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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Spring at Isaiah House - The Joyful House

Welcome.  I am so happy that you stopped by. You are invited to come with me to a very special house called Isaiah House located in historic Santa Ana, California. Isaiah House is run by Orange  County Catholic Workers and offers shelter to homeless Women, food and love to those in need and has been serving poor people with dignity since 1987. The also provide shelter and housing  to animals and  keep them safe until a no kill shelter picks them up.

The beautifully restored 1901 home imparts a feeling of peace and welcome as soon as one enters the front garden. The sign in front says "May Peace Prevail On Earth in four languages. There is a lending library in the front yard.

Three of the house cats greeted me when I walked into the garden. 

I am a member of W.H.O.A. -Women Helping One Another and volunteered to teach a Spring card and bookmark making class with three other members to the residents of Isaiah House.  The residents love to read and have a library filled with books as well as a "lending library" in their front yard. W.H.O.A. committed to teaching art  classes to the residents to create art that would be useful and beautiful.  As soon as we noticed their reading habits we knew we were going to teach a bookmark class.  They also have a need for cards to use to send thank you notes to the many volunteers who help at Isaiah House. We felt a Spring theme would perfect for their class.

We set up 4 tables with colored pencils, pens, stamps, ribbons,  stickers, etc. in pretty Spring colors and themes.

Libby, Jenelle and Lydia gave a brief demonstration and the class was off and running!  Note all close up photos were taken with the residents permission.

The beautiful green bird is now a permanent resident at Isaiah House and started singing and talking as soon as the class started as if to give his approval of the beautiful art that was being created with so much joy.It seemed appropriate that his cage was sitting in front of one of their book shelves since everyone was making bookmarks!

Jenelle Van de Mortel in the green t-shirt is an amazing artist/art teacher and owner of  Jenelle Designs and the visionary founder of W.H.O.A.. She can be reached at www.whoadesigns.com for information and/or to join W.H.O.A. 

Lydia in the black sweat shirt is a fabulous artist/quilter/seamstress and is a Manufacturing Representative in the home decorating/gift industry.  She has a delightful and informative blog where she gives tips on marketing, creating beautiful displays, etc. and you can reach her at www.lydiasaysblog.blogspot.com.  She will be teaching sewing classes at Isaiah House and introduced W.H.O.A. to Isaiah House.

Libby and Erin with residents.  One was making surprise Easter cards to give to the Catholic Workers who so lovingly run Isaiah House and another  was making extra cards and bookmarks for residents who were not able to attend the class.
One of the  residents is an artist and  painted the mural being hung in the garden. She shared with us her beautiful art journal that she made in an earlier class taught by Jenelle and Lydia.  Lydia is going to teach a sewing class at Isaiah House and everyone is looking forward to her class.  

Spring flower seeds planted by a resident to add more color to the garden.

The residents are allowed to keep their pets with them and as of today they have 6 dogs in residence. All of the animals are so well behaved and add to the warm and loving environment at Isaiah House.They also provide dog food to the homeless living on the streets to feed their dogs.

Libby Williamson chatting with David, one of the many volunteers who was there with his mother to serve a yummy brunch to everyone.  It was his 12th birthday and he shared birthday cupcakes with everyone - Happy Birthday David!  Libby is a fabulous artist/teacher and owner of Blue Denim Designs. You can find a list of her classes at  www.dragonflyshopsandgardens.com

The animals seemed to have as much fun creating as the residents!  The back of the cards are stamped  "Original Art Created by Residents of Isaiah House". Around 150 cards were created by the end of our class.


As we were leaving one of the ladies pulled me aside to show me what she wrote on the back of her bookmark and how she felt about living at Isaiah House during the spring - she wrote "Joyful House".  We all  left the "Joyful House" with joy in our hearts and admiration for the four Catholic Workers and countless volunteers who offer shelter, food and love to those in need as well as rescue animals in need, and commented that we could not have picked a more joyful way to spend the day before Easter Sunday than teaching art to the lovely residents at Isaiah House.

Our Spring art class represents what W.H.O.A. is all about - Women Helping One Another and then reaching out to help Other Women In Need. As Jenelle says so often - "we are so powerful working together."

Thank you for visiting Isaiah House with me.  Have a lovely week.  Blessings, Erin

The following Bible verse seems so fitting for my blog post about Isaiah House:

"You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in their distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat."  Isaiah 25:4


Marlynne said...

May the Lord bless you for your worthy work sharing your creativity at the Isaiah House. We are blessed when we help others!

zooperson said...

What a wonderful day you must have had sharing with others both 2and4-legged. It is amazing what can be accomplished when we work together in harmony and friendship.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

You are such a beautiful and amazing woman! I so enjoyed reading this post and seeing how you make a difference in your community. Blessings to you, my friend! Hugs, Diane

Susan said...

What a great post, Erin. Thank you for doing that blessed and awesome work.

I know your Easter was terrific! Susan

Kathryn Bechen said...

What a wonderful cause to volunteer for Erin and what a gorgeous home too! How kind of you to teach your class. Blessings. Kathryn

Terra said...

This is a Joyful House, full of Christian spirit and healing energy, I can see. What great people are creating this, and I like that the women can keep their pets there.

Jeanie said...

What a beautiful spot and what a wonderful environment to share art with others. I love the animals just as much, especially that orange cat! I smile as I read this with joy.

Mary@mydogsmygardenandmary said...

What a wonderful thing you do at Isaiah House for people and animals.
The Lord will bless you for all that you do for these lovely people.
Thank you for sharing this beautiful post with us. What amazing house.

Finding Pam said...

What a blessing for all of you. Thanks be to God for loving and caring for the women and their precious pets. I really enjoyed this post.

Jenelle-Van de Mortel Designs said...

You are such a talented photographer as well as an amazing artist!
You captured The Isaiah House and the W.H.O.A. art class in such a beautiful way!! The pics are wonderful! What an eye!! Love the pics of the three cats on the stepping stones!!
Thank you so much for all that you do for W.H.O.A. and the Isaiah House--you are an integral part of making things happen. Your friendship is such a blessing. Here's to more art classes and women helping one another! ox
"We are So Powerful Working Together"

Art and Sand said...

A beautiful setting for a fun day of art.

You are wonderful to teach share your ideas and creativity with others.

Lady Jane said...

I loved reading this post. Thank you for what you do for others. This is a wonderful cause.

jeriinpaso said...

Oh my Erin, loved your blog. Would enjoy doing that. Your pictures are always a joy to see too.