Give love {31 Days}

{Fair warning – this is a long one. And, I’ve never written a post this emotional. This is for day 17, and was slightly delayed due to the bawling. You’ve been warned.} 

Three and a half years ago, I was on a summer trip overseas for seven weeks.


About halfway through the trip, my team leader pulled me aside one afternoon and told me that my grandmother had passed away. I nodded, my heart sank, and I asked which one.

Before I’d left, my parents told me there was a strong possibility one of my grandmothers, both 91 years old and with health issues, could die while I was away. I had visited with them both before the trip and felt at peace. But, when I heard that bad news from across the ocean about my father’s mother, I couldn’t process it. I cried, buried my head in those not-my-bed pink sheets, and called home. My team was supportive and listened.

That was June 23. Five days later, on June 28, my mother’s mother, my grandma, died suddenly. It was so confusing. Everything felt so upside-down. A sweet friend let me use her apartment for the evening to call home again.  My family was coping and we agreed I should stay on the trip. Garret (my then boyfriend) went to both funerals. Looking back, I treasure that he was there and cringe that I wasn’t there for my mom and dad and sister. The rest of the trip was important and good, but it still hurt to miss those moments.

When I returned home in July, my dear older sister, Melissa, had gifts for me. Specifically, she gave me a tiny scrapbook and an afternoon walk through the cemetery. But she also gave me memories that she had and I didn’t. She gave me peace and comfort.


The small open book at the bottom of this photo, with the funeral flowers picture in it, that’s the book Melissa made me. All the things behind it are more homemade items that I’ve given or received over the years and were encouraging or meaningful.

The tiny brown scrapbook reads “Her children arise and call her blessed” on the front. It holds scriptures my grandmothers loved, their obituaries, accounts from their last days, photos of the funeral flowers, one of the last cards Grandma sent me, and the sweet notes Melissa used when she gave Grandmother’s eulogy.

My sister has always been an AMAZING creative. She’s also crafted a host of great gifts for me over the years, but this is the most important thing she’s ever made for me. It is not the prettiest or most inventive thing, but tonight when I looked through it again I smiled and sobbed and remembered.

While writing this series, I’ve worried that I focus too much on individuality.

Tonight I wanted to give a reminder that your words and effort and photos and scrapbook glue and time can actually MOVE PEOPLE. 

They can move people to hope, dream, believe, remember, act, love.

Don’t hole up all of your creations. Create and then give good gifts.

Give love.

{31 Days of Creativity Babysteps}

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7 Responses to Give love {31 Days}

  1. Annie says:

    Leslie, I’m sure this post was so difficult to write, so emotionally-draining, but it’s just beautiful, and it’s so true. We shouldn’t hole up our creations; they’re meant to be given, just like the Father continues to give us His. Thanks for sharing your story with us.

  2. How beautifully tender. I am grateful for your sharing. It was a perfect choice for you to make to share this emotional story with us. Thank you.
    I am a memory keeper, a story teller, a card maker, just to name some. It has become something fairly recent for me to try to create and “store” enough inventory of these kinds of creations for a small booth at our Saturday Market & craft fairs. It has not worked well. Everything I make becomes a gift. That’s just the way it is and I’ve stopped apologizing for it.

    Thanks for such a gentle reminder as well.

  3. Debie says:

    So sweet of your sister to make you something. Thank you for your story 🙂

  4. annie says:

    i think this is one of the most important things to remember about creativity: that they are as much for others as they are for us. that because they are inherently a production, an expression of our souls, they bring those same emotions, touch hearts in the same way they moved ours before they existed. giving creativity, i agree, is in many aspects the same as giving love.

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