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One picture…One Thousand Thoughts…

September 2, 2016

Climbing out of 10,000 feet over Chicago. Photo from rob akers.

Hey Y’all,


Last week, I was in Chicago working. To be fair to Chicago, it is a great town. At least the downtown area where I stayed. I didn’t see anyone get shot and I was overwhelmed by all the choices for dinner. It really makes me pine away for tropical locations like Flint, MI or Allentown, PA where there are just a couple of food choices and I am afraid to leave the hotel.

On Tuesday of last week, I went with old school Chicago pizza. Because the hotel didn’t have a mini-fridge and I am unable to cram an entire pizza down my throat, I had some left over. Walking around, I passed several less fortunate folks who were looking for some extra money so I asked the waitress to box up the pizza leftovers and I intended on giving it to the first person I came across. When I stopped, the homeless guy was really happy and I felt good that I had not wasted the uneaten food.

That night, I told the guy I was working with about what I had done, and he said that he would do the same thing the next day. He chose Indian food for dinner and when he approached the homeless guy about giving him the food, the guy took a look inside the box and replied “Aw Hell No! I ain’t eatin that.”

My friend and I laughed about that the rest of the week.

A couple of Sunday’s out of the month, I volunteer to help teach the middle school kids at my church. This week’s lesson was on being grateful for our blessings and about giving to those who are less fortunate, just as I had done last week. The class was taught by a really great dude named John G. I really hate when he is teaching because he always makes me think, half the time he makes feel inferior and sometimes he makes me leave class an emotional wreck.

This past Sunday, he showed the class a photo. The thirty or so middle school kids didn’t flinch from picking their noses and scratching their butts. However, I was captivated by the image of the little girl. You can’t read the rest of what the caption says but this girl was wearing a dress that was turned inside out and on backwards. Her hair was matted and turning orange because of malnutrition. The lady that took the picture was in Haiti on a medical mission trip (I think) and after snapping the picture, the lady held the girl for a very long time. I know the words feel hollow compared with the picture but there is the other side of the story.

Later Sunday evening, my family had a very minor issue with some misplaced money that was resolved quickly and was a total non-event. But it got me thinking about that little girl and how a few dollars to my family here in the USA would have been a fortune to her and her village in Haiti. My wife and I spoke about it a couple of days later and we agreed that we were truly blessed. She also said that she was thinking about going back to Haiti and we talked about when a good time for her to go would be among other important topics like where we will vacation next year.

Even after talking it over with my wife, Listening to some soft rock by Slipknot and Metallica and trying to convince myself that I don’t need to get involved. I could not get the image of that little girl out of my mind so I texted John G and asked him for the link to the person who took the picture. He told me to go to Facebook and check out her profile. I confessed that I am not on Facebook and he called me a dinosaur so he sent me a link to an organization. He said he didn’t know much about it other than the lady who took the picture had something to do with it.

Armed with that amount of knowledge, I very hesitantly send them an email today.  I say hesitantly because that best describes my feelings towards online organizations that operate charities to “feed the poor” somewhere in a 3rd world sludge hole. I do like to think that I am a compassionate person but I also know a lot of the tricks and when I feel like I am being tricked, I throw the shields up and the stiff arm my way out. Do you hear me every sad infomercial on TV after midnight? Yes, I change the channel with no remorse.

An hour or so after I sent the email, I was at my daughter’s volleyball practice all ticked off because she is having trouble getting her serves in. She is more than physically capable; it is the mental part that she is struggling with right now. My phone rang. You all know that I am a huge social reject, that I am always excited when it rings even though usually it is a telemarketer. The person on the other end of the call was the lady who took the picture of the Haitian girl. Right off the bat, Jacqui Ranson thanked me for asking about the organization. Jacqui went on to tell me what she and her husband Mark do, how they got started, why they exist and so many more details that can only be shared by voice contact.

We spoke for just over an hour. Several times Jacqui apologized for talking so much. She said Mark warned her to be brief and to be considerate of my time. But to be honest, the hour flew by and I selfishly didn’t want to end the call which is crazy because I hate talking on the phone especially to some lady I have never met. But I was moved to tears several times, I laughed with her and shook my head in disbelief when she relayed how impossible it is that she and Mark started the organization and how looking back it is so obvious that there is a higher power at work in this organization. Just the sheer number of events that happened at just the right time are impossible to calculate and they all culminated with the beginning of the charity.

Just two weeks ago, Jacqui and Mark completed the requirements to be a legally licensed charitable organization. They started down this path in February, six months ago. When they started, the school that they primarily support now was supported by another organization. That school lost their funding at the start of the summer. Last week, less than ten days after opening they were able to send enough money to the school to ensure it would be opening on Monday (they don’t do Labor Day in Haiti) along with books and school materials for all of the students. I think around 350 kids. The most amazing thing is that Jacqui just called me to talk about the organization and find out how I found them. Not once did she ever ask for a dime, because I don’t think she cares about money. I know she cares about people. NOTE: I might have my facts off slightly but that is the gist of what they have already accomplished.

I know I have taken enough of your time. I am still dismayed that a single picture of a little girl could distract me from so many big events this week. Tonight, I spoke with John G and I blamed him for distracting me from the most important events of the week.


My son had his ninth birthday.



My son and all his loot. photo from rob akers.

Last week, we got a new puppy.



My wife and Penelope-PP. The shelter named her Penelope and we added the PP because she hasn’t figured out the potty outside thing. photo from ron akers.

Monday, Kevin Owens became the Universal Champion with a little help from Triple-H.


Triple H is in the suit. Seth Rollings is being faceplanted and Kevin Owens is in the far corner. If you like WWE, then you were probably surprised at the ending. photo from yahoo


On Tuesday, my daughter’s volleyball team won their first game of the year.



My daughter bumping with my Dad before the game on Tuesday. photo from rob akers

On Wednesday, I was all enthralled with Colin Kaepernick and his refusal to stand for the national anthem. I was going to write about him but this article is way more important. But, if you think you know the whole story because you saw it on the nightly news, think again. His comments that have half the nation ticked off were highly edited by the national media. Read this link about what he said after what was reported and maybe it will change your mind a little.


Tonight college football kicked off and tomorrow is a huge day for me sports wise. My daughter has a game at 5PM and at 8PM, the Arkansas State Red Wolves open their season hosting the Toledo Rockets on little boy ESPNU for the rematch of last year’s Go Daddy Bowl. I am a nervous wreck.


The Red Wolves take the field at 8:05 PM. photo from yahoo


I will be yelling at the television at 8:06 PM. photo from yahoo


Saturday and Sunday, we have a couple of cookouts planned so stop on by if you are around.



Win or lose Friday, I will need some comfort food. photo from rob akers


Like I said, there is so much to think about, but here I am up well after midnight writing about a little girl wearing a dress that is inside out and backwards.


One picture…one thousand emotions that wont stop.



Here is their website. Please check them out and contact them before you send any money. Not because they aren’t worthy but because their story will change yours.


Until next time, keep on rockin.



From → love, Uncategorized

  1. Donetta permalink

    Glad you investigated a new need
    Love you babe

  2. Rob, what a week of distractions you had!! I had a week of events, but ours were more on the struggling side of life. Yet, we are both place in the world today…truly blessed, and looking at that photo. I had a similar experience attending a charity dinner/auction, my girlfriend was hosting for her charity in Sierra Leone. It’s hard not to give of yourself, time, and money when you see the real faces of those children. Thank you for sharing this. And as Chicago and all those restaurants… you would be hard pressed to find a bad mean in any of them. I think they all try to out do each other.

    • Karlene,

      Distractions are good for me. I find that I get bored if there are no squirrels to chase.

      I hope your week of struggles is improving. All my thoughts are going out to you and your family tonight.

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