This Chair, Those Bibles – My Legacy

These two ladies had the biggest influence in my spiritual life.  My mom and my grandmother (Grannie Lewis).

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It may sound odd, but so was this chair and those bibles.

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I spent a lot of time with both of these women, in fact when I wasn’t with one, I was with the other.  It was into Grannie’s hands that Mom would entrust my care when she had to go somewhere and couldn’t take me.  I didn’t just spend a few hours with Grannie or overnight visits, I would spend weeks with her.

Grannie (Iva Lewis) only finished the 8th grade in school.  She was the daughter of a farmer and after marrying and birthing babies in the back woods of Hickman County, TN, she worked in a shirt factory.  She was the strongest Christian lady that I knew and she taught me what Bible study.

Every time that I would come see her, if she wasn’t working in the garden or cooking, she was sitting in this chair studying her Bible.  She surrounded herself with all kinds of study tools and resources, making notes and digger deeper to find meaning to Scripture and how to apply it to daily living.  She read through the entire Bible at least once a year, if not more.  She would take our Bibles and put her notes in them.

The little red Bible in the picture above was given to me by my brothers in 1972.  Grannie took that Bible, added her notes, and gave it back to me.  She still speaks to me through those notes.

KIMG0057From cover to cover, the pages are filled with her writings.  In the picture above, she added some personal history (like she feared her mother’s prayers) and left me personal notes (like choosing a husband and the company I kept), keep in mind that I was only at the time!

It was comforting to find her in that chair.

Then the chair became my mother’s and I would find her doing the exact same thing, studying her Bible (the brown one in the chair) or playing her mandolin.  We would talk about the Scriptures, study together or she would play and sing for me.  Oh, how I wished that I had recorded her playing, she was so talented.

Mom’s Bible is soft and worn, the pages baring marks and notes, it still feels warm, as if she just laid it down.  I like these cards she had as reminders, prayers and inspirations.KIMG0055 KIMG0054

But it’s notes like this one, showing that no matter the situation, the uncertainty of what she was going through, Mom trusted fully in Jesus. KIMG0053Over the past few days, I’ve been doing my Bible study with Mom and Grannie.  When a legacy like this is left behind, the fellowship is never broken.

The chair is at my house now.  I’m building a legacy of my own.

 

Hey, Lady…..

I read the entire book of John this morning, before work! 2nd John, that is, which is only 13 verses.

I actually read pats of it a few times out of different translations.

There are times that I like to read the Bible and consider that what it says, it means literally. This is one of those times.

People far smarter than me have deducted that this letter was written from John, the disciple that Jesus loved, but there are two theories on who it was written to.

V1 – The Elder: To the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth – and not only I, but also all who have come to know the truth-

Theory 1: John was writing this to a church (often referred to in feminine tones, ex, the Bride of Christ) and the children are the church members.

Theory 2: John was writing this to a particular lady and her children.

Guess which theory I like….yeah, #2. 

The-Chosen-Lady-SquatI lean toward this way of thinking because I know that there are so many women in the local church that are “doing it alone”.  This lady, this chosen lady, is struggling to teach her children biblical truths and to live them out on a daily basis.  She might be a single mom or a married mom, either way with little or no support.  I like to think that John would recognize the struggles of one lady, seeing her efforts praised by the way her children, maybe not all of them, have turned out, walking in the truth she taught.  I think he would take the time to encourage just one, reminding her that she is doing good, she’s doing it right, and encouraging her to carry on.

John reminds her, not that he needs to, in verse 5:

So now I urge you, lady – not as if I were writing you a new command, but one we have had from the beginning – that we love one another.  6  And this is love:  that we walk according to His commands.  This is the command as you have heard it from the beginning:  you must walk in love.

Was she beginning to falter in her love, tried in her struggles, depressed because she was alone in her journey?  Was she worried about those children that were not walking in the truth and the burdens she carried were weighing her down?  Had her presence been missed at gatherings and her neighbors weren’t sure how to approach her to make sure, this once strong lady, was not in trouble?  Did they ask John to speak with her, to encourage her?

I mean, wouldn’t a personal letter from Beth Moore or even a phone call to you, reignite the fire that sometimes burns out in your ministries or service?  What if Billy Graham had met your son, who bragged about the mom that raised him on her own, suddenly showed up to praise you for the great job you had done and to encourage you to continue the same way you started, with love?

The next few verses are a warning, to be careful of the teachings that do not include both God and His Son, Jesus Christ.  John warns that she should not even let those people into her home because it might seem as if she were encouraging them or supporting them.

John ends the letter by saying he could write more, but he’s just going to come see her, have some face-to-face with her, share a glass of tea and talk about family and God.

That’s how I like to interpret this passage.  Scholars would probably say I’m way off base, but they can come see me face-to-face and talk with me over some tea.

#BreaktheSilence

Over the past few weeks, social media has been bombarded with videos of people, from all walks of life, dumping ice water on their heads.  In conjunction with people being wet and cold, donations have been made to a little known disease that affects over 30,000 people in the US.  Over $53 million dollars has been raised, plus awareness of this crippling disease.

Why has this challenge exploded?

Because key people got involved.  Celebrities, well-known individuals, large groups, and people in the spotlight got behind this awareness.  People that other people “follow” through social media networks are leading by their example.  And it’s making a difference.

I’ve seen posts where people are tired of seeing all the videos and others of “why didn’t we think of that” for their cause.  As one man said on his video, “if you are tired of hearing about us, then you are aware of us and this challenge is successful.”  (my paraphrase)

He’s right, awareness is the key to involvement.  Hearing people’s stories, something that grabs your heart and won’t let go, pushes you into action.

30,000 affected is terrible….but 46,000 a year new diagnoses is worse…A YEAR!  94% of those with pancreatic cancer will succumb within 5 years.  The survival rate of less than 50% of its patients puts pancreatic cancer on the Congressional Caucus of Deadliest Cancers study being done in Congress right now.

The deadliest cancers are defined as those that put half their victims in the grave within five years after the battle for survival begins.

Cancers that meet this definition include liver and pancreatic cancer, but also cancers of the lung.

There is no early detection.  There is no list of things to avoid to keep from getting it.  There is no rhyme or reason of who this disease will affect.

It is a silent killer.

So I challenge YOU to BREAK THE SILENCE!

From 2003 to 2012, pancreatic cancer received the least federal funding and the least amount of new drug approval.  In 2013 pancreatic cancer was still at only 6% survival rate within 5 years of diagnose.

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We have to break the silence of this disease!  We have to change the statics!  We have to make a difference!

So my challenge #breakthesilence.

Donate $10 to Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and tell your friends on social media what you did and why and ask them to do the same.  No getting wet, simply spread the word and #breakthesilence.

Click HERE to donate.

This was my mother, I #breakthesilence for her.

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Come back and let me know that you shared this!  Let’s start something great together.

A Purple Cloth

There are moments in everyone’s life that is a turning point…a moment that changes your outlook, your focus, your attitude, your passions.

I had one of those moments 2 weeks ago.

I boarded an airplane and flew from Nashville

 to California.

 I went for a purpose, but I came back with a passion.
It started at the tour of the offices of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, listening to its founder talk about how she lost her mother and just couldn’t get over it.  Even though her efforts couldn’t help her mother, she continues to fight to “advance research, support patients, and create hope” in an area of science that gives little hope with a diagnose of pancreatic cancer.
I thought about what she said as I was looking at my pictures taken during my flight.

 I noticed as I flew over miles and miles of desert and flat lands, that as we approached these mountains, a city was built right up against the base of the mountains.  The settlers had gone as far as they could go and had no desire to go further, to climb those mountains that seemed impassible.  They settled and went on with their lives.

But others forged on, taking on those formidable mountains and not letting them stop their efforts to find something better.  And they did.

When my husband was diagnosed with colon cancer, he felt defeated because just a month earlier, he had buried his father after suffering with lung cancer.  He was ready to shave his head that first day at the doctor’s office because he didn’t want to go through the gradual loss of hair during chemo.  He and his mother saw any diagnose of cancer as a death sentence and they were ready to give up before they even began to fight.

But I wasn’t.  I got very stern with them and won’t allow any negative thoughts or doubts to come into our home.  It made my mother-in-law mad a few times that I won’t allow the pity parties that a cancer diagnose can bring. 

That was 8 years ago and my husband is still cancer free!

Like the founder of PanCan.org, I couldn’t do anything for my mother when she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, but, as one speaker said, “I’m still here and I can fight.”  So…over the mountains I go, seeking hope where others have just settled and gone on with their lives.  Forging on into new adventures, scary and joyous at the same time.

In doing that, I have to change some of my focus, streamline some things to get the most out of my time.  Piney’s Needle isn’t going away, however I’ll be doing mostly custom jobs for the next few months, hand piecing and hand quilting custom quilts.  I’ll be posting only on one blog now, previously my “devotional” style blog, once called HolyCamp.  It has a new name and workup, A Purple Cloth.  You can read about that HERE.  Some of you may already been following that blog, thank you if you are, if not, please consider it.

I just wanted those of you who have supported me here to know what was going on as I mix “purple” with my sewing and quilting.  I have a new passion and a new purpose and it’s pancreatic cancer awareness.

Noah – the movie

Do you remember, if you grew up in church, when we would have Youth Sundays?  The youth department would take over the entire program for that day, teaching, leading the music and preaching.  The first time I participated, I was given the adult ladies class.  I can’t remember if I had to choose my own lesson or go with the curriculum they had, either way, I taught from Genesis.  I went to my grandmother for help.  She told me to ask them one question:

Where did Cain and Seth’s wives come from?

That was fine and dandy, but what was the answer, because I sure didn’t know!

So it hit me as kind of funny when last week while in CA, I got a text first thing one morning from a friend asking me the same question.  She had just seen the movie Noah and she had some questions.  I gave her the answer that my grandmother had given me (and she was a scholar of the Bible!):

The Bible doesn’t say, but more than likely they married their sisters.

That sounds really creepy to us today, but God didn’t create more people from the dust, all people came from Adam and Eve, born from flesh.  They were fruitful and they did multiply.  930 years of being fruitful and having lots of sons and daughters could easy populate a large section of the world.  Poor Eve…she was cursed with having all those kids!

I was curious why the movie, Noah, would make my friend ask this question, so I watched the movie last night.  Can I just say I found very little that the writers of this movie got right about Noah!  Good grief, right off the bat they change the story up.  First, with no mention of God.

But let’s talk about what they got right:

  • There was a man named Noah who had 3 sons and was told by God to build an ark because He was going to destroy the world, and to put 2 of every mammal and bird on the ark.
  • It rained a lot!
  • The story of creation was fairly right on.
  • Their were fallen angels.

What about what they got wrong:

  • “In the beginning there was nothing.” – Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning God”….so there was something…there was God.
  • “Cain…was sheltered by a band of fallen angels:  The Watchers” – the Watchers are some kind of rock people who reminded me of the old airplane “guy” from the Transformers movie.  And right there, they lose me.  So any time they are shown in the movie…yeah, that’s all made up.  I guess that is the only way the writers could figure out how the ark was built…the rock people pulled up all the trees for Noah. (So far, this is just the first 2 minutes of the movie, it goes down hill from there.)
  • Noah is shown as a man who was better than most, but still not good.  – Genesis 6:9 says that he was the only blameless man on earth and he walked closely with God.
  • All the animals that came abroad the ark were put to sleep with some potion that did not put the people to sleep. – Yet, Genesis 6:21 says that God told Noah to bring enough food on broad for his family and all the animals.  So they were going to be awake during their trip!
  • The wives of Noah’s son – Genesis 7:1 – He went on board the boat to escape the flood—he and his wife and his sons and their wives.

    • Well there goes the whole movie right there because the movie has no wives for his sons, except one barren girl and the entire plot is focused on getting a wife for one of his sons and hatred for his father building because he didn’t.

What was good about the movie?  I like Russell Crowe.

That was about it.  Unless it drives people to the Bible to get the real story.  It’s only the first 9 chapters of Genesis.  See if you can find more of the discrepancies in their story.  And if you do watch the movie, I don’t think you’ll be putting up murals of Noah and the Ark in your baby rooms anymore.

If anything, the movie does make it very clear what a terrible event this was and sometimes we need the reminder that the Bible isn’t just stories, they are actual events that happened so that we could have the salvation in Jesus Christ that we have today.

A Purple Cloth

The first purple quilt that I made was right after my mother died from pancreatic cancer.  I was teaching a beginner’s class and decided to make all my sample blocks out of purple.  I finished it up in time to display at a local store during November 2011 for pancreatic cancer awareness month.

I tried to come up with a name for the quilt and ended up just calling it The Purple, but the first name I thought of was:

Lydia’s Quilt

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I love the stories in the Bible of strong women, spiritually and emotionally.  During a time when women had no voice or value, God brings them up and says,  “I hear you and I value you.”

Acts 16 tells of the first missionary journeys of Paul and Silas (after Paul and Barnabas split up). They skip across countries, sail across oceans and land in a Roman colony.  As was their custom, they probably went to the churches first and taught there.   It says they were in the city many days, but on Sunday they went outside the gates of the city where they heard that a group of women met to pray by the river. Lydia was one of those women.

Lydia was a dealer of purple cloth.  Purple cloth was worn only by the most important and wealthiest people.  In fact, Lydia was probably wealthy.  She was also a single women.  She wasn’t working with her  husband or her father, she was the merchant.  She was a woman of importance.

Lydia was also seeking God, so when these teachers came and told her more about Jesus, she wanted to know everything.  That day, by the river, she believed and was baptized.  In fact all that lived in her home were baptized.  We don’t know who lived with her, if she had children, but she probably had servants.  Her faith led others to believe.

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(pictures are from a recent river baptism at our church)

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Lydia’s first response to having a new heart was to reach out and help others.  She immediately asked Paul and Silas to come and stay at her house.  The rest of chapter 16 tells about Paul and Silas being beaten, arrested, and thrown into a dungeon.  After their miraculous release, they returned to Lydia’s house (vs. 40) where they met with other believers, encouraging them in their faith before they left the city.

As I was studying about Lydia, I realized that she embodied the changes in my life, and thus the changes in this blog.

When I started blogging many years ago, Holy Camp was my mantra.  I was raising 2 children and wanted our home, our camp, to be holy, pleasing to God.  I still do, but now God is leading me a different direction, since the kids are mostly grown now.

Like Lydia, I’m a dealer of cloth, sewing and quilting for my own enjoyment and for others.  Like Lydia, I’m seeking God, learning more and more about Him everyday and sharing what I learn with those around me.  Like Lydia, I’m reaching out to help others through my volunteer work with Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

So my blog has become A Purple Cloth

Purple for pancreatic cancer awareness.

Purple because it’s just a beautiful color and I love to make purple quilts.

Purple because Jesus was wrapped in a purple robe after He was beaten for my sins. (John 19:1)

Follow me here as I write on these three areas of my journey – cancer awareness, inspiration from God, and creativity through quilting.  Please leave comments and let’s encourage and uplift each other.  Let’s make this a conversation.  Please share my blog with your friends, anyone that might need encouragement and information.

Tell me, what journey are you on right now?

COLT2014 with PanCan

Community Outreach Leadership Training through Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCan) was held at the Marriott in Manhattan Beach, CA last week, August 7-10.  As a gift to the hard work that all the non-paid, volunteers do through-out the year, this conference is an all-expense-paid opportunity for the core leaders of state affiliates.  Each affiliate can have up to 8 core leaders….but I’m telling you, some affiliates work with less than 5 core leaders and still get a lot done!

I am the Volunteer Chair for the Nashville Affiliate.  This is the first year that our affiliate has filled most of the core roles.  The work of many is truly being done by just a few.  We had 5 core leaders attend this year.

I went to COLT with no expectations.  I have only been the VC for a few months and am just beginning to figure out what I’m suppose to be doing.  I assumed the gathering would be emotional because everyone there was like me, having lost a loved to pancreatic cancer.

There were tender moments, but overall it was uplifting and inspiring.  It was a celebration, not of what we’ve lost, but of our efforts to change the future.  It was informational on basic “how-to’s” and what the scientists are doing, what government is doing, and what we are doing.  Every part of it was motivational and I’m ready to make a difference in the statistics.

I saw the statistics a different way this weekend.  I’m use to the 6% survival rate.  But look at it a different way.

94% of people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer will die in less than 5 years after diagnose, most with-in the first 2 years.

That breaks my heart and that’s why I’m fighting for this cause.

I posted on Facebook this update after a full day of meetings:

I wish I had my computer with me so that I could truly share the thoughts and emotions I’m feeling during this time in CA with the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, they are definitely an organization of action. I haven’t seen the ocean which is only 2 miles away or LA, only 30 minutes away. But I’ve seen a sea of purple and hundreds of super stars. I’m meeting some of the 6% that survive this disease. I’m meeting scientists fighting for a cure. I’m meeting people who can’t get over the loss of a loved one and are fighting so others don’t have to suffer like our loved ones did or like we continue to do because our mom, sister, brother, husband, wife…isn’t by our side anymore. There is sorrow in the in knowledge I’m gaining, but there is more hope. We are making a difference.

 

So let me tell you a little of my journey to COLT2014.

First is how God provided for the trip.  Not only did PanCan provide for the expenses, but friends and family bought items that I had made to help with my personal expenses during the journey and another friend helped out with some on-the-ground worries that made my entire trip wonderful.  Thank you so much.  You know who you are!

It’s been a few years since I’ve been on a plane, so I was super excited that I got a window seat both ways AND the seat next to me was empty both ways.  So I took lots of pictures. 

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My flight leaving Nashville was at 6:30am, getting me to CA around lunch time and I had the entire day to myself, no meetings, just sitting back and relaxing.  I went for a short stroll to a shopping center, but came back and put my feet up.

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Friday and Saturday were full days of learning and being motivated.  Each speaker that I heard was awesome and made me want to join their team…oh wait, I’m already on their team!

Purple bling was everywhere!!  Or Sparkle Spirit as the ladies like to call it.  And I got with the program everyday and probably every day from now on.  Just call me the Purple Lady.

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I was doing really well, until the awards dinner.  Everyone was dressed up and looked beautiful.  The music was great, the food was great, and the program was great.  And that’s when it got emotional for me.  On the large screens at the front of the room, the names of our loved ones flashed across the screen.  Seeing Mom’s name up there brought me to tears.

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There are moments that just bring it to the heart of the matter.  This one was mine.  I’m so grateful for the ladies that just let me cry and then shared their stories with me and let me share mine.

Then there was Stu….a 9 year survivor.  After talking with him and asking him how he is a 9 year survivor, I brought away from our conversation….AWARENESS!  Stu recognized some symptoms and had a doctor that knew to dig deeper quicker.  That made all the difference.

I think Dr. Amy Tang had the biggest eye-opening moment for me.  She said that what we are doing in the research for pancreatic cancer will help all cancers, because this is one of the deadliest cancers.  So any improvements here, helps everybody.

I looked down at a little bracelet I was wearing that had been Mom’s.  She had worn it for years.  Just a simple multicolored beaded bracelet with a silver ribbon.  She said it was a generic cancer awareness bracelet, representing all the cancers.  Because how can you truly pick one cancer to fight for.  Every cancer has victims and every cancer needs awareness.

KIMG0364My family and my husband’s family has been affected by a long list of cancers.  I could pick any of them to support and get behind fund-raising events.  But it took me losing my Mom to get behind this one.  The founder of Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, Pamela Acosta Marquardt, said that she couldn’t get over losing her mother.  The rest of her family did in their own way and went on with their normal lives….but she couldn’t.  I can’t either.

I once asked God when I would stop remembering how Mom died and just remember how she lived.  The answer has come.

I won’t.

And because I won’t, I fight for others so that they won’t have to have my memories, so that there are more “Stu” stories.

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God lead me to study Ecclesiastes while at COLT2014.  I started with chapter 1.  It was perfect for what I was fixing to step into.

For with much wisdom is much sorrow; as knowledge increases, grief increases. (Ecc. 1:18 HCSB)

The knowledge I gained this weekend did increase my grief.  But there is HOPE.

There are some scary statistic.  But there is HOPE.

I believe that God is going to use the efforts of this organization and the people working with it to WAGE HOPE for anyone that is being touched by this terrible disease.  That is why I won’t forget and I’ll continue to fight this battle, one that Mom could not fight for herself.

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If you are interested in being a part of The Cross L Team for PurpleStride2015, May 30th. click here to sign-up for the 5K or simply donate.  Anything you can do is greatly appreciated.

Upcoming events:  PurpleLight2014 – November 2nd

Nashville Affiliate Meeting:  October 15th, 6:30