Thursday, March 27, 2014

When Quilting Mends Hearts --

We’ve all experienced those heartbreak moments in life where all we can do to cope, is to put positive effort into something we CAN control, to DO SOMETHING positive when our hearts and minds simply can not process the hard things of life.

This happened to me on Sunday as an email from Theresa informed me that our friend Julie and her son are lost in the mudslide that happened in Washington State on Saturday.

Waiting for news has been excruciating ---I’ve left the TV off because it is simply too hard to face, and I spent last Sunday and Monday sewing a baby quilt up at the cabin through my tears and fears.

I’ve had many restless nights ---still no news, and so I sew.

Last night I finally crashed about 9:30pm and slept 10 hours.

To Julie and her family, friends and loved ones, my thoughts and prayers are with you.

You might remember a fishing trip that Julie and her hubby Jerry took me on in Cordova, Alaska in September of 2011 HERE.

Sewing can’t fix the fact that this mud slide happened and that many families have lost everything – literally ---insurance won’t even cover it because it has been deemed an “act of nature” but that is another topic all together --- ((Sometimes getting angry at things like that give us a place to focus our grief…but that doesn’t fix it either.))

This morning I woke to an inspirational email from Deb in Texas who shares her story:

She writes:


There are times in everyone’s life when you look back on the things that have happened and you just “know” they are for a reason. 
I embraced your scrappy system and patterns a little over a year ago now and it has been such a help to me during an adjustment time in my life.  For that alone, I thank you.  Unfortunately, that is not what put it all in perspective for me though. 
I found out today that a very dear friend has stage 4 cancer and without treatment he has 3-5 months – with treatment 8-10 at best.  This wonderful friend is already in a wheelchair and yet is the most loving person I have ever had the opportunity to be around.

 Deb’s Quilt Front 
Through my tears today, I found the strength to head for the studio.  Once there, it was simple and all because of you.  I grabbed my 2” shirt strips, some 2” solid squares and strips, and headed for the machine. 
I know that he is not my brother, but I felt a closeness to you as I sewed through my tears and created a lap quilt for him for Monday as he starts chemo. 
I finished the top and backing in an afternoon and it will hit my 301 tomorrow for quilting.  I will bind through tears tomorrow night and hopefully be strong enough to take him to treatments on Monday. 
I know that it is a gift for him, but was so therapeutic for me at the same time.

Deb’s Quilt Back
Thank you, thank you, thank you.  Without your influence in my life --- I would never have thought to do this, much less had the resources.
Forever grateful

Deb --- silly redhead in Dallas
(quick pictures – not cleaned up and with a flash – center square on back is for the label)
And so I say it again – Quilting is balm for our own aching souls as much as it is a comfort to those we gift the quilts to.  It is a tangible testiment to our love and caring of those around us.  And the creating of a quilt is a soft spot for us to land and settle and focus when the world rages around us and things are beyond our control.
I’ve been keeping the Serenity Prayer forefront in my mind over the past few days, with a few additives, I’d like to presernt to you the Quilter’s Version:

God, Grant me the serenity- To accept the things I cannot change,
The fabric stash- To make a quilt to help me cope,
A quilt to give- To comfort those I love in times of hurt, fear and uncertainty.
And the courage- To keep on sewing when life itself seems held together by a single thread of hope.

©Bonnie K. Hunter, 2014

 Stitch on, Quilters – Stitch on ---

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  1. Love your version of the Serenity Prayer. Thank you for the hope and positive attitude you pour into each post, even when you are hurting. You are so generous with you time, energy and creativity. I can't tell you how much your posts mean to my days.

  2. Think of the emotion that those quilts hold: love, fear, hope...and healing.
    I have quilts that were made in situations like this. They now bring me the extra comfort of memories of people I love.
    I hope yours do the same. My thoughts are with both of you.

  3. I like your version of the prayer too. If our quilts could talk, oh the stories they would tell!Yes keep on stitching girls....

  4. A great quilt by Deb, and great thoughts from you. thanks

  5. A quilt is so much more than just a quilt. There is so much of ourselves stitched into each one. I pray while making each block and put all my worries, cares, fears, and grief aside for that time. I don't know where I'd be without my quilting in times of trials.
    May God give you peace Bonnie at this difficult time.
    Hugs, Chris
    Oh! How is your brother doing? Still praying for him!

  6. I received a "prayer quilt" when I was diagnosed with a serious illness and every afternoon nap under it and love the feeling, the warmth and treasure the ones not only who made it but the one who sent it! mary

  7. RRCB was that kind of quilt for me. My 18 yo daughter ran away, hurling lies as she left, tearing our family apart and changing us forever. My hiding place from the pain was working on that quilt. It absorbed many tears that spring. One night sharing with a friend, I told her I needed to get rid of that quilt because it held memories of so much heartache. She said that is why I need to keep it... that through the tears and the pain, I kept moving forward. I realized then that sometimes a quilt can be like life.. we take what seems to be perfectly good fabric, cut it up into little pieces and mix it up to put it back together again, creating something of beauty. Our lives sometimes get cut apart by tragedy, heartache, and so many other things, and those are the dark fabrics in our quilts. If we persevere through it, beauty comes again, not the same, but still beautiful. You are in my prayers, and so are all those that have been affected by the mudslide.

  8. Sometimes words are very inadequate for the situation at hand. Thoughts and prayers are with so many right now.

  9. Love the quilter's version of the Serenity Prayer. Bless you for all you do. And prayers for your friends and all those who are suffering.

  10. I passed your quilting prayer onto my guild. Thank you for your inspiration.

  11. Anonymous9:41 AM EDT

    My dearest friend in the world has Parkinson's. We are roughly the same age, in our mid-60's. A year ago this last January, she and her husband went on a Mediterreann cruise, and with the help of a walker, she did just super. Now she is in a scooter, and her left led is "frozen." To make a long story short, I have made her 2 quilts since November. It is therapy for me, and she knows that she is loved and appreciated!

    Pam Karp

  12. Many healing prayers to Julie's family (and you and yours as well.) I have been watching with a heavy heart all week and just cannot imagine the loss. The young woman this morning who is looking for her mother and four month old baby. Pray and quilt (and I cook, too) I have often told friends I might not be able to do much, but I can do those 3 things for them!

  13. I was blessed to live in Cordova for four years and fortunate to count Julie as a friend. Her laugh was infectious, her heart was generous and her love of family was strong.

  14. Tina in NJ9:52 AM EDT

    I live due west of New York City. On 9/11 you could see the smoke from the towers if you were high enough. I remember military plains flying fast and low over us. I grabbed the Courthouse Steps blocks for the quilt I was working on and sewed. The quilt was later quilted by a friend whose daughter has served three rotations in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is the quilt on my bed right now. Even when the world is literally falling down around you, quilting empowers you and gives you focus.
    Tina in NJ schmidttr@verizon.net

  15. Thank you for this post. I am just about finished with a quilt for a friend who is fighting cancer, and I recently finished a pick-me-up quilt for a friend who has had a rough couple of years. I call them random acts of quiltiness.

    When I feel powerless to comfort, I remember that I can tangibly wrap someone in my love by giving them a quilt. I hope they feel the warmth when they use them.

  16. Bonnie, I just want you to know that I feel your pain and send love and prayers to you and all the families and friends of the mudslide disaster. Just recently I too NEEDED my quilting to get me thru the diagnosis of my dear friend's breast cancer and now treatment. She loves her quilt and knows each stitch is filled with love, but I also know how it helped me through the tears and heartache.
    Can we share your Serenity prayer? It's perfect. (((Hugs)))

  17. From Linda Craig
    Manitoba, Canada

  18. Anonymous10:09 AM EDT

    I really love your version of the serenity prayer. I am going to print it and hang it on my bulliten board in my sewing room. I am crying now reading all these post. This is such a loving group of people. Even though I do not know any of you I consider all,of you friends. I am dealing with some life changing svents also. My Dad has Parkensons and is in a wheel chair. My paernts live in Maine and I live in Michigan. I go home to visit once a year but talk tomthem on the phone as often as I can. I also have 3 close family members fighting cancer. I had not heard of healing quilts until today. I think I need to make one. Love and prayers to every one in this group.

  19. Julie from Michigan10:12 AM EDT

    My post did not go through with my name on it. I am Julie from Michigan.

  20. Thank you for your post. I don't have nearly the difficulties in my life that some have. Perhaps I need to make a few donation quilts in thankfulness. Love your prayer, and prayers for your friend and family.

  21. Thank you both for sharing through your pain. I am going to try and do a quilt with my 1st husbands shirts for his 4 children 2 of which are mine as well. I also want to thank you Bonnie for all that I have learned from you. I now feel I can make these love quilts. He designed a bookworm which I plan to incorporate into the quilts. It may take me a few years through the tears but I will plod on till they are done because of quilters encouragement and love for one another.

  22. Sometimes there just isn't words. Thinking of you and all those hurting from this tragedy. Sending up prayers with every stitch.

  23. My condolences to you and Julie's family and all the other lives so tragically lost. We live 160 miles southwest of the mudslide. The news has hit the whole state hard, but especially those in that small community. I've spent a lot of time the last few days looking out my studio window at the foothills of the Cascade mountains and wondering why......peace to you and all those suffering a loss from this tragedy.

  24. Bonnie, what a beautiful poem/prayer! I am sorry for your loss, and the attendant anxiety.

  25. My heart has been broken since hearing of this disaster - joining my prayers with all of you for God's grace and comfort to be bountiful for all those who have lost loved ones and homes......

    Thanks Bonnie for putting into words what we all are feeling right now!

  26. Bonnie,
    I am thinking of you and the ones who are in the disaster. I appreciate all the positive thoughts that you send through your own tears. You are such an inspiration.
    I love the version of the Serenity Prayer. Every thought in it is so true.
    Hugs your way.

  27. It is such a terrble time for all the family and friends of the people lost in that landslide.
    And ofcourse there is so much more pain in this world...
    We just have to keep on quilting; keep encouraging, keep comforting eachother.
    Thanks for your post and this lovely Serenity Prayer. So true!
    Love, Ria.

  28. Wow, I hurt for you. I will add you & your friend to my prayer list. After a stressful day at work I some times need the awesome escape of sewing on one of my quilts to get my mind to settle down.

  29. Your Quilter's Serenity Prayer is wonderful. Our hearts can be comforted by doing for others in any way we can, especially during the difficult times.

  30. Thanks for your thoughts. I've always said that my Sewing/quilting is way cheaper than Therapy. No RX is better than a sew day to be totally creative and lift spirits.

  31. Deb spoke for many of us. Thank you for sharing this reminder and incentive to stitch on.

  32. I agree Deb has written what has been in my heart... and I am SO sorry for the friends and families losing folks in these disasters. The way is always in the back of our minds. Only God knows, that is the real truth.

    When John was so ill with his kidney removal, cancer etc in 2013 and into this year -- I made giveaway/charity quilts knowing they would find a child and would warm their heart and spirit.

    YES Quilting is a BALM ... for body and soul~

    MANYHUGS to all my follow Hunter-ites and to Bonnie herself.

    HUGS and a warm smile

  33. Nettie Sebastian2:44 PM EDT

    Bonnie, may the peace of Gods love fill your heart and the hearts of your friends . The serenity payer is our home rule. I would like to cross stitch your version. Thank you for who you are.

  34. Nadine Clark2:49 PM EDT

    I live in Big Sur, CA and on December 16, 2013 a wildfire started and burned 34 homes. Over 100 people lost everything, some didn't even have time to grab a wallet, it was that fast. My friend Eby called and asked my thoughts on making quilts for a few people. I thought about it and said we have to give a quilt to everyone, so with the help of the Monterey Penisula Quilt Guild and Freddy Moran we collected over 100 quilts. Giving them to those that lost everything was one of the best things we could do. They knew they came to them with love.

  35. My heart hurts for Bonnie, as you mourn the loss of your of your friends. It is difficult to watch the news so many days anymore, with so much tragedy happening around the country and in the world. I used to knit quite a bit and with quilting now find it has the same affect- calming, therapeutic, and fulfilling all at the same time. My mother died of cancer when I was 16, and she made quilts for each of her 5 children when she was still well enough. They are the simplest things- twin size, one color flannel on both sides, a blanket as batting, and hand-tied. But I treasure my quilt, and it is thread-bare now, still used on my side of the bed some times. I know the love goes both ways with quilts.

  36. I'm so sorry, Bonnie, for the hurt you are going through, knowing someone that is missing--and knowing the people left behind just waiting to hear for sure. My prayers are with all the grieving people--the mudslide, the lost plane...only God can give us comfort and thank God for my hands and eyes that I can busy myself making the quilts I love so much! We never know what a day can bring and it's a reminder when these things happen that we be at peace with God and at peace with everyone we know and love.

  37. Bonnie, thanks so much for this post. I met Julie last year here in Idaho at a quilt retreat and was just with her again at another retreat two weeks before the mudslide. She was good friends with quilt shop owner in Orofino, Idaho from their years in Alaska. Your Serenity Prayer and Deb's letter was inspiring.

  38. I was lucky enough to have met Julie when she visited Minneapolis with four other quilters from Cordova, a couple of summers ago. My heart aches over this news.

  39. Hugs, so much pain and grief and we find the serenity with needle and thread. thanks you for sharing and my prayers are with you and all of those who have lost dear ones.

  40. Couldn't have said it better Bonnie. So sorry for all the folks in Washington affected right now--especially anyone that was near and dear to you.
    I too sewed through the grief of losing my father a few years ago..I made little "mourning crosses" quilts for three family members with my dad's shirts in them. Now sadly, my dad's brother has passed away too (he was the recipient of one of the mourning crosses quilts)....life just keeps on keeping on. Sewing really has a way of healing our souls...I am not sure where I would be without it! HUGS!

  41. Unimaginably wondrous post my dear buddy, you do so much for so many and now enlightenment to help us all cope with lifes' tests........... thank you, bless you and keep you.

  42. I am stealing a copy of this Quilter's Serenity Prayer. I think I shall embroider it on something. Thank you *hugs*

  43. If anyone wants to help out by sending a quilt for the families affected by the mudslides in Washington, my friend is collecting them and will personally deliver them to the first responders and families as soon as they are ready. She has a blog and facebook page. It is Layers of Hope, Quilting 911. Quilts of all sizes, but especially twin size are requested. There are also several long arm quilters who are offering our services if you are a 'piecer' who would like to help by making quilt tops.

  44. Thankfulsanf@gmail.com8:26 PM EDT

    I lost my best friend a week ago last Monday. I took her to her onc appt, and she died four hours later. I have spent the past week and a half sorting and ironing fat quarters and scraps to try and get my thoughts off of her. I've just found your blog and am now going to figure out how to cut up and store for scrap quilts. Quilting is the only thing that makes the years quit for a while. My heart goes out to you and your friend in Washington.

  45. I was able to give my best friend a "LOVE" quilt to hold for the short time she had in hospice. I had just finished it when she became sick. It made my heart feel good.

    My husband's uncle has Stage 4 cancer and elected to go into hospice. A very good friend and his boss is helping him and the family with the whole process since there is such a distance in miles between us. I just sent him a long star quilt as just a thank you and it felt so right.

    Quilts do so much for us and those we give them to.

  46. Anonymous9:18 PM EDT

    Bonnie, your version of the Serenity Prayer is so wonderful and comes at such an appropriate time in my life. Today I was notified of the date of my mastectomy for breast cancer and it is still a little hard to accept.

    I am going to print out your prayer and keep it with me throughout whatever comes next.

    Thank you for all you do and for just being you. That is very special.

    Brenda S in Alberta

  47. Anonymous9:21 PM EDT

    I'm so sorry about your friends, Julie and her son. I hope there is positive news soon. I like your version of the Serenity Prayer.

  48. Beautiful prayer, Bonnie! I hope that your friend and her son turn up alive and well. Praying for the very best for them.

  49. Bonnie, thank you for this version. I am saving a copy for me. Sorry for the loss of your friends.

    Last week was scary for me, since my hubby was hospitalized with some mini-strokes. He was released this past Monday with no lasting effects, thank goodness. I was glad that I did some quilting to help me get through.

  50. So sorry to hear about your friend Julie and her son. The mudslide disaster has been very difficult for all of us in this little corner of Washington. We keep all of those is harms way in our thoughts and prayers. Hang in there Bonnie, miracles happen every day; sometimes we don't let ourselves see them!

  51. So sorry to hear about your friends. The mudslide is so devastating for so many people. We keep hearing about the miracles that happened and the sad news of those lost. We will keep them and you in our prayers.
    The serenity prayer has been part of me and my prayers for 43 years and I say it often. Your revision is wonderful. I will add it to my prayer book.

  52. In such times I ask God to make every stitch a prayer...

  53. Loss is never easy. But they aren't gone.... you have your memories. Hugs and prayers hon.

  54. <3 Thank you for sharing and for Deb's story . Prayers and blessings to you , Deb , and all the families and friends .

  55. So sorry for your loss . I try to remember how lucky I have been to have had the honor of knowing people who have passed. It doesn't help the grief but a reminder of how they have touched my life,each in their own way...

  56. I'm catching up on posts but I wanted to say belatedly rather than never how sorry I am for your loss. That whole tragedy is so hard to comprehend and the losses are staggering. Praying for peace for all the friends, family, and neighbors affected. Beth


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