Tuesday, March 26, 2013

My Brilliant Idea

So, the issue of social welfare, specifically food stamps, has been on my mind a LOT lately. I don't know why, but it has. I have a firm belief that a program like this is absolutely necessary and should be there for those who need it. There are always going to be people who, through no fault of their own, are in a rough situation and need some help to meet their basic needs. As a society, it is our job to provide food and necessities to these people. The trouble is that the system we currently have is broken. Just yesterday, I read something about a guy who used his food stamps to purchase over $140 in Mountain Dew, steak, and lobster. This is obviously not what the program was created for. The story goes further and it turns out that this guy was actually arrested for turning around and selling those items for cash.

Anyway, I hate hearing about people complaining about a system being broken, but not creating a solution to the problem.  So, here's my solution. Just hear me out on this one. I think it could almost work. It certainly wouldn't be any worse than what's happening now.  I wanted the solution to do the following:

  • Create jobs
  • Provide HEALTHY foods
  • Teach beneficiaries how to use the healthy foods for themselves
  • Meet the needs of those with special health issues who don't fit into a typical mold
  • Help motivate those who are receiving services to find ways to become self-reliant again as soon as possible.
  • Create a physically healthier society
  • Do all of the above in a way that does not increase taxes and makes the most of what is already being spent.
Here's how it would work.  First, the government takes a good long look at all the businesses that have gone under.  Many of those businesses have left behind perfectly good storefronts that aren't currently being used, maybe some have even been foreclosed on. Instead of building from the ground-up, the government purchases those buildings and turns them into food warehouses where people will go to pick up their food.  

These new stores are managed by managers, dieticians, cooks, nurses, employment specialists, etc. Now we've created jobs for more people. When a family gets accepted into the food program, they first meet with a dietician, who helps them figure out how many grains, fruits, dairy products, even diapers, baby formula, soaps, cleaning supplies, etc. their family needs. Included in there could be one or two "treats" as well.  Nothing fancy, but a cake mix here or there and maybe some jell-o, or the supplies to make your own delicious sweet treat. (This is an idea I saw at our church's food program and I love it. It just makes sense to me.)  During special holidays, it would be expected that other special things might be added to the supply so families could celebrate in the way they see fit.

If a family isn't sure how to use things like whole grains, unprepared beans (this is me. How DO you use those things?!?!), etc., this is where the cook comes in.  Free classes and cookbooks can be offered to teach families how to make the most of these products. Depending on the size of the storefront purchased, it's possible that some ovens and small classrooms could be built right into the building so everything could be onsite.  In doing this, we're teaching people how to be healthier by consuming better quality food rather than food loaded with preservatives and "instant gratification".  

What about the family with the child or family member with a special dietary need?  This is where the nurses come in. They can work hand-in-hand with the family to determine exactly what is needed. Perhaps it's a specialized baby formula, a glutton-free product, etc. that the food store doesn't carry on hand. This is when vouchers can be provided for that specific item so that the family can go and get what they need at their convenience.  

In addition to providing the food and basic needs services, there could be another area of the building where employment specialists can help families go over their job qualifications and review current job postings and educational opportunities.  Depending on the size of the building, there could possibly be a small childcare center for children who's parents are onsite working on their job skills or picking up much-needed food.  

Where does the food come from?  Well, the government could offer tax benefits to companies and farmers, etc. who donate a certain volume of product to the food store houses.  In addition, the government can create even more job by setting up their own farms to raise cattle for milk, grow fresh healthy vegetables, etc.  Tax dollars that we're already spending could be used to purchase any other foods or supplies that are needed.

Families would obviously not need to meet with a food planner and cook every single time they shopped. Once they get established, they would be able to go in and receive the items they already know they need. Perhaps every 6-12 months would be a good time for re-evaluation of a family's needs, and of course if a new family member joins the family or a major health issue arises.  

Would there still be kinks in my plan? I'm sure there would be.  There will always be someone willing to milk the system to get what they want out of it...though it would probably be quite a bit harder to get steak and lobster from a facility that just doesn't carry them.  :)  Still, even with the kinks, it has the potential to be more efficient and successful than what we currently have.  The monies spent would be going toward truly helping the families that need it.

So, there you go. That's my brilliant idea. Think it could work???

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Little Miracles

I copied this one from my other blog because...well, I could.


One of my favorite parts of having kiddos with some special needs is that things that would just be ho-hum suddenly turn into little miracles.  In the past couple of months, I've seen lots of little miracles with my boys. I'm not sure what to attribute them to, but I will say that the time correlates with when I started using the doTERRA oils my friend, Mindy, sent to me.  Things just got easier once we started using them.

CJ and Liam are where we've seen the most marked improvement, but Byron will often call me at work and ask me which of the oils I gave him to keep in his desk he needs for this or that. His anxiety is down tremendously even though his work load is up. He's sleeping at night, and waking feeling more rested. The list goes on.  Anyway, I digress. I wanted to talk about CJ and Liam.

CJ has gotten so that he asks for these silly oils by name. He got hold of my doTERRA magazine and read it cover to cover one night. He studied it in depth and created his own wish list for which oils he wants for himself.  He really likes the inTune because he doesn't have homework when he uses it. I think that's probably because he can focus on work and get it all done in school.  He also loves the Balance and Citrus Bliss, both of which help with stress and worry.  Balance is calming for him, and I see a difference in him when I apply it as his ADHD meds are wearing off.  In the evening, I give him some lavender or Serenity and it does help him sleep. It doesn't resolve all his sleep issues, but things are certainly better.

Liam has completely stopped with several of his sensory seeking behaviors.  In fact, things are so good that there hasn't been a single Poocasso incident in nearly two months...maybe more!  We've been able to clean up his room, repaint his walls, and make his room into his own fun little sanctuary. I still need to put the color paint on there (colonial blue!!), but that should happen sometime next week.  He isn't running through the house systematically dumping everything in sight. HE IS EATING HIS MEALS!  I sometimes still have to put a hand on his lap to help remind him to sit still, but he's eating foods he wouldn't even consider before.  He is going to sleep and staying asleep until it's actually time to wake up.  The biggest moment with him came yesterday as the missionaries were sitting here. One elder said, "What's different with Liam? He's so different from when I first met him a few months ago? He's following directions and I can understand so much of what he says." That missionary was exactly right.  Liam's words can be understood often without even being in context and by people who don't know him very well.  My friend, Anne Marie, even understood him over the phone!! This is huge!! Turns out this little dude has a sense of humor and loves to crack little jokes.  I love these miracles I'm seeing with my boys.

The oils have done other things, too.  So far, I've seen all of the following things in my own experience:
  • Strep throat wiped out in minutes...at least the pain and fever
  • Toothache totally gone
  • Teeth whitened
  • No more witching hour when I remember to keep the diffuser on during difficult times of the day
  • The dog had an accident on the floor and I mixed some lemon with baking soda. The odor was gone and the house smelled GREAT!
  • All sharpie and other writing came right off the walls
  • Lavender applied to a boiling water burn pulled the pain out instantly
  • Headaches totally gone in minutes
  • Muscle aches and pains drastically minimized
  • Asthma attacks are almost non-existent
  • The only illness any of us got was when Rachel got strep. I attacked that with onGuard toothpaste and it went away almost instantly.  Schools and church have been germ cesspools, but we've avoided it. (knocking loudly on wood)
  • A friend had a daughter with warts that they'd been fighting for a long time, and the warts were gone within ten days of applying the oils
  • Byron says he's more relaxed
  • Sore throats disappearing quickly
There's more, but I can't remember it all. I'm just amazed by what this stuff has done for my family and feeling very blessed to have it in our lives.  I love how little miracles just happen all the time around us.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Goin' to the Park

We had absolutely spectacular weather today. I mean truly AMAZING weather. It got up into the 70's, which I would normally consider chilly, but it was a welcome change from the biting cold and winds we've been having.  With weather this amazing, I could not allow the kids to just sit inside all day. I knew we needed a trip to the park. I got a text from Raelyn's mom, Jeanette, asking if we wanted to go to a local playground, so I decided that's where I would go when they all got home from school.

Mindy was napping and Aiden had a big homework assignment due, so I decided to let him watch her while I took all the others.  Given that we now drive a HUGE 12 passenger van and I had a little extra room, I told some local cuties that they could come along as well. The park is always more fun without friends to enjoy it with, right?  Being the genius that I am, I thought ahead and remembered the camera. Here are some fun pictures from today:

CJ playing with cute Raelyn

Drezden the Monkey

Some of the girls making beautiful music

Someday they will more than likely have a very noisy rock band.

Drez spent lots of time hanging around the park.

Rachel is my forever ham, as you can clearly see

Who knew so many kids could fit on one tire swing???

Liam loved climbing up the ship.

Argh, Matey!

So proud to have climbed it himself!

Crossing the rocking bridge. I never thought I'd see the day he could do this.

This picture makes me giggle because the angle makes it look like Liam is getting a naughty view. Not to worry. He  is NOT!