My Inner Bilbo

“. . .it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.”  J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

As Bilbo made his dash to join the adventuring dwarves and lose his reputation of being respectfully predictable, one of his first laments was missing his pocket-handkerchiefs.  I have enjoyed the humor of that little scene recently as I made a batch of them for our family to try out.   Inspired by a friend’s table and hankering for a bit of sewing, I’ve become interested in making everyday cloth napkins for our family.  Considering my abundance of narrow quilting remnants, I decided to start on a smaller scale with some hankies.  (We like them, but I won’t go into the blow-by-blow.)

Making something useful out of something that I already had–and wasn’t using–is always a personal joy, but there’s been more to this project than wiping kissers and sneezers.  A sense of home.  A new family tradition.  In this time of releasing so much of our family’s way of doing life, my heart is hungry to tuck another feather in the nest we are making in Costa Rica.  Like Bilbo, I enjoy my comfort.  Yes, I am glad we won’t have to buy paper napkins and as many tissues in the future, or send our landfills another offering.  But mostly I think of meals that we will eat, conversations shared, and prayers made over that cloth for years to come.  When we move from our home of 7 years to an apartment in San Jose for 8-10 months of language school, and later to a rental house in Atenas to serve at the Home of Life, they will lay on the table as a thread of continuity.  A little luxury speaking the truth that the life our family shares is not defined by the space we share it in.

Today I spent some of my Christmas money on yards of beautiful fabric, a peaceful swirl of blues and greens for most days, a black print for spaghetti dinners.  And as we continue to move through the next few months letting go of what doesn’t fit with our calling, I will be stitching on the background for new memories.  I’m channeling my inner Bilbo, fluffing up my faith to set out upon this journey, and tucking away a little comfort for the road.

Photograph and a Tutorial on Napkin Making at Blissfully Content.


6 comments

  1. This is such a wonderful reminder for me. You have reminded me of a truth I need to reclaim. Changing my inner bilbo is a discipline worth practicing.

    This line really stood out to me – gripping.

    “A little luxury speaking the truth that the life our family shares is not defined by the space we share it in.”

    Thanks so much and have a great day of worship.

  2. In tears at the beauty of this. Each time we have moved my husband has not understood my drive to hang pretties on the walls while the drawers sit empty and boxes are piled left and right. They have been my continuity; the little things that say each place is OUR home. I am shifting items in this house right now, preparing for the newest addition which will come sooner than we will be ready (as usual!), but in the long run, we don’t know whether this house will stay home for years, or merely months. It all can change in a day or two, this adventure. Giants come out of their holes and tiny rings make us feel we have vanished away all we have ever known. I’m so glad you have some pocket-handkerchiefs to carry along on the way.

    • I couldn’t help but link to your blog, Julia. It was right there on the top of my heart as I wrote this. I know at least one of my friends checked it out and is excited about all of your recent recipes. Blessed Blogging!


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