Category Archives: Tuesday Tales

Learning from Others

Stories are all around us. Stories of quilts, of love, endurance, pain, stories are everywhere. On Tuesday’s this blog is supposed to be about stories, either stories of quilts or reviews of books (longer stories) I enjoyed, and hope you will find interesting.  Wednesday’s are about God’s word.

I know. There was no story yesterday. So today, I’m posting a link to my friend Lorelei’s blog, The Whimsical Mermaid. Loralei is a quilter, sewist, blogger and just plain fun. You can check out her story here. I hope you enjoy her story of a quilt that helped heal a riff, and build a relationship. While you’re there you might want to check out some of her other posts.

And, since today is Wednesday, a day when I normally post a (hopeful) inspirational post, here is one I found inspirational, and hope you do too. It was written by Linda Apple, speaker, author, and OWFI President.

Enjoy the posts. Tomorrow will be tutorial Thursday, and yes, it will be links of tutorials other talented people have generously posted. Enjoy your Wednesday.

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Changing Directions – The Quilt of Healing

Quilters love giving their quilts away almost as much as they enjoy making the quilts. In part, because if we didn’t give some away we’d soon be smothered by our creations. However, the real reason we give our quilts away is to share the love. We give quilts to loved ones, so they can be wrapped in our love even when we are far away. We give quilts to charities, to wrap those affected in love, warmth and knowledge that there are  people who don’t even know them that care about them.

When Pat, a quilter from Owasso looked for a home for her quilts, she quickly selected a Hospice in Texas that had been there for a family member. She had taken quilts with her on previous visits to family and the Hospice was always glad to receive the quilts. However, on one trip the destination of her quilts changed.

She traveled to Texas shortly after wildfires had swept that portion of the state, leaving people homeless and without anything. One of her family worked with these fire-damaged people helping them get on their feet. He asked if he could give the quilts to those folks this time. She quickly agreed, and her quilts loaded in his car for him to take to the ‘office’.

When he returned that evening he told her about one of the women who received one of her quilts. The woman had gone to work the morning of the fire, returning that evening to find the fire had swept her neighborhood. Her house, and all her belongings was in ashes. The only things she ‘salvaged’ were the clothes she’d worn to work, her purse, and her car. Everything else was gone.

When presented with the quilt and a place to live, she hugged the quilt as though inhaling the love stitched into it. She was happier with the quilt than the fact they’d found lodging for her. The quilt began her healing.

Neither of the quilts pictured were the donation quilt, but wouldn’t someone love to receive either of them? These are from the 2011 Kiamichi Quilt Guild show, “Fall in Love With Quilts.” The one at the top is titled “See ‘n Red” and is the creation of Sharon Savard.

This one (below), is the “Little Camp Quilt” is  by Pat Cotton of McAlester.

The Unfinished – Tuesday Tales

Tuesday Tales is for stories. Either stories of quilts and quilters or book reviews of fun reads. None of which I had available this morning. Instead, here’s a little fiction for your entertainment. I hope. 🙂 NOTE: UnFinished Projects aren’t limited to quilters or crafters. How many of my writing friends have stories started but never finished?

SWING FROM THE STARS

“What?” Mr. Underground Railroad murmured. He’d been sleeping peacefully at the back of the closet for months. Now, something was up.  He felt the weight of fabrics and patterns being lifted off of him.  Items crowded next to him, being moved and shuffled around. Soon, the light of the room surrounded him. The darkness of the closet behind him.

He looked around, Bargello and Grandmother’s Flower Garden were on either side of him.

“What’s going on?” He asked the girls.

“We don’t know, look,  there’s Pat and Bill.”

“Omph” They all said when the male themed projects landed on top of  them.

“Railroad, Bill, Flower, Bargello.” Pat recognized his fellow fabric projects.

“What’s the deal?” Bill asked.

“We don’t know,” Bargello started to answer and was interrupted by Railroad.

“Look out, incoming.” Several more partial projects were added to the growing pile.

They watched in awe from their location against the wall as the woman pulled sacks and filled with fabric from the closet to check their contents. She often added the item to the growing pile.  Railroad, Flower Garden and Bargello squirmed a little to keep from being completely covered, and continue watching the melee.

The women left the closet and moved to the bed. Hidden under the bed were more boxes of fabric and projects to be unearthed.  After clearing out under the bed, the woman left the room. The projects wondered what the woman was doing now, they couldn’t see her. She soon returned, her arms filled with more projects. Projects she’d stored in other rooms of the house. She dumped these with the others.

By the time she stopped the stack was alnost as tall as the woman herself. Projects started with enthusiasm and confidence, but soon relegated to the “To be Finished Later” division. Except, she seldom revisited this area. Projects were left to linger, parts cut, but not attached, discarded before being quilted. Projects meant to bring a smile and joy to lives were left to reside in the darkness, hidden from view.

The woman adjusted the pile of projects briefly before snapping a picture of them. She then sorted through the pile and pulled out a few select projects.

“Whee! Here we go again.” Flower Garden shouted when she was pulled from the pile. She watched in awe as the woman sifted through the mountain of unfinished projects and selected several more  finds, including her friends, Bargello, Underground Railroad, Pat and Bill.

“What’s she doing now?” Bargello whispered to Flower Garden.

“I don’t know, watch, she’s writing all our names on her computer.”

Bill, the most finished of the projects, reached around to read what their maker was doing. After a few minutes he settled back down with his friends.

“They’re gathering together” he whispered. “Those sewing folks and they’re writing down some of us, their unfinished projects.”

“There’s more of us?” Flower dropped one of her hexagons.

Bargello, who had been sewn into strips, but never cut into the squares, lifted the hexagon with one of her strip sets. “Careful Flower.”

“Thanks Bar.” Flower replied to her friend, she pulled her hexagon back into place.

“Ah, that explains it.” Railroad boomed.

“What?” The girls questioned.

“Explains why she pulled all of us unfinished ones out, then sorted through for twelve of us.” Railroad said

“We’re going to be finished this year.” Flower squealed.

“Yeah, maybe, don’t be too sure” Railroad cautioned.

“She pulled us out of hiding, she took a picture of us.” Bargello started.

“And, she listed us with her friends.” Flower finished.

“Well be complete, we’ll swing from the stars, we’ll bring sunshine to the world” the other projects started sing-songing.

“That doesn’t rhyme.” Flower said.

“Doesn’t matter”  one of the other projects told her, “that’s what we’re going to do. When she finishes us, and we’re where we belong, we bring sunshine along.”

“And, we’ll be so happy we’ll swing from the stars.” Another project finished the thought.

“Listen” Frank said.

All of the projects hushed quieted. Soon they heard it, a chorus the humans couldn’t hear, fabric voices over a thousand projects strong, “We’re going to swing from the stars, We’re going to bring sunshine.”

Everyone smiled. By the end of the year the stars would be decorated with finished projects. The projects would no longer be hidden from view in the back of the closet, or under a bed. They will be hanging from the stars.

**************

There you have it, a short piece of fiction based on fact. I have joined up with Patchwork Times, Quilter in the Gap, and Quilt N Bee to eliminate, or at least reduce my UFO pile. Join us?

Whether you sew, craft, or write make 2012 the year you complete at least one of your UnFinished Projects. 🙂 If you don’t want to join a challenge, just list one (or more) of your projects to be completed THIS  YEAR in the comments section. Come on, we can do it.

Christmas Stories – Celebrating Christmas

Here are a couple of Christmas stories for your reading pleasure. I didn’t write either of them, but enjoy both of the. The first story, doesn’t have a title as far as I know, it is from fellow author Janet Brown‘s blog, she received it from her daughter who had received it in an email. As Janet said on her blog, many of you may have received and read the story. It’s such a sweet story she posted it for those of us who hadn’t read it, and I’m paying it forward. Enjoy.

The brand new pastor and his wife, newly assigned to their first ministry, to reopen a church In suburban Brooklyn, arrived in early October excited about their opportunities. When they saw Their church, it was very run down and needed much work. They set a goal to have everything done in time to have their first service on Christmas Eve.

They worked hard, repairing pews, plastering walls, painting, etc, and on December 18 were ahead of schedule and just about finished. On December 19 a terrible tempest – a driving rainstorm hit the area and lasted for two days.

On the 21st, the pastor went over to the church, his heart sank when he saw that the roof had leaked, causing a large area of plaster about 20 feet by 8 feet to fall off the front wall of the sanctuary just behind the pulpit, beginning about head high.

The pastor cleaned up the mess on the floor, and not knowing what else to do but postpone the Christmas Eve service, headed home. On the way he noticed that a local business was having a flea market type sale for charity, so he stopped in. One of the items was a beautiful, handmade, ivory colored, crocheted tablecloth
with exquisite work, fine colors and a cross embroidered right in the center. It was just the right size to cover the hole in the front wall. He bought it and headed back to the church.

By this time it had started to snow. An older woman running from the opposite direction was trying to catch the bus. She missed it. The pastor invited her to wait in the warm church for the next bus 45 minutes later.

She sat in a pew and paid no attention to the pastor while he got a ladder, hangers, etc., to put up the tablecloth as a wall tapestry. The pastor could hardly believe how beautiful it looked and it covered up the entire problem area.

Then he noticed the woman walking down the center aisle. Her face was like a sheet. “Pastor,” she asked, “where did you get that tablecloth?” The pastor explained. The woman asked him to check the lower right corner to see if the initials, EBG were crocheted into It there. They were. These were the initials of the woman, and she had made this tablecloth 35 years before, in Austria .

The woman could hardly believe it as the pastor told how he had just gotten “The Tablecloth”. The woman explained that before the war she and her husband were well-to-do people in Austria .

When the Nazis came, she was forced to leave. Her husband was going to follow her the next week. He was captured, sent to prison and she never saw her husband or her home again.

The pastor wanted to give her the tablecloth; but she made the pastor keep it for the church. The pastor insisted on driving her home. That was the least he could do. She lived on the other side of Staten Island and was only in Brooklyn for the day for a housecleaning job.

What a wonderful service they had on Christmas Eve. The church was almost full. The music and the Spirit were great. At the end of the service, the Pastor and his wife greeted everyone at the door and many said that they would return.

One older man, whom the pastor recognized from the neighborhood continued to sit in one of the pews and stare, and the pastor wondered why he wasn’t leaving.

The man asked him where he got the tablecloth on the front wall because it was identical to one that his wife had made years ago when they lived in Austria before the war and how could there be two tablecloths so much alike?

He told the pastor how the Nazis came, how he forced his wife to flee for her safety and he was supposed to follow her, but he was arrested and put in a prison. He never saw his wife or his home again all the 35 years between.

The pastor asked him if he would allow him to take him for a little ride. They drove to Staten Island and to the same house where the pastor had taken the woman three days earlier.

He helped the man climb the three flights of stairs to the woman’s apartment, knocked on the door and he saw the greatest Christmas reunion he could ever imagine.

True Story – submitted by Pastor Rob Reid
who says God does work in mysterious ways.

 

This second story is actually a poem by Helen Steiner Rice. I first heard it, years ago, performed by Grandpa Jones. You can hear it here. You can find more of her poems, here.

The Christmas Guest

It happened one day at the year’s white end,
Two neighbors called on an old-time friend

And they found his shop so meager and mean,
Made gay with a thousand boughs of green,

And Conrad was sitting with face a-shine
When he suddenly stopped as he stitched a twine

And said, “Old friends, at dawn today,
When the cock was crowing the night away,

The Lord appeared in a dream to me
And said, ‘I am coming your guest to be’.

So I’ve been busy with feet astir,
Strewing my shop with branches of fir,

The table is spread and the kettle is shined
And over the rafters the holly is twined,

And now I will wait for my Lord to appear
And listen closely so I will hear

His step as He nears my humble place,
And I open the door and look in His face. . .”

So his friends went home and left Conrad alone,
For this was the happiest day he had known,

For, long since, his family had passed away
And Conrad has spent a sad Christmas Day.

But he knew with the Lord as his Christmas guest
This Christmas would be the dearest and best,

And he listened with only joy in his heart.
And with every sound he would rise with a start

And look for the Lord to be standing there
In answer to his earnest prayer

So he ran to the window after hearing a sound,
But all that he saw on the snow-covered ground

Was a shabby beggar whose shoes were torn
And all of his clothes were ragged and worn.

So Conrad was touched and went to the door
And he said, “Your feet must be frozen and sore,

And I have some shoes in my shop for you
And a coat that will keep you warmer, too.”

So with grateful heart the man went away,
But as Conrad noticed the time of day

He wondered what made the dear Lord so late
And how much longer he’d have to wait,

When he heard a knock and ran to the door,
But it was only a stranger once more,

A bent, old crone with a shawl of black,
A bundle of faggots piled on her back.

She asked for only a place to rest,
But that was reserved for Conrad’s Great Guest.

But her voice seemed to plead, “Don’t send me away
Let me rest awhile on Christmas day.”

So Conrad brewed her a steaming cup
And told her to sit at the table and sip.

But after she left he was filled with dismay
For he saw that the hours were passing away

And the Lord had not come as He said He would,
And Conrad felt sure he had misunderstood.

When out of the stillness he heard a cry,
“Please help me and tell me where am I.”

So again he opened his friendly door
And stood disappointed as twice before,

It was only a child who had wandered away
And was lost from her family on Christmas Day. .

Again Conrad’s heart was heavy and sad,
But he knew he should make this little child glad,

So he called her in and wiped her tears
And quieted her childish fears.

Then he led her back to her home once more
But as he entered his own darkened door,

He knew that the Lord was not coming today
For the hours of Christmas had passed away.

So he went to his room and knelt down to pray
And he said, “Dear Lord, why did you delay,

What kept You from coming to call on me,
For I wanted so much Your face to see. . .”

When soft in the silence a voice he heard,
“Lift up your head for I kept My word–

Three times My shadow crossed your floor–
Three times I came to your lonely door–

For I was the beggar with bruised, cold feet,
I was the woman you gave to eat,
And I was the child on the homeless street.”

Helen Steiner Rice

Hope you enjoyed the stories. Have a Merry Christmas, or Happy Hanukkah.