Last night I finished sewing a special order dress for a little girl, the daughter of a young mother who started showing interest in my sewing ministry and picked out one of the dresses I had already sewn as one her daughter would love to have. The only problem was the size. So I agreed that since I had extra fabric in her daughter’s favorite color of purple, I would custom make a dress to fit her. It was fun to sew that dress and to picture in my mind the little girl and to even pray for her. I thought about all the other girls that will receive the pillowcase dresses from missionaries or in orphanages where I will be sending the dresses Mom and I are sewing. What a contrast! You see the little girl receiving the purple special ordered dress is the grand daughter of a mission board director, the niece of veteran missionaries to China, and also niece to missionaries headed to Cambodia. Her parents could probably afford to buy her a brand new dress from most any department store but they chose to support my cause. She is surrounded by loving family and extended family who could all provide for her needs yet she will smile and twirl, showing off her new dress just as happily as the orphans will when they receive their dress. So as I stitch, I smile and pray for the girl who will one day soon be the wearer. I wonder too, what treasures each girl will hide in her pocket and more importantly, in her heart.
I thought I should explain my new sign off “counting gifts”. For the last year and a half or so, I have been reading and rereading the book One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. She challenges her readers to journal and to write down at least 3 gifts you “receive” each day. These are gifts He bestows. Not of gifts I want but gifts I already have. They are just common things; maybe even things I don’t realize are gifts until I write them down… like birds chirping, mail in the mailbox, hearing the wind whistling etc. This was a stretch for me since I was not a journal writer. So now Ann has stretched me enough that I am even journaling on my lap top on Word Press. I am now up to 1429 gifts I have counted! Of course, I am on my 3 journaling book. But it has served as a new practice – the habit of gratitude. To look for things in my life that are good and pure and lovely and beautiful. Phil 4:11-12 learning to be content with what I have. Learning to be grateful and happy, whether hands full or hands empty. It is a secret worth spending a lifetime to learn. If you haven’t read the book, I highly recommend it. It is sold in Barnes and Noble, on Amazon, etc. I am with my second group of ladies, meeting once a week, doing a simple book study following One Thousand Gifts. Ann’s writing is so deep and creative that you can read it several times and always glean something new. So I sign off today – Counting His gifts,
So 2 weeks ago I step into an independent children’s clothing store that I have driven by hundreds of times in the last 7 years but never stopped in. But one day a month ago my daughter-in-law mentions to me that I might want to check their clearance rack in the back of the store where she has found some $1 items. Since I can use nearly new tops to transform into dresses for DAG (Dress a Girl around the World), I stopped when I drove by that day. I noticed the owner not only sold consignment garments but she had some beautiful new, well-made garments too that didn’t have labels in them. So when I was checking out I asked the owner who made those dresses and she said “we do.” “Do you need someone to help you sew?” I asked. “Yes, I need someone to sew dresses. Do you know someone?” She explained that she would buy the material, pre-wash it, and give me a call to come get it. A week and a half later I am delivering these 9 dresses to her shop! She will add a matching pink bow to the pink ribbon band. Now granted, I will not make much money per dress and I need to continue to increase my speed, but it is income! How could I turn down that opportunity? If this is God’s work and I walk into a store and the lady is in need of someone to sew little girls dresses, I felt like is was no accident.
Lots of “firsts” for me these days. Yesterday I opened my first Etsy account which is for the purpose of funding my new ministry to sew for orphans around the world. I wanted to use this picture in my start up yesterday on my banner but I couldn’t seem to figure out how to make that work. There were LOTS of things I tried to do in the start up of this business in the last few days that didn’t work! It was almost all operator error, however. You see, I only know enough about computers, facebook, Etsy, blogging etc., to see things I WANT to do but not knowledge to know how to completely follow through with them. My statements more recently have been that I want to just sew and give and not have to deal with all this computer stuff. But that is not possible. For one, because I don’t have the financial funds to do all this fabric shopping and garment shipping from our pocketbook but also, because I want to include others in this endeavor. I hope to find other folks who share my compassion for providing for others who are way less fortunate. You see, I grew up with parents who cared about me and provided for me. I remember my Mom sewing dresses for me because, at that time, it was impossible to find clothes to fit me in the store. I think there may have been a few nights she sewed in the wee hours of the morning to finish a dress for me to wear for a special event. I know lots of friends in Greenville who can sew and might even have fabric they can donate to the cause, so blogging can help get the word out.
I truly want to do more than just sew and sell. I want to record in writing all about this journey. This picture is one of my favorites so far because these two girls were adopted by a friend in my church several years ago. When I asked their Mother if I could sew a dress for them with the agreement that we could take some pictures of them, I never dreamed that this terrific shot would be one of the end results. This is Shawna and Tessa showing the innocence and natural joy of being a girl and wearing a new dress. (My daughter-in-law, Jenny Hulehan, took the pictures for me and captured this terrific shot.) In the future, I hope to show other pictures of girls in orphanages or on the mission field, wearing the dresses I have sewn.
My desire is to write about this journey. My daughter-in-law, Jenn B, inspired this portion of the project. Yes, both of my daughter-in-laws are named Jennifer! Jenn B. has been an inspiration in her blogging and creative writing. I love reading her entries on Word Press; they have helped me to learn about her teaching and everyday living in ways I never could have imagined. Her writings have allowed me to “peak” into her heart and soul and learn what motivates her as a teacher, writer, wife, friend, and advocate for foster kids and abandoned animals. I want to follow her lead.
I was reading yesterday in Psalm 90:17 “And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish thou the work of our hands upon us, yea, the work of our hands, establish thou it.” This sewing ministry is His. Just as He created all the beautiful colors in life and the many fabrics and designs that I get to work with, I desire to please Him by using my sewing skills to create dresses that would bring great joy and dignity to girls, like Tessa and Shawna. They have expressed that joy of being carefree, happy little girls so well in this picture.
I will try my best to record this journey but please bear in mind, my friends and family, that sewing is my gift, not writing and doing computer work. I need to give recognition too to Roy and Patrick for helping me this week in getting my Etsy business launched and for putting up with a messy house in the process. We all may have gone out in public with thread strings attached to our clothing! Hopefully, Roy never rolls over in bed or steps on a pin. These are some of the hazards of being married to a seamstress!
Thanks for reading and caring. Bye, for now.
In early December, I started sewing doll clothes for my grand daughter and for a young friend facing heart surgery. From there I learned about ladies who sew for little girls around the world. Now I have a passion to sew dresses for orphanages or for mission teams to take to little girls they visit on their mission trips. My sewing machine has been humming ever since. I now look forward to sharing my creations with my friends and family. If you want to join me in my sewing projects or can donate some fabric or notions you have stored away, please contact me. Please keep in mind, my sewing skills are much better than my writing or photography skills. Hopefully the later two will improve with the blog publishing.