Archive | making home

on earth as it is in heaven

This is the final post in the Gather Up the Fragments series on ending waste. 

I doubt there is such a thing as recycling or “upcycling” in the kingdom of heaven, but I am sure there is no waste. As a final part of this series, now that Christmas has come and gone and epiphany is here and your Christmas tree is either being disassembled or sitting by the curb, I want to reflect a bit on what we’ve learned together and encourage you and I to spend the new year spending less, wasting less and being much more grateful.

Jesus taught us to pray that God’s will would be done here on earth as it is done in heaven. You may not immediately think “go green!” when you hear that prayer, but I think that a healthy respect for God’s creation goes right along with it. God himself wastes nothing and in an attempt to reflect Him a little better, we should waste less…less than last year. Even though the green peas on your plate probably cannot be shipped to starving children in Africa, you eat them or share them because to throw them away would be to dishonor the hungry. Waste does hurt people. How to end it? Side with it’s archenemy: gratitude.

You’ve probably heard of the three R’s: reduce, reuse, recycle. I’ve gathered some inspiration for us as we keep these three R’s in mind for 2014.

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  • The lovely Bethany  of Letters from Home writes often of “living with less” and mending and making do. I particularly love her post Where Nothing is Wasted (Or Why my Mother is Awesome) but anything under her tags of “living more with less” or “waste” is excellent. You’ll find lots of inspiration therein and probably a kindred spirit. “Banishing waste not only gives my parents the freedom to do the work to which they have been called, but also enables generosity. At its best, a home should teach its children about God, and I learned a lot about God’s providence from my mother’s watchful gathering and saving.”

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  • My dear old friend Tonia (our friendship is old, not you!) writes more and more these days about simplifying more and wasting less along with caring for the animal kingdom and being grateful. (Very applicable, yes?) I loved this post about new grocery shopping habits and plastic packaging alternatives. I also love any post with a picture of a little red-headed girl. She’s a pretty awesome friend of mine. :-)

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  • Have you heard of Sole Hope? I’m pretty excited about them ever since I heard their founder speak last October. I have attended a shoe-cutting party and hosted a shoe-cutting party and I am planning on hosting another at the end of this month or beginning of next. This is a wonderful way to recycle old jeans or other durable fabric, plastic bottles or folders. They explain it better than I do, but Sole Hope allows us to recycle instead of waste while creating jobs in both the U.S. and Uganda, giving relief and follow-up to people suffering from parasites and preventing them from being reinfected by giving them a pair of shoes.

What your ideas and suggestions for wasting less in 2014? How do you care for nature in your every day life? 

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a birthday legacy (+ an awesome give-away!)

Hello Dears, Guess what? June 23rd is a Sunday, Midsummer Night’s Eve with a full moon. And it also happens to be my 21st birthday. But, as if that wasn’t exciting enough, June 23rd is special in another way. On the 23rd, four young women will be moving to their new home at The Legacy House. The Legacy House is a small home in Austin, Texas for 18-22 year old girls who have aged out of the foster system without being placed in a family. Girls in this situation are very high risk for trafficking, abuse, prostitution, homelessness and general instability.

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According to Casey Family Programs & Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, 40% of girls who age out of foster care are pregnant within a year, 25% never receive a diploma or GED. 50% of these kids will be homeless within a year of aging out. The statistics are the same for incarceration.

Kids at Risk Action – Children’s Rights Advocacy Network estimates that a teen girl on the streets will be approached by a “pimp” within 48 hours. The majority of underage prostitutes come from foster care.

Department of Justice, Polaris Project & Kids at Risk Action all confirm that 100,000 children are trafficked in the U.S. every year. 70% of those spent at least some time in the foster system. 29% of children exiting the foster system are on their way to be sexually exploited in someway.

At the sight of these sad statistics, the folks at Legacy House decided to throw a wrench in the system. They decided to make a space for these young women. A space where they can be empowered to build their own legacies and bridge the gap between the foster system and sustainable independence. As their website states:

Legacy House is not a facility, a transitional shelter or group home. We are unique:

  • State-defined foster home
  • Small home environment
  • 1-on-1 individualized care
  • Healthy home modeling
  • Stable home setting
  • Combined parenting and counseling

Another feature I love about Legacy House is the fact that all of the residents participate in running the household. The philosophy is one of empowerment, not an enablement of past needs. I believe that places like Legacy House are much too scarce. There is a definite crack in the system in which so many young men and women slip through. But I also believe that Legacy House is doing things right and actually making a difference, which is why I’d like to invite you to participate. Over the next week, I’m going to be hosting a fundraiser and give-away in honor of the young women at Legacy House! Several of them have Summer birthdays too…these funds could help them celebrate! Here’s what’s up for grabs:

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One awesome poster reading “Family Is Forever” from Sevenly!

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One iron “Flock Together Love Bird” from Noon Day Collection!

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One digital copy of the latest edition of Darling Magazine!

Lest you think your eyes betray you, there are three wonderful gifts being offered this week. I would be very happy to keep any one of them! It is really three different give-aways because three winners will be selected by a random-select feature on the Rafflecopter. That triples your chances of winning something, right?!

 I wanted to offer three “homey” prizes in order to celebrate the fact that four girls will get to call Legacy House “home” by the time this give-away ends. But like I said, as much fun as give-aways are, this is also a fundraiser. Here’s how you enter the give-away and support a beautiful cause at the same time:

1. Go to legacyhouseaustin.org to make a donation. Give as much as your heart desires! Be sure to leave your name in the comment section and go ahead and add that you’re coming from Clickety-Clack (that will just make things easier later on.) Or enter by liking Legacy House on Facebook! It’s that easy. Of course, doing both would make my birthday even better. :)

2. Come back here between 6/17 and 6/24 and use the handy-dandy Rafflecopter (below) to enter the give-away! You will need to sign in with an email address or through Facebook, but it’s quick and easy! I am going to trust y’all to select the truthful answer. If you have simply “liked” Legacy House on Facebook, you can enter once! If you have given $5, you can enter twice and if you give $15 or more, you’re in for 3 entries! And just look how cute that little birdie is…

3. Spread the word about the fundraiser and give-away on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, the post office-wherever!

4. Wait and see if you’re the lucky winner, to be announced on June 24th!

This is my first time to do anything like this, so I am very excited to see the results. Please consider participating and encouraging your friends and family to do the same.

 everly

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Rambellwood @ Eyrie Park

Another dream just came true! After roughly six years of following each other’s blogs, I finally got to meet Emma and Johanna Ramsey of A Banner of Crimson today! They came (along with Grace and James) just for the day, in order for James to tour our local university…and to grace us with their presence. It was really a wonderful day, I’m so glad it happened. Those girls radiate grace. I’ve “seen” them walk through much trial so gracefully, to extend grace to others, to accept the grace of God in their everyday lives. I guess it isn’t any wonder one of them is named Grace. I hope this is the beginning of a beautiful new chapter in our friendship. Our “reunion” certainly met up to my expectations and left me very happy…and very tired from talk-talk-talking. The lovely Birdie snapped these. We liked them unedited, so you get them tonight! I’m hoping Johanna will send me the ones she took as well (hint, hint!)

Alright, enough gushing for one night.

Everly

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home again

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I love the beach. I look forward to our week there all year long. We just got back yesterday after what seemed like a genuine road trip. As much as I love Galveston Island, I love coming home almost as much. Galveston is a gritty little piece of land, but it holds many of my happy memories. The week was spent just as a vacation should be spent—reading, relaxing, talking, playing in the sand. Despite some weather-related set-backs, we had a lovely time. The week practically zoomed.

I was so elated to be home, however, that I snapped a few pictures of my room with my phone. I love the view from my room. Leafy and bright. I love my curtains and my balcony and the sound of our birds.

IMG_0284My favorite blanket. The little paperweight-bird that tells me home is where my story begins, my typewriter, my bookcase. All reasons I love being in my own room (not to mention it being my own and slightly more private than the room I shared in our beach house.) Mostly I just love being where I’m comfortable. I love being home.

“After all,” Anne had said to Marilla once, “I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string.” –Anne of Avonlea

I think often of that scene from the 1994 Little Women in which Marmee is braiding Jo’s hair while Jo clutches the bedpost and bemoans her own lack of direction. She says she loves home, but can’t stand to stay. I feel that way sometimes. In the story, Jo moves off to New York to become a tutor while she writes. This works out splendidly for her. She meets her husband, gets published, they kiss under the umbrella etc. etc.

Though I have long compared myself to the iconic character of Jo March and measured my own life by “where I am” in hers, I doubt I’d have such luck in moving to New York and becoming a tutor, but I am most definitely in that chapter now. The hair-braiding, bed-clinging, “what am I supposed to do with myself?” asks the whiny writer chapter. The important thing to remember, however, is that I am not Jo March. I’m Everly Pleasant (or someone claiming to have such a name…)

Home is my most comfortable place. It’s my favorite place to please myself. That doesn’t mean it’s the best place for me. I don’t know. Sometimes I think I’d like to have a place of my own. Sometimes I wish I was engaged. Then at least I’d know what my ticket out of this chapter would be. Yet here I am, at Eyrie Park for another year. I was thirteen when I moved here. I’ve seen it change and I’ve seen things stay the same for a long, long time. I still think of the trees we’ve cut down. The picnic tree, the tree I planted and other trees that have sentimental meanings to me. I sometimes think I could never, ever leave this place. Other times I know I must someday go.

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I can’t imagine ever being so happy as I was growing up in this place, and that scares me. Just like I can’t imagine loving a husband as much as I love my family. I worry that I’ll leave and be unhappy and lonely. I worry that I’ll never leave and stop being content. I worry that I already have. And then I go on a week-long trip and I’m dying to be back in this room…

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I wish this was the kind of post that had some conclusion and tweet-able lines and pinterest-worthy images. I wish that this was something that would go viral and change lives, but I’m not having a life-changing day. I’m having a sitting at home, nothing splendid, string of pearls kind of day. I love home, I always will, but I’ve made my home in nine or ten different houses and apartments. I’ve made my home in a family of five and a family of a however-many-of-us-there-are-now. Rented houses, 3rd-world apartments, Victorian mansions, ranch houses, an RV, we’ve done it all and wound up at Eyrie Park, a place I’ll always treasure. But I can’t store up my treasure at Eyrie Park and I can’t get stuck thinking that all my happiness comes from these walls. I’ve got to love where I am, but I also have to have open hands.

And that’s really all I’ve been trying to say. I’m glad to be home. I’m glad I left so I could return. I’m glad we got our week in Galveston (pictures later, maybe?) I’m glad God has my future in His hands, even when I’m blind and lame and prone to worry. He has been very, very good.

everly

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tutorial for life

My parents were out of town for an old friend’s wedding and I was taking the day off from the things I usually deem “important” and focusing on what is probably always most important. Hanging out with my family, giving them my attention, making sure everyone is comfy and safe and happy. I decided to take the kids to a yard sale where they were selling lemonade and books and other interesting items and then we came home and ate lunch before heading to the park. We had such a good time at the park. Our completely unpredictable Texas weather (no, it is not always hot) was ideal for sitting on a rubbery bench and reading while Willin and Jubilee played on the jungle gym and roller bladed along the pathway.

The jungle gym was never my favorite piece of playground equipment. I was definitely more of swingset type of girl. I was never very strong or very fast, but I was both on the swingset. The jungle gym wasn’t very entertaining to me, unless we could pretend it was something else entirely, and when I see a jungle gym at a distance that’s just crawling with kids who have their tennis shoes in each other’s faces, making it look like a ball of ants, I feel a little claustrophobic.

IMG_0178Watching Willin and Jubilee play on the jungle gym by themselves, I realized why so many children enjoy them. Willin gave it a good shot, but soon tired of dangling aimlessly from his appendages and went back to rollerblading. Jubilee, however, played on that jungle gym. She hung from her feet, from one leg, from one hand. She jumped from one end to the other, climbed up the straight poles like a monkey and slid down like a fire chief. She did the monkey bars forward and backward, jumped onto the high hang bar and did pull-ups. Aha! I thought. The jungle gym would’ve been much more fun had I been built like Gabby Douglas, here. 

Three cheers for Willin, however, who, though he is like myself when it comes to jungle gyms (learned how to do the monkey bars just before getting too tall to hang from them) he is quite good at rollerblading, something I never even really attempted to learn. He rolled around and Jubilee dangled and I made them both wear their helmets the entire time. A little black girl asked me if I was their teacher. Birdie snapped photos and we headed home in time to make dinner.

As I mentioned a couple of rabbit trails ago, my parents were out of town this day, so I decided to try a new recipe that I didn’t think they would like. A recipe, however, that I was pretty sure my little snaggle-toothed minions would gobble up. Meatloaf.

I had bought the ingredients the day before, so I simply pulled up the recipe on my laptop and set to work. The recipe was fairly easy seeming, but there was one thing that troubled me. There was only one picture.

Now I know this is very upperclass, snobbish, modern whiny-baby of me, but I like pictures with my recipes. I mean, quality photography. I want to know, not only what this dish should look like when I’m done, but preferably what it should look like every step of the way. I don’t trust plain old words when it comes to cooking. If you expect me to try a recipe, you better show me what I’m trying to do. In color.

Meatloaf isn’t known for looking appealing, but raw meatloaf is even worse. After I mixed all the ingredients together, I snapped this picture. Perhaps IMG_0180I just impulsively wanted this recipe to have one in-process photo taken of it before it was eaten. Perhaps I wanted to remember that a delicious meal always starts off looking pretty awful. As I kneaded the cold meat and chopped the onions and mixed in the eggs and obsessively checked the measurements, I thought about how tutorial-driven I am.

I want a tutorial for everything. I don’t always follow the directions, but, in moments of panic, I want to be able to blame the author of the instructions for anything that goes wrong. When I checked the meatloaf and found that it was very runny, I commented on the blog post wherein I had found the recipe and asked her what I had done wrong??? I ended up draining it several times and cooking it extra and serving it to munchkins who never knew the difference. They didn’t know that I had never made meatloaf and didn’t know if I myself would like it. They didn’t know that I thought it looked kind of gross and had poured juice out of the pan just moments before. All they knew is that it was meat (yum, right?) and that I was the cook. They trusted me. They ate the meatloaf. They told me I was “the best.”

I thought the meatloaf was pretty good. I wouldn’t want it every day, but it was a fun change. I like making new things for the kids that’s not on our usual, less-meaty menu. Recently, my amazingly talented chef sister lent me a few of her cookbooks. One of them has no pictures. But I’ve put a lot of sticky bookmarks in it and I’m hoping to try some of those recipes soon. The sticky bookmarks are marks of trust. Maybe this author actually knows what he’s doing. Maybe I can make something and take my own pictures.

Maybe it’s good, not to know sometimes, you know? Maybe it’s best if we don’t know that, before I get to be “the best,” I’m going to have a bowl of runny meatloaf and a decision to make.

everly

p.s. if you’re even thinking about making meatloaf, you need to watch this important video first.

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