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In the photo: The increasingly famous homeless statue. Read a story about it here, and another here.

Homeless Poverty Statistics Data
Source: National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty
Date Verified: July 28, 2013

Number of homeless people in the US 1,750,000
Average monthly income for a homeless individual $348
Percent of homeless that do not get enough to eat daily 28 %
Percent of homeless that did paid work during the past month 44 %
Percent of homeless that have problems with alcohol, drug abuse, or mental illness 66 %
Percent of homeless persons that have been sexually assaulted 7 %
Percent of homeless that have been homeless for more than two (2) years 30 %
Percent of homeless women that are unaccompanied / have no partner 40 %
Percent of homeless women claim to have been abused within the past year. 25 %
Percent of homeless women who claim domestic abuse as the reason for their homelessness 22 %
Percent of homeless population that are Veterans / Vets 40 %
Percent of homeless persons who are employed 25 %
Number of Americans who now live in hunger or on the edge of hunger 31,000,000
Percent of people in a soup kitchen line who are children 20 %
Number of families who are lodging nightly in city shelters in New York City 6,252
Number of children in the U.S. who live below poverty level. 12,000,000
Annual number of food stamp recipients who are children 9,300,000
Percent of cities surveyed that identified domestic violence as a primary cause of homelessness 46 %
Percent of the adult homeless population that suffer from a severe and persistent mental illness 22 %
Percent of homeless persons who have a mental illness that requires institutionalization 6 %
Demographic make-up of the homeless population Percent
Single Men 44 %
Single Women 13 %
Families with Children 36 %
Unaccompanied Minors 7 %
Racial breakdown of homeless population Percent
African-American 50 %
White 35 %
Hispanic 12 %
Native American 2 %
Asian 1 %

“Bringing Transcendence in Play”

If I can lift up hope to a soul despairing,

Or strive for justice with the will to stay,

If I befriend another in burden-bearing,

Forgive a wrong through Christlike caring,

Oppose any of myriad evils with daring,

Or guide a wanderer lost to find the way,

Show compassion to the poor from day to day,

Or inspire fresh courage that may

defeating fears allay,

I shall share in bringing transcendence in play.

— James A. Langley

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Atticus Finch was immortalized in Harper's Lee's Great American Novel and in His Greatness Gregory Peck's masterful portrayal of the high-minded Southern lawyer.

Atticus Finch was immortalized in Harper’s Lee’s Great American Novel and in His Greatness Gregory Peck’s masterful portrayal of the high-minded Southern lawyer.

A gaggle of Atticus Finches from "To Kill a Mockingbird," observing another "Atticus Finch Day."

A gaggle of Atticus Finches from “To Kill a Mockingbird,” observing another “Atticus Finch Day.”

“Atticus Finch Day”–celebrating the high-minded but fictitious lawyer of To Kill A Mockingbird fame–was observed for the sixth straight year in Brazos County, Tx, near my own Texas hometown.

“Atticus Finch Day” was the brainchild of my friend the attorney Phil Banks and one of his legal-beagle friends who was once a bitter adversary in court.

The whole interesting story of how this, uh, different but very cool sort of special day came to be can be found here in the local newspaper where the event was held.

“I have finally found a way to live . . .

in the Presence of the Lord.”

— From an Eric Clapton/Stevie Winwood “contemporary Christian” classic song,
from their days together with the “super group” “Blind Faith”

Watcha gonna do when dey come for you, bad boy, bad boy?

Watcha gonna do when dey come for you, bad boy, bad boy?” At Flayva’s Bar & Grill on the Mayawalk in downtown San Ignacio, Bob Marley rocks. Flayva’s is one of the most popular watering holes for expats and tourists and Belizeans too

Bird watchers at the swing bridge where the Macal and Mopan Rivers converge outside San Iganacio, BZ

Bird watchers at the swing bridge where the Macal and Mopan Rivers converge outside San Iganacio, BZ

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A Belizean Mennonite with a Belizean Hindu couple: Belize has a high number of Mennonites and Middle Easterners, most of whom are Hindu.  And then there's all the Chinese who are a significant part of BZ's very diverse population (Pop. 300,000).

A Belizean Mennonite with a Belizean Hindu couple: Belize has a high number of Mennonites and Middle Easterners, most of whom are Hindu. And then there’s all the Chinese who are a significant part of BZ’s very diverse population (Pop. 300,000).

Diving off the swing bridge

Diving off the swing bridge

Meanwhile, back in town on a hot Saturday: a funky, spunky Belizean girl at the market. Thought the hat was a great look.

Meanwhile, back in town on a hot Saturday: a funky, spunky Belizean girl at the market. Thought the hat was a great look.

Sign on Christo Rey Road: don't be a litterbug, mon.

Sign on Christo Rey Road: don’t be a litterbug, mon.

The annual two-day Easter Fair in BZ is always a big, huge weekend: here one of the guys from the Guatemalen carnival sets up a ride.

The annual two-day Easter Fair in BZ is always a big, huge weekend: here one of the guys from the Guatemalen carnival sets up a ride.

A carny's boy staying cool.

A carny’s boy staying cool.

Another roadside attraction: which is to say, another Belizean creepy crawler

Another roadside attraction: which is to say, another Belizean creepy crawler

Another creepy crawler: a carny walking on his hands while his buddy works.

Another creepy crawler: a carny walking on his hands while his buddy works.

High wire at a local soccer field; these kids much prefer barefoot soccer

High wire at a local soccer field; these kids much prefer barefoot soccer

Construction of dams are always and everywhere controversial. Chalillo was built way up in Mountain Pine Ridge and it has vastly curtailed the heavy flooding in San Ignacio, although there was heavy flooding nonetheless in the exceptionally rainy season last fall. But the reduced electric rates from the dam, which the foreign electric company that built the dam promised, never happened. Bellzeans get promised a lot of improvements that never seem to happen.

Construction of dams are always and everywhere controversial. Chalillo was built way up in Mountain Pine Ridge and it has vastly curtailed the heavy flooding in San Ignacio, although there was heavy flooding nonetheless in the exceptionally rainy season last fall. But the reduced electric rates from the dam, which the foreign electric company that built the dam promised, never happened. Bellzeans get promised a lot of improvements that never seem to happen.

Umbrellas aren't just for the rain; you'll rarely see a Belizean woman without an umbrella for the rain or for too much shine from el sol.

Umbrellas aren’t just for the rain; you’ll rarely see a Belizean woman without an umbrella for the rain or for too much shine from el sol.

Until next time, stay crazy: it's always worked for me.

Until next time, stay crazy: it’s always worked for me.

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“Inequality is the root of social evil.”

— Pope Francis, alleged communist, radical leftist and naive, economic simpleton who regularly (naively?) reads a rather radical book, in a tweet

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“Come now, you rich people, weep and wail for the miseries that are coming to you. Your riches have rotted, and your clothes are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have rusted, and their rust will be evidence against you, and it will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure for the last days. Listen! The wages of the labourers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on the earth in luxury and in pleasure; you have fattened your hearts on a day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the righteous one, who does not resist you.”

James 5: 1-6

* * * *

My brothers and sisters, do you with your acts of favouritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ? For if a person with gold rings and in fine clothes comes into your assembly, and if a poor person in dirty clothes also comes in, and if you take notice of the one wearing the fine clothes and say, ‘Have a seat here, please’, while to the one who is poor you say, ‘Stand there’, or, ‘Sit at my feet’, have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters. Has not God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonoured the poor. Is it not the rich who oppress you? Is it not they who drag you into court? Is it not they who blaspheme the excellent name that was invoked over you?

— James 2: 1-7

* * * *

Those conflicts and disputes among you, where do they come from? Do they not come from your cravings that are at war within you? You want something and do not have it; so you commit murder. And you covet something and cannot obtain it; so you engage in disputes and conflicts. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, in order to spend what you get on your pleasures. Adulterers! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you suppose that it is for nothing that the scripture says, ‘God yearns jealously for the spirit that he has made to dwell in us’? But he gives all the more grace; therefore it says,
‘God opposes the proud,
but gives grace to the humble.’

— James 4: 1-6

* * * *

So your Jitterbug thought for the day is, if inequality is NOT the root of social evil, what is at root, according to thou?

“Well, if I were in charge …. They [terrorists] would know that waterboarding is how we baptize terrorists.” — Sarah Palin.

Sarah-Palin

As if it’s not hard enough already for pastors to get their flocks to understand the importance, significance and real meaning* of one of the two sacraments that Jesus commanded (baptism and communion), Sarah Palin cheapens the sacrament to no end, while at the same time cheapening the entire message contained in the birth, life, ministry, death (by TORTURE) and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

That’s one heck of an achievement, Sarah.

Kudos to that great conservative thinker and deep-water Christian Rod Dreher for articulating so well how disgusting Palin and her acolytes can be.

*For more on the aforementioned importance, significance and meaning of baptist from a Protestant perspective, read all about it right here.

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Bronnie Ware once worked in palliative care and heard all the usual regrets of the dying.

Bronnie Ware once worked in palliative care and heard all the usual regrets of the dying.


Bronnie Ware is an Australian singer, songwriter, healer and a wonderful free spirit of a woman. Check out her blog at“Inspiration and Chai.”

What follows is an excerpt of her book about the “regrets of the dying”–regrets she heard expressed when she worked in palliative care.

I’ve published this list of “Top Five Regrets” here at this blog before and I think it bears re-posting occasionally. I used to hear these same deathbed regrets constantly in hospital and hospice ministry.

And then, just the other day, I heard a regret from an American tourist I met. He’s here in Belize with his family who came here because, well–he always wanted to visit beautiful Belize for some extended time to “get away from it all.” Unfortunately, he said, he never took the time from working so hard at his business to really come and enjoy Belize, a country he’d visited briefly before about twelve years ago. “I fell in love with Belize and always wanted to come back every year but just never got around to it,” he told me.

He was recently given six months to live and his return to Belize was first on the “bucket list” he made when he received his terminal diagnosis.

His story reminded me of these very regrets that Bronnie Ware heard and I heard and anyone who has ever been a caregiver to dying people has heard:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.

It is very important to try and honour at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.

Dying people often regret that they worked so hard and wish they had traveled or done things more for fun and leisure.

Dying people often regret that they worked so hard and wish they had traveled or done things more for fun and leisure.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.

This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.

By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.

We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.

It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.

My friend finds happiness strolling around the market on Saturdays singing and making people happy with his music. He wants no money for it, just wants the happiness it brings him and others.

My friend finds happiness strolling around the market on Saturdays singing and making people happy with his music. He wants no money for it, just wants the happiness it brings him and others.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.

When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.

Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.

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