For as long as I can remember my sister has been making beautiful things. And for much of that time I wished I could make things like she could. Mom says it was an elementary teacher who first gave wings to her art. I wouldn’t know; I was her baby sister at that point. I do remember that when she was a teenager she could make anything with a sewing machine, a new nightgown for me or ruffly curtains for our bedroom. I remember that she wasn’t scared to try new things, whether it was braiding a rug or inventing a recipe for dinner. I remember, too, how she could make beauty out of ordinary things. She put together gorgeous bouquets from drab roadside grasses and used a crumpled grocery bag to paint our living room walls.
Twenty years later she still sees the world full of possibility and she’s still filling the it with art. In the middle of an ordinary life of cooking for five hungry boys and scrubbing the grass stains out of their jeans she makes time to do what brings her joy – creating beauty in her flower beds, over her stove, or on the walls of their home. With chalk art and floral arrangements, family photos and comfortable furniture she’s softened the square corners of their 1970’s home and turned it into a welcoming haven. It’s the kind of place that makes you want to pull up a chair and prop up your feet. And people do. Former school students come over for Saturday brunch and sit talking at the table long after the food is gone. The young mom from church brings her babies over to play while she soaks up some adult interaction. And the man from town with the long history and two friends to his name shows up at odd hours knowing he’ll find food and kindness and a listening ear.
I don’t, anymore, spend much time wishing I would be good at all the things she is. I know that I never will be. But I do want to be like her by doing well what I love to do and by generously sharing it with others.