Switching gears into homelessness: A journal from day zero

Rethinking homelessness:  I started out by living as a homeless person in my suburban area for two weeks.  Read my blog post to get the full scope of my thoughts and why I wanted to do this.  Please note that I am not homeless, therefore I will never understand what it’s like to be homeless.  I do however, have a better understanding of the struggles homeless people face every day.  If you would like to know more about helping the homeless community, please take a look at Rethink Homelessness.

My journal from day zero

I’m out at 8:59 p.m.  It’s Thursday, and I worked all day trying to get everything done before I left.  I’m struggling to comprehend what I’m doing.  I’m stressed from work and from speaking at a conference in Houston this week.  Switching gears is difficult.

Many times today, I’ve been asked where I’ll go.  I don’t know.  I left my house and drove almost 3 miles to the Tom Thumb parking lot to write this.  I’m so tired.  If I was home, I would be in bed already.  I keep wondering why I wanted to do this in the first place.  I know why, but I’m so tired right now, I can’t really process it.  Continue reading

rethinking a good purchase [day 340]

Some would say I broke the challenge on a purchase this weekend, but if I did, it was in every effort to rethink good.  I was in Mexico, which is why I haven’t been blogging the last few days.  The internet was sporadic and I simply had something better to do… spend time with over 100 beautiful kids.  So what did I buy?   3 corn brooms and 2 padlocks.  I bought other stuff, but that fell into the approved categories of food and toiletries.

My Spanish is limited to about 25 words, so even had I wanted to explain the no shopping challenge, that would not have been possible.  These kids work so hard to keep the orphanage clean, I would have bought them a truckload of brooms if they wanted them.

The locks, although not spoken, had to be for the food pantry and cleaning supply room.  It’s just easier to maintain these when there are some controls in place.

These kids are completely amazing and they take care of each other like nothing I’ve ever seen.  I miss them terribly and I can’t wait to get back down there.  I’ll blog a little more on my shopping trip and other fun adventures down there shortly.  Shopping for necessities really doesn’t take that much thought.  We bought what they needed.  No more, no less.  So did I break my challenge rules?  Yes, no doubt, but it was the right thing to do and I feel great about it.

I’m packing [day 339]

No, I don’t have a gun.  I mean packing for a short trip.  One full day to be exact.  Why do I always feel like I need so much stuff?  A while back, I always had the philosophy that if I forget something, I’ll just buy it.  Rarely did I ever have to take myself up on that.  Now I can’t buy anything if I forget it, so I’m packing a little bit more.  Is this a downside to the ‘no retail shopping’ challenge?  I’m not flying, so no extra bag charges.  It takes a little more time to pack, but that’s okay.

Mental gymnastics.

I need to get packed, there’s no way I’m ever going to be ready in time.  Why did I get rid of the boys suitcases?  Oh yeah, they were too small.  Too small?  Really?  What do they need?  Now they’re going to have to share a bag.  How am I going to keep their stuff separated?  That’s going to be a fight.  Passports!  (run upstairs)  Why do I save all this stuff in my fireproof box?  What if I die and someone has to clean out all my stuff?  (run back downstairs)  Clothing.  Check.  Pajamas.  Check.  Towel, washcloth and shower shoes.  Check.  Camera.  Check.  Wait.  Should I bring both of my cameras?  My lenses?  My tripod?  The kids love to do light painting, but do the batteries work in any of the 30 flashlights?  How did I get 30 flashlights?!  Should I downsize those?  Did I charge the 15 million candlepower cyclops?  Will the kids in Mexico really miss the light painting?  Why do I need all these electronics?  Should I bring the book I want to finish?  Where’s the charger for my camera?  Crap, I’ll need my shutter release cable too.  Zuri, get out of the suitcase.  Wait, we have a cat now.  (phone call)  Will all of this fit in the car?  Should I have gotten an oil change?  Did I pack enough clothes?  What am I forgetting?…  Continue reading

grilling, propane, outdoor movies, teaching man to fish [day 9]

I decided to grill out tonight and was wondering if I was going to need a new propane tank. Since that is energy to cook with, and they sell the tank refills at the grocery store, I have decided this will be okay. I did ponder the fact that it’s not a necessity, as I could cook inside. I also thought that cooking outside versus inside saves on utilities since all of the hot cooking would make the air conditioning run more. Anyway, I’m up for your thoughts on this.

We also went to the outdoor movie in downtown Frisco last night and it was some nice family time. They put up the big inflatable screen and hundreds went to watch Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. I kept thinking I need to bring a small version of this to some apartment complexes in Frisco where the kids can’t go downtown, as their parents are working or they don’t have the transportation.

I also want to post my response to a comment left on the future of shopping post. This is from Ozz…

Well lets see….The US is a CONSUMER based economy it is no surprise that companies attempt to make shopping an easier afair. I think it’s kinda cool but I hate dressing rooms. Just think of the jobs from wiring the stores for this, the dock workers taking the shipments of plasma screens, the software support (ok probably really good for India but ya never know)….etc.

Why some of these impoverished people might get a job due to this, then they can buy the clothes. What a concept instead of handing out…train. It is better to show a man how to fish than to just give him fish.  Continue reading