When I was little my mom and dad and I lived with my grandparents for a couple of years. I met Nana. Not far away was another Nana. I called her “More” Nana. And so they were named my whole life.

I no longer work in an office. I work in a study. (This naming is important to me as I reclaim usage of the word for where a minister prepares and writes.) I like my study with its warm walls, books, and little symbol-treasures.

I am aware how my grandmothers are present with me in this place.

Nana's matThis is Nana’s hooked mat. I’ve been carefully preserving it in acid free paper but when I moved my work into my study, I decided to put it on the floor and enjoy it.

My mother tells me that Nana hooked mats like this in the winter. She would design the pattern on paper. She hooked not with yarn, but with wool rags, coiled in her fingers. Sometimes she would dye the rags to get the right colour.

There aren’t many of her mats left. Mom says travelling salesmen would trade pieces of cheap linoleum for mats like this. Linoleum was prized. It was easier to clean than rough wood floors.

But it doesn’t feel like a fair trade.

The mat reminds me of Nana’s creativity.
I can’t hook mats.
But I work with my hands too.
I lay out words like a mat. And sometimes when I doubt, I need to remember the value of my work.

More Nana was church organist for 40 years. Sometimes at Christmas the congregation would give her a card and money. Most often she would give it back. One year she didn’t. She bought bright little tubes of oil paint, a brush, and a canvas and she began to paint. And she painted and painted. She was in her 60’s when she took up painting.

Nana's pictureThis is one of her last pictures. It is unfinished. It hangs by my desk in my study.

The picture reminds me of More Nana’s creativity.
I don’t paint.
But I have imagination, a keyboard, and a website.

And I’m trying new things.

Today I am very grateful for my grandmothers.