22 JAN 2015 :: Email sorting

I spent quite a lot of time trying to get to my email folders, to sort through them and eliminate the ones that don't need to be kept... round one.  It is going to take days and weeks to sort through my huge collection of past emails, but it has to be done... I want to find things that are important to remember and file them better.

I guess I call it the "historical perspective."  Remembering things that happened because they are part of what happens today.

I have gone through a variety of sorting and filing efforts already.  Trying a separate folder for every topic, moving to large topic folders, and now I am getting into main topics/segments with their own subtopics. It's a number and letter challenge.  I am searching for the best way to order my folders the way I want them to be ordered.

I have created a number system for the folders I want at top, but it can't go over 9 because the auto-file aspect of computers makes it go out of the desired order.  That is one limit. After the main number category, there are two options :: a letter right next to the number (which files alphabetically) OR a space and then a hyphen and then a space and then a topic. This latter choice is much more flexible... I am fine-tuning it these days.

I have no idea what other people do with their emails, but it would be nice to find out... especially big companies with lots of files to deal with.  :-)

I can't devote that much time to sorting through my emails every day, so I may get my kitchen timer out and use it to limit myself to one hour a day... in time, my goal will be achieved... (a LONG time!)  That's better than having it on my list for the rest of my life.

I have wanted to print the most important files and store them somehow. It is easier to find the important pages that way.  I can't afford the paper or ink, and haven't got the storage space yet, but it is still the way I would rather handle the sorting process.  I could mark the paper file with a reference point and archive the original. 

That doesn't say much about achieving a "paperless" environment, but I haven't wanted that future anyway!  :-)  I am a visual person... I like to see, touch, read, mark up, and organize my information. It is too hard to do all that in an email file.

That was the day I had... mostly.

I did finally get to my http://networkedblogs.com account and wandered through some lists of blogs to follow. I went to several topics and chose a number of the ones that I wanted to explore further. I will do that for my next step.   The only problem I had was when I searched for my exact blog title... it came up "crafts" of some kind, and I finally found myself at number 157...  not what I expected, but I still have to figure the site out and see if there was a different place to search for an exact blog title.  I am looking forward to registering my other blogs and finding them.  :-)   I need to find the links to share, too.

All this learning sure is time consuming... I am deciding what to focus on more... and what to let go. I haven't been able to get to my crafts. I need to get a separate space for them... which I haven't been able to do yet.  Here is where my faith comes in...  I am trusting GOD to help me overcome the issues I am currently dealing with, and doing the best I can to meet the needs of each day. 

May GOD be kind to me and provide what I have needed for so long. AMEN!

21 JAN 2015 :: After the speech

I kind of watched the speech last night... I had it on the TV while I was wandering around the internet.  I heard bits and pieces, and applause in parts...when I looked at the screen, I could see the President, the Vice-President, and the Speaker of the House...all looking politically correct.  :-)

Today, most of what I saw online and heard in the news about the State of the Union speech was more banter between the two main parties that control our future. The Democrats this, the Republicans that... it is the same endless cycle. In the middle of my Facebook and News viewing, I remember seeing comments and headlines about the Republicans flexing their power.

When I heard the glorious jobs report, with large numbers that were meant to signify America rising from the terrors of the recent past thanks to his administration, I wondered how they were formulated. It is easy to twist statistics to say almost anything you want them to, and I have considered Obama (including his administration) as being very creative in describing economic situations. I have always assumed it was part of his life as an activist, fundraiser, and politician.

One of the first Facebook posts I noticed after the speech was a cartoon about those figures...bringing up the large number of older workers who stopped looking for work and took and early retirement.  They make it look like there isn't as much unemployment as there is.

Another way to flex employment numbers is to refer to part-time employment, temporary employment, seasonal employment. Brand new full-time positions are not that easy to produce. Rehires are not new jobs.  No, I don't know if the figures were correct, but I don't think our economy is as great as it is pictured to be.

Some of the "new" spending during the recent holiday season could have been credit card purchases by over-extended budgets wanting to share in the Christmas spirit. It is hard to go without for long periods of time... it becomes more important to spend money you can't afford to bring some "normality" into your life, especially during a season like Christmas. I have noticed more than once that the focus in reports is on how much is spent, not always where it is coming from, or what it is compared to.

I suppose I have my own soap box... but I don't see America as Democrat, Republican, or other parties, I see it as a nation that needs to survive by the best solutions for everyone.  I have spent many years thinking about the problems I encountered in poverty and in the governmental system/s... trying to decide if there are any solutions that would work on a national scale.  Not knowing budgets or actual numbers, the only possibilities I could create were based on personal experience. 

Changing any part of the government system is a major (lifetime) challenge.  Systemic change on a whole lot of levels is pretty difficult to even comprehend.  When I see the Bible's prophecies about the End Times coming true, there doesn't seem to be any hope for the change that would be needed. I began to change my focus from saving America to saving the Body of Christ.  It's hard not to care about my country, so I do what I can with my words.

I've been writing to the "government" since I entered the Welfare system, and have seen changes occur along the way.  I remember sending a whole packet of efforts to write about poverty issues to the Clinton White House... I gave up trying and sent my notes.  Now I am learning about Facebook and Twitter and blogging and books and those who will violate anyone's rights to gain their desired end. I guess I learned even more deeply that money is either a weapon or a tool...and how you use it says a lot about your moral foundations...even when you are part of the Christian church.

I hope we see good changes in our government over the next two years.  It is important to have the battles of opinion over important issues because no one has all the answers...other people see parts of the "elephant" that we don't realize are there.  In the end, "working together" helps us find a solution that will help all of us.

20 JAN 2015 :: US State of the Union

I should probably wait until the speech is over to enter a post, but the only State of the Union speech I remember listening to was an Obama one some years ago. It didn't seem to be a description of the issues America was facing, it was more like a report on what the Obama administration had accomplished and/or the Democratic agenda.

I suspect this one will be an overview of the Democratic and Republican struggles to govern since the healthcare mandate was forced through Congress with a Democratic majority.  I don't know if I will be able to listen to the whole speech.

What is the condition of America, its citizens, and its government? The following observations are from my view.
  • Our massive debt has crippled our ability to flex with unexpected disasters and economic uncertainty. I call it "max-ing out the credit cards" and it means there won't be anywhere to go except bankruptcy. Still, the government spends like it always has...because it would make us seem less powerful as a country.
  • Mandated healthcare is setting the stage for government mandated controls of all of our lives, including life and death, business philosophies, and religious freedoms. 
  • Technology is creating an increased dependence on surveillance methods to inform (traffic and weather) and  "protect" (traffic, crimes, terrorism) us.  Some use technology to commit hidden crimes.
  • Our freedoms are disintegrating, and our votes are being eliminated if they don't agree with those who have the power to further their own agendas (marriage).
  • In our economic distress, we are becoming fearful of all immigrants, even when they could help improve our country's problems.
  • Education is at a major crossroads because of online options, rising costs, system failures, and family poverty. Technology is reducing the need for teachers, schools, libraries, paper and other school supplies, administration, and anything else related to operating education systems.
  • Energy changes are affecting major industries. The development of alternative energy like solar and wind allow individuals to reduce or eliminate their dependence on traditional methods...and the costs associated with them.
  • Taxes are the only method the government has to increase its income, and in order to spend more it needs to increase taxes.  The need to create a permanent limit to taxes is growing... and so is the rebellion of taxpayers.  The government is meant to serve and protect the citizen, the citizen is not meant to provide for the whims of government.
  • Jobs are disappearing because technology is replacing them. Entire industries are being replaced or are greatly reduced. Education requirements for technology positions are creating huge problems. Older workers are being let go for lower-cost younger workers, destroying retirement plans and previous income stability.  
All of these situations affect the economy, which affects the government and its operations through tax revenues. Every citizen is also affected by the economy and the actions of government. We are all suffering, and we are all struggling to survive these changes.

I'm not sure our government can solve all these problems fast enough.

19 JAN 2015 :: MLK Monday

Today's holiday threw me off ... I deeply admire MLK, but the holiday is a mixed celebration. It isn't his real birthday, and the meaning is getting lost. It's more of a three day weekend, and I heard one report that our youth don't even know who he was or the battles that were fought. I noticed it is becoming a community service day...which is a nice thing, but is it related to what he stands for?

I forgot about it being a federal holiday, which means no mail or banks.  I put a letter out for the mail person to pick up.  I went on all my errands and did a lot of things after getting back home before I remembered the mail wasn't being delivered today.

I did remember that the buses might be affected by the holiday. I checked for holiday schedules and discovered some buses were eliminated, but my routes were regular schedule. That was good. I didn't have to cancel my doctor appointment or errands.

My first errand was to deliver two heavy bags so I couldn't take my purse with me. I carry a lot of things in my purse so I didn't have them with me for the day. That  always causes problems.

When I went to transfer to a bus I thought I needed, I suddenly thought I was going to the wrong doctor location. I couldn't check on the address because I didn't have my purse.  So I went to find a phone book at a nearby business.  In our digital age, phone books are becoming a thing of the past. Since I don't have a smartphone, I couldn't check for the needed information myself. The worker at the business talked into his phone and the location information came up. I was on the right bus route, going to the right place... then I realized both of the doctors I have seen might be on that same street, that same route. I will have to check on that.  :-)

Not having my purse meant not having my extra bags with handles... a small thing with great importance for bus riders. (At least, I think so.)  I did some food shopping on the way back home and bought too much. It was a real challenge to get from the bus to the house with paper bags that don't have handles. I am thinking I need to start looking for a good backpack again... or a large fanny pack... to carry the bare essentials like extra bags with handles and my address book, when I can't take a purse.

Back to MLK...   I don't have money to go see movies, so the ability to see SELMA is not an option. I would rather see the I HAVE A DREAM speech each year, using a personally owned DVD that would play on my computer or TV.  If I remember right, and history is not my best subject, I never realized that he was killed after giving that speech. I read that somewhere on the internet one of the past several years and was so surprised. I think that is the speech where he says he would like to see people judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin.

Our nation is losing its moral foundations so I don't know how anyone will be able to judge the content of anyone's character.

What do you compare it to?  The only real pivot point is the Bible, and we are losing our relationship to all things godly. Do we base our evaluations on another religion? The writings of Darwin? or Hitler? or Einstein? Maybe we should use Archie Bunker or Married With Children.  Do you see my point. We need to have the same rules to make a judgment about things that matter, like crime, good, evil, law, morals, and more.  America was great because it was based on the greatness of GOD and the goodness of His Word. 

I grew up with the social battles fought over civil rights and Martin Luther King, the farmworker abuses and Caesar Chavez, the Vietnam war (which was really a "conflict" and never declared a war), the sexual revolution and bra burning (not my desire, but the society I lived in),  abortion rights (formed long before the first photos of the womb were made, and when people thought that the baby didn't exist until they felt it -- about the third month -- which became the time it was decided it was OK to have an abortion), the HIV battle and gay rights, and who knows what else... there are always a lot of issues being fought over. The contents of each battlefield was created by the moral character of the leader.

Martin Luther King was a Black man, and he was a pastor of the Bible. The statements he made, which we like to quote, were a mix of these two elements of his life. MLK is lifted up for his civil rights activities and martyrdom, but not for his faith. Can we really separate them?  I don't think it's possible. We all make decisions based on the core ideals we choose for ourselves.

I wonder how many people in our history have done what they did because of their faith in GOD and the boundaries of what is right and what is wrong that the Bible teaches us. Probably quite a lot. Their faith created their moral foundations AND their desire to see changes that would make the world a better place for oppressed people, abused people, violated people. 

Every activist is motivated by something. I would rather support someone who has the Bible as their guide and boundary.