Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Invisible Mom & The Cathedral

A good friend sent this story around in an email to all her "Mom" friends today. The timing of receiving this was quite remarkable. It was really what I needed to "hear". I know it's not good blog etiquette to post this much text, but if you're a mom and have a few minutes to spare, it's really worth the read.

It started to happen gradually. One day I was walking my son Jake to school. I was holding his hand and we were about to cross the street when the crossing guard said to him, 'Who is that with you, young fella?' 'Nobody,' he shrugged. Nobody? The crossing guard and I laughed. My son is only 5, but as we crossed the street I thought, 'Oh my goodness, nobody?'

I would walk into a room and no one would notice. I would say something to my family - like 'Turn the TV down, please' - and nothing would happen. Nobody would get up, or even make a move for the remote. I would stand there for a minute, and then I would say again, a little louder, 'Would someone turn the TV down?' Nothing.

Just the other night my husband and I were out at a party. We'd been there for about three hours and I was ready to leave. I noticed he was talking to a friend from work.
So I walked over, and when there was a break in the conversation, I whispered, 'I'm ready to go when you are.' He just kept right on talking.

That's when I started to put all the pieces together. I don't think he can see me. I don't think anyone can see me.

I'm invisible.

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?' Obviously not. No one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all.

I'm invisible.

Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this? Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.' I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude -
but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again.

She's going... she's going... she's gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was clean. My unwashed hair was pulled up in a banana clip and I was afraid I could actually smell peanut butter in it. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.'

It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: 'To Charlotte , with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'

In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work:

No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names.

These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished.

They made great sacrifices and expected no credit.

The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything. A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.' And the workman replied, 'Because God sees.'

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.'

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself.

I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, 'You're gonna love it there.'

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Technicolor Tuesday

This will be a weekly post featuring a special color... this week is Coral. Enjoy :)

A vintage bauble. How sweet :)

A "pink" flamingo.
A coral bedroom.
Love the coral carpet on the stairs and the turquoise paint...not sure I'd pair them both with pea green.. but then what do I know? I'm a chicken when it comes to paint. Except for my daughter's purple room all the rest of my walls are cream... boring, but safe.

Some coral hair.
A pretty shoe.
Buckles galore!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Thursday Thoughts

I'm struggling with getting my blog going. If you're following me, let me thank you for sticking with me as I find my footing here. Work is crazy. My brain is tired by the time I get home. Weekends are busy sewing and crafting for our Etsy store. I'm going to try out a posting schedule to see how that works for me.

Welcome to the first edition of Thursday Thoughts.

A couple of things I've pinned that made me giggle. I hope they do you too :)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Never Forget

10 years ago today, our nation witnessed incredible bravery, suffered an immeasurable loss, and was changed forever. 

Monday, September 5, 2011

Brought to you by the letter H

I've had a busy holiday weekend. Our hot water heater went out, so we had that ordeal to deal with... ok, that's a bit of a stretch. The hubs is really the one who dealt with it. But I did go back to The Home Depot to get a thing-a-ma-bob during the installation. Don't ask me what it was. Luckily there were two and he had one, so away I went with it in my hand, showed it to the salesman and declared, "I need one of these". But, thanks to my handy hubby,  now we're good as new in the hot water department.

I wanted to try my hand at making Gypsy Carpet bags. I just love the feminine look of them. I have a lot of vintage linen and lace in my fabric stash, so it's a good use of that too. Here's the first one I made. I finished it about about a week ago.
 I added a piece of vintage jewelry to this one. The flowers are the satin ones where you burn the edges to curl them and stack graduated sizes of circles. I had some vintage floral tapestry fabric that I used for the purse base and handle.

Today I finished up another one. 
I think I like this one better than the first. I looked up how to make ribbon by cutting woven fabric on the bias. I had linen pieces left from where I had cut away lace corners to applique on other projects, so I was able to use up the remaining linen by cutting strips that I made into the fringe. I used the same method to make fringe of some more of the seafoam green sheer fabric that I ruffled on the first bag. I'm really happy with how this turned out.

Then I was back in Home Depot this afternoon. The hubs needed a piece of lumber to fill an order he had for another barbed wire cross like this one.

So I guess this holiday weekend was brought to us by the letter H... Home Depot, Hot water Heater, and Handbags.
I hope you had a safe and happy holiday!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Color Post - Red

I like the blog posts I see using a color theme. I find it interesting that certain colors appeal to certain folks. I can remember as a kid that my siblings and I each had our own favorite color. None of us had the same favorite. Was that by design? Being the youngest of four, was red my favorite because purple, blue, and green were already taken? ... hmmmm.... no I think I really liked red the best! But now that I'm older I have other favorites, though I suppose red will always be my most favorite.

What's not to like about a red ruby?

I could nap here, could you?
I've always wanted to paint a wall red, but doubt I'll ever be brave enough to try it.
 What is it about pictures of doors, windows, and stairs? Perhaps it's the mystery of what lies beyond.
 I can't do a color post without paying homage to my daughter with something hair related, (she's in Cosmetology school).
 I would also be remiss if I didn't include a shoe, if only for my daughter's viewing pleasure :)
 And while her weakness is shoes, mine is purses. I collect vintage purses. I love Enid Collins purses, so let me pay homage to her as well :)
What is your favorite color?