Thursday, May 26, 2011

Meaning of Quilts



Today, I have the honor of hosting a guest blogger, Linda Hubalek. Linda’s sixth grade teacher assigned her class the traditional “What I Want to be When I Grow Up”. Linda had an nontraditional answer…she didn’t want to be a nurse, a teacher, or a mom. She wanted to be a farmer! Linda’s sixth grade dream came true when she graduated from Kansas State University with a degree in Agriculture/Horticulture and spent years doing agronomy research and eventually starting her own business Prairie Flower Creations.

Much like her own ancestors who headed West, Linda found herself in California tending a cement garden and longing for the fields of Kansas. Linda “visited” her beloved Kansas by writing the Trail of Thread series about Kansas pioneer women.
 
Although Linda is back in Kansas (growing bison this time, not prairie flowers), she’s still writing about Kansas women. Her FOURTH series, the Kansas Quilter series will be released late this year. 
 
Welcome Linda as she give us a glimpse at "The Meaning Behind Quilts." Don't forget to add a comment for the Ebook Giveaway (Kindle copy of the ebook: Trail of Thread).

By definition, a quilt is a coverlet or blanket made of two layers of fabric with a layer of cotton, wool, feathers, or down in between, all stitched firmly together, usually in a decorative crisscross design. The top layer may be a single piece of fabric, or it may be a made from a variety of scraps of material that were pieced together to form blocks, that are then sewn together to make the top layer.

When one thinks of pieced quilts, pioneer women automatically come to mind. This group of women often had to move, start new households, and work with what they had on hand. Their quilts would have been used daily, made and patched to last through the rigors of pioneer life.

NIK1059Image via Wikipedia

For example, Deborah and John Pieratt, featured in the first book of my Trail of Thread series, left Kentucky in 1854 when the Territory of Kansas was formed. They were part of the thousands of families that packed wagons and headed east for the promise of a new life. Quilts would have been used for bedding—in the wagon or on the ground, as a hanging shelter, or as a partition for privacy. They were also used for burial of loved ones along the trail.

Thimble of Soil, the second book in the series, features Margaret Ralston Kennedy. She was a widow who moved with eight of her thirteen children from Ohio to the Territory Kansas in 1855. She was dedicated to the cause of the North, and helped with the Underground Railroad in both Ohio and Kansas. It is possible that some of the quilts she made had special blocks giving direction to runaway slaves.
 
Orphaned Maggie Kennedy, portrayed in Stitch of Courage, the last book in the series, followed her brothers to Kansas looking for a better life as the states fought out the history of the Civil War. Women made and gave quilts for the soldiers to use during their journeys and battles.

What was the meaning for all these quilts? They were all just fabric to provide warmth and protection, but they also connected the hearts and souls of the past, present, and future.

The young woman on the trail packed quilts to use, but also to bring memories of her family left behind to her new frontier home.

The older woman—who stitched directions in her quilt that hung outside to air— gave freedom to people trying to escape a bad life.

The soldier wrapped in a dirty quilt, trying to keep warm and get a bit of sleep, was given the security of knowing that someone from home was thinking of him and waiting for his return.

Think of the countless hours of work and devotion it took to create these pioneer quilts. These finished masterpieces of the fingers gave a sense of accomplishment to the makers, and comfort and connection to the users.
 
Do you have a special quilt passed down through your family? What does it mean to you?

About the Linda Hubalek and the Trail of Thread series:



Follow Linda on Twitter (https://twitter.com/#!/LindaHubalek)
Visit Linda’s Website (http://www.lindahubalek.com/)
Contact Linda (linda@lindahubalek.com)


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Monday, May 23, 2011

Web of Life

GlobeImage via Wikipedia

When I began this blog in January of 2007, I never stopped to think about the lives it would touch. Quite honestly, I thought only my family and some of my friends would bother to look at what I had written.  However, as the years passed, I came to realize that blogging is a powerful tool.  As the header of the blog states,  

"Words from the Heart are powerful. Words, when connected to Spirit, heal, bring hope, and connect us to the world. Words nurture dreams into reality. Words from the Heart bring Peace."

Over the past four and a half years, I have been blessed with comments from people around the world.  I have developed long-lasting friendships with fellow writers. And, I have used my blog to help bring awareness to issues like AIDS, cancer, Alzheimer's and abuse.  

In January of this year, I added a map to this blog.  It tracks the places where people live who visit and read. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought the words written here would touch so many.  Today, the blog hit a readership of over 100 countries!  

I am humbled, awed and most grateful.  I pray that I will continue to post words of Love, Hope and Peace.  

It is with deeps gratitude that I thank the readers from - 

Albania
Anguilla
Argentina
Australia
Austria
Azerbaijan
Bahamas
Bahrain
Bangladesh
Belgium
Bolivia
Brazil
Brunei
Bulgaria
Cambodia
Canada
Chile
Colombia
Costa Rica
Croatia
Cyprus
Denmark
Egypt
Estonia
Fiji
France
Gambia
Georgia
Germany
Ghana
Greece
Guatemala
Guernsey
Guyana
Hong Kong
Hungary
Iceland
India
Indonesia
Iran
Iraq
Ireland
Isle of Mann
Israel
Italy
Jamaica
Japan
Jordan
Kenya
Korea, Republic of
Kuwait
Latvia
Lebanon
Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
Macedonia
Malaysia
Maldives
Malta
Mauritius
Mexico
Moldova, Republic of
Mongolia
Morocco
Nepal
Netherlands
New Zealand
Nicaragua
Nigeria
Norway
Oman
Pakistan
Palestinian Territories
Panama
Philippines
Poland
Portugal
Puerto Rico
Qatar
Romania
Russia
Saudi Arabia
Senegal
Serbia
Singapore
Slovakia
Slovenia
South Africa
Spain
Sri Lanka
Sweden
Switzerland
Syrian Arab Republic
Taiwan
Thailand
Trinidad and Tobago
Turkey
Ukraine
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom
United States
Venezuela
Vietnam

We are all part of this amazing tapestry of Life - each a thread, unique and priceless.  May Universal Love, Peace and Light continue to hold us gently together.

Namesté!


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Friday, May 6, 2011

Stepping Back in Time

 Four Generations of Neas Women (2005)

Not sure why, but this Mother's Day I feel particularly melancholy.  Looking at the pictures of my girls over the years, I find myself all teary eyed.  Part of it is the realization that they are now young women with families of their own.  Where did the time go?  The other part of it, I think, comes from concern over where we, as human beings, are heading.

My concern is not unique.  Women, since the beginning of time, have worried about the safety their children.  Our concerns have not changed over time; they are simply different.  Back in the 1800's when Ann Marie Reeves and Julia Ward Howe began working on an official recognition of mothers, women worried. 

In 1870, Julia Ward Howe gave this rousing speech proclaiming the first Mother's Day:

Arise, then, women of this day! Arise, all women who have hearts, whether your baptism be that of water or tears!


Say firmly: "We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have taught them of charity, mercy and patience. We women of one country will be too tender of those of another to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."


From the bosom of the devastated earth, a voice goes up with our own. It says, "Disarm, Disarm!"


The sword of murder is not the balance of justice. Blood not wipe out dishonor, nor violence indicate possession. As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first, as women, to bewail & commemorate the dead. Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesars but of God.


In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women without limit of nationality may be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace.
 
In 1912, through the tenacious efforts of Ann Marie Jarvis' daughter, Anna, the Mother's Day of Peace finally was signed into being by President Wilson.

We celebrate Mother's Day today with little to know recognition of its true purpose.  Therefore, I call upon all women around the world to remember the work of our sisters of the past, remember the struggles of those who went before us. Once again, remember that purpose of this observance, this "Mother's Day."  Call with all your being for peace on Earth, good will to all.  

Peace, Pace, Frieden, Shalom, Salaam, He Peng, Mir, Paix, Pax, Shanti, Achukma, Heiwa, Amani, Ashtee, Barish, Béke, Síocháin, Shîte, Pokój, Nanna Ayya, Peace! 

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