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Dulce Rodrigues, writer

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STUFF FOR MEDITATION AT THE BEGINNING OF THIS NEW YEAR

Posted by Dulce Rodrigues on January 5, 2014

We are individually responsible for our words and, above all, for our actions, not only to ourselves but also to others. Being responsible is being trustful, accepting the consequences of our behaviour, and knowing that sooner or later we’ll have to respond for our actions – at least before ourselves, Taking our responsibilities is also showing that we are a strong-willed person that has the courage of realistically asking what we can give/bring to the others, instead of asking what the others can do/bring to us.

Politicians – the ruling class - should in fact be interested in contributing to the welfare of those who vote for them; they should govern for the benefit of their fellow citizens not pursuing personal wealth and political power at the expense of the wider population. Rulers and citizens have in common the fact they both come from the people, share the same rights and duties, and no matter their titles and wealth, they are all alike before Death.

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GOOD TO KNOW !!!
Be careful with your bank cards

Posted by Dulce Rodrigues on November 8, 2013

danger sign image

Below you’ll find the link to a short video showing how it is import to have your bank cards protected inside a plastic pouch in order to avoid that someone with a smartphone picks the data from your card.

The video is in French but it’s clear enough to anyone. Pass this information on to friends and acquaintances. It’s quite amazing! Can you figure out all the dangers we incur due to the new technologies ?!

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MY MOTHER BECAME 95 TODAY
Happy birthday!

Posted by Dulce Rodrigues on October 20, 2013

My mother's 95th birthday! It's not every day that someone reaches such an old age! It is a date to celebrate with a big party, but her health condition does not help, and this is also her first birthday without her long life companion who left us last year. We nevertheless celebrated the best we could, and her grandsons made the surprise to come to Portugal over the weekend to be with her.

with my mother

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WALKING A DOG FROM A SHELTER

Posted by Dulce Rodrigues on June 17, 2013

Last Saturday, June 15, after returning from Portugal, one of my sons and my daughter-in-law had a big surprise for me! They took me to the animal shelter at Gasperich, in Luxembourg. The reason? Well, a walk of about an hour with a dog from the shelter! A wonderful moment of happiness for these poor animals, cruelly abandoned by selfish humans as if they were mere objects we throw away when we do no longer need them; and a rich experience for everyone who likes to enjoy some open-air activity and as well give a little of his or her time, and some affection, to our four-legged companions that give us so much love but expect nothing in return.

Chic is the name of the dog I walked; he’s a Jack Russel of about 10 years. His previous owner moved to another place and could not keep him, so Chic was left at the shelter. Chic is a playful dog that enjoys being active. He is not very fond of other dogs, especially if they are not small dogs like him, so it’s convenient to keep him at a certain distance from them. Apart from this, it is very easy and enjoyable to take Chic on a walk.

walking Chic, the shelter dog

As far as I understand, not every animal shelter grants the possibility of letting animal lovers to take dogs on a walk. I believe this is a great initiative to put into practice; it would bring happiness to dog lovers who, for some reason, are unable to have their own , and it would at the same time be a pedagogical approach to call people’s attention to the animal cause. Being directly in touch with a dog, without being pressed by any obligation towards him, would give the opportunity of getting to know dogs better, and gaining increased interest for them. As I usually say, we do not love what we do not know. This would be a great beginning for everyone to learn about dogs and to love them.

In honour of our four-legged friends whose love for us is immense and unconditional, I leave you with this beautiful poem by an unknown author. You will find it in other languages at my children’s website www.barry4kids.net. Enjoy!

A working dog’s oath
I will lay down my life for you
and expect nothing but love in return.
I will protect my officer with my life
and would gladly take a bullet in his place.
I am sent in to find lost children
and fugitives on the run.
I find drugs and weapons and even bombs.
I am the first sent in
and sometimes the last to leave.
I am the nose and ears of my officer.
I will protect and serve him.
I would die for him and for you.
I only ask for compassion and a kind word.
(unknown author)

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HEALTH CARE: WHO PAYS THE BILL?

Posted by Dulce Rodrigues on May 9, 2013

With the development of the economical crisis, health issues became more than ever of the utmost importance to citizens: health care fees in general have increased substantially because doctors and the leading pharmaceutical companies do not want to lose or even decrease their financial benefits.

Who pays the bill? You, me, the common citizen.

We’ll have to look for alternatives and maybe it’s time that we learn from our past instead of believing that knowledge is synonymous only with modern times. The truth is, however, that we have never had so much knowledge and technology… and still we are more ignorant than our parents… at least in aspects concerned with quality of life.

Why is this possible? Simply because the “human” nature of man took him so far away from… Nature! Knowledge is not exactly the amount of things we have learned, but what we have done out of them. Knowledge is what comes out of our own experience. And knowledge is the opposite of ignorance.

There is no technology in the world that is more perfect than Nature. But man has been jeopardizing Nature for too long; he has even ignored its cry of alert that things were going wrong. Nature is a perfect but also fragile entity. Everything Nature has created plays an important role in it. We should have cared more for animals and have protected to the best our environment. Birds, which are to be found everywhere on Earth, are not only a source of food; the music of their songs are a source of joy for our souls. Flowers and other plants bring not only beauty into our life, but they are as well an endless source of well-being. If our soul is unhappy, we don’t feel well. If we don’t’ feel well, we get sick. If we get sick, our life is endangered. It’s a vicious circle.

The alternative solution to our most common health problems is therefore at the reach of our hand; it’s a gift from Mother Nature: the healing power of plants! Whether just because of high cholesterol or a recurrent cystitis; loss of weight or thyroid problems, plants will patiently and persistently be our best friends.

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MONEY MATTERS FOR KIDS

Posted by Dulce Rodrigues on March 3rd, 2013

How to Earn, Save and Share Money
Is there a toy your children have been eyeing for a long while now, a present they have been wanting to buy for a friend’s birthday, or a charity they would like to help out? Do they depend on a small allowance from you and constantly try to think about ways to make money? If so, you and your children will be pleased to learn that you are not the only ones. Parents and children around the world are waking up to the fact that time flies very quickly; one day your children are at school and the next they are in college, or working as a doctor, fireman or accountant. Money will become increasingly important as they grow older so they should learn to use it wisely if they want to make a difference to their own life and to the lives of those in need.

Moneymaking Ideas
If your children want to make more money quickly, the best place to start is by doing something they love; then it won’t seem like work at all. If, for instance, they are very good at technology, why not think about helping older people use Word, Excel or the Internet? If they are a fantastic cook, why not bake a couple of cakes over the weekend to sell to neighbours and friends? If they love acting or puppetry, plan a big show. Let them write a script – or contact me to get one - practise their act with friends or by themselves, sell tickets and wow their audience on the big night! If they are a little older, they can offer your neighbours to do chores, like cleaning pools or taking care of their garden.

How Money Works
Once they have earned a little cash, the next step is to learn how money works. Often, when parents go to the bank to deposit, withdraw or transfer money, it can all seem so mysterious, but we all know it really is simpler than it seems. Explain to your children that managing money well is a bit like playing Monopoly; that when we are adults, every month we will have bills to pay, like our mortgage or rent (which is the fee for living in a house), the utilities (water and electricity) and taxes (an amount the government charges for things like receiving income and buying or selling a house).

Another way children can learn more about how money works is by role-playing with you. Play the role of a bank teller and teach them how to fill out a deposit form or write a cheque properly.

Save it Now, Watch it Grow Tomorrow
One of the most important things to learn when it comes to money is how to save. When my sons were born, my parents opened a saving account for each of them, and years later, this proved to be a very good gift they could use to buy something special they wanted, but I could not afford. The Internet offers many resources on how banks work and the different ways they can grow their money. The Mint, for instance, is a site for kids where they can learn savings basics and tricks. The Saving Calculator section is very handy because it creates a plan for them to get them to their goal. For instance, if they want to buy something that costs €30, but they only have $5 saved, the calculator will let them know the different options they have to make the remaining €25 they need, in a specific amount of time.

The best way to start saving seriously, is to accompany your children to a bank or credit union so they can open their very own account. If you live in the UK, a good option is to open a children’s ISA: this is a special tax-free savings account that allows anyone aged 0-17 to enjoy certain advantages: they can open the account with a small amount of money, the government will not charge them taxes for it, and anyone can contribute money to their account. A children’s ISA can normally be opened at a bank, credit union or building society but you should research until you find the one which will offer your children the best conditions. Many banks and credit unions offer ‘perks’ such as toys and gadgets; wouldn’t it be nice to take a present home on the very day they open their account?

In the US, there are many credit union savings accounts catered specifically for kids. Take the Zoogles Savings Club in Michigan. The Club gives children ‘ZooBucks’ every time they make a deposit, and they can exchange these for special gifts. Regardless of where you live, you will need to search on the Internet to fine the bank or credit union that offers your children the best interest rates, so their money will grow to its full potential.

Share the Love
Some people think that it is important to give a little of the money they earn to charity. If your children are one of these people, think long and hard about what really matters to them. Try to narrow down their choice of charities to around three and discuss them together. Once they have decided the cause/s they would like to support, decide on how much they want to give and how often (many people set aside 5 or 10 per cent of the money they make every year for charitable purposes).

(Written in collaboration with Eve Pearce)

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