What In The World…

(image from Google)

I’ve been glued to the images of the aftermath of hurricane Sandy for two days.  My mind can’t fathom the devastation or heartbreak those people are enduring.  My heart and prayers go out to all of them.  The stories appear to be turning uglier by the hour, as people’s survival instincts begin to kick in and they do what they feel they must do to survive.  No homes, no gas, no food, no electricity equals a lot of chaos and misery!  Yet, the New York Marathon will go on this weekend!  What?!  This is a crazy world that we are living in!  It would seem to me,  that now would be a perfect time to postpone such an event.

Speaking of a crazy world–I sat in awe, last night, watching a television special entitled “The Machine”, concerning voter fraud.  In the words of Charlie Brown, “Good grief!”  As evidenced by the show, these incidences have been going on for years, but just seem to be growing in number over time.  What is happening to our country?

Ed and I took advantage of early voting for the first time this week.  Fortunately, there was no line, our ballots were short, and we didn’t feel pressured.  We checked and rechecked our choices before casting our ballots–and it’s a good thing as voters in some states have been reporting machines “defaulting” to a particular presidential candidate, even though they didn’t vote for him!

Then, of course, there’s the problem of our news media!  We can no longer depend on them to bring us accurate news.  I’ve never been more disgusted with news reporting, than I am right now.  Thank goodness, for those rare individuals who are still willing and able to deliver the truth, and thank God for the internet!  If the government gets its hooks any deeper into the internet, we’re all screwed!  It’s our only reliable resource for “unfiltered” news.

I don’t know what the answers for all of these problems are–other than prayer.  In times of trouble, I hang on to three little words, “God is able”.  I find comfort in knowing that God is in control.  He has a plan.  I’m thankful I’m a believer, and have this knowledge to comfort me in times of trouble.  I will continue to pray…

Published in: on November 2, 2012 at 8:26 am  Comments (6)  
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Thursday’s Thoughts ~ Are We Better Off?

How well I remember the care-free days of my youth!  Back in those days I rarely watched the news or even cared about who was running for president.  I didn’t know anything about monetizing debt, labor unions, hyperinflation, or lobbyists.  I never worried about tomorrow, because tomorrow would take care of itself (or so I thought).

I woke up a few years ago, and realized that Ed and I are old–and getting older by the minute.  Tomorrow hadn’t taken care of itself, and our time was quickly running out.  It was way past time to get out of debt and get ready for Ed’s impending retirement.  This realization hit me hard, but once I set my mind to something, I’m determined.  I stopped spending, and started paying more on our debts!

As I began to stop spending, and pay off our debts, I began to take notice of the national debt, and what a mess our country is in!  I began to learn about politics and quickly realized that some crazy things have been–and still are–going on.  Our country simply can’t continue to travel in the direction it’s  going, and survive.   It’s time to stop the madness!

Ed and I watch the news together now, and discuss what’s happening in the world, and here at home.  We both know our country is in trouble, and we’ve tried hard to get ready to face whatever lies ahead.  When I say that Ed and I watch the news, I mean we really watch the news. We watch mainstream media, conservative news, and more recently, The Blaze tv.  It’s amazing how much difference there is in what we see on the different channels!   Folks, if you’re only watching the mainstream media for news, you are not getting the entire story of what’s really going on in our country!

The question is being asked, “Are we better off than we were four years ago?”  I don’t know about you, but my answer is a resounding “NO”!  My husband hasn’t had a cost of living raise in three years.  (Actually he hasn’t had a raise of ANY kind in three years, due to poor economic conditions.)  Unfortunately, the cost of living is not the same as it was three years ago!  Of course, we’ve taken it all in stride, and been thankful that he has a job, when so many others don’t.  However, “taking it all in stride” doesn’t help pay our ever-increasing grocery bill or fill our tanks with that high-priced gasoline!  We’ve had to tighten our belts substantially.

Next take the issue of health care!  It’s so disgusting, I hate to even go there.  Four years ago, our insurance paid for me to see necessary “specialists”, and covered all of my required medications, except for a small co-pay.  These days I can no longer afford to see “specialists” because our insurance no longer pays for them, and several of my medications aren’t  covered at all by our insurance.  I’m currently under the care of a local doctor (general practice), and our out-of-pocket expenses for medications run about $150 dollars a month.  Oh, and our health insurance policy costs us more than ever before–about 25% more!

Our youngest son, a high school honor graduate, worked and went to school to earn a bachelor’s degree.  He was a responsible young man who lived at home, worked days, and attended classes at night.  He used his salary to pay his own way through college, but guess what?!  Since he graduated from college, several years ago, he’s been unable to find a job in his field of study–and he’s not alone, many others have suffered the same fate.  

When I look all around me, it saddens me to see all of the empty buildings where businesses once thrived.   This summer, two new businesses opened in our small town.  They’ve both already closed. I’ve also watched surviving businesses continue to reduce their inventories.  Even the “ever popular” Wal-mart has greatly reduced their inventory from what it was just a few years ago.  Our dollar stores have become stocked with more groceries than anything else, because that’s all most people can afford!

What about “Fast and Furious”?  How about the recent attack on our ambassador to Libya?  The secret service prostitution scandal?  So many lies, so much cover-up!   I hope eventually the truth will come out.

In closing, I’d like to share these recent statistics, which really caught my attention.

(1) Middle class income has decreased $3, 960 since 2008.  (2) Gas prices have risen 107%  since 2008!  (3) Home values are down 11%  (4) The cost of health insurance is up 23% since 2008.  (5) College tuition is up 25% since 2008.  (6) The number of Americans on food stamps has changed from 32 million to 47 million, since 2008–a rise of 46%!  (7) Our federal debt has risen 51% under our current administration, and perhaps worst of all, (8) our rate of competitiveness in the world has dropped from #1 down to #7.

Need I say more?  No!  In my opinion, there is absolutely, positively no way we are better off than we were four years ago.

Published in: on September 20, 2012 at 11:01 am  Comments (7)  
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The Weekly Hodgepodge…July 25

It’s that time again!  Are you feeling all “Hodgepodgy”?    Come on!  Kick your shoes off, sit a spell and join me for Joyce’s 86th edition of “Wednesday Hodgepodge”.

1. The Summer Olympics officially begin this Friday night…will you be watching? If you could see just one event in person which one would you pick?

I’d choose to watch the ladies gymnastics.  It’s been my favorite Olympic sport to watch, since way back in 1972!

2.Do lazy days make you feel rested or unproductive?

Lately these warm, lazy days of summer have me feeling unproductive.  It’s too hot to be outside much, and I get tired of housework quickly.

3. July 25th is ‘officially’ Threading the Needle Day…can you sew? On a scale of 1-10 with 1 being not at all and 10 being Betsy Ross-like, how would you rate your skill with a needle and thread?

I learned how to sew while still in high school, and at one point, I  made most of my clothes for several years.  I also sewed some for others in the family.  I also used to make and sell dolls of all kinds.  These days I’d give my sewing skills a 5 because I’m very out-of-practice!  I made a simple doll dress a couple of years ago, and oh what a chore that turned out to be!

4. ‘Threading the Needle’ can also mean to walk a fine line between two things or issues (think awkward social situation). When was the last time you had to ‘thread the needle’, figuratively speaking?

It was during a visit with my brother and his wife back in 2008.  They supported one presidential candidate, while Ed and I supported the other.  We had to tread lightly and try to avoid the subject of politics as much as possible.

5. Kidney, pinto, black, or navy…your favorite bean?

None of the choices are very high on my food list, but I eat baked beans fairly often, so I’ll choose navy beans– because I think that’s what baked beans are made from.

6. Have you ever hosted a garage sale? Was it more success or bust?

I haven’t had a garage sale in several years, but I used to have at least one  per year while the children were growing up.  We were usually quite successful in getting rid of some excess clothes and clutter, and in making some money, too.  I could, and maybe I should, write a post about our garage sale experiences throughout the years.  There was always some sort of drama!

7. What makes you roll your eyes?

Here are just a few things guaranteed to make my eyes roll:

*Almost any time I hear a politician open his/her mouth, these days…

*Watching the previews of some of today’s television shows and movies

*Seeing the ridiculous amount (and content) of commercials on television

*Having a person in front of me, at the check out, (a) either not have enough money to pay for their items, or (b) need a price check on an item

*Having loud and unruly children running around in a store while I’m trying to shop

Random:

We live in a small town.  I have a good friend, from high school, who recently lost her husband to cancer.  I have another good friend whose husband is currently battling terminal cancer.  The husband of a third (and very special) friend recently suffered a stroke.  Miraculously, her husband suffered no serious, long-lasting, effects from the stroke, and is okay, but he was paralyzed and unable to speak for many hours.  With all of these recent events in mind, I’ve never been more acutely aware that none of us is promised a tomorrow, therefore, every today, with Ed, grows  more special to me by the minute!

Published in: on July 25, 2012 at 9:26 am  Comments (10)  
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Wednesday Hodgepodge…August 3

1. Share a favorite song lyric. 

I’ll share the chorus of  “When I Get Where I’m Going” by Brad Paisley.  I love it so much, I’ve requested that it be played at my memorial service after I die.  Probably not what Joyce had in mind, when she came up with this question…

 Yeah when I get where I’m going
There’ll be only happy tears
I will shed the sins and struggles
I have carried all these years
And I’ll leave my heart wide open
I will love and have no fear
Yeah when I get where I’m going
Don’t cry for me down here…

2. When was the last time someone yelled at you?  I’m happy to say, I really don’t remember the last time that anyone yelled at me.  Yelling usually means arguing, and I try to avoid doing that!

3. Money, fame, happiness…are they mutually exclusive?  I’m not sure…but I don’t think so.  Although there  probably aren’t many people who have all three, I’m sure there are a few–somewhere.  Money and fame usually come at a price.

4. What is your favorite dish to prepare for family and friends that doesn’t require turning on the stove, oven or an outdoor grill?  That greatly limits the choices, Joyce!  My husband and I enjoy a couple of cool summertime favorites this time of the year, like Watergate Salad or Summertime Salad–both made with Cool Whip, crushed pineapple, miniature marshmallows, and various other ingredients like pistachio pudding(Watergate Salad) or orange jello (Summertime Salad).

5. The first week of August is National Simplify Your Life Week. What is one thing you could do this week to simplify your life? Will you do it?  My life is already pretty simple these days, and I’m lovin’ it!  I don’t have any place that I have to be, or any thing that I have to doHow great is that?  About the only think I can think of to further simplify, would be to skip washing my hair, brushing my teeth, or taking a bath!  I don’t think hubby or  I would enjoy the results of that!

6. On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being 100% and 1 being not at all) how tuned in are you to your country’s national political scene?  These days, I’m about a 7.  I’m just so sick of it all…the debt, the lying, the bickering…everything is so messed up, and nobody seems willing or able to fix the mess.  What kind of people do we have running our country?  They aren’t showing me very much!  Sometimes I just have to step back and put it out of my mind for a bit.

7. What are your final parting words to the month of July?  Good bye, and good riddance!  Bring on some cooler, fall weather, please.  The high for today is predicted to be over 100 degrees…again!

Random:  There are so many interesting song lyrics out there.  A song is only as good as its writer.  In my opinion, Brad Paisley and Alan Jackson are two of the best singer/song writers out there!  They can write and they can sing!   I love this touching video of “When I Get Where I’m Going”. 
 

Published in: on August 3, 2011 at 7:23 am  Comments (15)  
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