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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Wow! (03/11/10)

TITLE: Grandma's Button Box
By Lynn Radford


Savvy women are often those who can make something wonderful from nothing much. Little bits of this and that become treasures to hoard for a rainy day. This was never more true than it was during the Great Depression. Those women knew how to recycle and reuse. Their innovation and resourcefulness amazes me today, in an age when the phrase, “Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle” is all the rage.

Back then, it was common to save everything. Grandma’s button box is a fine example. Practically every household had one. Maybe it was an old tin, or a mason jar or a cigar box. It held buttons from old worn-out clothing, buttons found on the street, and leftovers from the past. It was a tribute to all that had come before, waiting to be repurposed.

Always a curious child, I was intrigued by my grandma’s button box. It was a large round tin, black with a colorful floral print and handles like a basket. It rested atop the shelf in the bedroom closet, a bright spot among lots of dull boxes. It called out to me each time I saw it. One day, I gave in to its seduction and climbed up to retrieve it. It was hard to open, but I was rewarded with riches when the lid finally popped free! Wow! I sifted through its contents, my fingers stirring the pot, bringing new gems to the surface with each turn. Oh, the colors! The coolness of their touch was refreshing. Browsing the collection, I realized that like buttons had been linked together for ease of location. Some were one of a kind. There were wooden buttons, bone buttons, glass buttons and plastic ones. The shell buttons gave off a vibrant opalescence. The brass buttons shone brightly at times, while others showed their age and wear. Some were even hand-painted. The one thing they all had in common was their usefulness. Someone, somewhere along the line, had decided that they were worth saving for later.

Many years passed before I finally came to the realization that we are much like those buttons in grandma’s button box. We are a collection of the souls Jesus died to save so many years ago. Our usefulness lies in our service to the Lord. We are individuals in our own right, often found with our own kind, but just as often, we are lost. We are unique in color, size and fiber. Some of us shine brightly while others have a smooth, cool exterior. Some of us are worn and aged. We may be precious, odd, strange, beautiful, hideous, vibrant, rare, plain, unusual, valuable, forgotten or common. In the end, we all share the same purpose. We were saved for something wonderful. Until then, we wait to be called into service. Wow!

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This article has been read 302 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Beth LaBuff 03/19/10
My grandmother was one of the women you speak about in your opening paragraph. I enjoyed this visit to your grandmother's. What fun, …and you have a lovely message!
Jackie Wilson03/20/10
I remember the button boxes, and I love the way you used it to describe us. So well written. I especially liked your description of how it felt to run your fingers through the buttons. Thank you for bringing the button box back to mind.
stanley Bednarz03/21/10
Wow. This brought back a flood of memories. I could feel my fingers stirring the buttons.
Sarah Elisabeth 03/26/10
Lynn, congrats on placing in the top fifteen of Level 3! Be sure to check out the highest rankings on the forums: