Friday, 25 SEP 2015 :: A note on the news

I guess I want to say just a few words about the resignation of John Boehner...  in our troubled times, it may be a mistake, but only time will tell.

The real issue is the sense of desperation... it isn't good to make desperate decisions if you can avoid it.  We are facing so many serious problems, the attitude of desperation is growing. It is making us afraid, causing us to act in risky ways, leading us down the wrong paths. 

I hope we can find good leaders that will work for the best solutions for America because Americans affect the entire world. If donors strive for the solutions that meet only their needs, the rest of our country will suffer, the rest of the world will suffer.  Are there any wealthy people that can help find the best long-term solutions for all people?

I don't know.  I haven't seen any.

Pray for America, if you can.  Pray that GOD will help us, that He will guide us to better standards of life and morality.  Pray that we will become better than we have been.

Thursday, 24 SEP 2015 :: My first quilting expo.

Everything we do has a way of becoming part of our future.  I went to my first quilting show at the Portland (OR) EXPO Center today and discovered some very wonderful quilts.  I was very inspired by seeing the wide variety of designs.  It made me less worried about creating my own.  I wish I could share some photos with you, but I never even thought about bringing a camera to take photos of what I would see.

[I just checked for possible web links and didn't see anything on this year's event, then remembered I saw a post of Facebook with photos...  I hope the links I found will work...]

It was a long day, and I am way past ready to get to bed.  I just wanted to get this post done first.

I will go ahead and write another post tomorrow... I hope you enjoy the photos.  It isn't the same as being there, but at least you get to see some of the quilt designs.

Friday, 25 SEP 2015

Just wanted to add a note that I entered a larger post about my time at the Expo on my
Crafts Explored
blog today... it share a little more details.  I plan to get my own photos next year, with lots of comments on the event.

Enjoy your weekend...

Wednesday, 23 SEP 2015 :: How does GOD speak to us?

I have been really tired of eating my "survival food" this month, not going anywhere, being in my small room too much, and craving something that wouldn't be so good for me -- like fried foods or dessert or chips...maybe chocolate.  McDonald's has been calling my name for weeks!  I thought today would be a great time to finally get some decent food (fresh fruits and veggies) and maybe look for other things on my "I want to get" list.

Then I realized I hadn't made a budget yet.  I know that if I went shopping without creating at least a rough budget, I would be in trouble.  I have a lot of things that I need to look for.  I had made a few lists, to make sure I purchased the most important things first, but not a real list.  I decided I would do that before I left the house.  It wound up taking me all day!!! 

I couldn't find my file so I had to make a new format.  As I worked through the budget for this month, I kept remembering other things that had to be included, so I would revise the budget to fit the forgotten item into it.  I think I will be OK with what I have created, but sleeping on a budget draft is always a good idea.  When you look at again, with fresh eyes, you find things you missed.

Plans are a good to have.  I need to find a way to organize and implement my plans better.

The sovereignty of GOD is a constant topic in my plans.  I am searching for reasons why things don't always turn out the way I want them to.  :-)  And looking for the details I need to make new plans.  How does GOD let these things be known?  How do I know my information is from GOD?

This is never an easy situation. 

There are parts of the Bible that say GOD establishes our thoughts, that He guides the events of our lives to lead us in the directions He wants us to go.  When you don't have a clear path to walk, it is better to go slowly, or wait for a better indication of GOD's Will for you.  I have not always seen the best way to know GOD's Will... until it is past, until I am on the other side of my efforts, until I am looking back at what happened in my life.  In the middle of chaos, pain, struggle, devastation, it is hard to see the reasons GOD has allowed something in your life.  You just keep going.

I wrote SERVANTS at a point in life when I was more deeply involved in reading the Bible and studying it and looking for answers.  I still believe the message it carries. 
Even our enemies are used by GOD
to accomplish His Will.
Judas is an example of this, Saul/Paul is an example, the conquering armies that overcame Israel/Judah are an example of this.  Finding the Will of GOD in your life makes you see conflict in a whole different way.  It also makes you examine yourself more , especially when there are problems you can't control, can't solve, can't overcome. 

Our problems, our needs, are what drive us to prayer, to study.

Look for "the still small voice" of GOD in the hidden moments, the less obvious details, of what you are facing.  GOD is in the people, the places, the problems that you are dealing with... He has allowed them in your life for a reason. 

Tuesday, 22 SEP 2015 :: Immigration, Poverty, and America

It is hard to concentrate on a blog post right now... I have the local PBS station on (OPB) and the program I am watching is highlighting the lives of four young people in Salinas, CA, which is near very rich communities and called the "salad bowl" for agriculture.  The young people being explored are all Hispanic.

The first thing I noticed is the average income level cited ... less than $12K a year... which I understand.  In my life, with all my different efforts, I don't think I have even reached that level of income.  In harvest season, one worker stated that they work long hours all seven days of the week, and that there are no white people in the fields.

This is why I don't understand the use of government funds for people who make five to ten to twenty times the amount that really poor people survive on.  The political cries for the "middle class" included people making $250K a year.  That is not poverty.  Our government does not want safety nets for the most needy, but they do want safety nets for people with $250K to spend each year.

The next thing I noticed was that living in remodeled garages seemed to be the norm, at least for the agricultural workers.  Some farm workers were living in parts of motel rooms, paying as much as one would pay for a small apartment in most cities, with no kitchen that I could see. 

Lately, in America, I have been hearing the term "gentrification" in reference to housing issues.  I understand it means that affordable housing is being replaced with high-rent apartments, leaving low-income families without any options for decent places to live.  I don't know if poor people really understand the words that are coined for conversations about them.  I know that my own search for housing alternatives that low-income families might be able to BUY, instead of rent, makes me wonder what the goal of our society is.

In one short hour we were given a brief look into the lives of four people who are trying to create a different life for themselves, in America.  It is always important to share the hope that exists in serious problems.  That is done with people who find a way through, even when their family members don't.

The problems mentioned, most associated with poverty, some with the devastation of addictions, are the same ones we are hearing more and more news stories about ::
  • gang cultures
  • addictions
  • single-parent families
  • lost educations
  • few opportunities
  • feelings of futility
One of the voices of authority in the film mentioned that you don't see gangs in affluent areas... that wealthier areas may still have crime, but not gangs. (I'm sure that will change as gangs get wealthier.)  Two of the families in the program, that I noticed so far, have lost one of their siblings to gang violence.

The tears that come with memories are hard to stop... farm worker families hurt, too.

Families with faith in GOD held on to their faith in midst of the hard times they had to endure, and it helped them to cope. I know that connection, too.  Without something bigger than yourself to believe in, the world can get very discouraging. 
We have to see a connection with the future to make it through
the very rough paths we have to cross today. 

I cannot imagine where my life might have led if I didn't have my faith to keep drawing me back to what was right and what was good and what mattered most of all.  I don't think we understand the benefits of faith in America.

When I watch the news, I see a confusing mix of ideas about religion.  Most of the media staff don't seem to have any basis of faith in their own lives, so they can't really report on the faith of others.  Instead of understanding the lives of those in their reports, the news becomes a way to advocate for their own prejudices, the agendas they want to "win."  The serious issues that are becoming a turning point for America and the world are lost to the social battles at stake in their lives.

Immigration is associated with welfare and food stamps, not people who work hard and struggle just as much as we do.  Religion become child sexual abuse, moral failings, violence and war, territorial disputes, discrimination, a women's rights issue, and other politically-heated topics, not the reason for most of the improvements in our world, or the source of mercy and goodness, or strength, or law-abiding citizens.  A budget crisis become a war on the services offered to poor people and the lack of tax incentives for the "middle class" instead of being an opportunity to create a permanent path for all poverty households in the future... and accountability for the choices government has made.

I didn't plan to be poor all my life, but there were issues that wasn't prepared to deal with so I had to find a way through.  It was my faith that helped me keep going, and led me to a purpose bigger than me.  I just hope I can get it started before I die.

Monday, 21 SEP 2015 :: Survival and Muslims

It's after midnight, so it is officially Monday... I decided to enter this post and check it off my list.  I have been thinking of things to write all weekend.  I have been reading articles I printed, read in the latest INC Magazine I just received, and have been too long on Facebook over the weekend.  There are so many topics to think about, topics I would love to discuss in more detail, but that would take too long.  Today (tonight), I will just have to pick one, or two...

In the area where I live, media stations are advertising programs about emergency preparations for the "big one" - an earthquake over 9.0 and the tsunami that might follow it.  I want to watch the PBS program advertised for the 1st of OCT, then I heard about a news program focusing on the same topic. 

What has affected me is the statement made in one of the commercials -- that people would be on their own for possibly TWO WEEKS or more in the event of a large disaster.  I don't think my current preparations are equal to that long of an emergency situation.  I decided I better watch the program and make a list of things I can do to make sure I have the right kinds of food, etc. 

I have been "roughing it" again this month as a way to make myself use the stored food I already have.  I am trying to figure out what kind of meals I can make with the kinds of foods I have.  It hasn't been easy.  Now I want to figure out a better supply of foods and I have the two week time period as a focus for my efforts. 

Two weeks is a long time. 

If you need a gallon of water for each person for each day, that means 14 gallons of water for one person.  I figured out that half of that would be for drinking, some would be for cooking, and you would need water for cleaning (dishes, tables, hands, etc.) and bathing (with a washcloth).  When I had my kids I use to buy gallons of milk and always fill them with water and store it for emergencies.  I stored as many as I had room for, usually under the kitchen sink. 

I don't buy gallons of milk anymore.  I purchased some bottled water for personal drinking, just to make sure I had some form of emergency water.  I think I need a new plan for emergency water.


I noticed the media has been using a single comment from Dr. Carson to kind of fry him or agitate others.  He said we shouldn't have a Muslim as the president of America... and in a way, he is right.  Their goals as Muslims are to destroy America.  It wouldn't be a good idea to have one as our President.  But Obama isn't a practicing Muslim, that I know of.  He was raised as a Muslim, or in an environment with Muslims.  (I haven't followed the discussion about him that closely, I'm not sure how deeply his personal affiliation with the Muslim belief system goes.)

It made me think of my past and present lives... I was raised Catholic, but I am not a Catholic anymore... I am a Christian.  I can better understand Catholic issues and perspectives because I was raised as a Catholic, but I am no longer affiliated with the Catholic religion.  My family is still largely Catholic, but not all of them are still Catholic.  Some have become Christians.  Some aren't practicing Catholics.  I don't really know all of their spiritual states today, we haven't shared time or conversation in years.

So President Obama may know about the Muslim belief system according to what he was raised with, but I understand he is a Christian now. 

I am thinking that the media is taking Dr. Carson's statement out of the context it was given in.  If violence occurs because of media coverage, would they be responsible for inciting it?  I am wondering. 

It seemed like a mini hate-fest when the media reported about the man who talked about Muslims and the President at a Trump campaign event.  We don't need this kind of media-based thought creation.  We just need reporting of the facts.  Along with the Trump sound bite, we had carefully chosen responses by Chris Christie and Hillary Clinton.  It's easy to read into a single audience comment/question what you want it to become... and to say you would have handled it differently.  I am wondering why it was reported in the first place...

If I start to critique the whole mess, I will be here for pages and pages...  I don't want to do that.  I just hate the way our information is manipulated to create an opinion instead of reported and left for the reader, viewer, hearer to create their own opinions of what is going on in our country and the world. 

It might be a true statement to say that the problems we face may, in part, be the result of media choices.  If we want to save this country, we need the media to return to the information source we have always depended on.  I know they are struggling with their own financial issues, but all of us will be going down together unless we find a better way to handle these problems we face.

Without a moral foundation, there is nothing that tells us something is right and something is wrong.  If we don't want our guide to be GOD and the Bible, what will it become?