We The People….

“It must be, I thought, one of the race’s most persistent and comforting hallucinations to trust that “it can’t happen here” — that one’s own time and place is beyond cataclysm.”
John Wyndham, The Day of the Triffids

14657656243_135b3ee65d_z (1)

 

How many more times will we have to donate funds, hold vigils and extend our condolences in the face of a terrorist attack? When will our leaders realize they need to do something different in the way of how they protect us in our backyard? They ask us to stand strong as a nation, Newsflash! We have been doing so since the birth of this great country. This nation’s strength and ability to come together on all occasions is what makes us great. Our government’s national security process as it is to date is failing to secure the American people.

Are our leaders not ashamed that it took the murder of 49 innocent people for the Senate to entertain putting more laws in place? Explain to me the rationale for proposing additional laws or bills when those already instead of enforcing current laws. The federal agencies are sitting on their hands; it does not take a rocket scientist to see the writing on the wall. The warning signs were there if we go by the little information released in the media. No explanation of the ignored signs came out. Usually, “where there is smoke, there is fire.” In the case of the terrorist, this was a three alarm fire and they turned a blind eye to the potential danger. Shame on You. Due to their nonchalant investigative procedures, the deranged anti- American lunatic was able to obtain not only a handgun but a semi- automatic rifle. Law abiding citizens and veterans must jump through hoops and give the blood of their first born child to purchase a weapon to protect their family. A veteran is more heavily scrutinized than purchasing a firearm than a person on the no- fly list and national watch list.

15390761637_958d72de48_m (1)

The media states that the San Bernadino terrorists were hard to locate. They were living normal American lives. Let’s see,  Normal Americans have jobs, pay bills, own credit cards or bank accounts, visit family and friends, shop for food, clothes, and entertainment. Wouldn’t all of these things leave a trail? So, I guess they were supposed to wear a t- shirt indicating that they are the next person to commit an act of terrorism. Better yet, they should hang a flag at their home announce their allegiance to a terror group. These people will never be that blatant that is why the vigilant investigation of people on these lists or social media spouting hateful rhetoric is needed.

18143610665_76d2c4cc92_m

What is even more interesting is, once a person placed on the terror watch list, whether convicted or not they should in no way have the right to purchase a weapon of any kind. When the person attempts, that person deserves to be arrested questioned, held pending further investigation and prosecuted for breaking the law.

I am not a Trump supporter, although I do agree with the following statements about our leaders made at a rally in Atlanta last Wednesday.

  • “They have to get tougher; they have to get sharper, they have to get smarter.
  • “If we do not solve it, it is going to eat our country alive,” he said of America’s security threat.

human-1375474_640

We are a nation united under God. A family. This country founded on love, freedom, family, culture, diversity and the list goes on. American’s trust in the ability of the government to keep us safe is dwindling. We as a nation are growing tired of idle promises from the low-hung heads of government representatives. It is time for action. They will not thwart every attack, but the frequency and success of these occurrences will lessen the loss of precious lives. In the meantime, we as citizens must do what we can to protect our loved ones and diligently keep watch in our communities.

Quote courtesy of Goodreads.

Images courtesy of Pixabay and Flckr.

 

 

 

 

 

Improving Your Finances in 2016

“A big part of financial freedom is having your heart and mind free from worry about the what- is of life” Suze Orman

 

If you’re reading this article you’re apparently in search of financial freedom. Like many Americans you want to improve your current financial situation. In this article we will address the best methods of achieving this goal.

Most people look at money on an emotional level. People view their bank statements and bills, then immediately experience anxiety. When seeking financial freedom there must be an improvement strategy in place. It’s important that logic is used when improving finances instead of anxiety or concern. Changing the way, you view money before creating budgets will make for an easier change of lifestyle.

calculator-913162_640

Create a realistic budget. A budget is the most effective way to determine where you stand financially. Prepare a list of what you spend on a weekly or monthly basis. Your list may contain the following:

  • Rent/ Mortgage
  • Food
  • Utilities
  • Car
  • Health Insurance
  • Debt Payments
  • Personal Savings
  • Recreational Expenses

Compare the list above to your weekly or monthly net worth including but not limited to…

  • Salary
  • Bonuses
  • Tips
  • Benefits
  • Investments

What expenses can you eliminate? Improving your finances means excluding activities or expenses that are not significant. In this case you must be honest and thorough when writing out your budget. The power to pick out areas of improvement will in fact contribute to success in the form of money laid aside. Following a budget may be difficult in the beginning, but it is much more rewarding in the end. Taking time to revisit your financial goals will keep you on the road to improving your finances.

Your budget will help you…

  • Save for the future.
  • Have an emergency fund set up.
  • Invest to improve net worth.
  • Become healthier, happy and stress free.

Start planning for the future. Where do you see yourself and your family in the years to come? Write down your short- term and long- term financial goals. Once you have taken the time to think realistically about what you want or need to accomplish it then becomes reality. Whether your plan is to buy or pay off your home, save for your child’s education or invest your money. Calculate the amount of money you plan to commit to these individual goals and for how long. Each goal should be listed by priority and make adjustments to your budget and financial goals over time.

wallet-908569_640

Save, save, save! What can you absolutely do without or reduce in your spending? Remember, keep your emotions out of this process. List all expenses like… movies, music, clothes, dinner out, electronics, etc. How much money and how often are you spending money on these non- essentials? Of course, it’s exciting to view a movie on opening night, download your favorite artists’ new album as soon as it comes out. These non- essentials may make you feel good for a day or two, but it also puts a strain on you financially.

A great way to watch your finances is to search for sales. Utilize couponing for groceries as well as other products and services. Most grocers and retailers have rewards cards that offer discounts on their products. Small life- style changes are a perfect way to improve your finances by ultimately reducing the amount of money you spend. Substitute going to the movies for a day at a museum. Cook the meal from your favorite restaurant at home. Change around your wardrobe to create new outfit ideas. Applying these helpful techniques will increase the amount of money you are able to save.

Live off of the money you have left after you put away your savings. Taking 10 to 20 percent the income you bring home and distributing it throughout the prioritized goals you have in place is a good start. The remainder should then be utilized to pay your monthly bills. This is a way of taking baby steps in your savings process. Any extra income or money received should immediately be put away and not used to splurge upon.

Learn the difference between a “need” and a “want”. “Needs” are things you have to have in order to survive:

  • Food
  • Shelter
  • Clothing
  • Healthcare
  • Transportation

“Wants” are things we do not need for survival, but would like to have:

  • Game
  • New model cell phone
  • Season tickets to a sporting event
  • Weekly hair appointments

For example, you need your vehicle for transportation. You currently have a working vehicle that may be outdated and has minor issues. You are able to fix the issues at a nominal fee, but due to fair or good credit you want to get a newer year vehicle. Look at the fact that your current payments are lower or you don’t currently have a car payment. The issue can be resolved with a one- time fee, never to be revisited again. The best option in this case would be to repair the issue thus keeping you from adding an expense and slowing down the ability to maximize your saving potential.

Eliminating debt improves your finances over time. First, discontinue the use of any credit cards, they should be kept only for emergency purposes. Excessive spending on a high interest rate credit card and paying only the minimum balance is hurting you financially. It will take you forever to climb out of the hole. Pay more than the minimum balance on credit cards and student loans and you will notice the interest rate slowly decline. Stop borrowing money you cannot pay back. Loans, financing furniture, pay advances are all ways to stay or fall deeper in debt. Pay off or close these accounts to keep money in your pocket. Revise your budget to reflect the money saved without these expenses.

When thinking of a long term financial strategy to improve your financial investing is the way to go. Investing is a way to generate extra income and eradicate debt. Start off conservatively investing in stocks, bonds, CDs or company retirement program that matches funds put towards retirement. Slow and steady pace is the best method in which to approach investing. Bi- weekly or monthly paycheck deductions can be very rewarding.

money-1078267_640

Consider working with a professional. Creating and maintaining a financial plan can be a time consuming and daunting task. Working with a financial advisor in most cases is less stressful and more lucrative when it comes to planning your financial future. A fee only advisor will ensure no conflicts of interest and assure you are well on your way to financial freedom. Through research you will be able to find the best advisor for you. Some companies offer the services of a financial advisor. Whatever method you choose, to go at it alone or with the assistance of a professional. The only way to become financially free is to get started. Don’t put off to tomorrow what you can do today.

My Experience as a Step Mother.

“You’re not my mother! You can’t tell me what to do! These are the words he uttered as he stomped into his room, slamming the door hard enough to feel the vibration through the house.”

Thirty- eight years old and a step- parent with no children of my own. I can honestly say being a step- parent is not a walk in the park. Dating or marrying a man with a child is a new and life altering experience for me. This relationship is different as well!

Turn and run in the opposite direction as fast as you can! My mind told me in the past when meeting a man with a child or children. Followed by Do Not Answer (DNA) added to the name on the cell phone caller i.d. Excuses like… “I’m extremely busy, I don’t have time to date”. All to avoid the inconvenience and drama associated with getting involved with a man who has a child. Like I said before, this relationship is different!

An unexpected first time meeting.

When I met my fiancé’s son it was not under the best circumstances. No one was available to care for him while the mother was in the hospital.  That left me as the only one available due to the fact that I work from home. His stay would be overnight for a couple of days, I reluctantly agreed to do so. My fiancé had to work nights during that time, so I felt it was my duty to assist my future husband.

It was not as awkward as I thought it would be, He was well mannered and quiet. Entertaining himself with his PlayStation, surfing the internet, and talking to his friends on the cell phone. Although, there was a red flag that presented itself. He used profane language when talking on the phone with his friends. His ringtone contained a rap lyric with profane language as well. Most importantly, the disrespectful manner in which he spoke to his mother when having a conversation with her. These were the issues I felt I had to bring to my fiancé’s attention. I knew there was an underlying issue even with though he remained respectful to me, his father and my mother.

A child with no respect for authority.

The second visit is when the lack of authority was revealed. For as long as Jim and I have been together, he often confided in me about his sons constant acting out. He constantly had trouble with authority figures in school and his mother. Is it due to our relationship? Jim reassured me that it was not due to our relationship. His behavior changed once he moved out of the home they shared as a family. This is understandable, but I continued to find his behavior disturbing. I know that children act out at times, to get attention, puberty or when they are mentally stressed. I still felt there was more to it!

Troubled child or a child with no parental guidance.

The morning Jim was set to pick up his son for the weekend, we agreed on some house rules. First, he was to change the ring tone to something more age appropriate. Second, he was not to use profane language. Last but not least, he must be respectful to adults. Jim stated he would go over the rules with him on the way home. I was extremely happy that we saw eye to eye on the rules put in place. I felt this may help to add structure to his life.

security-771868_1280

He entered the house with a snarl and a roll of the eyes. He walked back to what was the spare bedroom and shut the door. Disrespectful behavior! I was taught, when you enter a room you greet those who are present. Jim stated, he had a rough week at school and fought with his mother before leaving home. Regardless of what went on his actions were not acceptable. As a result, we decided to ban access to the game console and internet which seemed to us to be a good idea. We enforced this punishment as a united front and informed our upset child that this would carry out through the weekend.

Children will often test the limits put in place.

The next day, Jim and I went to the grocery store to get dinner. We left my stepson in the care of my sister with strict instructions banning the use of his PlayStation. Well, we returned to find him defying our rules. He ignored my sisters’ reminder that he was on restriction. She said… He acted as if I was not even talking to him.” A total disrespect for authority! This definitely bothered me! When confronted and told to turn off the console he threw down the controller and stormed off!

desperation-447736_1280

Who’s at fault? The child or the parents?

Times have changed drastically. Many moons ago, we were taught to respect our elders. Say yes or no ma’am/ sir. Please and thank you were a must. Always be on your best behavior because what you do is a direct reflection on your parents. The parents of back then had no intentions of being our “BFF”, they were more concerned with being parents. Some of us were blessed enough to have mothers and fathers who continued to be responsible, loving and caring parents even after failed marriages or relationships.

I feel as a parent it is our responsibility to try regardless of the circumstances thrown our way. Whether we are a parent or a stepparent, we owe it to our children to give them our love and attention and to try our very best to steer them in the right direction. It’s not our fault if later in life they choose to go in the opposite direction. It is our fault if we don’t try.

Images courtesy of:

http://pixabay.com/en/desperation-worry-longing-447736/

KEN WHEATON

Novelist. Editor. Journalist. Business Writer.

Witches Of The Craft®

"Witchcraft for the 21st Century"

ABSTRACT RECEPTION

Discover The Worlds Hidden In Ordinary Objects

Review Tales

Book Magazine - Publishing - Editing

Loriginals LLC: Creative Consciousness Energy

Sacred Indicators of Body, Heart and Soul.

Damon Ashworth Psychology

Clinical Psychologist

The Blogging Musician

For Guitarists, Musicians & Travellers

jesussocial

All About Christ In The News

%d bloggers like this: