Tuesday, March 8, 2011

What a Drip


It sustains all forms of life.
It cleans.
It provides beauty and recreation.
It is a precious commodity.

But it can

Last week while I was busy doing everything
BUT ironing {which truth be told I do not like doing}
A silent menace ~
My plastic bottle of distilled water ~
leaked silently....
Drip. Drip. Drip.
Leached right through the 
bottom of the container.

Sitting below the distilled water
in the cupboard was one of my
favorite baskets, containing ten years
worth of cherished cards that I had saved ~

Mother's Day
Thank you's
Just Because

When my husband went to iron a shirt,
he found my card basket sitting in
an inch of water. A lethal inch
now hosting mold at the bottom of
 the sodden container.

The cards were also wet, moldy 
and stuck to each other.
Ten years of love, appreciation,
cheer, humor, news and so
much more.

At first my heart dropped to my
stomach as I slowly peeled the cards
away from each other, 
one by one 
by one.

The toughest to take in were those home- 
made construction-paper gems from my kids,
and the ones drawn beautifully by my daughter.

And the cards from my Gigi, when she
was still able to get out and buy them.
Although her signature got shakier each year,
I knew the effort that it took for her to buy
these and sign each one, and they meant 
so much to me.

My husband puts such love into my cards,
which often include a sweet and fitting quote
he has added to the words already printed.
I grieved over each one as I peeled it 
away from the next.

The cards from those friends who are like 
sisters to me were also hard to lose.

Each and every one, selectively kept because 
it spoke to my heart in some way, 
completely spoiled.  
Smelly.  Moldy.  Water-logged.

I was crushed.

Reminded me of the time that I casually threw 
away some of my {then} kindergartner's plethora of 
papers and drawings from school.  Usually I chose what to 
save or toss when he was busy, but that day he was there.
 After I'd pitched a small pile his small stricken face
 told the  whole story, as he said in astonishment,

You threw those AWAY?
Those papers are MY LIFE!!

I never made that mistake again.

Courtesy of Adelaide Now, Australia
After I got over the initial distress of my ruined cards,
I began to think about those who have lost ALL of 
their paper memories to fire or flood and I realized 
that while these cards and notes were precious, 
they were just this: things.  Things that contained
words from those who mean the most to me and whose
love a little water can never erase.

Water recently destroyed everything that many families
in Queensland, Australia possessed.  Sadly, there 
are many families now living in shelters with their children
  until they can get back on their feet.  Children who 
also lost everything, from their little books to their 
precious dolls and stuffed toys.

Children of the Floods
Courtesy of The Daily Telegraph, Australia
Which is where Hope Softies comes in.  Lovely
Queenslander Steph of the blog Mon Petit Poppet has 
organized a stuffed toy drive for one of the temporary 
shelters near her home.  While my mom was here
last week, we made eight whimsical dollies to send
 to Steph for these children.  Mom made four, I made three 
and my daughter made one.  

My daughter's creation : )

Ready for the post office!
It felt great to mail them off today.
It helped me keep it all in perspective.
Made me think of little sweet faces lighting 
up when they are gifted with a new stuffed friend 
to hug tight while they sleep....and wait with hope
to get back into their own homes.

I'm so much more than alright.

Thank you for listening!


PS {times three}:

1.  Congrats to the winner 
of my Shabby Apple giveaway, 
#18, Kat of Pretty in Pink and Green,
who chose the Azure Coast dress!

2.  I'm be guest-posting for the lovely Anne
at Fiona and Twig, so please pop 
 over there and say hello!

3.  You can also find a little shout-out
about P&H here, at the fun
website Be In Style, a new 
beauty and fashion blog. 


Happy Homemaker UK said...

Wow, the first of many comments to come, I'm sure! I have to admit your tale put me on a road I didn't think we were going - I appreciate twists :)

Oh, but such a heartbreaking story about your special basket. I am really sorry to hear it. But so lovely that you two made those adorable 'stuffies' - I can only imagine the delight of those who will receive them. So nice to make that memory with your daughter! A memory to put in your basket :)

Happy Tuesday, Suzanne XOL

Julie said...

Well, the first part of your post made me well up...I have cards and children's notes I have kept too. and well...can't help it...in the oh so daily of life's constant moving forward...moving on....those written words and messages do hold weight...so shed a tear for you dear bloggy sis....
Ecclesiastes says FOR everything there is a reason...and so...we read your post further and see that a "bad" allowed you to be moved in your spirit to think beyond your world and see how others were hurting on a deeper level. You are such a sweet blogger sister and to have you share what and how you were impacted is SUCH a great thing. Thank you for showing and modeling to us out here how to think beyond our sometimes smaller heartaches to see that others...near or quite far...are suffering in much bigger ways and "WHAT can I do to help someone else hurting MORE than myself???" Love you Bloggy Sister. Thank you for the gift of the written(keyboarded) words in your post. xoxoxo Kudos to you and sweet daughter (chip off the mama block, for sure)the dollie creations are PRECIOUS!

Cat said...

Oh...what a horrific find! I would hate ironing even more now (this is total negative reinforcement...that distilled water was out to get you and I will be the iron put him up to it!). How heart breaking to see those memories in all that water. I hope that at least most of them are salvaged once they are dried and safely put back in a waterproof container.

Your dollies are beautiful! They almost look excited all packed up and ready to go in their shipping box (like Toy Story!). I am sure they will be happy with their new kiddos.

Anonymous said...

Water... we love it. we hate it.... It sustains our lives and our bodies depend on it. We frolic in it and yet when it destroys our homes and brings mold it brings such sadness we curse it. Water. I've had it destroy 'things' of mine a couple of times in my lifetime and yet I long to live by the ocean. sigh

deborah said...

it is all perspective isn't it? in the end all there is, is love. that is forever. your gift of love to the little ones in queensland will be met with open arms....a healing hearts. have a wonderful day!!!!

Karena said...

Suzanne my heart went out to you reading about your cards & loss.....then when I saw the little dolls (which are so adoreable )it made me realize how giving back makes everything so much better.

Art by Karena

Laura said...

Oh... that is dreadful... so sad, but looking on the bright side you still have your cherished ones here with you and there will be many more cards and memories... I know it's little consolation now... I have only a very small handful of photos of my childhood... probably 15 tops. When my Mum and Dad divorced, my mum in anger, burnt, tore up every memory we had before that point... yeah I wish I had them, but then I'd spend too much time mooning over the good old days... a dangerous thing... live in the moment. Lx

Farmgirl Paints said...

oh so sorry about those precious memories. that's a shame. loved the little softies you made. what a wonderful thing to do. you have such a big heart friend!!!

Lisa said...

You are such a good person Suzanne. I love that you, your mom and your birthday girl made those softies and that you use your beautiful words on this blog to gently remind us all about others beyond our site.
I am sorry for your loss but you have such a wonderful perspective and you are so right, the water damage cannot erase the love you share with all those that your cards represent! Now go get yourself a fire box :) I need one too! Happy day, Lisa

Blondie's Journal said...

Oh...this is such a shame. I save all of my letters and cards, too, and I would be devastated if I lost them. But you have looked on the bright side and you are going to make some children feel very loved and secure with those pretty dolls. You are a real sweetheart, Suzanne.


quintessence said...

Wonderful heartfelt post! Love how you turned your sadness into a positive experience. Puts it all in perspective!!

Anonymous said...

all your individual, precious and saved memories taken but yet melded into one big beautiful creation....is a little special in a way. Not how you wanted to keep them but it's now a big bouquet of everyone you love.

pollydove said...

Suzanne, you sound just like me! I have cards and letters saved from my whole life and I would feel the same way if mine were water logged like that. I am soooo sorry that happened to you - but it is interesting how we are (then) able to put things into perspective and count our many blessings. Whenever I feel like my life and situation is hard, it doesn't take long to look around and realize how much worse it could be and that I really don't have it that bad!

Love your creations for the children too! xoxo

Low Tide High Style said...

Oh Suzanne I'm so sorry to hear this! And you are so right, the love those cards embodied can never be taken from you!! I love the dolls you, your mother, and your daughter made. I think we sometimes undergo things to help us find empathy for others in a way we never could have before. Thank you for this wonderful post and the reminder of how very fortunate we all are!

Kat :)

Anne Lorys - Fiona and Twig said...

You are so amazing, always finding the GOOD in such situations. I wish you lived closer, and could rub off on me in a tangible way, my friend!

Thank you so very much for the guest post, I, for one, wouldn't miss it! :-)


traci said...

i am so sorry. that would make me so sad too. the soft little dollies are so cute. you guys did a great job. i will see you soon over at anne's blog.

Kat said...

Oh Suzanne, I had tears in my eyes as I read this post, for many reasons. Those little lovies are precious. It makes my heart sing just to think of the pure joy they will bring those precious children!

(Sending you an email right now.)

Rene said...

Oh no! I'm so sorry about yours cards Suzanne. I have saved mine over the years as well and they would be one of the things I would grab if the house was on fire. It is hard to imagine what it must be like to loose everything. Your daughter has a huge heart for making those dolls. I know you are proud of her.

Kathysue said...

Oh Suzanne I am so sorry that this has happened. I am always so pleased to read how you handle life and look at its ups and downs realistically but always on a posetive upbeat level. You are just the best and I am sending you a cyber hug ((((suzanne))))!! KS

cityfarmer said...

you're riding in style now babe, amnd running with the big dogs...teehee

Deborah said...

Ahhhh sweetie, Im so sorry...:(
That is so sad...
but you have turned this experience into something beautiful as you always do.
You are so very special xo

Deborah xoxo

Sarah @ Modern Country Style said...

Oh, my heart really and truly goes out to you, you poor lovey. I can only imagine how you must have felt.

I am so in awe of your fantastic response. I often think that it's times of trouble that our true characters show - and yours shines so brightly, my gorgeous friend.


hometown girl said...

i'm sorry, that sinking feeling is not fun. you are such an amazing woman though thinking of others and their loss. i love your little dolls so so sweet! you are one in a million my friend, truly! xo susan

Indie.Tea said...

What a beautiful post. At fist, I thought you were going to mourn the lost precious cards, but then you - so unselfishly, so good-heartedly - thought of Australian flood victims, especially the children. You have an amazing heart...

Lili said...

Suzanne, I love how you turned that bad event around and in your typical giving and caring fashion turned your focus on those sweet creations for the children who have suffered such loss. You are just so amazing. xoxo ~Lili

Jane said...

Oh, Suzanne, my heart sank when I read about your precious mementoes being ruined. I hope you salvaged some. I love how you then looked outward and thought of others less fortunate. You have a huge heart. How delightful to have all 3 generations making these gifts of joy. You are a blessing. J x

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

GOOD MORNING SUZANNE! Oh dear, what a heartbreak....I know; those cards are a precious memory and I have all my tags, cards and cherished letters tucked away from light and water. Water....so well said by you dearest. It is necessary for life, but oh, when abused or out of control, can destroy life. What a paradox. Thank you for always thinking so profoundly and sharing so beautifully. Peace my friend, Anita

Cathy M~(checkitoff) said...

Oh Suzanne, I love this post! I think it is so important to put things in perspective, which you did so well! Those dolls are just adorable~how sweet of you to turn your sadness into happiness for others. A big pat on the back for you! Thanks for visiting my blog and great job on listening ( I need help on that one!)!! hugs, Cathy

Gretchen said...

Suzanne - your post brought tears to my eyes and joy to my soul, how you turned a tragedy into a triumph. It doesn't take away the sadness and loss of your precious keepsakes, but a twist on the perspective when one thinks instead about those lesser then thee. Truly you are a Godly woman, and you've just blessed the Lord with your attitude and post.
So sad I didn't get to spend time with you and Becky at the show last week. Do you think the 3 of us could meet up sometime, do lunch and hang out? I'd love that and the opportunity to get to know you two lovely ladies better. I hope you enjoyed your time at the show, but Saturday was quite the day compared to the other days. It will only get better for the future events, as this event we had 4 1/2 weeks to plan for and the next is 6 mos. out. :) Exciting!
~Be Blessed~

Mona Thompson said...

I'm so sorry about the damage to your cards. Those precious treasures that cannot be replaced are so hard to give up. I'm sure just pulling each one apart brought back a flood of special memories. Alas, you are still making unforgettable memories with your daughter and Mother such as taking the time to sew the dolls for those who have lost so much. You are a wonderful person. I'm blessed every time I stop by here. Mona

deborah said...

suzanne, i linked to your blog in my post this morning. :)

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry about the water damage. :(

But as I read more, my heart took a leap forward. This box full of sweet little faces is going to bring such joy! You are such an inspiration, Suzanne!


lisaroyhandbags said...

My heart sank as I read about your precious cards- memories from a lifetime. But like you said, it's a little thing compared to what others have endured and once again you have given back with a heart full of kindness. Xo

1 Funky Woman said...

Aw, so sorry for your ruined cards. At least you still have the memories, which might not be the same but like you said they are just things.

Your dolls you all made are such a sweet gesture! The little ones that receive them will be so happy! I was so shocked to read all that happened there. I wish I sewed, I would make some little friends for the ones that lost their special dollies!

pretty pink tulips said...

You worked in a lot to this post! :)

I, like you, have boxes of saved letters, notes, cards from anniversaries, children, friends, birthdays, nothing special days...and I would be so sad if they were ruine.

And, oh, I recently made the same mistake with my Kindergartner. He has dished out more than one worksheet or "art work" from the trash. He looked crushed. I saw a LOT of my chidlren's work, but need to be more stealth! :)

Loving those little dolls - they will brighten some children's lives for sure!!!

xoxo Elizabeth

jeanette from everton terrace said...

I was reading and my heart was breaking for you but you filled it with joy again :)

krys kirkpatrick said...

That is the beauty of life..you can always get a dose of perspective. I also think you can look at events in many different lights. A note is precious and special..because it represents the person you love. But it doesn't compare to the thoughts and feelings of that loved one...that will always be carried in your heart. I would keep all those notes...they just have a little more character now.

Seizing My Day said...

We had a flood hit the community I grew up in a few years back... just 20 miles south of us... 6 feet of water destroyed their lives... I went with our church to clean a block of houses... very emotional to see that happen to someone else... can not imagine having it happen to us... I came home and told my kids about it... then we went through their bedrooms and packed suitcases for kids their age... full of gently loved clothes, toys and towels... and then we packed a few bags of food... I have never seen my kids so generous... anyway... I love that you sent love from so far away...and that your daughter helped!! =) Sorry about your memories...

A Vintage Chic said...

Oh, Suzanne! I'm so sorry about your precious basket of cards...I feel your pain, my friend...I also can relate to your kindergarten papers story...I never threw them away again, either!

What a wonderful thing to do for those sweet children! Thank-you for bringing this to our attention--just showed it to my daughter, and we love the idea!

Hope you're feeling a bit more peaceful...wishing you a lovely day, dear friend.


Whosyergurl said...

Suzanne, so sad that all of your cards were ruined...but I love your perspective. Love your daughter's creations...I can see her kindness that she surely gets from her mama. xo, Cheryl

Vintage Home said...

You have turned your disappointment into joy..... for others & yourself!
You really made adorable dolls!

Alely said...

i'm sorry too for your loss. i have a basketful of cards and notes myself. i just love to keep them.

loving the dolls the three of you made. you have such sweet hearts and i know the child who will receive one will be so happy!

Alicia said...

how sad about your cards :( it's such a bummer when stuff like that happens, but you're right...it could be worse. way to look at the bright side, girl!

Linda said...

I'm so sorry about your special treasures...I know you must have felt very sad! I am inspired by how you took the situation to think of others...and the dolls are utterly charming! Beautiful post, and I loved your guest post at Fiona and Twig, too!

Valerie@chateaualamode.typepad.com said...

What a special story. Those dolls are going to have very special people to love them.

Blooming Rose Musings said...

My heart goes out to you for the loss of your precious cards. It must have been devastating. I am so, so sorry.
In the box you sent to Queensland were the wonderful dollies you and your mom and daughter made and lots of love and support for the children who have been uprooted. I am certain they cuddle them close to their hearts and find security and hope. That was such a beautiful thing for you to do and I am sure each of those dollies is appreciated beyond words. XO

Vintage Pimento said...

I am so sorry you cards were ruined! I am sad for you!!
I like to keep cards too and look at the handwriting. I have cards from my grandmother who is gone now. When I look and the cards and run my finger over the writing it makes me not miss her so much.
(ok....now I have tears in my eyes!! ;)

Also....I can't get over how cute the dollies and the cat are!! So sweet.

Have a good weekend.


Kristin @ My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia said...

Oh no!!!!
I'm so sorry, I feel so sad for you right now, I can only imagine :(
I too keep all my important cards, tucked away in my closet, hopefully a safe place.
I think a trip to Ikea will be good for you this weekend?
Lots of love to you

Anonymous said...

Thanks for visiting my blog (always).
Have a wonderful weekend!

Gracefully Vintage said...

Just Lovely...Glad to of found you..
Love to be Inspired.. a happy new follower...

koralee said...

These sweet stuffed toys of yours are the loveliest thing I have heard about this week..way to go my friend....extra weekend hugs to you. xoxox

T's Daily Treasures said...

Hi Suzanne, your post here just voiced everything I was thinking about yesterday. I found a piece of broken tile on the floor in the kitchen and upon investigation, found out my 12 year old had broken a Holland tile and tried to hide the evidence. I used to get uptight about things being broken, but many years ago, I realized it is all just stuff and there's always more stuff to be had. Many years ago, I had about 30 boxes stored in my in-law's basement in Canada which flooded one winter from a burst pipe -- I lost many things then. Maybe that was my first real lesson in losing the stuff. I was reflecting yesterday on how some don't have anything; some have to work so hard for what they do have; and when you think along those lines, you realize that nothing is hard, nothing is as bad as it could be. The softies you and your mom and daughter made to send off to Australia are precious and filled with love. They will certainly bring hope to a child in the midst of uncertainty. God bless you all! Best wishes and blessings, Tammy

Jeanie said...

My heart aches for you and saying farewell to such beloved treasures. It reminded me of a flood in my basement a number of years back. Most of the damaged things deserved to go, but the memorabilia -- letters, journals -- that was hard indeed. I hope you were able to dry and save some/most of them.

I will visit Queenslander Steph -- I may have some sweet stuffies to share. It seems like there is such a lot of earth unrest these days. When I was posting about Japan I was trying to visualize what it would be to lose so much; same for Australia...

Amy Arnaz said...

I would CRY if Haley's childhood drawings and love letters to me were ruined by water. I sympathize with you! Your photos of the water soaked papers perfectly reflect their condition. I guess wishing it had never happened won't help. Good grief. xoxo Amy

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your blog! I really appreciate what you’re posting here.