Wednesday, September 23, 2009

G is for Giving

I've read that the best way to get your mind off your troubles is to focus on someone else's. I know that's true, and it's played out many times in my life. But during this recent crisis, I've had precious little time to devote to others. We've circled the wagons and are tending our own meager fires right now. Is this selfish? Self centered? How about you? How do you care for others when you're facing your own challenges?

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Me? An inspiration?

My neighbor Mark has written a great book, and he tells me I was the inspiration!

A few months ago, he and I were commiserating about this rotten economy and sharing ideas for making a dollar stretch further than ever before. A few weeks ago, he knocked on the door and showed me his new book!! Here's the funny part - when he sought a local graphic artist to design the cover the woman said "you should check out this local woman's blog THE ENDURANCE DIVA - it's along these same lines." She shared my name and my neighbor Mark exclaims "That's my neighbor! The one who inspired me to write this book!".

Anyway, this little bound magazine size book is a gem. Full of great advice and tips that will save money AND be kinder to our environment. He includes worksheets to help with budgeting. He also supplies websites to search for more information on a wide variety of subjects.

Mark is marketing this tome to nonprofits and churches, encouraging them to buy in bulk then supply them to members, customers, or parishioners. You can order a single book as well. They are $19.95 each plus shipping and handling. For $29.95 he'll also throw in a CD with hyperlinks and documents. He can be reached at or through snail mail at Money and Earth Savings Book, 2026 Sibley View Court, Northfield, MN 55057, or by phone at 507-403-1144.

Be sure to mention The Endurance Diva sent you!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

F. the big one, Foreclosure

Let's talk foreclosure.
Did you ever think you'd hear that word so often? You know it's a problem when you search Google images with the word, and get over a million hits.

I just plain don't have the answer, but here is what I have learned.

Yes, you can call your lender and best of luck with that. Here's what we heard:

Us: "We've just had a major job loss, can you help us out?"

Them: "No, we can't, you're good customers and you're current on your payments."

Us: "Yes, we know, but that may change since we've AGAIN just had a major job loss"

Them: "Well, until you've missed some payments, we just can't help you."

6 months pass, and we start to miss payments . . .

Us: "Well, we've missed some payments now. Can you help us out?"

Them: "Nope. Not until you bring the payments current and show proof of steady income"

Us: "But we told you we had a major job loss, with no new employment showing up despite Herculean efforts. You told us you had a hardship program that we could qualify for if we missed a few payments"

Them: "Yes, you could qualify for that program when you bring your mortgage current and show proof of adequate steady income"

Us: "We could pay you $800 a month until we find employment, will that hold things?"

Them: "Nope. Absolute full payment, after you bring it current".

Another 3 months pass . . . .

Them: "OK, we'll drop your mortgage down to $1500 per month if you bring it all current and show proof of steady income".

So again I say, good luck talking to your lender.
The Obama housing plan would save us, and many others. But, according to my one Senator's office, that plan is still in committee and won't become law anytime soon. They've got to save all the millionaires first.

Another option would be to find a good co-signer, apply for a mortgage, and try to buy back your house through a short sale or through the sheriff's auction. But be mindful that you may end up paying all the fees, taxes, etc. Short sales aren't the blessing they are cracked up to be.

Another option is to have some wealthier friend or relative buy your home and rent it to you. Our lender said that was fraud, but our banker said it's perfectly legit.

My best advice to you concerning foreclosure is to muster all your pride and self-confidence, keep your chin up, and just endure. Walk away, find a rental, and sleep well knowing you did your best.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

F is for Failing to Keep up my Blog!

Sorry folks. I've been neglecting The Endurance Diva and that just WON'T be happening!!
I've been busy enduring, what else?
Updates soon.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

E is for Endurance, what else?

Sometimes that's just all you have left. You stand up to the crisis at hand and you just plain endure. You get dressed, you put on your make up, and you just keep going. You make it through one more day alive, intact, and whole. You endure the bills, the bankruptcy, the divorce, the sickness, the natural disaster. Whatever it is, you just endure and live to fight another day. And By God, keep your sense of humor!!!

The lyrics below are to what I consider my theme song, I'm Still Here by John Hartford. I first learned of the magical musician in the late 70's and he's become one of my heroes. If you click through the link, you'll see him in action with his fiddle and his dancing feet. When I first heard this song at the tender age of 18, I had no idea how much it would mean to me in the coming years.

I'm Still Here, by John Hartford

Now trains are runnin' towards each other
Shotguns are pointed at my head
Tornado clouds are formin' at the crossroads
H-Bombs are fallin' towards my bed

But I'm still here
I'm still here, and how 'bout that?
My city may be fallen, but I'm still here.

Assassination squad has got their orders
Repossession man is on his way
Landlady's givin' me her notice
I'll be pitched out with trash now any day

But I'm still here
I'm still here, and how 'bout that?
I may have lost my lunch box, but I'm still here.

"When you're going through Hell . . . keep going" Winston Churchill

Friday, March 6, 2009

D is for Desiderata

My good friend Mama in Wonderland reminded me of this piece. So lovely. So wise. And so perfect for endurance.


by Max Ehrmann, ca. 1927

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe; no less than the trees and the stars, you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

C is for Coupons

Coupons, we all use them. I'm not going to insult your intelligence. But did you know that manufacturer's websites often carry coupons online? Sister Cheesecake Maven brings us this idea. I usually buy store brands, which are often less expensive than a name-brand with a coupon. However, if you have a favorite product search their website! Here a few brands that we found:

Procter & Gamble

Does anyone out there have an experience with websites touting printable coupons, good or bad? I'd love to hear from you. Email me at