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Monday, April 1, 2013

The Apron Memoirs ~ Week One

The Apron Memoirs
Cherishing the Simple Beauty of Womanhood God’s Design for Us

White swirls of lace adorn the rounded neckline. Two long sashes join together in the back, tied in a crooked bow, strings hanging loosely. Flour hand-prints and chocolate smudge designs blend into the vintage floral pattern. A pocket hiding loose buttons, coins, sprinkles & crayon bits are the grand finale to this work of art. It has been a witness to a life well lived, a culture of joy and a home woven and spun with beauty and simplicity. It has worn the tears of a little heart broken by an uncaring world, it has been enveloped by laughter in the joy of young souls creating masterpieces, it has been covered by the drool of a rosy cheeked babe nestled close to her mother’s heart, it has been worn in preparation of a blessed visit from a kindred spirit garnished with tea and sweet delicacies, it has been wrapped in the arms of a beloved husband under a moonlit sky as a long day draws to an end. It is not fancy. It is likely faded and worn. But is loved and cherished. It is whimsy and homemade cookies and humming at the sink and fingerpaints and a glass of lemonade all wrapped up in a simple smock. It is my mother. It is me. It is you.

Week One - My Mother’s Apron

                She slipped her head through the oval neck, and wrapped the red apron tightly around her waist. It was Christmastime. And the house was soaked in Holiday spirit, smelling of cinnamon, illuminated with colorful lights, filled with warmth and what had become our family customs.
                “Let’s make some Christmas Cookies!” Cheerfully rang through the house, as my sister and I found our way to the very heart of our home, Mama’s Kitchen. We were mesmerized as her firm, yet gentle hands worked the dough into something mold-able  Those same hands had held our tiny fingers as infants, and wiped our tears when life became unbearable. They were powerful hands, capable of so much. Flour sprinkled onto the old counter-top and its dust flew into the air, it was pure magic, as it landed on our noses and little girl giggles filled the room.  She wiped her floured hands on the bottom of the apron, where the Christmas trees suddenly became snow covered in our eyes. Strong arms rolled the wooden pin across the sugary dough, as she hummed along to the Christmas music wafting through the house. Those same arms had scooped us up and rocked us back and forth when weariness overcame our little forms.
                We cut out trees and snowmen and angels and stars, and lined them on a weathered cookie sheet. We opened the oven door, and the apron swept across the floor as she bent forward placing the cookies onto the metal rack. She moved to the kitchen sink and began singing along to the music. Her voice carried across the room as we eagerly wiped up the counters and swept up the floor. That same voice had whispered sweet lullabies into our hearts, and told us often that we were loved and cherished.
                It was time for the cookies to come out of the oven, she never set a timer – she just knew. She wiped damp hands across the chest of her apron and used the skirt of the apron to guard her hands as she pulled the hot sheet from the oven. We iced and sprinkled and licked and created beauty that afternoon. By the end of our baking, her apron was covered in flour & icing. It was lovely that way.
                It was a memory created. It is a moment forever captured in my mind. The apron was the witness to that moment. It was certainly used many times again and it has certainly seen better days, but it holds the sweet memories of a childhood full of love and learning.
                My mother cultivated a love for creating with our hands and minds…a love for togetherness and music and laughter. Most importantly she showed us that God had created us as women with the ability to see beauty in the mundane, and a desire to create beauty out of this life we have been given.
 God created us as women – mothers, daughters, sisters – with souls that long for enchantment and artistry and elegance. We enjoy fragrant aromas and simply lighting a candle can brighten our day, we love tiny tea cups and sipping tea brings a smile to our lips, our hearts swell at the site of fresh flowers, we feel peace when our homes are neat and cozy, we feel relaxed when icing a cake or knitting a blanket, we express ourselves by slipping into a pair of sparkly ballet flats, wearing a floral print bag over our shoulder or even wrapping a polka dot apron around out waste. We love and feel all of these things because God created us to love them. He purposely made us feminine.
                So often in today’s world we are told that we need to be hard, plain, and tough. If we want to be pure, gentle and fruitful, we are made to feel weak. But those qualities are exactly who God created us to be. He sees strength in us - we are life givers. God creates life within our wombs, but it does not end with birth. This world is fallen and ugly, God knew that women could bring life and beauty to even the most disparaging situations. We tend to a garden of souls – our husbands, children, family and friends. We pluck out the weeds, water and feed them – beautifying their lives and conducting a musical sonata around them that inspires them be to brilliant, captivating human beings who can be light in darkness, who can be brave in the storm, and can come home to a cultivating, life-giving, smells like cinnamon, flour covered, apron hug.

First thing in the morning, she dresses for work,
    rolls up her sleeves, eager to get started.
She senses the worth of her work,
    is in no hurry to call it quits for the day.
She’s skilled in the crafts of home and hearth,
    diligent in homemaking.
Proverbs 31 – The Message

Thanks for stopping by on Memoir Monday! Please leave a comment & share :)

Do you have a favorite memory of your mother's apron?
How has God used you to be a life-giver even in the midst of chaos? 

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