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Church ladies #039;tie one on#039; for elderly

It’s been said homemade gifts are the most heartfelt, and therefore the best. What is handmade bears the mark of human imperfections; it’s a real labor of love.

Last weekend, over two dozen women of all ages assembled in a country church for early holiday fun and Christian fellowship – with a chance to put that theory about homemade love into practice.

The Secret Sisterhood at Union Baptist Church in Honoraville met Saturday evening to enjoy a busy night together during their quarterly program meeting.

Fun for all ages

For many of the younger women, the get-togethers are a chance to have &uot;a night out with the girls&uot; while husbands do the babysitting; for the older members, it’s a great opportunity to be energized with all that youthful enthusiasm – and a chance to share some of the wisdom that comes with the passing years.

They see it as a no-lose situation.

Debbie Massey has been the group’s leader – and the Baptist version of its patron saint – since its founding two years ago. She will quickly tell you she &uot;absolutely loves&uot; her position.

&uot;This is so much fun, planning the programs – deciding on the menus, the activities, the decorations. It is totally a pleasure for me,&uot; Massey says with a smile.

A little early holiday hilarity

For the latest Secret Sister gathering, Massey combined an early Christmas treat for the sisters – a &uot;Sneaky Santa&uot; ornament exchange – with a chance for the women to flex their crafting muscles and create warm and comforting gifts for the sick and elderly this holiday season.

Hilarity ensued as some of the sisters – many of who are also &uot;blood kin&uot; – enjoyed swiping the tree ornaments from one another.

&uot;You’ll notice the younger ones have no qualms about stealing the ornaments they want – the older ladies are much too nice to do it,&uot; Massey commented with a grin.

Her daughter, Mandy Hobbs, victim of one of those &uot;thefts&uot;, perused the tables to see if there might be a star, angel, Santa, nativity scene or other pretty tree bauble she wanted to claim for her own.

One Secret Sister, Leesa Massey, was the champ with a perhaps undesired title – she had more ornaments stolen from her than anybody else.

Following the ornament exchange, the group enjoyed the simple pleasures of loading a spud any way they wanted to at the potato bar. &uot;We are keeping our meal very simple tonight, as we have lots to do,&uot; Massey commented.

Providing winter warmth

The &uot;lots to do&uot; Massey referred to was the completion of cozy fleece throws by the members, who had been asked to bring yardage of the material to the gathering for the evening’s project.

&uot;Don’t worry if you don’t know how to sew – you don’t have to have any sewing skills with this project,&uot; Massey assured the group.

Many yards of the soft fabric, in everything from muted Buffalo plaids to jazzy &uot;Red Hat&uot; prints, were spread out on the fellowship hall tables. The ladies worked in twos and threes with scissors, rulers, markers – and much laughter – as they transformed pieces of material into colorful fringed throws.

Beth Higgins was the designated instructor for the &uot;no sew throws&uot; and kept busy moving from group to group to check on their progress.

&uot;You ladies doing all right?&uot; she would query.

&uot;I think we cut it a little crooked,&uot; came the worried reply.

&uot;It’s O.K. if it’s not perfect – it will still come out fine – you’ll see,&uot; Higgins reassured them.

As the women measured, snipped and knotted, voices rose and fell. Everything from babies to the Alabama and Auburn games was discussed that evening, while the sisterhood assembled the throws and admired the fruits of the evening’s labors.

&uot;Hey, the church ladies are tying on one – there’s is a headline for you,&uot; Leesa Massey quipped as she knotted the fringe on her throw.

As the various teams finished their throws, they pitched in to help others complete their projects – proving the old adage &uot;Many hands make light work&uot; to be a true one.

Keeping the community cozy

The members of the sisterhood weren’t making the throws to take home (save for one – we’ll explain that later).

&uot;These throws will go to people in our church and community…the elderly, the homebound, those in nursing homes, or those fighting serious illnesses,&uot; explains Debbie Massey, adding, &uot;This is a way for us to share God’s love with others.&uot;

A dozen of the throws were completed Saturday night. Each received a special tag (courtesy of Margaret Malone and her computer) featuring a heart and cross design and a scripture quote from the Bible. Each throw also received a label stating, &uot;Handmade with love – the Secret Sisters of Union Baptist Church&uot;.

‘I will always treasure it’

The very first recipient of the Secret Sisters throw project was one of their own. Ova Killough was pleasantly surprised when presented with the pretty purple throw she had helped create that evening.

All smiles as she posed for a photo with her new throw, the happy 79-year-old (who is one of the oldest members of the group), exclaimed she would &uot;treasure it for as long as I live.&uot;

And Union’s Secret Sisters aren’t through. Unused yardage was stacked up until the next opportunity for some of the ladies to get together and create a throw – and a memory.

Member Sonja Parsons was excited to see how well the project went, and eager to make more throws as holiday gifts for family members. &uot;This was really fun,&uot; she commented.

One very young lady, Tiffany Duffell, daughter of Secret Sister Tracy, happily collected fleece scraps from the throws to take home for her own projects. (She thought the evening was a lot of fun, too.)

&uot;I think everything went really well…I certainly had a good time,&uot; Debbie Massey said with a smile.