A few years ago I traveled to the Ukraine as a short term missionary. One of the highlights was meeting this amazing woman. Kristina was in her late eighties at the time, and she ran the family farm by herself. Her grown children worked in the city of Kiev. When I look at the picture, I'm always struck by her hands - how large and strong they were.
We were unable to speak each other's language. But we communicated with smiles and hand gestures. She wanted me to take home to the U.S. some beans and garlic that she had grown. When I tried to explain that customs would not allow me to bring it in, she waved a hand at me as if to say, "nonsense", and gestured for me to hide it in my bra :) It took me awhile to explain without hurting her feelings that I really really couldn't. She just shrugged and smiled. Two years later, her granddaughter Lena visited us bearing a beautiful gift from her grandmother...this rug.
Lena explained to me how her grandmother had made this at age eighteen. It's made of linen. She grew the flax, beat the flax into fiber, spun the fiber into thread, dyed the thread, and wove this lovely work. Even though it is a rug, there's no way I could put it on my floor. I'm honored to have it hang on my studio wall. Kristina, I will always remember you.