21 MAY 2015 :: Senior meals and housing.

Becoming a senior citizen is one long learning curve.  :-) 

Today I enjoyed my first meal as a senior in a senior center.  I am attending a housing class at the local Salvation Army offices and the senior center is nearby.  I am still discovering the facility, but the meal was very good.  The menu from May looks like it was also very good.

I can't say it is my first meal in a senior center because, many years ago, I had a one in California as a guest of my birth father and his wife.  I am aware of Meals on Wheels for seniors, but haven't really had much experience with senior issues before.

My costs for having senior meals is reduced to $2 per meal because I receive food stamps (SNAP). The normal cost per meal is $4.  I could never afford that, and don't plan to eat there all month.  It costs me $5 for a transit day pass just to go anywhere beyond my walking distance.  Since I have to get a day pass to attend the class I am going to, I can just go early to take advantage of the meal, especially on Thursdays, when there is a Bible Study in the morning.

The housing class I am attending is for people with problems getting housing, like evictions, criminal histories, disabilities, low incomes, and more.  With no income from work to pay the rent, I was forced into eviction at my last apartment.  I decided it wouldn't hurt to attend the classes and see if they help.  I don't know what the future holds, but I continue to look for ways to achieve MY goals... which include home ownership, preferably a farm property (on a major bus line!).
By traditional standards,
there is nothing available to poverty households. 

But I know it isn't an impossible dream...I would finance the possibility if I had the funds, and I know it would benefit families, communities, and governments, to establish options for low-income populations that don't involve subsidies and years of waiting for rentals.

Low-income households pay rent, so they can pay a mortgage. What they need is NO MONEY DOWN or SWEAT EQUITY purchase opportunities, AFFORDABLE HOUSING and FLEXIBLE PAYMENTS for those times when personal or family issues overcome their life.  The greater ongoing need is for STABILITY, PERMANENCE, A PLACE TO BUILD FROM.  Home ownership is not just for those who can meet the bank's requirements, it is for every family.

It would have changed the lives of myself and my children.  It will change any life that is allowed to own their home instead of paying rent. 

Housing issues are why I am so involved in discovering alternatives, like tiny houses, $20,000 Houses, Habitat for Humanity housing, abandoned properties, foreclosures, HUD houses, etc.  I don't think we need to subsidize housing when we could just finance housing options for low-income home ownership, which will bring stability and investment to poverty households... Instead of a revolving door and missions and jails and other housing issues, a sense of permanence can begin and be built stronger as time goes by.

There are some young mothers in my housing class... what if they were able to purchase their own homes, and begin to build a more permanent future for themselves and their children... how would their lives be changed? 

Ownership allows people to build relationships in their neighborhoods, in the schools their children attend, in the community where they shop and work.  It is the same dream every American wants, it just needs some flexibility to be accessed by low-income families.

I don't know if GOD will ever let me build some of these dreams, but maybe I will live long enough to see them accomplished, if not by me then by someone else who cares about the poor.

20 MAY 2015 :: Opportunity

I was just looking at a Yahoo story on an abandoned property in Texas  (a big one, with about 15 acres to go with it), and decided to add a comment about the opportunity it offered.  The other comments on the story were not very nice. I wasn't sure why.

It's easy to "window shop" when you don't have the funds to buy anything.  I would need to win the large prize in a national lottery to even think about buying something that is listed at millions of dollars.  If I did have money, I would need to do a lot more exploring before I made a final decision. 

I guess real opportunities are dependent on what your goals are, what your resources are, what your values are, where you want to go...  and being in the right place at the right time...  and probably other details I don't know about.

I don't want to live in Texas, but I can see how that property would let someone build a good thing in Texas...  a small farm or ranch with coop living, an education facility, maybe continue the assisted living plan or make it into a hospice center -- something.  It was suggested that 50-70 rooms could be built there.  It's fun to imagine what could be.

Everyone is searching for the opportunities they need to reach their dreams.  When does the idea of opportunity become the sin of coveting?  I'm not sure when that line is crossed.  Some opportunities we come across can be very inviting, we don't want them to pass us by, they become more important than anything else in our lives.  That might be coveting.

I would say the opportunities I can't access
are blessings meant for someone else.  

I have dreams.  I hope that GOD brings me both the opportunities I need to reach my dreams and the resources to take advantage of them, but I don't want to become obsessed with the need to succeed at all costs.  I hope there is a way to balance my dreams, my opportunities, and my success.

19 MAY 2015 :: How elections reflect the heart of a nation, including America.

Today was a special election day in the city where I live in Oregon.  The election was about schools, choosing the people who will govern what our kids learn. 

I am sorry to admit that I didn't actually submit a vote.  I believe that the vote is critical to protecting our voice in government, but I haven't been involved with the school systems for some time and had no idea who the people were that were running.  I didn't make the effort to find out more...I regret that. 

Elections are always important. 
They create our future, the laws that will change our lives.

We are facing a lot of changes in America that we don't believe will happen.  Our country was based on the morality of the Bible, it made us what we were.  That morality is slowly disappearing and the effects of our commitment to what is good, honest, merciful, kind, compassionate, loving, charitable, and other Biblical principles, will disappear with it.  Getting rid of GOD in our lives, ending prayer, taking down reminders of the ten commandments, ignoring moral boundaries, destroying religious freedoms, and more, will lead us to choices that harm and destroy our future...like they are already doing.

It is very strange how the Bible tells us that we must decide between GOD and money... nearly every decision we make can be taken back to those two elements.  The choice is the same for everyone that exists.  Without the constant commitment to the things that the Bible teaches us about GOD and morality, without the freedom to choose GOD, the love of money will consume our societies and our governments will reflect our choice.

As it becomes more expensive to do business, as government takes over more of our lives, as America struggles to survive, as our economy becomes more global than national, and as getting elected begins to eliminate the cause of public service for greed and power, the outcome of elections will become more important than the true voice of the people.  I believe we will see those who value their own needs over the needs of the country increasingly turn to fraud and corruption to gain their desired benefits. 

Without deeply personal moral convictions, there is nothing to keep any individual from choosing their greed over the rights of others.  As too many of our citizens cease to be moral, the problems that follow will threaten our existence.  Someone will want to rule the world, and we know him as the Antichrist.

18 MAY 2015 :: So many things I want to say

It was a weekend with lots of thoughts that matter.  I need to find a way to capture these thoughts so I can share them with you.  Maybe a small notebook, or a journal, to keep near as I go about my days.  When I watch something on TV, a video on Facebook, traveling the internet, or listening to a program on Christian radio, I sometimes discover ideas or topics I would like to bring up in my blogs.  Our lives are bombarded by information, by images, buy miseries and sufferings all over the world.  It's hard to sort through them and decide what is the most important.

PLUS  --  I write a lot of letters and long posts on Facebook and Etsy forums, so I don't always remember which details I have already shared in each place.  I am working on a way to get that all organized so I can create a flow of thoughts.  I hope that you will be patient if you read items more than once.

Do you think people really read all the FB comments?  I wonder.  I see thousands of comments on some posts.  I have been notified of replies to some of my comments and it took me a LONG time to find them.  I am trying to decide if it's worth the effort.  I like to share my 2-cents, but is social media the best place to focus my time and energy....

I recently mentioned to someone that FB (social media) doesn't seem to build up relationships, isn't deeply personal, not intimate in a healthy way, and dangerous for many.  I have only been discovering social media since late last year. I don't have hours to devote to social media, so I am trying to find ways to more closely track the people and groups that matter to me.  So far, I haven't been able to do that.   If you have any suggestions, I would love to hear them.  :-)

One special event I went to was the Grand Opening of SCRAP, a recycled materials reuse store in the local area.  It was a hard decision because it was on a Sabbath Saturday, so I hope GOD didn't mind.

SCRAP, and other stores like it, are not exactly thrift stores. They are a (growing) effort by hardcore recyclers to reuse things as much as possible.  The major goal of reuse organizations is to keep non-recyclable materials out of our landfills.  To create income, they also sell donated materials that might also be found in a thrift store (like picture frames), but reuse stores are more like craft supply stores.  :-)   The challenge for people like me and others who shop "previously owned" stores is finding ways to use these materials.  Recycling organizations like SCRAP focus more on education, and classes, and creativity.

Thrift stores sell more clothes and furniture and household items, some craft supplies, and items a recycling store would also have.  Reuse stores get donations of older business equipment, used envelopes and paper supplies, materials falling out of use, industrial cast-offs, art supplies, mat boards and picture frames, storage tins and plastic containers, old magazines and books, building materials, yarns and fabric scraps, bottle caps and crafting materials, scrapbooking supplies, metals, plastics, wood, ribbons, and more.  I have purchased old cutting boards, small sections of metal fencing, big spools of yarn from factories, and tons of things you really wouldn't find at a Salvation Army Thrift Store.

I love shopping at reuse stores like SCRAP and Habitat ReStore (which is about building materials and houses for low-income families).  For my budget, they are required, but I think I would still shop them after I won a big lottery prize.  It's the recycling philosophy that is important.

There are a lot of ways to survive when your income is limited.  Some of the most obvious are shopping ::
  • reuse stores like SCRAP and Habitat ReStore
  • thrift stores like Salvation Army, Homeless Missions, and Goodwill's
  • dollar stores like Dollar Tree, Dollar Stores, and Cash King
  • discount stores like Walmart, Bi-Mart, WinCo, and regional choices
  • yard sales and rummage sales
  • swap meets and auctions
  • and great sales anywhere!

Back to SCRAP, my search led me to several very interesting items.  I found an older business planner from the late 1980's to early 1990's. The notebook was in fair condition and the planner pages that were available were in good condition.  I liked the business focus and seeing what planners of that time had in them.  I have never been able to afford things like it and haven't really had the life to incorporated them into.  I don't like everything in my life to be connected to the internet, or on a computer.  I like more privacy, and to be able to see, touch, and manipulate real life products.  :-)

At this point, I am exploring the goal pages and the personal record pages (which will help me in my effort to gather all the information that will be needed after I die).  I was excited to find a calorie counting page, pages with the most common misspelled words, and budgeting pages.  I think the company was Hobbs... and it reminded me of a time management audio set I had (and may still have). 

Another really fantastic item I found and purchased for only $1 was a book for kids that had a global focus and included crafts from other countries and details about various events and celebrations from around the world.  It was dated about the same time as the business planner.  I have only browsed it so far, but I am already trying to decide which crafts to try.  :-) 

AND  --  I found a huge business 3-ring binder that is unlike any I have seen before.  It has oval-shaped binder rings.  I am looking forward to trying it out.  If it works good, I will probably make it my main goal notebook.

I don't know if shopping "used" will come back into vogue, but I love to have some of the older products in my life.  They are often like a private treasure to me.  :-)  They might become antiques if I live a long time.  I see a piece of history, something that mattered to another person at one point in time, a discarded part of life that is still of use.

I guess the biggest event for my weekend
was making my FIRST purchases at Etsy.  :-) 

I haven't been able to do much buying for a long time, and haven't ever bought something from Etsy.  I just discovered Etsy last year, and social media late last year.  :-)  I was able to make a purchase using PayPal and a regular purchase through Etsy's checkout process. 

I am still going through the whole purchasing experience, looking for details that will be important to me and fees that might be attached to buying something.  I will be going into this process more deeply at my Crafts Explored blog some time this week.  Making my purchases at Etsy will help me with my future listing efforts.

Keep in touch with Crafts Explored to find out more about the online selling process as I learn it.  I will be back tomorrow, GOD willing.  :-)