Showing posts with label visit me at. Show all posts
Showing posts with label visit me at. Show all posts

Monday, January 19, 2015

Reconnection



Birds have always been seen as special messengers of hope from above. While bird feathers, besides being engineering masterpieces, are often seen as symbols of reconnecting us with hope, and a belief in the unseen and as yet unknown.

I love finding feathers along my own path whether I am simply walking in my own yard in Oregon where feathers are more likely to have been left from one of my own flock of domestic chickens or along the beautiful beaches along the channels of ocean waters in my home state of Alaska where I reconnect with childhood, family, and the feeling of being home and truly returning to my own nesting rebirth year after year.

In a time of transition, and the beginning of a New Year, I seek the same reconnection. After many months of continuing my own daily life with all of the traditions of family, celebrations and feathering my own nest with the bringing in of the holi-day lights, the creation and giving of gifts, and the joys and sorrows of life and living, reconnecting with my own past took on new meanings this month.

After months of being in an internally aware state of grief for the loss of my youngest sister-in-law to cancer, and the tragic death of a dear family friend of 45 years, I was reconnected with the loss of his wife and daughter just 17 years ago, my best friend of many decades, and my youngest daughter's loss of her best friend since birth. A family that we shared the building of our two homes together on the same acreage, the births and raising of each of our three children to adulthood.

Reconnection to grief and mourning needed to rise up and be filled with constant reminders of life, of light, and of the grace and the beauty of our natural world.And I needed to bring those reminders of the natural and outside world into my my inner and internal world..both in my heart and in my home.

And then a new loss. One of my four little grand-cats was killed in a tragic accident. As someone who has loved animals her entire life, this new loss was just one more on top of those that had come at the end of the year. Again, I reconnected with the deep emapthic grief of anothers loss that mirrored my own and yet, was still my own.

Reconnection is truly connecting to source and to the divine that lives within each of us, just as spirituality connects us to spirit and religion links us back to the beginning and source of all understanding. Our awareness of any separation is simply an illusion or perhaps better yet, an allusion. For each of us is part of one another and a part of all that truly is.

And because I am always finding feathers in my own spiritual journey, birds and feathers as two of the many joys in the gardens of my own life.  And it was all of these feelings, all of this joy, and all of this pain that was transformed into a prayer flag to grace a wall in my home. A wall that rises up the journey of the stairwell...step by step, just as enlightenment in all of its forms and all of its stages, has come into the journey of my life since I was a young child playing in the fern filled forests of Alaska.

I brought in the symbology of the bird feathering her nest, long recognized as signifying hope and of course the feathers as symbols of creating and manifesting the improbable, if not the downright seemingly impossible. With bits and pieces of fabric and thread, yarn, jute, feathers, twigs and twine it speaks without having a voice and is heard without having a pulpit.

Reconnection fills my heart and lights up my soul, my prayer flag graces the steps, the pathway, and the journey as I walk upstairs to my art and quilting areas. With each step, and each new awareness, I seek to rise each and everyday to greater and greater joy, inspiration, and creativity.

And I fill my heart not only with gratitude for each new day, each new step, and each new understanding, and allow the reconnection to soften and gentle within me as grief merges with understanding and joy once again.


In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King
Be of Service...today and everyday
Reconnect..with empathy, caring, and love with one another.

For as Dr. King has said: "Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal."
And he is also credited with having said: "Be the peace you wish to see in the world."

                                                                          

Reconnect with YOUR past, your present, and how we manifest our own future! I do on an almost daily basis!! Today, I realized for the first time, why I am so drawn to Melanie Testa's Meadolark fabric and why I am constantly drawn to supporting Breast Cancer Awareness. Each of us in our own ways, kicks our challenges to the curb and keep on going..day after day! Here is my latest Melanie Testa Breast Pocket contribution. This one donated at the end of last year to the Quilting Art's Challenge.

For not only did my own mother battle Stage 3b Inflammatory Breast Cancer and come down from Alaska for treatment but she ended up leaving with me and my family for the next 9 months as we battled..first her fear and refusal to go through treatment, but onto intense chemo, a mastectomy, and then intense radiation. She went from less than a 3% chance of surviving to not only surviving, hitting her 5 year benchmark and on to living for many, many more years. That she ended up with severe Alzheimer's and my traveling to Alaska for additional caregiving is another reconnection in so many ways.

This 'Breast Cancer Pocket' was created as soon as I learned that my beautiful 27 year old niece was not only diagnosed with breast cancer in October of 2014, but had almost immediate surgery, and is now having chemo, then radiation. Time for not only this breast pocket, but for another prayer flag!!!

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, September 16, 2014

Art from the Heart: Quilting Arts Magazine



I wait with great anticipation for each issue of "Quilting Arts Magazine" to arrive in the mail. It is such a treat, and such a treasure, that even though I was in a shop buying fabric yesterday, and saw all the new magazines out, I only looked at this beautiful cover and did not thumb through it..wanting to wait for my own subscription issue to arrive and savor it at my leisure. Well, it arrived today and....


...lo and behold..I had a project in this newest issue under the title "Art from the Heart: The Breast Pocket Project."  And, I must say that I am just so proud to be part of Melanie Testa's wonderful project!

And its such fun to open a magazine and see a photo of one's own project and know I've been #published again!  Such fun!!

I had previously blogged about Melanie Testa and her amazing and courageous battle with breast cancer, her decision to forgo reconstructive surgery and to live the valiant life of a warrior.....battle scars and all.

We had moved my own mother down from Juneau, Alaska to Seattle, Washington, and then down to live with me for the next nine months in Salem, Oregon after her own diagnosis of Stage 3b Inflammatory Breast Cancer in 2001. This became a journey shared with the loved ones that surrounded her, my father, and myself.

Melanie Testa was surrounded by a gigantic circle of powerful women every step of the way as well as by her own loving husband and family. So, her story felt in many ways like our story.  When she wrote on her blog about her experience and her "Breast Pocket Project for Flatties", I knew that I not only wanted, but needed to make some in my own mother's honor.

My mother only lost one breast, not two, but the loss of it, even at almost 80, was huge for her and for my father, and we had to use a lot of healing love to get her through her own 9 months in the battlefields of chemotherapy, a mastectomy, and then finally, radiation.

They gave her the strongest forms of each of those that they had, her chances of survival were already so low.  But she not only survived, she made it to her 5 year survivor's milestone and didn't die until 2013 and then after an 8 years battle with Alzheimer's Disease.

We have fought many healing battles she and I, as women do with their supports groups all over the world with these diseases. And those diseases, and their scars, and the judgments from those scars live on and become a battle of their own.

For every stare, for every rude comment, for every curious glance at a flat breast, lies a warrior woman (and yes, even some men who have had breast cancer)  and in that warrior woman... or man, lies the true and valiant heart of the strongest of warriors.


A breast pocket is a symbol for all that lies within, all that heart and that breast that sacred place carries, all that it has nurtured, all that it has healed, and all of the proud scars of that journey to get to that ultimate and courageous place of survival.

Melanie is sounding a louder call to action. A call for all of us to make many, many more breast pockets and to submit them for publication in a future issue..either print or online..of Quilting Arts Magazine.

Pick up an issue and check out pages 10-14. And while you're there take a look at my little be-ribboned heart pocket...right under the title word 'Heart' made with muslin and velvet and satin ribbons...it has a secret pocket in the back, where no one can see what it holds, or what it has gone through.... yet every stitch, every bit of all that covers, or adorns, fills it with all of that love that still lies within.

Feel this powerful place, this pocket of power and healing and love, and make and donate a pocket of your own.

Links:





  1. Reader Challenges - Quilting Daily

    www.quiltingdaily.com/content/ReaderChallenges.aspx
    Read more on page 10 of the October/November issue of Quilting Arts Magazine. ... Create a Breast Pocket using your own design, the template on page 14 of ...
  2. Quilting Arts Magazine, October/November 2014 - Quilting ...

    www.quiltingdaily.com/.../quiltingarts/.../quilting-arts-magazine-october-...
    View more artwork by Amy Cavaness, Karen Anne Glick, and Susan Purney Mark plus additional Breast Pockets and submissions from the Opposites Attract ...
  3. Art from the Heart: Quilting Arts Magazine - With Heart and ...

    www.with-heart-and-hands.com/.../art-from-heart-quilting-arts-magazine...
    17 mins ago - I wait with great anticipation for my issue of "Quilting Arts Magazine" to ... A breast pocket is a symbol for all that lies within, all that heart and that ...

'Breast Pockets' for Melanie Testa'...original project on Melanie's blog

Melanie Testa: Meadowlark

Snippets and Threadtales:Yes, I'm Certifiable!

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!