Wednesday, April 25, 2012


When you think of gifts, what do you think about? I think about all of the unexpected gifts I've been given, which manifest themselves in the most unlikely (to me) ways. I also think about the wonderful gifts I've been given and the people who have given them to me. I'm much more comfortable being the giver rather than the recipient of gifts. I'm often afraid that I haven't done enough to deserve the gift (I know ... sounds bad, but it's one of my quirks). Maybe that feeling makes me more appreciative. 

Now is the time of year that causes me to think about gifts, because I'd much rather focus on what I've been given rather than on what's been taken. Sometimes the only way to make an event and its consequences positive is to look for gifts.

My sister recently gave me a sampler that she stitched. To me, a stitched piece is always an enormous gift. This sampler is even more special because of the meaning behind it.
It's called An Angel for Rebekah, and it was designed by Kam and Barb at Ewe & Eye & Friends about 16 years ago. I was working for them at the time that my younger daughter died, so they designed it in her memory. She used to go to their shop with me once or twice a week to work on publishing charts and putting kits and charts in their packaging. 

To say that she was entertaining would be an extreme understatement, and she made friends of all ages wherever she went. All of us in my family still tell hundreds of hilarious stories of her adventures and exasperating (for us) moments. She's fresh in our minds because she was a gift to everyone she met, as I'm sure your children are gifts to you. Of course, we consider all of our children in our family gifts, but Bekah is our shared gift. Somehow, that makes things different.

To receive my sister's gift of this sampler is especially overwhelming this year, because Bekah would've been 21 this coming Sunday. I'm even more grateful to have this sampler because I haven't been able to get myself to stitch it. I've stitched other things for her, but this one was more difficult to start. It's just one of those things. My mom stitched Rebekah's sampler several years ago, and I wanted to bring it home with me, but my dad wants to keep it for now. I think that's why Sharri stitched it for me. 

So why am I telling you all of this? Since Sharri brought this finished piece to me, it's been on my mind so much. I think I need to share it, so here you are. I want to make certain that y'all don't think of this as just a horribly sad story. It's sad, but Bekah was wonderful, and what I've learned since she died has been so much more than I could ever explain to anyone (more for the memoir). The most important lesson is to learn as much as you can from the absolute worst things that happen, because those lessons are the only positive things than can come from a truly horrific event. I refuse to be a victim of life, and I am determined to live as full a life as possible. Remembering Rebekah by living a positive life is the least I can do. So that's what I hope you all take from this post. 

I think every day of how incredibly lucky I am. I have children, grandchildren, a great place to live, friends, family, a swain, and so many other wonderful things to appreciate. I can't think of anyone I'd be willing to trade places with. We all have hard lessons and difficult times. As my mom always said, "Life is an endurance test." We'd better make it as good as it can be, right?

So how about some gifts for you who read/comment/follow? I have a couple of things from Mom's stash left to give away to you. All you have to do is express an interest in any or all of the following items, and I'll enter you in a drawing to be held on Sunday evening, April 29. I'll be back to tell about the winners on Monday.

First is Blossom Time by Papillon Creations. This is a chart with some fabric that Mom bought for it. The fabric looks like a 28-count evenweave, but I haven't counted it, so it could be 32-count. Mom chose Gentle Art Sampler Threads in antique rose and grape leaf for this project, so I'll include those. Here's a picture:

Also for your stitching pleasure are Woodland Walk and Christmas Stitches from The Drawn Thread. Woodland Walk is a chart only. Christmas Stitches comes with gold blending filament, Mill Hill beads and three colors of silk floss. I'm hoping that there is enough to complete the project, but I can't guarantee it. These two will be given away together. Here are pictures:

Lastly, I offer you my Napa Valley Sampler chart, along with its kitted fabric (I used a different one) and some of the kitted threads (the ones I didn't use). I won't put a picture here, but you can look at my April 15 post to check it out.

I appreciate all of you who read, comment, follow, and trade emails with me. Even if I don't show it often enough or well enough, I'm grateful that you're here. The community that we have here in blogland is a gift we share. Thank you.

'Til next time, appreciate gifts that come your way, be kind to each other, make some fun.