Filled with hope

I started volunteering at a local day center for women and children experiencing homelessness a couple of weeks ago. My friend suggested it when I was looking for a place to volunteer as part of my plan toward returning to work with the help of the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation. I have the joy of doing “Guest Relations” work, which basically means hanging out, being a listening ear, sitting with, just being with the women. How lucky am I?! Oh, and we play Bingo and color together. Yesssss!!!

My husband texted me to ask how my time went yesterday. I sent him this text back:

“Today was great. The house was packed because of the rain and cold. It was fun to do my activity with the women*, and more are trusting me with their stories the more they see me and get to know me. I got to watch some Price is Right with some of them. They have male models now. (laughing crying emoji) A woman came in angry that she couldn’t get services til January 1 (she somehow did something to lose them), and when she blew out of there yelling that she was calling the police, etc. the ladies all stopped and prayed for her and her kid. They are broken and beautiful women.”

I see myself in them, my own brokenness. Many of them are dealing with health challenges for example. One woman talked with me about how she started losing her vision, was blind for a time even, shortly after finishing all of her formal art education. She was devastated and wondered what she was going to do with all of her passion and learning. She has since joined a tactile art group with other people experiencing blindness, has had a piece make it into a juried show, and was telling me where I could find her collaborative sculptures around town. What resilience! She pushed through the literal darkness to find joy again. What perseverance for me to learn from.

And I can see ways that I have much to learn from them, these beautiful, beautiful women. I mean, think about your girlfriends. If I’m being totally honest, if I were with a group of mine and we witnessed someone lose their cool and create a scene, I’m knowing that our first collective thought wouldn’t be mercy, grace and to start praying. Ouch…! These women have beautiful hearts! One said under her breath, “I know how I’ve gotten to the place where I’ve done that before.” Humility and a vulnerable “me too” – I need to drink down more of that!

I get to watch the small ways they care for each other every time I’m with them. One woman shared yesterday that she is going to use her little money to buy a soda and a candy for a friend from the day center Saturday; they have time planned to hang out, and that is what good friends do, they share and they give. One woman spent 3 hours yesterday scrubbing down the kitchen until it shined. It is normally a chore that two women do together. I offered to help her twice, and both times she’d say something pretty much along the lines of: “You just go have fun, I’ve got this; I enjoy doing this, it’s my way to give back and take care of others here.” The second time I decided she was for real. When is the last time I’ve cleaned up after 30 other people for 3 hours hand washing dishes with nothing but joy & gladness in my heart? Ummm…never. One woman had her headphones in her ear all day, and spent an hour singing loudly enough that you could hear her throughout the upstairs of the house (and you know how no matter how great of a singer we are, headphones in our ears are not our friends). The only comment I heard was from one woman: “She must have her headphones in still. Just listen to her praising God and doing her thing.” These women are all so different, but one thing they share in common is making space for and actively showing grace for one another. They truly knock my socks off every time I’m there. They spur me on to see the best in others too, and to grow in grace and love and mercy. This is a place where the fruits of the Spirit are alive and well. Not what you thought about a homeless day center? It’s seriously like church sometimes up in there!!

In these last going on two years, I’ve spent a lot of time mostly by myself at home. I’ve spent a lot of time with me. It is so refreshing to be back out in the world with other women on a regular basis. Women who, like me, are broken and beautiful. Women who challenge me to grow in love and faith and perseverance. Women who think different than me and the same as me, but who’s graciousness cover over all our differences. There is laughing and crying and joking and silence and talking and all of the good stuff of life. I read the news and my heart breaks. I look at my Facebook feed and my heart breaks again. But I spend time with these women, and I see God’s goodness all around and am filled with hope. Hope that God’s people can be a people of love and light. That we have the capacity to lift each other up and be salt and light to each other no matter the hard circumstances of our daily lives or the junk of the person in front of us or beside us. I am grateful for the love these women show me, for the love they model to me, for the love they have for each other, for the love that I get to witness and be a part of when I am there. For how that love follows me out the door and helps me see that things can be alright in the world if we’d just take our cue from these women.

Find yourself some people like this!! Find a place to be love, receive love, be a part of love. Ooooh, I am filled with hope! This is God’s upside down kingdom at work, and I am ever grateful for these women.

*we watercolor painted Scripture cards (and faces and tattoos and all other kinds of stuff)

 

 

Thrifty Fun Sewing Plans

I drive into the city for my doctor’s appointments, and as a bit of a ritual afterward when I’m up for it, I enjoy a visit to the GIANT thrift store five minutes away. It is two warehouses stuck together full to the brim with used goodness. I mean, how could I not stop in when I’m so, so close?! I normally leave empty handed; for me the fun is really in the browsing, which is a tad ironic, because I dislike every other kind of shopping… But thrift stores and yard sales are my jam! I feel like they invite my creativity to the table. And they bring back good memories of me and my sisters, mom, aunt, cousins & grandparents crammed into a mini van and one other car caravanning all around town to find the best garage sale deals. Those memories are some of my childhood favorites!

Yesterday found me near said giant thrift store with a little bit of fun money left, knowing that I’m wanting to practice my sewing in an affordable, low pressure kind of way. Fabric is expensive!! So, inspired by a handful of Instagram friends, I decided that vintage sheets would be a fun and lower cost way to get my hands on lots of fabric. And one-of-a-kind-ish fabric at that. And I hit the jackpot! Here’s what I picked up:

Thrifty Fun Sewing Plans | Colibri Homestead

I grabbed two top sheets and five pillowcases total. With the sunflower/brown/tan/bricky floral pillowcases, I hope to make pajama shorts and a tank. And I’m fingers-crossed hoping that I’ve grown in skill a bit from middle school home ec class, where my boxer shorts ended up with a crotch that was more than halfway to my knees… Ha! The two at the bottom are big sheets that I’m wanting to transform into nightgowns. My mom used to buy us nightgowns for Christmas, and I have just had them on my mind lately. And excitingly, I know I’ll have plenty of fabric leftover after the nightgowns to use on fun projects yet to dream up. Lastly, the two pillowcases on the left – the small floral and blue large check pattern – are going to be turned into a fun bunting for the greenhouse. (Not pictured is a light green solid colored pillowcase that I will use to make the bias tape for stringing the bunting together.) The Wild issue of taproot magazine has a sweet poppy block printing tutorial from Jen Hewett that I’ve been dying to try & used Christmas money to buy the materials for. I plan to block print on the check pattern material, and hope it turns out as dreamy as I picture it in my mind. Either way, I know I’ll totally have fun learning! And really, that’s what it’s all about for me right now.

Thrifty Fun Sewing Plans | Colibri Homestead

Thrifty Fun Sewing Plans | Colibri Homestead

Aren’t those poppies the sweetest??!

I’ve only made one garment to date, and it was using a pattern. I think I can wing doing my own thing for pajamas. But if you have any pj patterns you like using, or any tips or ideas, I’m always all ears!! And if you have favorite ways to use vintage sheets, I’d love to hear about that too!

I’ve only got $3.17 in fun money left. But I’ve learned that that’s totally enough money to do some garage saleing! 🙂 Who knows, I may find a couple more awesome vintage sheets yet.

What are you making, sewing or otherwise?

My #onethingrightnow

Hi, friends! I wanted to share something cool that Lori Harris who blogs at www.loriharris.me is calling “one thing, right now.” You can read more about it in this post. I’m participating on Instagram, and sharing my Instagram posts to Facebook. I thought you might like to know what I’m up to outside of this space in case you want to join me there, and also to invite you to think about what your one thing right now may be. Anyone is welcome to join in, and there are other ways besides this one to participate! (Note: If you click on the #onethingrightnow hashtag below, you will be able to see everyone else’s posts!)

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@loribrownharris1 started this thing called #onethingrightnow. She recognized people saying: “I need practical ways to love my neighbors and entry level ideas of how to pursue justice in my community.” This hashtag is one way she has created community around folks sharing the little things we’re doing to love our people and our place. I’ve thought a lot about what my one thing can be in a season of life where I’m 99% at home and too many percents of that in bed. Social media, particularly Instagram, has been a beautiful gift in this season! It’s given me a way to connect with others and ideas and to not feel so isolated. But it can be a place too, especially during election time, where I’ve witnessed some pretty rough and hateful rhetoric.

Inspired by @mckenzie.e.ditter ‘s political art, this is my little way of putting out some food for thought on love. ❤ Like today’s picture, these will all be words I’ve come across that I’ve written down in a quote journal because they make me think (and hopefully grow!). My hope for sharing these #onethingrightnow posts is to put a little love and compassion out into the world. I’m still learning all these things myself!! I welcome conversation, and hope we can all be spurred on to better ways of showing love and care for each other, especially to those who are different than us.