Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Fluffing The Nest - Help Create an Emergency Refuge for Women and Children

“The place God calls you to is the place 
where your deep gladness 
and the world’s deep hunger meet.” 

Once upon a time I did interior design work for a living and occasionally, from time to time, I still dapple in the home decorating arts. I was never the fanciest, or the best, or the trendiest designer. But I think perhaps I was one of the most personal. No matter how large or small the job, I always did my best to learn as much about the client as possible - their story, their history, their hobbies, their great loves, their interest - and take all of my cues from those things.  I look for old typewriters for the writer and commissioned sketches of pets for the animal lover and scrounged through attics for old land maps for the landowner. 

A few years ago, while I was still designing, I heard a story on NPR about a new sort of Nursing Home, called The Green House Project, which is a "a revolution in long-term care, creating small homes that return control, dignity, and a sense of well-being to elders, while providing high-quality, personalized care. A Green House home differs from a traditional nursing home in terms of facility size, interior design, organizational structure, staffing patterns, and methods of delivering skilled professional services. Green House homes are designed from the ground up to look and feel like a real home."

I cried big fat welpy tears during the entire story, listening to how the creation of an intentional, warm, nurturing, home-like environment had improved the lives of seniors that many had given up on.  I knew then and there, that if an opportunity like The Green House Project ever came my way I would fight tooth and nail to be a part of it.

Well, something similar has finally come along. 

For a few years now, our family has been involved with a local ministry called The One, Inc. (or "The Van" as it is more commonly known around here)  that works with the homeless population in Central Arkansas. Recently, The One purchased a home in my town to be a short-term emergency refuge (which I have nicknamed The Nest)  for women and children who need off the streets or out of a dangerous situation NOW. Before they have their papers ready. After business  hours. Together.  (All hurdles to getting into many traditional more long-term shelters.)  

I am over the moon excited to say that I have been blessed to bring my great gladness in creating healing, comfy, personal spaces to this great need for a safe, happy, inviting place for women and children in our area.

But I can't do it alone. I need help fluffing this nest.
And I am thinking that maybe shopping, decorating, and gathering may be parts of your great gladness as well. 
Which is why I am asking you, my sweet friends, for help.

These are the inspiration boards for each of the rooms in the house.  As with everything The One, Inc does,  one of the values of The Nest project is to honor our homeless women and children friends with dignity and kindness, and to provide them with hope through this refuge. To that end we are being incredibly intentional about how we furnish and decorate the house, putting as much thought and care into it   we would about our own homes. We will be using some gently used furnishings and items, but we are asking for donations of new items for a large part of the project. I am calling this the "least shall be first" approach to design. 

My hope is that this house will be NICER than my house, that we show our love and value for our neighbors by doing more for them, than we would do for ourselves. 

So here are the ways you can help:

* Are you an artist or a crafter? Do you have an Etsy shop? Would you like to donate a print or a piece of art or a pillow? I would LOVE to put as many handmade and unique pieces in the house as possible! 

* Do you love to shop?  All the items from our inspiration boards can be purchased from our Target Wish List, with prices ranging from $4.00-$300.00  Maybe you have a women's group at church who would like to get in on this fun action - you could all go in together and adopt a room or specific need like towels.

* We are also happily accepting gift cards to any and all home design and improvement stores - Target, Kohls, Wal-Mart, Home Goods, Lowes, Home Depot, Michaels etc.

* You can also make Paypal Donations HERE

* Spread the Word! Share the Target List , Share this Post - share them on Twitter and Facebook and Google and by Email and word of mouth! 

Have more ideas? Simply send them to ahomemadeyear (at) gmail dot com or email me for the address or leave a comment on this post. 

So who is in?? 
Who wants to fluff The Nest? 
Who wants to help make this little refuge a healing space for women and children?

much love,

(I knew you would!!)


  1. Jerusalem, I'd love to have some of my students create some art for the house. We can commit to one painting for each room!

  2. This is an awesome project!

  3. What an amazing project. I'm in!

  4. Jerusalem, we worked together a few years back and I have often wondered what you were doing now. I am so happy to hear that you are involved with this organization. I didn't get a chance to get to know you very well personally, but what I did learn is that you are a very kind and creative individual. They are lucky to have you!

  5. Do you need any clothes for the women or girls?

  6. I'm in! I have a gently used booster chair for feeding a baby or toddler and some other baby/toddler stuff in good condition. I also craft and can come up with some homemade textiles for the kitchen.

  7. Oh this is great Denise! Can you email me at ahomemadeyear (at) gmail dot com ? Thanks!!

  8. We are good with clothes for now. Thank you!!

  9. We would love some baby blankets - I will be in touch!

  10. Thank you Marissa! Isn't this such a mall world?

  11. and desk and a cabinet like that sweet blue one (once it's painted) and a kitchen table and 6 chairs from Ashleys (oval w/leaf new). How can we arrange to ge the things there. And another bookcase similar to a display case - great for TV on top storage and game on the bottom. Ken's got the truck. We just need some men to help move.

  12. I can sew pillows and curtains. smmiller2 at ualr.edu

    Just let me know what you need/what fabric you would like.

  13. We bought drapes and rug for playroom as well as receiving blankets. The blankets did not subtract from the gift registry. I figured out that I didn't get the exact pattern. Went back to check and found out Conway Target doesn't have it, but I think what I got will work. I knit a lot and will look for a possible project :)

  14. I would really really love to help... I can make a couple of children's quilts to donate, I can donate material and sew curtains for you Just give me measurements and a color), I can sew anything you need, just let me know please.

  15. Delivered them to Aaron on Sunday.


ok, really. tell me the truth... do these comments make me look fat?

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