March Worship: A Lenten Reflection

On the first Sunday in March, we gathered for our monthly in-house worship service. We listened as Mary Ellen shared a reflection on Lent, the special season before Easter. The word comes from the “lengthening” of daylight hours as we move from the darkness of winter to the new light of spring. In particular, she reflected on Jesus being led into the desert by the Spirit, the humanity of Jesus in experiencing and confronting Satan’s temptation, and the role of Angels in this story. What was the purpose of this desert experience? Why were angels sent to him after he was tempted? Jesus not only observed humanity, but he lived it. During those 40 days in the desert, he must have been hungry. He must have felt doubt. He must have had questions. If we know where to look, we can find courage and strength in Jesus’ response to each of Satan’s temptations. And we can find understanding in his compassionate, loving and merciful response to to others who experienced and gave into temptation.

Second Annual Volunteer Appreciation Brunch

A dozen folks were able to join us on March 10 for an appreciation reception and brunch. We celebrated with a brief liturgy, following the format of Lydia’s House weekly staff meeting and volunteer affirmations. For those of you who were unable to attend, we want to take this opportunity to affirm you!

“In this room are representatives of every kind of volunteer who makes life work at Lydia’s House.

Thank you meal angels. In 2017 we never missed a dinner meal, from Sunday – Thursday a hot, nutritious and thoughtful meal was on our table! Thank you for homemade yeast rolls, for extravagant desserts, for bringing your own ingredients, for introducing new dishes, and for responding to guests needs, wants and allergies. Meals at Lydia’s House are so much more than food: they are the epicenter of community, a place of learning, and something that is dearly missed by guests after they leave.

Thank you board members. The board members that are here today have been with us from the start. They’ve attended meeting that, sometimes, last until 11pm. They review financial reports, write minutes, consult on personnel policies and ask their friends and families to support Lydia’s House financially. It is not a glamorous job to be a board member, but it is so vital to our operations so thank you.

Thank you maintenance volunteers. It’s hard to estimate how much of our operations budget has been saved because of volunteer maintenance, but it’s a lot! But what’s more is that our maintenance volunteers probably do a better job than anyone we could pay. Thank you for responding to tedious to do lists, painting precisely, turning over rooms, fixing things small and large and doing it with such grace. We appreciate you.

Thank you House duty volunteers. House duty is an ever shifting entity but we’re grateful for those of you who’ve been willing to sign on to do anything from sit in the living room and read to shuttle folks to the emergency room. We need you to keep our space safe and beautiful, to provide respite to our live in crew, and to be an extra listening ear and thoughtful presence in the life of our community. We’re grateful for you.

Thank you fundraisers and gatherers of needed things. Lydia’s House experiences abundance because of you. Thank you for finding things we need, buying things you can’t find, dropping off, picking up, responding to our lists and requests and making it possible for our guests to live a richer life because you take some burdens and expenses off of their plates.”

Mary Ellen shared 2017 accomplishments (2017 Report to Partners) and changes to life at Lydia’s House, including new Lydia’s House staff members Elisa (live in associate & volunteer coordinator) and Laura (occupational therapist), apartment building updates and plans for 2018. Laura presented on her new role and associated responsibilities, including guest intake, life skills building, and spearheading our aftercare program with former residents.

Credits & Special Thanks: Taylor Hand for designing the invitations; Kathy Aerni & Bellarmine Chapel for donating a beautiful, handmade quilt to each Lydia’s House guest.

M’s Baby Shower

Friends, family, staff and associates gathered at the house to celebrate the impending arrival of baby C. Hosted by a former guest, and catered by the guest of honor’s uncle, it was personalized and full of love. We played games and competed for prizes…

We tried our hardest NOT to say the word BABY…

We attempted to guess the mom-to-be’s belly diameter in # of toilet paper squares…

And we raced to come up with baby names A-Z…

A few of us made it into the winner’s circle…and, mostly, the rest of us were all gracious losers.

There were presents galore, a Bugs Bunny cake a la Anne, and plenty of baby snuggles.

Easter Celebration

Easter worship service children’s sermon

In a stroke of good luck, we enjoyed a sunshine and family-filled gathering. The kids, separated by age group, hunted for eggs scattered throughout the front, side and back yards and competed (not really… everyone’s a winner) for prizes – generously donated Easter baskets filled with toys, books, and crafts!

Check out some of our cute contestants:

What better reward to end the celebration with than a Chinese buffet? YUM to the YUM.

Credits & Special Thanks: Taylor Hand for the handmade invitations; Kasia & Heather for the awesome kids gift baskets; Sally for being our day-of volunteer extraordinaire; Maria for the desserts.