Showing posts with label prayers and quotations. Show all posts
Showing posts with label prayers and quotations. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 01, 2020

Sewing with Healing Thoughts of Love

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls

Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit

Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

Rabindranath Tagore's words from 1910 and his call for peace and freedom for his beloved India resonate in my heart and my own fervent belief in our need to call out for equality and freedom and a better life for all people in our own countries, nations and our much bigger world.

We must simply and complicatedly open our hearts to one another with love for all of man and animal kind and with the deepest of true sentient caring, compassion, and most of all, mercy.

We must direct our minds and our hearts through the energies of this love and compassion to envision, create, and bring forth into reality a new and better world.

The true world of sacred communion and all encompassing community that in our hearts, minds, and souls we all dream of within our deepest dreams within a dream that we call reality.

We strive to reach across uncertainties to our own basic truths and desires for a happy, healthy cohesive family, country, nation, and most of all world.

And that my dear friends is not always easy to do. This is the hardest lesson, learning and truth. And one that all of us, our countries,  nations and our entire world is and must learn to do to survived our many hardships and challenges.

And for me it's always starts with hope, faith, and charity--and always, always begins with love for family.   

And we all  have really good days filled with really good fun while still working towards our individual goals and desires with an immediate goal of being as happy and healthy and productive in living our days and weeks and months, and lives as we can.

And we have really challenging days, weeks, months or even years when things get harder and more challenging.

But our family is hanging in there,  celebrating the really good days of optimism and strength and inner faith that hope prevails and goodness and light lift us up over and over and over to keep up the good fight for health, healing and hope.

New fundraiser has just started this month but still shows 2019 amount ending 8 months ago and no longer in the actual account. But we are so blessed by all donations past, present and going into the future. Thank you so very much!

Bless all of you who contributed. It helped her so much and meant more than you could ever imagine.


My daughter, Terin's 2nd year of battling breast cancer continues.  Donations incredibly appreciated with deepest gratitude.

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."

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.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

The Tide Will Turn

"When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you until it seems that you cannot hold on for a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time when the tide will turn."

~Harriet Beecher Stowe

This has already been a year that has taught me that I live in a tight place. 
I live on the edge. 
I live filled with hope, optimism, and understanding.

I live in faith with the knowledge that while I feel like I cannot hold on a minute longer, that my life has too much pain, too much heartbreak, too much loss,

I know that all it takes is one loving thought, 
one happy moment of pure joy, 
one act of creation ...

and for then, for that one moment..for that moment

I am happy 

and I can go on 

and the tide will turn.

...for it just had.

It is time to stop waiting for the other shoe to drop, the tide to come in or go out, it is time, to grab each moment and live it, truly it..feel it, delight in it, find joy and pure love in it.

And 'sew' I will.

I grieve and I miss and mourn. But I go on for life goes on.

In Memory of Kathryn:

Kathryn, my friend for a reason and a season. Kathryn recently died at the age of 104. She died living independently, in her own home, after an amazing long life. She worked as a hairdresser and supported herself all of her life, living in the one same home she grew up in and doing everything for herself even when she developed glaucoma and became almost completely blind. Walking with a cane, she climbed steep steps to her upstairs bedroom every night and cooked and cleaned the best she could for herself.
Kathryn had married young and was betrayed by a not very good man after all. She divorced him and never remarried. She never had children, but she trusted in a nephew and his wife who further hurt and betrayed her.

I only knew Kathryn for a very short while. We had simply parked in front of her house She opened her door and in a tiny voice that had been calling for help for 3 days called out "help me, help me please." She had been left alone by the nephew, had run out of heating oil in the dead of winter, was freezing and had run out of groceries. Later, she had to dial 911 and place a restraining order on that nephew (who I had instantly disliked when meeting him weeks later)

We did everything we could, including getting oil in immediately, making sure she had food and called in neighbors to take over after we left. I wrapped her up in my arms and held her for hours. I barely knew her, but I loved her and I miss her. But I am grateful she was in my life for a reason and a season. And that for that period in time, I could be in hers.

 For Blanche in Love and Memory:

Blanche recently died of respiratory illness her breed was prone to. I held brought her out of the same illness, shown above, one month earlier and she had lived. But it reoccurred and I was out of town for the day and came home to find her deathly ill. I brought her into the sunshine and held her until she passed.

For Maxine in Transition:

Maxine is struggling now and in transition between one state of being and another. I do not yet know for sure how her story will end but I always do whatever I can to help whoever I can...even a chicken.

I brought inside and into my little chicken infirmary. I hold and pet and love on he each day, trying with all I have and know how to do to boost her immune system for this battle with a fatal disease. I've only had her since February 4 when we brought her and the others home at 1 day old but I love her still, as I do all of my little ones . I will miss her if she passes as I am told she will, but I will rejoice in having loved her none the less. That my hint of red shirt lower right as we sit in my easy chair, in my living room, for pet chicken loving time.

~my photo, shown at top, taken on a walk after the death of my mother~

This is the old Treadwell Mine pump house. It survived an explosion in the 30's that destroyed what was once the largest gold mine in the world. A gold mine that my Alaskan grandfather worked in after emigrating from Finland to see his fortune in a new land. An explosion that my intuitive grandmother was deathly afraid might happen and had forbidden my grandfather to even go to work that day it happened. No woman told a strong Finnish man what to do, of course, so she refused to pack his lunch. No strong Finnish man packed his own lunch. So, he stayed home that day as the Gastineau channel waters rushed in and flooded the entire mine causing it to eventually cave in.

 Across to Juneau, the capital city of Alaska and one many of you have visited while seeing Alaska, especially on a cruise ship as seen in my photo above.

And here is the City of Douglas and my beloved Sandy Beach, part of the Savikko Recreation Area. Named after my Uncle Bobby, then mayor of the city of Douglas, on Douglas Island, where I grew up. Across from Juneau it was a magical life but one filled with many losses. Even my beloved Uncle Robert Savikko, then the mayor of Douglas, died on a moose hunting trip with my father. He left behind a loving wife and three teen aged children whose lives, like ours, was forever changed. I walk that beach almost everyday when I return 'home' to touch base and reconnect with family and my roots. It grounds me and gives me strength. 

All text and photos by Michele Savikko Bilyeu

To anyone with a dear heart who might be worried about me due to my posting about so many losses and grief and grieving, please know that I am fine!I spend a LOT of time helping others and feeling loss..theirs or mine. But thanks for your sweet emails. I am fine. hugs hugs hugs.

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, March 25, 2016

Rebirth, Reconnection, and Renewal

I slept and dreamt that life was joy. 
I awoke and saw that life was service. 
I acted and behold, service was joy.
Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark.
Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, 
But to add color to my sunset sky.

Rabindranath (Thakur)Tagore
Indian Poet, Writer, Philosoper, Composer and Nobel Prize Winner.

In Memory of my friend Lilace Hamilton, recently of Sun City, Arizona, city streets shown above.

Lilace died from the infection that often follows a broken hip in the elderly. While she died in Arizona after Christmas, I didn't hear the sad news until yesterday. So, I go into the Easter Celebration of rebirth and new beginnings bringing back in my own faith in rebirth, reconnection and renewal

All these months of wondering why I hadn't heard from her. She loved to write cards and letters as well as to talk on the phone and I had sent her a very long newsy Christmas letter. Now, I understand why she didn't write or phone me back. All these months of her being gone and not knowing. Such is life and such is loss.

Lilace was the mother of my best friend Terri. I met Terri in 1969, at Oregon State University where we lived in next to each other dorm rooms. we reconnected years later as her husband was building a rental home on the same street where we had purchased our first home in the 70's. We went on to buy acreage together, each giving birth and raising three children, our houses side by side sharing 5 acres. Our children grew up as almost brothers and sisters, not just close in age neighbors and best friends which they also were. Years and years of sharing and caring growing and learning about friends and friendship and the meaning of family came to an abrupt and tragic end.

My friend Terri, died at age 46 along with her 12 year old daughter, Kelsy, in 1997... in a terrible roll-over car accident as the family drove to the Jr. Olympics in Florida, where 12 year old Kelsy was expected to not only excel in cross country running, but to win in her age class.

Over 700 people attended that funeral and it was one of the hardest times of my life just helping to set that up with everything that we needed to do. We had a middle school choir, a small orchestral duo, we had favorites items and music and books and photos and sports equipment from both of their lives. But mostly we had memories of wonderful and even amazing mother and daughter that inspired all of us to make the most of the time we had in this lifetime..just as they had.

Years of the deepest grief and mourning followed as I and my family mourned their passing and I sharing the grief of the surviving husband and boys. A grief so deep that we almost couldn't bare that sharing but knew we all needed to process and healing it for our own survival.

I did all that I could ..housework, yardwork, dog sitting and house sitting on month long trips that Greg too once the boys finished high school and went off to college. All of them had been in the car and all of them carried the scars both emotionally and physically.

One of the hardest times, most challenging things I have ever gone through in my life as I not only felt my pain, my family's pain, my own 12 year old daughter and best friends' pain as well as our dear friends and next door neighbors even far more horrific loss and pain.

The Mother/Grandmother Lilace and I shared hundreds and hundreds of hours over the phone as we worked through our own grief and the grief of the surviving husband Greg, and their two teen age sons. Each of us believing we were helping the other as we helped ourselves in the process.

Greg, the husband and father,  died in a terrible hiking accident at the Oregon Coast in November of week before the birth of our own first grandchild and only one month after the birth of his own third grandchild , this one from the second son and his wife. His last grandaughter, and my first...two little girls that in many ways felt like the reconnection of those first two little girls, and ones we both hoped would grow up as friends in memory of  Greg and Terri and Kelsy, and now of course, Lilace.

As a highly intuitive person and someone, I have fretted for months and months that something was wrong, telling my husband, that I wondered if Lilace might have passed away and I wouldn't know. Obituaries showed nothing, no phone calls, no letters, nothing to let me know why I was fretting so. But I knew that Lilace and I shared a deep universal faith that went beyond traditional boundaries of structured religious beliefs, as we processed our grief and our grieving of all of these losses. And I knew that if she has indeed passed, that I would have have expected to fret and wonder. Now, I know it had a reason, she had passed.

So, now, I grieve the loss of this dear woman, which as all losses do, brings back the reconnection to the previous losses. One by one they all add up as those of you are young yet will  not have realized yet. But it does. Each loss triggers the previous ones and the pain in the heart is therefore reignited by the holy catalytic fire of reconnection with the past, mourning in the present, and acceptance in the future.

But I do so with love and faith that while the dawn starts out with darkness, it quickly gives way to light once again. And as the long cold winter opened up its warm heart, it ushers in Spring and Summer and Autumn and the endless cycles of life and nature.

The birds are singing outside, my seven baby chickens now in the laundry room..not the dining room!... as we get ready to celebrate Easter and this season of rebirth.

My heart hurts for the two remaining sons, their wives who never met the mother and daughter, and the three grandchildren who will never know their paternal grandparents, great grandmother. But such is life and such is loss.

Sweet Journey Lilace, as you cross the eternal bridge from here to there.
I'll miss you.


Making Prayer Flags

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.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Peace and Healing

Creator, open our hearts
to peace and healing between all people.

Creator, open our hearts
to provide and protect for all children of the earth.

Creator, open our hearts
to respect for the earth, and all the gifts of the earth.

Creator, open our hearts
to end exclusion, violence, and fear among all.

Thank-you for the gifts of this day and every day.

(Native American - Micmac - Alycia Longriver - 1995)

Alycia Longriver was a participant in the "Sunbow 5 Walk" in which a small coalition of Native Americans walked from Cape Cod, Massachusetts to California on a journey that covered more than 3,000 miles and took more than seven months to complete.
Ms. Longriver states, "In 1995 I walked with a group across the US, speaking to other groups, and praying all the way (15 million steps) for the healing of people and the earth. 
I prayed asking Creator 'to bring', but after the walk realized we already have these things. It is a matter of opening our hearts to the gifts within."

And I, always straddled between one world and the next, have done it with 7 baby chicks. For after the recent loss of my sister in law, and trying my best to be one with my brother's deep grief and grieving, coupled with the loss of all but two of my beloved chickens, I am now raising 7 new my dining room. 

Such is hope. And such also, is endless cleaning...of the sadness and even darkness as I grieve the unkindness of others in this world, and all of the dark they carry within, I seek to bring back into myself..the light, the love, the caring mindfulness of wishing for the other what I wish for myself.

I have opened my heart after much sadness from losing my sister in law who tried so hard to survive end stage kidney failure just as I lost 4 of my precious chicken pets..2 to a neighbors dog and 2 to pair of raccoons that are most likely the pair I saved from starvation when their mother was killed last winter. Such are the laws of nature and of life.

I have opened my heart to never giving up by getting 4 baby chickens to raise and then because I just loved them so, 3 more. So, now 7 baby chicks have been raised since February 4th in my dining room. Yes, my dining room.

Luckily, I work hard to keep things clean ;-)

Meet Priscilla, Maxine, Blanche and Hazel..the older girls now joined by Angelique, Francine, and tiny Nellie Grace, peeking in the back left. Another one, Priscilla. laying down and hiding to her right. I see this photo as my little Rockettes. For love of all of nature, and its creatures, ground me.

Children and grandchildren are our spirits reaching out to the future. My lifelong  love of animals..I think I have now topped 80 total in my 6 decades, give me joy and a great deal of reaching out, as well ;-)

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.

Monday, February 01, 2016

Writing on My Heart

Write it on your heart
that every day is the best day in the year.

He is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the day
who allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety.

Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could.

Some blunders and absurdities, no doubt crept in.
Forget them as soon as you can, tomorrow is a new day;

begin it well and serenely, with too high a spirit
to be cumbered with your old nonsense.

This new day is too dear,
with its hopes and invitations,
to waste a moment on the yesterdays.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

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.