2 OCT 2014 :: Have to make it short

The computer I use has had problems all day...it took me 45 minutes to post a happy birthday message this morning! ... so I don't plan to write much.  Aren't you the lucky one!  :-)

I hope to get some artwork done this weekend. Have been making plans, getting my supplies ready, am organizing my spaces, and working on my Etsy listings. I have also discovered my other sales sites again and want to find something to sell on them. It will be great to get this process going.

Prayers are still needed...BIG issues, want GOD to help. Thanks.

I don't want to get started on anything serious today. I will be here forever. I just can't do that today. I will save it for Monday...by then my prayer needs will be desperate.

May GOD help us all to find safety together. Amen.

1 OCT 2014 :: Trusting GOD

Trusting GOD...it seemed like a good topic when I started writing this blog post, but now, over an hour later, after many revisions, I am starting over again. What does it mean to "trust GOD?"

There are probably hundreds or thousands of verses in the Bible that refer to this action. It sounds like it should be easy, but I don't think it is. In my life, the answers aren't found in exact verses. I think about the stories and events in the Bible, and try to decide if they could relate to my situation. Like Abraham and David, both waiting for GOD to provide what He promised. Like Joseph preparing for a famine. Like Goshen being a place where GOD protected the Jews from the plagues that Egypt suffered. Like Job's innocence in his suffering. Like Jeremiah being attacked by his own people because they didn't want to hear the message he had to bring to them.

It isn't easy to trust GOD.

I have been fighting my own private war with Satan for many years now. I can't remember when I noticed the battle was happening, but I haven't been able to overcome the problems it causes. I do what I can and rely on GOD to help me get through this. I pray every day, pretty much, even if it's only a quick, "Help me!"

When GOD takes a long time to answer your prayers, you search for the possible reasons. Is there some kind of sin standing between us? Is my faith too small? Did I not tithe enough? Am I asking for the wrong things? We know what the Bible tells us about the power of GOD, but how does that information apply to my situation? God moves very slowly, and I want the end of my suffering right now. Is GOD saying no, or is He saying wait? Is what I am experiencing because of something I did, or did it come into my life through no fault of my own? Who is the enemy? Is it me? Satan? Or the person that evil is controlling?  What is my next step?

After so many years of moving in the direction of Working Together and not being any further than I am, I wonder what GOD is doing. Others in the church might say that GOD is not behind warning and protecting the Body of Christ through Working Together. I think of Satan killing Jesus because he thought it would stop Him from becoming the Messiah. GOD is achieving His Will in the midst of all this suffering, I just don't see all the details.

This topic is high on my list today because I have been waiting for GOD to do several things, including provide for me and Working Together. Faith is a struggle because I don't see the details. I am standing on the past, on experiences I remember, on what I know from the Bible.

I am trusting GOD for the end of this story...and I know that what that ending is will be the right one for me, for His Will, for Working Together, for the Church, and for others who are struggling with me.

I am not well right now, so I have to go. Pray. Pray that GOD will provide for Working Together and the safety of the Body.

30 SEP 2014 :: Valuing my work

Today I have been going through my GOALS Notebook and reorganizing my files there. I am working through this goal setting process and trying to find the best pathway for my situation. As I continue with my efforts, I find myself closer to a weekly "flow" for the things that I need to get done.  I may use my Sundays to review this notebook and plan what needs to be done next. Then I can work those items into my weekly schedules.

I came across my Etsy listing draft...for my artwork. It is hard for me to value my work, especially artwork. I am working out a formula to help me. Estimating the number of hours a project will take, deciding on a reasonable hourly wage, adding the costs of materials and general overhead, is what I have come up with so far. I think original art has extra value, so I have to decide what that translates to in dollars per project.

Art has never been something I pursued as an income source. I always planned to apply it to my writings. Now I am trying to see what I can do with it before I die. I am hoping I will be able to produce at least a decent income (which I am also trying to define). I hope Etsy will help me to achieve that goal.

Throughout my life, my hourly wages have rarely been above the mandated minimums. Each stage of our lives had its own issues and income efforts. Many times I didn't want to make the commitments that would earn higher wages because of the hours required. There is a huge battle in single-parent households, probably in every household: time versus money.

Whoever spends the most time with your children is the one who teaches them their values. If it isn't the parents, it becomes the nanny, the babysitter, the daycare center, the school...the stay-at-home mom contributes more than the wages she might earn with a job. Before I ever had children, before I ever knew what sex was, I wanted to be a stay-at-home mother. I wanted to find some kind of work that would allow me to do that. My motivation was growing up in an empty home.

I never found a way to make enough money to have a decent life by working at home. I did find out how much help I needed as a single parent and tried to find it in many ways.  I think women latch on to the first man that comes along because they so desperately need someone to help them. It doesn't help the goal of happiness (most of the time), it usually creates a whole different set of problems that are added to the ones you already had. In the end, everyone suffers: mom, kids, and the prospective dad.

The need for stability is one reason I am so focused on home ownership for low-income families...even the homeless.
  • Small housing can create affordable ownership options for low-income individuals and families, help establish small families, and keep them stable as they work through the ongoing challenges home ownership creates, including changing the patterns of crisis and abandonment. 
  • People who are so inclined, who have no family, who want to live in groups, can create coop housing relationships under several housing options, including farms, apartment buildings, and single-family homes.
  • KOA type campgrounds for the homeless can help create the first step toward stability. This offers those who prefer to live outside a better option than the streets or the local missions.
  • Long-term housing for prison reentry programs can help create the supervision and stability that will create a bridge to a new life.
For many years I have been praying for a personal farm property for myself, and separate land for Working Together. One possibility I have been praying about is taking a large piece of land and offering some kind of lease relationship with those who will be involved with Working Together  and our goals of providing food, shelter, and fellowship. I'm not sure it would work, but it is an option to consider. It is based on what I know of sharecropping.  (Please pray for my request of GOD. Thanks.)

I think there are answers for our local, state, national, and global problems, we just have to want to find them more than we want to suffer the current issues or make it a political issue.

All these years I have expected to be the owner of a multi-billion dollar business where everyone is paid the same reasonable wage and has access to the same resources according to their needs and abilities -- not a social service program, but a way to disperse the financial resources to meet all of our needs. In that dream, my hourly wage is currently $15/hour.   :-)

29 SEP 2014 :: Etsy and prisons...selling on the Internet

Been studying this weekend: more Etsy blogs, videos, worksheets, and products already for sale in other shops to try to improve my own Etsy shop for the holidays and next year. I discovered that the profile page is a main destination for links to Etsy shops. Since then I have been trying to improve the information that is viewed there.

Online selling isn't easy. I thought it would be. Less expensive, more reach, greater possibilities. It takes time to market, to work out the details, to process, ship, grow. It has costs that were hard for me to bear...computers, printer, internet. In my situation, there have been other issues I hope to overcome soon. I think online sales will be bigger as time goes by. It is something we can't avoid.

I have mentioned to many that the prison systems can use the internet for income for themselves and for the prisoners that they keep. That would be job training for when they get released, something to continue when they get out, a more positive relationship between them and the court process. I have also suggested that prisons incorporate a closed computer system to improve education and communication opportunities for inmates.

Cells where inmates are isolated 24 hours a day would probably be the best place to start. They don't seem to have anything to do for hours on end, and many end up cutting themselves, creating havoc, and worse just to get out of the cell for a brief amount of time. It would be so much better to offer them a variety of programs and see what they choose. Computers can help inmates learn how to read at their own pace, increase their math skills, allow them to practice writing skills, and more.

I have been trying to solve some of our country's corrections problems since my children first became a part of the system. An "eBay for Inmates" would allow them to list and sell  the things they have the ability to produce. Many create artworks, lots of music makers, and drama could be included. I wanted to see inmates offer the world their testimonies, like on YouTube...hoping it would stop others from making the same mistakes.  The effects of drug addiction would be visible and could be addressed. It's hard to budget anything into the government structure, but I bet the GoPro cameras would be affordable. I heard on a news program tonight that one is less than $150.

We have to change the way things are done...because we can't keep putting everyone into prison.

People who steal need to pay for what they stole and more. The Bible says up to seven times what they stole. The process would include working and making payments and the incentive to get it paid faster than slower.  Years in prison doing nothing but sitting in a cell, moving from one section to another, doesn't improve the future for anyone.

I could go on for a long time, but I will stop here. I want to win the lottery so I can start all these changes myself...as fast as possible. Pray that GOD will do something...maybe you can pay for it.