Giftings and girl things

Confession: Every day of my life, I benefit from the gifts of others.

In the past week, Kelly and I have been blessed with girl-gifts above measure.

  •  Two Sundays ago my friend Amy (my business-woman, mother-of-five, immaculate-style friend Amy) turned to me just before Sunday school with a look of illumination on her face. “I’m going to Lancaster this week!” she said. “Do you need any clothes for Kelly?” The result was this:

… five adorable outfits she carefully chose from the secondhand stores she visited. And she only charged me half of the price she paid.

You can tell what Kelly thought of them.





  • This week my friend Carla (my soon-to-be-mother-of-three, radiant, vibrant friend Carla) met me unexpectedly in Aldi. Joy sparked between us, laughing and calling and shoving our carts down the aisles fast so we could catch up with each other. She had a package for me, something she had made and intended to drop off at my house after her shopping. May I open it now?

I found a fantastic apron set—full-sized for me and half-sized for Kelly, handmade to match my new kitchen.

I don’t know if Carla meant it for a Mother’s Day gift or not; right now it seems like the most perfect one I’ve ever received.



  •  For weeks my friend Shaunda (my laughing, mother-of-four, spunky-and-placid friend Shaunda) has been giving me little pushes to go visit my sister. “I’ll help babysit your kids,” she said. “I know you want to make it easy for everyone, but I want to do this for you even if it turns out to be hard. I want you to go.” She helped me believe it could happen, and it will. In two days, if the Lord is willing, Kelly and I are bound for Virginia to spend half a week with Jean. Oh Jesus, what a gift!

In this I am also made rich by the cheerful sacrifices of my husband, my sons, my mom, and my brother & sis-in-law, who are each making it possible for me to go.

Each lady gave what she’s been given. Amy: a sense of beauty and a good head for shopping. Carla: practicality, and the skill to sew something beautiful. Shaunda: super-ability with children, and a strong sense of family. Every day of my life, I am blessed by the gifts of others.

I will not be blogging till after Wedneday. I will be living, rich with the love of others.

I asked this question before: How have you loved and been loved this week?

Receiving a child


I find ladies’ parties irresistible, especially when they celebrate life. This week I hosted one to celebrate the coming of an unborn baby, first child of my friend Kayla.

Sherry adds the finishing touches









Here are some things I am (slowly) learning about the hosting bit:

  1. Ask for help!

* My new friend Sherry (who worked in a bakery for lots of years) brainstormed and helped with food. She had super ideas, and decorated the sweetest cut-out cookies in baby shapes.



stuffing diapers with people's notes

* My friend Renee did a smash-up job being in charge of activities. We played an alphabet game and a guessing game with each other’s baby pictures, had time for spontaneous prayers of blessing for the expectant mom, and wrote notes of encouragement or advice to put inside newborn-size pampers as a gift for Mommy.

* My sis-in-law April planned lovely decorations. More below…

* My friend Carla brought a tray of food so I’d have less to purchase and prepare.

* The day of the party, my friend Alma offered to watch my two preschoolers for the morning, then surprised me by an invitation to stay for lunch so I’d have less work and cleanup at home.

* My friend Shaunda agreed to be informal photographer, so the guest of honor could get a CD of pictures later without having to snap them herself.

It was lovely to watch everyone doing what they are good at, and the teamwork was thrilling.

2. Work with fresh as much as you can.

blackberry-lemon tarts and chocolate covered strawberries


springtime. lavender and pale yellow. violets. jewel-bright fruits and vegetables. lemons. berries. tortilla pinwheels with cold-cuts and lettuce. garnishes of parsley, kale, and real flowers.



3. Decorate with what you have. (April is good at this!)

hosta leaves. tree branches. tissue paper pompons. an indoor clothesline hung with baby outfits. pansies planted in paper party boxes or second-hand teacups—they doubled as prizes for the games. dandelions floating in crystal goblets. baby shoes scattered here and there.


4. Borrow rather than buy.

a beverage server. six tiki torches to line my lane. (the party was supposed to be out of doors!) an extra tablecloth.




5. It’s okay that it won’t be perfect.

Truly, it wasn’t: the weather didn’t cooperate, the store-bought corsage was quite ugly, i forgot to plug in the coffee maker in time, a little boy puked, and my house was crowded.

Hurray for humble pie, and the generous flexibility of guests!

I hope someday this baby will look through his (or her) Mommy’s pictures and know again how loved and anticipated he was, even before his birth.

Whoever receives a little child in my name receives Me.

A party is an easy way of receiving. Harder is the moment at which my own “little child” is dancing on the couch, snatching items off the decorative clothesline. Oh Lord…