Sunday, January 21, 2024

Growing a Sermon From a Gourd

gourd for darning socks

About six years ago when Sister and I were emptying our mother's house, I kept a box of Mama's sewing notions. She taught me to sew when I was nine years old. Sister does not willingly embrace needle and thread, so it was only right that these supplies came to my house.

Mama's collection included very old black and gray pinking shears, spools of thread, a cute little wood needle keeper, a metal thimble, safety pins, sewing needles, a tape measure and two wood forks and spoons with crocheted dresses.

Some readers of my generation may remember fork-and-spoon girls with dresses like these. It was a popular pattern in the 1950s. The blue one hung in my kitchen for many years. 

When I was having problems with my second pregnancy, Mama flew out from Chicago to our home in South Dakota to help me for a couple of weeks. While she was with us, I asked her to teach me to crochet. Let's just say, I didn't have a very teachable spirit..... 

Sometimes when things don't go well, it's best to agree to disagree and move on to areas where we can exist together in peace.

Anyway, one day this past week Gary was taking off his socks when he found a hole in the toe. In his Air Force days he sewed insignia onto his uniforms, so he is familiar with a needle and thread.

He mused to himself that he could probably sew up the hole in his sock. I came over to take a look and remembered the gourd in Mama's sewing box. My grandmother used it to darn socks. Gary was not familiar with using a gourd to repair socks.

I showed it to Gary and told him I'd like to sew up the hole for him. I kinda think he wanted to do it himself, but I talked him out of it because I wanted to use the gourd. Slipping the bulb of the gourd into the toe of the sock, a hard surface was created on the underside to make the mending much easier.

Gary has not worn that sock yet because it's in the laundry basket. But he tells me (quoting him here): "Most likely that will be the most comfortable sock I've ever worn in my life!" 

Sweet comments like that fuel our romance. We've been together over two years now, still feeling like the newlyweds we were the day this picture was taken.

On the topic of words, I'm reminded of the Old Testament verse that teaches "[encouragement] spoken at the right time can be extremely valuable to the hearer." (Proverbs 25:11)

We live in a culture where words are daggers more often than a balm, or so it seems. Hurtful communication has been around since the time of Cain and Abel, and it does not serve a person well. 

Of course, we see that even more in an election year (here in the USA). It's only January. We've got nine months of harsh rhetoric to endure before ballots are cast. 

"If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." Silence speaks, too, but often is not as ugly as "speaking one's mind." As one of my family members has said, "Just because you think it doesn't mean you have to say it."

This past week found us in doctor's offices and the dentist's chair. As they say, "when you get old, it's just patch, patch, patch." Rest easy. We are fine, just taking care of what's needed to keep up with the Energizer Bunny. 

But to continue with thoughts about positive words, one of the offices we visited had a computer monitor in the exam rooms that cycled through a series of Bible verses. There must have been about a dozen verses, surely chosen to be of comfort to patients needing reassurance. That is, without a doubt, an example of "a word of encouragement spoken at the right time."

Conversely, careless communication, judging, critical, accusatory words even -- are hard to forget. Words contain power, energy that can change a mindset, de-motivate, discourage, and in some cases even make a person ill. It goes without saying that ill-chosen words can destroy relationships.

Surely I am not alone when stating I know the truth of that. What usually follows is brooding over the negative words which in turn negatively affects sleep, appetite, and how we manage everything that comes our way.

Unless the harsh words are true, and honest reflection reveals changes the victim should make, we do ourselves well to give the negativity to God to deal with. He assures us He will deal with the ones who spoke them. It is usually not our place to "set them straight."

Two scriptures that have helped me deal with harsh negativity are these:

Luke 23:34 "Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do..."

Romans 12:19 "... Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord."

Choosing to think most people would do better if they really understood what they are speaking against, I believe they often don't know the harm they are doing.

And no matter how or why they say hard things, God sees it all. Nothing escapes Him and He deals with them much better than we ever could.

How do I know that? I know it because there have been times when I was the guilty one, the person who spoke what should not have been said and eventually those seeds of discord I had sown came back to judge me.

The late Dr. Charles Stanley put it this way, "we reap what we sow, more than we sow, later than we sow."

Well, this post became longer than intended but addresses issues we all face. (Well, maybe not the beginning about the gourd.... 🤔)

Until next time, grace and peace.


  1. ❤️love your blogs

  2. It's so sweet that you've kept your mother's sewing tools. My mother was no seamstress, so I never learned how to do much, although, later in life, I learned how to crochet well enough to make some blankets. And I'd never heard of using a gourd to help with darning. That's really cool, Barbara!

  3. Darning is not something my mom did but the gourd makes sense. I love that you have her sewing things.
    Your thoughts on kind words are so good . I too am dreading the next 9 months and the division that seems to get worse all the time.

  4. Oh I loved your story about sewing and the gourd. I have never heard of using a gourd to darn socks. My granny was a seamtress and my mother could sew enough to get by with though she did make a few outfits while I was growing up. I can sew if I take a notion too but honestly don't care for it like I used too. I can remember sitting up to wee hours of the morning sewing and then a few hours later would go to work. Oh those days are long gone. YES, our words are powerful. I was just sharing recently with a friend that our words can give life or take life. Oh that we be careful and mindful and I am afraid at time I have not been careful. More times than I care to talk about. Lord help us us. Glad to see you and Gary enjoying life together. Makes me smile big. Hugs and blessings, Cindy

  5. Goodness, the sewing items brought back a lot of memories of my Mom's sewing notions. She had what she called "a sock darner." It was a wooden version of the gourd. Blessings on this new week!

  6. Great article, with a lot of real good ideas and wisdom. Have a very good day.


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