An update on your impact in Madagascar | charity: water
I had heard of this organization before, but God put a 16 min video on YouTube about their progress in front of me just now.
It was so touching and inspiring, I can’t help but not contribute. I would love to do more, but I joined the spring with what I can for now. I hope you will too. I plan on making my contribution larger as soon as I clear a few more financial hurdles from our life path. Soon, very soon.
Be well and find your ways to help God do good in this world.
Siva Hir Su.
So the victory is my midwife is paid in full!!!! Yay! Happy dance and squeals of delight.
I even have a little bit saved for the trip to Acadia National Park in Maine the end of July. At this rate I think I’ll have enough to make the trip. It might be tight, but I can’t say no to free lodging, a beautiful experience, and visiting family I’ve not seen in nearly a decade.
That is wonderful relief.
On an entirely different topic, the insights came yesterday at a mandatory meeting our building had with the President and Vice President of our company. I have to say meeting them was far more comfortable than daily working tends to be. Everyone around me was running around stressing and I just wasn’t. I don’t know why in particular but it felt very comfortable and I even had a good albeit short conversation with the President.
He seems like a genuinely good guy, and the biggest take away from the meeting was that the owners are also good people.
It led to a long conversation with our pastor afterwards. We discussed how a company gets to where they have such genuinely good goals and set out to do good deeds, but end up having staffing and budget issues as I’ve seen. How the low people on the totem essentially still boil down to numbers. And how those ideals fail to carry through to all of the individuals in the organization.
It helped me gain some more clarity on my goals of Atira. The pastor used the phrasing that perhaps a company gets too large to fully understand all of the individual workings and really know it’s people. That the connections that express a person’s value are lost. That sentiment reinforced prior ideas I’d had that Atira should be a singular community. It could spawn franchisee opportunities or literally just help people learn how to start their own communities, but I really don’t want a company of mine to grow so large that the company itself begins to lose sight of it’s intent.
I want Atira to stay manageable so that I know for sure it is helping people both within and outside of it’s structure. I want to know that if all the individuals understand that, the better it functions and the more they can make happen in their lives and in the lives of others.
For instance: I know I want to give homeless people second chances by putting them to work- training and all, but I also acknowledge that minimum wage being just over $7 is highly unrealistic with the inflation we’ve had the last 20 years. I want Atira to be able to sustain realistic living wages for all of it’s staff members, and those with experience and drive do deserve to earn more.
Yet, I acknowledge that in order for there to be profits to divert for other charitable uses, there does have to be positive flow of goods and services being exchanged for properly set fees.
It is definitely a tricky balancing act, and one that though I now can see my employer aimed for, either did not reach or was unable to maintain. I want Atira to reach and maintain it.
Beyond that, yesterday’s conversations and interactions solidified that I have done very well for myself with much less effort than some. I pointed out to the President that I had only ever paid for two boxes of business cards and never did pamphlets or other costly marketing.
I left Facebook nonsense out of that conversation knowing that I had already gotten their attention over that. However, in talking to the pastor I did revisit it. Explaining that I have yet to see any benefit from Facebook, also knowing over 2 dozen people that have tried to use it for marketing. Most of those, myself included had far too negative cost-benefit imbalances in Facebook marketing. Offering up hundreds of free services or visits to get a pittance of mediocre to decent client base. It simply just never netted the good reliable clients that massage therapists, chiropractors, and other care providers survive by.
I count myself fortunate to have seen that pattern and ducked out before giving away too many hours of my life, my work, and my hands, to those that are ungratefully taking advantage of the freebie.
That is not to say I never give away services. In fact to this day I still do. However, I’m much more discerning in my free work. I give to those that truly value it, but otherwise might not be able to afford it. I also give away a fair number of massages to veterans, even those that can afford it. That is where I choose to give, and when someone shows their gratitude in the best way they know or have available, I’m more likely to give them repeat free services. I have one veteran that I bill for about every 4th massage, knowing he’s on a tight budget but that he sings my praises nearly daily. So essentially I do my best to catch him weekly and bill just one a month. That is my avenue for flowing charity for God. It is what I can do right now, so I do.
And besides, not dealing with Facebook took a huge stress off of me. No longer having to consider finding or creating good stock photography, and reducing my concerns of protecting people’s information and privacy. As a sole proprietor HIPAA is a potentially life threatening costly mistake waiting to happen, so I’m glad I stepped away from Facebook when I did.
Anyway, I’m utterly grateful for the whole lot, midwife being paid, meeting upper management, learning more about the company, and especially both the conversation with the President and our pastor.
Another thank you to the Divine for providing more clarity in my days and helping to continually redefine and become more specific with my desires and goals. I truly look forward to brighter days ahead.
Powerball jackpot is up to 320 million dollars. I find I’ve bought way more tickets this week, & it was at 293 million when I bought my last one.
Echoing in the back of my mind is my dad’s frequent statement from my childhood: “You can’t win if you don’t play.”
I’d given up on the lottery for a long time. There was about 2 years after Ian was born where I didn’t buy lottery tickets but a few times. Between battling depression, trying to heal myself, & being just plain cynical; I’d decided it was a lost cause. If God hadn’t already granted me such a wonderful blessing, I probably wasn’t ever going to get it.
Yet somehow lately, I’ve reached such a low, feeling such desperation, it somehow has become a valid option again.
Let’s face it there’s possibility and then there’s probability.
Is it possible to win the Lottery? Yes, people all over the world win their respective lottery jackpots weekly, if not daily. Many, many people over the years, have gone from lower or middle class to upper class overnight. It very much is possible.
However, the number of winners is still hugely outnumbered by the number of people that have gone all of those same years buying tickets and never winning. My parents are in that category, having spent hundreds of dollars every year for the entirety of their adult life, never having won more than $50 at a time, and even that was infrequent. So, probability is astronomically low to begin with. The official odds of a ticket reads 1 in 292,201,338 people!
That’s simply of that game- That round! So if you buy multiple tickets for one round you’ll increase your odds to 2 or 3 or 4 in 292,201,338. Still not great. and just because you spend your whole life getting tickets that doesn’t mean your odds are any better. I would argue that mathematically speaking you’re worse off because the odds are increased with every fail.
Beyond that I had my high school algebra teacher, teach us the math of what $1.00 a week saved in a money market account for 42 years adds up to. It is literally over a million dollars. So not only have you failed to win, but you’ve failed to save the money as well.
So when dealing with probability the lottery just isn’t worth it.
But what about luck or divine intervention. You can’t quantify those. They have no numerical value. Yet it is obvious that some people have luck or blessings or both.
It is obvious to me that I have grosely missed the luck train. But how can one say if they might or might not ever be blessed with such a miracle win. I don’t believe that has anything to do with your variety of faith or how outwardly visible your faith manifests. I’m not even certain at this point that faith has anything to do with your ability to receive a miracle blessing. I’ve seen minimally pious people have everything go right financially. I’ve also seen people with much more faith than I, much more generosity and caring than I, live their whole lives with very little financially speaking, and die in poverty. So what’s the relibility of a miracle if there’s no way to figure that out. The answer is there isn’t any reliability, yet that is what faith is. Believing that GOD has your best intentions in mind and is there to provide the most appropriate solution at any given time. So if you’re faithful then you have to believe that regardless of weather you win or not, that is very much the case.
So, you might ask how I can say that and still be pissed off at GOD?
Does your child get mad when you deny them too much candy? Even when you explain they’ll get sick.
I think I’m in a similar place emotionally. Not exactly the same. I know what I want. I believe that I have the skills to make good use of at least most of a jackpot win. I also believe that I would be able to choose good advisors and accountants to help with the rest. Finally, I believe that I would be able to help many people. I want to do good things for others.
So, yes it makes me mad that I want to do good things & yet I find myself too poor to even help my family and myself, let alone do things for others. I don’t want to win to be rich the rest of my life. I want to win so that I can find financial normal – stability, & help many others do the same.
With that being said I’m going to list my dieing dreams. I don’t actually have 320 actual dreams, but many things on this list would fall under “repeat as needed or able”.
- Build a small community: goal is 300 to 400 acres.
- Make the community sustainable with wind & solar power, geothermal heat, wells & septic systems.
- Make the community a combination of nearly indestructible monolithic domes, small affordable fiberglass domes, & standard built, yet extremely affordable, tiny homes.
- Create monolithic business park up front with: art/wood/metal working studio space for artists to share/rent, art gallery, holistic healing clinic (doctors & CAM practitioners cooperate with each other), whole organic food & personal care market, possible other businesses for fitness, clothes, & house wares… all a part of Atira Group.
- Create a small camp ground for visitors (especially other tiny houses).
- Create a performance stage for live theater, music, & other preformers.
- Equip stage with video theater screen & audio for film festivals.
- Have pond &/or pool for fitness & recreation. (Nathan & I worked up a generic layout for all of these things when Anya was 2- 9 years ago.)
- Hiking paths.
- Cooperative Dome Greenhouses to feed the community year round.
- Greenhouses would have centralized hydroponic pools for stock fish, which doubles to help maintain temperature & moisture levels, & provide fertilizer.
- Free range fowl- chickens, turkeys, ducks, even possibly peacocks & ostriches (though the property as a whole would have to be fenced for an ostrich population).
- Stables with community horses.
- Temple of Atira: multi-faith non- denominational worship & meditation center.
- Once every physical thing was in place begin charity work as follows.
- Place homeless people in small homes, provide small stipend & home (with address) for 20 to 30 hours of weekly work within the community. This would enable them to find additional work & purchase a used car.
- Have their work for the community maximize their previously unused skills while providing them some level of fulfillment.
- Hire a recruiter to help those same people find 2nd, more rewarding or more desired, jobs outside the community.
- Use temple facilities to provide food bank services financial assistance programs, & counseling services (much like the United Methodist church does). Further that by adding social workers to assist with government programs (even as simple as getting a drivers license for the first time in years) & tax preparers to help file tax returns post homelessness.
- These programs could eventually assist very low income but not-necessarily homeless individuals.
- If no-one had the proper skills to maintain infrastructure, there would need to be a supervisor hired to teach & manage others in doing so.
- Same for running/managing business park.
- Same for event coordination/ performance production.
- Mine & Nathan’s skills would all be utilized heavily in this process.
- Finally once everything had been running smoothly for a while & families were participating, I’d create a homeschool co-op much like we belong to now.
Alas, I may or may not ever see these dreams come true. One can only cling to a tiny shred of hope.