2 JULY 2015 :: Survival

When I first started writing this post, I had just finished linking to several articles about surviving a major crisis...like a famine or an economic collapse or the loss of the power grid.  I think it was a Facebook post about famine foods from history that first led me in this direction, but I linked to several articles from there.  I am always searching for answers about the future, about how to prepare for the life prophecy tells us is coming.

We don't realize the devastation of droughts and famines in most of the world...we see it on TV pleas for charitable help.  I can't imagine what it would be like to watch your children starve to death. 

I often wonder what our big cities would become if food was not accessible and water became undrinkable, if there was no electricity for refrigerators and freezers and microwaves and stoves and ovens, if the lights suddenly went away for a very long time, if there was no heat or air conditioning, no washing machines, no dishwashers, no showers or baths, and no police to protect us at any level.  What would we do if there was no money -- or nothing to buy with the money we have?

If we face a nuclear disaster, we can add radiation to that scene...and that means a lot of illness and death right away.  There won't be a quick medical cure for radiation contamination. 

If we don't have weapons to protect ourselves, how will we survive the mayhem that comes with serious, life-threatening, MAJOR disasters?  We have been watching news stories recently about mobs that become violent, and how quickly some like to take advantage of social unrest to break into stores, cars, homes, and whatever they can to take what isn't theirs. 

We have seen the immediate aftermath of earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, fires, volcanic eruptions, wars, and social upheavals, but then the news moves on to another event.  What happens to those millions of people who are left to survive the horrors of their new lives?  It isn't a part of our lives so we forget about it... or maybe we send some dollars to help and never hear about the corruption that eats it up and nothing gets to the poor, or the ones it was intended for. 

In places where there are no morals, no standards of accountability, no public oversight, and no freedom, the ones who covet the lifestyle that wealth allows will take whatever they can and consider it their right. 

Who is able to stop this crime, this extortion, this corruption, from happening in the middle of a national crisis?

We never think anything like this can happen in America, but look at Detroit, at Greece, and now at Puerto Rico.  These are just the first dominoes to fall... what else will they cause to fall?  I now live on Social Security Retirement Benefits and food stamps...both controlled by the government.  Even if my online sales take off, in a crisis those income opportunities will go away. 

How does an average citizen that depends on the government survive a monetary crisis, bankruptcy, economic disaster?  When I see the news stories about countries that are operating by socialistic governmental systems and failing, I see the possible future for me, for America, and for millions of other people all over the globe.

I'm not sure how much preparation is enough,
 but I am sure that doing nothing is not the right answer. 

1 JULY 2015 - Budget highs and lows

I saved money today... I didn't leave the house!  :-) 

Actually, I got busy in the beginning of the day with creating a new budget for July and it took longer than I expected.  I have been on a quest to find the least time-consuming way to budget and track my life... financially, physically (diet and exercise), and with calendar events.  Today I revised one of my previous forms to try a new way to budget the week.  If I knew how to share it here, I would.  It turned out pretty good.  If it works out well, I will create a blank version and list it for sale at my Etsy shop (work2gather.etsy.com) and/or maybe my fiverr shop (fiverr.com/work2gather)  and/or maybe my eBay shop (ebay.com/usr/work2gather).  This is just one of the digital products I am trying to get finished to sell online.

I am sure I have told you before, I don't do well in the summer heat.  My aging body and health issues haven't made that reality any better.  :-)  With the temperatures in the 90's by noon, I decided to stay home and get some other things done.

I didn't have anything earth-shaking or mandatory planned.  I have just been trying to get some of the household items I need and stamps for mailing letters.  To get better mileage out of my expensive daily bus pass, I was going to go to the Salvation Army's weekly 50% off Sale Day at its Thrift Stores.  The Wednesday sale is one of my favorite times to shop for things I might need -- or discover while I am there.  Normally, my budget can only stretch for one of their weekly sales each month, so I will have to set aside time and money for a different Wednesday this month.  Tomorrow I will try again to leave early and beat the horrible heat wave we are having here.

Working on a budget always make you conscious of what you are spending. 

It prompted me to print off my pantry inventory form to catch up with my food supplies and decide which food items are the most important for me to buy this month.  (This is another digital form I hope to sell one day, after I get all the major "bugs" out of it and can write the text to go with it [instructions]). 

You have to remember that the maximum food stamp allotment for a single person is approximately $200/month.  Each recipient's amount is decided by a government formula that adjust their income by their basic needs expenses like housing and utilities.  I currently live with my son, so my very small retirement income reduced my food stamp allotment from just under the maximum amount to $126 a month.  I am currently up for review, but nothing in my financial status has changed, despite all my efforts, so it will probably stay the same.  It was hard to live with the $200 per month amount... it is getting progressively harder to survive with the reduced amount.  I am learning even more about cheap food again...and trying to find the healthier versions this time around.  I will share what I learn as I can.

Another food goal on my as-I-can-get-it-done list is creating a disaster supply kit...because I know how difficult it is to survive without food and money at the same time.  In a disaster, if you still have a place to live, all the supplies you may need will be gone by the time you get to the store.  If you live on food stamps, especially if you have children, you won't have anything left to buy those things anyway.

Over a long period of time, I have been gathering different lists of the items that are suggested for these kinds of situations.  I think I have discovered lists from FEMA, the Red Cross ( I just found a link for households and one for business disaster prep), and maybe other websites or materials, including survivalist websites. I recently discovered information for disaster prep for your pets, which is something I never really thought about before.

The main item I want to try to get is the hand-crank emergency radio (find a sample here) because power always goes away in disasters, but it might be good to have around for other circumstances.  I didn't know they existed until I started looking for my lists of suggested supplies.

Fitting all this into a food stamp budget is a MAJOR challenge!  :-)  Emergency supplies are also a real emergency need for low-income households.  People with houses have space and money to make these preparations...people who are homeless, living in small apartments, or with relatives and friends, don't really have a way to get ahead of unexpected events.
Once I figure out my disaster supplies, I will share my adventure with you.

I often think I should share my thoughts on the events of the day, but I am not yet ready to comment. I think it is more important to share the daily trials of poverty because most people have no idea what it is like...they just assume we are leeches that devour the tax-life of the country.  We are really just people struggling to survive, just like everyone else, but we don't have the ability to overcome our obstacles as easily as others.

My JUNE Twitter campaign is over.  It seems strange to not to be posting, but I know I will one day make another effort sometime in the future. 

In the meantime, you can always go to one of my sales sites to purchase the items I have listed.  The choices will increase as I am able to increase them so keep checking back.  Every purchase will help me, but it will also help build resources for the future.

30 JUNE 2015 :: last day of my Twitter campaign

One whole month I have been tweeting... a long time for me... as a modified effort in #crowdfunding. I am new to social media but I thought there would be some response... I didn't receive any...not even a question or a reply or anything.  Well, I do think I had some favorite messages in the beginning... not sure how being a favorite message helps me understand if it's a good thing because of something in the message or they just want to remember what I was trying to do.

I only used the # in this effort, but I am planning to do something with the @ sign for another campaign effort.  I have to collect the addresses I want to reach first.

I keep my focus on the powers of GOD and try to find His purpose in not providing the funds I need. I sometimes think my 40+ year effort to create resources for the poor, which became Working Together, has been a challenge to the power of GOD.  I can feel the spiritual battles sometimes.  I don't understand how I can battle, so I just keep plodding along

I have heard that the greater your struggle is, the greater a threat you are to the work of Satan.  We are facing a lot of prophecies about the End Times.  It seems like these changes are happening so fast, it is hard to understand a path through them.

Most secular hearts and minds are filled with a degree of hatred toward GOD, especially if the Bible stands in their way. They don't care about what is right, honest, good, kind, fair, loving, and other things that make our lives faithful to GOD... so they do wrong things to innocent people, to Christians and their families.  People who hate GOD just want their own agenda to be the top dog, the winner, the ruling party.  In seeking to win at any cost, they violate the rights of others...but never see the problem in doing that.

I think they choose Christians because they want to see if GOD is going to do anything...
  • will He stop them? 
  • will lightning bolts hit them? 
  • will good or evil win the battle? 

This is something many of us go through.  We can't see GOD, so how can we see what He is doing about our needs and lives?   He doesn't do our bidding as fast as we want, , and we want our individual situation taken care of pronto!  It is a challenge to our faith, anyone's faith. We don't have evidence of GOD like the Bible characters did... parting rivers, manna, stopped time, talking donkeys, the ark of the covenant, fires that never go out, etc...  we pray to an invisible GOD and hope that He will grant our request.

I guess I will keep on trying, and wait for GOD to provide.  Compared to a business or a ministry, I don't fit anywhere...what I am trying to do hasn't been done before...and all I have is my faith.  :-)  I use to say "GOD and one is a majority," and believed it more heartily.  The years (maybe my health more than the years) have been hard.  I see their purpose when I see success, but without the ability to see Working Together get established, it all seems pointless.  I can't decide which Bible story I am most like....

I hope you will go to my fiverr.com/work2gather shop and buy a gig from me to help my cause... or to my work2gather.etsy.com shop.  Read some of my early posts, look at the programs I want to create at my website :: http://work2gather.us  and some of the materials I have already tried to create.

And pray for me that I will live long enough to get this organized and running.

29 JUNE 2015 :: Homeless issues

Well, I am taking the easy path tonight because I still haven't done my Twitter posts and my body is giving out.  I was at Facebook and came across a post by the OREGONIAN about their series on homelessness in PDX (Portland, OR).  I went to the article and was moved to make a comment.  I had to sign up with my Facebook page to get it posted... then I shared the text at the original FB post. I went to some other pages and posted it again at one, then had to make an email to the author about another comment so I added this in.  I guess this post is getting repeated!!  :-)

I hope you will think about your area's homeless issues and some of my suggestions...


I guess I would like to add my own comments...having been homeless in PDX before and always in danger of being homeless again.

Poverty is always going to be with us, and if the economy falls, there will be a LOT more problems than the ones being faced now.  Permanent pathways need to be created for the endless cycles of people who will not have enough money to pay their rent, buy their food, get to their necessary places and their healthy relationship places, and either build their lives with school, work, retirement, etc.  The article box says less than 5000 are recorded as homeless, but giving room to grow, plan for 5000 permanent spots and figure out the spaces that can flex in a critical emergency.

I have sent letters to many of the area people who are involved in the homeless issue...and my suggestions have never received a reply. There are a lot of options, but it requires a different way of thinking about the problems.  Missions are good for emergencies, not for a lifestyle.  Tent cities are temporary, every program I have ever come across (and I do admit I haven't looked at too many for some time) is based on extreme temporary-ness.  :-(  Not a solution, only a band-aid that keep causing repeated injuries.

What about Street Roots?  Why not help them get apartments with street-level retail to house their vendors and create more income for their programs?  A vendor program can be created in every neighborhood or section of the PDX Metro area... which would spread out the opportunities and the burdens.  How many papers can be sold in the downtown area?  It would help Street Roots and help the homeless who are trying to make their lives better... maybe help get the recovering addicts away from the downtown temptations.

Parking garages are another option I thought of.  They can be modified with Restrooms that include showers, have protective fencing put around the perimeter, have a camping flavor that some long-term homeless need, are close to transit and other services, and have the ability to be utilized for all kinds of emergency services. Parking garages can be supervised with Security Officers and can be monitored with cameras.  They have elevators for the disabled and can be permanent parking for people living in cars, vans, and trucks. The top floor is usually not prime parking space so it can be blocked off for its residents.  Parking space lines create the boundaries for each resident, and can be allocated as one, two, three, or four space quarters, depending on the need.

Another concept I have suggested is offering home ownership instead of rental subsidies.  Properties can be abandoned properties owned by banks and governments, or other businesses and individuals. Using the subsidy formula, make payments be in the 30% of income amount, with the option to pay more as each month allows.  This would mean there wouldn't be a subsidy payment involved, and the lending group would be receiving income with each payment.

The Bible has a reference to people being able to borrow on their tithe for a 20% fee...a flat fee. This would be a great way to think of selling housing to the homeless and would not create a problem with lifetime interest that is twice the price of the property.  The balance owed would be reduced with every payment and that would create more incentive to pay it in full. If the starting fund is a revolving loan fund, then each purchaser will know that they are helping someone else get a house when they pay off their loan.

I know there are a lot of HUD homes that would work for this focus... and current government housing could be sold to its tenants and made into a permanent home for them... which would require the forming of an ownership association. 

Home ownership would create the first need of the homeless :: stability.  One place, a permanent place, to grow from...to call their own and not live in fear of being on the street again.  This is especially critical for young parents and the elderly/disabled.  The lending relationship would create a permanent contact option and follow-up link.

A KOA-type campground would be better than a tent city...because it could offer a small store, laundry facilities, places to grow food, separate sections for families and singles, planned activities, and income in small amounts for space fees...which can also create work-trades for rent, and later on some references for the job hunt.  It would be supervised...very important for places with children.  And if it is large enough, some food trucks can be available, maybe as health department approved kitchens, for those who are business-minded to start creating their own income with small efforts.

I guess those are my best suggestions for now.  If I won the lottery (a BIG one), I would have already had them created.   :-)


I think I have shared these before in my posts, but can't remember when that was.
Will see you tomorrow, GOD willing.  :-)