Too Evicted To Survive

“It is hard to argue that housing is not a fundamental human need. Decent, affordable housing should be a basic right for everybody in this country. The reason is simple: without stable shelter, everything else falls apart.” – Matthew Desmond, Evicted

What if I didn’t know where I would sleep tonight? How would I feel after calling dozens of landlords trying to find an apartment, and all of them saying no? What if I had children depending on me, but couldn’t find them a home or food? These were just some of the many questions swirling in my head while I was reading Matthew Desmond’s brilliant and powerful book, Evicted.

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We All Have A Role To Play

I’ve often struggled with thinking about my role in making the world a better place. I am deeply committed to fighting oppression and helping people in many ways…yet, I know that there is always more that I could do. I’m not a professional organizer or activist. I don’t go to every single rally in my community.  I don’t volunteer as often as I wish I would. I always feel like there’s something more I should be doing.

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Where am I at?

I’ve always liked Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Even as a kid growing up in Oklahoma, where I had to tell all my friends I was missing school to sit in synagogue all day, the High Holidays were always pretty special. And as I’ve gotten older, the holiness of these days has increased even more in my life.

Maybe that’s why, in this moment that I desperately need a real check-in with myself, I’m writing this with about 48 hours until Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, begins.

So…where am I at?

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Reading Recap: August 2017

During a scary time in our country’s history, I found some (only some) comfort in reading. Here are the books I read this month; let me know if you want more info about any of them by commenting below!

img_2130Working Out Loud – John Stepper
The subtitle for this book is “for a better career and life” and I have to say that it couldn’t be more spot on. In this guidebook, Stepper has developed more than just another self-help book; he’s developed a new way of making progress in our lives. All of the strategies presented are paired with tangible activities, challenging us to truly work out loud with the people in our lives. I was fortunate to also participate in a Working Out Loud Circle at work, a group of people that met once a week for 12 weeks to share about our progress and hold ourselves accountable. Whether you’re a student or professional, this system will help you identify and achieve your goals. Learn more about WOL and John Stepper here.

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The History of Us

I feel like I’ve grown up my entire life not really sure about humans. Where did we come from? How did we get to this place? What about other kinds of humans; did they ever exist? Because they were such complex questions, I never really took the time to explore them and find my answers. But lucky for me, the first book selection in my work’s new book club for “millennials” was Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari.

After investing in a hard copy of the book (I didn’t want to wait 2-3 weeks for a paperback version), I was immediately transported thousands of years into the past. While the book focuses on us, homo sapiens (Latin for “wise man”), Harari begins even further back, more than 100,000 years ago, to when we were one of a handful of species in the homo genus that roamed different parts of the earth. The species of humans all had similarities, but what made homo sapiens especially different? Why didn’t the other species of humans make it to this day?

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The Brotherhood of Gatekeepers

“Unelected and unconfirmed, the chief serves at the whim of the president, hired and fired by him (or her) alone. And yet, in the modern era, no presidency has functioned effectively without one.” – Chris Whipple, The Gatekeepers

As I’m writing this, our country is grappling with big, yet unsurprising news: President Trump has fired his first Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus. From the very beginning, there were questions around Priebus’s leadership style and organization of the many advisors (including family members) in Trump’s ear. And after six months of turmoil, Priebus is gone and General John Kelly, previously Secretary of Homeland Security for Trump, is now in the hot seat.

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