April 14, 2014

Creating a Legacy

It’s been a long while since I shared a personal post, opening up about something dear to my heart. I hope y’all will bear with me today as I do just that, regarding a thought that started to percolate in my mind at church last Sunday and then was confirmed and galvanized with a post I made on Instagram and Facebook later that same week, when I shared this photo of a gorgeous pillow my mom made for me by hand and gave me this Christmas.

Mom stitched every embellishment on this pillow either by machine or by hand. She made it while she and my dad were living in their RV for 10 weeks, 200 miles away from home, while Dad was receiving radiation treatment for prostate cancer. Somehow, in the midst of that fearful time, I firmly believe God channeled all of that worry, grief and wondering at the future into a creative force, using that as a therapeutic ritual to ease her mind with every stitch. And the love she put into it is obvious. It meant so much to hear so many kind comments from you on Facebook, many of you mentioning that pillow is something I will cherish forever. Which I will. This pillow will always be a tangible reminder of her love for me, something that can eventually be passed on to future generations.

Let’s rewind to last Sunday, when my family walked into church. We were greeted by a sanctuary filled with gorgeous quilts made lovingly by hand by the church’s quilting guild, a group of women who meet once weekly to share, to bond and to collectively create lovely quilts that are distributed to those in need both locally and around the world. They have such an incredible ministry, and each year at this time, the quilts they have made are rounded up for a dedication ceremony before they are sent off to those who need them most: the sick, the elderly, disaster victims, military veterans and others.

As we said our collective prayer for the dedication on Sunday, something very unexpected happened to me: I found myself fighting back tears. Because, my friends, the words to that prayer couldn’t have been more precious to the heart of this woman who honestly feels as though God put me on this earth to make things that matter with my own two hands. I’m sharing a portion of the prayer below:

We dedicate these quilts to your service, trusting that your love will go wherever each quilt is sent, making it more than just a piece of material, a collection of items–making each piece we have created an expression of love.

There is no way for us to imagine the power and effect an act of love can have on a person’s life–how you can use something as small as a quilt to radiate your love from us to the world. May these be used in your service and become blessings for all those who receive them.

Just after she was diagnosed with the brain cancer that ultimately claimed her life, my Mammo made a quilt for all four of her grandchildren, and then labeled them with each of our names to receive as a gift after her passing. What a gift. What a legacy.

quilt
My beloved quilt

Mammo wasn’t here to watch me cling to that quilt as I cried my 15-year-old self to sleep after she died, or as I wrapped each of my newborn babies in it as I rocked them in the wee hours of the night, singing the same sweet lullabies she taught me as a child. Or was she? Each one of the stitches she painstakingly added to that quilt were done with her hands. To me, wrapping myself in that quilt is the next best thing to being wrapped in her warm embrace.

Bright and eclectic craft room at Positively Splendid

Mammo and me, circa 1984

That quilt is more than just fabric and thread. It is a treasure.

If you have been instilled with a love of creativity, I firmly believe your creative spark matters.

To the little girl twirling in the dress you made her for Easter Sunday–your creativity matters.

To your family eating at the table you built with your own two hands–your creativity matters.

To the new dad who wraps his tiny newborn in the blanket you lovingly crocheted–your creativity matters.

To anyone, anywhere, who feels joy because of something you created–your creativity matters.

Friends, never doubt that your gifts and talents can be used to spread love to those in joyful circumstances, and those who are hurting, enduring cruel situations in which expressions of love are few and far between.

Creativity, the act of creating–it matters. Quilting, crocheting, knitting, crafting and the like are all indeed hobbies, but they can also be something profoundly more. 

They can also be ways to use our own two hands to create a lasting legacy with those we love, both near and from afar.

What legacy will you create?

Create Your Legacy - Inspirational thoughts at Positively Splendid about the importance of creativity

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16 Responses to Creating a Legacy

  1. Beth April 14, 2014 at 8:55 am #

    Beautifully written and such a wonderful reminder that all my efforts in quilting, knitting and crocheting matter! Thank you!

  2. Karen April 14, 2014 at 9:02 am #

    When I received my diagnosis of a degenerative brain disease, at that point, it had robbed me of love all things crafty. And I was beginning to lose what made me ‘me’. Not knowing when or if my time would come I wanted to leave some thing for my family, a reminder of me. My short term memory was fastly becoming, and still is a reall problem but not for my husband and 4 children. So with the help of my medical team I decided that each day I would create a memory to leave behind. It’s not something tangible but for as long as each as member of my family live on so do these moments that I’ve created. Hold on to your ‘treasures’ whether they are things or snappets in time because situations change so quickly.

  3. Elin Snow April 14, 2014 at 9:04 am #

    I love this post. Thank you for sharing. Too many times I’m asked why I don’t sell my crafts — I quilt and crochet. I would rather give what I create to someone that I know will love them rather than sell them not knowing what will happen to them. I agree with you — Create a Legacy.

  4. Josie Holbach April 14, 2014 at 9:18 am #

    Dear Amy,

    I truly believe that God gives each and every one of us gifts of creativity…whether we choose to use them is up to us. I have homeschooled my 8 beautiful children so that I could nurture their creativity and their love for God who created them. In stating this, I am a sewer, quilter, crafter of all sorts due to the 8 children and all the different things they want to try. I also make sure they share what they make with people around them and far away, those they know, and those they just want to comfort. One year they helped me make quilts for the Linus project. With their help, I made one for each of them to add their special touches to, then to give away. They were so happy and knew that the quilts would be loved by someone that really needed it. All the children are very artistic, musical, good cooks, but most important, very loving and grateful for the gift of making things that make happiness happen all around. I send you prayers, blessings, and thanksgiving for your gift of creativity and choosing to use it in ways to help others and to spread happiness.

  5. Brooke April 14, 2014 at 9:31 am #

    Perfectly said!! Also brought back so many memories!! My daughter watches me see and has been begging me to buy her fabric. She wants to make clothes for her doll. Something my grandmother taught me when I wasn’t much older than her. I have bought her fabric. She just doesn’t know yet. :-). Time to create!!!

  6. Clare April 14, 2014 at 9:42 am #

    My mom crocheted me a blanket when I left home at 18 to moved from Quebec to Ontario. I have two daughters who are 23 and 21. I made my oldest daughter a blanket when she moved away for college. My youngest daughter is moving away the end of August and I am halfway done her blanket. My oldest still tells me when she is feeling blue she wraps herself in her blanket.

    I also lost my granny when I was 16. I still miss her terribly and I will be 44 this year.

  7. Melissa April 14, 2014 at 10:18 am #

    Now I’m tearing up Amy – what a beautiful post.

  8. Donna April 14, 2014 at 10:41 am #

    Thank you so much for this post! I have been struggling with how to make what I sell a blessing for others. When I worked as an RN, I could see the difference right away, but as a seamstress and now with selling fabric, I just have had a hard time feeling like I’ve made a difference. But your post has helped answer some of these questions of mine. Thank you so much for sharing from your heart!

  9. Linda Armstrong April 14, 2014 at 11:02 am #

    You call it creating a legacy…I call it making lasting memories, but by either label, you captured my feelings about what I do for my family exactly. Thank you for putting our feelings and thoughts into words. I believe creating is more than a hobby….it’s the very essence of who God created me to be. Some people share their love with words, I share with things created with love by me.

  10. Becky McCraney April 14, 2014 at 12:29 pm #

    Wow! Awesome thoughts! Thankyou for valuing creativity! Love my mamaw Cayce quilts! My Grans paintings and my dads furniture! Sharing and creating a legacy with my kids and grandkids!

  11. Linda April 14, 2014 at 3:15 pm #

    A beautiful post!…and enjoyed reading all the comments as well! Thank you!

  12. karen hawkins April 14, 2014 at 5:22 pm #

    Beautiful. I used to do a lot of crafts. but health has robbed me of a lot. Now my memory making is we all go to church together and out to eat after church together. The grands get to eat what they want and we are all together. Everyone at our church knows where we are and will often meet us. There is a lot of love shared around that table. Some people that were at the table are in the nursing home now and one has died, but it is still full of love. Best memory I can pass. I am going to try and come up with something small I can do for each person. Thank you so much for your story. it made me cry. I look like my Grandma and so did my mother. We shared a great memory. God is good…All the time.

  13. Jennifer April 14, 2014 at 6:25 pm #

    What a wonderful post!!! Would you mind if I shared it on my blog? I have many crafting friends that would really relate to this.

    • Amy @ Positively Splendid April 16, 2014 at 10:57 am #

      I would be honored for you to share a link to this post, Jennifer! Thank you!

  14. michelle f. April 14, 2014 at 10:31 pm #

    The ladies of our church started a prayer shawl ministry about seven years ago. Every Tuesday morning they meet for a few hours to knit or crochet all the while praying God’s love and peace into each stitch. They have sent out over a thousand shawls to those in need of His healing touch all over the world. The thank you cards that have come back from the recipients are so moving we know we are blessed also.

  15. Carla April 15, 2014 at 5:02 am #

    Amy, thank you for sharing such a special part of your past. As I read it, my mind was flooded with memories of my childhood and how, from a very young age, I was impacted by mom’s and grandma’s creativity. They both exposed me to and passed on their love for all kinds of handwork. Recently, while knitting, as the yarn was slipping through my fingers, a thought stuck me…In the Bible it says that God knit us together in our mother’s womb. I was overwhelmed by the thought of just how intentional we are, planned for, for this time and this day, from our very beginning. His hands thoughtfully and carefully choose every fiber of our being. There is not a part of us that has not been lovingly touched by His own hands and from nothing He created each individual. Like a knitting project, our life, when lived in His hands, are evolving works in progress. Each joy or heartache is being thoughtfully knitted into designing us to be the individuals that might bring Him glory and honor. I am so thankful for my mom & grandma and the heritage they instilled in me, and for a Heavenly Father that continues to love and work in my life…and finds time to speak to me in the midst of my knitting. Thank you again

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