Tomorrows Without Them…

This piece was originally a Facebook post. We believe our online space can also be everyone's space. We also believe we are fortunate enough to meet the most interesting everyday people. We believe everyday people need to share their stories too. This is one.

Thinking of my father on his birthday. I don't have many pictures of him but this is my favorite (and I know, I post it every year). It was sometime in the '50's around his Navy days and although from this photo he looks like he might have been a cocky dude, he was not at all. He was actually a pretty shy guy who was very artistic and funny.

I have few memories of doing things with him because he moved out of state when we were really young and there wasn't much interaction after that. I'd seen him once when I visited him in Nebraska at age 12, and again for the last time when I was 21. But long before he left, I remember sitting on the couch beside him watching IU and Harlem Globetrotter basketball on our old black and white television. It was during IU games I discovered how good Pepsi and potato chips were while I not only learned the IU fight song, but also the especially funny adult saying, "Hell's Bells!" 

In the few years before he passed in 2015, we renewed our relationship through e-mail and he opened up to me about his life in Nebraska, his career in journalism, his volunteerism at a museum, his beloved pets, and how he still followed Indiana sports. His letters had warmth and humor, but also deep regret that he'd never made time to know his children. However, in opening this door we started fresh and I learned how much we actually had in common, including our love for racing and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. 

In those final couple of years I'd write to him about Indycar racing and car events I was involved with, and he'd tell me stories about going to the track before I was born. He was the first to take me to the track, for qualifications, way back in 1963, one thing I clearly do still remember doing with him. He was happy that I remembered. Coincidentally, 1963 was the year his favorite driver, Parnelli Jones, won. He got a kick when I wrote him about running into Parnelli Jones at a Speedway restaurant one year. Literally smacked right into my dad's racing idol as I was going to the ladies room and he was coming out of the men's room. 

I had really hoped to take my father to a 500 at some point so he could experience it again. I never got a chance to do that but I'm glad for being able to have had the conversations we had in the short time we could. We were able to come full circle. So here's to you on your day, dad!
Things to consider: 

1. Have you lost anyone you still miss and want to share with the world (pre or post covid)?

2. How best do you believe you can honor their life and all they poured into your days?

3. Is there some fun/ unusual way you choose to honor that they were here?

4. Have you ever experienced anything that made you believe they were still around, watching over you? If so, what was it?

5. Who else in your present can you truly honor as a way of ensuring you live a fuller more loving life?

About Kitty O: Okay, how about this for bio: "Kitty lives in Noblesville, IN, where she spends time with her three grandchildren, partner, and four rescue cats. She spent several years as a crew member for a sports car racing team after she turned 50. These days she enjoys walking along the river near her home, taking photos of animals, bugs, and flowers. She would love to be a bird for a day and fly above the earth just for a different perspective of life."

Published by LHoCreations/ TEI

LHoCreations / The Empowerment Initiative is a self funded social enterprise. @LHoCreations was originally created by two immigrant sisters that identify Kenya and Botswana as their homes. The sisters moved to America with their parents through the Green Card program. In America, they found access to the raw materials such as earring hooks, leather snaps etc that allowed them to move from sketching designs on paper to actually creating their designs. They opened their first store in 2009 in Downtown Noblesville. As of 2019 though, the LHoCreations team started shifting towards truly becoming a social enterprise. We changed from an LLC to a nonprofit organization and we are currently working on paying for our 501(c)3 status. As we shifted, a name change was necessary, however we have gone by @LHoCreations for too long. People look us up using this name and so we left ALL our social media accounts as @LHoCreations but took on a new name with our new identity. We are The Empowerment Initiative. Our Purpose: Our purpose is to connect and empower people across cultural lines through various initiatives. How do we do this: 1. Art and Jewelry Making Classes: We sell art from around the world. We also host classes (upon request) where we produce art with you using our raw materials from around the world. We also offer knitting and crochet classes (upon request). 2. Food: We empower various community efforts by preparing and selling East African inspired dishes. We also (upon request) can join you in your kitchen via zoom to cook with you. 3. Fashion: Shop us. We started off as jewelry and bag designers/ makers. We now co-design and co-produce a lot of what we sell. We shop from other small business traders both within the US and abroad, and make our selection available to you. We are also big on doing our part to reduce fashion waste, so we do sell fashionable finds that bigger fashion brands basically consider "last season" overstock. We offer personal styling (upon request). We offer a lot of classes upon request because each class/ session is customized to suit YOUR unique goals. So for real, just get in touch below. As a social enterprise, we have decided that we are small enough to actively decide that everything we do can in some way benefit someone, somewhere. So just as a heads up, you will see a lot of shifts if goals have been met and new targets have been set. We've decided to be the change we want to see in the world and in deciding this, we've learnt that we have to be more like water than like concrete. Initiatives in 2020: STIPEND INTERNSHIPS/ EDUCATE THE NEXT GENERATION: We took on two paid interns that are grads from Mombasa Baptist High School in Mombasa, Kenya so that they could gain work and marketing experience. One of the intern's mums joined our team as well. They are now part of the team upon request/ when the need arises. One of the interns is actively developing various cultural immersion games we will make available for purchase soon. Each purchase will allow us to work on various initiatives that YOU will be made aware of. LOCAL VOICES MATTER: Through food sales, we were able to contribute a portion to the 2021 Polk Street Review Publication out of Noblesville, Indiana. Earlier this year, The Community Education Arts Org., notified us that they had lost all their regular funding. We decided to help through food sales and it is in recent weeks we learnt that they were going to receive a grant that they had otherwise not expected. A BIG THANK YOU to the various Indiana residents that ordered meals and made our contribution possible. We LOVE being Hoosiers. YOU HELP US GENERATE DIGNIFIED IGAs (Income Generating Activities for the community): By shopping from us, you help us create a source of steady partial income for up to ten US based small businessmen/ women and twenty six international makers/ traders/ shoppers. Most of our international makers are based out of the East Africa region. THANK YOU for this. FRUIT/ VEGETABLE FORESTS/ NEIGHBOURHOODS: Details COMING SOON (we are planting greenery because we ship across the world and want to offset our greenhouse emissions as an organization and simply for the future of the world. We only have one earth. We also want to help feed marginalized communities because we believe in a crazy thing... no one should have to die from hunger/ lack of access to nutritious food or go to bed without something nutritious to eat). HUMAN(KIND) CONNECTIONS: We now share stories from marginalized communities through our blog/ social media accounts as a way of helping nontraditional stories have a platform. A lot of what is crippling and polarizing the world is a lack of understanding. You can't understand if you haven't listened or tried to connect as human beings. Stories are how we can connect as human(kind). SOCIAL ETHICS/ CULTURAL IMMERSION: We offer classes in conjunction with libraries across America, school districts, universities etc that allow community members to attend classes that allow interaction with beads, textiles, cuisines, art forms etc from various cultures and parts of the world. This is the second part of making human(kind) connections. Upon request, we have started offering private classes to students as well. We take this time to reflect and explore societal structures/ beliefs and expand the student's zone of impact by allowing them to generate international perspectives as well as contacts. THE ENVIRONMENT: We are working on producing products by hand or with minimal electric/ water consumption to reduce waste and misuse. We are also purchasing damaged jewelry or old jewelry, cleaning and restoring the beads/ fabric and generating NEW merchandise (by hand) to reduce waste in landfills (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle / Upcycle, Rot/ Compost). We've been working on this for the last fifteen years. We have rolled out a line of gently used/ vintage merchandise with a local blogger to reduce fashion waste (MORE DETAILS COMING SOON) We've stopped printing cards or any promotional material unless absolutely necessary. If you meet us at an event and want to connect, we pull out our cellphones and connect digitally or text you links to whatever we might have discussed in regards to our organization. We might also have a code for you to scan to connect with us. We are actively (and have been, for the last fifteen years) collecting packaging from our customers and friends (even bags from other brands) and actively reusing them to ship as well package any sold merchandise. The ugly truth about one of the industries we are part of is, according to Business Insider (Morgan McFall-Johnsen, Oct 21, 2019), fashion production makes up 10% of humanity's carbon emissions, dries up water sources, and pollutes rivers and streams. What's more, 85% of all textiles go to the dump each year (That's more emissions than all international flights and maritime shipping combined). We might not be as cool as all the other brands that have their names on bags, but the earth needs us to care. Maybe that's what we were put on earth, at this particular time, to do... care enough. If you still have questions, get in touch. We'd love to hear from you. The information provided below allows you to connect with the many ways we are more like water and less like concrete because at the end of the day, the one thing we always receive thank yous for are the many ways we connect people to and through culture. Enjoy.

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