When I started Joy to the Table I held on to all of the fabric scraps that were left over. I had no plan for them, I simply couldn't convince myself to get rid of them. After months of sewing, I had a collection of fabric that was a few snips of the scissors away from labeling myself a hoarder.
Working out of my garage allowed me some room to reason with myself, "I'm not a hoarder. Everything is in the garage." (As I type this I realize these are probably the words that lead straight to Hoardersville.) Then something amazing happened. - I received an invitation from the folks at Peace Camp Houston to speak to a group of kids that were staying at the Houston Area Women's Center.
It was an opportunity share why I started the business, why I'm so passionate about joy and also lead the kids through an interactive activity. And that's where the scraps came in!
I spent some time out in the workshop contemplating activities that might hold the kids' interest and grabbed a bag of scraps. A couple of Google searches later and I was well on my way out of Hoardersville and toward my first bouquet of Joy to the Table (Scraps) flowers! I had so much fun twisting and twirling the fabric creating each perfectly imperfect bloom.
The next day, I made my way to the Women's Center, checked in and was ready to go.
What the staff at Peace Camp Houston didn't know when they extended the invitation to me was that most of my early childhood was spent in a household where domestic violence was the norm. This visit was one that was uncomfortably close to home for me. I took a deep breath and pulled up a chair to join the kids huddled around a group of desks that had been pushed together to form one large table.
The plan was to start with sharing a bit of my story and how sometimes it's really hard for us to find joy because situations around us can cause us pain. Next on the agenda was to lead the kids in an exercise to find at least one thing that had brought joy to their day. I wasn't prepared for the question I received a few kids into our search for joy around the makeshift table.
"What is joy?" one of the girls asked.
My heart sank into the depths of my stomach.
"Joy is something that makes us happy," I said.
"I can't think of anything," she replied, as was the response from several other kids at the table. Honestly, those were the responses I was prepared for.
I know the importance of Joy because I have experienced the absence of it. Joy is big and it's powerful and it is strong. Joy can carry the weight of a whole lot of pain and still remain true to itself. Joy is secure. Joy knows who it is and the work it can do. Joy holds hands with pain and says, "Don't get frustrated if you can't find me at first glance. Sometimes I'm buried deep in the mess...in the scraps that have been tossed to the side. Keep twisting. Keep twirling and you will find me."
I came home with a beautiful fabric flower that day. Not one that I made but one that was made for me by one of the kids. A kid that will grow up and have had more than her fair share of wondering where the joy is hiding.
We're all fighting battles friends. Search through the scraps and be the source of unexpected joy for someone today.
May your days be filled with compassion, your faith remain strong, may growth be your compass and joy fill your tables.