Recently, I had the privilege of visiting with a friend from my church. We have attended the same church for thirty-some years, and during the last ten years her and her husband sit in the bench in front of us each Sunday. Just in case you are wondering, we do not have assigned seating, it is just one of those things that happen out of habit. Her warm, caring smile has blessed many of my Sunday mornings, but little did I know the part of her life I learned about in my visit to her home.
Upon arriving, her gracious hospitality was evident. She led me to her lower level where I walked into her craft room. The red, white and blue tablescape was beautiful, with cups of coffee, a plate of cookies and fruit to match the decor. The aroma of baked apples filled the room from the burning candle sitting on the wood stove. I immediately felt at home.
Her craft room reminded me of those I see in my "Where Women Create" magazines. Wouldn't you agree? Her husband made her the table in the middle of the room. Here is where my very talented friend spends many of her days creating. The first organization she creates for is...Quilts of Valour. Their mission is to make quilts for men and women in the military, that were touched by war. Those critically injured in some way through service to our country. Her own dear son served in the military in Iraq so her heart is definitely in her mission.
Here is the first step she takes when starting out to make a quilt. She concieves and pieces the pallatte of fabric. Here is the pallette she will use for her next quilt. I was amazed at how the colors coordinated so perfectly.
Here is a top of a quilt that she created. Her role is a topper. She puts together the tops of the quilts and then sends the quilt to another part of the country to a long armer. That person has a long arm machine and they do the stitching with that machine and then mail it back to her. At that time she finishes the quilt, binds it, labels it and puts it into a presentation case. The presentation cases she make looks like a pillow case. She makes it in colors that fit with the quilt it contains. At this point it is ready to be presented or to be shipped depending on where it is going. Can you imagine how blessed the recipient would be. She told me that the quilts go to field hospitals in Iraq, to Germany, to Brooks Army Center in Texas, to firemen in NYC and many other places around the world.
This is a "Missing Star" quilt. You can see the empty spaces on the quilt representing the missing. The workmanship on each quilt was amazing! I was speechless. The time, expertise, energy and artistic skill that goes into each and every quilt represented a true act of love.
Even the undersides of each quilt were perfectly done. This star underside with the white stitching was interesting, how the white stars tied in with the yellow stars. What works of art.
I liked how this underside stitching expressed "thank you" to the recipient. How does one really go about thanking those who gave their lives to preserve and protect our freedom?
This quilt was one of my favorites.
The perfectly done stitching shows that it will go to someone in the Marines. I wish you could see this quilt in real life. What a masterpiece!
And, then if that isn't enough of a labor of love in creating quilts of valour, my friend also is actively involved in quilting for "Project Linus". It is an organization thats mission is ...to provide security, warmth, and comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need through the gifts of handmade blankets or afghans created by volunteer blanketeers. This organization has completed and handed out over 3 million blankets since it was started. It has 367 chapters. Here is one of the quilts that my friend made for children.
She has strips of fabric cut to help finish another quilt.
You can see where the strips of fabric will go on this quilt. This beautiful soft pastel quilt touched my heart as I stood there examining it, and realizing that some precious little one's life would be blessed by this labor of love. Truly...a labor of love from my friend and all those men and women who make these blankets. She said some policeman carry them in their cars if they come upon an accident scene involving seriously injured little ones.
I spent some hours with this friend and came away with a true appreciation for the "gift of time" that people like her give. Does she receive thank you notes? Sometimes. She shared one from the wife of a seriously injured military man and it brought tears to my eyes. There just are not words to adequately express what I felt as I walked through her upstairs hallway to the front door.
God's love shown through her spirit as I observed her giving of her time and talents without accolades and recognition.
Her country and her freedoms gave her the privilege and the mission to do what she does, quietly, skillfully, and without fanfare, she creates. What a lady! How blessed I was by the visit.
The two websites for these organizations are;
qovf.org and projectlinus.org
May we never forget or take for granted the freedoms that we in this country hold dear. God bless America!