Stoles, top to bottom:
Ordination/Pentecost stole, a gift from my home church Session and Pastors.
Stole for Ordinary Time, Lent, and Advent, a gift from the women who have been my friends for 24 years this month. Visible: the gannet, my particular bird, the bird I think of when I read the last lines of Gerard Manley Hopkin's poem, "God's Grandeur": "the Holy Ghost over the bent/World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings." On the other side, an oystercatcher: the bird associated with St. Brigid, a woman known as a healer and teacher, a model for any woman in ministry. The stole as a whole is filled with Trinitarian symbolism: colors of sea and sky for the Creator, the cross for the Son, and the birds for the Holy Spirit. And finally, the artist is married to Josh's favorite high school teacher, so there is to me a great connection to him, in knowing that it was crafted in the same house in which his earliest high school papers were read and graded.
Guatemalan stole, a gift from the Lovely Daughter, who says she stood in a store in Guatemala last spring and said to herself, "The perfect gift for mom!" (who at the time had no hint of a call) ~ "but what color? How do you choose?"
And the stole made for me by a pastor and blogging friend, for ordinary time and for Christmas and Easter (white on the other side). This is the stole that I took down to the hospital and put on to bless the room and people when biopsy number one took place.
Of course, all of these gifts represent the three much greater ones: family, friendship, and call.