It’s good to be informed, but watching too much world news can cast a shadow on everyday life.
When things seem dismal around the world or even just in my corner of the world, it’s nice to have good things to turn to. I have shared with friends that when I feel overwhelmed by sadness, I subsequently feel a need to either watch cartoons or hold a baby – two things that surely make me smile. There are other things that comfort me too. Some of those are upbeat music, a cup of hot chocolate, a warm hug from someone who cares, pictures of family or any contact with them, and… things given to me by special people in my life. Especially things that were handmade with love.
I started taking pictures of these gifts as I noticed them, and then I became more intentional about having a complete computer file of pictures of the special gifts I still have. Mr. Legs did quite a bit of the photographing necessary. Now, at the comfort of my computer desk, I have images of these pieces of love at my fingertips any time I want to view them. I’d like to share some of them with you.
The gift I have that likely dates back the farthest is this doll cradle made by my dad. Originally, my mom painted it white and added decals common to the year it was made. I later painted it to match my décor. It was probably more charming the way it first appeared.
This pink dish was given to me when I was a young girl by my grandmother, who was taking ceramics classes at the time and loved bears.
My mom and dad teamed up to make this advent calendar/activity for me while I was young.
In the box on the bottom were individually wrapped miniature ornaments, one for each day in December up until the 25th. They were tacked to the tree in anticipation of Christmas Day and I had great fun with it.
My mom covered this strawberry basket with craft ribbon.
Years ago, latch hooking was a craft craze. My friend, Linda, made this pillow for me during our high school years:
Later, Linda took ceramics classes and I was the recipient of her creativity.
These pieces made by her are musical:
Even after her classes, her love of crafts spilled over onto me.
I have a number of lovely Christmas ornaments given to me throughout the years. These were made by my high school friend, Glenda:
This one was made by Jennifer in Wisconsin,
and this one by Mary in Texas.
These were handmade by my mom:
And these were made by kids in Sunday school classes I taught. Morgan, Kira, Jake and Jonathon are remembered every Christmas when the tree is decorated.
This one was painted by my friend Vicky.
While I lived in Wisconsin, my friend Jennifer made these friendship pillows for me:
This framed stitchery was made by my friend Melissa when we both lived in Korea.
Later, Melissa made and sent this scarf to me.
And this blanket too.
This Christmas pillow was made by my friend, Mary, while we lived here.
Nancy put the pretty lace edge on this handkerchief.
Janie made this wonderful artwork for me:
This afghan was made by my mom:
And this one by an aunt for our 25th wedding anniversary:
My grandfather was an incredible wood carver, even later in his life. He made this heart with a chain of five links for my family of five.
He also made this Christmas card holder.
You can see that I am surrounded by talented and giving people. I have been given many things that people took time to make with their hands. When I look at these special gifts, I see more than the finished product, I see and feel the love woven, brushed or carved into each one. As my hands touch what their hands made, I connect with the people I love; even with miles between us and even after some are gone from this earth. No matter what is happening in the big world or in my little world, they are pieces of love that surround me and brighten my days. And now, should fire, flood or other circumstances ever take the things from me, I have these pictures to help me remember them.