Thursday Thoughts-Happy Thanksgiving!

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Towards the end of each year, I evaluate my progress based on the New Year goals. If I didn’t hit the target(s), I consider the WHY and decide how to proceed the following year. Was it that I wasn’t emotionally invested from the start, constantly allowed myself to be distracted, or just downright lazy? I don’t even know why I added number three, I’m definitely an overachiever and lazy has NEVER been in my vocabulary! In fact, I had a toe fusion in July, was in a boot for three months, and still hosted the first Dsquared Homes for the Homeless fundraiser, while in my boot (see right foot). Last year I hit only two of my goals written down on paper, but this year, none at all. At first glance, I would appear to be a loser, but far from it! What’s happened is that while I’ve always had my annual to-do list ready by December 1st and signed in blood, lately, I’ve been listening to God. Apparently, we were never in agreement with where my focus should be, but I always thought I knew what was best for my life, despite the scar tissue.

This year I was all ears and stepped into my purpose with my one good toe, which is why I’m absent most days from my own WordPress site!  God said, “quit your part-time job, stop working on your book, and fight for the forgotten voices,” which included my newly homeless son that had been raped by the mental health system. My response was, HOW can I fight a system that’s as dysfunctional as the clients they serve, and can’t I just give birth to the book I’ve been working on three years now!! UGH!!!! It’s no longer fun and regulates my life like an out of control fungus! I also complained about my lack of experience, and that EVERYONE says you can’t fight the system, that’s just the way it is. Who is everyone anyway, and why do we consider them the experts?
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God said, “step into your purpose, everything you need is already inside of you, and I will supply the people needed to fulfill your mission.” So I did, founding my nonprofit, Dsquared Homes for the Homeless, which has grown by supernatural leaps and bounds. I have three teams and at least 150 volunteers. My Board of Directors is fantastic, and three have over thirteen years of nonprofit experience. The photo above is from our first charity event, a Quartermania, and it was standing room only!

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My Volunteen program is a group of kids, from ages 9-17, who meet every first Saturday of the month to fill the Dsquared bags with donations collected between meetups. On a second day during the month, we meet as a team to distribute hygiene bags, snacks, water, Panera Bread treats, and blankets in the homeless community. Panera Bread’s Dough-Nation program, allows nonprofits to pick day old treats to share with those in need.

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Several of my team store backpack in our cars to hand out as we travel throughout the workday, and a few supporters ask for a specific amount per month to distribute on their own. We are going viral in Arizona!71214206_10221485391343396_4497866709318762496_o

It’s exciting to get teens off of social media, which I believe is the reason for the increase in teen suicide and depression, and into the community so they can work their heart muscles, and see the realities of life. Our current team is in Queen Creek, and a seventeen-year-old is starting a new Volunteen group in South Phoenix in January 2020. Educators are getting their students involved by prepping plastic bags in the classroom for our Plarn Team, and/or sending them home with one backpack per student to fill and distribute with their parents. Seeing families serving together on the Dsquared time is a beautiful thing, and last weekend three generations from one family served with us!67942064_10218065679465488_626586525341057024_n

Our Plarn Team (averaging 100) volunteers between Arizona and a Girl Scout group in Texas) crochets sleeping mats out of plastic shopping bags! Gary is my Director of Marketing and the only man on a team of about 100, that crochets, lol…He’s very intense about his commitment and says he’s only doing his part! Ummmm, I don’t crochet, but do my part by flattening the shopping bags so they can be cut and rolled into a ball of plarn (plastic yarn), and shipped to the crocheters.

Our Housing Committee is a group of Mental Health professionals working to create a housing model for the SMI (Serious Mental Illness) client, including Veterans diagnosed with PTSD, who will live in our Independent Housing programs. My son lived in a transitional living home after his initial onset of Schizophrenia in 2011, but watching how it was run was all the experience I had! God had to really show up on this one, which He did, of course! Three of this group either has a Doctorate or are working towards it, one has worked in the Mental Health field in every role possible, and is now a Private Consultant. The others are professionals from the various industries required to make my vision a reality.

We’ve had two interviews so far,  the first by Voyage Phoenix, the second by Arizona State University who will try to feature us on Cronkite News! Renee from Slagter Real Estate is my Director of Housing and has introduced our Rider program! Agents from all over the world can partner with us by donating a portion of their sale to Dsquared, and take home one of our absolutely gorgeous riders! Our first rider is in Mesa, Arizona, check it out at the bottom of the for sale sign in the photo!

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This photo is the group from last week’s trip to serve the homeless in Pioneer Park! Matt, in the front row with white socks, gave the shoes off his feet to a homeless man in need! I was as surprised and impressed as the homeless man, but still came home with mine! I guess I have a little more growing to do in that area, it was a chilly Arizona morning, lol.

Although leading a nonprofit is a lot of work and quite stressful, I’ve never felt more fulfilled in my life! Since I see how God is working in my life, I’ll only add two goals for 2020, and see what else HE has in mind! Of course, that will be completing my book, Renewal of the Mind, The Upside To Schizophrenia, and finding another career, now that I know my purpose in life, and what makes my heart sing! You can follow us at Dsquared4homeless.org, and/or email us at Dsquared4homeless@gmail.com if interested in sponsoring our Volunteen Outreach with your business logo on 100 of our backpacks or volunteering your talents to our team. I mainly need help with grant writing (which can be done from anywhere), and social media! Though I built the website because our nonprofit didn’t have the funding, it was one of the most frustrating months in my life. Yes, it took me a month to create what someone could have done in 4 hours or less, but that’s dedication!

 

 

Homeless Veterans Matter

Stories of the homeless aren’t what you think! Timmothy, on the right, has a great job and makes $35 per hour. He had to take a medical leave for hernia surgery, and the sixth-month for long term disability caused him to lose his apartment due to lack of income. The short term disability didn’t kick in before he lost his apartment. Just out of the hospital, he’s living in the park another two weeks until returning to work. On his first check, he will get another apartment. Timmothy is of the many homeless Veterans I see while serving the homeless community. No one should be homeless (unless by choice and I have met some), but those who’ve served our country should be exempt!

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Assumptions about the homeless population should be challenged. Anyone can be homeless, and most Americans are one paycheck away, which is why WE ALL need to join forces to bring about change! Another surprise is that Timothy has begun the process of starting a  nonprofit to serve these forgotten soldiers.  Having been in construction all his life., he’s offered his services to Dsquared’s housing renovation project, for FREE. It’s amazing what you learn about a homeless person just by taking time for a conversation. Hidden, unexpected blessings are awesome! I now have a construction worker on my Dsquared team!
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Warfare In the Workforce-Dharius Daniels

Unlike my old-school church services, Pastor Daniel’s ministry is relevant to the biggest issues of today’s society for both Christians and everyone else. The bonus is that he provides common-sense solutions for today’s traumas. Today’s message is for those who hate Monday mornings and live for Friday afternoons.

 

Kanye’s Conversion: Is Jesus Really His King? OCTOBER 25, 2019 BY SUZANNE HADLEY GOSSELIN

After my dismissal of the news about Kanye’s conversion, I was challenged by these words: Let’s pray hard for the salvation of all who hear the gospel!

Last month I heard that Kanye West had become a Christian. Yes, that Kanye — the outspoken rapper and record producer married to television celebrity Kim Kardashian. According to a Christianity Today article, it all began when West unexpectedly visited the small California Bible church pastored by Adam Tyson. Since then, Tyson has flown to Cody, Wyoming, to lead a Bible study with West and his employees, and has preached at multiple tour stops for the artist. And Tyson is here for it.

“I want to be faithful to a new brother in the faith, Kanye,” Tyson said. “I want to help him be connected to the Word of God. I told him, ‘As long as you’re exalting Christ, I’m 100% behind you.’”

While I admire Tyson’s fervor, I have to admit that when I first heard the news, I was skeptical. Could such a controversial public figure as Kanye West truly do a 180 and follow Jesus? Could this do more harm than good to the cause of Christ?

Through the years, I’ve watched actors, singers and athletes claim to have a conversion experience But in many of these cases, their newfound faith didn’t seem to stick. Like the seed that fell on the rocky ground in Matthew 13:20-21, they appeared to receive the faith with joy until it became too challenging — then they fell away.

But as puzzling as the celebrity journey to faith can be, the average Christian’s reaction to celebrity conversion is also puzzling. We are either skeptical, thinking a person living in such a worldly context could not possibly take up his cross and follow Jesus — or we embrace the person as a new spokesperson for the faith and expect him to live a perfect Christian life. Neither of these responses is particularly healthy or biblical.

Responding to celebrity professions of faith

Part of the difficulty in knowing how to respond is that the Bible doesn’t really talk about celebrity conversions. We do know that it is difficult for a rich person to come to God and that the Bible speaks out against favoritism in the church. But beyond that, we’re not told how to respond when a high-profile person claims faith in Christ. That said, I do think we can rely on a few principles in forming a biblical response.

Remember no one is beyond Christ’s reach.

I have recently been studying the book of 1 Timothy. In it, the Apostle Paul says, “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost” (1 Timothy 1:15). Paul did some terrible things before he came to Christ, including persecuting Christians. He was an unlikely convert. And yet God used him mightily to spread the gospel and help establish the early church. We should never believe that a person cannot be saved because of his or her background or lifestyle.

Don’t show favoritism.

Maybe, like me, you’ve noticed favoritism in the body of believers. This Christian influencer has a blue checkmark on Instagram, therefore he must have more to offer than Average Joe Christian who is faithfully serving at his church each week. The Bible outright condemns believers showing favoritism. Here’s the famous passage in James:

“Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? (James 2:2-4)

As Christians we are called to value all people equally, rich or poor, famous or obscure. This principle applies when it comes to welcoming high profile people into our ranks. Fawning over those who are impressive is unproductive and will not produce the fruit of true humility and servanthood in our lives.

God decides who He will bring low and who He will exalt — not us. Meanwhile, we’re supposed to be busy loving God, loving others and focusing on our own Christian walk.

Pray for them.

After my precursory dismissal of the news about Kanye’s conversion (even the Babylon Bee had a little fun), I was challenged by a Christian friend who posted the CT article with these words: “Let’s pray hard for the salvation of all who hear the gospel!”

People have met Jesus through the events West and Tyson are participating in. Instead of acting as a holier-than-thou member of the peanut gallery, I should be praying for the salvation of sinners! 1 Timothy 2:1-2 says, “I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.”

Celebrities are in high positions. They influence millions of people. They need our prayers, especially as they seek to honor Christ.

Something to be excited about

When a celebrity professes faith in Jesus, we don’t need to respond with either adulation or cynicism. We can trust that God knows the person’s heart and has a plan. The genuineness of the person’s faith will be revealed over time, and we can rejoice in the meantime. That’s certainly Pastor Tyson’s perspective.

“It is a story to be excited about. This is an opportunity to reach pop culture and America for Christ,” Tyson said. “I’m fired up.”

Being fired up about people hearing the gospel is a good thing. I hope and pray that Kanye West has made Jesus his Lord, and that many will come to faith because of it.

Copyright 2019 Suzanne Hadley Gosselin. All rights reserved.

 

https://www.boundless.org/blog/kanyes-conversion-is-jesus-really-his-king/

It’s On Me-Dr. Dharius Daniels

It’s interesting when you feel a certain way for an extended period, and one day the revelation happens! That didn’t happen until I was ready to receive it, which took thirty-seven years. For thirty-one years, I’ve worked two to three jobs to compensate for my single-parent status, and the busy-ness of life rendered me deaf to my calling. Many, like me, have entered the workplace their entire careers without their hearts, and the most exciting part of the position is clocking out and off days. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for employment because the needs of my family have been met. An added bonus is that a few of my supervisors were so amazing that I left with skills that supported success not only on the job but in my personal life outside the job.

Now, however, I understand the passion was lacking because I wasn’t working in the role I was created to fill. We’re all born for a specific purpose and are never completely satisfied until we meet that need.  The downside in our lack of follow-through is that lives we were supposed to bless remains in chaos. I personally haven’t been a reliable team player! The tug on my heart for all these years was God calling on the landline. I finally answered in February of 2019.

Though I’m walking in my purpose free of charge, my heart has never been happier! I’m still employed on my fulltime job, but I know God is working behind the scenes because of the supernatural growth of my nonprofit housed at Dsquared4homeless.org.  My life is a testimony that when God decides the role, he also provides the skills required. Dr. Daniels shared an A-MA-ZING message on stepping up to the plate of the life you were really supposed to lead!