Thursday, November 10, 2016

You Have to Hear the Pain ~ Election Thoughts



I will begin this by sharing what I posted on my Facebook page with regards to who I voted for and why:

I was quite open about my intention to skip the presential ballot and just focus on the down ballot. But despite my numerous numerous numerous issues and concerns-
As an lgbt, feminist, sexual assault surviving woman who grew up in a border state playing with children from undocumented families, who has had Islamic friends and roommates, who cares very deeply about poverty, equality, POC, women's rights, and the love and respect deserving to all people-
I could NOT lay my head down tonight knowing I did not do everything I could to defeat someone who is a legitimate and real threat to myself, my friends, and so many people living in this country.
I do not for one second believe that she is going to do even 1/4 of what she says she will do, I do not believe she represents the kind of leader I really want, but I do believe that a Trump presidency is not one we will survive.
So, because of all of those reasons, I voted for Hillary Clinton. And despite all of the issues I have, I have no regrets in my decision.

I watched the election until around 11pm, before heading to bed. I woke up the next morning utterly devastated at the results. I spent most of the day crying and depressed, not because of a GOP president-elect, because we just gave the most powerful office in the world to someone who ran their entire platform on hate.

When we tell someone, "Hey, you can say whatever you want, be as racist, sexist, and misogynist as you want- and we will elect you president." what we inevitably tell the overtly racist is that they have the green light to be as vile as they so choose.

The door that has been opened is one that took us back 50 years. These are the some (and I mean some, please feel free to google, there's hundreds) of the reports for the 24 hours post-election.















Social media posts aren't enough for you? 

Okay, here's a list of articles regarding the various monstrosities which have been occurring: 




Now, beyond the fact that these things are horrific, my major problem is the criticism against the protesters. People are TERRIFIED- FOR GOOD REASON. 

This is the best way I can think to explain this....

You're walking down the street. Suddenly you are grabbed and thrown down. There are people all around, some who don't seem to see you even though you're screaming, some who apologize and say that they wouldn't do that. Then the attacker starts kicking and punching you. Then spitting on you. Repeatedly. And the same thing happens. Some pretend not to see or say "well at least he isn't kicking you now, it's just spitting" and there's others who again apologize but do nothing to actually help you.

Would you just continue to sit there and do nothing while being beat down and treated less than human repeatedly? Or would you get up and fight?
You don't get to determine how the victim defends themselves. That's why its called self defense.
So to everyone telling all the protestors and scared people to just love and stop the hate, remember that you're just blaming the victim for reacting to the situation you have ignored, defended, justified, and therefore been a part of.

Honestly though, Van Jones said it best on CNN. So I will leave you today with this. Regardless of where you stand politically, I would hope that you see these atrocities and demand that they cease. That you publicly align yourselves with marginalized people and show them that you are NOT going to just stand by, you will defend them, you will fight for them, and that you are with them. 


As Always, Leave me some comment love. :)



Tuesday, November 1, 2016

How You Can Help (If you want to)

So I have been asked by several people what they could do to help me in the current limbo situation I am in. Honestly, saying that I even NEED help feels uncomfortable for me still, so this is a really strange post for me to even put together.

However, since so many people have asked, I figured I would compile a small list of things people could do to help support me.

1. PLEASE subscribe to the blog, like me on social media, subscribe to my YouTube channel, click on the ads. All of those things will help me as I am trying to find an alternate source of cash through writing and sharing my journey.

2. Buy my books! If you are local, I have print copies available for $5 that I will sign for you. :)

3. If you are local and make a soup or casserole or pasta sauce or anything like that freezes well and could spare an extra serving- that helps me greatly! On bad days, cooking is nearly impossible so the ability to just heat something up makes all the difference in the world to me.

4. I have an Amazon wish list if you would like to send me something. There's a little bit of everything on it from medical and household stuff I need to a few fun things that just make me happy.

Here's the wishlist- http://www.amazon.com/registry/wishlist/1JK1TLUWQ2QUB

5. Jaxson is absolutely my emotional support animal and the only thing that gets me through lonely bad days. If you would like to support me by supporting him, that would mean the world to me. I typically try to get him grain free dry food, but he does not have GI issues and switching brands or types is not an issue for him. So if you would like to donate any dry dog food for him, that would be greatly appreciated!


6. There are other things I could absolutely use if you have any of the following extra things around your house-



*Winter clothes or clothes in general (I wear a medium shirt unless juniors size then I will wear a large, a size 12 jeans, size medium leggings, 8.5 wide shoes, and size 36d bra) After losing so much weight and continuing to lose, I am down to just a few pieces of clothing that fits, and a whole bunch that doesn't. 
*King Size sheets, towels, and hand towels are very slim around here and always appreciated.


*Extension cords and surge protectors are in need. I have one extension cord I use for my phone charger and heating pads, and have to move the whole cord every time I move where I am so if you have an extra or two lying around, I would love it!


*Heating pads and heated blankets. I am pretty much constantly using my heating pad, and since I typically have multiple sources of pain, I am constantly adjusting where the pad is. So an extra pad or two or even a heated blanket would be absolutely amazing. 


*Walmart and Walgreen's gift cards to help pay for my prescriptions. Since I am uninsured, I have to pay roughly $100 a month (and probably more soon as it looks like I will be adding to my current regiment) just for my medications. I primarily get my prescriptions at Walmart but have one that is cheaper at Walgreen's. Gift cards to either of those places will be going directly to my medications.


*A spare DVD player and/or VCR. I currently have no regular home internet and just use my hotspot, and since my laptop is broken if I am working at the computer I can't also watch a dvd, which I am unable to use for my living room TV. If you have an extra in your garage, that would be awesome! :)


7. If you want to help to support me monetarily, I have a support button through PayPal on the sidebar of the blog now. I am probably most uncomfortable about this way of asking for help because I believe people have abused crowd funding and ask for money when they don't need it. I am in no way of the mindset that anyone owes me anything at all, but if you would like to contribute to me in this way, here is the link to this option:




How You Can Help


8. If you own a blog, business, online shop, or anything else and you would like to advertise here on the blog or through my other social influencer channels, please click the advertise link at the top of the blog. This helps me tremendously!

9. If you get a Sunday paper and are not a couponer, please send me your inserts! Those coupons are the difference between me having laundry detergent and personal care items and not. They also help me stretch my SNAP/food budget so I can stock up better and be more secure in having food. 


10. This is probably the most important to me. Emotional support! Leaving me comments and sending me messages offering support and kind words really does lift my whole day and makes me so happy. 


So, I hope this gave insight into the kind of support that someone could offer to me if they choose to. Kind words and sharing my blog and journey with others is by far the biggest thing that I ask for, but as you can see, any type of support that someone wants to offer I will graciously and humbly accept. 



As always, leave me some comment love. 


Thursday, October 27, 2016

Thrifty Thursday ~ Coupon Apps (With Haul)


Okay, so if you read my post about living in poverty, you know that times are pretty tough around here these days. I've had a REALLY good two days (thankfully!) so yesterday was able to do some quick trip mystery shops (which I will post about soon!) so I had some cash for household stuff.

The ONLY way I can afford ANYTHING right now is with discounts and deals. Paying retail for literally anything is just not in the realm of possibility.

I *used* to be really into couponing once upon a time, so decided that while I can't go full extreme-coupon mode (it takes energy that many days I don't have) what I can do is try to find some simple ways for me to utilize coupons as often as possible with as little energy as possible.

There are three ways I have found to do this with three types of apps. Coupon apps, rebate apps, and rewards apps. Now, today, we are just going to be talking about coupon apps.

Using these apps does NOT require buying a Sunday paper or coupon inserts (which again, is not something I could even do right now!) and will load coupons directly onto your store loyalty cards that will come off automatically at the register.

The *primary* app that I use is "Flipp". What Flipp does is load coupons to your loyalty cards but also shows the weekly ads for every major and local retailer in your area. It will then automatically match it up to tell you where to get the best price for your coupons.


Now, one thing I will caution is that the "get it for" price is not ALWAYS accurate, so you need to actually click on it and check for yourself! For example, the cookies pictured above? The FD ad was showing the price AFTER the digital coupon, so there wasn't a second $1 off. Was still a great price and deal, but just make sure that you check yourself to save yourself the headache of getting to a store and noticing the wrong price. 

The other coupon app that I use *primarily* is the Krazy Coupon Lady. The big difference between KCL and Flipp is that KCL tells you the lowest prices you can get on specific products and exactly how to get them. Now, if you do get inserts from the paper and have those coupons building up, this app is even better for you because it will tell you exactly which insert to pull to get a bargain. If you don't (like me)- no worries! It will tell you where to get digital coupons and which rebate apps to stack with it. 


Another wildly popular coupon app, which I don't use nearly as much as I should, is the Cartwheel app from Target. Why do I not use this app like crazy? Because I don't shop at Target very often. However, if you do, you need to go check out the Cartwheel app because any Target coupons CAN be stacked with manufacturers coupons giving you double the savings. 

Here's the video of my haul:




Here's a breakdown of my deals:

Family Dollar-

Downy, $3.85 - $1 coupon = $2.85

Softsoap Hand Soap, $1-.50 coupon= .50

Dial bar soap (3 pack), $1.75-.25=$1.50

Dial bar soap (6 pack), $3.00-.50=$2.50

Dog Treats (2 bags), $2-$1=$1

Puffs Tissue, $2-.50=$1.50

Dial Hand Soap, $1.25-.25=$1

Cookies, $2.50-$1=$1.50

Mac and Cheese, $1.95-$1=.95

Chips, $1-.50=.50

Dollar General-

Herbal Essence Shampoo/Conditioner- $2.50(x2)-$2 (x2)= .50

Huggies Wipes, $1.85-.50=$1.35

Pampers Wipes, $2-.50= $1.50

Farm Fresh-

Tide Detergent, $2.99-$1=$1.99

Crystal Farms Cheese, $2.59-.55=$2.04

As always, leave me some comment love! 




Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Truth About Poverty


This post was fairly challenging for me to put together, because it admits the truth about my situation. It's still very hard for me to know that 18 months ago I was living a happily middle class life. The bills were paid, money was in savings, I lived in a nice neighborhood, drove a nice car, and went on vacations. I was not rich, but I was comfortable in my life as a suburban stay at home mom.

Had you of told me that such a short time later I would be where I am now, I would not have believed you. Don't misunderstand, I've been poor before, but as a hustler and a go-getter, I've always been okay. There were always ways for me to figure out a way to bring in extra cash or get what I needed.

I could have NEVER imagined that I would be unable to work in pretty much any fashion, that I would be unable to go back to school, or that I would be painfully (as in, physically in pain) standing in line at a food pantry because I was literally out of food.

Here I am, though, so I guess it's time to share the truth about living this way.

Due to my worsening health issues, I am in pain every single day. You can't see the pain that I'm in, and with exception of seeing me with my walker or in a motorized scooter at the store, I have what is called an "invisible disability". You can't see my pain. You can't see my bones and joints and muscles and the many things causing me pain.

Add to the fact that I am young, at only 29 years old, many people don't understand my poverty. I think there's this assumption by some that I am just trying to get a hand out or that I'm exaggerating my problems.

I can absolutely promise you that if I could go work at McDonald's right now, I would.

I currently have no income, which puts me into the extreme poverty category.

I am hoping to apply for disability, but because my divorce is not finalized, I'm not even able to do that yet because they will count my ex's income and he will be able to get my benefits upon my death even if we divorced a month later. (Isn't that the most absurd thing you've ever heard?)

I have just gotten accepted into the SNAP program (also known as food stamps) which will give me $190 on my EBT card for purchasing food. I was also just accepted into the general relief program, which will issue me a $90 check for the next 3 months with the hope that I will be accepted for disability at the end of those 3 months.

I am so beyond grateful for these two programs, but they unfortunately do not scratch the surface of my existing needs. Here are my current necessary monthly expenses:

Rent- $750
Utilities- $200
Car Payment- $270
Car Insurance- $250
Prescriptions- $125
Cell Phone- $60

This doesn't include credit card payments (which are currently in default), student loan payments (which are thankfully on a no income repayment right now), gas, food, toiletries, household supplies, dog food, vetting for Jaxson, lab work fees (which I currently owe about $1,500 for), or anything else.

I was beyond blessed that Boyfriend paid my rent and utilities this month, and is paying a majority of them for me next month. My roommate also just got a job and is going to be helping to contribute starting next month as well. Were it not for him, I would be disabled AND homeless right now.

I don't say any of this for anyone to feel sorry for me, I'm sharing this openly because I want people to understand the truth about poverty. It's fucking hard. This is NOT the life I want for myself. This is NOT the life I imagined for myself. And if I could fix my health problems and go back to working and being a contributing member of society again instead of begging any service agency who will listen for help, you can guarantee I would do that.

Another reason I shared all of this is because I want to be able to openly and freely share about the things I've learned and am doing to try and live a little bit better despite my circumstances.

It was extremely hard for me to be told that I'm living in poverty. Like I said, I've been poor plenty of times, but never so bad that I felt like I was literally on the edge of losing everything. This is where I am though, whether I want it or not. (And for the record, I don't know ANYONE who would WANT this.)

So, I hope this can shed light on what it's really like living this way, and lift some of the stigma that if you are poor you must be lazy too. I am HARDLY "entitled" and am grateful for every single thing that comes my way. This is not life forever, this is life for now.

As always, leave me some comment love. 



Sunday, October 16, 2016

Dear Evangelicals and Conservatives Supporting Trump

Photo Credit to ChristianityToday.com

Dear Evangelicals and Conservatives Supporting Trump,

Before we proceed, you need to understand that for many years, I was you. While my political and spiritual views are likely no longer aligned with you, I grew up in the church. I grew up evangelical, fundamentalist, and conservative. I was reciting Bible verses and pro-life rhetoric before most kids learned their alphabet. 

So I don't want you to read this letter and think that I don't understand you. I do. I understand you to your core. I understand the values you stand for. I understand the policies you support. I understand you, because for most of my life I was you. 

This is why I am URGING YOU to *stop* this unending support. 

I understand the lines that you say when you say that you aren't voting for a pastor, that you are more scared of her than you are of his debauchery. That our country is in a terrible position and we need change NOW. That you don't have another option. That God can work through anyone. That Jesus supported sinners. 

Stop.

Listen to me. 

If Jesus was sitting next to you, would you look Jesus in the face and tell him that on November 8th that you are supporting this person for the highest and most powerful office on the planet?

Would you look at your sons and your daughters in the face and tell them that you supported a man who has sexually assaulted women, insulted people of color, insulted the disabled, and stands for literally every possible value that Jesus teaches as wrong? 

You believe that your daughters deserve to be looked at in a predatory way at TEN YEARS OLD and had comments made to them about dating them in ten years? You believe that your daughters should hear that if they are not super model gorgeous that they will never be worthy in life? That their value is best when they are on their knees sexually pleasing men? You believe they should grabbed, groped, kissed, and violated but that it's okay because the assaulting party aligns with you politically? 

You believe that your sons should be able to say and do whatever they want and just write it off as being boys? You believe so little in the intelligence and character of men that you do not believe that they can control their own behavior and actions?

THAT is who you want as an example in the most powerful office in the world? 

Because if you vote for Donald Trump- THAT is what you are saying to your children and every child.

Stop saying that you don't have a choice. That not voting for Trump is a vote for her. If you believe, as you say you do, that God can work through anyone, then STEP BACK from this presidential election and focus your attention voting for congressional leaders who are living a lifestyle with the standards in which you believe so strongly. 

I have watched this entire election with disgust and upset. I support neither candidate and will not be voting for either of them. I will be focusing my attention on congressional candidates who support the progressive values that I believe in. So please note, I will likely be supporting candidates who are on the polar opposite spectrum of you, and yet I *still* urge you to lean your support in that direction. 

Just because I walked away from many of the things that you believe strongly in, does not mean that I no longer have morals or ethics or conscious and as I watch evangelical and conservative after the next sit on the news and on social media supporting this person that violates the core of values that I know all of you believe in, I internally weep for you. I internally weep for your girls and your boys who deserve so much more. 

The next four years are going to be a whirlwind regardless of who is elected, but I know that when I go to bed at night, I did not send the message to the kids of America, to our future, that I support either of these people, neither of which stands for the ethics that I believe in and I URGE you to do the same. 

Sincerely, 

A former Evangelical

************

As always, leave me some comment love. 



 

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