The Reconnected Friendship Quilt — A Christmas Story

There once was a friend (me) who let down another friend. At the time, I doubt that I had much of an idea how much I had upset the apple cart of the friendship, but thankfully, a few weeks ago, it was brought to my attention, and I was given a beautiful opportunity to genuinely apologize and heal a past hurt. And I hope, and believe it was, a beautiful healing experience for us both.

Now, for the story…

A few months ago, I saw a picture on Facebook of a wall hanging quilt that a distanced, long-time friend of mine had created. The colors and energetic patterns within each hand-sewn square really pulled me in. And though we had not talked in years, except for a few minutes at her niece’s Celebration of Life memorial service (over a year ago), well, this quilt resonated so much with me that I jumped to ask her about it! And perhaps boldly of me, I asked if she might craft a King size quilt like it for me!

Patties wall hanging quilt.jpg

I loved it! The colors, pattern, and workmanship was outstanding! To my joy, she agreed to make a King size quilt for my husband and I, but not like the one I had seen, because of the size. The quilt I had commented on was much smaller (only a wall hanging).

However, that was a good thing because it meant we would get to chat a number of times about colors, design, and so forth. I took some measurements of our bed, and asked my husband too, about colors, design, and so forth.

We did all of our chats via Facebook. This might not sound like an important aspect of the story, but trust me, it is.

I wanted a King size version of mostly brown, blue, and green–in a Native American kind of design. It didn’t have to be traditional. In fact, I would have been happy with anything–as long as Pattie made it.

Our Christmas Star.JPG

I told Pattie that I’d cherish the quilt for years to come. What she didn’t know was that in the last ten years or so, I’ve learned that mostly only the things people have given to me, or that were personally made for me, hold any kind of special emotional attachment. Other things are nice, pretty, useful, etc. but if they all went away, the only ones I’d miss, are the few that were given to me by family that didn’t give often, or were from my home state or town, or were handmade. And living in an RV for the last seven years, I’ve had to be quite discerning over size, weight, and quantity of items I chose to keep and hold dear.

All the while Pattie and I chatted about the quilt on Facebook, I didn’t know that our friendship was kind of mending too! There was healing occurring. And that’s always a good thing.

Also, at the time I commissioned this work, I had not considered how I’d get it, whether she would ship it, or I’d pick it up, etc. I certainly hadn’t given any thought to having the opportunity to meet in person, with some time to visit and enjoy a beautiful lunch!

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So, when Pattie was done with the quilt, I asked her if we could meet halfway, instead of her shipping it. That way, she could get to know my husband too, and we could have a nice lunch, somewhere midway from where we live (since we live about three hours from each other). She agreed. We talked about where we would meet. Finalizing on our plans, we set a date and time.

When the day arrived, we texted to make sure we were each on our way. I was super excited to be able to hang out with Pattie, catch up, and of course, receive our quilt.

We met at an eastern European bistro restaurant that we love. We shared some different and unique foods, and had plenty of time to relieve some of our past, share how my husband and I met, and so forth. And then came the question I had not expected.

I had not remembered or probably fully ever realized or known why we had quit talking. Thankfully, Pattie refreshed my memory, so that I had the opportunity to apologize. We held hands and tears flowed. Cleansing. Forgiveness. Allowing. I am so glad we had this time. Not just to relieve past hurts, but to understand. To process the pain that had been caused, and to allow the hurt to shift (even if only a little bit), so that over the coming days and weeks, we could “let it go.”

I know that for many of us, taking the time to be heard, to ask what’s wrong, or tell another what’s wrong, ask for forgiveness, or forgive, can be the hardest thing to do. But God, it’s so worth it!

And chatting via Facebook or text doesn’t communicate all of our emotions, plus, as we all know it doesn’t allow us to exchange vibrational energy.

I’m not perfect. I’ve made my share of mistakes in my life and I own each one, taking full responsibility.

But yesterday is gone. And today is all we have. I’m not just saying this in a philosophical way, but in a real time, honest-to-goodness, way. The person I am today is different than I used to be. I feel more deeply. I love more generously. And when I need to, I discern and draw better boundaries. But mostly, I am more open to receive.

So, this Christmas, I wanted to take this moment to tell those who have been in my life how very special they are to me. You are loved. You are cherished. You make up the tapestry of my life, because you’ve been in so many of my experiences. We may live far apart. Or we may not talk often. But you make me who I am.

You are worthy. You are loved.

Our unique experiences are each a thread within a tapestry, or quilt, of one’s life. And We Are All Connected.

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Note the sock monkey on the bed! He was handmade for me when I was born by a dear family friend–and he has went everywhere with me, every move, of which there have been many.

A few folks who have seen this quilt have commented of Pattie’s exquisite precision sewing and design work. So much so, that one gentlemen has already put in an order for a similar quilt.Binding and thickness.JPG

I should also add that this quilt is oh so very comfortable to sleep under! It’s not too thick like a comforter, so in Florida we can use it all year.

I only quilt with words. My husband quilts with music. But my friend Pattie quilts with fabric & thread and turns memories and forgiveness into tangible ‘heart-work’ that can (and in our case, will) last for generations.

Handmade tag.JPG

May you be blessed for 2017 and always, in All ways.

–If you would like Pattie to make a quilt for you, comment below and include a way for her to reach you. Or email me.

–If you would like to support my blog and would love to send flowers to a loved one this holiday season, please visit my sponsor:

Fresh Flower Bouquets Online

What’s sometimes hard to understand about our Connections

I’ve heard a few people say that we’re not all connected. That’s because sometimes it IS hard to understand how bad things happen in the world, if we really are “All Connected”.

They may not want to hear, believe, or know–but We Are All Connected.

We cannot disconnect from our shadow.

If it were a perfect world lonely

So, though it might be difficult to hear or accept sometimes, everything happens for a reason. And there IS value in EVERYTHING. Even if it is seeing what’s wrong, and then choosing to do better–or make a different choice.

You don’t need a clear blue sky everyday of your life to be happy. Embrace the clouds and shadows of yourself, and of those around you–to be happy no matter what!

Accept.

Allow.

Embrace.

Love – without conditions. Nobody’s perfect.

Judge not.

When you have judged, forgive.

Be grateful for all of the lessons.

Move on (if need be).

Learn, choose, and focus again on what “feels good”. Compassion, kindness, heart-centeredness. Be nice.

You CAN choose. You have that power.

Dichroic Glass Pendant – We Have a Winner!

Beautiful art glass dichroic pendant giveaway ended today – April 13, 2013. Congratulations Eva!

Autumn Orange Dichroic Pendant

Autumn Orange Dichroic Pendant

CONTEST ENDED

Drawing was held  April 13, 2013. Out of 19 entries, we have a winner and an alternate should the winner be non-responsive.

Congratulations to “Eva”.

Please send an email to sheila.murrey@gmail.com and let me know the USPS mailing address in the U.S. you would like me to mail your pendant to. If you have not responded in the next 10 days I will post the alternate winner.

Thank you all for your emails, comments, and follows. I blog on several categories and am happy that at least one subject area interested you.

My other blog, Orlando Examiner on Natural Health and Beauty continues to do well also, thank you for checking it out!

Special Thanks:

This dichroic pendant has been provided by Joni of Dichroic Adventures (rope not included). Thanks so much Joni!

Please visit Joni’s jewelry website -> CLICK HERE.

Artsy Glass Jewelry

Dichroic Jewelry

“Dichroic Adventures” jewelry

A former coworker of mine, Joni, and I were discussing a pendant I had on, as well as my Fenton Art glass bead bracelet. Joni mentioned making dichroic glass  jewelry. When she brought some in a few days later, I took one look and immediately hooked!

I’ve posted a photo of some of the pendants and earrings I bought from Joni – at relatively inexpensive prices too! Aren’t they fascinating and lovely? The photos really do not show how exquisite and elegant the pieces are though. As the light hits each piece you see different colors and sometimes different imagery within the patterns.

I’m so intrigued by the colors and feel of these glass items, as well as how unique each piece is. I’ve always been a fan of art glass though, having grown up near the Fenton Art glass factory in Williamstown, WV.

My glass jewelry also reminds me of how my dad (having been a truck driver) would bring home glass marbles for me when I was a kid. I loved playing with marbles!

Dichroic glass is so interesting! I continue to marvel at how the appear, when the light hits the variety of colors in the glass. Also, I put my attention on how I can see shapes or pictures within the pieces. Each seem to conjure mysterious and magical wonderings.

If you’d like to learn more about how dichroic glass is made – Click Here.

If you’ve had a dear pet cremated you can contact someone who makes dichroic glass, and ask about preserving a tiny bit of their remains in a memorial glass dichroic pendant. How loving is that?

America the Beautiful in Lake County Florida

So yesterday I wrote a little article for Examiner.com but more on that in a few minutes. In the article, I talked about the beauty I am noticing all around me. Living in the RV, it affords my husband and I to live anywhere, to pull up stakes (though we don’t use stakes at our camp spot actually, but I just like that turn of a phrase) and take off at a moments notice. That is of course, with the exception of moving too far from where I’m working. So living in Lake County, uh, well, camping that is to say, puts us very close to a lot of things to do. I thought I’d just expand on that for a few minutes here.

Okay so here’s the article –>> Click Here. The article will tell you a lot about the Hill Country of Florida here in Lake County. What I’d like to expand on is why it is that NOW I’m realizing that beauty.

This year I’ve been keeping what is termed a “book of positive aspects”. In it, I take something – yes even something negative that’s occurring in my life – and muse on it until I can either generalize or ponder so deeply that I can turn it around and find the positive of it.

You hear people do this all the time when they say, “there’s a silver lining in every dark cloud”, or “look for the good”, which upon hearing that one I usually think to myself, “look for God”. The other morning before beginning the workday a coworker said to me it would be good if I’d “expect God’s favor”. It was a polite, profound, and professional way for him to tell me that I’ve had a negative attitude. And I have been. I’ve been so stressed, so in the weeds and details of “stuff” that well, my normal usual smile, and optimism has waned.

So as I prepared to write my article I opened my Excel spreadsheet – which is how I record my list of positive aspects – and I read this one, “Within every place the possibility to feel good exists” and immediately therefore thought, “Within every place the possibility to feel God exists”. Wow! Beautiful! Talk about a game changer. Take about a mind shift!

And it gets better. For a couple months now, another coworker (who works on a very complex project with me) has been telling me (during the moments when I think my brain is going to explode), “Serenity now”. Now, I learned the serenity prayer many years ago, but never thought to apply it to a hectic work situation. I latched right on to that phrase and say it often to myself during crisis moments. So guess what? On my list of positive aspects I find, “Serenity can be practiced any place”. Uh-huh! Yes and I agree it can… but man, during those “get me a brick so I can beat my head against it” moments of extreme irritation (usually because I feel someone else didn’t accomplish something they were supposed to – and judging – maybe they’re incompetent) it isn’t easy to APPLY serenity inducing techniques.

Oh and that’s one of many reasons why I relate so much to the movie, Office Space. In the Information Technology (IT) world, Office Space is a cult classic. When Peter gets hypnotized he goes in to work the next day with an, “I don’t care anymore” attitude. I get that! To feel serenity – anywhere. Some places do seem to make it easier for us to feel serene, than others. The hill country of Florida sure provides a sense of calm and ease.

America The Beautiful at Fenton Art Glass Company

It’s not everyday that you can claim a small bit of fame by the bracelet you wear, but I’ve been able to do just that recently. As many women know, and presumable just as many men since they often reach for a piece of jewelry as a gift to the special lady in their life, Pandora bead jewelry has become very popular. And so it happens that in my West Virginia hometown there’s a century plus old company who’s making artisan glass beads that rival and are quite competitive with Pandora beads. And I’ve begun my own bracelet of the beads (which, I wear everyday).

I’m at work, and ladies admire the beads. I’m at the health foods store, grocery store, gym, shipping store, etc. and ladies notice the beaded bracelet. At every turn I get to tell about Fenton Art Glass and how it’s “made in America” pure artisan craftsmanship at its finest.

You can check their fabulous beads out for yourself on their website (and maybe even buy some beads!):

Click Here or go copy and paste this link into your browser —> http://www.fentonartglass.com/

But let me finish my story… I love the Fenton company. And unfortunately like so many family run companies they’ve been business challenged lately. In fact, they’ve shut down their main furnace (July 2011 – http://wvgazette.com/News/201107060631). This saddened me deeply when a cousin texted me last year that this was happening! You see, I went to school (all twelve years – elementary through high school) with Fenton kids. I walked by Fenton a lot growing up and would look forward to tent sales in the summer when my mom and I would shop for collectible hand blown glass pieces (they made vases, lamps, bowls, little hand painted cute animal figurines, angels, clowns, and much more), or when I’d visit my hometown later on with family and look for what was new. I’m so glad I took my husband on the factory tour a few years back. And since my husband is an artist, he told me he so admired the workmanship and craftsmanship in the making of the art there. The artisans at Fenton had such command of their art and were proud to have their work collected by people all over the world. Fenton used to appear on the HSN television channel. As well, they used to have their wares displayed and sold at Cracker Barrel restaurants. When people asked me where I was from, I was always happy to say I’m from Williamstown, WV where Fenton Art Glass is made.

I’ve lived in Florida for more than twenty years but my hometown lives in my heart. I still have family and friends in / near Williamstown though. So, we’ve often wondered if Fenton had explored making other types of art glass, such as light shades for bars and restaurants. When we watch HG TV and those restaurant makeover shows on Food Network and see the ways in which designers come up with creating lighting fixtures, sometimes out of the most unexpected things, we wonder if that’s a whole genre of business Fenton may have missed out on. I enjoy the way light shines through and reflects from the Fenton glass I own, and I appreciate the beauty of it often. I wish more people could experience the beauty of Fenton Art Glass, and believe in the workers of America again.

When I read this article, http://wvgazette.com/Life/201202030246 and learned there had been 460 glass factories in West Virginia but now only 16 are in operation. This again causes me to pause and reflect upon how America is changing. Gone are so many manual labor craft jobs. And when we lose that talent and skill, it may never be replaced.

So, back to my little beaded bracelet. When I look at it, I think of the folks who made the glass, and the artists who painted on each bead. As the beads move along on the bracelet chain I think about my hometown, I’m grateful to have grown up during a time when hard work and the arts were held in high esteem. My first cousins’ wife works (for awhile longer at least) in the Fenton gift shop, and the economy of Williamstown and surrounding areas, Vienna and Parkersburg WV and Marietta OH, will feel the loss of this major employer. I pray and lift up in hope all those whose lives have been impacted negatively by the changing economy and I pray Fenton can find a way to rise up again, light the main furnace, and keep the heart in my hometown.

Original Music For The “Thinking Person”

CD cover

Welcome to my blog, “Take It Upon Yourself”.

Friends coaxed me to write a blog – though I had designed, developed, and maintained two websites, joined Facebook, Twitter, and had begun to write a book. I hesitated though, because I really wanted to finish something before starting anything else. I even quit Facebook for a couple of years in order to finish my book!

So after a recent workout session in the gym, and after a nagging thought that wouldn’t go away, I decided to start the blog. The thought? “The Dumbing Down of America”. Have you heard that phrase before?

The “Dumbing Down of America” has been talked about for many years. Media, TV shows, and movies entertain in such simple words and stories that nobody’s doing much thinking anymore.

People seem to be going here and there in a mindless fog. Entertainment is used as a means of escapism, from the stress of work, family drama, or as a way to relax. Many are unwittingly being dumbed down. Yet for years, this band has been circulated around on the internet called, The Chevy Ford Band. And they’re on a mission to educate the masses through music – maybe that’s why they haven’t caught on with the mainstream public. They sing about politics, religion, truth, and even sex. The lyrics are intelligent and perhaps, not for everybody.

Take a listen and see what you think. Click Here.

My favorite songs of The Chevy Ford Band are: “Ain’t Workin’ Blues”, “Energy”, and “Dogma” because the upbeat tempos are great to work out or dance to, plus I love the lyrics! I love to dance and workout to high energy tempo music that motivates and encourages my body to move!

Their controversial song, “Attention Deficit Disorder” takes aim at how the ADD disorder is impacting many around us. That song inspires me to do everything I can to help people learn the first hippocratic oath, “Let Food Be Thy Medicine, and Medicine Be Thy Food”.

I’ve worked with or known people who have children with autism, parents with alzheimer’s, themselves have diabetes, recurring acid reflux, high blood pressure, and many, many more ailments and dis-eases. Since I’m an empathic person, and reasonably intelligent, I’d love to help them, and their loved ones, find relief. So, I continue to research and share. However, I’m not a health care practitioner, so I share my findings as a friend, natural holistic and alternative health advocate.

Future posts will be related to energy work, and other holistic alternative healing modalities, and my other site, Your Vibrant Self will share about diet, real food, and easy healthy whole food recipes. I’ll also write about original music, computers and technology, designing marketing materials, dogs, bliss, and other conscious stuff!

Stay tuned. 🙂

Namaste. OM