This is my friend Armando. Or as most of his friends call him, Mondo. Mondo needed a ride this morning at 3am to DFW Airport. We had a great conversation along the way about his work, his passion. He has been a teacher for over 16 years and is a strong advocate for at risk or underprivileged children. Five months ago, he accepted a position as Director for The Fellowship Initiative in Dallas. This program was created through JPMorgan Chase.
“The Fellowship Initiative (TFI) provides intensive academic and leadership training to help young men of color from economically-distressed communities complete their high school educations and better prepare them to excel in colleges and universities. TFI is part of the firm’s broader ongoing efforts to provide adults and young people with the education, skills and resources that contribute to greater economic mobility. To date, more than 200 JPMorgan Chase employees have worked with TFI Fellows as Mentors, coaches, role models, speakers, or volunteers in various capacities. Since its launch in 2010, the program has been expanded and will recruit new classes of Fellows in Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles and New York.”
Mondo headed up to Chicago this morning to learn more and share knowledge with the director of TFI for that area. Mondo is tasked with developing the program in Dallas and currently has 40 boys in the program.
As a long time friend of Mondo, I can tell you he is incredibly passionate about his work. He is definitely being called by God to do this. I hope you will take some time to read about the organization. I have attached a link.
Focus on love. Slow down. Let go of your anger and be joyful and kind.
“And love in thought. Love in the words. Love in the songs they sing in the church. And no hard feelings. Lord knows they haven’t done Much good for anyone. Kept me afraid and cold With so much to have and hold.”
As I begin migrating my Facebook blog content to this new site, today marks the 1 year anniversary of my inaugural blog. Reposting here…
February 23, 2018
This is my inaugural blog post for StreetLights. This page was created to share stories from the road and amazing passengers I meet in my travels as an Uber/Lyft driver. I will also be blogging about depression and recovery, love and kindness, and as always, music! I hope to shine a light for anyone going through depression or dealing with a tough time in life. Street lights guide us and help us see hazards along our journey. We all need light and we all have the ability to create light for others.
With that said, I have chosen as my first official blog to tell you about a very good and kind man I met yesterday, and am now honored to call my new friend. His name is Marshall Foster. He is a professional photographer. Marshall arrived at Terminal D, DFW Airport yesterday and had requested a ride to North Dallas. He was returning from a photo shoot in Uganda, where he was contracted by a humanitarian organization to photo document some of the work being done. I have included with this post a few of Marshall’s photos, with his permission. Below you will also find contact information for his website and Instagram. I encourage you to explore his work. You will clearly see his talent and his connection to every person he photographs!
Marshall believes God has called him to be a photographer, and after I had a chance to check out some of his photographs, I understand why. He is an amazing photographer. Marshall believes his work is helping make a positive difference in humanitarian efforts in places like Uganda, South Africa, Zambia and several other countries struggling with famine or dealing with natural disasters or some type of health crisis. He is a humble and kind man doing extraordinary work.
the length of the trip gave us time to discuss a great many things including God, love, kindness, and even depression. during the conversation, he mentioned something he and his girlfriend Leila do every night before going to sleep. They each tell the other three things they are grateful for. Occasionally they include one “annoy” as Marshall called it. Hey, everyone has a frustrating day from time to time. I think that is a great habit to focus on gratitude as well as form a positive, real perspective on life before falling asleep. He stated it was a great way for both of them to spend a little time every day, even if it is on the phone and they are on different continents, to have a positive and meaningful conversation. What a great practice!
I explained to Marshall, I too have felt God’s call. The Lord has given me two clear directives. The first is to support, love and be present for my family. The second is to share my experiences and struggles, to shine a light on depression, and also focus on kindness. This includes sharing stories about people just like Marshall who wake up every day challenging themselves to be kind, be helpful, and to change the world!
I hope you will like the page. I encourage everyone to join a group I created in the page called The Kindness Club. I am inviting everyone join and become ACTIVE members by finding ways to share kindness, both as an individual and as a group. The Kindness Club will be a place where we can all participate in the discussion. Everyone can share their stories of kindness and we can unite in a common goal of creating joy for others. Can you imagine meeting up somewhere as a group with a plan to bring kindness and joy to many people. We could make someone’s day. Or, we could make several people’s days. Join now and share your ideas on how we can collectively share kindness
A friend and fellow music lyrics explorer recently reminded how powerful this song is. It has long been one of my favorites and I use it for reflection. Reflection is important when trying to figure out how to move forward. What I have learned is, reflection is nowhere near as important as living for today. If you don’t, you won’t be open to God’s plan for you and the true beauty in your life.
I have been blessed with four incredible children. Jake, Katie, Leia, and Ben. I hope I can instill that lesson into their lives and make sure they know one other little bit of wisdom:
When you are confused or in a dark place, music is a powerful beacon of light. God will help you through. And if you ever get lost, call your old man. I will bring you home.
Today is day 9 of recovery for me and today is a good day. Make it count!
Haven’t posted in awhile. Depression is hard. It actually presents 2 sets of sadness and pain. The first set comes with the fog that surrounds and swallows you up. The 2nd set comes if you are lucky enough to emerge from that fog. Then with new clarity you feel the pain and sadness of the damage left in your wake.
Be kind to all you see the holiday season. There are a great many people who desperately need it.
This post was originally written in December, 2018. I began sharing my journey through depression and recovery that month. many of my posts were not only to share but my story, but they served as a type of therapy for me.
Good morning on this Wednesday. I hope everyone had a great Christmas. Had a few Christmas miracles myself.
New lesson learned on this 22nd day of recovery from Depression. It’s easy to become focused on restoring yourself to a happier, more whole person you used to be. That is a false path.
The true path forward means leaving behind your old self. The true path forward means learning to live with who you are and finding contentment in the here and now. It means acknowledging those parts of you that echo sadness and finding ways to keep those echos from becoming the dominant forces in your head, knowing they will always be there. But just echos…
If you ever feel overwelmed with sadness and fatigue, you are not alone. There are people who can help you through the fog. I can. God can. Together we can keep moving toward the light until that overwelming, paralyzing force is just an echo.
May all of you have a great day and remember to be kind.
StreetLights began when I started sharing my personal journey through depression, recovery, and faith. I began driving for Uber and Lyft two and a half years ago. I never realized how incredible this journey would become. As I began to share my own story, I started hearing the stories of thousands of people who have stepped into my car. From there, an overarching theme of kindness and connectedness emerged. We are all in this struggle of life together.
Now, I humbly begin the next chapter, as I officially welcome you to StreetLights.blog. I will be migrating all my posts from Facebook here, and continue to write on both pages.
It all started when I picked up some KISS fans from the Toyota Music Factory, in Las Colinas. We can get to the depression stuff later. My first post for StreetLights really occurred on September 27th, 2017…