Beating the Winter Doldrums

Our proud graduate (middle) from Dohn Community High School! Guests, volunteers, staff and family members gathered to celebrate her success. And, of course, there was a celebratory house dinner complete with homemade hot fudge cake at the graduate’s special request.

Proud graduate and son strike a pose.

The birthday girl, all smiles, dressed up for her party at Lydia’s House.

Groundhog’s Day: A wacky, annual tradition at Lydia’s House. Because who doesn’t need a reason to celebrate in February? We played games, the kids ran around in (lots of) circles.

Anne made chocolate mousse with a Groundhog landscape on top (we forgot to take a before picture…), complete with green coconut grass, sour earthworms, and oreo dirt! It was amazing.

We set S.M.A.R.T. goals for the year 2018. What kind of change (s) do we want to see in ourselves and in our lives and how are we going to get there? Some, more literal, like on a bike…!

At this month’s worship service we learned about our namesake, St. Lydia, who always had an “open house” for missionaries. Her gracious hospitality was evidence of her faith and love for God. She was also a conscientious business woman who sold purple dye.

Some snaps from a newborn photo shoot with Baby T and big sister T (Photos taken by Julie Boehm).

As part of our advocacy initiative, Lydia’s House had the pleasure of hosting several local politicians including Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune (pictured above); Ms. Alea Brown, SW Ohio Regional Director in U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown’s office; Senator Cecil Thomas and Rep. Brigid Kelly.

We’ve had lots of guest transitions this month. Three move outs and three move ins!  This bunch sure loves to be silly and try new things! We are looking forward to spring and the new life that it brings.

 

A Lydia’s House Christmas Party

Survey the scene: grown-ups, children, Chipotle, presents, desserts of all shapes and sizes. It’s a joyful occasion, when former guests, current guests, volunteers, and staff come together to celebrate.

Behold the joyful melee!

 

Baby’s first Christmas!

 

Delight!

We ate our fill, played games, and gratefully received gifts.

This child was screaming with happiness about the shoes she received, but we couldn’t get a picture of it. Use your imagination!

 

This Starbucks giftcard will be put to good use by this coffee lover (the adult, not the toddler!).

 

A sassy play-mat for a juicy baby!

 

Stayin’ warm in “Frozen” gear!

 

Then karaoke began. Kaelyn kicked us off with “My Girl”.

 

Twinkle-Toes sang “Let It Go”, but no one could resist joining in the chorus.

 

Check out this girl band!

 

Little Anna-Kay raps, with support from back-up dancers.

 

We closed the night with a group Cha-Cha-Slide.

Another Christmas party bites the dust; fresh clothes and toys go to their new homes, wrapping paper and plates get cleaned up, and Chipotle leftovers are quickly consumed. We are grateful to Chipotle, for catering. And we are so grateful to all the folks who donated gifts, from Christ the Savior Orthodox Church in Norwood, and Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Kenwood.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Waiting with Joy: Advent Crafts!

December evenings may be chilly and dark, but Lydia’s House is glowing with holiday cheer. I’ve never heard so many spontaneous outbreaks of caroling! We have been observing the season of advent by praying together, lighting candles, and making holiday crafts.

ORNAMENTS

I bought some pom-poms, raided the craft closet, and opened up many pinterest tabs on my phone. It was ornament-making day! But once the kids got hold of the colored paper and tacky-glue, all plans were abandoned. And, of course, their creations were delightful! They made little books, abstract sculptures, and yarn puffballs.

The children at work.

 

A fine, funny puff.

 

This one’s up for a Caldecott medal.

 

Our sweet, unfussy tree.

CHRISTMAS COOKIES

The next week was cookie decorating. Alton Brown inspired me to haul the stand mixer out of the basement and bake a platoon of sugar cookies. Some stiff frosting was whipped up, and community member Anne offered up her wide selection of sprinkles for the cause.

The whole crew focused on frosting.

 

Astoundingly, this 2-year-old decorated more cookies than he ate, and did not get any frosting on himself (though he did make a hill of sprinkles).

 

The wacky and wonderful final results.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Christmas star and a Christmas bat.

 

Thanks, Twinkle-toes!

 

-Taylor, Associate

Giving Thanks for Answered Prayers

WE ARE GRATEFUL FOR:

Healthy births for two first-time moms, L and D.

S’s beautiful family, sweet new baby, and her new apartment.

T’s healthy new baby, and her new apartment.

 

L’s safe transition to the Shanklin’s house.

A’s transition to her own apartment through the Welcome Project.

The Affordable Housing Trust Fund, created this year in the city of Cincinnati.

All the generous donors that allowed Lydia’s House to acquire a building & develop affordable apartments.

 

The great success of the Women for Women event, and the ongoing friendship of the Krzeski Family.

The enrichment provided by our community partners, including Upspring Summer 360, Camp Joy, Procter Camp, and the Wuests.

The safe travel of the community to the Women’s March on Washington, the Ohio Valley Catholic Worker Retreat, and the Wild Goose Festival.

Committed volunteers old & new: Ana, Lou, Janet, Sally, Jeannie, Ann Hamill, Jenn Jenny & Maria, Jeanne, and Deborah.

Meridith’s transition to working full-time at Lydia’s House, and for Ben and Laura who have come on part-time.

The wonderful associate years of Deb and Taylor, and the upcoming discernment of Elisa.

 

 

J’s graduation from Home Health Aide training, and her new job with Blackstone.

E making a home at Lincoln Scholar House & continuing in her studies.

L’s high school graduation, and the hard work of our first graders K and S.

 

The election of Norwood’s first black councilwoman, Leslie Stevenson.

Increased representation of women of color at all levels of government.

The bounty of the gardens, and Marykate’s presence in our community as “House Farmer”.

The love, joy, and grace of our life together.

Our Version of All Saints’

First, we must acknowledge the very happy occasion of a birth and a birthday:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baby S was born On Friday, October 13. And Kid J celebrated his 2nd birthday on the 20th! His badge is a teeny tiny flip-phone with a text message that reads: “HELLO NANNY” (his favorite words).

Many former guests and neighborhood friends joined us in celebrating All Saints’ on Sunday, October 29. The house felt full and lively. Each room in Lydia’s House is dedicated to a different (sometimes unconventional) saint. At this worship service, we remembered them using props, stories, and prayers. Here, Annie represents the Blessed Mother Mary.

 

We also introduced our 2017 “Saint of the Year”: the Rev. Dr. Pauli Murray!

Rev. Murray is the one in the frame. An activist, feminist, lawyer, priest and poet, Rev. Murray inspires us by her work, her life, and her refusal to take no for an answer.

Born Anna Pauline Murray in 1910 in Baltimore, Pauli lost both of her parents at an early age. She enrolled in college but the Great Depression caused her to leave school and seek work. She ended up in a Works Program where she met Eleanor Roosevelt, whom would later become a life-long friend. Pauli also became a published writer during this time for her poems, articles, and stories.

Pauli grew in her involvement with the Civil Rights movement. In 1940 she was arrested for refusing to sit at the back of the bus in Virginia. This was 15 years before Rosa Parks! In 1941 Pauli enrolled at Howard University in DC. She graduated top of her class and received a fellowship to Harvard Law, but they took the fellowship back when they realized she was a woman. Pauli continued her education at the University of California where she received a degree in law.

In the early 1960’s Pauli worked with the mainstream civil rights movement, including Bayard Rustin and Martin Luther King Jr. She was unhappy about the way women in the movement were put on the sidelines in favor of male leadership. In 1977 Pauli became the first African American woman to become an Episcopal priest. She died in 1985.

Pauli was ahead of her time in many ways. She also identified as gender non-conforming, and would be considered part of the LGBTQ community today. She lived proudly as the child of God she was created to be, and shows us what bravery and commitment look like.

Chipotle generously catered our post-worship dinner (that may have been some folks’ favorite part). Above is a scene of the melee. Do you get the feeling of many little crawlers, toddlers, and kiddos underfoot? The babies of Lydia’s House are growing up!