Laundry Liturgy

I often dream about laundry. This seems odd to me, though it should not. In the pie chart of my life, the laundry slice could easily feed four or five. Last night, dream-me stood in the laundry room before a washer filled to the top with colorful, clean children’s shoes. I remarked to no one about how brand new the shoes looked, how well they had washed. This morning, real-me picked up my daughter’s mud-covered tennis shoes and threw them in the washer. They’d been sitting on the stairs for a week, at least.

My life is plain these days, and my dreams are uninteresting and plain. I spend my time washing, cleaning floors. Gathering the things we need to clothe and feed the family. Wishing I had better coffee and a little more freedom. Days like this, in Georgia, I might have taken a walk but May here in Santa Rosa isn’t agreeable for walking, and this holiday weekend, the pools, beaches, and roads are crowded with visitors.

Tired this morning, I sit, hot on the porch—hot coffee even so—swatting at mosquitos in silence. My head rings with words from somewhere.

“Are you looking for an exciting life? Stop it. Go the other way. Go through. Go in.”

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Grandmother’s House

I am standing in front of the bathroom counter in my grandmother’s house. It is 6am, Sunday morning, and her tiny house is full of quiet people—a neighbor at the door, a hospice nurse, my great aunt and uncle, my mother and aunt, my grandmother’s best friend and her daughters, and my own sisters. My grandmother has just died. I am standing in the bathroom, and I am looking at her tray of make up. It will all be thrown away, now; it’s going to be picked through and what no one wants will go into a trash bag and out to her curb. This is also true of her clothes, all hung up, all very neat, and her little shoes, some of which look brand new to me beside her bed, where I’ve been sleeping, as her hospice bed has been set up in her living room.

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The Cloud of Witnesses

This evening, in Mass, Jane Frances climbed wildly on the pew while the older four children tried to ignore her. She was aware of the ignoring, and set about fighting it. Jane is potty training, and must always use the potty during church. When I took her to the restroom for the second time, I somehow managed to tear the side of her Pull-Up irreparably, leaving her bare-bottomed and unladylike, which sent the other children into giggle fits.

Mass is often offered for the repose of the soul of someone who has recently passed. We pray for our loved ones who have gone and for those who will soon die. My Grandmother Joyce is among these; she has end-stage lung cancer and expects just a few more months. I pray for her the best I can while the children sniffle and giggle around and on top of me. As I look at the little ones, I am struck by how much my prayer has shifted over the past year. As a younger mom, I often prayed for protection. Many times, it didn’t come through—or, at least, not as I thought of protection. Now I pray for the strength I’ll need when inevitable losses come my way.

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Building History

gumbo

We are new to an old place. We live in a rambling, white farmhouse with a porch that wraps clean around it, upstairs and downstairs alike. It was built in 1888, or something near. When we first met this house, the woman who showed it to us told us it was haunted, but we felt peaceful inside of it.  A family had lived here for years, that of my new neighbor, an elderly red-headed woman who used to read in the upstairs window seat when her own grandmother lived in the house. Her name is Miss Katie, and she laughs and tells me there were sixteen red-headed children here, bursting out of the doors and windows and that she loves to see it full again with a new batch of ginger-haired kids. We left behind us in Atlanta the only house we ever built. It was full of books. Love had poured into its very construction. It was a home from the start, the Last Homely House.

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Western Living

Mosleys

We’re excited to welcome Rachel Mosley to Foundling House. Rachel is one half of the duo The Mosleys, a husband-and-wife singer-songwriter team based out of Atlanta. You can see them this August at Escape to the Lake!

Our family of seven is moving, and in the process of saying goodbye to the home and friends we have loved for nearly a decade, I’ve become more aware of my love for this place and the people of it. I had thought that taking a month of travel away from home would help me accomplish a detachment, but I find it has done the opposite.

Earlier this summer, Stephen and I celebrated our fifteenth wedding anniversary. Our souls had been stirring and restless over the past year, and we’d spent late evenings after the children were put to bed chatting about how life has shaken out thus far. We’d long had an idea brewing and hatched a crazy, illogical plan to buy an Airstream trailer and spend a year traveling the country with our five children, road schooling—whatever that is—and living a wild American dream.

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