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A Sew Powerful Night Before Christmas, 2020 with Jan Cancila


2020 was quite the year. In this nod to Clement Moore's original ''Twas Night Before Christmas', Jan Cancila takes us on a journey through the ups and downs of 2020, yet heralding the accomplishments of Sew Powerful and ending on a note of optimism.


Christmas, pandemic, covid, Aplos, Quilt Shows, 3 Esthers Farm, Zambia, Sew Powerful


The Sew Powerful Podcast shines a light on the people behind the mission to keep girls in school and create purposeful products in Zambia. Join us every week for a new 30-minute episode to meet new people, hear inspiring stories, and learn how you can join us in this global movement. Whether you sew or not, make purses or not, you will find something to enjoy in every episode. Listen today.


Jan Cancila


Jan 00:04

Welcome to the Sew Powerful podcast. This is your host, Jan Cancila. You know the sound of my sewing machine means it's time for another episode. So, let's get started.


Jan 00:23

'Twas the night before Christmas, sitting in my chair, thoughts of this past year just filled the air. 2020 was a strange one. We know that's true. Some bad stuff happen, but so much good too. Brush fires in Australia sure were alarming. Except for that, there was no real warning that COVID and lockdowns and Megan and Harry, murder hornets, and elections would make us so wary. So I put those aside and started making a list of everything good that could make this year best. Sew Powerful responded as only we could, with lots of accomplishments. We knew we would.


Jan 01:10

Two and three quarters quilt shows happened this year before cancellations made the rest disappear. An iSewlation Challenge was built in a week. Work like this is not for the meek. There were sponsors, contests and prizes galore. Meet the purse maker videos, tips and much more. But our sewing skills were in high demand. Masks were needed throughout the land. We kept making purses; we know there's a need. But when the nation calls, that call we heed.


Jan 01:49

As things settle down and every face was masked, we came up with the list of more needed tasks. And being Sew Powerful, we rolled up our sleeves and got right to work on jobs such as these: We designed t-shirts to bless our purse makers, cleansed lots of data for Aplos in-takers. We started our very own TV channel called 'Sew Powerful Live' and it gets a handle on the journalistic standards of the who, what, and when. Plus, we thank purse makers for what they've sent in.


Jan 02:30

Then talented quiltmakers mailed in their blocks for the Quilt of Joy. Its beauty just shocks. Though we're not at Quilt Shows, there are other ways to find and recruit purse makers these days. Sew Powerful was featured in Threads Magazine, and Quilts Inc, wrote an article. See what I mean? The We Are Sew Powerful book was updated and now sells on Amazon. It's highly rated. We started a podcast. You might be a guest, telling your story and inspiring the rest.


Jan 03:10

There were blessings in Zambia we should not forget. Caregivers went to Ngombe and 1000s were met to educate people on how to be safe when a pandemic surrounds such a vulnerable place. The new building is now almost ready to open. The three Esther's farm feeding children is a token of all things good that can happen when we're bent on serving our God with these achievements.


Jan 03:40

Well, we are sewing our way toward 2021. Thankfully, the current year is almost done. Our future looks bright. And I'm happy to say, "Merry Christmas to all! Have a Sew Powerful day!"


Jan Cancila has been making purses for Sew Powerful since 2014. She serves the organization as Director, Global Volunteerism, the Area Manager for Shows and Events-Mid/South USA and as the Houston Regional Coordinator. She was a public speaking major at Hanover College and holds an MBA from Our Lady of the Lake University. Jan had a 25-year career with The Coca-Cola Company before owning and operating a linen and party rental business in Houston. She is married with two grown sons, a lovely daughter-in-law and two remarkable granddaughters. Jan’s published work includes more than 100 online articles for Reach Jan with comments or suggestions at