Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Featuring: Susie

Editors Note:  I have many reasons to admire and respect Susie.  She is a great mom, wife to Jeremy, sister in Christ, and artisan.  But topping the list by far is that she has endured two of the most difficult things that life can throw at a person:  Running for Coach T and raising twins!  Those are two things I know a little something about and thusly my opinion of her is off the charts.  As I started this "Feature" piece on the blog I felt led to ask Susie to tell her story...perhaps even enlightening us about how she got started with her bead-making craft.  I couldn't know upon issuing that request that the ensuing story makes raising twins and endurance running look easy. To see her work and find out more about her skills be sure to visit these sites:


Susie's Story

I didn’t set out to honor her. That’s the comment I always get...how nice it is that I would honor my sister by learning one of her crafts. That’s not how it started, though.

My sister passed away very suddenly. She died at age 40 from a brain bleed. She collapsed on a Sunday night. It was Wednesday when we knew she was gone. It was Friday when we let her go.

My sister had always been the more creative one of us. She loved music and was in band and choir in high school. She later entered the TV and radio fields. And as an adult, she discovered that she could remember all sorts of facts about different items in antique books…enough that she could enter a thrift store and find real treasure among the trash… to sell, or to keep. I’m not sure exactly how she got interested in glass, but it seems to me that it stemmed from this love of artistic items.

She taught herself how to make glass beads with a hothead torch and glass rods out in her garage. Eventually she upgraded her torch to an oxygen propane system and acquired a kiln. Rummaging through the beads was fun for everyone… Each one of the beads was its own amazing little work of art. I loved looking at all of them and it seemed like everyone had different favorites.

After my sister passed, there was so much around me that reminded me of her. But the jar of beads I have from her…that’s been the best thing. I can look at each one and appreciate them in a new way. Each one different, but made by my sister.

As a little time passed, I thought about how my sister and I were alike. We both enjoyed making things…and putting a little bit of ourselves into our creations. It took me months before I could make a phone call to her husband and ask if I could possibly have the torch and kiln and some more months before I could bring myself to get them…actually I couldn’t, her husband brought them to me. I just realized that I haven’t been to her house since she died…oh, that really hurts.

Part of me felt guilty about having the tools and wanting to learn how to make the beads. Like I said…I didn’t set out to honor her. I just couldn’t stand the thought of no one using the tools again…and I knew that this was one area that we were alike…and I just wanted to know something she knew and to hold something she held. I wanted a connection with her…mostly, it was selfish…a way for me to hold on, just a little longer.

I am not self-taught—I was completely scared to hook up the torch. I took a class—oddly enough, on the same weekend my sister collapsed one year before. This class was taught using a hothead torch, but the instructor was nice enough to type up all the instructions on how to use my torch and kiln.

Once in a while I remember… you know, I can go throughout the day and even sit down and grab a piece of glass that was my sister’s and not notice sometimes… but then other times, when I grab that glass rod, it’s like time slows down and I just remember her like she’s right there with me.

Now, people say it’s so great that I honor her. I still have trouble seeing that. I think it’s great that she left me this gift…and I hope to talk all about it one day with her.

My sister’s husband says they have tons and tons of her beads…and keep finding more. There’s tons in the flower garden and even the neighborhood kids know so sometimes he’ll look out the window and see someone dig one up out of a flower pot, dust it off a bit and hold it up in the sunshine to see how pretty it is and then put it right back in the flower pot. So, I’m going to start putting some of mine in the flower garden in front of our house. One of my boys has already started making beads, too, so now it’s in the family…so I guess that does honor her after all.


Mike Messerli said...

loved the story. was this your sister? I would love to know more about her.

iheartgreenmore said...

I really enjoyed reading this. Thanks so much for sharing this story, Susie.

Megan said...

Susie Bibb, you are one exceptional woman. I also love that God has not wasted not one IOTA of this story, your sisters craft, your craft, HIS craft.

Thank you for sharing with us.

sonofdavid said...

Thanks for sharing your story Susie.

Susie Bibb said...

Mike... Jim and I are not related... I think that's what you are asking??

Allison... Thank you so much. That really means a lot to me.

Megan... Thank you. God is so very amazing. I do wish my sister was still here with us, but I will try my best to grow closer to Him through this.

Sonofdavid...thanks for reading it! ;)

And... I'll leave you with these verses that have really helped me focus on God through this mess! ;)

Romans 8:28-29

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.