You all know that sometimes life gives us "twists and turns" that we can't even imagine and sometimes there are things we can imagine but we don't want to think about. And then just when we think we have been through enough "twists and turns" in our lives, we find that, for lack of a better phrase, our lives are tossed up in the air and nothing goes like you think it will at all. That was the case at this time last year.
My mother fell seriously ill at a time when we were totally not expecting it. Our dad had been admitted to a care center the year before and we were always worried about him. But due to a serious kidney stone condition our mother nearly died before doctors found a blockage and took the steps needed for her recovery. My mother spent a week in intensive care before she was moved to a regular floor for another week of care and then on to the care center for a couple of weeks for therapy. I stayed in Iowa at her apartment during that time and was thankful that I didn't have to work so I was free to be with her and my dad. He worried constantly about her and was so relieved when she came to the care center so that he could see she was really all right. I took him to the hospital a couple of times while she was there but anytime he couldn't see her or talk to her was a confusing time for him. It was a hard time to watch my parents ill and not able to be with each other.
It was during my mother's stay in the hospital that an act of kindness by someone inspired me to create the little pickle pincushion. Prior to my mother's illness, I had joined a couple of Yahoo quilting groups. I had accidently signed up for one group but couldn't get up the courage to post a message. Another group I joined was Mark Lipinski's Quilter's Home group and he calls the members of his group his "Pickle Posse" because he lives on Pickle Road. Because I was so inept at figuring out how to post and comment on-line, I did what many folks do - I "lurked". I read the postings about quilts and recipes, kids and more. The Pickle group is a very diverse and chatty group so it was fun to read the conversations. :-) I noticed a post by a Donna Jo from Iowa and e-mailed her off-line. We discovered we had some things in common - crazy quilting, among other things - and after only a couple of weeks we were talking about meeting the next time I came to Iowa to visit my parents. There was the wedding of my niece in a few weeks and we thought perhaps we could meet then. But my mother got sick and I e-mailed Donna Jo what had happened. And then she replied with the amazing offer to come and sit with me one day while my mother was in intensive care. She said "I'll just come and be there and if you need to go do something I'll just be there if you need help of any kind." So, she drove over an hour to get to the hospital (only a year earlier, my friend, Sue, had done the same thing when my parents were hospitalized at the same time - I have some really great friends!) and she came on a Wednesday, the fifth day my mother had been in ICU and a day when finally she could squeeze my hand and nod her head and you knew she was really doing it, that we weren't imagining it. It was also a day, when across the hall from my mother, a dear family friend slipped away. I was glad Donna Jo was there. She met my brother and was there when we got the news about our friend. It was not an easy day but she had a calming effect. It was good to have her to talk to and yet we'd only known each other for a few weeks via the Internet.
I wanted to do something fun and say thank you to her for taking time from her day, from her family to spend it with me. So, since we met on Mark's Pickle Posse group, I designed the Pickled Pink Pincushion for her. I was "tickled pink" to have met her, that she came to sit with me, and that she was such a lovely person. We still e-mail although right now she's planning a wedding for her daughter so it's not quite as often as it was for awhile. We'll get back to it and at some point we will meet for a quilt shop adventure. Meeting her was a "twist and turn" that I hadn't expected just like my mother becoming so ill when it was my father we were always worried about. She's not the only good friend I've made since joining Mark's Pickle Posse group. Like I said, it's a diverse group and right now the talk of politics is so thick in group chats "that you could cut it with a knife" as the saying goes. When I returned home and throughout the winter while my mother continued to have health challenges and my dad's health declined, members of the Pickle Posse offered thoughts, prayers, then condolences when my dad passed away. Many of them were going through similar situations and we found solace in the thoughts and conversations of other Pickles. Signing on to the group at night and reading and then posting messages to chat, gave me an outlet for my stress and grief. If I could, I would thank each one of them with a "Pickled Pink Pincushion". Instead, though, I can offer up the pattern and finally a tutorial. Click here for the "Pickled Pink Pincushion" tutorial.
And that's how the "Pickled Pink Pincushion" came to be. If you aren't crazy about having a pickle on your pincushion, replace the pickle with a flower or any other shape to make a nice little gift for yourself or a friend. Have fun whatever you do. Life is filled with "sew" many blessings and sometimes we don't have to look very far to see them.
Last thought for this evening............I am going to have a hard time not writing about all the fun stuff I am preparing for our retreat this weekend. In an earlier post I wrote that I was making fudge for the retreat and was starting to write some other things when it suddenly hit me that, good grief, my friends who are coming to the retreat also read my blog on a regular basis. What was I thinking? So, mum's the word on the retreat until we get back Sunday night. I'll have to find some other things to post about and I am not usually short on stories so I'll figure it out. :-)
P.S. I would add this thought - Offer up a gentle kindness to someone who is least expecting it. It may be just the thing that will make or break their day.
A little something extra......... for a chance to win a kit for the Pickled Pink Pincushion click here.