Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Inspire, Encourage & Empower - Old & New Flowers

Welcome back. It has been quite a while since the last blog entry I know. we have been most busy folks. It is important I pause and share a bit for those who actually read our last blog post, just & 2 months over a year ago. Shortly after it's post, I became ill and more so as months went forward - lasting - well still ongoing but at least now there are progressive steps to get me back to the place, perhaps even better, than I was two years ago. All that being said, I stepped down and Tom Johnson, our Managing Director-Education Director and Board Executive Committee stepped up. During that time, a decision was made, with my full blessing, to change the name of the organization from James' House to as a d.b.a. of James House Ltd., our parent 501(c)3 organization. It has proven a wise and more all inclusive and far more branding friendly name to be sure. And it has reduced a great deal of the initial misconceptions that since the guy who founded and was among those who started the organization was an openly Gay HIV+ Man and the name had "House" in its title, this must be a Housing Facility or Assistance organization for HIV+ Gay Men. As such was not the case, the new name better fit both the old and the new Mission Statement & By-Laws. And there were some changes that came about before I left but not fully incorporated until I was somewhat out of pocket. We moved from being an ASO as we had been in 2009 to an organization helping not only those infected with or affected by HIV/AIDS (& STDs) but also those with Cancers (of varying kinds), Diabetes (Type 1 & 2) and Heart Disease (& Stroke Disorders). Like a new garden with endless possibilities it was kept flourishing. Using bits of the old and bits of the new it came to live more vibrant and thriving than before. Exciting, inspired, and encouraging times birthed an empowering new place for us all to live and learn and grow. With the new name came a new logo, site and slogans...

It took some time and by the time I was back in March, still with 2 more surgeries ahead of me, the legal paperwork had been done and the new site was coming along. We lost some folks but we ended up gaining many more so I suppose the old saying about things coming out in the wash is most true in our case. I don't want to spend more time on the past here as most of what it new can be found on the sire and on our new Facebook Events and media page ( Check it out, "Like" it and "Share" it please with all you know. Until folks move off of my page, I will continue to post all of our events, galleries and albums on both pages but in time, it would be nice to have folks more concentrated on the Team and not just one person, me.

A lot has happened in over a year, more than I choose to elaborate upon herein. That can be found in the pictures and post on the FB Events & Media page as indicated above. But there are a few highlights of which I did want to make mention. Each year we have been incorporated, this, incidentally being almost exactly our 3 years and 6 months point, we have seen a greater number of Staff (despite still being a volunteer non-profit organization) new Board Executive Committee Members, more non-fiduciary "Board at Large" Think Tank Members, more Clients Served, more funds raised and more programs successfully executed. Small still though we may yet be, we are growing little by little. While we lost a few "In the House" ("Join Us in the House...James' House") campaign members the new "Friends With Power" ("You have the Power... Power2Endure.") campaign has added new ones. We would like to see more women and peoples of color there though. Of any area, my being down hurt us in that one spot most yet I am confident we will ad new folks representing more diversity in due time.

Of those new faces, in alpha order below are: Ben Cohen, Philip Fusco, Dab Garner, Leggacy, Jack Mackenroth, Tess Malis-Kincaid, Dylan Michael, Sister Ursula Polari, Amber Taylor & Diego Wolf.
A big Round of welcomes to all!!


     Of those retained, the tried and true are: Jess Black, Dan Choi. 
                                           Jaden Cornelious, Tom Goss, Nick Jonas, Reichen Lehmkuhl, 
                                           Rhea Litre, Joshua Miller, Olivia Newton-John & Tony Tripoli.




As we move forward, readers will no doubt observe a more positive focus here in the blog, as well as in our events, programs, client services and more. as our day to day experiences, things I/we find can serve to inspire, encourage or empower those for whom we work, discussions of events and their activities, great people we continue to meet along the way and things of that nature.

Old & New Flowers - Gardens grow stronger with both the rich roots of that which is there with us for some time, or was in the past, or by adding new seedlings that bring new life and new color into our lives. Just as we move or see then end of one relationship or place, often times we see birthed a new and exciting one. How like the gardener we are as we plant new roots in new soil and perhaps plant cuttings from old and dear plants who were with us in days and times gone by. What will they look like? When when they bloom. Will ne plants look like the older ones? Will older ones take on the attributes of the young? What will be the same and what will perhaps be new and different? The excitement is in the discovery, not in the knowing (as if that were under our to control in the first place"). Where's the fun in that?

We choose to water and to tend for those who have sustained us and likewise we can do so with those new friends with whom we elect to nurture new relationships.  In that spirit, I challenge you with this, think of three people in your life who have in big ways or small but profound and significant ways impacted your life in a positive capacity. Picture them now whether they be living or with us still. How did their being influence and/or shape your being who you are today? What did they do, or what do they still do that lifts your spirit to want to be healthier and wiser and more hopeful about tomorrow? What lessons can they still teach you? How can you share those lessons with others in your immediate area?

Yes, I realize I am conjuring up our catch phrases again, at least a couple of them, “Ordinary Miracles”, Think Globally, Act Locally” and “Paying It Forward”. But for the sake of the exercise, I think it helpful for us all to get those concepts into our heads. Often, I believe, it is how we live life that more defines us than our words. Don’t me wrong, words have meaning, words have power but words without action are just that, words, however eloquently (or tritely) they may be phrased. Thoughts, your thoughts have power, power to make things new. Thoughts can become things if given action and belief, over time, to bring you to a different or a more refined way of looking at the same thing.

So, back to the exercise, to the persons who inspired, encouraged or empowered you at any stage/s of your life. I realize thinking of three people might be a challenge for some but if you dig deep, I imagine they are there in the recesses of your heart, your mind, your soul. Go someplace quiet and still and give yourself the permission to be alone with your thoughts. I realize that too can be daunting task for some but go ahead, give it a try. Once still and quiet, shift your focus away from the cares of your day, they will all be there later so leave them be for this brief time. As we move toward World AIDS Day 2012, if you are infected or affected with or by HIV/AIDS (or any other immune system compromising illness/s), give yourself over to this time to reflect as you are able to go to a time when such was not the case. Or if you prefer, simply imagine, for the sake of the exercise, that such is not the case. In other words, put all cares of your present health whatever it may be, aside so that you can clearly focus on those three people and how your life is better today because of them. What joy comes to mind? What memories? What life lessons did they teach or share with you? What are you doing or what can you possibly do now to act upon what you may have learned from each of them?

Write these things down or perhaps start a journal. Keep up with it and reflect on in as you go through the days to come. Some of my most precious healing moments have come from the sweetest of recollections. Some of the most powerful lessons come out of the most challenging of times. Both are valuable. Both can teach us things we can use to make us stronger on our journey, this thing called life.

Words or actions of strength I learned from my three folks have helped me get through many a tough season. The harshest of winters will pass. The focus on these three are my blessings, miracles (ordinary or extraordinary) if you will. And I am thankful each of them and the lessons they taught me. I find they help me see the world in a whole new light. A wise person once said, "The more I learn, the less I know." Learn to let go of the fear of the dar and the negative and let yourself envelope your heart, mind and soul in the new light of a new morning. Where once there was darkness or fear or uncertainty or other such negative imagery, now there is hope and exuberance and expectation of magnificent things to come as I face each new day. It took work, just like working a garden does, yet reflecting on these three very powerful voices I gain strength to forge onward and upward. The new and the familiar blossoms and blooms stir new and old thoughts. You have the choice to find the joy and the beauty in each. Whatever you are going through in your world today, I promise you, it can get better. I pray this can be true for you as it has been, time and time again for me and for others I know. Choose that if you will endeavor to find those three positive, empowering voices, faces, memories or be with them more if they are still wil you. At least give it a go. You have much to gain by simply stepping up, reaching out and receiving the gifts of both the old and the new. You may well surprise yourself at what grows within you. Be safe & be well - Love, James & Team P2E

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