When I first started my prayer shawl ministry at Memories, it was just to make a few shawls for people that I came in contact with that were in need of prayer and comfort. I have enjoyed picking up the crochet hook again and creating something of beauty out of a piece of string! I quickly found out that I can make more shawls than most people - I have made about one a week since January of 2012. The more I make, the more I give, the more I want to do! I found that the creating and the giving are very therapeutic for me also!
I started with a very simple checkerboard pattern like this one:
I have been able to give two of these to special people in my life: One to my Mother, who is 84 years old and still going strong. She has so many creative interests - she makes baby hats for her little great grandchildren; beautiful one-of-a-kind Christmas ornaments out of satin balls trimmed in jewelry, lace, sequins and more; and beautiful needlepoint items. She is lucky in that she still feels good, can see well, and is able to get out and about. But sometimes she is lonely and needs a hug and encouragement - that's what the prayer shawl is for her - it holds prayers for her health and happiness and hugs when she needs one!
Another one like the one above was given to a friend whose young sister recently passed away - she is torn up wondering why something like this would happen. I just wanted her to know that prayers were being sent up for her and that many people were concerned and cared for her and that God would help her through.
Then I got a little bored with the simple patterns and branched out to those with scallops and elegant edges - you see I always love a challenge:
I have given a pretty purple shawl to a young woman whose husband was in a serious accident and suffered head trauma and now even months later is still in rehab, unable to hold his head up or talk or eat by himself. She is so brave and has two little girls who love to snuggle beneath this shawl of prayers for their Daddy and the family.
Another has gone to a wonderful lady I have known all my life who is now 97 years old and can no longer see. She is sharp as a tack in every other way, but is very frustrated by not being able to do much as she is legally blind. She has always treated me like her own child and is pleasant and loving even though she suffers - I wanted her to have a shawl of prayers to wrap around her when she is lonely, or chilled, or just feeling in need of a hug.
I have another friend who suffered several years back with West Nile Virus - she has recovered enough to be active again, but still suffers from the nerve damage that it caused. Her fingers are numb and it causes her pain to get chilled. She is using her shawl to warm herself at home and at church, always knowing that she is loved and cared for by many and that prayers are always going up for her health and happiness.
Another special friend suffers with Lupus and appears healthy, but is always aware of this illness and all of its affects on her life. She lives every day with a smile on her face and a warm and caring spirit. I wanted her to know that this shawl represented prayers for her health and well-being, especially on those days when she is not feeling well.
Another went to a friend of my Mother's who can no longer get out of her home. She is lonely, and she is someone who loves to talk and laugh and have a good time. Such a wonderful woman who also has always been in my life.
As a result of the prayer shawl ministry, I have been requested to make chemo caps which I have begun. Life is so full of opportunities to do for others - just stop and take a look around - there is someone in need of prayers and love and understanding at each turn. You meet them every day, mostly unaware of the trials and tribulations they have in their lives. Everyone has a gift from God that they can share with others - discover what yours is - maybe cooking, or playing music, or visiting, etc. - and share with someone today.
When I began this I had no idea where it would lead me. Now I am constantly aware of those around me and any needs they might have. When you focus on others, it seems that your own problems pale in comparison and you become more thankful for the blessings in your life.
I have begun to collect so many great crocheting ideas on my Prayer Shawl and other Crocheting projects pinterest board. If you have an interest, take a look: http://pinterest.com/memoriespast/prayer-shawls-other-crochet-projects/
Crocheting is like reading a good book - you just can't put it down - and when you are doing it for someone else, it is like giving a gift to yourself!