Monday, December 26, 2011

Free Copy of In The Trenches - 1 year later

It has been almost one year since the free copy of In The Trenches became available in an on-line version. After it posted I took some time off to adjust to new changes in my own life. To the best I can tell over 5,000 copies of the book have been viewed through readers passing the word along. Exact numbers are not available due to the way I originally set up the links. Far more have looked through the daily and older posts. First, I want to say Thank you! Thanks for sharing and passing the link. Thanks for continuing to refer people to the blog even though I was not actively posting for a while.

Officially the American Economic Crisis is over.  Realistically we know that millions are still having a difficult time and things have changed and are continuing to change.  For many these changes are leaving them hopeless, confused, and angry. Worse is that many are still looking for someone else to fix or improve things not realizing that improvement can only come as we strengthen the economy family by family. 

Many still think of cell phones, internet connections, and cable as basic necessities when they don't have enough for basic housing, clothing, or food.  They look to others to fill in the gap instead of recognizing the need to be self reliant and manage within their own budget.  This thinking and actions will cost generations to come to pay off the state and national debts incurred.  Some help and assistance may be required for a temporary period but the sooner we are off the better.  Those who have followed the blog know that it is my belief that to win this battle we must persevere while naming the names of those who masterminded the crisis itself. (See the soapbox and American Economy categories for more on these topics).

Truly there are huge challenges for the country yet to face - rising health care costs, misuse of tax payer funds, outsourcing of jobs, and the decline in manufacturing and food growth in America to name a few.  These are the problems that we cannot improve on our own and have every reason to expect our elected officials to address. 

Since resuming posting in August 2011 many new visitors have come to the site from throughout the country and the world.  I thought it fitting to let everyone know that the free book is available and ask that you would pass it on to those going through hard times and might benefit from adding this to their knowledge base.  Click on the right hand side for the screen and the full size worksheets are below.

In my own small circle of life recently I have become aware of still more well dressed, productive families currently going through foreclosure and/or dealing with unemployment. It goes to show that waiting until someone hits the need for public or private assistance is often long after the need was first identified. Please take the opportunity to post this and other information on facebook or other sources.  It is said that things look darkest before the dawn but it is also true that they can appear bright and cheery just before the fall.

"Happy New Year!

For many of us 2010  (2011) 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 vacillation 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. "

It is our privilege and responsibility to get through this in a way that will better things for our children and grand children.  One does not always choose the circumstances in which they might find themselves but we do choose our response.

God Bless and Happy 2012 New Year!!


Olivia said...

Even though we might not comment, all your posts are read. Thanks for your reminders.

Our youngest son once said, "The good thing about being poor, it makes you more creative."

Another thought has been rattling around lately and you said it so clearly. Do we want God for God's sake or only for the stuff He gives us? The apostle Paul spoke about having a ceremonial righteousness ("blameless") and being well thought of my his community ("advanced above my peers") but tossed all that aside to know Christ more deeply. It seems to be a North American thing to equate God's blessing with material stuff. But the pleasant things we have may actually be a hindrance.

Carol Schultz said...

Thank you Olivia. I know that you are one of the persons that has stopped in since the beginning. I wholeheartedly agree with your son's comments.

When I went through my own difficult times my priorities and lifestyle were changed completely and forever and it was all for the good.