Thursday, August 25, 2011

Projects & Peace

Today, I got out a new project that I am going to work on for
Christmas. Joe's Grandma loved to sew and quilt. After she passed
away, I was given 2 large boxes containing quilt fabric from her home.
The fabric is a variety of everything from beautiful floral to an
assortment of children's fabrics. I have been thinking on what to do
with all of it and finally have an idea. I am making gifts for the
kids, Joe, his Mom, and his sisters for Christmas using the fabric.
Since they will likely find out I am doing this, I won't put here
exactly what I am making everyone. I just think it would be fun to give
them something using their Mom/Grandma's fabrics.

I have been thinking on the holidays and have already completed making a
couple of gifts. I started earlier this year and have been doing a
little each week to get them done. I am now working on the needlework
and sewing projects. Luckily, I have the treadle to make it easier this
time. It is fun to start cutting out fabric for the kids' clothing and
add a bit here and there for the holiday sewing. I am sewing enough in
the evenings that even alert Little Miss Abbie hasn't taken notice of
what I am making. I am saving fabric bits and pieces to add to the
handwork I am doing. I am noticing each year that my hands don't
tolerate my doing needlework as long as I used to do at a time. It
makes me think about the day that may come when I am no longer able to
do the hand stitching and needlework. As I sit and work on the delicate
looking thread crochet or other hand sewing, my hands are burning at
times with pain. I can overlook it though when I think of the joy the
finished piece will bring to the one receiving it. I know full well
that my "season" to be able to do this may be approaching it's end. So,
I continue for as long as I am able to make what I can so that I may be
able to share them with others. I am giving a piece of myself and my
heart in each one. It brings me joy to do this and so I will continue
as long as the Lord allows me to do so.

This year, I am feeling a totally different attitude about the
holidays. When I was a kid, I loved seeing my Dad's excitement towards
Christmas. Each Thanksgiving seemed to be the launch of Christmas
decorating in full force. He would get out the strings of outdoor
lights and meticulously inspect them and often have to untangle them in
preparation for putting them on the house. When time came to put up the
tree, Dad was in his element. He always played Mahalia Jackson's
Christmas album and would sing along as he strung tree lights,
decorated, or would place the silvery tinsel onto the tree one strand at
a time. Dad made the holidays fun for me more than anything else.
Christmas wasn't about the gifts for me, even as a kid. It was all
about the joy I saw in Dad during that time of year. Sometime after I
graduated high school and left home, the joy in Christmas left me. I
tried to fake it for years for the family's sake, but I just never felt
it inside. Something in me had died and had gone cold. Christmas was
now just another day in my heart. No matter how much I tried to do to
bring back that joy, it was not within reach. This year, someone has
flipped the switch and I am feeling the anticipation and joy again. I
am truly excited to be making things to give this year. Not that I
didn't enjoy giving in the past. This time though, the joy in the
giving is running deeper. It can only be that the Lord has touched my
heart and spirit somehow. Only He can bring about this feeling. I am
so grateful to have it again. After so long with feeling dead inside at
the holidays, I am finally at peace and able to look forward to them
again. I am still missing my Dad but am able to finally, after all
these years, begin to smile again when I think of him and the holidays.

I love you Dad and I still feel each and every day the gaping hole you
left in my heart when you died. I miss you. You were the one source of
strength in my life that I could count on in my youth and young adult
years. You taught me much that has since turned out to be life lessons
that prepared me for a relationship with the Lord. You were tough, but
always tried to be fair. You never gave an inch if you felt you were
right and taught me to lean on your knowledge and experience. You
taught me to be strong, even when others were against what you believed
was the right thing to do. You made me think about why I believed
something of doctrine and be able to defend it through scripture. Thank
you Dad for all of this and more that you did for us. And thank you
Lord for giving me a measure of peace as I make the shift from leaning
on my Dad, to feeling adrift without him, to learning to lean on You.

I am looking forward to the holidays again. I have much to be grateful
for and to celebrate with family and friends.