Thursday, November 17, 2011

Many Thanks and Group Crafting

Many thanks to Sue C., Angela H., Karen C., and Linda E. for making my mail so much fun yesterday and today. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

I'm still alive but hanging on to my sanity by a thread. My house is finally starting to look close to showable (is that a word?), at least on the the two main floors. The basement is another matter entirely. My car broke on Monday (oy, vey!), and then I paid the staging company Tuesday, the drywall people and the appraiser today, and the inspector tomorrow. Fortunately, George's car's boo-boo is covered by insurance, and hopefully it will be fixed tomorrow because the rental company gave me a minivan and I don't like it. My car is at the airport because George left on Tuesday for New Jersey and left me alone in my cleaning frenzy, which probably is a good thing.

What else can I whine about?

Oh, yeah, the stock market tanked today.

Aren't y'all glad I'm not posting much during this time of traumatic obsession?

Seriously, though, I've actually done something crafty tonight. Our Stephen Ministry wanted to make Christmas ornaments to pass out to the congregation. It's all part of raising awareness of those who aren't happy during the holidays.

Aren't we a cheerful group?

Really, though, Stephen Ministry helps people who are in emotional pain (from loss of loved ones to loss of job to loss of marriage, whatever), and that pain can be made worse during the holidays when everyone expects people to be happy. Some people aren't feeling the joy, often for very good reasons. It's amazing how other people ignoring their pain makes it worse.

I'll give you an example. My friend Liz lost her mother to cancer last fall. Liz was out of work for weeks as her mother was in hospice and then after she died. When she returned to work, not one co-worker offered condolences or asked how she was doing. This hurt her so much and made her feel like no one cared about the pain she felt.

Truth is, most people just don't know what to say, so they say nothing.

Stephen Ministry wants to let people know that it's okay to talk to those who are in pain. Ask how they are doing. Listen to what they say. In all our joy of the season, it's important to acknowledge suffering and sadness, fear and pain. The story of Christ's birth is full of suffering and pain...Mary's unexpected pregnancy before marriage, the long journey to Bethlehem, sleeping in a stable, the flight from Herod.

Anyway, we're making mustard seed ornaments to remind those who aren't feeling the joy that God can take the tiniest bit of faith and turn it into a kingdom of hope. When we can't feel the joy, God can do it for us. We don't have to fake it or pretend. We just need to let His amazing grace do its work.

I designed some VERY simple ornaments that are more meaningful than craftily attractive (though they really aren't bad for something I whipped together in between spackling nail holes and steam cleaning carpet). I got the pieces together for us to assemble at our meeting, and here are the pictures of everyone working to get the ornaments made.

See. We really are a cheerful group!!!!

And yes, we drank coffee. That's how I'm still conscious at 10:42 this evening because my day began at 6:00 a.m. Tomorrow will, too. But getting crafty sure helped my mood. Getting crafty for a good cause was even better!


  1. what a great gift. you are so kind.
    hope the house sells for twice your asking price in less than a day!!

  2. I am glad the cleaning witch had a little time off so the crafting angel could get in a few fun hours. Sounds like you are making good progress with the house. Hang in there; the new house looks fabulous.

  3. What a good thing you do, and how therapeutic for you in the midst of chaos! I have good memories of the help the Stephen Ministry at our church provided when we lost two parents close together! God bless the work.

  4. Your Stephen Ministry sounds amazing Susan! Something we can so easily forget in the holiday season is those who are not feeling the joy of the season for whatever reason. Would love to see a completed ornament if you get a chance to post. Good luck with the house selling!

  5. Good luck with the cleaning, showing and selling of your house.

    I'm not familiar with the Stephen Ministry but it sounds like a great idea.


  6. The ornament idea is a very good one. Through the years, I have met several people who were, literally, alone. They have no immediate family left and no close friends. Seeing the holiday season bring so much happiness to most of those arond them, made their alone-ness even harder to bear. One person described themselves to me as an empty glass, with not even one tiny droplet of water. I believe that being in the service of others, fills your heart with gratitude and brings joy to your soul. I was able to successfully refer two of the people I met, to organizations that provide a lot of community services. Both of them, in helping others, found some joy and actually helped themselves. Then again, the others remained alone. We all do need to remember to "take care" of others during this joyous season, just as much or more, as we do throughout the year. Thanks for your efforts and post and allowing me to share my thoughts. :)

  7. Would you please include a picture of your seed ornaments - they sound fascinating and I can then pinch the idea to use with my children?

  8. What a lovely post. Susan, I do hope that all goes well with the house - it's so stressful, but will be worth it.

    The Stephen Ministry sounds like a brilliant idea - and you all look like you had fun!!

  9. You are amazing! Kudos to you for finding time to share your goodness when you are in the midst of your own stress. I'm sure that the folks receiving these ornaments will be touched by the love and kindness of people they've never met. Blessings to you, Susan!

  10. Wonderful post. Love what your group is doing. Hope your home sells quickly.

  11. Getting crafty always helps, especially when you can get together with like minded people!
    I feel for your friend Liz and everything she had to go through. Even when you don't know what to say, you can offer a hug or whatever the other person needs. My coworkers went above and beyond for me last year when I went through tough times. That is something I will always remember and appreciate.
    I hope the stress will ease up for you soon, so you can enjoy the holidays as much as possible!

  12. Wow great you had some crafty time off sound like you need it and for such a good cause hope all returns to normal very soon take care Luv Sue x

  13. Despite everything they are dealing with its so nice to see the smiling faces in the photo. You are an angel!

  14. So good to read your post. Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday, and I was inspired by your gratitude challenge. I've been mailing out the cards! Eleven today. Your ministry extends to all of us crafty followers, too. Hang in there with the house. Thank you for sharing your heart, humor and creativity.

  15. Cleaning, staging and selling a house, and then moving are all difficult, but I'm sire it will all be behind you soon ... I, too, would love to see the ornaments. Your ministry is doing a wonderful thing.

  16. Wow you amaze me. What energy. And organisation. Love the idea of mustard seed ornaments.

    I would love to find out more about the Stephen ministry. I could certainly do with help in learning how to talk to others when they are going through difficulties. Any chance of an on-line course?


Thank you so much for taking time to comment!