photographer. artist. author. singer. songwriter. musician. teacher. student. humanitarian. visionary.

Posts tagged “homelessness

Charity x 3

Today has been a pretty wild day. I’m still perturbed that Allstate wanted to give me a measly $2,100 for pretty much wrecking my life- temporarily. My conversation with the rep went something like this,

“Mrs. Lindsey, we’re able to offer you $1,700,” said the rep.

“Did you say one, or ten?”

[Rep snickers lightly]

“ONE.”

“Are you serious? Considering that I had to drop two of my classes last semester- with a doctor’s note excusing me from those two classes, had to repair my GPA-”

“Well Mrs. Lindsey, you didn’t actually have something from your doctor saying that the car accident caused you to have to drop out of school,” he said.

“Um, [rep’s name omitted for confidentiality’s sake], the doctor wrote the statement on a prescription pad. It clearly said MVA (motor vehicle accident) along with the names of the two classes right on there. Any lawyer or jury would absolutely agree that that’s legit.”

“Yeah but, we feel that it wasn’t actually the accident that made you have to quit school,” he said.

“Ok,” said I. “First of all, I didn’t ‘quit school’. I simply dropped out of my two most demanding classes due to the pain and stress caused by your client splitting my bumper. Secondly, I haven’t had to drop a class in years. Not even when my house was flooded and cracked in half a year and a half ago and my kids and I were put up in a hotel by the Red Cross. We had nowhere to go, and I had to ask my art friends in Australia for help. They pulled together $650 in an hour and a half, and we were in an apartment days later- and [rep’s name]…I was carrying four classes during that time and STILL didn’t drop any classes.” [And for the record, made all A’s and B’s.]

“Well…Mrs. Lindsey….” [insert more BS here]

I was able to talk him up to $2,100, and what a disgrace. As mentioned before, and somewhere else- you are NOT in good hands with ALLSTATE. No siree….

To the rep’s credit, he expedited things to the best of his ability and Fed Exed the check. I thought long and hard about settling for pennies practically, but, I was able to give my friend Jean (the homeless woman currently residing in an abandoned train car) $100 cash todayand a new cell phone with 750 minutes + text and internet. That in itself made it worth it to me.

I wanted to get my guitar out of the pawn shop and when I got there, I was told that I was a few days too late. The (very cool) guy behind the counter saw my disappointment and told me that he would see what he could do for me. He certainly did. He clicked around on the computer and said that it was still in the backroom, but he wasn’t able to return it. Nevertheless, he checked with his supervisor and was able, by the skin of his teeth, to pull some strings for me. (Um, no pun intended.)

A few minutes later, he came out with my beautiful, green Oscar Schmidt- acoustic electric:

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I twisted up a $20 and handed it to the (cool) counter guy.

“Man, you didn’t have to do that. Here,” I said.

“I can’t take that,” he said, making funny faces in the direction of his boss.

I shoved it under the massive day planner on the counter and said, “The world would be a better place if there were more people like you. Here. Take it.”

And smiled and walked out.
I wasted no time in giving the guitar to Josh as a gift. ♥

I also gave each of my kids $50 for some spending money. We were in a grocery store parking lot and saw a man asking for change. Naturally, he hit me up.

“Hey, weren’t you at the Haven house?” I asked, shaking his hand.

“Yeah, yeah,” he said, returning the smile.

I dug through my purse and gave him the equivalency of $3.00. I can’t help thinking that he was going to go straight to the liquor store and I really didn’t care. It’s a tough world out there.

“I think I’m gonna call that guy Liquor Store Lawrence,” my son said. I have a lively bunch. 🙂 It was several hours later when we were in Louisville, Ky. (minutes from the Kentucky Derby), and we saw a man on the street who was muttering to himself. He was fairly young with tattered clothes and a shabby toboggan. My daughter saw him looking through garbage cans. It made us all very sad.

“I think I’m going to give that guy some money,” Brianna said.

And moments later, while sitting at a red light in a congested intersection, she bolted from the back seat and sprinted across the street, shoving her $50 into his hand.

“Did you give him your $20?” I asked.

“No, I gave him 50,” she said softly.

“Are you serious, Sissy?!” I asked, not so softly.

“Dude, that’s probably the most awesome thing I’ve ever seen you do,” my son said to her.

I was completely stunned. She became my hero, immediately. To top things off, she was wearing this:

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A beautiful kimono looking lingerie gown, with sneakers. 🙂

Not that we were out looking for homeless people today, but homelessness is rampant in this area. I ponder on this Scripture: Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it. (Proverbs 3:27)

We popped into the Greyhound bus station so I could use the ladies room. I couldn’t resist the lighting:

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SP/ 50 MM 1.8 II/manual exposure/manual focus

I also couldn’t resist snapping these guys on the way out:

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50 MM/manual focus/manual exposure

You have to be sneaky to snap pics of people without them knowing it (all while focusing the lens- I can’t stand autofocus and consider it taboo). Something tells me the guy on the right knew I was taking his pic…

It just kept getting weirder as the day drew on. The wind blew fiercely and we found ourselves facing this:

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We took a detour and ended up here:

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Not only can pigs fly, but pigs fly high. Literally. Look at its bloodshot eyes…

I was able to shoot a rare pic of my son outside of a music store. He dyed his hair blue today, although you can’t see it here:

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I never in a million years thought I would be cool with my kid dying his hair blue. I guess I’m mellowing out as I’m growing older.

That’s not altogether a bad thing…


Yes, I am that Woman you Saw on TV

Ever since I spoke at the mayor’s office the other day, things have been a little weird. And by weird, I mean like, weird looks at stores and such. I generally do go shopping in my pj’s, but so does everyone else in this town. I never get more than a quick glance if I’m in my pj’s, but really, it’s winter, and it’s something that I only do in the winter; my coat covers me entirely.

I went to take care of my business the other day, and at several establishments, this was the response when I walked in, “Hey…I saw you on TV…”.

It’s a little surreal. I swear my voice was all shaky and nervous sounding but I was told that I sounded confident and strong. I wanted to drive my message home, “There is a direct correlation between homelessness and substance abuse, coinciding with the what’s known as the co-morbid factor, or, a preexisting condition of mental illness, which makes recognizing and defining mental illness challenging while trying to separate it from substance abuse.” Throw homelessness into the mix and you have several mirrored factors that entangle one another.

I noticed when I got up behind the podium, that none of the speakers before me had mentioned substance abuse where homelessness is concerned. There was talk of funding naturally, and while funding is crucial to change, so is targeting the source of the problem, which in many (if not most) cases, is substance abuse.

I announced that I’ve resided at a homeless shelter 13 times in my life (years ago), and was able to later build a website for my city’s homeless community without one penny to rub together with another. My message wasn’t about funding. I did that without any money at all.

I also mentioned that I would like to see homeless people helping other homeless people. Get up off your butt and work with the kids- be a good influence- plant good seeds in them that they’ll be able to take with them throughout their lives! When I was homeless, I taught the children how to play the guitar and the piano. I had arts and craft projects in the day room and taught them how to draw and make paper balloons. Later, when the shelter had no piano, I was able to have one donated from a church. I also donated copies of my children’s book, Peanut Butter Soup, to the kids there. I wanted to impress upon them that homelessness doesn’t have to mean hopelessness. You can’t sit and do nothing and expect your life to change. Oftentimes, it’s not the homelessness that is even the worst of the situation, it’s the mindset that accompanies it. Some homeless people are very bitter- they think the world owes them something and they have a chip on their shoulders. Believe me, I’m an expert in the area of homelessness and I’ve learned a great deal from people while living in the shelters.

Many homeless people are full blown junkies, and you better believe they’ll buy their dope before they even consider saving up for a place of their own. Giving a homeless person a house seems like the solution, but their substance abuse issues need to be addressed in tandem, otherwise, they’ll never gain the necessary tools they’ll need to rebuild their lives.

I mentioned in the meeting that unless a person goes outside of him or herself and actually does something for somebody else, there’s almost no way that they’ll ever be able to help themselves. When you do something good for someone else, your goals change. It’s not about “you” any more. Many people don’t have the drive to set goals for themselves and follow through. When you choose to do something good for somebody else, that goes into overdrive, and on top of that, you feel needed. Just because someone is homeless, doesn’t mean that they can’t volunteer at a home for the elderly, or go to a Boys and Girls club and be a mentor. You don’t have to have a home to be active in the community! I know what I’m talking about because I speak from experience. I’ve been able to get more done in my life without a penny in my pocket that I ever did when I had money in the bank.

After my speech, several news men came up and asked me my name. I later found out that I was on several tv stations and quoted in an article. My kids get a kick out of it, but it made my day when my daughter said, “Mom, I’m really proud of you.”

That’s the best feeling in the world. 🙂

So, to all of the people who’ve been giving me strange looks in the grocery store, yes, I am that woman you saw on TV, and yes, these are my pajamas!

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