31 August, 2017

31 August 2017

The last day of August is here... soon it will be September, Labor Day, school for everyone, fall weather will get here, and Christmas will be even nearer than it is!!!  :-) 

I discovered that the Carleton Sheets VHS tape I was hoping had chapters 1-10 on it actually has chapters in the format!!  Yes!  I rewound the six hour tape at chapter 4, when I put it in the player.  After the intro, he started with chapter 1.  I am hopeful all the missing parts may be on this tape.

I started my viewing with the Career Track tape I got on interviewing.  I discovered it is volume 1 of 3, I think.  This one has some interesting viewpoints on it, for me especially, since I have never done any interviews for hiring... yet!  :-)  At the end the presenter shares some of the problems with resume claims.  I am warned.

This morning I made the first batch of salt dough to try out in some of my molds.  It will take some days to air dry.  I don't know if it will come out of the molds yet...  I tried a small bit of some clay colored air dry medium from the stores, to see what it does.  Tomorrow I may be able to mix up a batch of the cornstarch recipe I have and see how it works.  And I need to bake some of the FIMO shapes I am working on.

I have worked with salt dough in the distant past, but now it is more important.  I want to eventually get one of the smaller kilns and do real clay!   It's been on my list ever since I discovered they exist... for only about $400 or so.  The issue for me is not just purchasing the small kiln, I need a space to use it and money for the electricity.  Plus I will need all the supplies for real clay work.

I will discover these other forms of clay while I wait to get there.

I haven't seen any news today so I don't know what is happening with the hurricane aftermath.  I can't take too much suffering, so I wouldn't want to watch it continually.  It helps me to see small parts of the disaster process to know the possible problems it causes, and what people need after a disaster.  I once wanted to train in disaster relief, after Hurricane Katrina I think.  I couldn't afford to get there, but would have gone if I could have.  It has always been a desire of mine to fund people like me when God provides the finances for Working Together.  The ones who can go, who have the time and heart for it, don't always have the money.  It is a good thing to figure out... and came from my plans for other Christian approaches to things.

My thoughts on the things of GOD today were moved by my current life... not something I am ready to share yet.

Today I received my official Medicare packet from the government, telling me the forced participation is currently at $134 in 2017.  I hope I qualify for the "subsidy" for people with incomes too low to make that kind of payment...  I have to find out.  I was shocked when I read the booklet that comes with the notification that I am automatically signed up and the costs will automatically be deducted from my retirement payment and that I will forever pay a fine if I don't sign up.  Is that a monopoly?  Is that from Obamacare, or has it always been that way?  I really don't know... I am just discovering the world of Medicare.

In the senior newspaper I read an article about end of life desires.  No info on how to do it, or where to register it so my desires are actually recorded, but now I know the name of the thing, the form required, so I can search for it on the internet and see what to do.  The article said someone wanted to have a tatoo put on his 92-year-old chest saying "Do not resusitate" and the doctor who was writing said it wouldn't do any good... emergency responders have to make the effort to save you, the hospital can let you die.

In my own thoughts about the matter, long before today's article, I considered a medical alert bracelet that had the message on it.  I guess they would not be legal either.

I think I will go and watch one of the shorter videos about buying my own house...  then I could rent out a room and be able to pay my Medicare bill.

In Christ,
Deborah Martin

May God and all His angels watch over those in need, the weak, the fragile, the struggling, the abused, the homeless, the lost, the elderly... anyone who needs His help to make it to another day.  May our hearts be kind and filled with love for those who are around us, for our neighbors and strangers, for people in church and people in our house, for those with no one and those who are in big families that are too busy to notice them...   There are needs all around us.  May GOD help us to see them, and be a part of changing the way we live as a society.  Amen.

30 August, 2017

30 August 2017

I made it to my favorite sale today... the local Salvation Army 50% off sale at their thrift store/s.  I can only go to one, so I don't know what happens everywhere else. 

Some of the shelves were bare in my favorite kitchen aisles, but I found lots of great things to buy.  I discovered several more of the Carleton Sheets seminar tapes (VHS) from the later 1990's and early 2000's.  These are all based on his No Money Down purchases of real estate.  I should be able to find some great ideas and possibilities in these.

I have been trying to compare him to someone current, but I don't think there is anyone.  He wasn't the same as the Fixer Upper programs now, but the premise is the same... to fix properties up... buy low, sell high, make money to buy more properties.

The last time I went to the thrift store sale, I found three of his tapes.  Two of them have chapters 11 to 24 of the book they are based on.  I hope I found the first ten chapters today.  I also found three supplemental tapes.  I will be busy for awhile.

I was very happy to find a book by Pastor Cho of South Korea... about his affiliation with the Full Gospel Businessman's Fellowship.  I am fond of both ministries.  I am looking forward to reading this book over the next several weeks.  Pastor Cho's church there is the creator of Prayer Mountain.  They are a huge church, but they meet in homes a lot.  I think they made a big building to meet in, but I don't remember all the details right now.  I remember being very impressed by what I read they were doing.

I found a bunch of great treasures today, but I don't want to go through each of them.  It's been a long day and I am tired from it.  I worked on my recordkeeping after I got home.  My budget is still OK even though I spent more than I wanted to.  I left some nice pans before I went to the book department... my weakness.  I think I bought 7 books and 6 VHS tapes!  More than I normally do.

Later tonight I discovered the movie Armageddon on TV so I decided to watch it while I ate some popcorn and rested.  I didn't think the film was named well... the word was defined as "the end of all things" and that is true.  My understanding is that the biblical Armageddon is a real battle on the ground, not an asteroid threatening to destroy the planet.  I didn't watch the whole thing... it got to be too much for me.

Hollywood has interesting ways of maligning God and the Bible...  if you don't know what Christianity is really about, you wouldn't know the details are wrong.  So, people hate God because they don't really know what the Bible says.

Well, this will have to do for today.
I hope to find a better schedule for my blogging... late nights are not good... who can think at this time of night!
I like the idea of Journaling, just not sure how I want to do that.
Bear with me... by the end of the year I will have this figured out.  :-)

In Christ,
Deborah Martin

Thank you, Lord, for the treasures I found today, for the ability to buy them, for the ability to read, to see, to understand them.  Help me to put them all to good use, helping others, helping myself.  Amen.

29 August, 2017

29 August 2017

Seen some of the news on Hurricane Harvey aftermath... cried a lot.  I don't do well seeing people suffering like that... so many of my own memories come back.  I know how hard it can be to lose everything you own, no matter how much or little that might be.

I started some of my crafting projects and have a list of supplies I need to get when I reach a store.  It feels so great to finally have a space to work in... and supplies to get some of it done.  I need to work out project storage for things that take longer than one sitting to complete... with painting stages, drying stages, selling stages.  It's getting there.

It's hard to write about nothing important when I just finished watching the news.  The twelfth anniversary of Katrina is today, and the area where people suffered then is in danger again.  I don't think anyone can understand the depth of pain it causes just to be in danger of a repeat performance, the thought of recovering again, the need to replace so many things you own... except those who have been through it. 

One day at a time... it is the only way to get through it, hanging on until you can see a new future.

I guess that is what Faith is... hanging on until you can see a new future, knowing that GOD is on the other side of your pain, making the reasons clear or the sorrow meaningful for someone else you haven't met yet.

In our loss, in repeated loss, we discover what matters. 

It isn't easy to lose your special treasures, your memorabilia, your photos, but we survive.  We remember what is most important, and maybe we can replace some of the reminders we kept the first time around.

I keep trying to think of some connection with the Bible right now, but I can't.  Christians take verses about pain and hope they will comfort the suffering, remind them of God's bigger truths... but they always seem so meaningless in the middle of a disaster.  If you need food, only food matters.  If you need to be warm, finding a safe shelter is all that matters.  Later, when the adrenelin isn't what keeps you going, you can think better.

I tend to see all these things when I see others suffer... and hurt for them... wishing I could do more, maybe take away their pain, make it better.  We grow through our suffering, so it isn't always the answer to take it away.  Finding that special balance is the hardest part of wisdom, of faith, of mercy, of charity... trusting GOD when we can't do anything is how we have to live.  Doing better in the future is how we go forward... like my food pantry efforts... trying to get away from crisis mode every month, having just a little ahead, enough to get through a hard place, and enough to share if it is needed.

I had a real big moment when I discovered, when I realized, that the suffering in our world keeps all of us human.  I say that it keeps mercy and compassion alive in our world.  We would be a tough place to live without our hearts being tender toward those who are around us... close to us more than far away from us.  The homeless on the street corners need to survive as much as the victim of a hurricane or tornado.  But we see them every day, they are always there, and they never get over their need... so giving to a big crisis is easier, more fulfilling, more gratifying... we just assume our help will make everything better even if we never see it.

No one can do everything for everybody, so measuring our hearts by how many suffering people are nearby won't solve anything either.  The Bible does say that the poor will always be with us... poverty, and all its related issues, will never be "eradicated."  If we all do as much as we can, the world will be better off, and we will be better people.

In Christ,
Deborah Martin

May the GOD that I love shower mercy on those who discover a life-changing need in this disaster.  May He find a way to protect the vulnerable and struggling, to replace the things we all need to make us feel whole and secure... shelter, food, our loved ones... transportation, work, safety, medication, money, time, comfort, hope.  May our country find a way to prepare for the events we call "acts of God" so that they will always have a way to help those in need... every year, every season, every day.  May the love that sometimes seems to be gone from our national heart find a way to grow again, to accept our humanity, our sameness, our uniqueness, our dreams, our special benefits to the greater nation.  May we see the ability to change, in all of us.  Amen.

28 August, 2017

28 August 2017

What a weekend... massive natural disaster in Texas, so much sorrow.  May God watch over those who trust in Him, may He bless as much as possible those in need, may He help us all to recover from this natural event and prepare for the next. Amen.

The immediate area around the house where I live had a power loss due to a pole down... and it took about 24 hours to get the power back on.  It reminded me of how hard it is to live without our luxuries... and helped me to resolve to keep less perishables and find a way to make food when this happens again... I think I may get some of those little propane tanks with the stove attachments... that would help.  More candles, too... and get all this stuff into one place!!!  I wondered how I was going to find my candles and batteries in this overnight blackness.  I still don't know where I put them... I am still moving things around and finding a permanent place for tools and supplies and projects.

My small distress made me remember hard times in the past, and the hardships of those in Texas right now.  Nothing much you can do when disaster strikes... we recover the best we can.  I hope the homeless and poor are able to find relief.  People with credit cards and bank accounts and cars and places to go don't know how hard it is to be homeless, even without a disaster.

This is a good place to share one of the pages I discovered as I sort through my things...  I probably shared it somewhere, but don't recall where right now.  It is called the Seven Steps to Poverty.  It is dated 29 September 2014, with a note about the source being World Vision on a Focus on the Family program.

1.  Imagine only 1 outfit to wear, no other clothing.
2.  No electricity, no power.
3.  No clean water to clean, cook, bathe.
4.  No house.
5.  No food.
6.  No doctor or medicine.
7.  No hope for the future, for tomorrow.

Some other notes on the page...  If you make $40,000 a year, you are in the top 1% in the world.  Three-fourths of the people in the world live on less than $10 a day... which would be about $300 or less.  My current income is Social Security Retirement Benefits of $382 a month, with about $200 in Food Stamps in addition to that...  I am rich by those standards, but would be barely surviving on the streets if I wasn't living at my son's house.  Another note says that most of those included in this global reflection live in a 10 x 10 mud hut with a dirt floor... for the whole family, whatever their size.  Those without food are forced to eat from garbage piles, which makes them ill or kills them.

Another thing I thought of when I was in the darkness was the solar lanterns I have seen on Facebook and would love to purchase... LuminAid, I think that's the name.  This event makes me want to get one for sure... just to have it in case I need it.

On a fun level, I also found this handy tip again... I can't wait to try this one, too.  From an old 2010 Woman's Day magazine, and Whitney Cobb ::  Marshmallows---stuff one in the bottom of an ice cream cone to heep it from leaking, or drop one in with your brown sugar to keep it soft.  I was impressed with the ice cream cone part.  :-)

I don't have a TV of my own... well, I did buy a monitor hoping I could use it for an antennae TV and VHS screen and possible computer monitor... it didn't work very good as a TV because the reception was limited to intermittent activity.  I go upstairs to watch on my son's TV (with cable) when I can, but nothing regular.  So, all of that to say I haven't seen news today.  I hope to find some reports later.  I can only deal with so much pain and suffering... so I like to check on what is happening and then I have to let it go.  It's emotional overload for me.

I was thinking of that today, as everyone want to solicit funds for their program... ministry, etc.  How can we make this better for everyone... make our money stretch as far as it can... make sure it gets used for what we give it for.  I don't know yet, but I am thinking about it.  These are the lean months for ministries... summer.  In bad economies, donations disappear even more.  Our nation is suffering the same lack... money.  We have to find answers that will help us all survive together, without wasting what we have.

That is one reason I worried about my perishable foods in the frig... I can't afford to throw anything away... it would have to be replaced, somehow.  Preparing for things we don't know will happen takes time and money and planning, something I have tried to do all my life with little to no resources. 

Our nation is like a large family.  Its budget is created with our tax dollars.  If we don't spend these dollars wisely, we suffer for it later... well, someone suffers.  It is a pattern of the government to increase taxes, create new taxes, barter taxes for votes, and blame others for their bad choices.  Our current debt load has made us more like a poor family than the wealthy one we are use to being.  We don't want to give up special habits we have, in programs that can be modified or reduced or eliminated for other community partnerships.  As a poor person, as a senior now, I see the repeated pattern of blaming the poor and elderly.  Like our veterans, the poor and elderly cannot survive without some source of financial assistance.  How to meet these needs, fairly, is the challenge in my view.  Blaming people who can't fight back is cowardice, not politically expedient.

In our fight against the national debt, natural disasters are also a threat.  We can't afford them.  We never know when they will happen, and huge disasters like Hurricane Harvey are beyond planning for.  How can we manage our financial problems and include a margin for unexpected expenses like this when our debt is out of control?

I don't know if I like the budget choices of President Trump, but I know we have to reduce our spending and change the political priorities we have lived with too long.  We talk about Federal taxes, State taxes, County taxes, gas taxes, harbor taxes, road taxes, building fees, fines, regulatory punishments, property taxes, income taxes, retirement taxes, unemployment taxes, earning too much, not paying enough, rich versus poor, business versus environment, international trade deficits, import taxes, subsidies, guaranteed loans, tax bargaining, and... you see the trend... it's too much. 

We are a nation of citizens ruled by our politicians... we have lost sight of what is right and good and fair.  Before we lose our lives to the tax battles, we need to find a better way to fund our government, to limit the government to only what a government needs to be involved in, and to change the balance of paying its costs.  I have already shared some of what I think is fair.  Before it is too late to recover from all these political decisions that are not good for us as a nation, I hope we find a better way through this debt problem.

In poverty there are no choices... you struggle just to find the basic needs of food and shelter, everything else is like a gift. 

If the government is economically poor, what would our basics look like?
What is the government really responsible for providing for us? 
How can we replace what the government provides with community supports? 
What rules and regulations are truly necessary for our group survival? 
If we had just ONE TAX, which one would be the best, and how would you limit it permanently, and what would be a fair amount for everyone to pay? 

Will the government decrease itself? 
I don't think it will... so how do we create a new financial foundation for an old country?

In Christ,
Deborah Martin

May the GOD of our universe help us to make the right decisions.  May He show us what is truly important, necessary, and critical to our survival.  May His Hand of Protection be on those who are striving to honor Him with their lives, and choices, and actions... with the wisdom of Truth and Faith.  May we all begin to help each other and not rely on the government to do it.  May churches begin to grow by the needs of those who search for GOD at their doors.  May our nation find a way to pay down its debt and create the financial cushion we need to survive unexpected emergencies, natural disasters, military conflicts, and anything else we need money for.  May our hearts find rest in our efforts to be better than we think we can be.  Amen.

24 August, 2017

24 August 2017

I was about to get into bed and go to sleep when I remembered I didn't post a blog entry yet!  Heaven forbid!  Here I am... keeping my commitment for one more day, ready to sacrifice for the cause!  I am dedicated!  :-)  Hahahahaha...

The day has been full of physical activity... so I am well spent.  I think one day of yardwork a week is enough for me... maybe even too much when I do too much of it.  Senior limitations are a thing we have to discover through failures. Cutting the excessive blackberry vines and related messes are the only thing I have permission to do here.  It is quite a job... no fear of unemployment for me! 

I am amazed at the task... discovering that those huge blackberry bushes we see are really new vines over years of dead ones... they keep getting bigger because no one cuts them back!  I think it may be called pruning, but the idea is the same... cut out the stuff you don't want and help the stuff you want to keep to grow better.

I was inspired to use some of the packing boxes from our move here to help me move the many piles of debris to where the growing waiting-to-burn pile is.  October is when the next approved burning yard waste season begins.  I keep saying it will be a huge bonfire by then.  That would be fun, if it's even allowed.  It has been a big deal for me to move my saved piles of what I weeded out little by little.  The boxes may help the process not be so difficult.  I think I will be able to use them again, but cardboard is good fire material so it could be an investment in controlling the fire later.

As I was cutting the vine pile in one area of the yard, I discovered some ripe blackberries and started to eat them. By the fourth one I thought I smelled a yard chemical and remembered that the neighbor, on the other side of the fence from where I was, had sprayed the berry vines in his yard with poison.  I wondered if I ate any of it, and if it would make me ill... I stopped eating those berries!

It reminded me of the battle between the poison camp and the organic camp.  It seems easier and faster to throw some poison control on plants we don't eat, but the effects we don't see begin to add up.  Chemical companies want to sell their products, they aren't going to tell us the real truth.

I remember watching a documentary about food issues where RoundUp cotton plants were harvested by local field workers who let their prized cows eat the vegetation the cotton had grown on.  The livestock died.  If these chemicals go into the plant, what about the cotton that grew on them... will the poison affect the end product, the person wearing the end product, the people who work in the factories as the end product is being manufactured?  Cotton is considered a natural product... when we buy a cotton t-shirt, it doesn't tell us where the cotton came from, if the plants were grown with poisonous chemicals, etc. 

Another issue is the GMO (genetically modified organism) problem... I realized that the old definition of "organic" was "grown without pesticides" and that the seed source might not be so organic.  I haven't resolved this problem in my own thoughts yet, and it has been some years since I thought about it, but the core problem is still the same...  words don't mean the same thing.  We have to find a way to make sure we are talking about the same thing when we use words people rely on to make their decisions, like "organic."

This mixed meaning is a problem in religion, too.  Christians might be saying the words "Jesus," "God," and "Holy Spirit," when they talk to some denominations, but the meanings are very different so the truth doesn't get shared for either participant.  Finding Truth is hard no matter what the topic is... just think about government and media.

If you follow my Facebook posts, you saw a lot of photos about my living space... and the kitchenette, the backsplash progress, and how I am organizing my room.  I decided to post the photos more individually today, instead of one group.  I haven't figured out how to combine several photos with individual text explanations, so I am working on how to share groups of photos in a way that readers can know what is important about each photo.  If it is possible to post photos with this post, I may add them at the end... maybe.  You will be able to see a few things about my life...

I can't think of too much else to say for today...  I am hoping to get my crafting workspace (table area) cleard by the end of the weekend so I can start making things.  All my changes means it is the only place to put things in transition.  Tomorrow is the Jewish Sabbath so I will try to plan a way to rest... another learning experience for me.   I may start blogging to my Working Together blog on Fridays... It seems like the best option right now.  I am still deciding.  I'll let you know next week if I did.

Enjoy your weekend. 

In Christ,
Deborah Martin

May God watch over you and help you to find His Peace in each day.  May you discover the greatness of your life, and what He has destined for you.  May you use your time, money, and life well, so that your memory will be good in the hearts of many people.  Amen.

Note::  I had to take a photo because all my Facebook photos were on a different device.  Where it will end up, I don't know.  This photo is to share the kitchenette and the backsplash... FYI...  I will try to figure out the process for photos ASAP.

23 August, 2017

23 August 2017

Today was a busy day... and I could probably stay up for hours doing more, but it is nearly time to end this day.

I watched the grout get put on the backspash for my kitchenette... the grout changed the look of the backsplash, it makes a big difference in the effect.  It made a big mess, and still needs more cleaning up tomorrow.  I wondered how it was done, so watching the process was good for me.  Seeing how things are done takes the fear of doing them away.  Just watching it get done helped me to see ways I would do things different if I install backspash in the future.

Somehow I ended up watching a You Tube video later in the day and wound up spending hours with art and crafting lessons on some projects I plan to do.  If I wasn't so tired, I might stay up and try them out... I think tomorrow would be better.

Six letters mailed today... short, but part of my ongoing efforts to connect again with people in the family and old friends.  It is a challenge to go back into the past and find out what everyone is doing.  I don't seem to get any responses for my efforts, so I always wonder if my letters actually reach their intended recipient.  Writing monthly letters, via snail mail, is my plan for this year.  By the time next year gets here, I should have the details figured out. 

Trusting God for the details about the changes we make is a bigger commitment than most people ever know. 

In my earlier years, I discovered we assume way too much!  We think the world should do what we think it should, or God should always move on our behalf because we need Him to.  When our expectation doesn't happen, and we have to deal with the consequences, we blame something other than us.  I can still remember my response to some of the unexpected struggles of my life... I assumed things were one way, and I assumed wrong.  After a few of those events, I decided I better stop assuming and start checking out the details of things that mattered, things that caused consequences that messed up our lives.

I'm too tired to remember them right now, but I remember how I had a big "aha!" moment about it.  I guess it would be like assuming we are going to heaven because we are good people, when the reality is that the Bible says you have to do specific things to get into heaven.  The only way to know for sure what GOD says is to read the Bible yourself.  After that change of mind, I didn't assume so much, I tried to check things out, to make sure my expectations were right.

We often suffer the choices of other people, becase of things that are beyond our control.  We learn real faith when we leave the details to GOD, when we wait, when we trust, when we suffer, when we wonder why.  Faith is a very hard commitment... and it has to be renewed every day.  Realizing that other people suffer because of me as well as me suffering for other people was a hard time in my growth.  It has all kinds of little side issues... like my kids, my work, my survival.

In my growing understanding of the Bible and GOD, I began to realize that we can't retaliate for the wrongs others do... or we become guilty of new sins that God has to judge.  It is very hard to let our "rights" go by, and trust that God knows how to deal with the situation.  We can see how Jesus modeled that attitude, but not how we can do it ourselves.  The justice we want for ourselves doesn't always happen in a moment, sometimes we never see it.  It's the "turning the other cheek" attitude, or the statement of Christ on the cross... to forgive them because they don't understand the enormity of what they are doing... and "they" were people who thought they were doing right, protecting their faith, obeying their god.

I discovered how hard it is to know the difference between some rights and some wrongs... and what consequences were needed.  It became the best solution to leave those details to GOD and just keep plugging along.  I had enough of my own problems to keep me busy...  I didn't need to be the guardian of the world.

So, trusting God for more and more became my choice.  It is still a learning process as each problem tests my faith and the needs I have.  The past helps me to be stronger in today, and I hope to rely on a stronger faith tomorrow.  I wish it was easy, but it's not.  Being a Christian is hard, and the best thing that happened to me.

I hope you discover all these things for yourself.

In Christ,
Deborah Martin

May God help you find the answers to the hurts in your life... to trust in His wisdom, His power, His love, His mercy, His Plan for you.  May you learn more about Him as each day passes.  May you grow strong in Him and always win the battle of Faith in your life.  May you forgive others as you forgive yourself, and understand that we all have hidden pain... we all suffer, we all need help.  May you find the humanity in every person, and be able to forgive yourself.  May we all keep getting better, and become the best we can be.  Amen.

22 August, 2017

22 August 2017

Another day is here!

I am still thinking about the eclipse... about solar energy... and how the need for more than one natural supply source is essential.  I have been focusing on solar, wind, and water options.  Somehow bringing all three into the same "translator" would make the energy availability work better.

During the pre-eclipse media, I checked on a story about its effects on a solar farm that had 6000 solar panels to serve 300 households a year.  I didn't get notes, but I remember those two numbers.  It meant that it takes about 20 solar panels per household to create a year of solar energy. 

I know it isn't that simple, because of how different we all live, and because of weather changes, problems like night-time, and natural interferences like a solar eclipse or even a solar flare, but the number is a guide for planning.  For some time, I have been trying to decide how many panels you need to create enough energy to accomplish a household's activities, as the only energy source and as part of a combination of sources. 

Tiny Houses seem to have about 6-10, depending on the needs of the resident.  The housing can range from less than 200 square feet to less than 1000 square feet, depending on whether they are mobile or built on a foundation.  Location is another important factor.

With the threat of an EMP (Electromagnetic pulse) attack at some time in the future, my planning goes in the directions of back-ups...

My understanding of EMP bombs is that they explode in the air and destroy all the electric power within their range, including batteries... that means phones, clocks, radios, watches, computers, security back-ups, cars, busses, and trains... and planes, plus a lot of things we depend on every day.  It will change life as we know it... for a long time.  (I found a link about this topic at http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/05/12/electromagnetic-pulse-attack-on-hawaii-would-devastate-state.html -- a story about a US test bomb in 1962 !!!  I originally heard about it from a heritage.org post several years ago, then the topic went away. Now it seems to be returning to the media.)

I have been wondering how we can recover from a loss of grid electricity AND batteries!  The Hawaii story mentions that everything electric went away.  I think landline phones were also electricity based, but I am not sure... I would have been 9 years old in 1962.  As an adult, and looking at the way our lifestyles have become dependent on computer technology, I can't even begin to imagine the effects of this.  The solar eclipse made me think about dependent we are on the sun for the light to get through our days.  How will our energy connections survive in a crisis.

In looking for a way to back-up my life for whatever kind of crisis hits my area, combining solar panels with smaller wind generators and creating a water-based energy creator would help to solve these problems.  Methane energy via livestock refuse is also an option for ranching activities.  The only back-up I could think of for the EMP crisis was a gas generator, but I don't yet know if they use batteries or can be "hot-wired" into action if necessary.

Once you start down this path, you discover more related issues... like solar conversions using batteries as their storage path... does an EMP make batteries totally unusable, or will they recharge?

I have been working on these problems for awhile now.  I am sure I would be farther along if my budget would allow it.  It has become a project to do the best I can to prepare... food, water, shelter, back-ups... anything my current life will allow me to do.  Depending on GOD for the rest is where I stand in this life.

These are the issues I discovered in poverty, in trying to survive, in looking for ways to make life better, in trying to reach my goals, and in searching for the answers I needed... for myself, for my family, for other Christians, and for the rest of the world.  When everything goes away, the basics of living are all that matters.

Well, maybe we can prepare for the future together... through Working Together.  That is why I created it.

Think about joining WT in December, when we will have our first annual social media membership drive.  I'm working on the details about costs and benefits now.  If I had more money, it would all be done already.  The plan is to take membership fees and create a way to help each other along the way.  If it works the way I hope it will, it will be a very great thing.

Until tomorrow, and another topic,

In Christ,
Deborah Martin

May GOD watch over us, those who love Him and do only good things for others, who care about suffering people and want to help strangers.  May we all notice the needs around us, share our wealth with those who have no one else, and help change the growing indifference and hate that seems to feed on our fears.  May our world become better because of us.  May our destinies become one, sharing this life and meeting in heaven one day.  May all those we love be with us.  Amen.

21 August, 2017

21 August 2017

Wow, the eclipse was something!

I didn't get to see the total eclipse where I live, but it sure got darkish as the sun went away in my area... so strange looking.  It wasn't like regular dark, and it wasn't like regular dusk happening... like a shadow, I guess.  When there is a big forest fire nearby, the sky gets strange from the smoke making a kind of shadow... it has the color of fire sometimes.  I guess the sun is like a fire, but it didn't make a fire shadow that I have seen before.

I watched the event online at the NASA live link.  In just a short time they followed the eclipse across the country... as it started and ended at different states along the way from Oregon to South Carolina.  In less than three hours it was over.  I was happy they finally showed the darkness of the total eclipse by the time they got to the last place.  It was so amazing to me that even the smallest rays of the returning sun changed that darkness to bright light again.

I tried to take photos in my yard as it progressed, but the camera didn't pick up the changes... it all looked the same.  I wonder what kind of camera you need to get those shadows to appear as they are.  I suppose there will be something made by the next one.

Been busy with my September budget tonight, which is why I am barely getting this post in on time... and may be just over the midnight deadline for the actual post.  Making the amounts come out even is quite a challenge for me.  I try to make lists of things I have to buy each month, and try to fit in the things I would like to get but can do without.  I am trying to save for a decent, relatively new, computer for all my online activities and creative plans.  Doing without is my theme this year.  :-(  

Well, I think I will try to get this posted before midnight.
I will make tomorrow's post as long as it needs to be.

In Christ,
Deborah Martin

May God help us to prepare for the changes that the earth and the solar system can do.  Amen.

17 August, 2017

17 August 2017

The first week is over... we made it!

Today I listened to most of the Georgene Rice show on KPDQ (.com), but one part especially caught my attention.  She was referring to the national debt.  The statement I remember is that the debt will rise to over 90 trillion in 30 years.  Also part of the presentation was the same old "blame the entitlement programs."  I don't remember if she was summarizing a book or person, or just relaying some of her combined research tidbits, but blaming entitlements is a raw place for my nerves.  There are so many areas of government that need whittling, changing, reorganizing, and eliminating, that blaming entitlements is a cop-out... an easy sound bite.

What can we do to reduce or eliminate the debt?  It is crushing everything the government supports.  The majority of taxes that are collected go to pay the interest on the debt... not good.  It's like the credit card situation in many families... the interest creates a bigger problem, and not making payments make it financially life-threatening.  Paying it off gets harder and harder.  What happens when the government can't operate?  Can we actually carry a 90 trillion dollar debt?  I don't think so.

You can see this is a hot-button for me... easy to push!  I have survived many times because of Welfare, WIC, Food Stamps, and Medicaid.  Now I am relying on the Social Security Retirement Benefits I paid into during my lifetime.  It is very frightening to be a senior citizen and think my small amount of benefits won't be available if the government doesn't fix its problems.

Today I also tried to make some small yellow plums from a tree at my son's house into something I could save by canning them.  I am not sure what I created... It may be good as an ice cream topping, or syrup, or for my smoothie efforts... I ended up with two jars saved and some to try out right away.  Nice taste.  Should be fun trying to make new food options with this.

The backsplash for my kitchenette is in place... I have to wait until next week for the grout to be done.  I have never been involved with backsplash creation before... interesting design item, I think.  Watching HGTV introduced me to the concept.  I think it will be nice.  I have to limit my waterplay until the grout gets done... maybe I should buy some paper plates and only eat sandwiches...   :-)

Friday is becoming my day of the week because I let myself eat food after 6pm on Fridays...  I am discovering this battle to eat every other night, and find myself overdoing it on Fridays just because I can!  Not sure that is achieving my real goal.  haha.  I don't know if I should just keep the same pattern every night.  I'll let you know.

One of my old friends has a new grandbaby tonight... today there was another terror attack with a car, killing so many innocent people.  Every day life begins and ends.  Some of us get to be happy, others must endure grief. 

Life is a challenge.  We may be at peace, we may be struggling, we may be filled with joy or we may be deep in a valley of pain... but life goes on.  We make it through... do our best... hide our hard parts and share our happiness.  Today is another day.  We made it through.  Tomorrow we will start over and make it through again.  I don't know what keeps other people going forward, but for me it is my faith in GOD and knowing He has a way to make today work for tomorrow... to turn it into something good, something better, something meaningful.  This faith has helped me survive in the past, and will help me survive tomorrow.

I hope you have someone like GOD to help you through your rough times.

In Christ,
Deborah Martin

May the GOD of this universe, the creator of all things, help us to rely on Him through all the days of our lives... good, bad, and ordinary.  May He watch over the new lives that have come, and surround the grieving with His angels, His love, His provisions for their difficult time.  May we find a way to make America solvent, to change our bad habits into good choices.  May we love the poor and suffering as we would like to be loved ourselves, and change our priorities to be less focused on the idea that we are losing something, more focused on the good we can do.  Amen.

16 August, 2017

16 August 2017

Christian radio is in the background today... I want to listen to one of my favorite preaching shows.  It's a local minister, but too far for me to reach. One good thing about having our communication options (tv, radio, internet, etc.) is the ability to hear from people we would never be able to visit.  It also gives us a chance to think about the wide differences and the common theologies we have in the Christian arena.

Today I ventured out into the shopping world.  Spent all my money on household necessities, well... most of it.  :-)   Mop, broom, dustpan, kitchen goodies, and a small (2ft) HDMI cord to figure out how it works and what I can use it on!  My treat was breakfast at a Taco Bell... a bean burrito at 7:30ish in the morning.  I somehow made it home by about noon, but didn't get to do all the shopping I wanted to do.  The heat was too much for me.  I came back early!

My budget is still intact... I have ten dollars left for the rest of the month... well, ten dollars in my wallet, my emergency cash.  I'm working on two birthday gifts for September.  Two of my three sons were born in September.  Back to school used to be a nightmare.  :-)  I am getting better with my budget process. It has changed my life in many ways, and I couldn't get it done when I was a single parent at a Welfare level.  I hope to accomplish some of my lifetime goals before God calls me home.  I have read that some single parents in the Ramsey program have achieved the initial baby steps, the emergency fund mostly.  I even read about a prison program that has changed the life of an inmate who worked the baby step process.  That is amazing!!

Without money, we can't do anything.  Getting above survival is critical.  I am actually still working on my initial emergency fund... the 500-1000 dollars just to get through the things that always happen when you are trying to change your life.  I have so many needs that it keeps going up and down...  I am currently debating the purchase of a small laptop or other kind of computer.  I was looking at some more of the choices today.  I really need a bit more money to get one that will be a basic model for me... so, I am still praying about it, searching for more options, and trying to make a list of what is essential.

Tomorrow the people who are creating a kitchenette in my room (at my son's house) will be coming to do the backsplash.  I hope it turns out good.  Having a kitchen of my own to use has been great... coffee when you want it, food when you want it, cooking and baking when you need to, washing dishes, building a pantry, trying out new recipes, etc..... little things that mean a lot. 

Since I discovered the 20K house project I have been designing basic houses in case God lets me build them.  Human beings need shelter... and food... and a place to build a life.  Homelessness has shown me a lot about what really matters.  I can't change other people, so I pray for the opportunity to do what I can on my own... finding like-minded people on the way.

My past led to Working Together, which is all about basic survival needs :: food, shelter, etc.  Christians don't realize they will need it for themselves...  I had hoped to start the process by making some examples.

It's time to go do other things. 

In Christ,
Deborah Martin

May God watch over us all, lead us to His Love, guide our hearts in good directions, help us to see our place in the Body of Christ, make our hearts pure, our motives right, and our actions worthy.  Amen.

15 August, 2017

15 August 2017

This day was long...
I was able to listen to some news today... and made a comment about it at ABC's Facebook page for their world news program.  I don't think I have ever made a comment there before.  I have done some @ABC posts at Twitter...  :-)  I'm sure my comments get lost in the floods of responses they get, but I still feel the need to make my statements.  It is why I do things like this blog and others.  Why I want to write books.  I don't know if I'm the silent majority, but I am pretty sure I'm not heard clearly. 

Today I have been thinking about faith, and about prayer, and about what applies to this journaling process.  My life consists of faith and prayer... they are the only reason I still exist.  I apply my faith in GOD to every problem I face.  I suppose that means everything in my life would fit into this blog somehow. 

My concerns for America are among the issues I talk to God about.

When Trump ran for President, I didn't think he would get very far.  I haven't seen many "ordinary" people even get into these races.  His media manipulations were very amazing, and the response of the people even more astounding.  In my own thoughts, I wondered if he could make the changes we need in our country to become healthy again, to change the focus of Washington from taxes to business strategies that would support the programs created and eventually create income. His business background was the main reason I hoped his Presidency would work.

I don't like all that Trump seems to stand for, but every president has issues with some part of America and the world... no one is perfect.  If the citizens elected him, we needed to figure out why... and look for God's reasons for lifting him up into that position.  Every candidate says lots of things when they are campaigning, but no one is a one-man government.  Everything changes when you get up into the job.  You find out things you didn't know before the election, you discover more divisions, actually doing what you said you would do becomes impossible.  This is life in our times... this is our election process.

What does America need?  We all seem to have different ideas about what will solve our many problems.

Can we survive anything the way we think we can?  We think the past will be the future...forgetting that we are subject to the same laws of the universe as everyone else.

Are we really invincible?  Is military might our only claim to fame?  Bigger images than ours have been brought down by things they never expected... we are very vulnerable to harm in our age, through the computer, through the lack of morals, through the economic burden we have created for ourselves, and more.

If God's protections are no longer part of our story, what will His judgment look like?  The Bible cites natural judgments that create great suffering are God's tools to turn people back to Himself... our economies are so fragile, and we base our plans on things that won't exist much longer... bankruptcy is a long process, but it eventually happens when our financial choices are bad, the economy is faulty, or disaster hits.

I don't expect to live that much longer, so the problems I see will most likely affect other people. My children and other family and friends may be among them. 

When my life became so immersed in poverty issues, I searched for solutions.  In creating Working Together  (http://work2gather.us) I had hoped to build new ways of doing things to change what poverty does to lives.  It was an effort to move away from government provision and control.  Then it became a ministry focused on the Christians who would suffer what the Bible says is coming. 

I'm not sure I can accomplish any of my goals for Working Together, but I am doing what I can in those directions.  I spend my time planning what I might do if God provides before I am gone.  It has become my life to find answers to the needs I know will exist, and to watch for the signs of trouble that may apply to prophecies in the Bible. 

Today, I looked for more answers, tried to find a path to the future, prayed for God to protect and provide, did what I could.
I will do the same tomorrow.

Holy God, hear my prayers.  Show me the way to Your Will.  Guide my life into the place you want me to be.  Provide for my needs.  Protect me from harm.  Amen.

In Christ,
Deborah Martin

14 August, 2017

14 August 2017

Today... my first real journal-like entry.

I was trying to decide this morning if this should be first of the day thoughts or whether I should wait until later.  I get much more emotional when I'm tired, so that isn't always good.  I didn't really have anything to say this morning, so here I am... after a nap, after the day, before the very exhausted evening.

The news that I do hear is filled with Nazi's and terror groups and Charlottesville.  On Facebook there are lots of posts on who to blame, with the liberal-owned media always trying to blame Trump and other Republicans so they can keep government from solving problems.  The conservatives... I haven't decided about them yet.  We are in a war of money sources I can't begin to understand. 

I just want the earth to be made better so all of us can survive. I want poor people to get things they need to find their own dreams.  I want prisons to help people to change instead of making them worse.  I want Christians and Jews to be protected from the growing anti-God perspectives.  It isn't easy to watch good people suffer, for any reason.  Hidden hatred is hard to fight.

America's freedoms have been unique in the history of the world, but there is always the minority that doesn't get their way... no matter what the topic is.  Free speech is difficult to endure when the words aren't what we want to hear.  Do people have a right to do what we don't agree with?

Iran is a sovereign country... they have a right to pursue their goals.
North Korea is a sovereign country... they have a right to pursue their goals.
We don't like their goals.  We want to stop them from reaching them.
How do people, how do countries, live with different goals?
This is just as essential a question when Nazi supporters utilize their free speech in America as it is when the countries who inhabit the same earth have opposing goals that include killing others, innocent others.
So how do we live together without taking away the rights of someone else?

I don't know... it may not be possible. 

We can only find some kind of order with majority rule, which we call a democracy, and the rule of law, and public safety.  Those who lose any fight have to submit to the authority of the ones who won, willingly.  We have also seen that doesn't work either... the fight just changes.  Problems never get solved.  We all suffer because of the constant power struggles.

These are the things I think about and seek God for answers.
What do you seek God about?

In Christ,
Deborah Martin

13 August, 2017

13August :: Finding a new schedule

After months of trying to figure out how to build a future, I have decided to make this blog my journal spot for personal and spiritual issues... most likely a four-day entry that matches my chosen work week... Monday through Thursday.

My blog/s for Working Together will become a weekly or a monthly process.  I haven't decided yet whether it will be the public place for the email newsletters and other publications for WT programs, but it may also work that duty.  Right now, the plan is just to post regular updates on developments with Working Together and build an email list for newsletters.

My personal craft-related blog, Crafts Explored, will become active again as I post my creative efforts.  No schedule, just posting as I record my crafting efforts. My workspaces are getting organized, my project ideas are getting figured out, my supplies are growing, I have a decent camera to take photos, and mobile access for posting more easily.  Things are better than they were before, and continue to improve as I get better equipment.  I hope to include video efforts soon.

These schedules seem to be the most reasonable option for me right now.  Journaling is more appealing to me than social media entries, but Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc., will still be part of my outreach efforts.  As God provides, there will be people hired to deal with the sites I can't get to.

Every day I am moved to share ideas I discover, opinions about things that I consider questionable, thoughts about things I am working out in my own life and walk with God.  Journaling seems like a better way to separate the people who are part of the different activities I get involved in...so those who want to read my words can read them, and others are not involved in that process.

Issues of faith are getting more critical as the days pass. I feel it is important to talk about the differences we have, and find a way to help each other.  Somehow...someway...someday.  (I think those words are in a song somewhere...I can almost hear it...)

Until tomorrow,
May God provide what we need to accomplish His Will and to protect His People. 
May we be wise with what we already have, and prepare for what might be ahead. 

Remember that God loves us all, but He seems to love the poor, the widows, the fatherless, and the helpless most of all.  He is willing to avenge the wrongs done to them, and to bless those who personally care for them. 

When you give, make sure you know what your money is used for.

Love, in Christ,

Deborah Martin
Portland  OR, USA