When do dishcloths and dulcimer hammers go hand in glove?

 Early this month we received news that dear friends of ours, Bob and Pauline Bedard, are facing the sad reality that they have discovered a cancer in Pauline's jaw. Her treatment and their time together as a family are suddenly very top priority as they absorb this shock and try to figure out what comes next. This week we received a note from Bob, who is the maker of many of the beautiful artisan hammers that Ted plays with, stating that he will pare his business down to direct customer sales at this time. (Ted also retails Bob’s hammers at festivals and through our website.) I am happy that he is wise to count his time but wish so much I could spare both Bob and Pauline the ache of this trial.

 Bob has been such a generous man in business and is a skilled artist in his work. Even more than the beauty of his trade, the tenderness of his servant’s heart toward HD players around the world is very remarkable. He makes hammers so that dulcimer players can look, feel, and play their best whenever they sit down at their instrument and his attention to detail just makes him one of the most stand out people in the trade. He ships to us here in northern Indiana and sends hammers out to Japan and beyond. Our family was able to go stay with the Bedards just last year on a spring tour. As if he was not busy enough already, hosting and housing our big crew, Bob invited me to help him make a special set of hammers for Ted. He let me custom choose the grips, and woods, and gave me creative license to select any materials and styles I wanted, no holds barred. Before the weekend was over he surprised Ted with a unique pair of beautiful hammers that Ted plays with all the time. When I think back to that generous gift of Bob’s talent and time, I can still smell the wood shavings and hear his sander precisely smoothing the rough edges of new hammers down to a smooth finish. 

 Many mornings I visited in the kitchen with Pauline and watched her wash up the dishes with her own pretty dishcloths and took notes on her favorite ways to care for them. She’s very particular about rinsing them in cold water and drying them thoroughly when she’s finished wiping the table with them. :) Pauline is not one to be outdone by Bob’s generosity and any time Ted or I have visited, she sends home not one or two, but a full set of goodies for me or my girls, including a hand knit dishcloth, potholder, and trivet for our table. These two Believers have impacted me by their faithfulness to each other and their family, and their gracious love for others.

 So I’m trying to process how to love my friends from afar while they weather this. Since it’s been on my mind all day, you guys are helping me figure it out. :) It makes me think of our Monday evening here at home. We were out roasting marshmallows and enjoying family time outdoors. While I was in the busyness of dragging hot buns and ketchup outside and giving orders left and right, Jesse ran up to me and said, “Mom, it’s a new sky!” And it was indeed. Flaming clouds the color of crushed mango and raspberry sorbet ran across the horizon and up to the heavens. It was breathtaking and gorgeous and silent all at once. Just the sight of it made me take a deep breath and reset my clock. I think I’ll take my cue from that moment with Jesse, pause from the hustle and bustle of my life, look up, and just breathe this event in. 'Cause here I am in the middle of my agenda, and there are my friends, adjusting to theirs, and every evening, our Maker cares enough to bring us a new sky. 

"God saw all that he had made, and it ws very good. And there was evening, and there was morning- the sixth day." Genesis 1:31