Monday, 30 NOV 2015 :: Weekly posts?

It seems like it has been a very long time since I last posted an entry... and it has.  I was going to try two posts a week, but my internet access died on Wednesday and didn't come back until Saturday... late on Saturday.  I guess GOD had other ideas...

I am never sure how these situations rate in spiritual terms, but I feel that GOD has the final word and is allowing the opposition to feel as though they are winning battles when they are actually accomplishing His Will...  like when GOD used Satan to kill Christ, thinking he was preventing Him from rising up to be King of the Jews when the death of Christ was making it possible for both Jew and Gentile to be saved from the penalties of sin.

There wasn't much I could do about my situation, so I had to accept it.  It was a long holiday weekend... I did what I could.  There was Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday to think about.

It may be hard to conceive, but I don't think I have ever shopped a Cyber Monday.  I really had no concept of what it was, how to find the deals, if Cyber Week specials were the same as Cyber Monday sales, and all that important money-saving information.  :-) 

I haven't had much experience with Black Friday or  Small Business Saturday or  Cyber Monday.   And now there is Giving Tuesday to discover.  (You can find out more about Giving Tuesday at the web link I discovered and shared here.)  And don't forget about World AIDS Day, which is the first of December every year.

It is getting very expensive to live in the world and have some level of compassion.  I heard on a news program that many  billions  of dollars change hands on  EACH  of these yearly sale days -- and Giving Tuesday has joined that club.  I hope this is a good thing.  There are billions of people in the world that need help.  I want to believe those dollars are spent wisely.

I don't know when I will talk with you again... I haven't quite figured out the best solution for my time issues.  Blogging is good, newsletters/emails are good, and so are other communication options.  I have to resolve other ongoing conflicts as well.  It has been a long prayer journey... and one of these days the hidden things will be made known.  Until then I just have to keep going and do my best.

Until next time,
Much love in Christ,


Monday, 23 NOV 2015 :: This is a big week!

It looks like the BIG sale week has arrived, and everyone is trying to get "pre-sales" to get ahead of the crowds.  :-)  I heard one commercial that said the big sale items will be available online, so no need to struggle with crowds.  It is sure changing the holiday shopping atmosphere.  I don't have much money to spend, and I mostly need socks and other things like that, but it is nice to find bargains at big sales I haven't been able to access in the past.  I hope to have more money each year. :-)


My new table arrived today, so I was able to set it up, along with my second small bookcase.  It is beginning to look more organized in here  ( my workspace ), but there is still a ways to go.  In small rooms, it is ESSENTIAL to find a specific place for everything... it helps to keep it working.  I end up forgetting where I put things because I move them around too much.  It looks like I may have a photo-making space soon, so that will help with my listing duties. I am down to four items for sale at Etsy, and one (crowd-funding) GIFT gig at Fiverr... none at eBay... and none possible for Amazon for some time.  My sales activities have no where to go but UP!  :-)  That will be good.


My personal challenge to live on the food I have stored up is really a hard one.  I have always felt for the international relief efforts when food is given out.  They seem to live on one thing, like rice.  I tried that once, but this time it's different.  I have dried items left... lentils, split green peas, bulgur, couscous, and beans like chickpeas, black-eyed peas, mung beans.  I haven't thought ahead far enough to make meals out of all this... with some kind of flavor.  :-)  I guess I forgot about sprouting (mung beans) and split pea soup.  I have been thinking about making hummus with the chickpeas.  And wanted to make some salad-like meals with the bulgur and couscous, but haven't anything to add to it.  I think I will have to get some kind of food resources to compliment these dry goods.  It is helping me lose a little bit of weight... that's good.  :-)   I am still looking for better ideas of how to make an emergency food supply... and will be focusing on full meals with all their supplies.


Well, my blog goals are changing... but all the work I did to create an ongoing writing habit are now hard to break!  By 2016 I hope to have that worked out...  maybe Monday and Thursday... maybe once a week... maybe I will change to newsletters.  It is all being thought about.


Lots of things in the midst of being changed... including my location, and income efforts, and health issues, and work, and goals, and so much more.  It's hard to know how much to write about, but I am learning about that, too.

Talk to you next time... Deb

Thursday, 19 NOV 2015 :: my shelves arrived - see you next week !

I finally received most of the items I ordered online...only two more to go!

I put together one of the shelves I ordered... the simple metal one.  :-)  It should work out well for what I wanted it to do.  We'll find out....

The other two shelving units are a bit heavier... and will need major time to put together.  I hear that this is a common issue with furniture these days... having to put it together yourself and having problems in the process.  :-)  This will be fun. 

My most important purchase, a special pan with a handle that allows you to pour out the contents like a pitcher, is really wonderful.  I can't wait to try it out. 

As I go about my room changes, I will be looking for things to sell on eBay, and maybe on Etsy as vintage items. Hopefully, I will be able to generate some income ... finally.

I don't want to share any more about my day, so I will let you go now... but I may add some posts through the weekend.  I am seeing that I need to lessen my blog time, but haven't decided how to do that yet.  There is a lot more I would like to share, but it all takes time... I haven't found that time yet.

Enjoy your days...

Wednesday, 18 NOV 2015 :: Over-reacting to violence

Today I was listening to several news programs talk about Paris and the aftermath, of authorities trying to capture the terrorists, and about the need for surveillance to overcome the violence of those who kill for media attention... to control their victims... to gain power over good people, countries, and the world. Technology is overcoming our ability to protect ourselves, to live independently, to have privacy.  The government is wanting to have full access to everyone's lives... it won't be long before they are able to do that.

This need of government to intrude into our lives is helped along with events like this.  Any crime with a gun is attached to gun control, mental illness, and terrorism, depending on who is doing the reporting.  We are now arresting people before they have committed a crime, because we believe they have been recruited by a terror organization, and they try to leave the country.  I don't like the idea of anyone helping the bad guys, but when did it become a crime to leave the country?  It has set a precedence... and I think I read at least two articles about different people it happened to.

Immigration is in the conversation now -- because a passport was found near a dead body, because it might have been used by one of the terrorists to enter the country, because the person may have come into the country through an immigrant program using that passport, and because that access allowed them to participate in a  terrorist act.  Now all immigrants are dangerous because at least one MAY have been among the hundreds of thousands that have been fleeing Syria.

We do this all the time... lump one bad person with every person like them in some way... all migrants are criminals, all black people are gang members, all Mexicans are drug dealers, all Russians are communists, all Christians are stupid, all religions are coercive, all homeless people are addicts, all women are prostitutes in disguise, all children are looking for a pedophile, all rich people get there by stealing, all politicians are liars... and the list goes on and on and on.

In my listening to the news today, I saw how easy it is to make a bomb that will destroy an airliner filled with people... and there is little to prevent them when one of their followers works in baggage.

It may have been last night that the segment of a father and son was aired at a flower memorial.  This young father, under pressure of TV stardom, lied to his young and trusting son.  He told his son that flowers (at memorials) would protect us from the guns of the bad guys.

We should never lie to our children about important things like that... children need to know they can trust you to tell them what is real and what is not.  When they find out you lied, they may never trust you again.  Flowers help us show how much we care about the tragedy, but they don't stop violence.

Some time ago I realized that violence is a tool that subdues people... especially good people.  It is used by those on the wrong side of living to make sure they feel more important than they are.  The threat toward a major American city, and our responses to these threats (easily seen on any media), are all tools of violence.  The enemy wins.

I don't know if Mankind will ever find a solution to the need of some people to use violence to control others.  We have created armies to overcome them... armies that are forced into their own form of violence to survive... and still they exist. 

Losing our own rights to protect against the acts of terrorists is not the answer.  Being afraid of every shadow is not the answer.  Becoming like the enemy is not the answer.

In my experience with prison systems, I have decided that the only opportunity we have to change the lives of people who end up there is to do something positive while they are in prison.  Instead, they end up worse than they were when they went in.

Terrorists are really gangs, and the people who join them don't wake up one morning and decide to become a terrorist.  Something very deep and very hurtful has pushed them into that direction.  We need to figure out what that is so we can stop growing people who want to join gangs, especially gangs of terrorists.

Tuesday, 17 NOV 2015 :: long day, short message -- but I am churning inside...

I don't have the energy to spend a lot of time here tonight... it has been a long day, and I have seen so many reports and comments on Paris, on refugees, on America, on politics, on fear, and trembling, and what the future will become.  I could write for hours, days, on these issues...  but then I remember that all of this is part of GOD's prophecies coming true.  The world can't become as it was in the days of Noah (when there was only ONE righteous person) without everyone else forsaking GOD and doing things we don't like to see, or feel, or experience.

I wish I had all the answers, but I am seeking better pathways for all us Christians... who will become the target of all this violence and hate one day. 

If I could live long enough, I would do what I could to make a safe place.

If I had enough money, I would work in those directions... all over the world... and prepare for all the hard times ahead.

If I could, I would.... but GOD hasn't provided for this work...yet... so that means               ... well, I have always wondered if it meant it was too late to make a safe place.


I better get to bed and save my words for when I have rested and may possible feel better and not remember all the things that rise up in me at the situations we face.

Monday, 16 NOV 2015 :: another late night post, catching up with the weekend

My goodness, I was doing so much over the weekend I don't remember it all... I was amazed at how easy it was to see the Democratic Debate... on TV, no problems, in its entirety...  how did that happen???  I had my laptop on for back-up, but never had to use it... it seemed to work so well also. 

With only three people on stage, the contents of the debate was less harsh for the presenters... the Republicans are lucky to get any real time to present their answers to the hard questions.  I liked the third guy... and it was the first time I really ever heard of him or saw him. 

I saw a commercial about the next debate being in February, but I don't recall which party it was for.  I have a list... I will have to check on that.  Valentine's Day... that must be why... all the subconscious affiliation with love and marriage.     :-)


I spent hours and hours revamping my goal pages this weekend... and I am glad I did.  It is really beginning to work out.  By January I should be ready to print and fill out my pages for a whole year, so I can compare apples with apples and oranges with oranges.  Right now, each week has changes.  I am getting rid of duplications and trying to put it all in a workable order... goals, updates, budgets, tracking data... and whatever else comes up.  I haven't even begun working on the separate tracking for my selling sites...  I don't know when that will fit in.


My ongoing challenge to eat the emergency supplies I have is really a drain on my body and mind.  I hate it... but I am going to keep doing what I can.  I am out of canned goods.  I have a few freezer items, with veggies... and will be using the last of my soup broth tomorrow.  I've been trying a pizza dough recipe as a small bread loaf... today's effort wasn't good.  But I am moving in the right direction!  :-)    I have to get out to a store soon, so I will pick up enough food to keep me going in my use up the food campaign.  My son uses dried beans for hummus and other dishes... I need to make up some of my dried foods and figure out how to make them into something worth eating.  I have chili powder, so I am going to look for a simple CHILI recipe to make.  Beans are good protein.  I have dehydrated refried beans... maybe one more portion, so that will work for some meals.  I hate to think of how they survived in the wild west we all think of as the movies portray it.  Real life was a lot harder, I bet.  


I am moving into senior status with more resolve now... I ordered some bookshelves, a folding table, and a metal shelf online and am waiting for their delivery.  I hope they arrive in good time and in good shape.  I am trying Walmart's free shipping service.  I can only afford the cheap versions, but they look like they will do... the bookshelves are particle board, or something like that... so who knows what will happen.  I am trying to reorganize my small space so I can get some work done.  I am already getting ready to move everything around... and may get rid of my TV or put it somewhere it is too hard to reach.  :-)   I will have to get more furniture help for my space, but let's see how this works out, first.


I started to collect addresses for mailing out Christmas cards this year... it has been many years since I have been able to do much.  I'm going to try to do what I can this year... and Christmas cards are an achievable goal... only $10  (approximately) for stamps.  I haven't decided if I will make or buy the cards yet.  I use to make my own Christmas cards/ was a great event for me.  I don't know if I want to do that still... but I am think about how deeply I want to get into this.  E-cards are probably the future, and I am trying to learn how those are created, but I still love real Christmas cards.

Only a few minutes left of 16 NOVEMBER 2015, so I better get going.  Thanks for all your patience as I work through all the problems I am faced with.  They are less than some, more than others....  and that is why I always loved the writing that use to be a poster when I was young... DESIDERATA.  I think it's still around.  We were a thoughtful generation, looking for deep answers to deep problems.  I think sports is all anyone cares about these days.   That is a comment on our world...

Thursday, 12 NOV 2015 :: Personal Income, Budgets, and the Needs of the Body

I was checking on some articles at today.  This is one of the websites that make up the Dave Ramsey program.  I followed a link from an email I received from them, to an article on Christmas budgeting I think.  I am trying to decide how to save money for Christmas 2016.  From that first link, there were other links on the site I checked on, trying to see what they had there, if I wanted to buy something for a Christmas gift this year, and whether I should sign up for the daily giveaways they offer right now for the holiday.

Originally, I discovered the website because of a radio program I sometimes listen to with a Ramsey host named Chris Brown.  He talks to people who call in about their individual financial situations.  There is a lot of referencing to the Financial Peace program offered by Dave Ramsey, so you begin to hear some of the budgeting concepts taught by Dave Ramsey.

I am only a little familiar with the Dave Ramsey financial program, having heard of him through churches and other connecting sources along the way from there to here.  I found one of his old workbooks at a thrift store, so I bought it to see what it had in it.  It was from 2007, before the financial meltdown we have been trying to recover from as a nation, and a world.

I know the Ramsey program involves the historical envelope system of budgeting.  This is when you have a separate envelope for each of your budget categories, and you can only spend the amount that is in the envelop, no more.  I don't think you are suppose to take from other envelopes when you run out of one category, but I haven't explored the Ramsey program completely... especially the more current one.  :-)

What stands out to me is that it is a Christian program so it includes the tithe.  Secular (non-biblical) debt programs would not include the principle of tithing.  I am not sure if they offer a structured debt-counseling program, but it would be important for Christians to find one.  They do offer links to local contacts for those who are looking for them.

One of the pieces of information that caught my attention in listening to Chris Brown one day was a budget percentage he mentioned... he said that the total value of your car could not be more than a certain amount of your budget.  I had never heard of this before, and I have read and listened to a LOT of financial advice programs over the years.  I wasn't able to capture the amount he stated the first time I heard it mentioned, so I went to the website looking for the information.  It wasn't there, so I sent an email, but haven't heard back about it.  I finally decided it must be one of those tidbits of information you get in the Financial Peace program, which you have to buy.

I was half-way looking for that piece of information today as I explored the site.  I did find an article that mentioned a percentage limit for your housing, which I am kind of familiar with, but never thought of it applying to your home ownership.  The article was on whether you have too much house for your budget.  The government percentage is all I have ever heard of, and that is 30%, but it included utilities, I think.  I believe the Ramsey amount was 25% for rent or mortgage payments.  I don't know yet if that includes insurance or any other housing costs.

In my browsing, I also discovered another Ramsey presenter called Christy Wright.  She talks to women about starting a home-based business to create extra income.  I signed up for her emails to get a copy of a PDF she offered.  I will find out more about her as time goes by.  I haven't fully read the 4-page download I received, but I did save some of her other articles on the site, and will try to get them read this weekend.

The reason I am bringing all this information up is because of something else that was on the website, in one of the article illustrations.  It was the income illustration... the amount they believe most people earn and budget.  I laughed to myself because the amounts they were using were in the thousands, the family had two incomes, and both of those incomes were around $3K to $4K each.  Many times, sometimes years, I have survived with food stamps or less, sometimes solely on the offerings of others.  I currently have a cash income of less than $400 in Social Security retirement payments.  When I find this disparity in the information I look for, I often want to create a budget of my own using the amounts that are given as the "norm."

I have long complained that most churches and organizations are geared toward people who have a lot more than the poor, but the poor are often (unconsciously) expected to accomplish as much as these households with higher incomes.  Poor families aren't always welcome in established churches because so many things are attached to the money issue... education, childcare, clothing, food, transportation, work, giving...  Poor people don't build the church, they are the ones who need its resources.

Budgeting principles are the same for everyone... that is not what I am talking about.  A 10% tithe is 10% of whatever your "profit" is, your increase.  It doesn't matter if you make $100 or $1 million, GOD expects the same commitment from every Christian.  What I am talking about is something that isn't easy to find anywhere.

I couldn't find the same article when I went to look for it, but I did find this income comparison in another one.  The title is in the link below it.

Tax bracket: When you leave your job, you might see a boost in your spouse’s take-home pay. Yes, we’re serious! Let’s say you both make $40,000 per year with a gross combined salary of $80,000. This puts you in the 25% tax bracket. After federal taxes, your income is reduced to $68,287.

With one spouse leaving work, you’d probably guess the number would be cut in half, equaling $34,143. But your new household income qualifies you for the 15% tax bracket. That means your income after federal taxes will actually be $34,907—nearly $800 more per year than you expected!
on 21 AUG 2015

I have to wonder about our values when I see these amounts.  This assumes that our lives must reach these income levels to have a good life.  Living on $35K a year would be a dream for me...  I think I have only made over $10K once in my life.  We say it doesn't matter, but it seems to. 

As a poor person in the church, it has always been hard to relate to the bulk of the people in the pews because our lifestyles were/are so far apart.  In creating Working Together, this income disparity took a long time for me to work through.  I finally decided that everyone's wages would need to be the same, no matter what their job was. 
This was not meant to reflect socialistic theology, but to be a statement that we are all equal in the eyes of GOD.  We have different tasks to accomplish, but we are all part of the same Body of Christ.  Each one of us is required for the "success" of our work in this world.

Yahoo had an article on 5 NOV 2015 about a family that downsized to a smaller house so the mother could stay home...  I wanted to share this small part of it ::
Talya says their move -- which has given them a hefty $1,350 more a month than they use to have, since their $1,800-per-month mortgage shrank to $450 with the new property...
At 25% for the mortgage payment, this family would only need $1800 a month in net income to live in a home of their own.  That may be more than I can afford, but most poor families have to pay half or more of their income for housing.   People who have to survive need rent and utilities.  Food, clothing, transportation, and other luxuries are secondary, flexible, able to be adjusted as the months go by. 

How much money do we need? 

There are good people trying to survive on less than $1 a day in other parts of the world, working at jobs that will kill their wage earner and leave the rest of the family more destitute than they were before.  What is a decent lifestyle in America?  If we have more than we need, how do we use the excess?  Do we store it in our barns and plan to rest for the remainder of our lives?

How can we make our Body of Christ better than it is?

After my tithe and savings, I now have $300 to budget for all my living expenses.  Using $400 as my income amount, if I kept to the Ramsey budget, I would need to spend $100 on a rent/mortgage payment, pay utilities beyond that, get food stamps to eat with, and then try to better my life with the rest.  If I go by the government model of 30%, my housing and utilities would be in the $120 range, I would still need food stamps to eat with, and everything else would need to come from whatever cash was left.  There is no community housing for that level of income... only government housing. 

  • How can the church change this reality? 
  • What is the responsibility of the Body of Christ toward its poorer members? 
  • Is the church the same thing as the Body of Christ? 
  • How do we become ONE Body of Christ instead of so many churches? 
  • How do we stop making the government the provider of what we need?

I guess this is important because persecution of the saints is already a reality and we need to create ways to meet the needs of persecuted Christians (in America and elsewhere) as the End Times get worse.  The government is not going to be our friend or our protector when those days get here.  Until then we need to prepare for these changes in need and resource sharing.

Wednesday, 11 NOV 2015 :: Veteran's Day

It's almost over, but there is still a little time to call it Veteran's Day.

There were some posts on my Facebook timeline today... with the flag, with military objects, with soldiers. I didn't do much online other than Facebook and checking my emails and Etsy, so I have no idea how much celebrating went on. 

There were moments about our military on the debate yesterday.  Some of those feelings were still around Facebook.  The need for a military, the high price that many pay for our protections, the cost of supplying the military we have, these all come into the conversation. 

If we were all moral, peaceful, kind, compassionate people,
there wouldn't be a need for protection.

But all of us are not good people.  Some people like to hurt others, some people need to control others, some people think money is the only thing that makes them worthwhile and they will do horrendous things to get it.  These other kinds of people create a dangerous world, and we have grown up with the idea that a police force and military will help protect us.

On Facebook, there was a photo of men in German prison camps as they were freed... I made the comment that men like Hitler are why we need a strong military.

At the debate, one of the comments that stood out was from Carli Fiorina on negotiating with our opponents... I think they were discussing Putin at the time.  The idea was that someone like Putin wouldn't even care about negotiating if we were not a threat to him...if our power did not exceed his.  The comment was that you need to negotiate from a position of strength, not weakness. Militaries cost money, but they are a necessary expense. 

The amount of resources we dedicate to preserving and supporting our military is equal to the power we have in the world.

It seems to me that the problems we are facing are getting more difficult, but they are also getting less physical, more intellectual, more technological, more cunning, and more easily implemented.  Hackers don't necessarily need the newest equipment to devastate our lives, they just need an internet connection and the knowledge of how it operates.  We are already seeing the effects of attacks from China and other communist countries.  In time, that power will belong to any small person living anywhere in the world.  It isn't love that makes people hurt others, it is hate.  There are a lot of people who don't like the United States, Christianity, freedom........whatever their gripe is, innocent people are the ones who suffer most.

I have had the thought that a lot of our budget woes would not exist if we didn't have so much debt to cover interest payments for.  Imagine where we could apply all that interest payment money.  It is the same issue at the household level, with credit cards and other forms of debt...  it takes away from the money you would normally have to spend.  We all need a small amount of emergency credit, but if our debt is too large, the payments take all of our income.  That is what Obama has done to us as a country.  Our debt is so large it is eating up all of our resources just to make the payments.  It is making the military look like the problem, or social service programs, or healthcare programs like Medicaid and Medicare, or Social Security, and so on.

If we can get our debt under control, a lot of the other problems will be less threatening... and the military won't be the villain anymore... and we can protect our country better.


Tuesday, 10 NOV 2015 :: Republican Debate tonight !

I was able to view the Republican debate in Wisconsin tonight... online...with great perseverance.  It took up all my afternoon and evening.  My old computer was very slow, at one point it was behind by at least fifteen minutes...I gave up being frustrated and laid down to listen without looking at it.  I missed the end, and who knows what else between commercials and a slow computer.  At least I was able to see most of it this time.

We all remember different parts of any conversation, the parts that matter to us.  I remember that one of the debaters, I think it was Christie, said that over seventy percent of our tax income goes to debt payments and "entitlements" -- which is misleading but it lets the hearer think that is mostly payments to lazy people who need to be doing something else besides living off the government.  The cry of every election is how to get rid of the poor... as if that is even possible.  I have read articles that said our debt payments take up the bulk of our government's tax income, and other articles that say entitlement payments are a small portion of the annual budget.  I can't remember the exact percentage, but the focus of the article I remember was that it was relatively low, especially compared to the military. I have also noticed that some people like to include Social Security payments in the figures... and, technically, most of Social Security payments are not "entitlements" - they are more like insurance payments.

I remember the discussions about our military power and how we need to invest in it.  And the associated talk about aggressive computer hacking of US computers by China.  Weapons for war and strategies against computer infiltration are two separate military issues.  I have also read articles about the military budget when compared to subsidies and other questionable spending by the government... it is also a relatively small part of the total budget.

In the conversations about taxes I was surprised to hear that American spending is approximately two thirds of the GDP.  To me that means a flat tax on spending (sales tax only) would create a decent amount of income.  My concept is ONE tax, a sales tax, a permanently fixed amount that cannot be raised at the whim of a desperate Congress, because we are heading into a global environment for everything.  (I felt a ten percent flat sales tax could be divided, in the US, into 1 percent for international government, and 3 percent each for Federal, State, and County governments.) It was mentioned that some people pay over half of their income (their paychecks) to the government in taxes.  Is that the way things should be?  No.  I don't think so.  Taxes were created for a purpose, and it was not to take over the populace.

Rubio faltered a couple times in his family protections argument about tax reform, but I think he presented well tonight...  I was also impressed with some of the others.  I, personally, think that Jindal needs to be move up to the main group, and will be watching to see who drops out.  I think Jindal is pretty equal in energy with Rubio...and his experience seems to be good.  I don't know why he isn't higher in the group, but I suppose he is an unknown in many ways.  I liked Rand Paul's contributions to the needs of America and government finances and accountability.  I thought it was very lively, and they all seemed to get excited about the topic of our economy.  I found out a little more about some of the candidates in the after debate interviews.

When I was watching, I tried to see who would represent the US to the world the best... it isn't easy to decide.  We want our leaders to be strong, decent, respectful people who are able to achieve the hard goals we have for our country.  Are they honest?  Can they solve problems?  Will they be able to overcome the power struggles that are firmly entrenched in government?  Will they succumb to the temptations power carries with it?  If we elect them, can we trust them to do what they promise?

One of the candidates stated that this election is critical for America, that our life as a nation is in jeopardy... and other candidates repeated that statement.  It always came back to money... and that means taxes.  Money was also attached to over-regulation and small business and jobs.  I noted that the idea of education was included in the job issues... vocational education, and welder jobs that pay more than some other work options.  I think the effects of technology were downplayed, especially in job issues, and manufacturing, and future income, and taxes, and every other aspect of our lives.  Education programs can cost a lot. Are they a necessity or a luxury?  I have seen people in fields of technology state that in twenty-five years or so, technology will advance so much that it will disrupt all of our lives, our work, our survival.  Robots and computers don't pay taxes...yet.  :-(

I will think of more things that affected me in the debate process and share them tomorrow or another time.  I have already decided to take notes during the next debate.  :-)

Monday, 9 NOV 2015 :: Internet distractions

I barely made it here (to post) before midnight, but it is still Monday... Tonight I got distracted by YouTube videos.  I was researching the costs of some supplies I need, and one page offered a link to a video tutorial or something.  I watched that one, and then discovered more great topics to watch... for hours.

This is a continuing battle for me and I don't know if I will ever win it!  :-)

I am not alone in fighting this time-consuming enemy.  I read business articles that talk about controlling your time with emails, with social media, etc.  One day, I was trying to figure out how much information I would be able to gather in ten minutes on Facebook. 

My main complaint is that I want to connect with certain people and groups first, and then go from there.  I did discover a way to put one of the pages I follow at the top of my Facebook feed, but I would like to create a larger priority list. I have started using the "stop following this post" option for as many as I can.  I am even using the stop ALL posts from some of the items that get shared to my timeline.  I am considering making separate pages for different groups of people (family, friends, work) to see if that will help, but I will still need more than ten minutes a day to check on what is happening in the rest of the world
I think it was 60 Minutes this weekend that had a segment on one of the scientists that discovered the smallest molecule so far -- the one that is attached to that huge machine they made to prove it exists.  I smiled when they said he doesn't watch TV.  I think they said he doesn't have a cell phone either, but I can't remember right now.  It made me wonder if I could return to that kind of detached life again.  I don't know how I could right now.  I like to hear the news because I currently don't have access to a daily newspaper.

On to a new thought...

I am praying for my future these days.  There are a lot more things that you have no control over when you are older... and you seriously have to begin planning for the day you will no longer exist.  The possibility of serious medical situations grows.  And I am growing more and more aware of how greatly End Time prophecies are going to change our lives.  I am now trying to plan a different life than I thought I would have.

These issues are not something I am facing alone... they are the same issues that many other seniors are facing.

We seem to think that America's people will always be good and kind and caring and giving, and wealthy.  Our country survives by the level of our shopping... and technology is changing the job markets. Many of the things we have grown us to having, and expect to continue, may fall away with the loss of spendable income... including morality, family, law, respect, equality, honesty, peace...

There are so many actions, activities, and perspectives that are attached to what matters in our lives... to how we survive, and thrive in our existence.  I think they are attached to GOD, and our faith in Him.  I don't know how we can keep what makes life good without keeping our faith in GOD.

I suppose I will have to fight this internet battle again tomorrow...  I hope I do better.

Thursday, 5 NOV 2015 :: So glad it's Thursday

I discovered my eBay store again  --  what a day!   I have no idea how much updating I will have to do, but it is on my list of things to get done. 

I need to get some items listed there.  I discovered the photo requirements page in the process of looking for everything.  I am trying to collect all the different requirements for my selling/photo requiring sites.

Maybe I can find some good items to photograph and try to sell there... I hope I can figure out how to take some decent pictures with my camera.  I did discover that the lighting in my room may be part of the problem.  No wonder the sites all recommend "natural light" from a window... it seems one kind of light bulb makes your photos look yellow, and another kind of light bulb make them look blue.  I also discovered a setting to check.  We will all find out by next week... right!?   :-)   I hope so.

I also looked at a bunch of categories to see what the prices were like and what kinds of items they had available for purchasing.

I'm not sure I will do much at eBay... it is a hard site to browse.  Every time you change the page, you have to re-choose all the filters.  I don't want to buy first from other countries... but the US only filter keeps going away. It is a time-consuming and frustrating issue.  When it started happening again, I remembered the last time I was there.  Having the option to look at products in another country is good, but I want to avoid a lot of shipping issues and I want to buy US first.

I'm pretty tired, and I can see I am cranky.  I will be changing my blog writing habits so I will let this go for now.

I did make my first "bid" on a product tonight.  That was interesting.

I think my shop address is   --- so you can keep checking on me and watch how I develop things.   :-)    Contact me with any suggestions you may have... I need them!  :-)

Wednesday, 4 NOV 2015 ::

Today was another day of revisions...

I guess I was able to catch up with some of my other day-to-day living requirements... like taking a shower.  :-)   When I stay home and get busy, I don't always try to impress myself by taking a shower... it seems to be a non-priority item on those days... especially on the weekends.  :-)  I wonder what the neighbors think.

Not really.  :-)

I received one of my Etsy orders today... from the San Francisco area.  In the box there was a section of their local paper.  :-)  I am wondering what I will discover there.  I guess that could become one of the great advantages of ordering from other places.  We could share the local news with each other and find out what they do there.  I have lived in Oakland, and use to work for the BART system way back when, but I am sure it has changed a lot since then.  I heard on a news program today that the price for a one-bedroom apartment there is somewhere around $3500 a month.  I'm sure that is for the people who work at minimum wage.  Even at their new wage level of $15 and hour, if they are fortunate enough to work 40 hours a week, they will still be homeless.

I guess I will let you think about the problems of poverty...  some of the issues are so difficult, I wonder what will happen to our country.

Tuesday, 3 NOV 2015 :: moving into slow gear

I can see my decisions moving toward once a week blogging... it is very time consuming to blog, even with my limited topics.  :-)  It is hard to get out of a habit  once you work hard to make it part of your life, and now I need to reduce my load... at least for a little while.

This will be interesting.

I have been trying to get to my crafts, and sorting through my goals forces me to make hard choices.  No one can do everything... we have to find the most important things to spend our time on.  I have a whole bunch of crafts waiting for me to get to them... and other things.

Today I spent most of the day with more revisions on my goal packet... It is really beginning to take shape, but it is another time-consuming effort.  I guess it is the creation process... the writing, the designing, the revising, the trial-and-error process... it all adds up.

My health is making me realize that I need to keep a limit on what I commit to.  So... I am working on that as I go through my goal pages.  What can I do?  What do I want to do?  What will bring the best "return on investment"  (money to live on!), and all that stuff.

So... I am hoping I will be able to organize a desk and files to collect info and write better blogs on more involved topics... and include photos, etc.  I am even thinking of creating PDF versions to post in a more concentrated and printable format.  I have been planning to do that for ages, it just hasn't risen to the top of my "list!"  

Well, I will let you know how this personal conversation goes...

It may be I am just exhausted right now and don't want to see another keyboard.  :-) 

That does sound like a good idea.  I will rest, see how it goes, and make a decision on another day.

See you tomorrow.

Monday, 2 NOV 2015 :: A new month, with holidays approaching!

I started my end-of-the-month activities last week, but wasn't able to finish them this weekend because I spent many, many hours revising my goal pages, trying to get them all to mesh together and not be repetitive.  I am still working on these changes. 

I hope to get a single set of pages to use for all of 2016, to keep all my data consistent and easier to find and use for whatever I need it for (planning, budgeting, taxes, etc.).

There are so many different details to keep track of...
  • starting balances
  • general budgets
  • category spending
  • goals
  • priorities
  • selling activities
  • calendars
  • websites
  • listings
  • gigs
  • auctions
  • buy it now's
  • sales
  • coupons
  • food
  • time
  • special events
  • income
  • ongoing needs
  • long-term planning
  • payments
  • gifts
  • short-term activities
  • and more...
When I am rich and famous, I will be able to hire other people to do some of this stuff for me, but even the rich and famous need to create their own goals and plan how to achieve them. 

GOALS never go away... they just change. 
Achieve one goal and you need to create a new one.

Most of these efforts are at a personal level, but my business goals are dependent on my personal goals.  It's vicious cycle... (circle?)   I am sure I will find the best option for me... it just takes time and effort... and lots of revisions !!  :-)


Getting ready for Christmas is another goal for me this quarter.  I didn't have money last year, this year I have a little bit of money.  How to stretch that little bit is my challenge.

I love Christmas.  I love to give gifts. I love to share as much as I can with those who might need it.  Here are some of my favorite ways to give.  

  • NOVEMBER is the time that Samaritan's Purse collects Shoeboxes filled with gifts for children all over the world.  This year the collection week is from the 16th to the 23rd.  You can find a place near you to drop off a shoebox gift, where to send one, how to donate to the cause, or buy a shoebox online at the links above.
  • NOVEMBER is when we celebrate Thanksgiving in America. I don't know what happens all over the world, but I am slowly learning.  I have spent the holidays at Homeless Missions, so I always want to share something with a local mission for Thanksgiving.
  • NOVEMBER may be a good time to check on Toys for Tots, a great gift resource for poor families.  I have been a recipient in many over the years, and this is the best one I found.  I know that things change over the years, but I sure appreciated the difference between them and other gift-providing agencies.
  • DECEMBER is when I start looking for Christian Giving Trees so I can pick a name and try to find something they would like.  Usually that is a Salvation Army tree in Walmart or the community mall, but larger churches often have Giving Trees filled with the children of their congregation.
  • DECEMBER is when I try to make holiday goodies to share... cookies, candy, whatever I can.  With my kids grown, I have to find other places to give these traditions of food and time.

Enjoy your good goals and help as many as GOD allows you to.
In the weeks ahead, I will try to share more about the season of love and giving. 

Thursday, 29 OCT 2015 :: A long day of budgeting

When I finally got to the TV for the news, there seemed to be a lot of talk about the budget and about the debate.  I spent the past two days working on my own SMALL budget efforts, end of the month details, and plans for NOV.  It is a challenge to get through a month at my income level. 

I wonder what will happen to my small income
if the government falters...

There was also a report about China ending their one child policy finally.  I was surprised that their motivation was the future support of their senior populations... which seems to be a common argument for everything in America, too.

I didn't hear much that was new about the debate.  It seems to be a sound bite world we live in... and that isn't going to help any of us.  The deep facts about any subject are buried under mound of paper and text... or files and archives.  It use to be that magazines were the source to find out more.  I have always said that TV news is like a headline, newspapers are like a summary, and magazines are (were) more in-depth... I suppose books would be even more detailed.  The problems with our news sources is that they all have their own bias, so you have to read a large spectrum of viewpoints to even get close to the truth about anything.

I'm not sure we will ever be a country that does that anymore.

I guess I budget because it takes a lot of time to get ahead, to save anything.  Unless GOD decides to bless me through at least one of my efforts, it would take a century to reach my goals.  I don't have that much time.   :-)   I spend a lot of time trying to decide what I might be able to accomplish before I die.  I would love to have that ability... that freedom... the opportunity to actually work a budget that wasn't too small, to build a reserve for unexpected problems (which always happen), and to have a permanent place to build on. 

GOD doesn't seem to provide for me in traditional ways, so I still buy a lottery ticket every now and then...  if He's a GOD of miracles, "it could happen."   :-)   I keep hoping.

How much is enough?  That is a hard question to answer.  My view has been that it is a lot more than I realize... and whatever GOD provides, it won't be enough... the problems we are facing are too big, and they keep getting bigger.  I decided that if I won a really big lottery, I would take a year to plan the best way to spend it... including both personal and business uses for it. 

Because I have been very poor all of my life, it is hard for me to understand spending $5000 a night on a hotel room, no matter how nice it is, when I have had a job cleaning them.  The thrill is gone for fancy hotels, but it might be something to share with others.  :-)

I have always thought it would be good to share wealth-related experiences with poverty households, especially kids, because some thing lose their appeal once you actually do them, like riding in a limousine or going to Disneyland. Somewhere along my research path, I read that the reason poor kids do so badly on college testing is because they don't have the experience base that wealthier kids have.  I can't help all the kids in the world, or the rest of their families, but I always hoped to help as many as I could.  Most of the kids I am thinking of don't know what they don't know... their whole world might change if they learn to surf or scuba dive, to climb a giant mountain, to see what it's like to live on a huge ocean vessel, or make their own ceramic bowl to eat out of, or have the internet and a tablet to access it with, or eat at a really fancy restaurant, or wear a formal gown to the symphony, or .....  lots of things.

The cry of our Republican government is less dependence on social programs for survival, they want to bring back self-sufficiency because they think people love to live on welfare and food stamps.  If the economy falls, everyone is going to need food stamps, and some may even need welfare.  Maybe a lot of the people who find themselves in the middle of a natural disaster have to become government aid recipients. There has to be some kind of program to help those who don't have anywhere else to turn.  I would like that place to be GOD's people, but some who need help don't like GOD... and they still need help.

Self-sufficiency... what does that look like? 

I have existed on very low amounts of resources, but that also cause problems I couldn't overcome and that led to worse ones.  No money meant no insurance, no tags, no gas, no where to go... and lots of tickets that I couldn't pay... the loss of my license... the loss of my beloved van, which was my house... the loss of faith in people I relied on... years of homelessness... the loss of all I owned... and places I would never go to if I didn't have to. 

  • Was I self-sufficient?  What is the definition of self-sufficiency?  Is it different in the city than it is in the country?
  • Could I have been?  If I was allowed to exist somewhere, in my van, in a tent, in a safe place, could I have created a self-sufficient life?
  • What is the FIRST thing that is needed to change the direction of economic upheaval?  (In individuals and in countries/governments...) 
  • How long should it take to become self-sufficient? (...a LOT of social agencies create programs that give you 30 days, sometimes less, sometimes more, to change a lifetime of issues, all with a bus pass and program adherence.) 
  • Is the path the same for every single person?  (NO!) 
  • How can we create a system that is available to all who need it, and that allows them to find their own way to the best future for them?  (My real goals were never acceptable...)

Actually, no one really knows the answers for poverty and violence and all the difficult parts of societies, including ours.  We keep trying to find one solution to all the problems we face in this moment, in the current budget, because that is all we have, and we never think that tomorrow could destroy everything we built our plans on.

The Democrats have been vetting Hillary Clinton for a long time... her primary competition is more for show and conversations about the issues.  I don't think she will win, but that is my opinion.  I hope she doesn't win... that is also my opinion.

Not having enjoyed the middle-class life, I find it hard to understand some of the arguments I hear about wages and jobs.  I understand poverty, and the prisons it makes, and the lack of options that exist, and the difficulties when you try to rise from the gutters. 

America is treading in our own financial river, trying to stay afloat, and moving faster and faster toward the edge where solid ground no longer exists.  The debt ceiling is just one evidence of our pending doom, there are many others.  America is much like every other example we have of failing economic status... they "never saw it coming" because they didn't want to believe it could. 

Think of a wealthy movie star, or other aging notables like musicians, singers, writers, politicians, businessmen... if they don't plan for the day when they won't be able to do what they have always done, there won't be any money to help them survive, and their lives will be forced to change. 

Think of the Great Depression... in one day people lost everything they had. There wasn't any welfare or food stamps then... would there be now, if the government / economy falls?

Think of floods, and earthquakes, and tsunamis, and tornadoes, and fires... we see disasters on the news every day.  No one plans to be in a natural disaster, and there's NOTHING you can do to stop them.  No one can be blamed for them, but we still have to recover from the damage they inflict.  It costs money to do that... it requires temporary resources for living for lots of people... where will that come from if there is not more money?  We can't raise the debt ceiling forever... it is already using up half of our income (or more) just to make the interest payments!

Budgeting is going to be critical to all of us surviving, and it is only one part of the solution.  I can only budget the actual money I have.  The government creates estimated budgets and then borrows or prints money to meet its needs. 

The Democrats have put us in the middle of this danger, and it will probably take Republicans, with advice from the Libertarians, to get us back to solid financial ground.  In my view, the battles in government at all levels will only become real financial conversations in the middle of a deep crisis.  I hate to think of life in the middle of all that pain.  I know how hard it is to be poor, to try to survive in a city, and to be alone in the struggle.  I know that suffering will change everyone.  It would be better if we could find answers before we get to that point.

If I won the lottery, or had money to help reduce our debt, I would be willing to help my country survive, and get back to a place of financial health.  The problem is that government legislators will just do the same things that got us here, and it will be an issue again.  My search is for a way to save America without feeding its addictions.  I haven't found that answer yet, but I am still looking for it.

Wednesday, 28 OCT 2015 :: political access to national debates

I didn't get to watch the Republican debate tonight... it wasn't available for free anywhere (TV or online).  I don't have cable.  Isn't a political debate for the future president of our country worth sharing with those who want to see it?  Maybe we need to make it a mandatory provision for getting a media license.

As a long-term low-income household,
the costs of access are a continual issue. 

We miss out on lots of thing... sometimes by choice, but usually because of costs.  Pay per view might have been a good road to go with time access for a very low price. I have never done a pay-per-view screening, but I am sure it can't be hard.  Maybe Netflix is a good option for reaching the poor.  I could go for the $.99 iTunes thing... they have video now, don't they?

It is irritating to miss all these events now that I am deeply concerned about the effects of our government on our lives.  My kids are grown, I can hardly work, and may not even make it to the next vote, but I am really upset by the financial issue that jeopardize our country's survival... and the care of the poor, and ill, and elderly.  I can't really comment on something I don't get to watch.

When access is denied once, you think it is just a temporary mistake.  But as each event becomes a forbidden access simply because of the cable TV issue, there is a bigger problem.  And it isn't always easy to know what that bigger issue is.  Is it a Republican versus Democrat problem? Or is it a Christian versus Atheist problem?  Or could it be a money problem....

I have been noticing a lot of things in the past many years about the change of government focus and the demise of Christian influence... things you don't always think about... like important meetings always being arranged on the nights most Christians are in church (Wednesdays).

I have also been noticing a slow effort to change our calendars so they start on Mondays and end on Sundays... ( was one place, I can't remember if is that way, or maybe Yahoo!... I don't frequent too many sites on a regular basis.  It might have been Facebook, or Twitter.  You might want to check FedEx... maybe even the US government. ) 

The decision to change a calendar is a subtle statement about the leadership of the company, their philosophies, their biases, etc.  Since the current calendar system is associated with Christ, the changes are a reflection of anti-GOD views.  Is it a little thing, or a big thing?

It is said that what we do speaks more about our real feelings than what we say.  (Actions speak louder than words.)  I would make sure certain things that reflect GOD were part of my business.  It is something we do... as humans, as groups, as citizens.

What the media does with a national debate is just the same kind of evidence.  It is a measured effort to keep the average voter ill-informed, especially Republican voters, so that the information they have or don't have is under control, managed, filtered. This happens every day, it just seems more evident attached to a big event like a political debate.

Just as I started to write this post, I remembered the debate and checked for some follow-up information, using a search engine.  The only link I noticed was at so I watched a few of the video briefs available.  I was able to watch a brief message of disappointment in CNBC by the GOP Chairman.  I saw the battle between Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio.  I watched a brief sample of Bobby Jindal. And later tried to watch some summary videos of the entire debate in less than 3 minutes.

One of the issues I noticed was comments by more than one candidate on the quality of questions being asked.  America is facing a number of serious issues in this campaign, but political drama seems to be the main goal.  After I heard those statements, I tried to remember what kind of questions the Democrats were asked in their debate. I couldn't remember...  I didn't see a lot of that debate either.

We always have to remember that the media is owned by liberal (Democratic) forces, so there is a bias against everything Republican.  I thought Rubio's comment about the media being the biggest Democratic Super-PAC in existence was important. There is only an argument about Super-PACs when there is a Republican villain... and never a mention about the Democratic Super-PACs.

Since I wasn't able to view the entire debate, I don't know if any of the candidates offered solutions to the serious issues we are facing as a country.

The other day I commented on a Facebook video that was shared onto my timeline about America already being a socialist country.  It was against Republican goals and theologies, and lifting up the social programs of the Democratic party. 

I wasn't able to comment on all the issues I saw in the video, including how bias affects the materials being present, so I eventually asked the person who shared the video how they would solve all these real problems that affect real people, often without money, or education, or health, or family.  The government has been taking over the tasks that should be handled within the church or community if they can't be handled by the family.  The government has never really done a good job at anything.  The problems get worse.

I found another post on Facebook recently, which I printed and mailed to one of my sons.  It was a list of the tax increases put in place by Obamacare and that were in effect as of the first of January this year.  The tax increases were very big.  I had never heard about the taxes attached to thousands of unread pages that were approved.  I told my son that there was going to be a tax revolt or the government was going to win the battle by taking over our lives, our work, and our wages...  we would have to be assigned jobs, not choose our own... and we would be lucky if we got paid minimum wage.  When the government went under, we would all go under.

I really don't understand how that kind of financial system works in a government-controlled country -- how do you pay wages using taxes and tax those wages again to make government income to pay wages again and then tax those wages......  it's a weird cycle......  I have heard that taxes are over 50% in European countries.

A country would have to generate income even if it was paying wages to its citizens and then taxing the wages it paid those citizens.  The government-owned companies that citizens work for would have to make products that sell and make a profit.  That sounds like capitalism to me... with the government making the profits instead of owners or shareholders.  Does anyone really think the government will do a better job?

If you have solutions to the problems we face as a nation, I would love to hear them... I have about a hundred (well, maybe 10-20) ideas myself.  This would be a good time to get them out in the open and considered.

Tuesday, 27 OCT 2015 :: getting out of the house

I'm running late again... I actually went out into the big wide world today.  :-)  I had to make sure I didn't waste the last $8 in Senior Farm Checks I got this year... a kind of food stamps for seniors that can only be spent at Farmer's Markets and can only purchase real fruits and veggies... no processed foods.  I bought six apples for one of the $4 paper checks, and three small squash and a medium parsnip with the other $4 paper check.  I hope the small squash taste good... I have been wanting to get some for this time of year, and small is always better when you are feeding one person with it.

I accomplished a few other "goals" on my list, but that is enough on that.  It was a day without rain, so I had to get as much done as I could !!

I bought my first eggnog of the season, too.  I LOVE this part of the holiday season. I try to have at least ONE carton of eggnog.  Sometimes I am able to buy two or three.

I have been going through my recipes lately.  I was trying to find specific ones, but in the process I discovered my holiday recipes.  I am trying to decide what I want to make for this year.  With no kids to make for, there isn't any joy in the making unless I can find people to share it with.  I'm working on that problem, too!  :-)

The rain is going to start in the night tonight, and be with us for a long while now.  I hear that the "official" normal weather is back... lots of rain.  I may stay home a lot.

I really can't think of anything deep to share right now.  I am very tired, and can hardly type.  I hope to share more tomorrow. 

Enjoy your days... remember that each one is a new beginning and could also be your last.  Don't waste any of them.

Monday, 26 OCT 2015 :: war and weapons

As I was sorting through my piles of papers this weekend, I found a note I had made recently.  I can't recall where the information came from, but I listen to a lot of PBS documentary and news programs.  It's possible I noted it while listening to one of them.  I also listen to public TV news programs like 60 Minutes, so it may have come from one of them.

The note said that in 14 years of war in Afghanistan, there were only 2200 military deaths... on our side.  This number says a lot about the direction of our weapons development, our military interventions, and our ground and air forces.

For some time I have been noticing news facts about war casualties, and the weapons used.  In places with less military might, the amount of deaths in wars and other forms of conflict are huge... in the hundreds of thousands for larger uprisings, like the Arab Spring. I also noticed references to the Civil War dead, to those who died in WWII and Vietnam, and more current issues like the Middle East conflicts, ISIS, Al-Qaida, Ukraine, Iran, Syria, etc.  The numbers of American dead are always miniscule in comparison to those countries and groups with traditional weapons.  It seemed to me that as our weapons become more technological, they become more precise, and less people seem to die. 

I recently heard a program on military drones being developed to carry out important military tasks, including enemy strikes with sophisticated weapons.  I heard another program showing that robotics are being used to find land mines left over from other wars, or newly planted in some countries without the ability to possess new weaponry.

It is true that fewer humans may die with the use of modern technology in military weapons, but there are other perspectives to consider as well.  As we all get "up to speed" with technology, which is relatively cheap, money will be less of a factor.  We will all be attached to the internet.  Anyone will have the capability to infiltrate safety measures we think will protect us. 

All the measures we take to be stronger than our enemies will dissolve into their ability to use our weapons against us.  It is already becoming evident that our power grids are as much of a threat to our safety as our enemies possessing nuclear bombs and the will to use them.  Chemical and germ warfare are become weapons of choice for those who cannot buy drones, or are kept from creating their own military strength.  Overcoming America becomes the goal, and nothing else seems to matter.

I remember reading that Obama let the Chinese have the manufacturing plans for the Humvee.  I wondered why.  I have always thought it was a military vehicle, and part of the protections we have for our soldiers.  The Chinese are technologically our enemies... philosophically our enemies... and potentially our military enemies.  Should they own anything that is related to our military equipment?  Should they even own our debt?  It makes us vulnerable in ways we don't need to be.

For many years, I have read Christian articles or listened to Christian programs about services like OnStar, the satellite protection system.  It has been noted that from way out in space, this satellite program has the capacity to stop your engine, to lock your doors, to find you wherever you are, and intervene on your behalf if there is a problem.  I suppose there are video capabilities by now.  My point of view has always been that, if someone can lock your doors to keep intruders out, they can also lock your doors to keep you in...  they have the capacity to make you a prisoner as easily as they can rescue you. 

I think it was 60 Minutes segment I watched that reported on hackers being able to take control of your driving functions because our cars are now deeply integrated with technology.  Wireless services are convenient for us, but they also are convenient for those who wish us harm.  It will be years before we develop ways to protect against the misuse of our technology.

Our factories are being connected to the internet.  Our homes are increasingly connected to the internet.  If we can afford them, we have phones that are connected to the internet. 

Smartphones are becoming our primary pivot point in life. They have our memories, our personal data, our music, our books, our schedules, our apps, our sense of safety, and our connection to those we love, including our houses, our work, and everything about our existence.  If we somehow lose them, we don't just lose a phone.

Military weapons and the definition of "war" are changing faster than we can keep track of them.  The internet is creating a global environment.  We are all going to be connected to it one of these days...  what will happen to freedom, education, safety, and war when all our lives can be controlled by our access to the internet?

It's a scary thought... especially when we don't know who is going to be in charge of all that power.

Thursday, 22 OCT 2015 :: 2016 Membership Drive for Working Together

I was just at Twitter making a post about a Thanksgiving Challenge.  I decided to urge people to enter daily posts at an etsy thread on thankfulness during the month of least on the days leading up to Thanksgiving.  You are welcome to join the Challenge !!
 ( ) 

Most of the time I make a post about what I am thankful for, it starts at this thread on Etsy.  Then I copy it and re-post it on Facebook.  It would be great to know that others are thankful for the good things in their lives, too.  I have made it a commitment.  Right now I try to post my entry on Monday through Thursday, but I also add posts on other days when I feel the need.

While I was at Twitter, I decided to make a post about this blog.  I added one with the title of a post I made this week ::  Goals, Christmas, and Poverty.  I thought that title would fit the best.  I tend to get long in my titles, because my posts usually include several topics.

My best post was the first one I have made about Working Together and Membership.  I am planning a year-end Membership Drive in December, so I thought I may as well start the flow of links in that direction.  I am working on the new prices, PayPal links, and mail-in form this month.  It is one of the tasks on my developing GOAL lists.

It is hard to work out the subscription details for online sales.  I hoped to have an official office by now, and a better budget, and employees.  :-)  This is why I have to be careful how I structure the current options for Membership.  I know what I want to have, but have to make sure I can provide the benefits I want to have for members.

In the beginning, I offered a limited introductory membership for $5 a year... The benefits for this membership were WT NEWS delivered quarterly and a small discount on other Working Together purchases.

Over the years, I have created a variety of membership options, including free samples of other Working Together products, monthly newsletters, member credit options, and various discounts, plus priority status between Christian and Public membership groups.

Right now I am working on a new version of these benefit choices. A lot depends on what I can do with a PayPal purchase link.  I am studying up on their subscription options before I create my new purchase links.

If I had a lot of capital to lean on, I would simply create the program that I want to have for Christians.  Other interested people would be able to receive these benefits as Public Members.  Until I can accumulate enough savings to develop that kind of a program, I will work out the details with that in mind.

Have you wondered what Christians will need
in the persecuted future? 
I have based my programs on the experiences I have had in poverty, in churches, in life.  I think it will be similar in the future, as time goes by, and things in our world (and our country) get worse.  Once we get this process going, there will be places for Christians to turn to if their lives are facing persecution... if their church turns away from the Word of GOD, and if their family deserts them.

I hope GOD blesses this effort.

Think about joining Working Together yourself. 
Think about giving memberships as Christmas gifts.
Think about preparing a way for those you love.

I will share more about this as I finish developing the details.  Every program in Working Together has to pay for itself because I don't have the money to cover added expenses... yet.  This is why it is such a great challenge for me.  Once we get some savings and investments set aside, these issues will be less threatening.

And please pray... for me, and for Working Together.
I want to make it a global outreach and bring together all the existing ministries and Christians that already exist... that is why I named this effort "Working Together."


Wednesday, 21 OCT 2015 :: The cost of business

I am really late at getting here tonight !! 

I was online this evening, looking for a heat sealer at a website I went to years ago... ... they have all the supplies you might need!  :-) 

Well, they do have a lot of things to choose from, but maybe not everything.

I was looking for a small hand-held heat sealer to get going on some packing ideas for my products.  When I got to the site, the cost of the sealer was a lot more than I remembered.  It was beyond my current budget, and the larger heat sealer seemed to be a better option when I do get the funds.  Since I was there, I decided to look up some other packaging and shipping products to see what their prices were.  As I looked, I decided to ask for some samples to see what they would be like if I actually used them.

The shipping on the samples was free, but when I thought about buying one of the items I looked at, the shipping charge would have been almost as much as the product I wanted to buy.  I decided to wait until I made a larger order.

While I am saving up my money for a heat sealer and the packaging it would be used on, I will have to check on the prices at other sites.  Maybe I will try to find the other item I wanted at a local store, too.

It really costs a lot of money to operate a business... it has been one of the handicaps in my own effort to build a life starting at home.

To package a food product I need bags, the heat sealer or something else to close the product packaging and keep the food item safe, I need package labels, then I need shipping containers to get it to the customer, and shipping labels, and money for postage, and accounting options, and maybe a computer and printer that will print labels (including shipping labels)... I could go on to office supplies, office furniture, office equipment, transportation to the mailing facility, etc.

Poverty budgets are already a challenge... fitting in the costs of doing business makes it a long-term one-step-at-a-time challenge.  My goals and budgets are all an effort to overcome these financial issues. 

Income through sales is the only path for poverty households.  Finding the right product is key.  It has to be something that doesn't require a lot of other expenses to make and sell. 

Food products can be a headache if they have to be made in a commercial kitchen.  Community kitchens can be rented, but then you are dealing with the money issue again.

Crafts don't require health department approval, but they have their own financial issues with tools, supplies, etc.

Art may work for me, but then there is the issue of who will buy my work?

Nothing is guaranteed.  You just keep going, keep trying, keep looking for the right answer...the key to your success.

I am almost there.

My goal lists, my budgets, my ongoing revisions, my struggles to overcome the problems I face, my faith in the purposes of GOD, my products...  I hope they are all going to become the path to what I am searching for... to the place I belong... and the destiny that is mine.

I hope that a lot of people will one day be helped by the efforts I have made.

Tuesday, 20 OCT 2015 :: Goals, Christmas, and Poverty

I guess you might say today was a busy, serious day... 

I read through the Brian Tracy PDF I downloaded yesterday, "12 Steps Goal Setting Guide."  It was a great reminder of some achievement details we tend to forget in the congestion of everyday life.  The concept of deciding which one thing is most important to get done and then focusing on that one thing until it gets done is the place I have been trying to reach, but I get distracted by the difficulties of my life.  I haven't been able to consistently accomplish this habit yet.

The 12 Step Goal Setting Guide is a 9-page summary of the things I have previously heard on the CDs I have of his.  There are two pages (7-8) I am sending to some of the inmates I write to, including my son, because they are a brief look into the process of setting goals... kind of like instruction pages.  I have to decide whether to send the remaining five pages of text to them.  It all costs money...and adds up.  It is always a struggle to share good things with inmates.

Christmas has officially begun for me... I am trying to get ahead of the holiday crunch and stretch my money as much as I can.  :-)  I have a list of the main people to get cards and gifts for, and am trying to find the best solutions for my budget.

I mailed in the payment for gift subscriptions of INC magazine.  I decided to order the $5 special for some of those inmates I know, and others.  I renewed my own subscription.  And I mailed a letter to each gift recipient to let them know what to watch for.  Earlier I had ordered FAST COMPANY at the same price for my son in prison.  These are great holiday gifts because the inspiration is motivating, and the cost is not great if they don't receive the entire subscription.  Inmates get moved around a lot and lose their belongings in the process, including magazine subscriptions.

With these unplanned purchases, I decided I wouldn't be able send all the shoebox fees I wanted to sent to Operation Christmas Child this year.  OCC is a program of Samaritan's Purse where anyone can share a shoebox filled with gifts for kids all over the world.  I can't afford whole boxes of toys these days, so I try to send in the suggested donation per box for shipping expenses.  I had already saved three of the $7 fees, but wanted to send six.

My goal for next year is to save one fee a month until November, their regular collection month.  It is the first holiday collection of every season... usually just before Thanksgiving.  If GOD blesses my finances, I hope to upgrade to sharing full shoeboxes again.

Today I was able to read some of the articles I have been saving for spare moments.  Three of those articles were from the Heritage Foundation blog platform, Daily Signal -- on how to "cure" poverty by "curing" the people who are poor.  I haven't been too fond of Heritage's perspectives so far... they do the same thing for the "conservative" view that the liberals do... writing the details to support their own view.  It is part of the writing process, but that doesn't mean I like it.

I am trying to decide the best way to confront this blanket view of everything poor.  I was actually going to write my post on this topic, but it makes me angry.  I need to wait for this rebuttal...  when I get it all sorted out, I will share it here.

When I started this blog post, there was a FRONTLINE  documentary on the political process surrounding immigration reform on PBS (locally ::  9-11pm)  It ended with President Obama's announcement about his actions on behalf of immigrants.  I was listening to the program in the background as I sorted other things at my desk space.

I remembered some of the historical events (and news stories) that were being cited in the timeline for the immigration battle.  What caught my attention was the way activists orchestrated political change.  I have never been involved in politics at that level... but it has always been easy to see how chants and slogans create good media attention for whatever side you are on.

Immigration and poverty are only two of many financial problems America is facing. The Heritage articles mentioned the effects of healthcare and education on statistics used to reflect "social welfare programs" here and in other developed countries.  They didn't seem to explore the differences in the sources of income between socialistic countries and ourselves, or the tax issues I thought would be related to the different income sources.  I felt it made their views hard to believe.

We can't afford to do everything we would like to do as a country.  I try to decide how our leaders would prioritize our needs if there were a real crisis, something they couldn't manipulate, or make go away.  When I see the news, I see a lot of issues that are related to our budget...and debt isn't going to solve the problems because debt has interest charges and those expenses create equally devastating problems.

My biggest goal is to find a way to survive without the threat of a government collapse.

Monday, 19 OCT 2015 :: Goals need constant review...

Sunday is becoming my planning day.  Yesterday, I spent several hours revising and updating my new set of goal forms.  It is really helping me to get organized -- to find the pieces of my giant "puzzle" that I have to get done.

I start out with an overview of all the areas of my life that need attention, so I can decide what needs to be done and what I might be able to achieve and what to focus on first. 

The first page is the most important... it is seen the most.  I am trying to find a place to hang my goal set so I can see it often, as a reminder for all those times I am busy with other things, to keep me motivated.

The first page includes my TOP TEN GOALS FOR THE WEEK, my version of the previous top ten goals for the day I began my goal search with.  (Inspired by some free CDs I had by Brian Tracy.) 

The first page has my MISSION STATEMENT for Working Together at the top ::
Working Together is a business dedicated to Christian principles and theology.  Its purpose is to build and preserve resources that will help the Body of Christ survive as the Antichrist comes into power and the Mark of the Beast becomes a reality.  Our focus is food, water, shelter, prisons, employment, education, financial assistance, transportation, worship, fellowship, the value of life, and other basic needs.  Most of these activities will be connected to membership status.

 and the STATEMENT OF AFFILIATION for Working Together programs, which often have both a Christian grouping and a Public grouping.  

I hereby certify that 
I am a Christian. 
I have investigated the claims of the Holy Bible and accept the sacrificial death of a sinless Jesus Christ, GOD’s one and only Son, as an offering for my sins, thereby making my soul clean again and reinstating my personal relationship with GOD, my heavenly Father and Creator of all that exists.
To help with the week's planning, I have the days of the week in one column, with established tasks like blogging already listed and space for notes before or after the day's events.  For the blogs I am trying to develop, I have separate sections.  I also list a lot of the writing projects I am working on.
Also on the first page is my INCOME GOAL... which is still unclear.  Right now I have AMAP (as much as possible), but the actual amount depends on how my living situation develops.  Under my income goal I have this reminder :: 
 GOD has a purpose
for everything that happens to us.
Keep your focus on Him,
on the future,
and on His goals for you.
My other pages have sections for Etsy, Fiverr, eBay, and Amazon -- my income efforts.  There are social media sections for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Networked Blogs, and LinkedIn. Working Together programs are listed so I can plan the details for each one :: Membership, CORD- the Christian Online Resource Directory I am trying to create, Action Prayer, Bible Growth Groups, Firstfruits Ministries, Inmate Project, Essay 321, and Recipe Exchange.  I have a yearly calendar with major events to remember, and I am working on some way to have my budget for the week included.
The other sections of my goal pages are more detailed budgets, and spending records, and planning calendars.  I also have a pantry food list to help me keep track of my food supplies, which I only worry about once a month, or when I need to do a big shopping trip. 
It is quite an effort...
with short and long versions to keep it all going forward. 
I have begun to number each section and I am trying to create an order for my daily reviews and Sunday updates.
It is probably good I don't know too much about how other people do this, but I have read an occasional detail about planning systems of the old days, and how they have changed in this day.  I don't have the electronic versions, but I assume there must be something out there.  I am most worried about all the data that goes into smartphones, and laptops, and tablets, and other wireless internet-connected machines.  I want to retain the old options for information that is very sensitive... not 24-hour online access.  I am trying to figure out how to achieve that impossible goal.  :-)