Tag Archives: john degarmo

Finding the Right Landlord when you Rent

apt

As more and more of the nation turn away from homeownership, the number of people renting has increased greatly. Many of those now living in rental homes were once homeowners.   Some are no longer able to own their own home due to foreclosures and bad credit reports, while others are unable to purchase a home due to more restrictive credit standards.

Make no mistake; there are benefits to renting a place to live.  To begin with, as a renter, you often do not have to worry about maintenance and repair costs. If something breaks, the landlord or superintendent is usually the one to repair and replace it.  Along with this, there are those rental options where some utilities are included.  Credit requirements are also less strict for those who rent as opposed to those who purchase a home.

With renting on the rise, finding the right place to rent, and to live, can at times be a lengthy process.  Perhaps the most important part of this process is finding the right landlord.  It is important to recognize the signs of what a bad landlord might look like. Continue reading

Meditation

surf

It had been a long, stressful day.  Responsibilities at work were at a record high.  Driving home was a challenge, due to heavy traffic.  The lines at the grocery store were at least 6 people deep.  I had not had a good night’s sleep in several days.  The tension in both my neck and lower back were at a record high, and my head was pounding with a headache that wanted me to simply find a dark and quiet corner, somewhere.   Yet, I had responsibilities at home I could not ignore.  I needed some sort of deliverance or miracle to make it through the next few hours.

I imagine you have had days like that, as well.  Days where it seemed the weight of the world was crushing you down.  Days where you felt that everything was against you.  Days when you felt you just didn’t have the strength to go on.  What is a person to do? Continue reading

The Importance of Laughter and Play for Children in Foster Care

playground

It was noisy.

The seven year old was laughing. Laughing very, very loudly. Running through the house, the little blond haired boy was chasing our five year old daughter. Indeed, both were laughing, and the noise was echoing through the entire house. It wasn’t long before they begun this game of chase that our three year old joined in.

It was noisy. And, it was beautiful.

For the first time, our seven year old son from foster care was laughing. In fact, it was the first time the seven year old had even smiled in our home. Andrew had been living with us for four months, placed into our foster home due to severe and horrific abuse from the hands of his mother; his mother, the person who was supposed to shield her own son from all harm. Instead, his mother had abused her son so traumatically over a long period of time in his short life that Andrew had never really been given the opportunity to laugh. This innocent seven year old child had never known what it was like to, quite simply, have fun; never given a reason to smile.

The first months of Andrew’s time in our house often saw my other children, both biological and adoptive, try to invite their newest foster sibling into their world of play and imagination. At each invite, and each opportunity, Andrew would instead cling to my wife and I, choosing not to engage with the others. When either my wife or I were in the kitchen cooking, in the bedroom folding clothes, or other house duties, the seven year old would stand closely next to one of us. If either of us were sitting down, the child would sit next to us. Either way, he would never speak, simply cling to us, in his own world of trauma and anxiety.

Today, though, was different. For some time, Andrew was watching some of the other children playing in the lounge room, while my I was in the other other room, taking care of the dirty laundry. Perhaps it was the consistent approach from my children; perhaps it was his curiosity; perhaps he realized that his siblings from foster care were not going to hurt him. Whatever it was, Andrew finally joined in, and when he did, it was as if the flood gates of laughter had opened. I watched in amazement as this seven year old, this seven year old who never once expressed any emotion of happiness, joy, or amusement, was laughing. This seven year old boy was healing.

Laughter and play are wonderful ways for children in foster care to begin their healing process, as they help these children in need cope with their stresses, traumas, and anxieties. Indeed, as children in foster care begin to find a sense of humor, they will find it to be a resourceful tool they can use. As Paul E. McGhee, Ph.D. states,
“Your sense of humor is one of the most powerful tools you have to make certain that your daily mood and emotional state support good health.” Continue reading

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