Thursday, August 25, 2016

His Help is Always Available

I'm feeling happily tired tonight. After a quick run to the store this morning around dawn, and after breakfast, I was out in the air for a while washing my car. After that, I stapled all 400+ copies of our monthly newsletter. A neighbor brought some yarn over for our charity crafters and left me some things for our upcoming Fall Park Wide Yard Sale. That meant I had to shift some things around to make room to store them until early October.

True, I'm a little sore and a little stiff tonight, but only on a minor level.

I almost don't want to admit I feel healthier today than I did 10 years ago. I don't think I ever realized how much a toll care giving takes from us. Between 3 years with Jane, and then with her son, it was a longer time frame than I ever expected it to be.

I do not resent any of it. If I had it to do over, I'd do it again.

But I never gave a thought to the stress level back then.

Sweet Jesus, thank you for always being there for me, in the past, now in the present, and in the future. You held me up when I could have fallen down. Thank you for carrying me through the tough times. Thank you for helping me today with my tasks. And thank you for the knowledge that I can count on you in the future.

Washed My Own Car Today

I have never, ever washed a car, myself, all alone, in all my 76 years. I didn't have one of my own until I was 40 and in southern CA. With the first one, my sis loved to wash cars and did it for me, then Jane came out and she did, and then Frank came, and, well, you get the idea.

Right now, the driver's side mirror is wobbly so I don't take it to a car wash.

These past two weeks or so, it has looked absolutely dirty, filthy, scuzzy - especially the right side which is the open side of the driveway and gets all the rain and splashes when parked. The driver side usually is on the house side, and isn't too bad.

So, this morning, I bit the bullet. We are not permitted to wash our cars on our driveways in our senior mobile home community. But they provide several little bays here and there. Each has a drain in the concrete and a hose connected to the water.

One is only a few homes from me. So I hauled out a bucket, a few old towels, a big fat sponge, a car squeegee with a rubber scraper on one side and a rubby thing on the other, my favorite folding stool, and a bottle of sudsy stuff. I decided to just use Dawn. I figured if it was safe enough to wash little oil-drenched duckies, it was safe enough for my paint.

It went well. I needed the stool to see and work on the roof because I am vertically challenged. The car looks great. It didn't take me long.

Of course, now that I did such a great job on my first car washing effort ever, they are predicting spontaneous thunderstorms both Friday evening into Saturday morning and Saturday evening into Sunday morning.

But now that I am experienced, even if it rains and makes the car messy, I can go use the hose quickly within a day or so of the spatters and they should just rinse off at that point.

I am so happy with myself.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Thank You All - Prayers Answered

Special thanks to all who said a prayer, no matter how small. I will be fine for the next month or so, which buys me time to build up my income stream.

Overnight, my two personal size afghans sold on Etsy. In addition, a source came through which handled other issues.

I bustled around today figuring out how much to pay on this and that, my head swimming with amazement. I am always, always so grateful for his blessings, and for those who have a part in his plans to help others.

It doesn't mean all my problems are solved and I never expected that. I only hoped to buy time and avoid bigger troubles. He took care of it, and just in time. Isn't that always the way? It seems I need to be on my knees, acknowledging that he is the only one who can help. Sometimes I figure things out myself, and other times he whispers to others who help in one way or another.

I am feeling very much relieved and very much blessed tonight.

Meanwhile, there are several friends who are still in my prayers regarding health issues. Some need the prayers for themselves, and some for loved ones. So many in need -

Thank you, Father, for all your help and your compassion. Bless those who had a part in the process, no matter how big or small.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Delightful Day in its Own Way

It was an unexpectedly delightful day, in a way. This morning, a friend treated me to coffee and French Toast sticks at Burger King. She also gave me a pound of Dunkin' Donuts Hazelnut ground coffee and a few $5 gift cards for Smiths. You all know what's been happening in my life lately, so you know how much that meant to me.

Later in the day, I learned that I might receive some help with the financial burden. It's too soon for me to assume it will work out, but it just might. Help, as we all know, is not always monetary - there are many ways to work out the details in this type of situation. The point is that there is hope.

Meanwhile, I did postpone one bill and tried to make arrangements with the power/electric company but I'm on an equal-payment plan and because I defaulted by being behind, that's out. Still, I have a little time on that one.

On that trio of heavy cartons of books, I took them out once again this morning. The charity pick up folks called me and said they'd be by tomorrow to get them, for sure. That's a relief.

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for continuing to look after me. You know what a foodie I am and how much of a treat this morning was. Meanwhile, please continue to also send patience and trust my way while the Father works this out for me. And please, please bless all my friends who have ever helped me, wanted to help me or tried to help me, and bless them abundantly.

95 at 8:30 - It Feels Great!

I never in my life thought I'd be living in a place where I'd be thrilled and excited by being able to say it is 8:30 in the evening and it is only 95! 

I've lived in four states (PA, NJ, CA, and now NV), so I've experienced almost every conceivable weather issue except for tornadoes and I am content to have avoided that experience.

So here I am, excited and thrilled because it is only 95 out there tonight. It felt great. It truly did. I think, I really think, we're past the 1-teens (115, 117, etc.), and probably won't go over 104 the rest of the season.

To quote that former band leader, Lawrence Weld, "Wunnerfu, wunnerful!"

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Moving Along, Gently

Things are moving along ever so gently, and I am keeping myself gently busy so that I do not dwell on negative matters.

There were two issues today, though. They weren't disasters or anything like that. I suppose they were more annoying and inconvenient than troublesome.

One dealt with my non-smart-cell-phone. For the low amount I top up each month, I get 400 calls and 50 text messages. That's more than enough for my needs. I do text two people, in particular, from time to time. But lately, the past couple of weeks, I haven't been getting any in return. And one of those folks said she never got the last two I sent, and she sent me return texts, neither of which I got. The second text set was yesterday and my friend called today and I decided to check on it online. I've had Virgin Mobile for over 11 years, and this is only the 2nd time I've ever had any trouble.

When I checked my account, it appears to show that the last time I topped up, almost a month ago, it reverted to an earlier plan which only covered calls, not texts. At least now I had something to work with and I submitted a trouble ticket. They will get back to me tomorrow. But for weeks, I thought these two friends were ignoring me, and vice versa.

The other situation involved the charity that was supposed to pick up the boxes of books I packed this week. They are very heavy. By 4:50 p.m., I was on the phone asking why they were still there. She said they were still out and should be there. By 8 p.m., I somehow managed to carry the boxes to the back area of my driveway. I left a message with them for tomorrow, that if they are not picked up tomorrow and I have to carry them back and forth again, I don't think I can gather things for them any longer. I'm in reasonably good shape, but not that good.

Everything else moved along. I've got food in the fridge, food for Silkie and litter for a change this weekend, a little gas in the car, and life is not as bad for me as it is for those on the streets.

I cannot deny that I am sheltered and blessed.

Sweet Jesus, as you pointed out, the lilies of the field are blessed, as well. I am very grateful for all that I have, all that I learn each day about how to handle troubles, and for what you did for us. After all, hot as it is here, I do not have to travel in sandals and bare feet over hot sand, without indoor plumbing, without air conditioning - you didn't have a car, tv, or even electricity. How can any of us really complain? Thank you, so much, for watching over me.

Enjoying the Fruits of Swagbucks Labor of Love

Christmas Day, 2015, not quite 8 months ago, I began to generate Swagbucks rewards.

At first, totals were minor, less than 30 SBs per day, and I didn't do it every day. A few weeks ago, when I realized I could buy groceries, household supplies and pet supplies with my totals, I really paid attention.

At first, I was simply doing the fun Daily Poll from the To Do list in the left sidebar, for a point a day. Occasionally, I would get 10 SBs from grocery-type coupons I'd printed and used, and from online searches (a few points per sponsored search), or an occasional survey.

Then, on 7/21, from what I see on my SB history, I woke up. Most of what I accumulated was gained between 7/21 and  8/18. Since then, I've cashed in gift cards for $25, $25, and $10, and used them for kitty supplies and groceries and household needs.

If I were not in financial straits, think what I could have by the end of each year!

If I had not cashed anything in of late, I would already have "earned" in rewards 6049, a little over $60. But it's closer to 65 because the first card of month often offers a discount (22 in lieu of 25, e.g.).

Swagbucks offers you a daily goal with a bonus if you hit it. When I began, that was 30 a day with a 3 SB bonus. Now I'm up to 100 with a 10 SB bonus. Those bonus reward points are totaled at the end of the month and added early the next month. As a friend explained to me, they do add up.

Plus, if you hit your goal 7 days in a row, you get 25 extra bonus SBs, and if you hit your goal 14 days in a row, its 100 SBs as a bonus.

So it has already proven  that in my case, at least, it's worth my time.

I'm already paying for the internet access, so why not use it sensibly to ease some financial burdens. It would be great to one day be able to say, "Hey, I've got enough right now for a Home Depot (or Lowes) card to get a ceiling fan.

So long as I do not push myself in a stressful manner, and only do the activities that are in my comfort zone, it is enjoyable and worth my time.

You can go here to sign up or check it out - http://www.swagbucks.com/refer/emayfieldz

My Current Options - Interesting

Given my current financial mess, I find my "Top Three" options interesting and challenging. 

Considering I feel I can live, frugally but okay, on my social security if all my "non shelter cost" bills are gone and my shelter costs up to date, I had to realize one basic fact. There's no way I can come into funds sufficient to pay them all off. I tried to some extent this time last year, but little emergencies popped up here and there. So, if I can't get rid of them in one swoop, then the other side of the coin is to increase my income.

At 76? Sure, she says.

After considering my age, my limited income to lay out for car fuel, and other issues, these are what I think are my best options.

Etsy
Free Lance Writing

Swagbucks, now that I am getting the hang of it, is now generating almost $10 a week. Granted that right now I must cash it in almost at quickly as I accumulate it, at least it covers cat food and litter plus some groceries and other incidentals that we all forget we do need to cover. Eventually I'd hope I could let it just build up. And the weekly amount should slowly increase as I continue to learn the ropes.

Etsy does not generate much at all. I am fortunate if I pull in anything more than $20 a month. Part of that is because I am not good at marketing. I am good a "making," not "promoting." I need to try to do more in that area.

Free Lance Writing, when I was even just doing it part time evenings and weekends back in the 80s and early 90s, pulled in from $75 to $150 a week. I have not pursued that since 1994, over 20 years ago. I have begun to look into it again. But the field has changed and evolved. Back then, writers mailed in their work. Now it's electronic. The result is that they are now receiving more than 10 times what they did back then. The competition is fierce. Folks are yanking "stuff" directly from other sites and media, stripping the byline, and submitting it. This slows down the entire process.

Back then, when a market said it paid on publication (which can mean 2 months to 2 years), it was no problem. I was younger. Now, it means a lot. So I must also look at when they pay.

At this point, I need to do things that do not wear me out, efforts that are matched to my current skill sets and my comfort zone. It will not do for me to stress out and make myself so sick that I cannot accomplish anything at all.

An onsite job is no longer an option for me, not even a part time one. I thought about it last year. But I'm not sure I could pull any shift on a consistent basis, not even a short one. At this stage of my life, I really do not think I can put out a ton of effort without repercussions.

Still, these are three viable options. And the results should improve steadily, but very slowly.

Goals are important, even when they are as uncertain as these. They keep me looking in the right direction.

Onward and upward!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Moving Along - Tired But Happy

Situation (see posts here) still tricky, but making a little progress. I do have to admit that tonight I am a little tired but happy and with good reason.

Visited my mechanic this morning. It's very hot here, and I have friends who have had blown tires and dead batteries, so I asked his team to check the battery, rotate the tires and check their air, plus see how close I am to needing an oil change. Tires are now rotated and everything else is just fine for now. That's one straw off my back. No money needed on this one. For checkups like this, no parts involved, we quietly work it out. I've made baby blankets for his grandkids and crocheted slippers for the adults and so on.

Someone I did a favor for a while back repaid me with $50, $45 of which immediately went into the bank's ATM. The $5 went into the gas tank, bringing that up to a much safer 1/4 of a tank. Out here in this triple digit heat, I really do not like it at that 1/8 level.

When I got home, I immediately called my agent and paid this months homeowner's insurance. Another straw fell off my back.

A pair of phone calls will, I hope, bring me some help from one of the agencies on one of my bills. So far, no return calls. Maybe tomorrow.

The coffee I made this morning tasted great about then, with ice in it.

Safe Nest, a local charity that helps abused women, is coming tomorrow. What they collect goes into a thrift shop, the commissions from which buys supplies and necessities for their work. I went foraging for old reference books. Years and years ago, I bought lots of self-help books for my budding free lance writing efforts. At this point in my life, the writing I want to once again submit and sell will be all of a certain type, and I no longer need those. Because they are rather specialized, they don't sell well at a simple yard sale, so I gathered three cartons of them. They left a nice little alcove between other cartons which the fur baby seems to delight in.

Those cartons were the reason I am tired. I had to move others to get to those, then re-pack, consolidate, and put back others. Two were not difficult to carry out tonight (they pick up early, around 7 or 8, in the morning) but the third was a doozey. No biggie. I just slid it on the pantry linoleum to the back door, and bumped/pulled it down, one step at a time.

Along the way, I found bags and bags of old paperwork, bills, medical papers and so on, for both my sis (who passed away in '09) and my dear family friend, Jane (who also passed away in '09), so I flopped onto the couch, found something good on the boob tube, and ripped up four of those to start. That, too, was a good feeling. I'll work on other bags off and on this week and weekend. I do admit my left hand cramped a bit at the end of the fourth bag. I'll give it a break tomorrow.

That Etsy order from yesterday was filled, so now I can use that $10 in PayPal this week.

Father, it's been a full but happy day. Thank you for helping me get that one bill paid and for helping me ensure that the car is reasonably safe in this heat. I also appreciate the fortitude and stamina you sent this afternoon that helped me wrestle those boxes of books. You know how happy that made me. We're moving along, aren't we? Please continue to bless me with your love and protection and help. I need it and I trust in it. Tomorrow's another day and I can't wait to see what you have in mind for it...

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Having Fun Watching Events Play Out

It's all in the game and how you play it.

Yesterday, I posted about the mess I was in at the moment (at this link), and I stated that I knew the Lord would take of my needs, but that it was a bit tricky this time, and I couldn't wait to see how he worked it out.

As I end this day, just 24 hours later, he is already working things out. Now, this doesn't mean the bills went away. It doesn't mean I came into money. Nope - he usually develops really creative ways to easy my stress and buy me time to work things out on my own.

Regarding the broken lower denture, I needed soft food today while the super glue set.  I found a pack of 4 Nutter Butters, easy to eat, and worked on them one at a time, now and then, when I had a craving for a treat. I also defrosted my barley soup, pureed some fruit, and defrosted a lonely mac & cheese. That went well. Tomorrow, my meals will be back to normal.

With one email and their phone call in return, an automatic payment was cancelled, saving me $12.50, which goes to one of the bills.

Another call allowed me to postpone another bill until early September with a very small fee.

Knowing I would still be concerned today, I distracted myself with a short walk to the mail room this morning, and my legs and feet were so happy when I came back, short as the walk was. Along the way, I was delighted to get two clippings for trees I've admired all year on that corner. They are happily trying to root in a glass of water.

The lady who gave me the tree clippings updated me about a former neighbor who is healing from a heart attack an subsequent stent surgery. We were good friends when he lived here and so I sent him good wishes and a hug, via this lady, on her next visit with him.

Etsy surprised me with a $10 order which, since it goes into PayPal, will go for gas for the car.

The gift card from Swagbucks was used this morning and resulted in TP, a bag of dry cat food, 10 little cans of cat food, denture cushions, and so on.

Things are slowly working out.

Along the way, the Lord reminded me of some freebies coming up in 3 weeks, at least one each from IHop, Denny's and Starbucks. That put a smile on this foodie's face - does he know our wants and desires and what makes us happy or what?

And the saga continues...

Basically, I'd like to finish this day with these reminders:

If you are better off than some of us, be sure to thank him tonight when you crawl into bed.
If you are worse off than me, I have you in my heart and prayers. Trust him.

Father, thank you so much for working on these problems for me. Please guide each of us, no matter what their situation, that we should always pray for each other, as often as possible. And please bless those who took a moment to pray for me. 

Adding Ice Cubes to Drinks Without Splashing

Sometimes when I pour my percolated coffee into my tall thermal cup, it still gets cool before I finish it. I often decide to convert it quickly to iced coffee. I don't know how many times I have set the cup on the edge of the opened fridge-freezer door, reached in, plopped in a few cubes, and then spent time blotting up the coffee splashes.

I've also had times when I added them to water or other drinks, only to, once again, splash.

I have finally developed what I call the Plinko method. If you've ever watched The Price is Right, you know Plinko and how they slide the chips against the flatness of the game board to let them slide gently downward. Hey, it works really well with ice cubes!

Now I just drop (I mean, slide) them, one at a time, from the lip of the glass/mug/whatever, against the side, and let them slip gently into the beverage.

Simple - but here I am at 76 only now discovering that!

Can't Wait to See How He Gets Me Out of This Mess

Now, this factual. I do not want any of my friends to worry. I know the Lord has my back. But I am sharing the current situation ONLY to show, down the line, that as bad as it looks now, he will take care of it for me. So, what I'm saying is, no matter how bad it looks for you, too, right now, have faith. Somehow, in some way, it absolutely will work out.
That said - here we go - this is actually kind of funny -

Every six months or so, I end up hitting a wall financially. It is not mis-management; it is not gambling; it is not wasteful spending. It is circumstance, pure and simple. Job did not deserve what happened to him, yet he dealt with it. As must we all. 

In my case, a household member passed away suddenly two years ago and the bills were all in my name. Anything other than shelter costs were "loans" to take care of repairs, etc. While he was alive, the two incomes easily covered everything. Then - boom! So the day after his passing, I began every month 400 in the hole. Slowly, slowly, I got that down to 200 in the hole. Even with my roof repair last year and a friend's help with a loan for that, and closing one loan, there have been emergencies off and on since then. I'm still entering each month in the hole. The second half of each month, I end up postponing this, re-writing that, asking for an increase on this...so, it eventually catches up with me. In my youth, I could easily take a job to get extra income. These days, I try with my Etsy shop, with Swagbucks, and with other efforts. But that's slow going.

This month, it all hit the fan. I am two months behind in gas and electric and will try agencies for help on that but because I did that right after he passed on, I might not qualify. I am down to 1/8 tank of gas and will need to be very, very careful of my car trips. The computer has been acting up. My bottom dentures just broke when I turned on the computer - thankfully, I have this down pat and will use a super glue product and they will be fine this evening for another few months. My homeowner's insurance is due yesterday, my non-smart-phone which I carry in the car only for emergency calls needs a top up this week, and there is one bill that will take me to court if I do not pay them this Friday. There are a few other things, too, but you get the idea.

But, because I know he promised to take care of us, I trust him to get me out of this..Meanwhile, I will continue today and tomorrow in de-cluttering so I can have something out for the local charity store to pick up on Thursday; I will continue to work on my charity crafting issues; I will continue to try to market my handmade items on Etsy; I will do another search of my freezer and pantry and put together some more meals to freeze. The cat has food and litter for two weeks. We're safe. I can't ask for more than that.

Father, Sweet Jesus, most Holy Spirit - I know you are all there and will help me. I have seen it happen in the past. Show my friends the power of your love. As for me, because I know you work in wondrous and mysterious ways, I know you see me smiling when I say: I can't wait to see how you get me out of this one!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Small Blessings are Often Best

My mind has tried very hard to keep me from my usual upbeat self lately. It has been occupied with some concerns, trying to distract me.

Tonight, while I was brushing Silkie in our usual bonding session on the living room rug, I was thinking of all the little blessings in my life. I'm one of those folks who count their blessings every night, in bed, just before going to sleep. But this evening, I really really needed to think about them at that moment.

Our lives are not always what we want them to be. But they are always what we make of them. 

I have several friends, not just one, who are going through chemo and radiation; and another whose loved one will probably be starting that routine shortly. I have another friend with a severely developmentally challenged child, and they need to find another helper. Others are having medical issues, many are having financial issues, others are facing almost the troubles of Job. 

However, each of these, every one of them, are amazing in their faith. Thinking of them helps me get through my own little issues.

This evening, I was especially mindful of the roof over my head, the fur baby I was brushing at that moment, a car that runs, food galore in the freezer and fridge (probably not very thrilling choices for many, but suitable for my needs), a for-now working computer, friends, the ability to get around on my own two feet and old legs, five senses that are currently still working, hot and cold running water, television, and so much more...am I blessed or what? 

Sweet, sweet Jesus, thank you for all you did for me, for us. Living here on earth, in one of our bodies, for a while, you gave us clear example of how we should and can handle our lives. Thank you for loving us. And thank the Father for me, for all my blessings.


Saturday, August 13, 2016

Very Grateful for Swagbucks this Month

Things have been a little tight this month, so I'm really grateful I've been paying more attention to my Swagbucks totals.

I'd love to save them up for something special, but for now, they are really coming in handy for food, household supplies and pet food and supplies. I just opted to trade some today for another $25 gift card that I can use for those things.

Down the line, I hope to occasionally get one or two like that as a gas card. What a treat that will be.
My computer has been giving me trouble so I hope it holds up until I get another. I need to spend time on it to accumulate those points.

In the beginning, I was lucky to manage 30 points a day. Often I didn't bother to accumulate any at all. Lately, I've hit between 100 and 250 several times. I'm getting to know which choices are best suited for my own interests and skills and time. This past week or two, I am rarely under 50 SBs a day. 

When I sign on to Swagbucks, I go to the left sidebar and scroll down to the to-do list, and do each thing on that list.

From there, I head to Discover, and do the Toro and Adgate coupons. When you print the coupons (10 for Offer Toro and 25 for Adgate), you get 16 SBs each. And, when you use the coupons, you get another 10 SBs for each one. 

You should be aware that when you use the coupons in a store, it can take a few weeks for them to credit. I don't mind that. I love opening it in the morning, off and on, and seeing an extra 10 or more SBs suddenly pop up because the coupons I used a while back were finally finished processing. We have to remember they must go through the stores themselves, and then to a processing center, and on and on. Still, it's a quiet and painless way to accumulate SBs.

I'm actually having fun learning the ropes on Swagbucks.
You can go here to sign up or check it out - http://www.swagbucks.com/refer/emayfieldz

A Divine Rap Upside My Head

I had trouble with this laptop once again, today, and it's less than 2 weeks since the last time. Rather than hear "three strikes and you're out," I'm checking into towers. A friend already gave me a nice working flat screen monitor and a keyboard. I thought I'd call two folks I know who repair them, and see if one of them happens to have a tower, loaded with the software I need, lying around their place.

I have no idea how I'll pay for it, but I have to start somewhere.

When the Lord gives me a gentle rap on the side of my head like this, I've got to meet him half way before he has to hit me with a hammer. It has taken me 76 years to catch on to this.

When the laptop refused to start on the 1st of this month (see this post), that time I assumed it was the really old power surge strip, and I bought another. Apparently that was not the cause.

This time, I remembered someone telling me that sometimes you can re-boot a laptop by taking out the battery for a few minutes and then re-inserting it. That's what I did today, and so far, so good.

Still, there are obviously issues with this unit. It was a blessing when a neighbor gave it to me a couple of years ago, free. It had been hanging around his home and he did not need it. I am very grateful for that, but obviously it's time to look into something else.

Another neighbor blessed me a short while ago with their no-longer-needed flat screen monitor and keyboard, so all I need is the tower. However, I need to be sure I have the right software and Windows version on it. All my files are backed up by Carbonite and re-loading them is easy. I am grateful that I listened to my baby brother about Carbonite.

Father, thank you for the head's up on this. I'm trying to take action as quickly as possible, so I pray you have patience with this rather slow-to-act mortal. Meanwhile, bless my brother abundantly for his advice about the backups, and my neighbors for their blessings of the monitor and keyboard. I'll let you handle the tower.