Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Have the Golden Years become extinct?

There was a time in my life, many years ago, when I was young and pretty that I would set out to look for work and be hired right on the spot. Those days are long gone. I am now 53 years old with silver gray hair and my jovial looks are gone forever. What does that have to do with looking for work you ask? A whole lot!

You see, when you get to a certain age, (past 40 I believe) men (some that is) begin to look interesting with a little gray at the temples, but a woman with gray at the temple is considered, well… just "older." It is a society thing you know, and it influences decisions others make about you. If you are looking for employment, age, unfortunately, does influence being hired for that job you are seeking. Add that to all the other discrimination that’s going around.

I never thought that the day would come where I would be passed over for a job because of a younger person, regardless of my experience, education, skills, and knowledge. Fortunately, I have a full-time job but I've been stuck in a job for many years that’s taken me nowhere. The money I make is barely enough to pay bills and the workload seems to increase every year. I’ve put in for promotions and other positions, only to be given the courtesy of an interview and then passed over for a younger less experienced person. Here’s the thing, time flies fast and I'm not getting younger, which makes it even harder for me to be noticed.

At first, I did not want to believe my friend when she told me that people at age 50 and older are not hirable. However, as I was passed for promotions and other positions I put in for, I began to see that there was some truth to what my friend said to me. Then a new fear took hold of me. What if I lose this job? It will be even more difficult for me to find employment. I know I'm not young anymore but I'm not ready for retirement either. Then someone suggested I go back to coloring my hair and I thought, “that's ridiculous!” You mean to say that unless I colored my hair again and pretend to look young, I will not get the job? Do we live in such a shallow society?

Has it always been this way? I believe not. I recall a time when men went to work, and many women stayed home and took care of their families. When retirement came around, you retired, and that was final. What's changed then? Well, a troubled economy and the high cost of living. Today, many that looked forward to their retirement are finding they cannot sustain themselves on what they are getting and are going back into the workforce.

However, even as the older generation goes back to work, not only are they faced with age discrimination, but are penalized for doing so. They are only allowed to work a certain amount of hours or they will lose the benefits they are getting, yet what they are earning at their part-time job is not sufficient to make ends meet. So, either way, they lose. There's no win-win situation for the aging.

You can say reality has hit me hard as if someone punched me in the gut. My thoughts for my future changed from one of being confident to one of uncertainty. I now find myself thinking what’s going to happen to me as I get older and can’t work anymore? Then I’m reminded of a great promise, and I’m comforted. My comfort comes from one Bible verse that I seem to hang on to more and more as my hair gets grayer:

“Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” Isa 46:4

Yes, I am older and with a few health issues, but I’m not dead yet and I refuse to be discarded like an old rag. Life does not stop and neither do the bills just because we age. When it comes to youth, we can’t compete with these young healthy bodies but the we do have an advantage. We still have all the years of experience, knowledge, and skills to back us up, but most of all, we have PERSEVERANCE, we just have to find a different way to apply all of this to this day and age.

By the way, I no longer waste my time seeking employment where I know only the young are being hired, I go looking where the older generation is being hired. Thoughts of establishing my own little home-based business has began to play in my mind as well. No, I'm not done yet. I still have many years ahead of me and I don't want to waste them worrying. I much rather spend my time finding solutions.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

There are Still Good People in the World

Just when you thought there are no good people left in the world, God will prove you wrong. Yesterday was one of the roughest day I've had in a long time. I have been suffering from a painful problem at the back of my neck that I believe originated from a car accident I was in a couple of years ago. However, yesterday I was in more pain than all the other days.

For the past three weeks, I have been unable to move my neck from the pain and stiffness. This has put a damper on my life, not to mention the sleepless nights, and having to get up to go to work everyday regardless of how I feel. I finally went in to see my doctor earlier this week and he ordered x-rays and an MRI to rule out a pinched nerve. Meanwhile, while I wait for my MRI appointment to come, I have been very cautious not do more than I should as to not aggravate the problem. Well who says that things will go smoothly when you are not feeling well? Things usually happen when you are sick or have no money, don't they?

As I left work, driving through one of the busiest roads in the city during rush hour, my car decides to die at a stop light. I put on my emergency blinkers and tried to turn the car back on. Nothing... the car would not turn over. By now the stop light had turned green and people began to blow their horns. Obviously they do not see my emergency lights blinking, so I waive for them to pass me. Dirty looks where flying at me from everywhere, yet no one offered to help. I'm thinking, I am in too much pain to push this car out of the road. Not that I have not done it before, but today was not the day to do this. I was so frustrated that tears began run down my face.

I got out of the car to open the hood, and that's when I see a white beat-up van pull in front of me and back up. Two tired looking but willing Hispanic men came out of the van and offered to help. "Thank you Jesus!" I thought. They looked the car over and decided to push it out of the road. While we were trying to figure out how to get this car to my home, I decided to try one more time and turn it on. Hallelujah! It turned on!

I asked the men if they lived nearby and if they would mind following me part of the way to be sure I would not be stranded again, and they agreed. Somehow I knew everything was alright with these men. We got back unto the road. When I was about two miles from my house, I pulled over and got out my car to let them know I would be okay from then on. I thanked them profusely and tried to give them a few dollars for their help but they refused to accept any money. In talking to them I found they were Christians, yes, my brothers in Christ. We all got back into our vehicles and went our separate ways.

The whole time I was thinking about my two dogs, who where locked in the house and needing to desperately go outside to do their business after being inside a full day. I pulled up my driveway and rushed in the house to let them out into the backyard, and that's when I broke down and began to cry. I felt so bad for my pooches, they held the need to go all day and then some. I also felt bad for myself. I was tired and in a lot of pain. I could not believe the day I've had but God was there with me and sent me two angels to help me. I prayed for these men and for their families. I prayed for abundant blessings upon their lives. I was thankful that my God was there to see me through this and in the end, no one was injured in that busy road.

However, this is not where my story ends. Today I decided that rather than pay a hefty towing bill that I couldn't afford, I decided to tough it out and to try to drive the car early this morning to the mechanic's, which was twelve miles away. Yes, I know, this was very gutsy or very stupid, but I really didn't have much of a choice. The car drove a little rough but made it. Out of seventeen or eighteen traffic lights from my house to the garage, I only had one brief red light and the car did not turn off. Thank you God!

I am convinced there are still good people left in the world. Sometimes I think these are angels in disguise.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

My Pet Peeves about Facebook

Lately I’ve been pondering on a few things that annoy me, and the one that stands out more above the rest is my account with Facebook. Facebook is a great place to stay in touch with people you know: Family, friends, co-workers, etc. It is also a great place to get to know people from all over the world. However, with the good also comes the bad. Some people you just do not want to know.

When I first opened my Facebook account, it was a little daunting trying to figure out how to configure the settings and so forth. Just when I was beginning to enjoy my Facebook account, Facebook began to make some changes that have left many in a rant.

Now I have a few more pet peeves, as if I needed more. Some of my pet peeves about Facebook include,

• Being added to a group without being asked first. Most of the times all these groups seem to have the same cause or say the same things, and since my free time is very limited, I prefer not participate in them. However, every day I find people adding me continually to groups, which gets very annoying. I have close to three thousand friends on my Facebook account, and I spend more time clicking “leave group” and deleting all my e-mail notifications than I do anything else in Facebook. I much rather spend the time getting to know my FB friends a little better.

• Facebook sending out friend requests in my behalf or adding me to groups. Thank you Facebook, but I do not need your help in sending out my requests or adding me to anymore groups.

• Being tagged in a photo. What is that anyway? I’m still trying to figure it out, but I have found that it totally messes up the wall banner I created, as it pushes all my banner photos away until it completely disappears from my profile. Although I appreciate many of them, I much rather they post it on my wall or better… THEIR wall. The ones that crack me up are pictures of people pasting silly Photoshop photos of them into another picture, and then they tag you in all of them until your profile is filled with all their silly photos.

• Being “Poked.” Okay, if you want to talk to me or say “hi,” send me a message. Sometimes I look to the column on the right of the wall, and find there is a long, long line of people who have poked me, and then Facebook has the audacity of asking me if I want to poke them back. Sorry Facebook, my fingers would be little stumps by now if I did this e-v-e-r-y single day.

• When people hijack a comment. Ok, let me give you an example. You post something in your wall. Most people will click “Like.” A few will comment back with a relevant comment. Then there are those that are completely way off. They will write something totally off the wall that has nothing to do with what you just posted. It leaves one scratching their heads, trying to figure out what is going on through this person’s mind… well, maybe is best I don’t know.

• Being “hit on” by another Facebook friend without provocation. I don’t know what goes on through some people’s heads but if I just accepted your friendship request, why would you send me your telephone number and ask me for mine? First, wouldn’t you want to get to know me a little before being so daring and bold? If you did, you would soon find out I’M NOT interested. Just because I'm a woman, does not make me automatically interested in you.

• Being asked for money? Some ask for legitimate good causes. For example, Christian charities, ministries, etc. Now imagine hundreds of FB friends asking you for money... if only I were that rich or that stupid. Moreover, there are those that will try to scam people out of money with sob stories. I had one FB friend ask if I could help her daughter with a $900 dollar electric bill because she was sick and had children. I do not know the woman, and I guess I will never know her. I deleted her right after the request.

• How about having to stay up to date on changes Facebook is making, and then trying to find the way to protect yourself from having Facebook sell your private information?

• And, last but not least. My biggest pet peeve is… not being able to find any Facebook contact information so I can rant about their dumb changes.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

I am Truly Blessed

We are truly blessed in America. Whenever I see people in other parts of the world living in poverty, barely making it, taking one day at time trying to survive, it just amazes me how blessed we truly are in this country. Sometimes our pets live better lives than many of these people all over the world.

Sadly our media only shows what they want to show to bring their ratings up. However, if you have access to the internet, it opens up a whole new world right in our own computers. We can tap into information, photos, and videos of how people are suffering and are being persecuted for their faith in other parts of the world.

The internet is great source for information, and also a great place to meet people. Facebook became a place for me to meet many people. I have come to meet people from all over the world. Last night, it was in Facebook that I was brought to tears while browsing through a friend’s photos. As I browsed each photo, I was humbled at what I saw and made a promise to God to never say I was poor again.

This very young friend had posted photos of himself and the little Sunday school he put together for children in Pakistan. The room was small and lacked chairs and every child sat on the floor while they sang gospel songs and worshipped our God. It was a poor looking building for a Sunday school. I’m sure there was no air-conditioning or any of the comforts we take for granted everyday here in America.

He played from a little worn-down keyboard in which he had made a makeshift box out of a filing cabinet drawer. I couldn’t figure out how he managed to place this old keyboard into this drawer, but it seemed to work for him. Photos showed him humbly playing the keyboard while children held their little hands together in prayer.

Other photos showed the children being fed. Their plates were placed on the floor before them. No utensils were seen, and they all ate with their hands. They seemed to share the same cups for the water they were being served. The meal looked like some kind of cereal. There were no hamburgers or hotdogs in their plates, nor were there any ketchup soaked French fries to go with it.

As I browsed through these photos, I thanked God for being truly blessed. We attend our mega churches here in America, with all the comforts available to us, and if the air-conditioner ever broke down, people would not attend church because they do not like to worship our Lord in the heat. We have comfortable seats, and Bibles are available for those who do not have one. Our get together after church include donuts, and coffee or juice. We have potluck lunches and bake sales accompanied by drinks. We do not have to eat with our fingers, we have utensils and napkins. We are very comfortable and safe to worship here in America. We are truly blessed.

I am no longer blinded by covetousness. God showed me how rich I am. I looked at my cozy little home with all its furniture and appliances, and I cried because I realized how blessed I am. I asked for forgiveness for complaining of not having enough. I will never say again that I am poor because I am not. God has richly blessed me. I have a roof over my head, a bed to sleep in, food to eat, and a job. When I lack, God will supply my needs. But best of all, I am blessed because I am free to worship God. I am not persecuted for my faith. God has kept me safe. What else could I need? I need nothing more.

Monday, June 20, 2011

My new Cocker Spaniel named Kobi

Oh the antics of Kobi. What surprise will await me today my dear sweet Kobi? Will you have dug a new hole underneath the fence? Or perhaps another broken lamp?

In January 2011, sadly and reluctantly I had to put to sleep my Cocker Spaniel mix named Poppy. Poppy gave us 15 wonderful happy years. He was very special in my family. He never broke a thing around the house or ever escaped. He was a loving, loyal, a good watchdog.

When Poppy left us, it left a painful gaping hole in our hearts. Watching my surviving little Peek-a-Poo "Gordo" everyday, was a constant reminder of how sorely Poppy was missed, and because of Gordo, I decided to adopt Kobi, a beautiful Buff Red Cocker Spaniel.

When I met Kobi, I fell in love with him. He is believed to be about five years old. He was not in the best of shape when I first adopted him and needed a lot of TLC. I cleaned him up and took him to the vet to treat him for the bad ear infection. Immediately, Kobi bonded with me. He began to behave very much like my Poppy: sleeping by my bed, following me around the house, and not losing sight of me.

Kobi's been around now for a over a month and has flourished beautifully. He's gained 8 pounds and his coat is beautiful. Kobi is a very sweet and affectionate dog but he also has a few things I am trying to work on. Now that he has gained all the confidence in his new home, he's let his guard down and is showing some habits that may have been the reason he was abandoned.

He is petrified of thunder, has anxiety disorder, submissive urination, is a bit destructive when left alone in the house, and worst of all? He loves to dig under the fence. Ok, so I have my work cut out for me. Sometimes I have doubts if Kobi had found the perfect home for him. After all I have to work and cannot spend all day with him. He needs a lot of exercise, something that I cannot give him much of because of health problems. But if I give up on him, another family may not be so patient with him and Kobi runs the risk of being abandoned again. No, I can not give up on Kobi and I would not put Kobi through another family, not after he's bonded with me and Gordo.

The thunder part, no problem. I will deal with it. Anxiety disorder and submissive urination is being dealt with and I have progressed quite a bit with him. I have removed breakable objects from his reach and am trying to correct his anxious behavior, but the digging under the fence has me fearing for his life and my other little one. If he were to escape, my other little one will follow him, and not being street-smart, they could end up being killed by a car.

I have spent two exhausting weeks trying to dog-proof my backyard but he is very determined. The ideas to make a permanent barrier around my yard are there but money is a big issue. Everything takes money and a lot elbow grease. Meanwhile, I keep coming up with temporary ideas to keep him safe. Keep him locked up in the house while I'm gone you say? I have tried that. He broke the dogie door trying to get out of the house. Once he sets his mind to do something, he does it! You can safely say Kobi has ADHD (lol).

I love Kobi; he is very sweet and loving, and I've come to love him so much that I cannot bear to part with him at this point. Therefore, I am frustratedly determined to work with him, after all he is not the first dog I've had to train.

When I'm around, he loves being with me and is always at my feet. If he could be with me every minute of the day, he would be one happy dog, but unfortunately that is not an option. Meanwhile, until I can find and afford a more permanent solution to the digging, I will continue to come home and pick after him or continue to cover holes under the fence. Keeping him in the house, will have to do for now. God has been graceful because where I lack in money I excel in patience.