360 West Magazine: Shelter from the Storm

Charlene, 26, is a resident at The Gatehouse. She says she's there to start over and get her life back on track. Photo by Mark  Graham.

Charlene, 26, is a resident at The Gatehouse. She says she’s there to start over and get her life back on track. Photo by Mark Graham.

Domestic violence affects all races, incomes, and family members. But there’s an innovative nonprofit in Grapevine that’s creating a path for women to build new lives—free from fear, full of love, and filled with hope.  And it’s a community like nothing else in the country.

At The Gatehouse in Grapevine, sunflowers are ubiquitous. They are in the pictures hanging on the walls of the nicely furnished, spacious apartments. They are in the vases decorating the community center, where 10 staff members work to support families creating their own paths to sustainability. Soon, they will be growing in the green space surrounding the community’s nature trail and playground — resilient, beautiful and bright.

The 61-acre apartment complex and community located in a serene, heavily treed patch of land off Texas Highway 121 is designed to be a refuge offering support, safety and spiritual growth for women living in crisis situations such as poverty and domestic abuse. It’s a fortress of solitude and security, with cameras strategically placed throughout the space and a meticulously monitored gated entry. Beauty is important, too. The sunflower is the community’s symbol of faith in the future for the families living there, because the flower always turns its face toward the sun and grows tall and strong.

Keep reading here.



A shop window advertising payday loans.

A shop window advertising payday loans. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What do payday lenders and poor health have in common? A lot according to faith-based groups in Texas. Read my latest story about it here.

For Love or Money?

Being broke really makes you miss money, even if it was just that forgotten ten dollar bill found in the pocket of your dirty jeans. And it brings up the age old question: Do what you love? Or get paid a nice salary to do something else? In the past, I’ve floated from boat to boat, but now I’ve planted my anchor firmly down in the sea of love.

But I how long can a wade through these shark infested waters, teeming with bills, rent payments, and grocery lists?

How about a life raft? Or perhaps just a well-made inner tube.

Good thing I can swim.

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