Thursday, December 30, 2010

Free Copy of In The Trenches - Financial Survival During Times Of Hardship

Happy New Year!

For many of us 2010 has been a challenging year!  I for one have moved to another state, been unemployed for a time, found new homes for all of my horses, had health problems, and financial challenges.  And all the while I kept on blogging.  Sometimes with good readership and feedback and others where it seemed so quiet.  But I watched the map and saw that my words were reaching all over the United States, Canada, Russia, Europe, Australia, and Asia.  So I kept on writing.  I watched the news and saw the millions of foreclosures, and 20 million on food stamps, and watched the unemployment rates and cried and kept on writing. 

Now I'm going to ask something of you:  Included in this blog post is a link to a free online copy of In The Trenches - Financial Survival During Times of Hardship.  For months I have thought about how to reach others with this information at no cost and so now I ask you to forward the link to this post to anyone you can think of who might be interested and ask them to forward it on as well.  If each person would send it to six people in no time at all it would reach 1 million - that is the goal, but I need your help

The story behind In The Trenches
The greatest challenge of dealing with financial hardship or poverty is the despair and frustration that comes with it.  It is sometimes difficult to share our personal stories especially on-line and after much vascilation I have decided to go for it with the hope that it will assist someone else in their own time of need of encouragement, faith, or comfort.

I remember a number of years ago laying on the hideabed couch that I was using as a bed to be closer to the woodstove. The chimney had gotten so plugged up that very little heat was emanating. The temperature outside was 18 degrees below freezing and what windows that were not broken were covered with ice on the inside. The children had been sent to a relatives and I was in the pit of despair. I cried out to God that if this what was to be my life than let me die. His answer came clearly to my mind as if He was standing directly in front of me; "Praise Me," He said. I answered just as loudly; " I will not praise You". Again He said; "Praise Me". Even more forcefully I said; "I will NOT praise You!" His words were quiet this time. "Do you worship your comfort more than you worship Me?" My heart was cut to the quick, and with sobs coming from my soul I began to sing the song I knew so well; "Praise God from whom all blessings flow, praise Him all creatures here below, praise Him above ye heavenly hosts, Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, Amen"

From that moment forward things began to change. Big changes and little changes and over the course of the next few years our lives improved. Yes, there was still hardship and penny pinching. And, not only did we learn how to build a fire, plant a garden, and raise a steer but more importantly I learned that we can prosper and improve from wherever we are.

I came to understand that by building my life on consumerism and debt spending I had erected a house of cards that was just waiting for a strong wind to blow it all down.  I learned that living life on the installment plan or counting on today's income to go on tomorrow was a recipe for disaster.  And, I knew just as certainly that the same fate would come upon the country as a whole at some point in my lifetime.

During this period of rebuilding many of my life long dreams were able to be fulfilled as I had the opportunity to work with flowers, home remodeling, ornamental birds and horses.  All the while I was accompanied by my dogs who were my constant companions.

The Goal of In The Trenches
The mission of In The Trenches is to reach out and show people that financial hardship can be the beginning of the most amazing journey a person can fathom. In it we are challenged to learn who we are, what we can do, and to set our sites on where we want to go. We can learn what is important and what is not. The strategy begins with a basic financial assessment and although it seems to be about money it is really about life. Though the process of evaluating our goals, choices, and plans we not only survive but we are finally able to thrive.

It is the goal of In The Trenches to reach 1 million people and assist them through the personal challenge of enduring and adjusting to a time of unemployment, for the single mother struggling on her own, to give ideas to those who are sick and tired of being on welfare, or just want our hard earned dollars to stretch further.  The book is not about telling people what to do. The challenge is to encourage one another to rise up from our own despair and financial misconceptions and realize we, have choices, options, and personal power.

My next steps
In The Trenches - Financial Survival During Times of Hardship is still available on and other online outlets.  In the next few months I hope to add a Kindle version as well.  But, I do not want cost to be a factor for anyone who would find even one paragraph of the book to be helpful so this free version may be printed directly at your computer printer or viewed online.  I will be sending an email announcement to our subscribers so that it can be easily passed on and also contacting some other bloggers and asking them to link and spread the word.

This year brings new opportunities and challenges for me and I will be entering a new season of my own life. One thing I hope to be able to do is "hit the streets" with the book so that I can meet people face to face.

Finally,  this will be my last official blog post for a while.  I will be taking a break from posting but will leave the site open for those to obtain the free link and to read old posts.  One of the best things about this process for me has been hearing your comments and the discovery of the many wonderful financial blogs.  I hope you will continue to read and move forward in your financial plans with them.

Thank you!
I have appreciated your readership so very much.  I have tried to imagine where you are, who you are, and what challenges you might be facing at any given time.  I hope I have been a good friend along the journey you have been taking for that was my desire.  Though the times have been difficult I know that we are stronger and wiser than when we began. 

May you have a happy and successful new year.  May God bless and Shalom.

In The Trenches - Financial Survival During Times of Hardship by Carol Schultz

Monday, December 27, 2010

Early Retirement Extreme - Book Review

Where do you want to be in five years?  If making dramatic improvements to your finances is one of your New Year's Resolutions start here.  I had anxiously awaited my copy of Early Retirement Extreme written by Jacob Lund Fisker and was not disappointed!  Jacob is also the author of a successful blog by the same name and has developed a growing number of readers worldwide where forums and cell groups have begun and are taking hold.  It is the wave movement taking hold across the land and for good reason.  Amazon readers give Early Retirement Extreme a five star rating and sales are doing great for this first time author.  Where else can a person read and find support for frugal, green, and healthy living and set a course for retiring in five years all at the same time?  Jacob shows how these principles can be applied with tremendous success even on a minimum wage job.

If you have read any of Jacob's writing you know that just when you are fully concentrating to understand what he is saying he cracks an unexpected joke that gets you laughing. Rather than attempt to recount the book chapter by chapter which you can do on your own I have decided to highlight some of my favorite parts:

The Consumer Dungeon - If you have not taken the time to consider the downside of the consumer driven economy in which we live Jacob has written a graphic, disturbing account that reads like the beginning of a dramatic movie.  Men especially will appreciate the details that seem to come out of a end of the world future movie that is happening all around us.  In fact, the entire book could be made into a movie recounting one man's journey to freedom and his willingness to show others the way.

The Four Economic Quadrants -  Lifestyles are categorized as the salary, working man, business man, and renaissance man.  Having had the opportunity to live in each one and move throughout during different periods of time I know that the descriptions of each and the pros and cons are straight forward and accurate.  By recognition and acknowledgement a person is much more able to maneuver the direction they want to go without succumbing to the unconscious influences that would keep them from their goals.

Goals, Strategies, and Tactics - Why do our goals fail or take so long?  Often it is because we do not take into account the opposing or conflicting factors either in our own lives or surrounding circumstances. Jacobs goal building charts show how to integrate our lives and daily habits in a way that will provide congruency and ultimate success.  More importantly is by taking a few minutes charting things out it not only finds a solution but the BEST solution when reviewing multiple options.

The Renaissance Man- Wouldn't you just like to be YOURSELF?  Sometimes does it get difficult to even know who this is when we conform, fractionalize our lives, keep up with the Jones, and spend all our money to comply with a certain lifestyle, profession, or tax structure?  It is no wonder that people have what is termed "A Midlife Crisis", or turn to t.v., weekend partying, or shopping to numb the mind.  We are so busy that it is easy to lose our own sense of identity.  In becoming a Renaissance person we are able to rediscover the curiosity and mastery we had as a child when we took apart the radio or dreamed of becoming a cowboy.  The difference is that now as adults we can combine our dreams with skills, talents, plans, and knowledge that we did not earlier possess.  Though it sounds idealistic the process is extremely practical and through the changes we gain the time and money to pursue who we are after the fashion of Jonathan Livingston Seagull.

The Practical Side of Life - Detailed chapters to help you consider housing, clothing, food, and transportation choices are provided.  Another gem in this is section is the answer to the question that every person from Washington State wants to know, "Do you get more rain on you when you walk or run?"

Investing - I admit that algebra was my all time worst subject.  When I first saw the equations my eyes glazed and my mind when blank.  But as I continued to read I was excited to see that investment strategies were provided not as a specific "how to" but as a set of principles that could be applied whether you choose to invest in stocks, gold, timber, or real estate.

There is no doubt that Jacob Lund Fisker is an extremely intelligent, educated, and analytical person and for these reasons his writing may be somewhat intimidating at times because it compels us to look at and think about much we have taken for granted.  What is rare about Jacob is that he is able to take this information and break it down to it's simplest form and find methods that are ultimately practical and so full of common sense that they can be applied with success by anyone regardless of profession, education, social status, advantage, or lack of them.

The ERE Strategy is intended to be a comprehensive adjustment that will enable a person to retire in five years.  For those who are not ready to jump in for the entire lifestyle change  a modified version can be adopted that will shave years off the time needed to pay off mortgages, debt, build retirement funds, or provide the flexibility for the ups and downs in life.

As we start the new year following what has been one of the most difficult economic times in American history Early Retirement Extreme provides a method for the fast track to recovery and prosperity.  The book will pay for itself thousands of times over and can undoubtedly be the best investment for the new year.  I'm excited as I watch the principles gain popularity and momentum and recommend this book as one of the best New Years Resolutions a person can have and look forward to seeing the title on the best seller's list.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas Cards

I love Christmas Cards!  Throughout the year our mailboxes are mostly filled with business correspondence, advertisements, and bills.  Only two weeks are filled with greetings from friends, relatives that we may only keep in touch with once a year, and letters and photos describing the events of the past year.  Houses are purchased and sold, people move and pass away, and babies are born. As we look at the family photos we remember how quickly time is passing.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Small Business Roundup 3

With over 2 million still receiving extensions on unemployment the need to consider alternatives to the 9 to 5 work week is not only an option but a necessity.  Just because a person does not have a job does not mean that they do not have marketable skills.  In an on-going effort to provide information about home-based business and self-employment here is the third roundup of articles from some really great blogs.  Success is not usually achieved through luck but through hard work, innovation, and creativity.  If you have come across a helpful small business post please feel free to email me for inclusion in the next roundup or put the link in the comments. 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

10 Great Christmas Gifts That Won't Cost You a Dime!

Yahoo! Finance - Financially Fit

With Christmas getting so near the wallet may be getting thinner. Instead of pulling out the plastic here are some ideas to get the gears going to think of your own meaningful gifts that cost no money. My favorite on the list was the cooking, yes, it admit my favorite lasagna recipe is not free but still could save from buying a gift. I don't know about you but it sounds pretty fun to have a friend deliver a home cooked meal. And, what a surprise.

It's not too late to start many projects.  Creativity and your own talents and skills are your biggest asset.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Rabbit Ears Perk Up for Free HDTV - Yahoo! Finance

Rabbit Ears Perk Up for Free HDTV - Yahoo! Finance

Does this still work? I thought they had revamped the t.v. so that rabbit ears no longer could get any reception? Is anybody using this?

When we lived in the country we had an antenna that was about 30 feet tall and we got only 5 channels. But, they were the good channels and didn't miss our favorite shows.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

My Dirt Garden

When we first moved to Winlock, Washington we lived in a 100 year old home that at first had no running water. 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Recycling Roundup

People have many different ideas of what recycling means. To some it is separating glass, cans, and newspapers for the bins and for others it is being more aware of the trash potential of a product before it is ever purchased.  Personally I am excited and encouraged by the renewed awareness and interest in all things GREEN.  Learning to be stewards instead of consumers promotes a better life for those that will follow after.  Just like no one likes to pick up the trash of another so we don't want to leave it for our children.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Beggars Purse - Book Review

The small town where we lived has many freight trains passing through daily.  Often we would be waiting at the tracks and watch the hobo's as they whizzed by.  It was always a great mystery and curiosity for the kids and their imaginations ran wild as they tried to figure out who these men were, where they came from, and where they were going.  There was a moment of excitement every time a hobo was spotted through a doorway amidst the fast moving, loud, and clanking cars.

Toni Nelson was raised in a similar town in the 50s and her grandparents home became a safe house where travellers passing through could have a meal on their journey.  The hobos had placed a secret code on the house to identify it as such to others and her grandma prepared a huge meal each morning to serve the guests that might drop in that day.  They would eat their meal on the porch and continue on their way with a simple "thank you".

Friday, December 3, 2010

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Getting ready for winter

The rural community where I lived for many years has many homes whose average age is 60 or more years old.  Many of these homes were built with below ground basements that served as the foundation of the home.  They are unfinished and usually quite dark with just the small windows at the base of the home and one overhead exposed light bulb. They are not considered as living space but rather a place to house a wood burning stove, canned goods, camping equipment, or freezers.  They are often susceptible to flooding in the winter.  Needless to say there is not a lot of quality time spent in these basements.  An occasional trip up and down the stairs to retrieve an item is the extent of their occupancy so often the basement may have no visitors for long periods of time.

A friend recently shared with me the story of another friend who made the journey down the stairs only to find that it had been completely taken over as a storage area for the squirrels.  Imagine her surprise when she came down the stairs and in my friends words "every pine cone in the county" had been deposited in this ladies basement.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Reader Tips for Winter Driving

Thank you so much for sharing these ideas that are all new to me and make use of products most people have around the house that cost a fraction of the price of their name brand counterparts!
Helpful Hints For Winter

Keep your headlights clear
with car wax! Just wipe ordinary car wax on your headlights. It contains special water repellents that will prevent that messy mixture from accumulating on your lights - lasts 6 weeks.

7 Towns Where Land is Free - Yahoo! Real Estate

7 Towns Where Land is Free - Yahoo! Real Estate

What an amazing article!

I have often thought of the former government development and assistance program of "40 acres and a mule" and wondered how modern Americans would receive such a plan. I mentioned in my book about the 100+ year old homestead I found myself living in and have always suspected that the old chicken house was what they originally lived in while they built the home.

What would you do with an undeveloped piece of land and your bare hands? Interesting prospect to consider.