Sewing in a Somewhat Straight Line


This year I bought a sewing machine. 

It was a decision made after a few successful hand made gifts met the idea that I could go faster and maybe even venture into the land of circle skirts, shift dresses for Lucy and edgy (somewhat flashy) tops for Ellen. 

I went confidently to the store and picked a pattern for Ellen’s ice dancer turquoise diamond fabric – went home – opened it up – and had my mind blown. 

I didn’t know the language. 

I didn’t know the symbols. 

I remember my brain feeling so lost in the maze of feather light paper. I turned the pattern around and reread the instructions until I admitted defeat. 

I needed my sister Anna and several Advil. Clearly I needed some teaching. 

With the question of when I would have the time needed for training and experience, I started to wonder why I got the sewing machine. I worried that it would just be a thing I could mess with and tinker with but would not master. 


So. These pillows pictured here are not going on Pinterest by any means but they are important. They are made from two of the girls’ throw back tees – Lucy tie dyed that tee with her dad, Ellen picked that top out with the biggest smile back in early days of single parent hood where trips to the mall were especially sparing. Try as they might, nobody else can wear those tops. 

Tonight, after the kitchen was cleaned up, the sewing machine and scissors came out. With confidence, I taught the girls the fine art of sewing in a (somewhat) straight line, tidying up corners, and spreading cotton evenly. Perhaps most importantly though, I taught them the act of making something into something different. And so I smile… As this is a lesson from my childhood, taught by my mom on her machine. 

She looks worried

She looks worried – 

Sitting there on the northbound metro train.

Purple sweater over purple button up. Hugging her bag as her mother’s thigh in her seven year old clutch.

The gold ring holds cheap to her right ring finger.

Simple pearl earrings hidden in a mass of black hair – waved – softly tangled and half pulled from her face. 

She might have been crying last night. 

She may finally be leaving.

But for right now she simply looks white washed and worried on the northbound metro train. 

Written on a Tuesday morning on metro to airport after long weekend in Portland, Oregon 

The Balcony Women

I could tell right away I was going to like the balcony women. 

But the story doesn’t actually start there…

It started a few weeks ago, when I noticed I incorrectly used a semi colon in a post. 

I decided that at some point, when I sit to do some weekend reading, I would flip a coin to determine whether I would substitue my Rumi book or the recent issue of Time for my punctuation guide in order to review a few things. 

Then – 

(Because that sounded boring.)

I decided to just start praying for my punctuation instead.

Specifically, I decided I would commit to prayer both my grief of past public misuse of a semi colon and the future hope of proper public use of a semi colon. 

Ok – so now that you have that little back story, let’s talk about tonight – at Bible Study Fellowship – where the whole deal is you meet with a small group to go through the study you did that week then rejoin with the whole lot for a lecture. 

Alongside my goal to break down these early themes of Revelation into the modern day plot of life, please note I am also trying to figure out where I want to be physically during lecture time. 

Not only am I trying to keep a low profile – honestly – a Bible lecture seems like the perfect time to get some yoga in, too.

I followed a woman from group time to what I thought was the stair well down. It ended up being the stair well *up* to the balcony where I found a warm little corner that had a waist high ledge for my notebook and adequate space for me to probably somewhat obnoxiously stretch while learning about prophecy. 

Immediately, I noticed I hadn’t simply perched up above in this balcony. Rather, I entered a community. The women sat facing one another, happily exchanging spoken words, lightly touching one another on the arm as they laughed.

Adamant to keep my resolve to manage BSF to a somewhat quiet part of the week (no volunteering for me, no hand raising), the only real gracious thing I did up on that balcony was I sat down. (No yoga) This way I didn’t block any views or cause a distraction. 

I could have moved further back, but – like I said – I found a warm spot which (as a cold person) I have a hard time leaving. 

And as I sat and listened to the lecture, I noticed an intense focus settled in. I felt chills and prayers. I found myself in and out of listening. Going from totally absorbed to some other plane of thinking. I found myself feeling my recent prayers. I can’t help but think this was all related to the fact I was sitting still in a chair (rather than futzing around with my hamstrings) – out of respect for the balcony women behind me.

I left Bible Study on a total wave and headed to my Tuesday night spot for a late dinner. I invited a woman who is managing  an incredible amount of interesting in her life to join me. 

As I listened to her story of the past couple of weeks unfold, questions led to a point when she hit upon a most interesting segment…

When she got a tattoo..

From a guy who she met during a moment of distress who ended being heroic.

The tattoo? Was of a semi colon.

She told me such a tattoo is symbolic of one’s support for those who struggle with addiction, depression and suicide. She got it in honor of an important person in her life.. somebody “who could have ended their sentence but chose not to”…

I can’t help but feel the spirit was charging me during the lecture tonight. I am grateful to God for the connections where my prayers for past and future semi colons may have also been prayers for others like her.. People who are in the throws of loving their family and friends from the sidelines of desperate battlegrounds. Perhaps even as the prayers fruited the application she gave me tonight through her story, they are working towards helping others choose not to end their sentences. 

Maybe this is a long story about nothing. But I want to always remember it. I saw the balcony women as a part of something more sacred than what I was plotting for myself and – out of respect – I didn’t change it. 

Not going per my own accord led me into deep prayer and heart / mind preparation for a conversation that unfolded in such a way that I just can’t understand in this moment. 

However, my favorite learning so far about prophecy is that prophecy is God confiding in people. And it has me totally keen to trying to listen more and more and more. I have hints in my heart of what is being revealed to me in all of this. 

God is awesome and worthy of praise. 


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