Tuesday, December 30, 2008

20 Lifestories in 20 Sentences

I recently asked everyone at the Samaritan House to consider their life to write a sentence that summarizes their life, a one-sentence memoir.

If you listen you can hear the pain and regret from tragedy and wrong choices as well as the hope and determination of second chances. Some are written looking at the past and some are focused on future events and unfinished business.

Here are some of their one-sentence memoirs:

Tragedy I am still trying to recover from.
There have been ups and downs but God has always been watching over me.
Still trying to recover and think straight.
God has three words for my family: yes, not yet and I have better things in store for you… which is where we are right now.
Trying to recover and think straight.
Life feels like it’s passing me by but I’m keeping positive thoughts as best as possible.
Made some mistakes but I‘m trying to get things right.
I have grown and now I have true friends.
Helped by your kindness now I have a chance.
I see the love and caring of others and now His love for me.
Leave my past behind and look to my future.
Soon to be a postman.
If only I had known then what I know now.
Making positive changes and personal goals one step at a time while making sacrifices that have to be made along the way.
Honoring my past and rebuilding my future for a better year in 2009.
It is never too late to change.
I’ve had a lot of bends in my road of life, it’s getting straighter now though.
I was put here for a purpose and I’m not sure why.
Trying to put it together but everything seems to be working against me.
Got a fresh start here half way through.

What does your one-sentence memoir read like? Try not to think too much. Maybe just look at it out of the corner of your eye and go with your first instinct. Sum up your life to this point in one sentence.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Day

Pictured here in the top photo are Becky Berson and Nina Levitt, and in the lower photo are Shari Roubinek and Mona Charles. They are members of Bet Harim - the Jewish Community of Flathead Valley.
Every year they come to serve on Christmas Day. They bring dinner for the whole shelter complete with music, decorations and the whole thing.
Thank you Bet Harim for your thoughtfulness and generosity!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas to All!

(This is Karli and Shelbi Kusler, they made all the blankets in the photo as gifts for the people in the shelter.)
There are a lot of people I run into here who are having a difficult time with Christmas, both financially and emotionally.
We all know that this is a difficult year and that the economy is in a recession. It has been estimated that 1.25 million jobs have been lost in the last three months. 1 in 10 people paying a mortgage are more than 2 months behind. Locally there have been people laid off with more to come after the New Year.
Christmas holds deep meaning for people and comes with memories of childhood and family traditions this can make it a difficult time for homeless people; young families struggling to find a place and remain strong for their children; addicts and alcoholics who may have burned their bridges with family; single people surrounded by married people; depressed people, and the list goes on.
Christmas really isn't about the commercialism that we make it out to be. I have difficulty with the materialism that comes out at Christmas when it is ironically a celebration of the birth of Jesus. He loved the poor, his words were filled with truths about our responsibility to our brothers and sisters who live in poverty.
So, thank you Karli and Shelbi and the dozens of other people who have been helping the Samaritan House provide Christmas. That is a special thing and what its really about.
Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

December Raffle

The Samaritan House, the local homeless shelter, held its annual raffle drawing on December 19th. Pictured is Solomon Ray and Samaritan House Executive Director Chris Krager as Solomon draws the winning tickets. Solomon recently starred in a movie filmed here in the Flathead Valley called The Wylds. In years past, the guest celebrity has been Rob Quist, former Chief of Police Frank Garner and City of Kalispell Mayor Pam Kennedy.
The Samaritan House provides shelter and Transitional Housing for local homeless people. Each year the Samaritan House serves nearly 1,500 local homeless people. Every bed at the shelter has been full every night since 2002. The Samaritan House uses the proceeds from the benefit raffle to provide for shelter expenses, utilities, toiletries and to provide help for homeless families.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Samaritan House Staff

Last night the Samaritan House staff got together for our annual Christmas party. As you can see, it was a great time. It was nice to get away together.
I am proud of the work these folks do. Each year they help around 1,500 people who need shelter, feed around 25,000 meals and make thousands of referrals and connections to other services and supports... gracefully.
This is especially amazing when you consider that every single person that comes to them in need is usually in the midst of the storm of their life.
Thank you to all who help to make the Samaritan House possible and Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Frozen Pipes

Under the shelter thawing out the frozen pipes... -6 degrees last night.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

KOFI 1180 AM

A resident of the Samaritan House will be featured in a radio show Friday morning. The show is set to air at 8:00 am, Friday December 12th, on a local AM radio station 1180 KOFI. The station does not stream online so I realize this will only be available to local folks, unfortunately.
Wendy Ostrum Price interviewed a shelter resident, SW, conserning the Samaritan House and his life here. The program is sponsored by Flathead Electric Coop. United Way here is in full campaign swing and is using this program to get the word out about the different types of organizations that they help.
SW shares about how grateful he is to be inside and warm at this time of year. In his voice you can hear the toll that a hard life has had and the thankfulness he expresses for the Samaritan House and United Way to provide a place for him. It reminded me that there are things in my life that I take for granted.
Thank you to the United Way, Flathead Electric and SW.