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Category Archives: Survival

Weekly Photo Challenge: Depth III

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DSCF8813

 

They call it “The Joe”

Home of the Detroit Red Wings

Diamond in the rough

~

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/depth/

Weekly Photo Challenge: Endurance

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squirrel

What a nut!

Precariously poised, this chubby little stinker is reaping the benefits of his autumn stash. He seems oblivious to the elements.

~

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/endurance/

Cardio

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bleeding hearts

 

My heart still beats
Though stitched and sewn with
Threads of hope, frayed
Robotically repaired
In rhythmic mode
Patched up places
Where entry wounds gaping
Took hold of every breath

My heart still beats
Tick tock, tock ticking
Pulse belongs to them
Lovingly tended
Far from mended
But they are the blood
The oxygen saving
My life, my soul, my love

~dedicated to my father and my brother~

 

Today at dVerse Poet’s Pub, Marina Sofia asked us to “consider what does it take to shatter your world and how do you make it whole again”.

http://dversepoets.com/

 

 

 

The Most Humble

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homeless

 

 

Love is nestled deep
In the hearts of the most humble
They are the lost
The forsaken we only speak of
As if this makes us care
Our thoughts, only echos
Bouncing off their dreams
Small change, petty offerings
Pools of pity at their feet
This is not love
Love hides
In sweaty, weathered lines
Of stories untold to us
Because we did not ask
In warm, filthy hands
Held above the fire
Love lies under blankets
Praying to the light
Curled up, messed up
Teardrops, trembling
Love waits patiently
In faded faces, beaten
By stronger hands
And evil minds
Love speaks gently
Or not at all
Cryptic, mute
Silenced by storms
That rage in brains
Unrecognized
Until it’s too late
And love is out the door
On the street
It’s you and me
But we don’t see
Our beds are warm
But we are cold while
Love is nestled deep
In the hearts of the most humble

~~~~

~~~~

This poem is my way of expressing concern for a better understanding of homelessness in our society.

I am inspired by others who have dedicated much more of their time to directly reach out with acts of generosity, moments of kindness, friendship and most of all…conversation. It is this respect that sets an example for others. If the majority of us do no not speak to those on the street, then thank God there are people like Dennis Cardiff , Kaze Gadway who do…..on a regular basis.

In addition to his blog “Gotta Find a Home”, Dennis has recently published ” Gotta  Find a Home- Conversations with Street People” which documents his conversations with the homeless as he visits and interacts with them without judgement.  You can find a digital version at Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, Apple iTunes and Flipkart.  Print versions are available at Amazon.  “All profits will be used to support the Ottawa Innercity Missions, Street Outreach Program and those people forced onto the streets.”

Kaze Gadway blogs at “KazeStories” sharing her experiences as she spends time with the homeless, offering them water and blankets and talking with them. I admire her willingness to become involved by not only acknowledging them, but by listening to their stories, offering hope, comfort and helpful ideas if only to get through the day. Her compassion is put into action on the streets of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Please take the time to check out both of their blogs.

Photograph: Courtesy of Steve Huff  from a collection called “My Homeless Project”.

His candid shots portray the hardships of life on the streets of Phoenix, AZ .  Steve took the time to speak to homeless men and women during his daily walks to learn of  the real life events and situations that lead to homelessness. In exchange they allowed him to take their photographs.

Clinging to Words

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I have to write

The fingers hit the keys

Eyes on the ceiling

Heart in my hand

Pumping

Beating out the rhythm

Of a song that only I know

But somehow you sing to it

Find some kind of meaning to it

That represents your life

And validates your strife

 

I have to write

Phrasing what I’m feeling

Truth in disguise

Haven for narration

Flowing

Growing like a reed

To save myself from drowning

From the demons I’ve created

In the words articulated

I will hold on

And continue this song

 

I have to write…

 

reeds

Proceed

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October 210

Sometimes

You must walk on

Through reeds

That sway sweetly

In silence

Because silence is the word

Telling you to move forward

Speaking to your mind

Comforting your soul

Picking up your feet

Along the trail of truce

Even if it only leads

Back to your own heart

proceed

for dVerse Poet’s Pub, Open Link Night

http://dversepoets.com/2013/10/22/open-link-night-119/

She Needs Your Help

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July 2013 001

Last week, I had to find a way to provide a family member with all the basic essentials of life. She had nothing but a bed, a couch and a few personal belongings. It is a very long story that I will not tell except to say that her situation is of no fault of her own and I would not wish it upon anyone. If I had to live like her, I probably wouldn’t choose to live on this earth. Helping her was a necessity. It reminded me of how blessed I am to have a roof over my head and food to eat. It reminded me of others who are in similar situations of desperation as my family member. It reminded me of Cheryl, a fellow blogger who just needs a job to turn things around. Sounds easy, but it isn’t.

I know I have stood on this soap box a few times already, but it’s my soap box. You can simply turn the page if you wish…

 We are not all given the same opportunities.

We are not all blessed with families that are willing or able to help us.

We are not all blessed with healthy bodies or healthy minds.

We are not all blessed with minimal disasters that fall upon us.

We are not all fortunate to succeed from our hard work. Some work harder than us and get half as far.

We are not all able to work.

Some of us struggle every day just to eat, pay a bill, keep our sanity or find even one small fragment of hope to carry on.

 I am asking that you really think about how you will be inconvenienced if you were to give a small amount to someone who is at risk of losing their home. If I can leave myself short to reach out to another, then believe me…so can you.

When you truly give, you look into your heart, not your bank book.

I hope you will look into your heart to help my fellow blogger and friend.

http://allbuthomeless.wordpress.com/

You can also check out her web design services at

http://deesebydesign.weebly.com/

Particles of the Past

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blog pic

The past can resurface

 Creep into your disbelieving mind

Because now you see it differently

The validity of discontent

How much you truly suffered

And how far you have come

Now you see

The pain as a separate entity

An unwelcome foe from long ago

Knocking on your mind

Rattling your fortress of serenity

Trying to find a way in

blog pic2

The past can return

Play with your peace of mind

Because it never really goes away

It is yours to subdue and restrain

Yours to push back into the darkness

Far from your precious light

Now you see

Under the light that you have kindled

With broken sticks and broken dreams

How easily walls can fall down

Leaving you vulnerable once more

Exposing your scars

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The past can sweep you away

Determined to turn you to dust

Shoving you back in the pile

Of degraded debris and dismay

Now you see

How easy it was to crumble

Because words alone can crush you to pieces

And it’s hard to get up

When you are a tiny particle

Of the past

Journey of Empathy

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March 21st 2011 weekend in Las Vegas 231

Not all passages are smooth

And some have traveled long

On winding, washed out trails

That led to nowhere

It takes so little

To pave their stony path

Tiny offerings of hope and comfort

Can burnish a bumpy road

http://allbuthomeless.wordpress.com/

Searching For Signs of Life

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I usually alternate between my “50 Things I’ve Learned” posts, some poetry, amateur photography and the occasional reblog.
Today is different.

Today I feel the need to simply vent about something that is bothering me and express what is on my mind. I can’t move forward until I do.
I stumbled upon a blogger named Jorge who is desperate for funding in order to keep himself and his seven year old daughter from being homeless. I know it is hard to believe that there is not a support system in place in the U.S.A.  that will make sure this doesn’t happen, but apparently there are voids in the system. He lives in a small town in Kansas. He has approached social services many times and has been told that he only qualifies for food assistance and medicare for his daughter. He qualifies for $225 per month to live on. From what I read on his blog, he has been on an extremely frustrating job search for months. As his savings have run dry, he faces the prospect of the streets with his daughter. For this reason, he has resorted to reaching out to total strangers for help for daily survival as he continues his search. He served in the military but was discharged because he did not have a sufficient family plan in place that would secure his daughter’s well being if something were to happen to him. He has knocked on many doors for help and he has been turned down.

This is the story. This is the story that I choose to believe based on the consistent information provided in his blog, his responses to questions that others have asked and on my OWN intuition that I have great trust in.
It is HIS story and there are so many other stories like his. We always have the choice to believe them or not. We always have the choice of acting on them or not. We are privileged to have the option to make a difference in someone’s life. There are some things that we will never be 100 percent sure of. Does this mean that we should turn the other way?
What I am struggling with is humanity in general, the lack of human spirit and the fear of taking risks on others. I am surprised by the overall distrust and lack of response to someone’s pleas for help when they are really not asking for much. It’s made me even question my own judgement when I feel like the extreme minority willing to help in a VERY small way. Then I remember who I am, who I’ve always striven to be and think…..NO, this is right. This is right for ME. Whether I am naive in giving or not, It just baffles me that there are not more people like me.  Where is everybody? Did I land on Planet “I Don’t Give a Shit!” If so, I’m looking for the next shuttle out.

October 2011 767
You can hear the frustration in Jorge’s posts. He has been faulted often for the way he presents his dilemma and others do have the right to their opinion seeing that he has opened himself up to be scrutinized. Yes, maybe Jorge’s strength is not in how he writes.  Maybe he sounds ungrateful as he talks about the lack of donations he has received. I am sure there is more to Jorge than we can surmise from his blog. I am sure there is more that is just none of our business. He has already forfeited his dignity and many details of his circumstances. It is my belief, however, that when we truly give from the heart, we may never know all the details. We may not know for sure. Knowing would be easy. Giving when you know for sure you have nothing to lose , is easy. The biggest gift you can give is one that leaves you without something. Maybe that “something” is certainty. Maybe we are not to know for sure when we truly give.

Can the homeless man on the street prove to you that he is there based on a string of bad luck or lack of assistance for a mental disorder? We can walk away because we assume he is there based on his own demise or we can simply give him a few dollars we’d probably not even miss to get him through another day. Yes, maybe he’s an alcoholic. Some live in houses and some live on the street. The only difference is that the ones in houses have the means to stay there……for now.
There is a point where someone BECOMES homeless. Their resources become depleted. They may have additional stresses that catapult the downward spiral. They may have family that cannot or will not help. They may not have any family at all. They may be inflicted by a mental illness. One of three of us will experience this in our lifetime. Take a good look at what is available for help in this area. It is a crime.

I ask of you to look within your heart, not your mind. Free yourself of doubt and greed….and simply give. You don’t have to donate to Jorge. You don’t have to help out Sherry in Florida, who is also struggling . You can help the next person you see on the street, the one you are not sure of. It is your own risk to take. Think of what you could lose.
Then think about what you could gain.
http://jorgeoyola716.wordpress.com/
http://allbuthomeless.wordpress.com/

Wanted: Ten Nice People

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September 2011 739

I was thinking about a fellow blogger’s dilemma. Actually I think about her a lot. I think about how she has sacrificed everything, hanging on to her dignity to reach out to total strangers.  What absolutely amazes me is the reluctance of others to help, even with a few dollars.

We see homeless people on the street.  They weren’t born there. They started from a place where the bottom finally let loose, there was nothing else to hold on to, no one else to approach for help, nowhere else to GO. It is a turning point that most of us can only imagine. Lucky us.

So, when you have the opportunity to do such a SIMPLE and SELFLESS thing for someone that could be the difference between security in their home and being on the street, why do we hesitate to do it?

Is it because we would really miss that ten dollars?

Is it because we think they will ask for more?

Is it because we question their story?

Is it because we think it is wrong for them to ask?

Is it because we think our small contribution wouldn’t make a difference?

Is it because we have no time?

Is it because we think they don’t work hard enough?

These are questions we may never have the all the answers to. However, we throw a dollar into a hat and hope for the best ( or maybe assume the worst). We donate money to charities without always researching their administrative costs.

In this case, one human being has bared her soul, shared the personal financial details of her mortgage, her bills and her urgent situation. Most of all, she has shared her heart.

Her heart is GIVING.  Her heart is STRONG. Her heart is GRATEFUL.

I have never met her. As much as I’d like to, I don’t need to in order to know that she deserves any help that she is given. I don’t need to research her. All of the facts are on her blog. I will not miss the very small offering I have given her. I KNOW that it made a difference. She has not asked for more. I do not question her story. I don’t think it’s wrong of her to ask for help because that is ALL she has left right now. I believe she IS working hard to change her situation. Some situations cannot be resolved without a helping hand. This is one of them.

Her most urgent need at the moment is to keep her power on in her mobile home. She needs 145 dollars to do this. YES, she has many other needs! That is what happens when you spiral into  poverty. It doesn’t mean that things won’t change. It just means that RIGHT NOW, assistance is needed.

If TEN nice people gave TEN dollars, it would help her more than we can ever know. It eliminates one of the burdens on her shoulders, giving her more time and strength to deal with the others.

Her name is Cheryl and her story is at allbuthomeless.wordpress.com

You can donate many ways but to help with her immediate power bill, all the necessary information to do this is on one of her posts at:

http://allbuthomeless.wordpress.com/2013/06/02/reprieves-are-great-but-help-please/

You can email her at allbuthomeless@gmail.com if you have any questions.

I will leave you with a quote from one of her recent posts because I admire her writing skills and her philosophical thoughts.

“ If you have to overthink the deed , analyze, speculate or procrastinate or even doubt despite your ability to make a difference , you probably shouldn’t do it. Because, certainly if it causes you angst, you will find no satisfaction in your generosity .”

 

 ~Cheryl~ (“Hot Southern Mess”)

 

Ten from ten.

Are you in??

Common Ground

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There is a common ground we walk on

Dirt, sand, rock, mud

It doesn’t matter

It is the place for our feet to walk

To rest, to run

Where balance begins

To align our spine, our soul

A comparable  posture

That life is hard

It can beat you down

To a place where

Hands and knees

Are only required

There is a common ground we walk on

Gravel, grass, ice, clay

The surface may vary

But the purpose does not

We march, we skip, we fall

To the drum of hope

To the sound of sorrow

In a global orchestra

Parading on pavement

For the same goals

The same desires

To live in peace

Or simply to live

Strength Where There is Nothing Else (50 Things I’ve Learned in 50 Years….#12)

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#12. “You are much stronger than you think. You just have to tap into it.”

There is an abyss that exists in my mind.

I have been there.

It is a place of darkness, unimaginable hopelessness , shock, denial, fear…but most of all, it is empty.

It is nothingness with the relentless power to end you as you know you and your life as you know it.

You try to move…..you can’t.

Cold reality has its grip on you so tight, it is easier to succumb to it, than it is to fight.

The ground you walked on crumbles under you and the only way to go is down.

You bounce around in the tunnel of blackness, empty headed.

There is no mercy here. You surrender to the unidentified force that surrounds you.

Nothing else means a thing. This place is center stage and you are the audience tied to your seat.

Nothing moves. Nothing cares.

You are still.

Sometimes there is more strength in stillness, in silence.

Sometimes what we don’t do is stronger than what we do.

Sometimes our strength is not about our stamina, courage or our energy.

Sometimes……it comes from the faintest whisper in our mind, the weakest part of our sanity……the dimmest light.

Sometimes we can only find enough strength to extend one tired and desperate  hand

……and hold on.