Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Psalm 103:1 (NIV)
Lynn. Betty. Shirley. Robin. Ann. Sheryl. Leigh. If I asked you to guess which of those women is the youngest, I bet you’d figure it out. One of the names is of a more recent era.
The correct answer is Leigh. She is in her 30s. These ladies and I taught sewing by hand during a church art camp* earlier this summer. Two of our senior-most helpers are in their early 80s. The 19 students we taught are a bit younger: ages 8-12.
For our class, “A Doll and a Dress,” a simple, gingerbread-man shape had been cut out in advance. Our 3rd- to 6th-grade girls were “sew” diligent (Sorry. I couldn’t resist.), they stitched the doll’s facial features, stuffed the doll, sewed the openings closed, attached yarn hair, cut out a dress, belt, and hair ribbons, and had time to spare. You go, girls! Great job! By Friday we had invented extra accessories for the girls to make and we were calling our class “A Doll and a Dress…and a Second Dress, and a Pillow, and a Tote Bag.” (And, in a couple of cases, a blanket and a necklace!)
We helper ladies were like worker bees all over the large classroom into which had been brought extra tables to hold fabric cutting boards, spools of colored thread (a veritable Avon book of eye and lip colors!), and stacks of donated material. We were threading needles, measuring yarn for hair, sharing the sharpest scissors, helping younger hands to puncture the fabric in just the right places, and living the most enthusiastic and successful intergenerational project anyone could ever hope to see.
None of this would have been possible without the volunteer efforts and unique organizational talents of Ann, Robin, Leigh, Betty, Shirley, Lynn, and Sheryl. Hear my “shout out.” See my “high five.” Understand my “Praise the Lord!” Smack dab in the middle of the most intensive writing I have done in more than ten years, an entirely different creative side of me had one of its crowning moments.
I thank God and my employer, Vestavia Hills Baptist Church, for the privilege of planning and teaching this sewing class for children. (And I thank my mom and my sister for teaching me how to sew when I was fifteen and “halter tops” were all the rage.)
*Arts on the Mountain Children’s Camp at Vestavia Hills Baptist Church is directed by Dr. Beth McGinnis and facilitated by both Dr. Terre Johnson, Minister of Music, and Nancy Akins, Minister to Children and Preschool. In the context of worshiping our Creator through the arts, this camp has provided hands-on training in everything from pottery to flower arranging, knitting to cooking, origami to creative writing, painting to photography. Plus choir, organ, and ukulele!