Showing posts with label broken wrist. Show all posts
Showing posts with label broken wrist. Show all posts

Friday, June 19, 2015

Father's Day in Memory and Deed

Most of us are familiar with the origin and history of Mother's Day and its linkage back to ancient goddess festivals, England's Mothering Sunday, the American political activist Julia Ward Howe, and finally Anna Jarvis's campaign from church to church to declare her devotion to her own mother.

But the history and origin of Father's Day is less well-known. I did a bit of research because of this, and found that the idea of a complementary "Father's Day was the brainchild of Sonora Dodd, who first had the idea while she was sitting in church listening to one of these Mother's Day sermons in 1909.

She wanted to honor her own father, William Smart, a Civil War veteran, who was widowed when his wife died while giving birth to their sixth child. Mr. Smart was left to raise the newborn and his other five children, by himself, on a rural farm in eastern Washington state. Her father had raised them, as a single father, with many sacrifices and in the eyes of his daughter, a courageous, selfless, and loving man. Sonora believed that if a single father had raised and loved children with selfless devotion as hers had, then those fathers deserved their own day of devotion, just as the mother's had. Thus, the first Father's Day, was actually intended for single dads who served as the only parent, and not all dads in general. It simply grew into the holiday we know it as, today.

Sonora's father was born in June, so she chose to hold the first Father's Day celebration in Spokane, Washington on the 19th of June, 1910. She had wanted the use his birth date but pending legislation was slowed down until President Calvin Coolidge, in 1924, supported the idea of a national Father's Day.

Eventually, President Lyndon Johnson signed a presidential proclamation (1966) declaring the 3rd Sunday of June as Father's Day. President Richard Nixon signed the law which finally made it permanent in 1972. In this sense, it is a relatively newer celebration, but one which most of us have celebrated throughout our own lives.

While other countries may or may not have their own versions of this day, some of the variations are quite interesting. In Germany there is no such thing as Father's Day but there are two terms and/or events of an older origin that while similar in name, have entirely different meanings.

Männertag, is always celebrated on Ascension Day (the Thursday forty days after Easter), which is a federal holiday. Regionally, it is also called men's day, Männertag, or gentlemen's day, Herrentag. It is tradition to do a males-only hiking tour with one or more smaller wagons, Bollerwagen, pulled by manpower.

In countries with Roman Catholic tradition, Fathers are celebrated on Saint Joseph's Day, commonly called Feast of Saint Joseph, March 19, though in most countries Father's Day is a secular celebration and celebrated separately from the feast holiday.

In Taiwan, Father's Day is not an official holiday, but is widely observed on August 8, the eighth day of the eighth month of the year. In Mandarin Chinese, the pronunciation of the number 8 is ba.

This pronunciation is very similar to the character "?" "bà", which means "Papa" or "father". The Taiwanese, therefore, usually call August 8 by its nickname, "Baba Day." In Thailand, Father's Day is set as the birthday of the king and thus varies from generation to generation of its royalty. No matter what your country, your culture, or traditions, today is still a special day to honor fathers everywhere.

On Father's Day, I honor my own father, who I miss and love so very much. A dear, dear man who lived a long life with incredible courage, strength, and steadfast determination to do his best for his family and for the state and country he loved so much.


coming and going: 2010

A good, hard working man, who was still working to fix up our childhood home in Douglas, Alaska up and into his last year at age 93, still working so very hard every day of his life care  taking my mother who suffered from Alzheimer's, diabetes and was legally blind, I show (above) the photo quilt that I made for him many years ago.

I titled it  "Turning Ninety" , a variation of a "Turning Twenty" pattern.  As a WWII veteran, the father of 5 children, and a hard working and very dedicated and loving husband to my mother, and as someone who never forgot his and his brothers sacrifices for country and for family during WWII, I used photos from that time and from his courtship with my Louisiana French mother, who he met, fell in love with and married after the war years.

Because my mother was legally blind, but could see shapes and colors and could see details if things were large enough, or if she used a magnifying glass, I made the quilt pieces and photos very large.
They both loved it and treasured it. After their deaths, it came back home to Oregon with me, once more and now I treasure all of the memories of making it, of them and our lives together.

I honor my husband, the father of our children, a man who in many, many ways reminds me of my own father. A man who at 65 still works long, long hours during the day, and often into the evening. Who commutes to four different towns in our area just to get work for our home based business and never complains as he comes home to help me and the chickens ;-)

I honor my son, an amazing, amazing  husband and playful and loving father to his little one, our first grand child. My son works so hard, right along the side of his father, my husband, to keep our small family business going even though it means commuting up to four hours a day. He comes home tired and cooks dinner, helps with laundry, plays for hours with the baby, and then stays up late at night to get his part of our business's paper work done. He is an amazing young man that I am so proud to say is my son!

I honor the hard work ethic of my son-in-law, who works tirelessly to provide for my daughter and their family. A man yet to be test by fatherhood, himself, but that test will also prove the full worth of his adaptability, love, and determination to be who he wants and was meant to be. A good man, a loving man, one who has faced so many challenges and has so many more to face. But I am confident in his ability to rise to any and all challenges.

These men in my life truly are among the best fathers and hard working providers and caring men that I know.

I honor all of my Alaskan uncles, men long gone but with amazing talents, skills, courage, and the perseverance to live and provide for their families with hunting and fishing in territorial Alaska as she slowly entered statehood and changed all of our lives.

My Finnish, one French. Immigrants from their native countries,  who paved the way for those to come before, or after. 

I thank them for all they taught me and all they gave in turn to all of us, their families.

I honor these fathers, and all of your fathers, your husbands, your brothers and our sons who are fathers now, themselves.

Enjoy this special day and know, really know, just how much we all appreciate and love you!

With Heart and Hands: Links: 2,500 Free Quilt Patterns

With Heart and Hands: Free Quilt Block Patterns

  With Heart and Hands: Free Quilt Block Patterns

 *How To Make A Quillow


Father's Day Gift and Craft Ideas...

fun things to do with children or grandchildren, today or any day!

Michele Bilyeu blogs With Heart and Hands as she shares a quilting journey from Alaska to Oregon with thousands of free Quilting, Sewing, and Crafting Patterns and Tutorials. Help change the world, one little quilt, art quilt, and prayer flag at a time!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Gifts from the Sea

I'm back in Salem, again...but I still miss my Alaskan home. I don't miss the black ice that caused me to suddenly swoosh to the ground and break and dislocate my wrist, I don't miss the repercussions of surgery and healing and I don't miss the challenges of Winter weather!

But oh, how I do miss my beloved parents, my Alaskan family, and the beauty of a place that will always connect to my heart strings.

I think of all of my special memories of walking on my Alaskan beach and treasuring the small gifts that I have found over the years on the sand. I lay them on dresser tops, in bowls, and in baskets. But I've also discovered that making wall hangings out of 'found' materials is a wonderful way to save and display those 'gifts from the sea', and a way to bring them back into me... and my life, here in Oregon, once again.

As Anne Morrow Lindbergh wrote in her book Gift from the Sea
When one is out of touch with oneself, one cannot touch others.

And everything we collect and save helps us get in touch with who we truly are. When I am disappointed in myself, or my hands, or even my heart...I think of her quote:

After all, I don't see why I am always asking for private, individual, selfish miracles when every year there are miracles like white dogwood.....

I know, deep inside, that I need to touch my inner self, my core, and my true nature first! So.....I am already deep in fabric and thread. Comforted on all sides by soft batting and the gentle hum of my sewing machine. And I still feel's such a gift to have the use of two arms, two wrists, two hands, once more! Each and every movement feels like a matter what!

My hand might be stiff, it might ache, my scar area may be hyper sensitive to the touch of even the brushing against of it by my sleeve fabric, and this precious left one might not quite work as I wish it did..however.....

I am home to where I can feel me, and not always others, again.
I sew, I quilt, I collect, and I create. I am making up for time and space. From the sea, from my pockets, from my heart. I am relaxing back into becoming me again.

shown above:
some lovely ocean themed batiks, free motion quilting, and some Alaskan gifts from the sea

dear all that is, and ever will be:
thank you for my lovely gifts!
love Michele

Sunday, February 14, 2010

single handed valentines

inspite of many challenges
my fall on alaskan black ice

my broken wrist
and the discovery of my alien encounters
and overuse and stress issues with my right

and my 84 year 0ld mother, whose challenges with alzheimer's
have helped me to use laughter therapy to create
Stitches in Memory and Time

and many wonderful who dat moments
of championing over adversity

both coming and going.......
with my father's sleep apnea and resulting heart attack

i finally finished
these 3 Adult Bibs

the hardest sewing i've ever done...
sewing with only one hand,
using a pencil in my mouth to turn collars,
pin, sew and turn 3 layer bibs inside out...
one hand both holdin winding a bobbin...oh my!

but such a sense of claiming my personal power
going from 'i think i can' to 'i know i can'
of sustaining and persevering on top
of so many other challenges, chores, and problems

that making time for me to create from fabric and thread
seemed more than just necessary,
but somehow essential

not shown:
for my 93 year old father...sweet treats of dark chocolate for increasing heart health (and hopefully keeping him on the sweet and not old grumpy alaskan bear side;)
and an electrical 'brotherhood' union hat from oregon mailed up by family

valentines for my alaskan valentines!

my heart, my hand !
oh feet and sinking in some teeth, too ;)

my gift to you:

Free Heart Themed Patterns: Quilt Blocks, Heart Quilts, Heart Pillows and Crafts

Sunday, February 07, 2010

who dat ?

dat me doin fais-do-do in mama's kitchen

50% french, and 50% alaskan pioneer finnish, i am entertaining my 1oo% (cajun) french mama, nellie grace, by making Making Adult Bibs today

mama watched me cut them all out yesterday

i put a shiny purple ribbon around her neck
her 'lagniappe' (lawn yop) ..... little something extra ;)

'now, you're monkeying with me she said!'

she still loves being included and having fun....
and fun, we do have!

and it will be my own competition with being handicapped
or handi-able.....until my broken wrist heals

3 hours to just flip the material flat and cut 3 sets

who knows if i can sew?

don matta!

we're having a 'sew-do-do' in the kitchen today

Laissez les bon temps rouler ....

(let the good times roll)

who dat?
short for.....
Who dat say dey gonna beat dem Saints"

broken wrist
laughter therapy
alien encounters
Stitches in Memory and Time
coming and going.......

Thursday, February 04, 2010

coming and going.......

I just came and went from Alaska in 6 days time
to Alaska from Oregon January 5th

then back to Oregon
and then back to Alaska again
now, this week

celebrated my mil's 94th in Oregon
was important to do
and necessary in all ways

however, the night i left Juneau
chaos began

my brother's son up there broke his leg in hockey game
tibia and fibula huge jagged break

same brother who spent 3 weeks helping me
with my broken wrist
and resulting surgery in Juneau
now having to continue with his son

very next morning my dad was clawing at bedroom drapes
to get window open gasping for air
rushed to e.r. in Juneau from our Douglas Island home

he stayed 2 days in hospital
inconclusive test results
but very very sick, dizzy. nauseated, weak

sat night my same brother found him incoherent in bed 3 am
upside down twisted in blankets
gasping for breath
he asked for hospital

rushed him back to hospital
probable 1 to 2 heart attacks had previously happened
silent ons with no pain expressed
not even caught in previous 2 days of tests
in hospital just 2 days before

i got back on first plane out from Oregon
next day Mon am
back to Juneau
they told him i was coming

by time i got here and
went to him he rallied
huge turn around
they admitted he has incredible will to live
at his 93 years

stress and anxiety and caring for my Alzheimer's mom last 5 yrs
plus his acute shingles i came up to help with in 2008
exaggerated the mild sleep apnea he'd had for decades

oxygen deprivation as he slept and napped
combined to create stress on heart
undiagnosed cardiac irregularities and unrecognized heart attack(s)

my 'good 'unbroken and too overused wrist went out on me
two wrist splints now

talk about 'out of my hands' and thy will be done
one simply tries to flow through faith into a place of acceptance
and still stay cheerful and hopeful

my nephew had surgery on his broken tibia and fibula 4 days ago
visited him at home
and welcomed him to the alien encounters
'parts department'

he almost smiled thru huge pain
bless his heart

first cast created horrific pressure sores
my bro had to rush him into er again
total agony

removed cast,treated sores
new fiberglass cast that is looser

my sil's and brothers all rose to challenges
all being amazing tho exhausted
someone at home with mom

we all took multiple turns at hospital with dad
every second 24 hrs a day
and helping with mom's constant care

we are cautiously encouraged about dad
they sent him home wed
taking it all day by day

medicare just ended Juneau coordinator
no sleep apnea c-pap unit here
sleep study showed dad woke
gasped for air 45x that night

we have to order and ship big unit to Juneau
and learn how to set up,clean, and maintain by ourselves
with directions over the phone from Anchorage office

my over used 'good' wrist now injured
so one broken and with badly islocated wrist
one carpal tunnel from constant use of only one hand to use
1 surgery but 2 matching splints
in just 3 weeks

challenging time
me with wrist here
then back to mil in Oregon
then my nephew to er here
then my dad
all in 3 weeks

its unbelievable yet
how life flows and goes sometimes

tomorrow, on Friday, the 2nd graders and
our kuspuks will be filmed
by Anchorage news crew on native culture segment

good times in spite of hard
we are all so grateful dad is still with us and mom is good

we still practice laughter therapy
every single day
even in ICU
not sure others understood ;)
but so important to keep energy and spirits up

still so blessed in all ways
and we never forget that

it is the secret to all challenges
it really is

one more day at a time
we all can do this

broken wrist
laughter therapy
alien encounters
Stitches in Memory and Time
coming and going.......

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Stitches in Memory and Time

I came to Alaska to care for my 93 year old father and 84 year old mother. My father has been under unbearable stress caring for my mother. My mother is blind, diabetic and suffering from Alzheimer's.

She is also an absolute sweetheart, and it saddened me to learn that she'd progressed to being bedridden and almost comatose by Christmas. I'd brought her up to better health before, and knew I needed to do that again. My dad needed a caregiver's break, some constant cheerful company, and to celebrate his birthday surrounded by his loving and appreciative family.

I also came up to work with my award-winning S-I-L, Paula Savikko, and her second grade class at Gastineau Elementary School in Douglas, Alaska and the making of calico cotton parkas known as kuspuks. (alt. spellings quaspeg, qaspeg, quspug) A kuspuk is a traditional native Alaskan garment, usually made of cotton fabric that is worn over a fur parka in the winter, and as an outdoor garment in the summer...over pants, leggings or jeans.

This would be my third year of involvement with this wonderful project, and while intense (we teach 7 year olds to sew with assistance on our sewing machines) and let them make their own garment every step of the way. They do surprisingly well and absolutely love doing it.

We also worked with the extra-ordinary gifts of Yup'ik Cultural Instructor, Theresa John, as she shared her knowledge of the Yup'ik Eskimos of Nelson Island and their traditions from the Tooksok Bay area of western Alaska as she and Paula Savikko showed students and their parent helpers, to rip out our parkas without the use of patterns, and only using the concepts of non-standard math...the width of one's body,or so many hands across.

Theresa taught the class many words in Yup'ik and described how different the original culture was from ours today. She did an amazing job of working with the children and teaching them Yup'ik terminology, history and geography. With word, song and dance, she created a magical learning experience for all of us, and one that I felt truly blessed to experience.

I never intended that I would slip on black ice, suddenly and without any warning. My feet shooting out from under me and me landing and landing hard on the worst black ice in the history of Juneau/Douglas. That I would pulverize one of my wrist bones, fracture my arm's large radius bone in four places, and dislocate three normally rotatable wrist bones. They, and I, almost ended up sideways that day, and we needed a surgical jackhammer, a titanium plate, and ten screws to put us back together, again.

But like love and care, like needles and thread, this amazing creation I now carry within my arm for life, holds layers together, and now it bonds them with purpose and meaning. It should allow me to someday use my arm, engage my wrist, and move my fingers once again, in the acts of creation.

Until then, I still have purpose, I still take care, and I still do, make do, and create. I am needed and depended upon for others' survival. Even with one hand, I have to cook and serve simple meals. It's hard but if no one else is there I have to test insulin levels and give injections. I collect, wash, dry, and even fold, laundry every day, with one arm, one hand, and yes, it's painful and very, very hard. I still have to dress and undress myself, but I go for many days at a time in order to avoid as much pain of fabric brushing against the wrist area. I shower by using my teeth to wrap a plastic bag around my arm and tape it arm, and my teeth, very hard but I do it if I want a shower. And eventually I both need and want one. But mostly, I hug, and love, sing with, and talk to, those I love so dearly, making sure they know that they have a place, a purpose, in my own life.

I can type with one finger, to make capitals, I had to go back in and put it on all caps and redo all words needing by one. This one post took me all day long to type. Everything is painful, and everything is harder, but I can still do, and make do.

But best of all, I can give and I can love. In three weeks, my mother has been pulled and lifted with heart and hands, using the fulcrum point of my body, my unique energy gifts, the power of this beautiful land I love so much, and one hand. She has gone from not sitting, barely talking, and having to be spoon fed to talking, limited walking, feeding herself, and not only understanding us, but laughing along with us.

So, when I look back on the last 3 weeks, I am grateful. I truly know that each and every day is precious. I know there are blessings and gifts beyond pain and sadness and loss. I don't know what challenges tomorrow might bring, or how many new challenges or setbacks might get added to an already overwhelming load.

So, just for today, I look back on my stitches in memory and time...and I still feel blessed to have had them. Those I can see in my forearm, those I can see in the kuspuks the children have sewn, and those in my parents' hearts that we all can feel simply by looking at the sparkle in their eyes and the joy in their smiles.

Links to this year in Alaska:
broken wrist
laughter therapy
alien encounters
coming and going.......
single handed valentines
who dat ?
Kuspuks Go to the Capitol

Wrap It Up: Living on the Edge of Many Lives
Bento'ed Out of My Box
The Butterfly Upon the Sk
The Parasol is the Umbrella's Daughter

In Loving Memory
A Walk of Remembrance
May Loss Lead to Gain

Links to Our Previous Making of Kuspuks in 2009:
Kuspuks and Friday Finishes
Fun But Frenzied Frugality: Sewing Kuspuks Again!
Links to Making Kuspuks in 2008:
How to make a kuspuk
Kuspuks Make Front Page News
Juneau Empire Photos: Parka party 01/18/08 video

Thursday, January 21, 2010

alien encounters

as i came out of surgery, i joked that the operating room looked like the inside of an alien spaceship.

little did i know, that my new bionic parts of titanium plate and screws,
would look exactly like an implanted, alien hand.

i mean, i am a firm believer in gratitude and acceptance,
of working hard and seeing a purpose to even the hardest of challenges,
but really....

until i start receiving my encoded transmissions from the master colony,
i'm wondering....

can this thing even quilt?

broken wrist
laughter therapy
alien encounters
Stitches in Memory and Time
coming and going.......

key words:
alien quilting, alien implants, alien transmissions, bionic quilter,