Showing posts with label Mother's Day. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mother's Day. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Mother's Day Love +Sharing History and Tradition + Free Tutorials!

Our American holiday known as Mother's Day is credited to Ana Jarvis, from Philadelphia, who never married and never had children, still had a fierce devotion to her own mother and began a national campaign to establish a national Mother's Day, beginning first in her own church, and then moving outward into others. She was inspired by her own mother saying "that it would be nice if someone created a memorial to mothers".

Three years after her mother died in 1905, she organized the first official mother's day service at a church where her mother had spent more than 20 years teaching Sunday school. By 1911 Mother's Day was celebrated in almost every state. President Woodrow Wilson, in 1914, made the official announcement proclaiming Mother's Day as a national holiday that was to be held each year on the 2nd Sunday of May.

Today, over 100 years later, the former Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church is considered the official shrine to mothers around the world. So, today as the shrine celebrates this anniversary, each mother will be given a white carnation...Jarvis's pick of the 'official' Mother's Day flower...her mother's favorite.

What is most interesting, is that while Anna Jarvis was passionately devoted to the idea of celebrating an official Mother's Day, she was also just as passionately against its commercialization!!

She detested store bought cards and believed that gifts should be individualized. She felt the era of the 'true' mother was rapidly disappearing and was adamant about the day as a celebration of the 19th century ideal.

She became well known for scathing letters in which she not only berated those who bought their cards but for whom the holiday simply had become an opportunity to sell cards, candy and flowers.

Before she died in 1948, she actually protested a Mother's Day celebration in New York and was arrested for disturbing the peace!

Like her own mother, Ann (a celebrated community activist) Anna Jarvis believed in her ideals and was willing to fight for them to the very end!

So, in honor of Mother's everywhere, for our mothers and our mother's mothers, for our daughters and our daughter-in-laws, and all who are or will be mothers, and for those who choose to mother other's women's children when they do not mother their own.

And always keep in mind, that the 'original' mother's day, is most likely linked to the ancient customs of mother worship in Greece. So, it's no wonder that many feel great admiration for their own mothers! After all, the very word "religion" actually means "to link back!"

We link back to ancient times, customs and traditions and we incorporate them just as ancient civilizations..whether for traditional or political reasons..did the same to bring people together and to allow their beliefs to merge.

In such very different ways but still with honor and respect and love, the mother has been important to mankind. From the earth mother, to the Virgin Mary, to mothers of all kinds..we honor her now, rather than 'worship' her as ancient cultures might have done.

Mother worship involved the deification of the Earth Mother, Cybele (in Phrygian mythology) or Rhea (her Minoan counterpart.) The Romans also had another holiday, Matronalia, that was dedicated to their goddess Juno, but where one's own mother was also given a gift.

Like Gaia (perhaps our closest version of Mother Earth), Cybele, Rhea and Juno all embodied the fertile earth, the caverns and mountains, nature and all wild animals. And Spring, with all of its symbols of life, death and birth, became the time of the entity and deity of the 'Great Mother'. As with many ancient rites and traditions, the peoples of the British Isles transposed all of the more pagan deifications into more acceptable Christian forms.

It wasn't until the 1600's, that England celebrated a day called 'Mothering Sunday.' All servants would be given the day off, encouraged to return to their own homes and spend the day with their mothers. A special cake, called a 'mothering cake' was served.

In the United States, an official Mother's Day was first suggested in 1872 by social activist, Julia Ward Howe. As an abolitionist, pacifist, suffragette, and the author of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic", she wrote her now famous Mother's Day Proclamation as a reaction to the carnage of the American Civil War.

Her proclamation was tied to her belief that women had a responsibility to shape their societies at the political level. And she called upon them as women, as mothers, to make a difference in the political climate of the era, by rising up in support of peace.

Happiest of Mother's Days!
And for those of us, like myself who treasure the memories in place of still having our mothers with us, our mother's really and truly are always with us in our heart. Share that heart with another today, just as your mother shared hers with you.

Happy Mother's Day Love to Mother's Everywhere

Links for creating lovely gifts ideas for Mother's Day:

With Heart and Hands: Links: 2,500 3500 4500 over 5000 Free Quilt Patterns!

Making Fidget Quilts, Aprons, Pillows, Bags for Alzheimer's Patients: 

Free Tutorials and Ideas 2017 

Free Redwork and Embroidery Patterns

Making a Quillow

How to Make a Quillow 

...and fold it back into a pillow!

moms pink ribbon blanket.JPG

(No time for a quilt? Make a Flillow!.......a Fleece Blanket + Pillow ;)

Sunday, May 08, 2016

To Sew is to Pray...

“To sew is to pray. Men don't understand this.
They see the whole but they don't see the stitches.
They don't see the speech of the creator in the work of the needle.

We mend. We women turn things inside out and set things right.
We salvage what we can of human garments and piece the rest into blankets.
Sometimes our stitches stutter and slow.

Only a woman's eyes can tell.
Other times, the tension in the stitches might be too tight because of tears, but only we know what emotion went into the making.

Only women can hear the prayer.”

Louise Erdrich
"Four Souls"

                                                           Happy Mother's Day!

I learned to sew by watching others. I learned from two grandmother' French one in Louisiana and my Finnish one in Alaska.

My Alaskan grandmother was constantly mending, repairing so many utilitarian garments for work, fishing, hunting, school. She was always darning socks and I was fascinated by the process and the little wooden egg underneath. When she sewed her own house-dresses and aprons, it was on a treadle sewing machine and that is how I learned to sew. We moved into her home after she passed away and I took her 'sewing room' downstairs ..a tiny bedroom..rather than one of the bigger bedrooms. I was pulled to it as if by magnetism. Little did I know at age 8 how much sewing would become a part of every fiber of my life. I have that treadle today. It survived my childhood home burned to the ground in 1970. It is scarred by that fire but is one of my few great treasures from my youth.

My French grandmother in Louisiana couldn't afford a sewing machine, so she sewed and quilted by hand for many decades. I have one of her quilts today and it is a true treasure. Luckily it was still in her little house and and not brought up to Alaska on one of our many trips and so did not go through the house fire in Alaska.  We visited when we could but it was 5,000 miles away and we always drove down the Alcan Highway all of us  crowded into a car and sleeping as my father drove.

I learned by watching my mother. Mother of 5 children all born about a year and a half apart.She still found time to sew us beautiful clothing for special occasions. Little dresses and pinafores for me, shirts for my four younger brothers and my father.  And always costumes...for the Fourth of July Parade through the streets of Douglas, Alaska. For Halloween as we walked the "Ghostwalk" at Mt. Jumbo School in October. For Christmas or Birthdays..something new.

I learned from watching my father teach himself to sew because my mother told him that making a canvas rainshield roof for our we could always have up as it was the rainforest part of southeast Alaska and stand up under as we zipped over the ocean waves. One with a zippered door and lots of see through plastic windows. My mother said it  was too much on top of all of us and too much for new Singer sewing machine. So, my dad got an old rough and tough machine, bought canvas and industrial zippers and plastic and made one himself. It was beautiful and perfect.I grew up believing that my father could do anything. That belief has served and blessed me all my life.

Men sew, men quilt, men design and men pray. But only if they feel the yearning for the magic of creativity with the sublime and not all can or do. Women were always able to but not all choose to. My grandmothers did. My mother and father did. My father understood the prayer in the garden, the prayer in the drawing and the painting, and the building but also the prayer in the sewing. They passed it all on to me. So I sew.

I can and I do.

So, if you can't find me, or you don't hear from me, or you wondered what happened to me....I am sewing.

Michele Bilyeu Creates With Heart and Hands as she shares her imaginative, magical, and healing journey from Alaska to Oregon. Creating, designing, sewing, quilting, and wildcrafting... from my heart and with my hands.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Mother's Day at Silver Creek Falls 2014

We had a lovely Mother's Day this year hiking Silver Falls near Silverton, Oregon. It was a beautiful, beautiful day to go out into nature and flex some long unused hiking muscles.

I was just plain happy to survive a many mile trek up and down elevations, hills, valleys, creeks, bridges, and loose hand railings ,while wearing my ever present Birkenstock sandals through mud, creeks waterfall overflows and even going behind the biggest waterfall and still taking photos with a camera phone that was constantly moving along with me...people behind me or not ;-)

I managed to keep up, not pant or gasp too loudly, hug a lot of trees for energy renewal, and see some of the cutest little kids and  (illegal) dogs (safety hazard for all with the narrow paths, cliffs, few pull over spots for doggie duty on the trails)  and the most wonderfully diverse groups of Mother's Day hikers that I think I've ever seen. Some were far older than DH and I, and many so young I really don't know how they kept up!

You could choose between paths, at least eight waterfall switchback path choices, and lots of educational, a wildflower, birding, and fungi and moss displays and more!  It was so wonderful to see all of the educational hands on projects that they have added over the years for children.

When our children were little and Silver Falls was called Silver Creek Falls (there are many creeks and many, many waterfalls in the many hundred acres of the now, state park, we had wildflowers in mason jars to identify. Now, there is so many acitivities from raptor groups coming in and teaching about birds, to wildflowers and moss and fungai education..I always learn something new. And they could build their own birdhouses, make nature crafts, draw bird and wildflower drawings and so much more..all for free.

And as someone remarked, I do believe I was the only person hiking the steep and often waterfall muddy trails in my birks but I did it and only had to sit and rest a couple of dozen times ;-) And as my DIL said, they really didn't look that wet or muddy by the end of the day! Amazing. My jeans did have 'rooster tails' up the back but going under a waterfall should leave some memories ;-)

I only wish I hadn't worn three shirts and a coat. The jeans and the birks were fine but oh, it got warm when the sun finally came out from behind the trees and hills of the forest. But it also felt soo good to warm up, dry off, bask in the sun on an occasional fallen log or big rock. And then, we we'd completed our round of paths and switchbacks, to head back through the returning path to get and enjoy our picnic lunch!

Enlarge and check out the middle photo on the left..those zig zags up and down the mountain are people like me that are still going up or down that particular leg of that trail! 

And oh yes! I never come home without a pocketful of moss, lichen, and heart shaped rocks. And I got a waterfall over-spray facial as an added bonus!

If you think it's beautiful seeing a waterfall, being inside of one is absolutely magical!!

Michele Bilyeu blogs With Heart and Hands as she shares a quilting journey through her life in Salem, Oregon and Douglas, Alaska. Sewing, quilting, and wildcrafting, with small format art quilts, prayer flags, and comfort quilts for a variety of charitable programs. And best of all, sharing thousands of links to Free Quilt and Quilt Block Patterns and encouraging others to join her and make and donate quilts to charitable causes.   Help us change the world, one little quilt, art quilt, and prayer flag at a time!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day....

To my beloved mother, who no longer has any idea of who I am, what a daughter or son is, and why my voice is coming through something that is held up to her ear.

I know in my heart of hearts that she still can feel my matter where either of us is, or what state of being we are in. Love you my dear little mama!

And your oldest son, my oldest of four younger brothers, is 'all better' now and heading home, again.  I could always, always feel your heart and your thoughts, mom.... and you told me when you still could 'take care of your father, take care of your brothers, and take care of me when I no longer can take care of myself."

I did it all, mom, and I always will. Love you SO, SO, much and someday, I will hold your hand once again, and maybe , just maybe you will know who I am. Until then, I know YOU and I remember it all for you...just like I promised.

hugs, hugs, hugs...

Praying for a Miracle: Blessings 2013
Alzheimer's Illustrated: My Own Heartbreak to Hope
 shown above:
my brother, Doug,( the 'praying for a miracle man' ) my mother Nell Grace Peltier (Pelletier) Savikko and one of the many starched pinafores she always dressed me in ;)

Michele Bilyeu blogs With Heart and Hands as she shares a quilting journey through her life in Salem, Oregon and Douglas, Alaska, as she sews, quilts, and creates small format art quilts, prayer flags, and comfort  quilts for a variety of charitable programs. Sharing thousands of links to Free Quilt and Quilt Block Patterns and encouraging others to join in her Liberated Quilting Challenge and make or donate small art quilts to the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI) Help us change the world, one little quilt at a time!

Sunday, May 08, 2011

I Love Me My Little Mama

It's Mother's Day weekend and I'm missing my sweet little mama.

I know that I was just with her in Alaska just a short time ago....but with how things are, how quickly they can change and plunge downhill...that only makes me miss her all the more!

I am so grateful that one of my brother's, his wife, and children were able to bridge the gap of transition in one huge step and begin spending the nights and virtually moving in with her next door to their own home.

I do what I've always done. I phone her and love how she perks up and laughs with me...even when she might not be totally sure what either of us is laughing at. I'm so grateful we've always had the gift of our silly laughter and corny jokes that only the two of us have ever found funny. Now, those are bridges and transfer paths for connection between us and a way to keep her one with me emotionally, energetically,and spiritually.

And in my other world of sewing here in Oregon, well...I make her more quilted bibs. Adult bibs are used all day, every day and they get so shabby in a hurry from the constant washing. So, now...two more.

Making an Adult Bib

I loved discovering fabric I received from donation has two cowgirls with my mother's names..Nell and Grace under their sweet faces. Growing up as a little French girl in Louisiana, Nell was most likely the french nickname for Antoinette, but my mom has always been Nellie or Nell and Grace as her middle name has been so appropriate and so perfect for this time of needing the blessings of true and pure grace.

So, two more adult bibs for my own little Nellie Grace..the survivor of stage 3B inflammatory breast cancer ...8 years cancer free now....and now of course, advanced Alzheimer's her sixth year of its challenges.

My sister-in-law said the most interesting thing to me on this last care giving visit to Alaska. She said 'it's easier on you, Michele, because you just accept it all. You accept how she is and what needs to be done for her.'

I'd never thought of that, but she's right. I never got upset, threw a fit, felt angry or that life is unfair because she'd already 'beat' cancer. I didn't fret and rage over how it changed my own life or took away from my free time. Heck, I sewed some of these bibs at her house and did it with one good arm and one broken one. And while that was incredibly hard, it was also strangely empowering and fun ;)

Now, I see how fear and denial that most family members feel is what makes it so hard for themselves. They have to fight themselves, the changing parent, and the disease...all at once. It causes absolute havoc in the family and each person's own personal life.

You thought you were done parenting? Forget you parent your own parent. You thought you were done feeding someone, lifting and carrying them, changing their diapers, wiping their face and hands and giving them baths..nope, they are just as precious.... only a whole lot bigger to take care of.

As the only daughter who not only saw what needed to be done earlier, but saw the disease itself, sooner...I got a 7 year head start on care giving from my other family members but now, they have to do it day in and day out when I'm not there. So, it all evens out, you see. Knowing I gave my best and lived with them for 3 out of the past 8 years..months added all together.I only have gratitude for what I could give and all that I've learned.

And now..I sew bibs, and make photo cards that others can read out loud to her and remind her how much I love her and that there is still happiness to be had and a good chuckle to share.

Love you my sweet little mama. And I'm thinking of you today, and every day with lots and lots of love!

Today, my 95 year old mother-in-law is brought out to breakfast by her three of who is toting my gift bag of new blouses and blank greeting cards. My own little brood of three will arrive later on...bringing their own beloved and significant others along with them. They will cook for me, and give me my own mother's day! Some days it's nice to be the sandwich in the sandwich generation! Especially, when hubby and I are the only baby boomers in this least no one has moved in to take care of us (yet;)

Happy Mother's Day to all of you who mother in any and all ways!
And of course, if you know me...I also quilt for AAQI ;)... so I'm off to do a little quilting before my kids arrive!

Why I Quilt for AAQI...what having Alzheimer's in my family means for and to me!


Notes and Links:

Alzheimer's Association Educational links and forums and what you can do to keep track of bills as they go to Congress:

Who will be mothering you..... when YOU are in diapers and bibs once again?
"Generation Alzheimer's: The Defining Disease of the Baby Boomers," sheds light on a crisis that is no longer emerging – but already here.

Read all about what this means for ALL of us

Candlelight Tribute Rally

Sunday, May 15, 7:30-8:30 p.m. Join the group at the reflecting pool on the west side of the Capitol

Light a virtual candle
Unable to come to D.C.?

Honor a loved one during our Virtual Rally....
a place to light a candle with the name of your loved ones

All of my 'Coping With Alzheimer's' Posts

Why I Quilt for AAQI: The Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative
AAQI: Liberated Quilting Challenge
Liberated Challenge Webpage at AAQI

Michele Bilyeu quilts for AAQI..the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative. Won't you please join us? :)