Wednesday, September 28, 2011

How Hard Working Poor Make Their Pennies

"Simple facts as I see them: No group is as great as the best member or as bad as the worst. My home should be run by me, not the government or extended family and strangers as long as I maintain the health and well being of my family. My children will always come before anyone else. No extreme is a good extreme - Balance is key. Love is a must. Friendship is the flower of life's garden. Learning is life long. Smiles are the best kind of gift you can share with another. Peace - in mind, in home, in the world is a great goal. Contentment is a good thing. ♥ I wish you happiness ♥"

So what are we doing to make it through these tough times? How are those of us that are unemployed, going to school, and/or too unhealthy to work normal jobs making ends kind of meet?
We are writing books, blogging, making crafts, doing odd jobs, begging, borrowing, and doing what ever we can find to earn a penny or two. Below I'm going to share a bit of that with you in case you need some pennies. I'm also going to suggest a few folks you can look up, help out, start your christmas shopping with or just drop a few coins in their tip jars (like mine up there at the top right of this page) Good luck and Thank you!
Tip #1: Avoid any job that ask you for money. None of them are real (and if they are, please tell me about them) You can make a bit of money from "party" selling companies like Avon, but you have start up costs and they do take a bit of work to keep in the black.
If you like Avon and want a reliable dealer, check out my friend Rachel. Tell her Tammy sent you. Click here, too.
Tip #2: If you are a writer or even a commenter there are plenty of places to sell your thoughts for a part of a penny. I met many wonderful folks at MyLot though it has changed a lot since I started and even more since it started. Triond is a good place to post your poems, articles, and pictures. You will not make it rich on any site like these but you will find friends, some extra income, and you will be out there for others to see.
Tip #3: Sign up for legitimate work from home blogs and newsletters. You will know they are good because they won't sell you anything without clearly saying this is an ad, we are selling this, and it is what allows us to give you the free stuff.
Tip #4: If you good at research, transcript work, surveys and other such things try micro-working. It is not a lot of money but it's better then say tip #2 for me anyway. I work at M-Turk mostly and earn upwards of $50 a week on a great week. Be careful of scammers that sneak in. 
There are your starter tips. Now for some ways to help out the cause:
#1. When you want to shop anyway, click an ad or shop a store from a blogger's site or find a "at home" company. You are most likely helping out someone who really needs it. And if you have a business you can always place an ad with one of these bloggers. (I have great rates...)
A great example of this can be found at my right wing friends blog. Zilla not only has the ads, and tip jar but a store as well. She is one of the working class poor that still can't make it a full month on the paycheck her family works hard to bring in. Her family blog can be found here

#2. Many folks with blogs or causes sell their wares at to earn a few extra pennies.
To see an example of that, here is the site of a liberal who is very much for a return of our current president. He set this site up originally to help a friend get surgery and at the time was out of work. He has recently been hired back into the work place. 
#3. Buy Books from Independent Authors:
Here is a great Christian book that is done in a wonderfully simple yet deep way. The author is a man that has known the good and the bad of our politics, economy, faith, and family. Check out the FaceBook page to find Cuppa Christ: Coffee Break Devotions.
Politics and reality more your cuppa tea? Then check out Steve Knies. His books are a rare treat. I admire the author who went back to school recently to start over and has come out fighting. He still needs our support and his books make for great gifts.
How about some dark, bloody, horror type reading? The author of  Kickshaw Candies is R.K. Finnell. She is the mother of a special needs child who knows what it's like to struggle to get the necessary items to make life more manageable for her child. 
#4. Do you want to support some good causes, learn more about a cause, or just help out some good people who do good work?
Check out the Recycling Occupational Therapist and her great book.  
Heartfelt Inspiration's makes useable crafts from clothing to stress balls and feeding tube covers. I have bought many things from this reliable seller and one christmas she helped my children have gifts. She too s a special needs mom.
Buttons and More makes Autism Awareness products because children with Autism grow into adults with Autism. People forget sometimes.
#5: Others I want to shout out to just because:
Go Green on your next building project with Urban Aesthetics, LLC
Extraordinary Tails  works hard to save pets, as do their many friends. They are a great group of folks. So if you are an animal lover, show them some love. 
Some great wood working items done by a great guy can be found at The Art Of Infinite Thread.
There are more of my pals that I would like to tell you about but there is time for that in another blog. Remember everyone, that we are in this together and none of us will make it without helping each other out. You can help each other simply by spreading the word. It's better if you can spend your time and money helping those in need by giving them work. Order their product, read or watch what they produce, and share their talents.
For myself, I must ask that you remember that I get paid through the tip jar at the top of the page, and that the money you give goes to help feed my family. With out my friends, Family, and readers we would not have made it this far. For all of those that have helped in the past, Thank You.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Dying To Be Poor

There is a difference between starving in America and starving in some other country. It is simply that those in America aren't supposed to be hungry, cold, or unduly tired because we are in America. We are the place where people went to get away from overlords and oppressors. We had religious freedom, basic opportunities and all the sunshine people could handle.  Ok, so maybe it hasn't all been rainbows and unicorn farts but we still thought we were better then that. We had hope that we could be better and grow and catch that golden ring. How many really hold out that hope anymore?

There are two articles that ask if poverty is a death sentence, both written by folks we allowed into office. 

They both have points and reasons. They both have comments (that you know you should read) that show what their readers think. And they both lack a real honest clue to the real honest way of life that the poor deal with.

Sen. Rand Paul's article says that being poor is not a death sentence because the "poor" home in America may have things like a television, a microwave, and a car. He says that the poor doesn't die of malaria like they do in Africa, so it is all good. The poor are living twice as long as they did 100 years ago and those that die can be tied to poor eating habits, smoking, and other poor people. He also seems to think that you are only poor for a minute (or 15 years) unless you are of course too lazy to overcome the government funded dependency on the handouts of real taxpayers.

Sen. Bernie Sanders has a different take. He says we are all dying because there is over 49 million American's without medical insurance or the real means to get it. He says the higher and political class doesn't care because the lower class tends not to vote (watch me) and there aren't major lobbyists fighting for the poor. He doesn't think of the poor as having this or that, but as not having the basics like a reliable car, meals everyday, and healthcare. He thinks about the fact that we have so many children living below the poverty line in our so called "rich" country. If you are poor you are going to live 6.5 years less then if you were upper or middle class. He thinks it's going to get worse because what was the middle class is now becoming the poor and the poor are becoming the dregs of our well off country. 

Now go read the comments on both articles. Did you start shaking your head and sighing deeply as you read? Did you see the extremes in our nation? Did you see the total lack of understanding between the haves and the have-nots? Now I'm going to give you a third view based on someone who was a child that lived below the poverty line, lives there now, and for the record doesn't receive anything from the tax payers but medical for my kids and the amount a few of you drop into the tip jar up at the top of this page. (which I am ever grateful for)

What is a "poor" life defined as? 

Depends on who you ask but we'll go with my definition because it is after all my blog. 

A "Poor Life" is a life that is known for a daily struggle to get basic needs met. This means the family or person worries about food, shelter, warmth, fuel, education, and health care (and so on) almost daily. Does it mean that they have no comforts or happiness? No, and why do so many wish that on them? They live pay check to pay check and  are one car repair, trip to the ER, or extra bill away from drowning. But many still see the gifts in family and country. They have hope and faith that things will get easier, better, and saner.

Can someone with those worries have a television, a car, or even a *gasp* video game? Yes. You don't know how they got them, who paid for them, or when they were bought. You have to have a car to get to and from doctors and work. You should be able to give children something that other kids have without people looking down their nose at you. And for those of you who seem to think people should sell these things if they are really that hungry, here's some reality for you: not everything has a resale value, people shouldn't have to give up their children's toys for food, and you NEED a car and home.

Jobs are not so easily found. In Michigan the unemployment rate is at over 11% and rising. Pay rates are not going up even though the cost of living is.

Food costs are rising. It is projected that the cost of eating will increase by 4.5% in 2011. Housing costs are high, taking about 30% of a person's income. Gas prices are unstable at best and painful for most.

There is a great article that speaks of the realities in numbers most folks can understand Here. Here is another on the class differences.

So how is "Poor" killing folks? 

Lack of affordable healthcare and insurance is one way. If you can't afford the basics then somethings have to go. Insurance is one of the front runners. It is expensive, it is usually not enough to cover everything anyway, and it doesn't feed the kids.

Lack of dental care can be fatal. Did you know that? Yep, it's the truth. If you can't afford the doctor you sure aren't going to rush out to the dentists. Oh, and due to so many folks not paying their bills there is few doctors and dentists willing to take payments anymore.

Living in a tent, a car, or unheated home causes all sorts of possible ways to die. I know of an elderly couple that was using candles and kerosine to heat and light their home. He had worked years, she had raised a family. They weren't trash, the bills just got to be too much so their electric was shut off.

Read the paper, look online and you will find one major, scary, heart ripping fact that they are saying is on the rise since the fall of the economy has started. Children are dying of starvation, abuse, and neglect. Yes, here in America.

Even the heat (and cold) singles out the poor and elderly. They can't control the weather can they?

What does the "poor" give up, cut back on, choose between?

Here is an example that most of my women readers will understand completely. There are somethings that we just shouldn't have to take the crappy brand of and when we have to it slams home just what place we are at. A woman's monthly supplies should not have to be the cheap or homemade kind. They don't cut it. They suck big time. Add a medical problem that makes that time of month even worse and it makes them almost useless. 

So the guys understand: think about toilet paper quality and using the wrong kind for the job at hand or not having any at all. Which is not at all a rare thing in the world of the poor.

It is cheaper to buy easy crap food then to buy all the different fixings for a standard meal. And for those of you who are going to jump in with the "grow and can your own" line, please allow me to point out that that isn't always an option. Not all of us live in an area that makes that possible, have the know how, or the supplies to make it work. And it's hard to dig out the extra cash for anything when you are in the hole 3 paychecks down the line as it is.

Gas in the car must come in at the top of the list because you have to get to work, the doctors or what ever. You are really careful not to use it on nothing but the musts. It's like gold to the poor working man.

Food for the kids or the mom's medicines is a no-contest contest. Most parents put their kids first. Not all of us but a lot of us. Forget extras like school pictures, hair cuts, and Christmas. No new dresses, no parties at the bar, and no ice cream from the truck that makes that annoying noise. 

Some poor deaden their pain in any way they can.... drugs and drinking are the normal self medication, but most of us just argue with our spouses or hold them that much closer. We write a blog, work our piece of the American pie, or volunteer at the local shelter. We find our way to deal, to find happy and be a family. It doesn't mean we like it, deserve it, or don't wish for at least comfortable.

The Poor Voters Count:

The following are real people, real families, real voters:

A family of 4 in NY has a working adult, a disabled adult, and 2 children. There is one car. They live in a house that is paid for with the help of family. There is the normal gas, electric and water bills to pay. A cheap cable/ phone/ internet bundle to help bring in extra pennies from some on-line work. There are dollar store birthdays, no trips to fast food, and no vacations to Disney. This nice Republican family follows the "right" path. No drugs, no drinking, none of that trashy stuff folks have come to mind when they think of the poor. They VOTE. Yet they face hunger monthly. They have to pick diapers or medicine, food or gas to get hubby to his job, birthday cake or the internet that earns those pennies.

A family of 5, in another state, has a recently disabled adult that had worked most of his life, a disabled full time mother who has done her job for over 19 years, 2 disabled children and one tenacious almost teen. They live in a paid for house that may be taken for back taxes, their car belongs to someone else, and they too have the normal household bills. They have gotten family help to get the basic help for their kids. Therapy is sometimes cheaper when done at home but there is a cost in that as well. They spend over 15 hours a week getting the kid's needs met. Then there is doctors visits and trips to get the help they need to get dad back to work. He has been off work for months and still they are struggling to get the help he should be entitled to since he put in the money in from his paycheck for the over 25 years he worked. They are Democrats that follow the "right" path. They don't do drugs, smoke, or steal from others even if they live in the 'hood. They have to pick medicine or food, struggle to have gas to get to therapy, and put of medical care because there is no money for it. And they VOTE.

Too many people judge others without understanding. Too many don't understand that while the poor may be rich in love and tenderness, they still know hunger. 

I, myself, have laid curled up from the pain of no food for days. I was young at the time. A child - when I had no say. And as an adult I have made the choice to know that hunger again so my children wouldn't. No one understands how that feels if they have never known that kind of hunger or that choice.

I am watching this country with both hope and fear. There is no one size all fix but I would hope that people will be more open minded about the needs of the lower class and understand that a hand up isn't the same as a hand out but that both are sometimes needed and interchangeable. But I fear there is too much of a MY MONEY attitude to allow for the proper changes and adjustments to be made so that there is a balance between it all.

Be nice to each other please.

(Please ignore formatting issues: blogger is not acting like a good boy today)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Where Have All The Flags Gone? (since 9/11)

I have flown a flag in my yard as much as I could from the day I had my first home. I don't do it because it is popular or because of some tragic event in the world. I have done it to honor the men and women who fight for it and those that fought before. I do it because I love my country, even now when I think it is headed to a scary place. But that is not what I want to talk about with you right now. Pull up a seat, relax a bit and wonder through my mind a while.
That morning I had the news station on for my home schooled, third grade son to watch while I did morning chores. He was to watch an hour of news, choose a story, and write a short article based on what he learned.  A slow, boring, safe morning quickly turned into a horrific, life changing, moment in hell.

While it was surreal to see the smoke flow from the first tower as the news coverage started, it is almost a click you felt as you saw that second plane fly into the other tower. You knew that the world, your world, the world your children knew, would never be the same. 

The days that followed drew our nation together. We had a common thread, a common sorrow, a common fear, a common pain, a common cause. I saw the flags go up all through the neighborhoods. You couldn't buy them in the stores. You saw people reach for a way to show that they loved the land they called home. You saw people come together to fight the common enemy, mend the common wound.

It has been ten years. It has been ten years since we saw the towers fall, the wall penetrated, and the field scarred. It has been ten years that could have been used to make this country stronger and more together as a whole. We could have done so much better with the lessons from that day but we wasted them. We are dishonoring the memory of those lost. 

We have changed as a nation but did we change in the right way, heading in the right direction? I don't think so. Let's think about what is different and how things have gone since the day the world stopped turning.

The people that died that day were just working and doing their jobs. They were taking care of life and earning their due. Now days they would have a tough time of it since a lot of those jobs just aren't around any more. People have to take a job, any job, just to have a job and that's if they are lucky. Too many have no job to even settle for.

The firefighters, police, and other servicemen didn't have to be there that day but they were. They lost their lives saving others. Those that survived are suffering but have to fight for simple healthcare. In Detroit, they fight for the basics, make due with less then adequate, and are still asked to do the near impossible.

The soldiers stood up to fight the evil that made those planes into weapons. They risked their lives, their families security, and their health to protect us. They come home to a country that allows them to suffer from PTSD, live in cardboard boxes, and is threatening to take away some of the basic programs they are offered.

We have always bickered about the politics of our nation. That day should have brought home the fact that no matter which side was in power, they have a basic duty to protect and serve this nation. We the people should be able to be free because that was what the people who started it all wanted. But look at us now. We are at war with ourselves. We are making it so much easier for those enemies that wish to see us fall. We will cause ourselves to trip with all our back stabbing politics and throat cutting tactics. Are you kidding me????

We learned nothing in that moment, those hours, the ten years since.

115 nations lost people that day. Did we use that common horror to grow closer to those nations? NOOOO of course not. Does their heart bleed less then ours? Do they not have struggles? We could not find a common ground in the foot print of that painful day?

Look at your local news tonight. You will see people killing their neighbors over nothing, parents killing their babies over tears, and politicians fighting over the right to love someone. You will see talk about laws to keep homeless from setting up tents, toys from happy meals, and the hungry from being fed. This is what we stand for now?

Why is it when I drive down the streets I don't see many flags flying in support of the country we claim to love so very much? Where did all those flags go? Did people forget that we are in this together, that the change has to start in our homes, that we must stand up for what is right? I even see flags flown upside down sending the message of distress. In the United States Of America? This is what we've become?

Has the nation started to fall like the towers did that day so long ago? Can it recover like that Pentagon has? I think we could be strong again if only we, as a nation, could grow a back bone as strong as those passengers on Flight 93.

If only we remembered how it felt to be neighbors, friends, and countrymen with that common reason to fly our flags.

*** Laugh often, apologize when you should, let go of what you can't change and don't need. Love deeply and forgive quickly, take chances and give your everything. Find Peace, contentment and reach for happiness. You have to take the good with the bad. Love what you have, remember what you had. Take the lessons from before to make a better later. Life goes on. Be the best You that you can be. Raise you children with the values you hold dear. ***