Allow distractions to interfere with our lives

100_0063Life is short and full of distractions, if we allow ourselves to be distracted by things we tend to overlook and neglect the people that are important to us. So many things left unsaid and undone every day because of our willingness to allow distractions to interfere with our lives. We tend to put our families, friends and lovers on the back burner to our jobs and sometimes to our recreational activities. This can create tension in our relationships and usually it tends to create a unhappy atmosphere. I do not think that anyone purposely puts their career or recreation above their family, lovers or friends. I believe for the most part it is you start working more hours and etc. to give your family a better life financially. Our society has went from one that focused on the family and on making sure they had food, cloths, a roof over their head along with a good education to more of a materialistic society. Sure we still focus on the family and try to give them the necessities but we also try to make sure we keep up with the Jones’s next door.

Trying to keep up with the Jones’s and Smith’s is one of those distractions that takes away the time and energy that could be focused on your family, lover and friends. Possessions can be stolen, lost and will eventually either break down or become obsolete unlike the love and companionship of friends and family.Maybe a camping trip or fishing trip with the kids and spouse would be better than buying a new game console for the kids or that atv. Togetherness and sharing experiences is what builds strong relationships along with good character in children.Family outings teaches children the importance of family and even friends.

Now there isn’t anything wrong with wanting to give your family the things it wants along with the things it needs as long as you don’t work so many hours you are at loss for time to enjoy life with them. Now don’t get me wrong, I do understand one must work to pay the bills and keep a roof over their head. But you should always try to find time to spend with the family and worry less about the less important thing like luxury items.There is always a way to balance out things and a way to both give the family what it need and some of the things they want. We all just need to evaluate everything in our lives and prioritize with the family as the main focus.

“Family is the foundation of the life we live”

Raymond Barbier

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Just a Saturday Morning Political Rant

The western front of the United States Capitol...

Corrupt politicians and big businesses that care more about a profit than the people who work for them rule the modern world we live in. So many voices crying out for change and freedom and very few ears in places of power willing to listen or even care. Revolution and civil wars across the globe with little change or evolution. Greed and the lust for power overrule the needs of the people as well as the needs of the planet. Storms raging across the face of  both land and sea devastate populations and yet they play politics in the houses of government.

Forcing people to work longer and to an older age before they can retire while trying to keep them from a good healthcare system while taxing the poor to death. It definitely time to put term limits on congress as well as time to make them work for minimum wage with the same low end benefits if any at all. If those in power had to live in the conditions of the common working man they might be able to do more on capital hill. But with 6 figure salaries and their grand benefits they can not see the wrong in dismissing or the dismantling of social security, welfare, Medicaid or Medicare. They are rich enough and have government subsidized insurance along with a federal government retirement to live off of.

Too much political banter and saber rattling and not enough intellectual discussions on the true problems at hand. Yes we need to balance the budget, the fat needs to be trimmed and the dead weight dumped. But to once again put all of the burden on the backs of the working man and elderly is not acceptable. We need a fair tax system that eliminates  all the loopholes and tax shelters for the rich and forces a more level playing field in the taxation of the citizens. The notion that because they make so much money they shouldn’t pay no more in dollars than a working man is just hogwash. It should be based on an a percentage of the total income. If a man that makes 25,000 would have to pay a certain percentage of his income for taxes why shouldn’t the man who makes 2,000,000 do the same?

Putting the fact the income tax system is not fair or balanced, the fact we need to cut spending is a fact we can not ignore. We need to study each and every program, agency and political office to see where the fat is and cut it out if not at least trim it off a bit. There are so many government projects/programs that are not financially efficient or are no longer effective. Revamp or eliminate such projects/programs and fine tune the rest of them. We also need to stop borrowing money to only give it away as foreign aid, there is plenty of nations and political organizations we could work with to direct foreign aid to the countries in need. This world is not just the responsibility of the United states it is the responsibility of  the whole world. We are all civilized and intelligent beings and we should be able to work together as a world community to address the issues at hand.

There is also the fact that we are in a trade deficit, most of what we import is not taxed. More and more of our businesses are manufacturing offshore to escape paying taxes and to have a cheaper workforce. This takes away jobs from Americans as well as tax revenue for the government to balance the budget. Just way too much to get into on the problems we face when it comes to trade. Being I am no economist nor am I any kind of expert concerning the tax code I do not know all the answers. I do know that the congress is looking in the wrong direction for solutions when dealing with our national financial problems. And it does not take a rocket scientist to see that they are more concerned with their own political agendas than they are with actually coming up with actual working solutions to the problems.

“We the People of The United States” Means all of us not just the Elite.

Raymond Barbier

Let the past stay in its own time

003 The dangers of living in ones past are being stuck in a moment that has long passed and being distracted to the moment that is now before you. Its hard to live in the now and present if your mind is always on the matters of the past. The past is their only to serve as lessons learned and building blocks for the days that are soon to come. Holding on to regrets and not letting go of the negative emotions from past events only anchors you into the past and holds you from sailing onward into the future.

  Every morning you wake is yet another chance to change yourself and your life, To live that day with your mind stuck in the past cancels out any chance for change. Build on the past but not in the past and embrace the possibilities that are before you. What you once did and what you once were unable to achieve does not apply to the here and now nor does it control the future. The ability to create change and choose new direction in ones life is a great gift often overlooked due to fear. The fear is a shadow of our past mistakes and or failures that we seem unable to put behind us.

We all have skeletons and demons lurking in our past and they tend to keep influencing our lives in the present. This is usually our inability to forgive ourselves for both our shortcomings and poor choices we once have made. We must learn to forgive ourselves for the negatives of the past and learn to not repeat them. It is all part of the learning process of life, to make mistakes and learn to avoid them in the future. We were never meant to carry the guilt for any length of time. Guilt was meant to be very short lived, it was meant to help us to remember to not repeat the same mistakes.

Let the past stay in its own time and allow the present to be a chance for change and for happiness. The present is called the present because it is a gift given to all of us with each breath we take.

 

“Truth, Peace and Understanding are the seeds of love and compassion.”
Raymond Barbier

Feel free to ask — Habitat for Humanity, Int’l

Feel free to ask

By Henry Randolph, AmeriCorps alum and Habitat Philadelphia’s volunteer coordinator

 

   
 

Learn more about Habitat’s AmeriCorps program.

   
 

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I love it when someone asks me: “What’s AmeriCorps?”

I applied to the AmeriCorps National Direct program for 2010 because I knew it would give me the chance to work with volunteers in an experiential-education setting. I was thrilled when I learned I would serve my AmeriCorps year as a construction assistant at the Habitat affiliate in Philadelphia, a city whose considerable housing issues are matched by its cultural vibrancy.

Construction work was an entirely new world for me, but I immediately found kindred spirits in the other AmeriCorps members at our affiliate. And I didn’t mind the small living stipend because I quickly earned a number of other things:

Flexibility. Working as a construction assistant meant preparing for the day’s projects on short notice and changing plans from minute to minute, all while working hard to give multiple volunteer crews a good experience. Part construction worker and part affordable-housing advocate, part teacher and part student — I learned to do it all.

Humility. I had to teach myself to accept the “Homer Simpson moments” when I slammed my thumb with a hammer or found my gloves and hardhat cloaked in spray-foam insulation, which invariably happened while teaching an eager volunteer how the “experts” do it. It’s trial by fire and a reminder that our work is about much more than immediate perfection.

A greater understanding of what it means to give of yourself. Many AmeriCorps members from this affiliate have gone on to use their skills and experiences at sustainable building companies and social justice organizations. My service actually led me to become Habitat Philadelphia’s new volunteer coordinator. Although I’m not on site swinging hammers any more, my work still centers on volunteers, and I realize how unique Habitat is in the realm of builders.

I love it when someone asks me about AmeriCorps. I tell them about being stretched and challenged, about dirt and noise and roughed-up hands. I tell them it’s a big commitment, a big payoff for everyone involved — and an experience I love sharing any chance I get.

Fighting Coal in LA with Humor

Sometimes, in the long and difficult fight against climate change, the fossil fuel industry, and dirty politics, we can all use a good laugh. Here in Los Angeles, we decided to poke some fun at LA’s dirty and dangerous secret: its continued reliance on coal power. This inspired the creation of a new comedic video for our local campaign to create a coal free LA by 2020.Here’s the problem: LA still gets more than a third of its power from two coal-fired power plants; one in Arizona, one in Utah. Although these coal plants are out of site and out of mind for Angelenos, the pollution wreaks havoc on local populations, local environments, and the planet at large.Here’s the good news: We can do something about it. The LA Department of Water and Power, and City Council are looking at where we will get our power over the next 20 years. They have an opportunity to phase out coal and signal LA’s leadership on environmental and public health issues. Not to mention – save Angelenos money, as coal becomes an increasingly expensive energy source in the coming years.Greenpeace is calling on City Council to make the right decision: to transition LA off coal by 2020 and build a clean energy future. It’s possible, and they know it. With our hard-working team of local activists, we’ve collected thousands of petitions and hundreds of business endorsements. Thousands of people have turned out to everything from public hearings to farmers markets to rallies. And now, we are adding a hilarious campaign video to the mix. With the help of dedicated volunteers and actor Michael Cornacchia, I directed this video with the goal of poking some fun at LA’s ties to the coal industry. Using humor and a simple message, the hope is to raise awareness and remind the LA City Council that Angelenos do in fact want to make the right choice and get this city off of dirty energy.How can you help if you live in LA and want to help clean up our city’s energy?VOLUNTEER WITH GREENPEACE: visit our website and fill out a simple form to get involved with our campaignhere in LA! SEND A MESSAGE TO YOUR UTILITY, THE LADWP, AND YOUR MEMBER OF CITY COUNCIL:Here’s a sample of what you can write-“My name is _______ and I live in [PART OF LOS ANGELES]. I am deeply concerned that Los Angeles gets overa third of our power from dirty and dangerous coal, and as a resident and a DWP customer, I expect our city tolead on protecting the environment and public health by ending our reliance on coal by 2020. Thank you.”We hope you enjoy the video! While it may not be the slightest bit serious, the message behind it is: It’s time for LA to quit coal.