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Laura Lue was ten when she died of leukemia. I was twelve, and bound to her through the deep friendship of our parents. In his devastating grief, her father wrote a book of his experience, suggesting that even in the darkest moments of her long illness, he knew life to be a gift. His daughter’s life was a gift, given, not earned nor guaranteed. Gratitude for it was his only sane response. Gratitude for ten remarkable years with this beautiful child.

His message has shaped my days, calling me out each morning to gratitude for whatever is, however uncertain or frightening or marvelous. If my life is given, I muse, then surely I want to write of it a poem of thanks.

When it comes to our holiday season, gift-giving is so annoyingly commercialized and foisted upon us that I can sometimes hardly find the gift in it at all. I resist the ads, the promotions, the trivialization of this deep impulse - which is to bestow beauty and kindness and levity upon one I love. To participate in the great round of Life as Gift. To make, through an exchange of heart, a genuine connection with another.

I’ve learned through Ibu that a gift doesn’t just connect in one direction, say, from me to another. It is first of all a gift to me. Meaning, that as I look to the women artisans with whom we collaborate, women who have stitched a line of beauty, or sung a melody in color and thread, and who have put into that moment their copious skill and imagination and heart . . . then I must receive this gift of themselves. I feel the privilege of it. And that I can give it to another means that the gift  . . . and the women who made it . . . keep on living. The gift moves in both directions.

For the next six weeks, our keen-eyed Sales Manager, Marisa Nemirow, turns her attention to the Ibu gifts that carry not only panache, but also a bit of poetry. That carry a story in them that connects the artisan, the giver, and the one to whom it is given. That is a circle worth celebrating. That is a round that gives back, pays forward, and makes merry every way you look. It is not about how much you buy or spend, this season. It’s about gratitude before, during, and after the present is opened. It’s about living the gift of this life.

All the Best,
Susan Hull Walker