Here we are again, another winter storm on the way. With the frigid weather I have stayed in most days working on my quilt projects. When I was sick with a chest cold a few weeks back my husband doted over me for a week, for fear I would end up in the worst possible place-the hospital. I spent my time reading books and magazines and kept busy the best I could-in spite of not feeling well. An article in one of the magazines got me thinking about a life changing event I would like to share with you. Please bear with me if some of this is redundant for some of you.
Each issue of Quilter’s Newsletter magazine, has an article where 4 people respond at length to a certain question. The question for Feb/March 2014 was, If I could spend a day with a quilter. I expected people to write about well-known quilters and was surprised to see that each person wrote about someone who had passed away, someone who impacted their life with quilting. My thoughts immediately flew to the person who first introduced me to quilting over 30 years ago. Tears came to my eyes as I thought of my friend, Linda.
My first quilt. Early 80′s.
I met Linda in my early twenties. She was just a few years older than me, an elementary school teacher, who loved “tag-sailing”, and collecting antique things. Her house was like a museum. The most memorable thing about Linda was her laugh. She was one of the happiest people I ever met. Her eyes even laughed.
Not long after I met her, Linda gave me a personalized quilt block for my anniversary. I was very intrigued, having never seen anything like it before. As a result, she offered to show me how to make a simple 9 patch quilt block, like the one in the sampler. (top row, middle block) After her lesson, I went on to take a quilting class. Mind you, this was before all the time-saving tools we have today. The class was challenging, but I stayed with it. In the end, I had this sampler that I still treasure.
Strangely enough, after having made a few quilted items, I gave up quilting for several years to make and sell a variety of hand-made items. I eventually returned to quilting after remarrying and having my daughter. I took more classes, and made new friends. Even though I was busy raising our daughter, and doing child care, I made time to quilt in our cramped little bedroom.
Sewing the binding on my daughters quilt in my tiny sewing area
After we moved to PA., Linda and I kept in contact mostly at Christmas. This went on for over a decade until one Christmas I received a phone call from her companion telling me Linda had passed away from pancreatic cancer. I was shocked, and very sad for her 3 children, and for all those who loved this vivacious, happy woman.
Linda’s illness came on her suddenly, her suffering was great, but short. For many of us, living the rest of our lives with the effects and unpredictability of lupus can be discouraging, even overwhelming. My purpose for blogging is to encourage us, to plow ahead, into perhaps uncharted territory, and rise above this disease that would seek to rob vitality from our life. Quilting has helped me in this area.
For me quilting:
- has helped foster friendships I wouldn’t have otherwise
Stitch n’ Peace Quilt Group Gettysburg Pa.
- improves my brain and self-esteem
- helps me develop persistence, patience, and purpose
- helps me dominate illness in my life
- gives me much pleasure, relieves stress, and boredom
- fills my home with many treasures I get to enjoy
Quilting has allowed me to:
- show people how much they are loved as they receive a one of a kind gift
One of the baby quilts for Japan
- send messages of love and hope to Japan after the tsunami
- bless babies in Romania at Casa Shalom, and here in Pa. at Tender Care Pregnancy Centers
- earn money for our family by making doll quilt sets for many little girls
I would love to have the chance to:
- show Linda my little photo album documenting my journey of quilting.
- To show her how my abilities have slowly improved over time.
- To thank her for the wonderful friends I have made. To tell her how they have helped me grow as a person and in my ability as a quilter.
- tell her how crucial quilting has been in helping me rise above the effects of lupus
- I would like to be able to properly thank her.
We never know how we will impact someones life, and then in a domino affect, other lives. Working with my hands has been a true lifesaver for me. Do you have a passion? Or, maybe you are ready to try something new? Whatever the case, use it to enable yourself to rise above the effects of lupus and make life more enjoyable.
In all fairness, I cannot end this post without recognizing the other people who were a huge influence in this area. In high school, I had a strong inclination toward art, which my father and step-mother were very quick to foster, in the brief time I lived with them. They really believed in me, which I think gave me confidence to create in my 20′s. To this day my step-mother is quick to encourage and support my endeavors, offering wisdom along the way. And I can’t forget my mother, who has become my biggest quilt cheerleader over the last 10 years. Thank you Dad, Ginny and mom.
In the meantime, borrowing a phrase from Wendy Sheppard, an amazing quilter I follow on-line at Ivory Spring, curious minds want to know, what do you do to dominate your diagnosis?
Until next time,
Many Blessings, Can’t wait to hear from you….Leslie Rose K
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Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us,
and establish the work of our hands upon us;
yes, establish the work of our hands! Psalm 90:17 ESV