Gathering, Helping Hands, and Comfort Bears…

I was so hoping to reveal the changes we have been working on for the past two weeks, but there are still a few glitches to iron out. Hopefully within the next few days, our blog renovation will be complete…so stay tuned!

In the meantime, we met with the ladies from the Helping Hands Ministry at Harvest Fellowship Church this Saturday, to make the Comfort Bears offered in our Dreams of You Memory Baskets. These women are such a blessing to me, to Sufficient Grace, and to the families who receive our products. You know, I was sharing a couple posts ago about how the movie Steel Magnolias resonates with me, because of the gathering of women to laugh, cry, and walk through life together. (You may not have read it, because it was at the end of a REALLLLLY long post!) I shared how the generations of women surrounding me have been interrupted, and how much I miss my mother and my daughters.

And, I do miss their presence in my life, everyday. But, God is so gracious…such an abundant and faithful provider. There is not a need in our lives or a desire in our hearts that goes unnoticed by our Father. He knows how I treasure the gathering of women to laugh and cry and walk through this life together. He knows exactly what I’m missing. He has provided beautiful, amazing women to surround me…to encourage me, to walk with me…both in blog world and in real life.

I spent this past Saturday with some of them. Beautiful women of faith, they quietly serve the Lord, honoring Him in the work they do with their hands, using their gift of sewing to bring comfort to grieving hearts and to clothe children in need. They worked on the Comfort Bears for Sufficient Grace, and another worthy project: sundresses and cloth diapers for children in Haiti. (A project they began shortly BEFORE the massive earthquake devastated the region.)

Our Comfort Bears were originally created by my mother, Kathy Rutter. She lovingly sewed each one, as only a grandmother can…filling them with love and prayers for the broken-hearted mothers who would receive them. She worked on them passionately, until shortly before cancer took her life in 2006. Kaye Shively stepped forward to continue my mother’s dream and formed the Helping Hands Ministry. Kaye and her team of faithful servant-hearted ladies have helped us provide hundreds of Comfort Bears to families all over the United States and Canada.

There are not words to express how grateful we are for their efforts. They usually work quietly, behind the scenes. And, they weren’t too thrilled to see my camera come out on Saturday. Hopefully, they will forgive me. I just have to share them with all of you, as they are such a blessing, encouragement, and such an example to me. They are Titus 2, in action…beautiful, God-honoring women…quietly serving the Lord, with willing hearts.

So, on Saturday…we gathered…

Kaye, Joyce, and Jacie…the core members of Helping Hands.

Kaye (left)…the leader of Helping Hands, a gifted seamstress, quiet, humble, gentle-spirited, kind, beautiful servant heart. She is rarely found without one or all of her grandchildren in her arms. Love and gentleness shine through Kaye, whether she’s with her grandchildren or anyone else.

Joyce (right)…another beautiful servant heart, also gifted in sewing, the mother of my Pastor (which alone causes me to respect and love her for helping to mold such a wonderful man). She has a quick-witted dry humor that absolutely blesses my heart, and I love her smile. She is full of wisdom, which she shares in the most natural way as we work. She has a phenomenal gift with children, in her calm, no-nonsense manner, as she takes things in stride. Not only do her own children rise up and call her blessed, but the special needs children she works with think she’s pretty alright, too!

Jacie (front)…daughter of Joyce, talented seamstress in her own right. A no-nonsense girl, like her mother, Jacie also appreciates a little sarcastic humor. She is a loving mother to her own three children…and is always willing to serve in many areas of our church. She and her husband are both servant-hearted blessings, whether teaching the youth of our church, or serving food on fellowship day. So grateful for them.

Patty…I haven’t learned a lot about yet. But, I can tell you one thing. That girl can sew a nose on a bear like nobody’s business! (It’s a little Helping Hands joke that I’m a tad particular about bear noses!)

Stephanie (left)…I am just getting to know Stephanie, but I already love her. She is so easy to be around…and instantly welcoming and easy to talk to. Stephanie has such a heart for grieving mothers and such a willing heart. She and her husband (owner of Zachrich funeral home) have become supporters of Sufficient Grace, and we are so grateful for them. Stephanie’s sweet daughter also came to help, and it turns out we voted the Zachrich girls the best stuffers of the day. (This was decided after they left.) Now, don’t go getting too prideful that you ladies have the gift of “stuffing”!

You already know that other girl in the picture…=)

Susan…a dear friend and fellow praying mama, a woman full of grace, someone you can whole-heartedly trust. I have prayed with Susan in Moms in Touch. We have laughed and cried together. And I adore her. (Hopefully she doesn’t kill me for putting her picture on here. She didn’t know I was taking it!) Love you, Susan! Her sweet daughter (an aspiring seamstress) also came to lend a hand.

Love the gathering of generations of women…to serve the Lord…


  1. The Writer Chic says:

    Kelly, thank you for sharing this post, despite the ladies' modesty. As someone who faithfully loves on her Comfort Bear, it is sweet to see the faces and hands behind the stiches.

  2. Wow! Those memory books and comfort bears are wonderful. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Jennifer Ross says:

    That's so wonderful that so many women get together to help the hurting. I can see our God looking down, and being so very proud of you all:)

    I have had a button sitting on my counter for about a month now, just waiting for me to sew it back onto my FAVORITE shirt. You would think that it would be the first thing on my list of things to do. But, I sit here with my computer on my lap, eating chocolate mint M&M's, checking my blog=) Oh well, after seeing those pictures, I just might FED EX it down to you. lol You could probably get it done quicker than I can log in onto my blog:P :P :P lol

  4. I loved seeing all the ladies work on the comfort bears! Sorry I couldn't be there! I prolly only would've been able to stuff as I don't do much sewing! lol

    I know I appreciate the comfort bears. For months mine sat in Kyndra's room amongst the piles of Carleigh's keepsakes. Eventually as I sorted through them all the bear has made its way to my bed and hasn't left. The bear is known as 'Mommy's teddy bear' to Kyndra. She has her own teddy bear and we snuggle up with them together.

  5. Just Breathe says:

    What a wonderful gathering of woman working on the bears. That is a beautiful thing to see. What a blessing.

  6. Kelly @ The Beauty of Sufficient Grace says:

    Notice, I am only stuffing the bears…I have absolutely no sewing ability!!

    So blessed to read that the Comfort Bears have been a blessing and comfort to some of you…thanks so much for sharing that…

  7. Wow, that is so cool to see all of this in action. How wonderful to see the example of so many godly women reaching out to grieving mothers. Thank you so much for sharing this!

  8. How sweet! Praise God for some wonderful ladies you have there!!

  9. That is great that so many people came out to help. Praise God. Thanx for sharing this.

  10. Angela Donaldson says:

    Thank you for sharing that and for doing all you guys do.

    I so wish that all the groups I see today would have been around two years ago when I lost Ethan.

    Leaving empty handed was one of the worst feelings.

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