Today marks the 6 month anniversary of Hurricane Harvey’s flooding of our home. My Monday musings are not focusing on what has been “lost” but instead the blessings that have come through this experience and the things I am learning.
For example – it’s people that are important, not stuff. Don’t misunderstand, it’s not a lot of fun to see your stuff wet, ruined, and discarded on the side of the road. Sentimental items can’t be replaced, however, the blessing is that memories can’t be robbed!
Letting Go of The Good to Accept The Better
I’m reminded of the kid with his hand stuck in the cookie jar grasping firmly onto two cookies, but because his hand is too full he isn’t able to enjoy them. Only by letting go and opening his little hands can he then have the opportunity to receive so much more. To my way of thinking, holding on is a closed response while letting go is the open response. Almost a trust issue – will there be anything left if I let go, can I trust that my hands will be full again? Well, I’m here to tell you that I feel like that little kid who has had his open-palmed hand piled high with an abundance of cookies!
I have to admit it was painful to have a forced declutter, but it was needed. Much like the pruning of a valued fruit tree, the loving gardener knows and understands that “the pain” of pruning will produce more fruit! One of the things I am learning through this process is that I have had too much stuff! Many things were lost in the flood but many things were not. As we move things back in from storage I plan on a deep de-cluttering to decide what to hold on to and what to pass on. There is a wonderful neighborhood thrift store that I’ve supported for years with my annual closet cleaning, but this year I’ve been sharing more of my items that are still useful but which are needed more by someone else.
I’m embarrassed to say that this area of my life was a little harder. I mean, really, let go of some of my fabrics?!? Talk about memories! I could tell you when and where I purchased over 90 percent of my abundance. I will forever be grateful to all the “quilt angels” who helped wash over 200 personal quilts and untold amounts of yardage!
Back in 2016 at the Houston International Quilt Festival, I sat down to take a break in the free teacher lecture area. I wish I knew who was speaking but it wasn’t someone I recognized or knew, however, her words were profound and made an impact.
"You bought that fabric to make a quilt, no one said you had to be the one to make it"
Slowly, but steadily I am learning to let go and share my abundance of fabrics. There’s a dear friend at the Island Quilters Guild in Galveston (who prefers to remain anonymous by name but gives me permission to share) who takes fabric pieces and scraps donated by others and makes the most beautiful quilts. Every month she is sharing 3 to 4 quilts she has made from the fabrics given to her and she, in turn, gives the completed quilts to the guild’s many charity organizations. She will never know how it blesses me to see “my fabrics” playing nicely with the fabrics of others to finally be made into a quilt. In a small way, it makes me feel a part of the love stitched into those quilts that will warm someone in need. I do have plans to continue this practice of de-stashing once I move my fabric back into my studio from storage after reconstruction is completed.
Okay, maybe that’s stretching it a bit, I was trying to keep with the “de-something” like a three-point outline (de-clutter, de-stash, de-tour) but my little brain couldn’t think of anything else.
During the past six months, I’ve come to realize that Harvey has caused a detour of sorts or a new direction if you will. Admittedly it has been most difficult to have to turn away customers for my longarm business while in this waiting game of reconstruction. Another forced “letting go.” However, it’s been my heart’s desire for many years to be a pattern designer and to do more teaching. Had I not been forced to pack up the longarm I might not have had the time to devote to building this side of my business.
I can’t begin to list all the fabulous opportunities that have happened since Harvey – “little things” like being certified with Deb Tucker’s Studio 180 Design, being accepted once again to be an Island Batik Ambassador, being chosen to be among the faculty of this fall’s Studio 180 Academy, having the opportunity to publish my first pattern with several more in the works, looking forward to teaching on a Stitchin’ Heaven cruise in May 2019…it’s like an avalanche of blessings! And I truly believe it’s because I opened my hands and surrendered my business – God is filling me to overflowing!
Speaking of my longarm – it’s been shipped to the home office for a spa treatment and repairs. I will be glad when we are reunited and quilting together again. Longarm quilting is a passion that I hope to continue for many many years to come.
But Wait – There’s More!
With me, there’s always more! Six months post-Harvey there are many families who are just now getting back into their homes, but more than not there are many in the same boat as us, down to the studs and wishing for drywall. We are finding that the wait is to our benefit as so many things are being uncovered in our home that needs to be addressed before adding back the walls…If you follow me on Facebook you may recall our issues with the one bathroom in the home not functioning properly…well, it’s been discovered that the entire drainage system is seriously beyond repair and will be being replaced this upcoming week. What a blessing to discover this BEFORE putting back flooring and such. We keep saying Thank you, Jesus, for the flood and the opportunity to make much-needed repairs!
And more, and more
There’s a lot of exciting things in store for 2018, some I can’t share yet but I promise it’s all good! I love that God works all things for the good to those who love Him. Sometimes it doesn’t feel good, but it’s working towards the good! He gives beauty for ashes, and makes everything beautiful in His time!
I wanted to leave you with a little encouragement on your Monday – last week at church we had what is called “cardboard testimonies” – sharing our trials and our victories through Christ. ..I hope you will watch and be touched. My God is a God of miracles!
This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler, reflecting on the after-effects of Hurricane Harvey and realizing how truly blessed we are!