Category Archives: inspiration

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!

Styling and Profiling Is Evidently In My Genes (if not yet, In My Jeans).

I have seen this picture numerous times and not until this very moment – post meeting with a group of fabulous, well-dressed, bejeweled ladies – did I happen to notice THOSE BOOTS!  Ha ha. I love it.  My 90+ year old, sharp as a tack, funny, sweet, quiet and slightly shy grandmother was definitely a fashionista!  What a sweet gift she is sending from her perch on the cloud up in Heaven.  I have embraced/resigned to my place in this world as an ambassador for the outfit-challenged, destined to forever admire those upon whom  the fates have smiled upon and given the ability to at least put together a decent ensemble (suck in your cheeks when you say that, please).  Me, not so much.

Granny is perhaps saying..”hold on – there IS hope. You CAN rock the world – you DO have a unique voice, a unique style”.  Thank you Granny.

Thank you Granny!
Thank you Granny!

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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Ebola

Scary, right?  I would just like to add my two cents worth in as a nurse, a  mother, a child of God.  My mind immediately harkens back to the first days of the HIV crisis.  I am not sure why particularly HIV, but I think of the strength and beauty of Ryan White and his mother, the absolute ugliness of human fear and lack of knowledge and compassion that they were met with in the face of their personal tragedy.

Please reach down inside yourself and approach this newest issue with courage, compassion and realize that these are fellow HUMAN BEINGS who are being struck with this horrific disease.  Yes, hate the disease, even fear it – but use these emotions to propel you to find out how to actually protect yourself and those you love and do not ostracize those unfortunate enough to contract it.  They need intellect, compassion and love. Humanity is uplifted when we approach the unknown with our eyes and hearts open.  This is not the first, nor will it be the last frightening unknown thing to enter our world.  God’s got it.  We will make it.

I have looked directly into the eyes of so many people about to step over this threshold into the next – from heart attacks, massive infections that I sometimes have to completely glove and gown for to care for them (yes, throughout the US), various end stage diseases  They are you and me at the end of life.  I have comforted their loved ones, caregivers during this time, trying to smooth the transition.  What has proven to be the most important thing during this time is pain control, education of process, LOVE!!!!!  Is this not what you and I both hope for at the end of our days?

Imagine you are the one struck with Ebola, or MRSA or ESL or VRE or the mirage of infectious diseases that require everyone that you come in contact with the leave wear yellow gowns, gloves and masks each time they enter your room.  That is how you now experience the world.  The communication you would experience at that time is the expression in your loved ones’s eyes, are they willing to hold your hand?  You didn’t not ask for this, but here it is.  Pulease, please educate yourself on the disease, take every possible precaution, and empathize – not ostracize – those stricken.  Thank you.

Shaman in New Jersey – The Thrilling Tale of a Lady and Her Yurt:> Guest Blog

Hi folks.  I was absolutely privileged to meet a warm, talented, really interesting lady with her own Yurt a number of months ago and have been so intrigued by her journey that I asked if she would write a guest blog for me and to my delight..she said yes!  What follows is a love story.  Please be sure to look up her blog to follow her unique viewpoint and journey through life with an adorable toddler, chronic conditions, positive outlook, alternative housing and more.  Enjoy…

Shaman in New Jersey
I live in McMansion land. The land of pools and tennis courts and bowling alleys in your backyard. NYC parties for kids @ Dillons Candy Bar. Broadway shows. Glitz and glamour! Charity functions. MONEY.
And I feel lucky, if out of place.
But I should prolly start closer to the beginning.
Once, there was a yurt (like hurt). A ger (think bear). A traditional Mongolian roundhouse. For camping in, living in, exploring in. Packs down real small. Sets up pretty quick and hunkers down like a champ in bad weather. Like glampng with no electric. Just candlelight and moon glow.
In Mongolia, they are a matrilineal society: the women own the property and pass it down. And so it came to be that two years or so after my wedding, I became the proud owner of my very own yurt. The ALL knowing yurt! Gert the yurt! (So many stories, so little time)
She is a 16 ft beauty. All blues and sunny yellows and pine and sunshine. Made simply with loads of love and care. By folks who I have loved and cared for most of our adult lives. And now we have families, and they too play in the yurts.
I have had some of my best and most magical time in this space. It has gone loads of fun places, pulled pranks, kept us safe thru tornadoes and hurricanes (no shit, there was). It has witnessed love and strife and morning coffee with cuddles and days of rain and puddles in the bed.
It’s like this part of me. Which was wilder? Or free?
No.
The part who listened more to the noise of night, dreamed and then made the time to create. Had a space by my fire for all those I loved, love, will love.
A sacred space if there ever was one.
And maybe that’s why I am mad for tiny. A tinyGypsy. Traveling to turn the whole earth on to tiny. Be it yurt, or house, or boat or van. Cob or wood or canvas. Handmade and in realtime.

Home is really where my heart is.
And my heart is round and full, like my yurt.

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