What is the 20K House?The 20K House is an ongoing research project at the Rural Studio that seeks to address the pressing need for decent and affordable housing in Hale County, Alabama. Nearly 30% of individuals in Hale County live in poverty. Due to the lack of conventional credit for people with this level of income, and insufficient knowledge about alternative sources of funding, trailers (used mobile homes per more information) offer the only chance for home ownership. Unlike a house, which is an asset for its owner, trailers deteriorate very quickly and depreciate in value over time.
The 20K House project intends to produce a model home that could be reproduced on a large scale, and thereby become a viable alternative to the trailer in this area. The challenge is to build a house for $20,000, ten to twelve thousand of which will go towards materials and the remainder on contracted labor. Once a truly successful model has been designed, the aim is to sell the houses in conjunction with the “502 Direct Loan” provided by the (US) Rural Housing Service (USDA Rural Development). The project began in 2005, and there have been 9 iterations of the house so far. The project is typically carried out by four outreach students; international post-graduates with a background in architecture or design.
20K House Blog
My Comments: "Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward them for what they have done."
In a professional and business sense, I consider myself privileged to have subscribed to a blog called
Life of An Architect, created by AIA Member Bob Borson. I have truly benefitted, enhanced my seat of the pants effort targeted and serving my passions for the profession of design-build, and been inspired to more positive growth in my profession by his free gift.
I would certainly recommend Bob's Blog for any and all who want to participate and or have A Career in Architecture - Building Design, though I remain as a testimony for those who, for various reasons, have come to a point where studies, coupled with the expense and time of a more formal education are not practical or affordable (but that is another story). I now owe it to Bob for reminding me of the exemplary program in Alabama called Rural Studio.
I had been previously introduced to the educational and community beneficial program called Rural Studio, started by the late Samuel Mocabee in association with The University of Auburn Architectural Program. I have also been gifted with the book, Samuel Mockbee And An Architecture of Decency.
Book Review Excerpt: Library Thing: "Do you ever feel that while the world is rushing headlong toward destruction, a sizable portion of the people around you seem to be feverishly investing their resources and energy in projects that contribute nothing to the common good - almost as if determined to speed us all on our way? Do you ever wonder why some of that good old "American" ingenuity, that inventive creativity of which we are always hearing, can't be applied to solving some of the social and environmental ills that plague us, rather than serving to line someone's pockets?"
Hearing a knock at the door of my life, I welcomed the Visitor, and have been attentive and responded with commitment to his recommendations, directives and consultation with measurable success and increasing faith and trust.
WOW! The aforementioned review strikes a note of reminder, and is in harmony with recent sharing of the Visitor, who now is not longer a Visitor, but lives and accompanies me in all ventures. Several months ago He suggested, "If you align your values with those of my Father, you will value people, and good relationships more than anything on this earth.", and in practice, found this to be life changing for the better, and a blessing to others.
Not too many years ago I was priveledged to attend the funeral of our Pastor's mother, who lived under the same recommendations, directives, consultation and commitments suggested by the Visitor. Those in our Community call her Grandma. In Grandma' day, she was subject to the times, consequently and commonly known as "the wife of her husband", who was a Pastor - Christian Church Leader.
Hearing all of the comments from speakers at Grandma's funeral service, I was inspired and encouraged by all that was said related to what Grandma did in the somewhat obscured position as ONLY "the "pastor's wife". She truly touched and changed many lives in the background of her wonderful and exemplary husband. Being moved to write at the time, I gathered my inspirations and thoughts from the funeral event, and compiled them into a composition I titled, "What On Earth Are We Doing for Heaven's Sake?"
That also being another story, I revert back to the subject, asking the question, "Can one man make a significant difference, beneficial to the lives of others?" Certainly Grandma, her husband and now her son have done so, with overwhelming evidence and testimony. Read More
I must also ask myself the questions," What on earth am I doing for Heaven's sake?", and "Can one man make a significant difference, beneficial to the lives of others?" See our blog post: Therapeutic Christian Community.
I encourage others to subscribe to the 20K House Blog, catch their "drift", and be determined to make a difference, similar to their practical works, or simply in the areas familiar to and associated with your life. Scrolling or a brief read of the blog, the realization of huge and effective efforts are apparent, with the history of events contributing to the needs of the community, and full of real people with names: Geraldine, Michelle, Sylvia, Joanne, Eddie, Bobby and more.
I thank Rural Studio, the 20K House program, Grandma, our Pastor Church - Ministry, the Visitor, his Father and others who have helped me to think, and take actions with my heart and the Spirit of Love rather than my mind. I look forward to the vision, provision and manifestation of life fruit, similar to the work and goals of the 20K House.
Can a new, adequate and nice home be built for 20K, that would not necessarily be defined as a Tiny House by the movement under the same name? Impossible says the experienced builder in me. I have not found, but hope for the reality of confirming discovery, current study and field testing status by the capable students at The University of Auburn, and the Rural Studio Program. I hope they prove things I have seen and believe, being that All Things Are Possible.
Proverbs, "There is a man who gathers to himself and is always in need. There is another who freely gives and is always satisfied." We can also find out the truth by practice, "Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." Dr. Luke. Consider also that it can be proven, "It is more blessed to give than receive."
Author: Dr. Travis Bradberry / President at TalentSmart / Linkedin Article Wednesday June 10, 2015
Some people, regardless of what they lack—money, looks, or social connections—always radiate with energy and confidence. Even the most skeptical individuals find themselves enamored with these charming personalities.
These people are the life of every party. They're the ones you turn to for help, advice, and companionship.
You just can't get enough of them, and they leave you asking yourself, "What do they have that I don't? What makes them so irresistible?"
The difference? Their sense of self-worth comes from within.
Irresistible people aren’t constantly searching for validation, because they’re confident enough to find it in themselves. There are certain habits they pursue every day to maintain this healthy perspective.
Since being irresistible isn’t the result of dumb luck, it’s time to study the habits of irresistible people so that you can use them to your benefit.
Get ready to say “hello” to a new, more irresistible you.
1. They Treat EVERYONE With Respect
Whether interacting with their biggest client or a server taking their drink order, irresistible people are unfailingly polite and respectful. They understand that—no matter how nice they are to the person they’re having lunch with—it’s all for naught if that person witnesses them behaving badly toward someone else. Irresistible people treat everyone with respect because they believe they’re no better than anyone else.
2. They Follow The Platinum Rule
The Golden Rule—treat others as you want to be treated—has a fatal flaw: it assumes that all people want to be treated the same way. It ignores that people are motivated by vastly different things. One person loves public recognition, while another loathes being the center of attention.
The Platinum Rule—treat others as they want to be treated—corrects that flaw. Irresistible people are great at reading other people, and they adjust their behavior and style to make others feel comfortable.
3. They Ditch The Small Talk
There’s no surer way to prevent an emotional connection from forming during a conversation than by sticking to small talk. When you robotically approach people with small talk this puts their brains on autopilot and prevents them from having any real affinity for you. Irresistible people create connection and find depth even in short, every day conversations. Their genuine interest in other people makes it easy for them to ask good questions and relate what they’re told to other important facets of the speaker’s life.
4. They Focus On People More Than Anything Else
Irresistible people possess an authentic interest in those around them. As a result, they don’t spend much time thinking about themselves. They don’t obsess over how well they’re liked, because they’re too busy focusing on the people they’re with. It’s what makes their irresistibility seem so effortless.
To put this habit to work for you, try putting down the smart phone and focusing on the people you’re with. Focus on what they’re saying, not what your response will be, or how what they’re saying will affect you. When people tell you something about themselves, follow up with open-ended questions to draw them out even more.
5. They Don’t Try Too Hard
Irresistible people don’t dominate the conversation with stories about how smart and successful they are. It’s not that they’re resisting the urge to brag. The thought doesn’t even occur to them because they know how unlikeable people are who try too hard to get others to like them.
6. They Recognize The Difference Between Fact And Opinion
Irresistible people handle controversial topics and touchy subjects with grace and poise. They don’t shrink from sharing their opinions, but they make it clear that they’re opinions, not facts. Whether discussing global warming, politics, vaccine schedules, or GMO foods, irresistible people recognize that many people who are just as intelligent as they are see things differently.
7. They Are Authentic
Irresistible people are who they are. Nobody has to burn up energy or brainpower trying to guess their agenda or predict what they’ll do next. They do this because they know that no one likes a fake.
People gravitate toward authentic individuals because they know they can trust them. It’s easy to resist someone when you don’t know who they really are and how they really feel.
8. They Have Integrity
People with high integrity are irresistible because they walk their talk, plain and simple. Integrity is a simple concept but a difficult thing to practice. To demonstrate integrity every day, irresistible people follow through, they avoid talking bad about other people, and they do the right thing, even when it hurts.
9. They Smile
People naturally (and unconsciously) mirror the body language of the person they’re talking to. If you want people to find you irresistible, smile at them during conversations and they will unconsciously return the favor and feel good as a result.
10. They Make An Effort To Look Their Best (Just Not Too Much Of An Effort)
There’s a massive difference between being presentable and being vain. Irresistible people understand that making an effort to look your best is comparable to cleaning your house before company comes—it’s a sign of respect for others. But once they’ve made themselves presentable, they stop thinking about it.
11. They Find Reasons To Love Life
Irresistible people are positive and passionate. They’re never bored, because they see life as an amazing adventure and approach it with a joy that other people want to be a part of.
It’s not that irresistible people don’t have problems—even big ones—but they approach problems as temporary obstacles, not inescapable fate. When things go wrong, they remind themselves that a bad day is just one day, and they keep hope that tomorrow or next week or next month will be better.
Bringing It All Together
Irresistible people did not have fairy godmothers hovering over their cribs. They’ve simply perfected certain appealing qualities and habits that anyone can adopt as their own.
They think about other people more than they think about themselves, and they make other people feel liked, respected, understood, and seen. Just remember: the more you focus on others, the more irresistible you’ll be.
What other qualities make people irresistible? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.
Dr. Bradberry / Linkedin Article Comment / John Luther / Thursday June 11, 2015
Thanks Doc. Very good article, and it is easy for me to see that it is in line with the fact that if we align our heart - mind and soul with those evident in God, we will value people and relationships more than anything on this earth. I have been practicing this concentrated effort for the last 8 months to a year, and believe me, there is an inherent reward. See The Bible - Luke 9:23.
I can not imagine that the Golden Rule (our company Mission Statement) has has "a fatal flaw": assuming "that all people want to be treated the same way", as much as a practice of The Golden Rule would include diligence in the goal of understanding the way others want to be treated, and thereby eliminating as much assumption and error as possible.
Wisdom and consequent success is available, much like the statement of Albert Einstein, "I do not so much teach my students, as I provide an opportunity for them to learn. The results are determined by their response."
At some point, I hope to have time to pull back the veil on progress, and explain more about the Fields of Grace land planing and development in Hungerford, TX within Blog Post, and dedicated pages on our website: www.brotherscustomworks.com.
If interested, stay tuned and be patient, or to learn more about this "purposed community", contact John Luther of Brother Custom Works, or use our website Contact Us form.
In association with Pastor David Kirschke, LifeWay Church and The StraightWay Training Center, eager Christian disciples have abundant opportunities to serve the Lord, make a difference in the lives of others, and live out the type of community activity, shared burdens, and fellowship in the joy and love of a Therapeutic Christian Community, similar to the model found in the Bible - Acts 2.
"42 They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved."
Community, it is not so much made up of facilities, real estate development, improvements and amenities, but of people. Vision and provision for improvements will underscore the existing Christian Community in Hungerford, TX, but a true measure of wealth is found in men when they have nothing.
"Thanks be to God, who always lead us in triumphal procession, and manifest through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of him in every place." 2 Corinthians 2:16
Conceptual Pictures and Ideas for Improvements
Linkedin: Construction Law Group - Question Response - 4-27-13
Subject: Innovation in Small Professional Service Firms (SPSF)
Question: In a highly competitive environment, in what ways can small professional consultancy firms innovate to gain competitive advantage? What are the experiences of small business owners on the sustainability of such strategies?
John Luther commented on Innovation in Small Professional Service Firms (SPSF)
While I may be in a different business than your firm, I strongly believe that the real experience I have is reliable and trustworthy. My business is design - build residential and light commercial, land planning and development, and I have been qualified as a construction expert and expert witness. I have been dedicated to my industry, and the ongoing educational process since 1971. Consulting in all cases is certainly a ongoing part.
In any business, large or small, the most important thing (without a doubt) are the (your) employees, from the receptionist who answers the phone to (you) the CEO.
Given great employees and management, small has its advantages if wisdom is applied. Our Mission Statement is a key goal: "Do to others, as you would have them do to you." We add and make it known that we practice another goal to "go the extra mile.
Large firms and their capacities can be intimidating, so confidence from the small company must be present. These competitive mis-matches can be won in a sort of David vs Goliath way, where David (in spite of Goliath's intimidating presence and smack talk) had overwhelming confidence, did not conform to the battle standards, projected the victory, and realized confirmation of his confidence and consequent "marketing" claims.
So, what do you do? Knowledge is power. Know your business, study, be diligent, especially in continued study, and areas that are related, but new or limited with regard to your knowledge and experience. Keep in mind that large companies must feed the beast of proportional overhead and profit. In many cases their operations are so large that the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing, so ideal and excellent client attention can be lacking.
Be a type of custom boutique operation, with personalized attention to new and established clients. Do not take on more than your firm can handle, and you can personally oversee, such that the attention each client needs and deserves can be provided. When spread thin, it is time to say, "No" to new clients, or that you will be available when the dust settles from current obligations. Establish your company with excellence, such that there is a rumbling news in the industry, or local market that your company and services are excellent.
If you have success, and become an important and recognized community figure, do not let it go to your head. Remain humble and approachable for all. Communicate, communicate, communicate, with clarity and detail, and provide status updates as appropriate with current and potential clients. If you were seeking information, and asked 10 questions, each with their own significance, would 5 answers by acceptable? Is the customer always right? No, it is the response to error that must be right, and by polite, diplomatic, kind, and substantiated explanation.
Future quantity and growth comes from quality and excellence today. In reference to ancient writings and wisdom, "if you are faithful in the small things, you will be given charge over big things". In the slightly edited version of another piece of great wisdom, I add (not discounting future growth), the following: "do not be overly concerned about tomorrow, as today has it's own obligations and responsibilities that need your dedicated attention."
Ask yourself, in the years to come, would I rather sell 100 widgets for $35.00, or 12 for $350.00. Quality, excellence and out of the box exemplary service performed now, will put you in a position where your widgets are worth $350.00 each. Why is a fast food hamburger meal $5.00, and a gourmet $13.50? Why a 30 – 45 minute waiting time to pay three or four times the cost of a Taco Bell dinner, at Pappasitos Gourmet Mexican Restaurant, when Taco Bell is around the corner with immediate service?
Be an honest and truthful man of excellent character, and emphasis this within your company. Judgements will come from all directions pertaining to standards and expectations. The "extra mile" will help, and draw the curiosity and attention of others. In all of your social interaction "put on" love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self control. A reliable source says "against these very things - there is no law"
Be active and socialize in your community, give and you will receive a return. In contrast to typical goals: "There is a man who gathers to, and is overly concerned regarding himself. This man is never content. There is another who freely gives and is always satisfied."
If this advice seems lengthy and exhaustive, we have only scratched the surface of what gives advantage, to include substantiating and current - real life - personal David vs Goliath victories.
Rusty barn tin on the interior ceilings or wall, unfinished ceilings with exposed framing, cabinets that look like a painter started sanding in order to apply a new coat of paint and walked away, exposed sliding barn door hardware inside the home with simple hand-crafted doors, old school light fixtures, and much more.
We are seeing exterior architectural elements and finishes moving inside, rustic, distressed, and elements used formerly found in older country style well "used" homes and buildings.
Can your painter stain the cabinets, paint over the stain and sand some of the paint off to reveal the stain beneath? Can he do a "crackled" finish that looks like the paint is pealing off? Can we use lanterns as vanity lights? As a builder, these and other questions are being asked by some clients.
If it done right, I like the unpretentious, comfortable and carefree style. As a pro member of the houzz community www.houzz.com I performed a search for a client looking for these modern rustic elements, and created an "Ideabook" that only scratches the surface of this popular movement. The Ideabook is shared in houzz community, and here at this link: Brothers Custom Works - Ideabook - Modern Rustic.
Your comments will be appreciated.
John and Bev (Luther), owners of Brothers Custom Works, hosted their 5th - pre-sold custom home Open House the weekend of February 9th and 10th. We were pleased with the turn out, and met lots of nice people. We appreciated all of the compliments on our work, and truly look forward to follow-up with those who visited our project, and those interested in the services offered by our company.
For those who attended, we hope you enjoyed your visit. We are always looking to improve our business and community relationships. We welcome comments, general critique of the home, and impressions of the overall experience in this Open House blog. We will also be sending out a thank you email, and following up in more detail
with those who submitted inquiries regarding our services.
For Bev and I, the Open House experience is always exciting and fun. Being a family owned business, our 7 year old daughter (Mary) was present most of the day Sunday. Without coaching or intentions on our part, she eagerly watched for new arrivals, greeted them at the door with a business card and descriptive flyer of the home, and made efforts to act as self-appointed tour guide for several families (with mom, dad or one of our team being close by).
Congratulations to Linda Miculka, winner of the drawing for a $50 Visa gift card.
Please feel free to comment below and thanks again.
John and Bev Luther, owners of Brothers Custom Works enjoy meeting and helping people, and learning about how to improve their service to the community related to their business. We hope this blog will help in these areas, and will appreciate the comments and participation of others.