pay Mom’s rent at her Assisted Living apartment before selling the house. We kept good records of who paid what, and when the sale was completed, we reimbursed ourselves for our expenses.

Moving for a senior is huge. Moving a senior is just as huge. Going at it this way helped all of us stay sane!

How Edmonton Keeps Crime Statistics Down!

How Edmonton Keeps Crime Statistics Down!

I don’t know about other major urban centers, but Edmonton has it figured out! Here’s how to keep crime down. Or at least crime statistics…

Set up two citizen call-in numbers. One is for emergencies, the other is to report a crime.

Crime Statistics - EdmontonWhen the caller reaches line #2, have an answering machine direct him (or her, but we shall use the generic him; please, no flack), direct him to indicate which crime type his experience falls under. If it falls under more than one, as in personal, vehicle damage under $5000, or property theft from vehicle, he may become frustrated or confused, hang up and not call back. Stats down one point. YAY!

Crime stats - edmonton

If caller persists, direct him to an online report form. If caller does not have access to internet, Stats down one point. YAY!

crime Statistics - Edmonton

If caller does have internet, and is sufficiently incensed by the crime committed against him to still want to file a report, direct him to the online report form.

31925357513_18fc8c3199

Allow caller to answer 7, 496 questions, some of which will require caller to pause while he calls to get an estimate on repairs (as in replacing the 2 smashed out side windows of our son’s truck), or looks up the value of the property stolen (as in the replacement cost of our neighbour’s barbecue). By the time caller reaches the end of the report form, tell him the session has timed out. Please begin again. (Neither our son nor our neighbour followed through.)  Stats down two points. YAY!

2429133381_aaf3c798f2

As of today, Edmonton’s June statistics do not reflect the mini crime spree that occurred in our back alley last night. However, our tenacious neighbour, the one now missing a barbecue, is tracking down the fella a few house away who has a security camera. Maybe he caught someone on video!

13844066275_2ea2f384e0

 

photo credit: Neil. Moralee <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/62586117@N05/19788556038″>Hold onto your hat.</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>  photo credit: Darren Johnson / iDJ Photography <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/38070199@N08/10460950416″>The Call</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a> photo credit: Simon Blackley <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/94353977@N00/27592461532″>I’m listening</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a> photo credit: homethods <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/146625745@N08/31925357513″>MacBook Air Entrepreneur Blogger Business  – Credit to https://homethods.com/</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a> photo credit: Jonno Witts <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/16857236@N03/2429133381″>Writers Block (8)</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>(license)</a>
Do you believe in Evolution?

Do you believe in Evolution?

Most of us were taught evolution in school, so that’s the concept we grew up with.

darwin

However, if you consider yourself a critical thinker, you might want to round out your perspective. Biotechnologist Chuck Missler represents the men and women of science who believe that research and discoveries of  the past decades show conclusively that the Biblical description of creation is the only credible option.

dna

Each to his own, of course. But if you’re interested in the scientific evidence on the other side of the argument, give him a listen, starting with hour 1 of Learn the Bible in 24 Hours.

No, it’s not a Bible lesson.

No, there’s no preaching.

No, he’s not promoting myths and legends and unprovable facts.

He does talk fast, and much of what he says goes flying over my head, but it sure is interesting.

galaxy3

p.s. If you disagree, that’s fine. We can still be friends!

 

I Got Such a Dirty Look…

I Got Such a Dirty Look…

Remember the 50s and 60s when classrooms of kids sat in perfect rows, pencils at the ready, eyes glued on the teacher who sagely lectured the captive audience? I do. I was the kid that was never quite in her seat, never quite learning enough, always getting report card comments, “She needs to pay more attention in class,” and, “Not working to her potential”.

I haven’t changed.

I attend a weekly lecture series, and as in childhood days, I was getting little out of it. Last week I quit trying to fit the mold, and chose to listen in a way I knew would work for me. I opened the Wood Puzzle game on my tablet, and, as I knew would happen, I was able to fully concentrate on the lecture. Why? Because a part of my brain was occupied elsewhere. At least that’s how I see it.

If I listen to radio talk shows when I drive and I take in what I hear. If I play my Wood Puzzle game while watching documentaries, the information registers. For me, I need that added semi-mindless distraction to fully engage with what I’m listening to.

We’ve come to accept this with people who doodle during a meeting or in a lecture. We’re okay with that. Now, please, lets take this acceptance to the next level.

When I left that lecture last week my head was happily filled with interesting new concepts to cogitate on, but my pleasure was dampened by the withering look of an acquaintance who had been sitting behind me, and saw, I presume, what I was doing.

17040346110_978787ff6b

May I present this to those of you who lecture, those of you who preach, those of you who sit beside others who don’t appear to be listening attentively?

Kids who learn in a variety of ways become adults who learn in a variety of ways. Such as:

  • Reading out loud, to both hear and see the information
  • Closing their eyes (not sleeping) to reduce visual distraction
  • Head down on the table to still the body
  • Doodling, or playing games on a mobile device
  • Pacing at the back of the room
  • Laying flat on the stomach (some say this accesses the reptilian brain. Go figure)

30143496453_53ca39cd25

For those of us who learn outside the norm, we have to make a choice. Distract the lecturer or preacher, behave the way those around us expect us to behave, or listen in a way that works for us.

Are there others out there like me? What do you need to do when you listen so you can fully hear?

11945521824_9118086243

 

Photo Credits:  href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/29998366@N02/3916313892″;  Neil. Moralee <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/62586117@N05/17040346110″>Edna;  Alan Light <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/42274165@N00/30143496453″>Iowa City;  oggin <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/85755792@N00/11945521824″