“I got my stimulus check!” is one of the posts on Facebook this morning. United States Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin said that relief checks began direct deposits at midnight on Tuesday for those that qualified for the $600 per person, $1,200 per couple, and $600 per child under the age of 17. President Trump’s push for $2,000 per person checks stalled in the Senate on Tuesday evening as $600 per person checks were being cut.
Most Republicans in the Senate are opposed to bigger spending stating the funding isn’t going where it’s needed the most. Pushing the amount to $2,000 (more than tripling) the agreed upon per diem will cost nearly $400 billion additional dollars. Republican Senator from Texas John Cornyn said that $4 trillion has already been spent on coronavirus aid.
As of Tuesday evening, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell filed a new action linking the President’s demands for bigger checks to two other Trump priorities. One is looking to repeal tech company liability shields in “section 230” of communication law. Trump has stated that companies like Facebook and Twitter are unfair to conservatives. The second link is to the President’s desire for a 2020 presidential election review.
The result of linking the three issues into one may likely be one of inaction when all is said and done. Leaders are concerned about the President’s veto on the defense bill that has been approved every year for the last 60 years. Further negotiations over Trump’s demands on the COVID-19 relief bill is taking away from actions on overriding the veto on the defense bill.
As the stimulus checks are going out, there have been some changes as to who receives a check and who doesn’t. For those that receive automatic payments, the following appears on the IRS website:
“Payments are automatic for eligible taxpayers who filed a 2019 tax return, those who receive Social Security retirement, survivor or disability benefits (SSDI), Railroad Retirement benefits as well as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Veterans Affairs beneficiaries who didn’t file a tax return. Payments are also automatic for anyone who successfully registered for the first payment online at IRS.gov using the agency’s Non-Filers tool by November 21, 2020 or who submitted a simplified tax return that has been processed by the IRS.”
College students that are still being claimed by their parents, won’t receive a second stimulus check, however, they might be able to file for relief on their 2020 federal income tax to receive an equivalent Recovery Rebate Credit. Others that don’t receive automatic direct payments or a paper check, may also be able to file a 1040 SR. For more information, click on the following link to the Treasury and IRS payments.
In the second relief package, there’s help for individuals and businesses such as the $300 extra weekly jobless benefits through March 14, 2021. The Paycheck Protection Program of grants to businesses to keep workers on the payroll. Also, the extension on eviction protection and rental assistance funding.
As Americans wait and see if their ‘checks in the mail’ the coronavirus rages on as holiday gatherings continue through the New Year.
Written by Sharrie Thompson, RN, CCA and Raachel Carroll, NTP
...And You Want to Encourage Them But Have No Idea How
Someone on your gift list is seeking better health, and you have no gift ideas! Gift baskets won't work; folks striving for better wellness don't eat sugary-goodies or use scented lotions. Themed fuzzy socks are an option, but you did that last year!
Photo by Kira auf der Heide on Unsplash
So, now what? Below are some ideas for that wellness-minded individual based on our own wellness-lifestyles, training, certifications, and research.
(This article contains affiliate links for which we receive payment when you order)
Houseplants reduce stress and purify the air:
Face it, we're in the throes of Covid-19, and everyone is stressed! A study measured participant's pulse rates after 3-minutes of looking at or talking to their small desk plant. The participant's pulse rate lowered significantly, indicating a stress reduction! Houseplants used in the study were:
Here are some other low-maintenance houseplants that can brighten up any home:
Keep in mind: if the giftee is a pet parent, some plants may be toxic to critters. Checking for pet-friendliness before buying is wise.
A healthier immune system:
The body's lymphatic system provides essential immune functions by moving fighter cells and trash removers through the body. One hitch: the system has no pump and requires movement of our skeletal muscles to operate. As sedentary as some of us can be, it usually needs a bit of help.
A massage can help to stimulate the movement of lymphatic fluid manually, and it feels good! So give your friend a massage gift certificate.
Dry skin brushing moves lymph fluid, aiding in detoxifying the body, and has the bonuses of exfoliating skin, increasing circulation, and unclogging pores per the Cleveland Health Clinic. Treat yourself to a dry skin brush when you pick one up for your friend! You won’t regret it!
Yoga classes are a gentle way to promote lymph movement and reduce stress! During Covid, many classes are offered by zoom. Arrange a class for your health-conscious buddy; maybe you can join virtually too!
Gifts to help improve sleep and energy:
“The worst health stressor,” per Judy Hinojosa, NMD, “is not sleeping.” The blue lights used in technology screens can reduce melatonin's natural production (a sleep hormone) and inappropriately trigger the brain into thinking its day-time (time to be active). Blue light screens close to bedtime can create an inability to fall asleep.
To counter this phenomenon, consider blue light blocking glasses for the friend who absolutely cannot avoid their screens the recommended 1-3 hours before bed. Maybe an old-fashioned alarm clock that doesn't tick loudly, so setting alarms doesn't have to involve a screen.
Kitchen supplies for your ‘always-cooking-something’ friend:
Nonstick and aluminum cookware are attractive due to price & convenience, but it's not ideal for the wellness-minded person. Nonstick coating flakes off into the food, and the safety of aluminum cookware discussion continues.
You'll find heavy stainless steel and cast iron pots, pans, and skillets in a health-conscious kitchen. Chainmail scrubbers for easy cleaning of these materials make good stand-alone or accompanying gifts!
Stainless steel cooking utensils and glass cutting boards are preferable for meats and fish since they aren't porous and don't trap raw food particles that can lead to bacteria growth, even after washing.
Food storage is best when made of a non-porous material that won't leach chemicals into your foods. We suggest clear glass storage containers and clear glass jars with lids. Just be sure to choose clear, newer-made glass containers. Vintage glass and colored glass have a reported problem with lead.
A juicer is an excellent gift for a nutrition-focused friend! Juicing is an easy and tasty way to support the lucky recipient in their search for optimal nutrition. Juicing allows the consumption of nutrients in larger quantities, and it's pretty fun trying out new recipes. A juicing recipe book for home remedies is good too!
Slow-cookers are a life-saver, whether you're wellness-focused or not. Everyone should have at least one slow-cooker. Slow-cookers make the busy person's life easier: put good quality meat with some veggies into the slow-cooker and let it cook all day on low—easy way to eat well with little effort. A slow-cooker cookbook is also an inspiring gift!
Trendy insulated lunch boxes liven up meals:
Does your friend bring their lunch to work or (pre-COVID) to social gatherings because they eat a specific diet style or don't want ingredients commonly used in restaurants? Fun bento-style lunch boxes make the practice more fun, and, as individuals who eat mostly brought-from-home food, we can attest that you can never have too many lunch boxes.
The gift of clean water:
Your giftee may not drink tap water because of contaminants. They may also be hesitant about the quality of water in the plastic bottles available for purchase. Since it takes about 5-6 bottles to maintain adequate hydration, the environmental and budget impact of buying bottles may be of concern for your friend, as well. Gift them a water filter and resolve their worry! When purchasing, look for filters that remove heavy metals, chlorine, and bacteria from regular tap water. The more a filter removes, the better but, removal of any contaminant is better than nothing!
Countertop water filtration systems remove undesirable contaminants from the tap water and allow your buddy to fill their water bottle before leaving the house. You can find a countertop style pretty much anywhere, and there are even whole home filter systems! If you're looking for extensive filtration, we, personally, use the Berkey System . Berkey filters are our countertop choice, and they offer a sports-style water bottle with an attached straw filter that we love as it allows safe refilling from the tap while on-the-go.
Glass to-go water bottles and stainless steel to-go mugs:
Hydration is essential for wellness, and many carry water bottles wherever they go. However, buying one for your wellness-minded friend can be a little tricky when it comes to the water containers themselves.
Clear glass bottles are always a good idea. Worried about the bottle getting accidentally broken? Glass bottles with silicone sleeves help protect from short drops. You can even find some bottles that have ounces marked on the side for that friend who has a daily hydration goal!
Stainless steel to-go mugs for warm drinks are an extraordinary gift for anyone, especially for your friend that prefers warm beverages sourced from home. The stainless steel mugs won't leach chemicals into the drinks and often come double-insulated for the longevity of drink warmth and protection of the hand holding the warm drink. These mugs aren't non-porous with a smooth lining, so they won't hold onto drink particles and grow bacteria. Most are also dishwasher safe for convenience!
If you like to make gifts, here’s a couple you might consider:
A rice-filled heating pad offers heat when you're cold and comfort when you're achy. Here’s an easy, no-sew one we found on the internet. You can also buy microwavable heating pads if you're not into DIY projects. Huggaroo is our favorite brand. They offer an unscented option, and their heating pads are larger than what you can usually buy elsewhere.
Relaxed muscles and better sleep; yes, please!! Grab some Epsom salt that is free of scents and additives and a clean 8-ounce clear glass jar with a lid, and make your friend an Epsom bath salt soak! Add two teaspoons of Castile baby soap, two teaspoons of organic olive or almond oil, and ten drops of your choice of essential oil(s) to the jar.. Here's the essential oils, organic line, of course, we use if you don't have a preferred brand.
Below are a few essential oils free of contraindications, as noted in Dr. Scott A Johnson's 2015 book Evidence-Based Essential Oil Therapy:
Gifting people who have a lifestyle different from your own (or are trying to change and aren't sure how) may not be easy, but we hope we've offered some helpful insight. Happy gifting!
Sharrie Thompson, RN, CCA: seeing clients for stress reduction and wellness lifestyle https://www.facebook.com/itsonlynaturalpaducah
Raachel Carroll, NTP: seeing clients who desire to use food for better health and seeking a wellness lifestyle https://www.facebook.com/Well-Rounded-Wellness-110042257559616
Written by Sharrie Thompson, RN, CCA
Gingerbread, oranges studded with cloves, apple cider, delightful food, and the tree; ah, the smell of the tree!!! It truly evokes the season, doesn't it!
A live tree with a root ball to plant after Christmas is an excellent way to get that Christmas smell in your house. My mom planted a Douglas fir in 1984, and it's 150 feet tall today. The secret: she dug the hole before the ground froze, plopped the tree in the hole after Christmas, and added excellent soil to finish filling the spot.
For many, a live-cut tree has lost some of its allure this year. Untold numbers of trees perished in wildfires this year. Since our planet's health depends significantly on trees, trees still growing in the ground are cherished.
Cue the artificial Christmas tree: convenient, long-lasting, reusable, and the Christmas smell can still exist! Yep, essential oils can make your fake tree smell like Christmas!
Essential Oils that generate Christmas smells
Reported properties of each oil per Dr. Scott A. Johnson in Evidence-Based Essential Oil Therapy (2015):
Cinnamon: helps with morale and courage, uplifting. (p83)
Clove: promotes self-confidence, self-assurance, and courage. (p92)
Ginger: encourages feelings of balance and stability, reduces mental fatigue. (p119)
Orange: reduces anxiety, stress management. (p181)
Lime: uplifting, stress management, reduces anxiety. (p154)
Pine: Reduces anger, reduces anxiety, relieves fatigue. (p203).
Cedarwood: Stress management, reduces anxiety, fear, and insecurity. (p80)
Fir: corrects negative emotions, emotionally stabilizing, aids concentration, and meditation. (p52)
Spruce: Relieves exhaustion, grounding, calming, reduces mood swings, encourages self-confidence and forgiveness. Relieves anxiety and promotes a sense of security. (p245)
With that list of wonders, is there any doubt why the smells of Christmas are loved?!?
Smells tap into your memory bank. If the smell of cinnamon evokes being in your grandmother's kitchen and you have fond memories of being there, that's a good one for you to use. Conversely, if cinnamon takes you to grandmother's kitchen and it was fraught with tension and anger, it won't be a good one for you as it'll bring that memory back too. And, who wants to be tense and angry at Christmas!!
Essential oils without pesticides and insecticides are preferable to prevent contaminating the air; look for organic essential oils to be sure. (These are the ones I use if you don’t have a favorite brand.) A few drops of essential oil (try using 2-3 different oils) placed on cotton balls that are in a dish to protect surfaces is called ambient diffusing and considered safe.
Good to know
Keep essential oils out of reach of children and away from pets. Store in a dark, cool place. Do not apply essential oils to your body without direction from a certified clinical aromatherapist (CCA). Find one on the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy site. Type in your location, and you'll see who in your area has had training and continues the education necessary to be certified.
Essential oils are concentrated plant material and can cause issues if not used prudently. Not all essential oil guide books were written by clinicians who have studied botany, chemistry, safety information, interactions, side effects, safe usage...; many provide incorrect information.
Be a wise consumer. Essential oils can significantly enhance life when used wisely! Embrace your ambient diffusing of Christmas smells and Happy Holidays!
Sharrie Thompson, RN, CCA
It's a beautiful Saturday and 13 days 'til Christmas. Venture to downtown Paducah for a unique shopping experience or pick-up a delicious lunch from one of several restaurants available to hungry diners. And the caveat…A FREE CARRIAGE RIDE! A generous sponsor has made it possible for all wanting to experience a little nostalgia may do so with a horse and carriage ride.
John's PASS Carriage Service will take a tour of downtown Paducah with music, a beautiful horse, white carriage, and a driver with a sweet puppy dressed in red velvet attire. Now until 2 pm, catch the carriage at the gazebo in front of Doe's Eat Place on Broadway.
While taking pictures, Paducah City Commissioner Brenda McElroy arrived with her grandchildren in tow. All were very excited to take a ride on the horse drawn carriage. The horse's name is Patton, 'like General Patton' explained one of the associates with John's Pass. A wonderful day to shop downtown!
The Independence Bank family of banks is offering $100,000 in college scholarships to graduating high school seniors throughout its 12 county locations. Pictured: Murray, Kentucky location.
The Independence Bank application process for over $100,000 in scholarship money has begun for high school graduates 2021. High school seniors that attend schools in the following counties are eligible: Calloway, Daviess, Franklin, Graves, Hancock, Henderson, Hopkins, Jefferson, McCracken, McLean, Warren, and Webster. Scholarship money will be based on a written essay, high school grades, ACT scores, financial need, community involvement, extracurricular activities and personal interview.
It sounds like a lot of hoops to jump through...and it is. After reviewing what it takes to be considered for a scholarship, some may feel like throwing in the towel. But, don’t. College debt is huge. If you have the grades, are interested in going to college, and know you’ll have to get loans in order to do so, apply for as many scholarships as you can.
The essay choice will come from predetermined topics. You may choose which one to address. And if you’re applying for a specific scholarship such as agriculture, there’s an essay question for that too. Click on the highlighted link for 1776 scholarships.
A good time to start getting your ducks in a row is now. Holiday break is coming up soon. Virtual learning is happening now through January 4. Reach out to your teachers for help in this process. The deadline for the Independence Bank Scholarship program is February 1. Other scholarship deadlines will be just around the corner as well.
If you’ve been affected by COVID-19, this is a way to help yourself and your family. Hard choices need to be made and applying for scholarship programs like Independence Bank can help lighten the load.
Independence Bank has a variety of scholarships available from trade school, community college, and four year institutions. The program began in 2001 with a $10,000 donation. Over the last nearly two decades, students have been awarded over $1 million in scholarship funding.
It all started with a wish from the late Charles A. Reid who was a founding partner of Independence Bank and dad of current CEO and Chairman, Chris Reid. As it goes, when Reid was a high school senior, he had to either pay for his college with no scholarship or choose an alternative. He chose to join the Navy to get a GI Bill to pay for his education. From that experience, he wanted to financially help high school seniors go to college.
The money has been collected from the bank, employees, the Community Board of Directors and Reid family friends. Lauren Patton, AVP and Charitable Foundation Manger said, “Our program looks at the shole student, taking into account that they have a story to tell outside of what appears on paper. There’s no denying that education has become unconventional during this year, but I think the wonderful thing about it is how it is shaping these students. They are going to be innovative, flexible and resilient. We don’t want the current circumstances to deter a single one of them from chasing their dreams, no matter what that dream may look like.”