Category Archives: homelessness

Los Angeles Dream Centers’ Adopt-a-Block Program

Adopt-a-Block.  If you are visiting Los Angeles, please make the LA Dream Center a must see on your agenda. They give tours on Tuesdays and you will leave totally inspired!

Wonderful Uplifting Organizations that I Support and Recommend

    I have been lending with Kiva.org for at least the past five years and have always received accurate information, statements and accountability.  This, for me, is a fantastic opportunity to offer a hand-up to those in need willing to put forth effort, grow and be held accountable. Please check out this website!  My latest loan is for a fellow here in the United States. Another CrownBeautiful Man Volunteered with Me

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Quick, Simple Way to Increase Your Joy

From the MEND – Meeting Each Need with Dignity website

” Soap – A Little Item With a Huge Impact

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It is because of this hygienic staple that I am getting on my soapbox this week, but I promise this from point forward that I will keep all soap related puns and metaphors to a minimum.

Admittedly, it is not an item that is often given much consideration in the average person’s day-to-day thoughts. It typically operates as nothing more than a fixture in your shower stall, or nestled beside the shampoo on the ledge of your bathtub. And yet, this little bar of lipids and lye can make a world of difference for our clients at MEND.

This seemingly inconsequential household item is firmly entrenched in our lives since it is used to bathe, to wash our hands, to wash our dishes, to wash our cars, to wash our clothes, to wash our dogs, and so forth. Furthermore, this hygienic ‘tool’ plays a crucial role in combating and preventing illness. Thus, there should be no question that soap is a basic human need, and a crucial part in gaining eventual self-reliance.

Now that vacation season is fully upon us, and many of you might have gone away in celebration of the Fourth of July weekend, we encourage you to bear all of this in mind. Furthermore, we implore you to donate any unused (we may be all for Reduce / Reuse / Recycle here at MEND, but even we have our limits) hotel soaps you happen to have accumulated. This one little bar that so easily fits into your suitcase – or pocket even – holds the potential to make a world of difference.

In conjunction with the shower facilities at MEND, that little item can wield a huge impact. For, it allows our clients to present the best of themselves at a job interview – or equally important occasions. The simple fact of the matter is that with cleanliness comes dignity.

And since the amazing efforts of groups like the Global Soap Project [www.globalsoap.org] are currently focused upon those in need in developing nations, it is up to us to lend a helping hand (or in this case, a bar of soap). So, while this might go against the time-tested adage, it is important to remember that sometimes we need to sweat the small stuff. Ultimately, not forgetting how lasting an impact the minor details can exert, and just how far a bar of soap can go.

By Volunteer Mattie Brehm”

“Don’t go Gentle into that Night” , wonderful article by Ryan Mitchell, The Tiny House Blog

Don’t Go Gentle Into That Night

 

I recently was listening to a podcast where a quote was given that struck me.  I have been thinking a lot recently about how predetermined and designed life can be for us unless we wake up and take charge.  The quote was:

It’s called the American dream because you

have to be asleep to believe it.

Wake from your slumber!

The scary thing is if we don’t wake up from this slumber of complacency, our lives are influenced to a point that defies common sense.  It may be extreme sounding, but to be a cog in the machine, to work long hours only to “buy, buy, buy!” it’s like we are merely an engine which we fuel consumerism.  That isn’t to say that to consume, buy or trade is inherently wrong, but to do it with such abandon that the average American has over $15,000 in credit card debt is insane. (source)

dulyposted-live-your-life_quote-610x610Being “awake” is an odd experience when people some call tiny housers crazy for living in a tiny house.  If I were to have no debt of any kind and $10 in my pocket, I’d have more wealth than 25% of Americans combined!  If I have no debt and $15,000, I’d have a higher net worth than about the bottom third of Americans… combined! (source)

We are told debt is normal, that credit cards are normal, that a home loan and a student loans are a “good investment” and people believe it.  I believed it for a time!  I have a Master’s degree and after crunching the numbers, it panned out financially, but that is quickly changing for many people. (source)  A home loan… no thank you.  I have friends who talk about buying a home, with no money down and all I can think of is “I want you to be happy, but I can’t but help question the wisdom of not being able to afford a down payment, but thinking you can afford a house”.

I don’t think it’s my place to say people can’t shop till they drop, have no debt of any kind or they should live in a tiny house.  But I struggle when I see people – particularly friends – taking this predetermined path without giving it serious consideration.  If someone were to be fully aware of things and still decided to proceed, I’d be okay with that, but blindly following the pattern is scary.

tumblr_mzzdbvaN5A1sk4myeo1_1280As I’ve grown older, I’ve seen more and more of my friends get into the grind of adulthood and be miserable in their jobs; luckily I think this is the minority of my friends/acquaintances.  I’ve had friends comment that they now drink more than they used to because it makes the work week a bit more bearable.

I see consumerism as a troublesome band-aid for many folks who are unhappy with some aspect of their life.  Again, I’m not saying no consuming, there are things we need in life, but it shouldn’t be a coping mechanism like it is used today for so many.  I was shocked to find out that I know several people who go to the mall and shop 2-3 times a week!  I think the city where I live, Charlotte, is on the extreme end of this, because I have 6 large malls within a 30 minute drive of my home; there is even tour bus companies here that bring people to our city just to shop!

To not just complain about it all, below are some things that might help determine your own path.

  1. Consider what your goals are in life, then look at why they are your goals, dig deep.
  2. Write a personal mission statement.
  3. Do the math on what debt really means for you.
  4. Ask yourself “if I could do anything right now, what would it be?”
  5. Identify the reason you cannot do number 4 right now… How can you eliminate that?
  6. Consider how resilient your currently are in your situation.  How can you be more resilient?
  7. Identify stressors and potential disrupts, guard against or change to eliminate.

 

To close I thought I’d share this poem, which I used part of in the title.  It’s by Dylan Thomas

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

 

Finally, I’d like to hear your thoughts about this topic. 

Your Turn!

  • How did you “wake up”?
  • How do you help people consider their path?
  • How can we awaken loved ones we care about?”    Direct quote from “The Tiny Life” blog by Ryan Mitchell