Last December we had a very tight budget as we are trying hard to get out of debt 100%. For a family our size and and only one income, this will likely take us about ten more years. (I'm hoping that miracles take place and shorten this time!) Anyway, we have been quite serious about stickingtoour designated budget, but realized that this would mean NO extra money for Christmas presents. So, I decided to make each child one special gift using inexpensive materials. This took a lot of work for me over the weeks leading up to Christmas, but it was actually a joy beyond my expectations. I was surprised to find snippets of time here and there where I could work uninterrupted. I was surprised also at how fast and easily I worked. Truly I was watched over and helped. My one son wanted a "Santa robe" and cap and slippers. I miraculously found some cute Santa slippers for $5 at Walmart, but had to make the robe from scratch with no pattern. I finally resorted to "copying" a robe we had at home that was several sizes too small. I laid the robe on the ground and studied every aspect. Then I carefully used my scissors to just "guesstimate" what shape and what size each piece should be. I was marveled at the result. Again, I felt heavenly help.
During one particular moment at the sewing machine, I suddenly remembered my Grandma Cora Sheffield (mom's mom). She passed away years ago. I hadn't known her very well, as we lived far apart, etc. but I remembered that one Christmas she made beautiful silk pajamas for all the granddaughters and printed flannel PJs for all the grandsons (this was no small group! More than 20 pair). Then I remembered more, like how my own mother had sewn Christmas ornaments one year with me (I still have one of those), and how mom had also spoken of making all her own clothes in college. I knew I was part of alegacy. I was creating. I was in tune with something divine, some God-given talent that had been dormant in me for many years. I have never felt a connection with this Grandmother, but suddenly, it was if we two were one; like she was guiding my efforts, my hands. I didn't waste one piece of material, no "unpicking" (a miracle for me). The whole experience was just blessed.
In the end, I made two blankets, a wall hanging, crocheted 3 scarves, embroidered a book, made the robe, made a flannel scarf with a secret pocket for an iPod, and cut out pieces for a play fort (still yet to be constructed!).
In my opinion, it was the sweetest, happiest Christmas I can recall. We spent Christmas Eve studying our different nativity sets (around 15 I think), reading "The Living Christ" (which we are currently memorizing as a family), and sharing our testimonies about the Savior. The next morning the children had literally only one homemade gift from us, and one store bought gift (we miraculously found some extra money right before Christmas!). It took very little time to open gifts, but we savored each one. The children were exquisitely grateful. It almost seemed like a scene from "Christmas Carol." I shed tears of joy all morning. Truly when we live within our means, Christmas "means" so much more. Our giving was from our hearts. It was the best of what we had to give. It represented much thought, care and sacrifice.
My daughters Hannah and Michaelah made gifts as well. Hannah created the tiniest clay nativity. It is so precious and beautiful to me. Truly she is an artist. What a wonderful day.
The Lord knew I needed that moment of peace, that snatch of heaven, before the ensuing months.
Then, after a crazy couple of months, I was able to dust off my sewing machine again. This time to create a Junior Prom dress. It was designed in my daughter's beautiful head. However, she has not sewn much and didn't know how to construct it. I begged her to choose a pattern we could simply alter. She did, and together we kept at it until we ran out of time (her date literally waiting in the front entry!). It wasn't quite as she had envisioned, but she did look lovely. And for me, another miracle was felt. Due to my stressful month, we were only able to start sewing at about 8 pm the night before. Around 4 am she finally drifted to sleep (she had a 7:30 am choir competition!). I stayed up throughout the night and completed as much as I could. There were many elements I had never encountered, such as a full lining and netting and adding non existent sleeves to the pattern. (Thanks Aunt Becky, for doing the sleeves!). It was a challenge in every way. But again, I felt the divine help as before. I only "unpicked" once on just a small portion. What a miracle (with satin especially!).
So, what is the moral of the story today? I don't know that there is one. Frankly, I am tired of being clever. I just wanted to share these feelings and experiences and joys that I have felt from being a mother. That is all. I am humbled, grateful, tired and peaceful. I have really good kids. Really good. I thank my God for that.
Bring ye all the atithes into the storehouse, that there may bebmeat in mine house, and cprove me now herewith, saith the of hosts, if I will not dopen you the ewindows of heaven, and pour you out a fblessing, that not enough