Tag Archives: money

I Did It: I Quit

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It only took me three years to get to the point that I had experienced enough BS that I could close the door on it forever.  You’re wondering what I’m talking about, I’m sure.  Three years ago I joined a community called FanBox to earn money. They had a great concept to help others to help themselves. I have worked hard and actually pulled out a couple of thousand.

Then things began to change. A rule was put in here and there which made it more difficult to get your money out. You could still make money but you couldn’t get to it.  They had money in place that you could borrow from and use like a business loan.  You had to pay it back before you could get money back. That was all well and good. Then they began placing levels according to how much you spent. When I opted out I was a brown level. They bad part about that is it happened automatically. It was another way to take money out of your balance so you couldn’t pay back the loan amount which in turn kept you from cashing any money out.

I am now convinced the program is perpetuated by the new people who are coming into the system that do not understand what is really happening.  Poor people from all over the world are involved in FanBox. You buy products from others, you sell products and services and the money all goes into the FanBox Bank. Right now I do feel like FanBox is a pyramid scheme. Those at the top are making very good money.  When you question anything it always comes back that you are not working the program correctly and you can leave at any time you choose.

Yes, you can leave at any time you choose.  The problem is (which they know) you’ve invested a lot of work and money into this program.  If you close out your membership everything you have earned goes to the community bank and you lose. I didn’t want to quitter but that is what I finally became. I left $1000 of my money in their bank with no way to get it. I decided that I was going to cut my loses and stop the monthly fees and the charges to my credit card.

I believed in FanBox for a long time but I can say that I feel pretty foolish right now. I was sucked in along with thousands of other people. It is a shame that the people who need the money the most are the ones who are investing all their time and resources into FanBox.

I hope this blog helps some people who are considering joining FanBox to step back and really think about what they are doing.

Rushing and Muddying Your POV

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We All Get There

We All Get There

Before we get into the meat of the blog of just wanted to say that I hope all of my Christian family and friends had a wonderful Christmas and have a great New Year. As I say every year, “its hard to believe that 2015 is here.” The time we have been given passes very quickly. When you’re young it drags and you know you will be young forever, but that is just a smoke screen. When you get past 30 the time starts increasing at a rapid rate. Before you know it the majority of your life is behind you and Christmas seems like it happens every two weeks.  Enjoy your life and make it mean something to someone or a lot of someones.

Now onto the blog.  If there’s one issue writing students worry about more than any other, it’s point of View. What is it? they ask.  Am I doing it right? Am I in omniscient of third? Should I be in omniscient or third? Many times the confusion over point of view overwhelms the writer.  The key thing to keep in mind is that choosing the right point of view will help you tell your story.  That’s all.  No one will come out and arrest you if you got it wrong.  You’re just likely to confuse the reader.

Consider the differences between these two paragraphs. In the first: Cinderella longed to go to the ball.  She dreamed of finding true love because no one ever loved her.  She looked at the rose bush in front of her, inhaled its delicate bouquet, and hoped that someday she would hold a bouquet like this when she married.

In the second: Cinderella wanted to go to the ball.  Prince Charming hoped he would meet her there.  She put on a dress.  He wanted to find some slippers. There was a pumpkin in the window.

In the first example, (which I hope you think is better), we’re seeing the world through Cinderella’s eyes.  We’re identifying with her.  In the second example, we don’t know whom we’re rooting for: Cinderella, Prince Charming or the pumpkin.  Finding the right POV helps helps the reader understand what the story is about.

We all want to be done. We all want to see our book in stores, our story in the magazine, our screenplay made into a movie.  Oh, and we’d like the money, too.  Ten thousand dollars would be nice. Right now.

One of the very first things I did as a writer, when I had written no more than three paragraphs of my first story was look through a reference book for places that might publish it.  My list had more words in it than my story. And I’m, embarrassed to say that the minute I finished the first draft, I sent the story out.  To 20 places. Each of them rejected me with a form letter. I actually called up Redbook to ask why there was a problem, and I believe I got someone in the circulation department.

Unfortunately, some things can’t be rushed.  You have to take time with your story;  writing a first draft isn’t enough.  You need to go through a couple of drafts.  You need to deepen the character, intensify plot, tighten the dialogue, and flesh out descriptions.  You need to proofread. You need to take enough time to do it right.

Many, many writers they that if they get good enough idea on the page and send it out, some insightful editor or agent will read it, recognize its inner value, take the writer under her wing, and fix it for her.  This worked for Thomas Wolfe, but I don’t think you can count on it as a career path.  Although there are lovely agents and editors out there, they are not really looking for extra work.  They want you to finish the job yourself.

There are however some things you can do to give your ego a boost before you’re ready to send that story out.  Try joining a writing community.  A positive critique can make you feel great.  You can also try writing some shorter work, which may be easier to get our quickly.  Seeing your name in print on a flash fiction piece may give you the boost you need to finish that novel.  Read literary journals and consider volunteering.  some of the smaller ones need people to help read submissions.  Sighing up can be a fun way to become part of the literary world.

Writing Contests

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I have probably spent to much money on entering contests by some standards but not enough by others.  How do you feel about entering writing contests? I personally think that any time you can get someone to read your story that it’s worthwhile. When my mind goes wild I begin to think I don’t really know if they read my book or not and it’s a total waste of my time and resources. I tend to go around in circles sometime.

I thought this article was worth sharing to give everyone an idea of what to look for.

Have a blessed day.

If you’ve spent some time entering writing contests, you know they are an investment. Whether it’s poetry, short stories, essays, or chapbooks, most contests charge reading fees. Plus, there’s the “cost” of your time. And when you don’t win, you start to think, “Well, that was twenty bucks down the drain!”

But writing contests CAN help your career if you play your cards right. Having diverse writing credentials is important if you’re trying to establish a reputation. A mix of publications, awards, nominations, and even a few contest wins can go a long way.

But how does a writer know when the entry fee and time spent are worth it?

Do you know how to evaluate a contest to know if it is worth your time?

Here are the questions you’ll need to ask yourself before you fork over your entry fee:

1. Is this contest reputable?

First things first: Don’t enter shady contests (such as fake poetry contests). There are a number of websites out there that are “writing contest factories.” Authors are encouraged to sign up for online communities and/or prodded to enter contests again and again. These sites can be a lot of fun, and many writers use them as a way to build their craft and confidence. But “contest factories” are generally not reputable within the larger, professional publishing industry.

Look for contests that have a solid reputation and longevity (contests that have been running for several years or even decades).

The following questions will help you determine how reputable a contest is and how that level of reputation affects you.

2. Who are the sponsors and organizers?

If the contest in question is run by The New Yorker, then you know you’re looking at a contest of great renown. If the contest in question is run by Sam’s Auto Club and Horseshoe Factory, you’re probably not looking at a contest that is well-known in the industry.

If you can’t find the information you need from the “About Us” section of the contest’s website, email the organizers and ask for details. In most cases, the reputation of the contest’s organizers is directly related to the reputation of the contest.

3. Who are the judges?

Often, it’s the judge who can make or break a contest’s reputation. Some organizations don’t disclose judges (often, literary journal contests are simply judged by the journal’s editors, with no special mention of specific judges).

But a specific judge of a contest might affect your willingness to enter. If a new contest—one that nobody has heard of—is being judged by a fantastic, famous author, you might want to enter. If you win, you can always say “Joe K. Author selected my story to win the You’ve Never Heard Of This Contest Prize.” The famous author’s name goes a long way toward recognition and bragging rights.

4. What’s the relationship of the payment and the payout?

Would you pay ten bucks for a shot at being published in your favorite magazine, with the added incentive of a cash prize, a subscription, and/or the good karma points of financially supporting a publication you admire? If so…then this contest is probably a GO for you.

Would you pay ten bucks so an unknown editor can consider publishing your work on his/her unknown website (which means said work will then be considered previously published and therefore less likely to be eligible for publication elsewhere)?

Maybe, maybe not. Read on.

goldfish5. Would winning this contest positively augment your current writing credentials?

If you are a Pulitzer winner, entering a contest that Joe American runs out of his home office isn’t going to help much. Sure, you might win. Just like a shark might win a fight with a goldfish. Would winning help your cause? No.

But if you’ve never published anything before, then winning a smaller contest could be a windfall! There are some ethical but lesser-known contests out there that are really fantastic for newer writers. In fact, some contests are specifically created to encourage aspiring writers, as opposed to veterans.

Look honestly at your publication credits and see if a win would be a step forward for you. If winning the contest means you’ll go from being just another goldfish in the school to being the goldfish at the head of the class, then proceed to enter.

6. What are your odds of winning?

Certain contests—the very well-known ones—attract high-level, professional writers (Hint: These are the contests you should really want to win). Other contests attract hobbyists and new writers. Often, you can determine this by looking at the lists of people who have won in the past, judges, and affiliates.

Keep in mind that there is no rule that says you can’t email a writing contest organizer and ask, “How many entries did you receive the last time you ran this contest?” You might not get an answer, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.

Writer QuestionsQUESTION: How many contests did you enter in the past twelve months

 

Previously published at Writers Relief

The True Cost of Owning a Pet

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2Sophie 6 weeks

Hello all. Todays blog was brought to you by Sophie, who spent the night at the emeregency hospital after receiving a bite through the trachea from her big brother, Andy. It was a scary time. Our animals are basically are kids since ours have grown up and left. That’s a whole nother story, so I’ll let that go.

The vet exam and the night at the hospital under observation was $500.00. I have insurance for my others, but not on Sophie yet, so it was directly out of our pocket.

In comparison to human medical care and animal care, I think they run neck and neck. One is just as expensive as the other.

How much is that doggy (or kitty, or birdie) in the window really? The total price tag is probably a lot more than you think.

By: Amanda Lilly

One look at those puppy-dog eyes and wagging tail and it’s easy for all your money smarts to fly out the window. Nonetheless, it is important to consider your lifestyle and budget before bringing home Fluffy or Fido. While there are many foreseeable expenses, such as food and toys, other costs may come as a shock. Need a dog walker, for instance? That can cost as much as $5,200 annually. Pet boarding can extract hundreds of dollars from your bank account, especially if you travel several times a year.

Maybe your budget can easily accommodate regular pet-care expenses, but are you prepared for the higher costs of emergency care? It’s a question that some pet-adoption groups pose to would-be owners: How much money are you prepared to spend on Fido in an emergency? $1,000? $5,000? $10,000? What about for your hamster or parakeet?

Over the years, the Longs had budgeted for emergency pet care, and they have pet insurance, so the financial hit wasn’t as bad as it could have been. The Longs are getting back more than $4,500 of their expenses from Bailey’s insurance. “Bailey is our family,” Long says, “so we just told the vet, ‘Do what you need to do.’ It didn’t occur to me until this was all over that some owners might have had to consider euthanasia as an option if they weren’t as prepared for all the bills.

”Robert Long, managing editor for Kiplinger.com, and his wife have spent more than $13,000 on their 7-year-old beagle, Bailey, this year alone. A sudden and extreme case of Rocky Mountain spotted fever in May led to irreversible blindness and the surgical removal of Bailey’s eyes. Two months later, a ruptured disc in Bailey’s back required emergency surgery to resolve temporary rear-limb paralysis. “You don’t want to think about the worst-case scenario,” Long says, “but you should.”

As veterinary procedures become more advanced, people are less likely to put their pet to sleep when it gets severely sick or injured. Owners will likely incur at least one $2,000 – $4,000 bill for emergency care at some point during their pet’s lifetime, says Dr. Louise Murray, vice-president of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital, in New York City.

The prospect of such high costs weighs heavily on many pet owners. Almost half said they were extremely or somewhat worried that they would not be able to afford veterinary care if their pet got sick, according to a 2010 survey by the Associated Press and Petside.com. “The biggest problem I see are people who assume that everything will be fine until their pet is 18 years old,” said Murray. “That’s just incredibly rare. You want to have a plan.”

Preventive care is also important in corralling costs. Having a pet is “kind of like owning a car,” Murray says. “If you don’t do what you’re supposed to do, it will end up being a lot more expensive in the end.” That means getting your pet spayed or neutered, going to the vet for annual check-ups, keeping your pet’s vaccinations and preventive medicines up to date, feeding you pet the proper food, and keeping your pet confined indoors or in a yard and out of harm’s way.

Although the cost of routine care is more predictable, it varies widely from animal to animal, and even from breed to breed — and also from owner to owner. For instance, fish and reptiles can drain your wallet by increasing the cost of your electric bill. Larger breeds of dogs will eat a lot more food than, say, a Chihuahua, and long-haired pets will need to go to the groomer more often. If you have allergies, you may need to get a hypoallergenic pet, which usually costs more both initially and in the long run. If you are away from home a lot, you may need to consider doggy day care or a dog walker, two services that add significantly to your total cost of ownership.

A Miracle For Me

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Today, I’m going back to story telling. This is a short story from my book Shirley’s Shorts and Flashes. I’ve decided to ebook publish on Amazon. I may put it in book form at a later time, just because I like to hold books. There is something about the smell of a book that you can’t get from a Kindle. I hope you enjoy this nonfiction story. Have a blessed day.

I Found It

The day I found it, I knew beyond any doubt, He was real. That profound piece of knowledge was shown to me repeatedly through my life.

I am a mother of two children, now grown. I’ve been an RN for thirty-two years. Before I became a nurse, I spent years trying to survive and take care of my two young children as a single mom. I lived on food stamps and in public housing, and I hated every minute of it.

I’d always wanted to be a nurse and in fact started college right out of high school. I decided at that point I wanted my man, and put love above my education. I was married to my children’s father for nine years. He decided he wanted to play. I’m a selfish woman, I don’t share well. My marriage ended.

I lived in Vernon, Texas when my marriage ended. My parents lived in Oklahoma. Everything about my world crumbled around me. I didn’t have a job, I had two small children, and I was an emotional wreck. I wasn’t dealing with my failed marriage well. I had my children wanting their father, and my family telling me the children needed their daddy. I actually swallowed my pride and asked my husband to move back home. I met him at the door, when he moved back. He gave me a kiss and I knew with that kiss something was missing. His being home lasted four days. He couldn’t stay away from his play toy. There was too much pain to handle. I packed up and moved back home to McAlester.

The subsidized housing we lived in was not bad, but the neighborhood could get rough. At that point, in time, which was in the mid 1970’s I, felt as if I were the only caucasian in the complex. My apartment was broken into a couple of times and once I made the mistake of leaving my month’s food stamps on the end table. They disappeared.

I rejoiced when I received a five-dollar increase in my welfare check. Every five dollars in my pocket helped. The rejoicing didn’t last long. The housing authority raised my rent by six dollars a month. It was a losing battle. There was no way to win.

We never had enough money to buy the non-food items we needed, such as laundry soap, toilet paper, and dishwashing soap. Times got so bad, my children would go to a service station and steal toilet paper for us to use.

Towards the end of the month, we would run out of food. Weekends and summer were the hardest, because the kids didn’t get their breakfast and lunch at school. I was blessed enough to have a mom and dad who let me and the kids come to their house for supper when we needed to. I felt like a failure from beginning to end. I couldn’t do anything right. I was supposed to have stayed married, and raised my kids with both a mother and a father. Instead, I felt like a moocher, even though I know they didn’t feel that way. The guilt I felt was eating me up.

I finally got enough of my mind back that I decided to go back to college and fulfill my dream of becoming a nurse. I couldn’t continue to let my children live the way they were living. My mom was so supportive. She encouraged me every chance she got. She wanted me to get the education she’d always wanted for me. I had to be able to take care of my children and myself.

My uncle teased me about not needing an education, because I now had two diplomas, Allan and Stephanie. He’d tried to talk me out of quitting school to marry my kids father, but of course being young and in love I didn’t listen.

Using Pell Grants, I moved to Wilburton and began college at Eastern Oklahoma State College. I made application to their nursing program and was accepted. The two-year program, which I took three to complete, was tough. I took all of my prerequisites one year and did nursing the next two years.

The kids and I lived in a two-bedroom house trailer on campus for the first year. I had a car but didn’t drive much except to go back home to see mom and dad. Mom would usually give me money for the gasoline. The problem of living in Wilburton and being in school, I no longer qualified for food stamps, because I received too much money from the Pell Grant.

We still had to eat and pay bills, so I took a part time job at a local nursing home working as an aide. Since my family owned nursing homes, I was well qualified. I’d done everything from cooking in the kitchen to the laundry room. The down side to the job, it didn’t pay much more than minimum wage, and I had to pay for day care. It didn’t leave me much money. I worked whenever I could.

Through God’s grace, we made it through the first year. Due to almost freezing to death in that trailer, I found a walk-up apartment I could afford to rent. The kids’ day care was down the road from us about a block, and I could drop them off on my way to class without having to drive out of my way.

My second year of nursing school was the toughest. I couldn’t work many hours because of my clinical schedule for school. It got to the point one time when there wasn’t even milk for the kids in the refrigerator. I had nothing. I cried and I prayed and cried some more. I’d finally cried all the tears I could and I needed comfort.

Something made me pick up my Bible and I began reading in my favorite book of Isaiah. I felt comforted, as I always did. After my divorce, I slept with the Bible close to me. God was my comfort and my strength. When I turned, the page, what I saw astounded me. I began crying all over again, except this time with joy.

Stuck inside my Bible was a crisp, new twenty-dollar bill. I didn’t put it there, which made it a miracle for me. It would let me buy food until my payday from work rolled around in a couple of days. I fell on my knees and began praising God. I knew then I didn’t have anything to worry about because He was with me. You know what, He still is. I worry very little because I know God has my back. I have failed him many times, but He has never failed me.

Times remained hard while I was in school, but I received my nursing license and my world turned around. I know I made it through with God’s help and the help of my family.

Please click the link below and read about the three year old who saves his sister. Blessings to all.

http://ts3.mm.bing.net/th?id=H.4510983616989146&pid=15.1

Lies And Distortions Of The Health Care

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I am a proponent of the Affordable Health Care Act. After working as an RN for many years I had first hand experience about just how broke the system is or was. The following was posted in the Huffington Post and I want to repost it to try and help people to understand some of the misrepresentation of facts. I am breaking the article up because it is so long and contains a lot of information. This will give everyone time to read and consider what it is  saying.  I am sorry to say that due to circumstances I will be unable to post the second part for a week or so.  Let me know if you find this interesting.  Blessings to all.

 

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The Affordable Care Act Would Add To The Deficit
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The only thing more important than painting the Affordable Care Act as a certain killer of jobs was to paint it as a certain murderer of America’s fiscal future. Surely this big government program was going to push indebtedness to such a height that our servitude to our future Chinese overlords was a fait accompliAs Ryan Grim reported in May of 2010, the CBO disagreed: 

Comprehensive health care reform will cost the federal government $940 billion over a ten-year period, but will increase revenue and cut other costs by a greater amount, leading to a reduction of $138 billion in the federal deficit over the same period, according to an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office, a Democratic source tells HuffPost. It will cut the deficit by $1.2 trillion over the second ten year period. 

The source said it also extends Medicare’s solvency by at least nine years and reduces the rate of its growth by 1.4 percent, while closing the doughnut hole for seniors, meaning there will no longer be a gap in coverage of medication.

Recently, the CBO updated its ten-year estimate by dropping off the first two years of the law (where there was little to no implementation) and adding two years at the back end (during which time there would be full implementation). As you might imagine, replacing two years of low numbers with two years of higher numbers increased the ten-year estimate. But opponents of the bill immediately freaked out and declared the costs to have skyrocketed. As Jonathan Chait reported

The outcry was so widespread that the CBO took the unusual step of releasing a second update to explain to outraged conservatives that they were completely misreading the whole thing: 

“Some of the commentary on those reports has suggested that CBO and JCT have changed their estimates of the effects of the ACA to a significant degree. That’s not our perspective. … 

Although the latest projections extend the original ones by three years (corresponding to the shift in the regular ten-year projection period since the ACA was first being developed), the projections for each given year have changed little, on net, since March 2010.” 

That is CBO-speak for: “Go home. You people are all crazy.”

As Chait goes on to note, the CBO now projects that “the law would reduce the deficit by slightly more than  had originally forecast.”

 
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The Affordable Care Act $500 Billion Cut From Medicare
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Normally, if you tell Republicans that you’re going to cut $500 billion from Medicare, they will respond by saying, “Hooray, but could we make it $700 billion?” But the moment they got it into their heads that the Affordable Care Act would make that cut from Medicare, suddenly everyone from the party of ending Medicare As We Know It, Forever got all hot with concern about what would happen to these longstanding recipients of government health care. 

In fairness, as Factcheck pointed out, the GOP opponents of Obama’s plan were simply picking up a cudgel that had recently been wielded by the president himself: 

Whether these are “cuts” or much-needed “savings” depends on the political expedience of the moment, it seems. When Republican Sen. John McCain, then a presidential candidate, proposed similar reductions to pay for his health care plan, it was the Obama camp that attacked the Republican for cutting benefits.

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Nevertheless

Whatever you want to call them, it’s a $500 billion reduction in the growth of future spending over 10 years, not a slashing of the current Medicare budget or benefits. It’s true that those who get their coverage through Medicare Advantage’s private plans (about 22 percent of Medicare enrollees) would see fewer add-on benefits; the bill aims to reduce the heftier payments made by the government to Medicare Advantage plans, compared with regular fee-for-service Medicare.

The New England Journal of Medicineconcurred

A phased elimination of the substantial overpayments to Medicare Advantage plans, which now enroll nearly 25% of Medicare beneficiaries, will produce an estimated $132 billion in savings over 10 years. 

[…] 

The ACA also produces nearly $200 billion in savings by assuming that providers can improve their productivity as firms in other industries have done. On the basis of this presumed improvement, the law reduces Medicare’s annual “market basket” updates for most types of providers – a provision that has generated controversy.

The law doesn’t cut any customer benefits, just the amount that providers get paid. Hospitals and drug companies agreed to these cuts based on the calculation that more people with insurance meant more people consuming what they sell and, more importantly for the hospitals, fewer people getting treated and simply not paying for it.