With Mother's Day coming up this weekend, I thought it would be a good time to publish this post as a tribute to my wonderful mom who left us all too soon, but lovingly left an unforgettable legacy to her family and friends.
Mom was always my biggest quilt fan… she has had me make at least one quilt a year for the past several years for either herself or someone in our family.
She loved fabric almost as much I do and we had a fun times shopping at the quilt shop or pouring over bags of fabric that she or I had purchased.
The day mom passed suddenly, there were quilt pieces spread on the work table in my sewing room…pieces of the quilt we had planned, cut, and pressed together. I had begun sewing the pieces and was looking forward to surprising her with the finished quilt. Ironically, I had another quilt on the work table that day; it was a memory quilt that I was making for a customer from the clothes of a mother whose daughter had also lost her mom suddenly.
The day after my mom's funeral, a dear friend suggested that I write about what our family had just been through because it could possibly be helpful to someone else who was experiencing a similar loss. She planted a seed that I couldn't stop thinking about. I did want to help others, and I also realized that I needed an outlet for my grief. So I decided to write about portions of our family's experience with the prayer that it might help to comfort someone else who may be grieving.
February 1, 2017, 6:00 am
"I can't believe this is happening..." I've said those words at least a dozen times in the last eight hours. Yet, as I stand by your bedside in the early hours of the morning, holding your warm, soft hand, I am in a state of shock as I hope against hope that the doctors are wrong about the severity of the brain aneurysm that has left you unresponsive. I never in a million years thought I would be the one to hear the words "I'm sorry, but there is no hope that your mother will survive." My heart sinks at the thought.
In this moment the room is silent except for the rhythmic sound of the ventilator and the beeps and clicks of the monitors and IV machines. Dad stands on the other side of the bed holding your other hand. We are both thinking the same thing, "This isn't happening... somebody please wake me up."
My mind wanders back through the previous day... my normal, happy, routine day. I started to call you twice, but then I got distracted, busy with something; I can't remember what was so important. Why didn't I call? When I went to bed earlier tonight, I realized that I had let the entire day go by without talking to you; which is a rare thing.
"I'll call her in the morning." I thought.
Then the phone rang and my normal, happy, routine world shattered, never to be the same. I begin to weep again at the thought of not calling... of not hearing your voice one more time.
Doctors and nurses come in and out of the room regularly to check your vital signs, to draw blood, and conduct tests. Again, I hope and pray that they will offer some encouragement that you will recover... but they only offer their heartfelt apologies. Friends and family come to give support. Many people text and call. The entire scene before me seems like a dream... and I'm waiting, waiting for someone to wake me up.
We sing one of your favorite hymns, "Above the Bright Blue", with tears streaming down our faces. Someone leads a prayer, and I hear my own sobs in the room as if it were someone else's and not my own. A scripture is read to remind us of the hope we have in Christ. Yes, when there is no more hope in this life, there is hope beyond... the hope of heaven for the children of God.
The nurse, a social worker, and a grief counselor are here to prepare us to say goodbye. How can that be? I am trying to be strong for Dad...I am heartbroken at the sorrow in his eyes. I want to be strong for him... but I am terrified.
The room is quiet now. Angels silently linger around us... we continue to hold your hands as the precious life leaves you... I know the angels will carry you to Abraham's bosom, just like we read in the Bible.
As the warmth leaves your hand, I realize that you are leaving us...
It is time for you to be with the Lord... safe in the arms of Jesus.
Yet we remain to grieve and to live on this side of eternity, without you.
I miss you mom, and I love you more than I ever knew possible.
But I know that you are happy and at peace. Thank you for being a faithful, loving mother, and friend, and thank you for always being there for me.
When I came back home after the funeral, the first thing I did was to go up to the sewing room and touch the pieces of Mom's quilt, our quilt, a part of her that will remain in me as long as I live.
In closing, it has been three months since mom passed; the quilt is packed neatly away because I still cannot bring myself to finish working on it, but I hope to find the strength to finish it for my dad’s birthday in September.
I will never look at a quilt in the same way again. They are truly memories bound in a special and unique form, one that can be held and treasured.
Thank you for reading and I hope this post has been an encouragement to your day.
Quilting and sewing aren't the only things I enjoy...I also love trying out new recipes! This wonderful dessert creation from Hannah Boswell is not only beautiful but easy to make.
Guest Post by Hannah
Panna cotta is a beautiful chilled Italian custard. Easy to adapt to whatever fruits are in season, panna cotta is a great way to showcase your favorite fruits and berries. When I lived in Alaska, freshly picked blueberries cooked into a sauce and poured over a topping of raspberries was always a hit.
I love panna cotta because it works with many common dietary needs. First, it is naturally gluten-free and egg-free. As someone who has been gluten-free for years, I have tasted my fair share of GF imitations that were a sad excuse for the real deal. Additionally, the sugar in the recipe is also be easily replaced with Stevia or Xylitol without sacrificing flavor, making it friendlier for those with blood sugar issues.
Although any fruit would work, mangos complement the creaminess of the custard very well. Mangos are amazing. They taste amazing, and they have amazing nutrition. Containing high doses of antioxidants, the fruit also is high in fiber, vitamins A and C, and also contains vitamin B6, E, K, folate, copper, potassium and many other micronutrients.
The national fruit of India, Pakistan and the Philippines, mangos come into season twice a year in the U.S., usually around June and December. I often watch for sales during these times of the year. They provide a great excuse to make my favorite mango dishes: panna cotta, smoothies, savory mango salsas, chicken curry salads, and frozen sorbets.
This panna cotta is made by first creating a puree of mango and adding it to warmed mango juice mixed with unflavored gelatin. I like to pour this mixture first into cups placed at an angle in a muffin tray. A towel or plastic wrap placed inside the muffin tray helps the cups stay in position. The mixture will harden to a custard-like consistency in 2-3 hours.
After hardening, milk is heated with sugar (or your sweetener of choice) and gelatin which is then brought almost to a boil. It is removed from heat, and heavy whipping cream and vanilla are added to finish the job. The cream mixture is poured on top of the mango puree and allowed to chill for 2-3 hours.
When the cream hardens into a custard, garnish with chopped mango, mint, pomegranate arils, whipped cream, and whatever else your imagination desires…and enjoy!
MANGO PANNA COTTA
(makes 4-6 servings)
Microwave mango juice for one minute and sprinkle gelatin on top; allow to soften for ten minutes. Puree mangos (reserve some for garnish!) in a blender on high and add juice/gelatin mixture. Pour into 4-6 cups and chill for 3 hours.
In medium-sized saucepan, sprinkle gelatin over milk and allow to soften for 10 minutes. Turn heat on medium and heat with sugar (or other sweetener) while stirring constantly until almost boiling. Remove from heat and add cream, salt and vanilla. Pour over hardened mango puree and chill for 2-3 hours until set. Garnish and enjoy!
Meet Hannah Boswell:
Hannah is an Alaskan transplant to the South who enjoys business, photography, and spending time with her husband. When she's not working or studying, the highlights of her day include coffee time with God in the mornings and exploring the beautiful outdoors.
What are a few of your favorite things? If you were to ask me this question, I would, without a doubt, say that flowers would be near the top of my list (right up there with dark chocolate). Much of the inspiration for my quilt designs comes from my love of flowers. No fabric, no matter how lovely, can compare with the real thing. For this reason, you will likely find me outside on a pretty afternoon dressed in my gardening clothes and completely absorbed in tending our flower beds...even when there's quilting work to be done inside!
My husband knows how to make my day super- special...just by bringing home a bouquet of flowers! Our anniversary is in March, so each year I look forward to pretty new garden gloves and new gardening tools as gifts.
And, every spring when the weather warms up, Jim and the boys help me bring home a load of various blooms from the nursery. Afterward, they bring out the tools and pour heaping bags of new garden soil into each of the flower beds. When all of the preparation work is done, they leave me alone to enjoy my "therapy session" of getting my hands into the dirt to plant flowers.
I find flowers to be some of the most fascinating and interesting aspects of God's marvelous creation.
Luckily, for those of us who live in the South, we can enjoy a variety of blooms every season of the year.
Isn't it wonderful that God placed His handiwork on earth for us to admire not only His majesty, but to learn some important lessons that, if applied, can help grow us into better people?
Five Life-Changing Lessons We Can Learn from Flowers:
1. We can learn from flowers that God appreciates beauty. God didn't just design and create every flower that exists, He embellished them with color, texture, and aroma! The proof of God's boundless imagination is especially evident in the enormous variety of flowering plants that occupy nearly every corner of the world. Flowers are an "undeniable witness" to the Creator's love of beauty. Have you ever thought of yourself as beautiful? I hope so because you are created in God's image. That one fact gives you much more importance in His eyes than all the flowers in the world!
God places much more value on our inner beauty rather than outward appearance, and inward qualities such as kindness, gentleness, and humility are precious in God's eyes.
2. We all have unique talents and abilities that we can extend to those around us. Just as flowers spread their own fragrance, beauty, and color within their surroundings, so we too can be a positive, lovely, influence for good to people who come into our lives. There is no one else just like you and no one else with your particular abilities. You are a gift to the people whom you come in contact with... you have the ability to shine and make a difference like no one else can!
3. Flowers teach us to adapt when necessary... instead of giving up. Regardless of its circumstances, a flower still blooms. We've seen flowers that bloom beautifully in the most difficult of places...have you even noticed a flower growing through a crack
in a sidewalk? If we strive to grow our faith rather than our fears, we too will stay grounded during difficult times and will be able to adapt and grow with the adversities
we face. This growth also helps us to become more capable of being an encouragement to others who are facing tough times.
4. We can learn some important lessons about comparison from flowers. Have you ever noticed that we can plant a variety of flowers in different sizes, colors, and shapes all within the same area and each one will grow and bloom heartily just as it was designed to do? What an important life-changing lesson for us! Comparison leads to discouragement. Theodore Roosevelt said, "Comparison is the thief of joy." One of the most positive things you can do is to find your strengths, focus on your God-given abilities, and find ways to use them for good. When you are busy doing good, then you won't have time to compare yourself with others.
5. Life is brief... we should make the most of every day. Flowers have a relatively short life span. They bloom for a season and then die leaving behind precious seeds to carry on the cycle of the plant. We don't know how long we have to live on this earth, but we can be determined to bloom and show God's glory in our lives. We can plant seeds for a legacy that will last for many generations and will create a lasting impact in the hearts of those who are touched by our well-lived, well-loved life.
Keep on blooming!
Here's what is happening at the sewing machine... I have a special treat for you! In today's newsletter, I'm sharing a guest post by Annie Smith...quilter, podcaster, author, and a super-sweet lady!
Good morning! I hope your week is going great! Have you made time to work on your sewing projects? I hope "sew"! To me, there is nothing like sitting at the sewing machine and letting the creativity flow. Most likely your week has been a little like mine... with its ups and downs, but let's keep on smiling and keep on finding ways to make life happier for everyone around us. Speaking of happy things, I think you are going to enjoy reading today's guest article from Annie Smith!
Quilts are truly special, and they are a wonderful way of letting someone know how much you cherish them.
Today's guest post is from someone who knows quilts and the impact they make on the lives of others.
I am happy to share her blog post titled "Kid's Quilts" with you on my blog.
Annie created the first podcast for quilters, titled "Quilting Stash", in 2005. Since then, she's done over 220 podcasts and still going!
You can find her podcast on iTunes.
If you want to read more about Annie's quilting adventures, you can find her at: www.anniesmith.net
You can find her book by clicking here