The Move (Blog – Part 3)

I’ve had a few request from some of my readers to see the inside of our house. Some parts are a little scary looking but we are making great progress. These pictures are actually better than when we first came in. We have moved trash from the inside, swept and mopped throughout the house so it didn’t seem so scary to move around in. Remember this is a small house so there isn’t a lot of pictures. I think the people and the neighborhood are more interesting than the house anyway.

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Living Room

This first picture is our living room. It is the first room you see when you come into the house. It feels so weird to walk directly into your living area. I am so used to having a foyer. The room is quite small. We can barely fit our sofa, loveseat, and coffee table in the room comfortably and still have room to dance around.

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The Disgusting Ceiling

I know you probably have that disgusting frown on your face with your little voice screaming “I would never live there! Look at that ceiling!” Well, my usual little calm & reasoning voice was screaming “What am I getting myself into?!” And guess what, this wasn’t the only room with water stains.  But you should know, we got it under control. We had roofers come out to patch up the leaks on the outside then we painted the ceiling. You wouldn’t even know there was a ceiling leak.

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The Overly Green Bathroom

Now I am not a hater of the color green but I do hate the green in our bathroom. Although I am the last to talk, since I just leased out a house with some really horrible paint color in the bathroom (but that is what you get when you trust someone else to pick out the colors). This bathroom has an interesting combination of green, teal blue and black. If you take a peek into the mirror, you can see what I am talking about. Look close you will see it. Every part of this bathroom must be painted and the toilet is cracked so it must go as well.

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The Plain Kitchen

Okay. Here is the kitchen. Nothing extravagant but I really like it. The floors are going to be cleaned. They remind me of the floors in some of the Spanish style homes. A little hot water and bleach go a long way to brighten up the cabinets so they bring a clean look and fresh air into the room. Some decorations and new chandelier make for a great little kitchen.

Needless to say, I am loving this neighborhood so it makes up for the work we have to do in the house. Most of our time is spent outside of the house preparing and speaking about issues in our community, feeding, and clothing the homeless as best we can, and running our neighborhood store and ministry.

Like I have said this historical neighborhood on the eastside of Atlanta with its mixed-use developments, ever increasing Beltline developments, and the mixture of races and lifestyles is more interesting and more exciting to explore.

But I do think you will like the after pictures a lot better.

As I continue discovering “what I am doing & why”, I look forward to talking about the new and the familiar people and experiences that I will and have encountered.

To read more about THE MOVE please follow my blog. Don’t forget to go back and read.

The Move (Blog – Part 2)

The Move (Blog)

© 2016 All words & images by Tanya Graham unless otherwise noted.

 

The Move (Blog – Part 2)

The shingles continue to hang from the roof and the pale yellow color of the house continues to fade in the hot sun, time does not stop. I finally finished a busy day at our convenience store which is just about 2 minutes away from our new residence. As I approach, I cannot help but continue to stare at the overgrown weeds that occupy a vacant lot that sits next door to our fixer-upper. On the other side of the vacant lot, a white family lives in a newly built home with a country style porch, a cute german shepherd, and a picket fence surrounding the home.

(I will be mentioning race, lifestyles, and beliefs throughout my post to show as I write that diversity in a neighborhood comes both positive and negative with many learning experiences.)

The overgrown weeds are reminding me that this neighborhood has been neglected. The people that once lived here and the few that still remain from the years past has in some circumstance…some thought process…in some spoken way  neglected the community.

The reasons for the lack of care are not always known although the excuses come both distressing and at times understandably reasonable.

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Overgrown Lot of the Missing Owner (Photo by Tanya Graham)

As I move items from our car to the house, I notice a familiar face. A face that makes me uneasy. Here comes Paul (not sure if that is his real name or not) but that is what we call him at the store. That or either Preacher Man. He is a frequent store customer who has been homeless and an active addict for over twenty years and frankly he doesn’t care to change his living status. Paul is a slim black man maybe in his 70’s. He walks with a consistent odor; mix-match clothes; and sluggish walk of feet dragging. His unkempt  gray and black hair always lives under some type of hat at least 90% of the time. Nothing about him is shy or meek. He is outspoken and doesn’t care what he says at any time. His conversation has often embarrassed me as we take orders from customers visiting outside of the so-called “hood”.

My thoughts “Oh my God. He knows where I live!”

Paul’s first question while standing outside our house goes like this “Did ya’ll buy this house for me?!” He is yelling as if we are two blocks away instead of right in front of him. My husband and I looked at him with a slight grin of amusement and terror all mixed together.

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Our Friend Paul (Photo by Tanya Graham)

To read more about THE MOVE please follow my blog. Don’t forget to go back and read my first blog on THE MOVE.

The Move (Original Post)

© 2016 All words & images by Tanya Graham unless otherwise noted.

 

The Move (Blog)

Just in case you haven’t read my first blogging adventure of “The Move” here it is. Next coming blog coming very soon.

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Leaving my 3600 square foot spacious suburban home to live in an 800 square foot shotgun house in the inner city of Atlanta could be one of the best decisions I have made in a long time. I stress “could be”. 

Many people would say I am crazy leaving the safety of my well-manicured yard and a neighborhood safeguarded by an overzealous homeowners association. 

Well. I just might be “crazy” but I’m leaving anyway. This very thought of craziness is exactly what got me to thinking. What am doing and why?

As we are in one of the most ridiculous election years that I can remember in my lifetime. Racial issues continue to escalate as people protest police brutality. Same-sex marriage battles. And now who should use what bathroom. 

Wow. This little shotgun house that sits in one of the most historical neighborhoods in Atlanta, Georgia; rich with history; and…

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The Move (Blog)

Leaving my 3600 square foot spacious suburban home to live in an 800 square foot shotgun house in the inner city of Atlanta could be one of the best decisions I have made in a long time. I stress “could be”. 

Many people would say I am crazy leaving the safety of my well-manicured yard and a neighborhood safeguarded by an overzealous homeowners association. 

Well. I just might be “crazy” but I’m leaving anyway. This very thought of craziness is exactly what got me to thinking. What am doing and why?

As we are in one of the most ridiculous election years that I can remember in my lifetime. Racial issues continue to escalate as people protest police brutality. Same-sex marriage battles. And now who should use what bathroom. 

Wow. This little shotgun house that sits in one of the most historical neighborhoods in Atlanta, Georgia; rich with history; and overflowing with pain has started looking good. I know that little voice in your head is saying “Didn’t she just say this place is overflowing with pain”?

Yes. I did. Now let me tell you a little more.

There are two houses of “questionable intentions” just around the corner sitting directly across the street and alongside beautiful craftsman style homes.  This mixture of the well-off and the poor is what everyone is calling gentrification.

For those of you who do not know what gentrification means –

Gentrification is a process of renovation and revival of deteriorated urban neighborhoods by means of the influx of more affluent residents, which results in increased property values and the displacing of lower-income families and small businesses. This is a common and controversial topic in urban planning.

Believe me, I definitely can see the advantages and disadvantages of gentrification.  I have lived in what some have described as a beautiful upper-middle-class neighborhood filled with lush greenery and trees flowing along the street. I have commuted some horrible miles to run my small business in a low-income high drug use community. And now I am becoming a resident in this very community. 

The answer to “what I am doing & why?” Well, hopefully, this will be exposed as I blog

“THE MOVE”  in the next coming weeks and months. ~TanyaG

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© 2016 All words & images by Tanya Graham unless otherwise noted.

My Plan Not My Purpose

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The apartment is gravely positioned down a stretch of road littered with trash on both sides. On any given night it would not be safe to walk alone. Weeds overgrown with a wilderness that mimics the very people that lived there. The apartment buildings exhibit an exhausted appearance of a woman once pretty but now worn and ugly from the men that have run through and in her.

The stairwell that leads to an upstairs apartment is dark, damp, and dingy.

My plan not my purpose led me up the stairs to one of the darkest seasons of my life. At no specific time, the smell of burnt plastic would fill the air. I soon learned this was the smell of crack cocaine.

My plan to be independent led me to sleep on an old mattress laid on the scuffed wooden floor of an apartment void of life. No furniture…

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My Plan Not My Purpose (part 2)

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Part 2

One chair sits across an empty room on a plain discolored wall next to the door. A little television sits propped on the chair serving as entertainment that in a short period of time proved to be a distraction out of poverty. For the next four hours, cartoons would be the choice of education for these men. Men that had single mothers, children and “baby mommas” that awaited the attention of a man with purpose, drive and ambition that was so needed to destroy the generational curses of sin and poverty that was exposed every time I stepped onto the pavement of the apartments that were gravely positioned down a stretch of road littered with trash on both sides.

My plan, not my purpose had me embarrassed and angry at the position I had placed myself in.

The smell of crack cocaine came in between the stints of…

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Holes in My Shoes

In the shadow of the lonely nights we often wonder about the missing pieces of our lives. We take many steps in the shoes that we wear.  Some by choice. Some by force. We walk in these shoes carrying all the weight of the world. The weight so heavy that holes appear in those shoes.

I once tried to fill in those holes. I tried writing, talking, performing, loving, living but …

But life continued to happen. The weight continued to get heavier. The holes continued to get bigger until I decided to pick the pieces of my life that carried the least burden. I changed my shoes and lightened my load.

Now let’s see what life holds.

-TanyaG

© 2016 All words & photo by Tanya Graham unless otherwise noted.