Last week, a women's comedy improve troupe (No Artificial Sweetners--isn't that a great name!) that my daughter-in-law belongs to, staged a benefit performance to help the women of Mwariki. Prompted by the stories of Brenda Eppley, a Fulbright Fellow, these players made people laugh and in return asked for a donation of money, yarn, or knitting books to send to global sisters seeking sustainable ways to live in a village where the male population has been decimated by war. Brenda documents the story here. Read it.
As a knitter and quilter, I am captivated by stories that connect those of us who work with our hands. Women have always clothed families, covered beds, and warmed hands and heads with the yarn and fabric passing through their hands. Women have always championed their families, their villages, education, justice, and peace in words and deeds that reflect a uniquely feminine voice and step. Like Brenda and like Alexis and her friends, I too want to help in whatever small way I can. My small part was to pack up some yarn and books from my stash to theirs, from my hands to theirs, and from my heart to theirs. May God bless them as they learn and labor.
Almost Thanksgiving. For some reason, even though grocery store circulars and recipe emails have been touting our national day of thanks for some time, mid November still surprises me. My intuitive calendar remains stuck somewhere in October. However, almost all our leaves our down, save this surprising flame bush, and the tree silhouettes outside the windows where I write are brown and spindly in contrast to the lush green foliage of the previous season. We are heading into winter's hibernation....sigh. I am not quite ready to do that.
But despite that weird internal calendar, I have been sewing a bit in preparation for Christmas. A few simple potholders--gifts for Alex's teacher, Jamie's daycare provider, and for whomever else I decide to give them too Easy and quick and fun to put together. Basically I cut:
one 4 1/2" h square for the center
two 2 1/4 x 4 1/2" strips
two 2 1/4" x 8" strips.
Sew the shorter strips on the top and bottom first and then sew the long strips to the side.
Cut the back and batting (about 8 1/2" squares) and quilt.
Sew on the binding with 1/4" seam allowance (One potholder takes about 40" of binding, I cut 2 1/4" strips) and finish either by machine or hand stitching. Ta dah!
Even though I drag my November heels, I confess to thinking about Christmas. This year, I want to stress less and celebrate more. I overhead wise counsel for women for the season of celebration--"be a host, not a martyr." Part of our family will be here for Thanksgiving and our whole family will gather for Christmas. The thought of that warms my heart, and I get excited with thoughts of preparations. This year, we are going to try something new with our big Campbell family time. With two now-growing families, my sister-in-law still seeking work in this challenging economy, and my husband and I who are trying to downsize our stash of stuff, we all decided to pick names for our gift exchange. We each will buy one gift (and Jim and I will fill stockings). The only exception will be for the children or a handmade gift. A true blessing of the season is simply being together. With our family spread up and down the East coast, those times when all the leaves expand the table are preciously few. Laughter, chatter, bodies bumping into each other in the kitchen, and toys strewn all over the house will be the best and most lasting gifts for all of us.
"Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost." -John Quincy Adams
Finally, election day is here. Tomorrow, the phone will stop ringing and flashing numbers from all over the country. Tomorrow, television programs will no longer be sandwiched between images and fearful words predicting doom and gloom if the opponent wins. Tomorrow, newspapers will have to fill their pages with other stories, and good grief, what will the pollsters do to occupy their time? Maybe, just maybe, tomorrow, a more civil discourse and thoughtful dialogue may begin. May it be so.
Today, as I have done ever since I was legally able to vote (my first presidential election was in 1972 when the opposing tickets were McGovern/Shriver and Nixon/Agnew), I will exercise my democratic privilege to vote. Today, when I enter that voting booth by myself with no one looking over my shoulder, I will, as I have always done, vote for principles I hold dear. In all ways.