Author Archives for Instructor Staff
The CallThis past month we packed up our gear, tools and supplies and headed to Wardtown Park. The goal was to help out several people who were in need of some extra help. Wardtown Park is a co-op style mobile home park in Freeport, Maine that has some wonderful people who live there. We had connected with the board of the park and were excited to get the call to help. The Plan was to arrive in the morning and break into three teams. Each team would have a home to work on.
The Stair PeopleTeam 1 was all about stairs! They started in the back of the home with the majority of their tasks revolving around the small back deck. The stairs to it were beat and supported through some sketchy "techniques." They worked to tear down the old stairs and rebuild a new set of stairs with a new railing. While they were at it, there were some spots of the railing that went around the deck that needed to be reworked and freshly supported to be more stable. The entire deck also bounced due to insufficient bracing underneath the decking. Team 1 built a cross brace under the middle of the deck to support the joists that had too large a span. This successfully took the bounce out of the deck and stiffened up everything Lastly Team 1 shifted to the front to pull up and re-level a set of cast concrete steps that had sunk multiple inches in the front making it a dangerous slop in the winter. This team killed it and had all the steps into the home secured and tasks completed before the end of the day. We had Team 1 fold in on Team 2 to help them finish up.
The Shed MoversTeam 2 had a interesting mix of tasks to do to help an elderly military veteran. Like Team 1, this team also had to rebuild a set of stairs that were in really bad shape. They also worked to repair a section of the man's roof that had begun to peel away and fold back. With these two things complete the final task of the day was the main event! Team 2, now with the help of team 1, built what would be the new floor for this man’s shed. His existing shed floor had completely rotted through and had caused the shed to rack severally. Despite this however, the remaining walls and roof were in ok shape. At lunch we assembled all the teams and picked up the walls and roof all as one piece off the old floor. Once the new floor was build and freshly leveled on new blocks, the entire rest of the shed was dropped back on and re-attached! [video width="1920" height="1080" mp4="http://manhoodfieldguide.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/20170415_122700.mp4"][/video]
The RoofersTeam 3 had the initial assignment of repairing and re-shingling the roof of an addition to an elderly lady’s home. Once the team got started, things got real. The team removed what was left of the shingling material and it was clear all the roof sheathing needed to be replaced. Once the first section of roof sheathing was removed, it then became clear that all of the joists where extremely compromised on the addition. Segments of the joists were the consistency of bark mulch! The team quickly adapted and made a new plan to re-frame the entire section of roof on the addition. A fast trip to the lumber yard was made and the team was able to get half of the roof framed and temporarily roofed until our return in May.
Overtime!In the end the "game" went into overtime. A variety of things still needed to be finished and cleaned up before we could drive away. It was a privilege to see all the fellas come together past the normal 3pm ending time. Without speaking a word, each team meet up together and as one collective team we ensured that everything was finished and picked up. This was a huge win for us!! The mission inside of the mission for us at Living To L.A.S.T. is to create an environment where brothers are born out of adversity. On this day we got to see a glimpse of that. Until next time..... LEARN. ACT. SERVE. TRAIN.
Joint EffortWe know we aren't alone out there, we know there are a lot of other organizations seeking to help people. We were excited because this month's service project gave us a unique chance to link arms with one of those other organizations – Habitat for Humanity. Founded in 1976 Habitat for Humanity has become a world leader in tackling the problem of affordable housing. They believe that by helping to provide decent shelter for people in need it empowers them to build a better future for themselves and their families. [caption id="attachment_193" align="aligncenter" width="340"] figure 1: men full of bbq ribs after laboring together on a house[/caption] For us at Living to L.A.S.T their vision of providing for those who would not normally be able to provide for themselves is right in step with the heartbeat of our organization. Also Nathan attended college with the Construction Manager in the Portland office, so we were pumped to see if our organizations could join efforts. Habitat is very active through out Maine so we were invited to help out any time we could at one of their largest projects in Scarborough, ME. The overall housing project includes a total of 13 homes with several already completed and a couple well on the way.
Geared up and ready to goThe group of guys who turned out to help, as it just so happened, all had some prior experience with household construction. Ryan was our Habitat for Humanity Manager for the day and was really excited to have such a skilled group join him and eager to see if we could help them catch up on areas where they were behind schedule. We broke into teams working to insulate the bulkhead mudroom, sheet rock the ceiling in the basement, hang all the doors throughout the house, finish decking along with a punch list of small items along the way. The eight of us who came out for the service project were joined not just by Ryan but also by the man who will be a homeowner across the street from the house we were working on. He was putting in some of his 'sweat equity' hours towards the construction of his families new home. [caption id="attachment_192" align="aligncenter" width="340"] figure 2: men stretching[/caption] [caption id="attachment_191" align="aligncenter" width="341"] figure 3: man waves at camera[/caption] We all had a lot of fun and the days work gave us all multiple opportunities to enjoy chatting and sharing stories along the way. Grateful to be working indoors with the winter temperatures still holding on, by lunch time the sun was strong in the sky and the temperatures had become quite pleasant. We broke for a delicious lunch from Famous Dave's BBQ including ribs, chicken, coleslaw and the rest of the works. [caption id="attachment_194" align="aligncenter" width="340"] figure 4: man fuel[/caption]
The Inner ManLunch time always provides us with an opportunity to be challenged by a devotional moment on what it means to be a man. This sunny afternoon was no different as Brandon Neujahr laid out for us the reality of needing to surrender, sacrifice and suffer for those around us. The hardest part of the challenge being that it is hardly ever in the big movie-like moments that these three things are required of us. Instead it is in the daily routine of life that we find ourselves needing to surrender, sacrifice, and suffer. The laying down of our will, our wants, our desires, our free-time. It is a lifestyle of these smaller moments done well that ensures we live in the fullness of our manhood making a difference in the lives of those around us.
Stop Reading and JoinDon't wait any longer. We continue to encourage any guys out there reading this to come out and join us. Once a month we give up a Saturday to stretch ourselves a bit, be exhorted towards a higher life call and learn some skills that might help us be a blessing to others in need. In the process we enjoy some great times, good food and meet other men with a similar passion in their hearts. No prior experience is necessary – just a willingness to learn. The needs around us in this world are endless. Society hungers to see men rise to meet these needs and stand in the gap for others. For more pictures and updates, until next time.... LEARN. ACT. SERVE. TRAIN
"Hammer Time" With all the correct permits in place, we were able to fully jump into the demo work. Before hammers and pry bars started swinging, we moved the rest of the valuable goods out of the way. After that we divided and conquered. We put some guys on removing doors and some on removing all the various types of electrical covers. Others worked on salvaging parts of a bathroom that was due for destruction. This quickly lead way to the main event of ripping down drywall, studs, and ceilings! We made quick work to transform a sterile looking office area into piles of rubble and dust. See more pictures of the day. By lunch time we had the bathroom gutted, several walls down, and a good pile in the dumpster. After stopping for a brief word about being men that see and stand in the gaps in the "wall" of our society and world, it was time for lunch. While lunch was not as extravagant this time, every one was so hungry that silence fell upon us for the first time all day as everyone stuffed face. Quickly after though, the guys were anxious to get back to work. While some (including the guy writing this) were still working on "cleaning up" the plates of cookies and chips, many were already dragging loads of drywall to the dumpster. In not much time we had both ceilings down and the rest of the walls down. It was a flurry of dust, debris, and testosterone, but everyone was smiling and enjoying the work.
"The Unveiling"As more drywall and framing had been pulled down through out the day, more of the original building could begin to be seen. While many worked vacuums, shovels and brooms to clean up the mess, some got to show the TTP staff some of what had been behind the walls. They were excited to be able to lay eyes on some of the original timber beams and brick work that they hope to feature in the future cafe! When the dust settled we had a 30 yard dumpster full of rubble and the beginning of a clear canvas for TTP to begin to build. While in a way the work has just begun there, in many other ways this is the fruit of years of hard work by the TTP staff. We were blessed to be able to help make their vision one step closer to a reality. Until next time...
LEARN. ACT. SERVE. TRAIN
Happy New Years to you all. Thanks for continuing to check in and see what is going on at Living to L.A.S.T. This past service project was a full day with a lot of new faces. I want to continue to extend an open invitation to any other guys who are curious about joining us. Please do! The need for men who are willing to sacrifice and serve others in today's society is huge. Hard-pressed, exploited and people in serious need of assistance are in every community. We can not continue to make a difference without you joining us on this mission!
The Parallel Mission
January 21st was a day for us to join forces with a ministry in Westbrook, ME called The Transformation Project. Their aim, through several approaches, is to help incarcerated young adults transition back into the community. They offer them training, mentoring, employment opportunities, community involvement and other such things that will best support them as they step back into the world on their own.
The Transformation Project just recently acquired a new building to call their home. The vision for this building includes everything from office and conference spaces to a cafe and actual housing for several candidates. Check them out here for more information.
Our goal this Saturday was to help them begin the large list of renovation work that must be done in order for the building to become the multi-use facility they have envisioned. The turn out was humbling and encouraging. Twenty to twenty-five guys came out to swing hammers, run saws, lift heavy objects, demolish and build. The workforce moved in constant motion as everyone had something to do and when one project become completed, guys were eager to jump into whatever was next.
A great BBQ chicken sandwich and Caesar salad lunch was provided as we all rallied during break to be encouraged with our life's focus. Men desire two things in their hearts at all times: 1. a mission to be on and 2. a team to be on mission with. Andrew Ochsner challenged us with these points and exhorted us to consider how we can better apply our lives to make sure we have a team and a mission.
Ken Hawley, Executive Director of The Transformation Project, was blown away by the work that was accomplished and was so blessed to see the vision begin to become a reality. (check out some pictures of the day!) Living to L.A.S.T has long discussed how we might partner with The Transformation Project and this is just the beginning! There is still more work to be done! Stay tuned because it is our aim to be there again next month. Bring a friend next time or come on out for the first time.
Remember STAY ON MISSION and find a TEAM to be on that mission with. You are always welcome to join us in ours!
Till next time...
LEARN. ACT. SERVE. TRAIN
A huge thanks to everyone who participated in this months Service Project in Lewiston, ME on Sept. 17th. I have to confess that it felt a little like being on Extreme House Makeover. We had the wonderful opportunity to work on a trailer home for a lady who was recovering from recent health complications. The home badly needed new carpet in the living room and hallway. Holes in the original carpeting had caused her to trip in the past. Additionally, the kitchen area had actually been carpeted at one point in time and was in bad shape. Lastly, the kind lady had long wished to someday have a living room window that actually opened so she could enjoy more fresh air. Living to L.A.S.T linked up with 20 guys of all ages and tackled the job. With carpet gone in no time, a large team tackled the old adhesive with scrappers, brushes and cleaning agents to prepare the floor for the new carpet. With more guys then there was room to work in the trailer, another team got to work cleaning the exterior of her home along with the lawn and garden areas. By lunch the grounds were pruned, raked, weeded, pressure washed and mulched.
Living to L.A.S.T was blessed to have some friends no only donate lunch but come and prepare it all for us. So with the smell of burgers and hotdogs in the air, we all enjoyed a break to refuel. Andrew presented us with some thoughts about the Latin phrase that had been selected for Living to L.A.S.T's logo. It reads “Vivite Pro Aliis” which is translated “Live for others.” Andrew encouraged us to remember that at the heart of truly living like a man is living selflessly in the small ways and the big ways as was modeled for us by Christ Jesus.
With extra food still to eat the neighborhood kids and families were invited to come and join us. Smiles were abundant and the joy of sharing could be felt by everyone. Full from lunch, we broke back into teams to complete our mission. New carpet was getting installed by one group of guys. Another was working on cutting and fitting the linoleum in the kitchen. A close friend and connection with Portland Glass had arrived with a donated window for the living room and it was well on its way to be installed. Feeling the squeeze for space again, a team of 4 men broke off and went door to door in the trailer park until they found a neighbor in need of assistance. Rot in the floor of two rooms had left the owner with holes large enough to put furniture down through. Materials were already on site but the lady was trying to get it done herself with little experience. With time working against them the team managed to shore up and add the needed floor joists to support the new floor. Plywood was cut to fit and the project was left ready for the owner to nail it down and keep moving forward.
This entry does not provide the space to share the details of the blessings and joys of the entire day. Needless to say, the work that we set out to complete was finished. The entire neighborhood was excited to see the work and encouraged to know that it was happening for a lady many enjoyed having as part of the community for around 20 years. Many man hours were spent for a great cause and we all wish we could be there when the owner gets to open the door to her home to see the surprise that awaits! Keep up the good work guys. Until next time:
Learn. Act. Serve. Train
Last winter, AAA Roadside Service reported “rescuing” 175,000 drivers here in Maine. With the winter season now fully upon us, it might be good to review a few items that can make or break your ability to help someone (or yourself) in a wintery jam. 1. Compact shovel Whether you buy a high end backpacking shovel, or visit your local army surplus to get a trenching tool, it’s a great idea to have a shovel with you. Many cars that end up off the roads are hung up, or 'floating,' on top of the snow. Having a shovel will give you the ability to get the tires back on the ground, and reduce the amount of friction if you’re in a towing situation. 2. Hand warmers These can be a real help if children and/or the elderly are involved in your scenario. Both of these parties have a much harder time maintain their own body temperature, and their extremities are in greater risk in extreme temperatures. It’s not uncommon for roadside assistance to take 45 minutes to reach you. If the car is disabled it will cool down quickly, and having these around can help warm those outer extremities for hours.
While I have never experienced it here in Maine, I know other states receive weather that can leave people stranded on the roadways for extended periods of time. Having a little something to keep you going can be a real morale boost. Make sure it has a high calorie count, is compact, and will keep well in a range of temperatures.4. Salt, Sand or Chemical Deicer While this item can be tricky to find space for, if you can squeeze it in then do so! Ice and packed snow can limit or neutralize even the most capable 4-wheel drive vehicles. Used wisely, even a single bag of deicer can buy you just enough bite to get the job done! 5. Headlamp or Flashlight Shorter days = shorter light. In the winter season, your chances of driving in the dark are much greater. A headlamp offers the benefits of hands free operation, so you have both hands available to perform your work. Being in a bind in the winter is bad enough; being in a bind and not having enough light to diagnose a problem only compounds the difficulties of your situation.
6. Blanket, Clothes and Boots
This one ties hand-in-hand with the hand-warmers, as the need to stay warm, dry, and preserve your body temperature is important. I have never worked a job where I had to wear a suit and tie, but many guys do. Penny loafers and cufflinks aren’t exactly the best aids in getting a car two-feet deep in snow back on the road. Having a change of clothes fit for the conditions is important. The blanket can be a big help if you come across an accident that first responders have not been able to reach yet. It will keep a victim warm without having to move them!7. Jumper cables I would expect you to already have this in your car, but if not – get a pair! The cold does nasty things to batteries, and exploits those that were already near needing to be replaced. Giving someone a jump is one of the easiest things to do, yet without cables, it doesn't matter how willing you are to help them, you’re powerless. I would recommend getting a pair at least 16' in length and made with a heavier gauge wire. That way, you have the highest chance of being able to reach their battery terminals even if you cannot put your cars nose to nose. The heavier gauge helps ensure the easiest transfer of power from one vehicle to the next.
8. Tow straps
I know you might be thinking, “I drive a sedan. I can't tow anyone.” The reality is – you might actually be able to. Sometime a little tug is all that is needed; so don't underestimate your vehicles abilities. The longer the strap the better, as you never know what conditions you will find yourself in. Lastly, consider that the strap might be to help someone else get YOU out of a jam. You might not have a truck, but if the person who stops does, there is still a chance they might not have a tow strap, and you’ll be there to help them help you!9. Wiper Blade and Fluid Winter can wreak havoc on wiper blades. They put in a lot of work, and we’re often rough on them with our scrapers. Having them break or not work properly is no fun when you need them. However, it doesn't take much effort to tuck a replacement in with your spare tire. The washer fluid is pretty self-explanatory. Unless you’re diligent in checking your fluids regularly, there’s a chance you will run out when you need it most. If you have room, stow either a full or partial one in a sealed container somewhere. 10. Flares If you’re helping someone, or are in need of help yourself, winter weather conditions make roadside assistance extremely dangerous. Limited visibility, nighttime conditions, and poor traction reduce driver reaction time. A road flare can ensure your safety when dealing with a vehicle near a roadway by alerting others of the potential hazard. When buying flares, keep in mind that burn times vary greatly. Make sure to buy the right number accordingly. Hope these tips and ideas helped spark your initiative to prepare your vehicle this winter, and hopefully you can help yourself or someone else get out of a bind! Stay sharp and drive safe!
Central to Living to LAST are four values:
- Testing and pushing yourself hard enough to find the limits of your skill sets, gifts, wisdom, knowledge, strengths, etc.
- Changing that reality- learning more to extend your abilities!
Lets wrap this up by encouraging you to do a few things. If anything I’ve said resonated with you, don’t wait- take action now!
- Take the initiative to do something new. Extend yourself to discover your limits.
- Humble yourself and be comfortable with admitting your limits. Until you are honest with where you’re starting from, you can never move forward. There is no shame in this.
- Go learn something new. Ask an uncle/father/friend to show you how to – fill in the blank -, take a first aid class, pick up a new hobby, audit a class at the local community college, learn how to service your own car… ANYTHING! The opportunities and options of what, where, when, and how to learn are endless.