We will always remember Ellie for her love for others, her creativity, sensitivity, and delight in life! Ellie's light has spread far and wide... may it continue to shine in our hearts.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

A little quilting, anyone?

I'm sorry if my last post was depressing. Truly we aren't doing so badly. It was kind of a small dip in the grand scheme of things. I think that's just all part of our new life. Sometimes, rather than wince and try to turn away from the painful things, we just turn into them and embrace the pain and sorrow and go where it takes us. John is way better at it than I am, but I am learning that I can live through the facing of it, and come out on the other side.

We have also had many joyful times lately. At the top of the list for me has been our marathon quilting bee! It has been absolutely wonderful to spread out all of Ellie's clothes. The memories tend to come on strong as I look at certain patterns or touch the soft fabric, but the emotions that accompany them are not sad. And as I look at the beautiful blanket that is beginning to take shape, I cannot help but to see it through Ellie's eyes. I know exactly which squares she would exclaim over, and the look in her eyes when it all becomes too much and she squeals with glee...

I am also loving the process of working with John's aunts! They have added so much in all aspects - creatively, practically, and just in the enjoyment of working together.

Melanie gasps and hides her eyes every time we cut into an item of Ellie's clothing. Then she assures us that she doesn't want to take on something too complicated or precious, but ends up doing a beautiful and precise job of it. She says that this project feels so much like working on the scrapbook that we made just after Ellie died. She is so right! (She also gasped and averted her eyes when we were cutting up pictures and Ellie's drawings to use in the scrapbook.)

Belinda will take on any challenge, and faces the most difficult and intricate task with reckless abandon... and succeeds. She says that this project feels to her like the way that the family came together to help us with Ellie's journey through cancer. Everyone was so supportive and giving of themselves in their own unique ways. She is also so right!

Loretta keeps an eye on everything from the practical components involved to the overall artistic effect - as well as everything in between. She is our "quality control" and makes sure that everything is done right. (She is also relentless when it comes to tidying up and organizing the bits and pieces. I am so tempted to stealthily sprinkle parts of the scrap bag around the room just to time how long it takes her to restore order.) Loretta has not stopped moving long enough for me to find out what this process reminds her of.

I, as the fearless leader, mostly just try to keep them from running a muck! (Don't worry, I have only had to take out my stern voice a few times, and kept Belinda in line just today with one scathing glance. I feel such a sense of power.) I have been more involved in the layout and decision making process, which is funny because everyone gives an opinion and then looks at me and says "you decide, it's your blanket!" I think that they have just been trying to keep me so busy that I won't touch the thing until they are finished. (We won't talk about what happened with the original pieces I cut and put together. I believe that I have told you before that I am not known for my perfectionism.) What they do not realize is that they are playing right into my master plan. I find all of this part very tedious, and am quite content to "let them" do it. :-) I'm looking forward to the next phase of the process. We (and by "we", I mean they) finally have all of the squares to the point where we can add batting and begin quilting them. I am so excited about this! We can spend the whole winter working on the beautiful stitching.

John has enjoyed taking hikes with his cousin Nick and Nick's wife, Celena. We even let Belinda out of the sweat shop yesterday to go out with them. I will be sure to give you some pictures, as they have taken in some breathtaking sights.

Thank you once again for standing with us through the ups and downs. We love you all.


At 8:10 AM, Blogger Allison said...

I have been praying for you tons these last few weeks. My daughter just had her 8th birthday this week, and I remember that is the age Ellie was when you found out about her cancer and so you have really been heavy on my heart this past 2 weeks. I thank you so much for continuing to post, I have been reading your blog for over a year and I just feel as though your family is part of mine. Love, Allison

At 11:13 AM, Blogger My Place of Peace said...

You guys are so amazing...thanks for your transparency and for letting us learn from you. Blessings!

At 3:32 PM, Blogger Amy said...

Don't worry about depressing us, I love knowing how you are coping so I can pray for you more specifically. Thanks for letting us in. I can't wait to see the quilt, it sounds wonderful.

At 7:57 PM, Blogger LindaSueBuhl said...

Love the quilt stories - so many recognitions of the different facets of Ellie in all the people she encountered. Sarah - you love music so very much - have you tried a free service on the web - www.pandora.com? you can create your own radio station and it really is free - I love my Norah Jones station! I realize this has almost nothing to do with what you blogged - just wanted to share because -just because you love music too.

At 9:16 PM, Anonymous Trinity said...

Hi- I just wanted to write a quick thanks for sharing. Sometimes it is comforting to know that I am not alone in this "small club" of losing a child.

At 7:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


So glad you are surrounded by love! We can not wait to see pictures not only of John's hikes but also the beautiful quilt that is being sown together with love. Isn't that a little bit like the Lord, taking our choas (different pieces of fabric) and weaving something amazing...

Love To Your Family,
The Haviland's

At 8:27 PM, Blogger Tonya said...

I can't wait to see photos of your blanket. I'd LOVE to do something like that... I think.. I HOPE, I eventually will/can. I wish I'd handled things the way you have. More head-on. I'm more like an ostrich. I stick my head in the sand and try to convince myself that it's all a bad dream.

I guess I've handled things pretty well. It's a lot like you said in your post - there ARE a lot of blessings! I think the most productive thing we can do is try to make the most of every day and look forward to the moment we get to put our arms around them again! Oh, I can hardly wait!

Okay, I'll go for now. You guys have a great weekend! =-)

At 12:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The quilt sounds great, Sarah. I look forward to seeing it. I am glad to hear that you have so much help with it...sharing memories and making more memories.

Thinking of you, Sheri :)

At 5:29 PM, Anonymous Lauren said...

Well you could probably use your cathartic quilting as a personality type-test for our aunts/moms- their contributions and reactions are SO like them! I'm glad you shared that piece of the quilting experience. :)

At 9:27 PM, Anonymous Melanie said...

Thank you for letting me help with the quilt -- I know I am a wimp when it comes to doing these projects! (I don't have an artistic bone in my body!) I couldn't bare the thought of altering Ellie's precious artwork when we were making the scrapbook. And that turned out so beautiful! I should trust that you have the vision to make something special and memorable!!
Looking at Ellie's clothes and touching them brought so many bittersweet memories. It was a very special way remember and cherish our Ellie by working on it together. Reading your blog entry about me flinching when you would cut into Ellie's clothes made me think of Ellie when she told me --"Aunt Mel, you need a racoon nerve!" Obviously I still don't have it! But thanks for letting me join in without it!
It was such a gift to be able to be together as we celebrated Ellie's birthday -- thank you once again for letting us share with you and be a part of this most difficult journey. I have so many memories and little film loops of Ellie that run through my head all the time. I am so grateful for the opportunity to have them -- even the painful ones. Because the many priceless smiles and moments of laughter and fun far outweigh any heartache. I think of Ellie as a grace in our lives -- she touched us all so very deeply and has enriched our lives so much. As you often say -- she gives glory to God!
Thank you again. Love you and always thinking of you and praying for you, "Aunt Mel"

At 11:55 AM, Blogger oneofhisfriends said...

Hi all,

"Sometimes, rather than wince and try to turn away from the painful things, we just turn into them and embrace the pain and sorrow and go where it takes us." *

* Friends, don't try this at home without the fellowship of our Great Lord and Savior.


At 8:20 PM, Blogger Sarah said...

Ah yes, Oneofhisfriends... very good point! :-)

At 10:53 PM, Blogger Tonya said...

Hey there, Friend!

I'm just stopping in to say "hello" and see how you're doing.

I hope you're having a GREAT week!



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