- With Heart and Hands: A Quilting Journey
- What If?
- Alzheimer's Illustrated:From Heartbreak to Hope
- Healing Hearts Textile Arts
- The Healing Art of Sewing and Quilting
- Fidget Quilts
- Making Prayer Flags
- My Tutorial Link Lists: By Themes
- Please Respect Creative Common Copyrights
- With Heart and Hands: Michele Bilyeu (blog)
Friday, August 24, 2007
Journeys and journaling are topics near and dear to my heart. I have spent a lifetime learning about the paths that lead me to the places I need to be, and the events and the people that I need to experience, and to learn from.
I grew up in Alaska, spending my childhood in fern filled rain forests and sandy beaches. I learned to be one with nature and enjoy solitude, listening to the ocean's waves and the hum of the gold ore in the mountains around me. True north became a mysterious compass point and finding my direction, a constant struggle. I was always in tune with the silent places inside of my heart, and like many of you, I learned to dance to a different melody. ...to run, and to leap, and to sing....to a different song.
When I was a young married, I couldn't afford to "go back home, again." We raised three children, here in Oregon, and my family came here, and visited us, from time to time. I was only able to bring my own little family back to my beloved state of Alaska, a very few times. Those visits are etched in my memories, and written in my heart. Each visit is a renewal of spirit, a renewal of my roots.
Last summer, I was blessed to be able to bring my whole family north for a family reunion and a wedding. My husband, two daughters, a son and his wife all headed out on different days, but all points led to one source; my hometown of Douglas, across the Gastineau Channel from Juneau, Alaska.
Blessings continued to pour down as I found myself, only 6 months later, again heading North. This time for my Father's 90th birthday. I wrote about making a Patriotic Memories quilt for him. A quilt,which was filled with photos from time spent during WWII, onboard an Aleutian Island supply ship. Photos of his marriage to my mother and of his own Finnish family, early Alaska pioneers, where my grandfather was a gold miner and my grandmother raised 9 children on a small island with supplies shipped in on freight barges.
Now, I am heading North, once again. I have been asked "to please come home again." My mother needs me, and my family wants me to join them, as we celebrate my mother's 82nd birthday.
Having already created for her, a "Manifesting Miracles' quilt, which I gave to her at the same time as my father was given his own Patriotic Memories Quilt in January, I was at a loss for a very quick gift to create. But now, I am busily and happily working on it.
I was given only 2 weeks notice to find and buy a ticket north. One week to get this house, my yard and my family situated for my 3 weeks absence, and less than 5 days to create the gift and pack. I am keeping it simple and making a "Pink Ribbons' fleece blanket to commemorate not only her five year survival from severe inflammatory breast cancer, but now her birthday, as well.
My parents came south and lived with me for nine months while she battled her breast cancer and she survived it...and me. We formed an unbreakable bond then, she and I, and then, the two of us, with my father. That journey through her cancer taught us all so very much. It tempered us all, a trial by fire, a journey though pain, and fear, and loss. We helped her to come through it and out to the other side.
We will battle a new foe together now. My mother now faces the uncertain future of Alzheimers. We have watched it progress for over a year, now. I have promised her, we will all be there for her, we will help her and guide her through those uncharted waters....just as we did for the cancer. She needs us, and is counting on our help.
I now have 4 days until I leave. On Tuesday, I will be there. I am heading home....heading North to Alaska, my roots, my family, and my true home.