Feel like a phony?

02Last week I had dinner with a friend and he felt the need to point out that I belong. I constantly second guess myself and any abilities that I do or don’t have which may be why I start a lot of things and don’t finish them all or I do some things really well, but the little bits that would make the completed project perfect are crap.

Maybe I do this to prove to myself that I am a phony.

Some times

Really I just feel like a phony a lot and never quite feel worthy of the things that I have worked for and the accomplishments that I have earned. I’m a mish mash of ideas and thoughts and theories that make an interesting person who doesn’t want to talk about them so when they come out on paper they make me sound mad.

I can talk shop with anyone…to a point. I don’t share my best ideas and I often hold back from the conversation all together. If I talk to you with any depth it’s because I’ve decided your trustworthy. But I still don’t share. Not vocally.

I share here, but even there I haven’t shared much in the last year and a half. I have plenty going on I just don’t want to sound showy or “Hey, hey, look at me now!” So many of the bloggers that I connected with at the inception of this blogging journey are still struggling with their finances and lifestyles. I’m not. Sure I have problems, but they are nothing when compared to the stories that I read and the struggles that I have faced and I feel like a phony finding a complaint. Clearly this isn’t a humor blog. I don’t do obvious humor.

I feel it is now my mission to not dawdle in the past strife, but to build up others as much as possible. How can I share a piece of the good word, a good idea, a good thought that may make a day brighter. Likewise I share stories of others that need to be shared because it’s news that you won’t see unless you’re looking. That takes a lot less space, so it’s all on Twitter or Facebook (Friend me I will accept).

Often I feel like a phony, an imposter, a person who does not deserve all this goodness. I feel the past follows me like a cloak waiting to wrap itself around me in a swift wind. Not that it warms me, but it makes me cold. The emotions of the craziness that didn’t feel crazy until I stepped away and looked back. I feel like someone somewhere is just waiting to throw the cloak on me even though I’ve grown up, I’ve changed, and there is so little of that person remaining. That sad girl who wanted so much to feel the warmth of love and being needed that she clung to the first person who passed her way. I still haven’t figured that out. Why did the thing that damages have to be the thing that stuck for so long?

That may be a question I can never answer.

I feel like a phony to have bigger dreams. To want to be and do more in this world. All the dreams I write about on this blog…I want to see them realized, but that cloak of doubt keeps the fear inside me. I don’t deserve my dreams to become reality because I didn’t do this or that, or I don’t look a certain way.

Why is that? How many of you feel this way? How many of you hold yourselves back because you don’t feel worthy?

Damn it – FEEL WORTHY!

I say this to myself as much as I say it to you.

We belong. We have earned it. We fight for it daily.

The things we have accomplished are worth talking about. Every day little wins are worth sharing. Letting people know that this day is an awesome day because you woke up and set out to conquer the day is worth being said!

Don’t be afraid. You are not a phony.

Surround yourself with positive reinforcement and bring light to the world.

When you see that light in someone else – that kinship – reach out to them!

It’s only by building ourselves and others up that we finally begin to feel worthy.

For a bit of inspiration tonight watch:

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Why Not Overestimate What You Can Do?

This afternoon I had every intention of coming home at the end of the day and posting a blog reworking day one of The Purpose Driven Life. Well…crap…life happens and things change…so I don’t get to write that post because there is other stuff going on.

Life…the eternal brevity of life.

We are all here forever in our minds. Our days become months that turn into years that form our lives. We don’t know why we are here in the grand scheme of things and where are we going?? Only time will tell us.

But we are here and we are intelligent and for better or worse we will make it work.

There was a quote that I shared once on people overestimating what they can do in a day, but underestimating what they can do in a life. What can we do? What can we change? How can we live to our potential in the quick succession of our many days?

Is it even important that we change the world to effect change on the world?

I don’t think so.

We can change the entire future of our planet by simply changing how we relate to it. We need to realize our power is not in the halls of government or the corner offices of commerce, but in how we live out each and every one of our days.

Today several things have happened that I think will have an impact on me for a while. First, something as simple as a book club. This book club was not just a small group of girls gathering to read fiction. This book club is at my office. I now work for a Fortune 100 (plus a few) company. We are a STEM company and are trying to stay the leading company in our field. The book we are reading is Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg.

Here’s the thing. Our industry is traditionally dominated by men. They are the great builders, engineers and designers…at least in theory. But our office has something special that I don’t think many of the women (several thousand) understand the value of – we have a female chief operating officer running our campus.

Our big cheese is a woman!

This is abundantly important for us as women!

I am not going to look up the exact statistic now, but the ratio of female to male COOs of companies our size is miniscule! Then considering our industry…I was shocked that there weren’t more women at book club! I don’t think we would have had this book club if it wasn’t for her belief in possibility.

I have heard so many times women complain that they do all the work but never get the reward. The men get to have all the glory, but the women are the one holding it all together. Head down, pencil to paper, getting shit done.

Simple truth is – if your head is always in the muck – it will only ever see more muck.

How many women are so wrapped in their work that they don’t look up and see the opportunity? How many are concentrating so hard on what is that they don’t see the possibility of what could be? I am just getting into the book, but I challenge women to stand up, find their power, show up to the meetings, be heard. Make a difference!

So much happens when we are present, not just in body, but in mind and awareness.

Second thing that happened today…an awareness of self, not self-awareness, but an awareness that if I just keep working, growing, learning, and pushing that I will be where I always thought I would. It may not be the exact place or thing that was in my mind, but it is working out exactly how God made it.

This reminded me that we each on a different path and that there are no shortcuts to ease the pain. The pain is there to make you stronger. The hardships we face are intolerable when they happen, but when we finally taste success the result is sweeter because we can acknowledge the pain of the past.

Finally, TED. Dear sweet, amazing TED. This week is TED active and my inbox has exploded with massive amounts of info-porn. Seriously. My favorite week’s are TED week’s because the ideas and information that come out of them are transformational for each of us individually and all of us globally. So many things that changed as a result of putting these ideas into ACTIONS.

What is an idea if it can’t be put into action?!

A waste of freaking time!!!

I love the philanthropic, socially aware, more political ideological discussions, and today was mind-blowing. I am still watching, because I was late to the party, but it is all on video. I highly suggest you all watch it.

Here’s what ties the day’s events together. When we look up from the day-to-day and we see the possibility of what could be it is up to us to grab it, to hold it, to nurture it into existence. We must breathe the life into the thing that gives us purpose, that gives us life.

If your thing is simply living life as joyfully as possible and showing that joy to everyone you meet then do it. Your smile and easy laughter will change hearts and won’t cost a dime. If you are Bill and Melinda Gates and your thing is creating a planet that sees the best possible future in vaccinations and education improvements for children. Then do that!

We are each blessed with different gifts, scopes, and thought processes. The important thing is that you do it.

Please watch the evenings TED events here. TED2014: The Next Chapter
http://conferences.ted.com/TED2014/

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Kiev : A Little Over a Week Later

Wasn’t it just a little over a week ago that people were dancing in Kiev’s Independence Square ecstatic that they had the ability to change their stars?

Didn’t they laugh and sing and enjoy being “Happy”?

Kiev Happy

Isn’t it amazing what has followed? Is amazing the right word?? More like astonishing or unbelievable or terrifying…

I keep wondering about the varying storylines. Who is really pulling the strings?

No…Conspiracy theories help no one.

What I get caught in is the politics of intimidation and watching the most powerful political leaders of the world dance. One is leading, one is following, and then they reverse rolls.

During different points of the week you could see where Russia was gathering up the Ukraine and pulling her around the floor. Then the next day the United States would have the Ukraine bound for the other side of the dance floor. This constant back and forth following one then the other all over the dance floor…all the while the audience of watched.

The audience changed depending on who was leading. When it was Putin you could hear the echoes of the people in Crimea chanting their allegiance to a Russia few of us recognize. When Kerry finally took the lead you could hear the people who believe in the possibility of a free Ukraine.

I’ve been watching this incredible event escalate and diminish. I’m just dumfounded by the insanity.

Ukraine is a country. A democratic nation that could and should be free from the trappings of a parent nation. Ukraine does not need to be a state of Russia…or anyone.

What do you need when building a successful nation?

I think it is the same as what you need to build a successful future for a business. You need to know why you want the changes that you do and you need to stand by them. Write out a vision of what you need and want. Live by that vision. There is also a reason for beliefs in tolerance and understanding and an intrinsic openness and transparency.

Maybe this is more about building a nation that will last in this age, the age of Wikileaks and NSA Surveillance. The people that want to ask you to dance are going to know everything about you already, so you may as well be honest about it.

If Putin had simply acknowledged and validated the changes that occurred in the Ukraine instead of having violently restrained outbursts about the changes that will happen, none of these problems would exist.

For a summary of the days events please visit Human Rights Watch for the storify timeline.  http://www.hrw.org/the-day-in-human-rights

I had and still have high hopes that Ukraine is able to become the country that it wants to be. I hope that the Russian government and more pointedly Vladimir Putin realize that times have changed. I hope that “The Western” nations that are helping Ukraine set up for the future do not trap her in the methods and practices that won’t lead to success.

It’s been a week, I said last week that the fight was just beginning, but this is not the fight I had in mind.

candles

Practice: My favorite spot

I am trying some basic writing practice because well…I need it. I have been gone too long and I’ve been far too inconsistent with my writing. I hope the practice will get my groove back and if you have anything you think I might find fun as a prompt please feel free to leave it in the comments.

My Favorite Spot

My favorite spot warms in the sun under a giant oak tree. The massive trunk is my support as I sit among the knobby roots that have grown out of the ground all around the tree. The sunlight filters through a high canopy of leaves dancing like fairies on delicate blades of grass below. Full branches stretch higher and higher coming full circle and skirt to the ground as though they’ve long grown tired of their task they sit in repose on the lawn. I stare out from beneath my perch and hear children laughing in the distance, a dog barking a block a way and the constant echo of traffic not far away.

I try to read, but it does not work.

I try to write but words fail me.

So I sit and I watch the light dancing and find where the children are laughing. There is a class by the look of them twenty students boys and girls about age seven running and jumping and playing in the neighboring park. A park bare of playthings, but a broken obelisk and more knobby oaks, but a park just the same set free from the being broken and spent as a plot of land for consumption. Green space in a vast city is a many splendor thing and often a hard battle was fought to keep it green. I watch them for a moment as the children study the statue and the teacher explains its meaning.

The breeze sends my hair tickling my nose as I turn to ponder the lawn. It stretches a full city block in front of me luscious and green. It is bisected by two stone paths leading to the door of the museum. But…this museum starts out here. There are three steel statues built into the ground and the inconsistency of them has always set my OCD on edge. One is a jagged line another has smooth round edges, I am sure it all means something very deep, but it’s lost on me. I enjoy art for the sake of art and beauty for the sake of beauty. This lawn is a work of beauty.

To my left is a great structure of grey and glass, built out of the love a man had for his wife. It is thoroughly modern and a testament to good architecture it is so serene it makes you wonder of the couples life, was it so serene? I am sitting outside the Menil Collection in midtown Houston basking in the sunlight, patiently awaiting the 11 am opening time. Picking up my pen again I write of dancing sunlight and sunken treasures.

photo

A Poem: Bird

Life is funny
It can’t be seen
Constantly directed behind the scenes.
We follow a path drawn on a cloud
Get lost, wander, find our way around
As years pass we plant our roots
Get married, have kids,
Grow radiant in the light
Leave our dreams to the night.
Then we age a year in a day
Suddenly aware that change is near
Funny this life
We built solidly seems
To trickle away like falling leaves.
A season has passed
Our roots cannot hold us
Dreams pursuing us
One day we wake
We realize
We were the bird
Not the tree.
We are free to fly
From sea to sea.

Birds, Gulf of Mexico photo by Me

Birds, Gulf of Mexico photo by Me

Jobless isn’t the end of the World – Right?

What do you do when you are faced with a problem?

Do you tuck tail and hide? (Because that’s what I feel like doing.)

Do you ignore the chatter and rise from the ashes? (Hope to do)

Eat pumpkin anything and gain 20 pounds? (As I type I am eating delicious pumpkin bread pudding…and it’s amazing!)

Here is the problem – and it’s not really a problem – just something else on the path to understanding. I am losing my job. I have been here since April 2012, and I have worked my tail off letting everything including this blog suffer and for what? To be told that since your boss was a bad boss we had to let him go and since we have a whole team assembled who can do your job in another city we are going to let them do it.

Sure, they have offered to move me to one of two locations – without an increase in pay – one is in the middle of desert surrounded by the pollution that I loathe and the other is deep in hickville away from proper civilization. I don’t require much, but for a girl who loves theater, symphony music, and museums…hickville’s not going to cut it.

So I am here…arriving at decision time with three months to decide my fate.

Pulled from Google Images - If you know who made it I will give them full credit.

Pulled from Google Images – If you know who made it I will give them full credit.

I guess it’s really not three months, more like two and a half, but it is also right at the holiday season when NO ONE wants to hire!

It would be perfect if I could leave here at the end of the year, take a week off, and start right up somewhere else, but to get them to even look at my resume. No actually it would be perfect if “they” could find a way to keep me for at least a few more years, or if they could pay me more, or if I didn’t have to be on the road 3 hours a day just commuting to and from work.

I figure that’s just part of life living in one of the most spread out cities in the country.

I get excited at the idea of leaving…but where would I go? What will I do? Where will I live?

Do I move to get out of a city full of smog?

Do I find something that keeps the rest of my life as it is and just humbly soldier on?

Honestly, I do have responsibilities here.

I lead a Cub Scout den. I will start leading Danielle Laporte’s Desire Map book club for the “South of Houston” area in January (I would have to give that up – and I don’t wanna.) I am a member of a church that I have grown to love and get excited to attend every week.

I would love to work locally though, heck – I’d love to work from home! Wouldn’t that be awesome! I could do a lot if I worked from home. I would save money and not be on the road so much. I don’t think it will happen, but it is fun to dream.

I feel stuck. I shouldn’t because I have time, experience, and options on my side.

I feel let down because something I thought would last is ending.

I feel nervous because of timing and possibilities. Fortunately some of those possibilities are out of my control and with a little prayer and meditation the nervousness can be tempered.

I also feel excited by those possibilities. What could happen if I just step out of this shell that I’ve encased myself in? What if I find exactly what I am looking for in a job and career?

What if something amazing happens because now I get to look for it out in the open without recourse by my employer because they told me to see what’s out there?

Now time to reread my post from last week…I think that line of thinking is key to my next step.

Until next time –

Just found on Raw for Beauty’s facebook page, by way of the Desire Map group. It’s long but so beautiful and appropriate for this post.

What makes You itch?

What makes you itch? ~Alan Watts

I love that.

I hear that and so many ideas come to mind. Writing the great American Novel, Globe School, having a Bed and Breakfast, being a stay at home mom, or being a successful independent business woman. But what really makes me itch? More pointedly, as Alan asks at the end of the video

“What do I desire?”

All kinds of things.

Galveston Beach - Sunset September 29

Galveston, Sunny Beach, Sunset – September 29, 2013

I challenge you to ask yourself every morning while you are brushing your teeth,

“What do I desire today?”

Where will you be if you work to create the feelings inside of you that fulfill that desire?

Do you desire happiness? This is a choice made each day. Make it and own your happiness.

Do you desire freedom? We are not as free as we once were, but we are as free as we want to be to drive down the road with the top down, to run around the beach, to go out into the world and experience it. We are free to be ourselves. Claim your freedom.

Do you desire love? This is trickier, but I think you must love yourself broken and bruised before anyone else can love you. Until the day you meet someone who is the shining reflection of your inner light keep yourself a work in progress.

Don’t let yourself be defined by the people who may have broken you before.

You are worthy of love. Believe it.

But these aren’t really what this video is about. This video is about way more than that.

Alan Watts is speaking about the quality of your life.

“What would you do if money were no object?”

Imagine for a moment that you are the most wealthy woman (or man) to ever inherit money on the planet and never had to work another day in your life.

How would you fill the hours?

Would you paint?

Would you write?

Would you buy a farm and tend the land?

Would you fight for the causes that cause you the most heartache?

Would you simply live life and raise a family?

Would you spend your life in selfish pursuits? I’m not judging, it’s a valid choice.

Dock for Post 10-10

Galveston Bay, Sometime in April, from the balcony of Noah’s Ark Cafe

I think I would not hesitate on globe school a moment longer. My sons and I would head out as soon as the money was in the bank! But even traveling and educating them would leave me with a hole, a void that would need to be filled.

I do not exist in a vacuum. I see through the façade too easily to be able to live so solitarily for too long.

After our journey I would buy a B&B somewhere and settle into writing books and cleaning toilets and making delicious gourmet treats. I would find a way to give back to the community.

But life isn’t this way. We have to work. We have to live. We have to make money for the things that pay for the fact that we live in the world we do.

On second thought and as Alan Watts states in the video,

“If money IS the only thing, then you will spend your entire life completely wasting your time.”

I have moments where I know I am completely wasting my time. I do too much that I have to do and not enough of what I want to do. I ignore the desires. I hide in my happiness because that is a choice I make each day, but it’s not always how I feel.

That’s not right!

We all enter the world with a purpose that is ours to discover and we are blessed with the abilities to do it, whatever “it” is.

Money is a means by which we have to live, but it should not define us.

What if we stopped focusing so much on monetary value and started to focus on our worth?

What if we focused on our passion?

What would you do?

Would you write? Would you paint? Would you have more children? Would you give of yourself to charity?

It is baffling, but there are actually people who love to sit at a desk all day maintaining ledgers and making the world run.

What if we each did what we were meant to do instead of what we have to do?

So much of our daily activity is soul crushing and menial.

Statistically as our society and culture became center more on money, than on pursuits of passion, the need for mental health treatment has risen – dramatically.

That should tell you something.

We have problems because we were not made to have money as our only focus. We were not made to be slaves to a clock or to sit in cubes and offices all day doing nothing but mindless tasks.

We were made to create!

We were made to be free!

We were made to love and live on this miraculous planet.

So, what makes you itch?

“Being In Service to Something Larger Than Yourself”

Every day we are told to do what is best for our own self-interests.

Do whatever you need to do to give yourself the best life possible, who cares what happens to everyone else. They are not your problem.

I can’t get over how wrong I think this idea of life is…I am not the only one.

I personally think that nature is the best teacher for this and it’s in nature that you can see how interdependent we are meant to be.  We are not meant to be islands unto ourselves. It may be a dog eat dog world, but it wasn’t supposed to be.

I envision a world where we are each dependent upon each other. No one has to go without because there is plenty to go around. I don’t think it’s socialist to change and equate the systems. There is no reason for poverty and homelessness. There is no reason for greed and persecution. There should be no place for these things in our world.

Yet they are everywhere.

What do you suppose would happen if we chose to live a different way?

What do you suppose would happen if you reached out and helped those around you?

Watch this video. I am not the only one who has a new vision for our planet.

We are not individuals. We are all one. We have to grow beyond that thinking.

 

“Bow into service.”

Become “the more beautiful world your heart knows is possible.”blog

Courage to be…me

In 2009, I had this idea for a blog so that people could learn from my life experience before they stepped out their front door and got burned. I never wrote it. It may still be out there, somewhere, in cyberspace, ready and waiting for me to write it, but that will never happen.

Instead I moved to New York.

I packed up my car, my kid, and my husband and left in search of something.

Do you know that feeling when nothing that you are doing is who you are and you need to change your life dramatically to keep from being put into an asylum?

You don’t? You’re lucky.

changes%20next%20exit

I used to have that feeling often. Instead of complaining one more time I left.

In search of me – thinking I would find her somewhere other than where I was located.

I had a lot of fun meandering up the Atlantic coast. I didn’t originally set out for New York, but that was where we ended up. We settled into life in Central New York in my brother’s third floor walkup.

Luckily, things worked out. We had a fun time (until we didn’t).

Though, I still didn’t find me.

Where was I? Surely I was supposed to go far from home, and I would find me hidden in the bushes. I would rise to greatness (or at least happiness).

I would sprout invisible wings and fly!

It didn’t happen, nothing happened…except a deep seated unhappiness from being the cause of disappointment…again.

By the end of September 2010, my husband and I had given up on each other. We were incompatible for a number of reasons and I have shared the tale within this blog. I won’t repeat the sadness, but I will say that I felt the tie sever. After 10 years in an alcoholic/codependent relationship it was about damned time!

It was at the end of February 2011 that I sat down and typed my first blog post. I was sitting in my son’s hospital room with my shiny new laptop and just started writing.

I had been reading blogs for many for years. I had been inspired by them to change my life so drastically and ultimately it was the blogs that brought me back home. The posts that spoke of home and family with such reverence that I couldn’t help but long for the familiar, even as familiar as our life had become in isolated dysfunction.

I wanted to see my family.

I wanted to be home again.

I wrote almost daily for the first few weeks of this blog. It was more of a diary than well written or thought provoking, eloquent posts on American life. I found a family of fellow bloggers that understood my struggles and would offer sage advice.

I lamented single motherhood with a 5 year old and a 6 month old, and people wrote to me that they understood! I found solace in a community of “stranger friends” when I wrote about the relationships in my life.

And then it happened.

I found me.

Somewhere between the words I found out that I was right here all along. I didn’t need to go about the world looking for me. I need to go inside and write it out.

I needed time alone with me.

Blogging is like this for some.

You spend all your time in your head getting the words to screen and you discover that everything you needed was inside you. It was there and if you had just been still enough, if you had just been quiet enough, you would have figured it out.

It was like a whisper in the breeze at first. Then the muse becomes more apparent and then you find your voice.

I found fulfillment in my words, writing through the pain and the struggles.

I discovered compassion for myself and others.

Compassion asks us to go where it hurts, to enter into places of pain, to share in brokenness, fear, confusion, and anguish. Compassion challenges us to cry out with those in misery, to mourn with those who are lonely, to weep with those in tears. Compassion means full immersion in the condition of being human. ~Henri Nouwen

Through blogging I found clarity.

Appearance blinds, whereas words reveal.~Oscar Wilde

Over the course of the last two years I found the courage to just be me.

I think if I hadn’t started blogging it would have taken a lot longer to get here. By making who I am more public and accessible I have to hold myself accountable. I have left myself vulnerable to people who stumble across my blog. I’ve become unapologetic about the content, the dissension, the thought provoking meanderings, and the whimsical smatterings of my dreams.

I am so thankful to all of you who come back to read every post.

Late last week I stumbled upon a hashtag on Twitter for #TXBloggers, then I found hashtag #BlogElevated there are so many meanings to that – to blog elevated.

My mind goes on overdrive when I ponder the words. Blog Elevated, I don’t know what meaning they want us to infer but I find myself wanting to be more profound. More eloquent. I want to dive deeper into compassion. I want to leap into globe school. I want to wage war against ignorance.

I want to find more of my heart’s desire.

Blog Elevated is a conference. Our very own conference right here in HOUSTON! I couldn’t believe it. I am hoping to go. I hope that I can learn about taking Small Wonders & Other Thoughts to the next level. I hope that you all will go along for the ride. It promises to be fun and educational.

If you happen to be in the Houston area in the middle of September and want to go with me the link to register for Blog Elevated is here.

blog-elevated-flyer

(I hope you all can make it!)

The Cusp of Homelessness

Do you remember in History class learning about the troubles of the Great Depression?

How the stock market crashed and the population who had once only been poor grew destitute?

Do you remember reading The Grapes of Wrath in English class?

What about the old Life magazine photos?

One of the most popular photos of the Great Depression.

One of the most popular photos of the Great Depression.

The soup kitchen lines and the trail of dust behind the model T as it took off across the plains?

These images and stories are sealed into our minds because we think of how bad they had it and how far our country has come. We have the resources to create the best future imaginable for humanity – as a whole.

Why don’t you metaphorically close your eyes with me for a moment?

(I’m going to write a story.)

Meet Anna

Meet Anna

Monday morning Anna awoke. She knew she should go to work, but in her mind she had been reeling from the stress of having to hold it all together. She knows that everything will work out as it should, but there is still this shrill voice of consciousness. The voice that keeps her from sleeping properly or from stepping out on a limb because if things change in life her house of cards could come tumbling down.

So, Anna stayed home. She hugged her children tight. She made oatmeal for breakfast. She turned on the television to find the cable disconnected. Oops, she thought, I guess I need to call them. It was the first time she had been that late on a bill since he left. Oh well, it would work out.

After breakfast she wondered outside to check the mail. Pink and Yellow and Red notices abound. Anna takes all the mail inside and puts it with the rest of the collection. She opens the utility bills and plans her conquest. They will be paid but how will they eat?

The job that Anna stayed home from is by all accounts a great job. She has a good opportunity to make an impact and learn. Monetarily it is enough, but only just. When Anna’s friends talk about vacations and home remodeling she smiles sweetly and looks away before anyone catches the flash of sadness in her eyes. Enough does not equal enough for a new t-shirt much less a vacation. Though in her dreams she is transported to many exotic places and has lovely adventures. Some day she will make those dreams a reality, until then it is enough.

This particular Monday Anna calls her friend Janie who is in a worse situation. She works long hours for a pittance. Janie struggles to make the ends meet every month and she makes it, but only because she goes without so often. Janie asked if she would like to go to the food bank. Hesitant Anna says, “Yes.”

There is stuff in the fridge, but not enough to make a whole meal. Anna hadn’t been to the food bank in years. The last time she had gone was during a period of unemployment and struggle to sustain that lasted a few months. She had lost her job due to downsizing, but was still expected to maintain life. After going through savings and the support available Anna found a job paying just enough to keep her in her home.

Actual line for a food bank in Galveston County. The lines of cars have doubled in less then two years.

Actual line for a food bank in Galveston County. The lines of cars have doubled in less then two years.

Monday morning they arrived at the food bank to find over 100 people already in line, after an hour there were 100 more. The cars went for a mile on both sides of the road and the occupants stood patiently outside trying to stay cool in 100 degree heat. Anna and Janie eventually wove their way through the line. They received just enough for a week of meals; most people could come every week.

Looking around Anna saw many types of people. Some looked as tentative as Anna felt, this was perhaps their first time in the line to accept whatever is given to them. Others looked upset about having to ask for help. Parents with concerned looks on their face watched their children…perhaps they were pondering their own utility bills and stress.

Anna noticed the children smiling and playing and making new “stranger friends” as one child put it. They didn’t know that this was the line of last resort. They didn’t know that their parents had been turned down for assistance program after assistance program, because their parents make too much, but not enough. The voice in Anna’s head that had been shouting at her all morning calms as returns to her car. She will be able to get through with just enough.

She drops Janie off then heads home to load her fridge. She hopes that someday the stars will align and she will get to experience a life of excess. She prays to God thanking him for his blessing. Moments later her children run in with smiles and laughter. Anna knows loving them is enough. Whatever else may happen, if she can love she will make it through.

Now open your eyes and look around you.

How many of you have experienced hardship?

How many of you have witnessed the struggle that is emerging in our nation?

How many of you know that this story is a story repeated in every neighborhood in the nation?

We can work to hide the problem, we can look the other way, but it is there staring us in the face. It is a problem that needs to be corrected. We have the tools to fix it – so why is the problem increasing instead of diminishing?

As I have worked with charities and accepted endless donations “to the cause” as I call it. I see so many people who work hard. They work every day to make their ends meet and yet they still come up short. These are the good people who feel their responsibilities and try to make life work with what they’ve worked to earn.

They feel the failure when they have to accept help.

They are the working poor.

By all accounts I am well paid compared to someone who works for retailers or restaurants. I work 40 hours a week 8 to 5 and pay my bills. I make just enough to squeak by. I am blessed and I don’t know how the millions upon millions of people who make less than I do every month make it work.

The last few months I have been working on a program to provide homes to homeless men and women across the city of Houston. I am one of the charity’s involved social media person, sharing the latest on the projects and giving personal stories of those affected. This is an important task as we move into the future, giving homes to people who need them from buildings that stand vacant.

This, however, is not the solution.

In Anna’s story she could be homeless if she ever lost her job. She is on the cusp of homelessness.

I believe many crimes, societal problems, and mainly, homelessness are preventable.

What would happen if Anna lost her job? What if the motor or transmission went out on her car and she couldn’t get to work? What would happen if Anna’s children got sick? Her house of cards would fall.

I hope this is just a prompt to start a conversation.

Please comment – positive or negative on my belief of prevention.

Next time you have the opportunity to donate time (not money or goods, but time) I think you should spend some time helping the poor.

Learn from them. Grow from them.

Become a link to opportunity for them.

I've always loved the perspective of Anne Frank, she may have been very young when she died, but she was wise beyond her years.

I’ve always loved the perspective of Anne Frank, she may have been very young when she died, but she was wise beyond her years.

Edit: I referenced the Great Depression because a lot of things are happening in the world similar to what happened before the fall of the economy. I got lost somewhere along the way as I have been known to do…oh well. 🙂