Food, Shelter, Safety, and Yoga

Hello Haverherd Friends,
Here is a recent post from my yoga blog.  I thought it had some relevant crossover points with our typical community type posts.  
Be Well, 
Bex

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The reasons why people find themselves homeless are as varied as the trees you find in the forest. Given that people experiencing homelessness are often reduced to focusing on meeting their basic needs: food, shelter and safety, it is a wonder to me that anyone would find their way to a yoga class.

However, one beautiful woman that I met at SOME (So Others Might Eat), a community-based organization that assists the poor and homeless in Washington, DC, exemplified the importance of a yoga practice that is accessible and specifically designed to take place in the jail system.  She shared with me about the impact of a program she took part in offered by Yoga District while she was in a local jail.  While practicing yoga, she learned and clearly now understood how to connect with the present moment, the impact of exercising to reduce stress, and the joy found in simply finding activities and people that we enjoy.  As she shared her experience with me, she was so present and connected with a sparkle in her eye. I was in the moment with her.

While there was nothing particularly special about my conversation with this woman at SOME to set it apart from any other conversation. But for that brief moment I’d like to believe we connected as humans are supposed to, seeing and honoring each other’s light.  Namaste.

Calls to Action:

  1. Do you know anyone at Yoga District in DC who could connect me with an instructor for the jail program? Right now, the woman I met is not connected to a yoga studio and I have been trying to reconnect her with her instructor from Yoga District.
  2. Would you like to support yoga for the underserved? Check out my upcoming class in Gainesville, Georgia at Flip Your Dog Yoga Studio on October 29.  Let me know and I’ll set you up.

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rELATIONship

Have you ever wondered why it says “Let us make man in our image” a mere 26 lines into the most read book in all of history?

I often times find myself thinking about this seemingly subtle detail. It doesn’t say “Let me…in my”.

The significance and value of relationship has existed since the beginning of time. And it is just as important today as it has ever been.

When is the last time you stopped everything going on around you and spent a few precious moments with someone you love? Phone turned off, no screens or sounds vying for your attention.

Just you and another person

I find myself sometimes struggling to ask that person how they are (really) doing. Listening to their answers without a thought or concern about what may be coming up next on my calendar. Are we asking the follow up questions that bring one, or both, of us to give up on the fight to hold back tears?

I believe a big part of what we’ve been doing over these past 14 months, while driving around in a tiny house on wheels, is trying to practice the long lost art of relationship.

I have recently been reminded of the need for and power of relationship by two individuals who have left everything behind from their lives in the US.

Eight years ago, Will courageously uprooted his life as he and his wife moved to the far reaches of the globe to care for those in need. The exact geography of where Will’s family has resided doesn’t really matter, doing their first year of marriage in a Mozambican hut, birthing their first son in the Philippines, or their 2nd in the Dominican Republic. What matters is that there has always been one constant throughout their journey.

Relationship.

The way that he and Tara do life with those around them is an inspiration. There is something beautiful about the simplicity of breaking bread and looking at the person across the table from you, asking the tough questions and truly listening to how another human being is doing. It is something I believe we all have gotten away from in the action packed string of days that we call ‘life’.

The past four years challenged Adam and his family to leave it all behind and relocate to Costa Rica. His elaborate strategy to serve consists of the following:

See a need, and meet it.

Walking with local Ticos to pick up a bag of groceries, repairing a roof, or giving a backpack to a kid in need has always been a pathway to open up a conversation. And from there, relationship.

Now the focus on doing relationship has nothing to do with where Will or Adam live. Nor the title that people have assigned to them of being “missionaries”.

It has everything to do the intentional choices they are making each day to invest in the human beings in their midst.

I am sometimes saddened when I see a person at the airport who is flying across the country to a funeral. I realize the importance of community during these times and that grieving with others is critical.

But what if we purchase that flight now? What if, for no reason at all, we travel distance to be with a loved one. For the simple reason of doing life with them.

We only get one chance at this merry-go-round called life. Live it to the brim with those you love.

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Real Life on the Road

This photo depicts one tiny slice of our life on the road. I took this snapshot awhile back traveling in the passenger seat of our car. I am guessing that one of our 3 kiddos was struggling with the length of the drive or just wasn’t in the mood to be in the car (which I totally understand). But, even in all my mature 37 years, I still do not cope well with whining humans, no mater how big or small.

Enter – – noise canceling headphones.  The most incredible invention the world has ever seen.

Let me take a step back for a second. Now, I know a lot of people (myself included) track the wanderings of those who live the nomadic lifestyle. And, I definitely find myself believing that their lives are in someways so much better than average. It can be so easy to idealize this way of life. We certainly did, as we planned for our adventure over a year ago.

I must say, life on the road is incredibly fantastic. We have so much freedom and opportunity to connect with our people, new friends, and spend time with our kiddos.

With that said, sometimes, it is the exact same as life in one place. We still prepare and eat 3 times a day. We still struggle to get our kids to bed on time. We strive for balance in our days. Our kids do school. We clean our tiny house. We play games, go on walks and bike rides, and Daniel and I try to sneak in dates when we can.

There are times when I long for a life in one place. I want to have my own room, a place to retreat to. And in our current life set up, there is literally no where to go. All this to say, life is great, but by no means perfect.

So as I hit post on this blog, from a Costa Rican mountainside, I find myself yet again reaching for the headphones and longing to curl up in my own space. It will come soon enough. And then I will miss this.

Enjoy your days and moments friends.

With Gratitude.

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Wildlife Wednesday: Sightings and Encounters

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One year on the road.

Exactly one year ago, the Haver Herd hit the road for what was meant to be a 12 month epic adventure to see the country, friends, family, serve others, and finally figure out where and what is next for us.

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These past 365 days have certainly provided no lack of excitement. But we find ourselves still searching for what and where is next.

Drum Roll…..

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We have decided to continue our camper journey for one more year. So get ready friends and family! We will be back! This week we’ll see my Aunt Suzy and Uncle Bob before heading to Scotland to visit with good friends who will be traveling from Nairobi, Kenya to meet us along with my Aunt Kristi and Uncle Jeff. When we return in August we’ll visit with more family members up north along with a great friend/yoga buddy of mine from college.

We have absolutely loved seeing so many of our favorite people all over the country and the world. Seriously: family and friends, you have been so supportive of us this past year. It’s been nice spending some real time with you, and doing life together. Many of you reading this blog have rearranged your schedules, adapted plans, taken days off of work, and traveled to new places, just to see us. We are so grateful for your flexibility and for the way you care.

Here’s to Year 2.

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Matthew’s Blogs

Matthew has expressed an interest in learning to be a blogger. We have let him know that if he successfully writes 10 blogs, he can start his own site. He has written a series of blogs on a variety of topics which are included below. We hope you enjoy and feel free to provide any feedback in the comments section below.

Surfing

I stood up on my first wave in Costa Rica. I road about 100 waves! I totally love surfing. I took a lesson from Andray.

Lions

Lions are mammals. They live on the savanna and have manes. Last but not lest lions eat meat.

Biking

I love to bike. It is fun to go fast. My bike is blue and its name is water rush. I rode 10 miles in one day.

Dragon City

Placing dragons is fun. Place dragons where you want to. You can have a war!

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Feeding 5000.

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Food is something that all of us interact with on a daily basis. Through our taste buds, in our thoughts, the wafting of dinner through the apartment.

Most of us reading this blog have plenty. In fact, many of us have too much food. Each year, American’s throw away 40% of the food they buy! However, there are so many in the world and in our communities, who don’t have enough and the level of disparity is hard to swallow.

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When Daniel spent the day as a homeless person last month, I expected him to come back with something. For the 12 hours he was in the city, no walker-byer offered him a single thing.  The one meal he received that day, he had to “work” to get.  He walked over 10 miles for a jar of peanut butter and an apple from a community food pantry. The amount of gratitude that both he, and I, felt from those items is immense. But what I am trying to say is, we may think that the homeless and the hungry are getting handouts left and right, I’m not so sure that is true.

Feeding the hungry is something that Daniel and I are both passionate about. We always try to have food on hand to give away, but have also been curious to learn more about what others are doing to help. So as we have traveled, we have tried to volunteer with organizations that are feeding people.

So far we have had the opportunity to work with 4 community gardens in Montreal, DC, Oregon, and Montana. First of all, I just love gardens and learning about how our food is created. Second, I love the mission to provide fresh vegetables for those in need. Two weeks ago in Eugene, Oregon, we were able to harvest about 50 pounds of Spinach for the local food bank.

Another effort in feeding the hungry that I recently learned more about is similar to gleaning or passing on extra food to the poor. In Vancouver, Kitchen on a Mission, connects people who have a vehicle to a shelter and restaurants with excess food. We picked up 70 pounds of bread and drove it across town to a men’s shelter.

While we haven’t yet achieved our feeding 5,000 goal for the year, we are gaining on it. To date we’ve served a meal to 1,852 human beings, in the following forms and fashions:

  • 192 at a church in Cincinnati, OH
  • 500 brown bag meals with the SOMsistahs in South Florida
  • 450 Thanksgiving Meals At Branches in Miami
  • 250 Thanksgiving meals packed on the Pan Handle of Florida
  • 123 with community gardens in Montreal, Great Falls, Wolf Trap, and Eugene
  • 181 homeless goodie bags given out all across the US and Canada
  • 70 Kitchen on a Mission in Vancouver
  • 86 meals delivered through Meals on Wheels in Montana

I would love to hear your stories and experiences with reducing food waste and feeding the hungry.  Please share with me in an email or in the comments section below.

Be well. LOVE.

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