Thursday, October 26, 2017

Get Clean, Then Get Credit Worthy

Get Clean, Then Get Credit Worthy
 by Constance Ray

Getting clean is hard, but fighting your way back to financial stability may be even harder.

Nevertheless, it is possible for recovering addicts to get their lives back, and that includes financial peace of mind and the ability to find a job and buy a house. You do, however, have to accept that this is not going to happen in a day.

The basics

There are steps that any recovering addict should take if she has pinged her credit:

      Reduce outgoing expenses. If you are living cost-free or at low cost in rehab or a halfway house, stay there as long as possible while you develop a financial recovery plan.

      Ask people in your support group  to tell you how they recovered financially.

      Accept help from your family.

      Get advice from a non-profit credit counseling agency. Little known fact: credit unions offer free financial counseling.

      Check your credit report and fix inaccuracies, keeping in mind that seventy percent of credit reports have mistakes. Use and to obtain free or low-cost reports.

      Also demand that the credit reporters delete any information that cannot be verified, like debts to businesses that no longer exist or companies that changed names because they merged.

      Don’t apply for high fee credit cards. This is predatory lending and will likely hurt your credit some more.

      Don’t fall for TV or internet scams that promise to repair or consolidate your credit. These companies never do what they claim. They only do things you could do on your own without paying a fortune.

Should you declare bankruptcy?

You will receive a lot of advice on whether or not to declare bankruptcy, much of it bad. Some people will tell you that going bankrupt is in violation of the Alcoholics Anonymous mandate to make amends. However, you can always repay debt that represents a serious moral obligation, even if you have declared bankruptcy.

Furthermore, the judge who declares you bankrupt is going to have better ethics about who to repay and on what schedule than the collection agency that is hounding you with phone calls.

To determine whether bankruptcy is your best option, figure out how long it will take you to find a job, secure safe housing, pay off your debts and re-establish your credit. If the answer if more than seven years, declaring bankruptcy makes sense, because the bankruptcy will only show up on your credit report for seven years from the time of declaration.

If you are determined to avoid chapter eleven, negotiate with creditors for lower payments over more time. Tell them the alternative is bankruptcy. Ask them to accept direct deposit of payments out of your bank account.

Protecting assets and rebuilding a solid financial profile

Consider putting some or all of your financial resources in the hands of a trusted family member, like a parent or spouse. This may save you from losing your house, car, or savings.

Pay down on your overdue mortgage payments, if you have them, first so you don’t lose your house. Pay down and pay off the highest interest credit cards second.

Aim for credit card debt that is only seven percent of your available line of credit or less. That is the shortest path to a better credit report. Use any large, available sums of cash to pay down on credit immediately.

Get one secured credit card if you have no credit or if you have lost all your credit cards or declared bankruptcy. The secured credit card requires you to put a sum of money on your card upfront. Then you cannot borrow in excess of that sum. This may seem like a waste of time and money, but it is not. It is a part of recovering an acceptable credit score.

For addicts who lost control of their finances, finding the way back to stability requires, above all things, patience. It may take years, but you will make it happen a lot faster if you have a good plan and if you stick to that plan.

Constance Ray started with the goal of creating a safe place for people to share how addiction has affected them, whether they are combating it themselves or watching someone they care about work to overcome it.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Chelsea Bags, New York USA

From New York, USA

Chelsea Bags

Handcrafted bags for keeping things organized!


See all of Chelsea’s Bags on Etsy!

Read all the great reviews!

Friday, October 13, 2017

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Colonial Wagon and Wheel

Recently, while dining at Lake Hope Lodge, McArthur, Ohio, with a friend, we stopped after lunch in the Lodge Gift Shop to browse. As horse-lovers (always), we caught a glimpse of a metal horse with a stone in the center. There were many really cool metal designs - ranging from very tall lawn/garden hooks/figures, to small frogs and bugs. Of course, we each had to buy a horse... what should be a yard ornament sits in my office (see below). The stone in the center of the horse is unique and the horse is shaped around the stone...

Visit for more, or if a local, stop by Lake Hope Lodge. The designs are quality, heavy art pieces that will stay in your yard/garden (office) forever. 

Thanks Colonial Wagon & Wheel!   

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Chestnut Mare: A Horse Story by Author Clyde Hoch

The Chestnut Mare: A Horse Story
by Author Clyde Hoch

A few days ago, I received this note from a friend. I almost forgot about this until she reminded me of it. Remembering back, I remember the horse, I remember feeling very confident about getting on the horse. I felt in my heart this is something I can and will do. I just knew I could do it. My friend writes…

I remember the time my first husband and I had horses and one of them was only “green broke.” Autumn had never been ridden. She was a beautiful chestnut mare with a black mane and tail that reached the ground. She was a very spirited horse and you volunteered to break her for us. I was very nervous and tried to persuade you otherwise, fearing for your safety but you insisted you would be fine and up you went into the saddle! Well, that horse bucked and bucked, hooves into the air and every which way but you had one arm in the air like a true cowboy and stayed on that horse until she quit bucking and just settled down. Something I will never forget. Thank you for that memory!
Your friend, Ruth Harvey!!

I remember this horse. As the horse bucked I started to enjoy the ride, it was fun. My friend Ruth said I was smiling the whole time. When Autumn finally settled down and stopped bucking, I felt let down. This was a big rush for me. I was probably 25 years old at the time, a few years after returning home from the Vietnam War. After Vietnam few things gave me a rush in my life. Riding Autumn was surly one of the few. In my area there was not a lot of demand for breaking horses, unfortunately.

About the Author
From Pennsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, Sergeant Clyde Hoch is an acclaimed author, recently winning the coveted Readers Favorite Bronze Medal for his book A Man Down I have several of Clyde's books in my library; recommended reading!

A consultant for screenplay writers, and much more, Clyde is a Vietnam War Veteran, public speaker, and mentor. In his books, Clyde shares his wartime experiences and the challenges of being a war veteran. 

Connect with Clyde…

Read Clyde's childhood story about Spike, a cherished Clydesdale...

Books by Clyde Hoch:

Tracks Memoirs of a Vietnam Veteran This is Clyde’s military experience as a tank commander in Vietnam.

A Tribute to Tankers has a short description on a type of tank and follows with stories of people who served in that type of tank in combat, starting with WWI and ends with Iraq.

B. A. R. Man Browning Automatic Rifle Man is the story of a young man who does some amazing things in the Korean War until he is wounded and captured by the Chinese. He is forced to march 200 miles with no medical attention. He is held as a POW for two and a half years.

A Man Down is the story of four young men who gave their lives for their country. This book won a bronze medal from Readers Favorite.

Albion is Clyde’s first work of fiction. It has eight chapters. Each chapter is a different story and different period in time.

God Help Me! Cause No One Else Will is Clyde’s sixth book. It is about post-traumatic stress disorder and veteran's suicides and how to prevent them. 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Dreaming Arabians: A Visit with Fine Artist Marian Duncan

Acrylic on handmade paper.
(c) copyright Marian Duncan

Dreaming Arabians: A Visit with Fine Artist Marian Duncan
by Gina McKnight

Archived Article from the August/September 2017 Issue of Arabian Finish Line 
No duplication without permission

“Whatever you ask of them, they will do it.”

From Manildra Australia, New South Wales, welcome fine artist Marian Duncan! With a passion for horses from a young age, Marian combines photographs, imagination, and her love for horses to create an original masterpiece. She has had many of her designs and artwork used by the Arabian Horse Society through the years for different promotions. Marian just completed the design for the 2019 WAHO (World Arabian Horse Organization) logo, to be held in Australia. She has captured the beauty of prized mares and stallions, and embraced her own Arabians on canvas. 

GM: Marian, you are known throughout the world for your art. Arabian horses are your specialty. Each of your paintings showcase your passion for the Arabian horse! How do you develop powerful imagery in your artwork?
MD: When I was a little girl, I would sit under the big old pine trees and draw my neighbor’s horses, dreaming of owning one. I saw my first Arabian in my father’s newspaper, I remember thinking it was the most beautiful horse I had ever seen. It grew from there. Everything inspires me; the horses, color, light and shade, movement, the landscape. I think and dream Arabians. I just love to paint and draw, it’s like breathing to me.

GM: You have won many awards and accolades for your art. Congratulations! Your art captures the soul – both of your subject and the viewer. Your studio must be aesthetically inviting to enhance your design and talent. Tell us about your studio and your schedule…
MD: I live in a 100 year old mud and straw home. I have old furniture and things (clutter), lots of art materials, magazines, paints, paper, etc. I like to try and paint nearly every day, after feeding my horses and my husband David, and a few household jobs, usually bare essentials, so I can get painting.

GM: Besides the beauty of the horse, do you have a muse or two that drives your creativity?
MD: I have my little friends – two Australian cattle dogs, Soda and Tom; Soda lies next to me when I paint, and one fat cat, Harry. I have three Arabian mares; Danjera Shaania, Delraki Saakifa, and Hideaway Farm Just Imagine. I have just bought a very pretty gelding, Bey Illusion, who will be one year in August; Bey Illusion’s sire is Echos of Marwan; dam, Hideaway Farm Gabriel. Bey Illusion is extremely pretty, and I hope to be able to ride him when he grows up. If not, I’ll use him for my art. The first two mares are retired. I ride Hideaway Farm Just Imagine just around Manildra.

GM: As a world artist, have you traveled to paint outside of your studio, to far horse stables? If so, where have you been?
MD: Over the years, I have traveled to Arabian studs to see many of my favorite horses. Dassefa was one of them, plus many others. I would take my camera. I now have my trusty Nikon. I love it. I also love to photograph horses at the Arabian shows, canids mostly, anything that takes my eye, that I think would make a great painting. Sometimes just their feet for detail. Sometimes I paint straight from my photo, or I might change the color, or even the sex. I might use one photo, or twenty to thirty. Sometimes I might just get an idea and just draw it. I did sit and draw horses from life, but these days I like the comfort of my own home, at my easel.

GM: Arabian horses are known for their keen spirit and exceptional disposition. I know you fell in love with Arabians at an early age. Of all the horse breeds, why have you chosen the Arabian horse to be the center of your creativity?
MD: The Arabian Horse! I can draw or paint anything I would like to choose, sometimes I might do something different. The Arabian horse is my passion from that first photo I saw as a child. To me they are the most beautiful of all. I love everything about them. I try to capture that in my art. I feel so lucky to be able to create art about a subject I love so much. I hope people can see what is in my heart through my art, especially if they share that same passion for the Arabian horse. I think they have the smartest sweetest temperaments. Whatever you give them, they will return it. Whatever you ask of them, they will do it.

GM: Bravo! Your passion does shine through in your art! To create a masterpiece, what is the best medium to use?
MD: Mediums all have different properties. I love them all. I like to change between them to keep a change for myself, also to try and freshen up my ideas. I think I love oils the most, the rich vibrant color, so lovely to blend, so full of life. I also like to experiment and try something new.

GM: What masterpiece are your currently creating?
MD: At the moment, I am working on an oil on fine linen, three desert mares, two greys and a bay, with just a simple background; palm trees, a mud wall, and desert. It is from a recent trip to Nankeen Arabian Stud out west from my place, from a photo I took of three young colts. I turned them to mares, changed their colors using my imagination. I loved the way they were grouped, looking at the colors and shadows.

GM: People want to see your work! You have a large following from around the world. Where are you currently exhibiting?
MD: I have paintings always hanging at Jayes Art Gallery in Molong N.S.W. I like to display my art each year at the Australian Arabian National Championship Show.

GM: Do you have advice for novice artists looking to capture the essence of horses in art?
MD: Just draw and paint. Just do it! Learn as much as you can, then take the part you like and apply it to your own style that you like. It is like throwing a ball through a hoop, the more you do the better you can become. Look for your mistakes. Nothing is perfect. Then learn from them. Art is a lifetime of learning. Most of all, enjoy it!!!

Connect with Marian…

Gina McKnight is an equestrian and writer from Ohio USA.

Marian in her studio.
(c) copyright Marian Duncan
Oil on color from photographs.
(c) copyright Marian Duncan
Oil on linen with permission from Jenni Ogden.
(c) copyright Marian Duncan
HEAD STUDYFine ink, white pastel on paper.
(c) copyright Marian Duncan

Oil on color from photo, inspired by Oriental drawings.
(c) copyright Marian Duncan

Oil on fine linen.
(c) copyright Marian Duncan

Oil on fine linen.
(c) copyright Marian Duncan

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Danny the Dragon Learns to Floss by Ty Mall

Danny the Dragon Learns to Floss:
A humorous hygiene book for boys age 3-5 
Kindle Edition

by Ty Mall  (Author), Alex Bjelica (Illustrator)
Danny the Dragon wakes up one day and breathes crooked fire. What's gone wrong? Join Danny as he gets tangled up in the solution and discovers the simple cure.

Intended for children from preschool to 1st grade, this book features:

-- Full-color illustrations of adorable characters

-- Situations like trying something for the first time, taking responsibility, and more that children are sure to relate to (and will want to read over and over!)

-- Life skills portrayed in an easy-to-understand way

If you're a parent or grandparent, be sure to pick up Danny the Dragon Learns to Floss for your kids today.

Available from

Ty Mall is a fiction writer, blogger, and copywriter who's loved words for as long as he can remember. He lives out in Illinois with his family and one cat.

Print Length: 16 pages
Publication Date: September 15, 2016
Language: English


Sunday, October 1, 2017

Riding with Shelby Osceola

Riding with Shelby Osceola
by Gina McKnight

Archived interview from the September 2017 Issue of Florida Equine Athlete
No duplication without permission

From Alabama, USA, welcome National Rodeo competitor Shelby Osceola. The winner of championship buckles and many awards, Shelby loves her horses, her family, racing around barrels, and the thrill of the arena.

Welcome Shelby!

GM: As a rider from a young age, barrel racing at 11 years of age, and always into horses, do you remember your first introduction to horses? 
SO: I can remember being in the living room flipping through the channels on the TV and a rodeo was on and the barrel racing event was on. I was immediately hooked. I looked at my parents and told them I was going to do that. Of course, my mom said she thought it was a phase, but here we are now.

GM: Winning your first buckle in 1999, who has been your mentor, inspiration and guide?
SO: The 1999 buckle was a barrel racing buckle for the EIRA (Eastern Indian Rodeo Association) rodeos. During that time, I didn't look up to one person really, I was just fascinated. The one person that did take me under her wing was Debbie DeHass. She took me to the Hollywood Horse Club when there was a rodeo arena in Hollywood Florida to ride and practice. She helped start the way and still to this day helps me if I need some advice from outside eyes.

GM: We all know that the right horse can be a key to success. How do you pick a winning horse?
SO: Of course, horse power is a lot to the success. Now picking that horse is a challenge in itself. When I am looking for a horse, I first look at the horse's build or body frame. Looking at this helps me see how big or exactly how athletic the horse can be. There also has to be a connection with me and the horse. This is a little hard to explain because it comes from a feeling that a person gets when looking at the horse and sitting on the horse. If the horse does not connect with me, chances are we won't make a good team, and that is what it’s about, the teamwork of the horse and I.

GM: What horse(s) do you currently stable and who is your go-to horse?
SO: Horses that I currently have in my care are, first off, my old barrel horse who is 24 years old and now is happy in retirement, her name is Miss Kitty. Riggin who is a 12 year old gelding that I team rope off of and I have had him since he was 5 years old. Johnny Cash is my calf horse and he is a 11 year old gelding. Johnny Cash is my main man that goes everywhere. Itty Bitty is an 8 year old mare that I use as a barrel horse that I trained around the barrels but she is also a heel horse and has had calves roped off of, too. I have two young horses that are in training which includes a 3 year old mare named Maddie, who will be a barrel horse and calf horse, then there is Lynard who is a 2 year old stud out of my Miss kitty mare that I have raised. Lynard is too young to know what he is going to excel in, but I have high hopes for him.

GM: What events/championships have you won?
SO: I have been the EIRA Breakaway End of the Year Champion multiple years since 2001. I went to college in 2007 and went to EIRA until 2011 where I haven't been back to compete. I can't say how many championships on hand. I have won the first ever women's all-around championship in the EIRA when they finally separated to all around to be men and women. I was also the National High School Rodeo Association Reserve Breakaway Champion in 2006 which to my knowledge is the highest accomplishment for a Seminole Tribe of Florida member in the High School Rodeo standings. On the Indian rodeo scene, I have finish 3rd in the Indian National Finals Rodeo and also in 2011 I won two go rounds buckles in Las Vegas Nevada.

GM: What is your favorite event to compete in?
SO: My favorite event would be breakaway roping. I excel in this event and I am the happiest when I am roping a calf.

GM: In your opinion, where is the best arena for competing?
SO: That is up for debate. I am not picky when I comes to arenas. Any arena is good for me.

GM: Describe a day in your life...
SO: A day in my life is started by getting my daughter Arabella up and ready for school. Once we are ready I drop her off at school then I hit the gym for an hour. After the gym, I come home and try to get horses saddled and rode to keep them exercised and tuned up on foundation work. Sometimes the day doesn't work out where I get to ride like I would like too. I also work at a barn for a man that owns and breeds barrel horses. After all of that I will pick up Arabella about 4 and head home to saddle her horse and jump on my horse again that we might practice barrels or rope some calves, depending on the day. Then horses get fed and to bed to wake up and do it again the next day.

GM: What advice do you have for beginning riders and those looking to become a successful rodeo rider?
SO: Advice I could give would be to keep working hard as this is an unforgiving sport and it wants to point out your flaws, but that will make you work harder. Also, any pointers from others is helpful even if it doesn’t seem like it at the time, just take what they are telling you and think about how it can help with your style. And never give up.

GM: What does horsemanship mean to you?
SO: Horsemanship is a big part to every event. There has to be a foundation between you and your horse. No foundation, no connection. Horsemanship comes down to your hands to your feet, every part of you has to be working together in the right way to get what you want your horse to do. I am still working on my horsemanship because I do not know everything and I am always learning how to improve my skills. It is a never-ending journey with horsemanship.

Gina McKnight is a freelance writer and author from Ohio, USA.

Milliron Monday: The Recordings 4

  Abbott "Pete" Smith D.V.M.:   June 16, 1938 - February 22, 2010 Virginia Joyann "Jody" Haley Smith: April 2, 1938 - Ma...