Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Trees For The Future

Trees for the Future is a great organization and I urge everyone to support their tree planting efforts in any way you can.

Trees for the Future is dedicated to planting trees with rural communities in the developing world, enabling them to restore their environment, grow more food, and build a sustainable future.

In the early 1970s, Dave and Grace Deppner served as volunteers in the Philippines, where they witnessed the human tragedy brought on by illegal logging and unsustainable land management systems. Working with community leaders in nearby villages, the Deppners found a way to offer hope. They revitalized degraded lands by providing farmers with tree seed, technical training, and on-site planning assistance. People responded enthusiastically,  joining in to save their homes and way of life.
After returning from their overseas assignments they continued what they had started, communicating by mail with rural community leaders, providing information, seeds, and training materials. After many years of informal operations, Trees for the Future (‘TREES’) was incorporated as a 501 (c) (3) public charity in Maryland on August 14, 1989. Over the years TREES has assisted thousands of communities in planting millions of trees in 19 countries including Ghana, which have restored life to land that was previously degraded or abandoned.

Today, we continue what the Deppners started so long ago, helping others help themselves by means of our singular goal:
Planting Trees, Changing Lives.

Here is the web site, please click.


Easy One Month in a Box Food Storage Preparedness

Honey is a good start

canned salmon makes some tasty meals

I am reposting this blog post because it is such an easy way for anyone to get started in storing food for their own family, and to have at least a months worth of food storage in a handy box.
And remember any food storage is better than none.

I modified the month in the box idea to fit my needs and likes, and you can do that too but at least this will give you an idea and get you started.
In my opinion everyone should have some food storage, so I hope this will help at least one family out there to get started with their food storage.

Easy One Month in a Box Preparedness 

With much thanks to Robert Waldrop who's idea this was originally!

You can get everything for your one months food storage right in your local grocery store.

ONE MONTH IN A BOX, submitted by Robert Waldrop

One 20 quart size powdered milk (4 pounds)
One 10 lb bag rice
Two 4 lb bags beans
Two 3 lb bags of macaroni
Three 13 ounce quick oats
Two 5 lb bags flour
One 8 ounce baking cocoa
One 4 lb bag of sugar
One 10 oz baking powder
One 8 oz baking soda
One 4 lb jar of peanut butter
One 1 qt bottle of syrup
30 miscellaneous cans (soups, vegetables, chili, etc.)
One bottle hot sauce
One bottle soy sauce
9 miscellaneous spice bottles
2 vitamin bottles
One 4 ounce bottle of vanilla extract
One 4 ounce bottle of yeast
One 16 oz bottle of jalapeno peppers
One copy Better Times Cookbook and Almanac of Useful Information for Poor People

I found a 23 inches by 21 inches by 10 inches computer box, and all of above food fit into the box, with the lid folding flat and would fit underneath a bed or table. . The above would provide the following daily servings: (for one person)
2-1/2 cups milk
1-1/2 cups cooked rice
1-1/2 cups cooked beans
1-1/2 cups cooked macaroni
1 cup cooked oats
1 cup flour
4 Tbs. peanut butter
1 miscellaneous can of food
Plus daily sugar and spice

I am not in the business of giving nutritional advice, but it seems that if a half gallon or so of cooking oil, another can per day and a serving of fruit juice (equivalent of another can) are added, which wouldn't fit in this space, you'd be all right for a month. Depending on the assortment of cans, a variety of stuff can be made from these ingredients, including cinnamon rolls, oatmeal cookies, peanut butter cookies, tuna casserole, etc.

This box would fit under my bed.-----------Robert Waldrop


Friday, February 20, 2015

Less Clutter Means Less Stress

For some reason I have been in a decluttering frenzy for awhile now. It's as if I sense that I am going to need to be really clear going into the new year and with the new energies that are here. (Maybe you do too?)

Numerous studies have shown that:
Clutter can make you tired.
Clutter can make you stressed.
Clutter can cause disharmony.
Clutter can mean less abundance in your life.
Clutter can make you anxious and depressed.

And studies have also shown that getting rid of clutter can bring peace, harmony, more energy, and even better relationships into your life.
Decluttering makes room for so much more (and so much better), in your life.

When you can't even relax at home; then where is the peace in your life?

For this article, I'll just focus on decluttering your physical space; your house, your office & work space, and your car. However, more serious decluttering efforts involve cleaning up and decluttering EVERY aspect of your life from your beliefs to your relationships, your Internet and online clutter, and your emotional, mental, and spiritual clutter.
This is what I have been doing this year, working on decluttering every aspect of my life. Whew!

As for the physical, there's more to that than just getting rid of excess "stuff" in your life as well.
For example, how's your diet?
Aren't junk food and poor quality food physical clutter too?

Check out these great articles on decluttering by clicking the link:
Declutter: The Huffington Post Articles on Decluttering

Clutter Quotes:

110 year old Huichol shaman Don Jose Matsuwa says that having too many possessions around us can detract from inner peace and balance. And he's not alone, most of the worlds greatest spiritual leaders advocated "The Simple Life."

"Clutter is stuck energy."
-Karen Kingston

"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful."
-William Morris

"The more you have, the more you are occupied. The less you have, the more free you are."
-Mother Teresa

"Clutter is a physical manifestation of fear that cripples our ability to grow."
-H.G. Chissell

"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."
-Leonardo Da Vinci

Monday, January 12, 2015

Job Hunting and Working Those Side Hustles

You might have noticed if you're a regular reader of my blog that I've suddenly started posting a bunch of articles about either job hunting, side hustles, or earning or saving money.
There's a reason for that. I am currently job hunting, after a job ended and then a promised job situation fell through. So now I'm doing all I can to survive and pay my bills.

I know I'm not the only one in this situation, so I thought I'd try to help others who are job hunting or trying to get through a tough situation, by sharing information on earning money, saving money, and job hunting, on my blog. If I help even one family I consider it a job well done.

I also have a Donation button on my site and am asking for donations to help keep me writing and sharing good information and inspiring people in any way I can.  If any of my readers feel inspired to help by donating, there's a button on the right side of my blog, under my photo and personal information. I thank you in advance for your donations, large or small!

How to Live Without a Job

If you are paying attention to the current economy you are probably aware of the need to prepare for a possible period of unemployment, or of having a job that pays much less than you're used to.
If you do find yourself in this position, here are some things you can do to get through it, and even learn and grow from the experience.

Preparation and planning is the first, and the most important, step for surviving any crisis, including job loss.

Start a savings program immediately, and build it up until you have at least three months salary in the bank, six months worth of savings is even better.

And, while you're in a saving mode, stock up on food too. A full pantry has saved more than one family during a financial emergency.

Get rid of debt. Stop using credit cards, then begin paying off all your credit cards.

Get out of debt in any way you can. Instead of buying a newer car, use the money to pay off some of your old bills. If you get a Christmas bonus, tax refund, or a birthday gift of money, use the money to eliminate debt.

Learn new skills that will make you more employable, more valuable to your current or to future employers. Take a first aid class, upgrade your computer skills, take classes in "getting along with other people", or in how you can add value to your business or company.

If your people skills are weak, you'll be the first fired, last hired. Employers want those men and women who fit in and don't cause trouble with other employees or with the bosses. Smile more, work harder and smarter, and learn how to network.

Learn the basics of money management. Learn to "pay yourself first." Start a savings plan. Set up a budget. Take free or inexpensive classes that teach you about some aspect of finances or money management that you currently know little about.

Eliminate as many "frills" as you can. Do you really need cable? Eating out three or four nights a week? Three cars? A new dress every month? Magazine subscriptions?

Ruthlessly pare back on the excess spending you've been guilty of in your family. Examine every aspect of your life, from insurance, travel, food, shelter, clothing, medical, entertainment, transportation, etc. etc., for ways you can cut down your current expenses in that area of your life.

If you do become jobless, then make some money in any way you can. If that means taking a temporary job of some kind, or washing dishes in a cafe, or learning some new ways to make money without a full-time job, than so be it. You can pay the bills this way, just like you did with your old job.

There are many ways to make money without holding down a 9 to 5 job, so look around you for money-making opportunities.
  • Check out your elders. Grandma and grandpa may know a lot of ways about living on very little. Ask. Check out books on thrift and frugality from your local library.
  • Research your field, so you can spot hiring, or firing, trends in your area.
  • Dress well. This is for your morale, as much as for the business of job-hunting.
  • Treat job hunting like a business. Set goals, research companies and jobs you are unfamiliar with.
  • If you do lose your job, don't panic. Most people will face a period or two of unemployment in their life. If they can survive it so can you.
  • Don't get stuck in the rut of only applying for jobs in the field that you know. Apply for any job you think you can do, including one's you may not have considered "good enough" for you before. All jobs have value, all are worthy of your respect. A ditch digger or a plumber is as valuable and needed as a nurse or a teacher.
  • Don't forget to tell everyone you know that you are looking for a new job. That's just how most jobs are found.
  • Have some fun. No one can job hunt 24/7. It's just too stressful. Cut yourself some slack.
  • Remember your family is feeling the stress too, so support each other as much as possible.

How to Live Well Even If You're Broke

Spending time in nature is free

More and more people are facing job loss or job insecurity, but you don't have to give up all the good things in life just because you're broke. There are so many ways to have a great quality of life on very little money.

Take to heart the old quote that you are broke and not poor. The two words mean entirely different things. Broke is a temporary state, that can change in an hour, while poor is a definition of someone who has basically lost hope and can see no way out of poverty. You are broke, not poor, and there is hope for you.

Investigate the services and aid that can help you through this time. For example, do you qualify for Unemployment? Have you applied for food stamps? Assisted housing? Signed up to receive a free food box from your local food bank? Enjoyed lunch at a local soup kitchen? Check out your states services to the poor and struggling people who live there (or your country if you are not a citizen of the USA), and take advantage of everything that you qualify for. That's what these services are for, to help struggling people survive.

If you still have more than one car, get rid of all but one of them, and make sure that it's the most fuel-efficient and usefull vehicle you have. If you're really desperate, sell all your vehicles and use public transportation, or buy a bicycle with carrying ability, or walk everywhere.

Check out all of the places in your area that offer free entertainment. It will be different in every city, but likely your public library can help you with this, they probably have some free entertainment and free activities themselves, as well as knowing what's going on in your town.

Make new friends with people you meet in the same situation as you. Standing in line at the food bank or checking out the library's stack of books on frugal living, you just might run into someone who's already living good while broke. If you ask, they just might share what they know with you.

Learn a new, but inexpensive hobby. Either for fun and entertainment, or as a way to have some future earnings, or both. If you always wanted to learn to crochet or sew for example, now might be a good time. You might get good enough to sell what you make. Many do.

If you own one of those huge "mega-houses", this might be a good time to sell it and buy a much more energy-efficient, smaller and easier to heat and cool house. You might consider moving to a cheaper area too. Where you live, and your choice of home, can make the difference between surviving this period of being broke, or not.

If you still have some money in savings, put some of it to good use and stock up on several months worth of food. A full pantry will ease your mind down the road when little or no money is coming in, because at least your belly will be full.

  • Try to think "out of the box." Just because you're broke, doesn't mean you have lost your ability to reason and figure out solutions to problems.
  • Stay close, or get closer, to your loved ones and friends. Now's not the time to "go it alone."
  • Learn to make do, do without, use it up, and wear it out. No more disposables or throw away products. You just can't afford that now.
  • Give something to others, whether time, energy, or something you have that they need, that you no longer use. Other people are in the same boat, and good people help each other through things.
  • It's not the end of the world if you're broke, so watch out for depression and hopeless thinking.