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Showing posts from March, 2011

N I C K ....

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This was actually written a few years ago...

The men filed through one by one printing their names, writing their ages and signing their autographs. Different demeanor's, temperaments, smells and personalities would grace us as we checked the men in and assigned each man with his mattress and two gray woolly blankets.

One can discover a lot about a man through this simple procedure. One man waits patiently for his turn, another tries to push in, another manipulates his way up the line. A drunken sleepy man stooped in posture, an energetic twitching man grins talking to an imaginary friend and four friends joke, talk and laugh loudly with each other.

One gentleman who would grace us frequently, at Macon Overnight Ministries, during its whole 3 year existence was an Italian Polish 53 year old simply called Nick; he would stand quietly in line, keep to himself and suddenly splutter into a coughing fit which would disperse the crowd around him. The people around would then r…

My Amazing Tamahine!

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This is the third story that was previously written; this is from december 2007, Cyrus was 4 and Muriwai was 2. Tamahine means daughter in Maori...

Muriwai continues to amaze me - every day.

Born with only her right hand - her left arm stopping just beyond her elbow. We call it her "special arm", she holds it out to people and tells them "kiss it - my special arm!"

She has a determination that embarrasses me frequently. Embarrasses me in the way that I wish I had the confidence and determination to try things that seem troubling, difficult or impossible. Combined with an extensively rigorous stubbornness, she fights, claws and struggles to do what she determines she needs to do!!!

Muriwai has this determination and a seemingly endless supply of energy, together with a beautiful loving personality where she desires hugs and kisses. She also wants to help those in need, or those who think they need help - like her big brobro! Yelling "I'll get it&q…

Magical Wai-Wai

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this is the second story written in 2008 about our adventures in Chicago with our 2 wonderful children; Cyrus and Muriwai.


Muriwai, Cyrus and myself went to a local playground with another father and his 3 boys.

At one point, Cyrus (5), O'Neill (5) and Muriwai (3) all climbed (or I lifted them) onto the swinging tire. I was pushing them and spinning them around, and they were all laughing and enjoying their time together.

WaiWai had her "special arm" hooked around the chain with an inch to spare and held the other with her right hand. The control and strength she has always astounds me. As they were laughing and joking together she would often release her right hand and poke her brother or O'Neill in the nose with a squeal of delight. They would beg me to push them higher and faster. Nervously, I'd position myself behind my daughter as she was frequently letting the chain go and loving every minute of this experience with the big boys!

I wish I had b…

Not Broken....

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I wanted to share 3 stories that we wrote about our kids a few years ago. This is the first one, and it brought tears to my eyes, as Muriwai is a lot more confident these days and takes pride in her limb difference. Also it made me so proud when I reflected on the confidence and courage Cyrus had in this particular instance. As the weather gets warmer, Muriwai's "special arm" attracts a lot of attention and Cy and WaiWai do so well when all the big kids from the neighborhood want to touch, poke, prod and relentlessly question "why?".  Some adults react this way too!
this was actually written by my wife: Beth Nicholls. She wrote it in August 2008. Muriwai was 3 at the time and Cyrus was 5.

I guess we have been in retreat for a few days. Sometimes if I find myself tired or preoccupied I realize that on these days I stick closer to home. At home Muriwai’s limb difference is typical, few people STARE. Few people even see the small smiley face dimple and slash th…

Papa G: The Dilemma and the Continuing Saga....

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The Dilemma!

Papa G is one of my chief dilemmas. His presence causes me to weigh my love versus the efficiency of the program. He causes me to ask "how do I love you with Kingdom Love; the kind of love Jesus expressed in the Gospels?"

Papa G earned his name from his past affiliation with Chicago's own Gangster Disciples. Today, he is an alcoholic. A chronically bad alcoholic! His addiction means he continually rotates in and out of jail for public intoxication, drinking on a public way and urinating in alleys. He is the kind of alcoholic that gets the shakes when he hasn't sipped a beer. His fragile body would go into massive shock and he would quite possibly die if he were to simply stop drinking!

Sadly, Papa G never learned to read or write! On top of that, he seems to have the mental capacity of a 7 year old (the same age as my son). This 58 year old man has been a victim of a defunct schooling system which never took the time or effort to assess and he…

Jesus On The Mainline

this video was filmed during the final week of our old men's shelter. Scott, Frank and Randy had a jam session together. This video demonstrates the community and love that was ever-present during that time. enjoy....

to read about it go to: Dejected, But Not Forgotten!!

8 ultra marathons for Chicago's homeless

Check out this link: Paddy is running 240 miles in 8 days to increase awareness about Chicago homeless and raise support for Cornerstone Community Outreach - the shelter where I work....
http://vimeo.com/21159818

5; March's magical number!

Oftentimes we cruise along and barely see anyone move!
We do the work! They relentlessly continue doing the work!
Constantly they are subjected to endless rejection and delay.
Though the undertow remains, everything seems stagnant.
Hope is slowly disappearing....

We floated into March and I marveled at a modern day miracle
5 homeless men in 5 magical days move into their own apartments.
I had witnessed a tiring display of patience, perseverance and diligence
Today they relax and rest in the peace and comfort of "their own."
Hope is quickly restored....

A somewhat typical eclectic day...

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This morning, I decided to walk down Leland instead of Wilson. As I crossed Broadway, Jasper yelled at me to come on over. My immediate thought: “oh no it’s Lucy!” It wasn’t her, but a small Russian lady who had walked between the pillars right in front of a car. She is homeless and lives at our shelter; the car hit her and ran over her ankle, snapping it twice. I recognized the driver; she works in the store next to my house and she looked absolutely terrified. As we waited for the ambulance and the police, we tried to assist and comfort one lady in agonizing pain and another who was very stressed and worried.
The 911 team came. Sandy had come by this time and rode with her in the ambulance to the hospital.
Another client is wandering down the street, I grab him and we discuss his impending move. We go upstairs and I am able to help him pay his first month’s rent. After being homeless for over a year, he finally gets his own keys and move into own apartment. His resilience has paid off…