It’s like having an insurance policy with no idea of what’s covered

I visited a local agency for help on my homeless journey.  Every church in the area at least mentioned it, most of them saying they support it and that’s where I must go for any help.

This is another journal entry.  I am using the name of the agency, as you would be able to guess it.  They are doing good things there, and like all other agencies, they’re under-resourced.

A trip to the food pantry

I feel the need to go someplace familiar.  I think I’ll go to the library next.  Or better yet, I’ll go to Frisco Family Services.  I’m not expecting much, but I need to see what all the hype is about.  When everyone in town is sending you to the same place, is there really any choice?  I need to eat for two weeks, and this is looking like my only option, besides dumpster diving.  I am reluctant to go, as I know they’ll have lots of paperwork and that makes pretending a lot more difficult.  I have this sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.  Pretending to be homeless is stressful.  I can’t image how awful homelessness really is.  I took a deep breath and walked inside.   Continue reading

Should churches lock their doors? [A Facebook conversation]

I decided to post a Facebook feed from yesterdays blog post.  The big conversation here is about churches locking their doors.  Should they?  Shouldn’t they?  

There’s not a ‘one size fits all’ answer to this question.  I thought the conversation was a good one though, so I’m sharing it with you.  There are some other good points in here too.  Is your church doing something good in helping the homeless?  If so, please share it here by commenting below.

Original post:

This is a really enlightening look into homelessness. Jody is experiencing it firsthand as a social experiment and is respectfully submitting what struggles she found. I am learning a great deal.

What stood out to me in this blog post (one of a series) was this:

“I’m not at all offended that all the local churches are sending people to an agency that can help. What I do find a bit disturbing is that none of the churches know that much about it and they’re sending me away having no idea whether or not I’ll get help there.”

To look homeless here is to NOT look homeless. |

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To look homeless here is to NOT look homeless.

I wrote so much on my homeless journey, but even with the 100+ handwritten pages, I feel like I just scratched the surface of simply understanding the difficulties of it.  I don’t have a clue what it’s like to really be homeless, yet learned enough to know it’s horrific.

Every homeless person I’ve met or talked to has a different story, yet most of our working class sees homelessness as a place they’ll never be.  ‘Those people’ have addictions, they’re lazy or have some other type of dysfunction.  No matter what their situation, they’re prejudged by many as being a drain on our society.

When asking for assistance, I never said I was homeless because (a) I didn’t know what would happen and (b) it’s somewhat embarrassing.  In suburbia, to look homeless is to not look homeless.  I looked and dressed like I always do, yet I didn’t have access to the same hygiene routines.   Continue reading

new dos, new shoes and nothing to lose

I got to participate in a really cool thing yesterday.  New Dos and New Shoes at the Collin County Children’s Advocacy Center.  Under-resourced kids got new shoes and new hairdos for going back to school.  Several hairdressers got together to provide these services.  I don’t cut hair, but I told them I would be ‘sweeper girl’ and just support them.  I ended up helping prepare the kids by wetting their hair and combing it out.  I know now why God gave me boys after helping all the cute little girls.  They have lots of hair with lots of tangles.  I guess I would know that if I ever actually brushed mine.

There’s a lot of good in new shoes and haircuts for kids, but this went one step further.  The 3rd good in this was the 3 radical haircuts, where they went from long to short.  I did Locks of Love 2 years ago so I thought surely we can find some rubberbands in this place.  We did.

Carolina is a teenager that was looking for one of those cute shorter haircuts thats longer in the front and shorter in the back.  I’m not a hair chick, so I have no idea what that style is called.  She was the first donation.

Brianna was next, a preteen, looking for a shorter cut.  Again, we scrounged around for some rubber bands and got a lock to send off for donation.

Alisha, our last donor, was one of the kids mom.  She had really long hair and showed an interest in donating hair, after she saw the other two ponytails on the table.  Her hair was still a pretty decent length after the donation.

Since my best friend is a hair stylist, I know how busy they can get, especially with appointments back to back.  Donating hair is such a great way to bless another person with minimal work involved.  The only things you need to have as a hair dresser to be prepared for that radical moment someone decides to go short is this:

  • Plastic baggie
  • Padded envelope
  • Rubber bands
  • Ruler

Why not be prepared?  You have nothing to lose, only goodwill to gain.

Here’s the 3 major hair donation places and addresses:

Locks of Love – 10″ minimum

Locks of Love
234 Southern Blvd.
West Palm Beach, FL 33405-2701

Pantene – 8″ minimum

Pantene Beautiful Lengths
Attn: 192-123
20770 Westwood Dr
Strongsville, OH 44149

Wigs for Kids – 12″ minimum

Wigs for Kids
24231 Center Ridge Road
Westlake, Ohio 44145

I dug out my photos from when I did it.  I like the lower maintenance of shorter hair, but I look like the little dutch boy on the paint can with short hair.  Some people can pull it off, but not me.  I also like being able to do a ponytail at any time.  I’m glad I did it, but I was also happy when my hair started getting longer.  10  inches is a lot!

One more really cool thing was that my church allowed them to take all of our adjustable stools out of guest central to use for the hair cuts.  Setting up a make-shift salon is no easy task.  The stools worked perfectly!  It’s amazing all of the good that can happen when people with really big hearts get together for good.  It’s always great to be a part of working events like this.  A big thanks to everyone that had any part in doing this.  :)


sheet of plywood frame [minimalist challenge item #97]

[item] Full size sheet of plywood with 1×1 framing

[purchase info] This was the backing for a giant Jesus painting that was donated to my church

[time in my possession] Approximately 3 years

[last used] 3 months ago

[difficulty level in getting rid of it] Easy

[destination] The pic says fundraiser, but I gave it to a friend who needed it for a project

[info] I still have the Jesus painting, which was a performance art piece.  The bottom of it started deteriorating, as I had this outside on my patio.  The wind blew it over and it took out my grill years ago.  I loved the painting.  Everyone thought it was kinda creepy looking but I liked it and added leftover paint whenever I had some.

an easter story [day 333]

I found this photo of my son recently.  A photo I obviously did not take.  My mom took this photo years ago after she dressed him up in a bunny suit.  I should probably get rid of these photos so I don’t have to pay his therapy bills.  I can’t comprehend why anyone would purchase anything like this.  This is the epitome of wasted money coupled with psychological issues.

This was an Easter flashback photo.  Today, Easter was nice.  Work and a great lunch with friends.  I don’t care for the commercialized holidays, I prefer to celebrate the true meaning of holidays.  Time to relax, read a devotional and eat a little dinner.  Happy Easter.

what to do with my peeps [day 332]

I used 6 boxes of Peeps to make a video.  Peeps are food, however I didn’t buy them.  After spending some quality time with my Peeps, I really didn’t want to get rid of the little guys.  I took a bite out of one and quickly remembered why I don’t eat them.  They’re cute, but not tasty.  I like the artistic uses for Peeps, but what do you do with them after you play with them?  I handled them for about an hour and they sat in chairs where other ‘peeps’ have been sitting.  I’m quite sure nobody wants to eat them now.  Poor Peeps.  I guess it’s time to get creative and use them in a photo shoot before I send them to a compost pile.

motion art sharing [day 327]

I was given a challenge several weeks ago to come up with an artistic creative element to do during a church service.  I remembered about two years ago, I had seen some motion sand art created on a light table with a camera mounted above it.  As I started fantasizing about doing that myself, I started bringing in other objects like colored glass and string.  I’m not sure when I mentally poured the sand out, but my idea was to use the light table with 3 dimensional objects, bringing an altered art concept to the table.  Here’s a video of the motion art, however the music isn’t perfectly synced on the first song.  Video is obviously not my strongest art form.  😉  [the video will not play on mobile devices]

3D motion art to Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone) & Stronger

So what does this have to do with my ‘no retail shopping’ challenge?  A lot.  When I started the challenge almost a year ago, I said I would need to be able to shop at work if I was told to do so.  I had to get all of the supplies for this project, including the light table.  Of everything needed to create this, I bought 2 things, one of them outside of the challenge, but it was for work.

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on the road [day 311]

I’m doing my post on the open road. No, I’m not driving, I’m a passenger. This is just a quick update on a couple of things, related blog posts soon to follow.
Garage sale for good Yesterday, I donated some stuff to a fund raising garage sale. The sale is not for another week or so, but they’re collecting stuff now so they can organize it and price it. It’s a great story which I’ll share tonight or tomorrow.
Downsizing my clothes again Yes, I did it again. Details soon to follow. I like having less stuff. It really does make a difference in many ways. All positive.
Finished a book I finished the book I was reading, The 100 Thing Challenge by Dave Bruno. I really enjoyed this book and I’m excited to share the details with you.
Have a great rest of the weekend! I’m going to church at Church Under the Bridge this morning.

I talk to strangers [day 289]

I was doing some blog research and ran across this t-shirt.  “I talk to strangers” is the message on the front.  I like this t-shirt and it got me thinking.  I know we’re supposed to teach this concept to our kids, but I haven’t done that.  Do we really want to live in a society where we don’t get to know each other, where there’s no sense of community and where we have a fear of meeting people?  We don’t talk to people and we wonder why loneliness creeps into our lives.  Loneliness can lead to sadness, depression and even addiction.  If you know anything about addictions, you know that people use them as an escape from reality.  Sometimes in the past when I’ve been sad or depressed, I would shop.  Yes, believe it, because I did.  Society tells us that it’s okay, even good, to spend money on frivolous stuff that we don’t need and don’t have money for in the first place.

I put a different spin on this ‘strangers’ thing with my kids.  I tell them to talk to strangers, but not strange people.  What’s the difference?  A guy in a car driving by and offering them some candy, now that’s strange, but a person that they meet at a store or just in daily life being friendly, maybe a stranger temporarily, but a possible friend.  We’ve gone over all the scenarios of what not to do to get abducted, but I don’t want my kids living in fear that the one bad person in the thousands of people is going to harm them.  I watch Criminal Minds and other similar TV shows, making it easy for me to think everyone is out to get us, but should we live in this type of fear?

I can teach my kids to be safe without teaching them to be secluded.  One way, is to help them see that there are many good people in the world.  I try to get them involved with me in local missions or take them places where they meet people.  People that might be different than us.  People that add value to our lives.  The photo is from Church Under the Bridge in Waco, Texas.  That’s Dedrick helping my son fix his shoe.  Dedrick has some sort of mental disability, but is just the kindest man and greets everyone at the church.  He wanted to lead worship, so they gave him a pink guitar (with two strings) and a mic (not hooked up with sound) and he leads worship.  Yes, he’s smoking in the photo.

One may also think it’s crazy for me to think this way.  I’ve been held at gunpoint twice in my life and I’ve had two stalkers, both needing police intervention.  I still believe people are basically good.  If I lived differently, I might have avoided these situations, but I might have also missed out on many good things and not met some really great people.

If you’re wondering how this ties in to no retail shopping, I guess it would be that there’s much more value in people than in material things.  Maybe this is a good thing to teach my kids, or maybe it’s not, but it seems be helping in building character in my kids.  And if you’ve spent any time at all with my kids, you know they’re characters!  I think they get the difference between good strange and bad strange.  Go say hi to a stranger today and see for yourself how it can add value to your life.