So, shortly after realizing that five weeks living abroad was too much for me, I returned home and came down with a case of Shingles. This is the virus that causes chickenpox, and it can start up again in your body when your immune system gets too weak or when you are exposed to stress, time zone changes, and other wacky factors. I think my “travel it up” plan was a little too rambunctious! Luckily for me, my awesome doctor had already vaccinated me for Shingles, which meant that I would have a less severe case. This was good news since the disease is quite painful, and my particular case was on my face and by my eye. Doctor’s orders were to cancel everything in my calendar, manage the pain, and lay low until symptoms disappeared.
While I was home resting, I picked up my knitting needles and decided to do a little “giving back” in the hours I felt up to it. One of my favorite organizations is Handmade Especially For You. This group was started by Leslye Borden in San Pedro, California as a way to comfort women who leave an abusive home situation and enter a shelter. Upon entrance, each woman is given a gift of a hand-knitted scarf (Leslye’s idea) with a note from the knitter. Leslye says, “We want receiving these cozy scarves to help lift their self-esteem and help them to begin changing their lives. We hope the scarves are a symbol of every woman’s transformation.” Many of these women have never received a personal gift before. The women know that knitters of all ages, ethnicities and social economic statuses donated their time to knit or crochet these scarves. That is why Leslye believes the scarves have such a powerful impact. Since 2008, the organization has distributed over 92,000 scarves, yet their need far exceeds that number.
Yarn companies donate the yarn to Handmade Especially For You, and knitters can request the yarn be mailed to them, along with sample patterns. In my case, I had lots of extra yarn, so I was able to knit the days away using what I already had. Here’s what I donated:
It feels good to be helping others, when you feel a little helpless yourself. Hopefully, I will be back on track shortly. I’m not planning any across-the-globe extended journeys any time soon.