An update on your impact in Madagascar | charity: water
Still no new home.
Cats dwindled down to 3 again. One, sick from old age, was euthanized to prevent pain and suffering. Being she was having difficulty seeing, showing signs of kitty dementia, and when she tried sitting, couldn’t actually fully sit (kitty hip dysplasia) and be comfortable. We knew she was miserable. Our hearts went out to her as we helped her find a path back to god. Salem our older male disappeared outdoors and after 2 months of searching and examining found similar stray cats we’ve given up. Social media gave us hopeful leads, but alas none were Salem.
The 2 others never took to being indoor kitties and were rehomed to a farm cat rescue where they’ll be happy as clams and well fed in their preferred environment.
That leaves Buddy and Missy (the brother & sister kittens) and Priss (my old fat calico).
Buddy & Missy cuddling ( they’re the same age at about a year old, but Buddy has gotten much bigger and stockier). They are so adorable!:
The only recent cute shot of Priss I have, she was thoroughly enjoying lap snuggle with Anya.:
For the holidays, we have one tiny undecorated table top tree out, and so far Anya is the only one to have gifts, having gotten to use all the Walmart gift cards to buy new clothes.
So, Monday when I had my first actual day off in ages, I decided to be creative. $40 in supplies (including raw balsa wood boxes) and hours of work later, I made 2 beautiful portable altar boxes and a set of mini elemental candle holders.
The idea was spawned from a borrowed set. The friend that helped me gain insight into my connection with the boy had loaned me hers knowing I’m never home for meditative space anymore. After almost 2 months of using hers it was time to get creative and make my own. Nathan got a box of his own as a gift.
It was much needed creative relief, and yielded beautiful results that I know at least that I’ll use.
The mess I made of our bedroom trying to work in tight quarters:
The green box left of buddy is the borrowed inspiration:
Nathan’s box with his favorite motif on the top:
My box, Inside:
My box outside(s):
& the tiny candle holders:
I even got tiny statues of Ganesh and Shiva for both boxes. I want Kali ones too, but haven’t found those yet.
Being creative literally is not only enjoyable for me, but helps clear my head completely. I lose time, and don’t eat- not because I’m starving myself, but because my brain doesn’t even think about getting hungry. I don’t watch the clock, and I’m always surprised at how much time has passed. It in and of itself, it is often meaningful and meditative giving my brain a much needed tiny, tiny vacation. When all is done and my brain returns to “reality”, I get starvingly hungry very quick and then crash from fatigue. This instance was no different and was welcomed acknowledgement of my creative mini vacation from life.
I do have to confess that the insides are decoupaged papers, and the outside circular patterns were stencils that I then repainted over to cleanup edges. I could have done them manually, but it would have taken even more time to sketch out the designs and paint them completely from scratch. It’s something that I chose not to rush, knowing it was my only chance to complete the project anytime soon. Besides that I love the look of the metallic paints, and I’m super grateful that I had beautiful custom altar boxes for the two of us by Yule. They’re perfectly appropriate.
The only little one left, that I need to find at least one gift for, is Ian. In theory that’s the easy one.
As much as I’d love to get gaggles of goodies, I simply can’t bear to cram anything else into our current situation. So gifts will wait for the New Year and a new home (& I foresee new organizational furniture first too). Besides I still want to get those beds I’ve had my eye on for ages. We’re all over sharing bed space with a tossing, turning toddler.
Beyond that, I got to play Santa for a friend that needed the emotional relief, if not the actual financial relief. I had great fun, and it felt really good to do something significantly good for someone else. I’m very appreciative of that and hope that my future holds the ability to do a lot more of that.
Otherwise, I just keep trucking. Day after day, work and more work. I’ve worked 32 out of the last 35 days, and the only 2 days off in the near future are Christmas Day and January 2nd. This schedule is already old, but until the divine manifests whatever it’s been trying to tell me about, it’s pretty much my only option.
I’m grateful for the work and the income it provides, but I’ve had many conversations with thin air about how it’s not really my ideal, far from it in fact.
I really hope that whatever is gestating in the ethers brings relief and moves me much closer to my ideal. I’m hoping the messages I’m getting about Valentine’s Day time frame (including my birthday) are clues of that something good, but I simply don’t know. Just that February is important somehow. Looking forward to better days.
Unlike the sentiment from The Mighty Mighty Bosstones “The Impression That I Get”, I have and do continue to Knock on Wood quite frequently. When you’re down the last thing you want is more down, and I’m way more familiar with Murphy’s Law than I’d like to admit. So I knock on wood Every Time I say something that leans positive, something I want, as to avoid jinxing myself out of that thing. Seems I’ve been a knockin’ a lot lately! This is no different, 1 more knock, because I’m going to write about my desired future. This will be installment 1, of who knows how many (I have more ideas of what to write than time to write about them right now). In this Installment I describe Atira (pronounced Uh-tier-uh) Community: my and Nathan’s baby, our dream, of a perpetual giving machine. May the Divine read this, and hear me, and grant me the ability to do this soon.
Imagine if you will watching the following on your TV at home, and if so inclined leave a comment as to whether you would invest in, purchase products from, or visit Atira Community for a vacation.
*Camera pans left to right.*
You see tall trimmed hedge rows with red buds, cherry blossoms, and magnolias behind them. As the camera pans to the right you begin to see domes in the near distance, some concrete, some geodesic. The camera continues to move and reveals a directional signpost with a peace pole in front of it, and a very large beautiful dome with stained glass windows to the rear, in the far distance you can see mountains. Further to the right you see what appears to be a whole village of small structures. The camera pans a little further right and reveals a large and long structure that looks like several domes chained together, in front of it you see a large parking area.
The camera pulls back and seems to go aerial to show a vast and complex layout of fields, ponds, and a whole variety of structures nestled near mountains. The view includes beautifully manicured gardens and hedges, a wide variety of beautiful trees, orchards, small crops, stables and pasture land. You note wind turbines and solar arrays strategically placed to minimize impact upon the beautiful picturesque landscape. You notice there’s an area that appears to be like a typical campground, and you see an outdoor theater. There is much to take in.
Narrator begins to describe what you are seeing as the camera hovers over different areas:
“Here at Atira Community we aim to create a wonderful beautiful environment that you can partake in products and services and even possibly festivals, as your getaway from the world, knowing that your money is literally giving people the tools and the education to better their lives.We strive to assist in reorienting previously homeless people to modern life to be able to support and sustain themselves again. Atira is designed as a perpetual giving machine, granted by the grace of God and sustained by your generous purchases.”
*viewing the theater*
“Atira’s outdoor amphitheater is home to a whole host of musical and theatrical performances throughout the year, as well as 3 All-Ages General Admission Film Festivals spread throughout the warm months.”
*viewing the hedgerows*
“You will notice that the amphitheater, festival, and camping facilities are separated from the rest of the property by a thickly packed natural barrier of hedges, flowering plants, and trees. This is because some of the festivals hosted here at Atira Community are clothing optional and out of respect for others we have ensured that the view of the campground and festival grounds, is restricted just for such festivals. This is so that the general public can continue to access the rest of Atira Community regardless of their views and personal opinions or beliefs regarding clothing optional lifestyles. To ensure this level of respect we schedule the dates for those festivals during the periods where the plants are at their fullest and most lush, creating the densest yet most beautiful visual barrier. Please be sure to check the festival calendar when planning your visit if this is a concern or an option for you.”
*viewing geodesic dome greenhouses- inter-spliced with interior views*
“You will see that we have several geodesic dome greenhouses. Our greenhouses combined with our moderate crop land and orchards, are able to produce enough fruits and vegetables to support our organic grocery store and restaurant located in the business park just to the right of the main entrance to the community. Additionally, all of the resident families and especially the people receiving charitable assistance from Atira Community are able to partake from the foods produced in these greenhouses and crops.”
*inter-spliced shots of people working and counseling sessions*
“It is our mission to encourage optimal health. We teach each and every person that resides here at Atira how to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle and we willingly provide coaching support to those citizens that are being given their second chance at a prosperous life. In return, those people give of their time as properly paid employees, which we train for one of the many jobs available within Atira Community, enabling them to rebuild a financial platform which they will one day take out into society. We even provide financial counselors to tech these people how to maximize their second chance to meet goals that they had otherwise given up on. We encourage everyone in Atira Community to volunteer a few hours a week, but it is by no means a requirement. One of our greater goals in Atira Community is to put people to work doing something that they can acknowledge betters their life, but that also brings them some level of joy- it is one of the most effective techniques for rehabilitating the homeless population, leading to lasting change for them, it literally gives them a reason to keep going.”
*aerial pan to tiny homes- with pictures of people purchasing clothes and holding certificates/DL*
“When developing the concept for Atira Community the creative team acknowledged that if providing a second chance to homeless populations was the primary initiative, then Atira Community would need to provide the homes as well. To that end we have a tiny house village. The village is comprised of fiberglass dome homes, shipping container homes, and conventional built tiny homes. Each of these homes has been constructed, and fully furnished and accessorized for less than $50,000 each, and can house 4 to 8 people per structure in a basic bunking set-up. We even include a system for clothing the individuals in work appropriate attire. They are literally given back every basic necessity that they had previously lost. We also have a team member that works diligently to ensure that everyone is able to obtain copies of their birth certificate, social security cards, a current drivers license, and a new bank account- all of the items necessary to take their new skills out into society so that we can continue to help a new generation of individuals approximately every 2 years.”
*aerial views of solar arrays and wind turbines, followed by ground video of well and septic installation, followed by video of the variety of electric vehicles*
“Atira Community leaders felt strongly about being energy efficient and having a fully sustainable system. To that end we use wind and solar power to provide electricity to all of the structures. Every structure has well and septic tank connections for indefinite supply of water and sewage treatment. The Tiny Home community has a shared laundromat facility using the same utility system, so laundry services are maintained at a minimum cost to the community. Community mandates for the structures, combined with incentives for electric vehicles, has created an environment where there is almost no need for natural gas or fossil fuels. With basic maintenance and occasional equipment replacement the community could remain in this sustainable energy efficient state indefinitely.”
* aerial views of business park, inter-spliced with interior videos of each business segment*
“At the Atira Business Park patrons will find a variety of products and services.
We have an Arts Gallery with attached Hi-Tech Fully Equipped All Arts Studio space that fine artist and crafts persons from the region are welcome to rent space by the day, hour, or week.
We have a Healing Center with doctors working along side, Acupuncturists, Herbalists, Nature-Paths, Massage Therapists, Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Nutritionists, and Reiki practitioners. The goal of the Healing center is
Whole Health, and to that end we have a variety of payment programs to encourage utilizing the facility to its fullest, even in low income situations.
We have an Organic Grocery and Bakery that serves mostly foods grown and made here at Atira, supplementing with other sustainable goods from socially responsible companies. Again the focus being whole health not just of the consumer, but of society as well. The grocery store has an attached Toddy shop and a modern day General Store Co-Op with home goods and clothing.
Finally, the icing on the cake, so to speak, is a restaurant serving a wide selection of vegan, vegetarian, and paleo foods accommodating for all dietary restrictions. This allows for even the strictest regime to be able to enjoy an evening of social levity through another cook’s touch.”
*aerial view of temple, followed by interior video tour, shot of peace pole at end*
“At this point we leave you with the focal point of Atira Community. The Temple of Atira: a non-denominational, multi-faith center for worship and community service. Located directly behind the main entrance and community Peace Pole to reinforce attitudes of Peace, Openness, Oneness, and Service; the Temple is designed by Monolithic Domes in cooperation with the Founders, this beautiful Temple serves as a worship facility for all who enter. The centerpiece of the main chapel is a 10 foot wide oculus window with a monumental stained glass lamp configuration below it. The piece designed by Treasa Cailleach incorporates color and elemental energy theories into a circular pattern to mimic the shape of the oculus window, it serves as a modern throw-back to the Ancient Roman Temple- The Pantheon. It is designed to allow natural daylight to be the predominate light for the space when it is available, only necessitating electrical lighting during dark hours. The massive oculus floods the space with a beautiful rainbow of light, definitely putting the visitor in a spiritual frame of mind. The dome of the Temple is also painted in a style reminiscent of that found in the Sistine Chapel in Rome, though of much different imagery. Around the exterior of the main chapel are smaller individual chapels to represent all of the major religions of the world. Each chapel is adorned and blessed by their respective faith leaders, the same as any official worship center for that faith.
Attached to the Temple is a wing for Atira Offices. These offices are the seat of all of the clerical functions of the temple and community as a whole. However, they are also the home for all of the charity services that Temple of Atira provides. This includes but is not limited to: food bank/meals on wheels, counseling and psychiatric services, rent/utility assistance programs, community helping hands, and transportation assistance. The services provided by Atira aim to at least mimic those of Catholic Charities or the United Methodist Church Services, though one day Atira hopes to outshine even the best of those types of charities. To accomplish this Atira merely asks patrons to donate or volunteer what/where they are able and as they feel called to provide for such divine endeavors, then follow up their visit to the temple with a wonderful stay in Atira and a good helping of That Great American Consumerism in the business park.
If you find yourself drawn to Atira, we believe you will find exactly what you came for, and every dollar you spend will not only fulfill your desires, but will contribute to this wonderful perpetual giving machine. You would be giving from your heart simply by enjoying some much needed rest and relaxation on your vacation from your own busy life.”
*Fade out from the shot of the Peace Pole*