March 20th, 2015
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A few days ago I was listening to the radio on the way to work and in between songs I heard the deejay tell the inspiring story of a 99-year-old woman named Lillian Weber.  Lillian is a talented and heart-of-gold seamstress who sews one dress for a young girl every day.  A whole dress.  All by herself.  At the amazing age of 99.  Her dresses are then donated to a charitable group that gives them to impoverished young girls in Africa, Haiti and other countries.

Lillian Weber will turn 100 in May and so far she has made over 900 beautiful dresses.  Right now, she’s hoping to hit her goal of making 1,000 dress when she turns 100 on May 6.

Her story got me thinking.  About how people use their time.  About how I use my time.  About how we always make time for the things we consider to be truly important to us no matter how busy we are.  And about how I hope, if I live to be 99 years old, that I am going to be able to do something on my own that contributes to helping others.

Lillian Weber Photo Courtesy of NBCNews

Lillian Weber
Photo Courtesy of NBCNews

Lillian and her story are inspiring to me because she has found her passion and it keeps her going.  She is contributing to her local community in Iowa and miles beyond and generously gives of her talents.  It doesn’t matter that she has already made hundreds of dresses.

To Lillian, each day is a new opportunity to create something unique.

That’s quite a message no matter what your age.

It makes me think about my day ahead and what I’m intending to do.  What am I going to do today?  Not the stuff that I know I have to do but what am I going to do that is a little different from yesterday?

I start out each morning with the intent to try to do something, anything, a little better than I did the day before.  Exercise patience, smile at someone walking past me on the street, don’t honk my car horn, remember to compliment someone, call or write someone I haven’t connected with in awhile.

Sometimes I achieve my goal and then sometimes I fail miserably.

In the midst of dealing with life’s challenges, it’s hard to see your way to a positive place.  Maybe a loved one recently died or you just lost your job or you or someone you love was diagnosed with an illness.  Life isn’t going in a good direction.  I’m sorry for what is happening to you.

I know that when I hit a bumpy patch I really have to dig down within myself to keep going.  It is painful and difficult to see past these kinds of situations.  It takes time to find a way to get through it and get on the other side.

But that’s why Lillian is inspiring.  I’m sure she doesn’t feel great every day.  At 99-years-old, it’s a big deal to get out of bed, get dressed.  I’m sure she doesn’t always want to make a dress.  But it gives her a goal and focuses her day on something positive, something bigger than herself.

We all have been given the gift of time.  What are you doing today?

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6 Responses to “What Are You Doing Today?”

  1. Karen Baratz

    What a wonderful message, Mary Kate. Thank you for his important reminder about how lucky we are to have the gift of time and why we should use that gift in a meaningful way.

  2. Cheryll Simmerman

    I am a sewer who would love to do the same thing as this amazing, inspiring woman is doing!!! Is there a way I can get hooked up with an organization that would send donated, home-sewn clothing items to children living in poverty, anywhere in the world?? I am very motivated, and also have some youth in Oregon who would love to participate, at the same time as they learn sewing skills!

    Any information or advice would be much appreciated!

    Warmest regards,
    Cheryll Simmerman

    • Mary Kate Cranston

      Hi Cheryll: How wonderful that you want to help others! I would think your best bet would be to contact your church or other churches in your area and see if they have some information for you and the young sewers who are so generously interested in donating home made clothes. Perhaps you could even use Google to research groups in need of home-sewn clothes. You have a big heart! Good luck!


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