Welcome, Baby Jacob

On April 16, we welcomed Jacob Walker Eilerman at 9:50am, born via emergency c-section at Mercy Hospital Anderson. He weighed 8 pounds 3 oz and was 20 ½ inches long. When Jacob is a little stronger, he’ll have a regular place at the Lydia’s House table, and for a brief moment (before our next guest has her baby in mid-May) he’s the newest member of the Lydia’s House community.



For the time being, I’m taking maternity leave, which means I’m editing the newsletter from home, fielding the occasional intake question, ruminating over bigger issues with Meridith over lunch, breastfeeding hourly, and trying to take a nap every day. I expect to be back in the mix on Mills Ave, with Jacob in tow, by mid-June.


When we decided to have a third child, it was a hard deliberation. In many ways, Lydia’s House had taken on a role of epic proportions in our life while Sam was still an infant, and I joked that I had 3 kids—Annie, Sam and Lydia. However, life didn’t quite feel complete and I can read back on journal entries from early 2015: “I keep thinking about having another baby, but am not sure where that will fit. I want to believe in an economy of abundance not scarcity, and to know that this project can be held even in my absence.” Shortly thereafter, we completed the Jean Donovan House, Anne Housholder signed on to move in, and we recruited Kristi and Stephanie as one year associates. While I’m always skeptical that there will be enough (I handle the fundraising), it seemed by mid-July that we would be ok for the coming year. And by late August we knew that a third Eilerman baby was coming.


Jacob’s gestation was challenging, particularly because of my broken leg and ankle. But even through that we were held, and Lydia’s House marched on, with staff meetings held in my dining room, and regular visits from the regular crew to my house on Carter Avenue. Even in birth things didn’t go as planned—with him having a prolapsed cord, which led to a record breaking c-section turnaround of 13 minutes from the alarm sounding to the baby in the incubator!


All that said, each day our family is glad to have him, and I’ve felt confirmed in that small voice that kept nagging for his conception. This slowing down, this being at home, this time of focusing on our small children (Annie is 6 and Sam is 3) and all their goodness is welcome. The letting go of much of the day to day at Lydia’s House is also an invitation to many others to step in, to bring gifts that I don’t have, and for me to say “This is a project is much bigger than me and my family.” Thanks Jacob for that perspective, and for all you’re bringing to our little piece of the world. Thanks everyone else for creating the space for Jacob to come into it.

—Mary Ellen



April Update

The end of Lent and beginning of Easter has been a busy time at Lydia’s House! We have continually been taking calls and doing interviews for new guests. Just before Easter, we welcomed a new guest and her five year old daughter. The new guest is expecting a baby boy in May. This time last month, the volunteers were fortunate to spend a few days each on a silent retreat organized by the Center Within, at the Transfiguration Spirituality Center in Glendale. It was a good time of prayer and reflection for all of us, especially for this time of year!

On Palm Sunday, we hosted our monthly worship and potluck. Anne led the kids in reading the Gospel story of Jesus entering Jerusalem. We were all given palms to wave, and the kids got to re-enact the scene, taking a part as Jesus, or the inn keeper, or the crowds. They received cloaks to lay down, and one rode the (inflatable) donkey..(that’s what’s in the laundry basket below!).

Then, the Saturday before Easter, we were invited by Rick to his neighborhood’s annual Easter egg hunt. It was a fun time for all ages. Annie even won the “golden egg” that had a special prize inside!

On Easter Sunday, we had a dinner at the house – with many different dishes, made by volunteers, or donated and dropped off to us.

And finally, we had two birthday celebrations, for Stephanie and Anne. They received birthday badges with corresponding haikus – the Lydia’s House birthday tradition! The celebration also included, of course, delicious cake for all!




International Women’s Day at Xavier

On March 15th, members of the Lydia’s House community attended the International Women’s Day event at Xavier University, which featured a dinner, panel, and discussion on “Building from the Ground Up: Examining Women’s Roles in Collaborative Partnerships & Community Building.”

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We were glad to be able to buy a table to support the event at Xavier.  We were especially enthusiastic about this event because two of our community members were featured on the panel: Sylvia Chemweno, our summer intern from last summer, and Quanita Roberson, our house counselor. We’ve long been supported by many organizations at XU, and value our partnership with the University, which is only a mile from our house. We even had the opportunity to announce upcoming openings for Associate Volunteers to the large crowd.

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