Thursday, February 09, 2012

I've Been Busy ...

...So have not attended to this Blog as I should. Apologies to my readers who faithfully check in daily and weekly.

I'm on the board of directors at my co-op so that keeps me busy.
My Mom is ill and this understandably enough this keeps me from thinking of things to write about. Focussing is not one of my skills.
Still dog-walking though. I love those walks around the neighbourhood. Bruno is a marvellous, friendly doggy-person.

Anyway, I follow Vegan Reader faithfully and came across a page there about "Being Poor - Words of Encouragement". After reading some of responses I was inspired to contribute the letter reprinted below:    [things in italics added for clarity]

January 27th, 2012 at 3:33 pm
Thank you so much for your latest post. Making money has never been a talent of mine so keeping a roof over our heads and feeding my two daughters has always been a struggle, especially after my husband passed away when I was 31 and very pregnant.

The Canadian system is (was) a little more sympathetic to the needs of the poor so I always managed to cope. Perhaps because of my independent streak and the acceptance that I had to rely on myself – and most importantly that I had 2 precious children depending on me – I knew I had no choice, so get on with it. I am blessed that my children are healthy. [And my family were very emotionally supportive].

The Canadian system is much less interested now in helping out. Funding for affordable housing and co-operatives is laughable although there are strong voices in government now – many of them from people in power who grew up in co-ops, so there is hope for improvement. Medical care funding is a large part of federal budget planning and proportionally we spend billions less on military-related issues [than the USA]. However, the actual costs have sky-rocketed so we get way less bang for the buck.

But unless you are smart enough to know how the system works, what questions to ask and what our rights are – well good luck getting the services you require. There are plenty of homeless people here, too
So, this doesn’t sound encouraging, does it? But here is what my girls learned from our struggles:

*Independence of thought and action
*How to use tools to fix and build things
*Read books, instructions, the fine print, the bottom line, the ingredients
*How to improvise
*How to plan a meal, choose the best foods for the lowest price
*Eating healthy is cheaper than eating junk
*You don’t need designer labels to look good
*Give, share, respect, honour, listen, speak up for yourselves and others
*Write it down or insist on getting it in writing
*How to work and still put yourself through school and pay off student loans
*Walk tall. Look everyone in the eye
*Appreciate what you do have
*If you need help, ask for it. If someone needs help, give it.
*If you borrow or charge to buy, you do not own what you buy until it is paid for in full
*Every experience is positive if you learn something from it
*Be mindful. Be thankful. Remember small kindnesses and pass them on
*Things own you. Decide if you need them or only want them
*Never stop learning – take a course, read a how-to book, ask your friends
*You do not need that second helping. Take it for lunch the next day

All the above in no particular order. My girls are now strong and lovely adults. My pride and respect for them and all they have accomplished grows each day.

It was hard not to show my despair when they were growing up without so much. Life is a joint family project so please involve the whole family. Rich does not equal happy. Shared effort will pay off one way or another. Blessings and hugs.
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