needle & thREAD


Good morning! I don't have much to show in the sewing department today. This week's sewing is mostly under wraps. And since I hit a sewing sweet spot and just kept chugging along, I don't really have many pictures to show you after Christmas. Maybe I'll snap a few of recipients. Sometimes, as I cut specially chosen (and not inexpensive) fabric or dream up just the right design for something, I wonder if they'll "get it." I wonder if they will know how much I value the gift I'm giving, how much thought and care and love gets stitched into it or cooked into it or baked into it. Increasingly, I'm becoming aware that many people consider handmade to be of lesser value. And they consider the people behind handmade to be of little or no value at all. I love my handmade gifts and the people to whom I give them, but do the gifts lose their value if the recipient doesn't recognize the worth?

We are rapidly approaching Wedding Day here, too, and my mind is awhirl--pretty much 24-7--with details, details, details. I have not done a whole lot of reading. One thing I have noticed in the past few weeks, though, has definitely prompted me to make a reading list for the future. It seems that the more I post about intentional mothering or about homemaking arts, the more hate mail I generate. And I mean really angry mail from women who are disparaging and disgusted with mothers at home. They paint a picture of "kept women" who are leeches on society. It takes every ounce of self restraint not to respond.

This new mail is a curious thing to me. Firstly, I have collected a paycheck of some sort my entire adult life (and plenty of my teenaged life, too). The only time I didn't do some sort of paid work was when I took "time off" for chemotherapy and radiation. So, I'm not sure how I became a "them" in the us vs. them mommy wars. But my deeper ponderings have everything to do with the misconceptions of mothers at home, particularly those who try to reclaim lost homemaking arts of an era long gone.

There are a couple of articles in this years' issues of Taproot, written by Shannon Hayes, author of Radical Homemakers. She speaks to the misconception and affirms the value of women who are actually working very hard to tread lightly on the economy and on social resources, not by dabbling in needlework and berry jam, but by integrating every aspect of human experience into the tapestry of home. I re-read them last night.

We live in bizarre times, victims of a post-industrial era that, for the sake of efficiency, has segmented our culture into factions--some produce food, some produce the education, some produce goods and services. This segmentation fails to acknowledge our need to be human, to engage in daily work that feeds our minds and our bodies and reestablishes our oneness with the earth. Perhaps more carrots can be produced, more books can be written, more art can be created, more kids can be schooled, more numbers can be crunched and more albums can be produced if one person plants carrots and someone else writes the books, and someone else paints pictures, and someone else teaches our kids, and someone else crunches the numbers and someone else plants the music and someone else cooks the carrots. But none of us is experiencing what it means to be fully human, where our unique minds and bodies work in harmony with our spirits and nature to create and provide for our wellbeing.

I also read a short biography yesterday. (Or was it the day before? I forget. So busy sitting around eating Christmas bons-bons and all.) It is the story of an Eastern Orthodox saint who is a beautiful example of homemaking and a life of service. Just beautiful. So, there you go. I'm reading across the spectrum and finding women who find peace (and create it, too), by embracing home. And that's about all I can say about that, because, you know, it's days before Christmas and the week before our family's first wedding and there are just so many bon-bons to which to attend.

What are you sewing and reading this week? How does the work of your hands benefit your family? Your neighbor? Do you find that people appreciate your handmade gifts?  Are you working on Christmas presents? Racing to the finish with something special? Do tell.  

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needle and thREAD