Tag Archives: Religion

Volunteers

Journal Entry #2

The volunteers we came in contact with while living Homefree were pretty awesome.  There were a few that would visit the day room regularly.  They enjoyed sitting and talking with anyone that came in everyday and hearing their stories.

One lady started knitting cowels when the weather turned cold.  Some would even help fill out and explain different paperwork that some needed to do to get assistance of any kind to improve their life.  A few even stepped up and helped with transportation if needed.

We had a few people that were just talk, no action.  They were “Christians” that never followed through with anything; Christian by religion, not by faith.  The most disheartening of the bunch.

“We will come out to the community and help clean up any trash.”  They never showed up.  “Tell me one thing you would like for Christmas.”

We all shared, not one gift showed up.  All the items that were given were under $10. Try being a volunteer at a day room or a shelter; it can be fun and rewarding.

COFFEE QUOTES: #2 Drink coffee, read books, be happy.

Sweets

Trail Magic

23 April 2019, Tuesday

Greetings from our family to yours and Welcome to another TrailMagick89 missive,

I’m not quite sure why I didn’t think of doing a missive about what trail magic is and could be before today, alas I have finally gotten around to it today.

What is Trail Magic to you?

The definition of Trail Magic is…unexpected acts of kindness. The thing is it means different things to different people. A few different possibilities are:

  1. Sharing a hot meal,

  2. A couple bottles of water, flavor packets and power bars,

  3. A ride into town,

  4. A tent,

  5. A bed roll,

  6. A mess kit,

  7. 3 days worth of food,

  8. Fresh clothes, and

  9. Fire starter.

A little over a year ago we found out that the above list are all examples of trail magic, something that Sweets and I had been doing for nearly ten years. I first experienced it in August of two thousand and eight in Lansing when I was homeless for the first time, Sweets experienced it for the first time less than two years later. The best place at the time back then to see the definition of trail magic in the homeless sense was to go to Central United Methodist Church in downtown Lansing.

Miss Chris and Mister Dennis were modern day heroes to many, many thousands of homeless that went through the doors of the day room that they operated out of the basement at CUMC. It was by their examples that Sweets and I were open to receiving such a blessing. You see at that time we were deep into religion and going to church.

Cajun, Sweets and I were heading to church on morning and even after a week of can-dogging we were no richer on Saturday night than we were the previous Sunday. We had made a deal between the three of us to tithe ten percent of what we made. Well, I can tell you that ten percent of zero is zero.

So Sunday morning we were off to church with empty pockets when we three came upon three pennies and that is what we ended up tithing. And that following week we received trail magic, six thousand dollars worth of trail magic; we had bedding, clothing, tents, food, feminine products, cook pots, and utensils. We were given the charge of handing out at store house of supplies to those in need.

The local police departments came out to our sanctuary with community people that had been living it rough under bridges, on park benches, in doorways, at bus stops, and anywhere else they found them and dropped them off to us. We ended up gaining nearly a dozen new people just from the local shelters that had been kicked out for one reason or another, in the first two months. We did not care if you stayed in our camp or you moved on to another, we just wanted to help.

That is when I first realized that we each walk our own trails through life. A movie called “End of the Spear” and a documentary called “Beyond the Gates of Splendor” that came out a few years to me being homeless were about five murdered missionaries that went into the Ecuadorian rain forests and met their fates. The families of those men continued their work with the Waodoni tribe and the thought that was conveyed to them was “Will you follow His trail?”

At that time I wanted to but at the time the movies came out I was not ready but by two thousand eight He put me right where I needed to be to do just that. Religion had finally taken a back seat to my spirituality and yes it has reared its ugly head a few times since then; but by following His Trail I have been a better Jesus Freak. And I think that is real trail magic; being like Jesus without religion being in the way.

We appreciate that you stuck around until the end. If, you have found any value in this post, make sure to hit the “Like” button and “Subscribe” to TrailMagick89 blog. Please feel free to share your thoughts below. You can also find us on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Amazon, and of course WordPress.

Semper Fidelis, Elroy & Sweets

Give of Yourself

11 April 2019, Thursday

Greetings from our family to yours and Welcome to another TrailMagick89 missive,

Today I would like to talk to you about not giving money, or store bought supplies. Today I was thinking it might be interesting to discuss services that you could render. I have quite a few different friends, acquaintances, comrades, associates, and family members with quite a wide variety of different skills. Amongst them are lay people, pastors, construction workers, office personnel, restaurateurs, clothiers, furniture makers, police officers, pharmacists, teachers, farmers, caregivers, secretaries, custodians, maintenance personnel, politicians, insurance adjusters, grocers, and the list go on and on.

The reason for this list is to think about what kind of service you could share with someone. If you like doing research as I do, you could assist people with figuring out where to go to get paperwork filled out whether it is for disability or a lost license. If you like to cook or serve you could volunteer at a soup kitchen or shelter, or you could go to a nearby trail and offer the same service for what is called trail magic.

As you know trail magic is unexpected acts of kindness. If you like building with your hands or working with wood you could volunteer at the local park service for fixing up a park pavilion, build a lean-to for the person in the woods, or even make cooking utensils. I have made some very sturdy spatulas, spoons, and forks for cooking over a fire with old solid barn wood.

If you like working with needle and thread there are many that go to day rooms and trail towns that could use some assistance with repairing clothing, tents (zippers die quickly, as do tent screens), windbreakers snag easy on brambles, close to expired food can be donated to shelters or taken to encampments right from grocery store shelves with permission from management. The list as you can see goes on and on. If you are a religious person and you want to share your beliefs you can go to shelters and hold studies based on those beliefs.

(Yes, I could be advocating for Christianity here, the problem is that even though Christianity is still strong in this country, when I was out on the trail or in an encampment, I saw young Muslim men and women talking with people, offering assistance, praying with people. I saw young wiccans come forward willing to tidy up a camp site and even offer to help carry gear and supplies for people so that the one receiving assistance was less burdened. Regardless, of how I feel about Christianity over other religions, (oh no, I called Christianity a religion), I saw quite a lot more people that were not Christian stepping up and asking for nothing in return and expecting nothing in return than I did actual Christians.)

If you like to knit or crotchet you could even think about going to shelters or day rooms and starting a knitting club there. If you have a few spare needles, all the better. I will tell you this, this time of year even though the homeless receive things for free, they truly love, mostly, giving handmade gifts to friends and family. Just like anyone else people love to learn new skills, if you have a teachable skill consider teaching it to someone else.

Unlike the popular belief that there are tons of people on welfare and they are always trying to mooch off the system, not all of them are like that, some do, I can not deny it, most if they thought they had something to contribute or had a way to make money they would become productive members of society. One gentleman I met lost his wife in divorce, the judge awarded her the house and the car, and he was left with the debt and very little money, right up to the end he was trying to save his marriage. He had worked at a restaurant with her when they met. He ended up at the same shelter I first went to.

After the divorce was final, he opened a new bank account, and everyday went out can-dogging, doing odd jobs, scrapping, and he put everything into the account, he went to the day rooms and the shelters for meals and clothing and supplies. Within six months he had saved enough money to open his own restaurant, his ex-wife and her boyfriend showed up wanting work.

He turned them down and he ended up in front of the same judge from his divorce hearing. His ex-wife tried to convince the judge that he had somehow cheated the courts out of knowing he had so much extra money when they were married. She wanted her share of the new restaurant. The judge ended up giving the ex-wife community service and ended up becoming a patron at the restaurant.

The judge stepped up and saw that she could offer unique assistance to someone in need. She brought friends with her and the restaurant was succeeding not just surviving within one year. What the ex-wife did not know was at one time the judge had been homeless and living on the very streets she swore an oath to protect. There are always ways that you can be proactive in life.

I met one couple, I believe at that time they were in the mid sixties; they would go down to one of the hardest places in Lansing to live outdoors, it was a city park where alcoholics, addicts, and prostitutes would go to come down off their latest high, this old couple made it their personal mission to visit there three times a week. They would take hats, scarves, and mittens that she crocheted, they would take soup in Styrofoam bowls that he had made and that is how they served. When they were done handing out what they had with them that day, they would go to their favorite bench and chat with the people that hung out there.

When the husband passed away, the funeral home was full to capacity by mostly people from that park. The day room was busy for three days as the people from that park went there to get cleaned up to attend the funeral. The day room ran out of soap, shaving razors, all the general supplies needed for people to get cleaned up.

Not everyone went to the funeral clean and sober, most of them did try though. After the funeral there was an anonymous donation of supplies to the day room of double what was used. So say it was the widow lady, though since I helped carry it into the building, I know it was a donation by people that when they were truly in need the day room stepped up. The widow lady started coming to the day room once a week and meeting with people there instead of at the park.

She said it was not because she was now alone, she had more friends than anyone I had ever met because of how generous her and her husband had been. She started coming to the day room because she saw the change it had made in the lives of her friends from the park and she liked the coffee better there than from the gas station that her husband had always stopped at.

We appreciate that you stuck around until the end. If, you have found any value in this post, make sure to hit the “Like” button and “Subscribe” to TrailMagick89 blog. Please feel free to share your thoughts below. You can also find us on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Amazon, and of course WordPress.

Semper Fidelis, Elroy & Sweets