There is a Time of Appreciation
This past Monday night we had our annual Christmas banquet for our Amish seamstresses. It was something I was looking forward to all year. These fine ladies are a pivotal part of our company. If it wouldn’t be for them we wouldn’t have the business we have today and our customers wouldn’t have this beautiful line of clothing to purchase and wear.
Not only did I want to feed the ladies, but I wanted to make them feel valued, appreciated and have a fun night out. My girls and I put our heads together and we came up with some ideas and in the end I was really happy how everything turned out.
We had a nice banquet.
We had a time of reflection with the ladies, gifting them with special gifts.
We had fun.
Grab a cup of your favorite something warm and wonderful and come with me as I take you back to Monday night.
The ladies arrived at our studio in minivans and 15 passenger vans. There was no coming with a horse and buggy to a town miles from where they live. They hired taxi drivers who drive for the Amish exclusively to bring them to the banquet.
The Amish are just like any other people. Some are more reserved and introverted and others are more outgoing and extroverted. As more of the ladies arrived it was fun to watch them interact with each other.
The girls and I had created a long banquet table through our studio and once everyone had arrived we all sat down to dine together. Only a couple weren’t able to make it. It warmed my heart to see them all together in the same room getting to know one another.
Der Bake Oven in Berlin catered our meal. I had asked one of the seamstresses what she would consider a treat this time of year and she mentioned how everyone is eating heavy meals and a lighter meal would be better for most of the ladies. I took her advice and ordered hearty bowls of chili, and potato soup and oriental slaw salad with crescent rolls. Set on the table were plates of cheese and for dessert there were delectable cheesecakes to choose from - Chocolate Peanut Butter and Raspberry. Over and over the ladies complimented us on how delicious the food was, so I knew we did the right thing.
Newly engaged couple - Felicia and Adam
Proverbs 31 Ladies
I wanted to spend some time valuing the ladies, showing my appreciation for them with words of affirmation and gift giving. The girls had helped me prepare my speech and I think it was a great exercise for us to do as the leaders in our company. While standing there giving my speech I could see the ladies were moved.
Reading a portion of Proverbs 31 out of The Message. I told them this is how I see them.
First thing in the morning, she dresses for work,
rolls up her sleeves, eager to get started.
Is up before dawn, preparing breakfast
for her family and organizing her day.
Her clothes are well-made and elegant,
and she always faces tomorrow with a smile.
As I come and go from our seamstresses houses I can’t help but believe all of our seamstresses are Proverbs 31 ladies. They appear to have well maintained homes. You can tell their days are mostly organized. These ladies never appear frazzled and overwhelmed when we arrive to pick up and drop off items. I’m sure they are sometimes, but what I see from the outside looking in I see ladies as described in Proverbs 31.
You might recall Farmhouse Frocks had been awarded the small business award by our chamber of commerce recently. (Read about it here.) I knew we would have never achieved this award had it not been for the excellent sewers on our team. I wanted to gift the ladies with something special and so we gifted each seamstress with a quality cutter and scissors. Along with those individual gifts there was plenty of opportunity to win door prizes which were pretty substantial, as well. We were absolutely happy to spoil the ladies who make our company so successful.
Amish Style Project Runway
After a time of reflection and giving we headed into a 30 minute fun activity, a competition. We divided the ladies into four teams, gave each team a picture of frock we wanted them to create. (We decided to give them that prompt since they only had 30 minutes to design it, cut it out and sew their frock.) They had access to our patterns, fabric, notions, lace in the studio. Anything they needed to create their frock was theirs to take and use.
Fee, Syd and I were the judges of the 25+ women and we judged them on creativity, teamwork and final product. It was fun to walk around while they were working on their Frocks and observe their different personalities, some were a bit more reserved than others at first, but in the end all pulled together and came up with some really fun frocks for us to judge.
Fee and Syd wore the frocks created by the teams and walked the “runway” and showed off the new creations. Everyone seemed to have a lot of fun and got enjoyment out of the whole process. In the end we chose the polka dot one as the winner, but we loved each one and they all deserved a grade for being good sports. This was outside the box for most of these ladies but they did themselves proud, for sure.
Watching their creations take center stage.
Fee and Syd did a great job modeling the frocks. You can tell they had a lot of fun walking down the runway.
Striped Frock for the win.
What a fun and fulfilling night for me, as the owner and leader I am completely humbled and deeply grateful that God provides me with such wonderful people to work with. Each of my successes are theirs. I’m already looking forward to 2018’s Christmas banquet!
The joy of brightening other lives, bearing others’ burdens, easing others’ loads and supplanting empty hearts and lives with generous gifts becomes for us the magic of the holidays. W. C. Jones