It’s felt a bit like Christmas, gift after gift, and joy to match. Two friends who faced cancer were healed. My foster niece will soon legally be my niece after years of waiting and uncertainty. Two of our children won a school supply raffle. Family stepped in to help with tutoring fees for another of our kids. A friend blessed me with a large bag of fabric to use. Another anonymously sent me a box of fabric as well (thank you, whoever you are! So sweet! You blessed my heart!). Another friend enabled me to attend an amusement park with my toddlers, while yet another had my kids over for the day. My son got to spend a weekend at a lovely lake house enjoying boat rides and all sorts of fun. My husband plugged away at our cottage we’re fixing up in the backyard which will be my soap studio and a sometimes airbnb to help with school fees. My mother-in-law helped me with running kids about, and took them on special outings one-on-one. A cousin’s wife gave me black raspberries and eggs from her chickens.
There are always hard things happening; our prayer list is ever-full and growing, but too there is joy and peace and encouragement in the midst of sorrows and trials.
There was nothing to say, but plenty for the hands to do. I cut vintage fabric, lace, and paper into long strips and wrapped them around rough-cut bars of soap, finishing with jute or sea grass tied in a simple bow, the ends dangling over the side. I cut the craft paper labels and affixed those. Piles and piles of “dressed” soaps, tucked into paper bundles, swaddled in bubble wrap, and sent to all over the United States.
And just like that the weeks passed with the smell of hot glue and essential oils, with the continual littering below my drafting table of paper and fabric bits. With the baby continually sniffing at the soaps, crinkling his nose with delight. And my soap shelves grew bare and sparse and I marveled at it all; this unexpected provision from a hobby gone madhouse.
Though we were unable to establish an online shop yet, the email orders came flooding in. It was good timing; I’ve been ordered to rest and all but my hands have obeyed. I sat at my drafting table and worked and worked without tiring out my heavily pregnant body. And it’s been a good distraction from counting down the weeks until baby’s arrival.
It’s quiet and fulfilling work and it feels like a gift. There’s flexibility and variety and creativity, and remarkably, a profit margin. Usually my work in this world brings every good thing except a paycheck.
I was surprised as the days passed that I had no words for here; I had my quiet work and a quiet heart. The snow is falling outside, the children playing there turning it all into a magical blank canvas upon which to create. The baby sleeps deep and the turkey bakes with the smell of orange zest and rosemary. And my words are few, but come from a grateful, quieted heart.