Sunday, September 14, 2014

A Day Well Spent

Yesterday was full of good things! And I will be careful to chronicle its' events, first as eucharisteo; "to find the gifts and the grace in the moments of each day", but also, to act as a reference; grace and gifts stored, nudging out any foothold gained by a gloom that follows close, even the following day! "Count and Name your blessings" - years ago, a Rhode Island woman, Pixie Wright, held my hands and looked into my eyes as if to will into me this truth. I will never forget the impact of her words. So here goes the listing of yesterday's blessings:

Saturday morning began by packing up the car with many pretty props which I would use in my quilting presentation at a local Support Group called Flourish. At this point, I was a little nervous, being stretched beyond my comfort zone, (I've never considered public speaking to be my strength), yet keen and even anticipating the opportunity, confident that I had something worthwhile to share. Let me say, I wasn't certain I would communicate perfectly, but I was counting on my pretty quilt visuals to get me over the line. So I wrapped myself up in the tangible hug that a quilt can offer and set off, review and set-up logistics competing with tummy flutters and let's face it, that rushing/running-slightly-behind-schedule-yikes-feeling.

Flourish "is a support group for people who have a physical disability, disorder or chronic illness, or who have family members affected, or who work in the area of disability".
The meeting includes discussion time, small group interaction, 'compassion knowledge' and a segment which includes performing or creative arts. I gave a great deal of thought to what I would say about this hands-on topic, knowing that some in the group do not have the use of their hands. Honestly, I didn't end up with an answer to this, except that I wanted to inspire and encourage, and I prayed to this end. One of my first assurances upon arrival, was from the group's facilitator Jenny, who explained to me the therapeutic impact of a beautiful visual for a person suffering with a chronic condition. I hope I'm not oversimplifying it Jenny, but my interpretation of what you said, is that the stimulating visual can be a distraction from pain, it can be the something lovely to concentrate on in the midst of the difficult, it's like the pop of good to dwell on that can spark the series of positive thoughts...  What great motivation for creating an eye-catching display from my bank of quilts. Quietly, I offered up a prayer that my work could be a means, even during this next hour, of someone feeling encouraged or better off.

You can imagine my pleasure when at the end of the morning, the other guest speaker, school psychologist Chris, came to me and said that one of my quilts in her line of vision became the help she needed during her presentation. Chris was a beautiful communicator, passionate and inspiring, but she said she felt nervous (not apparent to the rest of us!) and kept referring to my (well Charlotte's)  'birds of a feather' quilt and this calmed her and gave her focus!

The morning unfolded with several more highlights. I met Sandra. Her eyes lit up with pride when she introduced herself as a fellow quilter. She told me of her quilting resume and I do believe her expertise far outshines mine. Her hands will no longer co-operate,and many projects now lay idle, mid-process. This is sad. But somehow in her telling, I sensed Sandra's pride that these unfinished quilts, rather than reflecting what she can no longer accomplish, are pure evidence of her wealth of creativity - the overflow of ideas that you have to put to fabric and stitches whether or not they ever become completed pieces.

I spent some time in a small discussion group with Marjorie, Gladys and May. Beautiful women walking hard paths but they encouraged me greatly. I have 2 new telephone numbers, how often does that happen? Crossing paths is never a coincidence.

Can you tell that in the midst of it all, I failed to take any photos? Well, only one in fact. 
This is Michael. I was drawn to his sweater vest instantly and hoped he'd understand 'what I'm on about'. And sure enough, he seemed enthused. He is a local mosaic artist, a Kaffe fan (Kaffe Fassett first began his career in the medium of mosaics and yarn) and Michael's vest is actually from a Kaffe pattern. No wonder it caught my eye. Michael's work is entirely commission based, and ALL his profits are sent to Africa for a project dear to his heart. 

I had hoped I wouldn't be asked any questions. ??? I guess because, I could prepare as much as I liked for my talk, but audience participation is an unknown. But, of course, the questions were welcomed and easily answered. Silly me. 

I thoroughly enjoyed my morning. I didn't see the rolling out of blessing coming my way but am thankful for it! 
It continued, once back at home, with a healthy lunch prepared by in-house nutritionist Anna, and a car ride where we shared that comfortable companionship and easy chit chat while enroute to Leah's Open Day. Miss Bird's year 6 classroom is alive with colour and creativity. She displayed her student's work and art everywhere and those children must have been so proud to present their efforts to their families and visitors. What a lovely rapport Leah enjoys with her colleagues and her students. I hope the flow of praise buoyed her up! 
What a great day! 
Thank you to Jenny for the opportunity to speak at Flourish - what a great kickstart to the day!
Did you know September 8th - 14th was Invisible Illness Week? I only learned of it yesterday morning.
Over 133 million people live with a chronic condition. In my own circle of family/loved ones/friends/acquaintances, I know people who bravely walk through each day with Lyme, rheumatoid arthritis, depression, chronic fatigue, addiction, anxiety, migraines, diabetes, insomnia, endometriosis, mental illness, cancer, eating disorders - their struggles and pain and symptoms largely hidden to others. 


  1. What a wonderful experience and you are 'way' capable of speaking and sharing what you love and impacting others lives....great job and well done....hugs

  2. You have celebrated a win! Well done, sweet sister. And gained an unexpected addition to your treasure trove of inspiration. I love you, K.