Several girlfriends, most I've known since kindergarten, and I have really reconnected within the last year through facebook and we've had several discussions about who we choose to accept friends requests from, and we each have our ideas about who and what we are comfortable with. We grew up in a small town and we receive a lot of friend requests from the same people. My rule of thumb is this: If I were to run into at our local small town Maple Leaf Festival and we would acknowledge each outher because we were friends in the past, I accept. If we would walk right by each other and not say a word? I don't accept. I try to keep it simple and I have to say, I haven't had a single ounce of guilt managing it this way. Okay, I take that back. I think the very first time I declined an invite I had the "But what if I look like the mean girl from high school if I don't accept?" worry go through my head, but I quickly realize now as an adult that isn't necessarily my issue, but is that person's issue. I am not a mean girl, so it hasn't bothered me since.
But! That's not my example. My example is this! Facebook has also allowed me to stay in touch with other childhood friends as well. Friends half way around the world, currently deployed while serving in our United States Military.
My friend, Staff Sergeant Chris Benjamin, has bravely been deployed for the last year in Africa and will be coming home within the next 8 weeks. While in Africa, Chris has been deeply affected by the mass poverty and widespread suffering during this deployment and has been committed to leaving a positive impact on local orphanages by participating in English discussion groups, leading holiday prayers and spending his free time with the local children. Chris is a father himself, to three young boys, that I know are anxiously awaiting his return home along with his wife and family.
Chris and I have known each other since the 6th grade and I am so very proud of the man he has become. The messages and experiences he shares through facebook have inspired me, so I wrote him a message asking what I could do to help. Could I send some handmade things I had made for the children in the local orphanages? Chris wrote back and graciously welcomed the idea, so today I will be putting 11 pillowcase dresses, 8 baby blankets, 20 handheld lovie blankets and a handful of crayon rolls in the mail, postmarked to Chris, to distribute to the local orphanage near where he is stationed.
Here are a few things I will be sending:
Its made from a William Sonoma tablecloth!
I struggled right up until I sealed the box last night as to whether the items I was sending were "enough". The box was just one box. Only 11 dresses. Only 8 blankets. Is this something we all struggle with? Is what we do ever enough? I only let myself think that way for a few minutes before I changed my perspective, doing "enough", being "enough", isn't something I am willing to dwell on for long because the answer is no. It is not enough. But it is something. And it is a start. And a start is something I am committed to.
I would like to thank my mother-in-law Sally and my friend Marty Lang for each contributing a few dresses, and I would like to thank my dear friend Belinda Tawney for contributing several of the pillowcases for some of the dresses you see above. I truly apprcaite their generosity and their willingness to contribute when I approached them about the idea.
If you are looking for a great way to give back and contribute your sewing skills, this week Gingercake is hosting a "You Can Help Dress a Girl Around the World! Sew-A-Long" ! If you have never made a pillocase dress before, she includes a simple and easy tutorial link and I know you could have one made in no time. Please consider joining in!