Thursday night we had a planned maintenance at work which I was asked to be apart, so the workday went from 7AM until 1:30AM. Fortunately, I got Friday comped to recoup. Do I awoke Friday with a list of things I wanted to accomplish personally. Top of the list was getting some Advance Reader Copies (ARC) of Awakened mailed out to members of the launch team. I jumped in White Lighting (my 1970 C20 pickup) and rode over to Walgreens to pickup some padded envelopes as I had a depleted inventory. Much to my chagrin when i crawled back in the truck to head home with the envelopes, the starter refused to cooperate. It wouldn't even click.
I called State Farm Roadside Assistance and found a place in the shade beside the building to wait. before they arrived, a landscaper noticed the hood up and asked me if I needed a jump. He hooked up a jump box and said it showed the battery fully charged. White Lightning refused to budge despite the jump. I thanked him for his assistance and called State Farm Roadside Assistance back and advised a jump was no longer needed, but a tow truck.
I retreated to the shade of the side of the building and began to wait for the estimated 1 hour arrival. At first, I wanted to fuss about the list of things I wanted to accomplish and my predicament that had me stuck standing on a concrete sidewalk in the sweltering Florida heat. I quietly became a student of human nature or as my Granddad would have called it, I began people watching.
From my vantage of the corner of the building, I had a clear view of 54th Avenue and MLK Street as well as the main parking lot in front of Walgreens and their adjoining liquor store as well as the optometrist office to the back of the side parking lot. At 10:30am on a Friday, this parking lot was a hotbed of activity. A man passed by smelling of dried urine pushing a shopping cart full of empty cans and other collected items. Another man pulled up in a pickup and hurried inside only to return shortly and hurry back to his pickup for a few minutes and then back in the drug store. A few minutes later he returned carrying a small shopping bag and a large bag of diapers. A woman suddenly appeared smoking a cigarette nervously pacing back and forth. After six or seven trips past me she disappeared from my sight reappearing moments later on the other side of the street.
As I continued to wait for the tow truck, I began to hear rolls of thunder. I looked to the north and could see ominous black clouds, but the heat and humidity dissuaded from considering sitting in the truck. When the rain began, I huddled closer to the building to take as much advantage of the narrow overhang as possible. A woman pulled up in a small SUV and made her way slowly into the drug store. While she was inside the rain increased in intensity. After a while, she returned from the store to her SUV with a small shopping bag in hand. She opened the door and disappeared from my sight. She was not seated in the vehicle but the driver's door was standing wide open in a Florida downpour. I could not help but wonder what on earth the was doing. After ten minutes or so, she popped up and headed back into the drug store with the shopping bag. After another ten minutes or so, she reappeared and returned to the SUV. Once again she disappeared from my line of sight with the driver's door open in the steady downfall of rain. Finally, she crawled into the driver's seat, closed the door, started the vehicle, and slowly drove away.
The rain began to let up and the sun began to break through. Within moments it was a light drizzle and then it quit all together. As the heat and humidity began to increase, the tow truck appeared.
Initially, I wanted to feel sorry for myself sitting three hours stranded outside Walgreens. But it gave me a chance to pause from my list of chores and the hectic busyness of my week and take a slow look around me. These are my neighbors. This is my community. These are the people I am called to love. It was a good reminder.
Monday, August 28, 2017
Monday, August 21, 2017
For those who haven't heard, one of the biggest things I am excited about in the work to end homelessness in our country is a model community - Mobile Loaves and Fishes’ Community First! Village in Austin, Texas which is a complete paradigm shift. Mobile Loaves and Fishes is an organization that has been serving the homeless community in the Austin are for years with an eye to restoring dignity. The Community First! Village utilizes RVs and Tiny Homes in a 27-acre master planned development in East Austin providing affordable, permanent housing for the disabled and chronically homeless in Central Texas.
Today, I am thrilled to announce that Award-winning director and filmmaker Layton Blaylock and the team at Inferno Films are producing a documentary entitled, Community First: A Home for the Homeless. The film follows the progress of Mobile Loaves and Fishes’ Community First! Village in Austin. Production began in March 2017 and will continue through the remainder of the year. A Kickstarter to drive monetary support for the documentary project launches on Wednesday, August 23rd.
Here is a teaser for the documentary - Teaser (video)
Formed in 1999, Inferno films is headed by Director/DP Layton Blaylock and Executive Producers Quincy Lowman and Jeff Hastings. They have produced a wide variety of award-winning broadcast projects and television commercials. Their 2006 feature length documentary, Art From the Streets, has garnered several awards and played at over 30 film festivals around the world.
Community First! Village is a 27-acre master planned development in East Austin that provides affordable, permanent housing for the disabled and chronically homeless in Central Texas. Home to over 200 people including its formerly homeless residents, work campers, on-site missioners, and staff, the project aims to “heal the lives of the homeless through the transformative power of community,” says Blaylock. The documentary follows this unique residential program as it provides a model of addressing homelessness by providing homes as well as personal care, community involvement, an opportunity to earn a dignified income, and expression in the creative arts. Special events regularly occur on-site, such as family-friendly movie nights, art shows, tours, and volunteer opportunities that are open to anyone, allowing connections to develop between those who live inside and outside of the Village.
For more information on the documentary, and a link to the Kickstarter, visit www.communityfirstthemovie.com or facebook.com/communityfirstmovie. For more information on Inferno Films, visit www.infernofilms.com. To learn more about Mobile Loaves and Fishes’ Community First! Village, visit http://mlf.org/community-first/.
Wednesday, August 02, 2017
|Image Source: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/explore/laughter-quotes/|
From time to time friends will comment on my ability to bring laughter to any occasion. I freely admit that I love to laugh and firmly believe if you cannot laugh, you cannot enjoy life. I cannot take credit for my sense of humor. It is directly inherited. One of the funniest men in my life growing up was my Grandpa Madding. He was always up to something and all ways had a joke to tell.
As a small kid, I loved watching HeeHaw with Grandpa. Especially when they sang "Where, Where are you tonight? Why did you leave me here all alone? I searched the world over and thought I found true love. You met another and PFFFTT you were gone!" My Mom hated when I sang that and threatened to whip me. Grandpa thought it was hilarious.
Our family loved to hunt and fish. My Dad had taken me and my brother hunting with him several time. He carried his shotgun, and we tagged along with our Daisy BB guns. He had taught us gun safety and things to be aware of in the woods. So when Grandpa came to town one Fall, we went into the woods hunting. When we came upon an electric fence, I froze in place. Grandpa took a look at it and declared it wasn't an electric fence. I pointed out the insulators on the post and argued the point. He scoffed, "Here I'll show you it isn't electric," he said. Unbeknownst to me, he had lightly grabbed a hold of the back of my belt. With the other hand, he grabbed the electric fence. I got a hefty jolt of electric fence charger while he laughed.
Many years later after I had moved into my first house, Grandpa Madding, Grandpa Jackson, and my Dad decided to tune up a push mower that Dad was going to give me to maintain my yard. both Granddads began to argue why it wouldn't start. Grandpa Madding suggested pulling the spark plug, laying it across the motor, and pulling the starter rope to see if the plug was firing. Grandpa Jackson quickly grabbed a ratchet and a socket and pulled the plug, carefully laid it so the plug was contacting metal to make a good ground and reached up to pull the rope. Unbeknownst to him, you guessed it, Grandpa Madding grabbed the back of his belt with one hand and the spark plug wire with the other just as Grandpa Jackson pulled the starter rope. He jumped and shouted and shook his head when he got the shock from the coil on the mower while Grandpa Madding laughed.
"I guess the plug and ignition module is good, huh Jack?" He laughed.
Before my daughter was born, my wife and I lived on 11 acres and had a small heard of goats to help with the mowing. He had came through an visited and headed out on an Airstream Caravan. One night all of the Airstreamers would gather and have a pot luck dinner. This one evening at potluck a lady stood at the microphone and introduced herself, named off all of her kids, grand kids, and great grand kids. When Grandpa Madding was introduced, not to be out done, he named his son, my brother and I as his two grandkids, and then said, "and I have a granddog Lugnut, and four grandgoats, Buckwheat, Barney, Betsy, and Coco."
Over the years growing up, I worked along side of him building additions on family houses, roofing houses, washing cars, etc. I learned a work ethic from him, and I learned that no matter how miserable the conditions hot or cold, not matter how hard the work, a little sense of humor and a good laugh makes the job a lot more enjoyable. And I have tried to carry both of those lessons with me.
These days I will crack a joke while working and will think how much it sounds like something he would say. I encourage you to laugh a little. It will do a lot for your overall disposition.