A Seamstress on a Mission

(This story was originally published over at Mother Goose Salutes)

Amazingly, Mother Goose has found yet another soul who has taken their grief and pain and transformed it into an avenue of healing and comfort for others. Like Dawn Hedrick and Richard Casper, this woman has experienced great personal loss.

I am honored to introduce Chris Davidson, a North Carolina resident with a gift for stitching memories into lovely patriotic quilts and banners.

Chris Davidson, Memories in Stitches

Chris Davidson, Memories in Stitches

Memory quilts are a beautiful tradition. The quilt is sewn from the clothes of a loved one and seem to contain even more comfort and warmth than a regular quilt. When Chris lost her two adopted sons, she began quilting the fabric from their little shirts and outfits into her designs. Sewing and quilting became her grief therapy.

Soon she was creating quilts for others in her community — Memories in Stitches, rose out of the ashes of this mother’s tragic loss.

Chris’s husband is a retired Air Force serviceman. Through his connections with the Air Force and living in a small town, Chris became aware of a need for customized, hand-sewn Blue Star Banners for military families. Military families are tightly connected, and orders for her banners have well-exceeded her expectations. She also creates the most exquisite Gold Star Banners and quilts to honor the memory of fallen soldiers and servicemen.

When Chris sews her banners and quilts, an invisible staircase to heaven opens above her. Her prayers are carried up to the throne of grace; blessings come flowing down onto the quilts and banners she is sewing. “Some banners and quilts go together very smoothly,” Chris explains. “Others can take a lot of time, and if anything can go wrong, it will.”

After a year of making these beautiful keepsakes, Chris Davidson has come to the conclusion that the recipients of these difficult quilts and banners simply need more prayer and comfort than others, and she’s OK with that. “I had one banner,” says Chris. “I don’t know why, but I was in tears most of the time making it.”

Sometimes she works through the night to make a special banner to be presented at a funeral or memorial service for a fallen soldier. The heart of Mother Goose breaks to think of those nights at the sewing table of Chris Davidson.

Chris Davidson Gold Star Quilt

Typically it takes her about four hours to sew together a banner for a customer; quilts can be designed and constructed in about a week. Bless her heart, Chris prefers to donate the banners and has finished 21, yes 21, already this year. She has a waiting list of at least thirty more, and works 10-12 hour days at the sewing machine to complete the orders.

She would like to continue giving these banners to the families, but the reality is that fabric costs money. In fact, all of the projects for the past two years have been funded by her dear husband — in total, $2,000 in supplies plus the cost of maintaining her sewing and quilting and embroidering machines.

If you visit her Facebook page (and Mother Goose is confident that you will!), you will see so many photographs of Chris’s extraordinary work. You will also see a place to donate to her cause. I hope that you are moved to help this kind and gracious woman with her patriotic and heart-felt stitching business. She’s not trying to make a profit by any means — she’s just called to help folks heal from their losses and find comfort in these quilts and banners.

Mother Goose salutes Chris Davidson, a seamstress on a mission.

Chris Davidson Blue Star Banner

Aunt Charlotte Flies Away

Not too long ago, Mother Goose wrote a story about a family reunion, and shared the sad news that the Matriarch of the family had been diagnosed with thyroid cancer, and it was looking pretty bad for her. Aunt Char fought the fight with much courage and and strength and faith, enduring a very painful and mostly unsuccessful surgery. She was unable to swallow food or liquids for two months and also suffered from breathing issues as the cancer pressed against her bronchial tubes. It was agonizing for her and for those of us who love her.

Early in the morning this past Saturday with all of her dear children gathered around her, Aunt Char flew away to be with the Lord, her long-departed husband, Bob, and her parents and others whom she loved. Rumor has it that she is dancing now on streets of gold in a city where there are no tears, no pain and no suffering. It’s a real place where the light is always shining and the pastures are greener and the waters are more still than any beautiful place here on our planet.

I have been imagining the banquet they’re having, the party they’re throwing, the music they’ll play for the lady who hasn’t been able to eat for two months. All the choicest foods with the best sauces and oh-so-colorful and tasty! Imagine the chocolate in heaven! I’m thinking about the finest vintage of the fruit of the vine, and how it will be so sweet to her palate.

Aunt Char and her niece, Suzanne, remembering how she was the flower girl in Charlotte and Bob’s wedding fifty-five years ago.

We will miss you terribly, Aunt Char — you’re a wonderful and amazing woman, such a good momma and friend to many, many many. We’ll see you in the morning…

Beyond the Blue Horizon

In respect for Petty Officer Zane Stotesbury, regular programming can wait until Tuesday morning. My prayers and love, Mother Goose

See you in the bright and distant morning, young sailor.

In the Sweet By and By

Words and platitudes fall horribly short when a friend dies.

Zane Stotesbury USN was one of Erik and Adam’s best friends in Charleston, training alongside them in the U.S. Navy’s “nuke” program. He was a grand fisherman, and they spent endless fantastic hours in his canoe catching crabs, eels and an occasional fish on the swampy lakes and rivers near Goose Creek.

Rest in peace, sailor.

They told me last night that he died in New York yesterday as a result of a motorcycle accident. He had moved to upstate New York as part of the third phase of “nuke” training — my boys will most likely also go there in a couple of weeks.

I sat outside this morning at dawn, listening to birdsongs in the trees. There were so many melodies to hear — my ear had to sift through the tweets and chirps and whistling to try and follow one particular song. Like they say, it was a cacophony of bird music. There were also air conditioners running and airplanes flying over my head, police sirens wailing, and firetrucks honking their horns. It was an effort of the ear to find the peaceful melody I was searching for. It was so difficult to discern the beauty amidst the noise.

I think that’s how it is when someone we care about is suddenly gone, like Stotesbury. We want so bad to know “why” and we don’t understand how this is even remotely part of God’s good and loving plan. He died one month before turning twenty-one — he was shining in Navy whites, and his folks were standing tall and proud of his great accomplishments already. I looked at his facebook page and saw him posing with some GIANT fish out on the Pacific Ocean.

Platitudes just don’t cut it when your heart is ripped out of your chest, your brain is on overload with memories and your hope is smashed all over the highway in upstate New York.

It doesn’t make sense, and it never will.

It’s just sad. Pure sad. Pitch black sad.

Please pray for the family and friends of Zane Stotesbury in the days and weeks to come. God bless you.

There’s a land that is fairer than day,
And by faith we can see it afar;
For the Father waits over the way
To prepare us a dwelling place there.

Refrain:
In the sweet by and by,
We shall meet on that beautiful shore;
In the sweet by and by,
We shall meet on that beautiful shore.

We shall sing on that beautiful shore
The melodious songs of the blessed;
And our spirits shall sorrow no more,
Not a sigh for the blessing of rest.

To our bountiful Father above,
We will offer our tribute of praise
For the glorious gift of His love
And the blessings that hallow our days.

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