Laura, what happened today?


Ireland Support Need


Thanks for your consideration.
To give, go here.

Shawn’s airfare is covered, we are hoping to get Laura there.
(There is a bit of urgency for purchasing the plane ticket without an increase in budget.)

Budget needed:
$850, Laura’s airfare
$250, Conference admission (for both)
$400, Lodging
$300, Food, Transportation, Misc

Conference link:
To give, go here.

ID, Tom’s version

In light of some great breakthroughs happening here in KC, I thought I would re-post an entry from my previous blog from June 19, 2005.

To keep things straight, I am working here in KC with a man named Tim. His story soon.


Tom, c.2005

In 2005, I helped a man named Tom.
Tom = Portland.
Tim = KC.

Here’s some things TOM and I did together.

An update on Tom… (June 19, 2005)

Evidently, the key to unlocking the entire issue with getting a man his ID (read: identity) back is a library card.

The issue was that Tom was not able to cash his social security checks because all he had was an expired Washington ID, and Fred Meyer was onto it. Freddy’s let it slide for months. The checks were stacking up, and we had no way of cashing them.

All Tom had was an expired WA ID and a social security card.

Ideally, what Tom needed was a bank account. In order to get a bank account, he needed a current ID, in order to get an Oregon ID card, he needed 2 primary pieces of ID, which need both picture AND signature (it is a bit more complex than that, but…). SS card does not count without a picture ID.

At one point we thought Tom’s service discharge papers (DD-214) would help us. So we went to that VA last summer, they said that they would send them. They didn’t. (side note: to get into the Federal Building downtown you need a current picture ID. The VA offices are in the Federal Building. They almost did not let Tom in.). So a couple month ago we sent for them (DD-214 papers) again, and they came this time. A closer reading of the DMV requirements found that a SS card and DD-214 doesn’t cut it. The DD-214, which I thought was going to be the key, unlocks nothing.

We needed to figure out how to get Tom’s birth certificate. Tom was born in Idaho. I call Idaho. To get a birth certificate, he needed to send his SS card.
“That’s it?”
“That’s awesome.”
“Yep. Oh, and throw in another piece in that has his signature on it.”
“Yeah, just throw in one other piece of ID also.”
“Uh…like what?”
“Like a current drivers license, or library card.”
“Library card?”

Library card. That should be easy. So I call Multnomah County library. No go. In order to get a library card, you need a current picture ID. Sucky.

Let me take a moment to list the various picture/signature ID cards that I have in my pocket right now:
Oregon drivers license
AAA membership card
PNCA Faculty card
PTCU Business Debit Card
24 Hour Fitness member card
US Bank Debit Card

and if I look at some other cards that I do not carry regularly:
Medical Examiners Certificate
J.Crew Credit Card
COMPUSA Credit Card
SoccerPlex ID card
Social Security card
Birth Certificate
USA Passport
Lake Oswego public library card

I could go out tomorrow and get any number more of these. I could potentially double that amount within the week. A fishing license, a donor card, another few credit cards, etc etc.

So, I decide to call LO library. I asked if they would give a library card to a man with an expired picture ID. I got put on hold. A supervisor was asked. I was told that they could probably arrange it. Arrange it? Arrange it. It all seemed a but shady, a bit like a mafia deal, a bit black market.

Or, it seemed like a moment of grace. A gracious bending of the rules to start a process to give a man back his identity. Tom’s was lost. He was trapped without it. He could not even cash a check written to him from the government, that he earned. One grace-filled bend of the rule was THE moment. The point when you start walking downhill after a long uphill. The point where tiredness turns to ridiculous laughter. The point when… well… you get the point.

That same day we drove to the LO library. I am very grateful to the library. I started my tutoring business there. Before I started tutoring in homes, I met all of my students there. I have spent many hours there. They don’t know me there. I just think that its cool that there is some history for me there. They were not doing me a favor. I believe that it was a geniune God-given gift for Tom.

It only took a few minutes to fill out the paperwork. Tom signed the card, I vouched for his address. I think they knew that he would never check out a book. Maybe even never again step foot in the place. I think they understood what was going on. I like to believe they did. I like the story that way.

It’s all a downhill coast from here…
The library card gets sent with the SS card and $18 to Idaho to get a expedited birth certificate. Tom was adopted, so that added a bit of a hiccup in tracking down the proper name on the certificate, but we got it a couple weeks later.

The birth certificate, SS card, a piece of mail showing current home address, and $29 was taken to the DMV (the Lake Oswego one, of course), and after a few minutes Tom walks out with a valid current picture ID card. My friend Laura stopped by later that day, and Tom was out on the porch having a smoke, and the first thing he did was show her the ID card.

It was like a kid showing off his new bike.

The ID card, SS card, birth certificate, and 2 SS checks were taken to Wells Fargo to open a checking account. 45 minutes later Tom has a checking account, savings account, and his SS checks are going to be automatically direct deposited for him. No matter where Tom goes, no matter where he lives, he will always have access to his money. He will never have to rely on me, or an absent-minded Fred Meyer clerk to cash his checks. It is his money.

Deposited every month for the rest of his life.

Personal checks arrived a few days later. Debit card a few days after that.

Tom now has:
SS card
Birth Certificate
DD-214 Papers
Lake Oswego Library Card
Oregon ID Card
Wells Fargo Debit Card

It took a year to go from 1 (SS card) to 6.
Now, if he wants, he could double that number tomorrow.

Mid-week update

So much is happening, a mid-week update is necessary…

  • I took Tim on a delivery run this last Tuesday. I thought it would take a couple months before we would be ready to use the van/delivery service to help the guys I am working with get back into full life, but it looks like sooner than later! Had a great morning driving around KC with Tim.
  • We had a friend, Eddie, stop by and visit for the day yesterday. He on the cusp of some amazing things in Los Angeles, and was a huge encouragement to us. We love having visitors to KC. Thanks for everything Eddie.
  • Three additional financial supporters have jumped in with us. You know who you are. Thank you.
  • Laura is teaching the class that she wants to teach in the Fall. This does not always happen for a number of reasons, but it worked out perfectly this semester. Yippy!
  • Laura recorded another “Economics Unmasked” segment for the KC community radio station. It will air on 90.1 KKFI tonight (Thursday, 7/12/12) at around 6:50pm Central time. The topic is “Unemployment”, 5 minute segment.
  • We have been attending some classes at the Boiler Room. Life is being changed. Paradigms are being shifted. Things are being flipped over. (The passive voice is being used.) Good stuff.
  • Great Skype sesh with my good friend, Matt. I love Matt. You should too. His blog.
  • More responses and encouragements coming from the coin story. Thanks Michelle, Julie, Matt, and others. Let me know if listen to it, or are finding coins, or are enjoying a game of your own.
  • Got to throw a great after-dinner birthday party for our good friend Morgan. Happy Birthday Morgs!

Amazing times, my friends, amazing times.
If you have any thoughts or words of encouragement, send them!

Clean as it’s been

Happy 4th!

We want to again thank everyone that helped get the van back to KC.

The reason we wanted to get a cargo van back to KC is that a delivery business was dropped into my lap a few months ago. Not a full-fledged delivery business, just a little baby one.

Since December I have been selling vintage items at a local shop called Urban Mining. We are a co-op of 25+ vendors that sell our amazing items each month to amazing buyers. A few months ago they asked if I would be the delivery coordinator. Without a van or any large hauling vehicle, I said YES! The delivery service has provided some perfectly timed and well needed extra dollars in our pockets. It has even expanded (only very slightly so far) into some deliveries for other shops around town.

We had been borrowing a van from another graduate student friend these past few months, but that van has moved back home. That left us with a need. That need was met by Laura’s dad, Elmer.

Even though I am moving into a full time role working with the homeless and poor, we did not want to end our delivery service for 2 reasons.

  1. It provides needed income each month until we can raise full support, and only requires a few days of work a month.
  2. As I work with men that are trying to get back on their feet, having a job that they can earn some money and gain a job reference is essential.

This van will allow some special opportunities for us and others.

It was an absolute miracle that it all came together. We would like to thank those that helped get it back on the road…

First and foremost, Elmer. Thanks for your generosity in giving us your van.
For those that helped in the repair process: Dan, Laura, Larry, and Elmer.
For those that kicked in some extra dough to pay for parts and gas: Mitch, Morgan, Elmer, Kelly, Linda, Mark, Peggy, Traci, Jon, and Jack (a guy that paid us to haul his motorcycle back to the midwest. Our first delivery!)

We thank you all. And as a tiny token of our appreciation, here is a video of the baptism of the van. Enjoy.

It is good to go on walks with Dad

Yesterday, I shared a story at the Kansas City Boiler Room. It is an absolutely amazing story, perhaps more amazing than any other I have ever told. Really.
If you have a few extra minutes (about 45), take a listen.
Let me know how it hits you.

Here are the slides (in order) that I used in the story.

p.s. “The Family Dollar” title will not make sense or have an impact for a couple of weeks.

Sponsored Supporter

We want to highlight an organization that is supporting our work.

Welcome aboard BexBooks.

Next time you are looking to buy a used book, and want the proceeds to go to a good cause, check out BexBooks Featured Sale or her Amazon Store.

Here is an excerpt from the site…

I now maintain an inventory of approximately 30,000 books – all of which have come through donations. Some, from individuals who like the idea of their old books going to a good cause, others from not-for-profit organizations who collect books for fund-raising purposes.

The link is also now added to our list on the right hand column.

Go buy a book or two.
Thanks BexBooks!


Meet my friend Cowboy.
I gave him a FLIP camera for the day so he could tell his story, his way.
Check out his video.

We are raising support to help him (and others like him) get back to a full life.
Help support us so we can do this work.

Gotta love him.

New Teammates

We’ve added THREE new financial supporters in the last 15 hours. Love it!
(We’ve also had our first blog comment. Thanks Roy!)
Thanks so much to those that are trusting and believing in us and what we are doing.

We are now slightly over 15% of our financial support. Thanks so much for those dollars. Amazing.

We are still pushing toward 100 people (and 100% support) by July 1st. Read the blog, check our Facebook, and jump in with us. We’d love to bring you along with us in whatever way possible.

If you are not able to support financially, but want to continue to pray specifically, please send an email and let me know. We will keep our prayer team up-to-date with some specific issues and items that will not make it to the blog or to the Facebook.

Those that are with us, keep getting the word out. We’d love to continue to build our team as rapidly as it has happened in the past day. Your support is absolutely necessary. This work will not happen without it.

Thank you all for your help and generosity.

100 by July 1st.

Dropped a new video on our “We Support the Cardwells” facebook page.
Updated the weekend happenings, and pushing for 100 supporters by July 1st.