Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Quilt's story: a gift of love...

This is the story that I wrote to accompany the prayer quilt I made for Elizabeth (our daughter) and Josh's wedding... I considered not sharing it, as it is a personal story, but it's even more than that ~ a story of the Father's love for His children. I chose not to include pictures of all the people who participated, as there are too many to post. His love truly endures forever!

MY STORY ~ as told by the Quilt

In the land of the living, two Dear Ones dwelled with their three special Blessings. These Blessings were precious gifts given to the Dear Ones by their loving Father. There was the Musician, the Seamstress and lover of people (Sweet Rosebud) and the Techie aka the family comedian. The Dear Ones cared for them, taught them, encouraged them, disciplined them, played with them, and so loved them ~ and they lived a unique and wonderful life together; and all the while the Blessings grew. One day, their Sweet Rosebud met a young man. In a short time, he convinced the Sweet Rosebud to leave her home, her family, her friends and her church and move to the place he dwelled in. A great sadness settled over the Dear Ones and the Blessings left behind, yet they continued to seek the Father for understanding and tried to love their Sweet Rosebud from a great distance... A day arrived when the Sweet Rosebud called to tell her family that she was getting married. They tried to be happy for her, but it was so difficult. They still didn't understand why the Sweet Rosebud couldn't be part of her family and love another too.

Upon the engagement, the Father spoke to one of the Dear Ones (who was also a Quilt Maker). He told her to construct a queen-size quilt for this upcoming wedding. Upon completion, the Quilt Maker was instructed to insert ties and travel with me, so people who loved the Sweet Rosebud could pray for her, bless her and share their love with her - and her future husband - and then tie-a-tie to represent that prayer... The Quilt Maker agreed to what the Father asked of her, but let Him know that her heart was broken and a great sadness was making it difficult to be obedient and complete her task. She wanted to show her Sweet Rosebud how much she loved her, but didn't know how to get past this great sadness. The Quilt Maker visited many fabric stores trying to find the inspiration fabric for my design, but nothing seemed right. On the last day of searching, and as she prepared to enter the last fabric store, she said to the Father, "Unless you show me the fabric you've chosen, I am afraid I shall not be able to make this quilt you desire and I shall fail you." As she walked through the door, she heard a small voice tell her to go straight forward to the back wall. She began to scan the rows of fabric, but still nothing. Suddenly, her eyes landed on a fabric and she heard the Father say, "Yes that is the one!" 3 of the remaining 4 fabrics were found quickly - and after getting the other Dear One to help her, they found the final fabric together at another fabric store.

Now that the Quilt Maker had all my pieces and parts ~ it was time to put me together. Still finding it difficult to focus on the project, the Father provided the Quilt Maker with special music to listen to as she worked on me. This encouraged the Quilt Maker and she spent many hours praying, sewing, and loving her Sweet Rosebud as she worked. She allowed tears to flow, joy to fill her heart (as she remembered the special times she and her Sweet Rosebud had shared, as well as the entire family) and the Father’s Hope kept her going. The Quilt Maker’s loving hands were gentle and handled me with great care. Her thoughts were filled with her Sweet Rosebud constantly... Oh, how she loves her!

As the Quilt Maker sewed, she looked at pictures the Sweet Rosebud took in Colorado quite often. She saw how the fabrics the Father had chosen were the colors of His Creation all around the Sweet Rosebud. She knew I was to be a reminder of how much He loves His Sweet Rosebud and how the evidence of whom He is exists everywhere that she looks. The blue is the color of the sky. The creamy white fabric – upon close examination – reveals the wildflowers that fill the meadows. Yet, take a few steps back from me and you’ll notice it resembles the snow-capped mountains. When looking at the mountains around you, Sweet Rosebud and your young man, there are cool and warm browns. These colors are reflected in the remaining fabric choices ~ as well as the variety of textures too. The paisley design in the blue fabric represents the trees and shrubs that appear in the landscape. The imperfections in the quilt remind us that we are human, sinful by nature, living in a broken world and in desperate need of a Savior. Only He can set us free ~ completely free! And as a whole quilt, I shall remind you that all you need to do is “lift up your eyes to the hills from whence cometh your help. Your help cometh from the Lord, Maker of Heaven and Earth...” He is with you always!

The Quilt Maker worked through many challenges ~ and at times wanted to give up ~ but the Father and the other Dear One encouraged her and sustained her to finish sewing me together. When the sewing was finished, she loving threaded over 200 ties through all my layers. The Dear Ones were filled with love and hope as they packed me up. I couldn’t imagine the places they were going!

The Dear Ones got into the car and drove off. We were in the car a very long time. When we stopped, they brought me into a place and many people began to touch me and love you! First, I met Kenny and Denise. They were joined by Uncle Jim, Aunt Judy and cousin Jennifer. I heard that I was in Lewiston, Idaho. After lots of hugs, the Dear Ones packed me up and we were on the road again. We arrived in a small town out on the prairie and I was taken into a house where many people gathered ~ Nezperce, Idaho. I was spread out on the dining, room table and family gathered all around. I met Uncle Greg, Aunt Kay, Riley, Allison, Casie, Brett, Uncle Bob, Aunt Kathy, Scott, Melodee, Aunt Maxine, and Grandma and Granddad. Even one of the Dear Ones tied a knot that evening... I enjoyed many hours of listening to family chatter, laughter and the warmth of loved ones together. The next morning, I was packed into the car and we headed north to Spokane. The Dear Ones arrived at Uncle Richard’s house and the hustle and bustle began again. I was laid out on a sofa in a bright room and basked in the late morning sunshine and the love of family together. Uncle Richard, Aunt Suann, Cade, Ragan, Uncle Justin, Aunt Shannon, Maia and Loran all added their knots to me! Each one was like a precious hug! After waiting for the Dear One to play Wii with young Cade, the Dear Ones packed me up again and we headed home. I even saw snow in the mountains!

On Sunday evening, the Dear Ones put me in the car again and we traveled for a distance in the rain and darkness. We arrived in another small town, Granite Falls, and I was unfolded upon one of many tables in a fellowship hall. Many young people ~ and a few older ones ~ blessed you that night. Tina Riley, Lauren Moushey, Tanner Moushey, Dean Riley, Emily Clements, Becca Hoeglund, Christa Moushey, Alison Siedenburg, Amanda Hoeglund, Grant Siedenburg and RuthAnn Hoeglund. The sounds of the Community Choir practice filled the church with beautiful music!

Valerie Olson came by the house to tie-a-tie. She had a lovely conversation with the Quilt Maker and really loves going to school at the International Academy of Design and Technology. After a day’s rest, I was packed up again and back in the car. This time, we went to Third Place Books and met up with an energetic woman named Carla Peery. She hugged the Quilt Maker and talked about how special the Sweet Rosebud was and how much she missed her. Then, it was off again and we stopped at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. When asked if Grandpa knew how to tie a square knot, he did a funny little dance and made silly little comments. Aunt Marilyn and Uncle Len came by the house mid-afternoon when Grandma and the Quilt Maker returned from shopping. I waited for them to tie their special knots until after the gifts were wrapped. Once again, I was folded up and put into the bag and we were off to the next stop. Vanessa Norris is a lovely woman with a great love for the Lord. I knew her quickly, as I’d heard her music played while the Quilt Maker sewed me together. She’s a prayer warrior! On our way home, the Quilt Maker stopped in downtown Seattle. She couldn’t take me with her, but went to Banana Republic to pick up notes left by former co-workers. It certainly is a busy season downtown. She saw JoJo who asked the Quilt Maker to tie-a-tie for her! What a precious friend...

At home again, cousin Denise came by a day later! Oh, how she loves you. She, too, is a prayer warrior and spent much time praying for you both... Friday evening, I was packed up again and taken to the SPU faculty lounge. Elizabeth Dueck and Shannon Heckelsmiller came by to pray for you and tie a knot. You know many people and they all love you! Beautiful music resounded from First Free Methodist Church that night, as I waited for the Dear Ones and the Blessings to return me home. Saturday, I was at Bethany Community Church during the Prayers and Squares work day. Pat Collins came by to pray for you and share her love. Beth Gerlach prayed for you too! Next, it was off to the Greenwood Library so Shirley Riley could tie a knot for you. Oh, the places I’ve been!

Sunday morning, the Dear Ones were up early and prepared to be out for the day. We drove quite a distance again and arrived at Stephanie Singer’s parent’s house where she, her mom and Debbie Olson were waiting to tie knots for you! Stephanie loves you so much! She’s a bit heartsick that she is not able to be there for the wedding... Then, it was off to Sisco Heights Community Church. The Dear Ones were so delighted to see old friends and eagerly anticipated Pastor Dan’s message. They were so loved by everyone! After the service, Jan Eide, Kris Gieseking, Becky Jolly (married Mike Jolly), Sarah Gieseking and Pastor Dan all prayed for you! These are all prayer warriors and love the Sweet Rosebud greatly! From here, the Dear Ones headed north and we arrived at a home familiar to the Quilt Maker. I heard stories of the many hours that you, Sweet Rosebud and the Quilt Maker spent in Pat’s sewing room. What a special place! I was laid out on the pool table and Pat and Barbara Tunestam tied several ties for you... Even Bob Watson wanted to tie a tie for the Sweet Rosebud and said that she and the Quilt Maker should come by more often, as he missed them. The last stop of the day was in Shoreline to visit the Aw family. Valerie and Natalie tied a tie for you ~ as so did their parents! What delightful people!

My final day of travel before being packed up for a long drive to Colorado was Monday. The Quilt Maker took me to a loving doctor’s office. What a caring and compassionate woman she is! Then, it was over to the chiropractor where his skilled hands touched me. Then, I headed north to a noisy place ~ a church bustling with many children and lots of moms! I was greeted by a lovely woman, Kim Nelson. She hugged the Quilt Maker and asked about the Sweet Rosebud. She took us upstairs and I was spread out on a table near the study hall room. Kirsten Nelson, Julie VandenBos, Judy Collins, Laurie Morrison, Robin Stangland, and Sue Danielson all prayed for you. Acacia wanted to be there, but was home ill and quite disappointed at not getting to participate. They all asked about the Sweet Rosebud and who was this young man, etc. In the pouring rain, we departed again and headed south. We arrived at Northwest University and dashed into Perkins Lounge where Teixeira Clark and Melissa Newhouse met up with us and prayed for you. What delightful friends you have!

Upon arriving home Monday night, the Quilt Maker spread me out across the futon so the family could pray and tie ties. The Musician’s beloved, the Musician, the Quilt Maker and the Techie were the final people from home that tied and prayed; missing you greatly as they did so. And yes, even Coco wanted to be a part of this gift too. This loving dog has remained close to the Quilt Maker for hours upon hours ~ even when she sewed late in the wee morning hours. As I lay upon the futon, I reflected back over my journey with the Dear Ones. I think of all the people I met along this journey and the many others, who were unable to be a part of it, but sent a message and let the Quilt Maker know how much they cared about the Sweet Rosebud. I have yet to meet you, but I’ve learned that you have touched many lives, impacted many who say they are better people because you have been a part of their lives, are loved by countless people, are special and very talented, and missed by all! So many desired to be part of your wedding celebration, but found it to be too short of notice and for most, too far away for them to afford to travel there. Everyone wants the Dear Ones to give you a hug and tell you hello from them and remind you how much they love you, Sweet Rosebud... That’s going to be a lot of hugging and loving shared!

Now, the Dear Ones are preparing to wrap me up for the longest journey of all to you and the young man. The Quilt Maker has left a dozen ties untied, so the young man’s family and Sylvia may participate in this special gift too. I hope I will be an ongoing reminder of how much you are loved, Sweet Rosebud. I desire to keep you warm and safe under my layers throughout each season and constantly remind you that the Father is always near to you... I look forward to spending many wonderful years with you. May you rejoice and be glad as you receive this gift of love!

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly light, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the Word of Truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all He created.” James 1:17-18

“...the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.” James 3:17-18

You are loved Elizabeth and Josh...

My own personal reflections: This was a difficult and challenging journey for me to undertake making this quilt, but I learned that even in the midst of great trials in our lives God remains faithful, there are still times of joy, we have a greater strength within us (because of our Lord) than we realize, and our lives are not just about us - but who we are is partly based on all the people who come into (and some who go out of) our lives. I would be such a different person without the countless people who have crossed the path of my life through my short years on this earth. And while I would prefer not to go through these hard times, I wouldn't trade the opportunity to grow in my faith, to be refined and learn to love others at a greater level. I have been far from perfect, but I'm so thankful God has met our needs in more amazing ways than ever before and shown us that He is in our midst, even in our darkest hours. He has brought us hope, joy and blessed us to overflowing with His love. He has the same for you...


  1. Beautiful. I have tears streaming down my face. I only hope that Elizabeth reads this and understands just how much she is loved by everyone.

  2. Thanks, Mom. I knew you'd cry. She said reading the notes and looking at the pictures were emotional for her, but she didn't say anything about the story...

  3. Oh dear. What a shame. Hopefully someday she will understand it all.

  4. Monumental undertaking, Joanie! Both the quilt and writing the story. Now 'tis time to move forward yourself and release all the emotion, love and energies and channel them in a new direction. You have done your part - raised a daughter to independence. Congratulations.

  5. Thank you, Rebecca. I am working through a closure stage now and I'm looking forward to the New Year and the next stage of my journey with Him! Who knows what adventures are just around the corner...

  6. A beautiful and heartfelt story of love and faithfullness. What an example of what being a Mother is all about. Joanie, not only have you heard God's voice and been obedient, but you have been an enduring witness to your daughter & new son-in-law of God mercy and grace. I'm so proud of you.

  7. Thank you, Denise. Your words mean a great deal to my heart! Thank you for being there for me throughout this journey. You are a precious gift in my life! Even more thankful that we're family. :)


Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts! Abundant blessings on your day... Joanie