November 27, 2019

Passing on....... Love 💕

The story behind our Christmas Advent Calendar.

Passing on.......  Love 💕

Yesterday we packed up and shipped off our Grandchildren's Christmas gift.  

A Holiday Advent Calendar!

Sounded simple enough.  Find a calendar, gather up some activities, wrap it up, send it off!  

........however, when it was all said and done, this particular advent calendar took on a bit more. When I stood back and looked at the finished offering, I felt years of memories, layers of hope, sacred entrusted expectations, and Love.

To understand where this project ended up....Let me back up a bit.

When I was dating Damon in 2017,  I did what any normal woman would do.....

I googled him.  

Up came various digital footprints.  One was Tiffany's memorial website. As I scanned through the sections I could see she was a lover of children's books.  I could see she had made special arrangements for her future grandchildren to receive books from her on their birthdays and other special occasions.

It was a brave act for a woman who knew she would not be around to see their milestones.  It was a brave act for her husband, to act as project manager, facilitator, and deliver.  

Now a little farther back........ 35 years ago my mom was being treated for breast cancer.  At first her prognosis was good, but as the months ticked on..... the tumors returned.

Mom was positive, but ever the realistic orphan.  She continued on with life.  She had professional pictures taken and let us each choose one.  She participated in the Halloween Parade one more time.  She went to YW camp.  She did her best to keep up with regular life while planning for...... her death.

She embarked on making plans to leave us some tangible memories.  Her main idea was a heirloom porcelain doll with a custom blessing dress.  She was a very talented artist and seamstress.  

When I got wind of this idea, I shut it down.  No thanks.   This 11 year old tom-boy was not interested in a doll, or the idea of mom dying and leaving something behind for me to "remember" her by.  

"You can buy me a turtle," I told her.  She laughed.  Shook her head.  And bought me a turtle.  My sisters were a bit wiser.  

She passed away on Christmas Eve 1985.  I was 12.

In the end, she out maneuvered me.

On Christmas morning there was my usual pile of gifts.  One contained a special white hankie.  It had a hand crochet edge and a "M" embroidered in the corner.  A note read, "For your endowment, wedding, and other times in life when you need a special hankie."

Another held a large picnic style basket.  The top had a handmade crazy quilt on it. Decorative stitching traced along every seam.  In the center was embroidered:

"to: Mitzi      

Susie 85"

Inside of the flaps were many treasured sewing notions.  All my very own!   Even Gingher sheers!  

Fast forward to about a month ago.  

I was spending some time at Sydney's home in Missouri when she received a text from Macall.

An Advent Calendar.  That is so cute!  I always wanted one of those as a child. Why didn't I ever make my own children one? Great idea Macall!  

After I'd been home about a week I thought I should check on Macall and see if she figured out her advent calendar.

So back to Tiffany's books......

This advent calendar idea just might be a great way to give Navy and Colbalt her Christmas Books.  She had selected 4 books for them to receive, once they were old enough.  With Navy turning 4 in a few months, Damon and I had thought this would be the year.  

4 books is a great start on 24 days of activities..... what if I asked everyone in our Jones - Janis immediate family to chime in on their favorite Christmas books or memories.  The response was so fun! More than enough suggestions to fill the days! Thank You! :)

Every Janis kid shared great memories of Tiffany reading "The Best / Worst Christmas Pageant Ever!" Heather's response summarized their childhood Christmas experience so well.

Onto the calendar portion.  

I loved Macall's idea of the kids being able to move the bears from day to day.  I know the perfect little Danish Company who make the most adorable mice! Thanks Maileg!

The fabric finally arrived on Friday.... I had drawn up many prototypes and had settled on a long calendar you could hang on a door.  A Christmas tree on top..... 24 presents underneath.  Sew time!!!

And then there's the star.... The Jewish Star of David for the unique Janis heritage.

I'm thankful for the opportunities and experiences this life continues to afford me. Doing this project helped me remember in so many ways just how special life is. How important it is we serve one another.  Take care of one another.  Find joy in one another. Grand-parenting with Damon Janis has been a blessing in my life.