Thursday, February 18, 2016


Yesterday I received two beautiful gifts. Well, actually they were in barter for services rendered - I taught a biology lab class to my dear friend's daughter a couple of years ago and I'm being paid over time in exquisite handmade items from Carla, my friend and incredibly talented artist, designer, and craftswoman.

The first gift was a midori style journal. The leather was dyed by Carla, and all the inner pages chosen and assembled with love and personal attention to things I like. The elastic band closure has the word "brave" stamped on it because I explained to Carla my need to be brave in the sewing studio - to step out and try things, to cut into fabric, to explore color combinations and new patterns, to sew without fear. I need that word in other areas of my life, too, as I often worry far too much about what others might think of my choices, instead of trusting God, wise counsel, and my gut.

You can see photos of my gorgeous journal here.

The other gift I received was a leather cuff bracelet with a pewter charm onto which Carla stamped the words YES AND. When I requested those words, she wanted to know why and here are the inspirations for this motto ...

 1) I have been following the work of modern quilter, Sherri Lynn Wood, for awhile. I love her recent book, The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilt. Because her work also focuses on sewing and social practice, I contacted her with questions about sewing and its possible benefit in trauma healing for our refugee friends. She graciously replied and encouraged me with suggestions of others to contact and books to read. Thank you, Sherri. The reason she is an inspiration for my YES AND bracelet is from comments she made on this podcast regarding the ways we influence our work and other areas of our lives by saying, "Yes, but ..." instead of "Yes, and ..."

"Yes, but ..." second guesses and gets us stuck.

"Yes, and ..." affirms and moves us forward.

"Yes, but ..." focuses on the negative, what we don't like, why we can't make it better.

"Yes, and ..." accepts the mistake and sees positive ways we can address or redress it.

"Yes, but ..." stifles creativity.

"Yes, and ..." fosters it.

So, wearing a YES AND bracelet while working on a quilt or designing a crossbody bag for Journey Home or even cooking dinner - really while engaging in any endeavor - sets the tone, the atmosphere for positive, beautiful, brave, creative work.

2) Long ago, I heard this Story Corps podcast. Actually, it was June 15, 2006, the NPR Story Corp webpage tells me. I remember exactly where I was driving (Morehead Road, past the Rocky River, going up the hill toward Highway 29). I also remember that I pulled off the road near one of the Speedway campgrounds because I got choked up and needed a few minutes to dry my eyes before I could drive on. What hit me then and has stuck with me since is the what Caywood says between 1:44 and 2:05 in this interview. A thousand yeses.

3) Finally, and undergirding it all, is my understanding of the overflowing, free grace of God, in Christ Jesus. Salvation is a gift in which God says, "Yes, and ..." over and over and over again in my life. In the midst of problems, mistakes, failures, wrongdoing, apathy, dryness, hurt, rejection, disappointment, fear and every other way in which my life goes awry, either by own doing or the consequences of others' actions, God gives "exceedingly abundantly above all that I could ask or imagine." When I am in the doldrums, I need the YES AND reminder that my beautiful, made with love, cuff gives me.

Thanks, sweet Carla. You didn't know how much was contained in those two little words when I asked for them, did you?!

1 comment:

Lisa Roszler said...

I. LOVE. This.