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Holiday stress. A reason to rejoice?

I feel a little stress this week. Why? Because I have too much.  Yup, that’s what it boils down to. Here’s what I mean: A job writing for a company whose product helps save people’s lives; An family of origin who still loves getting together to celebrate Christmas; A family I helped create who loves tradition; A book club that gives back to the community; A choir that welcomes my flute; Amazing people who I meet to interview for the newspapers I write for; Neighbors who feel comfortable dropping by; A treasure trove of Christmas decorations; The ability to sew…

Meet Veronika Scott and the Empowerment Plan

It’s Giving Tuesday.  What better day to introduce you to a remarkable woman who’s helping other women shine their stars.

You already know that I donate one dollar for each ten I make selling my books to help America’s hungry and the homeless. Recently two things converged to help me learn more about Veronika Scott.  My cover designer, Chad Green told me about the Empowerment Plan, and I met Bobby.

Bobby is a homeless man I pass every day as I walk the block and a half between the Metra Station and the “L” train.  He’s young, maybe in his late-twenties or early-thirties.  He’s small, size 9 1/2 shoes.  He has a tiny shamrock tattoo near his right eye. Bobby always greets me a smile and a “have a good day.” At first, I just nodded and passed him by.  Before too long, I gave him a sandwich or an apple or orange. I started to pack double.  One for me and one for Bobby.  It’s getting cold in Chicago, and Bobby didn’t have a warm coat or a blanket.  He usually sleeps by the library or under the bridge by the Metra Station.

That’s when I remembered Empowerment Plan and Veronika Scott.  Hailey McInnis, 26, Empowerment Plan’s Operations Manager was kind enough to sit down and talk to me about the Non-profit company and Veronika.

Veronika is 28 years old.  She experienced periods of homelessness as she grew up near Detroit, MI. Veronika’s mother suffered with different addictions, so Veronica bounced around a lot, sometimes living with her mother in their car, but most of the time with grandparents.

Veronika graduated from College for Creative Studies. Her final project was to create something to fill an actual need. She went from shelter to shelter to find out what people needed. One of the  things she discovered was that women did not like to come into the shelters. Veronika designed a coat that can convert to a sleeping bag. It took Veronika

1,000 Words-worth:  2017-33

Each Friday, To find out more click here. I admit, I skipped a few Fridays.  Still, for some reason Ray and Marla continue to visit me.  This time as a walked around Chicago’s Open House. Regular readers might remember Ray and Marla from another photo I took along my commute. To refresh your memory or you want to start from the beginning, click here. I only looked back to make sure I got the names right and then again, after I finished writing this post, so I could insert the link. Here and here. “I see the sun!” Ray hopped…

Pause, Breathe, and Take Stock: 2017-37

Along with most of the nation, the irrationality of someone choosing to gun down people enjoying a concert continues to haunt me.  For me, this is the ultimate act of terror.  Anyone: enjoying a concert, the 4th of July fireworks, a baseball game, waiting for a train… you name it. It would be easier if the killer had tell-tale signs. Rather, he’s  someone who buys a house for his mother, takes care of his girlfriend, and is loved by his brother. He’s someone whose friends attest to his caring nature. Sometimes it seems almost wrong to count my blessings in…

Pause, Breathe, and Take Stock: 2017-34

Today I’m on a road trip with CeCi and her brood.  It’s a bittersweet trip as we take Mr. B to Wyo-tech to begin his all-grown-up years perfecting his talents and skills as a craftsman.  He’s the first grandchild to leave the nest for school. “You seem like a man,” I said to him over lunch. “Yup,” he replied taking another bite of his Colossal Fish Sandwich at Primanti Brothers.   Besides sharing the launch of the next stage of Mr. B’s life, here’s a few more things that give me joy this week. The Pirates vs Cardinal game in…

Pause, Breathe, and Take Stock:  2017-33

A cold caught me last weekend.  I’ve been battling with it ever since.  Today I feel the only thing left is the August allergy ailments. Since it’s past mid-September, and the August allergy ailments are just beginning, I count that as a good thing.  Perhaps that explains why my reasons to rejoice this week are unduly centered around my upper respiratory system. Here are a few things that make me snort for joy this week. .Saline solutions and a battery operated Netty Pot. I thought the Netty was some sort of torture.  Love-One swears by it.  I finally got on…

Without Buddha….

“I’m reading Paul Knitter’s Without Buddha I Could Not Be Christian,” I said to Wrestler #1.  “I might be Buddhist.” “Oh, you are,” he said.  He’s an atheist Buddhist.   A few weeks ago, I attended a vigil for peace at the Blue Lotus Temple in a neighboring town. I left filled with peace and hope.  Read more about the event here. Blue Lotus Temple was once a Puritan church with very Catholic stained glass windows.  Buddha teaches a way of being that encourages love of self, or others, and even of enemies.  On Wrestler #1’s birthday, we. talked a…

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