Friday, November 13, 2015

Death and Dying and a Quick Quilt

Julia's Garden by Cathy Geier
This is a heck of a title for a blog isn't it!?  

You know how sometimes old friends drift back into your life and you can almost pick up where you left off - even though it has been many many years since you've seen them? (Like 30 years!) This week I got a phone call about a mutual friend our ours from way back when, only this friend is very sick. This friend was diagnosed with a terminal disease and is dying. 

"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his godly ones". Did you know this is a Bible verse? You sure don't hear this one quoted much do you? It comes from Psalm 116, verse 15. The last few days I've been thinking about my friend and the end of one stage of her life and the beginning of the new. 

Or even better, thinking about our lives and deaths here on earth as a mere 'false start' as CS Lewis described it.  The real beginning comes when we see Him face to face.  At the end of the last book in CS Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia series, he wrote of Aslan the great Lion - the Christ figure; 

“And as He spoke, He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”
CS Lewis, The Last Battle. (Emphasis is mine) 

St John wrote in one of his letters (1 John 3:2-3) the following - 

"Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. Everyone who has this hope fixed on Him makes himself pure, as He is pure". 

In light of all these thoughts I wanted to make my friend a quilt and I had less than 8 hours to do it! Thankfully I have lots of fabrics including scenic prints.   As I was thinking about death and new life I started thinking about butterflies... about how we are like caterpillars on earth but how when we emerge from our tombs (like butterflies in the pupa stage), we will fly and be beautiful. 

So I made her this little wall hanging. I fused on some other flower prints in the foreground and made a double sided 3 dimensional butterfly. 

Detail of the butterfly
 I  fused together 2 of the same butterflies to make it double sided. I stitched down the body and added antennae using black thread. 

 I figured I should make a caterpillar too. So I did... and a little stick for it to crawl up. The quilting adds a lot, I stippled and make little loop da loos and circles and wavy stitching on the water. I added borders, a sleeve and made a narrow rod to hang it. And voil√†, a small wallhanging.

I actually like the colors so much I was thinking about making another one for me!

I don't seem to be able to write a 'small' blog - it just doesn't feel right to me. So let me give you something more and show you some more fall quilts from Wisconsin.

These are quilts from the Fall Leaves Challenge. Here are the ribbon winners and then a couple of others that I thought were very nice and creative. 

Fall Transition by Terry Sankovitz.
 Terry thought of leaves falling and becoming birds - her bead work was glorious. This is the First Place quilt. 

Viewing Nature's Magic by Pam Moller

 This is the Second Place quilt, Pam painted this on linen and the leaves are dyed dryer sheets! 

A Walk in the Park by Pennee Clanton

 Isn't this a neat quilt? I reminds me of a painting but I can't remember which one, lol. This quilt won Third Place. 

Overhanging Oak Branches by Cathy Geier
 And Honorable Mention went to my quilt. The lighting over it was quite harsh but boy can you see the quilting! My quilt is strip pieced with appliqued branches and leaves.

Harvesting Sunshine by Mary Alice Hart
 I really liked this quilt. I thought the way her leg and foot stuck out of the frame was wonderfully done. She did a terrific job making blue jeans and creating dimension! 

Oak Savanna by Gloria Welniak
You know me and strips - I liked this quilt. Gloria was interested in the way light filters down from the blue sky and through the fluttering golden leaves of the oak tree to the savanna below.

Well that is it for me this week. We had a great visit with our friend and I felt I learned something as we talked with her. (She had more to give actually than her 'comforters' did!)

First, she is not alone. God's presence was clearly with her and she faces her uncertain future with peace and joy.  Jesus is more real to her than ever before and it is obvious that He is taking care of her emotionally and spiritually even as her body is failing.

Second. She is de-cluttering her life. Or un-cluttering?! Getting rid of stuff, getting rid of non essential things to make way for what really is important to her. She is zeroing in on things which really matter. I think we can all learn from this. 

Sometimes we avoid thinking about death and dying and we fill our lives with 'busyness'... busy busy busy. Then something comes along and it is like a wake up call. A time to reflect, a time to re-prioritize, and a time to examine our own hearts - are we right with God? Are we in the place He wants us? Is His presence with us and are we aware of it day by day?

Lots to think about. This has been my week and thanks for listening.

Comments Welcome.  


  1. What a lovely quilt and a sweet tribute to your friend! There is comfort in knowing Christ and resting in His presence. Approaching death can be faced with confidence, knowing that real life will soon begin. I was at my father's side only a few months ago as he breathed his last. I am certain that he heard the words, "Well done, my good and faithful servant." He died at the break of day on a quiet Sunday morning and awoke to a glorious, never-ending day with his Savior. I love the verses that you quoted. They bring me hope and comfort. Thank you for sharing your faith even as you share your beautiful quilts. Your friend has much to look forward to.

    1. Thank you for your kind words. We all long for the day when we see Him face to face and his work in us is truly complete. His grace was sooo evident to us and her joy in knowing Him and knowing He was with her so intimately as she approaches her own death was remarkable. I'm glad these things I wrote about brought comfort to you. And I'm glad you like my quilts. Thank you for letting me know.

  2. Cathy, I'm praying for your friend that her journey is peaceful and that she finds strength and joy as her time gets closer.I'm sure your gift will be a reminder to your friend of how important she was to you.It was a lovely and thoughtful gift. As I'm writing this I'm truly touched by your friendship to your friend.As I'm shredding a few tears after reading your blog and I'm questioning whether I have to examine my own heart, and what does he want me to achieve in my life at this present time! So now I do need to reflect on this for some time and listen for the answers. Thought provoking Cathy. Hope you have a good week until next time. Julie Beard

  3. Thanks for writing Julie. And for praying for my friend. As I was thinking about your comments, it occurred to me that for all of us, He wants the same thing. That we 'know' Him, more and more. My guess is that is what Julia would say too... At least for me, I think that it is out of my knowing Him more and more that the best of my work flows and more importantly the joy I've found in life.

    I hope you have special times ahead as you reflect on His work in you. :)

  4. Hi Cathy beautiful work.
    Kevin Foreyt Madison

    1. Should have replied sooner want to say the quilts are outstanding also. Related to Julias garden quilt and the story. It helps knowing where you will be going at the end of this life here thanks to Chirst's gift.
      Jody Kemp/Yeazel says hi had hoped to see you last night in Madison

    2. Hi Kevin! I spent the last week in Alaska and didn't make it to the class reunion. (Obviously, lol.) I hope everyone had a good time and enjoyed seeing old friends. I'm sorry I didn't recognise your name the first time you commented here in February! Now I remember you! Thanks for your kind words and maybe we'll meet at the NEXT reunion?! Cathy

  5. Hi Cathy I'm so jealous I've been wanting to get to Alaska for awhile now.
    I was ambivalent about going but have had a good time in the past and this was no different. There did seem to be a significant # of older looking people.....
    Were you going to be in Madison for the quilt show in Madison? September I think? If you get down to the area and have time I wouldn't mind grabbing a lunch or breakfast. 608-577-7669
    Hope all is well with you and your family.