Documentation

Guides, Lifestyle

Y’know those workouts we all skipped during quarantine? Well… they’ve come back to haunt me in the form of household administrative tasks. My spouse was among the hundreds of thousands who lost their jobs in 2020, and this has unfortunately created a need for a massive paper trail for each individual on this journey. My prior homelessness has granted me what I feel to be a rather unique skill set — one of which deals specifically with documentation. So I decided to create what I hope is a helpful crash-course with reference to current events. If it helps you, please let me know.

Journaling for Personal Success

In my early adulthood, one of the best pieces of advice I was given was, “When things happen, write it down.” This led to me journaling as things occur in our lives, be they finances, promises made by entities outside the home [such as the housing authority, or social workers] or events both good and bad. For example, my spouse was “fired” several months ago, but things went down in a bit of a weird way. We sought all the help we could find. I kept detailed notes the whole way through. Then, a few weeks ago, we needed some paperwork from the company he’d been at for the housing office, so I phoned to request it. Moments into the conversation, the gentleman to whom I was speaking informed me that my husband’s “firing” hadn’t exactly been in agreement with the company policies… my husband has been rehired, and is already back on the job. This wouldn’t have been possible without my notes.

Pro tip: this works for illnesses and hospitalizations, too. In fact, many people keep track of their daily eating / drinking habits.

Household / Event Journaling Tips

This isn’t so much a “how-to” guide for journaling as a whole. There are so many different journaling styles and methods out there, but today’s focus is strictly on putting together notes on current events / life events. Here are a few pointers:

  • Write as neatly as possible.
  • Always include the phone number[s] and other contact details for anyone spoken to at least once in your journal.
  • Include dates documentation regarding the circumstances was received.
  • Always include the date things are occurring.
  • Always include the name[s] of anyone you speak to regarding the situation.
  • Write concisely. Use names or label-identifiers such as “my supervisor” rather than pronouns [he, they].

Writing Concisely

Basically, you need to write down everything, but you don’t need to write down everything. This doesn’t have to be a lengthy narrative including the gossip from that one caller you just can’t get off the phone. This is more general. Include important quotes from a call if needed, but they honestly probably won’t be. For example in my journal on the 22nd:

Ms. Kiersson* called needing confirmation that Drew no longer receives unemployment. Drew has been locked out of the DES website since his benefits ended; we are unsure why.

My personal bullet journal.
*name changed for privacy.

My notes on the 22nd led to these notes on the 23rd:

Find unemployment paperwork and email to Ms. Kiersson*.

Was unable to find any direct confirmation of Drew’s unemployment benefits ending. I emailed Kiersson* a copy of the Wage Transcript & Monetary Determination page from DES and let her know Drew is in the process of requesting direct confirmation from them.

My personal bullet journal.
*name changed for privacy.

At the end of these notes, or in the margins nearby, I will have a running to-do list for that day. I also keep notes throughout the day about my work so that I can gradually build something akin to a schedule more organically {if you’ll stick around, I talk about organic scheduling at the end of this post}.

Digital Documentation

For digital documentation, I personally use Google products, but you should use whatever you prefer. Whatever you do, though, please be consistent. If you use Gmail, I highly recommend creating a folder within Gmail specifically for specific organizations, senders, etc. Take care never to delete until it’s officially no longer necessary. Most mobile phones can also scan documents if you don’t want paper copies.

Organic Agenda

I couldn’t end this post without at least briefly discussing organic agendas. I found that I burn out quickly with a typical “hard and fast” scheduling technique where a set amount of time is committed to each task. But not all of us can just throw out the day planner forever; the world would stop. In granting myself a bit of time to study and explore what I wanted in life, I learned that I have 3 types of tasks: habit, flow and future. Habits are items that are repeated daily in my journal [studying a language]. Flow tasks that come up throughout the day or week [tidying a room of the home]. Future is scheduled days or weeks in advance. I set rules for my habits and flow, limiting the number of tasks I’m “allowed” to focus on in a day. This keeps me consistent while allowing for rest and plenty of free time.

Thank you for reading; I hope you found this helpful.

Fresh

Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Wow… 2020 was a doozy, am I right? A lot happened last year. I wasn’t really in a mindset to provide value in a blog format, so I did what I knew to do and that was to offer y’all a place to find some resources. It was weird, I’m sure. Shortly after this posts, I will edit the resources pages a bit [and add a couple more links back into the blog], before leaving them be for now. We need to get back to this blog’s intended purpose, which I’ll go over some below.

Intention

When I first started Re.Habit Crafted back in 2015, I was homeless. Inspired by ideas I was seeing about breaking bad habits and resetting better ones, I felt it was almost like recycling — or rather, upcycling a life. For example, eating isn’t a bad habit, but over-eating is. So we must do away with overeating, and reconstruct our eating habits. I’d hoped Re.Habit Crafted could be a log of my personal journey with “re-habiting” my life, as well as an inspiration and guide to others who found themselves in similar positions.

My Experience / Qualifications

  • I am a domestic adoptee, adopted at birth. I’ve never met any biological family. I am a moderator at a support server specifically for adoptees.
  • I struggled as a teen to find work; this struggle led me down a frustrating path, which ended in my deciding to create my own business[es]. Which… honestly, haven’t always worked.
  • My spouse served 4 years in the United States Navy; I’m a military spouse, now Veteran’s spouse.
  • In 2012, my husband and I became homeless. We survived 2 years in varying degrees of homelessness and joblessness, which has granted me further skill sets within household administration, research and writing talents.

What to Expect Going Forward

Because of my life experiences, it is important to me that this blog be a beacon to others. To teach and to learn with them as we all navigate changing and building lifestyles, personal growth, or even crises. To add value to others, and to share intentional and meaningful processes to succeed or find answers to whatever we’re looking for.

What About Arts & Crafts?

I am a creative artist and craftsperson. That will never end — speaking of which, you can find my work right here, or you can donate here; and I have a shop here. There was a time when I was a craft-blogger, and we had so much fun. I was so happy to share that with y’all. But this is a new chapter, and I hope you’ll stick with me. There will still be the occasional creative / crafts / arts post, but more along the lines of the blog’s intentions.

Thank you for reading and for being here today. Please share this post with friends and family.

Visiting the Pantry

Food, Homeless, Lifestyle

This page may be helpful to anyone requiring food pantry services, however, I’d like to preface with a reminder that my city, Winston-Salem boasts many food pantries and clothing closets free to those in need. I’ve compiled a calendar containing several of the pantries in the area.

Who Uses Food Pantries?

Food pantries are for those in need of food sustenance they cannot acquire by some other legal method. In the US, food pantries are often considered “supplemental” to an individual’s / family’s income-provided groceries OR as a secondary supplement to food stamps. The list of pantry-goers and food stamp beneficiaries ranges widely from the homeless job seeker to the hardworking individual who’s barely scraping by despite working long hours.

What should I bring to the pantry?

Bring your current…

  • …state issued ID and military / Veteran ID / discharge paperwork [Form DD-214] if applicable.
  • …up to 4 recent pay stubs or other proof of income – keep supervisor / hiring manager name / phone number handy just in case [please don’t worry, you shouldn’t need it].
  • …utility / rent bill OR your lease [proof of address].
  • social security numbers for the whole household.
  • wheeled cart, bags or boxes to get your pantry items home.
  • …a good book, some busywork or a portable phone charger in case you have to wait awhile.

Do I need a special card / ID to gain access to a food pantry? 

Pantries that require a card ask that you fill out paperwork during your first visit there and you usually get the card before you leave with your food that day. Be sure to keep these safe.

Some pantries do require a bit of upfront paperwork. A couple of noteworthy ones local to me are Crisis Control Ministries and Sunnyside Ministries. Please note that per their website, Sunnyside offers full food and some financial services ONLY to zip codes 27107 and 27127 in Winston-Salem, NC. Please see this webpage for more information on services and assistance they offer.

What if I’ve no way to get to the pantry & cannot afford public transit?

I recommend…

  • start with WSTA – according to their website, they do at times allow individuals one free ride in a day. You should offer to pay whatever you can, though. [During COVID-19, WSTA is providing free service; please thank your driver. Drivers are also providing masks to anyone who has forgotten theirs.]
    • Speak to the drivers, they don’t bite. You may be able to work something out for one day to go to one pantry — if this is possible, make it count by visiting the most generous pantry you’ve found.
  • if WSTA won’t help, reach out to Goodwill Industries to inform them of your circumstances. If you’re active duty military, a veteran, or dependent of either, be sure to mention that.
  • current / active duty military call Military One Source to request their advisement [veterans could do this as well, but keep in mind they are strictly a resource liaison].
  • veterans should call their VA sponsor to ask about a duty driver or someone affiliated with the VA to help them to and from pantries.
  • anyone else should call Forsyth County DSS or ask 211 for their advisement.

As always if you’re aware of any updates or edits to this page, please feel free to email me.

Important Documents Packet

Homeless, Lifestyle, Military Family, Uncategorized

Everyone needs proper documentation to prove their identification — particularly during an emergency, or when applying for assistance. If you’ve lost your government-issued documents, there are links near the end of this post – I hope they help to replace them.

I recommend every family have a packet containing important documents. Military spouses often purchase extra copies of everything and put one in a safe place such as a safe deposit box or with a trusted friend / family member. My important documents folder has actually saved us a couple times. I recommend that if you’re in a family, one individual be in charge of the folder system. Each individual should have their own personal folder, but there is one keeper of all the documents. This keeper should have all the originals and guard them at [almost] all costs.

What do I need in my packet?
  • Birth certificates for every household member.
  • Marriage certificate – get it notarized.
  • Passports.
  • Social Security Cards.
  • Driver’s Licenses or State IDs.
  • Military / Military Spouse IDs / CAC Cards.
  • Proof of ownership of any high-dollar item [land, vehicle, house, boat, granny’s pearl earrings that are “too valuable to wear”].
  • Personal banking info IF you have no way of logging onto the internet to check on it [such as a smartphone].
  • If possible, notarized copies of any Identification. I would also recommend having access to up to $50 in the event that you find you need a copy notarized. It cost something like $25 to get a copy of my birth certificate notarized in 2009.
  • Military discharge forms, such as form DD-214 and any other forms pertinent to your service.
  • Medical forms — especially for military / prior military. Veterans should visit their local VA center for information on obtaining their records.
  • Copy of any prescriptions or the contact information for the medical professional who prescribed them.
  • ID or punch cards for your local food pantry.
  • Tickets for your local public transit, or the cash to acquire them or gas for your vehicle.
  • Gift cards to get your family through a couple meals.
  • Pet info including service animal identification [I’d fold a bandana with “SERVICE ANIMAL” or “DO NOT PET” etc. on it into the packet].
  • Powers of Attorney.

When we were homeless, I kept all our papers in a clear sheet protector which then fit perfectly into a bubble envelope.

What if I’ve lost my documents?
How can I prove my identity as a homeless individual without any proof of identification or address?

Start by checking to see if you have a bank account, the card or checks for it, and a method of accessing it. I recommend having at least online access to your account{s} because even homeless, you can log in, and phone or chat with your banking establishment to try to access and utilize your account. If this is not possible, let’s find a way around that:

  1. Panhandle – in NC, people can acquire a free panhandler ID which allows one to panhandle. The instruction here is “get cash”.
  2. Use a portion of funds received from panhandling to acquire a prepaid card with something like Western Union [be aware of any fees associated with the card you choose].
  3. Hop onto GoFundMe and Facebook. Inform your friends and followers of your circumstances. Make certain they are aware you are missing important identifying documentation and that you are attempting to replace them to improve upon your circumstances. As folks add cash to your prepaid card, you can then use that money to replace your IDs using the information provided earlier in this article.

Meanwhile, I would speak to EVERY service organization you can. I would open with that. “Hi. I’m homeless [and a veteran – if applicable] and I have no personal identification. Can you help, or connect me with someone who can?” Food pantries, Goodwill, Salvation Army, Red Cross, every charitable organization you find, shelters, hospitals… if no one is helping, find a church or a library and tell them. If that doesn’t work, take a day to rest and let the anger build. Then boldly go forth to the office of the mayor; I wish you all the best in your campaign.

Thank you for reading!

COVID19 Art Memorials

Art, Uncategorized

Social distancing is still in effect for many of us — probably most of us. And as I’ve watched from my home on the sidelines, the saddest news I’ve received has been the struggles of families who’ve suffered losses. Many of the stories I’ve heard or read in the media have involved inability to retrieve bodies of loved ones, or being states or countries away and having to video chat farewells or attend funerals / memorials / wakes via livestreams. Human culture seeks the solace of burial — a final celebration and ceremony of lives we were connected with. Closure. An opportunity to say our farewells properly or to just grieve.

Under normal circumstances, street memorials would be put in place or vigils held as friends gathered to remember. Flowers decorating a cross on the roadside… but this is COVID and we shouldn’t be gathering. Funerals are becoming something entirely different. There are articles about how coronavirus has and will likely continue to change mourning traditions.

Live while we can.
Laugh while we can.
Love.
While we can…

Things may seem bleak — and I’m sure social distancing and lockdowns aren’t really helping. Like many of you, I’ve been discouraged or even angered by local commentary which I sometimes can’t help but see. We see it all — from those upset by people not wearing masks to those who feel that wearing them is an encroachment on our human rights. It’s easy to feel caught in the middle of whatever arguments we’re seeing.

In the last few weeks, I’ve been reminded of a quote in the final episode of the first season of the TV show Army Wives. A Veteran’s spouse myself, I cannot help but draw comparisons between what the world is going through now and what many American military spouses go through daily. In the show, there’s an Army wife who works as a radio personality on Post. Her show is called, ‘Have At It’ with Pamela Moran. Here is the quote:

Pamela: [over the air on her show, ‘Have At It’] Ok, so in case you were wondering why it’s been so busy on Fort Marshall today, it’s because we’ve gone to FPCON Alpha Plus, and we know ‘Alpha’ relates to the global threat of terrorism. But…hell, we’ve been to Alpha Plus here before. We’ve bought the gas masks, we’ve stocked up on bottled water. But, there’s one thing we can never be prepared for, and that’s the fear. How do we handle the fear? My son Lucas once asked me if the ‘bad guys’ were going to blow us up. How do you answer that? How do you explain terrorism to your kid? How do you explain that at any time, any place, someone could just decide to take us all out? And that’s why terrorism works, because we can’t explain it, we can’t predict it, it can happen any time, anywhere, by anyone. So, all we can do is trust that the military has our backs, and then we let it go. Because the only way to stop the fear is by living. Just living, being with your family, your friends, your community. Look, there is nothing we can do about it – except to seize the day. We live while we can, laugh while we can, love while we can. And that, my friends, is how we beat terrorism. So, ‘Have At It.’

Pamela Moran, character on Army Wives, season 1 episode 13, Goodbye Stranger — Wikiquotes — underlining is my own.

How do you explain COVID to your kids — or to your own inner child? All we can do is trust. I put my trust, my faith, my hope — in God. But what if we don’t believe in Him? Or any god, for that matter? I would say to seek out healthy and fulfilling things in which to put your focus. Like yoga, meditation, eating healthier, growing a garden, taking more walks, or working to achieve a goal. Or even breathing. Breathing is awesome — I’ve briefly forgotten how a couple times since March, so I can assure you that air is gold… and not just because of pollen. The point is: Seize your day.

I’ve dedicated the cover art for this month’s bullet journal to the memory of those who’ve passed. If you would care to join me, feel free to use the hashtag #COVID19artmemorial.

Thank you Heroes!

For all that you have and will continue to endure on behalf of others. We love y’all! Stay well!

Thank you for reading.

How Are You?

Uncategorized

It has been a hot minute or five since I posted any blogs. I’ve missed blogging — but life, other things got in the way…

…and then COVID-19 happened. It’s been a difficult time for our global community. I see so many of us becoming discouraged, or dealing with so much right now… so, I don’t want to discuss COVID-19, the latest news, politics, or anything else “triggering” right now. We’ve been through enough, we need a break, so here’s your Kit Kat bar…

Drinking the Tea & Spilling it Too

Somehow over the last 3 years, I’ve managed to collect way more tea than I’ve been drinking. And when I’m done with it all, I’ll… order more online. While choosing my tea flavors, I’ve been reconnecting with a good friend via social media and video chat.

Add to Your Skillset

Follow this link for 2 free months of Skillshare. If you’re unfamiliar with Skillshare, it is an online learning platform with hundreds of courses taught online via video and downloadable content.

Youtube

There are so many amazing creatives on Youtube trying to make us smile right now. Just, uhm… make good viewing choices. Remember that the accepted official news sources regarding COVID-19 and related resources [here in the US] are: the Internal Revenue Service, Centers for Disease Control, and World Health Organization.

Personal Projects

I’m re-covering my sofa and 3 chairs with scraps of denim from jeans that wore out, crocheting things out of plarn [plastic yarn, made from recycled plastic bags]. My husband painted a kitchen hutch and a side table. We’ve so many projects to power through during this time. And I’m seeing that most of the projects I’m working on account for the bulk of clutter in the home, so it’ll be nice to get them done. If you need some inspiration, I encourage you to visit Pinterest.

Give Yourself a Spa

Order some Epsom salts; DIY a face mask and lip scrub — this means channeling your inner JVN. Pop on your favorite music, or some Lo-Fi on Spotify. Kick back. Relax. Do some reading.

Bored Games… Board Games…

Don’t forget about the board games, card games, games with your kids… Hey, it’s a great time to teach them Chess.

“Git Up” and DANCE!

This is a fantastic way to put a bit more time between you and your quarantine fridge-stash while also getting some much needed exercise. Just uh… don’t break grandma’s hip. Or yours.

Lonely?

One of my favorite activities when Drew was deployed in 2011 was getting in the truck and just going for a drive. Even without a friend, I felt less alone. Maybe it was the wind whipping my hair into a hopeless mass of tangles, or maybe the music, but I always felt better.

I hope you and your family are healthy and doing alright emotionally through this. Stay strong. Breathe. Have faith. If you do find you’re struggling, I do encourage you to reach out to the Crisis Text Line or similar service in your area.

Thank you for reading; stay safe, be well, wash those hands. Adopt the local wildlife… okay, maybe not, but you get the picture: TAKE CARE.

‘Fake’ Sushi

Food

This is a great recipe for any evening when you really wanted sushi, but just couldn’t afford it. You don’t absolutely have to have all the items in the list, but some of them certainly help. Enjoy!!

Ingredients: * denotes items that aren’t needs.
  • Sushi Rice / sticky rice
  • Avocado*
  • Cucumber*
  • Fish* – I use Wild Selections Line Caught Albacore or Salmon. Found it in Walmart.
  • Seaweed wrap* – Found in Walmart; Halo’s Ocean brand
  • Cream cheese*
  • Sesame Seeds*
Utilities:
  • Rice cooker – I have the Aroma Rice Cooker.
  • Chop sticks – Walmart
  • Sushi mat – Walmart
  • Rice paddle
  • Plastic wrap
Extras:
  • Soy Sauce
  • Yum Yum Sauce
  • Sushi Ginger
Instructions:
  1. Follow the directions for your specific rice cooker. Drew and I usually make 1 cup of rice boiled in a 1-1.5 cups of water. This serves 2 easily. 1/2 cup of rice per sushi roll.
  2. Allow the rice to cool a little — Drew often pops it into the freezer for a few minutes.
  3. If you want, put plastic wrap around the sushi mat. This will help keep the mat clean. Don’t wrap it too tightly; you need to be able to roll the sushi in the mat.
  4. Lay out 1 sheet of seaweed, smooth, shiny side up.
  5. If making multiple rolls, divide the rice accordingly. Smooth a portion over about 2/3rds of the seaweed sheet.
  6. Add your fillings — careful not to overload it. Especially the first time. It can be incredibly difficult to roll without any previous experience.
  7. Carefully roll the sushi.
  8. Before you slice it, rinse a sharp knife in cool water. Rinse again after each slice as this will keep the rice from sticking to the knife and stopping the cut.
  9. Dip in your soy & yum-yum sauces, top off with ginger. Enjoy!!

Rescuing Pepper

Personal, Pets

“And in the end , / letting go was / a lot like finding / love. / I had to learn / to say goodbye / to the one / who gave me the / courage to say / hello.”

“Hello Again” by Robert M. Drake from his book

Black Butterfly

This photo is from my Instagram, dated July 28th, 2014. The caption [on Instagram] reads: “Yesterday, we suffered the tragic loss of #GeorgiBoy. It seems something attacked him from the inside, and he…he’s gone…”
Gingy was with me when Georgi died. We were devastated by his loss — and those scars remain.

On January 7th, 2019 a beautiful tiger-striped brindle mutt rushed across a busy street. I called her to me, and she came, running, in submissive stance. No ID, collar, or microchip were found, and no one has claimed or come looking for her since.

We let Gingy meet her. He immediately took a wild gallop through the house, encouraging her to join him. Drew and I each marveled at how well they got along — immediately. Gingy is usually very particular about his doggy-friends. But if this dog starts to run away, Gingy screams.

I got a ride to a vet to check her for a microchip. She’s unspayed. Not housebroken. The vet said she’s still a puppy. The kindly animal lover who drove me to the vet kept saying how “…this is a God thing. You can’t get rid of that dog…” and I could feel how right she was. We had been thinking about adding another dog to our family, but it was a “later” thing. Something that probably wouldn’t happen for awhile. My plan was to eventually adopt another male boxer mix when we were ready. But I think God gets a kick out of mixing up our time tables when we think we know best.

Rescuing Pepper Potts, dredged up painful memories of Georgi’s final days, leaving me to question my modest dog training skill set. Drew also recognized that though I love Pepper, I struggled to let her in at first — I still blamed myself for Georgi. I was still gun-shy when it came to opinionated people who think they know my life. I’m grateful for a spouse who gives me permission to forgive myself, and to determine my own truth despite the opinions of others.

–*–Pressing reset with a look of sheer glee–*–

Thank you for reading!

FP

Reset

Personal

As we enter a hopeful new year, overwhelmed with possibility and perhaps a bit tipsy from our most recent round of “Resolution Roulette”, I’m resetting, refreshing, reviving, readjusting, renewing, re-insert-word-here… I’m just done. So. Restart.

Found on Facebook, February 1st, 2019; uncertain of original.

Not sure who else may be feeling this epithet since the end of January, but it’s taken some time to get over it.

With the passing of time, we cannot stay the same. Growth, balance, survival and creativity all thrive on change. On becoming who we’re meant to be the day before we die.

We refresh for all sorts of reasons. Be it a change in venue. Finding or losing love. Incredible loss or gain. New jobs. New anything. Adding a family member or rescuing an animal. Seasons and weather both internal and external.

Some things won’t change. I still love to write. I still love art. I’ll still enjoy both immensely and share them often in social media. But maybe I’m done with some of my pots and pans. Perhaps I don’t actually need 60 pencils. Maybe we could do without all the clutter and create space for more joy and the things we’re truly passionate about. Maybe it’s time to donate more.

How will you change or grow this year? What will you learn? What will you release? How will you be free?

Thanks for reading,

Holidays

Uncategorized

During the last 100 days, I allowed myself to be a bit off-kilter in my planning. It was a time of decluttering and preparation for further organization. I feel I’ve achieved a bit more mindfulness and intentionality as a result, and I’m looking forward to enjoying these in the future.

That said, something I’ve learned about myself over the years, but have never acted upon is that I really struggle to write / blog during big holiday months / the holiday season in general. Pretty much after Halloween, my internal / mental systems power down and check out for the remainder of the year. Doing so allows me to prepare for any socializing I may want to do during November – December, so I can put my best self forward going into the new year.

So, I’m taking a holiday from the blog, I hope it also grants my readers more time with their family and friends. My Instagram, previous posts and other social media are always available if you need a Re.Habit fix. Merry Christmas!