Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Christmas 2010: Not "Sew" Bad!

I don't have anything much to say; I have just missed writing. So much has happened in the last four months, it seems like it's actually been an entire life time some how. I wish I could expound, but my brain hasn't caught up with all my feelings yet. I don't know how to articulate my experiences, so I won't try now. Sometime soon I hope to have a quiet moment when I can pull it together and make sense out of these months. I deeply hope there will be a meaningful nugget of truth to share. But if not, I still desire to share my experiences if only to be understood. That post will have to come later. For now, I'll catch up on a few things:

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 Lordof hosts, if I will not dopen you the ewindows of heaven, and pour you out a fblessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

Malachi 3:10


Matthew said...

Thank you for taking the time to share your beautiful experiences with us. I wish we were near enough to be more of a help in these situations. You have a beautiful family and I have really enjoyed getting to know them. Best wishes for 2011!

Tejae said...

I also have a testimony of thithes and the blessings. D&C 78 vs 19 about "He who gives thankfulness in all things, I give a hundred fold and more" is one of my favorites. Thanks for sharing. I love the look of your blog. I need to revamp mine. Keep up the good work. It does get easier as they get older but does get more busy. It is well worth the work. I love you!

TinyStitches said...

Amen! Someday we can compare notes and patterns on handmade gifts during the holidays. The kids and I really love doing a couple each year as gifts at Christmas for family. M's prom dress is beautiful! Beautiful design and beautiful sewing, mama!! Thanks for starting my morning off with a spiritual thought. xxoo

Sundy said...


I just cry every time I read your words, see your face in my mind standing at the doorway to your house of prayer and faith when I delivered Peterson Christmas treats.

Your words are pounding pathways for others in very literal ways. Thank you for being willing to write them, clever or not. They are powerful because they are real.

Jaime said...

Very beautiful, Stacey! The projects, experience and your words. I would love to learn to sew someday. When there's time.... Ha ha

myimaginaryblog said...

The dress turned out so pretty. And I will tell you a secret: I'm dreading sewing prom dresses. I've only sewed one or two items of formal wear, ever, and it's not my kind of sewing. But I want to be able to do that for my girls.

At a family reunion once, my aunt told a story about coming downstairs on Christmas eve and finding my grandma in tears, trying to finish the last of the 5 Christmas dresses. And it was my aunt's dress she was working on. My aunt felt so bad--but grateful. My grandma (this was my paternal grandma) was at the reunion when my aunt told the story, and she said, "I was tired!" The funny thing about that story is that it affected me in an opposite way from what you would think: it made me less likely to pull all-nighters, since I realized the kids don't always care if it's done for the holiday and will still know I love them. (I might have to pull some all-nighters for prom dresses, though.)

Lyric said...

Thank you for taking some of your precious free time to share this with us. I am so grateful to have found you through the Babies and Moms podcast. The love, thought and mindfulness you bring to mothering is such an inspiration to me in my own journey.

You, Nancy and Shelley have become my 'mothering mentors', so thank you once again.

Andrea said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. You are an inspiring mother with a lot of love in your heart. I can't wait to read your next post on all the other things in your heart that you haven't put into words yet.