Monday, August 27, 2018

~A NOTE ABOUT THE GRACIOUSNESS OF OTHERS~

Dear Friends...

It's been a long, long time since I've written on my old Blog.  This is a longer post and I hope you will read it through to the end...

  So much has been going on in my life.  If I'm being honest, I just didn't want to make the effort to actually put my thoughts into written form.  And so, I didn't.  I've been on such a difficult journey since last Christmas Eve and unless you've traveled a similar path of losing a parent or loved one unexpectedly (or not!), I guess, you can't imagine the sorrow and heartbreak of it all.

Especially if you had a mother like I did.

She wasn't perfect.  But, she was wonderful.

I'll just be going about doing everyday things...when out of nowhere a tiny thought or memory will bloom into unrelenting grief.  

The tears flow.  The sorrow has beaten me down.  It's overwhelmed me.

I think of my mother a lot.  She's been gone 8 months now and soon her ashes will be buried next to my late father.  We've chosen a small, historic military cemetery for their resting place and before long my siblings and I will gather together again, on what would have been my mom's 84th birthday.

We will say one more final goodbye...

My momma lived on a meager income.  I've shared that before.  She had no stocks, bonds and very, little savings.  To help make ends-meet she would sometimes ask me to offer her beautiful handwork (crochet) to my customers.  So, in early December of last year I posted a FOR SALE notice to Facebook for the only two Bitty Baby Dolls she had fashioned outfits for in white.  Both were dressed in lovely crocheted dresses with little booties and tiny bonnets to match.  I was so happy when one of my customers (going way back to my early eBay days!) wanted them both for her two young granddaughters.  If I remember correctly they were going to be Christmas presents...

My mom was thrilled.  Overjoyed.  When I gave her the money for the Bitty Baby Dolls she smiled as only she could.  A hundred bucks goes a long way when you shop the dollar store for bargains and peruse the sale aisle at Hobby Lobby for goodies marked down to 80% off.  That's how she afforded to give EVERYONE is her family lovely Christmas and birthday gifts each and every year.

In spite of the wonderful sale for my mom, you can imagine how heartbroken I was when only two weeks later she passed away.  Among her simple possessions and longtime keepsakes, she had a small collection of Bitty Babies (her favorites and most detailed as she would say!).  She had kept four or five back just for herself.

I loved them all...but I couldn't help but think about the two I had just sold for her...and how much I wanted to ask for them back.   Of the ones she had kept, none were dressed in white.  Those had been the most intricate.  The most sought after.  She routinely made them for Christening, Baptismal and Baby Dedication gifts and often sold them through my sister's Parish.  She had promised to make me a special one for my birthday that was coming up in a few weeks...

But...time ran out, I guess.  I never did get my Bitty Baby Doll dressed all in white.

Fast forward to early summer of this year.  Just a few weeks ago.

Every once in awhile one of my buyers (or friends and friends of friends!) will contact me with things they are wanting to unload.  Generally it's fabric, lace and trims that have been well loved by family or friends. Oftentimes it's because they are downsizing, someone passed away, or they are just clearing things out and don't know what to do with the excess.  Most feel their treasured keepsakes and collections are too special to donate to the local thrift store and/or don't want to hassle with resale or selling on Etsy or eBay.  I've been blessed over the years to be the recipient of such wonderful gifts which have come to me by several very generous women.  Because I re-purpose vintage trims, laces and ribbons I guess my name has popped up more times than not...for that I'm beyond grateful.
   
 Sweet note from Catherine...
Lovely old crochet... 
 Beautiful trim...
Love this beaded piece...

In early June one of my Facebook Followers/Bloggers sent me some incredible laces and trims (above).  She was so loving and kind and I have great plans for the special pieces she sent my way.  Her name is Catherine Costanza and her kindness and generosity helped me get through the first summer I've ever spent without my mom...  Thank you, Catherine!  You Bless Me!
 From Maureen...gorgeous...high-end and rare handwork!
 Love this lovely pull-work!
 I use this style a lot!
Beautiful Barkcloth Roses...

Then...even earlier last year, another friend, this one named Maureen Reid, gifted me with breathtaking fabrics and vintage linens (above) as she had gotten out of the retail/resale business.  She has returned to England with her ailing hubby and my thoughts and prayers are always with her.  Maureen was and is a gifted artisan and I've been fortunate to love and admire her work now for many, many years.  Thank you for blessing me, friend.  I adore you.  
Huge Box of EVERYTHING from Kim!

 In late July one of my dearest (and longtime) customers contacted me to let me know she was clearing linens and laces out in her home and asked me if I would be interested in her collection.  I replied with a resounding YES and on Saturday a huge box was deposited upon my doorstep.  I was eager and excited to open the thing up, because given the fabulous taste of Kim Osborn, I just knew
beautiful treasures awaited me.
 The box was jammed full of everything you can imagine!
 Lace doilies, vintage clothing, table runners, embroidered linens...
 Cut-work lace, vintage trims, incredible crochet...
It's been a long time since I've seen this much QUALITY lace and linen pieces all in one place. 
 Love this...
 Beautiful old camisole...
 Lovely tablecloth...
 Antique bloomers....
Love to use this crochet trim on Aprons!
 Stacks and stacks of beautiful things...
 And more...
 More...
 More...

Haven't seen these in many a moon!

Something happens once in awhile that stirs within your spirit feelings so overwhelming and amazing that you just must share.  For what I'm going to show you next brought me to my knees.

Literally.
 Kim was the one who had purchased the Bitty Babies from my momma.  As much as I wanted to ask to buy them back from her, I just couldn't bring myself to make such a request.  I could only envision her giving them to her little granddaughters and how sad they would be to have to give them up.

I just couldn't ask her to return them.  

And so I prayed.  I asked God if it was possible to ever have the Dollies back that  I would do better about being a more generous and giving person myself.  I knew if Kim could let them go, she would.  And so...I let the matter rest.

Eight months later my prayer was answered.  Kim sent me the note below.
A precious friend...

If you don't know this about me, well...let me just tell you...I can be VERY emotional.  I love deep and I trust hard and falling to my knees in gratefulness has become a weekly occurrence in my life of late.  But NOTHING could have prepared me for the shock and disbelief I felt when I opened up the box tied up with the little white bow.  

Quite simply...I was overcome.

I'm sure Kim had no idea when she packed those Bitty Babies into the box of old linens and trims that I would be moved directly into the presence of The Most High.  Without her knowing...God used her inner beauty and grace to shine light into some very dark days.

I'm forever grateful.  Thank you, Kim...  You will never know how much you have touched my heart.  You will just never know.  I will remember your kindness to me all my days.

When my momma died my siblings and I calmly and lovingly shared all her keepsakes and belongings.  Selfishly, I wanted everything.  We all did...

I wanted the brush with her hair still caught amongst the bristles...I wanted her jewelry and her Bible...photos, letters and precious momentos...

Sharing is hard.  And choosing what to choose is even harder.

We all loved her so much.

Through my mother's death I've learned a great deal about her life.  Her faith.  Her talents. I know today she intercedes to the Father for me.  I feel her presence every day...  But, as much as I have learned about her...I think I've learned more about myself.

There are people out there like Catherine, Maureen and Kim (and many more before them!) that have far bigger hearts than I do and sometimes gazing upon your own imperfect refection is beyond difficult.  I've been reminded that when I hear that still-small-voice inside me that says
"Do It!" 
"Share It!" 
"Give It!"
that it's God asking me to be his hands and feet...

Maybe like Catherine, Maureen and Kim...a little at a time...I can do my part to bring joy, happiness and love into someone else's life.  I'm sure I can't change the world.  Or even my state or town.  But, maybe I can bring a tiny bit of hope and grace into the heart of the lonely, discouraged, overwhelmed and oppressed~

I hope so.

I've missed you all so much.

Love to you...

Rebecca 

Sunday, February 18, 2018

BROKENNESS BRINGS RESTORATION

MY NIECE, BRIDGETTE

In the midst of the brokenness brought about by the recent passing of my mother, God has truly been faithful in one amazing, miraculous way.

He's restored her family.

I won't go into the back story because right now all that needs to be shared is that forgiveness has been sought and given, and most importantly...

Love has won.

Reconciliation was the cry of my mother's heart and she's witnessed restoration among her children from the best vantage point possible...

HEAVEN.
____________________________________________________

SWEET BRIDGY...PRECIOUS IN HIS SIGHT

If you've lost a parent, then you know going though their home is probably the most difficult of all the things a child must do, save for maybe planning a funeral and burying them.  My mother had only meager fare.  As many of you may remember, my father was a clergyman and they lived on a very modest income.  When my dad died almost four years ago he left her with financial debt and almost nothing to live on, but his paltry social security.  She had no house, no savings, no investments and no retirement.  That said, she did have a few minor treasures and handmade heirlooms and all of her children longed to call them their own.
 MAY GOD RAISE HER UP!

My siblings and I breathed in deep at what was before us when we walked into her tiny home.  While going through our mother's humble possessions we opted to leave the task of dividing up precious cedar chest keepsakes for last.  As we opened up the lid to the tattered trunk, the one that was years older than I am, we all knelt silently around it for each of us knew it held what meant the most to her...the best of all she had.  We didn't really know what we would find...what she had kept...all she had held closest to her heart.
 OUR FATHER'S LETTERS

Inside we found love letters from my father...written when in the Navy and she was pregnant with my oldest sister.  They had yet to be married a year.  He would miss her birth as he was out to sea...  She bore their first child alone.  

I can only imagine.

There were small quilts and outfits she'd made for each of her babies, our baby shoes, our favorite toys, her baby book and her mother's baby book.
 50 YEAR+ CROCHETED BABY GOODS

Our original expertly crocheted baby bibs, bottle covers were there (very discolored and worn) along with old greeting cards, report cards, photos and so much more. 
 RECENTLY CROCHETED GOODS FOR
ADRIENNE (daughter)

We also found our uniforms for Girl Scouts, Brownies and my brother's Boy Scout uniform in the bottom of the chest...everything was there...the belts, ties, sashes, socks, caps, berets, badges, pins, etc.  Everything.
MY BROWNIE UNIFORM AND SOCKS

My beautiful mother wasn't a hoarder...but she was a saver.  She saved the best of all she had and the very things she knew her children would want...

God Bless her.
____________________________________________________

My precious, niece, Bridgy, is ten and is in Girl Scouts today.  I sent my uniform home with my younger, sister, Jen, in hopes it would fit her and incredibly it does.  One more year and it would have probably been too small.  I can't begin to tell you the overwhelming JOY I carry in my heart seeing this beautiful, beautiful little girl wearing a part of me.  Yesterday she wore this very vintage uniform while selling GS Cookies for her local troop.  I don't know about you, but if I saw a young Scout today in a vintage uniform I would certainly buy MORE cookies than I had planned to buy!  She looked so precious! She is an amazing little girl and I'm thrilled to be a part of her life.  I'm praying for God to raise her up to become the woman one day He wants her to be!
FAITH AND I

I don't have a picture of me in my GS uniform, but, I do have one of my big sister and I taken in our uniforms back when she was a Girl Scout and I was a Brownie.  Amazingly, my Momma still had it after all these years...
________________________________________ 

I guess if I've learned one thing since my Mother's death it might be this...

Praying matters.

My Mother was a prayer warrior and she never stopped praying for those she loved, especially for her babies.  She prayed for years that her children would come together and stop squabbling over things that were not eternal.  We've always loved each other...I suppose the scars from life just run deep sometimes.

My brother-in-love, Rob, said it best~ 

"When that cedar chest was opened something spiritual happened!"

I believe he was right.  It was like the spirit of God was set free and His mighty hand passed over all four of us kids in a profound way.
JENNIFER, WILLIAM, ME, FAITH

I know today, without a shadow of a doubt, my beautiful Momma is at rest...
_____________________________________________

Thank you, Mom.  Even in death you have never stopped interceding to the Father for your children.  Thank you for saving back so much of our childhood for us and for allowing us to take a look back into your private life as a young wife and mother.  I want you to know your prayers mattered.
 _____________________________________________ 

I hope if any of you reading this today, who might need to seek peace or restoration within friends or family, you will do it.  It takes courage and it is sometimes difficult.  But, with God's help, you can do it.

It's worth it.  I promise you, it is.

Love to you this beautiful Sunday...

Rebecca

Friday, February 16, 2018

THE MEASURE OF SORROW

 Yesterday I spent some time working on my Booths here in Oklahoma...I have two and these days they are both looking quite empty.  Since the death of my mother on Christmas Eve I haven't wanted to work.  I've been overwhelmed with sorrow and irritated at how my life has changed.

I don't believe my mom wanted to leave this world.  She loved her children and I knew she wanted to stay here with us.  But, her body was beginning to fail her and I could tell she was growing tired.  Life was getting difficult and the little things we all take for grated were starting to wear her down.  I've tried to find some measure of joy in her reuniting with my father...he passed four years ago on the 20th of this month, but honestly, that brings little comfort to me. 
 I don't want her to be with him...or her father or mother...

I want her with me.

Selfish.  I know.

But, true.
________________________________________

Death is hard.  
________________________________________

When Spring arrives in a few weeks my siblings and I will bury our parents together in a small historic military cemetery in Oklahoma City.  My beautiful mother was fiercely patriotic and I believe she would be pleased with our selection.  Her growing family will again gather to celebrate her life and the man she remained faithful to since 1955.

She LOVED America and proudly wore her sparkly USA pin everyday!  She hated seeing what was happening to our nation and the political divide across our country.
   _______________________________________

With the recent violence in Florida and the death of all the children (and those fighting to protect them) it is literally incomprehensible for me to even process the entire event let alone the violence.  The passing of innocent people has caused me to question God about my own existence and to seek answers regarding it that I know I can only find in Him.

Despite being sidelined with my own unbelievable grief, I know the family members of the people killed in that horrible massacre are suffering on a level I have never personally known.  Their sorrow cannot be measured...

My heart is breaking for them all.
 ________________________________________
 
May God have mercy on us all.

Heal our Hearts.

Heal our Land.

Love to you...

Rebecca

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