Gem and Mineral DIVA Guest blogger (Unedited shared with thanks)

Hi everyone! I would like to take a moment and thank Mary for letting me blog as a guest blogger for her awesome blog, greatpoetrymhf.wordpress.com 

My name is Johnna  Crider

Johnna Crider

and I am an artist from Shreveport, LA. I moved to Atlanta in 2005 and discovered my dream of helping the homeless through art. It took a few years but I, along with several supporters started a nonprofit organization called Art4TheHomeless. One of those supporters is married to a guitar player who also wire wraps jewelry as a side business. He taught the skills of wire working.

The nonprofit is my dream of opening up an art gallery that will host several events to raise funds for different homeless relief organizations throughout the US. I am a survivor of homelessness—have been homeless on and off since I was nine years old.

As of right now, I am living with a distant cousin who is also a good friend, in Dallas, TX and am currently unemployed. I became homeless in Atlanta because my job cut back my hours to the point I could not afford to pay my rent. Of course, when my boss found out about my situation and my decision to move, he made sure I had some traveling funds and was very supportive of my decision. Starting today, 15% of all my jewelry sales will go toward the nonprofit, Art4TheHomeless. Art4TH also has an online print gallery that sales art prints for $1 each—once they are purchased we email them to the buyer.

I started out as an artist in Shreveport, LA. I would attend Trapped Truth meetings, volunteer time with the Shreveport Regional Arts Council and when I moved to the Atlanta area, I signed up for Job Corps isn 2005. I was accepted into the Brunswick Job Corps Center where I made the front page of The Brunswick News (September 20, 2006) for my dreams of Art4TheHomeless. After graduating and transferring back to Atlanta in 2007, I managed to take my mother in off the streets (she’d become homeless due to being disabled and fighting for three years to get her disability)

I made the decision in 2008 to become serious about Art4TH. In 2009, I incorporated Art4TheHomeless as a corporation and was discovered by Czar Darius Adrik Salvo I who, to help me get the word out about my dream, honored me with the title of Dame/Knight in the Imperial Chivalric Order of Kinds of the Imperial Sovereign House of Kings.

I started wire-wrapping in 2010, when my mother’s health started failing. We were constantly in and out of hospitals and I realized that in order to keep from going insane, I need to be creative. It was kind of hard to pack up paints and an easel into an ambulance. Yeah, I often found myself in the front seat of an ambulance on a monthly basis and it got to where the paramedics would remember me—in Atlanta, a huge city.

Daryl Thompson, who also won a Grammy with the Black Uhuru, is my mentor and was the artist who taught me how to wire wrap. He kept me from going insane.

My mother died on Labor Day, 2011. The day before her death, Hart Deer, huge supporter of Art4TH, current Chair of the Board and former CEO, and I were working with the IRS on our status for 501(C)3. That night I got the phone call. My job I held for over 3 years—same job that cut my hours—was beyond supportive. My coworkers made sure I got to hospice in time. My boss paid for the trip to Louisiana to scatter my mom’s ashes, and made sure that during the time of her hospice stay, I had my 40 hours squeezed into three days so I could spend the rest of the week living at the hospice.

My birthday, which was 11/04/11 was just one day shy of the two month anniversary of my mother’s death. I didn’t find out until 11/11/11, a date in which those numbers follow me, that the IRS approved our application for 501(C)3. When I got the letter, I noticed the envelope was stuffed—letters from the IRS had been because they wanted more info. When I actually opened it, this guide-book on how to manage your nonprofit fell out and I pulled out the letter. The first thing I noticed was the date stamped on the letter: 11/04/11 and just kinda stared. Then, of course, I read the letter and went into a state of shock then started screaming. I remember promising my mother that when we did get approved, she would be the first to know.

A few months into 2012, I again was honored but this time by Prince Hans Maximas Cabrera Lochaber Rurikovich of the Imperial House of Rurikovich and the International Council Grand Master of the Imperial Order of Truth with the status and dignity of Dame of Honor. Right after this Art4TheHomeless had some really awesome events in Atlanta and was the first to bring World Homeless Action Day, an international event that held on the 10th of October of every year, to Atlanta.

I rarely have the time to paint now, but miss it so. My life is currently filled with blogging, wire wrapping, learning about new minerals and gemstones and Art4TheHomeless as well as my cousin and her beautiful children who I adore. My cousin is pregnant with her third child and we are super excited (we being her husband, parents, and the rest of the family and I) that the new baby is coming soon. I’ve stated before that I am unemployed but I do work part-time for Amazon’s Mechanical Turk program and am dependent on my jewelry sales, which have been flowing in a lot lately and for that, I am grateful.

I invite you to visit Art4TheHomeless as well as check out my jewelry designs. You can do both by visiting my

blog http://gemsandmineraldiva.blogspot.com/

 and the nonprofit is http://www.art4thehomeless.org

The Gem and Mineral Divahttp://twitter.com/TheGemDiva

gemsandmineraldiva.blogspot.com

A blog about gemstones, minerals, jewelry making and to showcase my jewelry designs.

Guest Author Tracy Madlener (via SPICIE) The Homeless Hopeful: Homeless Youth Can Overcome!

http://spicie.com/health/the-homeless-hopeful-homeless-youth-can-overcome

The Homeless Hopeful: Homeless Youth Can Overcome!

By: Tracy MadlenerI lived on my own at the age of fourteen.  Then again at fifteen, and one more time, this time, permanently at seventeen.  I’m sure you’re wondering how that can be?  Well, my mom remarried someone that I did not get along with, she had my little brother with this new man and decided to choose her new family and leave the old to fend for herself.

I’m sure this is not a unique situation and that there are other stories of families that have been torn apart in many different ways.

Inspiration is something we all need

This is not a story about how I could have been another homeless youth statistic.  This is not a tale about finding the next place to sleep or where the next meal was coming from.  This is about that kid from 30 years ago and where she is now.  This is about hope.

I never gave up the dream of living in my own house with a white picket fence.  I didn’t want to believe that this daily unknowing feeling of being lost was my life.  This was not how the princess in the fairy tale ended up, and I believed I was the princess so I wasn’t about to give up on my life without a fight.  I knew in my heart of hearts that I was the only one that can become who I wanted to be.

Knowing that little piece of information kept me moving forward and I never looked back, even when I wasn’t sure where I would lay my head down at the end of the day.  Being homeless as a teen when all your friends had a home was a very somber feeling.  But I was never bitter, I was grateful when my best friend would steal food from her dad’s restaurant to feed me.  I was grateful when the cashier at the shop I worked at took me in to live with her for a few weeks.  I never forgot the many people who would come into my life like an angel and place before me my next stepping stone to reach my destination.

As I read the statistics and watch the videos of these kids with no homes, no family support and no one to turn to, I am reminded of my own situation from a past that even today, the mental scars still hang on.  Am I good enough?  Do they like me?  Will I be accepted?  Did I do the right thing?  Those who have met me would never know the insecurities I feel as I never let on.  I never show fear so that I look strong, even when I feel weak.  Now that I think about it, that attitude helped me to survive, to become who I am today.  I am not afraid.

Please, do whatever you can to help these Homeless children. We cannot end homelessness or runaways, but we can make sure that when such things occur, there is support to help them back up on their feet so that they don’t become a negative statistic. Spicie has partnered with Black Iron Kisses during Homeless Youth Awareness Month  to help spread the word about not only this issue but S.P.Y. (Safe Place for Youth) in Venice Beach, CA, which helps provide assistance to some of the 15,000 plus homeless youth in the Los Angeles area.

S.P.Y.
S.P.Y. On Facebook
Black Iron Kisses Fundraiser For S.P.Y

Thanksgiving present from the “Gratitude” bag lady…

A homeless "bag lady" in rich and se...
A homeless “bag lady” in rich and selfish Milan. Picture by Giovanni Dall’Orto, February 21 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This is a true story….it happened in Northern Alberta Canada in early 2007….
  A homeless woman walked by my window and showed me all my blessings.
I was living in a homeless shelter for disabled and people in transition.  
I was not feeling blessed with my life. Both my parents had died within 60 days of each other.  This was my second thanksgiving without them. 
I saw the “bag” lady –  (a term for the homeless as they carry all their possessions with them in giant garbage bags).   Her shopping cart was loaded down with all of life’s challenges  Packed on top was the homelessness and helplessness of her life.Her tangled dirty hair was blowing in the wind and her tears strung like a necklace of sorrow on her face. 
She journeyed on.  Alone.
I wanted to run out and bring her into my home.  Longing to feed her, bathe her,  let her find the peace of recovery and discovery which fill my home and my very being….I was frozen in place.  
 The moment passed too quickly.  I was not dressed for the wind.  I did not have shoes on. 
“Dear Creator, I was not  prepared to help her…not because I do not want to help her….I was not ready to act.”
She journeyed on not knowing how she touched Soul.
 I have a roof,  floor, walls, electricity, running water, a place to lay my head.  I have so much.  I shared it with her in my mind in that moment thinking I could welcome her to my home.   She taught me so much in sharing her world with me.
 Often, I am not grateful for the challenges of my life today.
Having a roof over my head means:  that someone trusts me to pay the rent,   keep my space clean,  get along with others, share my home quietly with my guests and not scream too loudly when my friends shower me with gifts for my home.Gifts of their company either in person, on the phone or on-line.
 What would that dear gratitude bag lady have given for just a handful of the love that has been so freely given to me by my family and friends? Certainly having a floor to clean has its moments.  There are flower petals from the bouquets I receive.  Tinsel from Christmas and flour from baking.  Not to mention that vacuuming from a walker doesn’t get the corners all the time.  I certainly won’t tell anyone about all the paper clips,  paper scraps, elastic bands that scattered over the floor during tax season and spring cleaning.
 Now, about the walls  that I complain are too thin.  Certainly, I can hear everything from everywhere in the building.  But at the same time, watching the gratitude bag lady struggle against the wind, I received some “smartening up and gratitude shots”.  When I wash the walls in a few days  (when I can open the windows and welcome the wind);  I pray I will be grateful for the lesson the gratitude bag lady gave me today.
 Yesterday, I came into my home with a cart.  It was a walker carrying my groceries, bottled water, laundry, dry-cleaning, and fresh fruit.  I did not have gratitude as I struggled for energy to put things away.  I had fatigue, illness and exhaustion.  I also had someone to help me.  I had a place to put my feet up in a leather blue recliner. Then a shower to refresh me before I went out to visit with friends.
 Because of  today’s bag lady visit,  I want to be more mindful of the Sunlight of the Spirit.  It keeps me safe in my home. I am protected from the challenges my dear gratitude bag lady faces on her journey.
 The expression “There but for the Grace of God, go I.” brings tears of gratitude to Soul. 
Thanks beloved Creator, for the gratitude bag lady who passed my window on cold windy day.  Shelter her with your love while helping me to be mindful of my wonderful life today.
 

Goodness gracious…..51,964 views all-time You folks rock my world

An artificially coloured rose. A white rose is...
An artificially coloured rose. A white rose is artificially coloured with blue dye to be sold as a blue rose. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

51,964 views all-time

 Thank you so very much.

 

When I started the blog in January 2008,

my parents were both alive,

I was living in a homeless shelter and had only my writing.  

Thank you for making my  therapy into a life changing blog.

I have my own teeth.

I have my own place to live.

I have a new career as personal assistant to two young female executives. 

Life is good.

I thank you for partnering with me on the Journey.

I thank you for being my encourager(s) and cheerleader(s), inspiration and subject of many of my writings.

Thank you especially to all the readers, guest authors, subscribers and award givers.

You folks rock. 

Within the sanctuary within

MEMBERS OF THE NATIONAL AUDUBON SOCIETY WALK T...
MEMBERS OF THE NATIONAL AUDUBON SOCIETY WALK THROUGH THE BRUSH AT THE LILLIAN ANNETTE ROWE BIRD SANCTUARY AT GRAND... - NARA - 557206 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A boardwalk at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
A boardwalk at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Family of John Harshenberger. Two children wer...
Family of John Harshenberger. Two children were not at home. Mennonites, Sheridan County, Montana (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Everglades, Florida, U.S.A.: Corkscrew Swamp S...
Everglades, Florida, U.S.A.: Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, operated by the National Audubon Society (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Genus–differentia definition
Genus–differentia definition (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Twenty four months ago, I boarded  a bus and rode it for 17 hours.

I was starting over in my starting over.

I had lost both my parents within sixty days of one another.

I was looking for sanctuary.

I had been running from the grief.

Now it was time to heal.

 Today, I came to my cabin  the woods as I call my wee home with the pine, spruce and juniper in the front yard.

I had been away visiting on holidays for one month less a day.

I came home with family.

We were greeted by family.

Then all the family greeted more family.

After the pizza and the cousins going home…….

I unpacked.

I no longer have to live out of a suitcase as I did for years as a commercial traveler.

I no longer have to live on the street as I did for years as a seeker of pleasure.

I have a home in my own wee home where I sit by the hours watching  the sunshine dance in the prism on my window forming rainbows throughout my whole house.

I no longer have to live in the darkness….waiting for another storm cloud to break…..washing away the dreams that I may have gathered…..washing away the diamonds of dewdrops formed on the spider-web I was spinning and being spun into.

I have a sanctuary within my sanctuary.

I go within.

I become the traveler without leaving town.

I leave my physical body and heal among the stars.

I am within the sanctuary within.

Come with me when you are ready……

****contact information available or go to my contact

eckankar.org

Welcome Home

Welcome. Home.
Two powerfull words.
When said together
What amazing comfort.
When said with a smile
Oh, what joy.
I was welcomed
I thought it was neat.
I would no longer have to think on my feet.
I could stop.
I could rest.
I could learn a new thing.
So, today, when the words came
My heart stopped to sing.
I am home now.
I am safe.
I am free.
Oh, what a wonderous thing
It is to be me….
At home.

This is me leaving

this is me leaving
i will not embrace
i will not totally surrender
i will not keep things in there place
this is me not thinking it over
this is me saying good-bye
this is me saying i love you
this is me trying not to cry
this is me leaving
you
now
and for ever more
i will wonder and i will wander
what might have been
if i had obeyed the Master
would we still…………..

be able to be friends?
this is me leaving
not knowing
this me getting upset
this is me leaving
i have to
this is me loving you yet

this is me leaving you

  loving you    

and having no regrets……

this is me, the true authentic me saying

Blessings dear heart…..

good bye.

The Master in their Eyes

Street Sleeper 2 by David Shankbone
Image via Wikipedia

What can I do when the Beloved of the Beloved has gone away?

Act as if they are with you as you serve  from  day-to-day.

Listen to a child, hug the homeless,

 Feed the starving, be eyes for the blind.

In giving the love you hold

 for the beloved of the Beloved

To Soul you will find….

That love reaches out to your lover, your Friend.

That love returns to the Master’s Golden Heart.

That self same  love reaches out to all eternity

Where there is with love without end.

That self same love reaches a place

 within  you

where you magnify, purify and sancify

the human love and it becomes  more divine.

More importantly, you are practicing the Holy Presence

By being.

 Soul, 

Open. 

Willing.

Kind.

Your spirit truly can sing.

It is in the moment of giving

You begin to hear the words

That resonate with the music of the spheres.

When we cannot be with our chosen one

Be the one the Master has chosen you to be.

Be kind to the Soul the Master has chosen you to serve.

It is in the tears of the outcast, the homeless, the weak

You will see the Holy presence of the Master shine…

It is in the eyes of his children

You will find and bask in the holy presence divine.