While doing some Konmari in my office last week, I found this…

IMG_1099 It is the first thing I ever created. I was about 5 years old and my Nana (who was an amazing seamstress) was sewing and I wanted more than anything to learn. She helped me make this pin cushion. I cut out the pieces under her guidance and sewed them on her sewing machine. I was infinitely proud of this small project and a crafter was born. I used this pin cushion for a long time, and then it got packed away with the sewing machine – both sitting long forgotten for a good number of years. The sewing machine is out and back in use now, but I had entirely forgotten the pin cushion until I found it cleaning out my office.

IMG_1106As you can see, it needs a bit of new elastic – but outside of that, I would not change one thing about it. It will happily join me on my sewing journey again, a welcome partner who brings the voice of a grandmother telling me to just take my time and believe that I can do it.

The memories bring tears to my eyes – tears of longing to go back to that time and tears of joy at all the hours spent there at my grandparents’ house.
It was truly a place of wonder – they did not have much but that little house on 11th Street was filled with riches that no amount of money could buy.

It was a place where my grandfather would quote Carl Sandburg’s Fog or Joyce Kilmer’s Trees.

A place where teaching a little girl to swing was as simple as opening and shutting the lid on a box.

A place where birds were learned by their songs.

Where the raspberries grew to the sky and were so sweet, and roses bloomed in amazing beauty.

When a phone call that the smelt were running would elicit incredible delight at the feast that was soon to come!

Asking my Grandpa if he beat the China-man playing Solitaire that day.

A place where all the kitchen chairs would be moved conveniently to the counters for a little girl to help cook, even though it made it incredibly difficult for my Nana to reach.

There was almost never a “no” at my Nana’s house.

IMG_1129Sleeping over under the quilt that my great-great Aunt Eleanor had made for my grandparents when they got married (which hangs today in my office) while we could stay up late and watch Charlie Chan movies with my Nana. Followed by a “Denver Omelet” or pancakes for breakfast and being entirely certain that no one in the world could make them as good as my Nana could.

There are bittersweet memories too, like the day we had to move Grandpa to a nursing home, that was a painful day for everyone, but most especially my Nana. I did not realize how much they depended on each other until that day.

Or memories of my Nana in the hospital at the end of her life, and at her request helping her color her hair one last time so that she would not have any white roots.  Coming to terms with the realization that when she said that she would soon be going home, she did not mean back to her little house on 11th Street. I remember marveling at such deep-rooted faith and praying that mine would grow like hers.

All these thoughts spurred by one little pin cushion and I truly understood what Marie Kondo was talking about when she asks if an item sparks joy.

IMG_1115But on those rare occasions, if you are blessed, the spark creates a combustion of joy…

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