Status Update

I got the scholarship I applied for which will cover almost all of my tuition for the upcoming year. The grant expires after 1 year, so I will have to reevaluate if it is not renewed. Either way, I think the science courses I will be taking are going to be pretty interesting and beneficial even if I don't pursue a career in education (general knowledge, medicine, pharmaceutical sales, other sciences). This summer I am taking two courses I need before I can start more advanced coursework this fall and it is taking up most of my time.

House and Community
I move back into my house on the 1st which I am excited about. Over the past month I have been working on the community garden in my neighborhood which has been a lot of fun. We had our grand opening this past weekend and about 100 people came out.
In the process of developing the garden we realized it would be beneficial to partner with other groups to complete the project. One of those groups was Homeless Helping Homeless who was responsible for a large part of the organization this past weekend - the mayor came, everyone was fed by a local organization called Food not Bombs and the CEO for Square Foot Gardening came out to see the project and made a big donation. What amazed me about this was how everyone had their own agenda (helping the homeless, cleaning up a neglected are, promoting healthy home-grown food) and yet was totally able to come together on this project. For me, I was certainly a part of the community, my church actually donated a few thousand dollars and I have really just enjoyed the entire process of turning the earth and watching these plants go. I also put a few hundred dollars worth of fruit trees on my credit card and was able to sell some as a fund raiser. The proceeds actually went towards getting a fruit orchard in the garden. It went over very well and we now have 15 trees in the ground. It was a special day.
More broadly we have also been continuing to hassle the city. We have been working to get a long term reforestation plan, we received two grants for new housing, and did another well attended litter cleanup. If anything, through this garden project and my reforestation effort I have learned the importance of focusing your efforts rather than trying to tackle too many different problems at once. A few high quality projects are worth more than dozens of mediocre ones. I think the aggregate change is still the same, but it terms of public awareness, personal satisfaction, and in bringing people into the community there is no comparison. Through this garden project alone we have added a few more community members to our ranks, been able to generate positive press on both tv and print, and been able to form partnerships with other organizations around the city that were not possible before this project.
As for my house, I have already found two roommates and it looks like my monthly costs will be around $125 with all bills included. This should make going back to college simple. I also want to do a few projects again. I planted all the shade trees I wanted a few months ago so now I would like to add an outdoor seating area with fireplace, a small koi pond, and a few raised beds for home gardening. I also added the orchard at my parents house that I started on last year. We have about 20 fruit/nut trees (figs, pomegranates, peach, plum, pear, apple, persimmon, cherry, pecan, walnut) there now as well as blueberries and grapes. I plan to continue to add to this collection over the years. I have a feeling I will end up here in the latter part of my life. If not permanently, certainly to visit my parents and get away on a regular basis.

Orchard in Salley

Spiritual Journey

I feel good in this regard. I am just working towards being more at ease, lessening my desire to have control of outcomes, working on seeing things from other people's perspectives, and just trying to see the beauty in each moment while offering a sense of gratitude for it all. I am also trying to be aware of the sense of purpose and meaning that can be found in each moment and trying to find the courage to speak up or do what needs to be done. I have a few more books on my self - some more stuff on buddhism and one on understanding yoga via the Bhagavad Vita. I quit attending the Buddhist center (I just have an odd feeling when I visit) but I did find a new new church just around the corner from my house. I am surprised I haven't heard of them already, but I am glad I found them. They sound like a happy, searching bunch of people - just what I am looking for. I am looking forward to attending in the coming weeks.

Other than that I have been running a little (Marine Core Mud Run, 1 Mile race (set a PR of 5:55), and a local 5k), did some kayaking, dating a lot, and just enjoying my friends and family... Looking forward to deep sea fishing this weekend

I feel good...