building a house home where love can dwell

I was chatting with a friend the other day who is really busy…being a wife to a soldier (Memorial Day hat tip!)…moving their family literally across the country…being mom and teacher to their children…AND growing a baby. She sent me the sweetest video of their soon-to-be-not-youngest dancing, and laughing, and toddling, and I gushed a little and said that I have baby fever. She “lol’d” and asked, “When don’t you?”

And that’s true. I pretty much always have baby fever. Even when I have one of those kinds of days, I’m nearly always asking God to let a little more love spill over into and then overflow out of our home.  I get more than a little goofy over babies: Hold all the babies! Love all the babies! And if you tell me you are having a baby, whether your first or 12th or somewhere in between, I am going to be excited for you.

Don’t get me wrong, though, I know that baby-having is hard, hard work. Preparing a place in your life for a little one is one of the most daunting tasks in life, and this daunting thing becomes exponentially more difficult with each curveball that life throws.   Being a mother, takes a whole lot of support, and encouragement, and help, of all kinds (material, mental, emotional, and spiritual). If you know a mom who denies this fact she is probably hiring a maid and a therapist under the cloak of darkness.

I get a little goofy over moms, too: Love all the mommas! Encourage all the mommas!

Enter the topic at hand:

Mary's Mantle

My friend, Rahki from The Pitter Patter Diaries works for a little place called Mary’s Mantle. I use the word “little” here lightly. Because the work that is happening is something amazing:

The founders of Mary’s Mantle, a Catholic residential program for homeless, pregnant women, felt that no woman should have to choose abortion because they had no place to lay their head. The doors of the metro-Detroit home opened in June of 2010. Since then, 44 women and their children have called it home. The mothers who come to reside at Mary’s Mantle come from all walks of life. Some are recovering addicts, some are recovering from the scars of past abortion, some have been prostitutes, some have been in pornography, some have been victims of domestic violence, many have extremely damaged relationships with their families, and all have been broken by abuse, whether emotional or physical. The time they spend in residence is designed to heal and restore them. While staff work with them to address the causes and symptoms of their homelessness (job training, housing searches, etc.), the greatest work done is to teach them about the love of God, help them to begin healing, and learn how to be faithful mothers so they can break the cycle of abuse.

Being mother can be rough, and messy, and discouraging even when you are surrounded by love and support and encouragement, by food and shelter and basic necessities and not-so-basic luxuries. Take away one of these, some of these, or all of these, and we should not be at all surprised at choices that women make out of desperation.  If we want to live in a culture of life, we have to build homes where love can dwell.

And this is precisely what Mary’s Mantle is doing.  Well, for the past five years they have been renting a house where love can dwell. So now…NOW…Mary’s Mantle is buying a house where love can dwell. The house has been bought; the renovations have been underway; the move date has been set. But Mary’s Mantle needs a little boost for the “final” touches, “from furniture for the formal living room and workshop area, to computers where the moms can look for jobs and take classes online“.

Let’s help provide some hospitality for this home!

I’m going to be all done talking now so that YOU can click*click and go help.  Rahki sent along the GoFundMe link for Mary’s Mantle, but she did mention that some people have been experiencing difficulties with it. I checked it out prior to posting, and it was working, but JUST in case, you can do what I did and go donate through the Mary’s Mantle website.

Love always wins, you guys. Always. So whether it’s a little or a lot, let’s go shower some love on this home!

7 Reasons I Am Not Going To Tell You About Yesterday 

I really do have wonderful reasons to not tell you about yesterday, though.

And if I were to list some of them, I would mention that, you know, I am just getting the lights turned back on in this space and who really wants to hear about my Sunday evening.

I would hem and haw and protest that it was really no big deal. Everyone has bad days.

And REALLY when we get down to brass tacks (and if we want to do that we should carefully consider which end is pointing up) not even my dog cares about yesterday. Even he, who becomes frantic if I am more than 4 feet from him during any given point of the day, does not care about my lousy-horrible-terrible-no-good end to what was, actually, a really good day.

this is Doofy, King of Care
this is Doofy, King of Care

But here is the thing.

And you must forgive me for the title of this post.

The thing is, I think you might want to hear that yesterday, when all my little people were in bed and not even asleep, I curled up in a ball and whispered, “I feel like a terrible mom.” You might need to hear that I cried in front of my kids because I was just so frustrated.

All of my failings, all of my foibles, all of the millionstrillionszillions of things that I see where I don’t add up just felt, all the areas of sin that I feel like I’m constantly trying to weed out, and all the compare (you know what I mean here, yes?) just came crashing out of the cupboard I had stuffed it into. And the heavy things that I had foolishly put on the top hit me on the head.

There is this beach house that we go to. It’s blissful.  We went not too long ago. It sits on a cliff above the ocean, and the views are spectacular.  The beach always looks amazing from there, whether basking in sunshine or draped in sheets of rain. The Oregon coast has this rugged feel.  A place where you can marvel at Creation. When you walk to the beach, you walk down this long hill. It’s not a terribly long walk. You get to the beach. And you walk on the beach. Or play on the beach. Or explore the beach. Inevitably it is more windy than you imagined when you were sitting high on the cliff in the comfort of the house. And it is colder. And there is more…sand. Lots more of these little particles than you remember seeing when had your aerial view.

And, then, at some point, the little people that you now have in your life need to be taken back to the house – whether willingly or unwillingly. They are wetcoldtiredhungry. Somebody wants to stay. Somebody was ready to leave half an hour ago. They are sandy. They are so so sandy. But you still have this hill to climb. 

That pleasant walk down the hill to the shore…has become a death march back up the hill. Someone’s feet hurt. Someone doesn’t care that everyone else wants to be drywarmrestingfull – they want to look at the buttercup on the side of the road. Someone needs to be carried. Someone’s clothes hurt because of sand. Everyone is going to need to be rinsed off with the cold hose and no one is going to like that. Someone needs their crab-shell-with-the-dead-crab-still-in-it that…oh somehow…got left on the sand. Someone needs. Someone needs.

fromlittlehands.com

It’s motherhood. There are these moments when you sit in comfort and warmth and bask in the glory of these gifts. And then there’s this thorny grace* to it. There is sand…Good Lord! there is sand everywhere!

It’s work. Going to the beach is hard work. Motherhood is hard work. It’s not just spectacular views and romantic walks. It’s feeding the people you brought with you and shaking out their clothes and washing the sheets and packing.  It’s feeding them again because they forgot that they, actually, were hungry. It’s walking up that blasted hill. It’s vacuuming sand out of your car for eternity. No, really.

And that’s what my Sunday night was. It was dealing with all the sand and the dead sea gull that someone wanted to bring home and all the little people who need physical, and spiritual, and emotional care. I couldn’t see the glory of the view from above, and I’d lost sight of the wonder of the starfish below. In the chinks between tiredness and emotion, it’s easy for the temptation of Not Enough slip in.

On Sunday night, I was sure that the jagged rocks and the crashing waves and the abrasive sand were conspiring to make me fail at this, this hardest thing I’ve ever tried. (And I don’t think I need to tell you that a little prayer and self-care go a long way. And Monday treated me much better.)

It’s not always beautiful, this mothering thing. It’s almost always hard. It’s ugly, sometimes. It’s messy, most of the time. It’s confusing occasionally. It’s overwhelming once in a while during the day every day. On my merits, it’s all these things.

But here’s the thing, Grace abounds. And that is Enough.

*big scary Amazon affiliate link!

on the importance of regularity

|| there this this thing that happens when you don’t write…

and don’t write…

and don’t write…

|| you get kinda…

…blocked up.

{this is an approximation of what Writer’s Constipation looks like}

If ya catch my drift…

|| so I am grabbing a cup of coffee to help things along and trying out this regularity thing to see where it takes us

|| you and me would rather not end up on the other end of the spectrum, now would we?

“MOM!!”

|| and I would imagine that this will take some getting used to, but eventually I will figure out what to write, right?

|| I’d imagine you would want to hear about what’s been going on! We have moved, did you know? Our space is still small, and I have lots of thoughts on that. I’d condense them for you, but, then, what would I write about next week? I work from home, now, and this takes up a big chunk of time but mostly just takes away from my desire to stare at a computer screen. I’m completely and equal parts inspired/intimidated by how blog-know-y my writer friends have all gotten (if you have a blog and are reading this, I am probably looking at you!). I have lots more thoughts on motherhood and working a job that isn’t mothering alongside it. I’ve been thinking a LOT about Church and church and community. I have all these thoughts percolating about living day-to-day and in the moment while not losing sense of goals and direction. What have you been pondering? What would you like to hear about? I’m aiming for Monday’s, my friends. See you here next week!

jumping rope

Do you remember playing jump rope when you were a kid? I remember watching (might have been on Mister Rogers or Sesame Street???) kids jump double dutch. I tried (read: bossed) the neighbor kids into trying to learn double dutch. But…coordination…or something.

We did get the hang of jumping with one long rope. Taking turns, you remember, a child on each end, and someone else skipping through.  Do you remember how you would watch the rope and wait for the right moment to jump in?

I’ve started a lot of “re-entry” posts here and deleted every single one. I feel like I have lost my voice. Anyhow, this is the world’s shortest pity post and purely intended to break the ice a little so that I can sidle up to the fishing hole and drop my line in and YOU can pretend that I have been here the whole time. For a friend, right?

puddlejumper

5 Favorites about RAINYday Bibs + a GIVEAWAY

*Disclosure: RAINYday Bibs offered me a bib in exchange for this review. BUT, I had planning on writing about them anyhow, AND I already have purchased several, so I’m passing the bib along to you!*

 

puddlejumper

I have to admit something: I’m a lazy, lazy mom.

Well, I guess I should clarify: I think I have a touch of…how shall we say…distractibility…and by the time I finish chasing all the wild tangents of my brain, I’m too exhausted from my undisciplinedness to buckle down to the mundanity of sweeping the crumbs up off the floor and tackling the mountain of clothes.

Call me a thrill seeker. Who is a homebody.

If you will.

When Liam was born, way back 6 years ago, we were…clueless? I don’t think we had even really figured our highchairs. So when Liam was about 6 months ago, he + me went on his first cross-country (airplane) trip to visit all his grandparents in the Pacific NW.

And my mom brought forth both a highchair and a bib.

Good Grandma. Clueless Mom.

"Tell us something we don't know, Mom."
“Tell us something we don’t know, Mom.”


By the time Logan came along, I decided it was easier to just strip a baby down to baby skivvies for meals.

And all the time.  Unless we were leaving the house.

I dunno. Summers in South Korea. Hot. Humid. Lazy mom. It all adds up.

And yet. And YET. I sorta have always wanted to be the sort of mom that bibs up her progeny at all the appropriate moments. So I have tried out LOTS of bibs. And then cried over the extra laundry.

I’m still pretty clueless. And I still often subscribe to the Diaper Only Dress Code for Dinner.

BUT, when I DO Bib UP! I now, exclusively, bib up with Rainyday Bibs. (I know this sounds cheesy, but it’s 100% true and was way before writing this post!)

Bib and dirtI do this for a few reasons:

~1~

They are practical. The big ones catch messes. They offer great baby-coverage. (Ami is pictured in the Puddle Jumper-wipe off, and you can see how it covers her whole front.) The laminated cotton ones are wipeable for less-messy meals (ok, those don’t really exist in my house, because my kids can make an ordeal even out of Saltines). The Drizzle bibs are absolutely perfection for catching the massive amounts of drool. (Side note: Amélie drools so much that she actually would get wet and cold this past winter.) I think these make GREAT shower presents!

~2~

They are SO cute. I mean. Seriously.

there is this one…
…and THIS one…
…and just when I think I’ve found a favorite…

 

~3~

They are really well made, and they really have quality craftsmanship.  The snaps make the neckline adjustable, which is great as your little one grows.

snaps
~4~

The momma who makes them is pretty darn amazing. She is the mom to some lovely ladies I grew up with and my kids now play with her grandkids. It’s a small world when you are a Catholic homeschooler in the PacNW.

bibdetail
well-made, super-soft


~5~

You get to win one!!

The great news is that I’m offering your choice of a Rainyday bib to WIN! If you are a mom, enter. If you are a grandma, enter. (My mom and her friend keep these at their houses for when grandkids come!) If you know a baby, enter (this would make a great shower gift!).  Are you ready to Rafflecopter?!?!?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

RAINYday Bibs has also graciously offered to reimburse shipping costs (to addresses within the US) for every reader ordering in the month of May – so remember to mention FromLittleHands in the notes to the seller! I also definitely suggest giving Rainyday Bibs the ol’ thumbs up on Facebook as it’s a great way to know when there are special offers and discounts.

Thanks to Hallie for hosting my favorite link-up!

Crickets chirp…

Mom and Girl

“I’ll take Crickets Chirp, Alex, for $500″.

“In this place, one can hear crickets chirp.”

“What is Maia’s blog?”

“That is correct.”


 

Sometimes you get to the point where you fall into bed at night and you just can’t be creative.

And there are so many things one COULD say, but one isn’t quite sure how much the blog world needs to know (wants to know?)

Or you take time to finish off Lent with a little more walkie and a little less talkie.

Or all of the above.

The natural ebb and flow of a blog. 

(Also, for the record, for the past week and a half, for some reason Bloglovin’ just WILL not work on my phone and keeps declaring “invalid hash” when I try to open it. And I don’t even have any clue what that means. So all my blog-reading and blog-lovin’ has been on a hiatus. Mea culpa, my blog friends. I’ll be back on the commentin’ wagon soon.)


 

In the meantime here is an interview update between me, myself, and a magic eight ball:

Are you still living in a studio apartment?

Without a doubt

 

Do you have plans to move soon?

Ask again later

 

How many bottoms would you say that you wipe in a day? 

Better not tell you now