A Whole New World

My mom is a pretty crafty lady. When her sister was little, she sewed Barbie clothes; before we were born, she knitted, crocheted, and cross-stitched; then when we were little, she sewed all our clothes (until they peer insecurities set in and things had to have a store label to be “cool”); throughout high school, she made quilts and taught at the local quilt shop; she’s on a beading/jewelry-making kick these days. And in between, I have seen more handiwork come from her hands than I can even recall.

Now some of this craftiness has certainly rubbed off on me, though I’m famous for not finishing projects. I vividly remember when my mom made me start paying for my own craft supplies, with the deal that she’d pay me back when I finished the projects. Even that didn’t motivate.

Imagine my exhilaration, then, at the fact that I have learned how to sew a clutch! Not just any clutch, but the cutest one I’ve ever dreamed of owning. I finished it in only a couple of hours while MrH stayed home late at work. Check her out: my-new-clutch-2.jpgmy-new-clutch-3-open.jpgmy-new-clutch-4-w-shirt.jpg

The other fun part about this is that as I was searching for some instructions on how to complete this project, I discovered the wonderful world of craft blogs! Now there is inspiration for you, let me tell you! Next up is this bag for which I just took an hour-long trip to a local fabric store. I’m always overwhelmed, but somehow my eye settles on something and I know that’s what it’s going to be. Curious? Check back tomorrow!

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Around the Table

My small group just had the most lovely dinner together.  Now, it must be said that I am the “leader” and it was all my idea – so this post is purely my not at all unbiased opinion.  But really, we just had a simple bowl of hearty chili from Low-Fat Soul by Janell Nash.  My old chili recipe has definitely been replaced by this one!  Hearty, steamy, filling, and chock full of vegetables and beans. The only thing I’d change would be to add a second kind of bean in addition to the kidney beans.

A funny thing happens when people sit around a table together to share a meal.  I think it’s a well-known phenomenon, but one that never ceases to give me pause.  We were just four women, chatting and laughing.  On the surface our conversation appeared to lack depth, but the reality is that each of us shared something significant about ourselves and found a sense of affirmation that is often withheld during the daily bustle of life.  Sitting together and sharing a meal enables us to reclaim this particular bond of womanhood, and indeed, of personhood, in a way that warrants a moment of reflection.

At dinner we laugh more; we listen better; we agree more; we care more; and since our mouths of full of food, we give less advice and more empathy.  The more low-key the setting and the food, the more likely we are to experience this moment of togetherness.  When is the last time you encountered that?

Heroes

When disaster strikes, the wheat gets separated from the chafe. Is that how the expression goes? It does bring out the best or the worst in people. Two folks whom I deeply admire for their incredible response to Katrina are Dr. Irene McIntosh and Dr. Ed Cake. They are the ones who founded the D’Iberville Volunteer Foundation and have maintained it for the past 26 months. They have managed, together with their mayor, to make greater progress than any other town along the Gulf Coast. Check out a brief newscast about them here (at this point, they are the first newscast: 11/13 – and if you know how to embed this or link directly to it, please let me know!).

And I leave you with this question: when disaster hits you, will you be the wheat, or the chafe?

The Kindness of Strangers

I’m still thinking of how to talk about our last trip down to D’Iberville.  I’m SO glad that we went, though it was differently amazing this time than the first.  We did different kind of work, traveled with a different kind of group, and overall, had a different stay.  We were equally needed though, and we were in a good place.  I hope to go back soon.

What was also different, is that we were being filmed for a documentary!  A new friend, Ella, is creating an amazing documentary filled with stories of Gulf Coast residents and volunteers.  As I’m mulling over my experiences this trip, and until I have some photos to put up, please check out these two fantastic excerpts that Ella has so far.  And the more people watch these two brief videos, the greater the likelihood of it getting produced quickly.