Thursday, March 10, 2016

Honoring a WWII Veteran

At Christmastime, my favorite second grade class in White Bear Lake, Minnesota, created the quilt blocks shown here for me to use in a quilt that would honor someone in the military.

We started this project of making our "Thank You for Your Service" quilts a couple of years ago and so far we've gifted our quilts to deployed soldiers.The first year to a soldier who was deployed in Afghanistan and last year to a married couple deployed in Iraq.

This year we decided that our recipient would be a local White Bear Lake resident and  WWII veteran, Bob Clemens. With a little help from Bob's wife, Mary Nell,  Bob thought he was just coming to the  school to speak to the second graders about his time in the military as a pilot. He had no idea we were about to surprise him with our special quilt.
Bob Clemens

The students could not have been more excited about Bob's visit!  Sitting on the floor of the commons were several of the second grade classes all ready to hear Bob tell them about his experiences flying planes during the war.  We also learned that Bob was an only child, and because of that, he had the option of not going to war. (I'd never heard that before)  Instead he chose to serve his country and enlisted in the Air Force in 1942.  He became a pilot and flew 50  missions in 1944 in about a three month time period.

The kids got to ask questions when he was done speaking...I think my favorite question was "Was it scary flying airplanes since they had just been invented?"

And then of course...the best part....we got to surprise Bob and tell him about our very special quilt project and present it to him.

Receiving his quilt

Such an honor to be able to say "Thank you for your service".

We also knew that on Friday, March 11th,  Bob will be celebrating his 92nd birthday.  Not only did we all sing him Happy Birthday, he was also presented with 92 Birthday cards made by elementary students as well as a book of letters of thanks, written by John's second graders.

It was truly a beautiful and emotional event that I feel honored to have a part in ...

Thank you for your service, Bob....from the bottom of our hearts.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Finding my inner artist...with Melissa Marie Collins

Today I had the absolute pleasure of spending the day at Delve MIY in Cedar Rapids with my quilting friend and artist, Melissa Marie Collins.

Melissa and I had a connection long before we ever actually met in person.  It was her fabric "The Healing Tree" that I had used in one of my quilts that was so meaningful to me.   We met at Quilt Market shortly after and I sought her out so that I could share my healing story with her...and she shared her story of creating the healing tree....  An opportunity for me to thank her for her creation...and validation for her that what she created and sent out into the world served the exact person she had hope it would.  It was truly a beautiful and emotional exchange  that neither of us has ever forgotten.

Melissa  invited me to come down and spend a day with her in the studio at Delve MIY to learn some of the  painting techniques that she uses to create her designs.  

Delve MIY, owned by Stephanie Brandenburg, is in the restored Cherry building in the New Bohemia District in downtown Cedar Rapids in an area of the city that was hit hard by the floods in June 2008.  The building houses several artistic businesses including photography, ceramics and a yarn and floral shop. The hallways are filled with art from local artists.

  One step inside Delve MIY and it's a true explosion of art and color.  The fabrics are gorgeous and inspirational and mingled with an eclectic blend of antiques.  It's absolute eye candy in every direction you look. 

To learn more about Delve MIY , Frond Studios and their designs click here. You'll find a link to their website there as well.

Today...I did some drawing...some coloring...and some painting...tapping into my inner artist. It truly felt like I was on a scavenger hunt, finding clues and messages along the way in support of my journey to find Joy again.

Just to make sure we didn't take ourselves too serious...
we ended our art session with a bit of a Mardi Gras themed bubble fest....and lots of laughs.

Before leaving Cedar Rapids we took a quick walk through the NewBo City Market which houses multiple vendors offering homegrown items and a multitude of ethnic foods fixed fresh right before your eyes.

and then a quick walk through Brewhemia a local cafe and bar who's walls were boasting art from none other than Delve MIY.  It was there that Melissa ran into a lifelong family friend, sitting in his favorite spot at the bar reading a book.  Melissa casually asked about the book and picked it up and opened it to this page....another message for us today.

We grabbed some dinner before I left Cedar Rapids and I swear to you we ate the best sweet potato fries in the world.  In the world, people!!  These can be found at Bata's Restaurant.  If you love sweet potato must go...and please take me with you.

As we were seated in the restaurant, and talking about how meaningful the day was for both of us...I looked up and this was my view from the table.....a beautiful message to carry home with me...
and one I wish for all of you as well.