A Small Quilt with a Big Life Lesson

Remember the days of balancing: raising young children, holding a full-time job, laundry, IMG_20160304_135127089meals, and the myriad of other responsibilities we juggled and somehow it all worked out? Today I was gazing at the small wall hanging I made decades ago and remembering the important life lesson it taught me.

The early 1980s were a busy time in my life and I ached for just a little time to quilt. Impossible, I told myself and put the thought aside for another time, probably another year. Yet, shortly after, leafing through a quilt magazine, I found a wall hanging idea I loved and felt compelled to create it.

The theme was variations on the World War II Spools pattern. The pattern evolved during the early 1940s as women at home were left with abundant numbers of empty spools as they sewed prolific supplies for the soldiers so far from home. A seamstress from early adolescence on, and later, a quilter, I had always particularly loved the Spools Pattern as the perfect symbol of my love of textile-work.

Suddenly I had to find a way to make my wall hanging. How to do it, though?
Shortly after, the Universe somehow (via radio, television, newspaper, magazine, or a conversation) reminded me of a saying I’d long ago heard but never acted upon: You can read the Bible in one year if you read fifteen minutes a day.

Fifteen minutes a day. There was my answer. Not the Bible, (Forgive me, my Creator!);  rather, I gathered my fabrics and quilting tools, carved out those daily few minutes, and within two months was able to hang what became my all-time favorite wall hanging.


About Mary Jo Doig

At the turn of the millennium, I arrived at a cross-road that brought me to a splendid, if unforeseen place, almost as if I were a traveler on Robert Frost's The Road Less Traveled. I was single again, my three children were grown and building their lives, I'd experienced a health issue and was working on an improved lifestyle. I also ached to do two other things: (1) change my long human services career in upstate New York's Catskill Mountains, where winter seemed to be at least seven months out of every year, and (2) move to a warmer place in the universe. My decision: did I want to continue on the path I'd been following pretty much all my life, or could I gather my then-fragile courage and start life brand new somewhere else? These were scary thoughts for a single woman in her late 50s. Five hundred miles away, though, I fell in love with a new mountain range, Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains, where I knew not a soul except my daughter who was attending college in the Shenandoah Valley, and I moved. I rented a tiny cabin on a mountain in the woods and lived there in solitude for two years, working in a new career by day and, when home, communing with the incredible natural beauty that surrounded me. There I also began to write my life stories, which were aching for release. I joined the Story Circle Network in early 2001, a rich place in cyberspace for women life writers, where I strengthened my written voice and began sharing my stories. I found so many opportunities to grow: 10 year facilitator for an online writing circle of women writers across the country; thirteen year editor of the "True Words from Real Women" section of the quarterly Journal; a reader and reviewer of women's memoirs for the SCN Book Review site; program chair for two Stories from the Heart national conferences in Austin, T. Presently I'm teaching Women's Life-Writing and Older Women's Legacy workshops in my part of the world in Central Virginia and facilitating the ongoing Circle of Memories Writing Circle (formerly an OWL workshop that continued on) at the Crozet Public Library. I am blessed with three wonderful children, a son and two daughters; a small, huge-hearted family; dear friends; my beagle Addie and cat Button. My hobbies include reading, writing, editing, cooking, gardening, quilting, knitting, biking, and simply being with the profound beauty of the mountains that embrace my small two acres in the Blue Ridge. The life stories I began writing in 2001 have grown deeper with time, re-writes, and personal growth. All these years later, I'm scheduled to publish my memoir, Stitching a Patchwork Life, in 2018.
This entry was posted in Bovina Stories, Change, Peacefulness, Quilts, Simplicity. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to A Small Quilt with a Big Life Lesson

  1. goldenjanet says:

    Lovely story and wall hanging, Mary Jo. A reminder to me of that time in my life when all my jobs never seemed to allow time to write. I found my little diary in a trunk and decided I could fill a page every week. So I held on to my dream of writing for a while, then I always found a scrap of paper around to write an inspiring sentence or idea. Ha! I had to remember never to write on the kids lunch bags.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. And I’m sure your Creator loved that you were co-creating a world of beauty with your wall hanging and when it was done, admired your creativity in bringing goodness to your busy life.


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