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 :: http://www.opb.org  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.